Friday, September 30, 2005

New Money; Old Rivals

Currently Reading: Hammerjack by Marc D. Giller

There was an article in the paper the other day, maybe it ran in your local version. It detailed the latest money makeover, this time the 10 dollar bill. Like the previous revisions, it's not going to be a DRASTIC change. They're sticking with the same basic concept but they're adding to it. You'll get new pictures, better backgrounds, probably a watermark and, the big change, more color. According to the article, the treasury is going to add yellow and red and orange to the usual green of currency. The article even had a very nice picture . . . in black and white, of course.


Tonight starts the world series. Notice, no capital letters there. It's not THE World Series, the championship of major league baseball. No, tonight starts the OTHER world series, perhaps the second most important series in baseball. Tonight the BoSox take on the Bronx Bombers and this time it counts.

Ok, it pretty much always counts but unlike in previous seasons, this last set of games is going to determine who wins the division. Currently, the Yankees are a game up. If they win two of the three games played tonight, tomorrow and Sunday, then they win it all. If Boston wins all three games, THEN win it all. If the BoSox take two games, it ends in a tie and I have no idea what happens at that point. I'll go check that out after I post this.

So, if you're not doing anything this weekend and you're at least a casual baseball fan, you definitely want to turn on ESPN and Fox this weekend because it's going to be one hell of a game :-)


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

New Phone; Shrinkage; Cooling Off

Currently Reading: Hammerjack by Marc D. Giller

I got a new phone. It's pretty cool. Here, let me post a picture of it:

It's a Motorola V188. It's got all the cool features cell phones have theses days except for the camera. I don't need a camera on my phone. I have one on my PDA which is much more convenient. It's so tiny too. What's really amazing about it is the sound quality. My hearing totally sucks, everyone knows that, but I can still hear fine on this tiny little thing.

When I was first playing with it, I kept thinking, "you know, it's almost like the little flip radios that they had on Star Trek, but smaller. Funny thing is, you can go online and get wallpapers for it with the official seal of the Federation of Planets. Or if that's not your cup of tea, the Klingon Empire.


Met with the shrink again today. We do this twice a year. I drive over, we sit down, chat a bit about things, then he gives me a refill on my prescriptions. Simple. I'm certified sane for another 6 months :-)


We're coming up on the best time of the year. It's starting to cool off for fall. Tomorrow the high is going to be 70. That's it, just 70. That means when I walk the dogs tomorrow morning I may actually need a sweatshirt.

I love the fall. Unlike the spring, in fall you have football AND baseball! Plus there's all the great baking smells. I don't know anyone who doesn't like the smell of pumkin pie and pumpkin pie spice. Even if you don't actually like the pie, that smell, it's just so relaxing.

Better still, no raking of leaves for me, not that it was much of a problem before now. Oh sure down in Texas I'd have to rake them up once in a while but my parents' house doesn't have any real trees in the yard so almost no leaves to rake up. Some blow in from other yards but not really enough to matter. Point is, cooler air, nice fall colors and smells, minimum work :-)


Monday, September 26, 2005

International Markets

Currently Between Books

You know, there are certain things you take for granted. Normally that's a bad thing. People tend to forget the important stuff and get bogged down in the little things. But you know, sometimes it can lead to some fun and funny experiences.

Take this weekend for example. Saturday, CC and I went out to do a little shopping. We first went over to this Filipino market not far from here. She wanted to show me the place plus she wanted to pick up some things we'd run out of. Nothing unusual there.

On the way back, we decided to stop off at this other place called, something like, International Food Market. It's just up the road a bit, right by a dry cleaners and a Chinese place. Now, think about this for a second, what comes to mind when you see an "international" food market? You're thinking Asian right? Maybe Korean or Chinese, or maybe you're thinking Mexican or South American. Something like that right? Yeah, that's what we were thinking too. You can imagine our surprise when we walked in and saw . . . RUSSIAN!

We didn't buy anything. Well, think about it, what are the two food items that Russia is most known for? Vodka and borcht. Oh yeah, I'm really in a rush to get my cold beet soup :-)

It was pretty cool to see the variety of different foods though. Not that I'd eat any of them, but it was interesting. Between you and me though, I preferred the Filipino market :-)


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Classical Weekend

Just Finished Reading: The Catcher In The Rye by J. D. Salinger

If you've already been over to CC's page you already know about our Saturday night concert. It was a fantastic show.

Let me start out by saying that it wasn't at all what I expected. The ads in the paper, at least the ones I saw, made no mention of actual singing. I assumed, and I'm probably not the only one, that this would be a concert by the Memphis Symphony and their selections would all be Beatles songs. I'm thinking orchestral versions. But when we arrive and are flipping through the program, I see these guys listed as the singers. Wasn't quite sure how this was going to turn out. Keep in mind this is Memphis, the original home of the Elvis impersonator. You sort of get used to the idea of bad impersonations. It's just a part of Memphis life.

