Monday, April 30, 2007

My Dad: Loved, Goofy, Deeply Missed (1945-2007)

My Dad: Loved, Goofy, Missed 1945-2007

It's still there... The shock of it all... No matter what I "know," it doesn't seem real. Wake up each day, thinking it was a bad dream or some kind of mistake, but knowing it's not. I know it has only been two days - two long days that seem to fly by anyway... We look at the clock and wonder how lunchtime got here so fast, then supper time, then it's midnight before we know it. Yet, it has been two long days, just waiting for Dad to come home from Iraq. On Sunday, we got a call from Steven at KBR, and he told us he was on his way to Dover Air Force Base to meet Dad - that Dad had already left Germany and was on his way to Dover. Everything around us seems to be going 900 miles an hour, while we are struck in slow motion, wondering what we are "supposed" to be doing, feeling like we should be "doing something," yet what do we do? So, we sit and talk, visit with friends and family, laughing and crying. We know things will get better, that life will be "okay," but when the world comes to a screeching halt, it takes a lot to get it moving again....

My Dad, Gerald A. Henderson, was weird. Seriously, a total goof-ball that not only marched to the beat of his own drummer, he had a whole band that was off-center and (lucky for all those who knew him) out-of-step with the rest of the world. He loved to laugh, to make people laugh. He never met a stranger, as they say, and there was none stranger than my Dad! :-) And, I say that with all the love in my heart, because it's true! He had the kind of humor that you weren't quite sure if he was kidding with you or not until he gave you 'the look,' which was usually followed by his trademark hand passing over his head, making a 'whoosh' sound, indicating that what he just told you went way, way over your head. When my brother and I were kids, we repeatedly told my Dad, "Don't act weird in public!" Which, of course, he not only ignored, but made sure that in public, he would often be at his 'weirdest.' My Dad could talk to anyone, WOULD talk to anyone, about anything for hours if we let him. He was not good with names (I inherited that from him), but he knew your face forever once he saw it.

My Dad was a great man - husband, father, grandfather, friend. Not wealthy or famous or powerful. He was great because he learned from the mistakes he made in life. So many times, he could have led himself (and us) down a much different road, but instead, he found his way to keeping things together. That was not always easy for him (or us), and there was a lot of teeth-grinding involved. But, he did it. He sacrificed a lot of things, even when he didn't agree with the sacrifice. In his own way, he showed us love the way he knew how. Once he went to Iraq, he changed... My Dad became the man he had always wanted to be - finding ways to show us his love and affection for us that he never had known before.

He passed away on Saturday, April 28, 2007, in his sleep. It could have been worse, much worse. And even in his passing, he managed to give us story that will make us laugh for the rest of our lives. I'll share the full story with you some time, but right now, I don't feel like laughing......

My Dad loved to smile, cuss, play on the computer (once I finally convinced him to get one!), golf, find a million ways to quit working (LOL, many of the 'get rich quick' info is still in the closet in Mom and Dad's computer room), love us the best way he knew how.... It took thousands of miles and lots of time away for my Dad to see what life was about - family - and he was ready to bring that new found knowledge back home. He was less than two weeks away from his first R&R, where he was going to meet my Mom in England and fly together to Scotland. He always wanted to see St. Andrews golf course and find out more about the Henderson crest... My Mom had the siding on the house re-done and was going to build a new deck to surprise him. We never sent pictures of the house to him because we didn't want to ruin the surprise. A couple years ago, my Dad had to sell a custom ring, and it crushed him. It had diamonds from his mother's rings.... Mom had to buy it back from the pawn shop and was going to surprise my Dad with it when they re-newed their vows in Scotland. He never knew she had it back. It was a surprise....

I am one of the lucky ones. Not long before my Dad passed, I had told him that I loved him. When he first went to Kuwait and Iraq, I told him how proud I was of him, and how much I loved him. I wish I had somehow said something more, done something more, something... But, I also know that he left this world, knowing how much we all loved him, no matter how goofy he could be (and in truth, BECAUSE of how goofy he could be). I miss him. When he got back, we were going to start playing some of our favorite games in multiplayer mode together.... A 38-year old son playing games with his 62-year old Dad..... maybe in another lifetime.....

While in Iraq, Dad often said he could not get any sleep because of the helipad behind his 'hooch.' Sleep well, Daddy.... You can finally sleep in peace.... I Love You, Daddy. We miss you, we love you, always.

Friday, April 27, 2007

De-Crap-tifying.... Striking out 4 batters in an inning...

(This entry was created on Friday, before the world came to a screeching halt....)

When I saw the name of the software, I knew it had to be good... And, it is a VERY handy tool, indeed! PC-Decrapifier will automatically remove the junk software that comes on new computers (AOL, Earthlink, Dell "games" and more). It's free for home users, so if you have Windows XP or Vista, you might wanna check it out...

Microsoft is working on a new server software called "Microsoft Home Server." What's so cool about it? Check this out - store all your documents, pictures, etc in one place (the server) and everyone on your home network can (or not, as permissions are set by you) see them! Also have automatic backups. This means it will back-up each computer on the home network! There are lots of other features, too. This looks like a great solution for folks that more than one PC at the house... Wait... *I* have more than one PC at the house! Well, lookie there....

While checking out info on "Perfect Games" in baseball, I came across a curious item - striking out 4 batters in an inning. I couldn't wrap my brain around how that would be possible, so I looked it up, and here is what I found: A batter with two strikes on him takes a swing at strike three; however, the catcher does not field the ball cleanly, and instead of tagging the runner out, the runner reaches. The strikeout is recorded, but not the out.[1] BTW, 46 pitchers have done this... As for Perfect Games (No hits, no walks, no errors), only SEVENTEEN pitchers in the history of baseball have pulled it off...[2] (Two of them were Indians!)

I frequent just a couple message boards, mostly either tech-related or baseball card related. One of the users on a card-related board goes by "Hoosier Daddy." Maybe it's just me, that's a candidate for a "Mad Gab" if I've ever heard one! :-) Of course, I've known (or heard of) other names like that.... I once worked for a university where one of the employees was Mrs. Graham. So what? Her first name? Anna... Yes, Anna Graham.... I went to college with a guy who showed me his high school yearbook to prove that he went to school with a girl whose last name was Dickman... Her first name?? Anita... Why would any parent do that to their child?? And I don't know if Chevy dealer Bud was born with the name or changed his to it, but you can buy cars from Bud Weiser Chevrolet in Wisconsin and Illinois.... Please, please, if you are even thinking of having children, or your children are going to have children, please stop and THINK about the names you want to use... Of course, in the case of Mrs. Graham, she did that to herself - she married into it... :-)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Idol gives back...and crashes for their trouble....

Before I get started, I need to clarify that Shan did NOT vote "no" for Lakisha yesterday. That was a mistake on my part.. :-) I've fixed the chart from yesterday, just to be sure!

The past two nights, but especially tonight, American Idol has done a great job of showing just how bad things are - IN AMERICA. It is ridiculous that New Orleans (and the rest of the gulf coast) is still in the deplorable condition it's in. After the Tsunami, we sent a ton of stuff overseas asap to help them get back to 'normal.' Here? People are living in poverty-stricken trailer-hoods. Stupid.

On a much lighter note, the way they kept us all hanging on to the end was wonderful. Shan and I just knew that Jordin was going home, since there was a shocking ending... When Chris stood up with a mic in hand, I thought he was going home.... I'm glad they let everyone stay on this week. I know, people may be wailing and gnashing their teeth, but I think it was a very honorable thing to do.

I was not feeling too emotional about the stories they told on "Idol." I mean, I felt something for the folks, but I wasn't boo-hooing... Then, they showed Simon leaving a room because he couldn't handle it, and Carrie Underwood wiping tears from her eyes, and that was it for me... Things just seemed to hit home, somehow after that.... Emily and Tyler stayed up to watch the show and they had lots of questions. Emily cried several times. We explained to Tyler that the one boy was about his age, but they had no parents and he was taking care of his two siblings on top of that. Tyler kept saying, "I have $16." I hope to be able to donate, and let him know his money is going to help these children in Africa and America....

After "Idol," we tried to 'give back' and donate money. Too bad it looks like their server can't handle the traffic.... crash-orama... Hopefully, they'll have it back up and going soon!

The Dreamweaver class is over. I learned a TON and can't wait to set up a 'play' site to put my new found knowledge to the test... :-) Of course, what I really need is to take what I've learned and apply it to Sharepoint... Maybe I'll get that figured out... :-)

So, it turns out that has lots of FREE music to download! Yeah, yeah, it's indie music most people haven't heard of, but it's FREE!! I grabbed a bunch, and I'll burn it to a CD (LOL, I mean copy them to my new MP3 PLAYER!!) and listen to it for a couple days to see what I like and what I don't... :-) And, yes, I still have my emusic account because I have yet to FIND 50 songs to download... In reality, I think I am down to 20 or so to go.... It's like being a kid in a candy store, except most of the candy is stuff you've never heard of, and you aren't sure if you want to spend your money to try it or not....

