Mostly Harmless

Mostly about my amusement

Category: Family (page 1 of 14)

In America it’s pronounced “CUE”

I’m a little miffed and want to write this down.

My mother and I went to the local Giunta’s Meat Farms (it’s called MEAT FARMS, how can I not like that place?) and wanted to get a few bottles of wine. There’s a local wine and liquor shop on the other end of the same strip. We walked there to save time and a few miles.

This isn’t the place we normally buy wine at. Usually we go to a store on Old Country Road that is ran by a nice Korean American couple. They’re from Argentina and they speak Spanish perfectly. I’m ashamed of my 2 year-old level grammar when they speak. They’re nice and know their wine. Some of their recommendations have been very good.

The place we went today had a person who felt the need to educate my mother about wine and tried to convince her that she wanted a rosé. She doesn’t like that type of wine, said so and he continued his hard sell. She and I shortly told him “thanks, but we know what we’re looking for”.

Mom has been educated about wine well before he was born. I swear, he was mansplaining wine to her.

As we’re checking out, Mom asked him if the store carries Don Q rum. She pronounced it “don COO”. He looked at us weird and feigned that he didn’t know what we meant. Finally he says

Oh, you mean “dän CUE”. No, we don’t carry it.

To which I replied

We’re Puerto Rican, we pronounce it “don COO”.

No big deal, right? While we are finishing up paying for the wine, that’s when he explained.

In America it’s pronounced “CUE”. You can try stores in Brentwood or Wyandanch.

Oh. That’s how it is in “America”. Good to know.

A little background about Long Island. Both of those towns are considered “minority” places and not in a flattering way. You know when that Orange Racist, who’s also currently president, talks about MS-13? He’s usually using Brentwood as his example.

There’s nothing wrong with those places and yeah, we’ve been to both towns before. There are some amazing Hispanic restaurants in Brentwood.

As we’re walking out and I’m holding the door for Mom, she clearly says out loud:

We are never shopping in this store again.

Unless that person’s brain condition got to his ears, he received the message loud and clear. In America we can choose which stores we shop in. **** that guy and his racist attitude.

I think she gets it from her Mom

My daughter and a lot of her friends have begun to follow different K-pop bands. Putting aside that none of them understand Korean, they like the visuals and the beat of the music. And some of it is sung in English.

My daughter is crafty and I don’t just mean her attitude. Today she’s attending a birthday party and her friend is a big fan too. She took a small binder and using a word processor on the iMac made a 50+ sheet printed on both sides compendium of the bands they follow. Complete with the current band member bios.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

She made stickers with the color laser printer and set them on the pages using Velcro. That way they can be re-positioned in different sections. The holes on each page and insert were done with a single hole punch.

She made folder inserts from stiff color paper and put printed material on and in them. She solicited her other friends to email her content and dolled that up too, formatting it so it printed and inserted correctly with the rest. She made a K-pop quiz complete with the answers in the back.

To make sure it’s a “living” book, she put all the document files and images on a USB drive that she’s included with the binder. That way the new owner can add or change the content as she sees fit.

I don’t know what to say. She draws and does crafts better than anyone I know.

Here’s a gallery of the book before it was given. I’m gobsmacked about all the attention to detail for this. She pulled all the images from online fan sites and formatted all the data.

I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Confirmed: I’m not getting the PC back anytime soon

This may fall under category of "bad parenting" but probably not. I hope not. Just don't tell Lily, OK?

My daughter saw all of the fun her brother has playing Team Fortress 2 and wanted in on the action. The kitchen iMac doesn't play games very well but my PC does. So I set her up on an account there, logged her into Steam and the rest was history.

She picked up TF2 quickly. Then she saw that she could play Borderlands 2, Torchlight II, Portal 2 (is there a "two" thing going on?) and spent hours on the PC.

Her normal activity is drawing on the iPad. She's really good and has developed a real skill. Video games are normally the domain of her brother. But they seem to like playing on the same TF2 server. When they're on the same team she plays the medic and supplies health to the other players. When she's on different teams she plays the scout.

