Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Good, the Bad, and the Stressful

It is 11 PM. I’m sitting in a hotel room in St Louis, Missouri. I can look out my window and see the Cardinal’s stadium. I could throw a stone and hit the Gateway Arch. The city skyline at night is beautiful. Tomorrow we will wander what is downtown St Louis in search of fine foods and fantastic fun. In the evening we will approach the arch for a free Lyle Lovett concert.

It is my fourth wedding anniversary

It is almost exactly one year since we left France.

All hell is breaking loose at work.

For the past six months or so my company has been moving in the direction of “customer care.” Essentially this meant that we were going to go above and beyond your typical credit card. We were going to be about educating the cardholder on how credit works, on how to manage their finances, on how to be an awesome cardholder.

Last week two of the major movers of that direction quit, due to upper management deciding to take some different routes and essentially hired an old-school collections advisor.

Word on the street is that the company is about to sink.

I’m sitting in a brand new position. A position in which perfectly capable people performed without the title for many a year. Can you say not a necessary position?

My boss assures me that the President of the company does not want to go down the road of singular lay offs. If we sink then we all sink. I’m not sure if that is reassuring or not.

Facts are that we have money saved up. Even unemployed we’ll manage for several months. With unemployment benefits we’ll manage a little longer. I don’t really get worked up about these things because I know they are out of my hands.

Please do pray for this. I’m not sure what the specifics should be other than that me and Amy will have shelter for our heads and food in our bellies.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Coming Soon to a Hospital Near You!

Rachel went to the obstetrician yesterday and found out that she is 1.5 cm dilated and her cervix is pretty much completely efaced.

In other words, we'll probably have a new baby out here with us in the next few days. I'm really looking forward to it. A brand new baby is very exciting and exhausting. As something of a veteran, I can tell you that babies cry, a lot. They cry when they are hungry, when they're dirty, when they have gas, when they can't communicate (i.e. all the time), and even when there seems to be no reason in the world to cry.

But, there's something about them that just makes you want to protect and love them. Most would say it's the Greek love storge, but I think it's the knowledge that that innocent, perfect being is straight from God with a pure, beautiful spirit and soul. I'm looking forward to holding this new creation. Please pray for us and him. Noah is about to ride out the deluge.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I Got Linked

Bruce Hornsby - IntersectionsI believe everyone knows I write reviews and essays for blogcritics. It’s a cool gig because it gives me lots of exposure to readers I’d never get with my blog. It’s also a cool place to hang out, meet folks and get the latest scoop on just about anything. I rarely go anywhere else because they cover the latest news and talk about the newest movies, books and music.

One of the cooler benefits of being a writer for blogcritics is that I get my pick of free review material. I’ve received free CDs, DVDs, and concert tickets. Recently I received a copy of the new Bruce Hornsby box set, Intersections (Read my review here)

My review is one of the first online reviews of the set out there. It is already on the top of google searches for the set, has been included in the highly popular fan site and now has been linked by Bruce himself on his official site.

How cool is that?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The party most of you missed...

Twas a fine feast and a fine gathering... not much to say, see my webshots page for more details and, of course, more pics...

Brews sister came from China to be at the party, so none of you have excuses! Kidding! A joke!

30th birthday party

Sorry to push yours down, Chuck, beofre anyone even posted to it...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Server Dude (revised edition)

I Love My New Job!

Call me a geek, call me what you will. But, I love it.

My first week involved running around meeting people, fixing things, playing with settings, messing around with new geek toys, figuring out where stuff was, and being surprised at some of the stuff that wasn't around. Jamison, you do have a pair of Cat-5 crimps at school right? The server room had none.

I even enjoy the people I work with. Maybe it's a honeymoon stage. But I'll give you a little insight. I prayed long and often for a particular blessing from God. I asked for his perfect timing and his wisdom in what was right for me. Specifically, I prayed to God with Luke 11:11-13 in mind:

If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!

