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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Tagged by the Runner

I got tagged by the Runner over at RunningThroughLifeWithOneHeelBroken
for a game of ABC's:

A - Available/Single? Happily married to the greatest woman on the planet.
B - Best Friend? See above.
C- Cake or Pie? Pie. My favorite pie is chiken pot pie.
D - Drink Of Choice? Dr. Pepper. The breakfast of champions.
E - Essential Item You Use Everyday? Gonna have to go with 'toilet' on this one.
F - Favorite Color? Whichever color I'm looking at at the moment. I could never choose just one.
G - Gummy Bears Or Worms? I'm not falling for this trick question. Worms are nasty and wiggly, and Gummy Bears are fun and taste good. So Gummy Bears by a mile.
H - Hometown? H-Town. Houston, Texas.
I - Indulgence? The Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich from Jack in the Box.
J - January Or February? January. February is for losers.
K - Kids & Their Names? Kenny and Ambre. My Double Trouble children.
L - Life Is Incomplete Without? See "A" above.
M - Marriage Date? December 30.
N- Number Of Siblings? 6
O - Oranges Or Apples? Clementine Oranges. They fall out of the peel and taste like Florida sweet Orange Juice.
P - Phobias/Fears? I can't think of anything off hand. I guess I'll have to say that hand that will reach up from the toilet when you sit down on it.
Q - Favorite Quote? "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
R - Reason to Smile? See "A" above.
S - Season? Deer.
T - Tag Three or Four People? I will tag Seven and Random girl. Won't that be fun. And one for Yennie.
U - Unknown Fact About Me? I am my own worst critic. And yours.
V - Vegetable you don’t like? Michael Moore.
W - Worst Habit? Smoking.
X - X-rays You’ve Had? Teeth, Abdomen (for appenicitis), chest (to make sure I don't have TB), fingers. The really interesting ones, however, are the X-rays that I should have had, but didn't.
Y - Your Favorite Food? Orange Juice. Yes, I know, it's a drink, but damn.
Z - Zodiac Sign? Not sure. I never really got into the whole zodiac thing. You know, with the zodiac killer still on the loose.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Throwing together lunch

"Ken, go make some lunch for your children." means a lot different than "What do you want for lunch?"
"What do you want for lunch" is a question. It is simply a request for information. Quite like, "How does chicken sound?"
But my wife doesn't usually ask "How does chicken sound?" because I will probably tell her "Cluck, cluck, cluck." So instead, the usual is, "what do you want for lunch"
Now sometimes she doesn't want to make lunch. That's fair enough. I'm not opposed to making lunch. That sounds like this: "Would you mind making lunch today?"
But today is different. Today is "Go make some lunch for your children."
That carries implications.
Sometimes it means PMS. Other times it means that the kids are bouncing off the walls, driving my wife crazy, and she is going to go take a nap.
This time I got lucky. This time it meant, "You haven't gone grocery shopping and there's absolutely nothing to eat, so you make lunch and it is hereby no longer my problem."

Now I need to explain that my wife has never been poor. There are many different levels of "nothing to eat". When I was a kid, sometimes we would eat oatmeal three times a day, because that was all we had to eat. "Nothing to eat" back then meant that we were out of oatmeal and there was truly nothing. But for my wife, "nothing to eat" may simply mean that we are out of bread. I have found that in my family, there is always something to eat. It's just a matter of how you put it all together.
So today was one of those times when I had to make one of my famous "recipes".
Some folks call them concoctions. Others prefer "throw together".
Mine is a recipe.

If you want to make a good recipe, the easiest way to do it is to start with a shallow pan. A wok will do.
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For this recipe, I got some water and a couple of eggs. I mixed them together with a fork and added some salt. Salt is an excellent source of iodine. I put it in everything.
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Next I added some flour. Enough to make a paste out of it, and then add a little more water to make a batter out of it.
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So this is eggs, flour and water. Mixed with a fork to take out all of the clumps of flour. It's about the same consistancy as pancake batter.

Let that mixture sit for a while, so that the flour will soak up all the liquids and it will all be even textured.
Next I cut up some garlic and onions. It wouldn't be a recipe without garlic and onions.
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Then I raided the pantry to find some canned vegetables. Here is a mixed vegetable and ohh, what a treasure...water chestnuts.
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I poured a little oil into the fryer and then some batter. You have to be quick on the batter, or it wont be even. Make it all nice and thin. In retrospect, I would have made them a little bit larger and as thin as I could. I would have added more water to make them just thin enough to hold together.
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Cook them quickly. About one minute. Just enough to make the bottoms golden brown and the edges starting to curl up a little.
If it was a pancake, this is when you would flip it. But in this case I left the top raw and took it out and worked on the next one.
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And of course, in goes the last of the left over turkey. Chopped up, seasoned with soy sauce and stir fry sauce.
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I added the garlic and onions to smell up the house a little bit and let them sit.
I then cut up the water chestnuts (the picture didn't turn out)
and added it to the mix along with the mixed vegetables. You could substitute chopped celery for water chestnuts if you want to.
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After I did all of this, I took some flour in a bowl
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And added water enough to make a dough ball. I pulled off pieces of the dough ball and smeared it all along the edges so that I could paste them into a roll. It was very messy work and I didn't take any pictures because my hands were messy and I didn't want to touch my nice clean camera. Each half became a roll of stuff, just like a burrito. In retrospect, I would have either made them all smaller and not cut them in half, or made them bigger so that they would roll better. If they were even bigger and much thinner i could have put the stuff on sideways and it would have rolled right up.
Then I took each one and dropped it in the fry daddy brand deep fryer for three our four minutes until it seemed like it was in long enough.
And viola!

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Deep Fried Stir Fry Roll Ups

Time it took: 1 hour
Palatability: Scarfed down and asking for more.

I've been thinking about money a lot lately

I don't like thinking about money. I don't even like money all that much.
But the whole brouhaha with Leigh Ann's debt being paid off has made me think about my own situation. I'm not too bad off, and not too good either. I owe a lot of money, but I have a large income as well.
The problem is that the holiday season is when my work slows down. Nobody goes in for elective surgery during the holidays. I miss a lot of work every year about this time.
So I won't be able to really get down to business until after the new year. But after that I should be able to pay off all of my CC debt in about five months. After that, the car would be paid off in another four or five months. So as a percentage of my income, my debt is not too bad. Dollar amount wise though, it looks bad on paper. So I have purposely avoided putting it all down on paper right now. I prefer using monthly payments and months to pay off.

I am reminded that I promised that we will not skimp on Christmas this year, even if we cut the budget down. And so I did. It looks like there will be some credit card shopping this year then. That's OK with me, though, as it will all be paid of quickly enough after the new year.
I found another four hundred or so dollars per month to cut in the budget. That adds up quick.
Overall, we are doing OK. It's slow going. But it's a lifestyle change. What's the hurry.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The best Christmas present.

Do you remember what you got for Christmas last year? I don't. But it was probably a sweater. Or some cologne. It might have been a shaver.
I'm not really big on getting Christmas presents. I guess that's why they say I am hard to shop for. It's not so much that I'm a Bah Humbug. I just don't really get into "stuff" so much.
Every year we go through the same thing. And every year I tell everyone the same thing. And every year everyone says how hard I am to shop for.
Here's a typical conversation:
Them: What do you want for Christmas?
Me: Just take the money that you were going to spend on me and use it to help someone out. Then write down what you did, put it in a Christmas card, and put it under the tree. Then I'll open it on Christmas morning when everyone else opens their gifts.
Them: No, really. What do you want?
Me: That's what I want.
Them: You're hard to shop for. Why don't you make a list or something to make it easier for people to get what you want.
Me: That's what I want.
Them: Do you need a sweater? Some cologne? A shaver?
Me: No.
Them: Well what do you want?
Me: That's what I want.
Them: How about a gift card? Where do you usually shop?
Me: I don't usually shop.
Them: Where do you buy your clothes?
Me: I don't usually buy clothes.
Them: Where was the last place you bought clothes?
Me: I've never bought clothes.
Them: Where did you get the clothes you are wearing?
Me: When I tell people that I still wear the same clothes from highschool, I'm talking about the same, actual clothes.
Them: So those blue jeans are twenty years old?
Me: Yes.
Them: So I'll buy you some clothes then.
Me: I have clothes.
Them: Then what do you want?
Me: That's what I want.