She spent the whole evening playing and I had no clue. It wasn't till I went to turn off the light in the office that I saw her. Her mother would not be happy had she walked into the room.

There is hope that the has inherited Lily's Adult Supervision™ genes. I told her that I'd get a third PC for her, probably from Costco. Her answer?

That's wasteful. I can share yours when you are not using it.

I have no idea where she picks that stuff up. I've certainly never encouraged that sort of behavior.

I can’t really get angry at him for solving a problem

Friday afternoon I called the house and got my then 13 year old son. He turned 14 a few days later.

Dad, the WiFi sucks. I'm trying to download an update to War Thunder and it's taking almost an hour.

He was right, the WiFi adapter on his PC is garbage. The access point is in the same room less than 10 feet away. There's no reason for wireless to suck.

I told him that I'll get an Ethernet cable and hardwire him into the FIOS router. That will give him all the bandwidth he could ever use. I didn't think much about it after that till I got home.

He really wanted that update to War Thunder.

He gave it some thought and enabled tethering on his iPhone. Via WiFi he connected his PC to the iPhone and began to download the update. In less than 2 hours he ate almost 3 GB out of my monthly 10 GB allotment.

This did not make Lily and I very happy. She got a text message saying we'd crossed 75% of usage. She asked him and he suddenly remembered what he'd done and quietly disabled tethering without 'fessing up. Lily pulled up a pie chart of the usage and his phone was right behind mine.

I got home and it took me 0.0035 seconds to figure out what he did. I was angry and let him know that he was being selfish. He should have told his mother what he'd done. And yet… I like how he figured out another way to connect to the Internet. He had a problem and quickly came up with an alternative to fix it.

He lost cellular data for the week and may lose it for the rest of December. I also deleted his games and YouTube app from his phone; enough already. But I'm glad he thinks to solve problems and I can't be mad at him for that. Later on I told him I like that part of what he did.

If he does it again though, that phone is mine. 😉

What are the building codes there again?

In China’s Hunan province a glass bottom bridge exists and lets brave tourists walk across. Another one is scheduled for opening and will be the longest glass bottom bridge in the world. I don’t know if I’ll ever visit either but I am sure that if I do I’m not crossing. Here’s how I know.

In 2011 Lily and I took the kids to China. Part of that trip included stopping at Shanghai and we visited the Pearl Tower. The tower is concrete and very orderly, tourists lined up and took a fast elevator to the observation deck. Part of the deck goes around the perimeter and has thick glass panels for the floor.

It’s at least an 800 foot drop. It’s very safe but when you are walking around it and looking down you don’t think about the safety. It didn’t help that the kids worked up their courage and started jumping on the floor panels. That’s not what freaked me out though.

the-girl-skydeck

Making our way around the deck we came across a part that had those bank teller line posts. Except these posts were set at the corners of a new looking and very clean glass floor panel. Instead of a velvet rope, it had yellow plastic tape.

There was YELLOW DO NOT CROSS TAPE TELLING YOU NOT TO STEP ON THAT GLASS FLOOR PANEL.

That freaked me out. I wish I took a photo but instead I grabbed the kids and we went to the inside of the deck where the floor was concrete. The tower is amazing but at that moment I had to find an Internet connection. I really wanted to visit Google in the worst way possible. I had to look something up.

I was all set to write a small Windows 10 review too

Yesterday I came home and did my usual routine.

  1. Ate dinner (I get home after 7 PM).
  2. Changed and watched some quick TV.
  3. Eventually headed to my PC to check the Interwebz (meaning: play FPS video games, my son wanted to show me something he earned on Steam).

I turned on my monitor and my PC was frozen at the BIOS boot screen. Weird. A quick reboot and I received the following message on my screen.

The SSD you put into this PC less than 2 months ago is about to suffer imminent and permanent death. Please back up all of your data again and press F2 to continue. Press F10 to enter the BIOS.

