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It's been a little heavy lately here and that needs to get remedied; stat. So, today I'm simply going to bitch up a storm about this new fad I'm seeing on web pages. As I'm perusing the internets and coming across various interesting articles I'm noticing a silly trend where the designer thinks it's a good idea to duplicate text in the main article in this huge center aligned font.

A good idea to duplicate
text in the main article

What is the point of this? Are we catering to such a "instant gratification" society that we now don't even expect people to read the article - or maybe put two or three of these huge-o text blocks so that when visitors come to your page they can say they read it even though they only read 3 sentences?

When visitors come
to your page they can
say they read it

I, for one, think this is a crap design choice meant to a) make you look like you have more content than you actually do, and 2) allow people to think they are knowledgeable in whatever topic you're writing about and be a lazy sack of crap at the same time.

Lazy sack of crap

If you do this on your blog or your freelance article, shame on you. How about you add a little more content instead of repeating yourself again and again.

Again and again.

Happy Monday!

Happy Monday!

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I feel like blogging. 

You ever get the itch to just start tippytapping away on a keyboard for no other reason then to just be typing frantically? Maybe that's just me as I don't get afforded many opportunities to write copious amounts of text in a streaming coherent fashion. Most of my keyboard usage is limited to sentences equaling 140 characters or less, or interrupted with curly braces, ctrl-tabs, alt-enters, and double semicolons (for that extra boost of speed). 

Making intestinal issues even worse. 

Stress is a funny thing. And by "funny", I mean, stress is a huge asshole. Stress is the person you really don't want to be at your party, but they sneak in anyway, get really drunk, and the start forcing the people you do want there to leave. You know... people like "sanity", "good health", and "sleep". But stress is bigger than you and can be quite violent when provoked... so you just kind of smile it off, crack a joke or two, "Hahaha! Oh look at stress doing his thing again.", and hope to god he either passes out quickly or gets bored and leaves. 

(frosted tips AND spray tan? sign me up)

Given that my digestive system already hates me (yay auto-immune disorders), stress is even more un-welcomed because he and my disorder go together like mentos and coke. 

What stress could you possibly have?

I'm not emotionally strong when it comes to the fragility of my loved ones. Humans are very fragile beings. Sure, we can heal ourselves like a slow Wolverine... but think of what separates you from death... squishy stuff. 

Do you know why the military uses strong and hard elements to create armor and not squishy stuff to protect their assets? Yeah... squishy stuff isn't very good at protecting things. 

It's even worse when someone I love is going through a procedure where a man who I've never met will be cutting open my wife and jamming 5 robot arms into her midsection. I crack jokes about how a stranger will be up in my wife's guts... but I crack jokes because secretly I'm destroying myself inside. 

I have this thing I do...

I play hypothetical games in my head to prepare myself for any possible outcome. However, never is there a time where I focus mostly on the "everything goes great" outcome. I spend most of my time focusing on what I would do if my entire world collapsed on itself. See... if my wife were to ever be torn away from me... I would die inside. I'd physically stay around because my children need me, but I guess I'm just one of the lucky bastards who got the girl of his dreams and the thought of losing that girl hurts... a lot. 

As I explained to her... she's the Borg nanobots that have assimilated into my flesh... you can't just remove the Borg side of me without killing me in the process. I have been assimilated. 

(I wish I was this handsome)

Surgery day finally arrives...

I'm strong. The 4 males of my family have a theme song... "I am a rock... I am an island... and a rock feels no pain... and an island never cries". My wife needed me to be strong, to be there for her... she, afterall, was going to be the one going into the surgical room. 

She's a smart cookie, though, and picked up on the fact that I would be sitting in a room and waiting... for what the doctor said was going to be 2.5 hours. She laughed and counted herself the lucky one because the whole ordeal for her was just a long nap. She'd go in, fall asleep, and wake up when it was done. I, on the other hand, would be conscious the entire time... slowly counting seconds and hoping to god she'd come out ok.

It didn't take 2.5 hours... 