And every year I get a sweater. Or some cologne. Or a shaver.
But one year my mother did exactly what I said. She took the money that she was going to spend on me and went across the tracks and found a really poor family. She bought them a Christmas dinner. The whole works. All the way down to the bread rolls. Enough to feed an army. They had their whole family over and had a turkey dinner the likes of which they had never had before. They wrote a handwritten thank you note and gave it to my mother. It was really quite touching. It brought tears to my eyes, and I'm cold and cynical. So if anyone wants to get me anything, now you know what I want. That was the best Christmas present that anyone ever gave me.
And if you are feeling particularly brave this year, you might try telling your family and friends that that is what you want. But you might get a sweater. Or some cologne. Quite possibly a shaver.

Friday, November 24, 2006

My Wife Is Mad At Me

This Morning
When I woke up this morning, my wife was lying next to me and I could tell by her face that she was upset.
"What the matter?" I asked.
"I had a bad dream."
"Well tell me about it."
-I never could figure out why telling someone about your bad dream always seems to help take away the fear that you are feeling. But it does.
"I had a dream that Wilson died," she told me. Yes, I have a neighbor named Wilson. Just like on Tool Time. "Actually," she said, "him and his wife had died. I went over to their house and there were racial words written all over their walls and I found their bodies lying there." (Wilson is a black man.)
"Well," I told her, "it was just a bad dream. Everything is OK."

This Afternoon
"Hey, honey," I said. "Why are there all those ambulances over at Wilson's house?"
"Yeah, there's about six of them."
"OMG!! I was afraid this would happen! I'm going over there!!"
"Not really." I told her. "I'm just messing with you."

Been working on the computer again

I had an interesting problem today. I recently built my wife a new computer, and she opted to just start over on all of her programs and files. At the same time my own computer had crashed, and I had to put in a new harddrive. The old HD still works, but windows was buggered on it. So we were both pretty much starting over on our files at the same time.
The problem is that all of our music has always been on the computers. Whenever we buy a CD, we just copy it over onto the computers and then put the actual CD in cold storage. Virtually none of our CDs have been accessed more than twice. Once for each of our computers.
So it's been a month since any music has come out of either of our speakers. That's a long time. So this evening I decided to hook my old HD up slave to my new one.
But apparantly, both of the HDs are very strong willed. Neither of them wanted to work whenever it was in the slave setting. I tried using the old Master/Slave setup on the jumpers, and I tried Cable Select. Each time I tried, only the Master would show up.
I've never had that happen before, and I assume it is a compatability issue of some sort.
My next effort was to place each HD as master with a slave CD or DVD. The problem there was that my case is too big for the length of the ribbon cable. It's impossible to reach either of the CD ROMs with the cable if it routes to the HD first.
So in the end, my motherboard helped me out. I have an extended IDE on my motherboard, so that I have four IDE slots on the motherboard instead of two. (So I can actually have eight HDs/CDs instead of the normal four.)
Man, I love my computer.
So after I hooked up the new HD (F:) on my computer, I burned my wife a DVD of her music. It came out to 4.6 GB, burned as a data file. That's a lot. We used to buy music by the lot off of ebay. We would usually get about 100 cd's at a time from someone who was cleaning out their old collections. So that took a while to copy all of them for her.
After that I wanted to update my Real Player so that I could simply access all of my music from the player without having to search through various HD's each time I wanted to listen to music. So I let Real Player search through both of my HDs and pull out all of the MP3's. It found over 3200 of them, which, of course, is why I put off doing this for so long. Now it's going to take me another month to sort through and categorize all of them and get it so that I can easily find whichever one I am looking for.
What ever happened to the good old days where you would just put in a tape.

The Day After Thanksgiving

Today is the day after Thanksgiving. The biggest shopping day of the year for women. Men, on the other hand, prefer Christmas Eve, usually between the hours of 8:00 and 10:00 PM.
It's nine in the morning. The malls are full. The streets are in gridlock. There are sales, lights, tempers, bargains, and everywhere you look, people. It's a preview of what Man-Hell would look like. Women, on the other hand, are in their element. They have spent the last two months researching what will be on sale where, and then making a map of all of the stores that they will go to, what time they will get there, how much everything will cost, and how to fit it all in the car.
On most days, women prefer shopping in a pack. They take all of their friends with them and ooh and ahh over every little detail. Not today. Today is a day for loners. Loners with a map. Loners on a mission.
I went shopping one year on the day after Thanksgiving. My wife put me up to it. I'm not sure what I did to make her mad at me, but I know I must have done something bad, because she got me on that one. It took me forty five minutes to park the car. I didn't know that you are supposed to park in a central location and walk to each different store. Men don't think of such things. I went looking around for different items that I wanted to get for people on my list. It wasn't pretty.
It would seem that business has figured out how the system works. On the day after Thanksgiving they don't have "my dad bought this for me" items. But the stores are full of "look what my mom got me" things. I believe the "may I help you" people all have the day off. Here are some good quotes from my experience of shopping on the day after Thanksgiving:

"No, we don't have anything that shoots."
"GI Joe? Try sporting goods."
"You want a WHAT?"
"Come on, mister, I got work to do."
"You could try getting that online."
"Sorry, we are sold out of those"
"You should probably try shopping with your wife next time."
"Why are you crying, mister?"

So if you are a man, I would just advise you to stay home today. It's just not worth it. Go eat some left over turkey and take a nap. If you do happen to find yourself in a situation where you must go shopping today, here are some pointers:

-Get in and out as fast as you can. Don't look left or right. Try to keep moving.
-If someone tells you, "I saw that same item on sale at the other end of the mall" don't listen to them. It's a trap. This is one of the evil people of the world. They probably want your place in line.
-Don't make eye contact with anyone.
-If someone says "may I help you", just ignore them. They cannot help you. They are a sadistic man-hater who is out to torment you. Just keep walking.
-When you find yourself walking in circles and talking to yourself, just go home. You're done. Don't worry if your wife will be upset that you didn't get everything. She already knows that you won't. She is just looking for payback for something that you did earlier in the week.
-If you are single, take your girlfriend with you, and then wait in the car. She will take care of everything. Tell her that you want to buy her present later, so that she will be surprised. Then go shopping on Christmas Eve, when all of the right items are in stock.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Oh What A Day

It's been a busy day today.
Santa was on the last float in the Macy's parade, so everyone knows now that ChristX season is here. Santa is in town. He's taking names. No more whining or sneaking around. Eat all of your vegetables. Help with the dishes. The fat man is watching you.
"Daddy, are we going to go out tonight and look at Christmas lights?"

We went to my mother's house for Thanksgiving. Everyone got stuffed. Nobody had to go to the hospital.

Here's a good picture. There are little spikes that go into each end of the ear of corn, so that you can hold them while you eat it. There's a puppy head on one end, and a tail on the other. It's a corn dog.

While I was at my mother's house, she had me install a 200GB HD in her computer. I've been promising to do that for a couple of weeks now, and she finally caught me.

Son (on the cell phone with my brother): OK, I gotta go. Talk to you later...Oh, ok, she's right here...
(hands the phone to my daughter)
Daughter: Hello? Hello? Hello? There's nobody there.
Son: Man, that trick never gets old.

Wife: We had turkey for Thanksgiving. Are we going to have ham for Christmas?
Me: I don't know. That's a long time from now.
Wife: Do you see? That's the difference between men and women. Women are always thinking.
Me: Thinking or talking?
Me: Oh. NOW you are thinking.
Wife: You just wait.

Me (looking intently out the car window): Wow.
Everyone else: What?
Me: I just saw a matababy.
(Long pause)
Wife: What's a matababy?
Me: Nothin. What's a matta wichu?
(Long pause)
Wife: Damn.

I hope everyone had a wonderful day today. I'm going to go take a nap, compliments of Tryptophan.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The first Thanksgiving

If someone asks you about the first Thanksgiving, what comes to mind? Probably a bunch of people dressed as quakers. Men wearing stockings and tall hats, carrying long muskets and women with black bonnets. And of course, Indians coming out of the forest, teaching the Pilgrims how to grow corn, and carrying wild turkeys. Every school aged child learns this story. And they all have one thing in common. They learn it wrong.