P.S. You suck.

That may not be the exact wording. You get the idea.

That PC is soon going to turn 6 years old. When this happened with the original drive a couple of months ago I believed it. I leave my PC on all the time and the old HD was slowing down and giving me grief.

Now it seems like there is something screwy with the system itself. Either that or I hit the jackpot and my SSD is dead but I find that unlikely.

I turned off the whole works, unplugged the PC and contemplated running to Best Buy and getting a new one right there. Then Lily got home and a calmer head prevailed. I explained what happened and in between my outbursts she got the idea.

Lily: “Don’t just get one right now. Do some research first and then decide.”

Grownups. They just don’t understand the thrill of instant gratification.

Except for being able to play Windows games, the dead PC isn’t that big a deal. Almost all productive work can be done on my old MacBook Air. I have a separate work laptop so my work from home days are not effected. Still, it’s a major pain and will kill more of my down time.

Oh, Windows 10 is good. Except for changing 2 settings and not having any use for the animated start menu, it really is a sensible upgrade from Windows 7.

“Don’t freak out when you come home”

That’s what Lily said to me on the phone the other day. I thought that was odd because I knew what was going on at home.

Back in January a gutter froze and created an ice dam that forced melting water into the wall. That leak came out of the dinning room and into the bedroom above it. The bedroom wasn’t too bad though the carpet needed to be replaced. The dinning room looked like the ceiling was going to collapse. The wall needed to be taken down and a portion of the wood floor was ruined.

You never want to hear your handyman say that you should call the insurance company. The damage extended to the basement and caused mold down there. After the weather got warmer we began the repairs. This turned into replacing all the old carpet with wood flooring on the second floor. We’ve been in this house 10 years and a little remodeling was in order.

The day Lily told me not to freak out was when my bedroom was gutted.

I’m part cat on my grandmother’s side. Cat’s do not like change and if I could have managed it I would have crawled under a couch and sulked for hours. Part of my routine was to come home, head to the bedroom, change and relax in front of the PC. (Yes, I had a desk and PC in the bedroom. Shut up.)

The whole house has been turned into a construction zone. The dinning room was emptied into the other rooms on the first floor and my desk was moved to the living room temporarily. It’s going into the office/guest room when we’re done. Lily and I took over our daughter’s room and she got to stay with her grandmother.

Today I worked from home and the contractors were doing their job well. And loudly. Ever see on those shows how flooring is laid? The put the board down, WHAM! it with a mallet and use an air driven nail gun to hold it down. TV shows don’t show how loud it gets.

But today there is progress and I’m typing this in my bedroom on my MacBook Air. The room is done and we’ve put the furniture back. We still have everything in boxes but it’s something. As a cat I’m considering coming out from underneath the couch. But no loud noises, I can run back to safety any time I feel like it.

A type of spring cleaning

This has not been a good week for me. Not “DEATH AND DESTRUCTION!!” but not a week I’d care to repeat.

Work has been a challenge for the team I’m part of. Things that should have worked didn’t. Friday night I got home after midnight; my day started at 9 AM  but I wrapped it up at 10:30 PM. I had to back out some work I was doing. Saturday I was providing support for another co-worker and was on calls till noon.

Meh, it happens. Usually it works out. At home we had a leak in 2 rooms and we have expanded that work to the whole house. The basement flooring was all removed because another leak caused the floor to be develop  mold. It’s all work needs doing and as the grownups point out “there’s no time like the present”.

We acquired a 20 cubic yard dumpster and part of that was for 10 years of accumulated stuff. I had the task of clearing the garage. 5 cubic yards later I’m only 2/3rds of the way done. My father had filled the garage with items that he used only once. And it’s 10 other identical items; I tossed out so many unused paint brushes and pans. Never used and still good but Dad’s been gone for over 2 years. We will never use those things, they take up space and only remind us that Dad like to hoard things.

