Thursday, December 29, 2005


I don't really have a Resolution for the New Year this year.

I just don't feel like coming up with another one this year for some reason. I mean, I already have enough on my plate as it is.

I exercise 3 days a week. I go play Bluegrass once a week and have periodic concerts. I write books and send them out to publishers. I spend time with my wife and child. I help cook and clean. I lead singing, teach classes, and do other things about church. All this on top of a 40 hour per week job.

I honestly don't feel like I could wedge another resolution into my already packed existence!

If I must add one, it will be to finish the book I'm writing now and do my best to get the first or second one (or both) published.

Any resolutions from the peanut gallery? What are you all doing to progress in the new year?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Remember that Large Cat?

I seem to recall some expeditions at Faulkner surrounding an oversized black cat. Some thought it was a jaguar. Well, it seems we are not the only ones to fall prey to a case of mistaken identity. Maybe we should have called WSFA channel 12.

Mountain Lion cub?

A Government Job in China

After thinking about it, I've decided to move to China. The only place I've ever know that has a law that women working for the government must have "symmetrically shaped breasts."

Read here.

All of MP3

Rachel and I got an MP3 player for X-Mas. It's one of the coolest inventions to date, in my opinion, mostly because the tiny things can hold TONS of music and you can download from the internet from some prime warehouses if you know where to look.

Check out this site:

When you get there, you'll see the cool thing about it. It's a site based in Russia and they charge very little for songs. You give them no less than $10 and every song is $.02 per megabyte! They even have a deal now where you get 20% more for each dollar, so we're getting $12 worth for $10. And that, my friends, is a lot of good music.

Selection's great, too. I got Yes, Rush, and Bruce Hornsby so far. But, they have everything from the Dead to Disco.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I decided to post something because no one else had for a while. You all are probably too busy to check this, but I have nothing to do. I really don't have anything important to discuss. So, here are some topics we can choose from:

George W. Bush: Worse Than Hitler?

Why Everyone is Going to Hell Except (your name here)

Why Doesn't Charlie Like "Lord of the Rings" as Much as the Rest of Us?

New Orleans: They Had It Coming

I Hate (insert ethnic/racial/social/political group, etc here) Because...

Why People Who Don't Think This Post is Funny are Stupid

What's With The Weather?

Should We Run People With Cell Phones Off The Road?

Comic Books are Cool, and so are People Who Read Them

Yankees Who Don't Like the South Should Just Go Back Where They Came From...Am I Right, People?

Seriously, What's With the Weather?

Which is Better: "Citizen Kane" or "Batman Begins"?

Irony: Is it Dead?

That should give you guys something to chew on for a while. Later.


P.S. I will not be offended if this post gets deleted. This is (I hope) an obvious attempt at humor on my part. Sorry if this actually hurts people's feelings or is taken the wrong way. Crybabies.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Customer Support Silliness

I had an interesting conversation with's customer support tonight. I have a feeling they have outsourced to India or something. If bad grammar maddens or tickles you, have at my blog; I felt it was too long and likely too narrowly appreciated to post here.

...everyone of us.

Merry Christmas.

God bless you all.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

If God can do it, so can I.

Howdy gang, it’s time to get back into the meat of this blog and get the old gears cranking.

Read this and ponder the following idea.

For once in my life I’m excited and happy to hear that people are trying to create life in a Petri dish. I filmed and interviewed a debate between the guy who was in charge of creating Dolly the sheep and a creationist who was opposed to the whole idea of cloning and genetic manipulation and have since been keen on the whole subject.

So after reading this why am I happy? I think they are finally going to hit the metaphysical / spiritual wall. In this article the lead scientist states that they have no way, once they get their little gene sequence, to make it turn into something. I’m all for evolution so long as it can prove the original creature, one cell, or 2,000,000 it doesn’t matter to me. Evolution has yet to give a really good answer on how we formed out of raw material into something that had a function.

This is the same problem Mr. Smart guy has. He’s trying to create something from proteins he’s collected. Once his proteins are inline he doesn’t know how to make them sit up, roll over and fetch. Let’s say he creates his DNA, cheats and inserts into an existing microbe to create what he going to call a synthetic life form. He’s still screwed because he had to collect the protein from something which already existed to even begin.

I think I’ve told the joke of the scientists who told God he wasn’t needed anymore. God consented on one condition. “I’ll leave humanity alone if you can create a man from what I used.” The scientists talked, collected some dirt and said “Fine.”
God closes by poofing away their specimen and says “Get your own dirt.”

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Grinch That Saved Christmas

So I will let the cat out of the bag since the surprise no longer exists...

My Christmas gift for my wife was to be the following:

A cabin at Lake Lure, NC. This cabin had a fireplace, one bedroom, all the typical features you'd need when staying in a "house" away from home, including a hot tub, and of course seclusion.

My plan was to stay there Sunday through Wednesday. Biltmore all day Monday, Blue ridge Parkway all day Tuesday (and some of the Biltmore village), and head out to Chattanooga on Wednesday... all with fine dining in between. Sunday night, I was to cook her dinner at the cabin.

Saturday night before we leave, I get an email from the owner of the cabin. An ice storm on Wednesday has left the community that the cabin resides in without power to this very moment. Water is pumped in by a well, so without power, there is no water, and without power, there is no cooking.

Immediately, I make reservations for the Baymont inn about 1 mile from Biltmore. Big mistake.

I call the owner that night and we talk, she says for me to call her Sunday morning as we are leaving. I can always cancel the Baymont reservations. But the Baymont is growing on me because instead of a 60 mile drive to the Biltmore, I am looking at a 2 minute drive. So we go to Panama Street C of C early service at 6:45. Not as bad as I thought it'd be, then we head out. On the road, I call her. Good news! Power is coming back on at the cabin. Bad news, I am still sold on the closeness of the Baymont.

It was at this point I had to reveal the entire plan to my wife and let her decide. The more we discussed it and thought about it, the more the Baymont sounded right. Besides, Ill get rewards points for it since it is owned by La Quinta.

So we call the cabin owner and tell her we aren’t going to make it. She understands, but she must keep the $130 deposit. I understand and am cool with that since, due to the hotels price, I am actually making out ahead. We arrive safely (Although, much of the gas stations were out of gas as we got close. The ice storm created a gas run) and have dinner in the Biltmore village, at the Corner Kitchen. Not bad. But not great. I wouldn’t go again. Afterwards we head to the hotel and (censored)...

Monday was a BLAST! See my Webshots page for more of the pics besides the ones you see here. We spent the whole day at the Biltmore estate. Sure, we went there on our honeymoon, but we were stupid kids then. This time, I scheduled us to go to seminars on property; we went to the winery, the horse pens, the gardens and to the bass pond. We basically got as much as we could for the ticket price. The tour was pretty new to us as well. We went to a "party entertaining" seminar for 30 minutes, then a 30 minute cooking class. Then, at 5 pm, we went to the winery's cellar and had a wine and chocolate tasting session. It helped solidify something my wife and I have known for quite sometime; we still hate wine. We were at the Biltmore from 9am to about 5pm and we used every minute of that time doing something.

We had lunch at the Bistro that is on property (thanks Mullins!) and afterwards we had a VERY enjoyable dinner downtown Asheville with some friends that live there in Asheville. The gal used to cut my hair and Larissa's hair when they lived in Montgomery. She also played volleyball with Larissa at her former community college. Brittany’s husband (Brett) was a guy Larissa also knew from school and I had never met, but we all got along great and our dinner lasted for 2 hours because we talked so much.

They invited us to their home afterwards (at 9:30pm) and we accepted. Brett tried to convince us (Like Mullins and Chuck always do) that it depends on the type of wine you drink and he offered us some sort of white wine... which we still hated.

Tuesday proved to be less enjoyable, but not horrible. And it had a very happy ending. I had about 5 hours sleep. This king bed in Baymont was old and it sagged in the two spots where people typically sleep. I can’t stand this. So after a fitful nights sleep I wake up around 8-ish and my wife and I go out to drive the Blue Ridge parkway (which, by the way, is extremely fun, even if you never get out and just drive it.) Well, due to the ice storm, about a 10 to 15 mile stretch was the only part open. Luckily, the folk art center was on that stretch and we spend over an hour there. Great stuff there. My wife bought 3 books about backwoods cooking and we took some pics of some looms of different shapes and sizes. I’m still bushed at this point, so after driving as much of the parkway as we can, we head back to the hotel so I can nap. Our bed sheets are in the floor, as if the housekeeping staff is mid-way through cleaning. So we go out to the Biltmore villiage for a bit of walking, shopping and eating at the tea room there. After lunch, we go back to the hotel so I can nap. Sheets still in the floor.

