Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween and other random thoughts...

Happy Halloween! Only Emily dressed up today to go trick-or-treating (out of the four kids that usually go). She dressed up as The Little Mermaid, and looked very cute! I took a couple pictures, so maybe I'll remember to post them.. :-) She had a lot of fun.. We let Tyler, Sarah and Jessica take Emily out to reap the benefits of this annual candy-fest. :-) Meanwhile, we grown-ups hung out and handed out candy to the trick-or-treaters... Oh yeah, we ate some of the candy and some pizza while we checked out the ghosts, goblins, french maids, and Power Rangers (In fact, I am pretty sure one kid was some combination of all of those...).



Hannah Blaylock logo

Hannah Blaylock and Eden's Edge. Ever heard of 'em? They are an Arkansas group that performed during a conference last year. I bought both of their CD's and have been listening to the one titled "Cover Me" a lot lately. It was when she (Hannah) was with Lost and Found. You can check 'em out by visiting their website... While I am promoting Arkansas bands, check out the folks of South of Seven7. A fellow Distance Learning Coordinator, Donnie, is in the band...

South of Seven logo




Oh, I forgot to mention that at one point, Emily had decided that her costume was too long, so she hiked up her fins... This presented no problems so far as anyone could tell until she turned around, and there was just enough of her bottom showing to give us all a head-shaking laugh... Poor girl... We did tell her she would have to not pull up her 'dress' quite as far.. :-)



Have you ever been driving down the road, heading somewhere you have gone a million times, only to realize at the last second that you were passing your turn? Yeah, I did that tonight on the way back to the house... I was too busy concentrating on animals jumping out... Or rather, the POSSIBILITY of animals jumping out... Well, that and watching the potholes in the dirt road... Yeah, okay, so I am easily distracted.. Not necessarily a good thing when driving... Lucky for me, there is a 2nd driveway to turn in... :-)



While at the feed store buying food for Daisy and the goats (our animals, that is not the name of an Arkansas band that I know of...), an older man asked what on earth I was buying food for GOATS for? Didn't goats eat paper, scraps, tin cans for Pete's sake?? Well, yes, but still... He proceeded to tell me a tale that I thought I'd pass along... Why? I dunno, it popped in my head... :-) Turns out this man was with his grandson one day and they happened upon a small farm. While they were there talking with the woman, a goat came from around the corner and the grandson just had to have it, and of course Grandpa complied. Now, he says they THOUGHT they were buying a billy goat (That's a boy, in case you're not up on your goat lingo...), but it turns out it was a nanny (that is, girl). This nanny happened to be pregnant... So, a two-fer deal... Well, after some time, they had grown tired of the goat of something, because a delivery guy happened by one day and asked the older man if he would sell his goats. The grandfather said he sold the goats for less than half what he paid, and even that was too much to charge the delivery guy... Sometime later (a few months, I believe the older man said), the delivery guy happened by the old man's place and the old man asked how the goats were.... The delivery guy said, "Well, I had a Boxer... And it turns out the Boxer wasn't too fond of the baby goat, so he killed it. The nanny wasn't too fond of the Boxer killing her baby, so she killed the Boxer. I got rid of the goat." I'm sure there is a moral in there somewhere, but I'm no Aesop... :-)



Oh, I almost forgot, the night before Halloween, Tyler went with the church youth group to Camden to go through the "Heaven or Hell" scenario that was set up there. It's like a haunted house, but with a message.... Turns out Tyler got the message loud and clear before he could reach the 3rd room! It really freaked him out... Turns out they start you in Hell, and take you through four 'levels' of Hell before they show you Heaven... After two, Tyler was out the door and heading for Heaven. He said it was the screaming voices that did him in... He also said, "Heaven was great. They gave us water!" :-) Now, if we can only get him passed the 'fear' part of it... He did fine that night, but the next night (tonight, as I am writing), he wasn't doing so well... I told him earlier that when I was a kid, I didn't handle haunted houses too well, either... Guess we'll see....

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Steelers, World Series, and other random thoughts...

Steelers Logo

The Steelers were not televised in my area, meaning they were not on any of the broadcast channels we get with our DirecTV and I am not about to pay for Sunday Ticket... :-) So, when I saw the Steelers score flash by during the Cowboys game, I was disappointed to see they had lost by a touchdown. The advantage to not knowing is not knowing how or why we lost.. :-)



I've started using the lines to break up my thoughts... Is that making things easier to read, or harder? Let me know... :-)




2006 World Series Champs - Cardinals

The World Series... Did you watch it? Did anyone? Okay, I'm in Arkansas, and the Cardinals are the closest thing we have to a pro team near here (at least in spirit, I'm sure in bird-miles, that may not be the truth...)... So, I'm sure a lot of my Arky buddies watched the games, had beer and pretzels, etc etc... Me? I have never been less interested in a World Series in a long, long time... Why? I dunno, Tigers and Cardinals ... just didn't grab my attention... Besides, there was "Deal or No Deal" to watch, or maybe it was "Grey's Anatomy," or reruns of "Paint Drying 101" not to be missed.. :-) Congratulations to the Cardinals, of course, but really, I just wasn't into it this year...



