Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Sunday, June 19, 2016 5:18 pm

Father’s Day

It’s Father’s Day, and I’m kidless. Victoria has headed off to the Broyhill Leadership Conference, and Hooper is partaking of Coach K’s alleged knowledge at Duke’s Dook’s basketball camp. (Pound for pound, the best basketball coach in this state is Bob McKillop, but that’s a subject for another post.)

On the one hand, it’s kind of a bummer: This will be the first time we’ve missed our routine of their “taking me out” to lunch or dinner. (I use the scare quotes because I always pay.)

But on the other hand, I’m OK with it, because they’re spending time this week learning things, including how to operate respectably without Mom or Dad looking over their shoulders, how to get along with their peers, and how to behave toward nonparental authority figures. And isn’t that a big part of parenting? If you’re not teaching your kids how to go along and get along without you, you could end up with a Cheeto freak in your basement, and who wants that?

We’ll probably get together next weekend, when they’ll be around for a couple of days before Hooper sets off for 10 days of wilderness camping with his Scout troop and I take Victoria down to Chapel Hill for freshman orientation. In the meantime, I’m relaxing in the knowledge that they’re learning and growing, taking steps toward self-sufficiency and self-efficacy. And when we do go out, maybe this time I’ll make them pay.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015 8:14 pm

Odds and ends for May 27

Back from vacation. Let’s get to work, shall we?

The U.S. government is still good for something — in this case, finally taking on the continuing criminal enterprise that is FIFA. (My daughter has been saying for two years that the organization’s leaders were committing fraud and worse. She’s 16.) I suspect the reason we’re doing it instead of, say, Switzerland, is that we can — because soccer’s popularity here is so low that no one will raise much of a defense of the indefensible.

I love this pope. He has been, in the opinion of this outsider, better for the Roman Catholic church than anything since Vatican II. But he still has a couple of enormous moral blind spots.

Paid Microsoft support for the U.K. government’s many computers still running Windows XP ran out in April 2015. The transition to Windows 7 or 8.1 was supposed to be complete by now, but it isn’t for many government agencies, which will have to negotiate their own, much more expensive service deal with Microsoft. Meanwhile, those machines aren’t getting any more security upgrades and thus could become vulnerable to hacking. (I have a perfectly good XP machine that isn’t powerful enough to run Win7, so when Microsoft stopped providing security updates to consumers a year ago, I turned it into a Linux machine. Still works like a charm.)

My heart and some of my money are going out to the victims of Texas tornadoes and flooding. But I’ve got to point out a couple of things. First, the increasing severity of storms such as this is a direct result of increased mean atmospheric temperature. As we learned in school, the warmer air is, the more moisture it can hold, and the more moisture is in the air, the more severe storms are. So global-warming denialists in Texas, particularly in its government, really need to sit down and shut up now. Second, I assume that all the hot air from Texas politicians about the Jade Helm military maneuvers will now cease while those same politicians ask the federal government for millions in disaster relief. Right?

Quasi-relatedly, as H.L. Mencken observed (sort of), it is difficult to make a man understand something when his bonuses depend on his not understanding it. That’s especially true of climate-science deniers and extraction-industry executives. (Note that the market value of remaining extractable carbon fuel runs into the dozens of trillions, and we’d only need to burn another $1 trillion worth to screw ourselves sideways, climate-wise.)

Related to that, crony capitalism continues in Raleigh as extraction interests continue using their bought-and-paid-for legislature to fight solar energy. They have become more vicious because they are more desperate: They know that solar will become economically feasible for replacing more than half of global electricity generation within the next 10 years.

The Supreme Court ruled debtors’ prisons unconstitutional more than 30 years ago, but that hasn’t stopped a lot of places from jailing people just because of fines and/or fees they couldn’t pay.

Pretty much everyone who isn’t working in the White House or Congress understands that the NSA’s vast warrantless data-hoovering surveillance program isn’t worth what it is costing us in liberty. So, of course, N.C.’s senior senator, Richard Burr, is arguing for more of it.

At what point is N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory going to realize that the person running the state Department of Health and Human Services, Aldona Wosis incompetent?

And at what point will N.C. voters realize that McCrory himself is incompetent? He has staked his re-election on two proposed bond issues, one for highways and the other for other infrastructure — and hoping that voters won’t realize that if not for his misguided leadership and that of his legislative pals, much of this work could have been done through the ordinary state budgeting process, rather than sinking the state $2.8 billion into debt.

North Carolina doesn’t want to kill messengers. It only wants to sue and/or imprison them.