I go to the lobby, express my dire need for sleep and we sit and watch the weather channel in the lobby (Well, my wife reads her new books). I get back to the room finally and am too wound up to sleep. My mind races. I whip open the laptop and go to the Grove Park Inn's website. I make a phone call and tell my wife to pack the bags. I get hit with a $25 fee for checking out too late, but I don’t care. All I can remember from the conversation with the Grove Park Inn lady was "Soft down queen size mattress."

We've packed up and we arrive at the Grove Park Inn in about 10 or 15 minutes. Ironically, this inn is about 3 or 4 miles from the very bed and breakfast we stayed in on our honeymoon. We do manual parking, though valet is available. If I go again, I'll be bringing a few extra bucks with me. Valet would be worth it as the parking lots are confusing and on a very STEEP incline (and I scratched up the back bumper of my wife’s car backing up in one of them, so yeah, the valley cost and tips is worth it to me). We are in awe as we enter this place. It is the size of the hotel in Steven Kings book "The Shining" but much nicer. There is a fireplace in the main lobby that it big enough for 6 men to stand in, without crouching. We check in with the greatest of ease as a HUGE lobby behind us is full of people just sitting around, enjoying the fireplace and the view opposite of us of a valley below.

We get into an old timey elevator (which, surprisingly, uses the very same shaft that the huge fireplace uses to vent out the smoke) and hit the 5th floor. The elevator operator tells us all we need to know about our floor (except the ghost) and shows us to our room. The rooms all have doors made of real wood paneling, which gives the place a ski-lodge feel. In fact, the whole PLACE has a ski lodge feel. Describing the hotel and the rooms is impossible. You just have to go there. The rooms are like nothing I have ever been in inside a hotel. I honestly felt like I was staying in a very rich friend’s home and not a hotel. The bathrooms did NOT feel like a hotel bathroom. And the bed was... zzzzzzzzz. Huh?Wha? Oh, sorry, the beds were awesome. The whole place puts the Gaylords Opryland to shame. In fact, it put any hotel I have ever stayed in to shame.

Fortunately for us, they had the gingerbread house contest in this hotel a few weeks ago, and many of those houses were on display in the inn (And the contest was filmed and broadcasted by Food TV). Albeit, these houses spread far and wide, but looking at them would give us a chance to see the whole Inn. After unpacking, we set out to see the eatable homes and set out to get lost in the hotel, which we did, which was fun! We came back and prepared for dinner. Given the fact that the vacation was nearing an end, funds were tight. And the restaurants in the Grove Park were pricey. As we prepared to hit the Tupelo Honey Cafe in downtown Asheville, I emailed Mullins, telling him that everything he said about the Grove Park was true. He emails me back telling me to ask the elevator operator to tell me about the ghost and the haunted floor...

...Which I do as soon as we head out. We go down to the lobby. I see the elevator dude, a tall black man. I ask him if he knows about the haunted floor; "I do" he replies. I ask him if he knows about the "pink lady"; "I do" he replies. I tell him I would like to see them sometime; "I'll take you now if you want!" So he closes the gate on the elevator and back to OUR floor we go. He walks out with us to room 545 and tells us the story of how the lady was staying here back in the 1920s and committed suicide off of the overlook there in the middle of that hall. She haunts our floor, just moving things, turning lights off, etc. I asked if anyone ever stays in that room; "It is the most requested room in the whole hotel" he tells me. After he takes us back down, I shake his hand and give him a few bucks for the personal tour. Honestly, he deserved 5 or 10 bucks since he was the only elevator operator at the time and due to his courtesy, others probably had to take the stairs.

Dinner at the Tupelo Honey Cafe is OUTSTANDING! Downtown Asheville is full of hippies, freaks, yahoos, homeless guitar players, and gay-friendly well wishers... I’m told the city as a whole is quite conservative and just like any other southern city, but downtown is where the yahoos congregate. Within all of this is a restaurant that people do not want to leave that has true southern flare! We waited half an hour to be seated (Like I said, people just never wanted to leave) and it was worth every minute of it.

This place will serve grits with almost anything, yet it was full of "hip" looking people, enjoying true southern food. It was, by far, the best meal of the trip, thanks Mullins (again).

Even me backing into a rock wall and ruining my wife’s back bumper didn’t ruin this vacation! The night in the grove park was nice, and the ghost didn’t bother us one bit. We wished we had stayed longer. Moral of the story: I want to go back to Asheville (Unlike after our honeymoon) and I want to stay at the grove park in for many days in a row. I have no desire to stay in the $1,000 a night rooms because our bottom-of-the-barrel room was the nicest hotel room I have ever been in. I look forward to tagging along with Jules and Mullins next time they head up there. And I hope some of you other folks wanna go there too. I rank it as vacation fave number 2. Under my #1 trip, Disney with the Sippers. Kingston Plantation trip in Myrtle Beach would be ranked number 3.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Rear-end review

Tomorrow, this blog will be exactly 6 months old.

In these past 6 months we have learned what BumStats are, who gives names to inanimate objects, many wonderful ways of getting things for free , why we have all lost our desire for cotton candy , who is and who is not a blog nazi , whether drinking is okay or not okay (And I still am not sure), That Stubbs doesn't like us (I couldn't find a post to prove this, because, well, Stubbs doesn't like us), that, despite alot happening in Chucks life, the only info he will send our way is when he wants something for free , and a host of other interesting tid bits.

You wont be hearing from me for over a week. The firstplace we are going doesnt even have phone lines, so I will be "roughin' it" i guess you could say... with central heat and hot water and a roof and food and, ... well, okay, it wont be that rough.

I challenge you all to find the best of the best. Email me or Brew your entries. You can't vote for yourself.

Vote for the following categories:

-Most talked about blog (got the most RELEVANT comments)
-Best blog with RELEVANT pics
-Best written blog (doesn't necessarily need to have the most comments)
-Blog in which you learned something about the writer that you didn't know before
-Funniest Blog, one that made you LLOL (Literally Laugh Out Loud)
-Best all-around blog

I meant to blog yall and get some suggestions for such categories, but i waited too long.
When the new year of 2006 starts, look for a blog containing the winners.

Instead of the Emmys, we will have the midnight cafe-ys.. ill come up with a trophey design.

So, get your votes in before Jan 1st. You have 2 weeks to research your winners!

Oh, and Merry Christmas all!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Friday Shoes

One of the few things I bought for myself before leaving France was a pair of tennis shoes. European footwear is a bit different than their American counterparts. Where our tennis shoes tend to come in either white or gray, with a flourish of brighter colors in small flashes, European shoes are often very bold, bright and colorful.

I decided I wanted the most obnoxious pair of shoes I could find. So I got a pair of bright, neon yellow and green Adidas. They are fantastic!

As with many American companies, the workplace to which I am employed has casual Fridays. On this one day of the week I am allowed to dress down as it were and wear blue jeans and tennis shoes.

Being that my Converse Allstars now have a big gaping hole in the sole and that I left my only other pair of tennis shoes in France, I generally wear my obnoxious Adidas on Fridays. Everybody at work loves them. They have become my Friday shoes. Without fail, every Friday many people at work comment on my Friday shoes and laugh at how bright they are.

These shoes have become such a big deal that when I don’t wear them on Fridays, everybody is disappointed. Towards the end of Autumn I decided to wear my sandals on Friday, knowing the end of sandal season was coming soon. As soon as I stepped into the door I got a barrage of

“Mat, where are your Friday shoes?” Last week we got several inches of snow so I wore my bigger, more snow worthy Doc Martens. Once again I immediately got chastised for not wearing my Friday shoes.

There’s snow on the ground, those shoes have the thinnest of all soles, and have air holes cut into them. My feet would be soaked if I wore them. These things I tried to plead as my case.

They wouldn’t listen. Like a Texas jury they had no sympathy, but only wanted to see me and my big yellow shoes.

Looks like I’ll be wearing the same shoes every Friday for the rest of my life.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Choppin broccoli

Okay, someone had to be the jerk who pushed Sips post down... sorry it was me... :^(

Should have posted this sooner, but had some free time this eve...

Yet another fun trip to Sips folks house. Got a chance to do some real "work" even though it only laster a few minutes, it was still fun.

Got good food afterwards, and then some good ole music jammin'. My dad described it as one of the most fun times he has ever had!

I wish that when everyone came in FUNgomery that we could take a day and go to Sips folks house and work or something.... or watch other people work....

Below, Josh and I get our aim...

Josh hits his log splits it... i miss, horribly, but kept smiling...

(This subtitle is for Brew) Jamison tries to remove his ax from the log, as Josh looks on...

Rach, Rissa, me, and our niece

The jam is in session!

More "behind the scenes" pics can be found at my webshots page... when i finally post them, that is...

Again, sorry for being the blog booter :^( If it weren't me it'd be Brew's cat post or another of Chuck's seimen washer post, so i figured thsi aint so bad.

