Oct 31, 2008

Pet Peeves

A sales guy called me today. It was a scheduled call, so at least that was okay. During the hour-long conversation, he referred to me by my first name no fewer than 30 times (yes, I kept count after the first 6 or so). I can't stand that. Why use my name at all? Okay, maybe a couple times at the beginning, but after the first 5-10 minutes, let it go. By then, you KNOW with whom you are speaking! Tip for salespeople: QUIT using the potential customer's first name after the first five minutes!

A car has it's right turn signal on. The car approaches the road onto which the driver plans to turn. The driver STOPS the car completely before turning right. There are no traffic lights, no other cars, and no other traffic signs. QUIT IT! There is no reason that you have to come to a FULL STOP when making a right turn unless you are going too fast to make the turn, and even then, all you have to do is slow enough to make the cut! Drivers out there, MAKE THE TURN ALREADY!

"I'm a dork... I'm a dork... I'm a dork..." You know who you are... You're the one driving with that stupid turn signal on! And, yes, as I am driving behind you, I am thinking the whole time, "you're a dork... you're a dork... you're a dork..." because that is what you are telling other drivers. You are saying, "I'm a dork. I can't even tell that my signal has been on for the last five miles. I am a total dorkjob who really shouldn't even have a license. Yes, I hear that awful clicking sound, but I am ignoring it because I am too stupid to figure out where it's coming from and what it means." Seriously, people... How long have cars been around? Check your turn signal.

If you ask me for advice and I give it to you, at least have the decency to wait until I am no longer in earshot before asking thirty other people for the same advice. You came to me for a reason. I assume it's because you trust my opinion and advice related to the matter for which you approached me. I take my thoughts and advice seriously. If I am taking the time to give my two cents because YOU ASKED FOR IT, then you should have the courtesy not to question it once I've given it to you. If you wish to question my advice to you, please don''t bother asking me in the first place. It'll save us both time and energy.

After you've asked thirty other people for the same advice, do not come to me with all their opinions to question my advice. I gave you my advice. For whatever reasons you have, you questioned my advice and now have 29 other opinions. You're a grown-up, make your own decision. Now, if ALL those other people contradict the advice I gave you, sure bring it on and we'll talk about it. Otherwise, I have other things to do. Really.

Don't come crying to me when you did not follow the advice I gave you and everything went to pot. You asked. I listened and offered my advice. You went and did your own thing. You got screwed. Sorry. Nothing I can do there.... I'll offer you a tissue, though.

Okay, one last one for now. Don't ask me for advice or if you got a good deal on something AFTER you've already done it/bought it. It's too late. I get this all the time: "There's this computer... It has x, y, and z, and costs $xxx... I bought it. Was that a good deal?" Frankly, there is no right answer here. You already bought it. Nothing I can or will say is going to change that. Honestly, at that point, what difference does it make? Same holds true when you do something and then ask afterwards if it was a good thing to do or the 'right' thing to do. Does it really matter? It's too late... Now, I am not an animal. If you ask me about something you already did, I *WILL* give my opinion because you asked. Just know that it also comes with the obligatory, "...but it doesn't really matter what I say..."

Just a few things to think about...

Oct 30, 2008

Melissa Lawson Pics!

If you remember, I had said that Melissa Lawson performed the National Anthem during the Indians-Rangers game while we were there. Well, her husband, Rick, had left a comment letting me know that he had pictures of her singing during the game. We exchange info, and I hadn't heard anything back.

I decided not to write like some crazed fan, but instead to wait it out and see if anything ever came of it. And, my wait paid off!! Here are the pictures Rick sent of Melissa singing the National Anthem at the Indians-Rangers game during the time we were there!!

When Jhonny Comes Home Again

This was my entry into Thorzul's Halloween card contest. For those that don't know, Jhonny Peralta is a Cleveland Indian. Yes, he spells his name that way. He says his parents always told him that everyone else spells it wrong. When the contest came up, I knew in a flash that I was going to do a card based on "The Shining."

I was completely suprised that my entry took second place. After seeing the third place card, I thought I'd get Honorable Mention at best. I was very happy, and I am very greatful that my card came in second!

Of course, the first place winner blew everyone away. That means that next year, I'm really going to have to come up with something.....special.....

The Elementary School recently had their Honor Roll and Awards Day. Emily snagged all three honors! She was one of the "Top Accelerated Readers," she got on the Honor Roll, and she was a Good Citizen!! How awesome is that!?

top ar = pencil and wrist band
honor roll = mini basketball
good citizen = certificate and pencil

Not much tellin' what she was thinking here...

Happy Halloween! (not my pumpkin, just one I found online)

Oct 29, 2008

A good way to end the night...

You know, there is one other reason for not posting every day that I had forgotten about completely... How about the times when you cannot connect to the Internet. Wednesday night, everything seemed okay with the connection at the house. It was getting beyond the house that the problems started. So, after some basic troubleshooting, I decided to call Centurytel to see what was going on. Before I could even talk to a human, the recorded voice said, "As of 6:50 pm Central time on Wednesday, October 29, the entire state of Arkansas and Branson, Missouri, have no connectivity with DSL or dial-up. Technicians are aware of the problem and are working to resolve it."

Ummm, did they just say, "the entire state of Arkansas?" I would love to know what happened that causes a phone company to lose Internet access for an entire STATE! I thought maybe it was a fiber cut somewhere, which makes a little sense, but then again, our telephone service was still good, so that is highly unlikely. I would then have to assume that all of the state's Centurytel internet comes through one main box and that box died at a very inopportune time... That's just a guess.

No matter the "why" of it, the fact that it happened at all seriously stinks.

It is 8:45pm Central Time as I am writing this and it is still not resolved.

As I am typing, the Phillies just won the World Series... We had to wait two days because of weather, and about an hour after the game picked back up again, it's over.

Congratulations to the Phillies....

