The Big DumpTruck

Throwing Little Thought Pebbles at Your Windshield Since 1996

Month: November, 2005

More Wonders of the Brain

This is a quick post to show that the brain is a wondrous filing cabinet. As is the Internet. Together, they fight crime.

Okay, so to begin, there is a person on my current project whose last name is Pappas. All fine and good. The odd thing is that in my head, I keep calling him Doug. I even wrote it in an email to another person on the team. But his name isn’t Doug. So I started to think – why do I keep wanting to call him Doug? I must know someone else with that name. So of course, now I can’t stop trying to remember. I know it’s not a person from school or work. I also get the sense that it’s someone I knew a while ago, but not just in passing. So I start working through the mental checklist. He’s not from any of my current mailing lists, or from this website. Did I know him from my old BBS? That’s quite possible, and it feels right, timing wise. But that was a loooong time ago. So maybe from CompuServe? I hop over to Google to see what I get. I get a ton of hits, because someone who appears to have been very well-respected in the baseball industry died while hiking about a year and a half ago. I thumb through 22 Google pages of “Doug Pappas” hits and 98% of them were for this guy. Well, I don’t think there was a baseball connection, that doesn’t sound right.

So I start to narrow down my search. Nothing sounds right when I add the word Massachusetts, so it’s not a local thing. So I add CompuServe and get a few hits. I look at the first one, and I know this is the same guy – I did know him from CompuServe. We were both members of at least one similar forum, Rocknet (although we could have been in more than one, this is the one mentioned in the Google hit) in the right timeframe, 1990-ish.

And then it starts coming back. The Google hit says he was into road tripping, and I suddenly realize that he might be one of the two people I used to exchange ugly, horrid postcards with. If true, this would confirm my feeling that I knew this person more than in passing, but not in person, you know? We’d buy the “worst” postcards – the best ones were the old out-of-date ones. And then we’d mail them to each other. So now I’m 90% sure this is the guy…and I check out another link which happens to have his home address, and my stomach kind of lurches because the minute I see it, I recognize it, and thus I have tracked down the Doug Pappas from my past. The unfortunate thing is that this Doug Pappas is the same Doug Pappas who was the editor of the Society for American Baseball Research. The same guy who died while hiking in Big Bend National Park. So in one fell swoop I rediscover an old friend, and find out he is no longer with us.

Stupid brain.


Freaking Festive

In my long past, back when I was working for Information Mapping, we used to go nuts decorating our cubes and offices for the holidays. At some point, someone (I am not positive who said this, although I have a couple of people in mind) looked at one garish display and declared it “F’ing Festive” (with the full word in place of the apostrophe). The juxtaposition of those two words gave it an instant place in the hall of fame. I cannot praise it enough. So fast forward 7 or so years, and I still use this phrase, especially when things are over the top.

You know, I started writing this a couple of hours ago, and I can’t remember what I was going to describe to you. Probably the way the house looks from the outside, because I believe I did use that phrase with Mr. Dump the other night. He has the background on the phrase and appreciates its appropriate use.

The Doginator hasn’t tried to eat the tree or any of the ornaments that are sort of kind of within his reach, so that’s good. He doesn’t need to supplement his diet of the buttons off my LL Bean coat anyway. That’s right, buttons with an S. I was kind of wearing it anyway, with the one button gone from the bottom, but apparently the coat fell off the coat rack the other day and he ate another button off. (They are attached with a bit of leather string, and he gnaws through the leather. He hasn’t actually eaten a button, as they are huge. So now I just can’t wear the coat any more, which has me seriously bummed out. I won’t have money to replace it until at least after Christmas. Bah, humbug.

Did some Christmas shopping over the weekend. I was in evil step-monster mode and dragged the poor children to the mall. I have been told that I must announce a momentous occasion here in the dump: My step-daughter and I agreed that an article of clothing was cute. Can you believe it? This hasn’t happened in years. She’ll be 14 in January, and I have no taste in clothes whatsoever. Granted I can’t fit one leg in the skirts at the stores where she shops. So she did pick out a few things and I got all evil and said they were being put away until Christmas. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

Oh, but she got me back. I am currently obsessed with SuDoku and I showed her how to do it. We each got on a computer and loaded the same puzzle from and she beat me at finishing it. Ratzen fratzen kids these days.



Tree is up, lights are up outside and inside (we put red lights around the windows) and the weird little blue window clings are clinging. Bring it on, fat man in the red suit.

I am not looking forward to a full week of work after a short week. Even though I had to work on Friday, most people stayed home so I had the best parking space ever. I have to figure out a way to get people to stay home every day.


This is Thanksgiving?

I thought it looked more like a Christmas scene, but what do I know…


Stuffing Vs. Dressing

I just had a lovely email conversation with the delightful j-mo, and we had to clear up what may be a regional misconception or just one of those “your family is odd” things. I was asking her about stuffing, and she said they don’t do stuffing because of something Alton Brown said (I am sure it’s gross, I don’t want to know). They do “dressing”. The thing is, we don’t really do “stuffing” either. We cook ours in a baking dish next to the turkey, which technically makes it dressing, but we call it stuffing.