I must say, I was impressed. Yes, they sang the songs just like you remember hearing them (on the radio or your CD or tape player). But what was really cool was their attention to the little details. It was pretty obvious that they'd studied more than just the voice, hair and makeup. As they're playing, they're actually using the same mannerisms as well. Body language, head nods, dances, whatever, they were pretty damn spot on compared to the films and videos I've seen.

The audience liked the show so much we called them out for 3 encores. I was joking with CC at one point that they's pretty much played everything already. You could only call them back for so many songs before they just ran out of material :-)

Had a wonderful time. In fact, we had so much fun that I actually forgot about my sore shoulder for a while. Forgot about hurricanes and bad hearing and dog hair on the carpet and, well hell I even forgot about being in Memphis and that's a pretty damn big thing to forget :-)


Been reading some more classical literature. Well no, that's not really accurate. I've been reading literature that's considered a classic. Not sure why though. Again, not accurate. I know why I was reading literature, I just don't quite understand why it's considered a "classic."

I've actually run into this problem more than once and all through college I only ever had one or two professors who, like me, wondered how on earth something got labled "classic." That's not very reassuring but on the other hand, at least I'm not alone.

The latest was The Catcher in the Rye. It was a pretty good book. I can see why you might have to read it in high school. Things are generally simple to figure out, the language is easy to understand. It's like Of Mice and Men in that your obvious lessons on foreshadowing and irony are built right in. But classic? I'd hardly call it a classic of modern fiction.

What I really get a kick out of are the overly snotty reviews it gets over on You'd think this was the single greatest piece of work on the planet and its author a genius. Actually most of the reviewers DO call him a genius. They then turn to gushing about what a genius he really is and why.

Call me crazy but after reading it, my first reaction was that if I'd known Holden Caufield in school, I'd really be tempted to just smack him upside the head and tell him to suck it up and stop being such a whiny twit. Complain, complain, complain, that's all this kid does. I'm supposed to sympathize with some rich, white kid in prep school and how he keeps flunking out of schools? It's like this book is supposed to be a classic on the basis of how cynical this kid is.

I stand him up next to Hamlet and he's just a wuss. Stand him up next to Huck Finn and he's pretty much a simpering coward.

And so, how on earth am I supposed to actually care what happens to this twit? Everything that's happened to him has happened to someone else in a better written story only worse. After all the hype about how great a novel this is supposed to be I was disappointed.


One last bit. If you run into my wife this week, give her a high five or an attaboy or something like that. She's really been working hard the past few weeks trying to get their new cleint up and running. As usual, she's doing an absolutely stellar job. Everything she produces is first rate and simply amazing. But that has a cost too. Drains the energy right out of her, poor thing, and it tends to frazzle her nerves a bit as well. So if you see her or if you're dropping her a line, tell her "nice job" or something like that. She does the kind of work that makes ya proud to know her. Hell I'm married to her so you can imagine how proud I am of what she does. Love that wife of mine :-)

PS: No smart ass remarks about being whipped either. I ain't saying this because I'm whipped (which I probably am, let's face it). I'm saying it because it's true. She's simply fabulous.


Friday, September 23, 2005

Blaming Bush; Rita; Updates

Currently Reading: The Catcher In The Rye by J. D. Salinger

Yesterday I lost the AC in the apartment. Middle of the afternoon, hot day, no AC, can you believe it? I figure, when you get right down to it, it must be Bush's fault.

Well why not? He's to blame for everything else right? From natural disasters to disasterous TV schedules, everyone blames Bush so why not blame him for my losing the AC? Here's where he failed. He didn't impliment a national program designed to make sure that everyone with an AC also had a clean filter in that AC. As a result, mine was dirty, blocking the airflow and causing the entire insides of the AC to freeze up. Literally. Seriously, it was ice city in there.

Ya gotta feel sorry for the guy. I mean, unless you're one of those annoying, finger-pointing, Michael Moore types. Poor George gets blamed for everything. Even when he does stuff right he gets blamed for it. Actually what usually happens in those cases is that he gets blamed for any little thing that goes wrong and gets NO credit for stuff that goes right.

Yet another reason why I could never be president. I'd be too tempted to just go on camera and tell everyone to piss off :-)


And then there was Rita. You know what caused this one? No, not Bush actually. Hurricane Rita was caused by two filipinas in transit. Say what? Well see, at CC's office there are these two girls who came over here from Manila to train. They arrived . . . when? With Katrina. They're leaving . . . when? Well actually they got delayed because they're flying through Houston, sight of . . . Rita. Coincidence? I think not! :-)

What they should have named this one was Overload. That's right, it's Hurricane Overload! I'm thinking it's not just me anymore. I am SICK of seeing hurricane coverage. Day after day, more and more boring reports about the hurricane. What's odd though, almost no coverage of the one that hit the East Coast. Maybe they got something against Shakespeare.

Anyway, the only thing I've found worse than this mind-numbing hurricane coverage is CNN's coverage. They always have up this dramatic (lame) tagline. It's something like EMERGENCY! or DISASTER AREA! or whatever. I guess they're trying to drum up the ratings a bit but it really looks stupid. Guess those folks at CNN never saw a hurricane before and they think the sky is falling.