Today, the Pokemon RPG that Tyler has been wanting to play was actually online (umm, Pokemon Den of Ages)... We logged in and started exploring... Only to discover that this 'game' is in a pre-beta stage... In English that means the players can log in, chat, and walk around the maps they have provided. It also means the players can't do ANYTHING else... They do not get a Pokemon to start with, so they can't battle. They get money, but can't get into the store to buy anything... Which is okay, since there is nothing to do with anything you would buy anyway.... From the time we were on, it was obvious a lot of people thought this was going to be "it" - the game... Much of the chat consisted of very annoyed and upset players who WANT this to come together, and who are very upset that the programmer (a person going by the name Silver) has run off 2/3 of his/her programming staff for the game and that things are not as far along as was promised (that's not a surprise for anyone that follows any kind of promised software release....)... The point here is that is has potential, but the author seems more interested in alienating those who want to play than getting the project completed...



So.... While reading through some of the books I bought to help Tyler dev his own game, I came across a program called BYOND, which lets you make your own games... And, there is an online RPG based on Pokemon that IS active. In fact, a player can choose to be a Pokemon OR a trainer... You can buy things (including houses to live in!), battle, heal at a Pokemon center, and more... I told Tyler that this was the framework of what his game should offer... I think we will look into playing with the software (I actually found another game-authoring tool, too) to help him make his own online multiplayer RPG... He is also having lots of fun editing and updating his web site on Tripod... :-)



I forgot to mention the other day that I have discovered a (mostly) text-based food-fight game at www.lunchfight.com. For whatever reason, I find myself highly addicted to the game, despite the fact that it is 99.99% text... Guess that goes to show you don't need a bunch of fancy graphics for good gameplay... You need a challenge, a method for re-playability, and some creativity... :-) I even like the way you can pay (with real money) to upgrade your virtual food-tosser... I mean, you play for free, and you can move up the ranks without spending a dime, but if you WANT to help the process along, you can plunk down between $5 and $12.50 (depending on what you want to do) and boost your player... What I like is that you do not HAVE to do this in order to succeed... Paying just helps you succeed FASTER, if you so choose. Does that mean people with more money to throw around on an online game have an advantage? Only in that they can get the necessary skills or stuff quicker than someone who does it all for free, but really, there is no time-limit on the game, there is no incentive that I can find for getting there faster, so why not play for free and just enjoy it? :-)



eTopps Logo

As for my eTopps cards, I am one card away from having a Master Steeler set, and three or four cards away from having a 2002 baseball set. I am not taking the baseball set in hand, just keeping it online. After the football season is over and etopps releases the football cards, i will take all the Steelers in hand.... I will most likely sell them as a complete set once I have them all inhand... Should fetch a pretty penny... :-)



Cars D.V.D. Image

CARS comes out on DVD very, very soon! We'll be buying that for sure! I haven't been so into a movie in a long time! I love the story, the characters, all the cool toys that have come from the movie.... Great stuff! :-)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

District Champs and a moustache

Prescott High School won their game Friday night, thus becoming district champs! Undefeated in district! Awesome! Next Thursday, they play Magnet Cove and if they win, they take regional (I believe that's right.. If not, someone either correct me or ignore me...) Way to go WOLVES!



While shopping this evening, I joked around about picking up a box of Country Time lemonade packets. I love those things! Turns out, I buy one a week, so we have quite the supply at the house... Shan said something about ading to my stash, to which Emily replied, "Are you getting a moustache?!" What little ones hear... :-)



Much to Shan's chagrin, Emily and Tyler and I have been playing Battlefield 1942 multiplayer... The kids love it. Emily likes to drive the jeep and fly the planes... Ever been in a plane with a 4-year old at the helm? Let's just say your virtual life flashes before your eyes, as does everything else in the game! :-) Of course, there is the whole violence thing, and I totally understand the issue there... So, I am going to take the book I got to help Tyler with his web site and use it to design a multiplayer food-fight type game... :-) Yeah, still some violence, but it will be cartoon-like! :-) And, no one 'dies,' they just have to go hit the showers before they can return to the battlefield, er uh, cafeteria... :-)



I didn't realize it had been 5 days since I last wrote here... Ouch... Well, I believe very early on, I said something to the effect that I wouldn't be very good at keeping up with this... I have techno-A.D.D.... Something grabs my attention for a while, and then I end up getting distracted by some other techy thing... :-)



This week, I managed to stand on about 3 or 4 different soapboxes in a semi-public forum (a listserv that serves a select group of folks in the state...). Let's see, I covered the fact that I believe the state network guys should just announce when they will need to take the system down for upgrades/maintenance rather than 'taking a poll,' especially near the december holiday break (formally known as Christmas break before the ACLU got involved)... I also started a conversation regarding a statewide school calendar and daily bell schedule... :-) I think there should be one of each (everyone gets the same days off, and everyone goes to class at the same time, for the same period). I'll save you the details... :-) There was also the mini-box I got on regarding low-level/introductory technology training for teachers... I think we will always need those kinds of courses, and other folks dont agree... :-) All in all, quite a week... :-)



About 2 weeks ago, I ordered some of my eTopps cards to be sent to me (referred to having them 'in hand'). They arrived the other day, and man are they incredible! They shine and do all kinds of color changing in various lights (reflect/refract)... Great looking cards! :-) I have more in my online portfolio that I will have sent to me, but then I am selling off my portfolio in order to recoup some much-needed cash... In fact, I have the full set of Pirates eTopps cards (2001-2006) in hand, and will most likely sell those as a Master Set... Same with the Steelers once I actually have a Master set built... I do have a Master set of Indians, but I am really hoping to hold on to those as part of my Indians collection... will eventually sell al the Indians cards as one massive collection, but for now, I'm hanging on to them as long as I can... :-)



Well, seeing as it is 3am, I'm outta here... without the moustache... :-)

Monday, October 23, 2006

50 posts and Papa John Chicken....

