Wednesday, November 29, 2006

There is no tellin....

Tonight, I'm going for the whole "stream of consciousness" approach to posting - quite literally a "what popped in my head" evening... Good luck, and May The Force Be With You....

I decided to try watching "Show Me The Money" tonight... I have not seen it before, so I had no idea what the show was about... Frankly, if Shatner would slip into his Denny Crane character, it might have at least a little humor to it... The premise is kinda cool... Answer trivia questions, but you have to pick how much money you will win or lose before you find out if you are right or wrong... It's kinda neat... I would do well because a lot of the questions are truly random, useless bits of information... :-)

Emily got a Bratz digital video camera... You can see it here... I haven't played with it much yet... I put in the batteries and we took it outside and Emily videotaped Daisy and the goats. It also acts as a 1.3 megapixel camera, which takes okay pictures... You can't really use it indoors unless you have inside lighting that rivals most covered arenas... :-) And you wanna film at night? Fahgeddaboutit! Oh, she got it for Christmas from my brother and his wife... Yes, for Christmas... Yes, she got it on November 29.... I've spared you the need to roll your eyes, sigh, and shake your head - been there, done that...

Okay, "Show Me The Money" just went off and Shatner plugged "Boston Legal.." Now, THAT'S funny.. :-) Of course, the next show is "Daybreak," and I am not interested in watching a 'modern' version of "Groundhog Day."

Have you flipped through the radio stations in your vehicle and you stayed on just long enough for a phrase or two, then when you switched stations, the next thing out of the radio finishes the first station's thought, though not quite as intended? You get something like, "I saw Mommy kissing....the biggest one day...attack on a military base in...your hometown Wal-Mart..." Of course, in my experience, things usually end up either very profound or completely nonsensical... :-) You can sometimes do the same thing with television... :-)

Two Shakes of a lamb's tail... I looked it up... No one really seems to know where this expression comes from, though a lot of people have ideas.... Of course we know what it means, but where/how did it ORIGINATE? Hmmm.... Oh, that reminds me, I have heard the following two expressions all my life and have NO IDEA what they mean: "I'm no Uncle Tom!" and "Get your John Brown rear-end out of here...." I'll have to do some research....

We're supposed to have some really, really nasty weather blowing through Arkansas tonight and tomorrow... Everybody better hit the grocery stores for milk and bread.... LOL, I'm kidding about the milk and bread... Why is it that people go ape-nuts and run to the store for milk and bread?? "Snow!? Sleet!? good Good, man, get me to the store! I am going to crave peanut butter and jelly!"

Hey! The Weather Channel is doing a special visit to Crater of Diamonds! Cool...

I've been debating whether or not to post one or more of my short stories... Of course, by 'short,' I mean they are 5-10 or more pages typed... That'd be a lot to have to read on here.... Of course, my college profs recommended I submit them for publication, but I haven't built up the confidence yet to try that... Then again, what have I got to lose? At this point, they are collecting dust, right? :-)

Are you tired of reading all this stuff yet? Okay, I'll give ya a break.... for now...

Monday, November 27, 2006

Is There A Santa Claus?

All my life, I've heard the response to be, "Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus." But, I have never read the story behind the response... With the help of Google and the rest of the Internet, I found it... And, yes, there IS a Santa Claus... The question was posed in 1897 through a letter to the editor of the New York Sun... Click here to see a copy of the original!

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

"VIRGINIA O'HANLON.
"115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET."

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measure by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest man that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank GOD! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.



My son asked me not long ago about Santa Claus... Of course, we were in the middle of JCPenney with about a billion little children around... I stalled, but I know he has been told at school that there is no Santa... The truth is St. Nicholas really did exist... Here is a tidbit from about.com: The name "Santa Claus" came from the Dutch "Sinter Klass" pronunciation of St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas was a Christian priest, who later became a bishop. He was a wealthy person, and traveled the country helping others, giving gifts of money and other presents. St. Nicholas chose to remain hidden while giving these gifts, so the children were told to go to sleep quickly or he would not come! While the actual man passed away long ago, today's Santa Claus is more about the legacy left behind by the original - caring, giving, loving... I think one of the most important aspects is that he gave IN SECRET... That is, he sought no recognition for his generosity... From the history, it appears that at least the adults knew, and possibly the children knew who he was also... But, he only left the gifts in secret... There IS a Santa Claus... He lives in each of us who believes - believes in love, caring, giving, and sharing.... and the wonderment of child-like amazement and curiosity....

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

On death and dying....

My last post may have given the impression that I only see death as a way of life, as it were... To be sure, I was as shocked as anyone when I heard the news of Mrs. Ridling's passing (the 30-something year old) away as she did... Yes, it was her time, but that doesn't make it any less shocking or less painful for her family....

Losing someone we love is very, very painful... Whether it's a relative, a close friend, a dear pet... Even though it was their time to pass on, those of us left behind are still left with the memories, the plans, the pain.... I know it was my grandparents' times to go when they passed, but that didn't make it any easier... If something should happen to my Dad while he is in Iraq, or anywhere, I will be completely devastated until I can heal from his loss.... The same is true of Shan, my children, my Mom, other family, close friends....

Being a Christian, I believe in Heaven and Hell and what happens to us after we pass from this life, but knowing all of that doesn't make the pain of losing someone any less hurtful.... Maybe that is why I am taking the 'everything will be okay' approach to Dad's employment excursion.... But, like I said before, something could happen to any one of us at any time..... We can't be afraid of it, though... Live life as best we can... And be thankful if we get a tomorrow to fix what we can...