Yeah, Baby!

Just wanted to tell all who have not yet heard that Rachel is PREGNANT!

The little one is due around the 19th of August.

Interesting side story # 1:

A week before we found out Rachel was pregnant, she and Luke were lying on the couch, about to take a nap. While snuggling with her, he momentarily leaned back and looked at her and said, "Baby" just that clearly! Then, he did it again! So, who thinks we'll have twins?

Interesting side story # 2:

Today, Rachel went to the gym. They have a daycare there for moms who work out. Usually, Luke goes in there and has a great time, no problem. But, today, he not only pitched a fit, but went so mental on Rachel and the daycare folks that she had to leave without getting to exercise at all! She told the lady in the daycare that she is pregnant and the lady said, "You're gonna have a girl!" She told Rachel that her boys were never like that till she was pregnant with a girl.

Anyway, I thought it would be cool if we had twin girls! My bro and sis-in-law did after their boy. What a crazy coincidence twould be...

Friday, December 09, 2005


Before someone gets ontpo me for using the term in a comment on Dianna's post, read this

From: Wikipedia

Xmas (or X-mas) is an abbreviation for Christmas. It is derived from the word ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ, transliterated as Christos, which is Greek for Christ. Greek is the language in which the whole New Testament was written.

Originally, in "Xmas", X represented the Greek letter χ (see chi). It was pronounced with an aspirated [kh], which is the first letter of Christ's name in Greek. However, because an upper-case χ has the same shape as a Latin alphabet letter X, many people who do not know the history assume that this abbreviation is meant to "take Christ out of Christmas" as a means of secularization or a vehicle for political correctness.

The occasionally seen belief that the X represents the cross Christ was crucified on has no basis in fact; St Andrew's Cross is X-shaped, but Christ's cross was probably shaped like a T or a †. Indeed, X-as-chi was associated with Christ long before X-as-cross could be. The use of X as an abbreviation for cross in modern abbreviated writing (e.g. "Kings X" for "Kings Cross") may have reinforced this assumption.

In ancient Christian art χ and χρ (Chi Ro--the first two letters in Greek of Christos) are abbreviations for Christ's name. In many manuscripts of the New Testament and icons, X is an abbreviation for Christos, as is XC (the first and last letters in Greek, using the lunate sigma); compare IC for Jesus in Greek. The Oxford English Dictionary documents the use of this abbreviation back to 1551, 50 years before the first English colonists came to North America and 60 years before the King James Version of the Bible was completed. At the same time, Xian and Xianity were in frequent use as abbreviations of "Christian" and "Christianity".

The abbreviation is widely but not universally accepted; some view it as demeaning to Christ, whilst others find it helpful to use in text messages and emails to save space. Similarly, Xianity is sometimes used as the abbreviation for Christianity (although this usage is much less common than "Xmas"). This usage has extended to "xtal" for "crystal", and on florists' signs "xant" for "chrysanthemum" (though these words are not etymologically related to "Christ" — crystal comes from a Greek word meaning "ice", and chrysanthemum from a Greek word meaning "golden flower", while Christ comes from a Greek word meaning "anointed").

One Hundred Ninety

That is how much I now weigh (down from my max weight of 215 a few years ago). I didn't realize that when we got together for the smokefest. That weight is the lowest I've weighed since 1995 when I met Jodi. I had been working out that summer with Thomas Cooper at Gold's Gym.

No wonder you guys were like, "Dude, you've lost weight." Well the reason I was so hesitant was that I knew I had gained a few pounds after Thanksgiving. I think before then I might have been down to 185. Which if that was the case is the lowest I've been since my Junior year in HS. Maybe next time you guys see me I can claim that weight as confirmed.

Did the ox and lamb really keep time?

We sell these Christmas CD's at BBW that go toward the Make a Wish foundation. My little sister went to Disney World with Make a Wish foundation, so this organization is very close to my heart. I was talking about the CD to a woman yesterday who seemed interesting in buying it. I discussed that it has three discs, only costs $10, goes toward a good cause, you get the idea. She was looking at the song list and one title caught her eye.

“Little Drummer Girl by Alicia Keys?” she asked.

“Yeah, she’s great.” I responded.

“That’s nice, but Little Drummer Girl? Why not little drummer boy?”

“I’m not sure; I guess she just changed it to a girl.”

She scoffs at me and puts the CD back.

“I’m sorry,” she says. “I just can’t buy that. It’s the religious side of me.”

I finish ringing her purchase, tell her to have a Merry Christmas, and send her on her way.

As she walks away, I’m confused. Last time I read the story of Jesus’ birth, there was no mention of a child who went and drummed for him. Let alone a little boy. It’s a song. The little drummer boy story didn’t actually happen. I wanted to shake the lady.

I shared the story with one of my fellow managers. “Did she actually read the Bible?” J says.

The rest of the day I had to suppress my giggles. I couldn’t get through anything without thinking of that woman. Even now I still chuckle at her.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Friends, Fun, and Fusic (Music just didn't fit)

These pics were from a mini-reunion months ago.

Chuck just now got them to me, Sip, I will give you your copies in the days that follow.

I don't know why I feel that I must turn myself into an idiot when a camera is pointed at me. (Brew, insert witty comment here)

Speaking of photos, it is likely that J.A.S. (aka Josh) will be put into the new yearbook that is being published by the school I work for.

Why you ask? Simple. The yearbook staff came up with a cute idea:

"What faculty members do for fun/in their spare time."

So I submitted a picture of us jamming with the old guys in the bluegrass group.

Sip, your moment has arrived! What moment that may be, I do not know.

Funny thing happened today that really buoyed my spirits (bowing as everyone applaudes me for using a cool word correctly)

There is crazy little radio show on 1170am here in town. It is a talk show that never touches the political rehlm. Basically, this talk station needed to fill a 2 hour slot, so they took a DJ from the FM side to do a "show about nothing" for 2 hours.
Anyway, sometimes I feel sorry for the guy because there are sometimes when no one calls, so he just talks about women (big time woman-izer) or some girls will call in and tease him (sexually speaking), etc (like the "cake lady").

Anyway, I started calling in maybe once a week if I caught the show (Due to the other talk radio station being on a commercial). I would do a George W Bush impression that, I thought, was okay, but this guy thinks is hilarious.

Well, apparantly, I have become a "regular" caller. I caught the show today (again, just because there were commercials on the other channel) and he was asking people to call in and say what they want for xmas. Sounds dull, but the guy is a career DJ, and he makes it interesting. He said if no one calls he was going to just play a song, which, I hate when he does that. So I call and I say:

ME "First off, I am not a girl" (I say this because he likes women to call)
DJ "I can hear that"
ME "I dont really have anything to say, I just wanted to call so you wouldn't play a song"
DJ (Laughs, says something that I cant remember)
ME (I kind of freeze and say) Fun fact; I am the guy who always calls in doing the Bush impression.
DJ then goes on about how great I am at it and that I should call more often. I tell him that I dont feel I am all that great at it. We banter back and forth a bit, me jumping into my Bush voice from time to time, him laughing. He even has added "Hail to the chief" to his sound board to play whenever I call now.

Anyway, I end the call, and turn my radio back up to listen to the end of me talking. Then, an older lady (60-ish) calls in and says:
"I just love that last caller. He is my most favorite of your regular callers, I hope he is listening" and the DJ remarks about how great I am...

Wow! That makes a cold, rainy day pretty tolerable!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


That should at least get Sips and Jamison's attention. I read through the "Smoke Night" blog. No objections, I'm looking for a new job anyway. As you can see from the pics, I was using a $4.50 corn cob pipe. Great for beginners, but not good for those who want to have more than 10 smokes per pipe. It's also a quite warm to the touch. Anyway, I enjoyed the night so much, that I logged onto eBay and bought this:

Real Briar Pipe with black mouthpiece

I was going to post a picture, but the picture service was down.

I also have a plan to get my Dad's old pipes that he used to smoke before he had my oldest brother. Both of them are around 50 years old. I'm planning on framing them along with the story of their purchase and a plaque saying when my dad stopped smoking.

Have you ever...

Have you ever woken up to a strange car in your driveway, and not after a night of drinking? That happened to me this morning. I walk outside to get into my car and BAM! there's a white Nissan Pulsar from the 90's sitting in the drive. I looked inside. There was a Walmart (or Sams) badge on the rearview mirror. It read Monique. In the backseat was a small, pink child's chair (not car seat) with the word "princess" across it.

We think that our neighbor's were out-of-town, but their teenage son was still home. Hmmm...a little freaky-deaky going on? His dad is a minister. You think I should ask him about it?

Monday, December 05, 2005

So this is Christmas

This post is being written on pure emotion, so beware.

Why I hate Christmas.