Shan and I watched "Biggest Loser" from the other night, and I have to say it was very touching to see the 20-year anniversary present between Phil and his wife (Amy?). And, at some time this evening (Wednesday), the Internet came back up again... That's a good way to end the evening...

Oh, and my submission for "Halloween-themed" baseball card came in second in a blog contest!! How cool is that!? I'll have to post the pictures of the card tomorrow. if you can't wait, you can see it here: Thorzul Will Rule

Waking up with a ... lukewarm shower?

I don't know how you get yourself going in the morning, but I prefer a nice HOT shower. I mean the water is generating enough steam to power a small boat. Well, okay, that reference may be a bit too old for some of you, but once upon a time, engines were powered by steam, not gasoline. I know it's hard to believe, but it's true.

In any case, I usually come out of thee shower looking like I just spent the day at the beach without sunblock. Yeah, melt away that top layer of skin... Ahhhhh....

There are two things that can make or break a hotel in my opinion, and believe it or not, they have nothing to do with the TV, the carpet, or even the bed. First of all, the shower head has got to be higher than I am. I cannot stand hotels where the shower head hits my chest at best. I am not tall by any stretch (heh-heh, unintended play on words there), but come on people... Put the shower head ABOVE my own head. The hotel where I am now - shower too low. The second thing is water temperature. Look, I know a lot of people are all "peace, love and many groovies" about saving water, saving trees, saving the planet, whatever. Me? I want a HOT shower. The shower here has a "governor" on it. It's not a low-temp thing, but rather seems to be a "when the temp gets too high, cut off the heat" thing. Just as the shower was getting a smidge above lukewarm, the hot water would fade to just above a cold shower. Then, I guess when the temp was low enough, the hot would kick back up again.

I dunno, maybe the hot water heater is going out or something.

I realize there much more important things going on in the world, but when one stays in a hotel, one has certain expectations, even if it means savinng the planet is put off for another half hour.

Oct 28, 2008

Where do the days go?

See, I can't even keep up with my post-a-day even after I chastise myself for not keeping up!

I'm in Little Rock today and tomorrow for an E-Rate training. What's E-Rate? Well, take a look at your phone bill. see that thing called a "USF" or "Universal Service" charge? Everyone has it. It was put into place in the 30's. Well, schools and libraries can apply for services and those collected funds are divvied up and sent out to the schools and libraries for things like discounted phone service, Internet access, routers, switches, etc. So, yeah, I'm learning how to make sure I follow all the rules as far as E-rate goes.

I dropped by Taco Bell for my free taco earlier this evening, how about you??

I suppose this is why posting once a day is difficult for me - I don't necessarily have much worth posting, I guess. Though, a burger joint down the road from here does have the Obama Burger and the McCain Burger. Maybe I should have stopped in there to see what the hullabaloo was all about.

The World Series was suspended Monday night because of rain, and evidently, the rains are not too willing to let the game continue. Though Game 5 was supposed to finish up tonight, there is still a lot of rain in Philly. The gurus have decided to continue the game on Wednesday. I figure if this keeps going, we'll have the World Series decided on Thanksgiving Day....

There was some kind of major child prostitution slave trade bust. Here's my complaint: Evidently 600 people were busted, but only 50 children were actually rescued... Sorry, but that's a horrid rate of return. What is going to happen to the children who now have no 'John'? They'll find another one, or another one will find them. This did very little to actually help the kids, from my vantage point. Don't get me wrong - 50 kids is 50 kids, and evidently 10 of them were on the missing children list. But, for every one of the adults busted, how many kids do you think they were prostituting? At today's rate of kids/adults, the FBI will have to arrest about 60,000 adults just to scratch the surface...

My thoughts and prayers go out to Jennifer Hudson and her family. It's so hard to believe something so tragic could happen to anyone...

A West Helena (Arkansas) man and a Tennessee man were arrested for conjuring up a plan to kill a bunch of people that would ultimately lead them to Obama. Seriously, what thought processes have to happen for TWO people to concoct something like that? I don't know much about the story, but I would have to assume they were friends somehow and not just two guys that found each other on Facebook, Myspace or some other social network... You have to wonder how many other folks are out there with similar thoughts against ANYONE else... Things are definitely getting strange. Well, okay, things like this have been going on since before Lincoln all the way back to Cain and Abel. Welcome to the world, I guess.

Oct 25, 2008

Anne Pressly passes away

Ann Pressly was a local news reporter in Little Rock for the ABC affiliate, KATV. She had been viciously attacked in her home less than a week ago, and had thought to have been improving. We found out today that she lost her battle and has passed away.

The investigation itself is still in its early stages.

Pressly was only 26 years old. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends, and co-workers. She was a very entertaining and energetic part of the KATV family.

Oct 24, 2008

Missed it by that much...

And so it happened that less than a week from the "lofty goal" post, I have already missed my first 'every day' post. LOL. What happened? Well, nothing, really. The kiddos got out of school early, and the rest is history.

One of Tyler's teachers decided to put her students' responsibility to the test. She made it such that an assignment was due on a day the students not only got out early, but also on a day that the students were not even going to that class that day! It was up to each student to find a time to make sure they delivered their completed assignments during the day. Our little student didn't quite make it.

Of course, his thought process went like this: We didn't even have that class, so I couldn't turn it in. considering he is 13 and a boy who has recently discovered the world of girls, I can see that happening. So, after supper, we came back home to get the assignment from his folder, then I drove him back to the school to turn it in.

We have raised our child to be very polite. Sometimes he misses, but sometimes he is polite to a fault. He did not want to cut in front of the parents waiting in line for parent-teacher conferences in order to turn in his work. I explained that it was okay to excuse yourself and simply explain that he would be only a minute while he turned in an assignment.

As it so happens, several students had not turned in their work by the deadline. Because the deadline was actually ANYTIME during the day, and since the teacher was there late for the conferences, Tyler will get full credit for turning in his work.