I got the call from one of the nurses that was assisting in the surgery. "Hi Mr. Bauer. I just wanted to give you a call and let you know that everything is fine but it's going to be about another hour."

BULLSHIT! WHAT'S WRONG?! WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY WIFE! ISABELLLLLAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

(i didn't look anything like this)

What came out of my mouth was an overly cheery and fake, "Ok! Thanks for letting me know!". As if to say, "hahaha! yes my fine dear, I am well aware everything is going to be tip top cheery-o. I will quite simply be over yonder enjoy a relaxing spot of tea."

The next hour dragged on and my stomach started turning against the spinach salad I forced down for lunch. I was feeling gassy... sour stomach... it was horrible. 

But... it didn't take another hour...

I never did get another call. At the 3.5 hour mark I got up repeatedly to check the status board and all it did was mock me with "In Operating Room" next to her code. 

What was happening? Why was she still in there? Why haven't I gotten another call? 

Terrible images of surgeons and nurses scrambling around my wife trying to resussitate her in a serious drama made for TV style as her beep beeps flat-lined, the paddles coming out... "CLEAR!" bzzzzt.

Another 2.5 hours later...

I was getting up one last time to check the board before going for another walk to try to shake my pain... my worry... to try to get rid of the nautious feeling that had taken over. The damn board still said "In Operating Room" when her surgeon ran into me. 

And you know what he had... which he piled RIGHT into my face?!

A smile.

He was smiling and I was torn. I didn't know whether to hug him because I finally knew that my wife was ok, or to punch him because he was so cheery after my body had practically digested itself. 

We talked, he explained why it took so long, told me how it went, things that they found. I think I was there for most of it. Of course I had on my best Sunday game face as if to let him know that nothing could shake me. He said I could see her in an hour.

We shook hands and went our separate ways. He to another case and I to my car. 

... and I cried...

I called my brother... my emotional rock in times of pain... someone who knows fear and uncertainty and fragility of life... and I cried like a little girl who forgot how to cry. The tears didn't want to come at first because I felt I was being weak... that I was failing at being a rock for Isabella... but they came. 

The rollercoaster, all the hypothetical games I played with myself, the stress, the pent up emotions... they just couldn't be contained any longer. 

I sat in the car and I cried. 

She's healing - I'm healing

Her body is bouncing back at an alarming rate. She was up on her feet withing 3 days. It took me about a week to get to the point where every piece of food didn't have to be choked down to avoid barfing it back up immediately. 

My parents did a good job training me to always mask your pain... to put on a mask when in front of other people. To make people think you're the top of the world even though you're more flawed then everyone else. It was a terrible lesson to be taught as a child. I'm hoping there is no "next time", but if there is I'm really going to have to stop trying to be super human on the outside. 

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First and foremost I must apologize to the one or two readers of this blog that it has been such a length of time since I've last posted. I tried to make a commitment when moving out so far away that I'd at least post a blog post frequently, and here I am almost 5 months later sitting down to write a post about lots of nothing. 

I'm not going to take this post to do a giant update of what we've been doing... I'll save that for a rainy day when I'm bored. Because right now I'm not bored. 

Right now I'm in a space of my head that I don't like. 

Sure, it's easy to always pretend that things are happy grand and terrific. You've got to put on a certain face for people so that you don't burden them with baggage. Everyone has their own baggage that they need to deal with and having to feign interest in dealing with other people's baggage is not something I like doing nor do I want other people to feel. 

Really, this post isn't for you, the reader, it's for me. It's a way for me to get thoughts out of my head in a way that doesn't waste the limited number of key strokes that I have left in my fingers (though, since this is a new keyboard I am hitting the backspace a lot). If someone just happens to read this and think "huh... me to" then my keystrokes won't be considered completely wasted.

It was the same age that Niamonster was. 

I have such a love/hate relationship with the age of 2. It's the age where a child finally starts coming to their own and finding their personality. They're interactive, loving, cuddly. They run around and say words instead of grunts, eat food with their own fingers, drink out of straws and glasses. They're even starting to be curious with using the toilet instead of dropping loads in their pants. 