Well, hey, this is my 51st post, according to the site stat thingy... :-) I know that is a drop in the bucket for a lot of folks, but being a total noob at this, I'd say it ain't bad... :-)

Tonight (monday), I am in Little Rock for a meeting on Tuesday. The hotel and meals are being provided for the group, and we were treated to Goucho's... It is very cool! The servers come around with skewers (two skewers each) and offer a bite-sized portion off each skewer. The skewers might have bacon-wrapped chicken, Brazilian sausage, a couple of huge roasted pineapples (which they offer you a nice long, sweet slice!), leg of lamb, and all kinds of others... They kinda rotate around the place, so you have food being offered to you every couple minutes. Since they are bite-sized at a time, you really don't get full quickly! Which is great! Of course,it can also lead to some serious...uh..indulging! :-)

Okay, so what's up with Papa John's Chicken?? One of the guys had this white 'thing' on his skewer... We asked what it was... Phoebe, my direct supervisor, couldnt hear/understand what was said. After the answer was repeated, some of the people at the table decided to try some... Phoebe said that she still hadn't heard, so we told her.. Parmasean Chicken... She said, "Oh! I thought it was some kind of JOHN chicken.." We all laughed, at which point things went downhill... I started off with "Pair-A-Johns" chicken, whic was follwed up by Cindy with "Papa John's Chicken!" We had a great laugh at Phoebe's expense... And now, I'm probably going to be seeking employment elsewhere after word of this gets out... Anyone need a slightly brain-damaged techie?? :-)

And, I couldn't remember if I had posted this or not, but there is a very cool site for email for kids... Safe2Read.com. Parents sign up and they add accounts for their kiddos. Email has to be approved by the parents, and it can be approved on several levels... Like, ALL messages have to be approved, or once a message from a known person is approved, then all messages from that person are automatically approved, but I think a copy of ALL email goes to the parents, either way (I'll have to test that)... Anyway, it is pretty cool, and it lets the children get connected without the fear of being contacted by some pedophile.....

I saw a bright yellow new Corvette on the road today! :-) Man, the new C's are gorgeous cars! I was skeptical of the new exposed headlights, but they have really grown on me! :-)

Until next time.... Hide The Oats!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Random things to look at... and THE HAWGS!

Okay, as you know if you've been reading along, my 4-year old is addicted to "Deal or No Deal." We thought about getting the DVD game, but in the meantime, I found out that you could play online! :-) Just go here: NBC Deal or No Deal Game. It's not as entertaining as the TV show, but the game moves quickly and it is fun to see how far you'd go... especially when it ain't YOUR money! :-)



While reading an online review of the "Deal or No Deal" DVD game (which, from what I can tell should NOT be bought!), an ad for SAW III called out to me on the page.... Now, some of you may not know, but I am a HUGE fan of the Saw movies! I like "thinking" horror... Guy with chainsaw running around killing everyone may be entertaining (or gross), but there really isn't anything to THINK about... In SAW, you think... Or at least TRY to think before you are ripped apart, burned, or otherwise killed off.. :-) But, I digress... So, this ad takes me to a sub-site featuring the Legend of Jigsaw. Interactive, cool, but not for little one's ears.. The audio in the site features a barrage of cussing... So, be warned... The "Legend" page(s) are here: Legend of Jigsaw, and the main SAW III site is here: Saw III. By following the links on the site, one eventaully discovers that Raybin Managment (The company behind SAW) is auctioning off props and stuff from the Saw movies! Very cool... Included in this list of items is the ONLY animatronic doll used in Saw III.... Yes, for a small fee, you too could own the doll from SAW III.... High bid at the time of me writing this is.....drum roll...... $5500.00! Wanna see for yourself? Click on this... If you dare..... Of course, another item they are auctioning through a different company is a poster... Printed using red ink that has been "enhanced" with the blood of Tobin Bell (the actor that plays Jigsaw)... Uh, yes, you read that correctly.... Interested? Come along!




How about DEM HAWGS!? Holy smokes! Nothing like starting out a game with a 100-yard kick-off return! Suh-weet! :-) Awesome, guys! Now, let's see how the Steelers do....




