Control + Alt + Down Arrow

Because of confidential & proprietary information, my work automatically shuts you out of me computer if I don’t do anything with it for 5 minutes. When it shuts me out, I need to hit control + alt + delete to bring in the sign in screen and enter my password (which requires changing every couple of months…this is very top secret stuff I’m working on!).

As a side note, I read an article about Bill Gates and someone asked him why you needed to hit Control + Alt + Delete to bring up the task manager & he said, “It was a mistake..We could have made it a single button but the IBM keyboard design didn’t want to give us a single button.” That is the kind of BS that would have driven Steve Jobs up the wall.

Anyways, I come back from a meeting, sit in the cubicle in front of my computer and go to log in, but everything on my computer is upside down. It is like someone took my monitor and flipped it on its head, but the monitor was standing on the base exactly as it should be.

Here’s where I probably miscalculated, I stand up in a sea of cubicles and say “Okay, who’s messing with my computer?!” Everyone looks at me like I am crazy. “Come on people, admit it, who flipped my screen.” Everyone looks bewildered. I start pushing buttons on my monitor attempting to resolve the issue, no luck.

“Alright! If no one admits to messing with my computer, I am going to get all of you back!” I point to this nice woman who sits next to me and say, “You’re first!”

She looks completely appalled and says, “I was going to try to help you, but not anymore.”

I use my mouse in reverse as up is down and down is up to fire up The Google. The screen is displaying everything upside down and I type in “Screen Is Upside Down”, within seconds The Google gives me the answer, push Control + Alt + Up Arrow at the same time and it will resolve your issue.

I couldn’t believe it, it was that easy to really mess with someone’s screen. You can push Control + Alt + Right Arrow and it will make your screen go to the right, it works in any direction. I am beginning to realize that I probably did it to myself when I was hitting Control + Alt + Delete to reactivate my computer. If stupid Bill Gates had only made it a single button!

I rise from my chair again, I issue an apology to the folks surrounding me and said that I may have just done it to myself. Someone laughed and I went over to their computer and hit the 3 buttons to turn their screen upside down.


I saw the first quote today and thought it was great, I decided to add a couple of my other favorites beneath:

“If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu.” – Elizabeth Warren referring to the importance of more female representation in US government.

“Do right and fear no man.” – On a wooden sign in a Houston steakhouse.
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church….a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.” – Charles Swindoll, there is nothing more true.

“An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered, an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered” – G,K. Chesterton, heard this on NPR one day, felt like it perfectly articulated my happiness when lost of back roads.

“Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”- Winston Churchill, college professor told me to stop sweating my grades and just do my best, he told me a great Winston Churchill story with this quote and it never left me.

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” – Jack Kerouac, this book blew my mind, made me desperate to leave Bloomsburg, PA and see cities and places all over the country. It is worth noting that the book concludes with a central character realizing that everything he longed for was at his home all along (at least that is what I took from it).

“You’re not going to learn it any younger” – Mr. Heller from Heller’s Seafood. He asked if I could fix an electrical plug and I said that I had no idea how to fix it. This quote inspired me to try to fix it, which resulted in a small explosion.

“Every no brings you closer to a yes” – Jerry, a friend of my father said this to me & I thought of it every day when in sales. He did not invent the quote, but it was the first time I heard it. I think it gets to the point that you should study failure, know it inside & out, and build from it. The inverse of this quote is “Don’t practice until you get it right, practice until you can’t get it wrong”.

My mother and father both instilled many lessons & quotes on the importance of doing things right, they didn’t care what I ended up doing, they just asked that I do it well. There is no better quote on this subject then:

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” – Martin Luther King Jr

“One death is a tragedy, one million is a statistic.” – Joseph Stalin, we’re inundated with statistics, but stories are what truly power change.

“Treat people how you want to be treated” – Mom

One last quote. I’ve always enjoyed ridiculous accomplishments, challenges, and fun feats, here’s a great exchange from Cool Hand Luke:

Luke: I can eat fifty eggs.

Dragline: Nobody can eat fifty eggs.

Society Red: You just said he could eat anything.

Dragline: Did you ever eat fifty eggs?

Luke: Nobody ever eat fifty eggs.

Prisoner: Hey, Babalugats. We got a bet here.

Dragline: My boy says he can eat fifty eggs, he can eat fifty eggs.

Loudmouth Steve: Yeah, but in how long?

Luke: A hour.

Society Red: Well, I believe I’ll take part of that wager.

(a little later…)

Dragline: Why you got to go and say fifty eggs for? Why not thirty-five or thirty-nine?

Luke: I thought it was a nice round number.

No Teeth

Dalia has had an “American Girl” doll that she received from a family friend. She loves the doll, she dresses it up and wears a matching outfit to sleep at night, they are good friends.

The other day, Dalia was spending time with a good friend and they started to discuss their respective “American Girl” dolls when her friend made a bold proclamation, “Your American Girl doll is a FAKE, she has no teeth.”

I cannot be sure how the conversation went after this statement, I am relying exclusively on Dalia’s recounting of the experience to understand all the facts, but I can tell you that it really upset her. Dalia brought this conversation to our attention last night and I said that not having teeth is preposterous, I cannot imagine that every American Girl doll would have teeth and besides, how critical is it that your doll has teeth anyways, it doesn’t eat anything.

Anyways, I decided to get to the bottom of this myth and went to Google. The Google informed me that nearly all American Girl dolls do in fact have teeth (there is some rare American Girl doll representative of a Polynesian Island culture where it is indecent to display your teeth, so there is one doll without teeth, but Dalia’s doll is white with blond hair and clearly not that doll.