One thing I found pretty funny about the Rita coveage is the traffic. I'm sitting here looking at the traffic and the reporter says it's bumper to bumper heading out of Houston. Then they show a shot of I10. Now, I've been on that road and I'll tell ya, hurricane or not, it looks like that quite frequently :-)


The Mucha print got here! We now have artwork over the fireplace :-) CC's a happy camper and so am I!

Have a great weekend! Stay dry!


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

We Never Stop Learning; Rita

Currently Reading: The Catcher In The Rye by J. D. Salinger

One of those amazing little truths about the human animal is that we never stop learning. Granted, most of us tend to learn things the hard way (it's not a good idea to try and fix your DVD player by yourself) but we are still learning. The old saying that you can't teach an old dog new tricks is just rubbish. Of course, sometimes it TAKES a little longer to learn those new tricks, but they can be learned.

Yesterday we learned two new items. The first is pretty damn funny. The second is a bit creepy when you think about it.

CC and I were laying in bed, watching TV. She's been in one of her floating food craving moods so every time she sees something on TV she wants it. She decided last night that what she wanted was pickles. So she goes out into the kitchen, gets some pickle chips, comes back, sits down, eats. Then she decides that these tasted SO well, she wants more so she goes back out and is gone for a little longer; I figured she was just browsing through the fridge. At the commercial break I go out into the kitchen myself and she's standing there reading the back of the pickle jar. "Did you know pickles are cucumbers?" she asks me, in all seriousness.


I ask her, "Well, what did you THINK they were?" She rolls her eyes and says "Oh I'm so stupid. You're going to think I'm so stupid. I thought there was some sort of pickle plant."


Pickle plant. Simply amazing :-) Now, there may be some folks out there who are wanting to cut my darling wife a little slack here based on the cultural differences between Filipinos and Americans. To you I would point out that there have been pickles in Asia longer than there have been Europeans in America. I've read plenty of older Chinese and Japanese literature in which they make clear reference to eating pickles with their rice. Clearly they've known about pickling to preserve crops for a long time.

It actually comes down to just a lack of curiousity. She never had occasion to wonder what a pickle really was made of. And let's face it, at some point in our lives we all had to learn that raisins were just dried up grapes and that prunes were dried up plums. Admit it, you thought there was a prune plant didn't you :-)

The other item we learned isn't quite as harmless and humorous. Seems folks have been using a new phishing technique. Phishing is that act in which dishonest folks will send you e-mail (for example) claiming to be from your bank and wanting personal information because your account has been violated. In truth, there's nothing wrong with your account. They just want your personal information so you can use it themselves. If I am to believe my e-mail, my eBay account is corrupted twice a week or more.

Well, yesterday, and again today, we've received an automated call from Capital One. This call wants us to punch in account information. Sounds pretty damn authentic. Says they're trying to track down fraudulant charges. The problem is, for them anyway, that I check my credit card accounts on a regular basis. If someone was charging things to my account, I'd know right away. Secondly, I've had that happen before. I once had a credit card simply not show up when it was due to be renewed. It was intercepted in the mail. When Capital One got suspicious, they actually called me. A living person called me, not an automated system. Same is true for Exxon. They were a little concerned when I suddenly was charging lots of gas down in Texas (went there on vacation). Again, live people, not recordings.

So, beware the scam artists out there. They've found a new way to try and separate you from your money.


You know, if I were one of those folks down there from New Orleans I'd really be wondering now who I pissed off. Imagine, you're a NO resident. Your city gets leveled by Katrina. You hop on a bus and head over to Houston. A few weeks later, here comes Rita!

Actually they say Rita is heading more towards Galveston, which is a little further south but the way these storms behave, it wouldn't really be a great shock if it turned a little and went in further north.

Already you've got evacuations going on. What's funny though, a lot of these news types are saying that this is just people being paranoid from Katrina's hit on NO. Now, I lived in Texas for a good long time. I've seen a few hurricanes come in and hit the Gulf Coast. In every case, they evactuate, or at least most folks do. Like Florida, you've always got a die hard core of people who just won't be moved.

The difference? Folks in Texas, especially those of us who went through the Texas public school system, know about the 1900 hurricane that pretty much wiped out Galveston. It's a big moment in Texas history. The storm came in, put the whole island under water and wiped out the bridge to the mainland. To date, it's still the most lethal hurricane to hit the US (though that may change once the body count from Katrina is in).

So keep that in mind when you see coverage of Rita's hit on Texas and the inevitable comparisons to Katrina. Texas, despite whatever faults you may have with it, is a whole lot better at dealing with these things than Louisiana. And let's also remember, the NO city government is a whole lot less honest than the average.