Ah, yes, when I pulled up to the house after work on Friday, I noticed my rear passenger tire was going flat. As I was checking it out, the hole happened to be blowing air into my ear! I marked the hold with a silver metallic Sharpie, and went on my way... I woke up Saturday morning and decided to take the tire off and get it fixed... A phone call would have saved me some headache... Turns out the tire place here is closed on Saturdays...the wonders of living in a small town... Anyway, I got the tire off (once I figured out exactly where to place the jack on the rear of my Ram 1500), loaded it up in the mini-van, and drove to the closed tire shop. Not feeling like driving 20 miles to Hope, I returned to the house and figured I would put the spare on and get the tire fixed Monday... For future reference to those who do not regularly change their tires: Make sure the vehicle is not going to MOVE when you are trying to put on the spare... Luckily, the ground was soft from the rain the other day, so I don't think I broke anything... I pushed on the tire and the truck followed Newo's law of motion perfectly....it moved away from me... I'm not sure how I didn't lose a head or a hand, but I only lost some pride and some of the skin that used to be on my middle finger... Which, I promptly showed to the truck.. :-) After a few words that could have found themselves on the aforementioned SAW III web site, I managed to raise the truck off the ground and get the spare attached... I am so mechanically challenged, it ain't even funny... Well, it is... but, it's sad... :-)



At Wal-Mart yesterday, I bought Tyler a pack of 2006 Upper Deck baseball cards. Upper Deck now had codes on their cards to get kids to buy them (somehow, I still manage to fit that description...). The codes can be entered and collected, then 'cashed in' for prizes, merchandise, autographed memorabilia, etc... It's pretty cool... If you wanna see more, you can go to UpperDeckKids.com...



My Dad found out he is not dying, but has several things wrong with his back, including 'sliding' discs... That's not good... He also found out the growth in and around his knees is a cancerous tumor.. He will have tests done to check for malignancy... In the near future, he will have an operation to get rid of it... As he put it, "the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly..." He may looking at re-retiring sooner than he was hoping to... Well, sooner than he 'could have' anyway.... I'll keep ya posted....

Thursday, October 19, 2006

All kinds of crazy....

It's been a few days since I last posted. Part of that is because I have been in Hot Springs at the ARDLA (Arkansas Distance Learning Association) annual conference and shin-dig. Ray Simon (the US Deputy Secretary of Education and former Director of the Arkansas Dept of Education) gave the keynote speech. There were actually a very good number of vendors that came this year versus previous years, which show (hopefully) that ARDLA is growing... :-)

There was also a 'speakeasy' casino night, which was fun. i spent the evening at the Hold 'em table, losing my imaginary money... I noticed I am much freer with the words 'all in' when it's not real money at stake.. :-)

I presented at the conference. I figured I would talk for about 20 minutes, take questions and call it good. Somewhere, I got excited about my presentation and I ended up running over my allotted time.. :-) No one seemed to mind though and I seem to have gotten several folks interested in trying out Share Point (A Microsoft online collaborative tool, upon which the AR K-12 DL Curriculum Portal is based: http://ardl.k12.ar.us/).

There were a lot of good door prizes - iPods, an XBox360, some kind of warbly microphone thingy... I didn't win anything. I probably should feel jaded, but I can't complain... The first time I won anything of significance was when I lived in Virginia. I worked in Alexandria at a little shopping plaza house between two high-rise office buildings. While hanging out in the computer store where I worked, I had the radio on for background noise. We had very few customers ever, so when this badly dressed Santa Claus came in to the store, I was pretty sure he was lost, drunk, or maybe they were filming the sequel to Trading Places... :-) Instead, he walks over, pulls off his headphones, cocks his head to one side and asks me if I am listening to 105... With a raised eyebrow and one hand on the phone (to call for police support), I slowly nod... He blurts out something about me being a winner, and how I would get 105 dollars... I was like, "Yeah, right..." So, of course he had to call the office and I had to do a little on-air spiel, but sure enough, a few days later I got a check for 105 bucks! :-) Now, a caring, sharing, responsible employee would have bought something for the boss... or had a party with the other co-workers... Not me. I bought a 6-disc C changer. Mind you, this was in 1989/1990... I bought a Garrard 6-disc changer that has the pop-out cartridge thingy.. :-) I still have it and it works wonderfully... :-) So, to get back to my tale, I never truly expected to win at ARDLA... Sour grapes? Okay, maybe a little, considering the "Apple Die-hard" of the group won the flippin iPod! How Brian B managed to pull that off, I will never know!! :-)

So, what's with the title of this post? Emily and I were washing dishes the other night and I was being my usual loony self, making up songs and stuff... I stopped at one point, looked at her and said, "Your Daddy sure is weird, isn't he?" She looked at me and with all seriousness, said, "No... You're just all kinds of crazy..." That, from a 4-year old.... When I was a kid, we used to tell my dad, "Now, don't act weird in public..." Guess I inherited some of whatever he's got.. Lord help us all......

Monday, October 16, 2006

20 Ounce Life-saver and Going to School

First of all, I just have to say this..... HO-LY COW!! The Steelers were awesome! I still stand behind my thought that Batch should have been played, given Ben's record as of late, but then again, I'm not the one pulling down a bazillion G's to be the coach, am I? Awesome Steelers!! :-)

20 Ounces.... That's 1.25 pounds, right? Can you imagine a 1.25-pound Life Saver candy? No, no, that's not what I'm talking about. I am also not talking about any kind of 20-ounce alcoholic beverage... Here, I am talking about a bottle of water I stole from our Y2K stash... Okay, first of all, to answer your questions: YES, we had a Y2K stash, just in case... YES, we still have items in our Y2K stash... And, yes, I stole a bottle of water from the Y2K stash...