I yanked the doll’s pants down and looked for a tag, it is the Target brand doll that looks identical to the American Girl brand. I walk back into the room where Dalia & Jaclyn were laying on the bed, waiting for the news. I felt like a doctor about to inform the family that the patient I’d been caring for has died under my care. I look at Dalia and just hit her with it, “Your doll is not an American Girl doll.” Jaclyn immediately says, “WHY DID YOU SAY THAT!” Dalia starts to cry.

Jaclyn is frustrated by the absurdity of the situation. Dalia obviously loved the doll before knowing it was not an American Girl doll, it seems insane to not love it so much now that the tag is slightly different. However, I can imagine some sense of embarrassment if Dalia was repeatedly claiming that her doll was an American Girl doll and then she was informed that she had been wrong the entire time.

I do something even more absurd, I try to make Dalia see the situation through the eyes of the doll, imagine how sad the Target doll is to find out her mother (Dalia) no longer loves her, or loves her less than before & calls her a fake!

One reason Jac is so amazing is that she can 100% block out all of this “keeping up with the Jones”, she does not care about labels, or money, she really loves what is most important. That makes Jac very unusual in a wonderful way.

It was a very emotional night, but provoked a lot of great discussion. Dalia’s birthday is coming up, a doll with teeth may be in the cards.


Jaclyn reports that a squirrel woke her up last night, which I just find hysterical. I am imagining a little squirrel outside howling, but she said she thinks it was scratching a wall and reported that it sounded like it was in my closet. I slept right through the experience, I think Toby did too.

Traveled home last weekend to visit our family & had the opportunity to hear the stories of my parents exploring the world by boat with their old bulldog Lucy. Beautiful photos and stories from their travels, jealousy inducing! Speaking of Lucy, she is generally unpleasant and tends to snarl at you to intimidate you into providing her food, if you accidentally bump into her, she might snap at your feet. Which makes her relationship with my sister’s toddler daughter, Molly, very funny. First of all, Molly loves Lucy, which is odd because Lucy is not warm & cuddly like a stuffed animal, Lucy’s disposition (and scent) is comparable to Oscar the Grouch. However, Molly is never deterred and approaches Lucy with a huge smile and plants big kisses on the dog’s face, Lucy reciprocates with kisses of her own. We tried to get Molly to kiss actual family members, but Lucy was the only one fortunate enough to get a kiss. I think Molly will love the Princess & the Frog stories when she gets older.

The Black Dog

RKDeem acknowledges the Black Dog Institute for some of this content, I first learned about the black dog in a great biography of Winston Churchill called The Last Lion.

Winston Churchill referred to his depression/sadness as “The Black Dog”. He once said, “…if my black dog returns. He (the black dog) seems quite away from me now – it is such a relief. All the colours come back into the picture.”

I always knew to steer clear from black cats, but I did not know black dogs were problematic too. Some people say that when a child is angry or moody, he or she has a black dog on their back.

I love this black dog reference from Horace’s Carmina:

No company’s more hateful than your own
You dodge and give yourself the slip; you seek
In bed or in your cups from care to sneak
In vain: the black dog follows you and hangs
Close on your flying skirts with hungry fangs.
Anyways, I am not depressed, but I literally have a BLACK DOG. This black dog sneaks in bed with me at night, he wedges himself between my wife & I. The black dog stretches his massive body out and it contorts my body while I sleep, I wake in the mornings with pain in my back. The black dog sometimes wakes me up in the middle of the night barking at intruders who are not present. Our black dog Toby is trying to show his dominance over the metaphorical one.

Tap Shoes

I turned 36 yesterday, now I’m closer to 40 than 30, which seems significant. My grandmother said the 40’s were the best years of her life because she felt like things were really falling into place for them, but they still had plenty of vitality to enjoy it. I feel that way about 36.

I’m heading home this weekend to visit friends and family. Going to bring home a couple treats from Pittsburgh, let me know if you need some Iron City beer or pierogies.

I’ve been messing around with our fireplace lately, trying to reduce the smell of creosote. I bought this log that you light on fire and the smoke cleans out the chimney. Before lighting the log, I shined a flashlight up the chimney and checked it out. I was somewhat intimidated by chimneys, but after my thorough evaluation, I think I got a good handle on it. I saw the “lining” and also figured out how to open the flue. Very simple. I lit the creosote log and it seemed to work, the smell is gone. They recommend lighting another fire a couple days later in the fireplace, could be my project tonight.

We also have a gas fireplace in the kitchen, it does not have a cover in front of it and Jac is terrified that a kid will walk by it and somehow catch on fire. I need to find a protective screen for the little opening. I love the idea of fire providing heat, but it alarms Jac, we are working on appropriate compromises to meet in the middle.

The kids have been off to a great start at school. Their school has all kinds of reports available on a website and it updates through the day, we can know how Winston is behaving in real time. I am happy they didn’t have that when I was a kid! Ultimately, it will have a great impact on him though, he’s been having an amazing week at school and I’m proud of his effort.

Dalia knows every single person at school, she is the mayor. She now has tap shoes and loves to perform, hopefully a couple of you can watch her go at it this weekend.

Fence Going Up!

The fence man is here today…hooray!!! This is especially good timing since we have heard a claim of a bear roaming in the woods behind our home & our dog becoming more adventurous with his midnight bathroom outings. Last night I let Toby out and he wandered out like he always does, I heard the cling-clanging of his collar slowly fade into the distance, minutes later I heard a dog barking about 3 yards down. I am reluctant to yell so I do not wake the neighbors, but Toby is creating a disturbance anyways, so I yell. After a couple of minutes of clapping & yelling like a fool in the night, Toby bursts through the darkness running at full spring and explodes back into the house like nothing happened.

Work is insane this week, round the clock action.