Thanksgiving, as an American holiday, has nothing to do with Pilgrims. It has nothing to do with Indians, or turkeys, or even family. Thanksgiving is a holiday set up to give thanks to God for the blessings of our nation. But they can't teach that in the public schools. The American public school system has chosen to set itself up as an atheist institution. It ignores many basic American historical documents simply based upon their religious nature, going so far as to rewrite history. Take for example, George Washington's Thanksgiving Day Proclamation:

George Washington:
Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1789

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and

Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness":

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the Beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our national government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York,

the 3d day of October, AD 1789

George Washington

This was the first national Thanksgiving day. However, Thanksgiving was not established as an annual American holiday until October 3, 1863, and was instituted by President Abraham Lincoln. Here is his proclamation:

Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation:

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful Providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well as the iron and coal as of our precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the imposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 3d day of October, A. D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

Abraham Lincoln

The annual date was fixed at the fourth teusday in November, but was later changed by FDR to the third thursday, which provoked outrage from the population. It seems that people back then had something against the commercialization of Christmas. So the date was moved once again to the fourth Thursday in November, where it is still.


Thanksgiving is upon us once again. And that means food, family, and the start of the traditional ChristX shopping season.
I don't particularly like the holidays. It's not that I dislike them, per se. I just don't like them more than the rest of the year.
I enjoy every day. Or at least I try to. I just think that people emphasize the wrong things during the holiday season. What good are decorations, shopping, and parties if all they do is stress you out? It's supposed to be a celebration. It turns into work.
This Thanksgiving my wife and I decided to go see my mother. Our intention is to go there after the Macy's parade is over and stay for dinner.
As such, we won't be spending too much money on Thanksgiving. I figure we will save about $136 by doing it this way.

An annual event for me on Thanksgiving is to download and read a copy of George Washington's Thanksgiving Day address and Lincoln's as well. It's educational.

I try to remain thankful throughout the year. Thanksgiving day is no real exception.
I have so much to be thankful for all the time that it amazes me that anyone is ever upset at all. How can you be upset if you are feeling thankful?

People have misplaced priorities, IMHO. I see it all the time at work. They work all their life, save their money, get ready for retirement, and then get sick, only to realize that they have lived their entire life in search of money, and never really lived at all. There's a saying that goes, "you use up your health looking for wealth, and then you use up your wealth trying to get your health back."

So I'll probably never retire. I'll probably never have a yacht. I'll probably live in a small house in a mediocre neighborhood for the rest of my life. But I'll probably never regret it, either. I'll probably enjoy my family and my life until the day that I die. Because I live my life. Every day is an adventure. I try to do something special every day. And when I'm old and wrinkled up, when I look back on my life I probably won't have any regrets. I'll probably just be thankful.
Which leads me back to the beginning again. Happy Thanksgiving.

White boy dunks

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mega Millions

Ok, I had to go to the store after all, so I picked up a ticket.
Mega Millions. Tonight's drawing: 16 million.
Odds of winning: 1 : 175,711,536
Odds of being struck by lightning: 1 : 600,000

I think I would prefer winning.

The question came up as to what I would do if I won the lottery.
I thought about it for a while and here is what I came up with:

I would pay off all of my debt.
I would buy about 100 acres of land on the outskirts of town and build a house.
I would quit my job.
I would set up an interest bearing account and live off the interest, never having to touch the principle.
That would give me enough money to live off for the rest of my life and still be able to help out a lot of people. I would probably set up some sort of organization where I would match people's donations to certain causes. Something to get more people involved.
I probably wouldn't change my standard of living too much. I rather enjoy my life as it is.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

A day in the life of...

"Daddy, I don't want to sleep in my bed tonight."
Oh yes, bedtime. The greatest time of the day. It's the time of day when parents are looking foreward to sitting back with a good book, or watching TV, or spending quiet time with their wife. It's the time of day when children are looking foreward to a good beating. But Dad, you dont understand, we can't go to bed until we have had a beating. -Bill Cosby
"Why don't you want to sleep in your bed?"
"Because I don't like to sleep in my room."
I work nights, three days a week. Sometimes when I am at work, my wife will let one of the children sleep in the bed with her. Sometimes they will all get together and set up a campground in the middle of the floor.
"Well you need to sleep in your room. That's why it's your room. Because that's where you sleep."
"But I don't like to."
So I decided that instead of just pulling rank on her, I would help her realize that sleeping in her own bed was what she wanted to do after all.
"Where do you want to sleep? On that lumpy old couch?"
"No way, Daddy, I'm not sleeping on the couch. There might be aliens."
"Yes, aliens. I don't want aliens to get me while I'm sleeping."
"Well then where do you want to sleep?"
"With Mommy."
Ok, now we were getting somewhere. I could see that it would now be easy to show her that it just wasn't possible and she would have no choice but to sleep in her room.
"You're awfully big. I don't think there would be room for all three of us in that one bed."
"No, Daddy, you sleep on the couch and I'll sleep with Mommy."
"What about aliens?"
"Daaadddddyyyyyy. Don't worry. There's no such thing as aliens."
"Well then why don't I sleep in my bed and you sleep on the couch?"
"I already told you, Daddy, aliens."

I'm such a pushover. I don't know how I lost it. But how in the world can you argue with this kind of logic?

Blogger ate my Photograph

I just found out that the only photo of myself that I have was the one that was accidentally taken one day while I was at work. I guess it'll do for now. It's not a very good likeness though.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

What makes you happy?

Do you know what makes you happy? Most people say that they do. But most people are wrong. I see it almost every day. Someone will get bad news and the first thing that they do is to rush out and engage in a self-destructing behavior. Some people seek solice in a pint of ice cream. Others in a pint of beer. Some people rush to Target. Still others go out and pick a fight with someone.
But then they end up getting fat. Or drunk. Or broke. Or arrested.
People are confused.
Ice cream can make you feel content. It calms you down. But it doesn't make you happy. Especially if you are already struggling with your weight. If that's the case, it will tend you make you even less happy than you are in the long run.
The same goes for drinking.
And shopping. Shopping can be exciting. It gives you a sense of importance. Of control. YOU get to make the decisions. YOU get to choose what to buy. YOU get to decide what is good or not so good. It is empowering. It is exciting.
But excitement is not the same thing as happiness. Don't confuse them.

What about money? Does that make you happy?
I would agree that not having money can lend to unhappiness, but I don't see how more money will make you more happy. I have known a lot of very unhappy rich people.
I have also known a lot of very happy people who were dead broke.

I am a happy person. I was happy when I was poor. I was happy when I was rich. I am still happy now, and I am kind of middle. I am happy because I know what makes me happy.

I make me happy. I am happy because I choose to be happy. It's not the same thing as denial. I see the problems in my life, decide to be happy, and then attack the problems.
I enjoy the good times. I enjoy the bad times, too.
One time I cut off two of my fingers. As I was lying on the stretcher, about to go in for emergency surgery to stop the bleeding (and amputate the crushed parts, as it turned out) I was still happy. I even cracked some jokes along the way. When the doctor explained what he was going to do to my fingers and asked if I had any questions, I managed to ask him if I would be able to play piano. It's an old joke, I know. He said that I would be able to play the piano in ten weeks, to which I replied that I thought that was great, because I never could play it before.
That was me, choosing to be happy in a bad situation.
After surgery I also asked him how long it would be until I could pick my nose again.

I am a happy person. You can't make me unhappy, because my happiness comes from within. I choose to be happy. And I refuse to be unhappy.

In the end, it's a decision that you make. Don't let your happiness be base on your circumstances. Otherwise you'll always be up one day and down the next. You will be at the mercy of those around you. Your happiness will be superficial.

Vocabulary word of the day

Except (ik-sept')
PREPOSITION: With the exclusion of; other than; but: everyone except Leigh Ann

How it all happened

I was at work Friday night and things were slow, so I was reading a couple of blogs, when I came across this post by Leigh Ann.
She seemed pretty upset, because she found out that her debt was significantly higher than she had thought. I sat and thought about it for a few minutes and posted a comment telling her what I would do if I were in her situation. Just my own personal opinion. After that, things picked up a bit at work, so I had to go about doing my job. But I kept thinking about her post, and wishing I could do SOMETHING to help.
I ran my bills through my head and counted on my fingers and I could afford about fifty bucks. I wished I could do more, but I just didn't have the money. I was thinking of how much she has inspired me over the last year, and how if there was a way to help her more, I would. I started thinking about how she was always encouraging everyone online and how she never has a bad word to say about anyone.
So I started thinking that if everyone were to pitch in fifty bucks, she would be completely out of trouble. The trouble is, however, that I know that a lot of people on here are not really able to come up with fifty bucks. That's a lot of money if you don't have it. (Actually, it's a lot of money whether you have it or not)
So I ran some more numbers around in my head and figured that I could probably scrape up another fifty bucks. So I went ahead and decided that I would do my best and let everyone else decide what they could do, or would do.
So I wrote my post, all the while thinking, "this is going to take some balls to pull this one off"
Then I went and left my second comment on Leigh Ann's blog.
It's amazing what goes through your head when you try to set something like this up. What if nobody else thinks this is a good idea? What if Leigh Ann is offended by this? What if everyone does their best and it's just not enough for her to get by on? But I just said to myself, WTF.
So then the waiting game started. Yennie left a comment on my blog first.
When Yen commented, I went ahead and left my final comment, and then I knew it had a good chance of working, because nobody wants to be the first.
At that time I started going to different people's blogs, who I knew were regular readers of Leigh Ann's, and giving them a "heads up" to go check out Save Leigh Ann.
It took TTQ less than three minutes to respond.
And then I had to go home.