You see, the pump was acting up on the well, so we weren't getting any water this morning (Monday). Being the resourceful person that I am, after I turned the shower off, I went back to bed. Seriously. Why stay up if I can't get a shower and I could sleep for another 30 mintues? Later, after I had been up for a while, it dawned on me that I could use a bottle of water to at least wet my head so I could comb my hair... I told Shan that I hadn't realized just how much hair I've lost until I was able to wash my hair with a 20-ounce bottle of water..... I'm just sayin.... 20 friggin ounces... I used to use more than that in mousse and gel for cryin out loud (Yes, a child of the 80's)...

Emily wanted to play school tonight, so after "Deal or No Deal," we played. She is always Mrs. Strawberry Shortcake. I told Emily my name was John... John Jacob, to be exact... Well, really, it was John Jacob Jingleheimerschmidt. I pointed to Shan and said, "her name is my name, too..." Emily picked up her play phone and called my mother. I was in trouble. During class, I tried to tell Emily about all the goings-on in town... "Do you know Jimmy?" I asked. She tilted her head to one side and rolled her eyes at me. I continued, "Well, he cracked corn... And well, really, I don't care." Emily, er uh, Mrs. Shortcake, sighed. Shan nearly peed her pants... :-) Mrs. Shortcake called my mother. I tried to redeem myself... "Do you know Jack? Jack Sprat? He can't eat any fat... And his wife? Well, she can eat no lean! When they go out to eat, the two of them can lick the whole plate clean!" (Yes, I changed the words... Can you imagine what the word 'betwixt' would do to a 4-year old? I'm telling you, she'd be asking for the candy! (think about it).)

Mrs. Shortcake was having none of it... I continued, of course... "You know, Jerimiah was a bullfrog... (I paused for dramatic effect) He was a good friend of mine." Shortcake called my mother. I tried to explain to Mrs. Shortcake that, "my mother was a very poor woman... She was an old woman, who lived in a shoe... She had so many of us children, she didn't know what to do!" Mrs. Shortcake yelled, "Stop it!" I replied, "My mother's name is Hubbard... Old Mother Hubbard... She went to the cupboard, but the cupboard was bare..." At this point, Mrs. Shortcake invoked her right to use corporal punishment... And Daddy invoked his right to address Emily Grace! :-) I just talked to her, don't get me wrong! All in all, it was quite entertaining... Of course, I realize now I left out the parts where Shan was poking me with the umbrella, giving herself all A+'s, and generally being the Teacher's Pet... Oh, and somewhere in there, Mary had brought her little lamb to school... :-)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Apache, PHP, MySQL, huh?

Hang on, after the first paragraph, this post really is in English! :-)

So, a while back, I mentioned that Tyler and his buddies have decided they want to make an online RPG. I ordered a couple books and they came in, and I started learning... So far, the most I've accomplished is even getting Apache, PHP and MySql to even run together in a fashion that makes sense to me... :-) I should mention that I am doing this on my Windows XP machine... Yeah, I know, some of you may be wondering why I didn't do this on Linux.... Others have yet to even know what I'm talking about! :-) If it makes you feel any better, even *I* fall into the second group of readers! I have no clue what I'm talking about, I'm just trying to help Tyler... We'll see... I did find phpMMORPG, but it doesn't like something about my set up (prolly the whole Windows/Linux thing)... Now, it turns out Microsoft is giving Virtual PC 2004 away for free, so I may create a virtual computer and run Linux there and see what happens... Then again.... Maybe not... LOL

Since it's Saturday, I just want to say good luck to the Steelers... I guess Cower is leaving Ben in, and i just hope he finaly plays as himself....

I've been playing McDonald's Monopoly... So far I've won a breakfast sandwich.. :-) I really like the online version at playatmcd.com... Very cool... Put your codes in from the pieces and win! LOL, okay, so I haven't won yet... But, I could be a good pitch man, right?

The other day, I watched "Rebuilding an Icon" about the latest incarnation of the Corvette. Of course, I had seen it before, but I could watch it again and again... Not just because it's about the new Vette, but also because it is actually well-written, and very cool that they were able to tie in the car photographer trying to grab a photo during the whole process....

Yeah, I'm one of those "watch the same thing a billion times" kind of guys... If there is a movie or TV show that I've seen, and I like it, I'll watch it over and over... Today, I watched "Maverick" for the zillionth time... "Con Air," "Armageddon," and "Die Hard" are some others I could watch every single time they're on....

I still have to post the picture of Emily's stitches... I'll try to do that before the weekend is up... :-)

This afternoon, we all went outside and tossed the football around. We also played boys vs. girls. Emily has some serious moves! And, I'm not saying there were any penalties, but Shan's definition of "Holding" and the NFL's are not necessarily taken from the same rulebook... :-) We also ran about 50 races because Emily wanted us to... Then, we played some more - a LOT of running around... How did THAT happen!?

Afterward, we all came back in, and Tyler and I played each other in Battlefield 1942. Yeah, I know, it's kind of an older game, but we like it alot! :-)

Okay, I gotta say it - HOW 'BOUT DEM HAWGS!? Holy cow! 63-7!?!? Yeah, I know, it was SE Missouri St, but still... SIXTY-THREE to seven!? SMOKES!! YEE-HAW HOGS! :-)

Okay, while typing this up, I just saw a commercial for Intelius.com... Background checks on nannies, significant others, the mailman... I'm curious, how many people are going to actually use this? "I love you, baby, but I need your social security number... Why? I just want to run a background check on you..." Okay, actually, you don't even need the SSN! What the heck is this world coming to? Don't answer that... And, for Pete's sake (who *IS* Pete anyway?), don't waste your money checking Intelius for my info... :-)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A trip to the hospital...

