August 29, 2007

My, aren't YOU a hardy soul!

Coming in here, with the full knowledge that I've quit posting anything.

Well, anything except stuff like this--

Office pictures, again! This was from last Friday after I'd finally gotten a bit of free time to finally get all my kid artwork installed. (It's dark outside due to a thunderstorm rumbling by at the time.)

Anyway, here's one:

all moved in.JPG

And the other:

all moved in 2.JPG

As for the new job, I like it, I think. It's still a bit hard to get a handle on some things like procedures and junk. I have my own recollections of how an architect's office is supposed to run, and some of those still work, but some don't. And there's this whole thing of being really busy one minute, and then getting gunshy about something else that has to be done immediately, and then it never comes around, so you relax a bit, and then BAM! something else hits the door. It'll take some getting used to, that's for sure.

As for the goings-on at Casa de Possum, pretty much the same as it's always been, although with the added hoopla of trying to get a new fence built. The kids have been bugging me forever to get one so we can get a doggy, and we've finally managed to be able to afford something, so I've been trying to get folks lined up to survey the property lines, mark the utilities, and give us a somewhat reasonable price, and I've also got to get the silly thing approved by our neighborhood association, which could be a pain in the kiester.

Anyway, now I've got to go do something again. Thanks for dropping by!

(By the way, the sandwich of the day is smoked Cajun sausage on home-made cathead biscuit.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:36 AM | Comments (9)

August 21, 2007

Well, let's see.

I had myself a meeting this morning, and I've somehow wound up tethered to a two-way radio, and I still haven't managed to make any further progress on putting up all my homey photos and pictures, nor with degreasing the office furnishings. I don't really care much for other people's skin-leavings, but especially not if they're of the enduringly sticky kind. I've got to remember to bring in some 409 tomorrow.

As for what I'm doing, some differences include no more Monday staff meetings, and the wearing of a tie is optional, and not at all encouraged. I like the first one, but twenty years of tie-wearing is a bit more of a hard habit to break. I don't particularly like wearing a tie, but one of my Rules of Polite Society is that people who wear ties get to do bad things normal people wouldn't be able to get away with. Like ending a sentence with a preposition, or using "like" instead of "such as." It's unfair, yes, but it does have its advantages. Anyway, I'm wearing the tie for a while until I decide what I can and can't get away with. Or with what I can get away.

ANYway, soup of the day is Cajun 15 bean soup with bits of smoked sausage and ham.

That is all.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:29 PM | Comments (12)

August 20, 2007

The NEW Secret Possum Lair!

I finally got to use the computer at home, so now you can be impressed with the new digs. Or not.

First up, these two show things in their unkempt, unput-up state. Ignore the date/time stamp on these two--the camera had an aneurism this morning after I put in new batteries.

Some of the junk is mine, but most of what you see out of the boxes is the stuff that had to be moved out.



Now then, after a few hours of cleaning, we see a much cleaner view. But first, a look out the fascinating windows! Here's the roof and the parking deck across the street. Please, keep your gasps of admiration to an appropriately quiet level.


And here's the view of the park you've seen before, except from one floor up, and closer to the center. first_day_4.JPG

Now, here's my tidy desk area...


...and my less than tidy drafting table, that was completely full of tidiness by the close of business today. I am content with the progress that has been made.


Next? Artwork and photos! YAY!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:43 PM | Comments (10)

How disappointing.

Taking valuable time away from getting MORE paper thrown away that belonged to the office's previous occupant, I did manage to get some photos today of my new digs. Problem? They came and took away my old computer I brought with me on Friday, and replaced it with the one that was here. And it's acting up and won't accept file uploads of any sort without locking up. SO, you'll just have to wait a bit longer for spy photos of the new secret possum lair.

Otherwise, things are hunky-dory.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:50 PM | Comments (0)


Maybe some pictures later, but don't say anything about it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:32 AM | Comments (4)

August 17, 2007


I was gone for exactly ONE FRIGGIN' HOUR, and I got back and they already had someone moving her stuff in my office! I SIGNED OUT TO LUNCH, YA FREAKS! Just because I've cleaned the office out does NOT MEAN I DON'T STILL HAVE JUNK TO GET DONE!

I mean besides this.

I actually still have work work to do.

Anyway, I was all set to come back and get that out of the way and do some other junk and do this final post, and the whole mood is just RUINED.

SO, I suppose I should finish up my work and get the heck out of here.

See you all after while.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:49 PM | Comments (9)

It echoes in here.

Well, all the books and files and drawings and toys and photos and everything else has been moved downstairs to the new office. The desk has only a fine layer of dust on it, and the walls are bare, and I've gotten the old crappy phone out of the file cabinet to hook up when I leave.

It's very weird in here. Every little noise echoes like a gunshot, and even though my stuff is just downstairs, I miss it. Especially that wall full of kid artwork. There is a great melancholy associated with that empty expanse of corkboard, almost as if the kids themselves have been taken away. I don't like that feeling, so I'll be glad when Monday comes and clutter up the new place with all sorts of cheerful fish and flowers and houses.

Now then, I'm gonna go take Miss Reba to lunch, and then come back and maybe even write one more post.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

A Blast From the Past!

Our old friend LittleA (not his real name), late of the less-that-regularly-updated blog A Little Aardvark Never Hurt Anyone, sent along a personal missive to me yesterday afternoon, but I thought all of you would like to see it and have a chance to give him a shout-out since it's been a while since he's unburrowed.

SO, without further delay:

I tried to post this in your comments And it kept getting rejected for "Questionable content". Well, duh. I did write it, after all...

I sense a disturbance in the farce and what do I find? A possum who's hanging up his spurs (ok, that visual is just a little too bizarre, even for me) and that I have enough lasting notoriety to be used as a bad pun (LittleA train? priceless!).

Congratulations on the new gig. May you find it fulfilling and fun, and not necessarily in that order.

Since you've been accused of pulling an ALANHA, I'll give you some free advice (worth every penny, guaranteed!) - don't overpromise what you'll be able to deliver here (not that I think you have). It took me a while to get over feeling guilty for not being able to keep up a regular pace (or any at all in the end). And most, nay, ALL of that guilt was self-induced. [/end sermon]

I've been all up and down these inter-tubes and I can say with conviction that Possomblog has managed to gather the nuttiest, kindest, warped(est), funniest group of regulars that have ever been seen. (but never in the same place at the same time...hmmmm...very suspicious) And it all starts with the Big Daddy Possum being such a nutty, kind, warped, funny guy.

Sir, I salute you!

Thanks for playing Possum.

The job is going very well. I'm working on course 3 (of 8) on my certification - only 18 more months to go. ::sigh:: The EAC has been sick all week, but hopefully today's third trip to the doctor will get her back on the right track. She moves back in to the dorm on Saturday - only 21 more months to go. The YAC is doing well - she still hasn't learned to drive, which suits me just fine. Mrs. A's mom had hip replacement surgery on Monday, so between the EAC's illness and that she's been pretty wrapped up. She (Mrs. A) will have foot surgery again in October, hopefully this time will fix what's wrong and she'll get some relief from the constant pain (no, not ME, silly).

About the only other thing of interest is that when the YAC stopped taking piano lessons, I started. I'm going for my 7th lesson right after work - same teacher that taught the kids. Poor woman - I don't think she knew what she was agreeing to.

Anyway, that's the news from Aardvarkia.

LittleA gets a little extra in his pay packet this week for the flattery, understanding as he does that I live for constant positive reinforcement.

BE THAT AS IT MAY, it is awfully nice to hear from him and to hear how it goes with all the rest of the Aardvark family. Good folks.

NOW, I have some moving to do.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:17 AM | Comments (1)

August 16, 2007



See, I do still exist! Sorta.

Anyway, I didn't exist yesterday because I was at home all day with a recovering sick child, and I haven't existed so far today because I had to catch up with an early morning meeting and then a host of other crap that seems to happen when I'm not in the office.

But, I'm here now, and it's just about lunchtime, SO, to catch up, on Tuesday previous, Catherine got up complaining of a headache, and being the cruel, heartless ogre I am, I dosed her up with a couple of Children's Chewable Tylenol, which had the analgesic capacity of a marshmallow. She's a big kid, and could tolerate some serious dope in her system, but I figured she didn't need it.

Turns out, she did.

She went on to school, then to the office around lunchtime with a severe headache, they tried to call Mommy (who was in Tuscaloosa for the morning, unbeknownst to anyone), then Cat went back to class, got worse, went outside and threw up on the ramp to her classroom, went back to the office crying, they tried to call Mommy again (who was still in Tuscaloosa for the morning, unbeknownst to anyone), then finally decided to call me.

Me, a cruel, heartless ogre who was by then in a meeting and couldn't leave, who called Grandma to go get the sick child, and who I still didn't think could possibly be all that sick.