I think the idea behind what the teacher wanted was a good one - teach responsibility. I do not know if she actually ever told the students that they would have to find a time to turn in the work since they would not have class that day. I would hope she told them, but if she didn't, I think she missed a key component.

You can expect students (or anyone for that matter) to be responsible, but children need to be TAUGHT what it means to be responsible. Often, we adults assume the children know what to do because WE know what to do. They just don't though. At some point in our lives, we had to learn what to do, and the same thing with them.

Sometimes, the child DOES know what it means, from previous teaching/experience and still does not act responsibly. In those cases, the child must be re-educated. sometimes that requires a little more 'application' than others. But the truth is, adults sometimes need a little re-education in responsibility, too...

I guess we never stop learning...and re-learning...

Oct 22, 2008

Trickin and Treatin

Over on my Indians baseball card blog, I'm giving away baseball cards to anyone that knocks on the door and says "Trick or Treat." (link)

The picture above is of the first set of boxes I sent out to my Halloween trick-or-treaters. As you can see, I had some help with the decorating! :-)

Well, I had my first co-op area tech meeting today. I had a GREAT turnout! I honestly wasn't sure how many techs would come because we've had low numbers in the past. I was excited that I had nearly every district show up.

I try to be focused when it comes to the meetings I'm in charge of running. I sent an agenda to the techs and to their Superintendents. I wanted everyone to know that we weren't just up here shooting the breeze, killing time, pulling the techs away from the districts. We covered some issues related to what's happening at the state level, web site requirements, questions and issues each tech was facing locally, and other related topics.

The best part of all was the active participation of the techs. If you've ever had to sit through a meeting, you know that often, everyone sits around and no one offers input. Well, everyone contributed.

When I told my director about the meeting, she asked if I bought the group lunch. I told her that I didn't know I could. She let me know that rules, and I will be buying the techs some lunch in the future for sure!!

It's been a long time since I've a hosted a meeting that felt as helpful and as productive as this one. I've hosted meetings in recent years, but for whatever reason, I just couldn't get my 'stuff' together enough to make those seem worthwhile. I think those days are behind me. We'll see next month.

Do stores have their Christmas stuff out where you are? Several places around Hope are already sporting Christmas trees in the store windows. I love Christmas as much as the next person, but isn't the fact that it is not even HALLOWEEN something that should throw up a red flag or two? I mean, shouldn't there be some kind of law or regulation against putting up your Christmas decorations before you even have your Halloween ones up? I'm just sayin...

The World Series starts tonight! At the time of this writing, the Phillies are leading 2-0 in the top of the 2nd inning. I'm pulling for the Rays.

Oct 21, 2008

Dave's not here, maaaan...

Are you old enough to remember Cheech and Chong? If so, do you have enough brain cells left that you actually *DO* remember them? Oh, sure they have been in various movies as of late, though usually as vocals for animated figures.

The reason I ask the question goes back to the title of this post. During an email discussion at work today, someone had sent out the obligatory "Is Anybody out there?" message that often follows some kind of network-related issue at one of the schools. In this case, the message sender could SEND to the state list, but not RECEIVE from it. Go figure.

My response, of course, was the ever-popular, "Dave's not here, maaaan." This was followed by several responses in which we (that is, those old enough to remember the routine) post much of the routine.

The observation I made to a couple of the responders was something akin to: So, how many techs on this list even know what we're talking about!? We decided there would be at least a dozen (out of about 300) that DID know...

Do all generations go through this? The realization that the things you knew as a kid are fading quickly from the general pop culture? Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Howie Mandel with long curly hair, Richard Pryor, Jonathon Winters... Do any of these names ring a bell? I hope so. If not, look them up on YouTube. Just be sure you're wearing your Depends.... (You'll laugh until you pee your pants - for those not quite getting the reference)

Oct 20, 2008

Saw V - it ain't Friday the 13th...

Were you around when Friday the 13th, Part 4 came out? How about Part 3-d? Ever see Nightmare on Elm Street III, IV, or twenty-nine? Hey, there's always Halloween 3 with the goofy music and killer masks...

What have you noticed about those sequels? generally, they sucked eggs big time. Come on, you know it's true. The longer the franchises run, the worse the movies get. Even Scream succumbed to sequel-Hell.

So, why is it that we are now into the fifth installment of the SAW series, and yet nothing seems played out? Is it because each 'episode' leaves things unanswered? Is it because they are necessarily in chronological order? Is it because the Jigsaw 'puzzles' are just so 'homegrown,' it feeds on some our most primal fears?

Honestly, I don't know. All I know is that I haven't enjoyed 'horror' movies for a long time, and Saw changed all that for me. I'm looking forward to watching Saw V on DVD when it comes out, for sure.

It ain't Friday the 13th, that's for sure.

Shopping without purpose

Generally speaking, I hate shopping without a purpose. But, every once in a while, I do it just to remind myself how much I hate doing it. Why? I have no idea, just something I do.

Today, I went to the doctor to have my stitches removed. Let me tell you, if you have never had it done before, it is a much simpler procedure than getting those things IN was! :-) The skin we had biopsied turned out to be a combination of sun exposure (no cancer) and an severely infected hair follicle. So, let this serve as a warning to you folks - check your follicles. If they are left untended, you may wind up face-down on a cold table with the doctor slicing open your leg... I'm just sayin...

After the doctor's appointment, I ran to the post office to mail off the first batch of my "Tribecards Trick-or-Treat" giveaway boxes. On the way home, I stopped in at the new Dollar General store we have in town. We've had one for years, but this is the NEW one that was just built to replace the old one.

Why? Because I had not been in there yet, and evidently I needed to remind myself that I hate shopping without a purpose.

Do they Dollar Generals where you live? These are not "Everything's a Dollar" or "Dollar Tree" stores. These are like a step down from K-Mart. I suppose they are a step sideways from Fred's, if you are familiar with those. If not, well, I can't think of what else it might be like. Think cheap, discount items.