Now, you wanna talk about '24-hour banking?' Well, some guy in Berlin decided to sleep off his drunkenness by sleeping in the foyer of the bank... Oh, and since there weren't any hitching posts nearby, he let his horse in the bank.... Yes, you read that right... You just gotta read it to believe it...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Something in the water in Houston?

What in the world is in the water in Houston? First, a gunman holes up a the Space Center, kills a guy and then kills himself. Then, another guy gets into an argument with his girlfriend, shoots her then shoots himself.... AND THEN, a guy kills the manager of his apartment and turns the gun on himself.... And, all of this comes not long after one guy had killed his girlfriend, then cooked her on the barbecue! Remind me not to go to Houston again anytime soon....

I did not watch Sanjaya on Letterman last night, but I did see part of the clip where he did his "Top 10 Things I Learned from American Idol.." Here ya go:
10. The camera adds ten pounds to your Mohawk.
9. Work hard and make sacrifices, you can finish in 7th place.
8. It’s very important to “Keep it real, dawg.”
7. I should have gone for the immunity idol – oh, wait that’s “Survivor.”
6. On-camera Simon is a bit nasty, but off-camera, he’s a total jerk.
5. Voting for yourself 100 times an hour causes some wicked carpal tunnel.
4. When you forget the words, just do this “wo ho ho, yes he did.”
3. Honestly, I though I was auditioning for “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?”
2. Nothing.
1. American loves performers with bad hair--right, Dave?


Tyler's team lost their ballgame tonight...big time... Tyler did well, though - got a hit and was walked. One boy on the other team hit a home run - out of the friggin park by about a mile.... And, Cole (on Tyler's team) got hit with the ball...again... You see, poor Cole has been hit in EVERY game and at nearly EVERY practice (yes, even by the coaches). There is some baseball-pulling magnetism he has that makes the ball, for no obvious or apparent reason, suddenly jump, curve, bounce, sink, float, or otherwise smack the poor boy. Tonight was the worst - he fouled the ball off the bat and straight up into his face... It was bad, and for a while, we weren't sure he was going to get up off the ground....

Let's talk "Idol," shall we? Chris was off-key, out of tune, sometimes out of sync, and that all adds up to the judges loving his performance. I must be getting old... Melinda did great with her song and performance, as did Blake. I am not a Beatles fan, nor do I give a rat's rear about anything connected with the Beatles. So, for Blake to pick 'Imagine,' I prepared myself for a Lennon 'tribute' song. Wrong! It was done very, very well. Lakisha....well... she's slipping... I don't know what it is, but she just seems to have lost the raw power she once had. I hope she finds it again before it's too late... Phil kicked serious butt with his rendition of "The Change." i do agree with Simon, though - Phil should have done a much 'countr-ier' version. After Phil's great country week, you'd think he would learn... Hopefully, he'll be around to get it right next time. Jordin? Well, I had no idea the song she picked was 60 years old. I agree 100% with Simon - Jordin could release that song today and have a mega-hit on her hands (in fact, I hope she gets to!).
This week's chart looks like this:

Idol Name
Dave's Vote
Shan's Vote

Denny Crane got himself in some trouble because he told an 'African-American' that he did not 'sound black.' What is so wrong with saying that? Look, if you were to hear me talk right now, you'd say to me, "You don't SOUND like a Pittsburgher." In fact, you'd probably say, "You sound country (or southern, or on really rough days, even 'hick'). Right now, you are sitting there, and I would bet (assuming you are being HONEST about it), you have a pretty good idea as to what my voice might sound like, just based on what I just told you. If I said that you sounded "New York," you know what that sounds like. Same with "Hispanic" or "Asian" or "Black." Heck, I could even say you sound "like a white guy" and you would know what I meant! What is wrong with that? I liked Allen's comment that "urban" would be more offensive than to say 'black' or 'African-American.' The first thing a lot of people want to do is jump to the 'negative connotations' of the phrases I've used here. Why? Is there something wrong with 'sounding black?' When my phone rings, I can tell if the person on the other end is black or Indian/Arab or Asian. There is no prejudice about it. If a person speaks with certain words in a certain manner, my experience tells me that person is most likely black or whatever. Does that affect me? No. If I am not interested in buying your newspaper, it is because I do not WANT the newspaper - I don't care if the person is white, black, red, yellow, or green.

I know that one argument is, "You can't always tell the person's race just by their voice!" Of course not. Plus, I can make myself sound like a different race or type of person just by changing my style or vocal patterns... So what? Like I said, I don't care if the person I am talking to is red, white, blue, green, whatever... If you 'sound black' to me, then you SOUND BLACK to me. So what? Who cares. I sound like a white southerner to most folks, yes I grew up in Pittsburgh. And, when we have visited, Shan says I 'get my accent' back before too long. Does that offend me that she calls me a 'Pittsburgher?' No. Why should it? Does that term imply something about me? I'm a steel-worker or something? No...

On a slightly different note....

As long as people continue to cry and whine and moan about what people say, and what they "THINK" the speaker "meant" by what they said, we will never get over the racial divide in this country. Nearly everyone looks differently (except for identical twins, who do tend to look the same, thus the term....). Nearly everyone talks differently. Generalizations can be made based on the vocal qualities of people. Whoop-di-doo... Get over it.

Until we do away with racially-based groups, race will always be an issue. The people who yell the loudest about racial inequality tend to be the same people that make darn sure that racial DISharmony continues... We now have Miss Black America, Miss Latino America, etc etc... Yet, those races are free to participate in the Miss (no race specified) America pageant. I understand why those organizations (and others, such as NAACP) were created. At one time, they were needed. But the very people those groups were meant to bring equality to are the same people who are keeping race separate by continuing to foster the resentment and hatred the organizations were formed to abolish. Want to solve the race problem? Do away with Miss (insert race here) America contests. Do away with the National Association for the Advancement of (insert race here) People.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Dreamweavin.... and stuff....

This week, I am learning Dreamweaver at work. It's a web page design and authoring program. It is totally (so far as we can tell, anyway) incompatible with the Sharepoint we use for 3/4's of the sites we manage... One site will be fine with it... What do I plan on doing with it? I have no idea yet... It won't be wasted or lost on me, I just don't have an immediate application for it... Oh well, any learnin' is good learnin', right?

As I mentioned before, I have been working with one of Shan's friend's computer (the one with Vista). Tonight, we had trouble getting an updated driver. During the process of troubleshooting and copying old mail into the new mail program for Vista, Janette served me a concoction of Sierra Mist and Orange-Tangerine tea. My grandmother on my Dad's side used to drink "high balls" which (from what I remember) were basically 7-up and whiskey in a glass with ice. For whatever reason, when I was handed a glass of the Mist/tea drink, it instantly smelled like Grandma's High Balls... I was assured there was no alcohol in the drink, but Bill (Janette's husband) offered to put some in... Well, he only did that figuring it would help get me through the evening of listening to Shan and Janette talking while I worked on the computer.. :-) I declined the offer... :-)

We have been playing baseball with the kids the past few days. Do you have any idea how much energy two kids can have!? Good heavens! Emily is doing really well, learning how to hold the bat, swing at the ball, and run the bases (which consist of the van (1st), a tree (2nd), a patch of dirt on the ground (3rd), and the general vicinity of the bat (home). Now, since we live on a farm, we had to institute a rule that you won't find in most rulebooks.... If the ball goes through the fence to where the cows are, you're out. At first, we said it would be a ground-rule double, but those came too frequently for our liking, so we added the challenge of NOT hitting one out of the park... :-) Oh, and if the ball rolls under the van or the truck, it's an automatic one-base rule... After all, it wouldn't be fair for the runner to score a home run when the other team was trying to get the ball from under said obstacles..... :-) Really, things haven't changed much since I was a kid playing ball in the apartment complex where we lived... Sure, the hazards are different, but we still made up goofy rules to deal them back then, too....

Okay, have you heard about the 'texting wizard?' This girl texted the phrase: "Supercalifragilisticexpialidoucious! Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious. If you say it loud enough you'll always sound precocious." So what you say?? How about doing it in FIFTEEN SECONDS! Granted, she has a keyboard-type phone, but I sure in the heck couldn't type it on a regular keyboard, let alone a thumb-driven one! Plus, she pocketed $25000 for her 'trouble...'