I think i hate Christmas because I am self-sufficent to some degree.

If I want something that I do not have, I can:
a) Buy it
b) Save up for it, then buy it

If I NEED something (Like a stove, a microwave, a vacuum cleaner) then I can't ask for it because that makes an un-fun xmas gift (Please let me go the rest of this post by refering to Dec 25th as xmas, it is so much shorter to write).

Family members hound me: "What do you want? What do you want???" So if I tell them, they get it for me, and on xmas day I get to think "Oh wow, what a surprise... exactly...what...I...asked...for...."

But if you say "Dont get me anything" (Which, honestly, I would prefer) you ruin everyones xmas because they WANT to get you something.

BUT if you say "Get me whatever you think I will like" you make a huge mistake and end up getting a sweater that you pretend is nice and you never wear.

I swear, my brother is so easy to shop for for xmas. You ask him, and he tells you: "Cash".

If he doesn't ask for cash, he is very specific and thats what I get him, and no one is shocked on xmas day. One xmas he got me the star wars trilogy. Lo and behold it is what I asked for. Well, he asked for it too, so I got it for him. HOW STUPID! Thats like trading 20 dollar bills with someone.

Here are my favorite all time items that I own:
A polo shirt my sister in law got me. It is 4 years old and to this very day people tell me what a nice shirt it is. I did not ask for it, she did not ask me, and she picked it out on her own.

A belt I found at school on the ground

A hat I found at school, on the ground.

Donny Nesselroads torn up shirt he put in the trash can in the laundry room at Faulkner. I loved that shirt, now it is gone.

A free boat Josh and I share, it is almost 40 years old.

My plain ole black truck, that I bought after getting rid of a fast, red corvette.

So I am easy to please. My most enjoyable gifts are those people bought me without asking me. But, for some reason, I am afraid to ask my family to just buy something and surprise me with it. THERE ARE THE BEST GIFTS! But all xmas is now is:
"what do you want"
"I dunno, what do you want"
"just pickout something"
"youll hate it"
"no I wont!"
"ok, i need to buy a gift for 565 dirty santa parties this week though"

AUGH!!!!!!!!!!! GO AWAY SANTA!

oh, and decorations.... why is it that for 30 days, the tackiest, most awful looking decor is acceptable? I ask my wife "If it is so beautiful, why dont we leave it up year round?"

I am a mean one, Mr Grinch

Sunday, December 04, 2005

How to smoke a pipe

1. Pack the pipe weed into the pipe

2.Light up and suck the flame into the pipe... while listening to your friend talk...

3. Make a concerned face after you puff a few... wait on your friend to catch up with you..

Thursday, December 01, 2005

After-Thanksgiving fun

Fish heads fish heads... and tails... and guts... and bones...

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, Mark D invited me, my father-in-law (Brad) and Sip to fish at his wife's grandfathers pond deep in Elmore county.

I had fished there many times, so was ready to reel in the big ones. Due to their size the last time, Mark suggested we all bring coolers and keep some, to control the population as it seems the big ones are keeping all the smaller ones small, and making themselves only bigger.

Well, it was slow, naturally. Fishing is never really great in cold weather, but if you can hook one, you are doing good. I was disappointed honestly. I have fished that pond for over a year and never went 10 minutes without catching something. When it comes to fishing, I am not one of those people who say "I don't care if I don't catch anything, just being out on a boat is relaxing." Screw that crap, I want to catch fish!

Well, Josh and Mark were on one boat (with a trolling motor) and me and Brad were in another boat (with one paddle). I explained this to Brad before we left and he kept saying "You don't need a trolling motor for a pond." He changed his tune quickly when he learned that I was there to fish and not paddle. (He ended up giving me money for xmas, and said 'buy a trolling motor with this.") Oh, see the picture of Sip peeing next to the big tree. I couldn't resist taking that pic...

Anyway, Mark, using his secret weapon, (which isnt so secret because he uses it every time he fishes) started to reel them in. By the time he had 3 good sized bass, Josh had one too. I had none and Brad had none. Of course we both had about 4 that got away. When they jump out of the water, they would sling the hook out of their mouth. I guess we weren't setting the hook hard enough.

Anyway, the smack-talk started across the water. I would yell something to Mark and he would say "Sorry, I can't hear you due to all the fish flopping around in my cooler!" Or he would see us paddling and he would pat his trolling motor and say "$149 at Wal-mart baby!"

Well, I eventually reeled one in, nothing spectacular, maybe 2 pounds, but I was happy. Brad had no catches, so eventually we headed to the bank. As us 3 younger guys were putting all the bass in one cooler, and getting the boats ready to leave, Brad is fishing off the bank, and sure enough, hooks the 2nd biggest of the day (Mark pulled in the biggest) so he left happy.

But the best part was when we got home.

I had never fileted or cut up a fish. Brad had. We made a make-shift table in my driveway, pulled the fish out of the icey cooler and got to work. Brad taught me how to cut up the fish, so he fileted 3 and I fileted 3. I wasn't as gross as I thought it would be, since we didn't really "gut" the fish. The outside of a fish stinks, but the meat doesn't smell at all (Unless of course it is old.) The blood was minimal, or wasn't bothersome. And we got loads of meat off of them. 3 nights ago, I made a fish corn chowder that we like to make, only this time, I put bass meat in it. It was wonderful!

The feeling of having gone fishing, caught a fish, cut it up, then made a meal and ate the meal with the fish in it is wonderful.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Blur on you crazy line

10 points to Gryffindor house for the person who tells me what song the subject refers to...

When we were kids, there were certain jobs and activities that were set aside only for professionals; Disc Jockey, Movie Maker, Recording Musician, Business Owner, etc... Could we ever become one of these? Sure, with alot of money, alot of work, and alot of education.

But look now. The line between amateur and professional has been blurred so much thanks to technology. Photography equipment is now so advanced; the average 17 year old has equipment in his pocket that blows the pants of a pro from the 80s. We can take photos, edit them, and print them in our own home.

Video equipment is now advanced and cheap enough that anyone can pretty much make a decent movie with equipment bought at Best Buy. Even more, this person can edit the movie and add special effects on a computer that costs under $1,000.

We can now be a DJ thanks to iTunes and our iPod, we can record music with software most producers would only dream of in the 80s. More and more people work out of the home thanks to paypal, ebay, and google ads.

Examples go on for miles, so what is a true professionalism and what makes an amateur not a pro? It is no longer lack of technology, access, or money. Anyway, thought this was a neat observation... I mean heck, 10 years ago, who would have thought that we would all have a website like this? Everyone from Microsoft to the kid down the street has a website...

Friday, November 25, 2005

Hot Topic

Here is the Hot Topic essay that you guys helped me come up with. Feel free to add comments at the bottom, for they help boost my visibility on the site.

Language warning. The guys I wrote it with have foul tongues which like to curse, so if ye be offended by such things, BEWARE.

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Who let the dogs out, indeed...

As I sit here in my bedroom, in a house I pay a monthly mortgage for, I can hear, over the loud TV, dog barking.

I have a next-door neighbor, whom I love, who owns a German Shepard. This is a good dog, and barks only if another dog is within their property. The neighbors on my other side have two shiatsus, which bark like mad when they smell me in my back yard, but, lucky for me, they are inside dogs, and only come out to pee or poop.

The lady next to them owns a black cocker and a black lab. She lets them roam the street as they please, crapping in my yard and causing other dogs to bark. When locked up in the back yard, they too, bark like mad, at virtually everything.

But the line has been drawn recently.

The people who USED to live behind us have moved. In their place, a nice family of a man, a woman, and 2 girls has moved in. With them, come 2 dogs.

These dogs bark all the time.

At any, and everything. They hear a truck in the neighborhood, they bark, I go to my trash can, they bark, a dog in the neighborhood barks, they return with a bark. Their barking then causes other dogs to bark, in which case, the dogs behind me continue their barking.

I thought I left this crap when I moved out of an apartment complex, but I bought a pair of earplugs today. This is my house people. I should not have to buy earplugs to sleep peacefully. But last night, I assume someone in the neighborhood was moving, so a moving truck was coming in and out. This caused the dogs to bark. I was up till 11:30pm hearing the barking. I gave up trying to fall asleep and went into the living room to lie down and watch a Harry Potter movie. I fell asleep eventually and came to bed. I walk into my dark bedroom, stop, listen.. I hear barking, still. I glance at the clock... 12:30am.

I go into my bathroom and take a muscle relaxer. My muscles feel fine, but I don’t care, I will drug myself to sleep. I go back into the living room, flick around the TV for a while, then give up, and decide to go to bed and read until I fall asleep.

Sure enough, my wife tells me I fell asleep with a book in front of me with the lamp on; she turned it off at 4:30 this morning.