Emily decided she wanted to have a hair-bow this morning. Little did we know that decision would lead to a trip to the hospital and five stitches....

She had been sitting in my lap while I was combing her hair. After I got done, she was told to get her shoes and socks to get ready for school. She got down, turned back to me and said that she wanted a hair-bow in her hair like yesterday... She took one step, which landed her leg against mine and she fell face-first into the coffee table edge. She cried out, covered the place where she hit her head and made her way over to me. I saw blood. I took her hand away, and I saw this was no 'ordinary' Emily accident. Since I was holding Emily, I told Shan to get a towel or rag or something, and we wiped away at the blood, carefully dabbing at the wound. Gash. It was a gash, and it was ugly.

Tyler asked if he could go to the hospital, and in our mild panic attack, I told him that he needed to go to school with Mimi (my mother, who works at the school). We did not realize how scared HE was until later when we had all settled down. We apologized to him and explained our panicked state. He took it well...

After the initial crying, Emily did not cry again until the doctor was feeding her eyelid with anesthetic (more on that in a moment). Of course, the fact that Emily was NOT screaming her head off only served to make Shan even more nervous. I was too busy concentrating on driving to think that deeply about anything!

At the hospital, Emily began asking all kinds of questions. She asked Shan what Shan would be doing if she had hit her head. And she asked me. We both told her that we would not be handling it as well as she was, and that she was eing a VERY brave little girl! The one question that sticks out in my mind, however, was this one: "When Jessie (her aunt) has her baby, how is the baby going to come out?" Maybe it's just me, but I'm thinking this question is about 10 years too soon! I explained that the doctors would help the baby come out when it was time. Not satisfied, Emily followed up with, "Yeah, but HOW? Where does the baby come out?" I told her that girls' bodies were made so the babies would come out and that the doctors would help Jessie. Yes, I stalled for time. Fortunately, Randy (the ER nurse) came out to save me. :-)

Emily's doctor explained several time what he was going to do, and though Emily looked scared a time or two, she never cried. We put her on the table, laid her back, she laid perfectly still the entire time. As I mentioned before, she did cry a couple times while the doctor gave her injections (I think we counted 11 of them) to numb the site, but that was all. No flailing, no wincing, no screaming. I held her hand and told her to squeeze. She did. Once the doctor was done numbing things, he cleaned the site and got ready to sew. I relaxed. I relaxed a little TOO much.... I felt the world closing in around me, and asked Shan (evidently several times quickly in a row) if she would like to hold Emily's hand for a bit. I also had to go to the restroom (potty breaks can hit at the weirdest times!).

I am usually not skittish or prone to passing out. But, ever since her delivery, anything that involves my little girl just makes me lose it once I relax. From the story as told to me by Shan, I weaved my way to the restroom. After I came out, I was given a cup of ice, a cup of water, and I watched the doctor sew several stitches into Emily's gash (I will post pictures of his handy-work later).

After it was over, Emily walked around for a bit, just to be sure, and we were given the okay to head out. The doctor said he has never seen anyone handle getting stitches better than Emily. Shan and I, being directionally challenged as we are, had no idea where the exit door was. Emily (yes, the 4-year old that just had 5 stitches put in her head) says, "Umm, aren't we supposed to be going THAT way?" and points to the door. The nurses all commented on the fact that SHE had to tell US where the exit was... :-)

We took Emily to Mickey D's for breakfast (I think part of the reason for my light-headedness was the fact I had not eaten breakfast... well, that's MY take anyway...), and she got to pick out a toy at Wal-Mart (she chose a Dora the Explorer adventure van that talks, plays music, and does other things).

When we got her home, Emily ran and played and laughed and sang (at one point, she put "Bad Day" on the CD player, and sang along!). Basically, she was herself with a bandaid on her head. She and Mimi fed the goats, pet and fed Daisy, and then while Shan and Tyler went to Awanas, Em and I stayed home and played Lincoln Logs, Fisher Price Castle, Baseball Card matching game (the rules of which I never did quite fully grasp), among other things. Are we still worried that she hasn't had a screaming fit over this? A little, but then again, once Emily gets upset, she gets over it, and life goes on....

Shan's Dad did threaten to beat the coffee table with a hammer.... We're not sure if he was joking... Guess we'll find out... :-)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Beta Blogger

Okay, just for the record, I have switched to the new version of Blogger. So, if anything goes wacko, we can just blame the beta! :-)

Steelers, Hogs, Hot Water, No DSL, and a 32-inch LCD....

Well, what a crazy weekend this has been! :-) Last time I posted, my folks' water heater had just let loose its fury, Auburn was supposed to clean house with the razorbacks, Big Ben was going to show 'em how it's done, I had Internet connectivity at the house, and our 26-inch, 12-year old TV was sitting in the entertainment center....


