Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Gone Fishing

I don't fish. But I'll be gone.

Two weeks in the mountains of New Mexico.

See y'all in July!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A Trifle

I scream! You scream! We all scream for ice cream!

Nothing sparks a conversation more than a discussion about desserts. We all love desserts even if we are Good Little Weight Watchers and don't eat them, but grind our teeth at night instead.

Talk is both cheap and fat free, so here are my All Time Favorite Desserts, in order of my thoughts and nothing more.

Apple pie with vanilla ice cream. Substitute peach pie or cherry pie or any fruit pie. Don't forget the vanilla ice cream.

Passion Killer. This is a dessert recipe we found in a microwave cook book of all places that involves cocoa, water, flour, butter and other stuff, buzzed up in a microwave for like 10 minutes. It produces a cake on top and a pudding bottom. Actually, it's more like a rich chocolate sauce than a pudding. Two or three helpings after a romantic dinner led to its name. It could have been called the Great Chocolate Sleeping Potion, too.

New York Cheesecake. Say no more.

Flaming Grand Marnier hot orange souffle. Only in France.

Carrot cake with cream cheese icing.

French silk chocolate pie.

Finally, my number one, all time favorite dessert of all time:

English Trifle a la Helen. Layers of goodness with cream, fruit, sponge cake, sherry, custard and sherry. Did I mention sherry? Not to be trifled with, I assure you.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Google This

Rats, I needed a calculator.

I opened the desk drawer only to discover that my trusty Hewlett-Packard 10-C was not in its usual spot. I moved some stuff around. Nothing. I gave the drawer a good rummage. Still nothing.

Well, that's the pits. I wonder where it went? Probably sprouted legs and walked off. I checked under the desk and on the shelf. Nothing.

"Hey!" I shouted, "anyone seen my calculator?"


"Anybody seen my CALCULATOR?"

"Whaaaat? It's in the drawer!"

"No, it's not! It's GONE!"

"Well, stop YELLING about it and get another calculator."

Get another calculator. Bah! I didn't want another calculator. I wanted MY calculator. I wanted my HP 10-C! I gave the desk drawer another rummage just in case it had teleported back from the Tenth Dimension, you know, the one where single socks go. Nothing.

So, I got up, walked down the hall and looked on Sarah's desk. CD's, walkman, watercolor paint box, cat treats, Archie comics. Oh, Archie comics! What's old Jughead up to? Oh, look, he's bumming hamburgers off of Archie! That Jughead, he's a regular laff riot.

Ah, ha! Finally. Sarah's calculator. Texas Instruments. I looked at the keyboard. Yes, there was the dreaded "equals" key.

"Inferior TI piece of junk," I thought, "still sporting the old equals key, eh?"

I tried not to think about my missing HP 10-C. No "equals" key there. No sirree, not to be found. Reverse Polish Notation didn't need no stinkin' "equals" key. Yep, no doubt about it, I was an RPN Snob and proud of it.

I snatched up the TI, anyway, and headed back to the study.

Click. Nothing.

Click click. Nothing.

Clickity click click click CLICKITY CLICK. Nothing.

I turned over the TI, opened the battery hatch and gazed at an empty bay. Four little slots which should be holding an AA battery each stared back. I had a bad feeling about this.

"Hey!" I shouted, "anybody got some double-A batteries?"


"I said, anybody got some ... oh, never mind."


"I said NEVER MIND!!"


I sighed, went downstairs to the kitchen and paused in front of the Junk Drawer.

Every kitchen on the planet has a Junk Drawer. Things that for some mysterious reason don't deserve a drawer of their own end up in the Junk Drawer. We have a silverware drawer, a towel drawer, a kitchen things drawer and a first aid stuff drawer. You'd think we'd have a Battery Drawer if for no other reason than to prevent what was about to happen.

I pulled open the Junk Drawer and was greeted by Junk. Not just a scattering of Junk. Not Junk that was organized and categorized, specialized and sanitized. Nope. This was pure twenty-first century debris. Bits and pieces of everything: pens without ink, pencils with broken tips, dried fingernail polish, solidified glue, shoelaces, Post-It sticker pads, marbles, a yo-yo without string, my old 20 Mb disc drive that I was going to fix some day and a comprehensive collection of refrigerator magnets.

After a few minutes zeroing in on batteries I pulled out the following:

Three 8-packs of AAA batteries.
Five D-cells.
Four 9-volts.
Sixteen 3.5 volt camera batteries.
One rechargable battery for a camera we lost four years ago.