I then prayed, "Father I don't want just any old bread. I want the good and delicious bread that only you could give." I can't tell you how many times I said this in my prayers, but I believe I was given that "good bread."

Before I started searching for a job, my prayer life barely existed. Sometimes, I'd pray because I'd wake up at night and feel guilty for not praying (I knew i could not sleep unless I did). I'd pray when there was something pressing on my mind, but rarely. Looking back, I'm not sure god heard those prayers. There wasn't a lot of trust below the words. They were empty, just words. Sometime during my job hunt, I began to trust God and His gifts. He never failed to give me an answer, when I truly wanted one. However, that was only after I began asking Him for a particular blessing unless I knew I really wanted it. I've begun to understand prayer and at times find myself talking to God as if He were sitting right there with me.

A couple times during the past several months, I had this feeling that I missed God like He had gone away. I'd reflect to realize, I was the one that wasn't talking to Him. I'd pray, and I wouldn't miss Him anymore. For the first time in my life, I don't feel like there's a void. It is completely amazing to realize that any time I need to talk He's right there, never leaving my side unless I need Him to lift me up.

Before I end I just want to say this. I did not intend to type what I typed in this post. I was going to just talk about my new job. But, the more I thought about how much I love it, the more convicted I became to write the words as I have.

Father, thank You for Your blessing. I love you, and thank you for your love for me. Amen.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Point me at the sky!

Friday I’m getting my gear and prepping for my little excursion.

Sunday evening, July 23rd at 6pm I should be on the first leg of my trip to Kalomo, Zambia in the African continent. Nashville>Chicago> London> Johannesburg> Livingston. Almost 24 hours in the air one way. From Livingston the group with Healing Hands International and I will drive to Kalomo where we will spend the next week.

As you guys know I’m going to be shooting the work of HHI in this area. When I return to the states I’m going to be cutting a series of videos for HHI to use as fund raising and awareness pieces.

While there I know that I’m going on a safari and seeing one of the worlds largest water falls, Victoria Falls. I could also be seeing some very serious situations where people are literally starving to death. I don’t know that I’m going to be seeing any of HHI’s medical missions but this could always change while there. The one thing I’m sure of is that I have no idea what to expect.

I don’t know that I’ll have much or any access to email and the web but if I do I’ll be checking my NON-scripps, off-shore account.

As you could guess I’m pretty excited. While I’m away I’ll ask you all to pray for Jules, Isaac and Caleb. I could breakdown right now thinking about how much I’m going to miss them. I feel that God has blessed this opportunity and I have no real apprehension towards the trip and work its self. Having always been something of a fatalist my prayers are with them first and always.

Aug 2nd I’ll begin the trip back home arriving in Nashville around 5:30 on Aug 3rd.

I’ll talk with you soon.

I love you.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Welcome to 30...

So, do I look 30? Taken upon me leaving the house this morning (July 19th)
Below is a picture of me and Brew, in our EARLY 20s Probably not even or just turned 21. How different do I LOOK? I used to be so cuddly cute in that sweet itty biitty cutsy wootsy hat!

Bon Anniversaire

(Sung to the tune of Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band)
It was thirty years ago today
Sgt. Braly was born so gay
His mom and his dad were so merry
Even then his face was hairy

At Faulkner he was the BMOC
Outside is where he liked to pee
So let me introduce to you
A man who’s never had the flu

Jamison Ashley Braly
He’s Jamison Ashley Braly
We hope you do enjoy your day
He’s Jamison Ashley Braly
Sit back and watch us play

Oh, the memories we’ve shared
Hunting panthers upon a dare

You’ve been such a lovely friend to us
We wish you 40 or more years
40 or more years

I don’t want to stop this song
But it’s already getting to long
So let me just stop and say
Happy Happy Birthday

You’re Jamison Ashley Braly
And this, my friend, is your day.