I picked up a Razorbacks air freshener for my truck (which I needed) and a M&Ms ice cream cookie sandwich (which I didn't need). I walked around the store for about 15-20 minutes and that was the fruit of my labor. Well, I did work my leg some, so I guess that's always good, right?

I do not have to have a list when I go shopping, but a REASON for being there is a huge plus.

Oct 19, 2008

The lofty goal

I know I can't speak for ALL bloggers, but from my own experience and from reading several other bloggers' posts, one goal we often set for ourselves seems easily attainable yet often meets with great difficulty. What is that goal? APAD. Wait, no, not one of my favorite baseball blogging sites, "A Pack A Day," but rather, the goal is A Post A Day. That is, many bloggers I know set out to post at least one thing every day. I mean, come on, how hard could it be to come up with one entry in a day?

Have you seen the dates of my posts? For example, even this post is a good 2-3 days after the last one.

What happens that the goal is often left floundering on the floor, gasping for breath? Lots of things.

I'd say, for me, the number one is life in general. I mean, there's the day-to-day things that have to be done and it's just 'too hard' to get in a post, even a short one, after you've spent all your energy just getting yourself to the point you feel like you could put your butt in the bed. But, even I have to admit that there are times I'll be up until 3am and yet not post anything.

So, again for me, the second thing stopping is me is my own ability to become easily distracted away from posting - whether checking other blogs, playing online games, updating my Facebook, whatever. Stopping to jot down a few thoughts just never crosses my mind.

The closest I've come to posting every day for an extended period of time was during my scratch-off tourney on tribecards. And, admittedly, it took a lot of discipline to achieve that. But, there were two factors that kept me posting nearly every day during that time: 1) it was fun, and 2) people were counting on it (or i felt like they were, anyway).

Frankly, sometimes writing is just not 'fun,' especially if you feel like you have nothing to contribute to the overall scheme of things. I think that is probably the number one reason why blogs fail to begin with. People start them out and it's fun, but soon life makes posting 'not fun.' But, the second issue weighs pretty heavily into things as well. I mean, even though blogging is a form of personal expression (even professional blogs require that personalization or else we would be reading the newspaper), many bloggers would like to know that folks are relying on their posts and input.

The latter does not play so much into my posting on here because I know there are at least a handful of folks who check it out every night,, just to see what randomness has leaked out of the space between my ears.

Several bloggers I know have recently committed themselves to posting something relevant and/or worthwhile every single day. I hope they succeed, and I wish them well!!

Speaking of lofty goals, what the heck is up with the Tampa Bay Rays!?! How hard is it to win just one more stupid game!? I am posting this while Game 7 of the division series is being played. Seriously. They were 7 outs away. Now, they are a lifetime away. Look, I am not a rays fan, but after last year's thrashing of the Tribe, I am for anyone playing against the Red Sox. Just keep them out of the World Series...

Did you know that SingStar is releasing a COUNTRY version on October 28!?? Can you say WAHOO!!? Yeah, buddy! We went out to the website to get the lowdown on the 30 tracks in the game, and I can promise there is going to be some seriously awful karaoke going on around here in about two weeks!!

Stay tuned tomorrow... Maybe I'll set that lofty goal for myself just to see how long it lasts... :-)

Oct 16, 2008

Some serious baseball

So, I'm sitting here surfing the web, playing games, checking blogs, and the BoSox/Rays game is on. The Rays were killing the Sox when I turned on the TV. It is now 11:20CST and the game is friggin TIED in the bottom of the ninth!

I've seen awesome homers and horrendous errors. Basically, I've seen one kickin ballgame!

The Red Sox just won the game... Never count the Red Sox out until the very last out of the very last game... I know that from last year's stunning series over the Indians...

Of course, this means the Rays can take it to the World Series at home. It would be cool for them to head to the World Series by winning at home. Guess we'll see on Saturday!

I spent the day Thursday at work battling spam again. I don't know what's going on there, but I think I am starting to get frustrated with the software we use. We use Sophos PureMessage. At my previous employer, I was using GeeWhiz/GWAVA for Netware/Groupwise, and I liked how much control *I* had over things. Sophos isn't quite as free with their product...

On Friday, I will be in the office myself since the clerk and John will both be out. I am thinking about a couple big projects that I might tackle while the office is empty. I would love to surprise everyone and rearrange the office, but with my recent biopsy, that's probably not a good idea... :-) Guess, I'll just wait and see what the day brings.

Every so often, rumors come up about another 4-door Corvette... The last "real" one was in 1980, but others have hopped theirs up to create them. While I think the idea behind a 4-door 'Vette is kinda neat, I don't think it makes much sense from a practical standpoint.... But, you just never know.... The rumors are flying around the net again... Who knows.

Oct 15, 2008

$20 every 15 years...

The last time I went to a casino, Shan and I went with a group of friends from college. If memory serves, we were either still in college, or had pretty recently graduated. To put that in perspective, I graduated from college (Bachelor's anyway) in 1993... Yeap, the last time any casino scarfed up my twenty bucks was about fifteen years ago. What's that, like $1.30-something a YEAR!? Guess the joke's on them... Or was anyway...

Monday night, after a day filled with setting up and configuring an Apple Xserve, the guys all decided to drive across the bridge into Mississippi to throw around some of our big, bad moolah. I walked in and hit the jackpot right off!!

Oh, no, my bad. That was the ATM. I took out twenty bucks. Yeah, I know, BIG spender here, fellas. One of the other guys went up to the counter to get a Player's Card. He also got a free buffet since he was a new member. Free food! Sweet! I handed my driver's license over to the lady behind the counter, and she took enough information to walk away with my identity had she been so inclined to impersonate a middle-aged, balding white guy. She took one look at the picture and handed my card back to me. Evidently, I did not have to worry about ID theft as far as she was concerned.

After she made my card, she asked me if I wanted the free buffet that came with the card. Did I *WANT* the buffet!? Surely this was a trick question... Maybe if I answer "NO," I get to walk away with the super jackpot... Buffet... Jackpot... Free food.... Taxes.... I went for the food.