Went on with the rest of the day, got off from work, stopped at Head Start on the way home to get my John Edwards-quality coif adjusted, went home to meet up with Mommy, who had finally gotten back to work from Tuscaloosa sometime after lunch to find a host of phone messages about a sick child, and then called her husband who said everything had been taken care of and Grandmom had her and not to worry.

Walked in, and Catherine was crying the big round hot tears that signal something is actually wrong. Turns out after she got to Grandmom's she threw up several more times, had been feverish with chills, had an ultra severe headache (which for some reason did not prompt Grandmom to give her anything other than crackers and Sprite and a CHICKEN SANDWICH), and the kicker, it hurt when she moved her neck.

Which can be Not Good.

Called the doctor's office, got the after-hours service, described the symptoms, waited for them to call back. Dosed her up with a big cup of liquid Motrin and waited. Got a call back from the nurse, described the symptoms, asked Cat to move her head, cry. "Can she hold her head down?"

"IT HURRRRRRTS! ::sob::"

Hmm. The nurse said to bring her in right now, and NOT to the after-hours clinic over off of Alton Road, but the actual Children's Hospital emergency room. Because she might have a case of meningitis.

Nothing quite like that bracing bit of reality to turn your blood to icy goo, y'know? Mainly because you can't freak out and start running around the kitchen flailing your arms and screaming, because that sets a very bad example. You have to be calm and jocular and in charge of your bladder.

SO, off we went to the ER. I left Reba at home with the other three kids, because I'm evil and stupid, but also knew they needed to do their homework, and eat supper, and get in the bed, and we didn't need to waste time getting them packed up and taken to Grandmom's house, where they would only eat, and not do their homework, or bathe, or get ready for school the next day.

Logic is quite the two-edged sword, huh. Because every time I called to let Reba know what was going on, I got the exact same disaffected, flat, atonal, monosyllabic answers to every question, which is wifespeak for "I can't BELIEVE you couldn't wait long enough for ME to go with you because it's MY BABY who's sick and you left me HERE." Of course, since I was already full of that dank wet fear that parents get when they have a child who might have just contracted something dire and deadly, I wasn't really in the mood to press her to get her to actually come out and SAY that's why she seemed angry.

The fact is, if she was really sick, we had no time to spare, and one of us needed to get her to the hospital, right then. Deal with the matrimonial drama later. Which is the way of cruel, heartless ogres, you know.

Anyway, loaded sick crying achy-headed child in the van, made the mad dash to Children's, cursing the current "Take Back our Highways" campaign the State Troopers are running right now that caused me to have to drive exactly the speed limit lest I get detained and waste time explaining myself to a sunglasses-wearing man in a Smokey the Bear hat.

Uh-oh. She's asleep. "CAT? Are you okay!?"

""Mmhm. I'm okay, Daddy," she said, not opening her eyes. Which meant she was either okay, or delirious.

Pulled into the drive at the hospital, opened the door, left the key with the valet, and walked her inside. She seemed to be doing much better. Tired, and bleary-eyed, but not really complaining.

First stop, security. Empty pockets of everything, still made the alarm go off, and as is the case with these things, the guy let me come on through. Talked to the triage nurse at the end of the desk who looked like Robin Williams dipped in a vat of hair growth serum.

Look, I know it's wrong of me, but I prefer nurses who are round and soft and squishy and smell pretty and don't look like they've been covered with epoxy and rolled around on the floor of a barbershop. And yes, even if it's a guy.

ANYWAY, told him our tale of woe, told him with as much anxiousness as I dared exhibit that our doctor was supposed to have called ahead because they thought it might be meningitis, all of which he dutifully took down with the same level of concern as the parking valet.

"Here. Fill this out, and bring it back to me."

Went and sat down, quickly filled it out and marked the Number 4 Face of Pain on the sheet to let him know she hurt lots, and gave it back to him.

And waited.

For two hours. In this time, Catherine perked up, her fever let up, she watched TV and talked to me about everything under the sun, and said she was hungry. Methinks she's better.

9:00 p.m. I called to let Reba know we still hadn't been seen and hadn't even gotten registered yet (where they take your insurance info and give you an armband) and got the first flash of anger when she misunderstood what I meant by "registered." Yes, I came in and filled out the triage form; no, we still haven't gone into the little booth to give them our insurance card. Yes, she's better now, and ate a bag of chips and had a Diet Mountain Dew, but I don't have any idea how much longer it will be.

All of these were answered with variations of "M-hm." Time to hang up.

Waited some more.

Decided I felt somewhat naked since I was the only adult in the area without a tattoo. Patients came and went, even the big batch who came in after us. All I have to say is that I'm glad she didn't have anything severe, or she'd be dead by now.

Around 10 we finally got called to the triage desk, where they weighed her, took her temperature and blood pressure, gave her a wristband, and sent us back to sit down.


Finally got called to the registration booth. Gave cards, filled out forms, went back out and sat down to wait.

The room was nearly empty by now. 10:45 we finally got past the door into the actual emergency department to be seen by a doctor. By this time, Catherine was back to her normal chirpy, chattery, indefatigable self, so she was quite excited by all the activity. They gave us a room and a blanket and a gown, she changed, and we set in to watch Dirty Jobs on Discovery Channel.

Doctor came in, saw a happy, healthy little girl, got a low down on the symptoms, noted that her neck and head seemed as mobile as an owl's, and we finally got the explanation of the hurtiness. Seems that she had no actual trouble earlier moving her head, it's just that when she did it, it made her head hurt worse. No meningitis. In fact, nothing left to find. They took a throat swab to check for strep, but he said he was almost certain it wasn't that, and could only guess that she'd gotten a virus of some sort that has since unvirused itself.

BUT, best to wait for the strep test before we left.

Called home around 11 to let everyone know she was okay, got a slightly less confrontational version of "Mm-hm," and then waited some more.



Catherine got comfortable and dozed off a couple of times.


Ask how much longer the strep test will take to read.

"Several more minutes."


We finally left at fifteen after midnight.

I had originally planned to stop for some food, but I was tireder than I was hungry, and so was she, so we went straight home, gave her another dose of Motrin to keep her from waking up with a headache during the night, and hit the pillow at nearly 1:00 a.m.

UP EARLY WEDNESDAY, got the kids up and dressed, took the middle two to school, came back home and sent Reba on to work, and set in to watch Youngest for the day.

Breakfast, email work to let them know I would be off, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, and collapsed on the bed again for an hour or two nap. Catherine plopped herself down on the bed and interrupted my beauty sleep several times to ask how to spell various words, and after she was done, I awoke to see that she'd made Reba and me an anniversary card. Today is our anniversary, you know.

I usually send flowers, but being at home put a crimp in being able to go to the florist over where I work, so I hatched the idea that we'd get Mommy some flowers and take them to her at work, along with Catherine's card. UP, get us dressed, went to the grocery store and picked up a vase of a dozen roses, a card from me, and a couple of sandwiches for us for lunch (which I was looking forward to, seeing as how I hadn't eaten since breakfast on Tuesday).

Stopped and got gas, and got a phone call. A very perturbed-sounding woman on the other end demanded to know where I was and what I was doing. I told her we were about to come see her at work. This seemed to finally undo whatever miffedness she'd had built up. We set out and got to her work and surprised her with the flowers and the card, and whatever had been bugging her finally seemed to have lifted. She showed Catherine around and introduced us to folks, who thought it quite charming that her husband would think enough of her to bring her flowers and a cute little girl.

Back home, answered work emails (explaining that I was OFF FROM WORK), got stuff ready for supper, tried to take another nap and failed, started supper, went and picked up middle two kids from Grandma's, finished cooking supper when we got home, ate, then sent Rebecca outside to play with Lightning, had to corral Lightning after he went down inside the storm drain in our neighbor's backyard which involved having to pull the iron lid off the thing, got back inside and found out Reba was going to have to work late, went to church, came home, made sure everyone had their homework done, answered ANOTHER work email around 9:30, and climbed into bed.

THIS MORNING, got up, showered, got the kids up, dressed, hopped onto bed and quietly sang "Happy Anniversary To You (and Me)" to Miss Reba to wake her up, got the kids their breakfast, got them loaded into the mighty Volvo, took them to school, got to work, turned around and drove over to the Birmingham News building for a meeting, stood outside in the early morning nasty wet heat for an hour, came back to work and attempted to swat away clouds of giant angry hornets, had another meeting on my going away stuff, and then decided to post this to let you all know that I am sorta on the sleepy side today.

Now I think I'll eat a bit and pack some things.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:05 PM | Comments (9)

August 14, 2007


Nothing like spending three hours explaining to someone various basic word-processing tasks such as cutting and pasting and indenting and printing!

"Okay, click out of that and open..."

"WAIT--[writing on steno pad] 'Close box by clicking on X' --Am I supposed to save that first?"