Friends... tell me, why do people own dogs and keep them outside?
Cattle, I understand, poultry and hogs, I understand. Goats, sure, keep them outside. But if you are going to buy your family a pet, and all you do is keep it in the back yard, you don’t have a pet, you have an animal that you keep locked up in the back yard... why? I can’t understand this???

Worse yet, if I had a dog and it barked past midnight, no one would say a word. Yet, if I go outside right now (9:30pm) and start saying the alphabet as loud as other dogs bark, I'd have the cops called on me.

SURELY the owners of these dogs hear them barking! SURELY it bothers them, or at least they consider that it MIGHT bother neighbors.

I am looking at my wife right now, she is sound asleep! Do I have supersonic hearing? Why do these dogs bother me so? Cats, suddenly, appear to be a wonderful animal to me!

So, by buying earplugs, have I caved in some way? Should a man be able to sleep peacefully in his own home without buying earplugs? I wore earplugs in the apartments we lived in, but I am in a HOME now!

What do I do? Introduce myself to the new neighbors and say "Hi, I am your neighbor behind you, your dog keeps me up past midnight every night, do something!"

FYI, I just muted my TV, the howling and barking was without pause and it sounds like I live in a zoo full of canine.

Is this against the law in anyway? Sound ordnance? I love(d) dogs, but now, when I lie in bed listening to them bark, I think of so many wonderful ways to do so many unwonderful things to the dogs....

What to do….

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Is this love?

A little WhiteSnake for your singing-in-your-head pleasure (Sorry for you younger ones who don't remember WhiteSnake... you are probably better off actually.)

I just realized what love is.

I had an ingrown hair on my neck. It was in a spot what I simply could not see well enough while looking in a mirror to extract it.

My wife, voluntarily, offers to take a needle and tweezers and get the sucker out for me.

This, my friends, is love. It has nothing to do with sex, looks, or money. If your wife is willing to perform minor surgery on disgusting aspects of your body, you, my friend, have found a soul mate!


Monday, November 21, 2005

Back to Blogging

I may have found somethin to ease my blogging woes. It's called an RSS reader. I allows me to constantly see what's been added to our blog. And it's free. can't post with it. Maybe it's not perfect, but at least it may keep me informed.

Here's how:

1) Download here.

2) Set up your options in the feed properties

3) Use this URL in the address field:

4) Press subscribe.

Friday, November 18, 2005

You're Fired

I had to fire someone today. This was not the first time I’ve had to do such a thing, so it was not a completely new experience. Yet it is still quite unsettling.

The woman I had to fire was perfectly nice. She never said a negative thing. She came to work on time, was never tardy from break or lunches. She sat in her chair and did her job to the best of her ability. In many ways she was a model employee.

Except, she was a rather terrible collector. I’m a collections supervisor for a credit card company. My employees are paid to collect on past due accounts. The gig is all about numbers: number of calls made, numbers of cardholders contacted, payments converted, and of course, dollars collected. To survive you have to play the numbers.

This is something that this woman could just not do. You could say she was just too nice. And it’s true; to be a collector you have to have something of a dark side within you. But it is more than just being mean, there are plenty of very nice collectors who do excellent work. It’s part salesmanship, part thick-leathery skin, and mostly being able to push a little, prod a lot that gets the job done.

Besides not just having the collector instinct, this lady didn’t seem to grasp some of the fundamental concepts behind the job. Simple things that most people understand quickly and mold it into their work personality, she just couldn’t seem to get.

All of this is to say that the termination could be seen from a far distance. In fact, I had a long conversation with her a couple of weeks ago, warning her that unless things really improved, I’d have to let her go. Things did get better, she did improve, but not nearly enough to warrant keeping her on the payroll.

So, this afternoon, I pulled her aside, and let her go.

Did I mention that this lady had mentioned to my boss a couple of weeks back that I “made her uncomfortable?” Earlier, on that day, I had reached across her person and logged her out of the system, using her mouse. This is something I do often, and is only a gesture meant to expedite the process of them getting off the phone so that I may talk to them. Apparently this gesture offended her in some way, enough to make her say something to my boss.

Now, she never used the word “harassment” but this is the first thing that rang in my head when my boss told me. Holy crap! Visions of lawsuits and besmirching of my permanent record began ringing in my head.

Now here I was approaching her so that I could terminate her permanently.

I called Human Resources to tell them I was none to comfortable having that conversation. They insured me it would be ok and told me to have another supervisor with me.

It went as well as those things go. I explained it wasn’t personal, wished her well and sent her on her way. She gave me the whole “I really need this job” speech, but I had to stand firm.

I hate this. She really was a nice lady, possible harassment charges and all. And here I am throwing her out, not long before Christmas and all that.

Terminating employees is part of my job, I accept this. But it still sinks my heart.

Post termination, I hid out in the back of the office, allowing her time to gather her things and leave the office. I didn’t want any awkward moments where she was passing my desk in order to tell her workmates goodbye.

As she left, and I reentered the floor, a coworker, decides to tell me she is sitting in her car, crying.

Yeah, like I needed that.

So, here I am feeling like a heel, and there she is without a job.

This sucks.

one wild ride

So I've been away from blogging for a while to clear my head. In the mean time I've been thinking about a motorcycle show. I hooked up with a real bike jock here at work and he's connected me to a couple of amazing links, one of which I wanted to share.
There is no need to have a passing interest in riding to absolutely love this site. The root site is a collection of adventure riding logs; this guy the striking viking is amazing. Since I got the link at 10am I've not moved from it until now at 5pm, it's been a slow day.
Breakdown man sells his farm in California, invests cash into a BMW bike, the only bike I'd ever want to own. Makes bike world worthy and ships it to Japan. I'm on page 87 and this guy has traveled on two wheels from Japan to Siberia to Germany, through the Middle East (Gaza, Palestine, West Bank, everywhere) through Nepal and now about to reach Thailand and he's far from done.
This site is full of pictures and one of a kind commentary that's just astounding.

Semen Washer

This is just funny. The last line is the best, but don't just skip to it.

Semen Washer # 7 on Popolar Sciences' "10 Worst Jobs of 2005"

Thursday, November 17, 2005

WD Forum

I may have brought this up before, but I am a member of the Writer's Digest Forums.

The forums are a place on the web where aspiring and professional writers can mix, mingle, and meet. I have been posting on there for a couple of months now and have learned more about writing, getting an agent, and getting published than I have in the last two years!

I post this not merely for information, but with the hopes that any of you guys who might be interested in writing (hint, hint guys) might go there and join the conversation. I have had my name in the newsletter, met several published authors, received a free magazine from WD, and recently even received a free novel!

The novel is a brand new book by debut author Brian Strause titled Maybe A Miracle. It was sent to me and ten other people out of the over 600 users on the forums. We are the core review/discusion group for the novel and are there to ramp-up the Book Buzz forum! This sort of thing is right up Brew's alley!

Anyway, I just wanted y'all to have a chance to come on in and join-up if you want. It's lots of fun and you'll meet many, talented, nice people.

Mr. Trips

Y'all remember my idea for a site that had to do with backyard adventures? Well, here is a site that deals with something like it. Funny thing is that one of the guys who's involved with it is the agent who's looking at my book right now! Anyway, I thought it was interesting.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Okay all you child psychologists...

I was teaching inner city last night.

Typically, the classes are anywhere from 6 to 9 students. Ages from 8 to 10 years old.

It is standard that one child acts up every class. Acts up enough to distract the other kids. This child is sent out of the class, no questions asked and the classes go on smoothly and fun from there.

Last night was no different. The rule is that no child is allowed to use the bathroom during class, and no child it allowed to get water during class. We have to do this. Otherwise, they will all ask to go, whether then have to or not. Class is only 40 minutes long, and any child that doesn't have a bladder issue can handle this. (Well, one kid has wet their pants once, but that’s a minority).

So, this one girl is clearly not pleased to be in class. So she tries the old "I have to use the bathroom" routine. It is ignored by me and the other guy teaching, because we know the drill. She persists; I explain to her that I can't let her go, why didn't you go before you left, etc... Seeing that this isn’t working, she then complains of stomach pains. Then says she is about to throw up. I almost fall for this one, until she does a very unconvincing gag. She begs again to leave to throw up, to which my other teacher (Mark D) responds "Just make sure you keep it on your paper and it don't go on the floor."

She goes on and on about this until I am finally fed up. I go to the door, open it up and say, "Get out." To which she replies by sitting still and smiling. After several attempts to ask her to get out, I finally walk over to her. I am not afraid to manhandle these kids and they know it. She then runs under the table, to where she is caught by my other teacher and 'escorted' out.

Now, forget this is inner city. Trust me, white kids that age are much worse. 95% of these kids love being there, and leave having learned a real Bible story, and in some cases, a memory verse even though half of them read at much lower levels than they should.