Since I'm on the subject, I have always wondered why people say things like, "We should move on with such-and-such... He would have wanted it that way..." How do you know that? For all we know, that person would "want" the world to stop doing whatever it is the world was doing.... Maybe what that person "wants" is for his employees (let's say this was the CEO of a self-made billion-dollar empire) to seek out their own fortunes and fame.... Of course, if that was the case, I'm sure his/her Will would have specified the break-up of the company.... I once heard that Bill Gates is not leaving all his riches to his children... Will they get something? Of course... But, basically he earned his money and built his own empire, and he is not about to just hand over his billions to his kids... Teach them the respect and determination he had, or something... Frankly, I find this highly noble. Should I be blessed someday with gobs of money (either by earning it, or by winning the lottery), I would do the same.... Provide for my children, but not spoil them...... (For the record, they have grandparents, aunts and uncles already taking care of that) :-)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I must be getting old... or something....

For the record, the posts today will not be in chronological order... :-) Not that it matters, but ya never know, right?



Can you say dork?

Okay, while at target yesterday, I saw a guy wearing a shirt that read, "I F***ed your girlfriend." Only, it wasn't blanked out... Maybe it's just me, but whatever happened to common decency, or at least courtesy? Okay, when I was in about 6th grade, my brother and I played soccer and we owned shirts that read, "Offside Your Ass!" We wore them to school one day... ONE day... LOL, we weren't allowed to wear them to school after that... Ahh, the good ol' days... But, I must be getting older or something because I still believe the "F-word" should have limited public exposure... I mean, maybe if the shirt said, "I F'ed..." or maybe, "I Effed..." or something... Maybe part of it is 'shock value,' though once I read it, I simply ignored the guy. Once I saw that, in my mind (right or wrong), he was instantly lowered in 'social staus/worthiness' in my mind. I am not saying that I am better than he is. I've done a lot of things I'm not proud of, but that's how it hit me... I am not naive... You can buy shirts, mugs, etc that read, "I like to F***" and "I [heart] F***ing." Fine to hang out with your buds, but to go shopping at Target? Come on....


Tigers Chomp on Ham for Thanksgiving....

Arkansas lost to LSU... That makes a couple people I know very happy... :-) Not me... I was really hoping UA was going to hand the Tigers their own tail... Of course, it appears that Houston Nutt is now taking coaching lessons from Bill Cowher... Why does ANY coach leave in the quarterback when that player is not producing? Hurt his ego? You know what? If you are helping the team LOSE, then you are taken out of the game because of it, YEAH, your poor ego gets hurt... Get over it. Learn from it, and maybe next time you WONT be taken out of the game... But, is Nutt listening to me? Nope. Leave Casey Dick in the whole game and use McFadden for the 'trick' stuff... And how did that work for the Hogs? Not very well...



Ravens Obliterate Steel Curtain

Speaking of not very well.... Ben played the entire game except for a brief stint where he was knocked for a loop... Why!? He set a RECORD for how many times a Steeler has been sacked in one game.... Not a record to be proud of, to say the least... Meanwhile, can someone tell me what the heck is wrong with all these coaches that leave in their "star" players when those players are NOT PERFORMING??? Help me, please... Explain it, because maybe I just don't understand the thought process involved where you leave in a player who is getting killed and leadning your team to one of the worst beatings ever... Oh, wait... Perhaps the coach is too busy thinking about how this will be his last season with this team and he doesn't really give a rip anyway.... Hmmm.... Just a thought...


Laughing All the way down....

We took the kids to see "Flushed Away" last night... Surprisingly, it was actually a pretty cute movie. We had our reservations about it, mainly because the commercials and trailers we had seen just didn't seem to make this a 'must-see' kind of movie to us... But, we decided to surprise the kids and take them out to a movie. We offered up "Happy Feet" and "Flushed Away." We had forgotten that "Santa Clause 3" was out... That's okay, though, because we had a really good time at the show... Popcorn and Milk Duds! The ultimate mix for your theater enjoyment! Ever tried it? Dump a box of Milk Duds into your popcorn and mix it all around.. As you eat, you end up with random handfuls of the mixture - sometimes no duds, sometimes several... Very good stuff! :-) Afterward, we went to Outback - always a great choice in my book! Emily ordered STEAK! We were still picking our jaws up off the floor when the waiter came around.... She ate half of it, too! Of course, what she REALLY liked were the layered Aussie Cheese Fries... :-) Yeah, buddy!


The day after Thanksgiving, we put up our Christmas tree and decorations. The kids had a good time helping out, putting ornaments on the tree. We mainly have Disney-themed ones, though there are a variety of Hallmark (Corvettes, knick knacks, etc)... Emily asked why we didn't have Christmas "outside," so I put up the lighted garland around the deck rails... I'll have to get some pictures and let y'all have a peek... :-) I love Christmas!


This week, we gear up for Dad's departure to Houston, then Kuwait, then on to Iraq. He has to pass some medical exams first, but I'm betting he'll pass them... Mom is getting more and more panicked as the days get closer... I'm taking the approach that things will be okay. Maybe that's naive, maybe unrealistic, we don't know yet... Here's the weird thing that is running through my head about the whole thing... My philosophy in life is that when it is your time to go, then it's your time... So, is it possible that one can 'tempt' fate? I mean, today we learned that a 30-something year-old woman passed away. She had an aneurism a week ago, and on Friday, she was on the fast track to being released from the hosptial... Then, she passed away to most folks' surprise.... It was her time.... So, it shouldn't matter if you are at home changing a light bulb, driving down the road at 90 mph, or halfway around the world fighting a battle.... When you have accomplished whatever it is you were brought into this world to accomplish, you are called 'back home.' So, for me, I don't think my Dad's time will come while he is in Iraq... But if it does, then it would have come even if he were right here... The huge upside to this whole experience, I think, will be the fact that he can say he did this... I mean, to say you worked in Iraq for a year (or two) is not something everyone can say.... Very cool in my book... As I may have mentioned before - my Dad surprises me in some amazing ways sometimes....