"Okay. [writing on steno pad] ' not have to save first.'"

Look, I admit to being a technological igmo, but dagnabbit, at some point in there you've got to be able to have some sort of basic functioning knowledge of such things as this just to be able to move around in a modern society.

Especially if you're one of those people who like to run around and get into meetings and act like you know all about computers.

And then I remembered that the very nature of most bureaucracies is akin to the odd society where there is little reward for being clever, and the occasional incentive for being willfully ignorant.

So, I was happy again and came to eat my lunch! Homemade ham salad on a pita! Yumcious!

After lunch?

More instruction on the Rudiments of the Magic Talking Box.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:30 PM | Comments (3)

August 13, 2007

Turns out...

...the grapevine was right.

This is the last week. Next Monday, I'll be down one floor, over three offices, and a world away.

Went down just now to scope out the new digs. The office is smaller, but not in a bad way. What I have right now is a lot of wasted floor space that makes everyone jealous, but the new place has the stuff I need--a desk, a computer, file space, and a nice drafting table. And it's on a corner, so I still get a view of the park AND a view toward the parking deck.

SO, this week, gotta get my boss squared away on how to use a computer and where all the magic paper is kept and stuff like that, and I really suppose I need to start boxing things up.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:37 PM | Comments (5)

Oh, sure.

Karl Rove to resign at end of August

That's what he wants you to think. Thankfully, he'll be around a lot longer, if this story is accurate.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

A confession.

I figure I might as well go ahead and say this since we're winding down and about to go into some sort of limbo for a while (or longer). I realize this has been a rather closely held secret of mine, but as I said, I think I owe it to you, my loyal readership, to move aside the curtain and reveal...

...I really like women. A lot.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:35 AM | Comments (6)

Thank goodness for the morning.

It's nice to get a little relief. I got up this morning and looked at my handy bedside clock/weather station and it was only 138 degrees outside.

GOOD MORNING! Yep, still here for a few more days. Or not. Nothing like surfing along on the waves of indefiniteness. As for the weekend, it was on the warmish side, I didn't get a haircut, I did do grocery shopping, and I think I have finally managed to trick one of the children into thinking vacuuming is fun! This could be life-changing. I have long told you how I hate using the vacuum cleaner, extending back to the time I was a child. But this weekend I was upstairs and sweating away and Catherine happened by and I asked if she'd like to play.


She wound up doing her entire room, including using the brush attachment on the picture frames, the hallway, the stairs, and most of our room.

Best part?

Rebecca was jealous she got to use the vacuum, and wanted to know if she could do all the vacuuming next weekend.

Oh, gee, I don't know YES YOU CAN!

I have no idea how this came about, but I'll not question why.

Not much else happened. It has been a quiet, more or less relaxing weekend, and I'll take every one of those I can get.

Now then, on to staff meeting.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:27 AM | Comments (2)

August 10, 2007

And another week goes rumbling down the trash chute.

Not sure what the weekend holds this time. Rebecca won't be doing the PetSmart thing since they're having it on Sunday this week (or, technically on the first day of next week), and I really don't want to disturb the lawn with any sort of mechanized agitation, seeing as how it's somehow green and not crunchy, yet not overly long. That really is unheard of, at least on my little shovelful of dirt, when the lawn's usually displaying some grassy version of feast or famine--either jungle thick, or doormat dry.

Maybe I'll get myself a haircut, instead. But not with the lawn mower.

As for other items, the kids seem to have done quite well with the first day of school yesterday, with all of them professing an undying love for all things educational. I am hoping--because I have a naive Charlie Brown-like innocence
--that Oldest will also use this final year of high school to figure out that not everyone hates her and wishes her harm, and that she'll have a good, productive year with no irrational outbursts. Of course, the school year is only two days old now. And Lucy is holding the football for me to kick.

Maybe this year...

ANYway, still haven't heard anything official on the job change that is supposedly coming in only a week now, but I assume someone's taking care of all the arrangements right now, even as we speak. Or as I type and you read.

Looks like it's gonna be a great year for kicking those footballs!

SO, all of you have a great weekend, and we'll play for a little while longer next week.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:12 PM | Comments (0)


It's just one of those pop-up thunderstorms so I doubt there'll be a whole lot of water with it. At least not a lot spread out over time. Maybe it'll drop several tons of big gobby fat drops in about five minutes, which will then dissipate in a big cloud of steam.

Whatever--I'm sure glad to get it, no matter how it falls.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:58 PM | Comments (0)


From our good friend and money-making-idea-man Marc Velazquez:

Hmmm, Britneyland...

If you have some free time tomorrow, maybe you could start a post and the gang could contribute ideas for opening the Axis of Weevil's Britneyland on the Redneck Riviera. It would be a great outlet for the Cornaguin/Cornatee inventory.

You could also have a "Possum Lair" section for kiddie rides. I'll stop for now and suggest a ride for the main park: Crash Cars while holding a baby on your lap (and driving with one hand as you're using your other hand to grasp a cold drink). Cigarette clenched in your lips is optional, though the park should be non-smokefree.

Was it Stan or Nate [It was Stan. Ed.] who could work on the lyrics for the "Look Away Britneyland" theme song for the park?

Folks, I don't know how this could miss!

The Mississippi, Alabama, and Northwest Florida Gulf Coast might have a lot of other entertainment-type things going for it, but I know this sort of venture would be a sure-fire hit! Further suggestions gladly accepted in the comments, as well as congratulations to Marc for being so forward-thinking and pop-culture savvy!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:03 PM | Comments (12)

Speaking of Global Warming.

Just saw this highly alarming article--Arctic sea ice 'lowest in recorded history': scientists

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Sea ice in the northern hemisphere has plunged to the lowest levels ever measured, US polar specialists said, adding they expect the record low to be "annihilated" by summer's end.

In data posted on the Internet Thursday, William Chapman and colleagues at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana said that sea ice in the Arctic region had plunged to new lows some 30 days before the normal point of the annual lows.

"Today, the Northern Hemisphere sea ice area broke the record for the lowest recorded ice area in recorded history," Chapman, a researcher on Arctic meteorology of the university's Department of Atmospheric Sciences, wrote Thursday in the online publication 'The Cryosphere Today.' [...]

In all of recorded history!?


I found their data, and by golly, they're RIGHT! Of course, it tends to be less than satisfying when you realize recorded history extends only to 1979.

Gosh--not quite sure why this part of the data isn't mentioned in any of the articles, nor why there's no link to the actual study.

Anyway, it sure would be nice to know something from a few years earlier than 1979, though. Just for kicks, you know.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:41 AM | Comments (9)

Thing I will miss.

Miss Sarah and her ability to make me look so very pretty.

Warning: Depending on where you work, the following could be highly inappropriate...


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:12 AM | Comments (2)

And speaking of anniversaries...

Happy Wedding and Blogging Anniversaries to Jimbo Smith!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)


I mentioned the other day I'd gotten my desk cleaned off, then yesterday noted the occasion of having finished cleaning out the corner behind my chair and the window sill.

Before, a nasty burrow fit for a pack rat:

filthy burrow.JPG

After, much less fuel load:

clean burrow.JPG

Still lots of things left, but it's stuff to be packed, not discarded. The search and destroy mission did lead to one discovery, one too (unintentionally) hilarious not to share. I think I had intended to post this when it was first in the newspaper, but it got covered up and I forgot about it.

Until now.

bride and groom.JPG

So many comments come to mind...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:49 AM | Comments (15)

Thing I will not miss.

Militantly, stridently, ignorant coworker. My boss was having a conversation with me about a continuing ed seminar he went to yesterday on "green" building, and apparently half of it was devoted to a presentation about global warming.

As I've said ad nauseum, I am unconvinced that anthropogenic forces are the sole cause of any observed rise in global temperatures, or if they are even a significant influence. Yes, we obviously can have some effect on climate, and probably do to some extent, but that link is much less strong than I believe many proponents would have us believe, and there are many other natural factors that contribute to the global climate and any changes it undergoes.

Second, the Earth has always experienced great shifts in climate, even absent industrialized societies. This doesn't mean (again, obviously) that we don't, or can't, have an effect, but that it's worth remembering that extrapolating from a tiny set of data to explain something that operates on a geological timescale is not good science.

Having said that, as my boss continued, he noted the presenter's program included that thing about the drowning polar bears. And my militantly strident coworker had to chime in.

All the ice has melted, and they're all drowning!

Yes, that's a broad brush, but some people are unwilling to even brook any evidence to the contrary, or even to discuss if this could possibly be an anomolous condition. But those are Stridently Militant Coworker's exact sentiments. All melted, all drowned. ALL! And any that lived were probably hunted down by Halliburton and served raw to Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. Because that's just the way they are.