Guess we got us another weekend of hurricane coverage coming up. Good luck to the folks down there in my adoped home state. I may not have been born in Texas, I may not die in Texas but I will always BE a Texan no matter where I go :-)


Monday, September 19, 2005

Anniversary; Being Sick; Emmys

Currently Reading: South Of The Border, West Of The Sun by Haruki Murakami

It's been just a little over a year since CC and I got married. I still get the occasional question about how "married life" is. I can't really answer it. The people who ask usually are looking for some sign that I've had to "adjust" to being married or that I've somehow changed in a dramatic way. But the truth is, I happen to LOVE married life and I think this is the sort of thing I was actually MADE to do. When I look back and I think of all the things I've done over the years, I can't think of a single thing that I didn't get tired of at least once over the course of a year. But not marriage. I love it :-)

We didn't have a party to celebrate. Actually we didn't even get to do much on the specific DAY of our anniversary. Things just didn't quite work out that way. Instead, it's been more of an anniversary PERIOD instead.

Thursday we went out to dinner. We had Italian at Macaroni Grill. CC's parents paid. How? Well they'd put some money in her Philippine bank account for us as a present.

Friday we got two packages from Judy and John (more about those later). I also sent CC flowers at her office. It's not the same getting flowers at home. You have to get them at the office so people can SEE you getting flowers :-)

Saturday is our actual anniversary, the 17th. CC had a lot of running around to do so I took her to the mall for noodles at our favorite spot.

Sunday? Well, CC had a baby shower to go to for her boss. They gave her some of the flowers being used for decoration. A HUGE boquet of :-) in a nice vase. They gave them to CC for our anniversary, which was nice of them :-)

As for presents, well there's the Mucha print for CC, which should be here some time this week. She got me a Dallas Cowboys shirt, the one that ties in to tonight's Ring of Honor ceremonies. I got her flowers, roses. Her parents got us dinner. Judy and John, WOW did they send some great stuff :-) First, the candle holders. I saw these and I said something like, "holy COW! Those are GREAT!" And they went right up to the mantle, where they do, indeed, look great :-) I love them. I told CC, "my mother would kill for those." They also sent us another Painted Pony. This time it's the Anasazi Spirit Horse which is flat out gorgeous! It's one of their best horses, if you ask me :-) They also sent CC some clothes, which helped out more than you might think :-)

You see, for the past month or so now CC has been wondering what she's going to dress as for Halloween. Last year she went as Sadako, the dead ghost chick from The Ring, or rather Ringu, the Japanese version. This was not long after The Grudge came out so that whole image of long hair and pale skin was still fresh in people's minds. She had folks afraid to approach her at the office it was so good. Anyway, so this year she had NO idea what to go as. I told her not to worry about it. Something always presents itself before long, you just have to be ready to catch it. WELL, Judy sent along this GREAT vest and blouse. The vest is khaki and the blouse is a sort of rust colored knit. You wear the one over the other and it has a very casual, rugged sort of look. Very comfortable. It also looks fairly close to what they wear in Crocodile Hunter. We did a little brainstorming. If she wears that vest and blouse with some olive shorts, thick socks and my work boots, yup, that's just about perfect :-) So this year she's going as Crocodile Hunter. I told her, "this is great. Perfect costume and it cost absolutely NOTHING." Even better, it's made up of normal clothes that she can wear again and again so there's none of that worry you have when you buy a costume and it sits in the closet having only been worn once.

One thing I thought was pretty funny. Yesterday, CC and I were talking about things and she'd remarked that the women at the baby shower were a little surprised that it had been a year already since we got married. I noticed that too. But what's also very interesting is that it seems like FOREVER since we had our last vacation . . . which was our honeymoon! It's true. It doesn't seem like nearly a year since the wedding, but MORE than a year for sure since our vacation. Go figure :-)


Being sick sucks. Being sick and sore sucks even more. That's where I've been lately. The shoulder is on the mend, thank god. It doesn't hurt nearly as much but I still get occasional pinches now and then and I still can't sleep a full night in the bed. The problem is, I wake up after maybe 6 hours or so and I simply can't find a comfortable position anymore. Shoulder hurts too much.

CC and I have been battling some sort of cold-like virus as well. This one is a real pain. It doesn't make you quite sick enough to give up and take to your bed for proper recovery but it DOES make you sick enough to make you totally miserable. When it was at its peak for me, Thursday night, I slept on the sofa. CC was a little surprised by that but I figured that there was no way I'd be able to lay still. I'd end up tossing and turning all night plus there would be frequent bathroom trips. There are always frequent bathroom trips when you're sick. I didn't want to wake her up. It worked out fairly well. I slept on the sofa until about 4 am, THEN went to bed.

Well now we're into the work week and CC's starting to get run down by this thing. She's ok as long as she has her energy but towards the end of the day it really starts to get her. We laughed last night. Her right nostril was completely plugged up. My left one was. Together we had ONE fully-functional nose :-)


Every year the folks in TV land prove to me that I was right to give up watching the Emmy awards several years ago. I got SO frustrated when every year they would totally ignore X-Files. No matter HOW good it was, X-Files never won anything until the series was about over. They ignored The Sopranos for a LONG time too. Same with just about every good show that isn't on the big three networks. Oh sure they'd go on and on about how many NOMINATIONS that HBO got but until recently, they only gave out non-network awards for things like mini-series.

