Monday, November 30, 2015

GoofBoy's Cyber Monday Nightmare

GoofBoy has been perusing flyers for new electronics and musing that perhaps his laptop will have an accident and we will need to take advantage of the Cyber Monday savings and get a great replacement.

When GoofBoy got his first laptop, which was of decent quality, the hard drive crashed. I replaced it. Then, months later, the hard drive crashed again and I had had enough. We bought the least expensive laptop that met his needs (I made him do the research.) I fully expect it won't last him through high school. But an early demise is unacceptable.

I warned him if there were such an untimely accident, I would replace his laptop with the cheapest, crappiest option possible.

"But Dad, I already have the cheapest, crummiest laptop out there."

"Oh knucklehead you have NO idea. I'll get an old PC and strap it to your back with duct tape. You'll have a fifty foot extension cord for a tail. The monitor will hang from your neck on a harness."

"That sounds great, I'll be Cyber Boy!"

"Yea? Keep pushing me, how about writing your papers in text messages on a flip phone."

"No, you can't do that, the school requires everything to be in GoogleDocs."

"It's easy to route texts into Google Docs. Anyway, I can do worse. I'll make you use your sister's laptop."

"What, NOOO! It doesn't even have touch screen!"

"I can't do that, why should your sister suffer." A couple years ago when GoofGirl felt like she "wasn't good" with computers I stumbled on a sale of really good refurbished Chromebooks (for less than a decent phone). She's fallen in love with it and is learning to code.

"No," I continued, "But if something happens to your computer I will definitely get you a laptop with no touchscreen!"

"Good luck, they don't even make them without touchscreen anymore."

"I'll pay extra!"

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Spitfire Envy

When GoofBoy was little I would tell him stories about his grandfather, who could fly around in a heli-pack. 

Not wanting to leave BubbeGoof out of these adventures, I explained that she had been a famed aviatrix in her youth. (This came from a flash of inspiration in which I envisioned my mom in a leather jacket and aviator goggles flipping Amelia Earhart the bird - like Tom Cruise in Top Gun but in a Sopwith Camel, not an F-14). I added that she flew with the Eagle Squadron during the Battle of Britain and when Pop got into trouble on his heli-pack adventures she would get the old Spitfire out of the garage and get him out of trouble.

(I also love making jokes at the expense of my mom. For one of her big birthdays, I promised to stop making of fun of her for being old for one year. I lasted about one hour.)

This summer, to celebrate his bar mitzvah the GrandGoofs took their grandson to London. Here is an email I wrote to him:
Today is the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
In the summer of 1940, France had fallen, Hitler dominated Europe, and Britain stood alone. The Luftwaffe tried to bomb Britain into submission. Heavily outnumbered the Royal Air Force through skill, daring (and radar - a huge technological advantage) fought them off. I grew up reading about the heroism of the British pilots of Spitfires and Hawker Hurricanes downing Nazi bombers by the score.
As a boy when I built fighter planes with Legos they were always Spitfires (they are the Eddie Murray of fighter planes). I built Messerschmitts for them to shoot down, but I wouldn't put a swastika on them, because I knew they shouldn't be in the house.
Hope you do or see something to commemorate the Battle of Britain.
If you get to see a Spitfire flyover I'll be jealous as hell! I know I would have scheduled the trip around it myself. But maybe it's for the best if you don't go. Bubbie might have flashbacks.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Goofy Ghost Story

Halloween is past, but it is never too late for a ghost story.

Shortly after MamaGoof's beloved aunt Nana died we were visiting Abuela. It was one of our more relaxed visits. Papa was finally under good care at a home and Nana had been sick for a long time. Abuela could finally relax some, and so could we. MamaGoof and I had some kid-free excursions.

A very sweet young woman from the Philippines was living with Abuela and helping her out. Besides being a diligent care-giver and helper, she also watched telenovelas with Abuela. But she reported that she sensed a presence, walking back and forth in Nana's room.

MamaGoof believes in ghosts and sometimes thinks she encounters them. Skeptics among you, don't jump to conclusions. MamaGoof is a scientist (PhD in biostatistics!) While she watches horror movies and GhostHunters, she does not revel in her connection to the supernatural. She wants nothing to do with it. She does not go to seances or brag about her deep connections to other dimensions - that isn't her. Instead she wishes this creepy stuff would leave her alone.

Naturally the care-giver's report was a matter of deep concern. There were to be no more excursions, since MamaGoof was deeply concerned GoofGirl might have an encounter.

In this regard - and many others. I am MamaGoof's exact opposite. I don't believe in the supernatural. At the same time horror movies terrify me. (Maybe the reason I don't believe in the supernatural is not due to reason - but to fear, which is perfectly reasonable when you think about it.)

As MamaGoof worried I, for once, said the right thing.

"I understand you are pretty upset and concerned about this. I respect that and want to help. But I really lack the equipment to get this. I'm taking your concerns seriously, I'll do what you need me to do. Just a warning though. If it turns out you're right and there's a ghost I will yell 'zoinks' and jump out of clothes before running full speed to another city."