Yes, I'm sure some bears have drowned while searching for food. How many? I don't know. How many over the past forty years? I imagine that data is even harder to find--not that it's not there--but it doesn't seem to get published when we talk about all the poor cute bears a'dying. What I want to know is if there's been a statistically significant increase. I am willing to wager not. But that doesn't make compelling storytelling the way a pitiful bear on a chunk of ice does.

After that topic was shouted down, my boss talked about how building technology is going to have to adapt to a more sustainable model that incorporates all the neat things we can do in managing such things as water run-off, heat gain, energy consumption, etc.

Well, that's NOT gonna happen! No one is about to do anything any differently!

You know, I've gotten pretty sick and damned tired over the years of self-identified "progressive" people who do not hesitate to tell me how enlightened and intelligent and nuanced and rational they are, who turn right around and exhibit the sort of narrow-minded, stereotypical, petty, childish, ignorant, uninventive, and cynical mindset they constantly pin on others.

Yes, we will get better, because it makes sense. The free market works, and if there is a way to raise profit levels or household income through the introduction of improved building technologies, it will be done. Although there are always going to be individual businesses or players who will act irrationally or ignorantly, if there is free-flowing information and a lack of disincentives to progress, progress will occur, and the presence of some people who "don't get it" doesn't mean everyone is stupid. One big problem has been that mushy-headed government-as-savior sorts believe we must bail out the stupid people.

If there's any one reason for lack of substantial progress on any issue, you can usually rest assured it's because there is a government agent standing there trying to make things better by rewarding incompetence in the name of charity.

Let the market work, and it will.

Yes, as a society we do tend to be more wasteful, because there are few incentives to not be, and yes, it usually costs nothing (and in some cases, is financially beneficial) to be more frugal with natural resources. It does, however (at least on an industrial scale), require proof other than simply believing it so.

Yes, we do pump out a lot of pollution and garbage--more than any other country per capita. What seems to always go unsaid is that our economy is almost inconceivably large. We produce more things for more people than our own population, and yes that means we also produce more waste. Although our good progressives never want to miss an opportunity for the US to take more than its share of blame, the fact remains that China and India pump out far greater percentages of waste and pollution per unit produced than anyone else, the United States included, and they are much less able to effectively deal with the waste they produce. Which is why they have no interest in Kyoto except as a strategic way of hobbling US productivity.

Back to Militantly Strident Coworker. Lighten up, Francis. That world-weary cynicsm act reads as hopelessly fatuous when you live in the most wealthy, prosperous, powerful nation in the history of the world, of which you are just as much a beneficiary of that largesse as any other citizen.

Onward, as the "conversation" evolved from problems to "solutions," the name of The Lord High Al Gore was invoked, along with his fantabulously well-researched Book of Wisdom.

It's great--he has all these simple charts in the back, and he says if every house would change just one lightbulb to a fluorescent, we'd save just hundreds of billions of ozone.

Yes, that is almost an exact quote. Remember--smart, progressive.

Glenn Reynolds says it all the time--I'll believe there's a crisis when the people who keep saying there's a crisis act like there's a crisis.

If Al Gore lived like the rest of us have to, we'd save hundreds of billions of ozone, too. Whatever that means. But let me tell you, this thing where we let the environmental priestly caste lead us around preaching pious asceticsm for us while they loll around building bonfires to combat air pollution is going to have to stop.

Hypocrites give religion a bad name, no matter the type of religion it is. The bad thing is, such hypocrisy hides the fact that some of the basic ideas DO make sense, and SHOULD be encouraged. I intend to replace incandescents whenever I can, not because of Al or my Militantly Strident Coworker (who only has one bulb, in her foyer, and she doesn't like it, because it doesn't put out enough light), but because they last longer, use less energy to provide a given level of light, and less energy to dispense with waste heat. They don't work for everything, but for the things they DO work at, there's no reason not to change them out.

Then on to the next favored hobby-horse of Militantly Stridently Militant Coworker, evil SUVs. It might come as a surprise to you that all Republicans drive them. All. Every single brown-person-hating, baby-seal-killing, vote-stealing, one of them. ALL!

Love that nuance, and that precious unwillingness to deal in stereotypes that unfairly denigrate another person or group.

ANYway, it seems that all these perfect little Republican Trophy-Breeders are loading their perfect little Future Haters Club Members (i.e., spawn of Satan) in their SUVs and go spewing pollution everywhere to the point she can't even go outside to have a smoke break! Yes, seems that she suffers from some respiratory ailment, and one obviously caused not by her thirty year pack-a-day habit, but those filthy ozone killing Rethugs.

People can get away from my second-hand smoke, but that crap out there NO ONE can get away from!

Denial, river, Egypt, etc.

Anyway, seems we have a whole system to tell people when it's unsafe to go outside, and this bothers her, and the ambient air is obviously killing her lungs the way no cigarette ever could.

Makes no difference that Birmingham's air quality is infinitely better than when the steel mills were operating 24 hours a day. I remember--I live here and have all my life. Yes, we do have a ground-level ozone problem, but I dare say it's no worse now than it was before, it's just that we now know it's a problem, and that it needs to be monitored, and we don't need to do anything to produce more of it. (Of course, one reason is that we have more sunlight, because there's less particulate matter in the air from the now-shuttered mills, and more sunlight helps makes more ozone, but whatever.)

Also, it makes no difference that pollution from stationary sources is the predominant source of air pollution in this area, and not mobile sources. Or that an SUV-load of people puts out less pollution per person per mile than a single militant coworker in a Toyota Avalon. Or that a city with a higher proportion of lower income people tend to drive older, less efficient and more polluting vehicles (even if they aren't SUVs). Or that there are plenty of housing opportunities much closer to our workplace that would require much less fuel (and less pollution) to get here than her house in the suburban sprawl of northern Shelby County. Why, it's just the principal of the thing! ALL THOSE REPUBLICAN SUVs ARE KILLING HER LUNGS!

Anyway, I get tired of this garbage, and I'll not miss it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:09 AM | Comments (6)

August 09, 2007

The final corner is clean.

Okay, not really clean-clean, just all the extraneous rolls of drawings thrown out. There's still plenty of books around and kid doodles on the wall and all that, but it's looking much less lived-in around here. Pictures tomorrow.

Maybe even some of the office!


A frequent reader who doesn't like the amount of automotive content on Possumblog (and who shall go unnamed) asks via e-mail:

[...] The problem is the headlight lens. Each are so dirty/foggy/ocluded [sp] that little light gets out. Do you know any thing to clean them or do I just buy new ones?

NEW!? Perish the thought!

Terry's Car Care Tip of the Day?

There are several different companies that make plastic polish that works very well, or you could do what I've done and use some toothpaste. Really. It works pretty well and it's cheap, and leaves your headlights feeling minty fresh. If the lenses have gone yellow, there's not much to do except change them out. If you think it could just be dirt on the lenses, you could try some sudsy ammonia before you use the toothpaste. If it's just grime, that usually gets them clean when nothing else will, and if they're still dingy and yellow, it would give you a clue that you actually do need to replace them instead of bothering with polish.

Our reader asked about the particular type of toothpaste to use, particularly if the ones with baking soda would be appropriate.

I think baking soda toothpaste would work, but I prefer something with a bit less grit to it, regular cheap Crest or Colgate works fine.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:32 PM | Comments (6)

Weather Update

As of 1:30 p.m.:

Temperature-- 193°F
Humidity-- 36%
Winds-- W12
Visibility-- Sorta melty-looking

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:34 PM | Comments (0)

As easy as...

...stealing candy, chips, and cigars (WT!?) from a BP station!

(Another tip of the hat to Steevil, who should take up blogging himself so we don't miss out on stories like this. Or like this. Or this. Also, I would just like to say that I'm glad all those Olde English royal colonial types had regular names like "Mary," because it would be sorta crappy to have to live in a placed called Britneyland or N'keeshialand. "Maryland" has a nice ring to it.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:23 PM | Comments (13)

Well, they obviously aren't Cornatees.

Via NASA rocketologist and noted boat skipper Steevil, this opinion from a sailboater about proper sailing foodstuffs.

Personally, I think the guy was being sorta unkind to Inscrutables in their role as seagoing food. He goes on and on about preferring such things as "energy bars" (whatever THOSE are), but let's face it--if he were a REAL sailor, he'd go at it the right way with pickled beef, ship's biscuit, and grog. It certainly would go a long way toward helping better define what "vile" really means.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:45 AM | Comments (4)


In August?

Well, sure!

Best wishes to the birthd'y boy.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

Oh, and by the way... know it's hot when the Nigerian guy in the office is complaining about it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:40 AM | Comments (2)


...was walking out yesterday evening when my future co-worker haled me down. "Have you heard anything?" I asked him, seeing as how our little operation works like a mushroom farm. "They're saying it'll be a week from Monday."