Before we ate, I stuck my $20 into one of the slot machines along with my Player's Card. If you are not familiar with the way these cards work, you actually earn points by LOSING at slots and video poker. The more you lose, the better the prize you can earn. Seriously. Well, let's just say I started earning my points right away. I burned through that twenty pretty quickly, even switching machines twice just to try and find the "hot" machine. Heh-heh... Evidently, I am the "Ice Man" when it comes to slot machines.

We all met up at the buffet and I have to say that it was actually pretty good. They had a nice salad bar, plus stations for different kinds of foods. Cajun-spiced stuffed bell peppers, grilled catfish, shrimp, steak, pizza, you name it just about. My favorite was the Blue Bell ice cream station - waffle cones, ice cream, toppings... oh, yeah...

We all sat around digesting our supper and shooting the bull about everything from podcasting to the election to motorcycling. After about an hour of BSing, we got up and went our separate ways inside the casino. The guy I drove with (Jeff) and I watched two other techs play the slots. Leon was doing well, which means he may have been getting cash in his pockets but he was not racking up any points on HIS card! :-) I think I'd rather have the cash in my pocket.

So, roughly fifteen YEARS after the last time I stepped into a casino, I left this one having spent the same amount of money as I did back then. I'd say that's serious value for the money...

Oct 14, 2008

To Hel(ena) and Back (Drive-by shootings)

I had a meeting and Apple Server training in Helena, Arkansas, over the past two days. Helena is about three and a half hour drive from Prescott... It was a LONG trip up and back (I stayed overnight Monday night). When I set out, I knew it would be a great time for a few drive-bys:

Mother's Cookies... GONE!?!?

Mother's Cookies shut its door for the last time around October 9, 2008. To many folks, this might not mean much. To me, it means the end of the beloved animal cookies with the little sugar 'pills' on them:

These were NOT just icing covered animal crackers. These were actual COOKIES. They are delicious. Keebler has a knock-off, but in my opinion, they are no where near the quality and taste of the Mother's variety.

I am saddened by this news. I better go online and buy up the supplies I can find and freeze them...

Oct 12, 2008

Making Money for Blogging and Writing in general

I've got AdSense ads on here. See them on the right side of the screen when you scroll down? Aren't they pretty? Well, so far, that's all they've been good for - decoration. I know it's hard to believe, but I do not get paid to blog. The posts you find on here are things that have occupied the space between my ears at some point during the day. Sometimes, those things stay in there and rattle around for a while before they come out in the form of written words, and other times, the words just come out without so much as a pitstop between the keyboard and my logical processors (which I'm sure explains a whole lot!).

In the world of baseball card blogging, there is a huge controversy over whether card bloggers should accept items from card companies in exchange for the writer reviewing the 'free' products. I'm not going into all the details. Feel free to poke around some of the baseball card blogs for yourself if you'd like to see the chasm being formed and the people who are building the bridges that hold things together.

Why do some people get paid to blog their thoughts and other people don't? Sometimes, it's a work-related thing. For example, some companies expect their employees to blog about what's happening. Some CEOs blog about their company, and in a way, they get paid for it (vladville.com). I suppose in a way, I get paid to blog on the site we set up at work (techblog.k12.ar.us). But, really, I don't get paid specifically to write out my thoughts. I get paid to do my job, part of which may or may not include jotting down my thoughts on that blog.

I think some people are starting to get their panties in a wad about the whole money-making thing. I guess my question is this: WHY did you start blogging in the first place? Did you start doing it for fun? To inform? To make money? If you started writing with the intention of pulling in some greenbacks and you aren't pulling any in, then you may want to re-evaluate your posts.

Of course, I am one of those people that believe services like AdSense are actually a waste of time anyway. To me, it's like pop-up ads - no one really clicks those things and if we had a choice, we'd much rather all those pop-up, pop-under, fly-in ads would just go away.

Am I jaded because I am not making any money from my ramblings? Not at all. When I started jotting down my thoughts, my only intention was to spew out the thoughts I had, sharing them with the world at large - or at least anyone who cared to read them.

The only thing I have not done yet is to post my actual pieces of short fiction. Why not? Am I afraid people will tell me what a hack writer I am? Nope. I write short stories for myself, or because I was assigned the task for some college class way back when. Rather, I do not post those because I don't trust intellectual property rights. If someone takes many of the ideas I kick out here and runs with them, I'm not really worried about getting credit or not. I mean, don't get me wrong, if it came down to it, I'd fight any jerk that flat out stole my ideas and did not give me the credit I deserve. But, with my works of fiction, I see things a little differently. I just have this mental image of someone taking what I wrote, making just the right changes, and then cashing in on my blood, sweat, and tears.

Could I sell my short stories? Maybe. Have I tried? No. Why not? Do I fear rejection? Not really. I mean, if I send out the stories and everyone turns them down, I could easily live with that. But, if they DON'T reject them? What if they're received well and then the publishers want me to write MORE stories? And, then what if I don't have any more in me? Or if the ones I do have in me flat out suck?

Oh, I know, many people may say, "Dude, if you can cash in on some, then do it! Be a one-hit wonder! Who cares!?" To that I say, "You're right." And, every six months or so, I look into submission addresses for my stories, and I even think about submitting them. But, I never do. Will I? Maybe.

And, yes, I know there are authors, writers, etc that write online and feel perfectly fine doing it. I'm just not there yet... :-)

And, somewhere I had a point... But I'm afraid I lost it a turn or two back... LOL!

Oct 10, 2008

Okay, so I'm NOT a big baby... sue me.

If you read yesterday's randomness, you saw that today i was having "a growth" removed from the back of my leg. I may or may not have said exactly where it was, but now you know... Upper thigh, to be precise.