So, what is the deal? This girl does everything in the book to get out of class, then, when given the opportunity, she refuses.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I'm So Proud...

of my wife! Hopefully she won't kill me for posting this. I just think she's doing a great job!Check out these websites she's been building! They aren't complete, yet. But, she has really done a lot to them thus far and they look very nice and professional in my opinion.

This one is a site about kids and money management.

This one is a site for a lady who embroiders stuff on purses, clothes, etc.

Enjoy! They should be completely functional before too long!

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Agents Are Coming! The Agents Are Coming!

Well, y'all wish me luck. I have an agent who's interested enough in my manuscript to request the first three chapters. This guy has agented for Clive Cussler, Richard Marcinko, and several other big sellers. Maybe something will turn out for me! I'll keep you all updated!

Here is a link to some info on the agent.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Holy Crap!

Check this out.

Last Friday management had our weekly 6:30 AM meeting. My boss mentions that she read in the paper how a person, sharing the same name as one of our employees, was arrested Nov. 1 for stealing $150,000 from the company she worked for. We get all excited trying to figure out if this girl, and our employee were one and the same.

The ages were close, and they lived in the same town. How many people can have the same name, be of the same age and live in the same town, we wondered.

A little later, our employee didn't show up for work. We made calls to the HR department and found out they were one in the same. Since we are a credit card company and our employees deal with other people's financial information every day, we were very concerned. HR called the temp agency we had hired her out of, determined it was the same girl, and immediately terminated her.

Crazy stuff.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Here's a little quote I had as a mantra for a while: "When you wake up one day and say, you know, I don't think I'll ever need sleep or sex again... Congratulations! You're ready to have children." (Ray Romano)

But really, I can't count the number of times I wanted to just drop the birth control pills and get pregnant. I'm so glad I didn't because now I've got Luke and we're in a situation where I can stay at home with him and not worry too much about money or anything else. I finished school. Sometimes I wonder if it was worth it, since nobody really asks you if you've got an art degree when applying for the job of stay-at-home mom. But then Josh reminds me what an accomplishment it was, how proud I can be, and that in the future I may want to get a job where it'll come in handy. And he's right.

First, let me say that I've never been happier in my whole life. But let me also say that I didn't get a full night's sleep for well over a year. Luke woke up every single hour many many nights. I (and Josh) was lucky to get 3 solid hours of sleep. I was a zombie. A happy zombie, but a zombie nonetheless. I could not have gone to school during this time even if it had been the second grade. School is different from work in two very important ways: one, you don't get paid, but you pay out to go to school; and two, the bulk of your work is done at home after-hours when you're in school. Diana, think with your head not your heart right now. I know what it's like, I've been there, and it's not easy when your womb is tugging at your heart.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Live your desires through me, my friends...

Okay, so maybe they are not strong desires...

But, think back to high school. How many opportunities did you have to stand on a desk or run in the halls and not get in trouble?


(My plan was to take many more pics doing things that were against the rules. I never got around to it. I guess if you consider the fact that we have uniforms here and I am not wearing one, thats 3 rules I am breaking)

Monday, November 07, 2005

The last of the interviews...

I think I have decided that I no longer want to go on a job interview as long as I live.

I don't know why I still seek them out and why I look forward to them. When I get done with them, I feel either:
1) Bored
2) Humiliated
3) Stupid
4) All of the above

I had one today. It was sort of spur of the moment. A gal at church has a dad who works for the toll bridge company (Not working a booth, state-wide home office is 2 miles from my house). I mentioned to her that I have applied for 2 or 3 jobs there and never got an interview. A few days later, she emails me and tells me to forward my resume to her dad. And there ya go, I had an interview today.

It started out okay. The usual call-me-in-10-minutes late routine. I think they do that just to see if you will get mad at them. And I hate walking in all dressed up. Everyone looks at you; they KNOW you are there for an interview. ARG! I HATE IT! So we sit down at a big table with who I assume to be a fellow HR employee who says 10 words the whole interview.

The gal interviewing me was a very nice, very slim, very attractive black lady who was certainly not a day over 26. The interview went very well until she got to a section that she described as "Standard HR questions." which typically dealt with morals and job performance scenarios.

These questions were normal at first; “What give you satisfaction in life?”, “If you work with someone who is stealing from the company, what do you do?” What aspect of your job are you most successful at?”, etc. I hate these questions too, but the worst is yet to come.

I was asked “What do you think about when you are alone?” Believe me, the first thing to pop into my head was “You don’t wanna know.” But this sweet gal turned into a professional, straight faced rock when these questions started rolling. I froze and said after about 30 seconds of thinking; “What’s for dinner…?” No smile.

The other bad question was “If you have a negative day at work, how do you get rid of the negativity?”… Again, I freeze and say “Go home, let it stew, then wash it off in the shower…” I kid you not, no smile.

At least in this interview, I did not get bored. Most companies will give you a 10 minutes description about how great their company is, how long they have been around, and all the wonderful things they do. It is at this point in the interview that my eyes glaze over and I toss in a few nods and maybe the occasional raised-eyebrows with the finger-to-mouth. They spared me this torture in this interview.
Anyway, I’ve decided never to go to another interview again, unless it is me interviewing someone. I think I want to work for myself. Help me think.

A Nice Saturday

Saturday, the in-laws came up for a visit. We decided to take a picnic lunch at the Brown County State park. Figuring this was the last weekend to catch the changing leaf colors, we hurried out even though the cloud covers looked like rain. Luckily we got no rain, and even the sun poked its head out now and again.

We had a very lovely picnic, with quite a spread. There was the organic, rosemary bread, honey roasted ham and turkey, with our choice of several fine cheeses. Amy made a little fruit bowl filled with fresh apples, walnuts and blue cheese. We had fresh tomatoes, dill pickle kettle chips, and some chocolate no-bake cookies to top it all off. A picnic to perfection it was.

There wasn’t a lot of variety in the colors of the trees; we got lots of yellows and oranges, but very few shades of red. What we lacked in variety was more than made up for in brightness.

You wouldn’t know it from the drive, but the park is actually over 1,000 feet above sea level. It is often called the “little smokies” and looking down into some of the valleys I can see why. A light fog drifted over much of the thick covered trees filling the valley and mountain side.

After lunch we took a nice 1.25 mile hike down into a valley and over to one of the two small lakes. It was a refreshing hike, and though my out of shape body was tired in the end, it felt good to be exercising again.

After the hike we drove around the rest of the park, stopping to take pictures at most of the sight seeing ledges, and headed home.

A lovely day it was.

Seminal Moments

I just had a seminal moment.

These are moments in your life that you'll always remember as turning-points.

The moment you knew you were going to spend your life with your soon-to-be wife.

The moment you found out you were going to have a baby.

The moment you became a Christian.

Today, Rachel called me and let me know how she and Luke were doing. She put the phone up to Luke's ear and let me talk to him as usual. I didn't expect him to say anything, as usual.

Then he said it! "Daddy."

In that word, I could hear "I love you more than I can express."

It was at that moment I knew something close to how much God love us.

A seminal moment of the highest degree.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

seinfeld dream

All my dreams have come true... well, okay, all my dream-wishes have occurred in my dreams...

I am seriously considering dedicating my personal blog to my dreams. I know my dreams are stupid and really don't fit this blog, but I like to share them because they make me laugh so much.

I had a dream I was in an episode of Seinfeld. I don't know if I was an additional character or a replacement of Jerry (Because I don't remember seeing him in the dream). Never-the-less, we are in Jerry's apartment. I can't remember the details, but Elaine and George have a fight and Elaine storms out.

Next scene is "the coffee shop" but looked nothing like the set in the TV show. It looked more like an Applebee’s or TGI Fridays, but painted in yellows, blues, and reds. Very bold. Elaine is sitting at a table with Kramer and 2 other strange looking men (I presumed one to be 'Bob Sacameno'). George and I walk in and we don’t even exchange looks at Elaine. George notices that Sylvester Stallone is sitting at the 'bar'. He tells me he is going to start a conversation with him.

Knowing how George can ruin a situation like this, I discourage him from doing it. He says "trust me" and I follow along with him. He sits to Stallone's left and I sit to George's left. George orders a drink, then says to me (in a way that Sly can hear him) "Yeah, I sure love hunting in Iraq!". In the dream, we have the knowledge that Stallone loves to hunt in Iraq, so I follow his lead. Sly then turns with a curious smile and says to George "So you like hunting in Iraq?" and from there the conversation goes on; "What kind of gun do you use?", "What do you hunt?", "What month do you usually go in?" and so on...

Sly excuses himself and says he enjoyed talking to us. Amazed at George's performance I congratulate him on how non-gushy-fan he sounded (albeit, he was lying the whole time) and George is congratulating himself to no end.