Is this a New England thing, or just my mom teaching me the wrong word?

(For the record, I like mom’s bread stuffing (see?) made with the Pepperidge Farm Stuffing mix, and her meat stuffing, which is ground pork and beef and basically tastes like the meat part of a French meat pie. It ROCKS with turkey. Makes a great post-Thanksgiving sandwich too. Whenever you make those turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce sandwiches, I could never get past the idea that the bread stuffing was doubling up the amount of bread in the sandwich. But this reminds me that I should probably ask her if she’d making both.)

If I don’t get online tomorrow, have a great and Thankful day. And leave yourself some extra time to travel, what with the SNOW they are predicting.


Quabbin Photos

Two of the photos that don’t have people in them. Not that I don’t like photos of my family, but I don’t want to have any of them sue me because I didn’t get model releases. I have to say, it is quite a place. The one thing I learned that I didn’t actually know, is that when they flooded the towns to make the reservoir, they actually bulldozed everything ahead of time, so if it wasn’t a public water supply and you could actually dive there, you wouldn’t find homes at the bottom of it.


Have You Seen My Keys? [I have!]

[Update: Found them. In a place I’d already looked but maybe not closely enough. Whew! But I’m sad I don’t have an excuse to go back to the Ixtapa Cantina tonight…]

Man oh Man, what a Monday this is turning into. And on a short week yet. I haven’t been able to find my keys for over 24 hours now. I couldn’t find them at noon yesterday, and I still don’t have them. I did call the Ixtapa Cantina in Fitchburg (Oh my gosh, Leominster Christine was right, the food is amazing!) to see if they found them there. It’s one of the few places I went before realizing I couldn’t find my keys.

And I left my cell phone at home again. Fantastic. Just makes my day.

Yesterday was lovely, wasn’t it? And a large group of us (okay, 8) went out to walk around at the Quabbin Reservoir. What a lovely place that is. I will have a couple of photos maybe later tonight, so keep checking!


It’s Too Soon!

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Christmas music. I adore it. But even I think it’s too early….

for Oldies 103.3 to go “all Christmas, all the time” already. It isn’t even Thanksgiving, for goodness’ sake! What’s the matter, they couldn’t wait a whole week?

So I listened to 3 songs and then changed the station. I cannot listen to it. Yet.


Just When You Scrape Together Cheese Money…

Okay, I don’t have cheese money, but I was starting to stockpile a little bit in the checking account, to pay for replacing the shingles that blew off the roof last week. And to maybe start a little of my Christmas shopping.

But then I came downstairs and said “What’s that?” to Junior, who doesn’t pay attention to this sort of thing anyway. Water spots on the ceiling. Sort of where the tub is. Oh crap oh crap oh crap.

I do not handle stuff like this. Neither does Mr. Dump. I do not feel like paying a fortune to have someone come in and rip things out. Our Christmas budget was going to be VERY tight this year anyway, but I didn’t want to spend Santa’s cash on plumbing and/or replacing the floor or heaven forbid, getting rid of mold because the leak isn’t new. I am doing worst case scenario, I know, but you have to mentally prepare yourself, right?

Looking at the ceiling in the kitchen, it struck me that the leak (which appears in a kind of line) looked a little far back to be where the tub meets the floor (which I have issues with anyway because the floor isn’t flush with the ground so it’s very very difficult to keep it properly caulked). I grabbed my only tape measure (I need a grownup-sized one) and got a rough estimate of 55 inches to the first spot. Then I went upstairs and measured out 55 inches…that’s actually the end of the tub, where it meets the wall. Crap.

My worst fear is that it’s a leaky pipe in the wall, I have to tell you. And the upstairs is just a disaster area, so I’d have to clean stuff up before I could even have a plumber come in and look at this. We are not handy, we do not do stuff like this ourselves. We don’t have the right tools, or the right skills. I hate my bathroom floor, but I am not going to be able to replace it on my own, y’know? Plus, I have no idea how much replacing a bathroom floor even costs. I have a headache.


If It’s Interesting, You Won’t Find it Here

Am I striving for new levels of mundane or what? I don’t have a counter attached to this page any more, so I have no clue how many visitors I’m getting per day. For all I know, there are three of you out there who stop by daily. Isn’t that sad? Well that’s what happens, you know. You raise kids, and then they grow up and move on.

The drive to work isn’t even as interesting as the old drive to work was. Sure, there’s less traffic to deal with, but a lot of the drive is through woods on a windy road. That’s windy as in, it curves a lot, not that it’s got a lot of air blowing on it. I mean, it’s windy with the air blowing sometimes, not not any more than any other road in the area.

Two questions for anyone out there still reading…anyone have recommendations for a local store that sells battery operated Christmas lights? Basically I want to string up a few lights here in my cubicle, but I don’t have an outlet I can use for something like that. So either something that would run off the USB port on my computer, or battery-operated lights, or something like that. And I’d rather buy locally (which can be anywhere between Leominster and Nashua) than online, because I want to see what I’d be getting in person.

Secondly, anyone out there have a recommendation for a robot building kit for an [almost] 8 year old?