Now, here's a story I had not of until today... Evidently, "way back" in 1982 (when Michael Jackson was between "Off the Wall" and "Thriller"), a couple of guys decided to go out shooting... They picked on a cactus or two, and one seemingly took offense to having its parts blown off, so it reached out and killed one of the guys by falling on him and impaling him with FOUR-FOOT long needles! Ouch... You know me, I "scopes-ed" it, and, jinkies, Scooby, it's REAL!

Dad sent some pictures of yet ANOTHER rocket attack near where he lives and works in Iraq... This time, the rocket hit a warehouse and no one was injured....

And, I have to thank my Aunt for a very humorous email... If you do a Google Map and ask for directions from New York, NY to Plymouth, UK, you'll see a very funny step in there (around step 24). Plus, if you switch to the 'printer-friendly' version, it even tells you how long step 24 should take! :-) Try it!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Good Directions...

I gave the impression that I did not like "Good Directions," and that is not where I was going with the mention of the song... I actually think it's a 'cute' country song... Of course, I'm Currington fan since "I've Got a Feeling." And, why am I telling you this? (drum roll, please......) DUH, it popped in my head!

Gotta have uh..Stef! The Apple iRack...

"You're Hired!" Stefani heard those words tonight on "The Apprentice!" I was kinda surprised because I thought James was Trump's 'pet.' Shan, on the other hand, knew the whole time that Stefani was "the one." Guess Stef will be going to the Caribbean (funny how both women chose the island, while the guys chose Atlanta).

I checked out the 'stuff' up for auction. Have you seen it? You can tell it's for charity, because most of this 'stuff' wouldn't fetch a dime otherwise.... Anyway, see for yourself: Apprentice Auction.

Surya's comment about Sanjaya was.....expected. In fact, when he first came out, Shan and I said something about him and Sanjie....

I know the "title" of my blog is "Just Popped in My Head," and why I didn't make the address match the title is something I have wondered myself many times. As it turns out, a few folks have been searching for this site by typing the 'just' and not finding it... So, I did what anyone who was trying to suck more people into the space between his ears would do - I created a new site that directs people to this one! :-) Yeah, yeah, self-serving, I know, I know... What can I say?

Have you ever dropped what you were doing to go help someone? Have you done this without stopping to think about what you were wearing or where you were going? Today was Shan's Sister's baby shower at the church. After church, several folks helped set up for party and then I went home.

Around the time for the party to be over, Shan called the house and Tyler answered. This is what *I* was told: "Mimi is sick and you need to go to the church to drive her home. And they want you to bring your truck to help carry stuff." Now, it didn't make sense that I would going to pick up my mother, since her car was there and Shan and/or Shan's mom could drive the car back... I understood the need for a truck for hauling.... I happened to have also been in the middle of a very high, hot pursuit in Need for Speed.... I had 17 cops chasing my tail, for crying out loud! :-) Oh, did I mention that after church and set-up, I had come home to change my clothes? And, did I further mention that I wore these 'very casual' clothes back up to the church?

I looked like I had just woke up from a nap. I figured since I was helping to haul stuff, everyone but family would be gone..... WRONG! But, I decided the heck with it - it was to late to do much about it anyway.... I had on my new 'long' shorts and a T-shirt that has a picture of the Grim Reaper and it says "Smoking is Cool." The point of the shirt is that death thinks smoking is cool... Of course death would, right? So, I am in church with a shirt that reads "smoking is cool...." Look, no matter what the 'message' of the shirt is, really, one should stop and think before wearing a shirt to church that seems to be encouraging smoking.... Not my brightest moment.... Not the dumbest either, mind you, but certainly not the brightest...

As it turns out, Mimi had already driven HERSELF home because she was sick. Something got lost in translation, it seems....

I did want to mention that I received a birthday card from my Aunt (well, a card from each Aunt, really). One of the cards told me NOT to behave myself on my birthday, and the other centered on tools...well, getting hammered and nailed, to be specific.... You'd think they were trying to tell me something....

I do have one beef I'd like to share (hmm, probably not the best way to say that after the last section, huh?) - Why is it that many (dare I say most) handicapped drivers drive like the CAR is handicapped!?!? Look, I understand that someone with a handicap plate suffers from whatever ailment that rightfully justifies their handicapped status. No problem. But, THEY are handicapped, not the car they are driving!? Is there some law I am not aware of that says "Handicapped drivers must disobey all speed limit signs, instead driving no mare than 10% of the posted speed????" I ended up behind such a person on the way back up to the church... I kept expecting the person (who was so short, I could not tell if it was a man or a woman driving) in front of me to pull over and let me pass by.... Nope... Just keep on moving (and I use the term VERY loosely here), blocking my path....

Maybe we need special stickers for the plates, so the rest of the world knows instantly if the driver AND car are handicapped, or just the driver.....

Dad sent us pictures of an attack that happened very close to where he works in Iraq. As it turns out, the insurgents are getting better and better weapons, but aren't really focused on just how to USE those weapons....

Now look, I know this is serious stuff, but COME ON, how can anyone just let this next photo go without SOME kind of comment??? :-) "Are we sure the explosion came from the OUTSIDE of the building???" Or, maybe, "Do NOT go in there! Phew!!" Maybe even, "You can drink the water in Iraq, but watch out for those burritos!!"

And, Bo and Luke have joined the fight:

Have you seen the new Apple iRack!? What will they think of next?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

My Birthday, Ticks, and Turnip Greens...

Yes, yes, I had a birthday over the weekend. On Friday, during our 5-year company evaluation, I can't tell you how many people wished me a happy b-day. For me, that's a good thing. The way I look at it, the more people that not only know your birthday, but actually take the time to TELL you happy birthday, the more people you have touched in some way or another (positively and negatively, though I would venture to say that those you touch negatively are not going to be calling you up and wishing you a happy birthday - unless, of course, they are rubbing in the fact that you are now one year closer to death, I guess....).

I received much needed clothes (man, I never thought I would say that!), an RCA Lyra Pearl MP3 Player (very cool! And it takes MicroSD chips for future mega-memory hogging jammin!), "Need for Speed: Carbon" (A PC game in which you race around and upgrade your car, etc!! Very cool!), an electric staplegun/nailer (can you say "Tim Allen" boys and girls?), several DVD's (mostly baseball, which I collect! and SAW III unrated!), some candy (Milk Duds, which will be poured into a bowl of popcorn soon, I'm sure!), and there's a good chance I have forgotten something.... I was treated to Stuffed Peppers, which is one of my favs! :-)

My MP3 player can play audiobooks! While searching around the site, I came across the deal below.... You may need to read it a second time, just to be sure... :-)

The Mp3 player also came with a "50 free songs from" coupon. I'm all about free music, so I figured what the hey... Have you BEEN to It ain't iTunes, buddy... After some poking around, though, I did find some stuff to keep, so that's very good news... I will not be keeping my monthly subscription though.... I'm all for the independent musician, I just don't like a lot of it, so why bother paying for something I will most likely never use once I get my 50 songs, right?

I am going to program my license plate frame to read: "Thank God for good directions, and turnip greens......well, for good directions, anyway" :-) You know, I really didn't think things could get much more "hick" or "redneck" or whatever, but really, Brad Paisley's "Ticks" blows away nearly every backwoods song I have ever heard... "I'd like to check you for ticks....." Good grief.... Yes, I understand what he is saying and what the song is about, but come on.... check you for ticks!? Do guys really get women with that line? Oy Vay.... :-)

I had something else I was gonna write, but it's about midnight, and well, my brain is shutting down... So, good night, good luck, may the force be with you.....or something... :-)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

SMILE- you're! and a sad (NOT) goodbye...

Okay, so everyone watching Idol last night saw Simon roll his eyes just as Chris was expressing condolences to the VT victims and families... We thought it was rude, but then never thought anything else of it... Turns out, the world screamed "foul" and Fox had to do damage control... As it happens, Cowell was rolling his eyes at what he was talking to Paula about - Chris' statement that he purposely sang his song nasally... The camera caught Simon rolling his eyes, and the rest is history.... Wanna read more? Here ya go...

Coach Houston Nutt received a ton of flak over his $1000+ text messaging bill. He says the messages were to his friend and colleague, and his wife wrote a multi-page rant about the whole thing.... Guess we need to do our part to make sure no one forgets about Arkansas, huh?

Here's one for the record books, Afghan officials said they received a lot of phone calls from worried citizens... Worried about what? A virus that causes your nose and ears to bleed if you accept a cell phone call from a 'strange number...' Are people really this....naive?? Here's the story...