(Here is the funniest part of the whole dream.) As we are leaving the 'coffee shop' we hear Elaine and Kramer discussing something. Elaine appears to be a bit upset at something and as we walk out the door I hear her say loudly "Hold the Huggies $h!t"... said in a way that we might say "Hold the phone!" or "Hold up just one minute!"

I had never heard this phrase in my life, but found it quite hilarious after I woke up. I assume Huggies to be referring to the diapers. Sadly, today is Sunday, and all day that phrase has been popping into my head. I suppose I could coin this phrase but change it to "Hold the Huggies crap!". Then, of course, it would blossom on its own to include the "S" word... What say ye? Will you help me start this phrase? If it gets big, you'll know I started it!

Spell checked and ribbed for your pleasure...

The Hot Topic

For the last several weeks I’ve been writing a group article with some pals from Blogcritics. It’s called the Hot Topic and we basically discuss anything and everything. Kind of like we do around here, but it’s way more organized, and we publish it to a world wide audience.

Each week, one of us comes up with a topic and kind of a thesis statement. Then the rest of the gang chimes in with their perspective and we go from there. So far we have discussed, Buying Music at Starbucks, the Death of Cooking, and Favorite Scenes. My turn to come up with a subject is near, and I need some help.

So, I’m soliciting ideas on what I should present as my Hot Topic. I want to stay away from politics and religion because those topics can go sour so quickly, but anything else is up for grabs. Me being me, I’m thinking of something along the lines of movies or music, but I’m really up for anything interesting.

To get you started, my idea for the moment is something along the lines of foreign films. Too many people, including my mom, hate foreign films. Don’t like to “read” them. But there are so many brilliant films out there that happen to be in a separate language. It’s a shame to miss them. Problem with this topic is that I’m not sure how much discussion I can get out of it.

So, bring me your ideas, or expound upon my own.


Total Update

I know the Subject may be misleading, but in a since I'm going to catch you guys up.

Jodi's car was totaled. We found out about a week-and-a-half ago. For the past two weeks it has been my responsibility to take Alexandra to and from school (aka: day-care). Other than the traffic, I have enjoyed every moment of that experience. We'd talk, play, and groove to the music. She loves dance and pop music. She also loves to jabber (speaking of which. I'm doing that now).

During this past week Jodi has been taking as many opportunities to test drive and look for her next vehicle. Yesterday (Saturday) we dropped Alexandra off at a friends house at 8:30 a.m. (we were hoping to be back by 6 p.m.). And we set out to take a slow path that would eventually lead us to B-ham (actually Hoover).

She had decided cars and vans were out. She wanted an SUV that was on a car chassis . That list includes the Honda CRV, Toyota Rav4 and Highlander, Lexus something or another, Chevy Equinox, Buick Rendezvous, Saturn Vue, etc.... Needless to say we test drove many vehicles and were very tired by the end of the day. Well the whole reason we ended up in Hoover was that was the only place that had used Toyota Highlanders. Jodi had driven a new one but was not interested in a new price tag.

To make a long story short, we ended up with a "Salsa Red Pearl" 2005 Toyota Highlander with 11.5K miles. We had two dealers duking it out and ended up with a good deal even without a trade-in.

BTW: no job update for me this week.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Smoke em if ya got em...

I had one of the most enjoyable nights this past Thursday night. Ironically, it cost virtually nothing and involved sitting in one place for a long period of time.

The Sip and myself have our Thursday night jam session as we always do. Sip has taken up the stand-up bass and I must say, must be a natural at this thing. He has played it maybe 3 times and you can hardly tell he is there because he never misses a note or a beat, just blends right in...

Anyway, I had brought my little box of 2 cigars, pipe tobacco, a corncob pipe, and my lighter. After practice we headed to Sips home. We went inside first, grabbed some ice water, and I took two Dove dark chocolate pieces and tossed them into my smoke box.

We headed out to Sips "outdoor living room" which is quite relaxing. A small fish pond with an ever flowing fountain, a comfortable bench, and a sip-made table to prop your feet on. There were some candles in the house so I brought two out and lit them and sat them on the table. It was very cafe-esque.

We lit our popes and just sat and talked about anything and everything. Before the night was over, both of us had urinated outside. We took a small walk around the backyard, which was dog-crap-free and returned to the bench to refill our pipes.

We swapped weed. The general consensus is that my weed was more desirable than Sips. After our smoking, we washed it down by letting some dark chocolate melt in our mouths and them some ice water.
Not much more than that. Sounds pretty romantic don't it? But we didn’t have any "Sex-shu-al re-lay-shuns" but it was a nice time with a good friend.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Accountability to God and Child.

This week Isaac came home with a two inch cut on the inside of his upper right arm. I was somewhat shocked by this until I he told me how this happened. “Kayla Pearson scraped me with a wood chip.”
This is not an easy place to get a cut and had to have required some effort. This did not surprise me because a few weeks ago Isaac developed a black eye which lasted some two weeks given to him by Kayla Pearson. There is a new incident every week that has her name on it which has included hitting, kicking, shoving, spitting and other various forms of nuisance.

So after the cut and Isaac getting two sad faces on his daily report one which was prompted by him and Kayla bugging each other Jules and I sat down with our oldest boy and told him that if he shouldn’t play with her any more. We explained they always get in trouble when together or Isaac comes home and tells us about her hitting him or otherwise receiving some sort of injury.

Today as I dropped of Isaac Kayla Pearson was sitting near the door playing, by herself. There have been many mornings that she’s already sitting at the teacher’s desk because she’s done something; it’s not even 9am yet mind you. As I say bye to my boy the tussled hair and blue eyes of Kayla look up at me as she asks, “Why did you tell Isaac he couldn’t play with me anymore?”
My first thought was “because you’re mean” but I thought better of it and leaned down to try and give her an answer she might understand with a bit of tact.
I ended up telling her that she and Isaac are always fighting, he is always on the receiving end of getting hurt and that if they can’t play together nicely they shouldn’t play together. I then recanted my newly enforced no play rule and said they could play as long as they didn’t hit and hurt each other.

I said bye to Isaac and left. The short walk to my car rattled in my head as this little girl was stopping me in my tracks because of actions I’ve set upon my son. She was holding me accountable for my actions and rules as they pertain to Isaac. Simultaneously I was realizing that someday I will be looking to the thrown of God and have that exact type of question, though on a much grander scale, being asked of me.

Last night we went looking for some shoes for Isaac, he found some rain boots or “fireman boots” but they were too small, he wanted those and daddy said no, insert meltdown. I got cranky and bothered because I didn’t like the way he was acting or the way I was acting. His excuse was that he hadn’t eaten dinner yet and mine was that sometime I’m a cranky old ass.

Later my thoughts turned to God and his ability to overlook the times when his kids are fussy, hungry, and crying while laying in the floor of K-Mart (I’m boycotting Wal-Mart). In the reflective face of God I’ve got to relax a bit with my boys.

There is an amazing grace in the heart of a child. I know that today people consider the thoughts of a child to be very refreshing while still not placing a lot of stock in those little minds. For those of you who have smaller kids there are moments when the giggling faces twist and contort and push you to the edge. Amazingly enough those same faces pull you back in obviously in parallel with Gods grace.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Where myths come from.

OK I’ve been a big fan of various mythological whatnot for a long time. I love the fantastic idea that someday I’m going to happen upon some diminutive creature that is going to take me to some other world to meet other amazing creatures. This stems from a rich and nurtured imagination and the more mature desire to understand why people believe what they believe.

For centuries myths of all types have circulated across the globe and I think that they are actually truthful. At least they are rooted in some sort of truth. I’ve linked a story which is from a Ripley’s Believe it Or Not episode about a boy born with a “tail”. They them selves make a comparison to a Hindu god many worship.

Have you guys ever studied such myths and considered their origins? More so, have any of you done side research to find such abnormal human examples of modern explainable situations that could have been predecessor’s that years later could have had a mythology developed around it.

There are children born with one eye or no eyes: Cyclopes, multi-headed humans and animals like Cerberus the mythic dog guarding the gates of Hades, tailed children, reflecting Hindu gods. Autism and savants who have complete and total recall of a situation or prodigy like traits.

It’s strange to consider that some time ago if such a child were to survive they could be deified where in modern times they would have been in a freak show or medical mystery.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Users are losers and losers are users; So don't use drugs...

This may not entertain anyone here since none of ya'll really work in the tech support industry. However, over my many years in this field, I have narrowed the main types of users that there are. There are many many more than these 3, but yesterday, I carried a heavy computer from the one end of campus to the other (the furthest distance you would have to walk) and got stopped by 3 of the folllowing users...

1) The "follow up in person" user. This user will get an email that is pretty straight forward, then reply to you. Typically, the transaction is finished here, however, when this user sees you in person, they find it the perfect time to continue the email conversation as though it has not yet stopped.

