Saturday, August 02, 2008're just a head case

Ah, the victim mentality. Too often, when reading a victim's dramatic tale of woe, you feel as though it's not just the facts being manipulated; you, the reader, are being manipulated as well. You may wonder - does the author really believe it, or is it simply a means to achieve an end? Manipulation seems to be the key for pawning culprit as victim, and the experienced manipulative mind is fertile ground for such a victim mentality.

For these "victims", concepts like reality and history are mere functions of ego, which these mental gymnasatics are ultimately designed to prop up and protect. And although ignoring one's role in problems is far easier than, say, accepting your share of responsibility for a given situation, such exercises in cognitive dissonance must be remarkably exhausting.

Friday, August 01, 2008

You're no Neko Case...

Hey, they were no Neko Case, but these guys rocked out Schooley Mill Park tonight. It was a perfect night for a free concert, followed by a pickup game of kickball.

But what's that you say? What would I have rather been doing? Truth be told, watching some of this...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Humbility Knocks

The Academy was graced with a visit from the Howard County Building Inspector today. It seems our little capital improvement project on the north grounds has attracted some attention. The inspector was very gracious, and agreement was quickly reached regarding the issue in question. Our guest walked the grounds around the entire perimeter of the campus. After his little stroll, the headmaster was visibly relieved - fortunately the inspector hadn't stopped to comment on the gas line which the headmaster roughed in over the weekend for the fire pit. After all, how much humbility can a headmaster take in one day?

Hercule Poirot: "I am learning, Hastings. It is more English, yes, the humbleness? So, I am learning. I shall be the most humble person in the world. No one will match Hercule Poirot for his humbility."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Good Fences Make Mad Neighbors

Howard County building codes aside, I've been working on this fence for a couple of months now. Let's review progress, shall we? My goal is to block people from wandering into the back yard and falling into the swimming pool - thus, I must install 32 linear feet of fence on the side yard. After two months of back-breaking work, I have 8 feet blocked, though the fence there is not complete. Say wha?

Today, my neighbor interrupted his vacation in Kitty Hawk to call and ask me if I'd made any progress on the fence. Uh oh. I think that qualifies this project as a high priority for them. HEY, WHEN DO I GET A FREAKIN' VACATION, HUH?!

OK, so I'm slow. I'm half a century old for chrissakes. Give me a break - I knew some of these rocks when they were just kids...

Friday, June 06, 2008

Boyz in the 'Hood

Girls are noisy. They fuss and they fight all the time. They wear noisy "clacky" shoes. The simplest of incidents are fodder for melodramatic wails, complete with real tears. They scream when they're happy, scream when they're scared, scream when they're surprised, and scream when they just feel like screaming. Conversationally, they have boys beat by tens of decibals. Its enough to make the Headmaster run for sanctuary several times a day, into the "Man Room". He may even do a load of laundry or two while he's in there.

But one thing girls rarely do is jolt you with heart-stopping, horrific surprises. That's the specialty of the all-male student body of the Academy. While a max-extract spin cycle might drown out the bone jarring sound of a barbie-doll fight, nothing will soothe the nerves after finding a plastic sandwich bag full of worms. Dead worms. Worms roasting in their plastic death-sauna for an undetermined number of days. Yeah. Only time can heal that memory. Lots of time, and lots of liquor.

When the Headmaster entertains, the last thing he wants to hear from a guest is speculative inquiry into whether something may have crawled behind some furniture and died. In fact, in hindsight, it was an excellent way to describe the smell of bagged dead worms. And, as he later found out, an oddly appropriate description of actual events.

Since getting close enough to take a photo of this grisly scene would have required overcoming the strong gag reflex, and since looking at such a photo would require the same of you, the Headmaster has chosen to spare the details. So, in the spirit of providing visual support for all blog posts, please enjoy these pictures of something the boys dragged home today. (mental note - must visit liquor store)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

What's behind YOUR trees?

Its been a rather expensive week around the Academy grounds. And its all because of the number one enemy facing Americans today - TREES.

Before we go shrinking the government down so that it fits in, say, a bathtub, we should marshall our federal resources and mobilize our military heroes in a domestic "Shock and Awe" program against all conifers and deciduous-ers. These things are a menace. I mean, you can't see what's going on behind them - and that's just what the terrorists want.

Earlier this week, while backing the truck across the West grounds to get another load of tree debris (oh yeah, we've graduated from brush-clearing to tree-clearing - those Texans are such wimps), an innocent-looking Bradford Pear tree jumped right out in back of me! I'd like to see that Geico Gecko explain THAT one.

This evening a wicked storm ripped through the area (at least, that's what the terrorists want us to think). Down came this huge Linden tree in the East Pavilion, taking out a Leyland Cypress in its path. The wind snapped the tree right in two. I'm feeling safer already...

Uh... He-hello?

Uh... he-hello? Is this thing on? Is anyone there?

Huh. First post since November last year. I gotta give a quick shout-out to all the people who've maintained links to this blog. You know you've thought more than once about taking them down...

The Headmaster's, er - head, is swimming with all the construction projects he's started since then. Of course, none are finished, but I suspect you knew that. And speaking of swimming, did you know that according to Howard County building codes, if you own a swimming pool you must maintain a fence (minimum 48" high) around the pool perimeter, with a locked gate? Huh. The Headmaster tried to get a variance for a cracked, leaky swimming pool, but they weren't swayed by his argument that, should someone actually fall in, the pool would virtually drain its entire 40,000 gallons within a week anyway.

So, we're all about getting the fence done before the new neighbors move in. They have toddlers. FREAKIN' TODDLERS! JUST WHAT THE HELL WE NEED MORE OF AROUND HERE!! Okaaaay.... deep breath... serenity now..... There... (mental note - must stop at liquor store)

Anyway, I've cleared a bunch of brush out of the side yard. Hey...

- from New England
- able to speak with a Texas twang
- clears brush
- never served in the military
- never REALLY went to college

...I think I'm fully qualified to become President! Oops, no wait... not hearing voices from God yet. Except for that time He told me to quit my job and stay home. No wait, I think that was my boss.

Anyway, I've taken down the old fence and I'm starting to dig the holes for the concrete footers. Woah! Concrete footers you say? Did you say concrete footers?! Hey, we don't do anything half-assed here in Texas - er, at the Academy. Plus, I need to do something with those three tons of field stone that have been holding my driveway in place for more than a year now. So, here are some pics, and plans. Stay tuned...

Here is an elevation of the fence plan - four stone pillars flanking tongue-and-groove cedar sections...

If you recall, this was how we started this whole thing. Note the old stockade fence...

And here we're all trimmed up, fence down, and ready to begin...