I looked at the useless pile of junk and scraped it back into the Junk Drawer to ferment for a few more years. Maybe they'd all mate and produce some AA's.

As I trudged back upstairs, lamenting the loss of my beloved HP 10-C, undoubtedly abducted by aliens or swept out to sea, I thought about how cool it would be to be able to Google some AA's. That would be cool. Type in "AA batteries" into Google and it would come back with "behind the couch in the TV room." Or I could Google "where's my HP 10-C" and it would return with "half-way to Alpha Centauri." Yeah, that would be my luck. Maybe I could Google my calculation.

Google my calculation.

Google my calculation! That's it! I CAN Google my calculation. Google has a calculator! All I have to do is type it in, hit Return and bingo!

I leapt up the stairs two at a time, ran into the study, dived into the chair and wiggled the mouse. Screen saver. Come on, come ON!

Finally. I clicked on the search box and typed.

"76 / 19"

I pressed Return.

Instantly Google spit back: 4

Ah, 4. I thought so.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Thanks, Al

Thank you, Al Gore, for inventing the Internet.

Specifically, thank you for on-line flower companies.

I received the following email the other day:

"Hello Flowers Customer! Your wedding anniversary is within 24 hours and we can save your life for $49.95!"

Well, wasn't that nice?

I clicked on the Happy Flowers Icon and was zapped to the Flowers site.

"How much trouble are you in? Low Medium High

I clicked Medium.

"How many anniversaries have you forgotten? Low Medium High

I hesitated, searched my soul, and clicked Medium.

"How much do you value your wife?" Low Medium High

I paused. Hmmm, what if she gets a report? Then what?

I clicked High.

The website thought about my answers for a few seconds and spit out the following:

"Congratulations, Considerate Spouse! You have selected the Vast Array of Forgiveness (vase extra). Click Accept to continue."

I looked at the text. I looked at the price. I think my heart skipped a few beats.

Of course, I clicked Accept.

Much later...

...the phone rang.

"Yello!?" ( I like the Simpson's touch )

"Hey, honey, you'll never guess what arrived by special delivery just now."

"Uh, a pink platypus in a tutu?"

"No, silly! You know!! The most gorgeous bunch of flowers. And the guys in the trucks are still bringing them in.

Guys? Trucks? Geeze Louize that price must have been in Euros!

"Honey, y'a still there? Well, this puts us Even Steven. I forgive all your previous transgressions. Even the time you swore you didn't put hot sauce on the ribs and it dissolved my front tooth."

Yikes, I thought, I hit the jackpot! Thank you Flowers online. I owe you big time!

(Yes you do, Bud, yes you do, indeed!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Maria and the Rut

I'm in a lunch rut.

I go to the cafeteria every day and order the same thing from Maria, the Sandwich Lady: tuna salad on wheat, lettuce, tomato, mayo and a dill wedge on the side.

Every day.

I knew I was in a rut when I stood in line for, like, ten minutes, and when I got to the counter Maria had my sandwich all boxed up and ready to go.

"Here your are, Mr. Bill," she beamed, "ready to go!"

I smiled, took my sandwich and sloped off.

To establish some perspective, this has been going on for years. And I can tell you that I'm getting mighty tired of tuna on wheat. Mighty tired.

Once I had this dream where I showed up to the counter armed with a Twinkie gun and I shot, rather, splattered, the place up with rounds of Twinkies. After everybody headed for the hills, I vaulted over the counter and fixed myself a triple-decker peanut butter and banana sandwich! Oh, yeah, babe, who's the man! Who's the man!

So, today, with that dream freshly in mind I decided to take charge. Be someone. Be the man! I decided to order...something else.

But what? There was a daily menu posted. I knew that. It had things like Curried Chicken Ceasar, and Southwestern Turkey Wrap, and New York Rye Surprise, but those specials changed daily. I couldn't just go up to Marie and order "The Special" because she would ask "Which special?" and I'd be sunk.

I solved the problem by sneaking around the cafeteria minutes after it opened. I casually strolled around the food courts feining interest in this and that, but zeroing in on Maria's Sandwich Bar. The special was Italian Antepasto Wrap.

Right. IAW it would be.

I got in queue. I practiced my patter. "Maria? I'd like the special, the Italian Antepasto Wrap, today." Why, thank you. Very nice, I'm sure I'll enjoy it. Thanks a bunch. Say "hi" to Guido for me!