Happy 30th Jamison!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Like Sands Through the Hourglass

I've made up my mind. I'm tired of thinking of life as stationary. I quit. I'm going to appreciate my life to its fullest. I talked to Jamison a little bit about this on our smoke night.

Back in college, life was one adventure after another. I burned the midnight cafe oil and we all burned remade candles at every possible point. Life was fast and different then.

When Rachel and I were dating and first married, we could go pretty much where ever, whenever. We had all kinds of fun all the time!

Now, we're settled. We moved close to our family. We bought the house we'll likely die of old ag in. We have settled into what is called a "routine".

But, does that mean life has to be routine? Have I forgotten to appreciate God's blessings in my life? Have I forgotten that every sparkling moment I breathe, I'm supported by God, family, and friends?

I almost had.

After life goes on the same way for a little while, you can predict the everyday. Things go a certain way and don't stop. So, what do you do to step in a new place?

I'm beginning to realize that even though life might follow a sometimes predictable course, it's always different. I just have to open my eyes and appreciate the lightning bugs in the evening and the look on Luke's face when he mistakes them for little fireworks. I need to recognize that the smile on Rachel's face when I come home is because she feels safe and happy when I'm there. And I need to give that same smile back to her.

Now I can stay right here in the ever-flowing spiritual, emotional, and mental stream of life and love, recognizing that I am a part of God's plan and adventure which will never end. And when I see Him, I'll know everything I need to know and still appreciate the knowledge that I lived my life in contentment.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Poser once, shame on you, poser twice, shame on me...

As I sit here typing this, listening to "Cosmic Charlie" from July 16, 1976 at the Orpheum Theatre, I can't help but think that I am no longer a poser.

It all started with an old friend mentioning a few Grateful Dead shows she had been to in the early 90s... okay, she had been to about 20 but a few stood out to her. Being that she was pretty computer and internet illiterate, I told her I would try and find some of those shows and burn them on CD for her. Brew, this is where you came in, and you showed me where to go.

Having burned those CDs, I listened to them first before sending them off. I heard some old familiar tunes that I never took notice of back in the mid-90s, yet recall them being in the background almost nightly of my college days.

This caused me to explore this site more, looking for more Dead shows. After having listened to more of these live shows, I can't imagine anyone would ever want to buy a studio Dead album as long as they lived. How could it ever compare?

I then went home (Parent's home) a few months ago, and dug through my old belongings, looking for a backpack. I came across many old CDs, 2 of which were "Dead Set" and a "Dicks Picks" collection. They are now in my truck and are listened to frequently.

Back in the day, I think I feigned being a poser because it was fun being made fun of by you guys, but I really did liked the music. I think I also unfairly judged true "Dead Heads". The music is so unclassifiable. As I listen to it more, the categories they fall into are:

Blues, Rock, Folk, Country, Bluegrass, Gospel...

How can a band cover such a wide spectrum so flawlessly? And make it all sound so right? I now have 4 or 5 good songs in my mandolin book, one of which is Morning Dew. I've heard it only one time, but when I play and sing it, it just feels right no matter how I sing it.

I am also blessed in being able to get a frequency in my area from Auburn; 99.9. Every night (it seems) they have the Grateful Dead hour and I am able to hear more kewl picks, all live.

If you haven't given the Grateful Dead a fair shake I recommend it. In fact, if you have tried, give them another try. If it isn't you're beat, no sweat. But I think I want some on during the next pipe smoke.

Now, when I hear these live shows (No matter the year; from 1975 or 1993), I can't help but wish I was there in the crowd. I wish I had appreciated those Further Festivals more when I was at them. I think I have arrived at becoming a true fan, no stickers or tie-died shirts needed. All that is vanity.

Immigrate Me

Amazingly, we've not talked about the immigration issue here. With Jamison giving up news, we might not get much of a discussion out of this, but I'll give it a try anyways.