I live an hour from work, so all the way home I was wondering how it was going to go. What if everyone just gives a buck?
Well, I decided, it doesn't matter. If someone gives a buck, or they give a hundred bucks each, as long as it's from the heart, it will still make a difference.
When I got home, Corker had just posted. It was starting to look like it was going well. I waited around a little while, and looked at the hit counter page. Yes, I saw a few other people lurking besides just me. No names. But I saw you.

And then I went to bed. I still had to work again Saturday night.
And of course, I overslept.
When I woke up, I had comments from Sheila, Bilbo Faggins, and Karinaxoxo.
But I had to run to get to work on time.

I had a pretty good rant worked out in my head just in case I tried this and nobody replied. And I had managed to figure out my budget enough that I could come up with two hundred more dollars if I needed to, but it would have really hurt. But while I was driving to work, I was pretty sure that everything was going to go very well.
But what if Leigh Ann had understated her finances? What if everyone pitched in and she found out it still wouldn't be enough to help? So I started coming up with a plan B. I resolved that I would help out Leigh Ann, not only if it hurt, but if it put me really back. This was just one of those times where it just HAS to work. Leigh Ann is just that kind of a person.
So then I started thinking about Bilbo Faggins' comment. It really pissed me off.

(rant) I don't get pissed off very easily. I'm a happy-go-lucky kind of person. Maybe once in a year will I get even remotely ticked. But to get completely pissed is pretty rare indeed. Today is one of those days.
Bilbo Faggins wrote: "I dont get these "save me im in debt" blogs. There are hundreds of them.
Medical debt or something like that would be different. But when its their own fault? WTF. There are much better places to send a few hundred dollars."
Ok, now WTF is this? First of all, if you had bothered to READ my post, you would have no doubt noticed that it was QUITE CLEARLY no longer about "save" Leigh Ann. It was a post about "we love" Leigh Ann.
Second of all, yes, there are better places to send a few hundred dollars. Did I ask anyone for a few hundred dollars? Or did I just ask for a buck or two?
I do send money to other places as well. I also help out a lot of other people. This event, while unique to you, is common place to me. I do this type of thing EVERY WEEK. I don't send a few hundred dollars somewhere and be happy. I like to think big. So which places have you sent any money? It's easy to sit there and say there are better places. Which places have you sent money to? I'll tell you. None. You know how I know that? It's because I know your type. Self assured, arrogant, head up the ass people who think that they can just sit there and blow holes in other people's ideas while still feeling good about themselves. Well guess what. It doesn't work here. "There are much better places to send a few hundred dollars" just doesn't do it as well as "And if nobody else goes along with it, that's ok, too. I'll come up with a couple more hundred dollars and do it all myself."
Did you know that just in this last year alone I have given away over twenty thousand dollars, helping other people to better themselves? So take your few hundred dollars and choke on it, you piece of shit. (/rant)

Ok, well that's my rant. Not very eloquent, I admit. I'm not any kind of professional writer or anything. But I know someone who is.
Karyn came by, and she is a professional writer. And a damn good one if what everyone says is true. She managed to say everything that I just said above in one quick comment. She said, "And go fuck yourself Bilbo Faggins."
You see, that's why she's a professional writer and I'm just some guy who keeps a blog. She has an absolute gift for just nailing the right words.

When Karyn posted that she had donated, that's when I knew it was all going to work out. I know that Leigh Ann is Karyn's number one fan. She absolutely adores her.
And if Karyn told her to pay it all off, I knew that it was a done deal.

After that, Elizabeth and Lex posted, and Denial Renae squoze in at the last minute.

In all, out of everyone who's blog I posted to, the only ones who didn't reply are Katie-Q and Heather, and I'm sure that they both would have, had they been online.
I know that Katie-Q has some internet connection problems. She won't be back until later in the week. And Heather didn't get on. I know because I happen to know her IP address and I checked the site meter. And besides, I know both of them enough to know that they would have if they knew. It was, after all, very short notice. But I'm still counting them both as helping out. If fact, it was Heather who designed Leigh Ann's site to begin with.

And last but not least, I was really proud of Kayla, from Random Girl.
She doesn't even know Leigh Ann, but she still helped out, just because she trusted my judgement. I'm proud to know you, Kayla. Thank you.

And thank you to everyone else who helped out. Do you get the same kind of warm and squishy feeling inside that I have? Or is that just gas?
I recommend trying this out in your own lives. Find someone to help out. Make it a habit. You really can make a difference in people's lives.

But most of all, I would like to take just a moment to say thank you to Leigh Ann. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for your inspiration. Thank you for the ups and the downs. But most of all, thank you for being born. You are a wonderful person, Leigh Ann. I'm really proud of you. YOU DID IT!!! YOU ARE DEBT FREE!!!!


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Save Leigh Ann (subtitled, I'm from Texas, I can get away with a post like this one)

Leigh Ann is going to pay off her debt today.
Some people who know me know that sometimes I will come up with ways to do things really special for people for no reason whatsoever. Just to make their day special. Things that make them cry.
Today is one of those days.
Only this time, I am inviting you to be a part of it.

Leigh Ann wants to pay off her debt, but she is worried because that will leave her broke. She has asked for people's opinions as to what she should do.
Wouldn't it be great if instead of a bunch of opinions, she got a lot of comments that said, "We love you, Leigh Ann!"
Ok, here's what I would like to do. I am going to send her $100 by paypal. I would like for you to go send her something, too. It doesn't have to be a hundred dollars. It could be twenty. Even ten. If you are broke, send her one dollar. (or if you live in Australia, send her some AUD) It doesn't matter how much you send her. Send what you can. The fact that everyone coordinated to help her out will blow her away. After you paypal her, go under her comments and just write, "we love you, Leigh Ann!"
Wouldn't that be cool? I bet that would make her cry.

Leigh Ann has been an insipration to a lot of people. Wouldn't it be fitting for her debt to be done away with by all of her friends on here?

Everybody always wants to do something special. Here's your chance.
And if nobody else goes along with it, that's ok, too. I'll come up with a couple more hundred dollars and do it all myself.

EDIT---By the way, you don't have to have a paypal account in order to do this. Her account is set up to accept regular online payments.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Just Because

I bought my wife a dozen roses today. Just Because.

(Just because she wrote it on the shopping list)

Playing Unreal Tournament

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I dare you to teach your kids the llama song

Linked in Record Time

Trust but Verify found the post below and linked it in record time.
Now how in the world did he do that so fast? Is there some sort of "notify me whenever someone blogs about Floyd Landis" function on blogger?

Alternative News


Floyd Landis' 120KM breakaway in the 2006 Tour De France is the stuff that legends are made of. After the retirement of Lance Armstrong, the field was wide open. Landis closed it. That was, until the allegations of testosterone arose. The French lab in charge of testing the cyclists urine samples stunned the cycling world by announcing that Floyd Landis' tests came back positive for elevated testosterone, effectively stripping him of his title and leaving him facing a two year suspension.
But now it seems that there were some errors made.
We tried to telephone the Châtenay-Malabry laboratory for comments, but they didn't speak English. Calls to Floyd Landis were not immediately returned.
But a friend of mine in a Thai food store was upset by the news.
"He ride a bike too much. He go 120KM to win Tour. That too far. I go four mile to work in one day, but I drive a car. He need drive a car. He ride a bike too much he get too hot. They say he take drugs and win a race. He no take drugs. He eat a Thai food. Thai food it make him a man. French food no make testosterone. French food same like soy. Make estrogen. He eat Thai food, he make a man. Make too much testosterone and win race."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The American Penny

Karinaxoxo asked:do they have 1c still in america?? - our lowest cent is a 5c peice.

Yes, Karina, They do. The American 1c piece, called the penny, valued at 1c.