Still haven't actually heard from anyone in charge, but the grapevine is usually pretty accurate. So looks like I've got a week to go.

On the bright side, first day of school today, and I managed to get the younger three all dropped off at their respective schools and had time to stop by Publix for some stamps and soft drinks, stop by the post office to mail the letters I'd bought stamps for (yes, I know I could have gotten them at the post office, but the post office doesn't sell sodas, so why waste time?), went and paid the power bill, stopped by the restroom, and got settled in behind the desk at only a few minutes past 8. I credit there being no traffic to speak of this morning.

ANYway, I have minutes to type and a final corner of the office to clean out.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:31 AM | Comments (10)


"The Von Trapp Family Singing 'So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Good Night'" Version of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three!

Except without the Nazis. Or singing. Or nuns. Okay, it's not at all like anything in the movie. SO SUE ME!! (Not really.)

Anyway, as you all know, The Axis of Weevil Thursday Three has been one of the more popular recurring features of Possumblog over the years, dating back to April 8, 2004. It has been on summer hiatus to allow it to be properly aired-out and disinfected, but when we sent it out, we had no idea that we'd be making our big exit before resuming production for the Exciting New Fall Season.

SO, in the spirit of the times, and to cap off the most drawn-out, insufferably melodramatic blogdeath sequences ever recorded, we herewith assault you one last time with The Completely Self-Centered Good-bye Edition of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three! Since the original idea was posited by none other than Jim Smith, PhD, he has graciously written out the final question set for us.

As has always been both rule and custom, anyone may play along by either leaving a comment below, or by leaving a link to the answers on your own blog. Answer us now these things:

1. What was your favorite Possumblog post over the years? (With archive link, please, if you can find it.)

2. What will you miss most about Possumblog?

3. Do you have any final words? (And it better not be "Rosebud"!)

And, the exciting bonus question!

4. What will you not miss at all about Possumblog?

So, there you go.

As for my answers...

1. I don't have one that's my favorite, but several do stand out in my mind. One is not even a blog post. It's what got me interested in writing in the first place, though, at least as a method of catharsis. It was my set of recollections of September 11, 2001, and the months following.

On Possumblog proper, I still take time every year to update and post a little Valentine's Day paean to Miss Reba, whom I love more than life.

On a post related to September 11, this one was about getting to hear one of the engineers who designed the World Trade Center discuss their construction and destruction.

For you lovers of Southern culture, this one is pretty funny.

And for some reason, this one still strikes me as humorous.

2. Oh, that's easy. Everyone I've met, whether in real life or over the wire. I cannot thank you all enough for dropping by and chatting.

3. Love God, and love each other. Really.

And for the bonus:

4. Cleaning up after Chet the E-Mail Boy. That, and trying to remember not to start every single sentence with either "Well," or "ANYway."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 06:05 AM | Comments (17)

August 08, 2007

Midday Mundane Maunderings!

Long stupid meeting this morning, and to make matters worse, after it was over I zipped over to McDonald's and they were out of breakfast burritos! My little biweekly ritual RUINED!

Anyway, flurry of paperwork upon my return, and in just a minute or so, I have to head back home so I can take Jonathan to the middle school so he can get his final schedule and see where his classes are going to be. School starts tomorrow, you know. And yes, this mad jaunt across town is just all SORTS of convenient for me. And to make it even more frustrating, he can't go ahead and take his pile of stuff, because they aren't assigning lockers until tomorrow, which, if you've been paying attention, is the first day of class. Why they couldn't do it during registration, I have no idea.

Anyway, run to do that, then run back here to do more work, and try to get some more clean-up done. And no, I still haven't heard any more than I did last week. I'll be moving, sometime, when they get the paperwork done, sometime. So the long slow goodbye continues.

BUT! At least it gives us an opportunity for one final Thursday Three tomorrow morning! SO, all of you get your reminiscing caps on, because our good Dr. Smith has already given me the questions, and they are all about your favorite marsupial-themed Alabama-based weblog, that also has a gray on gray on white color scheme and is composed in Garamond typeface and written by a real live moron!

So get ready and all that.

Anyway, now then, off to glamorous Truss Vegas, and I'll see you all on the morrow.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:47 PM | Comments (8)

August 07, 2007

And the afternoon?

Well, much of today was spent digging through the desktop accretion. Base strata had a date of 2001. That's a long time for something to sit on your desk, no? Yes.

But no more. Yet another great big recycle barrel full of combustibles, and I'm now down to the pristine layer of woodgrain plastic laminate that hasn't been seen in years, except for the tiny patches under my keyboard and telephone. And as Skillzy predicted, some nice stuff under there--old pictures of the kids (or rather, pictures of the kids when they were younger), more neat old drawings from back when I did neat old drawings (which were new at the time), a postcard from Prague from a very sweet girl with whom I had worked at The Bad Place, various thank-you notes, some newsletter-style conference reports.

Boy, I've been here a long time.

Tomorrow, I've got one of those fun early-morning biweekly meetings to attend, and hopefully it will be the last, and this will be the last set of minutes I have to type. Then again, this is a bureaucracy, so it could be several more weeks before everyone wakes up and the process lurches forward again. In the mean time, I still have cleaning to do. I think tomorrow will also be at least partially spent on the window sill matter and the rolled drawing file next to my desk. Time for another paper barrel!

ANYway, posting tomorrow will be slapdash and spotty at best. Or worst. I guess it depends on your point of view.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:29 PM | Comments (0)

As I was saying...

...Saturday got up way too early and got Rebecca over to PetSmart and then began the morning's hunting and gathering for school supplies. Had to do it this past weekend to take advantage of the sales tax holiday, which is good, because I wound up saving around fifty bucks or so. First stop, Sam's, to stock up on staple items (oddly enough, not including actual staples), then on to Wal-Mart for the meat of the selections--papers, notebooks, markers, colored pencils, folders, and wound up spending nearly three hours there. They're redoing the store layout, and so school supplies were spread over three different time zones, and I'd get one thing, then go wandering off for something else, then spent nearly twenty minutes looking for wide-ruled filler paper. And they were having some sort of back-to-school fashion show with a live band, and the live band was VERY live, and loud, and I was getting a headache, and then I got that bad feeling that one occasionally gets, but usually only at home, where you don't mind sitting on your own toilet, but that causes you to walk around Wal-Mart all clenched up, hoping the urge will pass long enough for you to finish shopping and get home, but at some point you realize you MUST call a time-out and find yourself a loo.

I had a basket full of junk, and didn't want to park it up front, and add to this that I was at the back of the store and didn't think I could MAKE it to the front of the store. SO, back to layaway, parked my cart by the counter and asked the lady behind the counter if I could leave it there. She looked at me blankly and said yes.

Off to the restroom across from the counter, and I looked carefully at the signs and opened up the door on the right. There were several girls standing there, changing into clothes. Danged fashion show kids--and they're making them change in the men's room! And then I looked at the signs again as I held the door open. W-O-M-E-N. And a little skirt-wearing icon.


What an idiot. And I'm talking about the architect. Men's on the right, women's on the left! REMEMBER THAT! Anyway, what was weird was that I thought I had read the sign before going in. Scampered across the vestibule to the men's room, checked the sign (M-E-N, straight stick figure) and went in, only to be met with a bunch of OTHER kids changing into their spiffy Wal-Mart duds. Thankfully, it was guys.

They left very quickly after I'd begun my necessary internal adjustments.

Finished, quickly gathered up my cart and thanked the lady for keeping an eye on it, she just looked at me blankly, as if I were speaking Urdu or something, and then I skulked off to go finish shopping.

Found everything except composition books. ::sigh::

Next stop, Books-a-Million over close to home to look for a book about forensics, and then the final stop at Target for the few food items I was supposed to get. For some reason, I parked at Target, which meant the bookstore was way over there. I thought about moving the car, but I had gotten such a good parking spot. So I walked to the bookstore, and it was very, very hot. Like the inside of a blast furnace on the Sun.

"Do you have the book Forensic Science of CSI by Katherine Ramsland?"

"Do what?"


I repeated it and the helpfully clueless staff person looked it up on the computer and directed me to the True Crime section with the admonition that it would be shelved alphabetically by author's name. If that's true, it would be the ONLY book shelved alphabetically by author's name.

I like Books-a-Million, if only because it is a home-grown company and they have as good deals as the bigger folks like Barnes and Noble, but dang it all, they've GOT to make it easier to find stuff in the store.

1) Put some computer terminals on the floor so customers can check for themselves if books are in stock. It's frustrating to stand there in a line to ask someone if they've got something, only to find out they don't. Or that the counter help is illiterate. Or unable to use a computer.

2) When you find out if there's a book in stock, have a little map of the store showing where it is. It would help if the books had an RFID chip so they'd know for sure if it's actually in the store.

