Nov 29, 2008

What I learned in the past few days

First of all, some people are stupid. No, I did not just learn that, but simply had it confirmed during the weekend. A temp worker at a Long Island Wal-Mart was trampled to death because he was TRYING to open the door to let stupid people -er, shoppers into the store. (story here) Seriously? Saving $20 on an iPod Shuffle was worth KILLING someone over? Then, the cops had to be called in because the shoppers refused to leave after they were informed they had KILLED A MAN! Every single one of the people that trampled that mans should face manslaughter charges. Period. I don't what reason they give. If you trample someone to death, you deserve to face the music. I understand the authorities are reviewing the tapes trying to figure out who was involved. I hope every single one of them is brought in. Frankly, I think they all ought to be put in a room and trample each other until one is left standing. That person can then be put in prison for life without parole, subject to weekly tramplings by the other inmates. But, that's just me.

I learned that getting Christmas decorations out during a rain storm (even if it was a light one) is really not the best idea in the world.

I learned that vinyl tablecloths make great padding and a nice barrier between wet storage boxes and laminated flooring.

I learned that farm animals are not too happy when someone shakes said tablecloths out the door late at night and begins to shake them vigorously. Man, does THAT make a lot of noise, which consequently seems to really tick off horses and cows, possibly the rabbits as well.

I learned that no one seems to sell inexpensive, non-foil Christmas stickers anymore. Foil? Yes. Cheap? No. Magic Motion? Yes. Cheap? No. Look, I just wanted some Santas and snowmen, okay? Just sayin.

I learned that a lot of other people went through a lot of the same things I did as a kid, and those people are now on Sirius satellite making a killing telling their stories.

I learned that I knew a lot more people in High School than I ever realized, judging by the things people wrote in my yearbook. Oh, before that, I learned that I had put my yearbook in a box that had been sitting in the closet for years.

I learned that "layered" does not always mean the same thing, depending on who is cooking one's Texas Cheese Fries at Roadhouse. Look, if you work at Roadhouse, please tell the cooks that layered means: fries, cheese, bacon, fries, cheese, bacon, fries, cheese, bacon. Really, it's not that hard.

I learned that having a 13-year old and a 6-year old spoiled me. We babysat our 18-month old niece this past week. She was an absolute riot and is a great baby. But, she is quite handful that was far too busy playing to take a nap and she wore us clean out. God gives babies to young people for a reason. Seriously, if you're 40 or close to it, think long and hard before adding a little one to your household. In fact, borrow one or two for a weekend as a test drive. Really.

I learned Emily can do some seriously amazing gymnastics and is far more flexible than any six-year old should be. On top of that, she likes to jump on the bed, do a split, land in the split position and yell out "Boo-Yeah!" That is just.... ouch...

I learned Tyler is about a whisker shorter than I am. He is growing so fast, he is going to be taller than 6-foot when it's all said and done, I'm sure...

I learned shopping doesn't matter as long as you enjoy the company you're with. Shan and I spent the whole day Saturday going from store to store and only once was I about to drop over. And, that was from the place being toooooo hot. Look, it's FIFTY DEGREES out people, you do not need the heat on in a store (or mall)!

I learned that the older I get, the smaller and lower to the ground a Corvette is...

I know I learned a lot more, but it's 10:30pm, and I'm wiped out...

Nov 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

It is officially Thanksgiving here in Central Time, USA. I wanted to take just a sec to let you know how much I appreciate you coming by to see what on earth is going to pop out of my head and onto these 'pages.'

A lot of times, those things really only make sense to me, but you come by here anyway, and some leave comments, and I am very thankful for that.

I am also thankful for my family, who have endured many things over the years and yet still loved me enough to keep me a part of their lives. I wouldn't be writing on here at all if it wasn't for my wife. Shan sees things in me that I will probably never see, and I am extremely grateful for that, and for her. I thank God for my children, who have contributed to my 'pattern baldness' I'm sure, but without whom I would be lost. I have two of the greatest kids in the world, bar none.

I am thankful for my Mother and brother and extended family. It took me a long time to understand the power of living so close to one's family, including in-laws. I have one of those non-typical relationships with my in-laws - no fighting or bickering. We all get along, even when I've got CRS... That's Cranial-Rectum Syndrome for those not familiar with the acronym.

As my family will tell you, I am not a sentimental guy. Every once in a while, I get bit by the bug, but for the most part, what's here today is gone tomorrow, and what has come and gone did so for a reason and that reason has been fulfilled. It's not always an easy trait to have to live with (or maybe a better phrase here would be 'live with'), but I am thankful that my loved ones do just that.

I am thankful for the people I know and the people I have known. That includes you reading this right now. I know some of you read because you want to see if I'll tell on something Shan has done, or the kids have done, but you may not be reading because you know who I am from Adam. I appreciate that you think of them enough to stop by and check in. I know some of you come by because we do know each other, have known each other for years, and you want to see what bone-headed thing I've done or what strangely connected thoughts might be running through my head. Thanks for reading along!