Immigration has been big politics for months now. As per usual in the political world, it gets spun every which way. Illegal Mexican immigrants either suck up millions of tax dollars through welfare and healthcare without paying taxes, or in fact have taxes taken out of their pay and don't reap the benefits of the welfare programs. They are either crime happy, disease infested rapists, or hard working, good people who commit very little crime.

On and on the spin goes.

No doubt we have a lot of illegal immigrants in our country. The question is what do we do with them. Some suggest we round them up and deport them, without ever giving details to how this would happen. Others, like the President, suggest that we should create a guest worker program making illegals now residing and those coming in to register in some fashion giving them slight legality.

Then there is the wall. Some folks want to build some giant wall across the Mexican borders to stop illegals from coming in.

I don't know what the answer is. The idea of a wall sounds really expensive and scary like a Berlin kind of deal. Plus how effective would it be anyway?

There is so much spin surrounding the facts I can't tell where the truth lies. It seems impossible to deport all of the illegals. It seems terribly difficult to register them and make them pay.

Here is an interesting article on the subject, that seems well researched and thought out.

What do you guys think?

Important News

I'm having some water. It's a little warm in my office.

shaa eh it

Words are funny. Some are offensive and some are positive. I think it’s a bit odd that one little four letter word can distract an entire industry and country of people from more pressing matters.

Recently our loving and kind president George W. Bush included a vulgar and repulsive euphemism to his conversation with the Prime Minister of jollie olde England Tony Blair.

The Middle East is in a crisis and liberal and conservative annalists along with everyone else in the world is talking about how bad this could get and the 2nd most news worthy topic of discussion is the fact that in a semi-private, yet poorly timed conversation (based on reading the transcript) W said the word “shit”…

Over the weekend did anyone else notice the globe has slipped into 3rd grade? What is wrong with this? There is the religious argument that because the guy rode the crest of the Christian right to the White House twice that he should be beyond such foul language and carry the mantle of Christian verbiage and discussion every second. There is the moral argument that tags along with the Christian train. Still there is the intellectual position that such a learned man shouldn’t have to rely of such base and crude words to get his point across. Leader: He’s the head of a country and shouldn’t set such an example. Emotional: he shouldn’t let his vocabulary be effected by his emotions. Properness: This was neither the time nor the place for such vulgarity.

Then again, shit is just a word. With everything else that’s going on in the word I’m disappointed that the media is wrapping its self around W’s use of a single shit. Perhaps he’s right or wrong about what he said in context to the word and that’s too shitty to deal with realistically? Perhaps he was being recorded without knowledge and the fact that shit could, ironically, be against the law needs to be glossed over? Perhaps the shit is truly irrelevant and someone has an ax to grind. Perhaps it’s different when 100 people on cable TV in an hour versus one President at a meeting?

Perhaps the word is used by children, adults, men, women, conservative, liberal, agnostic and religious folks just the same? Perhaps the word is just a word and holds no social relevance what so ever? Perhaps this is much ado about nothing? Perhaps this is a double standard? Just remember that if you ever become president it’s ok to receive extramarital oral sex in the White House so long as you don’t use dirty words in public.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Where Do We Go From Here?

We had this discussion months ago, but I thought I would reopen it now. Our little piece of blogspace has become more and more professional looking. We almost always include images with our posts which automatically gives it a good look. Our writing has become sharper and the posts have generally become more professional.

Look through the last couple of month’s worth of posts. Almost every one has a cohesive narrative thread. There are a few quick hits (Prayer requests, tidbits of information, etc.) but for the most part we’ve all learned to say things with wit, style and verve.

I would once again like to throw out a call to making this site (or another site just like it) into something more public. We’ve recently all learned that more people read our blog than we ever thought, why not open it up for more eyes?

It wouldn’t take much more effort than what we’re doing now to be “professional.” We’d need to do some slight editing to our posts, everyone would need a quick reread before they posted. We’d probably want some minor guidelines as to what kind of posts we want to put out there.