State officials (which is to say, mainly, state Republicans) are now into their fifth year of arguing that climate change isn’t really a thing, apparently not realizing or caring that “the Atlantic isn’t waiting to see who wins the argument.

Speaking of resisting the inevitable, N.C. lawmakers are still trying to stop gay marriage by unconstitutional means.

The chairman of the UNC System’s Board of Governors, John Fennebresque, says he wants a “change agent” to replace politically fired UNC System president Tom Ross. But he won’t say what he wants changed and says the board doesn’t have a job description even as it runs a nationwide search for Ross’s successor. Let’s be real clear here: Fennesbresque and the board wouldn’t come out and say they fired Tom Ross for political reasons because they knew the public wouldn’t stand for it. And they aren’t saying what they want Ross’s successor to do for the very same reason.

Steven Long, vice chairman of the academic planning committee of the UNC System’s board of governors, says regarding program eliminations, “We’re capitalists, and we have to look at what the demand is, and we have to respond to the demand.” No, schmuck. Education is a public good, and the state university system has a duty to provide benefits to the state as a whole, not just students whose preferred  majors happen to be momentarily popular.

So Charter Communications may buy Time Warner Cable, my personal cable/Internet provider. Is there any reason to think this would mean anything but higher prices and crummier service? Thought not.

Whew. I need another vacation.


Friday, March 2, 2012 11:32 pm

She shoots — make that “runs,” she scores!

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 11:32 pm
Tags: , ,

Victoria scores the first run of the Kiser Tigers’ young softball season. She reached on a bunt, then took second on an overthrow. Another play advanced her, and then when a teammate tried to steal second, she alertly broke for home and scored easily.

The team already looks much better than it did last year. Thanks to Coaches Albright and Little for their work with the girls!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 8:05 pm

Heart of a champion

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 8:05 pm

As Victoria has entered adolescence, I’ve cut back dramatically on the amount of posting I’ve done about her. There are a couple of reasons for that. For one thing, as kids grow up, privacy becomes more important to them, and this was a child who was shouting, “Pievacy, Daddy! PIE-vacy!” when I accidentally walked in on her in the bathroom shortly after she turned 2. For another, daddy blogging is a perfectly respectable approach, but it was never one of my prime goals for Blog on the Run: Reloaded. And for another, she deserves — and, in my opinion, has earned — the right to forge her own online identity, with only minimal involvement from me (safety issues, technical help), and that behind the scenes when possible.

But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t proud as hell of what she did earlier this week, not only in and of itself but because it demonstrated a major effort to push herself out of her own comfort zone.

Earlier this spring she tried out for and made her middle school’s softball team. She has thrown, caught and batted in our yard but never played the game before in organized fashion; soccer has always been her thing.

On Monday morning in gym class, she badly sprained her left (non-throwing) forefinger. Her softball team had a game that afternoon, and because of other injuries and/or commitments, the team was so shorthanded that if she didn’t play, they were going to have to forfeit. I took her home about 1 with instructions to ice the finger, keep it elevated and compressed and take Aleve, and to check back with me 30 minutes before game time to see whether she’d be able to play.

When I called her back, she said she was ready, so I took her. And not only did she play, she went 6-for-6. With a grand slam.

Now, this is a kid who, to be honest, is a little bit of a hypochondriac — except where her team sports are concerned. On top of that, she has had some legitimate injuries and related issues: a bad growth-plate bruise, a chronic problem with her right ankle. And in between practices and games, we hear all about it. But when she steps over the white line, she comes to play and she plays to win. She didn’t get that from me, and I’m glad she got it somewhere.

Thursday, July 1, 2010 11:16 pm


Filed under: Fun,Victoria — Lex @ 11:16 pm
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Remember my baby girl back in the halcyon days of the late 20th century, blissfully pretending to nap in Mommy’s arms while discretely removing the jewelry from Mommy’s finger for later resale?

My baby girl has turned 12. She’s got a cell phone and a Facebook page and drama and highlights and hormones and attitude and everything.

And tomorrow night, she’s having 12 friends spend the night. Only before they spend the night, the girls are all going to see the latest cinematic installment of the Twilight tetrology tetraology oh, screw it, the third in what will be a four- five-movie series.

Hooper’s spending the night at a friend’s house, the lucky sod.

There’s one thing I’d really like to have tomorrow: a pony keg of Buckshot Amber. this:

Jacob, too, plez. kthxbai.