Many Americans claim to hate them. You can usually find several of them lying the the parking lot when you go to the store. And in the early 1980's, the value of copper finally exceeded the value of the penny, so the US government made a statement of intent to cease making them. They reasoned that the value was just too small, everyone hates them, and they cost too much to mint.
And the backlash was immediate, incontrovertible, and without question quite American.
It seems that everyone also loves the penny. It is the symbol of the underdog. It represents the value inherent in everything. It defines hope.
Any poor person can gather pennies in the parking lots enough to buy a loaf of bread. Any child can still gather his parents' pennies together and make a pirate fortune.
And in the end, Benjamin Franklin saved the day.
It seems that several American proverbs about the penny originate with him.
"A penny saved is a penny earned."
"Watch your pennies and your dollars with take care of themselves."
So the decision was made to continue minting the penny, but zinc was added to the mix.

Occasionally there is another popular movement to get rid of the pennies.
But that is such an UnAmerican thing to do.

corresponding with microsoft

Dear Microsoft,
I signed up for your webhosting package a few months ago but I have lost my password.
How do I reset my password?
-sincerly, Jagular.

Dear Mr. Jagular,
I am sorry to hear that you have lost your password. Please click on the following link to reset your password. (Link provided)
Sincerely, The Microsoft Team.

Dear Microsoft,
Thank you for sending me the link to reset my password. However, when I clicked the link and it took me to the password reset page, it asked me for the email that the website is registered under. If you are familiar with the registration process, you will know that it automatically registers your service under the email address created for the URL you are hosting. So I entered "Jagular@MYURL.com".
Then when I hit enter, it told me that the instructions to reset my password have just been emailed to the address that I just provided. Herein lies the problem. The email address in question can only be accessed through the site who's password I am trying to reset. Therefore the reset instructions cannot be accessed.
Can you email the instructions to this address instead?

Dear Mr. Jagular,
Thank you for you email. Please understand that we must first verify your identity. Please answer the following questions which come from the registration information you provided upon establishing your account and then we can proceed with resetting your password.
1. What is your full name.
2. What email address is the service registered under?
3. What state do you live in?
4. What is your zip code?
5. What is your mother's maiden name?
6. What was the exact date that you registered the website?
7. What is your credit card number that you activated the website under.
8. What is your IP address?
9. Who is your ISP?
(Many more questions, etc, etc, etc.)
Sincerely, the Microsoft Team.

Dear Microsoft,
Here are the answers to the questions that you asked to establish my identity:
1. answers
2. answers
3. answers.
Please reset my password.
Sincerely, Jagular

Dear Mr. Jagular,
Thank you for your quick response.
The instructions for resetting the password to the account have now been emailed to the email account on file.
Sincerely, The Microsoft Team.

Dear Microsoft,
You see, this is the problem. The email account on file is the email account that is accessed by the password that I am trying to reset. If I was able to check that email account I would not need to reset the password in the first place.
Sincerely, Jagular

Dear Mr. Jagular,
I am sorry to hear that you have lost your password. Please click on the following link to reset your password. (Same link as the first one)
Sincerely, The Microsoft Team.

Dear Microsoft,
Thank you for the fine collection of links that you have so far sent me. However, the fundamental problem remains the same. The email account that you want me to use to reset the password is hosted under the URL who's password I have lost. I cannot access the URL without the password, and therefore, cannot access this email account. Please do not send me any more links to this email account, because I cannot access it. Instead, please reset my password and just send me the new password, or cancel my account so that I can register the URL with another host.

Dear Mr. Jagular,
Thank you for your email. We have now established your identity and will now reset your password. Please copy the following link into any word processing program and then save it. After that, please clear all of your cookies and then close all browsers. Then open an internet explorer browser and copy and paste the link from the word processing program into the address bar of the browser.
When prompted, enter the email address "jagular@MYURL.com" and then enter your new password. Please write this new password down and save it in a safe place.
The Microsoft Team

Dear Microsoft,
Thank you for the fully functional link that you have sent me at last. I particularly enjoyed the cutting and pasting. Well, that and the passive aggressive barb about writing down my password.
Is there a website where I can go to provide feedback on your excellent customer service skills or should I just blog about you wonderful people?
Sincerely, Jagular

Wishbone madness

Did you ever pull a wishbone with someone? You each grab an end and pull and whoever gets the bigger piece has their wish come true.
My childred pulled a wishbone this morning.

The bottom flew off and they each were left with an equal piece.
That just about sums up my day.

I got my final phone bill

I cut my land line off recently to save money. I got my final bill today. It was for thirty two cents. They mailed it first class. What do stamps cost? Thirty nine cents? That's retarded.

Alternative News


We flew to Japan and interviewed a local fisherman, but he didn't speak English, so we couldn't understand him. But he probably didn't have much to say. After all, it was only a six inch tsunami.
But my friend in the Thai food store was pretty upset over the whole thing.
"We have big tsunami in Thailand. Wipe out Phuket. They have little baby tsunami. Sometime I have bigger fish than six inch. What up with that?"

In other news. Today is the day that Leigh Ann gets her final credit card balance and becomes debt free.
Calls to Leigh Ann's house weren't immediately returned.
But my friend in the Thai food store was pretty happy about it.
"She have nineteen thousand dollar debt. Sometime my car only cost fourteen thousand dollar. That a lot of debt. I bet she work hard pay all that in only one year. My car, I pay in five year. She pay too much she pay in one year. What up with that?"

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What kind of food are you?

You Are Italian Food

Comforting yet overwhelming.
People love you, but sometimes you're just too much.

I have a really cool son

When my son was in kindergarden, the teacher called me up and asked me if he had ever been diagnosed with ADHD.
"No," I said. "He's just a real boy."
"Well, he asks too many questions in the classroom."
"No he doesn't. You just don't have enough answers. That's what school is. You teach, he learns. My son just happens to learn best by asking questions."
"Well, it's not fair to the other children."

My son is a real boy. He's not some half-wit, braindead, robot like I see walking around our neighborhood. He is now eleven years old, going on twenty two.
I have taken special care to teach him the right "I can" attitude that has made me so doggone famous at work, home, school, and everywhere else I have ever been.
When something needs to be done, nobody will believe me if I tell them I don't know how to do it. It's the "I can do it or I can figure out how to do it" mentality. I've spent a lot of time imparting that into my son. He recently took apart and fixed his bathtub knob, because it was leaking. While I was at work. He changed out the toilet seat a few months ago.
The neighbor has two daughters about his age. They came over about a week ago and knocked on the door. "can we use Kenny for a few minutes?"
Ok, what in the world does that mean? They want to "use" my son.
Well, if I were an eleven year old boy and the neighborhood girls wanted to come use me, I would not want my father getting in the way, so I sent him out to "be used".
It turned out they needed something done, or fixed, or squashed, or climbed. Something that only a boy could do. So they thought of my son first. That's the type of boy he is.

And what I like best is that I can talk to him like a man.
He'll say something like, "daddy, why is it that you aren't as fun as Uncle Jeff to hang around with?" And if I answer, "Because when you are with Uncle Jeff you can just be friends. When you're with me, I have to be your father first, and your friend second." he's good with that.

But inside, I look foreward to the day when he is all grown up and I can just be his friend. Because he is a really cool son.

I have a daddy's girl

My daughter if five years old now. And she is a daddy's girl.
I realized that a little while ago when my wife and son came up to me and confronted me.
"Why is it that when Ambre wants something you drop everything and go do it for her, but if one of us needs something you get around to it?"

I pause, realizing that I am travelling in dangerous water here. Am I playing favorites? Well, no, I must protest my innocence, because I don't believe I have a favorite. Do I show preferencial treatment to my daughter over my son and wife? That's the question. hmmmm. You better believe I do.

"Because when I get home from work every day, she jumps up, shouts "daddy's home" and runs down the hallway, climbs up me, and gives me a great big hug. That's why. I don't see either one of you do that. I never hear either one of you crying at bedtime saying "I want daddy to be the one to put me to bed", and I don't ever see you refusing to go somewhere without telling me goodbye."

"Oh," they said. "Well, we were just wondering."

A few days later I was driving to work and my phone rang. It was my daughter.
"Daddy, do we have enough money to call out for pizza today?"
"Well, you need to ask mommy, because daddy is going to work."
"She said for me to call you and ask you, because she doesn't remember how much money we have left."
"Why didn't mommy just call me then?"
"Because you can't say no to me."

Ok, did you ever get the feeling that you've been figured out?