Some folks read here because I have this blog connected to other blogs I write (or contribute to), and I want to thank you for taking the chance on wandering off the path, coming here to see another side of who I am.

In a broader sense, I want to thank ALL of our Armed Forces. Each of you who serve are doing a wonderful thing for our country, whether we agree with the politics of it or not. I know it is so hard to be away from your families if you are serving overseas. Thank you for everything you have to sacrifice in order for the rest of us to enjoy the freedoms we have, including little things like writing down thoughts for the world to see. I also want to thank the families of those who are serving and those who have served. I know it is VERY difficult for you all, especially at holidays, and it means more than I could ever express that you stand by your family as they serve our country.

Happy Thanksgiving, from the bottom of my heart.

Nov 25, 2008

Clean Sweep, David style

Had I thought about it, I would have taken pictures. On Monday, our household held the annual "Red Up the Playroom" event. Yes, I've lived in Arkansas for nearly twenty years, but I still say "red up." It's a Pittsburgh thing. It means "clean up."

This year was different than in years past. This year, I told the kids that we were doing it "Clean Sweep style." If you are not familiar with the television program, let me fill you in. People have messy houses. A crew comes in, and empties the contents of a few rooms to be made over. The stuff in the rooms are placed in one of three piles: Keep, Sell, Trash. So that's what we did. The kids got to put anything they wanted into the "Keep" pile.

Shan had to conduct a training at school, and she was VERY worried that I was in charge of the cleanup. I know she was afraid that once I entered 'the zone,' I wasn't going to let the kids keep anything. I opted not to go that route and instead let the kids decide what they wanted to keep.

Everything else went into the "Sell" and "Trash." Oh, there is one catch. Once the entire room is done, the "Keep" pile must be cut in half. Well, that's how it works on the show anyway. At our house, I let them keep it all. Why? Because they worked their tails off and really thinned out the stuff in their playroom. I was very impressed.

So, what are we doing with the things that are in the 'sell' pile? Well, some of it is going to be listed on eBay and some of it is going to a local charity that takes clothes, toys, etc for needy families.

Now that the playroom is cleaned out and ready for this year's Christmas, I am going to work on the shed today (Tuesday) to see what else we can "sell, keep, or trash."

I know what you might be thinking: Dave is...CLEANING!? Voluntarily!? Yeah... Call it getting into the Christmas Spirit, I guess... :-)

Nov 23, 2008

Slow Learner

You may remember some time ago, I posted an entry regarding a field camera and blinding flashes.

You would think that little foray into troubleshooting would have rubbed off on me. Nope. Tonight (Sunday), I went to Mom's in order to troubleshoot her motion sensor outside light. I set the sensitivity, messed with the duration,, and the light just wouldn't come on.

i went into the house, turned off the light at the switch for a moment, flicked it back on and still nothing. I messed with the control a little more. I went back into the house and turned off the switch for a full minute then turned it back on.

I went out and began messing with the light housing, and POW! I was blinded. Then the light went out. I moved the sensor, and BAM! I was blinded again! I was quickly getting that feeling of Deja Vu!

After one last shot directly to my eyes, I was done. The light works now. It works just fine, thank you.

You think I'll remember this the next time I have to work on a lighted contraption? Yeah, me either....

I have to give a MAJOR CONGRATULATIONS to Shan!! She tried on clothes that have been packed away for years. These were her "when I lose weight" clothes. She tried on EVERYTHING, and every stitch fit great! In fact, some of her 'weight-loss' items were TOO BIG now!! She went from 'can't wear it yet' to 'gotta give it away because it's too big' in one fell swoop! AWESOME! I say 'fell swoop' but really, Shan has worked very hard for quite a few months to get where she is. She has WAY more willpower than I do! I am VERY proud of her!! WAY TO GO, BABY!!

Nov 22, 2008

Monkey Brains, part two...

My Aunt responded to my "Monkey Brains" post, but only gave me half a point because I did not call them 'monkey balls.' The way I even discovered what they were was because i did a search for "monkey brains tree" and read the results. I can only think that SOME people call them balls and others call them brains... I think maybe I get at least 1/4 credit back... :-)

The other thing she said was that the creek was near a house we used to play near as kids. I remember the house and the creek very well. But, that is not where I remember seeing the monkey brains. I remember them from a park where my Dad had been refereeing soccer games. So, maybe there is somewhere else that jogs your memory, Shar??

In either case, I had long forgotten about playing with Billy and Selene as kids... That was back before the woods were replaced by apartments, for sure!!

Farkleberry Tarts and Monkey Brains

Sometimes, weird things just pop into my head. No, I mean WEIRD things... On the way to work today, for no reason I can think of, I thought of Farkleberry Tarts. I know, weird right? I mean, I haven't heard of those for YEARS, let alone even thought about them... Then, suddenly, there they were. Now, I realize that 99% of the population of the world has no flippin clue what I'm talkin' about. Well, you see, back in or around the holiday season of 1971 in Pittsburgh, a radio host made an off comment about sending him some Farkleberry Tarts. From then on, it became both a tradition and an inside joke in the three-rivers area. Yes, there really is a thing called a Farkleberry that grows all over the southeastern US, and yes, people really do make desserts using the berries. But it was one of those things where the word was so bizarre that it took on its own life.