(Note to Facebook readers: If parts of this post seem a little weird, it’s because I did some typographical stuff that shows up on the blog but doesn’t get ported over to Facebook. Click here to see if it makes more sense.)


Saturday, February 20, 2010 2:36 pm

Aw, yeah

Filed under: Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 2:36 pm
Tags: , ,

Victoria and Hooper celebrate the arrival of not-abysmally-cold weather by having a picnic in the front yard this afternoon. Victoria’s soccer team resumes practice tomorrow afternoon, for which the predicted high is 60. Yeah, baby.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 12:29 am

The kids are all right

Filed under: Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 12:29 am
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Hooper and Victoria, January 2010

Thursday, January 7, 2010 9:59 pm

And she would know

Filed under: Fun,Victoria — Lex @ 9:59 pm

The details of how the conversation happened onto this subject are unimportant, but Victoria told me tonight that she is a member of Team Jacob.

“Really?” I said, because I’d never heard her express a preference.

“Oh, yeah,” she said. “Edward has problems. He is moody like a PMSing adolescent.”

Saturday, January 2, 2010 12:30 pm

Emptying out the camera

Filed under: Fun,Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 12:30 pm
Tags: , , ,

Some recent photos:

Hooper checks out a Christmas gift from Uncle Frank and Aunt Christine, Sunday, 12/27/09

Hooper checks out a Christmas gift from Uncle Frank and Aunt Christine, Sunday, 12/27/09

Off-balance shot from inside the van of Hooper atop a plowed pile of snow in a parking lot.

Off-balance shot from inside the van of Hooper atop a plowed pile of snow in a parking lot.

Hooper gets to go snowboarding for the first time in his life, 12/19/09.

Hooper gets to go snowboarding for the first time in his life, 12/19/09.

Victoria prepares to give Hooper a push-off on his first-ever day of sledding, 12/19/09.

Victoria prepares to give Hooper a push-off on his first-ever day of sledding, 12/19/09.

Friday, November 27, 2009 12:38 pm

Why so many siblings grow up hating each other

Filed under: Fun,Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 12:38 pm
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That said, Victoria still giggles about the time, shortly after we brought Hooper home from the hospital, when we were changing his diaper and he peed on her.

(h/t: Jill)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 9:08 pm

Disturbing Things My Daughter Says, cont.

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 9:08 pm

“I’m the longest sizzler in the flutes.”

Thursday, August 13, 2009 10:12 pm

$32 for all this good cheer

Filed under: Fun,Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 10:12 pm
Tags: , ,

Renewed my driver’s license today.

Victoria: In the new picture, your face isn’t as round. In fact, it’s really bony and craggy.

Hooper: Daddy, can I have your old license for when you die? [V. and I look at him funny.] What? I would miss him, so I want something to remember him by after he’s gone!

Hmph. When *I* was a kid, we didn’t even HAVE people

Filed under: Fun,Victoria — Lex @ 8:44 am

Victoria: Maybe you can come over on Thursday!

Friend: OK!

Victoria: I’ll have my people call your people!

Friend: And I’ll have my people talk to them!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009 8:02 pm

We’re gonna need yots of storage

Filed under: Fun,Geek-related issues,Victoria — Lex @ 8:02 pm

I’m mentally still measuring computer storage capacity in gigabytes. A gigabyte is 1,000 megabytes, or 10 to the ninth power bytes. One thousand gigabytes is a terabyte, or 10 to the 12th power bytes. I hadn’t even gotten around yet to wondering what comes after terabytes. But thanks to the Federation of American Scientists, I now know that 10 to the 24th power bytes is a yottabyte.

And how many bytes is that? Yots:

If one byte of data were used to image one square meter of the Earth’s surface [and if it were, then the picture resolution would be lousy, but let’s work with them here — Lex], then 1.6 Yottabytes would be generated by imaging the entire surface of the Earth every second for a hundred years, the [defense advisory committee] report explained.

This will be very easy for me to remember because of something that happened around the time of Victoria’s third birthday. I asked her what she wanted as a birthday present and she said, “Bayoons, Daddy! Yots and yots of bayoons!”

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 8:33 am

They came, they read, they conquered, cont.

Filed under: Salute!,Victoria — Lex @ 8:33 am
Tags: ,

Victoria is on her school’s Battle of the Books team. In Battle of the Books, teams from different schools compete to answer questions about books on a preassigned reading list. Earlier, her team won a scrimmage against one of the local private schools. On Monday, her team came in first in the district, topping 29 other schools. Yay, team!