It turns out, my Dad pulled off one heck of a whizz-bang job getting the water heater swapped out and the new one hooked up. My Dad is like most Dads... Take whatever shortcuts you can to get the job done and Mother off your back.. :-) But, after seeing the job my Dad did, I was surprised at the care and thought he put into making sure everything was just right. I know I couldn't have done as good a job! Way to go Dad!


PIG SOOIE!

Most people that know me know I am not a huge Razorback fan. I am a Pittsburgh-born Yankee who moved to Arkansas and never left (By definition, a Damn Yankee). Over the years, I have come to enjoy watching and listening to the Razorbacks. When the "experts" in the state were talking about the whooping the Hogs were going to get, I knew we (Hogs) were in trouble. Instead, Arkansas showed the nation just how good they can be. I was very impressed - blown away, really. Awesome. LSU, on the other hand, got their butts handed to them. Not that I really care, but I do like LSU....


Another Steeler Loss

Which brings me to Pittsburgh and Big Ben... Look, when Ben came back at first, he had just gone through the summer after an accident and an appendectomy. We cut him some slack. The next week, we still gave him the benefit of the doubt. Last week, he didn't even have to play. I am a huge Ben fan, but my loyalties lie with the Steelers as a whole. Get Ben out of there. Charlie Batch won the first game, and Ben hasn't won squat. As a coach, you have your star players, I know. But, COME ON! Get Ben out of there and let Batch take a whack at it again. That's all I'm sayin....


Friday, I get home to discover that DSL is acting up. After some troubleshooting, I realize it is not my problem, so I call Centurytel. I know, they have a script they have to follow, and like a good boy, I worked the woman on the phone through the script. She was even polite enough to tell me that she could tell I knew what I was talking about but that if I could be patient and work through their dog-and-pony show with her, she'd get me the help I needed. It takes guts to admit to your customer that the customer actually KNOWS something... Anyway, the problem was not one that could be fixed remotely and we should have DSL by Monday noon. Turns out, everyone on our "leg" was out, and we all started calling to complain. Of course, that did not good since a field tech actually has to lay hands on the DSL service box, but at least they knew we weren't a bunch of techno-illiterate hicks... :-) I really got her when I mentioned that I traced to problem down to one set of IP numbers, which were the WAN (that is, DSL network) side of things. Maybe I should consider changing careers... LOL... I'm kidding.... really... i am...


So, while DSL was out, I needed something to occupy myself with... After spending Saturday in Texarkana (Emily went to a skating party - her first trip to the roller rink!), I decided to bite the bullet and buy a 32-inch LCD HDTV. As my son said, "Man, that is TIGHT!" The Steelers got their butts kicked, and I watched it all unfold (collapse?) on our new 32-inch LCD! Now, THAT'S football! Even better, it has a SVGA connector. In English, it means I can hook up my laptop to this puppy! Oh, yeah! I can't wait to try out a game or two!! :-)


Whew! And that isn't even EVERYTHING that went on this weekend! We played some football, played with the goats, Daisy, and other animals. We ate at the Cold Stone Creamery, had Sunday lunch (Shan made French dip sandwiches! YUM!), and I started reading about PHP Game Programming since the books I had ordered for my son's new pet project had come in. Of course, I told him he could read the book, install Apache/php/MySQL/etc on their computer and have fun learning it, too. I was not much older than he is when I first cracked the book open on a brand-new Commodore 64 and typed in my first few lines of code.... Man, that seems like ages ago now... And, now, you can run an emulator on your screaming fast PC that will run a Commodore 64 in a window while you surf the web, listen to your iTunes library, program a little php, and watch a DVD all at the same time..... Amazing.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Biggest Loser... Deal or No Deal?

Generally speaking, I have shows I like to watch, Shan has her shows, and the kids have their shows... Sometimes, we all watch the same shows... And, sometimes, there is are shows that come along and peak the interest of one of our children but not the other... Case in point:

Our son LOVES "Biggest Loser." We record it on the DVR so he watch it. We haven't quite figured out if the appeal is watching the tests the contestants face, or how much percentage weight they lose at the end of each show. Either way, he loves it. It also seems that when the new season starts up, he gets more active - wants to throw the ball around, go out and play, etc etc... Whatever reason, I'm glad he likes to watch what becoming more healthy can do for a person, and that he becomes more physically active while it is running.

Our daughter, on the other hand, LOVES "Deal or No Deal." She likes to sit and guess which case has the big money. And, we all pick a different case to play along. Mostly, we are trying to see if the contestant will even pick our cases throughout the show. Last night was cool because I picked 17. Shan said, "Where do you think the million dollars is?" I said, "Seventeen, that's why I picked it..." Turns out, I had been right... Figures... If I had been on the show, I would have lost, I'm sure... Emily had a blast watching and picking.

Is it educational television? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, it's a great way to spend part of an evening... :-)

Of course, Shan and I LOVE Grey's Anatomy and Boston Legal (the funniest first-run TV show on right, as far as I'm concerned). I am a huge fan of shows that never let the actors forget they are on a television show...when the actor turns to the screen, or makes some comment like Denny Crane when he said the new characters couldn't be permanent because they weren't in the pilot, or another character turns and says, "cue music." Excellent work!! :-)

On another note, yesterday, Shan's Dad and I (mostly Shan's Dad) gave Daisy her first woming treatment. Something akin to feeding nasty-tasting medicine to a child - a lot of head-turning, funny faces, and trying to spit it out once we got it in there... :-) Overall, I'd say she did well...