They've gotten better about that now but I still have to wonder about their choices. First up, no major awards for CSI? Nothing for 24? Nothing for House? Hell those are the three best shows up there. Yeah, Lost got one but to be honest, I'm not so sure Lost is that great. Why? Well, I saw the first two episodes, then the last two episodes. Missed everything in between. Didn't have any problem understanding it at all. It was like all those bits in the middle weren't necessary. The cast members keep talking about how they really like it that they don't know what the writers are going to do with their characters. I'm starting to wonder if even the WRITERS know what they're doing. Honestly, they need to make a decision as to which direction this program is going.

It was nice to see Monk get his award, especially given that the rest of the comedy categories ended up a sort of Everybody Loves to Kiss Raymond's Ass. I never did get what was so funny about that show. It was ok but nothing I was ever overly impressed with.

Desperate Housewives. Honestly, where to begin? Nah, not worth it, I'll skip right to the award that it won. Ok, you have the big three wives up for best comedy actress. So, who wins? The one with the LEAST funny moments! Let's not kid ourselves here folks, the blond may be the more likable character. She may be the more dynamic character or even the most NORMAL character but hell even I'll admit that Terri Hatcher has a FUNNIER character. If it were me, I'd have given it to the red head. That woman is so anal it's almost painful and as a result, she gets all the best lines.

I figure the worst one went to Jon Stewart of The Daily Show. That's got to be one of the LEAST funny comedies since SNL 2000. I've seen it. I've seen "best of" clips. It's just not that funny. The whole thing is supposed to be topical humor. What it mostly ends up is jokes at the expense of Republicans and the President. Here's the problem with that: in order to make topical jokes appealing, they have to be grounded in the truth. What made Clinton's jokes about himself so damn funny, and what made him seem so charming, was that he poked fun at things that were, more or less, true. These guys at The Daily Show, they're like Michael Moore. Their jokes are grounded in half-truths and sometimes outright lies. So instead of being funny, they end up just being rants. If you want funny, topical humor, skip The Daily Show and watch South Park or Robot Chicken.

Damn . . . that was one long blog entry :-)


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Company I keep; Baked Goods

Currently Reading: South Of The Border, West Of The Sun by Haruki Murakami

I'm starting to be known by the company I keep. Some of that is to be expected of course. At CC's office, I'm better known as her husband than by my actual name. Makes perfect sense. They see her every day. They see me maybe once or twice a year.

There are exceptions of course. The two girls we took to the zoo and to the mall over Labor Day holiday, they know my name. And then there's Adam. I don't think he'll EVER forget my name at this point :-)

What's getting a bit funny though is that I'm starting to be known around the apartment complex as Katya's owner. Katya is, as you may recall, my Australian Shepard. First time we encountered this was when the guy came to fix the air conditioner. He remembers the dogs. Me? Well, I'm the guy attached to the OTHER end of the leash. He remember Katya.

This morning, it happened again. The dogs and I are coming back from our morning walk when these two older ladies approach us. Katya being Katya she went into super friendly mode and was promptly fawned over by both of them. One of the women asked me, "Where do you get a dog like that?" I had to tell her that I got Katya from a ranch in South Texas but that they were available around here too. You just have to look.

These two also mentioned that they'd seen us walking before and had made it a point to come talk to us. What's interesting is that the girl in the apartment directly below us did the same thing. She'd seen us walking and was a fan of Australian Shepards so she came out to meet us.

Being known as Cecille's husband, that's fairly normal. I wonder though, am I going to be forever known as Katya's owner around the apartment complex? :-)


I've been doing a bit of baking lately. This past weekend, I think CC mentioned it, or maybe I did, we baked oatmeal raisin cookies. Well, yesterday, to add to that, I made a banana bread.

But before I could do it, I had to walk to the corner drug store. As I was taking out the ingredients to prepare for baking, I dropped the egg container, breaking the one egg inside. Ok, it's true that I needed TWO eggs and not one, but by breaking that one egg, I removed the option to make half a loaf instead of a whole one.

The walk didn't take that long. 10 minutes each way. CC's amazed by it though. She thinks it's so far to the corner store.

Got eggs, got home, got baking. It came out great :-)


It's been a slow week, can you tell? Blame the bursitis. I can't do much because of my shoulder.


Monday, September 12, 2005

The Boys Are Back In Town, Bursitis Blues, Anniversary Present

Currently Reading: South Of The Border, West Of The Sun by Haruki Murakami

It's so nice to have a reason to cheer on football Sunday again. WHAT a game for the Cowboys eh? In case you missed it, they won, obviously, but more importantly, they played one HELL of a great game against San Diego.