Friday, February 27, 2009 8:19 pm

She came, she read, she conquered

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 8:19 pm

Victoria is on her school’s Battle of the Books team. In Battle of the Books, teams of students are assigned a list of books to read, then are quizzed head-to-head on info from those books. It’s a little like College Bowl or Quiz Bowl, only focusing on one reading list.

V’s school will be competing in the countywide competition. Today, her team scrimmaged one of the private schools here in town. And her team won, 165-128. Booyah!

Thursday, January 22, 2009 8:15 am

Davidson 83, Furman 43

Filed under: Victoria,Wildcats — Lex @ 8:15 am
Tags: , ,

Took Victoria down to see the Davidson-Furman game last night. I’m perfectly good with blowouts, and that’s what this one was. Davidson led by as much as 48 points late.

Here’s Victoria with the Wildcat statue across from Belk Arena before the game:

Victoria with the wildcat statue outside Belk Arena vs. Furman, 1/21/09

Victoria with the wildcat statue outside Belk Arena vs. Furman, 1/21/09

Here’s Victoria with her face painted:

Victorias cat-claw face paint vs. Furman, 1/21/09

Victoria's cat-claw face paint vs. Furman, 1/21/09

And after the game, Stephen Curry (30 points, 5 rebounds, at least 2 steals) was officially recognized as the Sporting News 2008 College Athlete of the Year:

Stephen Curry is officially recognized as Sporting News 2008 College Athlete of the Year

Stephen Curry is officially recognized as Sporting News' 2008 College Athlete of the Year

V. had a blast, the ‘Cats won big and Steph got some well-deserved recognition. It’s all good.

Monday, January 12, 2009 9:40 pm

Victoria the cartoonist

Filed under: Fun,Victoria — Lex @ 9:40 pm

I promised a while back that I would post the book that Victoria made and gave to me for Christmas. So here it is:

Sunday, December 7, 2008 6:16 pm

Not just a pretty face and a scary soccer defender

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 6:16 pm
Tags: , ,

Victoria has taken part this fall in a program called Girls on the Run, which combines lessons and discussions on smart decision-making with, well, running. It culminated Saturday with her running in her first 5K, the annual Mistletoe Run over in Winston-Salem. I had to take Hooper to be in the Jaycees Holiday Parade with his Cub Scout pack, so I didn’t get to see her. Here’s what I do get to see, though:

Bein’ thankful for family

Filed under: Fun,Victoria — Lex @ 6:08 pm

One I’ve only now pulled off the cell phone:

The four Alexander girls, plus Franks girlfriends daughter, gather to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. I had a shot of Whitney with an enormous turkey leg in her mouth, looking like something out of a Renaissance Fair, but it was too blurred to use.

The four Alexander girls, plus Frank's girlfriend's daughter, gather to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. I had a shot of Whitney with an enormous turkey leg in her mouth, looking like something out of a Renaissance Fair, but it was too blurred to use.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 11:10 pm

Unintended consequences

Filed under: Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 11:10 pm
Tags: ,

Victoria: Daddy, Hooper was playing Minesweeper on Mommy’s laptop when he wasn’t supposed to be!

Hooper: Well! No massages for you!

Victoria: Massages? You’ve never given me a massage!

Hooper: No more!

Thursday, November 13, 2008 11:18 pm

Communication; or, How she stays one step ahead of us*

Filed under: Fun,Victoria — Lex @ 11:18 pm

Memie: I’m getting ready to teach a Sunday school class. It’s going to be on couples communication.

Victoria: Couples communication? Is that when a couple looks at each other and raises their eyebrows because they think that way the children won’t understand?

Memie: (Pause) Well, it can mean that. Are you onto your parents’ raised eyebrows?

Victoria: Yep.

Memie: Well, maybe they need to find another language to communicate stuff like that.

Victoria: I know a little French. And a lot of Spanish.

Memie: Maybe your mom and dad should learn German, then.

Victoria: *I* can learn German.

*Dialogue only approximately accurate.

Thursday, November 6, 2008 9:43 pm

How they think

Filed under: Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 9:43 pm
Tags: ,

Victoria: Daddy, can I have some Halloween candy for dessert? In light of the economy?

* * *

Hooper (reading aloud from verb-tense homework): “‘The turtle will trick the spider.’ Well, that’s gotta be future, because turtles and spiders can’t talk yet.”

Saturday, October 25, 2008 5:38 pm

Family portrait

Filed under: Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 5:38 pm
Tags: ,

Perhaps the first shot of the four of us together since Disney World in ’05. Not sure what led Hooper to put his finger in his mouth ….