But one thing is also very consistent with a child of this age. They are complete, unrelenting, persistent little shits. I have very little patience for people who choose to be bad. See, logically, I know that a child of that age does not know any better because they are still learning just what it means to be a little human. 

Logic has nothing to do with this.

When you have a child that is consistently being a holy terror for 4 hours straight, you aren't logically processing anything. You are biting your tongue, clutching that cup of coffee a wee harder than you should be, you are walking to the other room so that you don't "accidentally" smash their face into a wall. 

I have a breaking point, and my son took me to it today. He woke me up at 7 with his yelling, he was throwing toast around, hitting his sister, and screaming when he didn't get his way. He was actively ignoring any direction I gave him and would purposely wait until I wasn't looking to go get in other trouble. 

It got to the point where he screamed in anger one too many times at my wife and I snapped. I hopped up out of my chair, wrapped my arm around his chest under his arms, and carried him to his "timeout" chair. 

"Uh... Shank... that's pretty normal, it's called discipline."

Yeah... but here's the deal. I yelled. It wasn't loud yelling. It wasn't "daddy getting attention" yelling. It was anger. I was mad... nay... pissed. My son was being someone that I despise. He's freaking not even two years old yet... and the thing is... I don't anger yell. Ever! It's not something I do. I manipulate, I subvert, I redirect, I get sarcastic... but I don't yell when I'm angry. 

Since I don't yell, my kids never hear that voice. He heard it and it scared the be-jesus out of him. Which, on one hand, good... but on the other, he's probably now scared of me. That's no good.

At a certain age, I miss the "still a kid" thing.

Once my kids start interacting with me, I forget that they are still little drunk monkeys. I figure in my head that since they can carry on conversations with me that they should start acting like adults. Dumb. I know. But when it comes to emotionally heated moments you forget logic and reason, and you go with the first thing by muscle memory. 

It's not just him I scared

My wife is strong, beautiful, and charismatic. She's overcome things in life that you don't talk about because of how uncomfortable it makes people. You know... those things you sweep under the rug for generations, she was vocal about and triumphed. I've learned to not use my "angry voice", not just because I believe children should never experience, but because it takes my wife to a place in her head that she shouldn't be. 

It turns me, albeit temporarily, into one of the demons that she's spent her whole life surviving. 

And that, my dear readers, is why I'm in a bad head space right now. 

Regret is a terrible hangover. It clouds you and makes you think about things that you know are illogical... it takes your happiness and craps all over it. It's like an IV of depression slowly dripping into your veins. I've found that the best way to rip the needle out of your skin and start getting over regret is to admit and apologize to those affected by your decisions. 

To the wife of today and BMan of the future:

I'm sorry I allowed myself to grow horns and turn into a demon that will haunt you. That isn't me and certainly isn't someone that I want to be. I won't promise it won't happen again because I fail at perfection, but I do promise that if it does happen again, the horns will be a little smaller and the voice a little quieter.

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My wife's birthdays depress me.
(whoa, ShankRabbit, you're such a dick)

Ok... hold on... let me explain, because it really isn't totally about birthdays as it is more about large holidays in which my wife should be the center of attention. 

First, you have to understand that my wife is amazing. I know that lots of men say that about their wives, but here me out - my wife is one of those wives that lots of men wish they had. "Well, not everyone has it as good as you...", I have heard many times before. 

Even her flaws, which like every human she has, just seem to fit well with my flaws. If I may quote some lyrics of a song I enjoy, "what's wrong with you is good with what's wrong with me"

And that is precisely why it's depressing. 

Whether self-inflicted or a pattern of middle class life, I feel stretched way too thin. There's always so much going on, so much poop to clean up, so many spills on the floor, so much work to do, so many last minute timelines, so many boxes to unpack (still... ugh). With everything that goes on, sadly, me pampering and giving the attention and love that my wife deserves many times comes second place. Crying kid vs. pampering wife? Yeah, probably the crying kid. Deployment for big job vs. nightly cuddles and tv? Yeah... probably the deployment. 