The benefits of making it public would include:

• Entering into discussions with many more people
• Being part of something “bigger”
• Cool cred for owning your own website
• We’d all be “published” writers

I really think our blog has a lot of potential in the “real” world. A site that honestly discusses religion, politics, culture and everything else under the sun with our distinctive styles has real potential to be something more.

I’ve been a blogger for over a year now and I absolutely love it. Even though my blog is really nothing of importance, I get great pleasure out of crafting a well written piece and putting it on a site that is all my own. But because I am but one man, and my time is limited, my blog is very small. The single biggest problem I have is that I don’t have the ability to create more content. Our group blog has never had that problem. Heck, sometimes posts get lost because we are posting so much.

Some potential problems with this idea:

• Our personal forum would become public. With tons of eyes reading we’d have to limit what we say about our personal lives
• Some of us with slow internet connections rely on the blog to communicate in a manner that is more effective than e-mail
• We’d have to spend more time reading through our posts/comments to ensure they “fit” into the public space
• Religious discussions could get out of hand.

I’ll try to answer these problems. Our blog is currently public. As we’ve recently seen all kinds of people can and do find us. We should already limit what we say about our personal lives. We could however create a separate personal blog in which we could relate small bits that wouldn’t fit into the professional site. This second blog would also eliminate problems concerning e-mail connections.

We would have to spend a little more time editing our information. Honestly, I wish we would all do this a little more anyway (myself included), but it isn’t that hard to write your post in an editing program (like Word) to clean up simple spelling/grammar mistakes. It would also be good to make what we’re trying to say more intelligible. We’ve all been guilty of writing a post or comment that didn’t come out the way we hoped. How many comments have been made only to have to write 50 others to explain what the first one means?

Plus, as we all read each others posts, those of us a little more familiar with grammar/style guidelines could clean up.

Tis true, religious discussions on the Internet do get out of hand quickly. Lots of excitable folks throw out all kinds of accusations. Honestly, at first we really wouldn’t be getting that many hits, so this shouldn’t happen to a great extent. If we get bigger and more people start reading we could very easily create some filters to make it a nicer discussion.

What do you guys think? I really love our blog. It looks better and better each day. I truly believe with a little work we could have a top notch website. Maybe that’s not what anyone here wants. I don’t know, I just really like the idea of having something that feels real and professional. The idea of having something that could really compete with the big sites our there is really cool to me. I think we do having something with great potential. And I volunteer to push this thing forward.

my cheatin' heart

I have to admit something. I’m in love with another woman. Her name is Norah Jones and this has been going on for several years.

I have always loved female singers. It doesn’t matter what they are singing but there is some sort of primal sexiness about a woman who can sing with passion. Billy Holiday, Joan Osborn, Juliana Hatfield, Dolly Parton, Sarah Vaughn, Robinella, Ella, Ju Ju and many more just do something to me and have for as long as I can remember.

This is not a physical romance or attraction but something beyond the touch of skin and the conjoined oneness of carnal exploration. It’s like gravity; its force is unmistakable and invisible in the same instant. It’s inescapable and embracing, free and restricting bound together.

We’ve dumped our cable for the summer so in the morning we’ll put on some tune while the kids are still sleeping and Jules always puts on Robinella (formerly as Robinella and the CC String band) or the luscious Miss Jones and it’s wonderful.

On the Come Away With Me album there is a song which is performed more as a growl than anything else called appropriately, Turn Me On. There is something raw about this song and its backing of simple, smooth, organ, snare, high hat, piano and resonate bass riffs. It doesn’t stop there like any good relationship there is humor and levity paired like a fine wine with the slow and the sad all while book ended with romance, silliness, sultriness and sincerity.