Disposing of the radio equipment was the hardest. Dad would buy a pile of equipment on eBay with one tube he needed. The other equipment went into the garage or his work room in the basement. The radios were not working and he’d always intended to work on them or harvest them for parts.

Radios from the 30s to 50s are not a hobby of mine or anyone in my family. That kit would have been valuable to another enthusiast but 29 months later and there’s just no point anymore in keeping it. I started on the left and if it was on the shelf I tossed it. Every scrap of wood, pipes, fittings, etc. went into the dumpster. I tossed enough sheet rock screws to cover my whole house.

It felt like I was throwing out my Dad. I imagined him saying to me “We might need that someday” and that just made it worse. Thankfully he wasn’t like that in real life and he’d wave his hand and say “Nah, it’s fine. We could use that space. Don’t forget that box in the corner.”

1/3rd of the garage is left. His workroom in the basement too. I’m really not looking forward to that. Maybe I’ll see if my brother’s can lend me a hand. I’m like my Dad in that way and I never even thought to ask them for help.

Thank you #wpmom for everything

kim-parsell-is-now-following-you

I can’t remember when I first started interacting with #wpmom Kim Parsell. I’ve been looking and the earliest I can find was an email from April 26, 2012 saying that she was following me on Twitter.

Hundreds of tweets and many emails later and it sure seems like it was much longer than that. She had that effect on you and on October 25th, 2014 I finally got to meet her in person at WCSF.

She was so down to earth and so real. Nervous too, she was going onto tape as the Docs lead for explaining the Codex and getting involved in that team. When that video was taken I was near the podium doing the thumbs up thing before and after her presentation. She had nothing to worry about and she did fine.

The WordPress community is volunteer driven and we all focus on those things we are individually interested in. For me I like to provide support even if it’s just a “Hey, try this plugin it may help you out” reply in the forums. That’s an easy way to get involved and takes very little time.

Kim did so much more than that. She was an active and key member of the Docs team and contributed to WordPress core. She downplayed it but she was a member of and a huge person to the whole support team. She collaborated with so many people. The tag #wpmom was one that she embraced and it was true, she really was like the Mom to all of us. On my last day at WCSF I walked over to sit with her and see how she was doing. I had to, I told her I would. We talked about meeting again at other WordCamps and I wanted to introduce my kids to her.

Now that won’t happen and I feel awful. When I heard the news about Kim’s passing I was shocked. I kept telling myself that she’s just taking a break or a vacation. That’s what I told myself till the last minute.

I feel so small right now. But interacting with her online made me a better person. Collaborating with her and others is amazing and even small contributions are valuable. I got to meet her in person and I’m so grateful for that. She made me feel involved and important. I’ll miss her and her encouragement but I can’t mope about it. That’s not something wpmom would approve of.

October 24th

Tomorrow is the 2nd anniversary of when my Dad passed away. It’s also the day I fly to attend WordCamp San Francisco and in all the excitement I’d completely forgotten the significance of the day.

That’s alright and it’s good. In my immediate family we’ve never been concerned about such dates. The thing to remember is the person and the impact they’ve had on you. You remember their life and not their death.  That doesn’t mean I don’t remember Dad; not a day goes by when one of us will say something like “Grandpa could fix anything”.

Dad’s hobbies where simple: learn how to build anything that he needed to make or repair something else. He was an electrical engineer and that often meant he would write his own custom assembly language compilers for some EEPROM he needed to program. Or test different paints for cooking a 1930’s radio chassis in the oven to reproduce the right wrinkle effect. Did you know that you can bake some clear plastics to remove the cloudiness and make it more transparent and new?

I don’t have that level of expertise in my hobby but I knew that Dad understood why I like to get involved with WordPress. He would approve of my attending a WordCamp (I only started at WCNYC this year) because you can’t ever stop learning new things.

That’s a recurring theme in my family: learn new things and do those things you like to do. That’s a large part of what my family taught me and I hope I pass that onto my children. That’s what I’ll remember tomorrow and how I’ll observe the day.

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