I have hairy legs. It's just one of those facts of life. Surgical procedures on my legs require the area be "cleansed" of all follicular obstruction. Yes, shaved. So, the nurse shaved an area... Oh, wait, I am getting ahead of myself here. First, the nurse had to dress the area so that I would not have betadyne or whatever it is running all over my shorts and my legs. This entailed medical tape. Not the good kind that just peels off, mind you, but rather the kind that likes to be used in professional hair-removal storefronts at the local malls. We'll get back to that later - the tape, not the malls.

After the protective coverings are SECURELY in place, the nurse grabs a razor and shaves an area for the procedure. This doesn't go too badly, however, she does manage a few nicks. I am convinced this was intentional. As I am laying there face down on the table, I can feel my skin burning a little from the shaving, especially where there is razor burn. Do you know what comes next after a fresh shave in a surgical site? How about we throw a little rubbing alcohol into the mix? How's that feel?

HOLY CRAP! My leg is on fire. It's a good thing I wear glasses, or else my eyes would have popped themselves right out of my head and onto the floor. I have applied aftershave following a facial shave, but to have alcohol poured onto a freshly shaven area that I cant see!? WHOA BUDDY! The nurse said, "Sorry to add insult to injury there..." Uh, huh. I'm sure.

Just about the time that starts to cool off, the doc says he's ready. In order to cut off this "thing" growing out of my leg, I'm going to need local anesthesia. That means a shot. No, it means several shots! Just south of my butt cheek, thank you. HOLY CRAP! The needle wasn't bad. The stuff INSIDE the syringe was horrible! And, to top it off, it wasn't one of those 'put it in, take it out and put it in somewhere else, repeat' kinds of things... Oh, nooo... This was one of those 'put it in, inject liquid fire, wait 30 seconds, repeat once. Then, move the needle and do it again...' At one point, the nurse gently reminded me to breathe. I had to be TOLD TO BREATHE!! Frankly, I was all for passing out right there, thank you very much. Just let me lose consciousness and wake me up when it's over, thanks.

I have to admit, once all that was done, I didn't feel anything he was doing back there. I could tell by the movements he was making that he was cutting circles, though not sure how deep, and removing....stuff... But, all in all, not bad.

After the procedure came time for stitching me up. Again, everything was going well, and throughout the whole procedure, the doc would ask if I could feel anything back there. I could not. And then...

HOLY CRAP! What was that!? Someone just pushed a pencil through my leg! I conveyed the fact that I felt something to the doc. Let's just say he did not need to be convinced that I could, in fact, feel whatever was going on back there.

He said, "Okay, just a sec...can you feel that?" I couldn't. Evidently, he still a little juice left in the bottle and he used it up on that spot.

Once that was all over, the nurse had to remove the protective coverings... You know, the ones that were securely fastened to my legs by gluing themselves to my leg hairs with the tape she provided? Yeah... She said, "Okay, I'm just going to pull this tape off. I'll just yank. Are you ready?"

Why do people ask you questions if they aren't going to wait for a reply?

HOLY CRAP! The tape was attached to the inside of my leg and across the 'top' at about the place my rear end becomes my leg.

I told the nurse that I knew they had this all planned out - cause pain, wait for patient to recover slightly, cause more pain, wait, repeat... It's quite a racket they have going there.

You would think that would be the end of things, right? Wrong. You see, it's time for flu shots.... yay me.... Just about the time I am getting over the fact that I've been sliced, diced, and defolliculed, the nurse comes in and says, "Okay, which hand do you write with?" In the future, I am going to ask why she needs to know that. Some shots go in the arm you use more and others in the arm you use less. I am going to make sure that ALL shots go in my left arm. Period. I use my right arm. I need it. I don't want it to be sore when I need to use it. Like for driving myself home, or for lifting a drink from Sonic. You know, important things...

And so, the growth (which will be biopsied) was removed from the right side of my body. I got a flu shot in my right arm. And, my right upper thigh/lower buttock is missing several miles of hair. All in all, not a bad trip to the doctor...

Of course, when compared to the vasectomy, this was like stubbing a toe...

Oct 9, 2008

Too much talking and a Golden Arch

I spent the day at one of my schools today, trying to help them knock out some work orders.

When I am working on a specific task, I am generally very focused on that task. I don't mind being interrupted from time to time, but I am on-task and I am trying to get things done. Evidently, not everyone shares that point of view.

One of the techs I was working with talked just about the whole time we were working. To be fair, a lot of what he said was very worthwhile. My only real issue was that while he was talking, we weren't necessarily getting things done...

For example, I arrived at the technology building around 9:00am. We did not actually get to the school that needed help until nearly 10:00am, mostly due to kibitzing. We left around noon for lunch, only having accomplished about half of the goal for the day. After lunch, we stood around as even more talking was going on until we rode back over to the school to finish up.

In my mind, I pictured knocking out 8-10 work orders. We managed to knock out 2 (possibly 3 if the two laptops were listed in separate issues - I have no idea). Granted, one work order was to install and set up six new computers and LCDs that were still in boxes. No matter how you cut it, setting up new computers is time-consuming. There is no thinking involved for as many as I have done over the years, but you cannot really get around the time involved unless you have more bodies to divide and conquer the task.

I plan on going back again whenever I can put it on my schedule. Why would I do that? Because they are still way behind, and even though I was disappointed with just two (or three) work orders getting finished, that was two more than they had been able to do.

And, even if there was too much talking, I had fun. :-)

I'm just going to say it and get it over with.... On Friday, the 10th, I've got a skin biopsy on my leg. There's some kind of something on the back of my leg, just a little something, that the doctor wants to cut off. Yeah, I don't do well with things like that. I'm not a BIG baby about it, but I am a little baby about it.

I have an intense fear of needles. And, that's not exactly right... It's the memories of my childhood when a nurse stuck me with a needle and could not get a vein. Instead of removing the needle, she dug around in the crook of my arm until she was satisfied. She tore up parts inside my arm I didn't even know I had.

