November 30, 2004

Probe Update

Note, boring car stuff incoming.

I had the Probe towed home today, because it was safer than driving it home, and because my insurance will pay for up to $100 in towing charges (as many times as I want). I called five towing places in Ann Arbor, looking for the best price, and they all gave me the exact same figure, $40 hook up fee plus $3 per mile. So, $70 to tow it home.

The problem is definately the belt, or the lack of said belt. I took a look at it just a few moments ago, and well...it's gone. In the Probe, there are two belts that run the 'accessories', one that drives the air conditioning and the alternator, and another that powers the water pump and the power steering. Sometime in my drive today, the latter belt broke, and bad things started to happen.

I also checked the pulleys for the water pump and the power steering, to make sure they weren't frozen, and they're spinning freely, so I'm headed towards a solution. I just need a new belt. Putting this belt on shouldn't be too difficult. I might even be able to do it tomorrow night. Maybe.


Not a Happy Car

My car, my beautiful 1993 Ford Probe GT, is not happy. I drove it back in from lunch today, and the powersteering stopped functioning, and with that went the water pump, which means that there is either a broken belt, or a frozen pulley (which will likely lead to a broken belt). When the waterpump doesn't spin it's little blades, the coolant doesn't move around the engine, and it gets very very hot. When the engine gets very very hot, things start to melt, warp, and do other nasty (and very expensive to repair/replace) things.

I called my brother, as any good guy would do, and he gave me suggestions of things to look at in order to make sure I know what the problem is. From there, I can decide if it can make it home, of if it needs to be towed home. I'm fixing it myself, so it's not going to be towed to a garage, because it would cost so much money for a professional to fix it that I'd have to sell my body, and I'm not ready to do that for a car (even though it is a damn sexy car).

I then looked on Autozone.com, and the parts aren't very expensive. The belt is about $15 and the water pump is close to $50. Ah yes, the water pump, it's old, and I remember that the mechanic that checked the car out way back when it came out of storage told me that it was about to die. So...even if it's not dead yet, then it'll be dead soon, so I should replace it if I'm getting into it.

So, when to do this? I'm not really sure, but it'll have to be soon, as we need two cars. Once I'm done with this job the two-car need won't be as great, but we'll still need two cars.

Gotta be the car guy again, time to get dirty.

November 27, 2004

One Heck of a Birdbath

I'm not sure why it occured, but this was the scene in our backyard yesterday:



I've never seen so many birds, and there were more in our neighbor's yards, and in the trees beyond our yard. It was amazing. I was surprised though, that Kira (our cat) wasn't very interested. I think she was overwhelmed. She sat there staring at them for a moment, looked up at me and meowed (tentatively), and then walked away. Strange.

My break-before-the-dadness is going quite well. It's nice to have a long weekend right after you let your boss know that you'll be leaving your job soon. I'll go in on Monday refreshed, and ready to finish out the week. Once the week is over, it's 24-hour daddy time.

And in other news, Launchast is even better than it's ever been. You may recall that Launchcast is the internet radio service that I use (by Yahoo!), and I've been spreading the word about it because it's so freaking cool. Well, it appears that they just got the rights to play a large chunk of music that they couldn't before, so it's even better now. It never played any U2 before, and now it does, and this is a very good thing. Since yesterday, it's playing Weezer, Richard Buckner, U2, songs from Moulin Rouge, and many other wonderous things. I couldn't be happier.

In fact, it just started playing "Your Song" from Moulin Rouge right now. Launchcast is my hero.

November 25, 2004

To Whom it May Concern

As of Friday, December 3rd, 2004, I am resigning my position as Student Services Assistant for the Program in Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan .

I've enjoyed my time with the students, faculty, and staff of this program, and I thank you for the opportunities that I've had while working here.

Best,
Jeremiah Lee


Yes my good friends, the day has come. I turned in my letter of resignation yesterday, and my proposal to end quickly was taken well by my boss. One more week of full-time office monkey work, and I'm done. I'm ready to be a dad, and I believe that I'm more able to support my family as a stay at home dad (hereafter to be referred to as 'rebeldad'). My financial support wasn't really offering much as it was, and the costs associated with both Keleigh and I working full-time outside of the home were far greater than the benefits that my job brought us.