The Italian Antepasto Wrap looked great. Cheese, thinly sliced meat, peppers, salad and a Zesty Italian dressing; mouth watering. I was ready for two!

Finally, I got up to the bar. Maria and I stood eye-to-eye.

I said, "I'd like the special, today, the Italian Antepasto Wrap."

Maria blinked.

I repeated myself. "The Italian Wrap please."

Maria blinked, and a small tear formed in the corner of her left eye. "You no want my special tuna sandwich?", it was hardly a whisper. "I made it for you. Special. Like every day."

Maria's bottom lip began to quiver. "You no like my tuna?" A tear formed at the corner of her right eye.

"Ah," I said, "sorry, Maria, I wasn't clear. What I meant to say was this."

I cleared my voice. Maria was trembling.

"I'd like your very special tuna sandwich, your very delicious tuna sandwich, your very own creation, for myself...AND...I'd like an Italian Antepasto Wrap for my unfortunate colleague who is stuck in a budget meeting and who might die if he doesn't get your exquisite wrap."

Maria brightened considerably, pulled out a tuna-in-a-box from under the counter and proceeded to construct a wrap.

Finally, she handed me both boxes and said, cheerfully, "Here's you lunch, Mister Bill, enjoy and your friend enjoy, too!"

I went through the line and paid for both lunches. As I walked back to my office, tuna in one hand, wrap in the other I passed a trash can.

I paused.

Looking at the age old tuna sandwich and the delightful wrap, the wrap I coveted, I made a decison.

Maria, babe, you're the one.

I tossed the wrap and headed back to my cubicle with my tuna special. Yeah, Maria, you're special.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Angelina Jolie and Some Guy

Today we saw the "Mrs. Smith and Whatzis Name" film staring Angelina Jolie. I think I've locked in my nomination for Best Actress, 2005, already! Angelina was fantastic. She can pout, shoot, drive, slide down a wire, cook, pout, throw knives, pout and look serious. Seriously, she is totally believable looking serious. Must be method acting.

The plot is about a super cool spy, Angelina, who's married to some loser and I can't remember what he does for a living, other than living in the shadow of his wife. Hey, maybe that was the plot line! He's a jealous loser trying to foster some artificial respect. Whatever.

Anyway, Angelina is tired of this loser guy and decides to cash in on the pre-nup agreement by running him off. She arranges this garden party, but loser husband burns down the house trying to light the bar-b-que pit and it's like a double win because Angelina makes off with the pre-nup money, and the house insurance! Angelina is so cool and smart to boot. When all this happens she fakes a pout, but she's really being serious. I nearly cried.

I don't remember what happened to the husband. I think he had a couple of cameo appearances later in the film.

So, the rest of the film showcases Angelina's fantastic driving ability, highlights her gourmet cooking style, and follows her through a day as CEO of her company. Very impressive if you ask me. They should have titled the film "Angelina Jolie" or maybe the jazzier "AJ."

I'm looking forward to the next Angelina Jolie film, and, hopefully, it won't be with whatzisname.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Pour Genius

Today was a Starbucks day. I slapped the snooze button until it started slapping itself to prevent getting hit. I had intended to take the day off, but at the last minute decided to do a half-day in the morning. Thus, I was trapped in the Twilight Zone between needing to take a day off and needing to go to work. At last I hauled myself out of bed.

Late as it was by now I decided to forgo breakfast and pick up a brew at Starbucks on the way. Fortunately, I was half asleep making that decision.

I stumbled into the Starbucks realizing that I couldn't remember if I had driven or not, but, of course, I had...I think. The Old Hand was at the counter.

"Grande, coffee of the day, room for cream," he said and proceeded to pour a cup.

I was silent.

"Kroger's card, sir? Ah, this is your lucky day! Free cup!" He handed the hot grande to my outstreatched claw.


"Oh, by the way, there's a wreck on the Beltway at the toll booth. I'd take Highway 6 to Westheimer and cut across to Dairy Ashford. That will avoid the sinkhole that formed on Eldridge last night."

"Thanks," I muttered and strode off into the dawn.

Much later at work I overheard a conversation:

"Man, did you see that mess on the Beltway? It took me 90 minutes to get in."

"Oh, yeah, that's nothing. I was cruising up Eldridge and suddenly we all stopped. Turns out a big old sinkhole formed in the night and we were stuck there in Gridlock for two hours!"