The best games are the ones that go right down to the final snaps in the game. Yesterday, there was quite a tense few moments as the Chargers were down there in striking distance with 4 shots at the end zone. A field goal wouldn't have done it. Had to be a touchdown. But the Boys held, giving the game a happy ending . . . for Dallas fans anyway.

This is a good sign. For the past several seasons the Cowboys have been pretty bad. I hardly watched any of the games last season, even when they were the only games available. You just KNEW it was going to be bad football.

Let's hope the season continues this way for them :-)


Still nursing a sore shoulder. Talk about a royal pain. I can't sit for very along at the computer because there is no comfortable position for me right now. I can manage for a little while but I have to take breaks and I HATE doing that.

Worse, I can't seem to sleep more than an hour or two without waking up. I swear, last night, every hour to an hour and a half I was awake. When CC got up this morning she said to me, "You were tossing and turning last night." Sure was, and it didn't get any better. When I woke up for good (I actually gave up trying to sleep), my nose was stuffy and running and my stomach was a little sore. I'm thinking all that Advil was taking its toll. I never took more than it says on the bottle mind you, but it's like aspirin in that if you take it long enough, sooner or later it'll give you an upset stomach.

Not the way I'd prefer to start the week but I wasn't given a choice. As I told Judy earlier in an e-mail (she's dealing with a pinched nerve right now), let's all get better :-)


I mentioned before that CC got me a shirt for our anniversary. I wore it yesterday of course, celebrating the great win over the Chargers. Last night, I went over to the Cowboys pro shop and downloaded a picture. Here's what it looks like:

My wife rocks! :-)

Friday, September 09, 2005

My Fabulous Wife; Sudoku; Lost Time

Recently Finished Reading: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

My wife is fabulous. Do you know what she did? Well see, our anniversary is coming up next Saturday on the 17th. She already knows what I got her (she's very impatient when it comes to presents and insists we play 20 questions until she gets it right). I didn't know what she was planning to get for me until this afternoon.

Man knocks on the door. Odd thing for mid-afternoon but I check it out. It's the UPS guy. Package with CC's name on it. Came from the Dallas Cowboys Pro Shop. Yeah, you can already tell I was excited right? :-)

So she gets home. This time, *I* play the 20 questions. Only took me 3? Maybe 4 :-) She got me this FABULOUS t-shirt. You see, on the 19th, the Cowboys will be honoring three of their best, Troy Aikmen, Emmit Smith, and Michael Irvin. There's going to be a ceremony and everything. WELL there's an official shirt that goes with that and that's what she got me. The Cowboys from my favorite teams. The Cowboys who won the three Super Bowls.

Them's my boys :-)

My wife ROCKS :-)


There is a game. It is called Sudoku. It is good.

Each week in the Life Magazine insert in your local paper (if you get Life) there is a new puzzle. I've written about it before. It's a HIGHLY addictive game for folks who like puzzles. Mostly what I like is that it doesn't require that you learn all those obscure words and trick phrases of a crossword.

Anyway, I'm adding links to various Sudoku pages. Three of them were added today.


I've lost a HUGE chunk of time messing with the blog page again. Don't ask. Suffice to say, it's now almost 2 am and I'm just now finishing up and going to bed.

Actually I shouldn't call it lost time. Given how sore my shoulder is I probably would have lost the time anyway by tossing and turning for a while. Better that it was productive time at least, right? :-)

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Damn Vulcans; Are you Ready For Some Football?

Just Finished Reading: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

No I'm not asking the Vulcans if they're ready for football. Two separate topics. Let's start with those annoying, green-blooded, pointy-eared logic worshipers. One of em snuck into the bedroom Tuesday night and hit me with that damn Vulcan nerve pinch thing. I woke up yesterday morning in PAIN. That's pain in all caps so you know just how bad it was.

Oh it's no thing really that serious. It's just a pinched nerve somewhere around my right shoulder. Hurts like hell and has me walking like Frankenstein's monster once in a while but it's not serious. I get these maybe once every other year. Always happens at night and usually lasts two days or so. I must be on some regularly scheduled exam cycle for the Vulcans. They sneak in, do the nerve pinch, do whatever their experiments are, then they leave and I have to layer myself in Ben Gay with a heating pad on my shoulder for two days.

The worst part is sleeping. It's damn near impossible to find a comfortable position to sleep in. Last night, well, let's see, it was going on 2 before I went to bed. Then I remember laying there, tossing and turning for a while trying to find a spot that would work. It woke CC up and she gave me a massage that helped. I slept restless though.

Damn Vulcans.


Good news! The day we football fans have been waiting for is finally here! Well no, wait, ONE of them is finally here. Dione Sanders isn't going to be thrown out of the country for dressing like a pimp and trying to sound smart. And no, this is not the day that Terell Owens gets the crap beaten out of him. And no, it's not the day T.O. and Randy Moss go one on one in a cage fight. It's the OTHER day we've been waiting for :-) Football season officially starts TONIGHT! The games count now!