The original plan was to have a part-time evening/weekend job ready to go before I left this position, but we've found that the stress that the wait is putting on the family just isn't worth it. I'll still be applying for positions, but there isn't such a rush anymore. I'll likely find a job with Meijer, Fed-Ex, or some other short-term thing to offset some of the cash-flow loss, but we don't really need the money.

We took another look at our budget, and after cutting out the non-family child-care expenses, Keleigh makes more than what we spend. So, who needs a two-paycheck family? I don't want to work outside of the home anyway.

Now, this all being said, I will be looking for little ways to make some money while I'm at home (and Marion is napping). A friend is setting me up to do some webpage maintenance for a University program, and I'm hoping to find other things like that. If you happen to know of any such thing, send it on.

We start another season of life in a week, and I'm ready to close the door on my first 'career' path. I really never had any goals for my professional career, and I'm thinking now that it's because I'm supposed to be a rebeldad.

Let's get this started, hand me a diaper.

November 22, 2004

U-Con Gaming Convention

This past weekend was the marked the second year (out of two tries) that I've tried to play a game of Diplomacy at Ann Arbor's U-Con Gaming Convention, and failed. I guess I should have sent out some emails, and tried to get some people from the DipWorld YahooGroup, or maybe just sent out the word to some more of my Diplomacy playing friends. Alas, the game would have one player (me) and it's hard to play a game of negotiation by yourself.

Good things did come of the event though, and all was not lost. I had the chance to play History of the World again, and had a great time playing with Jeff, Jerry, and Joel (crazy J's, eh?). It's a game that I might like to add to my collection some day, although who know's who I'll play it with, or when I'll play it. It takes about one hour per player (and you play with 4-7 I believe), so it's no quick game of spam-checkers or any such thing. It's a good game though, not too involved, and I like how it shows the growth and decline of various civilizations.

I also joined a role-playing session based in the Star Wars galaxy. Each of the players (and there were a dozen of us) took up positions as Senators, Senator's Aides, and Jedi. Now I know almost nothing about the Star Wars enviornment, but I found the game to be quite fun. We were given a brief overview of the setting, and some goals for our character to work towards, and we went into negotiations.

Four hours later, there had been assassination attempts, back-room dealings, and many laughs. It appeared that everyone had a good time, and I was really glad to have been a part of it. I thank Ed for pointing me toward the game.

So, while I was away, playing these nifty games, my wife and duaghter went to Toledo, and spent some time being pampered. I spent my first night alone since Marion's birth, and it was very strange. While I slept quite well, it was hard to get to sleep without my baby by my side.

And on Sunday, when they came back, they both looked different. Keleigh had her hair cut (and looks very stylish), and Marion had grown. I swear to you, my daughter had changed the shape of her face in just over 24 hours. They really do grow fast.

November 18, 2004

Amend For Arnold

Now, seriously, there are some good limits. While I'm all for people that are not natural born citizens of our country being in our country, and being important parts of our country, I don't think I can get behind the idea of amending the Constitution in order to allow foreign born citizens to become President.

This goes beyond Arnold Schwarzenegger, and beyond the fine Governor of Michigan, Jenny Granholm, who was born in Canada. This is there in order to limit the influence that a foreign entity (country, party, power, whatever) has on our govenrment, and really, I gotta say that this is a good thing. I'm sure that Arnold, Jen, and many other people are (and can be) fine political figures, and they might even make fine Presidents, but there is a higher risk of danger to our country if foreign born citizens are allowed to reach the Presidency.

This is a bad idea. Let's not go for it, okay?

November 16, 2004

Things to Come

Seriously people, OpenAppleDumb will be a lot more exciting once I get into a part-time position. It won't be that I have a lot more time in order to get great posts together, it's just that I won't be posting about the same thing every few days.

The issue is, my brain is completely focused on getting into a better situation for Marion, Keleigh, and I. Right now we're don't have a complete schedule for who's taking care of Marion in the afternoons, and that's a lot of stress. We also are quite tired because Marion has started waking up a lot more each night. I think she's going through a developmental jump, and once this is over (and her brain slows down a bit) she'll go back to sleeping like she used to.

