wheel in the sky keeps on turnin'...

...and if life imitated music, i wouldn't know where i'll be tomorrow. however, at this particular moment that doesn't appear to be the case. tomorrow will find me once more upon the road at a very early hour, first northbound to deliver Loren unto his other home front (where i trust he'll meet with no sudden illness to prevent his attending school) and then southbound to do battle once more upon whatever steel minions await a taste of my carbide blade (as it were). [note: this posted after midnight, but for me, it's still Sunday night --inf]

Friday the 13th lived up to the hype last week. the air compressor that fried at the end of the work day Thursday brought the shop to a standstill before anyone got there (i saw this coming), and the forklift sprouted a hydraulic leak- bad timing considering we had to move 6 months of accumulated crap away from another CNC machine, mothballed since long before i began working there, which they had someone coming in to work on that day. they're talking about running a second shift, or maybe having me start early from now on so they can keep the machine i'm running most of the time running more of the time. that was an interesting sentence to type. the owner, Scott, bought a new part to replace the one that fried on the compressor and i went on a mission to Home Depot for some brass pipe fittings to get it all hooked up, and fixed it with Nic. the same guy who came out to work on the hydraulic systems for the CNC machine also fixed the hydraulic leak on the forklift; it was only a blown hose, an easy fix. three of us moved everything that could be moved by hand away from the CNC machine, no small feat. lack of manpower contributed to a large accumulation of unorganized stuff (read: bigass pile of crap) in that area. at some point someone needs to step up and organize that shop. it's one of my strong points (i've done it in most of the shops i've worked in- i have a low tolerance for disorganization in a shop environment) but my experience tells me it's going to be a monumental undertaking in that place. picture large piles of drill bits thrown together in a drawer without regard for size, then extrapolate throughout the entire shop with every conceivable form of tool and material present. it would take someone a solid week to put a sizable dent in the mess. sooner or later the bullet's going to have to be bitten by someone.

speaking of organization (like the segue?) Loren's notebook was clean and well organized at the end of the school week, and he turned in all the missing work it was possible to get credit for, just like i asked him to. i stopped off on the way home from picking him up at his mom's and bought him a pack of cards (which played carrot to one-week-of-no-TV's stick). bought us both a slurpee too- just the trick considering it was a little muggy and warmer than it's been. Loren mentioned he remembered the time he got a slurpee with me when he was really little and he dropped it on the way out of the store, spilling it all over the pavement. i think he was around 4 then. he was really upset at the time, but he bucked right up when i gave him mine- which he also remembered. i'm guessing that's one memory that'll stick with him if he still remembers it.

this weekend went by quickly. Loren and i spent much of it in the company of family. Friday night we spent eating a little frozen pizza and taking in the last two new episodes of Star Trek to be aired for the forseeable future. the first was the conclusion of a storyline begun last week, and the last was an interesting close to the series, depicting the formation of an alliance which would eventually become the United Federation of Planets. the entire episode was tied in to the ST:TNG episode in which Riker wrestled with a question of honor, as one of the minority of survivors in the ill-fated, and subsequently covered-up, testing of a banned cloaking device aboard his former ship, the Pegasus. in the ST:TNG episode, upon the rediscovery of the formerly lost Pegasus, though sworn to secrecy concerning the incident, Riker eventually chose to inform his current commander, Captain Picard, of the circumstances surrounding the ship's disappearance. in the ST:Enterprise episode, Riker used a holodeck simulation of the Enterprise's final days to both objectively watch the historic events and interactively participate with the crew members (posing as the ship's chef) in order to gain some insight before making his decision about whether to reveal his knowledge of the Pegasus incident. it was an interesting choice to tie the final ST:Enterprise episode in with an existing episode of the ST:TNG series; it was also strange to see Johnathon Frakes and Marina Sirtis portray their ST:TNG characters from an existing episode after so much time has passed- they've both visibly aged since the ST:TNG episode, but the producers ignored that fact and executed the storyline without trying to hide their difference in age. it was pretty khoul to see Picard's Enterprise depicted again in the final ST:Enterprise episode.

after TV, Loren and i spent a very short time reading The Wishsong of Shannara again; he was pretty disappointed when i fell asleep before making much progress. again he spent some time making an effort to wake me up, with very limited success. by the time i actually woke up enough that i might have been able to continue, it was well past time for him to hit the sack. this is getting to be something of a habit on Friday nights, and he's not pleased with me. i hate feeling like i've let him down.