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

REAL Cars! How Cool is THIS!?

While watching CARS with Emily, I decided for fun to search for Lightning McQueen... Well, I came across various sites that showed off the REAL versions of the movie's stars! I wish I had known they were touring around before the movie premiered, I would have tried to see them myself.... Ah well.... :-)

Enjoy the pictures... They are the property of their respective owners, okay?

Lightning McQueenSally Carrera
Doc HudsonMater - Like Tuh-Mater, but without the TUH!

A new layout, SharePoint, and my laptop's back!

Okay, so here's the deal... I like(d) the colors and layout of the template I was using (Rounders 3), but my screens are set at very high resolution, so everything looked like it had been squeezed into the center of the screen.. Frankly, it made me a little crazy... So, I poked around and found a new one (Stretch Denim) that actually FILLS THE SCREEN, no matter how big or small the screen resolution is! YAY!


I spent the past few days learning the newest version of SharePoint (A collaborative web application) with John, Marilyn, Cathi and Brian (not my brother.. this is the same guy that won the iPod!). Oh, speaking of the iPod, Brian told me that he DOES get to keep the iPod because his 8 year-old knows more about the different flavors than anyone should know, let alone a child, so it is not the one his kiddo wants... Normally, I'd be on a soapbox about picky children, but, well, this IS an iPod we're talking about, so hey, if the kiddo doesn't want this one, that's just tooo bad for them, eh... :-) I digress... Anyway, the SharePoint class was set up with each person using THREE, count them THREE, virtual PC's running on their computer at the same time... It was the most painfully slow setup I think I have ever been a part of... The instructor did a great job of trying to keep everyone motivated and helped us deal wit the limitations of the technology, but COME ON! Many of us were spitting nails by the end of it... (For those of you playing along at home, VirtualPC 2004 is a program free from Microsoft that allows you to run a full-blown computer INSIDE your Windows XP... So, in our class, we started the computer and it booted to Windows XP... Inside VirtualPC, we ran ANOTHER version of XP, plus two Windows Server 2003 machines... We were running three computers on our one, 'tricking' our one into thinking it was actually three other computers... It is very cool stuff, really! Just too slow for what we were trying to do....) For those of us that relish in nostalgia, VirtualPC lets us install good ol' DOS and run old games on our brand-spanking-new computers... :-)


I am sitting in my living room, typing this on my newly-renovated laptop! :-) The keyboard is fantastic! Obviously, I was given the latest incarnation of the TabletPC keyboard, and it feels so much better than the one I had! That alone was worth sending this computer off to be fixed! Of course, the fact that it actually BOOTS now is also a HUGE plus! :-) Is it any faster? Well, only in that I lost all the little 'doo-dad' programs I used to have in it... This happens to also include programs that I had on here for work, that I will have to see if I can find again (Like one program that allows me to connect my laptop to Tandberg video systems and upgrade their firmware! UGH!) Anyway, I am VERY happy to have my laptop back... Of course, I have to admit that I did enjoy using Shan's new Dell... :-) Though, I have noticed that if I move the laptop just right while it is plugged in, it switches to battery... I'll have to keep my eye on that......


For the record, this is the first year I can think of that I would actually like to go out and hit the sales at 5am... Where did this come from?? I have no idea... Seriously... I would almost rather be hit with a baseball bat than have to endure the madness that is After-Thanksgiving Day Sales.... I'm sure I will not go anywhere near a sale, but still... the... stores.... are.... calling....... must... resist....


For no "good" (meaning logical) reason, I think I am going to start a list of people I know, or have known, or have met.... I plan on including family (of course), friends, "famous" people (like Danny Glover!) and "sorta" famous people (like Congressman Mike Ross)... Why do this? I dunno... Why not.. I think it will be fun to see who I remember from 5th grade, ya know? LOL... I know, just put me away now.... Though, the song, "These are the Daves I know, I know, these are the Daves I know..." comes to mind.... Let's see, there's Dave Hasselberg, Dave Phillips, David Devanchek, hmmm.... I could be on to something.... :-) Then again, maybe not...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Something New and blowdryer.com.....

I am trying something a little different, so we'll see how it goes... I am posting this through email since the internet here at the hotel is a little wiggy... Guess we'll see... :-)

So, check it out... I surprised Shan with a present... I bought her a Dell laptop to help her with her National Teaching Certification stuff! Of course,since MY laptop is still being returned to me from Toshiba, she got quite a kick out of turning to me this morning and asking, "So, would YOU like to borrow MY laptop?" I asked her if she ever thought she would be asking that question, especially to ME!? It was funny! :-)

The other day, Shan's blowdryer quit working. We were talking about it, and I said something about running to Wal-Mart to get a new one... Emily piped up at that time and said, "Why don't you just go to blowdryer.com?" Emily is such a child of the 2k's... I mean, forget Walmart, forget Fred's, her response to almost any situation? DOT COM IT! :-)

Sharepoint class starts tomorrow (Monday).. Should be interesting... Definitely fun, since most of the people in the class will be K-12! :-)