So, I rode with Shan's Supt today... We had a great time, lots of conversation, and nothing about Shan's job until the way home. I was assured that she is "this close" (holding her index and middle fingers about a centimeter apart) to inking a deal that would get Shan out of the Special Ed classroom.... Guess we'll see, huh?

During the ride, Mrs. Deon told me a tale of her early days in Arkansas. Turns out her husband decided to get some cows. One day, he was out, and Mrs. Deon was dressed up, ready to head for school (she was not the supt at this point, this was at another school). She saw the cows got out of the fence. Not having a clue what to do, she looked around and spotted Mr. Deon's pickup truck with a bale of hay in the bed. She started the truck, drove down the driveway, turned around and led the cows back into the pasture. She had seen her husband dump the hay many times, but never actually asked HOW it was done... Using her powers of deduction, she slammed on the brakes. Rather than having the hay fall out the back, the hay rolled FORWARD, spilling over the roof, the hood, etc... Not quite sure what to do next, she thought for a moment.... Then, she realized the goofy cows were eating the hay right out of the truck! Problem solved! She left the truck right where it was, locked the gate and went to work! :-)

And, because I'm in a weird mood, here is yet another "Here's Your Sign" moment... Apparently, two people looking to buy drugs misdialed a pager number... They dialed 911... Good place to call when looking to score some blow.... You just have to read it to believe it....

Did you hear that Miss Mexico had to retire her DRESS? Why? Too violent... Yes, you read that correctly... Too violent... Evidently, it is bad taste to wear a dress with a bullet-laden belt and depicting hanging scenes from the Roman Catholic uprising in Mexico.... Whodathunkit?

I heard on the radio that a mother smacked her daughter because she lost a soccer game or couldn't recite some rules or something. When the daughter told her mother to pull over and let her out, the mother complied, leaving her daughter stranded on the side of the INTERSTATE... DUH... Another teammate saw the girl and pick her up.. The radio said the mother was being charged with negligence.... cane we add stupidity and bad-parenting? Just wondering....

FINALLY, Sanjie is going home. I admit, for a brief moment, I was sad. Remember, this kid is only 17 years old.... Okay, that's enough. He is OUTTA here... Practice, get some lessons, whatever.... Other very talented folks were sacrificed because of the hoopla to keep Sanjaya around... Of course, votefortheworst will now shift their focus to another contestant so they can say "See, we told you so-and-so sucked..."

More and more information pours out about Cho and just how sick he was... It does amaze me, now after we keep seeing so many additional records/reports/etc just how this kid slipped through the cracks enough to cause such travesty.... I feel for his parents and family, but there is ZERO compassion for that wack-job from me....

Emily said she was glad the 'white girl' made it safe tonight... It is interesting to see how kids view the world.... If the need arises, we'll explain mulatto to her... I think it's important that she understands people are not just white or black or any other single color....

I have heard several different radio commentators suggest that Blake is bi or gay. Frankly, I don't care one way or the other. But, I do have a feeling it will become the topic of choice now that Sanjie is gone....

Stick a fork in me..... I'm done....

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Random thoughts - or are they?

While researching some info about digital cameras, I came across a handy little device... It's called the Capty-Cable, and it converts DV (Firewire) to USB! You don't need a firewire port on your computer to capture digital video now! Just plug this into your USB port and you're good to go! It's a little pricey at $119, but if you don't have firewire and don't want to mess with opening up your computer to install firewire ports, it's a pretty cool solution....

Tyler had his first baseball game (well, 'real' one anyway) of the season. He is the lead-off hitter this year! :-) And, man he does great! His team won 9-2 in the pouring rain, no less... Yes, no PPD's here, folks! No rain delays - let the water flow like they're standing under waterfalls.... Basically, if you're already playing when it starts to rain and there is no lightning or thunder, you keep on swingin....

Phil kicked serious boo-tay tonight, folks. Country is definitely his forte'. Too bad he didn't showcase this side of himself before tonight. As always, I'm sure he'll be bottom three....
Jordin smoked everyone tonight. She had the best performance of the evening and of her Idol career. Let me put it in terms all my geek friends understand - she pwned it!
Sanjaya.... Off key, horrid vocals, stupid bandana thing in his hair... We even closed our eyes and tried to pretend we didn't who was singing to see if that helped. The only thing that helped? The mute button....
Lakisha had a rough night. She did alright with her version of "Jesus take the wheel," but it needed more of her soul in it, I think. Still, she kicks butt when it comes to singing....
Chris sucked. He tried to sound like Rascal Flatts and he missed it. Country is definitely NOT his forte'.... ouch....
Melinda brought down the house. She kicked it up and showed the world what this show SHOULD be about. Now, I personally thought Jordin did better, but they would be top-two in my book, for sure....
Blake surprised me. I didn't expect him to be able to pull off the falsettos (which he did fairly well). His own spin on Tim McGraw was fantastic.... I still miss the beat-boxing though... maybe next week....

This week's table has color again! Yay! And, as I told Shan, the fewer Idols that are left, the easier it is to make table.. LOL! :-)
Idol SingerDave's VoteShan's Vote

Many moons ago, I used a Digital8 camera (from when I worked at my previous job) to record baseball games, Emily's first few months, etc. The camera at my new job had a problem with the DV connector, so I could not transfer my tapes to DVD or the computer... I was afraid I would be stuck with tapes I couldn't use without either buying a $300+ camera or paying someone else to transfer the videos... Then, I came upon a Sony TRV280 Digital8 camera for less then half of what I thought I would have to pay. I brought it home, stuck in an unlabeled tape from who knows when, and fired it up... The computer captured the very earliest footage of Emily's life on earth... She was about two months old, and suddenly we were transported back to the very day we recorded the video, and even remembered taping.... I can't wait to see what other treasures lie on the many, many digital8 tapes we have!

On Wednesday, I am riding with the superintendent where Shan works.... Last year, Shan was forced to take a position in Special Ed. The Supt took a very happy, dedicated teacher, and turned her into someone who almost hates going to work everyday... I have a feeling my wife's employment situation will be discussed at some point... You see, the commute that I have with the supt is 45 miles each way, and we will be working together all day long to boot........ I'll keep ya posted... :-)

Monday, April 16, 2007

When the lights go down....

It's a sickening feeling, really. It starts out simply enough... Click on Email, and a few moments later, the program tells you it cannot connect to the mail server. A deep sigh, maybe a growl, and then fire up IE7. Wait a few moments, and get nothing (well, you get the 'page cannot be displayed'). A quick click on Favorites and then to DSL Setup reveals that, in fact, the Sync isn't Syncing, which leaves you sinking - or perhaps already sunk.

A few mad clicks here and there, and nothing. Then, peeking under the desk reveals the ultimate surfing catastrophe - Ethernet - YES, DSL Sync - NO.... UGH... Pick up the phone and get a dial tone... Mentally say a few cuss words, reboot the DSL modem, wait, no sync. Nothin to see here folks, just a casualty on the information superhighway, keep moving, keep moving....

A quick call to the Centurytel hotline, and I had a ticket in place. Now, before I go one, I must say the associate I talked to did NOT treat me like I was an idiot. I explained that I had rebooted, disconnected and reconnected cables, etc etc. She simply skipped down her list until she found something I hadn't tried (pressing the reset switch on the modem). Tried it - no luck. She immediately created a help ticket for me - great service!!

Have you been without Internet recently? Do you realize how many things you can't do when you are cut off? Without so much as a thought to being without connectivity, I repeatedly opened IE looking for some tidbit of information. Even Ty had opened IE7 to work on his web page, only to be 'reminded' that we were not connected... No email, no nightly news checking, no weather forecast, no blogging... No, it was not the end of the world. In fact, we found other things to do, but when one of the first thoughts that pops in your head is, "Hey, I'll look it up online," it just seems so weird NOT to be able to 'just look it up...'

After work, all was well... Well, at least with our Internet connection... which we promptly used to find out more information about the VTU massacre....

(Photo: AP/Roanoke Times, Matt Gentry)

The most quoted word during the events following the shootings at VTU was "surreal." I have never been in any kind of shooting situation, but can only imagine that it would take at least a few moments for the scene to solidify in one's mind... And then, from the reports, people were chained and barred INSIDE the building. No escape, except to jump. There is also the report that a group of students had to bar a classroom door closed by using their FEET to push the door so that the gunman could not open it. What more terrifying feeling than laying on the floor with your feet pushing against it, literally for your life? Not knowing if the shots going into (and maybe even through) the door would end up in your feet, or worse. For me, the eeriest part of this is that the shooter seemed to have said nothing... Just walked in and started shooting. One girl said she laid on the floor and pretended to be unconscious. It may have saved her life.

My heart and prayers go out to all the students, faculty, parents...everyone affected, directly and indirectly....

