The Hess Report

Friday, January 27, 2006

Ten Things Jack Bauer Will Surely Never Say 

Someone else did a list of these, but I thought it was mediocre at best.

Is mine less lame? I'm not sure, but I'll bet my editor will tell me later!

Ten Things Jack Bauer Will Surely Never Say:

10. Relax. We've got plenty of time

9. Why don't you try "Please?" That's always worked for me.

8. Can't we all sit down and talk about this?

7. Edgar, I can't understand a word you're saying.

6. Who does someone have to kill to get a decent cup of tea around here?

5. Nah, I'm not our only chance! There's, like, fifteen other guys who could do it.

4. Where's my blanket and bunny? I'm not leaving this facility until I have my blanket and bunny!

3. I'd like to help you out, but Numb3rs is on tonight, and you know how I feel about Rob Morrow.

2. Come on guys... doesn't anyone around here care about protocols but me? Guys?

1. Hi kids. I'm Jack Bauer, and today we're going to talk about our changing bodies.

Monday, January 16, 2006


grace n.: 1. the ability not to mention the fact that you said the Steelers would beat the Colts, even though everyone at work said you were wrong. 2. a quality Roland lacks today.

Friday, January 13, 2006

What Must People Think of Me? 

Several things recently have caused me to seriously speculate on the question "What do people think about me," or, more to the point "what in the world were they thinking?"

1. At a church meeting between parents and our hired consultant on children's ministries, one couple who I've had contact with many times seemed to be shocked that I'm a technical/web/engineering* type. It wasn't just like "oh, that's what you do." It was more like "What?! You?! We had no idea." Weird. I'm curious as to what they thought I did.

* As a sign of respect to several of my good friends who actually went to an Engineering school, I note for the record that I am not, in fact, an engineer. I just play one on the Internet.

2. The owner of the company that I work for and I met up at the coffee machine the other day. He and I have had a great number of conversations over the last several years and run into each other several times a week. When he saw me getting coffee, his response was kind of shocked, like the aforementioned church goers. "You're a coffee drinker?" he said, a bit incredulous. Kind of like he'd just caught me skinning a live dolphin. "You're a dolphin skinner?" But then, we talked about shooting Democrats and stuff like that, so it was back to normal for us.

The odd thing about both of these instances, and what got me thinking, was that being a tech/web/geek person and drinking coffee are both perfectly normal, rather common things. The fact that both parties went out of their way to express surprise makes me really wonder what kind of profile they originally had of me.

3. And finally: It has been expressed by people close to me that when I am engaged in a verbal disagreement, my tone of voice and demeanor are the equivalent of someone about to jump headlong into a raging gun battle. And this is despite the fact that I very much enjoy verbal sparring matches and argumentative point-for-point disagreement, and rarely if almost never actually become upset by them. Apparently the effect is so pronounced that even those who know me very well, and know the softishness in my heart, run for the hills when I get going.

So, what am I really? If you go by the perceptions of the people around me, I must be a caffeine-averse Luddite with a mean streak a mile wide and a penchant for shooting first and asking questions later. But we all know that's not true. Well, I know it's not true. I drink coffee and technology for breakfast, and don't harbor ill will toward almost any individual that I can think of.

I'm reminded of one episode of the Smurfs, where Brainy Smurf kept calling himself "Brainy Smurf, Friend To All The Animals." Of course, the animals weren't going for that crap at all, and kept running over him, smashing him in various ways, and giving lie to his repeated claims of friendship.

But am I poor deluded Brainy Smurf, declaring that I'm friend to all animals, or am I the animals themselves, stampeding over the ill-conceived notions of others?

I'm not sure, but I still wish there had been a Farty Smurf. That would have been funny.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

President Hess 

Maddie's second grade class did an assignment in which they wrote about what they would do if they were President of the United States. Here are her responses (original form elements appear in bold):

As president, I will work to make sure no one gets murdered or no one steals because if I found out who it was, they would go into jail!

As president, I will stop some drugs, cigarettes, homework, and cure poison snake bites!

I want to be remembered as a president who cares, helps, and has fun!

Clearly, there's a lot of work to do to get her around to a libertarian point of view. That last answer kinds of sounds like President Clinton's tag line for his personal ads, which isn't a poor relfection on her (she's eight), but kind of the other way around.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Festival of Goodness and Light 

After several attempts (which we bailed on due to the enormous amount of traffic), we finally managed to get to the Hartwood Acres Festival of Lights tonight. It's always neat to see, especially after New Year's when attendance drops off dramatically, and you can take your time - or fly through - as you see fit.

For those unfamiliar with it, the Festival of Lights is a 3.5 mile winding drive through a great county park which is decorated with some very cool animated Christmas light displays. It's also ten minutes from our house. The girls like to wear their pajamas for the trip.

This year, we decided to grab a bite to eat before heading to the Festival, and the girls still wanted to wear their pajamas, so I told them they could take them along and change in the car after we left the restaurant. It was at that point that on-the-ball!Joy reminded me that we were coming home between restaurant and Festival, in order to pick up her royal highness Lady Piper of the Pants. She's only a dog, but we figured she had never seen that many Christmas lights before.

So, I rescinded my initial proclamation that the girls could dress in the car on the way to Hartwood. Maddie was fine with that, but Lucy had, in the span of the last two minutes, romanticized the notion of changing clothes inside the car and was extremely disappointed. She was polite about it, though, and as we've been working on maintaining our decorum when things don't go our way, I rewarded her by telling her that she could in fact dress in the car while Maddie dressed in the house. One of things I've found that works very well as a parent is that if you say "No" or "Yes" on the actual merits of a request, rather than for your own personal convenience (which is always a temptation), you'll get a lot more respect when the supplicant disagrees with your ruling.

Having packed Lucy's pajamas in the car then, we headed to the restaurant. As we reached the parking lot, Lucy began explaining to us why she really wanted to dress in the car, as opposed to just dressing inside like her sister would soon be doing.

"Guys," she said, "it's because I just wanted us to get there faster, and I figured that if I went inside to get dressed more cars would get in front of us in line. So, you know. I just wanted us to get there faster."

And for those of you not personally familiar with Lucy, the world's funniest five year old, that's more or less a direct quote.

It's always interesting to me how our kids attempt to come up with pleasing explanations for stuff they just simply want. Maddie does it for kid's meals in fast food places: "Really. I don't care about the toy. I just like the food they have in the meal. I think it's a better deal, too. The toy doesn't interest me."


It's not like brutal!Joy and I constantly bombard them with toe-the-line threats or anything. Well, at least not that we'd admit on this blog. Most of the time, the kids just really want to please us, and sometimes, when they feel they may have wrangled some kind of concession from us (eg. changing clothes in the car), they feel the need to come up with all kinds of altruistic fantasies to justify themselves. I don't know about you, but I find childhood self-aggrandizement and delusion so freaking cute.

And, as we walked into the restaurant, Lucy just kept going on and on about what a great favor she was doing for us by dressing in the car. I was holding her hand, and I leaned down and whispered:

"Lucy, it's okay to just like what you like."

She pulled my hand to her little lips and planted a kiss.

"I love you, Dad. Thanks for letting me get dressed in the car."

"Not a problem," I thought about saying, but didn't really, because I don't always have to have to last word.