I just think everything would be so much better if I was working a 20 hour position during the evenings, nights, or weekends. That way, I'd be home to care for Marion all day, and that would make things a lot easier for all of us.

She's just too precious to put into some stinking (or even not-stinking) daycare, where they have a bunch of babies to tend to. No matter how good that daycare is, it can't compare to Daddy. She'll never get the care that she deserves anywhere else. I know that millions of people have their children in daycare...yes, that might work for them, but it's a short term solution at-most for me.

November 12, 2004

Weekend Approaching

There's nothing like listening to Metallica as you finish out a Friday at work. Less than an hour left, and I have the chance to rock out. Just me and some music here in the office (well, the boss is here too, but she's not technically in 'this' office).

What's the weekend have in store for your good pal Jeremiah? I'm not really sure. There will be groceries, there will be laundry, there will be all of the things that get done without having them on the calendar. We need to be aware of these things, and try not to let them slip into the cracks of our lives and memories. These things are what life is made up of, and all of these trips to the grocery store can be a part of 'the good life'.

Let's try to make boring life things into family events, let's go to the store and have a scavenger hunt, let's find out who can build the largest sock pile, who can clean the most poo-pieces out of the litterbox (well...).

November 11, 2004

On Being an Involved Father

I believe that I'm pretty important in my daughter's life. Certainly at this point, I'm a pretty big part of her world. Of course, right now her not yet six-month old world isn't expansive, but I'm pretty important in that small world. I intend to continue this trend, by working towards becoming a stay-at-home dad (or 'rebel dad' as some are calling it), and by just being around and involved in her life.

Fathers are important, and I don't think that this is fully recognized by our society. Father's should just have a token place in the family, just a seat at the dinner table (not that anyone eats at the table anymore...), or just a bankroller for the family's expenses. Children need fathering, and if they don't get it as much as they need it, they have a very difficult time when they grow up. It's tough to know how to deal with men (as a woman or a man), if you didn't have a good father to show you. It's tough to be a man if you didn't have a father show you how, and it's difficult to be a father if you've lacked a father.

And what (besides being a father) has me thinking about this? Verizon DSL.

Yes, Verizon has a couple of TV ads that I've been lucky enough to catch during one of the recent football games. One shows a daughter and mother trying to get their idiot dad/husband to not bother the daughter, and the other shows a father being rejected from the family's group-hug.

These ads are suggesting that fathers are second-class parents, and that's just not the case. Certainly there are some idiot fathers, and some fathers that don't get into the group-hugs, but to send the message to people that fathers aren't really part of the family, that's just not acceptable.

I wrote Verizon an email. You can too, Bill Kalu is the Marketing Director for Verizon DSL in Michigan.

November 10, 2004

Overwhelmed

Good People,

Your friend, a Mr. Jeremiah Lee, is feeling overwhelmed. He wishes to apologize for any incomprehensible remarks that appear (or have appeared) on OpenAppleDumb in the near future (or the recent history).

There is much to do at work, and much to do at home. Once we train the monkeys, all will be taken care of.

Thank you, and best wishes,
Mr. Jeremiah Lee

November 09, 2004

Work Ramblings

The work is piling up, and the bigger the pile, the less I desire to do it. Unfortunatly, it's my job, and I have to do the work. I should just break out a shovel and start digging a hole just to the right of my desk, and push all of the papers into the hole. Of course, the History department wouldn't be too pleased with a bunch of documents falling through the ceiling, but I suppose they could just dig their own hole.

My job just isn't exciting me right now. Really though, how many people have jobs that they actually find exciting? Probably not a large portion of the populace. The thing is, most jobs require that you do pretty boring tasks over and over again, and really, that doesn't excite most people. What we need to do is to breed a strain of monkies that could fill out 'Diploma Applications' and put bolts onto screws. That way, we'd be free to do what we really want to do, a job that's actually exciting...say...perhaps...monkey farming.

In other news, and this has been brought to my attention twice, it appears that our fine President, Mr. GWB has found the best way to find a seat in the Whitehouse, "Get out the Vote, even if there aren't enough people to vote." It appears that in 30 districts in Ohio, there were more votes cast than there were registered voters, for a total of over 97 thousand extra votes.