On a slightly off-topic note, I was told today that I have little to no compassion. I agreed, of course, mainly to be the smart-arse that I am. I don't even remember how the topic came up, but the truth is, there are some tings that I do have little compassion for... Maybe that's not the term for it... For example, I am not a very compassionate animal person. I love our horse and our cat (most of the time), but really, aside from that, I do not really give much care one way or another... I understand why some people love animals, I really do. And, I try to be compassionate toward THEM when something happens to their pet. When Mom and Dad's dog was carried off by a coyote, I was genuinely sad for them because I knew how much they loved that dog.

I think perhaps mine is not much a 'compassion' thing as it is a 'patience' thing. I have little patience, especially with younger people. That is why I do not teach kids. If I had the patience, I would teach. I don't. Give me a room full of adults any day! :-)

Speaking of pets and compassion, I have ZERO compassion for anyone who touts their dumb dog as an artist. Look, it's a dog that rips, bites, and tears coated canvas, and stupid people are paying top dollar, calling it 'art.' Bullcrap (which I'm sure, too, is considered art...) Here is the story that I saw on "CBS This Morning" this past weekend: "When Dogs Paint..." Seriously, what the heck is wrong with you people that buy this crap? My cat can do that. For that matter, my 4-year old can do BETTER than that, yet no one is calling her 'doodles' art (except for her family, I suppose). My point is that when a person does it, it's 'cute' or 'doodling,' but when a dumb dog does it, it's 'art.' Baloney!

While copying pictures from various CDs, I came across an 'oldie but goodie:'

I took my Aunt's advice and wrote down ideas I had for blogs... unfortunately, I typed them up on my Q1, which I do not have with me right now, so you'll just have to see what other tidbits of... er, uh.. wisdom, I'll come up with...

I thought this week's Apprentice was pretty good. James and Stefani had the best video, though. What could have been a very dry, boring take on a courtroom 'drama' turned out to be very funny! Shan thinks Stefani is going to win. She also keeps calling her 'Faith' because Stefani reminds her of Faith Hill.. LOL...

I watched "HOLES" tonight. I never read the book, never saw the movie, didn't even know what the whole thing was about before tonight. Man, did I miss out! I thought it was a great story. I might actually buy the audio book on CD, if it exists (I'll look it up later, since my Internet is working again.. LOL).

For the record, "other duties as assigned" should be taken literally... Monday at work, I painted the ceiling tiles with "UpShot," moved half a dozen or so plywood planks into a storage shed, moved and stacked old computer equipment and electronics, and other tasks I am not generally accustomed to doing without a 'honey-do' attached to it.. :-) Tuesday, we paint the inside facings of the exterior doors and whatever else we need to do in order to help us prepare for our organizational 5-year evaluation.... Me? paint? Well, at least I can rest assured that it won't be called art....hmm.. maybe I should take the cat with me.......

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Looking at Vista, TVNow update

I installed a new computer today that had Vista on it. It was the first time I had seen Vista. Now, it was not set up with the 3-d windows etc, so really, it looked like a 'skinned' Windows XP. And then, I tried to find things.... Holy cow, everything moved. On top of that, there really are some very cool new 'eye-candies' to behold. I think my favorite is the icon for folder with pictures. It show a partially opened folder with sample pictures sticking out, only the 'samples' are your own photos that are in that folder... Very cool! :-) Ya know, I was not too keen on switching to Vista, but after having seen it in action and muddling through setting things up, I may decide to bite the Vista bullet.... :-)

I got the kids 1GB cards for their TVNow recorders. Emily spent most of today recording shows and movies. I know the quality isn't great or anything, but the cool thing is that you can take the SD card, stick it in your computer and save the video files... This means, I can have backup copies (that will only play on their TVNows) of their favorite movies. Emily recorded Curious George and Land Before Time. I think I may do Cars tomorrow. This would not replace those DVDs by any stretch, but this would basically build a library of videos the kids could load/delete from their players while the backups were on the PC! Very cool indeed!

Friday, April 13, 2007

69 - er, 68 - Confessions:

1. The phone rings. Who do you want it to be?
Publisher's Clearinghouse

2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart?
Nope, I now have a collection of them in my backyard...

3. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener?
I listen unless I have something to say, then I'm a talker.

4. Do you take compliments well?
Well, I don't beat the crap out of the person giving me one, if that's what you mean...

5. Do you play Sudoku?
Yes, but I only do the "One Star" difficulty level.

6. If abandoned alone in the wilderness, would you survive?
I don't know, and I'm not really willing to find out.

7. Do you like to ride horses?
Yes! Even the ones that go round and round... :-)

8. Did you ever go to camp as a kid?
No, my parents tried to send me away, but I came back before I go there... (not really)

9. What was your favorite game as a kid?
Spin the bottle or truth or dare (sometimes played at the same time!)

11. Have you lied to get out of a date?
Not that I remember, but then I could be lying....

12. Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you?
Guess it would depend on the definition of "different".. I mean, you know, if you re talking Satan Worshipper here, then, uh... no.

13. Do you like to pursue or be pursued?
Pursue if I'm chasing down a purse-snatcher... I'd rather not be pursued by anything.... :-)

14. Use three words to describe yourself?
I don't think.... Well, crap, there goes my three words....

15. Do any songs make you cry?
Yes, anytime I hear Sanjaya sing, it brings tears to my eyes...and earplugs to my ears....

16. Are you continuing your education?
Dang, I didn't know it had stopped in the first place!

17. Do you know how to shoot a gun?
Nope, I've never had to shoot one before... Shot a target once, but never a gun....

18. If your house was on fire, what would be the first thing you grabbed?
My underwear.... enough said.

19. How often do you read books?
About as often as I take literature classes.....

20. Do you think more about the past, present or future?
Presents.... oh, wait...

21. What is your favorite children's book?
I have two children. I like most of their books.

22. What color are your eyes?
I don't know, I can't see them....

23. How tall are you?
About this tall...

24. Where is your dream house located?
DUH, in my DREAMS!!!

25. Do you have a secret fetish?
If I did, and then I told you, it wouldn't be a secret.... DUH!

26. Have you tried sushi?
"If you knew sushi, like I knew sushi....."

27. Have you ever taken pictures in a photo booth?
I've taken them in, but never out...

28. When was the last time you were at Olive Garden?
A couple weeks ago. We had the newest waiter there. It was bad...

29. When was the last time you were at Church?
Wednesday - I dropped Tyler off at Awanas....

30. Where was the furthest place you traveled today?
Way, way far away into the nether-regions of my mind.... Or work, which is about 20 miles or so...

31. What was your favorite job?
Can you say "favorite" and "job" in the same sentence without it being an oxymoron?

32. Do you like mustard?
Not yellow, not brown, not spicy... Colonel Mustard is not such a bad guy though....

33. Do you prefer to sleep or eat?
Yes, and oh, if I could do both at the same time.... :-)

34. Do you look like your mom or dad?
I look like... um... well... ME, DUH!

35. How long does it take you in the shower?
How long does it take me to do WHAT in the shower!?

36. Can you do the splits?
Only banana.... Well, if I ever expect to survive anyway.... :-)

37. What movie do you want to see right now?
Any movie - I'd get out of work if I was watching a movie right now!

38. If you could fast forward your life, would you?
No, but could I rewind a few things?

39. What did you do for New Year's?

40. Do you think The Grudge was scary?
Anytime anyone holds a grudge, it's scary....

41. Could you relate to a character in Mean Girls?
What is "Mean Girls?"

42. Do you own a camera phone?
No. My phone is a phone and my camera is a camera, just like life should be.

43. Do you have an "ex box" with pics and letters from past lovers?
I don't even have an X-Box, no matter how you spell it....

44. Was your mom a cheerleader?
No, she was a bouncer in a bar. Seriously.

45. What's the last letter of your middle name?
Holy crap, I have to THINK in this survey!? Uhh.... "M"

46. Do you like your middle name?
Well, you know how the middle is - a little issue with it's place among the other names - it's not the first and not the last....

47. How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
HOURS? People actually get HOURS of sleep!? Who are these people??

48. Do you like care bears?
I don't care...

49. What do you buy at the movies?
Ummmm.... wait, is this a trick question? Tickets?? Oh, and popcorn with Milk Duds in it!!

50. Do you know how to play poker?
Please refer back to the Sudoku question....

51. Do you wear your seatbelt?
Only when I am in a moving vehicle...

52. What do you wear to sleep?
Please refer to the "House on fire" question....

53. Anything big ever happen in your hometown?
They tore down Three Rivers Stadium....

54. How many meals do you eat a day?
All of them...

55. Is your tongue pierced?
Ain't no freakin way!

56. Ever meet anyone you met on myspace?
Huh? I've met lots of people I've met..... I never met them on myspace though....