Meanwhile, I got my work done early and decided to call it a day at 10. OK, that's a little early to call it a day.


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Stupid Cats

My cats are stupid. No doubt about it. Lazy, too. Did I mention lazy? Lazy and Stupid. If I'd some foresight I would have named them Lazy and Stupid instead of Sandy and Nobbs. A little kitten, though, does not provide the clues necessary to determine if a cat will grow up to be lazy or stupid, but take if from me, a long time cat owner, one of the two traits will predominate.

Let's start with lazy. Sandy lounges around the flower bed all day. That's after he's had a morning snack. He meows at the bedroom window in the morning so I'll get up, let him in and pour him a snack of his favorite Cat Chow. I trained him to do that.

I then stumble back to bed to wait for Nobbs to begin his morning ritual. He paws at the bedroom window, about 30 minutes after Sandy, for me to get up and pour him a bowl of his favorite Cat Chow which is different, of course, from Sandy's. I trained him to do that, too.

I stumble back to bed.

At wake-up time I rise, shower, dress, pick up the morning paper and pour myself a cup of coffee from our automatic coffee maker which, hopefully, has been loaded and primed the night before and ready to deliver its life-restoring brew. Often, that is not the case. Mental note: must train the cats to do coffee.

The cats, meanwhile, mill around ready for their breakfast. So, before I make breakfast for myself I feed the cats some charming entree like Sliced Dead Bird or Month Old Tuna. I deduced those names from the smell. Cats happily chomping on their favorite dead thing, I pour myself the remains of Cheerios, mostly dust, or the remains of Special K, mostly dust, slop on some milk and choke it down.

It's hard to concentrate to read the morning paper above all the purring. I trained them to do that.

Sandy hops up on the table and finishes the milk in my cereal bowl. I trained him to do that.

By the time I'm ready to go to work Sandy is sacked out on the living room couch and Nobbs is curled up on my pillow. I trained them to do that.

On the way to work, dodging idiots on the Beltway, I think about the poor cats, stuck in or around the house all day, nothing to do but sleep or chase small critters. I break hard for a Super Idiot cutting in line seconds before the toll booth. Heart racing. OK, not dead, accelerate and cut off a Jetta, driver talking on a cell phone. So long, sucker! Heh, heh! I'll save microseconds getting to work after that maneuver.

I pull into the parking lot and manage to cut off a Honda that hesitated in front of the only slot in the row. The driver flipped me off. I waved back and pointed to the slot, "Mine! Have a nice day!"

As I walked into the main building I thought of the 100 email messages awaiting me, a safety meeting, the fact I'm a zillion dollars over budget, impending layoffs, the dreaded meeting with the Idiot Customer and the fact I left my money at home and would have to bum lunch from someone. Typical day. The coffee machine was mostly broken and gave me a cup of luke warm brown water. Score, at least it's brown!

On my way to my office I pass my boss. "Yo, Bro, Sup?", I say in my most professional manner.

"Veep presentation is today, not tomorrow. You are ready, aren't you? It's VERY important. (to me)," he intones.

"Oh, yeah, Sir, yes Sir, three bags full, presentation ready since last week. No prob. See you at 9!", I reply walking faster, "Break a leg!", I hope.

Presentation at 9am, hmm, all I need to do is change "2004" to "2005" and who will know the difference. Besides, retirement is looking like a good option.

I thought about the stupid cats. "Stupid cats," I thought, "sleeping their days away in the house. Nothing do but hang out." I trained them to do that.

Stupid cats.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Time to Cook

"What are your plans for dinner?"

"I ain't got no stinking plans," I replied in my best Clint Eastwood accent.

"What ingredients do you have?"

"I ain't got no stinking ingredients," I lied because the fridge was full of stinking ingredients. That, itself, was a problem. "Just pick something up and I'll make a plan, " I continued. That would buy me some time so I could take a nap, hoping inspiration came to me in a dream.

All too soon, though, the expedition returned and Pork and Red Peppers were on the menu.

Well, I thought, I'll just start cooking and see if the Muse arrives at just the right time. Here's what became the plan:

chop and fry some bacon in the big Le Creuset pot.
chop and add an onion
chop and add a leftover piece of andouille sausage
chop and add a jalapeno pepper
chop and add two red bell peppers
scrape a hole in the sauted stuff and add 4 boneless pork chops
add a stock cube, about 4 cups of water
chop and add 3 small red potatoes (afterthought)
chop and add 2 tomatoes (well, they were there so what the heck)
cover and simmer for a couple of hours

My general rule of thumb is that 2 hours of cooking will make most things edible if not fantastic. Sometimes the third hour is the charm, especially with stews and chili. Never underestimate the power of time.