There is a tunnel on I-540 that cuts through the Ozarks... Now, I grew up around Pittsburgh, so the Ft. Pitt tunnels were a pretty big deal... Then, I lived in Colorado and the Eisenhower tunnel is a very big deal... Given my points of reference, the tunnel we have to pass through to get to Fayetteville is just not that big a deal... And they have about 50 telephone boxes through the tunnel... Seriously, like one every 20 feet or something stupid... If I remember, the Ft. Pitt tunnel (which I would guess-timate to be at least twice as long) has like 3 places you could find a pass-through walkway and I'm not sure there was a phone in the tunnel at all... I could be wrong... Not likely, mind you... But I could be.. :-)

The steelers won today! The Hogs won Saturday! The Prescott Curley Wolves won Friday night! It's like some weird planet alignment thing going on here... I sent John (the guy I work with) a link to my blog... He said, "This is too much like a diary, man... I'm sorry!" I laughed and told him I totally understood..:-) Sometimes, this is a lot like a diary... Other times, it's just random junk filling my head... :-)

In either case, I appreciate you reading this, whoever you may be! :-)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wind in them thar hills...

Welcome to Wednesday's random rambling! :-)
This morning started off with a trip across the parking lot to Denny's. The guy that served us was so out of it he forgot his own name when he came over to the table! Since John qualifies for the Senior menu, he opted for some kind of waffle slam thing... LOL, I went for one of their Grand Slam deals... Oh, did I mention? It was raining and freezing, but the worst part was the WIND! Holy cow! In fact, I'm pretty sure there were flying cows! After breakfast, it was off to class.....


Class started off with a lab exercise we didnt get to finish (well, we didnt even start it really) yesterday. Things were not looking good by lunch... I felt pretty lost, but pushed along anyway... John and I both noticed that either the folks in this class aren't too friendly, or maybe they are just too serious or something... We joked and kidded a bit, but we were met with the chorus of crickets chirping.... What was up with that? Well, we warned our instructor that we would be back next week, and we'd be bringing a crowd... There are 6 or 7 people enrolled in next week's class, and 5 of those represent various K-12 organizations, so we all know each other.. :-) Now, THAT will be a fun class... The instructor already threatened to assign seats and separate us all...
As the day wore on, things got better in class as far as understanding goes... I admit, I skipped an exercise, but really, it is one that I know I will never use... And if I do use it, then I have it in the book to refer to! :-)


The temperature dropped all day long... The rain stayed, the wind blew hard, and we avoided the outdoors as much as humanly possible! After class, we decided to have pizza delivered, so we wouldn't have to brave the weather - we'd make someone else do it for us! :-) now, here's the kicker... We ordered Domino's. There is a Dominos place about 3.5 miles from here, and another that is a hair further than that... We called the closest one... They cant deliver to us at the hotel because they are the ROGERS Dominos and we are in BENTONVILLE... Give me a break... So, I dont know if all Dominos are this way or not, but we had to listen to about 60 seconds of commercials before we talked to the girl who would take our order... We were told it would be about an hour before we would get our pizza.... For the record, it was worth the wait... :-)


You never really know what kids will say or do... While on the phone with Shan, in the background Emily asked if I missed them since I am away this week. I said I did. Shan told me that Emily ran her hand across her forehead and said, "WHEW!" :-) Gotta love the kiddos.... I talked to Emily for a bit tonight, and it occurred to me that as she is getting older, the amount of time she spends talking has grown exponentially.... She ran through about 100 different things, and I'm sure I only caught half of them, maybe... Books, AWANAS, winning at a game, school, long-sleeve shirts, coats, you name it... I'm sure we covered it... :-) Tyler, on the other hand, inherited my rather lacking in phone conversation - he gets on, says what he needs to, and gets off the phone... For me, it is not that I don't WANT to talk on the phone, I just don't know what to talk about or what to say when I do get on the phone... And, I generally don't like sitting there not saying anything at all... So, I usually say what I want to/need to and then I'm off the phone... Nothing against the person I'm talking to, it's just something in me that I just need to hang up before the dead air rules the conversation... Maybe it's a leftover from my radio days.... Dead air is a bad, bad thing in radio, so maybe that carries over in my phone conversation (or lack thereof, really)... Then again, maybe I just suck at conversation... :-)


And with that, I'll shut up now... :-) Thursday is the last day of class! YAY!

And another thing...

I almost forgot: After we left the mall last night, we drove back toward the hotel and came across The Promenade at Pinnacle Hills... Open air mall... Hot Topic, Candy Craze... Instead of having a roof over your head, though, you drive around to the store(s) you want to visit, park, and then walk around to each storefront... This past summer, we took a trip to the Louisiana Boardwalk (see previous post) and this is like that but about 100 times bigger... It was actually very surreal... It also turns out that this place is expanding big-time, as there is lots of construction around this Promenade, too... In fact, it is so expansive, we came to traffic light and made a turn, thinking it would lead us back to I-540.. Instead, it lead to the "Bridge to Nowhere." Lucky for us, there was fencing at the end of the bridge... We felt pretty dumb until we noticed the car behind us had evidently followed us, thinking we knew where we were going... LOL, what would give anyone the idea that we had any idea we knew what we were doing??? That's funny to think about.....

Catfish over Coals, the Razorback Store, and Snow...

Tuesday began with a trip to the Krispy Kreme across the street from the hotel... Now, most of you know I am NOT a KK fan... I don't like their 'regular' doughnuts, but since they make cake ones, I can bear it... From there, off to the SQL class...