57. Do you read myspace bulletins?
What are they?

58. Do you like funny or serious people better?
Depends... Serious people at the "Funny Bone" would not be good....

59. Ever been to L.A.?
No, but been to LA (Shreveport, Baton Rouge, New Orleans)

60. Did you eat a cookie today?
No, but came close to tossing a few....

61. Do you use cuss words in other languages?
Hell, no! I'm American, Dag-nab-it!

62. Do you steal or pay for your music downloads?
I pay for some and I obtain others through the use of available tools and technology.

63. Do you hate chocolate?
Hate is such a strong word...... (Please refer to the "Cussing in another language" question!)

64. What do you and your parents fight about the most?
Do we fight?

65. Are you a gullible person?
I could be....

66. Do you need a boyfriend/girlfriend to be happy?

67. If you could have any job what would it be?
Sitting on my butt in front of the computer, answering email, developing web sites, working with various technology... oh, wait, that *IS* what I do!

68. Are you easy to get along with?
Yes, now shut up and leave me alone! :-)

69. What is your favorite time of day?
12:18... I just love that time.... Though 4:32 is nice, too....

A few thoughts...from the shower...

I couldn't remember whether I had posted anything about my Aunt's mother's passing, so if I have, then just bear with me...

Mrs. Strepay always had a smile on her face and a laugh in the air, from what I knew of her. Though it has been years since I saw her last, I know exactly what she looked like the last time I did see her. We never spoke much, mainly because we weren't really in the same places at the same times, but the few times we talked, she was laughing or smiling and spoke kindly to me. I know her passing is very hard on my Aunt Patty and family. I will always remember her fondly.

On a much different note, as I was getting ready for work this morning, I couldn't remember whether or not I had washed my hair.... Yes, as I am *IN* the shower, I can't remember if I washed my hair! At first, I just did the simple 'run your fingers through your hair' test. Head was wet. Well, that doesn't necessarily mean I actually WASHED it, because I shaved, and I put my head under the water to help get the excess shaving cream off... I look up at the bottle... Do I remember reaching up and getting it down? Hmm.. Well, not really, but then again, it's not something I usually make a conscious effort to think about, ya know? I run my fingers through my hair again, and it doesn't really feel like I washed it.. I mean, I don't have that 'conditioner' feel, ya know? So, I figure I'll just go ahead and wash it. Either way, it'll be clean or SUPER clean, right? :-)

Of course, after I washed my hair, I thought about something else... What if I accidentally washed my body with my shaving cream? See, I have one of those 'puffy things.' I use Axe body wash, which early in the morning resembles my Gillette shaving gel bottle.... For the record, I did *NOT* wash my body with my shaving cream... It was just a thought - what if *I* had....

That, naturally, led to this: Nair. Do they have Nair for guys? Not for the body, I mean for their face? Man, that would be great stuff.... I hate shaving. Hate it with a passion. If I thought I would look okay as Grizzly Adams, I wouldn't bother shaving at all... Alas, that is not the case.

And, since my train of thought was at full speed ahead, this popped in there: I read yesterday that the guy (Roscoe Lee Browne) who did the narrator's voice for "Babe" (the pig movies) died. I didn't know who he was until I saw his picture....

Thursday, April 12, 2007

How hard could this be?

As you are well aware by now, I'm sure, I am not mechanically nor 'home improvementally' inclined. So, when the topic of getting new flooring for the kitchen came up, I thought, "How hard could this be? Buy some stuff, put it down, good to go... right?" Then, we started the 'research' portion of the job. Wait a minute, there's CUTTING involved? Like, with circular saws, jigsaws, and the equivalent of a paper-cutter for flooring!? Nope. Ain't gonna happen (by me anyway).

We opted to go the "Let Lowe's install it" route. After staying home to watch (er, supervise) Terry and Mike measure, cut, snap, trim, repeat nearly 250 times, I decided the money spent for them to install out flooring was WELL WORTH IT!

Arkansas is a small town, and so it happens that we knew Terry! Terry and Mike (and I when I could participate in the fun) picked on each other, ribbed each other, etc. It was a lot of fun, while still being very productive. At some point, though, things seemed to hit a lull and it took them longer to finish than anyone thought it would. I think part of the reason was that Mike had to go do an estimate for someone, which left Terry to do the work. I volunteered, but the politely told me my services were not needed... LOL.. Of course, I had told them about some of my ineptness, so they may have been a bit scared... :-)

Turns out Mike is a huge Idol fan, and he was bummed when Haley got the boot. Also, he cannot stand Sanjaya. Of course, Terry ribbed Mike every chance he could about LIKING Sanjaya, though Terry doesn't watch Idol and couldn't remember Sanjie's name half the time.. LOL!

I will admit, as long as I had the right tools, I believe I could lay glueless laminate flooring if I had to.... :-)

So, wanna see some pics?

I spent the past couple of days (well, mostly last night and this morning) copying pictures from 3.5-inch floppy disks to my hard drive. There were a TON of them! The 'oldest' were from 1997/1998 when I first started playing with digital cameras. That happens to also be the time that the Prescott Curly Wolverettes Girls Basketball team was headed for the state championship... I have over 300 photos of Shan's sister's ballgames! I had no idea I had taken so many! Tyler was a tiny tot then, for sure! :-)

At various points, I relied on my 'old school' DOS commands to help copy the files. See, there is nothing like using XCOPY A:*.?pg pix1 /c/i... :-) The biggest bonus is the "/c" part.. It means, "If the computer hits a snag trying to copy these files from such old disks, skip the snag and keep copying!" And, let me tell ya, there were some disks that had several 'snags' just because they were from 1998... I mean, really, come on, isn't technology supposed to last forever!?

Speaking of lasting forever... You know, when CD-R's first came out, people were told the discs would last 100 years. Turns out you are lucky if they last 5-10 in the real world. Yeap, you read that right. If you have backups on CD or files on CD, and those files are 5-10 years old, you better copy them to a NEW cd, or flash drive, or something! And, if the info is on floppies, you need to start ASAP! :-)

My Dad sent pictures of an ominous storm that blew through the encampment in Iraq (the dark pictures were taken 20 minutes after the lighter ones....):

Kurt Vonnegut died Wednesday.... He is/was one of the most influential writers of modern times. His writing, thoughts, and wisdom will be missed by many, many current authors and author-wannabes (myself included in that group).

By the time most folks read this, it'll be Friday, so I say: POETS!
(That's "Push Off Early, Tomorrow's Saturday" or "Put Off Everything, Tomorrow's Saturday" or even "Piss On Everything, Tomorrow's Saturday" - take your pick!)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Haley's comet, deadly carnival accident, and other random thoughts

Well, I guess it had to happen... Haley is gone from "Idol." I know both Shan and I voted "no" for her this week, but it still irks me that Sanjaya survives while better singers and performers are booted. Then again, it seems to me that since people like Chris and sanjie so much, perhaps the world has gone tone-deaf after all. the 'new' sound of music is really no sound at all - it is whining, off-key wannabes... Dang, who woulda thunk Eminem was ahead of his time?

This past weekend, a small traveling fair/carnival came through Hope, Arkansas. One of the featured rides was the Sizzler. Apparently, while the ride was in full swing, the restraint system broke free and a 1st grader stood up in one of the cars. By the time people figured out what was happening, he had fallen out (or fallen over) and was (as it was related to me) "scalped...severely..." He died Monday night... Our hearts and prayers are with their families - that of the boy and that of the ride operator.... The ride had been inspected by state officials before the accident.

The contractor is coming Thursday to install our new flooring! I can't wait to see what it's like once it's all done. I have no idea about these things, so I am mainly going to help when he and his assistant(s) need it, and stay out of the way otherwise...

The Little Rock school board voted to let their Superintendent face a hearing before being fired. I have not been following the story and only heard about the trouble tonight on the news.... From the sounds of things, though, it doesn't look good for him... I'm thinking he should resign before he gets fired. Though, I have a feeling even if he did get fired, he'd still find a job here in Arkansas....

MSNBC fired Imus!? Okay, look, it was a dumb thing to say about the girls basketball team. He apologized, now get over it. Whatever happened to "balls?" Whatever happened to "apology accepted?" Whatever happened to "Grow up, people?" Seriously. We now live in a society where you can't say anything without the fear of offending someone, hurting their feelings, and then paying with your soul for it. Of course, all this whining about "he said...and it hurt my feelings.. and boo-hoo.. boo-hoo..." just confirms my suspicions about the trend in music I referred to earlier... Seriously people.... Grow some cahones....

In response to my Aunt's Easter blog post...