Her 2nd album is more effervescent but still resonates with passion this time geared for more daylight than dusky occupations. In both records the voice is soft and soothing without the demeaning exercise of over dubs, re-tracks and post production fine tuning. Like Dolly, Billy, Ella and Robinella their voice, their instrument is expertly tuned and personalized to their own stylized world view. Dolly speaks her songs into existence, Billy aches, Ella soars, Robinella reminisces and Norah romances slow and bouncy tunes with the same care.

There are others like EmmyLou Harris, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Matraca Berg, Eva Cassidy that are concubines in my enraptured sonic harem but I have to say that the Norah is one of the gold standards. Early mornings, mid day drives, star lit rendezvous all seem to reverberate and echo her velvety crooning into the deep places of my soul.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Top 5 on Google

Just doing some poking around with our stats and noticed something. If you type the following (or copy and paste) exactly as shown into google search, we are #5.

"midnight cafe" blog

Kinda geeky I know. I'm sure I could get it down to either the only hit or top hit by typing in the correct terms.


Over the past few years especially, I've seen quite a bit about homeschooling. It's been a topic of discussion on the WD Fourms and on countless other blogs and websites. Of course, there are major benefits for parent and child, but the one question that always seems to pop up is: "What about socialization?"

Here's an article that talks a little about this question. I'm not sure if I agree, though. I've seen some really weird kids come out of homeshooling environments. Some of them can't function well around other people their age and even fly back home after a few years of struggling socially, financially, and in other ways.

In any case, I think there are pros and cons, just like sending kids to public or private school.

Any of y'all know kids, parents, etc. involved in homeschooling?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tator's Spirit is Free

We set Tator free yesterday. She was our older Greyhound. She had been sick for some time, but recently had gotten worse. Over the last couple of weeks, her appetite had dropped rapidly and by yesterday, she couldn't even stand. We took her to the vet and he agreed that she would be better off if we ended her suffering.

We're still very sad about it and Ace (our male Grey) and Luke (our son) haven't really figured it out yet. This morning, though, Ace raced out the outside door and looked all over the place for her. When he came back in, he looked over the living room and back to our bedroom where she spent her last hours before we took her to the doctor. He walked to his bed and stood there, looking at me. I tried to tell him that she was gone and at peace. He looked at me while I spoke and then looked away and laid down. He'll miss her.

I'm glad that we had the strength to let her go, though. Even the Bible teaches that animals have a spirit of life. While I don't believe that animals have souls, Greyhounds probably have the closest thing to a soul in their big, sweet hearts.

She'll run through the stars, now. Run on, Tator girl, your spirit is free.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I Got the Call!

Well I was just out mowing my lawn while listening to an mp3 edition of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on my cell phone. Suddlenly my ringtone kicks in (Creeds'"Can You Take Me Higher?"). I'm like, "Great, how did I do that?" Then I realize, my phone is actually ringing.

I answer and it's my new boss. She said she got my Background Check results in and they weren't good. I freak! Then she says just kidding. It took me a second to realize she was being funny. Well, the background check was fine. I start Friday. I thought everyone would want to know.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Taking It To the Streets

We had a blood drive today in the parking lot of my office. It went off fairly well. I was hoping for a lot of people from the area to come besides my coworkers, but we only had one young man. Initially I also had several members of management signed up, one even coming from our Connecticut office, but at the last moment a big meeting was planned in Indianapolis. But overall it was a good turn out.

I organized and planned the whole thing.

We had three people get sick, which scared a few others from joining in the giving. We have a staff that doesn’t come in until noon. This consists mostly of college age kids and they tend to wake up moments before works starts and rushing in before they get hit with a tardy. Needless to say food doesn’t enter their system until their first break.

It was these folks who became rather ill what from the loss of blood, the no food, and of course the stifling heat. I’ve never been in a blood mobile that was so hot. The bus was on its last leg and one of the AC units had died.

It was quite a thing seeing the Red Cross folks in action. My friend Lindsay was first to get sick and she simply muttered “I feel nauseous” and the whole team was upon her with wet towels, barf buckets, sugary snacks and the lifting of her legs.