I quickly realized the class I am taking is not really the class I need... Okay, I'll need to know how to set up and install the software, but that is a one-time thing.. Once it's done, it's done - for my situation anyway... I also quickly realized I was about 3 feet under water and drowning quickly.... I managed to keep up, but I am one of those people that needs the 'step-by-step' instructions... One of the State Technology Coordinators calls them 'Tracy Steps,' after someone in his office who needs every little step broken out for her... That is how I learn... The book we are using for this class? It's more of the 'big picture' variety... They teach you the concepts and ideas, then present you with a 'real world' scenario, and you have to make all the pieces of the puzzle fit... I think my box is missing a few pieces... :-) Heck, at one point, John looked at the assignment, laughed and got up and walked out for a bit - too tickled to keep his seat... Yes, it has been THAT kind of training...

What we THOUGHT we were taking was a SQL (pronounced as 'sequel' like in the movies) programming class... WRONG-O! Ah, well, I'm sure this will come in handy when we set up our SQL server... really... I'm sure it will! Right?! :-)


Okay, after class, we decided to hang out at the hotel for a bit before embarking on a quest to find the Fayetteville Mall... We took a wrong turn, or the wrong exit or something.. Anyway, we ended up finding AQ Chicken... The 'all tourists must eat here' place when in NW Arkansas, apparently... So, we did... I had the "Catfish Over Coals." Basically, grilled catfish which is then roasted over open coals... meaning, burnt to crisp on the outside... :-) I ordered it on the suggestion of the waitress, and she did a pretty good job... Of course, the thing LOOKED like it was chicken, so even though I knew I had ordered fish, my first bite threw me a bit because in my head, I was saying, "This looks like chicken...but tastes like fish....what the??" All in all, though, AQ's was pretty good... Certainly no Goucho's (see earlier post), but also no where near the COST of Gouchos either.. :-)

We did eventually make it to the mall... John was on a quest for the Razorback Store... And I can see why... If you are a Razorback fan, or know one, and you have not been to this store, you are missing something huge! Holy smokes! If you can think it, they pretty much have it... I grabbed a wallet for Tyler, a change-purse for Emily, a couple things for my truck (decals, though I would have loved to have the Arkansas Razorback new logo design trailer hitch cover - not for 50 bucks though!), and something for Shan... Yes, I know she reads this, so I'm not telling her what I got... :-) Shirts, toddler outfits, helmets, pants, lamps, stickers, tattoos, figurines, music-playing bottle-openers, rattles, you name it.. Seriously... Like Ragu - it's in there... :-)

From there, we made our way to the Disney Store... Ahh, the Disney Store! Man, I have not been in one in years since they closed the one in Little Rock... I was in hog heaven (pardon the pun reference to the previous store...). They have a sale on all things Cars.. I could have spent a fortune on stuff for ME alone.. :-) But, I didn't.. I bought a few things for Christmas, and since I will be back next week, I'm sure I'll be visiting the store again.. :-)


The weather forecast called for major storms, etc... If they came through, we never heard them... Now, it was raining when we woke up Wednesday morning, and the forecast is calling for light snow... Yes, wake up at 50 degrees and that is the HIGH for the day... 39 by 8pm and even colder tonight.... Maybe I need to visit good ol' Lewis and Clark's clearance section... :-)


I'll write about today's (Wednesday's) adventure later....

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Trying again....

This was posted on Monday night, but Blogger wigged out, so it is being re-posted (I hope!) early Tuesday Morning....


This week, I am coming to you live (well, okay, you are reading this after I write it, so call it mildly delayed...) from Fayetteville, AR - Home of the HOGS!I am here for a few days getting trained in SQL Server (database). John drove the 300 miles... Yes, 300 miles from Hope to our hotel (okay, technically, I am in Rogers, well, really, I am in Bentonville, but Rogers is literally across the street). Anyway, when we got in to town, we decided to eat at Denny's, right next to the hotel. It is one of those cool Denny's Diner set-ups, which looks like the 50's/60's diners... Very cool! :-) I ordered the Meat Lover's Scramble - a cominbation of scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, ham... MMMM.. Good... :-) There were also pancakes... The originial plan was to eat some dessert, but that ain't happening... Too full, and it's about 40 degrees here... I'm not going anywhere... Okay, did I check the weather before this trip?? Of course not... So, what did I bring? Jeans and short-sleeved shirts... :-) I did grab my jacket, though... And of course, there's always Wal-Mart... or Lewis and Clark's....


Lewis and Clark's Outfitters... Heard of them? John and I never had... They have a HUGE storefront with tons of mountain bikes hanging from the ceiling... Well, I did some poking around, and their main website is down or something, but they are the Regional host to the Urban Adventure racing championships... I have no idea what I just said... All I know is that you can visit Urban Adventure for more info, if you so choose... :-) Anyway, I might as well have been in a hunting store... I was WAY out of my element... Inside the store were neoprene outfits, mountain-climbing gear and clothing, kayaks, bikes, canned fire, freeze-dried apple crisp dessert (no lie!), and other things that I had no idea what they were for! John at least had an idea of most things... He had to explain to me the whole section of fly-fishing gear... He said that came from old age - he's like 56, so you decide where 'old' fits in there, if it does...
Anyway, there were about 5 employees in the store. Each one worked in a different 'section,' and each one asked the same thing: "Do you want something to drink?" Okay, what is up with that? I mean, EVERYONE that worked there was asking us this... We declined... I am pretty sure they put something in the drinks because no one I know in their right mind would drop down $450 for a bike or $80 for a SHIRT! a SHIRT for $80!? No thanks... I grabbed a freebie - a sticker for my truck.. LOL
John picked up ear muffs for his grandkids... These are not the earmuffs of old... These are two individual ear-bud things that 'clip' on/around one's ears... There is no connecting wire thingy.... They are called Ear Pops... What will they think of next?


I'll keep ya posted on my SQL training and my time in northwest Arkansas....

Tuesday?