So, on Friday, the doc (or nurse, really) is going to stick a needle in my leg so that I won't feel them cutting out the thing back there. I'm sure it'll be fine. Really....

One of my favorite pictures from our St. Louis trip in 2007. We were on a boat and I noticed the sun was getting into the perfect position. I snapped pictures until I got the shot I wanted:

Oct 8, 2008

More Random Thoughts

I watched "1408" tonight while Shan and the kids were at AWANA at church. In the movie, John Cusak's character lays a White Sox hat on the bed (or table or whatever). That made me flash back to "Stand By Me" in which John Cusak's character puts a hat on his kid brother's (Gordy) head. It was a Yankees cap. For the sake of fun carry-overs, it would have been cool if he would have had a NY cap in "1408," too... Oh well, maybe it's just me... :-) I like things like that. Kinda like the red and yellow ball that makes a cameo in all of Pixar's movies...

I haven't played around on a Netware server much since leaving my job in Camden, AR, several years ago. On top of that, I haven't messed with DHCP set-up on a Netware server in an even longer time. Basicall, once DHCP is set up, you never touch it again... Well, today, I helped a school change out their DHCP address range because they had run our of IP numbers for their computers.

One of the things I love about my job is that my skills are always being tested, honed, brought back from the deepest recess of my mind. Tomorrow (Thursday), I am heading to Texarkana to help their tech folks plow through more than 300 work orders they currently have outstanding. I have a feeling I'll be running ragged, testing all kinds of skills. :-)

Slider, the Indians mascot, was inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame on September 28, 2008. Yes, you read that correctly - there is a Mascot Hall of Fame. It covers all sports and was started up in 2005. And, of the mascots inducted, Slider is one of only four MLB mascots! The others are the San Diego Chicken, Mr. Met, and the Philadelphia Phillie. I'd say Slider is in some VERY good company!

"The Biggest Loser" has been pretty good so far. There have been some very touching stories, and this group of folks seem like some of the most 'regular' group I've seen. They don't do all their homework, they don't always eat right, they're pretty much like most folks, I think. It's been very educational and entertaining. Maybe it'll translate into me getting off my butt to reduce the size of my own spare tire...

In case I haven't said it lately, Shan is doing GREAT with her own exercise! She looks great (of course, I have always thought she did anyway) and is happier than I have seen in a while. I am VERY proud of her and for her!! Way to go, Baby!

Oct 7, 2008

45 Odd Things About Me

We got one "those" email quizzes. I figured I would just go ahead and share my answers with the world... Of course, since many of you know me, you could probably come up with 45 of your own odd things about me!

Here we go:

1.. Do you like blue cheese salad dressing? You lost me at "Blue Cheese..."

2. Have you ever smoked heroin? No, but I had a friend that smoked a herring...

3. Do you own a gun? Not even a super-soaker... How sad is that?

4. Your favorite drink at Starbucks or other specialty? Not a 'specialty' kind of drinker. Though in my college days, my specialty was Jack-n-Coke...

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Only when I haven't studied for the urine test.

6. What do you think of hot dogs? They've got a good beat and you can dance to them.

7. Favorite Christmas song? I'm gonna E-Mail Santa. Or Merry Christmas from the Family. Both are holiday classics... Oh, wait, Bob and Doug's 12 Days of Christmas!

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? I prefer to drink in the sunrise.

9. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? The Hope Diamond would be nice, then I could sell it on eBay...

10. Favorite hobby? Do you have to ask? Indians Baseball Cards. Always.

11. Do you have A.D.D.? Only when I don't S.U.B.T.R.A.C.T.

12. What's one trait that you hate about yourself? My hair. That's why I am getting rid of it, slowly over a long period of time...

13. Evidently 13 is unlucky... It was removed... Supposedly it had something to do with being 13 yrs to the day that OJ was acquitted from his other trial for murder.

14. Middle name? Are you asking if I have one? Need one? Want one?

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment? Is this a trick question? What if I don't have three thoughts? Is that a dog barking I hear?

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Coke, YooHoo, and, um.... wait, don't tell me... um... Sweet Tea?

17. Current worry right now? That I won't finish this thing before tomorrow.

19. Favorite place to be? Where everybody knows my name... And they're always glad I came...

20. How did you bring in the New Year? With a pickup truck and a flat-bed trailer. We just threw the old out into the field with the cows...

21. Do you like to travel? Only when the ref doesn't catch me at it.

22. Name three people who will complete this? Complete this what? Sentence? Life? Life sentence?

23. Do you own slippers? Um, no.

24.What color shirt are you wearing? It was cream-colored, but now is polka-dotted with picante sauce from Sonic.

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? I like sleeping anywhere, anytime, on just about any thing.

26. Can you whistle? You just put your lips together and blow...

27. Favorite color? Blue, Yellow/Gold, Red, White, and Black. That's one, right?

28. Would you be a pirate? Only if I could make at least the league minimum, though I'd much rather be an Indian...

29. What songs do you sing in the shower? Where is my hairbrush!?

30. Favorite girl's names? Yes. They are.

31. Favorite boy's names? Most of them are, yes.

32. What's in your pocket right now? I can't print that on here...

33. Last thing that made you laugh? My own answers to some of these questions. How sad is that? That I laugh at my own odd answers?

34. Best bed sheets as a child? Star Wars. It was perfect for using the characters as houses and the space between them as roads for Hot Wheels/Matchbox cars.

35. Worst injury you've ever had? Let's see... Nearly losing a toe over a spider bite... Having a hydrocel removed... Getting fixed... No, it would have to be the time my parents put a whole bucket of dechlorinator into a blow-up swimming pool, causing my brother and I to be rushed to the hospital for chemical burns... Yeah, that would be the one...

36. Do you love where you live? Yeap! Out in the boonies where I can see stars at night and animals in the day. A short drive and be surrounded by some of the coolest technology at work. Close to family, close to friends.