And, on yet another note, my Mom called me this morning and her hot water heater had decided it no longer wished to serve in that role. Apparently, it dropped its drawers and let everything loose on the floor - much like a defiant puppy, I'd say... So, after some running around, we got the water turned off, the heater turned off, and now we have to look at getting another one... That should be quite an adventure, too.... :-) Ever disconnected one and replaced it with another? I haven't.. :-) I'll keep ya posted........

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

When I get where I'm going.....

No, not the country song... I mean, seriously, sometimes I wonder how I got where I end up...

Yesterday, I was running late during lunch. Now, in most circles, that means I took a LONG lunch. In my world, it means I left FOR lunch late (there was a videoconference that had stopped for lunch break. I was told they would break for an hour. THEY went to lunch at 11:30). My lunch is from 12-1... So, 12 comes around, and I am working on getting videoconferences posted to the online calendar I am using. So, before I know it, it is 12:15... Well, I can't leave now, because I need to be there to start the recording for the afternoon's session. 12:30 comes and goes. At 12:40, the one participant we have comes back and she tells me that the conference will start back up at 12:45.... Now, I'm not complaining too loudly here, but umm, why did she tell me "an hour" at 11:30 when she knew then that it wouldn't start until 12:45?? So, did I mention my lunch is from 12-1? Now, yes, I could take my lunch from 12:45 - 1:45 if I wanted since I worked through lunch, but I don't function that way...

So, getting where I'm going.... I decide to run to Andy's, a local burger place, just two blocks away. On my way to Andy's, I figure I should swing by the post office. Now, before you ask... No, the post office is not on the way... It is out of the way, in fact... Evidently, most of the people in the fair town of Hope also decided to go to the PO right then, too...

After the PO, I hop in the HEMI and head to Sonic. Yes, I had been heading to Andys.... On my way to Sonic, since I had long forgotten Andy's now, traffic was heavy and I didnt want to wait to cross traffic to get into the joint... So, I figure I'm this far out of the way (by now, remembering I was SUPPOSED TO BE heading to Andy's, which is now behind me somewhere), I just as well head to Mickey D's...

So, it turns out, all the folks I saw at the PO decided THEY wanted McD's, too! What a party! I was so glad to see many of the same cars again! I needed to be the last person in the longest line of McD's history... :-)

My "quick trip to Andy's, two blocks away" has now turned into an adventure which lands me back at work somewhere around 1:20.... So much for not taking a lunch! :-)

I can no longer say anything about my children's knack for "Family Circus" routes to their destinations.... They get it honestly.... :-)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Web pages, horse washing, and football

Tyler and a couple of his friends (mainly just one other cohort) are laying out the plans for a Pokemon-related RPG web site. They are currently registered with one (pokemoncrater.com), but they like the idea of creating their own Pokemon worlds where they get to play king.... One small problem.... These are middle-school kids with little or no idea as to HOW web pages work. That's where Dad comes in. So today, I ordered a book on PHP, MySQL, and game development... I'm sure there was another book in there somewhere, but I really don't remember.... That seems like days ago now... :-)

Emily has entered a new level of inquizativeness... Yes, all children go through the "what's that?" phase... She did that a couple years ago... Now, since her vocabulary is so much stronger, she has graduated to "What does that do? What's that for? How do I...." Today, it was laundry. "Why do we put clothes in different piles? What's the stuff in the bottle? How long does it take to do laundry?" And, just as quickly, "Can I type on your laptop?"

Skipping ahead in the day, Emily had been asking if we could go outside and play football all day... So, after the heat starting fading (Yes, 95+ in October?? There are still some things that I am getting used to, though I have been in Arkansas now for more than 16 years....), we went out to play football....

Our first stop on the "Family Circus" method of playing football was the goat pen. We needed to put the goats in for the evening, and get them fed. Wait... Since we're feeding the goats, we should probably feed the horse... "Hey, I thought we were going to give Daisy a bath, Daddy...." So, we grab the brushes, comb, Horse-n-Mane shampoo, along with various other essentials for horse-bathing... Of course, Daisy had other ideas. You see, she was expecting me to bring her feed to the trough.... Instead, I met her with the lead rope (well, okay, I had to substitute one of her new reins until we get a new lead rope.. LOL). She turned and trotted off, whinnying and, I'm quite sure, sneering at me... I opted for bribery. I know, you're not supposed to, but the heck with it. After a small "treat," Emily and I led Daisy to be bathed... "Can we wash her face? Can I use the brush? Can I squirt her? Can I put soap on her? Do I have to use the brush, or can I use my hands? Can I comb her tail? How come she keeps smacking me with her tail?" The questions kept coming and the late afternoon had slipped to early evening.... After we finished bathing Daisy, we turned her back out and gave her the meal she thought she was getting... Emily says that since Daisy did such a good job with her bath, we need to give her an award (meaning RE-ward..). I'm very interested to see what this "award" entails... :-)

And, yes, after (or rather, during) a visit from my folks, we did get to play football. Emily scored three touchdowns and learned how to throw the ball up in the air and catch it herself.

Sometimes, it's not the destination.... It's the journey we take to get there....