I stayed for the run dispensing snacks, beverages and t-shirts.

I must say it feels rather good to have organized an event that literally will save lives. I suppose the Christians real duty is towards the saving of souls, but it is a good thing to help the bodies as well. For people won’t care what you have to say about their souls if you neglect their physical needs now.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Get Visa?

As most of you know I work for a credit card company. We’ll refrain from the Dr. Evilness of that for a moment. The truth of the matter is that we’ll pretty much give anyone a line of credit. We’re not quite on the level of those awful commercials

“Bad credit? No Problem. No credit? No problem!”

But we might as well be. It’s pretty much built where we’ll have a high delinquency rate and we’ve built our fee structure to compensate. Truth of the matter again is that for a long time we’ve been a pretty crappy card. Although we’re making strides to be much better company – one that I’m not ashamed of working for.

But I’ve digressed. We really will give credit to anyone. And that’s the point to remember here.

With my new job duties I have to sit in on weekly marketing meetings. During one a few weeks ago we were talking about revamping our website. We’re planning on redoing the whole thing, and it’s actually one of my primary duties right now. Along with this we were discussing what some of the selling points of the card are, and how we can word that for the website. Turns out the fact that we’ll give anyone is a rather strong selling point.

The Chief Operational Officer was sitting in the meeting and he came up with a slogan.

“Got pulse? Get Visa*”

*I replaced the name of our company with Visa. He jokingly felt this was a great feature to right up front admit that as long as you are alive, you can have one of our cards.

A few days later I am talking to our recovery manager. (Excuse me while I get a little technical here) When one of our customer’s goes delinquent (doesn’t pay the bill) for 7 months we charge it off. Essentially at that point we write the debt off and consider it a loss. Ultimately we still try to collect on the dollars that were actually spent on the card, but for tax purposes it’s considered a total loss at that point.

Often, we will sell these accounts to another company at this point for cents on the dollar. While talking to the recovery manager about these accounts it turned out that this company we sold the accounts to was complaining that several of the account holder were deceased. Obviously they can’t collect from a dead guy and they were pretty ticked we sold them these accounts.

When the manager got to looking at these accounts he realized that the social security numbers belonged to guys who had been dead since the early 90s. Our company has only been around since 2000. Thus we booked accounts on people who were already dead.

Obviously this was fraud, but we’ve decided to change our motto to:

“Used to have a pulse? Get Visa”

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Happy Birthday... right...?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Fish Slap Dance

This morning I went fishing with Jeff Spooneybarger an old friend and music minister at a local Baptist Church. It was beautiful! The weather was perfect for fishing. The waterway was like glass when we set out a 6am. The day started off a little slow, mostly a few no-keepers. But by nine we had caught two catfish and two speckeled trout. I took them to my dad who's cleaning them and will be going over for lunch. Although I don't have any really cool stories to tell, I just thought I'd share while my days are stll care-free.

(For those that care, Jeff is the older brother of Tim Spooneybarger the ex-Braves and Marlins relief pitcher.)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Flaming Grill Update

Sipper, I cleaned the old grill up today. That was only thing that caused the flames. The grill had a char build-up which is what caught flames. Anyway, after cleaning it I lit it up and let it go for 10 or so minutes. No flames except where they were supposed to be.

If you can find a way to get it, you can have it. Here are a couple things you'll need to know. First, the houseing for the spark lighter broke off. It has to be lit by matches or a wand lighter (You'll also have to light the side burner that way; I robbed the wire for my new grill). I have an extra tank, but it either needs a conversion kit or you'll have to exchange it even though it's full. When is Jamison's party? If it's next week, I might be able to bring it up.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Little House on Trenton Drive

1021 Trenton Drive
Pensacola, FL 32505
(904)455-4725 / our old phone no.

While running errands today, I decided to drive through my old neighborhood and by my childhood home. It was depressing. I almost didn't recognize the streets let alone the houses on it. Instinct and old memories drove me to my old home. Many were tattered from Ivan (some apparently leveled from it); others were in general ill-repair. The streets themselves felt cluttered with overgrown bushes and carports piled with junk (old couches, TVs, etc.). Strange as it may seem I felt clastrophobic winding my way through the once familiar streets.