Okay, I have a whole entry that I typed up yesterday (Monday) and I cannot get it to post.. After my SQL class today, I will try again at the hotel... Maybe I'll just retype it from scratch... Then again, perhaps "server-killer Dave" is at it again, and some weird electron-scrambling thing is happening here... Guess we'll see...

I'm ending this now, so we'll see....

Friday, November 10, 2006

Where My Peeps At?

Okay, so if you've been playing along at home, I'm sure you may have noticed a few changes to the blog as of today (Friday)... You see, Blogger has a new template/layout thing and so I decided to embark into the world of 'drag-and-drop' templates... Why? Who knows.. Chalk it up to my techno-A.D.D... :-) Anyway, the one thing it took away was the listing of recent comments, so I will figure out how to make those come back... A couple of cool features, though, is the obvious addition of the picture of my kiddos, and the way the previous posts are listed on the right now.. :-) Neat stuff!


Cars Banner

As you may know, CARS came out on DVD!! YAY! I bought the Wal-Mart special version that has an extra DVD with cool little extras (music videos, the making of, etc..). I could watch CARS hundreds of times and love every minute of it each time... I know, I'm weird like that....


Peeps!

It is Christmas PEEPS time! Christmas trees, snowmen, gingerbread men.... I have at-shirt that I wear when I am hanging out with a picture of a PEEPS chick that reads "Where My Peeps At?" I love it! :-) And, it is very comfy... As a side-thought, I bought a MASH t-shirt the other day... Why? It was on clearance and I happen to have been one of those people who grew up watching MASH every time it was on (my mother was/is a HUGE MASH fan, and it definitely rubbed off on me!).
A Peeps Parade!



Oh... I had to re-install Windows on my desktop at work... Yes, I sent my LAPTOP off to Kentucky this week (see post regarding dead hard drive...)... Well, I decided to 'play' with some new Microsoft software.. Specifically, Expression Web, which is the replacement for Frontpage... Well, I'm not sure what happened but after I played with it for a bit, I decided to UNinstall it.. The uninstall failed and my computer started acting really weird... Like the mouse cursor suddenly disappeared, but if I moved the mouse around, the screen would 'act' like the mouse was pointing at things (I could click the START button once it 'lit' up even though I could not see the pointer)... I'm not sure if the uninstal failed because I tried to open Outlook while removing W.E... Or maybe because I installed W.E. before I installed the .Net 2.0 extensions, even though I was plainly told by the Microsoft web site to install .Net 2.0 first.. :-) Have you noticed I have a slight tendency NOT to bother with directions/instructions until AFTER the fact???


I seem to be racking up points in the 'clueless city boy' department lately.. Between the horse, the goats, and today's little adventure... See, on my way home from work, I got a call.. Could I go go to the John Deere place and pick up a part for my father-in-law? Of course I can! :-) I get there, and when I walk in, the owner (I think he is the owner) recognizes me (I've worked on his computer a couple times) and shouts to the guy behind the counter, "He's here for Junior's spear!" Spear? I, of course, say nothing... Soon, I am handed a long skinny piece of metal that is square, but tapers down to a point at one end.. A spear... The other end is threaded and has a nut on it... I put it in my truck and drive off thinking to myself, "Okay, I've seen the tractor, so where does the spear go?" the only thing I can figure is on the front where the hay bale lifter thingy is (yes, I believe that is the technical name for that part!). I pull up where Shan's Dad meets me and I get out of the truck, get the spear from the bed and hand it to him. He looks at it, looks at me, then looks at the spear again... He says something about not being sure if it is the right part. He says this in a tone that suggests I would know the definitive answer on the subject... Do I? No... I didn't even know what the spear was for to begin with, but made an (un?)educated guess... He says, "Well, we'll see if this works..." He gets in his truck and drives away..... I haven't heard yet whether it was the right part, and I'll just look at the tractor next time to see if I spot this new spear... No sense making it obvious just how clueless I can be if I don't have to, right?


Last week, I bought a $5 lottery ticket. I won $3 with it! At that rate, how long would it take to win $15 million? ........ Yeah, that's kinda what I was thinking.... Of course, you know I am taking my three dollar win and buying more lottery tickets, right? I mean, look, I already spent the money to buy the tickets, so really, the three bucks is like getting a five dollar item for 2 bucks... :-) Along those lines, if somehow I ever manager to be on "Deal or No Deal," I'm not leaving with anything less that 200 grand... And if my case-picking strategy bombs such that the highest amount I could win is less than 200,000 bucks, then I would keep playing to the bitter end.. Why not? I'd have already lost all the big money anyway, right?? :-) I personally like "1 vs. 100" a little better because it has trivia.. And it is the kind of trivia that requires having banks of useless information bouncing around in one's head... DUH! That has ME written all over it!! :-) Ah, well, ya never know...


Seeing as how it is 12:30 in the morning, I guess I'll hit the trail.... Say good night, Gracie.....

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Folding paper, going to Iraq, and okay, elections...