Monday, November 13, 2006


Ok, I went and checked out Yodlee, and I love it.
It sure beats checking each one individually, anyway.
I spent the morning setting up my account and trying to figure out how everything there works. It should make things a lot easier for me, which I'm not really used to. Everything else in the world tries to make things harder for me, so this might be a pretty good change.

Cookie Monster Alphabet

Kermit Rules

Sunday, November 12, 2006


We were at the dentist, waiting for him to finish my wife's tooth. I was watching the children. My five year old daughter came up to me.
"Daddy, I'm bored. What can I do?"
"You can help me look at this pretty picture on the wall."
"Daddy, that picture isn't pretty. It's stupid."
"It's stupid? I kinda thought it was pretty."
"Nope, it's stupid."
"Ok," I said, "how about that other painting over there?"
"And the one by the desk? Is that one pretty?"
"Nope, it's stupid."
"Is the one by the door pretty?"
"And is that last one over there on the wall stupid, too?"
---long pause---
"No. Actually that one is kinda pretty."

Thomas Kincaid wins again.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I got all six of the lotto numbers right

I must be some kind of a psychic, because this is the third time that I have gotten all of the lotto numbers right. I just wrote down the first six numbers that popped into my head, and those were the right ones. I knew from the last two times that it was probably going to hit, because it did both of the other times.
So this time I went out and bought a ticket.

Unfortunately, the Texas Lottery Commision picked all six of the numbers wrong this time. What are the odds of that, really? They do just fine for years, picking the right numbers twice a week, and then the one time I get all of the right numbers, they miss every single one of them.
I'm going to have to write them a letter and tell what I think of them.
I mean, really.

I stopped in at a garage sale today

My neighborhood has a lot of garage sales.
Every Saturday on the way home from work, as I drive through the neighborhood, I stop at a garage sale.
They usually have some pretty good stuff.
Today I got a couple of hack saws for a buck each and a craftsman toolbox for five bucks.
Not too bad. I've done better though.
Oh, I also got a globe, for another buck.
And a job offer. Well, two job offers, actually.
I've gotten a lot of things in garage sales, but that was the first time I ever got a job offer at one.
They offered me a position where I work sixteen hours saturday and sixteen on sunday, and get paid for forty. I also got an offer for manager of a nursing home.
Two job offers in one garage sale.
I think I'll pass.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Being Mean

Did you ever do anything mean? Something mean for no reason at all. Just to be mean.
Were you just being mean by ommision? Maybe you just didn't tell them that they had spinach in their teeth. I mean, you didn't put the spinach there, did you?
Or were you actively being mean? Maybe you just thought that the persons purse contents would look better all over the floor.
I did something mean one time.
I had to go in to work for a staff meeting on my day off that was supposed to last for thirty minutes. I was told that if I wanted to keep my job I had to attend.
But they only gave me two days notice. That's just not right.
I already had plans for the day, and I didn't want to change them.
So in the end, I wound up having to drive an hour to work in the rain to attend a thirty minute meeting. And then to keep me from having to drive an hour back home to pick up my family, I just brought them with me.
So they waited in the lobby while I went to my meeting (which was stupid, boring, and irrelevant after all).
After the meeting we went back and got in the car and started leaving.
At the same time, my boss had to go to another meeting with her boss. But it was in the other building across the street. The rain had let up, so they were walking across the street, and were waiting for the light to change so that they could cross.
As they were waiting, ALL of the big bosses showed up, too. There were about ten of them, all standing there waiting for the light to change. There was the CEO, all of the VP's, and right in front was my boss. All standing together on the side of the road, next to a great big, nasty, dirty, stinky puddle of mud, leaves, water, and whatever petroleum based products tend to wash up when it rains really hard.
Now please understand, I didn't put the puddle there. I didn't tell them to stand next to it. All I did was swerve the car a little bit. That, and hit the gas, spin the tires in it, and speed off.

Sometimes my wife gets mad at me. Sometimes she reaches over and smacks me and I have no idea why. I think maybe she enjoys doing that. This was one of those times.
All she said was, "mean" and then -smack-
I looked in my rearview and saw all of those dripping wet bosses back there trying to wipe the nasty off of their spiffy.
So I asked my wife, "what was that for?"
And she told me, "You know perfectly well what it was for"
So I said, "What did I do?"
And she said, "Mean" and smacked me again.

I think that was the meanest thing I ever did in my life.
It was probably the only mean thing I ever did, actually.
But in retrospect, if I could go back and change anything, I would have circled the block and hit them a second time. It was just that perfect.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Scaring people

One night I was at work and I was checking the schedule for the coming week and came across the phone number list for the staff. (AKA, the where are you didn't you know you were working today list)
I xeroxed it off and then when I went on my lunch break I memorized everyone's phone numbers. There were about forty of them. But I'm some kind of phone number freak. I can't remember people's names for anything though.
Anyhow, when I got back from my lunch break I was sitting there and as each person would walk by I would do my best rainman impersonation and recite their name and phone number. People were getting all freaky and "OMG, you are scaring me. Stop it, you stalker."
About six months later someone was late for work and the new phone number list on the schedule didn't have her name on it. They were getting frantic trying to get ahold of her, so I said, here, try this number: 555-8167
So they called it and she answered the phone.
She was puzzled, because she specifically remembered removing her number from the computer.
"Where did you get my number?" she asked.
"From Ken. He knows everything."
"Where did he get my number from?"
"You remember that night about six months ago..."
"Crap, that's scary."
"I know....HEY KEN...YOU'RE SCARY"
"Alice Johnson. Johnson, Alice. 555-3850"
"Just...oh...that just scares me."

Life is short. Play hard.

Budget Update

I increased my student loan payments by over $600 per month.
That should speed them up a little bit.
But I still owe somewhere in the neighborhood of a million dollars on them, so it will still take a little bit of time to pay them off.

I am thinking about paying my car off with a credit card and then transferring the balance to another credit card so I can get zero interest for a year. Then I would have a clear title and could switch to liability only. I could save $150 per month in insurance costs and interest payments by doing this and if I added that payment to the car note, it would pay off an extra $1800 per year.
It may be too soon to do this, though. I'll probably wait until the credit card balances are zero and the balance on the car is lower. The reason why it makes a difference is that it would show up differently on my credit report. Even though I owed the same amount of money it would look like I was in over my head, because the balance on my credit cards would be very high compared to my credit limit. So my credit score would take a hit in a big way.

I scraped up an extra three hundred dollars to send to the credit card people.

Other than that, I have about a hundred and fifty dollars left to last until next Thursday, so I'm doing OK. Any time I have anything left in my checking account on payday, I move it over to my savings account, so I have about a hundred and eighty dollars in there so far.

Next payday I don't have any payments due on anything, so after living expenses, I intend to just save the money for Christmas presents.

I got an American Express card this week, which I had always wanted to get.
Ok, so I don't subscribe to the whole "cut them all up and put them in a fishbowl" idea. That works for most people, because their problem is that they got into trouble because of impulse buying on their credit cards. I still deny having this problem. In fact, I still deny having debt problems at all.
I just wanted to get out of debt before I had a problem.
I don't have difficulty with the idea of going into debt in general. It's the getting into debt beyond your means that is the problem. But you usually don't know that you are in beyond your means until it is too late, or something changes and you can no longer afford what you used to be able to.

OK Now, What Is It With These People?

Man injured after launching firework from bottom

Thu Nov 9, 7:38 AM ET

LONDON (AFP) - A man was rushed to hospital in Britain with severe internal injuries after trying to launch a powerful firework from his bottom, an ambulance service spokesman said.

It is thought that the 22-year-old could have been trying to imitate a scene from "Jackass: The Movie", a controversial film featuring a series of edgy pranks.

Footage of the incident in Sunderland, north-east England, was captured on a mobile phone by a gang of youths and shows a white flash followed by hysterical laughter and a youth shouting: "Ha ha ha ha," followed by an expletive.

A spokesman for the North East ambulance service said: "We received a call stating there was a male who had a firework in his bottom and it was bleeding."

He is now recovering in a Sunderland hospital after sustaining internal injuries including a scorched colon.

The incident took place on November 5, when Britons light bonfires and let off fireworks to commemorate a 17th century plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

Sometimes I just don't understand people. What if they saw a eunich on TV?
Is it too hard to figure out that explosives do not belong in a rectum?
(Rectum? Dang near killed 'em.)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Republicans take a thumpin' and Rumsfeld resigns

The final count in the House is 229-196.
In the senate, it is either fifty-fifty or the Dems lead by one.
Eithr way it doesn't matter.
The Democratic party did very well this election.
President Bush stood up and took notice.
Rumsfeld resigned.
What's next?