I had originally intended to make this a reply to one of my Aunt's posts, but it was getting rather lengthy, so I thought I'd post it here for the world..... :-)

Okay, first of all, most Christians would argue the whole "girlfriend" thing. Mary was not his girlfriend. Not sure where the prostitute thing came in, obviously I need to check up on that one...

I've had way too many literature classes...

Now, before I get myself in trouble, first let me tell you I am a Christian - I believe Christ was the son of God, he came to Earth, died for our sins (partly so we wouldn't have kill goats and sheep anymore), and rose from the dead.

Having said all of that, I believe the Bible is man's written record of many things that were previously only told by mouth. Before the Bible was written, there was the story of Gilgamesh and a world-wide flood.... Which is right? Noah or Gilgamesh? Could they both be right? How many things are we supposed to read LITERALLY in the Bible and how many are FIGURATIVE? How many things were recorded in all kinds of books? I dunno...

People ask me about "faith." Here is my take on it... God is like a super version of the battery in your car... Think about this: How do you know your car will start? You don't. You have faith that it will. Put the key in, turn it, and your car starts. Did you know it would start? Nope. How do I know that? Because you DON'T know when it WON'T start... If you knew when it WASN'T going to start, then you would have bought a battery ahead of time, right? Of course. The difference (well, one of about a zillion, really) is that God never fails to "start." He's always there, always ready.

"Oh, but how could God let all this death and destruction happen, etc etc?" Because we are not PUPPETS. We have free will. Since we have free will, we can choose to blow up a building or pick flowers. Some people choose to fly airplanes into buildings. Were the innocent people that were killed any better or worse than those who survived? No. Things happen. God "lets" things happen He gave us free will. They happen for reasons we may never understand. Do I believe in fate and destiny? To an extent.

As children, we have little to no say in what happens in our lives. So, we are 'fated' or 'destined' for what happens until we reach the point we are able to make our own life choices. For example, I grew up near Pittsburgh. We moved a few times, and during High School we moved to Colorado. I had little to no say in that or in what life held for me up until the time I was able to make my own choices. For me, that came in the form of graduating high school and going to college. I made the choice to stay in Colorado when my folks moved back East. I made choices and ultimately ended up in Arkansas. Was that fate? Destiny? Free Will? In my opinion, a little of each... Basically, I see things as 'forks in the road.' If you choose a certain 'path,' you are destined for what lies down that path. Because there are MANY paths throughout life, each time we choose, a slightly (or hugely, I suppose) different 'destiny' awaits us. I'm not talking huge, life-changing things either. Remember my story about being pulled over? Had I made the choice to go to Sonic that night, I never would have been pulled over. How do I know? Sonic doesn't go anywhere near the road where we met the officer. But, choosing to go to Sonic may have had some other 'destiny' or 'consequence.' We never know...

I am NOT one of those people who thinks that every choice we make spins off some new parallel universe... Sorry, but that is not where my mind goes. For me, when I make a choice (whether knowing full well, or just by turning left instead of right one day), all other outcomes for my life have been altered in some way. At the end of life, however, it is my CHOICE that determines what happens after I die - for me, there is Heaven and there is Hell.... I digress...

Look at some of the stories in the Bible... Many times, the protagonist (good guy) is "lead" to a place in his/her life and then is given the choice as to what he/she should do... Take Job, Noah, Peter, Mary and Margaret, etc. God is not going to beat you over the head (well, maybe sometimes) to do things 'His' way. What's the point in that? That would just make us puppets. He does not want puppets. He wants people who look to Him for guidance, security, comfort, etc.

Do I understand everything the Bible has to say? No way. Does anyone?? I believe many of the foundations of a surviving society are in there - don't kill, don't steal, honor your mom and dad... love your kids, even if they run away and come back again... Are there things that that don't make sense in there? Yeap. Do I believe there are only 144,000 that will be saved and taken to Heaven? No. Do I believe a world-wide flood wiped out most of the people and life on Earth? Yeap. Do I understand why God bothered with Adam and Eve if He knew the world would be so corrupt that he would have to start over with Noah and his family? Nope. Do I have to understand it all? Nope.

I know how computers work. Do I understand all the intricacies of microns and capacitors etc etc? Nope. Do I have to understand it all? Nope. It works, and that's what I need to know.....

I don't even know if I answered the questions I set out to answer, but there ya go... :-)

Idol, 2nd Chances, and a picnic....

Last night's Idol was pretty bland, I think. Melinda did great, I don't care what anyone says. She knocks them out of the park week after week. Lakisha did well, too, though I have an issue with her mouth or her lisp or something.... It may get her into trouble eventually, I'm afraid. Chris? What can I say? He sucked. Sorry, but I hate the whole 'Timberlake wannabe' sound, look, etc. He was NOT on key, did the worst karaoke version of "Smooth" I believe I have ever heard.... Please, send him packing.... Haley did not do any better, either. Yeah, she looked good (Emily thought she was the cutest), but just couldn't pull off the song. I happened to like Phil's performance. He was a bit low (as in couldn't hear him) at times, but I thought he did a good job overall. Jordin was super - great song, high energy, cute as a button. Blake should have done some beat-boxing. He did well last night, but come on, man, give us what we want - Blake the Beat-Boxer! Sanjaya.... I just can't stand to listen to him sing, no matter WHAT he sings. Yes, he did the only "REAL" Latino singing, but I think the Chihuahua down the road howls better than Sanjie sings.... And, I am pretty sure he was singing about shampoo... Listen to it again and tell me he isn't singing "Tresemme'.. Tresemme'..." :-)

Sorry, this week, the ol' HTML WYSIWYG went wiggy, so I hand-keyed the table in. No colors:
Idol SingerDave's VoteShan's Vote

Going to a PICNIC?
If your favorite (or maybe not-so-favorite) techie mentions something about a picnic when discussing your computer problem, you may want to deck 'em... PICNIC stands for "Problem In Chair, Not In Computer." Ever hear of "Operator Head-space?" How about the good old "ID-Ten-Tee?" As in, ID10T, idiot.... Are ya with me so far? How about, "The problem exists between the chair and the monitor..." Ah, yes, all clever ways to say, "the user doesn't know jack..."

eBay Second Chance scam...
I am the world's worst about warning people regarding Internet scams. Every time I turn around, I am telling folks to watch for this or that... The latest that I nearly got suckered into is the "2nd chance offer." You bid one something and lose. A few days later, you get an email that says, "Hey, the winner bailed out, and I'm giving you a chance to get the item for your bid price!" The problem? It's a scam. eBay will NEVER send you anything about 2nd chance offers directly - they use the "My eBay" message center. I hope I help at least one person with this info...

If you lose an auction, bid on another. Simple as that.

Having Phyllis Diller walk through the door on "Boston Legal" was another stroke of genius by the folks at that show. We all knew Rachel Welch was not coming through the door, but when it turned out to be Ms. Diller - hilarious!

Oh, I've had a couple people ask me about the question marks when posting the Idol picks and pans... The question marks mean the voter wasn't sure... A "Yes?" means, the person liked the singer, but that singer was not great and voting could go either way. A "No?" means the person did not like the singer, but a redeeming factor may save the singer (history, possible future performances, etc). A question mark by itself means the voter didn't know what to think... :-)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter, A sock "tail" and a correction...

Happy Easter! :-) Tyler spent the night at Shan's folks place last night, but Emily decided to stay home. So, when she woke up, she was pretty excited that the Easter Bunny had come! We do not get the kids a bunch of candy for Easter - they get enough of it from .. er, uh.. other relatives. So, Emily got new Barbie sunglasses and Tyler got Yugioh cards. They each also got a little bit of candy and about three bucks worth of change in their plastic eggs. They also each got a TVNow! recorder. It is a handheld DVR, for lack of a better description. They both plugged them in and started recording stuff to watch later. The built-in memory is not very much (128MB), so I am going to buy them each an SD card to use with their players. That will let them record a full-length movie or two at a time. The cool thing is that there are no moving parts, so in a lot of ways, it's better than a portable DVD player! :-) (At least in theory, guess we'll see, huh?)

The best surprise was the phone call that came this morning. After two rings, Emily picked up the phone, and soon her eyes were as big as half-dollars! POPPY was on the phone! She talked to my Dad for a bit before handing the phone to me, and then as Shan came in, Emily ran over and LEAPT into her arms, "It's Poppy! Poppy called me!" I have a feeling that when Dad gets back from Iraq, he's going to have quite the 'shadow' following him everywhere he goes.... :-)

Nick (Shan's sister's husband) told us a story about one of their dogs. Forgive me if I don't quite get it right, but I'm afraid my re-telling of the -er, uh- "tail," will not do the adventure justice....