I can't remember exactly why the conversation came up today at work, but there was a discussion surrounding the issue of tearing/folding paper only 7 times. We toyed with different paper, mostly copy paper, and found that 7 was pretty much our limit... Not one to simply let things go, I began searching for the science behind this phenomenon... Turns out, not only can paper be folded more than 7 or 8 times, one young woman (in high school at the time) folded her elongated paper TWELVE times (as part of challenge from her instructor)and wrote a pamphlet/paper about it. You can read all about Britney at the Science News for Kids web site. If you are so inclined, you can order a copy of her pamphlet from the Pomona Historical Society (you'll have to scroll down near the bottom to find the address where to send your six bucks... :-)



A while ago, I had posted some stuff about my Dad finding things in his knees and such.. Well, it turns out it is not malignant (that's good!). In fact, he is taking some medicine (I want to say steroids, but I am not 100% sure about that...). Slightly related to this news is that of my father looking into one of those civil service-type jobs in Iraq... A few months ago, he got in touch with some folks, sent of his resume, etc, and heard nothing... We thought it was a dead issue... And then, a few days ago, he got the word that the job was his if he wanted it. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth (that would be my mother), he decided to TAKE the job, at least for a year to start out with... My dad was in purchasing for several different government agencies in his federal employment career, and he will be finalizing purchasing contracts in Iraq... Can't say the man has no sense of adventure, that's for sure... He says that he will be stationed in the 'main' bases which are located in the 'green' zones... Call me crazy, but don't think the Iraqi protesters/insurgents are checking their maps to see what color zone they are lobbing RPG missiles into, ya know?? I'll keep you posted... He heads for training on December 2nd and then flies out from there to Iraq around the 16th.... I better give him his Christmas presents early so he can enjoy them before he goes.



I accidentally mixed some of Daisy's food with Billy and Princess' food. My father-in-law asked if there was urea in the goat's food... My blank stare clued him in that I had no idea what he was talking about, nor did I have an answer to his question... Now, I may be mistaken, but if urea is what I think it is, what would anyone want to put that into feed for? Seriously, I'm not looking this one up just yet.. If you know, and if I am right about what I think urea is, please clue me in here.... Okay, so, I screwed up the horse's food.. Well, she has had three feedings with the mixture, and it's killing me not knowing if the stuff I mixed in has the poisonous ingredient (yes, I looked up the effects of giving urea to a horse - not good, to say the least)... So, tonight, I did what any clueless horse owner would do - I threw out what was left.. Oh, I should mention that we have also been feeding the mixture to the goats as a way to help 'expend it' faster... Anyway, There was just a little left, so I dumped it away from any animals (except for the rabbits, armadillos, wild dogs, stray cats, field mice, and any other wandering animals) could get it. Then I filled Daisy's "jug" with the right mixture... :-) I'm keeping my fingers crossed...



My "Ah HA!" moment of the day was this: We recently bought three Dell 2950 servers at work. They only have USB slots (no PS/2 connectors - for those of you playing along at home, it means those computers have no ROUND connectors for the mouse and keyboard). These servers were ordered without keyboards and mice because, well, we have a bunch of them at the office (turns out, just not the 'right' kind...). I went to WalMart, bought a USB keyboard (we did have USB mice at the office), and away we went... While Marilyn was configuring the drive storage, she promptly discovered that the program did not recognize the keyboard I bought... How stupid. Well, after some head-scratching, it dawned on me to steal (er, uh, borrow) a Dell keyboard from another computer (pleading the fifth here on exactly WHOSE computer). Plugged it in, rebooted the server, and VOILA! Moral of the story - Buy the keyboard and mouse when you buy a system. Even if you don't THINK you need it, buy it anyway... Heck, it only adds like $20 to the cost... When you are spending $29,000 on servers, what's $60 among friends?



Man, had another train of thought there for a sec, but it got derailed... OH, wait, I remember... Internet Explorer 7! Have you tried this yet? I tried a few months ago and I hated it. I despise(d) TABBED browsing... Instead of individual windows for each web site you are visiting (assuming you are on several at the same time), TABS are used (like manila folder tabs) in the SAME window... UGH... That was then... I installed IE7 today at work... I have to say, I am not loving tabbed browsing, but it is growing on me... The feature I love most, is the thumbnail views! You get a screen of all the sites you are visiting at that time, and you simply click on the one you want to bring to the forefront! Sweet stuff! Aside from that, Microsoft moved all my buttons, rearranged my screen, and I feel like a cat in a wet paper bag...well, with tabs... a "tab"-y cat... I know, I know... Bad.. very, very bad....



Okay, election stuff... I voted. There ya go. In our area, we had NO ONE running for Coroner, so the only option was to write someone in or pick no one. If you pick no one, then when you got to the end of the electronic voting, it blinked at you, set off red lights, and I am pretty sure a siren was in there somewhere... "You have an error. You did not select candidates for all positions." No DUH! I almost wrote in Mickey Mouse...then almost put in Shan's name, but decided that I rather enjoy living... So, it turns out you can submit your vote anyway. So I did. On another note, one guy was running for an office near Little Rock. Shan and I went to college with him - Andy Mayberry. Yes, that is his name, and he's heard every RFD joke known to man, I'm sure.... Well, he lost, but it was still neat to see someone I went to college with running for office...



Okay, one more thing before I go... At lunch, John (one of the two other guys at the Co-op) showed me an email he got... Let me just say that this is from a movie and you must engage your "willing suspension of disbelief" (that is, use your imagination and just watch the video....): How to put on a bra.....

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pictures, Comments, and Cowhering from reality

Okay, I finally have the pictures I promised a hundred years ago.. :-) Yes, I did forget, and I apologize to those who were paying attention... :-)


Emily with stitches




Closeup of Emily with stitches




After the stitches came out





My Aunt asked me if I ever read the comments that are posted... Yes, I do! :-) I also try to respond to them as I can... If you haven't explored yet, you will notice that if you scroll down the page, on the right, you will see a section called something like "Some Recent Comments" and you and see some there... You can also look at the bottom of each post at the "Comments" section, and if there is a number there, you can click on it and read the comments... :-) Hope this helps! If not, chalk it up to 'meniality' (if such a word exists....).