3) Counter computers should be tied in to the cash register. There's no reason why there has to be a separate computer for the book database, why not just make them do double duty?

4) Shelve the books correctly--I know this is labor intensive, but if you aren't going to do any better, there's no use trying to do it at all.

Anyway, they showed the book in stock, and after a good ten minutes of searching a short section of books, it either was out of stock or so badly misplaced that looking further for it would have been futile. Grr.

On back to Target, found composition books and iced tea, went home, suffered the wrath of a wife who'd been left at home to fend for herself with the laundry.

Put up the supplies, took over the laundry, worked on supper, then later went back and got Rebecca from the pet store, supper, baths, bedtime.

Sunday, up early, church (and yes, I stayed awake this time), home, lunch, divided up the school supplies into the various respective backpacks, back for evening services, then dropped the kids off at the grandparents' house. We did this because Reba's doctor's visit was going to be at 5:30 a.m. yesterday, meaning we'd have to be out of the house by 5, meaning we'd have to get up at 4. I can barely get the kids woken up at 6, so this was going to be out of the question, so we let them be farmed out to Reba's parents. Which is getting to be less and less attractive, since Catherine always acts like a butt.

Anyway, after we'd dropped them off, Reba and I had a romantic meal together at Arby's, then went home and hit the hay so we could get up early.

MONDAY, boy, 4 o'clock in the a of m is early! So we slept until 4:30, which meant we left a bit late, but did manage to get to the hospital on time, AND got a parking space right by the door! Yay, earliness!

Checked in, went upstairs, got checked in again, went back to a room, got her personal effects, went back out to the waiting room, waited for a few minutes, and in what seemed an impossibly short amount of time, was called back to talk to the doctor about what he'd done.

I don't want to go into details about the procedure, since it involves Miss Reba's internal system of womanocological pipes and tubing and reservoirs and stuff. I will say that the doctor had no problems and said everything looked healthy up in there, and the procedure should help her feel a lot better in the coming months.

The doc was quite upbeat and chipper in that happy-go-lucky manner of someone who knows what he's doing, and went over the post-operative restrictions.

"Okay, Mr. Oglesby, she did just fine, but let me tell you the restrictions in case the anesthesia makes her a bit loopy--no lifting for a few days, I've left you a prescription if there's any pain or cramping," and with a raised eyebrow he said, "no douching and none of that 'gettin' freaky' stuff for at least 24 hours."

I took it all in with my serious face on, and in my most sincerely concerned voice asked him, "Okay, so I'm not supposed to douche...?"

I don't think he'd heard that one before. The look on his face when he thought I wasn't joking made it all worthwhile.

Went back and waited in the waiting room, then got called back to the recovery room, fed her some crackers and Sprite, and after a while she was awake enough to take home. Out the door by 8:45.

Home, got her to bed, went to the bank, went and got the kids, back to home, started ironing my shirts. Got that done while watching The Price is Right, while the kids went outside and cleaned up the cat's pen and his food and water bowls. After the Chinese laundry routine, decided to pick up the den and get it halfway cleaned up. Even got the vacuum cleaner out! Vacuumed, vacuumed, vacuumed, got a big canister of ick.

Pulled the canister off, and the bottom of it swung open, spilling ick all over the carpet I'd just vacuumed. "Why, confound it all!" I said in my mind, although I'll admit it probably was a bit more earthy than that. Went and emptied the thing in the garbage can and came back inside to see what was wrong.

Cheap Chinese plastic, that's what. The little orange clip had a spring inside to hold it closed. The spring was held by a little pocket molded into the clip, and sometime in there it broke free, allowing the spring to become unsprung, and not hold the clip down. Epoxied the spring back into the broken clip, and stuffed a paper towel under the lip of the clip so it would be SURE to stay closed, even if the glue failed. Nothing quite like expedient engineering.

Cleaned up my mess and vacuumed some more and got another big can full of ick, and finally decided I'd worried the carpet enough.

Made lunch, made a couple of batches of cookies, and about three p.m., suffered a complete shutdown of systems that required a nap. Which is why the kids decided to get loud. Got back up after an hour and a half of not sleeping any, got Catherine ready to go to cheerleading practice, went and got my medicine from the drugstore and picked up some stuff for supper. Got back and found that Oldest had been summoned to Grandma's house to pick up supper, and I should've been grateful, but I really wanted to fix supper. I'm that way, sometimes.

Decided to use the waiting time to set a little electric fan up outside for Lightning, who's been slowly baking for the past few days. He seemed to enjoy it to no end. Ate supper, dropped Cat at practice, went home, turned around and went BACK to the gym, got Cat, went and got gas in the Volvo, went home, told her to go bathe, and then sometime in there got all sleepy again and went to bed for good.

Today, everything's back to normal.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:14 AM | Comments (14)

But I'm not dead yet!

Still plugging along, as you see, which means that sometime today (after I get it written and before I start throwing away more paper) you'll get your weekend update of all the goings on at Casa de Possum, including such heartwarming tales as walking into the women's bathroom at Wal-Mart, and dumping dirt all over the carpet in the den! Wheeeeee!

Anyway, let me go check in with the boss and then I'll be back directly.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:16 AM | Comments (7)

August 03, 2007

And the weekend.

And the usual round of laundry and scurrying hither and yon. OH, and I won't be in on Monday. I'll be tending to Miss Reba, who is going to the doctor's office early to have some minor work done on her innerds (nothing related to the recent upper bosomal region issues!) so I'll be with her, and then will see you again come Tuesday.

Have yourselves a great weekend!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:42 PM | Comments (0)

When you get to the bottom of the hole...

...quit digging. I think I've made enough headway for today. Just got finished a bit ago with the file cabinet tops, which if you recall, looked like this.

Okeedoke--here's the can with the undesirable stuff, and here's the end result. Why I didn't do this sooner is beyond me. It almost looks clean. Almost.

Now then, as for found treasure, it was a pretty productive dig. I apologize for the quality of these and the other photos, but the camera batteries are low, and the light's not good. I messed around with them on the computer, but they still aren't all that clear. The following pictures are bigger than the others, so you will have to expand the browser window and use the scrollbars to see all of the image.

ANYway, here's a proposal I did for a couple of buildings over on 18th Street. You can't really see the photo, but the buildings are in pretty bad shape. The owner never decided to do anything about them.

This was a drawing of a building over in Lakeview View that I did as a cover for a report I wrote. The sketch got in the sun and the right part sepia'd out some. Anyway, it's a lovely old Tudor style, late-'20s commercial block that's still standing and in use today. Looks very nice in person.

The next ones are a couple of houses by Wallace Rayfield over in Smithfield, and I believe this one was his own personal house. Rayfield's story is really interesting and he left a big mark on Birmingham--I urge you to go to the Bham Wiki page for a bit more information.

The next few are from several years back when we were doing some revitalization proposals over in Arlington-West End and in Ensley.

Here's a proposal for brightening up the State Fairgrounds, including (as you see) a cheerful yellow trolley. Sometime after I'd made a copy of this, some bright person who should have known better thought I'd left the wheels off the trolley and smudged in some great big black circles on the sides to approximate bus wheels. Thankfully, I kept the original. Anyway, it's supposed to be an actual rail car, not a trolley-like bus. Idjits.

Okay, the rest--here are some Ensley commercial blocks. Right now both of the blocks look pretty run down, and no, nothing has been done to fix them up. Here's the first, and the here's the second, which contains both a Gap and a Starbucks and no small amount of wishful thinking.

And finally, here's a West End commercial block (which I think was burnt out not too long after I drew this), and a nice little row of houses.

So, there you go, at least until I start cleaning off my desk and the other window sill.

In case you're wondering, the colors look lurid for a reason--most of the time you're trying to have something that will be shown in a meeting and you need for it to be able to be seen from the back of the room, or alternately, you need something that won't wash out when you make a copy of it. And another thing, the slapdash color is intended to be abstract enough to keep anyone from getting too distinct of an idea in their mind of a particular place, and then be disappointed or shocked when it doesn't turn out like that in real life. It's almost like a cartoon--enough to give the idea, but not enough for it to be something you'd be called down for later if it's not exactly like the picture.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:13 PM | Comments (2)

Lunch With My Friend Jeff™!

But before that, the start of the big dig. If you recall, this is the before shot of one corner of the office. This is the empty recycling barrel. This is the recycling barrel AFTER spending nearly an hour on discarding. And here's the shiny clean [sic] corner after I'd neatened it up! Only three more corners to go! And four non-corners.

As I went through stuff, just as Skillzy predicted, I did manage to find some interesting stuff I'd forgotten about.

Those of you who live in Birmingham have probably heard all the hoo-ha about the new Railroad Reservation Park. We were working on that ages ago--here's an early sketch in plan, and a couple of quick perspectives. Looks nothing like what's going to get built, but it's rare that anything does.