It seems that Star, one of their dogs, decided he knew a good meal when he saw it... As the dog ran passed Nick one evening, Nick said he thought he saw TWO tails go running by... Perplexed, he caught the dog only to discover that it not sprouted a new tail, but rather was attempting to purge itself of a previous snack - one of Nick's socks.... Nick said he grabbed the dog's hind-quarters with one arm, while trying to 'help' the dog relieve himself of the sock. As Nick pulled gingerly, the dog was going spastic, trying to figure out just what the heck Nick was doing back there! When the sock finally pulled free, it something akin to a magician's "handkerchief up the sleeve" trick... You see, much of the sock had been digested and so there were strands of material still coming out as Nick pulled...

Truly one of the funniest stories I have heard in a while! :-)

My aunt corrected me on my cocaine reference. Coke does not cause hallucinations, evidently. Guess I missed that in my education somewhere.... :-)

Alright, let's just get this out there - Mr. Trump, what the heck were ya thinkin'!? He should have fired Frank and Nicole tonight... Heidi screwed up this time, sure, but come on, she runs circles around the other applicants. And, Nicole was saved only because Trump was so distracted by the whole Heidi-Frank mess... At this point, I think James will win, unless Stephani beats him out... At least everyone is back inside the house without all that stupid backyard camping stuff... That is one of the dumbest concepts yet.

Now, before anyone gets all wiggy on me, I fully admit that two of the presentations tonight were absolutely horrid. Someone needs to tell these people that Power Point is dead if they are simply going to read what's on the screen... Anyone can do that. It's not their fault, and it's not Power Point's fault. Somewhere, someone missed the 'reason' for Power Point - highlight ideas, but leave the talking to the presenter. I think what happened is that Power Point got "too" fancy. Strip it down and force people to use it like it was SUPPOSED to be used, and you're good to go.... Oh well, I can't say too much - I have a few presentations I have to edit, too... At least I'm not presenting to the world, right? Look, if Mr. Trump is your customer, you cater to him as the customer - have your crap together and know what you're talking about. It's not rocket science, people.....

We went with friends to the batting cages in another town. We let the kids (they have two girls) practice their hitting. Emily practiced T-Ball. The batting cages are arranged by speed and type. So, we have slow softball, slow baseball, medium softball, med. baseball, and finally fast of each. Tyler jumped in the medium cage. Turns out medium means "roughly 80 MPH." He did alright, but moved to the slow baseball (around 45 MPH). For whatever reason, Greg and I decided to try our hands at the medium baseball cages. I mean, come on, just keep your eye on the ball right? Before I go much further, let me remind you that I am NOT athletic, that's why I dink around with technology... So, let the humiliation begin...

The first pitch comes, and I am still in the "okay, get ready" position as the ball hits the pad behind me. Next pitch, and at least I swing the bat this time. "Keep your eye on the ball," I tell myself as the fourth pitch comes out of the machine (yes, there was a third pitch, but it is over and done by the time I tell myself to watch the ball). I swing, and I managed to hit the ball. Now, before you get excited for me, let me just say that in the Majors, the catcher would have caught the foul-tip that really changed nothing of the trajectory of the ball....

Several pitches later, I do manage to hit one in a generally fair-like direction. For me, it's a homer, okay? Then, something strange happened... I watched, and swung, and missed... repeat... (Yes, much like washing your hair). At some point, I just wanted the dumb thing to QUIT pitching! Later, the kid who runs the cages offered me a free token (10 pitches) if I would stand in the fast (90-95 mph) baseball cage. I told him I would be happy to STAND in the cage, but that if he expected me to hit anything, he'd be better off playing the lottery..... :-)

And, yes, I did try my hand at the slow pitch baseball, and hit every pitch, many of them really were homers... But, really, it's hard to be excited when your 11-year old son can do the same thing.... :-)

After the cages, we decided to grab a bite to eat and then we headed over to the mall, where they have a new black-light mini-putt golf course. Sounds fun, right? For about 7 bucks, you play one round.....of 27 holes.... Have you ever played a 27-round game with 4 kids, one of which is under 5!? And, we grownups didn't even PLAY! Greg and I 'supervised' while Michelle and Shan sat on the glowing seats talking.... It was a LOT of fun, really! But, after T-W-E-N-T-Y-S-E-V-E-N holes....even the kids were to the point of picking up the balls and dropping them into the holes... :-)

That reminds me - we stopped at Sonic after that and I got an Oreo Blast. I did not finish it all by the time we got home, and I think I put it in the freezer...I think it's still there...... :-)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Another one bites the dust....

Hollywood, CA - Natural disaster, Sanjaya, has claimed yet another victim. In a torrential downpour of lacking talent, Off-Key Disaster Sanjaya, managed to land himself in the middle three vote-getters this week. Having accomplished that, he forced Gina, Haley, and Phil into the bottom three spots. The latest victim of the Sanjaya train-wreck? Gina Glockson, the streak-haired rocker with the tongue ring in her mouth. Forecasters can only hope the disaster is on its way to moving out of the area.

Seriously, people.... Find something better to do than vote for Sanjie.... Walk the dog, wash your hair, eat a bowl of Cocoa Puffs... Anything...

At work, "other duties as assigned" has come to mean many things.... Outside light ballast changer, ceiling tile kilz sprayer, overhead fluorescent light bulb replacer, women's restroom wall panel measurer, and today I added mousetrap loader and setter. Over the course of my working life, I have acquired many skills not necessarily related to to the job or my education.... Then again, anything we learn is part of our education, huh? I suppose that makes me a jack-of-all-trades, or a jack-in-the-box, or a jack-a... nevermind... :-)

There was no stake-out at work today... No police vehicles parked next to my truck today. I don't know if that's a good sign or a bad one... I mean, cops are staking out the crack-house acrossed the street one day, and then not the next... Hmm...

Oh, by the way, Keith Richards is now saying the whole, "I snorted my Dad's ashes" was an April Fool's prank... Yeah, okay... Somehow, it's easier to believe it WASNT one than it was one........

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Idol, Legal, and he breathes dead people....

Simon Cowell's response to Sanjaya's performance was priceless: "Incredible." Deciding to take a 'reverse psychology' approach with America, Cowell was clearly disgusted with the ever-continuing presence of Sanjie...

In an effort to save some space (and save my fingers from the carpal tunnel syndrome-inducing repetition of hitting the DEL and END keys over and over and over again), I have only listed the singers - er, uh contestants - that are still in the running...

Idol Singer



























Chris R



Tonight was one of the coolest Boston Legal's ever... The flashback to Shatner in his younger days, integrating with the current storyline, was brilliant! My hats off to the BL folks!!

After work yesterday (before the 'spaghetti incident'), as I was leaving, there was a white Suburban parked next to my truck. I did not recognize the vehicle, and as I got closer, I noticed two cops sitting in it. Using my awesome powers of observing the obvious, I realized that these two guys were using my vehicle as a 'shield' to hide behind so that they could watch the house (implied 'crack' house) across the street. At first, I thought this was very weird.... But then, it dawned on me - a SUBURBAN was hiding behind my HEMI! :-) Yeah, it's big... :-)

Keith Richards snorted his Dad's ashes... I can see it now... "I breathe dead people...but only if they're relatives..." Apparently, during a brief period of lacking judgement, he mixed a bit of his Dad's ashes with some cocaine and sucked it all up his nose.... He says it didn't kill him... Well, DUH! Does he not know by now that the only two things to survive a nuclear holocaust will be cockroaches and Keith Richards!? Where has he been for all these ye....oh, right... nevermind... :-)

As for me, the only thing I ever snorted up the nose was.... Pixie Stix... Yes, the Kool-Aid in a tube.... Look, I was in 5th or 6th grade, and my friends and I had just finished off a whole tray of deep-fried doughnuts with some kind of icing dolloped on top.... So, we each grab a stick, empty the contents onto the table, rip off the other end, and... well... just try to imagine someone who is pretending to sniff cocaine... actually, from what I've seen of people who sniff, the initial reactions are about the same - sudden eye-popping, followed by a moment of realization that they just snorted something into their nose, quickly followed by severe nose-rubbing in an effort to get the burning sensation to quit.... Pixie Stix give you all of that.... without the addictive, hallucinating side effects.... I think....

My aunt suggested I write down the things that pop in my head throughout the day and then I'll have them to write about... I'll have to start doing that, or more accurately, start TRYING to do that... For a while, I kept a little notebook handy for when I wanted to work on my short stories... Really, it was just too much of a hassle... I even tried a mini tape recorder... Ever listen to yourself rambling about nothing? Wait a minute, maybe that's how Seinfeld got started....