Oh yeah! I almost forgot to post a picture of Emily in her Halloween costume:



Emily in her costume



And, just in case you thought the kids didn't like each other:



Have I posted this one yet??





The Razorbacks beat South Carolina! We were killing them and then nearly screwed it all up, but held on to grab it all!! Awesome job!! Coach Nutt "let" Mustain throw ONE, UNO, interception before pulling him out... Umm, Mr. Cowher? Any light bulbs going off there?? Look, I know Big Ben is "The Man," but come on, 7 interceptions in TWO blankety-blank games??? As Kenny says, "You got to know when to fold 'em...."



I finally took the 3-ring binders out of the travel trailer and moved them into the house... I was afraid the weather fluctuating the way has been would play havoc on my Indians card collection... Emily was a HUGE help! At one point, however, Billy the goat decided he had been outside quite long enough, thank you. We're not sure how this happened, but as Emily and I carried a stack of binders each into the house, the door closed behind us, and there was this moment... That moment when it dawned on me that Billy was no longer standing ON the front porch... He was INSIDE the house!! There are a lot things that flash across one's mind in the few seconds between realization and rational reaction.... My very first thought is not necessarily what most people might think in such a situation... Rather than, "Hey! How'd he get in," my first thought was, "Dear Lord, don't let that goat crap on the rug!!" As I charged back at the storm door, Billy wigged out and tried his hardest to join Princess on the deck... You see, we have a STORM door.. No screen, full plate of glass... Billy could SEE Princess, and try as he might, he could not figure out why he could not JOIN her.. :-) Luckily, I got the door opened before he butted his way through it!

After that little adventure, Emily and I decided to dump out and clean Daisy's water barrel (for lack of a better word)... Then we led Daisy around by the lead rope for quite a while, letting her graze and explore as she wished.. :-) The original plan was to ride her, but Emily and I got sidetracked talking to grandparents, playing a slowed-down version of chase (yes, with the horse in tow...), and generally making fools of ourselves.. :-) We did give Daisy a good brushing when we were done, though! And, she was all too ready for her feed this evening - snorting, whinnying, stomping around like a..well, like a 4-year old, really... :-)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Crashing a hard drive, passing at the speed limit...

Thursday at work, I had my laptop (a Toshiba Tablet PC) up and running. Shut it down for the day, took it home, opened it up to jot down a few thoughts on here, and BAM! The sickening sound of 'click-click-click' followed by some rather unsettling grinding sounds... I have heard many hard drives die in my computer career, but I do not recall ever hearing the awful grinding sound that came from my little buddy... I think the closest I ever came to that was the sound the CD-ROM made when Tyler was just a tot... He had some game - Pokemon, I believe - that he was playing... The CD drive was spinning pretty good, and suddenly WHOP! That was immediately followed by what can best be described as shattering glass... And the grinding... UGH... I dismantled the CD drive and literally shook the pieces out.... The Toshiba hard dive situation seemed very similar... Being the tech that I am, I attempted several tried and true hard drive 'restarting' techniques, but none of those worked... Fortunately, the system is under warranty, so they get to fix it... :-)



While heading to Wal-Mart Friday night, I got behind a very, VERY, V-E-R-Y slow driver... This driver was so slow in fact, that when a passing opportunity came, I took it, and I had to GO THE SPEED LIMIT just to pass this person! If that doesn't sound bad enough, how about this: the speed at which I **PASSED** the car??? How about 30 mph... Yes, you better re-read that... A whopping 30 miles per hour and I was passing this person as if the car had been sitting still - which, for all intents and purposes, it was sitting still! Shan said when I made the move to pass, she was bracing herself for the g-force-inducing thrust I usually create when passing... When it didn't come, she looked over at the speedometer, and did a double-take.... Look, I know I tend to drive faster than most people, but come on, if you can't even do the speed limit, get off the road! Hire a driver... SOMETHING...



Yahoo! fantasy sports has this thing where you pick the winners for college football games each week... Here's the rub.. If the team you pick wins the game, but misses the predetermined point spread, you get the choice marked incorrect... So, one week I pick 19 out of 20 correctly, but I only get 12 out of 20 because the teams didn't win by enough points... Stupid. Last week, I forgot all about picking teams. This week, I figured 'what was the point?' Why am I telling you, the reader, all of this? Because, I was scrolling through a message board last week, and came across a post that was berating bloggers who write stupid, mundane, menial things in their blog... Yeap, that's me... :-)



MTURKING.... Heard of it? Talk about menial... You earn money (real money, though the definition of 'real' may need to be defined here) doing dumb, menial tasks... Okay, well, some aren't dumb.. If you live in or around LA, California, you can take pictures of houses for people and get paid like $3.50 a site... Me?? I've earn about.. umm... Last check... $.14... Yes, 14 cents... What did I do for my 14 cents? Well, I answered several survey questions (name the top 3 pets to own, name the top 3 medical expenses for pets, name the 3 best pet names..), and I also looked through mortgage loan agreements and found information the company was looking for... I only got paid for the ones I did correctly... Yes.. They paid me to look over documents, and then obviously had someone else look at the same documents for verification... Okay, why pay me if you are already going to have someone else look over the same document? Interesting.. Anyway, they paid me a penny for each one... I did about 9 or 10 and decided that it wasn't worth a penny to do these... :-) Oh, I should mention, I've done about 30 tasks, I'm just waiting for 'approval' on the ones I haven't been paid for yet.... Wanna learn more? Earn more? See what stupid things makes Dave's head tick? Here ya go...



I'm pretty sure I had something else 'menial' I was going to say, but as often happens in my head, the thought blew out like colored leaves on a windy fall day.. :-)