Sad, right? 

The fact of the matter is:

She deserves better than me. 

"Blah blah blah - you're such an attention seeking whore, Shank"... well yes... yes I am. But this is something I've always truly felt. Perhaps it's because I'm a terrible perfectionist. "Terrible" because mentally I demand perfection, but in execution I'm bumbling around in completion and actions. Most of the time I get away with it because I've become a master of shortcuts and smoke-and-mirrors. 

(Those of you closest to me are probably nodding your heads... "yeah... "... [senior art show cough cough])

But I can't fool my wife again and again - she's caught on. She knows. 

This especially smacks me in my face on big special days (full circle here). I have grand aspirations of fanfare, parties, long walks on the beach, far off vacations all to celebrate these moments in her life. But what it came down to was a weekend full of unpacking and putting together Ikea furniture, me working more than I should have, and a slaughtered, terrible breakfast. 

Happy. Freaking. Birthday. Enjoy your bland sausage.

I'm an overly lucky guy.

She's with me. She stays with me. She puts up with the most ridiculous jokes and lame actions ever conceived, handles me not always being perfect, supports me when I'm needy, and STILL loves me more than I could ever imagine. And for some, unknown, reason... she doesn't want to leave me!

The stars somehow aligned in some way where this is reality and I'm the lucky recipient of something I shouldn't have been given.

So I say this to you, Isabella:

When the world is on its last breath and in an instant more will grow dark, the gods or God or flying spaghetti monster will look down at a universe that lived its course and agree with one another that the love born from your heart and given freely to your friends, your children, and especially to me, was a love that was matched by no other. And they will learn from your soul and model their next universe with that love as a template of perfection.

---------

Happy Birthday, my angel.

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A few thoughts about the area:

By now I'm sure you've seen in the news the reports of the crazy heat wave blowing across the western US right now. Las Vegas hitting 116 - that's hot!. Pheonix getting scary records around 120? - that's also hot! 

 

As many of you know by now, my family and I are now residents of the great state of Washington (well, not officially yet... right now we're "just visiting" - but soon), and there is one thing I would like to convey  to my fellow Washintonians: 

86 degrees F is NOT hot!

In fact, 86F is quite enjoyable. Sure, most places don't have AC, but this area is filled with apartment and condo complexes, and most of these complexes have multiple pools and have common areas that do have AC. But why would you need AC? Because this weather is not hot. 

There's a nice gentle breeze, there's the ocean air, there are trees literally everywhere. The air is not humid, it's got a little moisture in it, but no where near humid by midwest standards. 

Whoever designed the highway interchanges should get a talkin' to:

Traffic is pretty bad over here in the Puget Sound area. Any by pretty bad, I mean horribly unessessary bad. Why is it unnessesay you may ask? As far as I can tell there are two specific reasons:

1. Many of the people are transplants from other countries. Microsoft, Amazon, etc are constantly recruiting from all over the world. This means smashing drivers from all different areas with different driving styles into one small little area.
2. The roads were designed by someone who maybe should have paid more attention in road design class.

Allow for me to ruin your eyes with my awesome MS Paint skills and describe how the roads are laid out here.

 

This is a perfect example of some craziness. Ok, so lets say the main highway is northbound 405. The highways up here have a dedicated car pool lane in the far left (or the far right if you're on the 520... consistency be damned here). This means that during rush hour, everyone who is carpooling is dying to zoom over to the far left as fast as they can. Which means is they're merging on from... say... the 520 - they are merging 5 times. 5 FREAKING TIMES. But of course, let's not forget about the people merging on from the left... yes... the left. Now, the people merging on from the left are NOT carpooling, which means that they have to merge twice so they get out of the carpool lane. 

Add all thing to humanity's innability to merge properly in the first place, and now you can see why traffic is horrible here. 

Ugh.. traffic.

copyright... uh... the makers of The Whole Nine Yards... or something.