Alexander girls, July 4

Filed under: Fun,Victoria — Lex @ 5:32 pm
Tags: ,

Jordan, Victoria and Taylor ride in Montreat’s July 4 parade as Papaw’s Princesses. Papaw is driving the T-bird; fortunately, the reflections on the windshield hide his visage from unwary viewers.

And they didn’t even scream all that much

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 5:14 pm
Tags: ,

Victoria with friends at her Nancy Drew slumber party. We got the Nancy Drew solve-a-mystery game for her off eBay, but it was apparently so old that the online component had cobwebbed. But a good time was had by all, they actually got to bed at a reasonable hour and very few of the kids’ possessions were forgotten when they left.

Monday, October 13, 2008 7:34 pm

Buttercups 2, Sharks 1

Filed under: Buttercups,Victoria — Lex @ 7:34 pm
Tags: , ,

The Buttercups have played this team twice already — with only four teams in the league and an eight-game season, they play two teams three times each and a third twice. This was the closest of the three games, and the Sharks led much of the way. In their loss two weeks ago (no games last weekend), all the Buttercups had looked very tired, very slow to the ball and pretty uninspired. They looked a lot better today until about the last five minutes, and even then there were individual bright spots.

Victoria, in contrast to the team, played a bit slow in the first half, but she stepped it up in the second. She also spent an uneventful quarter in goal.

Monday, October 6, 2008 4:47 pm

Panthers 34, Chiefs 0, Victoria 1

Filed under: Panthers,Victoria — Lex @ 4:47 pm
Tags: ,
Victoria picks up a Panthers logo before their game against the Chiefs, 10/5/08

Victoria picks up a Panthers logo before their game against the Chiefs, 10/5/08

Victoria got to go to her first Panthers game on Sunday, and what a game it was. The Panthers killed the Chiefs, primarily on the strength of their running game. It was hot, but V. hung in there. When I get a chance, I’ll add a couple of other photos that she and I took.

Update: Here’s sunset from the evening before. Both of these were shot on my cell phone — not bad quality, all things considered. (I shot them at 1280×960.)

Sunset over Lake Norman, Davidson, N.C., 10/4/08

Sunday, September 28, 2008 10:37 pm

Panthers 24, Falcons 9

Filed under: Panthers,Victoria — Lex @ 10:37 pm
Tags: ,

Any win is a good win, but today’s win against Atlanta was about as bad a good win as it is possible to get.

The AP this morning was very high on the Panthers’ performance. And, yes, the stats were good, particularly yards after the catch for both Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad, which boosted Jake Delhomme’s passing yardage.

But the Panthers were fortunate their 11 penalties didn’t make the game much closer, if not lose it for them. Twelve penalties inside Minnesota’s dome might just barely be understandable given the crowd noise, but 11 penalties in Bank of America stadium is just idiotic. And the football gods aren’t likely to be as forgiving if the Panthers pull a stunt like that again.

That’s particularly true if the team doesn’t get its starting tackles back quickly. Both Jordan Gross and Jonathan Jeff Otah left the game. I think I said before the season that the jobs of a whole lot of Panther staff could be riding on the health of Otah’s ankle — he was recovering from a high sprain in the offseason — and losing Gross for any length of time will damage both run game and passing protection.

Speaking of run game, Jonathan Stewart and Deangelo Williams combined for barely a hundred yards against a defense that spent a lot of time sitting back waiting for the pass. I don’t know whether that was because of the O-line problems or because Atlanta’s run defense was just that good. But it’s troubling nonetheless.

On the plus side, the D held star Atlanta running back Michael Turner to 56 yards on 18 carries. They’ll need to do as well or better against Kansas City, whose Larry Johnson rushed for 198 today as Kansas City didn’t just upset Denver, they beat the snot out of them.

I’m going, and Victoria is coming with me. This will be her first Panthers game, and she’s jazzed. Raise a child up in the way that she should go, and when she is old she will not stray from it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 7:43 am

Of Fusion, Buttercups and Panthers

Filed under: Hooper,Panthers,Victoria — Lex @ 7:43 am
Tags: , ,

Fusion: Won 8-1. Minute to minute the game never seemed like a runaway, but that’s what it ended up being. Hooper didn’t score and spent one uneventful quarter in goal.

Buttercups: Lost 3-0. The team lacked energy and quickness, and it didn’t possess the ball much as a result.

Panthers: Lost 20-10 and stunk up the joint in the process. I was doing yard work and didn’t see the game; just as well.

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