After a couple of hours the broth had turned a red-brown and smelled fantastic. I sampled it with a spoon and was not disappointed. Very rich and complex. The red pepper had imparted a very robust flavor and the jalapno provided just enough bite without making the soup unpleasant.

We served it in bowls over a little rice, accompanied by fresh steamed asparagus, chilled and marinated for a few minutes in a vinaigrette. Topped off with a Mirassou Pinot Noir I think we did well for no plans and no ingredients.

Will I be able to recreate this dish? Who knows. Probably not, exactly. The general theme of a thin broth pork stew will be possible, but depending on the ingredients and the mood of the chef the mileage will vary, as they say.

That's what I like best about cooking, though, the challenge of creating something new, unique, interesting and tasty given a set of ingredients, a pantry full of spices and my experience and creativity. It's a joy for the chef and diner alike.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Tick Tock

Sandy the Cat was feeling friendly. He hopped on the couch and stretched out next to me. Sandy is cool. He knows just when to bug you and when to leave you alone. Today he decided not to walk across my keyboard and cause me to type hl'sl dhlhh se0n.kld shoofd. Thank you, Sandy.

As he settled into his corner of the couch he performed his usual Lick Routine, which I take particular care NOT to watch, and then gave a huge yawn.

That's when I saw the Spot.

Sandy doesn't have spots. Sandy is an orange, short haired cat with no spots. A few stripes maybe, but no spots. Especially dark, round spots under his chin.

Hmmm, could it be food, or oil or paint? I had to have a look and that's when I discovered the Tick.

Ohh, yuck, a tick! And, oh, man, did it look like a Big Tick. Not my cup of tea, I can tell you. Ticks.

I remember as a kid a family who lived down the street who had a couple of dogs who were always getting into ticks. They would have these great grey lumps sticking out of their fur that their owner would grab and yank. I hated that. Absolutely disgusting.

I've had a few ticks on me in my day and I've been totally freaked out by them. I am not a cool tick person.

So, that left me with poor old Sandy who was becoming anemic by the second as the infamous tick sucked the life blood out of my cat. OK, I've got to do something. I grabbed a paper towel, latched onto Sandy (who was not to happy about this whole affair) and dug into his chin to extract the foul insect.

Grabbing firmly I yanked and got...nothing. Wha? I checked the paper towel and there in my hand was a "tick" only it wasn't a real tick. It was a black piece of gunk that looked like a tick. Of course, I gave it a sniff.


It appears that Sandy had been hanging around the BBQ pit and got some drippings caught in his fur. He only didn't lick it off because his tongue isn't that long!

Not a tick. BBQ sauce.

Yeah, I knew it all along.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Lawnmower Man

I Googled "St. Augustine" and found out he's the Patron Saint of Landscaping Companies.

That explains why so much of the stuff is planted down here in south Texas. It's a tough grass for a tough state. Fast growing, too. Just the other day I was out in the front yard and after a few minutes I was several inches higher off the ground. I felt like a fakir on a bed of nails.

I tried mowing the stuff. Once. My mower was a Binford 3000 Multi-capuchino Earth Tamer. I say "was," may it rest in peace, because it barely made it around one circuit of the yard before it collapsed into a weeping, whining pile of protesting parts. I wasn't far behind.

The blades of grass hadn't even been cut; only bent. And as I sat there gasping and comforting my dying lawnmower I watched as the blades slowly righted themselves in defiance. It must have been my imagination that saw the blades wearing tiny black gloves.

Grass Power!

Okie, dokie, maybe I could declare my property a National Grasslands Reserve. Mental note: swing by PetSmart and buy prairie dog.

What's with this stuff? I remember living in a state far, far away where only Rye Grass would grow. Rye is the Rodney Dangerfield of grass. All you have to do is threaten it and it will cut itself.

I'd stand in the front yard, beer in hand, and muse "Hmm, I think I'll have to get the old mower out this weekend." And I'd hear all this weeping and gnashing of grass teeth as they cut themselves down to Homeowner Organization regulation size.

"Thanks, boys, pleasure doing business with you."

Now, the game is different. Rye is T-ball. St. Augustine is Major League. Time to call in the pros.

The Landscaping Guy, Guido, seemed quite nice.