This is a quicky sketch I did for a local building owner who was trying to fix up his place, and in a similar vein, another sorta neat thing I uncovered were the following sketches we did back when Pam the Liberal was here. We held a couple of annual conferences on historic preservation as a means to stabilize deteriorating inner city neighborhoods. Great fun. These boards were intended to show people what some of the old dilapidated buildings could look like if they were spruced up and repaired. We wound up making close to 40 of these drawings. These are some of the ones I did, but I also had some extremely good help from our intern at the time, Cara Graham. She was a peach, and a workhorse of immense productivity, and I was sorry when she left.

Anyway, this is the old (and now demolished) Minor School which used to be over off of Pike Road in Ensley. It's now a parking lot for a car dealer.

This is a unique old mansion over in Norwood that I think is still standing, although still unrestored.

And finally, this is a tiny, mid-30s gas station over in the Smithfield part of town that I thought could make a neat little corner cafe. It's still there, and still looks just like it does in the photo. I.e., a mess.

ANYway, that's what I've gotten done so far. Next is the top of the filing cabinets.

AS FOR MFJ™, we talked about the usual stuff over a plate full of sandwiches over at Sam's Deli in Homewood. Sure was hot outside. They really need some fans or something. But it was the usual kvetching about stupid people, cars, work (although I did get to brag about my new job), kids, relatives, cars, swarthy men of Middle Eastern descent, Chicago, car repairs, and stuff like that. Did our magazine swap, and as usual, he left with a much greater load of treasure than I did, not that I'm complaining. Much. Okay I am. Anyway, great fun as usual.

AS FOR THE NOT GREAT FUN--when I got back in I noticed someone with an IP of (Qwest Communications in Denver) had left a few comments using my name. Nothing bad or dirty or anything, but it's just poor etiquette. They've been deleted, not out of malice or anything like that, but just to say that I'd rather you just pick another alias if you don't want to use your own name. Thanks.

Now then, more trash duty.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:42 PM | Comments (2)

Breaking Camp

Well, let's see what I've gotten accomplished so far.

Not much. Got all my personal stuff off the C:\ drive and sent it to myself via e-mail. Yes, I've already copied it once and transferred it to my home computer, but I can't stand the thought of having only one copy. So, all my docs went to the inbox, and all the photos went to Picasa. And there was an embarrassingly large amount of both. As I said, I am a pack rat of the first order.

Per Marc's request, I showed you some of the flotsam, jetsam, and ligan in the office yesterday that I'm either going to have to pack up or throw away, but here are some shots of the other side of the room--my bookcase, filled with books pointing the wrong way, Design markers, and a row of Sweet's catalogs to act as ballast.


That chair is where you all sit when I'm talking to you. Unless you're hovering over my shoulder, which I really don't like. Unless you smell nice and have great big sof--never mind.

Next, the real nerve center of all that goes on, the battle bridge:

filthy burrow.JPG

Those are reference books on the window sill, slathered with a crispy layer of useless paper that at one time I had believed needed to be kept, just in case. All that paper on the desk? Absolutely vital to my mission. Or not. Lots of rolled up drawings, some of them possibly even still of use. Or not.

And finally, a wide shot so you can see my display of Oglesby child artworks:

art gallery.JPG

I sure hope I'll have room to keep some of those up. Makes the day go by a lot faster. SO, anyway, today will be spent throwing away garbage.

And something else I need to do is give my boss something. I've never had a better one, and I wrote him a note to let him know of my thoughts. It's private, so I won't post it here, but I want him to know how much I think of him as a person and as a leader.

He's a thoroughly interesting man and has seen more than most. He's faced down Bull Connor's police dogs in his youth, then went on to take a guided tour of Southeast Asia with Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. He came back, became an architect, dabbled in real estate, went on to work on the state's largest office building, came to work here, and in among all that, married and had four beautiful daughters who've done nothing but excel in everything they've attempted. He is one of the most honest men I've ever met, and an exemplar of integrity and good leadership. I will miss working for him.

Now then. Time to get to work.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:36 AM | Comments (6)

Well, that was peculiar.

Went to the grocery store yesterday evening to get some stuff for supper, and as I was going down the aisle toward the checkout, there was a young guy coming the other way, pushing a dust mop and talking on his cell phone.

As we passed, I realized he was speaking Russian.

I'm sorry, but any way you slice that, it was just really, really odd.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:53 AM | Comments (3)

August 02, 2007

Oh, and speaking of Thursday?

For old time's sake, next week we are going to have A Very Special Axis of Weevil Thursday Three, which has already been written up by our favorite college professor, ham radio operator (MMMmmm--ham!), and small engine repairman, Jim Smith.

Despite feeling a bit queasy when it comes to soliciting opinions about Possumblog superlatives, I figure it won't hurt this once. So, stay tuned next week to give this old barge a sendoff.

Be sure and bring plenty of finger foods for the party--you know, like collard greens.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:17 PM | Comments (6)

Okay, now that the surprise has worn off...

...some catching up to do.

FIRST: Many thanks to all of you for your recent prayers and good wishes for Miss Reba. She had her re-do mammogram on Monday, and the knot level in my stomach ratcheted up to 11 when they told her that there was definitely something there. Sweet relief Tuesday evening when she told me they'd called her back during work to report it was a benign inflammation that will not require any treatment. Obviously, I thought it would be good to get a second opinion and follow-up examination, but she was resistant to the idea, even though I offered to do it for free.

SECOND: Mailout Thursday today, which is why this is a bit late getting going. This will hopefully be my last Mailout Thursday. Downstairs where I'm going, they have one secretary for three (soon to be four) people. Up here, we have one secretary for 23 people. Thus why I seem to always be doing so much typing, folding, spindling, and mutilating. However, I do know how to fix any of the printers or copiers on the floor. (Hint: It's called "RTFM.")

THIRD: Clean up. Lileks wrote about his recent office move, and bragged about having reduced down his personal accumulation of things to something that could fit in a shoebox. Me? I've got twelve years worth of detritus piled up around me. Mugs, toys, books, my "Department of Redundancy Department" sign on the wall. All my kids' artwork on the other wall, all my photos on the other part of the other wall, all the junk in my desk drawers, all the junk on my desk, all the junk on my drafting table, all the junk stashed in file cabinets, all the junk on the window sills, and THEN all the forgotten paperwork that has been layered and compacted into rock-like strata on various horizontal surfaces since 1995. It will be a combination of archaeology dig and canal excavation to get it all cleaned out. When I decide to actually make the effort to get after it.

FOURTH: It's like moving to a new house. I've got to see if I can keep my phone number, I've got to get new business cards, I've got to see what from my old place can be moved to the new, and I've got to dump all those pictures of Maureen O'Hara and Raquel Welch and Sophia Loren off the hard drive on this computer. (Actually, I've already copied everything and transferred it to my home computer, but I still haven't deleted anything, because I'm a pack rat, and that includes computer files.) And obviously, I'm going to have to physically move this stuff.

FIFTH: (Reserved)

SIXTH: The Axis of Weevil, although appearing to be an anarcho-syndicalist commune, in which we each take in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week; but all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special bi-weekly meeting by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs, but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more major affairs, is, in fact, not. It is purely dictatorial, and shall continue on apace, striving to achieve world hegemony through fear, and surprise, and ruthless efficiency, and an almost fanatical devotion to Sheriff Taylor. There's no use being part of an Axis if the whole thing quits working just because the dictator guy decides to go prancing off to do something else instead of blogging. Look, there are supposed to be benefits to being a dictator, and one of them is getting to dictate. SO, even if I'm NOT blogging, I'm still going to be pacing my luxuriously furnished office in the Axis of Weevil World Headquarters Building, maybe even absent-mindedly stroking my bronze bust of Twain (Shania), and if I don't blog, that doesn't mean the REST of you get to slag about! GET OUT THERE AND DO SOME WORLD DOMINATIN', or there WON'T BE A COMPANY PICNIC! Also, everyone please remember to turn in your timesheets tomorrow, because Anita is going on vacation next week and needs to get payroll finished before she goes.

SEVENTH: Chet the E-Mail Boy. He's fine, everyone. Please quit asking about him. As I said, the AoW continues on, and so he's not going to be fired or anything else, at least not until I get him to finish washing out the dumpster and filling in that hole in the parking lot. And anyway, it's not like he's getting paid, so being fired isn't that big of a deal. And best I can tell, he's something like 109 or 110 years old, so he can't be around much longer anyway.

EIGHTH: If you make "sixth" out of six plus th, and "seventh" out of seven plus th, why don't you spell 8th as "eightth"? It is a mystery.