It's been a pretty dull pre-season. I guess that's why most of the stories tended to focus on Philadelphia's troubles and Randy Moss. Oh yes, and Jerry Rice retiring. Other than that it's just been statistics and predictions. Hopefully that won't be an indication of the season to come. I know that the whole free agency thing is really leveling the playing field, and that's great. Nice to see different teams in the play-offs. It's also nice to know that while your favorite team may have really played like crap LAST year, this year they might win it all.

Ok, ok, probably not. It'll probably be the Patriots again. But you never know. An injury here, a trick play there and we may see the Cardinals with Super Bowl rings.


But seriously folks, it's football season tonight! WOO HOO! I'd be pumping my arm in celebration if it weren't for those damn Vulcans.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

DCI, Dead Judges, and Spam

Currently Reading: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Just finished watching the DCI finals on ESPN 2. It was nice to see an actual network cover the event instead of the usual PBS broadcast. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against PBS but with the DCI broadcast, it was always an optional item. Sometimes they'd show it, sometimes not and never at the same time of day. One year I caught it at 11 pm while channel surfing. The year before that it was shown in the middle of the afternoon on a Sunday.

Anyway, it was a great show. My only real complaint is the same one I always have. They never show enough of the shows. I understand, they have to clip a 3 to 4 hour show into a 2 hour TV slot plus commercials. Still, it was nice how they ran them back in the 80's when the local PBS station in Texas would set aside a 3 hour block and run the whole thing.

I really did enjoy marching with the high school band in the drumline. I was thinking about it during the show tonight. It's the only time I ever went out in front of an audience to perform and DIDN'T feel nervous. Never felt nervous during concert season or parade season either. It's still the only performing art that never stressed me out. Makes me wonder how things might have turned out if I stuck with music instead of dropping it and going with public speaking and drama.


As I'm sure you've already heard by now, we lost our Chief Justice the other day. He's due to be burried on Wednesday. I only had a few remarks about that. First, a big kick in the ass to Alan Der...uh...Dir...hmm...Dershwitz? Close enough. What a jerk. Renquist is dead and you don't speak ill of the dead no matter how much you hated them. So what's the first thing he does? On national TV he calls the late Chief Justice a thug. Talk about lacking class. Then again, he's a lawyer. Why should I have expected more?

My other remark is really more towards CSPAN. I was channel surfing earlier today and I happened to catch LIVE coverage of the Renquist viewing. What was that? Viewing? No, you didn't actually get to see the body. Basically it was a stationary camera pointed at a flag-draped coffin. Every now and then people would go by. Some would stop and pay their respects. Otherwise, coffin. It was like watching paint dry. I mean, what exactly do they think is going to happen here? Is he going to push open the lid and reveal himself to be ZOMBIE JUDGE!? I doubt it.


Spammers, I just wanted to let you know that Dante has come back from the dead to revise his description of hell. He's included a nasty, painful spot for you guys right down there towards the bottom. You'll be slightly higher than the guys who write viruses. You'll all be sharing space with the lawyers so better get friendly with them now.

Yes, I've been having spam problems lately. Every so often a bot program crawls through my website and finds a feedback form or guest book form and it starts sending me spam through it. So now I have to go through and delete guest book forms and such. I put those in there so folks could let me know what they thought of the site and some jackass decides to use it to tell me about his Texas Hold'em poker system.


Ah well, I'm off to bed. I think I've picked up a cold.


More Stuff

Currently Reading: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Sorry, just can't come up with any clever names for today's blog entry . . .


A few more rants about the hurricane . . .

Rant 9: Seriously folks, it really ISN'T Bush's fault. None of it is. He doesn't control the weather nor does he control any of those little federal agencies that deal with this sort of thing. Further, bitching about it being Bush's fault is counter-productive. He's not up for reelection. Slinging mud at him now only shows how petty and inept the mud-slinger is.

Rant 10: A variation on an earlier rant. Let's get this straight folks, it's not the job of the federal government to protect you from everything under the sun. Disasters will happen. Don't blame the government for them. They'll try and help you out of something hits you bad but there's a limit to what they can do. Most of the help is going to come from the state.

Rant 11: It's not a racial thing damnit, get that through your head! I have heard this all weekend, "oh they didn't work fast enough because we's all poor and black." Or "the gov'ment is working slow on purpose 'cause we's poor and black." Doesn't have a damn thing to do with it. The government doesn't work fast enough for anyone because moving slow is the ONE thing that government is good at. Do you see any of Mississippi or Alabama finished already? Of course not. Now, the governors from those states are a little more on the ball with their disaster preparations but that's got nothing to do with race. That's just better planning. Besides, let us not forget that there is more to Louisiana than New Orleans.