37. How many TVs do you have in your house? I quit counting at four.

38. Who is your loudest friend? I can't put that in print... I would like to keep the friends I have, you know.

40. Does someone have a crush on you? It'd be handy if my wife did, but I think that varies with my level of oddity and nerdiness...

41. What is your favorite book? Okay, I gave up after three solid minutes of thinking. My brain hurts.

42. What is your favorite candy? Mallow Cups.. Milk Duds... Clark Bars! Dang, I am in no way just picking one... My answer is "ALL"

43 Favorite Sports Team? Baseball - You really should know the answer to this. Football - You really should know the answer to this. Hockey - You really should know the answer to this. I guess my answer is, "You really should know the answer to this."

44. What were you doing 12 AM last night? Surfing the web during a thunderstorm. Yeah, I'm a tech guy, what of it? :-)

45. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up this morning? I should be exercising with Shan... Is this Friday? Tuesday!? Dang.

Oct 6, 2008

A conversation with my son...

This morning, like most mornings, I drove Tyler to school. Usually, we spend the time listening to tunes on the iPod and keep conversation to a minimum. I am not much of a talker and Tyler received his lack for abundant linguistics from me. Shan and Emily, on the other hand, share the gene that allows them to talk about anything and everything. To tell the truth, I wish I had some of that myself.

This morning, however, Tyler and I were in rare form. We talked about random things, but I brought up the concept of "a finite number of words." I don't know if anyone has thought about this or not, and right now, our internet is so wonky I am not going to try and research it, but what if every person is allotted a certain number of words they are 'supposed to' or are 'allowed to' say in their lifetime? What if the reason some people are talkers and others are not is because the talkers are using the non-talker's words.

This is not a bad thing, but more like, say, the 'sick bank' at work. At my work, we have a sick bank. Everyone donates (thus creating the allotted 'pool'), and people can use those days if they run out of their own. Or maybe it's like a family sharing plan for cell service. So, let's say each person gets a billion words in their lifetime. One person doesn't talk much, so they only use 500 million words (I have no idea how many words the average person speaks in a lifetime, I am just using round numbers here). Okay, so that leaves a SURPLUS of 500 million words floating out there. Well, if a talker uses 1.5 billion words, then it evens out. But what happens if a talker uses 1.6 billion? There is a 100 million word shortage! Someone has to account for those words, so maybe someone's life is cut short, or maybe they are afflicted with something that prevents them from speaking their share of a billion words.... ANd when the maximum number of allotted words for the history of the world is reached, that's when God steps in and says, "Okay, that's it. Your words are up."

Are you following me? Or are you sitting there with the same look my son gave me? The one that says, "Really? That's what runs through your head when you're driving down the road? Maybe you should focus more on driving..."

Oct 4, 2008

Photos by Emily

Emily went to TWO birthday parties on Saturday. On the way home from one of them, she grabbed the camera I had in the truck and started shooting... She took more than 150 pictures. I put a bunch of them online:

Oct 2, 2008

More Drive-By Shootings

Yay Me!

At work, we've been having random, sporadic email problems. That is, email has been randomly and sporadically NOT being delivered to our system. Now, this is going to get a bit techie, but bear with me and enjoy the ride.

The state of Arkansas provides our office with email anti-virus and spam-marking features for our email. If a messages comes into the state network (not like the whole 'state' but rather the state-owned network for K12, higher ed, etc), those messages are scanned for viruses. If there is a virus, the message is killed long before it reaches our local network. If the message is spam (or believed to be spam), it is marked as spam and sent on to our system for handling. In our case, if the state marks it as spam, we put the message on hold for review then pass it along if it is not spam or delete it if it is spam. So far, so good.

Ah, but it turns out there is another 'feature' that we were not told about. 'Greylisting.' The way this works follows these lines: Person A, who is not on the state network, sends a message to me at work. The state system has never sen that email address before, so it sends it back to the original mail system and says, "I've never heard of you. Are you for real?" The other mail system is then supposed to re-send the message and say, "Why, yes. Yes I am for real." They shake hands and the message gets passed on to our system for delivery. How nice.

Here's the problem: In some cases, when the state system sends the "Are you for real?" message, the other server says, "Yeah, and I don't feel like playing this game with you." It never sends the message back, and Person A is never told of this. Person A shows they sent the message. Our system never got the message. And therein lies the rub. I spent the better part of ALL (expletive removed) DAY convincing the people at the state level that THEIR system was screwing up. Now, I know, technically, it isn't THEIR system messing things up, it's Person A's email system because it refuses to play the game. Sorry, but I don't See where we should refuse mail outright unless the system is a known spam offender (called "blacklisted").

The solution? Once I was able to PROVE that their system never sent us the message, I simple request that we be taken off the state spam filter. We have our own spam filter, and having the state's was a nice cushion, but if that means losing emails because other system don't play the same game, then it's not worth it to me.

So, score one for me. Yay Me!

Centurytel called me today after I spent some time with their tech support people on the phone last night. Turns out the problems with our Internet access had nothing to do with MY modem. It was a network switch about seven miles down the road. When I was on the phone last night, I calmly explained to the young man that I had run numerous tests and knew for a fact that the problem was far beyond the walls of my humble abode.

When the telephone guy called, he said, "you know Bob, right?" I do. He is one of the phone techs and lives down the road from us.
"Yes," I said.
"Well, he told me that you were pretty sharp with computers and such, and that I could talk tech to you..." And he did, and I understood what he was talking about and I told him what I had told the customer service guy. he laughed and basically asked if I needed a job.. LOL!

So, score another one for me. Yay Me (again)!

My aunt made a great point about the bubbles in the hood stripe on my truck - "You can't see it from the stands!" She also said I should have called her for tips on how to install the stripe without bubbles. That is probably a good idea. I'll have to remember that next time I get this wild hair to do something like this... Like next week or so.. :-) I do know some of the things I "SHOULD" have done like G-O S-L-O-W-L-Y, but really, who has time for that? :-)