And then I pulled up to our old home. I feel certain it hasn't been painted since 1997. The colors are exactly the same as whe my dad gave it it's last coat and it looks as if it has been neglected ever since. You can barely see it but the roof is peeled up and needs replacing (obviously a blow from Ivan).

Stroll with me while I give you a quick tour...
  • To the left lived the Kings to the right Mrs. Mul├ętte (I can't recall the spelling but it was pronounced mo-let).

  • The far left window was our living room. Mom was always concerned someone would break her "picture" window.

  • The center porch still has the iron support that helped us boys climb on the roof when a frisbee or other item got stuck.

  • The right front window was my parent's bedroom

  • On the right side the center small window is the home of our yellow tiled bathroom. It was the only one in the house with two parents and three boys. The tile itself brought on many o chorus of "We all live in a yellow bathroom" sung to the tune of a popular beetles work.

  • Just behind that is the window of the room my brother Scott and I shared (by force-jk) for the first few years of our life (until Doug went to college).

It was nice to see the place, but I probably wont go back for a long while. The place looked lonely, almost like it missed the days the McCown's filled it's rooms with laughing, crying, boo-boos, serious talks, and the occassional alone time. I miss the house a little, but I've been blessed by being able to look to a bright future and not dwell on and long for days gone by.

Driving and Cell Phones

Here's an article on a study of folks who drive and use cell phones. Looks like it's just as bad as drunk driving.

I think those little gadgets are addictive. Funny thing is, folks use safety as an argument to have them handy, but they seem to cause more accidents instead of preventing them.

I can still see having one for emergencies, but they rarely are used for such. I just hope they'll create/strengthen laws resticting their use while driving.

Perhaps this study will be a catalyst.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Hey, Guess What?

Diana is pregnant! We found out last night. We are very excited, as you can imagine. It still hasn't quite sunk in for me yet. My mind will occasionally fast forward, and I'll think about the birth-day, or holding the baby, or imagining Diana at nine months, or me pushing a stroller around, or....well, you get the idea. Anyway, that's it. Discuss.

Monday, July 03, 2006

My 4th of July Gift

Well first off, it's not what you think. Jodi, a family member, nor myself went out and purchased this grill for me.

Let me give you a little background. I went out to eat with some family after church on Sunday for a cousin's birthday lunch. We had decided to ask everyone over for A cookout on the Forth. I was going to grill BBQ Chicken Quarters. After mentioning it to my aunt she asked, "How big is your grill?" I said it sufficient, but it will be tight trying to fit enough quarters on the grill. She replied, "Would you like ours? You can keep it." I'm like, "what?" She went on to tell me that it is 3 years old but had never been used including an extra full tank and some grill accoutrements (still in the packaging). Then there was the, "BUT." Uh-oh... She said it went through Ivan and is a good bit rusted. Sight unseen I said, I'll take it.

I picked it up today. To say it looked neglected would be an understatement. I went by Lowes, picked up a wire brush and some High-heat spray paint and set to work. What you see in the pictures is the fruit of my labor.

By the way, I've wanted a new grill, my old one was wearing out, but I was going to wait until we moved to our permanent abode before seriously looking for one. I'm not only considering this a gift from my aunt, but a little gift from God. And, it's exactly what I wanted.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Prayers Needed

It looks like Diana's dad is going to get a divorce from his evil shrew of a wife. It's kind of a long story, so I'll leave it to Diana to explain it if she wants to. He's staying with us for a few days. So, pray for him that things will work out okay. I know it's a weird thing to pray for, so whatever you can do is much appreciated.