NINTH: Don't get me started on this one--obviously it should be nineth. ANYWAY, advice for anyone who wants to start a blog. Dedicate yourself to using proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. You'll obviously mess up every once in a while, but be quick to correct it and thank people profusely for pointing it out. Don't be a putz. Don't argue for the sake of hearing yourself talk (or reading yourself write). Treat everyone as kindly as possible, even trolls and idiots. In their case, treating them kindly means not having any discussion at all with them before deleting their stupidity and banning them and acting as though they never existed. Write about what you know. Write about what you don't know, but tell everyone up front you're an idiot and you don't know what you're writing about. (People can tell when you're faking it.) Write stuff you enjoy reading. If you're an idiot or a troll, this may mean no one else likes it, but you just will have to realize that's because you are unlikable as a person. But you can change if you want to. But don't expect people to change to suit you. Don't mock the dead (unless it's a really, REALLY bad person, and no, lefty-retards, I'm not talking about people who don't think exactly like you). Don't use a blog layout with text and background that is dark on dark or light on light or in colors that clash. No one can see it, and if you can't see it, it doesn't exist. (GOOGLE IT!) Never rely on Google. Learn about logic, and learn the various fallacies of argumentation. Learning to successfully repudiate a fallacious argument in a calm, rational manner goes a long way toward promoting peace and understanding, as does learning how to employ fallacious arguments against dimwits. Do not taunt the insane. Try to be smart, but realize your limitations. Humor only works if something is humorous, and believe it or not, some things just aren't funny. So don't force it. Never blog in your underwear, because you never know when your boss might walk in and tell you you're supposed to be in an important meeting across town in five minutes. Be nice and thank people who read what you write.

TENTH: Questions? Write about personal stuff for long enough, and eventually questions do come up that demand answers. Got one? I'll try to answer it, or at least deflect it genially and act like I didn't hear it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:51 AM | Comments (10)

August 01, 2007

Well, now. There's you a surprise.

I'll be closing up shop.


It is a surprise! Although in fairness, not to me.

Several months ago, a position opened up within my department and I applied for it, and have been in limbo ever since, not knowing if they'd hire me or make me stay where I am. I realized when I applied that if I did get it, there would never be any way I could continue sitting around and writing in between work assignments, because the work assignments in this new gig are constant.

Anyway, I finally got the confirmation call this morning, and so in a couple of weeks (or so, things move slowly around here, in case you've never noticed), I'll be going downstairs to the 4th floor. One floor might not seem very far, but compared to what it's been like, it's way yonder far off.

The new job is directly related to my training--basically, I'll be practicing architecture again. The past twelve years (TWELVE!?), I've been doing a sideline-sorta-related function of urban designer. It was fun at first (after leaving the hell of The Bad Place), but for whatever reason, our little corner of the org chart was continually marginalized and there got to be a lot less fun designy-type work with pencils and crayons and junk, and a whole lot more of mindless bureaucratic paper-shuffling. And no chance to advance to senior paper-shuffler. When you're marginalized, folks in charge don't really care about such things.

So, you know, laboring on in obscurity, waiting for citizen complaints or various interdepartmental wild goose chases, filling out forms, and typing lots of passive-voiced meeting minutes, all without much in the way of pay raises or hope, tends to give you some free time. And a lot of things you wish you could talk about if you could find someone who wasn't even more insane than you are.

Thus entered the exciting blogging pastime.

Which is about the only way I think I've been able to continue doing this job for so long. Some people around here just close their door and read books, some simply ride the elevator all day, some feign consciousness, a few never even show up. At least this way, I've been able to make a bunch of new friends, blissfully blather on in a separate virtual-type world, and still actually do the various plebian activities that now constitute this position. Thankfully, even with blogging, no citizen ever had his need go unmet and no assignment was ever dropped. I'm not sure how well that reflects on me, or how badly it does on the position. Eh. Whatever.

ANYway, the new position requires attention. It's real life, health/safety/welfare architect things that are actually what I'm trained and registered to do, and since there's only three staffers, and I've got to learn how they do things, it's going to be busy. And busy means no time to play. And no time to play means, obviously, no time for Possumblog.

It has been an extraordinarily enjoyable thing, what I do here. Writing things down has helped me make some sense of events, and has allowed me to meet some of the most intriguing, enjoyable, erudite, silly, warm, brave, maddening, thoughtful, clever, intelligent, helpful, astonishing, wry, fragile, honest, and finest people in the world. As I've always said, I've imagined this blog as nothing more than the sort of random conversation you have when friends drop by and sit a spell over in the chair by the door. So, thanks to all of you who've stopped by to sit in that chair.

As for this enterprise itself, I never saw it as a way to get attention, or at least not the attention of the sort we've come to associate with fame (i.e., fleeting attention from the news media), but if there was any attention I did want, it was that anyone who came by would leave with something enjoyable or informative, and would be able to say to himself that even a gun-toting, Bible-thumping, openly-straight, Alabama redneck could still do pretty well for himself explaining his views, and further, do so in a way that was serious but not self-important. I've tried to save my vitriol and derision for the people who deserve it, that being, those who don't think they deserve it. I've never sought out other bloggers to disagree and argue with, mainly because it serves no purpose other than to give me a headache, and because it's quite difficult to find someone with whom I disagree who also seems to value logic and good humor.

I've written a lot over the past few years, and much about myself. Probably too much. In some cases, not enough. There are still some opinions I have that are too inflammatory to ever utter except during those nagging internal monologues, and some of them I realize are wrong and it would be wrong to say them. Some are just so convoluted I don't want to have to explain them. So, despite what you might think if you read everything in the archives, there's still some corners of thought that I haven't felt good about sharing. Especially in this highly non-anonymous format.

But, what I've said, I've said.

I hope it's been worth hearing.

In the coming few days, I've got some necessary job-related things to get squared away--packing, moving, paperwork--but I will still be around and keeping up with things, and I suppose I'll have one final post for shout-outs and to thank everyone one more time for making this one of their semi-regular Internet stops.

In the mean time, between now and the time I finally turn out the lights, if you've still got some nagging questions you've never gotten an answer to, or a tirade to launch forth on, feel free to drop me a comment or an e-mail.

You've been a great audience, everyone! Be careful driving home!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:46 PM | Comments (44)

That's what happens when you are ridiculous.

TV anchors subjected to ridicule online

Sorry, but that's what you get when you try to act like something you're not. Me? I admit I'm a moron right up front, so no one's surprised when I do something stupid, and pleasantly surprised when I manage to do something smart.

Remember--low expectations are your friends.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:39 AM | Comments (0)

Now wait just a derned minute!!

I thought these people were supposed to be here doing the jobs Americans won't do!

I know for a fact there's plenty of Americans willing to do this, and there are probably a few of them who aren't even in Congress.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

Mr. Murdoch, FYI--

Murdoch to buy Dow Jones for $5 billion

Just a reminder to you and your board of directors that Possumblog has been a proud, independent, valuable voice in the online world for many years, but you know, I would be willing to talk.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)

Stories that are impossible to parody.

Keith Richards working on memoir

[...] Other Rolling Stones have written memoirs, including former bassist Bill Wyman and fellow guitarist Ron Wood, whose book is due this fall. Jagger has reportedly tried writing his autobiography, but given up, claiming he couldn't remember anything of interest. [...]

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:01 AM | Comments (0)

And one assumes, give them a stern, but compassionate talking-to.

And ask them what America can do to regain their love and respect.

Obama vows to hunt down terrorists

Interesting. He didn't want us to go into Iraq, but is more than willing to invade Pakistan. Seems rather, oh, I don't know, inconsistent. Not that I'm against it. I think it's something that needs doing, although the US and Iraq are going to have to do something to keep Turkey from pursuing the exact same course with incursions into Kurdish northern Iraq. But, still, coming from someone who seems much too willing to elevate and validate various tinpot dictators (then wasn't, then was again) that this is probably nothing more than some sort of focus-grouped bit of pandering to attempt to show he's strong and tough on defense.

Color me unconvinced.

UPDATE: Also, I just now noticed that despite the past-tense language in the article to the contrary, this speech will be delivered later on today. Read far enough down, and you see this--and most other media reports of it--are based on excerpts of the speech released by Obama's campaign organization. Yet, the media still seem incapable of writing the story in future tense; "In a speech to be delivered later today, dreamy cute Senator Obama will say, etc...." Why is that? Why deliberately give the sense that the event and words have already been spoken? And this isn't an aberration; I've noticed it many times over the years (and when reporting on Democrats and Republicans), and I still haven't seen a plausible explanation for why it is allowed to continue. This is especially troublesome given how much scrutiny the media has garnered for itself through transparently slipshod reportage. Apparently, such things as chronology just don't matter.

But it does kind of make you wonder what else they think doesn't matter.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:56 AM | Comments (0)

Stupid, stupid science guys.

Scientists Create 12-Headed Jellyfish

All that work on a dumb ol' jellyfish, but still no progress on using a computer to create Kelly LeBrock.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:41 AM | Comments (3)