That's the big question now.
There are a lot of implications in this election.
The population in general has virtually given the White House a vote of no confidence.
The War in Iraq being the primary issue, with other issues including scandals, alleged illegal activities, and arrogance.
So the President is going to have to go back to the drawing board.
Now we will hear a lot of talk about bipartisanship.
There will be some concessions made by the Republican party.
Amnesty is around the corner for the illegal aliens.
A minimum wage hike is all but guaranteed.
There will be new strategy sessions on the war in Iraq.
After that there will be a whole lot of talk.
Because or all of the excitement that the Democrats have and all of the shock and awe that the Republicans are feeling is all overshadowed by something even bigger.

There's another election in '08.
And make no mistake, everybody in Washington is already planning for it.
You see, election season for '08 begins today.

And now we see the real implications.
There will be a lot of talk by the Democrats for investigations. For oversight. For impeachment.
The Republicans will counter by pointing to any failure as being evidence that the Democrats are not, in fact, leading. That's what they promised to do, isn't it?

And '08 is gearing up to be a big one. Because in this election something unusual happened. (Other than the congress changing hands)
The Democrat party elected a whole lot of candidates who are moderate, or even conservative. In other words, the Left moved toward the right.
On the other hand, most of the Republicans who lost were moderates.
Those furthest to the right are still in office. The registered Republican votors have expressed frustration not in the administration's failures, but in their gradual slide to near-moderate status, beginning in the early days of President Bush's second term. The conservatives gripes include Chief justice Roberts, talks of amnesty for the illegals, and no results in social security. The buzz word in the conservative camp lately has been "stay home on election day".
And now the Republican party has moved to the right, too.

Will the center move to the right?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Goliath Expedition

Karl Bushby is a former Airborne soldier from the British military. He sees things differently than most people.
In 1994, when the Channel Tunnel was completed, most people thought it was a good thing because now they could take the rail from England to the Continent.
But Bushby took it a step further. He realized that it would now be possible to walk from Argentina to England by going over the Bering Strait in the winter time when it froze over. On May 31, 1997, he found himself in Argentina, walking. He has been walking ever since. Along the way he has been arrested, fell in love, crossed jungles, swamps, mountains, and long lonely roads. He has sliced arteries and lit his tent on fire. He once even accidentally maced a reporter.
Last winter he managed to successfully cross the Bering Strait on foot and crossed into Siberia, where he was promptly arrested, tried, convicted, and deported. But he managed to get the conviction overturned and gained permission to continue across Siberia and on to home. But Siberia is just too dangerous to cross in the summer, so he took a year off and flew back to Columbia to be with the woman he fell in love with there.
Now he is back in Fairbanks, Alaska, making final preparations to pick up where he left off last winter.
You can check him out at his website.

I saw a good wreck on the freeway

The truck hit the dividing wall and it turned sideways on the freeway, blocking all four lanes. Traffic was backed up all the way to China, but I was going the other way.

I voted

Now I am allowed to complain.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Election Predictions

Elections are upon us. What are your predictions for the results?
Here are mine:

Senate: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Missouri swing to the Blue, for a pickup of four seats. This would make it a 51-49 result with the Republicans controlling.

House: The Democrats gain 22 seats, taking control of the House. After the Elections cool down, three Republicans announce that they will switch to the Democratic party, for a pickup of 25 seats overall. However, Shelley Sekula-Gibbs manages to win as a write in candidate (wouldn't that be something?) for Tom DeLay's seat. This would result in a 225-204 majority

Governors: Arnold is reelected in California. In Texas, Perry goes into a runoff, which he will eventually win. Ken Blackwell wins in Ohio, setting up a major showdown in 2008's Presidential election.

Aftermath: The DNC hails the election as a major victory for the Democratic party and says that it is the equivilent of a referendum on the war. Meanwhile, the Republicans point out that they actually lost less seats than the historic average that the party in power loses in midterm elections, and therefore it is really no big deal.

re: Heather's Thoughts

I just wanted to take a minute to brag on Heather.
I think maybe she is a little too humble to brag on herself.
But hey, I'm from Texas. Bragging is right up my alley.
In case nobody noticed, Heather broke ten thousand words today.
She's taking part in NaNo and she is supposed to write a fifty thousand word book in the month of November. Most people don't do that in an entire lifetime, and she is doing it in one month. And this morning's update put her over ten thousand words. That's ten thousand words in five days. And during football season, no less.
Now when she starts playing it down and saying "Well, I have a pretty detailed outline that I'm following" don't listen to her. She made the outline. That just means that she's doing well because she has done well in preparing.
So the correct response is, No way, Girl, you are just smokin'.

So way to go, Heather. Keep it up. You're doing great.

Telephone Conversation Overheard At Work

-Hello, I saw your ad in a magazine and I wanted to call for more information.
-Yes, it's the full page ad with all of your computers pictured.
-Yes, that's right.
-Ok, I just wanted to ask you what the difference is in all of the different models.
-Well, I'll tell you what, I'll just go ahead and get one of each and then I'll figure out which one I like the best.
-No, the ones I don't want I will just give away.
-Tell you what, just have them delivered to the hospital where I am and I will keep the one I want and give the rest to the nurses.
-No, I'm a patient.
-I'll probably be here a few more weeks. That's what they told me, anyway.
-No, I'm ok.
-No. It's a psychiatric hospital.
-Hello? Hello?

Humph. They hung up on me. How wierd.

I'm a Loser, Baby

So Why Don't You Kill Me

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Dead Man Walking

I recently found out that a good friend of mine is suicidal.
On one of his recent excursions into gay porn, my friend Seven came across a photo that looks somewhat, but not entirely, like a jagular.
So what did he do?
On the blog is goes.
It's hard to get back at a guy like this, because he normally dresses like this:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
I can foresee the imminent death of a man with a number for a name.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Truth Be Told

My internet connection has been very intermittant lately. The cable guy came out and said that I am not getting a strong enough signal to make a connection and that he would have to have the big guys with the truck come out and work on the pole.
In plain English that means that I get to go days at a time with no internet, and there's never any way of knowing when it will go down.
So I'm going to go ahead and reveal which of my past experiences was a lie, because there's no guarantee that I will be online on monday.

1)Truth. In the late eighties I was living in Savannah, Ga, and commuting to Charleston, SC. It was about a 110 mile drive. I was working in a concrete yard and the work was pretty tough, to say the least. One Friday when I got off work I was just too tired to drive all the way back, so I parked on a little dirt patch on the side of the road and went to sleep. I was woken up at three in the morning by a group of Charleston PD. They searched me and the van and then kicked me out of the city, even going so far as to escort me to the city limit, with six police cars following me with lights flashing. I only found out later that someone in a similar van was selling stolen guns in the same area.

2)Truth. I have a fully equipped wood shop out in the garage. I oops'd two of my fingers off one afternoon a few years ago. I went to the ER and wound up having an operation to close up the ends of them. I used to type over 125 wpm, but now I can't seem to get more than 80.

3)Truth. One of the musicians I like is Rich Mullins who was famous for the hammered dulcimer. I had always wanted to play a musical instrument, so one day I decided to go ahead and start taking some lessons. I'm not very good at it yet, but I do play it.

4)Lie. I found out when I was a teenager that I was a good runner. I could pretty much run as far as I wanted without stopping. After I hit thirty, I decided to train for the marathon here in Houston. So I started running every day. I was more out of shape than I thought. I worked my way up, running a little more each day. When I got up to around seven miles a day I broke my ankle playing basketball and never ran again.

5)Truth. I once got a water bill for thirty dollars even. I bet a guy that I had a thirty dollar bill, and he took the bet. When I showed it to him, he just stood there for a few seconds looking stupid before he understood what had just happened to him. He paid the ten dollars that we had bet, and I even gave him the bill so that he could try to recoup his losses on his friends.