Now, some of this can be explained by unregistered voters coming to the polls and casting provisional ballots...maybe they didn't understand the whole 'registration' thing, but that can only account for some of this. Others could be people that voted in the wrong district, but 97 thousand people don't make mistakes like this.

Take Woodmer Villiage as an example. This district has 558 registered voters, yet 8854 ballots were cast. Strange eh?

Let's hope this is being looked into, as we know that the President of Diebold (one of the voting machine producers) is a Republican, and gave plenty of cash to the Republican party this year.

I've made up a quick spreadsheet of the places with extra votes, just so you can ponder the possibilities.

November 08, 2004

Go to the Bathroom

Seriously, I've had to go to the bathroom since before I left the house this morning (at about 7:40am), and I still haven't made my way to the porcelain palace. A man needs to take care of himself.

November 04, 2004

Frogs Make it All Right

The Naughty Frogs practiced last night, and again it felt really great to have a guitar slung across my body. We've only practiced three times now, but you can (well, I can) really hear the difference. While we're not where we want to be, we're on our way there, and it's a great feeling. It's hitting that part in the music where it says [HEAVY G C G C], that makes it all worthwhile.

The chords, the strings, the cables, the amps, they make the troubles fade away. It's so much more than music on a CD, so much stronger than a hot new MP3. I love music, and I love listening to music, but there's not a song in the world that makes me feel the same as the music that comes from the Naughty Frogs.

I hope that other people have something in their life that can make them feel the same way. When things are difficult, when you're tired and beat down from disappointment, you have that chance to make it all so much better. It's not just that the music allows me to escape from the troubles, although that's part of it. Creating music gives me the chance to clean my mind. It clears things up, energizes me, and gets me ready to face further difficulties. It makes me a better husband, a better father, and a better person.

November 03, 2004

A House Divided

I cried for our nation last night. At 12:51am, as I finally brought my weary self up to bed with my daughter in my arms, the balance of all of the election spending, the war in Iraq, and the will of our nation tipped from its precarious perch, and it fell wet across my face.

President Bush has convinced 51% of the good people of our nation that he is the best of the two realistic candidates for the office of President.

I believe that our nation has traded away the future of our people. What have they been given in return, what great gift is so worthy that we would damn our children: oil-based imperialism, test-driven education, and a tight grip by our majority religion.

We sold the farm because we believe that if we don't, the gay people will have sex on our bedroom floors while we're trying to read Ann Landers. The majority of the people of our nation believe that if we don't post the Ten Commandments in view of everyone, those strange and dangerous people that don't have our religion will most certainly bomb our buildings because without God, how can those strange and dangerous people know the difference between right and wrong.

I am one of those strange and dangerous people. I can assure you, I know right from wrong, and I didn't come to this understanding through the teachings of any god. I am, I assure you, a very caring person, a dedicated father, and an all-around good person. I don't need a religion, and I certainly don't need any single religion in my government, in order to tell me what's right.

What do we do know? President Abraham Lincoln said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." This nation is as divided as it has ever been, and while there is a single political party holding the majority of the Senate, the House, and in the Executive Office, we will see this division in our people for years to come.

I will not suggest that we (those of us that do not support Mr. Bush) give in and let the nation slide further on the dangerous path of popular religious rule. We must, I must, do what we can to keep our nation safe from itself. The founders of our nation wanted to ensure that a majority religion was not mistakenly taken as the national religion.

I don't know where to go from here, good people, but we must continue on. Voice your opinions, stay involved in local politics, steer your city away from discrimination and greed, and make example of acceptance and responsibility that creates the leaders of tomorrow.

November 01, 2004

This Will Be Our Year

The first song on the album Future Soundtrack For America is an optimistic tune from a band named OK Go. The album was put together by a colllection of artists that have hope for the future of our country, and fear that the Bush administration is leading us in a path that is not best for our people, and the future of our nation.

OK Go's This Will Be Our Year, is the theme song for tomorrow (or at least it should be) for millions of people. This will be our year, this will be the year that the 18-28 year old demographic will come to vote (yes, they aren't all going to come out, but more will come than in previous years). This will be the year that friends will round up friends, and they'll all go to the polling place, because we all know that this is important. Too important to let others make the decision without our input.

This will be our year.