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So, the funeral was entirely, well, crappy. Never mind the fact that here was a gathering for somebody who had died. No, apparently my grandparents' regular minister was busy with a wedding, so there had to be a fill-in-minister. Who didn't know them. The service seemed to be directly out of the Big Book of Lutheran Funerals. A lot of Bible verses, a few solos, and not a single mention of my grandpa by name.

A few days ago my mom casually asked if I might do a eulogy if need be. I said yes, I could probably do that, but the issue was not brought up again so I figured somebody more important was doing one. Well, nothing was listed on the program, and by the end of it, it became clear nobody was in line to speak. When we were all getting ready to head to the cemetery, I finally said "if nobody is going to talk, I am."

And I did. The minister said a few more things at the cemetery, after which I essentially said "ok, my turn." And I talked about my grandpa. I didn't have anything scripted, but I already had an idea of what I wanted to say. And luckily, it went over fairly well. I think it's pretty good if you can get people to laugh at a funeral when that wasn't even your intention in the first place.

While talking with people afterwards, it turned out that I wasn't the only one who thought the funeral was lacking. So I wasn't simply crazy after all.

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Howard Ahrndt: 1915-2003

My grandpa died today. A year and a half ago he was diagnosed with cancer. Considering his age and the severity of it (I believe it was Stage 4), he did pretty well. In fact, while he wasn't really completely himself for much of the time (physically mainly, but mentally to an extent as well), he was doing fairly well until a few weeks ago.

I'm not sure how to put what I'm about to say. While I would hardly call a life threatening disease such as cancer a good thing, in some respects it makes it a bit easier to let go. When somebody dies of, say, a heart attack, you're not really prepared for it. They're (apparently) fine one day and gone the next. The past year and a half has kind of given me a chance to reflect and prepare myself. I'm not sure if I could count how many times I thought about having to write this. Of course, I'm sure my feelings wouldn't be the same if it was someone much younger.

Things are slightly easier too, when you realize that he lived to be 88, was married for over 60 years (I'm still amazed by that), and up until recently, had a very full life. While I don't know exactly when he stopped, he went deer hunting every year up into his 80's. He and my grandma just sold their motorhome (one of many through the years) a couple of years ago. He loved being social, be it going out with family, Good Sam Club get-togethers, the 5th St Yacht Club, whatever. And while he knew it would hurt his back (and make my mother really upset), until recently he'd still get on his riding mower and mow his (very large) yard. And not to mention do all kinds of other projects around the house.

While 88 is hardly something to be sad about, I honestly think if the cancer hadn't hit him he would have made it to 100.

I'm not sure what more I can say at the moment. This is a moment that I knew was coming, but I really had no idea how I would handle it. At this point I honestly don't know what to feel.

The next time you're having a good time, have a Brandy Manhattan (with cranberry juice and some pickled mushrooms) for Howie.

[9/25 - obit is posted in the comments]

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I went to my first Badger football game in about two years yesterday. Some observations:

- the new turf looks so much better than the old stuff
- it's a bit disturbing to see sky boxes being built along the East side of the stadium
- being in the normal seats kind of sucks compared to sitting in the student section, especially when you're sitting past the end zone and have almost no perspective as to what is happening
- the student section seems to have gotten even more crass, which was good to see
- I still think the band sucks

Also, after the game we went to Nick's (the home of good food). After all these years they finally got a new ceiling, which looks really nice. Unfortunately it's already stained in one place where the roof is leaking.

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Friday is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. I can see it now. "Ahoy, me proud beauty! Ye be lookin' for a printer on this fine day?"

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The weather is currently what I would call "perfect". It's sunny, warm (warm enough for shorts, but cool enough to have the A/C off and the house open), breezy, and the trees are still filled with leaves. Would it be asking to much to have this, say, year 'round?

Once again, the water softener was having issues, and $60 later, it's again fixed. A two-piece rubber and plastic seal costs $18. I wish *I* could get away charging that much for something. Kind of like the 6.5ft USB cable at Best Buy that costs them about $1.25 but is sold for $30.

Apparently nobody quite understood my last post: we still have a lot of beer, come drink it. That is all.

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A few months ago I planted some grass seed in the back yard to fill in some spots. Shortly thereafter, rain decided it wanted to have nothing to do with this area and went away. The grass seed just sat there.

Jump ahead roughly two months. Thursday I got the car washed. Our party had been scheduled for Saturday. What happens? Non stop rain for two days.

The moral? If you want your grass to grow, get your car washed or host a party.

Speaking of the party, it went well. Thanks to all of those who came. Although we still have plenty of beer to drink. Too much beer. And ice.

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So, everybody wish my dad a happy birthday. I won't mention how old he is, other than FDR was president when he was born. Hmm...maybe I shouldn't have said that. Whatever the case, buy him an imported beer the next time you see him. And maybe a Dave Brubeck CD or two.

I've discovered that the blogger interface is currently *much* nicer on the PC than it is on the Mac. This makes me a bit unhappy. Although apparently it's an IE vs. Mozilla thing, as Mozilla on the Mac looks much nicer than IE on the Mac, albeit not as nice as IE on the PC. Go figure.

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We're back from Cleveland/DC. The Camry survived, and averaged more than 34 mpg for the whole trip. Not bad for a 15 year old car.

Some road observations:

- despite being probably the most boring part of the drive, the Ohio Turnpike is probably the nicest road. The pavement is in great shape, and it's 6 lanes through most of the state (vs 4 on the rest of the turnpike system). The Pennsylvania Turnpike, on the other hand, is pretty crappy.

- there's an I-490 in downtown Cleveland, despite the fact that it's a spur. Since 4 is even, it *should* be a loop. Apparently, though, it *was* going to be a loop at one point. It just never got that far.

- there's an I-99 in Pennsylvania. Since Interstates are numbered sequentially, this should be (by rights) somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.

Ahh, well. The trip was enjoyable. Thanks to Erin and the Blirstin for putting us up. And to everyone else who put up with our company.

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We're out in DC once again. The Camry made it. Hopefully it makes it back (fingers crossed). The puppies are currently at the doggie hotel. We miss them. Although playing with Rico helped.

Not too much else to report at the moment. Tommy is coming out as a hybrid SACD deluxe edition in October. Sign me up.

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The Simpsons Archive

Vital stats:
DOB 2/16/79. I'm a web developer at the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. I like lots of old music, including The Who. I spend a lot of time working with computers. And my favorite TV show (when I actually decide to watch TV, that is), obviously, is The Simpsons.

In May 2002 I officially graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a BS in computer science. In 1997 (man that seems like a long time ago) I graduated from Washington Park HS. Yes, I know, that site isn't very impressive, and no, I haven't touched it for several years.

WFS Logo

One of the best experiences I have ever had was on a trip called Western Field Studies. This is a 33 day adventure throughout the western United States. Students travel on a school bus to national parks, monuments, forests, and places of historical interest and camp out (in tents or under the stars). I was a part of trip 25, which took place in the summer of 1996. A first for WFS was we took along a laptop computer and kept up a web site. That link will take you to the 1996 site, where there is a link to the current site.