Rant 12: Some of the folks who have been relocated are starting to get on my nerves. Don't get me wrong, most folks seem to be pretty damn thankful that they were rescued and they're just waiting until they're allowed to go back to New Orleans where they'll start rebuilding the city. But there are others who just can't seem to shut up. They complain about being labled refugees. They complain that they weren't saved fast enough. They complain that once they were saved, they weren't given enough . . . anything. These folks seem to have gotten it in their heads that the rest of us owe them something. We owe them a new house or new belongings because their stuff got flooded out when the levy broke. Much as I sympathize with them about what happened, we don't owe them squat. They'll be taken care of because that's what we do here in the US when folks get hit with a disaster. But to start making demands of the rest of us is pretty damn rude. Maybe they'd feel better if all the rescuers just packed up and went home?


Had a busy weekend. At CC's office there are two trainees from the Philippines who have come over to work at the home office for a month. We took them out to the zoo on Sunday (a beautiful day for a zoo trip) and then out to the mall on Monday. CC and I both feel old now.

Honestly, I don't know WHERE these two girls get their energy from but if we could bottle it we'd never have to worry about energy ever again. They were pretty much constantly in motion. It's cute at first, to see someone so excited about everything but after a while, it more points out how little energy YOU have.

We all had a great time though and the girls did manage to get most of their shopping done. Lots of pictures were taken, even a few short video clips. A great way to spend the long weekend.


Friday, September 02, 2005

Disaster Overload

Currently Reading: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Well, if you're like me, and let's face it, you all want to be like me don't you?, you're WAY overloaded with the disaster stuff. You probably spent the better part of the week watching New Orleans fall apart. It's now starting to look like a very bad mini-series that the networks fell in love with and just won't stop showing.

That being said, let's rant a bit about it :-)

First rant, what the hell were those city officials in NO thinking when they ignored the rather obvious signs that the levy was unsound? A disaster of this magnitude doesn't "creep up on ya" the way some reporters have said. Hell no, we all saw this big ass hurricane sitting there in the gulf, we knew it was coming. She was a cat 5 for crying out loud, that's just a little more than isolated sprinkles and a stiff breeze. But, as we know now, it wasn't Katya that did the bulk of the damage, it was the breach in the levy. So, who's fault is that? I was thinking, well, hell, Katya must have done it. Then CC tells me she saw a report on TV that the city KNEW the levy was weak to begin with. Ok, so...first priority down there in NO once they get everything cleaned up, run them city officials out of town. Hell, if possible, don't even let em come back. If they can't be trusted with something as basic as keeping the levys working, they sure as hell don't belong in charge of anything in the government.

Second rant, seriously news people, do you want Bush there or not? Make up your minds. The reports are either that he should have gone in sooner or he went in too soon and should have waited until things settled down a little. You can't have it both ways. You're mostly all on the same page with this politics stuff anyway, so sit down, figure out your stand, then send out an e-mail.

Third rant, for crying out loud, the story is NOT about the reporters and what they're going through while trying to report the story. Reporting the news is their JOB. What we get too often is news along the lines of say, the hardships that football players go through when they play football. Hell that's not the story, playing football is their JOB. No other business, except perhaps Hollywood, does this sort of thing. "Let's now go to our reporter who will tell you all about what it's like to be a reporter." No, let's not.

Fourth rant, what the hell is wrong with those people in NO? Turn on FOX or CNN now and have a look for yourself. They're shooting at police? Armed gangs roaming the streets? Looters taking anything that's not nailed down? At this point I'm tempted to suggest we bus the remaining decent folk out of the city then just wall off the rest and let em fight it out. Of course, that would mean giving up the French Quarter and let's face it, the French Quarter looks too cool so obviously we can't do that. Besides, where would all the drunk, college girls go to flash their breasts on camera?

Fifth rant, ok famous people, time to put up or shut up. You all got your panties in a knot about the US not sending enough relief to other countries when they got a disaster. Now it's our turn. Let's see how you handle things at home. We've already got some good stuff going here. Ellen DeGeneris is setting something up. Probably dish out some money to help. Hell I heard Hillary Duff dropped a check for $250k and she's just a kid. So, where are the rest of ya? Ted Turner? He sent his check to the UN all those years ago and CNN is making a killing off coverage of this storm. So how much is he going to donate? For that matter, how much are all those over-paid Hollywood types going to donate? How about those high-priced atheletes? This is all basic Social Contract stuff folks. If we're going to dish out our hard-earned money to see them perform and make them rich, they gotta put something back in the community in times of need. That's just how it works.

Sixth rant, this was NOT caused by any person. It's not Bush's fault any more than the other hurricanes were Clinton's fault. Presidents barely control their own government much less the weather. So let's drop this rubbish about it being Bush's fault.

Seventh rant, this was NOT caused by global warming. If you were fortunate enough to catch the famous hurricane predictor guy, you know that we're just about at the peak of a regular hurricane cycle. They go up and down, lots of hurricanes, strong ones, then back down to fewer and weaker, then up again. We still got a few more years of big hurricanes before it drops off again. So no more whining about global warming. This is nature.

Eighth rant, and finally, seriously, you gotta ask yourself at some point, what the hell were we thinking building a city BELOW sea level? Ok, actually it's a FRENCH city, they built it. It's just ours now. Damn french. It's always their fault in the end isn't it? :-)