Example: I send out an email to all users warning them about a new danger in AOLs instant messenger. I referenced a web link and told them how to avoid getting the virus. One user replies (Even though no reply was needed) explaining to me how she doesn't use it at work but does at home. Confused, I tell her to be careful at home. A day later I am lugging a heavy computer and we cross paths, I nod, she waves. Then I hear her call my name from behind. Surely this is an emergency, she certainly sees me carrying this heavy load. Oh no, not so. She says "What's the deal with that AOL virus thing?" Befuddled by the question, I ask "You read my email...?" She replies "Yes, but I have used AOL for years and never had a problem." I literally stumbled over my words, while trying to keep the computer held up in my hands... she stood resolute, waiting an explanation to which I reploed "Just don't click links that people send you in aol." and I walked on.

2) The "I know you are busy but I just have one quick question" user.

Sure, all questions are quick, but when everyone stops you in the hall while you are carrying a 30 pound box, there is no such thing as a quick question...
"If I bring a printer from home, can we put it on my classroom computer?"
"Sure, no problem, just email me to remind me"
"I was just about to do that! Thanks so much!"
I'm thinking "So had you not seen me in the hall, you would have never had the opportunity to ask me this question? And if you were about to email me, and saw I was busy and straining to hold up this computer, why did you stop me?"

FYI, I have yet to get an email from her...

3) The "Pick up where we left off" user...

Occationally, teachers will solicite me to fix thier personal computers. I am cool with it as long as they bring it to me and I dont have to come to their house. About a week ago, one teacher come to my office explaining a problem she was having with her PC at home. I told her to bring it in and I would look at it. The day I was carrying this computer, she stops me and says (No joke) "Yeah, i called dell and they couldnt figure it out..."
"sweating, and straining, I readjust the computer in my arms and look at her confused and say "What are you talking about again...?"

she refreshes my memory...

Needless to say, yesterday about 9am (about 24 hours after this long haul) I pulled a muscle in my back from literally doing nothing... it just hit me. $20 doctor copay and a $20 pharmacy copay later, I have muscle relaxers in my bathroom....

I almost want to send out an email saying "If you see me carrying something, please dont stop me in the hall. I have pulled a muscle in my back due to such actions this week." But of course, I wont...

Workers comp?

Monday, October 31, 2005

Christianity and the primordial ooze

Brew brought up an interesting point which I think can merit a bit of delving.
Collectively the members of this blog adhere to a fairly strict set of “guidelines” established without an ecclesiastical hierarchy. We all agree that through the diligent searching of Biblical texts the “church” as we recognize it is set up in a good way.

During the Crusades, Exploration (insert conquering) of new worlds, and various other tumultuous times throughout the “Church” (note: C, big C) history. During these eras Christianity was spread much in the same way as Islam and that’s by conquering the guys who didn’t believe the same thing.

Though it’s been proven time and time again that the four gospels are as accurate as they could be having in some cases only being written a decade after the crucifixion if not sooner that bad stuff has happened in the besmirched name of God.

In bypassing the historical “Church” do we have the right to claim a new “church” based on the evolution of the practitioners of this sect of the modern church?
My point is this. I don’t consider the faith of those who enacted the crusades, witch hunts and other murderous activities a part of my “church” because of their perception of of Biblical texts. Those folks followed a man not the words, actions and deeds of the Son of Man.

The worlds most dangerous blog

This blog is the worlds most dangerous blog. How so? Well, for one thing, we do two things that you are taught to never do socially:

1) We talk about religion
2) We talk about politics

These topics are frowned upon in our society because they are two topics that people feel strongly about and are not likely to change their opinions about, hence, arguments come up.

I personally dont like to bring these topics up, even among friends. Debates are fine, but when we get close to arguing, I dont like it. I try to stand my ground and my positions, but I typically get drowned out by conspiracy rhetoric or "if that is bad, then this is bad" arguments, and it just turns into a circle where we end the argument feeling the same way as we did when we started, accomplishing very little.

However, one thing I like about us as friends. Though these topics are heated, we avoid two dangerous things:

1) We don't take personal attacks at each other
2) We don't call each other names

An outsider may see our blogs and think "How can these people be friends?" But then they will notice that there are no personal attacks on one another.

I will say this;
While the political and religious blogs are annoying, they do allow me to think more. Particularly the religious ones. That is a good thing.

This is NOT a call to stop all religious and political comments. It is just something I noticed. That good life long friends can have heated arguments and not have any personal attacks on each other. I noticed NO girls were posting in some of those posts which made me assume they either had no clue as to what we were talking about, or afriad to get in the middle of the 'fight'.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Oh right where art they rebuke?

OK so a friend was on a “Christian” rant yesterday and I called him out hard. I couldn’t sit and go through these rash generalizations massing the Christians who have screwed him over personally and the ones screwing over everyone from Pennsylvania Ave.

Here is one of his points which I think is pretty valid. From day one W has touted his Christian values and a fairly conservative agenda, no worries. 1st term closes on the heels of 9/11 and an active threat of continued terrorism.
Hunkering down under a conservative based, all American, God fearing, American morals, Fight for Freedom banner the second term rolled into office with less than stellar numbers, yet ready to spend some political capitol. The Christian right had utilized and moved in mass to re-elect W with no questions. Christians needed and must have a believer in the white house during these trying times.

Some time later the great white hope of Christian freedoms and smaller government has been riddled with the admission of going to war based on incorrect information, nepotism, cronyism (I’m happy to learn this is an actual word), hovering indictments, botched Homeland Security and FEMA appointments / restructuring and inadequate actions, a surging debt and plunging economy, continued outsourcing, environmental damage and over 2000 solemnly distributed American flag our great Christian leader takes little to no responsibility, when he gets called to the mat he seals records like in the early case of his National Guard duty his pappy got him in TX to prove one way or the other that he actually showed up for work or not. W never actually said one way or another he said he remembered reporting for duty but never said, yes I was there, he simply sealed the records.

Should a Christian choose people with a shady business background and interests to be his VP. Should he have no say in who walks the halls of the white house under his appointees? No he can’t screen everyone but Rove and Libby, really he should have better control over his cabinet. His approval rating is in the tank and still there is no outcry from the Christian supports of the guy. He has lied, sent scapegoats to the slaughter along with unprotected soldiers while his cabinet is involved with enough shady business to be under several different investigations of wrongdoing.

W’s predecessor may have been a horny bastard but he didn’t send children into a unwarranted conflicts and position the American economy atop a financial bubble that wiggles, jiggles, shimmies and quakes at every minor problem.

How does the guy continue to get support from the Christian right? I think that aside from holding the title of most vacationed president in history (undisputable fact) he need to say on vacation, when he is things don’t get as screwed up as when he tries to go back to work.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Vice President is for Torture

Scary stuff boys. Scary stuff.

So what say ye pundits of the cafe. Should the US violate Geneva Conventions to protect us from terror? Can we do basically whatever we want to keep us safe?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Totaled or not totaled, that is the question...

Jodi, got in a wreck a few days ago...What is this going around in our group? I think we are the third so that should make everyone else safe ("bad news travels in threes"). No-one was hurt and it was her fault (If you want more details scroll).

Well, We did not think it was as much damage as it looks like it is. The repair estimate is somewhat high, and it might just be over the threshold. We are waiting to hear and I will post as we find out more. We may be in the market for another car. Stay tuned!

Accident Report:
She was turning across Vaughn road from where the French Quarter Cafe used to be. She saw it was clear looked the other direction to make sure it was clear. Started going and by that time someone else had turned from the other shopping center into a lane she was about to cross...on thing lead to another bada-bing...bada-boom. She was at fault.

"I Heard an Old, Old Story..."

I taught a class at our last congregation that was all about singing and songs.

One of the things I did during the very first class was ask what every person's favorite worship song was and why. Some people smiled as they told everyone, some broke down and cried. In subsequent classes, we'd sing two or three songs and discuss the scriptures that went with them.

In any case, I was wondering the same about you guys. What's your favorite church song and why?

I'll start.

My fave is Jesus, Rose of Sharon. Part of the reason I love it is that we are speaking directly to Jesus when we sing it. "Jesus, Rose of Sharon, Bloom within my heart. Beauties of they truth and holiness impart."

Also, I appreciate that it brings in the symbolism of Jesus as a "Rose of Sharon". The term "Rose of Sharon" is used in Song of Solomon by the male writer to describe his wife. Song of Solomon has been referred to as the story of Christ's love for us as well.

Sharon is a place in ancient and modern day Israel that is the most fertile plain in the whole region. It receives regular rains and produces beautiful, strong, healthy crops. So, a "Rose of Sharon" would be considered the most beautiful, strong, and fragrant flower ever held.