"Youse just needs to sign dis line, Mister Bill, and don't worry about all that lien stuff. Heh, heh, heh, lawyers! Can't live wit 'em, too much trouble to bury 'em. Heh, heh, heh!"

The next morning at 6am sharp I heard the quiet thump-thump-thump of Special Forces Blackhawk Helicopters. Dreaming, I thought. No helicopters.

Not dreaming. Guido and the rest of the lawn commandos descended deftly down ropes, gear in hand, to the terrain below. Armed with 50-mm diamond weed whackers and Bradley fighting mowers they charged up and down the lawn attacking everything that moved, or didn't move. Grass blades flew. Leaves shot skyward. Huge plumes of gasoline exhaust rose in the dawn.

Predictably I heard Guido exclaim, cigar clenched in his teeth, weed whacker glowing in heat, "God, I love the smell of burning chlorophyl in the morning!"

Then, as soon as it started, it was over. The troops retreated under covering fire. The helicopters disappeared across the horizon. I ventured out the front door only to witness the sweeping up operation. Bundles of grass blades wearing tiny, orange jumpsuits were being blown-marched down the street guarded by the Lawn Patrol.

Guido strode up, invoice in hand.

"That's a mow, trim, bag and mulch," he said. "We had a few casualties. That's extra." He held out the invoice.

"No problem, Colonel, " I replied, stood at attention and gave him a heartfelt salute.

Colonel Guido returned the salute, smiled, turned and sauntered down the street, disappearing into the morning haze. As I walked back to the house I thought I heard a voice in the distance...

"I shall return!"

Comforted, I closed the door behind me and thought "Oh, yeah!"

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Home Work

Most of the calls I get at work are from people with problems. At least they're technical problems. I couldn't face getting a call at 8 am from someone complaining that they woke up with something green growing on their cheek.

"Which cheek?" I wouldn't really want to know.

This morning was only marginally better.

*ring* *ring*

"Yello?" (I like answering the phone with "yello" like Homer Simpson. It sets the expectations for the caller.)

"I've got a problem."

"Don't we all, babe, don't we all. Wazzup?" (If anything, I like to maintain a professional tone)

"I'm getting this message on the computer."

"Oh, yeah? Is it from Elvis or what?", is my witty rejoinder. Try to lighten up a grim situation.

"No, it's from the Tropic Stick Minimizer, or something. I don't remember 'xactly."

"Oh, that sounds serious. Are you calling from near the equator?"

"No, I'm calling from Houston."

"Close enough," I said, "close enough. But, you know, it probably wasn't the Tropic Stick Minimizer or something. Can you make the message come back?"

"How do I do that?"

"Easy. Say Awah Tago Siam three times and hit the Enter key." I hear chanting, a click and

"Oh, yeah, there it is."

"Ok, sweetie, my x-ray vision needs a new battery this morning. What does it say exactly? Spell it for me if you have to but be EXACT!"

"Tee Cee Pee Eye Pee Conflict. Duplicate Tee Cee Pee Eye Pee address."

I took a slug of my Extra Latte Turbocharged Capo-macho-chino 9X MochaBrew and waited for the bazillion caffeine molecules to course their way to my brain.

Suddenly, it all began to clear.

Networks! What a complication. Routers, hubs, wireless access points, antennas. Not good with a power failure. Very, very complicated. This required a delicate solution. I thought of the Wicked Witch of the West plotting her plots: These things must be done Del-i-ket-ly!

I thought and I thought until my thinker was sore: Storm. Last night. Power blackout. Routers down. DHCP. No doubt the router had reset and reissued IP addresses through DHCP to all the devices on campus; printers, PC's. I visualized the pulsating interglobal network of electrons zipping around the World at the speed of light. Hubs, relays, data centers, multinational corporations, Martha Stewart!

Then, it came to me in a flash! Mentally, I calculated the flux rate of the framastat and cross-multiplied that against the Murphy Coil applying the Widget Factor. Squared.

Eureka! I had it!

"Reboot", I said.


"Reboot your computer, sweetie pie, and all will be clam, er, calm."

I heard the bongs, chimes, melodic symphony of software and machine pulling itself together.

"Well?", I enquired.

"Hey, thanks! That did it, Dad, you're a genius. See you tonight when you get home from work!"

"No prob, Claire," I said, "what are dad's for?"

Like I said, I hate getting calls in the morning, especially from home. Too much work if you ask me.