Saturday morning came early for me (i'd certainly gotten enough sleep) and i woke up well before him for a change. i let him sleep in. we got ready in time to head out to Ethan's soccer game, his second of the season. Nichole asked me to referee the game, but i declined. then the light bulb appeared over my head and i suggested she ask Loren. he agreed, and was granted the whistle. Ethan's league is a non-results-oriented affair, as they're all between the ages of 5 and 7, and it's a pretty informal game setting. Nichole and Chris sum up the experience for the kids as, "At this point, it's all about the snack," which is both accurate for 90% of the kids and funny. Mom and Dad were there, and Cole (who was a bundle of energy throughout the game, and showed a remarkable amount of restraint for a 2 yr old boy who likes nothing more than a ball of any variety). my folks invited Loren and i out to dinner, with no real plan in mind, and in the end all questions of where and when and how were left up to Loren. he chose dinner in, at Gramma & Grampa's at around 6pm. we went home in the meantime and Loren promptly went out to hook up with his friend Josh. he traded some of his Dragonball Z CCG cards to Josh for a whole slew of Josh's Yu-Gi-Oh cards, a deal i tried repeatedly to nix. Josh suggested it himself, but i figured he'd regret it eventually- it wasn't even close to a fair trade. evidently Josh's (15 yr old) sister agreed and told him he needed to get something more than the three cards of Loren's he'd bargained for. Loren was accommodating and they reached a deal which Loren still ended up quite comfortably on the better end of. soon we were on the road to Gramma & Grampa's. barbecued chicken, mashed potatoes and peas were the fare of the evening, and Loren watched some cartoons while we all caught up a bit. we played a few games of Uno, with Loren's attention (and mine) divided between the game and the Star Wars Clone Wars cartoons on TV. Mom won the first two games, with Dad coming in second both times, and Loren and i split the games for third place. then we retired to the dining room table to play a couple more, Dad winning one, me winning the second. my apologies to all the seriously die-hard Uno fans for my appalling failure to remember which of us took 2nd, 3rd, and last place in those final two games- simply shocking, i know. it was a relaxing evening, and we all enjoyed ourselves, including Chowder, who in the absence of my Most Excellent nephews wasn't outside the whole time due to Cole's unbridled fear. then it was back home for Loren and i, arriving well after bedtime, but we ignored the hour and made up for Friday night, reading a fairly sizable chunk of our aforementioned book despite the impressive bruise-blue circles under Loren's very tired eyes.

the next morning (this morning) saw Loren downstairs watching cartoons when i finally rose around 11am- a respectable beginning to a rainy Sunday. Loren and i made our traditional Sunday Big Brunch, pancakes, eggs and sausage, while we listened to acid jazz streaming over Rhapsody radio. we both put our noses in our books while we ate. Loren's nearly finished with Magician:Apprentice and i've just begun the 4th book in the same series, A Darkness at Sethanon. Loren watched some more cartoons and examined more closely the cards he gained in his latest bartering session. i cleaned up the brunch mess while he gathered his Lord of the Rings edition Risk game so we could start a new battle. i knew we'd never finish it (especially considering it's been long enough since we played we had to make a thorough trip through the rule book) but it was good to start a new game. sometimes it's fun to get into a game that's going to take a long time to finish. we broke from the game to watch the Sonics thoroughly trounce the Spurs in game 4 of their 2nd round NBA playoff series, at Key Arena. the first two games were in San Antonio and the Sonics lost them both, then the Spurs came here and lost the next two. an impressive team effort propelled the Sonics to beat the Spurs soundly without Radmonovic or Lewis. Radmonovic went down in San Antonio, for at least the remainder of this series, with a severely sprained ankle. in the same game, Ray Lewis went out less than two minutes later with his own sprained ankle. he was able to return for the next game, albeit fairly hampered. Lewis went down in the first Seattle game, with some sort of toe problem. everyone seemed to come up big for this game though, including Damien Wilkins in an impressive showing, especially defensively, especially from a rookie, from the bench. Luke Ridnour finally got some shots to fall, including 15 points in a great third quarter. the Sonics managed to make the Spurs play their game, a crazy game bordering on out-of-control at times, which seems to work for them. at the start of the game, Loren intended to read his book on and off while watching, but he couldn't help watching the whole thing play out. i get the impression he really likes watching basketball, more than most sports, which is great in my book. basketball's by far my favorite sport to watch, and you can't help but think Loren's going to get something out of watching the pros play (besides the plain old fun of watching the Sonics!). i really hope he plays basketball next year, it was fantastic watching him out on the court last time around.

after the game it was time for a simple dinner, some fish sticks and tater tots, and we watched some more of the Trigun DVD series lent us by my friend and co-worker Nic Crowner. thanks Nic! the farther we get into the series, the better it gets. all too soon it was time for Loren to shower up, and then we retired to the couch for the last of this weekend's Shannara sessions. no, i didn't fall asleep or i wouldn't be sitting here typing ;)

that brings us up to date, and it's time to crash. i'm sorely tempted to ignore my fatigue, have another cup of coffee, and dig a bit further into A Darkness at Sethanon....but damned if 4:30am doesn't come earlier than it did when i was a spry young whippersnapper of, say, 35.

PEACE and a good week to all.

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