Congratulations to Katie-Q. The only one who guessed right.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Budget Update

Oh boy. It's that time of the month again. The time when ordinarily calm and collected people start getting cranky. Bill time.
I am thankful that when the bills all came in I was able to just sit down and pay them.
I am thankful for 3mb/s download speed even though I am paying out the nose for my cable connection.
I am thankful that I have a freezer full of food.
I just paid out over $2200.00 for the month's bills and house note.
I was able to pay the minimum payments on all of my credit cards plus just a little bit extra. Not a whole lot extra, because I missed some work this check.
Now I am paid up for the month of November.
I'll still get two more biweekly paychecks this month, because it is that wonderful month in which I get three paydays. So next paycheck will go towards paying for Christmas presents. I still need to work in paying for a seminar that I plan to go to.
At the rate I am going, I SHOULD be able to pay off the last of my credit cards in February.
After that I have a really big plan forming in my pumpkin, but it's too early to elaborate. Some things are best not to put on the internet.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Quote of the Day

Daughter: See my snowman?
Wife: Ummmm. How many arms does a snowman have?
Daughter: That's a weenie.

Women and Men argue Differently

I love my wife. I really do.
But someone needs to teach her the fine art of arguing. It's not that hard, really. Point A, Point B, Point C, Conclusion.
I did the dishes last time, I did the dishes the time before that, you told me that you would do the dishes this morning, do the dishes. I could handle that. In fact, how could I counter it?
Women and Men argue Differently.
Women seem to prefer a different format.
Derogatory statement, insult, epithet, Conclusion.
You don't appreciate me. You are a lazy slob. I'm glad your mother died. Do the dishes.
It just doesn't do anything for me. I mean really. What are you wanting? Ok, I'll take my unappreciative, lazy, orphaned self in and do the dishes then.
How about this one?
Me: You are spending too much money online.
Wife: You are getting a bald spot on your head.
I just don't get it sometimes. There's a disconnect somewhere. I'm working on it though.
Like that last one? Try this one:
Wife: I've hated you since the first time I ever met you.
Me: Why did you marry me then?
Wife: I just felt sorry for you.

Sometimes I just feel lost.

*Note* My mother is not dead and I don't have a bald spot.

Tagged Yet Again

Ok, now is that fair? I've been tagged again.
I don't think you should be allowed to be tagged twice for the same thing. (Leigh Ann, don't read that last statement)
So now I have to come up with five more interesting things about myself.
So that will make a total of ten things.
It's just not right, I tell ya.

1)I got my bachelor's degree in three years. I doubled up on my prerequisites and wound up getting 65 credit hours in three semesters, all the while working full time.
I believe that is when I lost my sanity. But I did manage a 3.89 GPA, so I guess I did OK.

2)My son was born dead. I bagged him during the code. He made a quick recovery, and by the time he was five minutes old he was doing fine.

3)I cannot float. I can swim just fine, but if I hold my breath and pick up my feet and go limp, I will sink to the bottom. It seems that my percentage of body fat is not high enough to make me go up. Tough problem to have, wouldn't you say?

4)I once made a paper airplane out of paper and masking tape that looked like a 747. It had a three foot wingspan. I launched it by slinging it with a giant length of rubber bands. It sailed over the treetops and then never really flew again.

5)My record for solving the Rubiks Cube from being scrambled randomly, with no lucky sequences (where you do one part and the next step is already done, just by luck) is 27 seconds. I have a one hundred dollar Rubiks Cube that was made in Hungary in 1981 that is made for high speed turning without exploding.

Ok, there you have it. Five (more) interesting things about me.

And now I tag Sonicrusk. Let's hear it, man, five interesting things about yourself.

Here come the midterms

OK. I admit it. I am a politics junkie. We are less than a week from the midterm elections, and I am in bliss.
Are you ready for the midterm elections? This is one of the most important elections in a long time. Have you done your homework?
Let's give it a look.
Did you know that the Democrats are trying to "nationalize the election"?
That means that they want to get people to vote on their individual congressional races in response to their feelings about the current overall condition of Washington, as opposed to simply voting based on your view of the local election. In simple english, what this means is that they are saying that if you don't like President Bush, vote for the Democratic candidate in your congressional election, even if you favor the Republican candidate for office. Simple enough. But it's a hard task to pull off.
It was done before, but by the Republicans. Remember when President Clinton's first midterm went so far to the Republicans that they took over control of both the House and the Senate? That was in response to the Republicans' "contract with America".
The difference here is that the Democrats are not offering a "contract" the same way that the Republicans were back then. The Republicans had said, "if you elect us to a majority, in the first hundred days of office, here is the legislation that we will introduce into congress". I'm having a harder time with the Democrats version of it, because they seem so wishy-washy about it all. What would they do, specifically? I keep hearing a lot of, "ummm...we'll do it better" But what exactly will they do? Well, that's the problem. There isn't a consensus. If fact, there is quite a rift. The whole Hillary vs. Dean idealogy rift that's going on.
So can they pull it off? That's the question. If they pull it off, then obviously they did something right. So can they?
In the Senate, there are 100 seats. But they are not all up for reelection. Only 33 of them are. To get a majority in the Senate, the Democrats need to pick up six seats. I can only find four that are even close. They are Montana, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania. These are seats that are held by the Republicans where the Democrats have a shot at winning. On the other side, New Jersey is looking like it could swing Republican, where it is currently Democrat. In addition, Missouri and Virginia are close enough to call them a toss up, and they are both held by Republicans. As far as I've been able to tell, all of the other states look like they will go to the incumbant party.
So if I am correct in my estimates, the Democrats would have to win all six of the Republican seats that are in play, as well as keep New Jersey. That's a tall order of business. So unless they can reach into their bag of tricks and pull something out dirty, I don't think they can do it. So my prediction is that the Republicans will keep the Senate. I can't see the Democrats picking up more than four seats.

Ok, how about the House?
Now that's another story. The Democrats need to pick up 15 seats in the House in order to capture the majority. But unlike the Senate, ALL of the seats are up for reelection. And there are 435 of them.
Well, I haven't had time to go through all of them (yet).
But overall, there are 12 seats right now that look like they will switch from Republican to Democrat. No seats look like they will go from Democrat to Republican.
But the key is that there are a number of seats that are too close to call. And all of them are Republican. In fact, there are a couple of dozen. The Democrats actually have chances to pull it off. But what's it going to come down to?
Voter turnout.

Historically, midterm elections have a very low voter turnout.
Also, historically, Democrat voters simply do not vote. It's an odd thing about Democrats. They don't vote. They try all of the same things that the Republicans do, but for some reason, it just never seems to work for them. We even studied this in college, where my instructor was a Democratic lobbyist. She said that they had meetings lamenting the fact that Democrats just won't go out and vote.
So to get them to vote, they need to try to "energize the base".
That is to say that they need to appeal to the die-hard Democrats to go out and vote. Get them all fired up. So in the next week, look for the Democrats to start dropping bombs in the news. Maybe dig up an old dusty story and give it another run. Maybe they'll start talking about Rush Limbaugh's drug investigation, or Bush's national guard service. If they can come up with a couple of new indictments, they will.
On the other side, look for the Republicans to start doing the same type of thing. But they do it a bit different. They'll start asking, "do you want to see nancy pelosi as speaker of the house?" They go more for the "do you really want these clowns in office" kind of approach. Watch for it. It's fun to see.

Ok, so locally, I have my Senator up for reelection, Kay Bailey. But she is a shoe in. So is my Representative, Kevin Brady. Texas races are pretty easy for the Republicans. Governor's race? Perry will win by a mile. He's pulling over 40% in the polls right now. And that's even with Strayhorn splitting the red vote. Of course, Kinky is splitting the blue, so it works out even. Easy win for Perry, I think.

Other Texas races to watch are Tom DeLay's seat, which the Democrats successfully were able to go to court and block the Republicans from putting a candidate on it. So there's a write-in candidate Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, who is running as the Republican against the Democrat Nick Lampson, who was previously in Congress, but was defeated by Judge Ted Poe (the hanging judge).
Also there is a race up in Waco (including Crawford) in which the Democratic incumbant, Chet Edwards, was targeted in '04 for defeat by the national Republicans, along with four other prominant Texas Democrats. He was the only one who won. So this year, they are trying again to unseat him. That one will be fun to watch.

Ok, how about you? Are you registered to vote? Do you know where to go? Do you know who your congressman is? Who is his opponent? Have you looked them both up and done your homework? What are their campaign promises? And even more importantly, have you looked up their voting records? Is one of your Senators up for reelection? Do you know who your Senators are? What do their voting records look like?
How about your Governor? (Or Governator, if you happen to live in California)

Come on, do your homework. Your ancestors died to give you the right to vote. It's what separates us from the Commies.

-edit--check the news-- Ann Coulter Voting Fraud Case Likely Will Be Turned Over to Prosecutors, Florida Elections Chief Says -- I told you so. It's already starting.

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