Now, be ready for another mind-blowing trip through the IADD world of my 'net-surfing prowess: On one of the blogs I read (Thorzul), the author posted a picture of a sticker he owned as a child. He asked if anyone knew what it meant or what it was. It was/is some Japanese writing. I had some time to kill at work (don't tell my boss... Oh, heck, go ahead and tell her), and so began my research. While researching this pair of Japanese symbols, I somehow managed to stumble on a Pittsburghese web site that listed all kinds of words I used to say while growing up! It was great! Well, f course, I started checking into Farkleberries, which led me to look into Monkey Brains. No, not REAL ones, but these:
List some words you found and talk about them...

This is actually often referred to as an Osage Orange. For obvious reasons, my brother and I called them "Monkey Brains."

I know what you're asking yourself: How does this guy go from researching Japanese symbols to monkey-brain-looking fruit!? I'm tellin' ya, it's a scary world between my ears.... Okay, so my brother and I would play at some park. The only thing I remember about the park is that it had a creek that had stone walls on either side of it for the most part, though there were lots of places that there was no wall. Growing along this creek were trees that beared this fruit. We were young and clueless, afraid to touch the 'monkey brains,' so we would kick them into the creek, while at the same time, try to get the other person to 'accidentally' touch it by kicking the fruit AT the other person... We liked to torture each other that way. I don't remember how we finally figured out that the 'monkey brains' were not only NOT brains, but that we could actually pick them up with no side effects whatsoever.

And now you're thinking, "So what was the Japanese symbol!? What did it mean!? Why does that guy call himself "Thorzul" anyway!?" Okay, maybe not the last one... Well, it turns out Thorzul always referred to his sticker as his "Karate Kid" sticker because it was, after all, Japanese, and that was the hot movie at time he found it (er, bought it). He knew more than he realized:

This is the symbol for "10,000 Ages." Okay... Well, that means something along the lines of "a long life" which, in turn is "Hurrah!" or ..... BANZAI! And, if you've ever had the occasion to watch the movie, you know that "BANZAI!" is yelled a lot throughout the movie. A LOT throughout the movie...

Ah, and so now you may be asking yourself one of two things: 1) What am I doing still reading this guy's crazy posts? or 2) So, what were some of the words from Pittsburgh and where do I find more?

If you are stuck at #1, there is very little I can do for you. I'm sorry, but you are going to die... Don't freak out about it. We all die eventually... I didn't say it would happen right now, or next week or anything... Yeesh...

As for #2... Well, I've been told many times I'm full of it... As it relates to this post, however, here ya go:
  • "Afuhgan" - Afghan/blanket. I remember sitting in my grandmother's house and asking if we could have an afuhgan like it was yesterday!!
  • "Alunamin" - Aluminum. LOL, oh my gosh. I read that and cracked up. That is EXACTLY how I used to say that word!!
  • "Arn" - Iron. You could "arn" your clothes or many people in Pittsburgh drink "arn" city beer (Iron City Beer).
  • "Bobos" Shoes (generic). Okay, Bobos were shoes that were super cheap, like canvas keds in the 80's... No one wanted to be wearin' bobos!
  • "Breffis" - Breakfast. Seriously. We said, "Can we eat breffis??" Man, that's funny!
  • "Bumbershoot" - Umbrella. I don't remember saying so much as I remember my grandparents saying it...
  • "Burm" - Side of the Road, Shoulder. This is what we called the cement curb. We would often jump the burm with our bikes!
  • "Caach" - Couch. We also called the couch a Davenport. Well, my Dad's Mom would call it that. I think it was a 'fancy word'... My grandmother always saw herself as 'fancy,' I think. :-)
  • "Chimley" - Chimney. Seriously? Yeah... Man, I realize now that I can't say JACK about how people in the South talk!
  • "Clicker" - Remote control. I remember my Dad telling me to find the clicker at my grandparents house... It was always buried in the cushions of the Davenport...
  • "Cream rinse" - Conditioner. Holy cow! Man, when I was a kid, my Mom would tell us to use the cream rinse! I had forgotten all about that one!

Okay, just a couple more for now...

  • "Crick" - Creek. Yes, like Southerners get a 'crick' in their neck, we called the stream of water a 'crick' though we spelled it 'creek.'
  • "Dahntahn" - Downtown. That's how we said it: Dahntahn... Got a problem wit dat?

I realize that I referred to many of those phrases in the past tense. The truth is, that is exactly how 'Burghers talk today. Shan says that when we go back to visit, it is not very long before I pick up my old accent and the phrases I grew up with... After reading over just a few, can you blame me?? :-)

Here is the site I found... Feel free to read all kinds of words from the 'burgh:
Werds from the 'Burgh: here

Nov 20, 2008

Pittsburgh - then and now

Thanks to Google, you can search their IMAGES for items that have been added from the Life Magazine collection. While checking out pictures of Cleveland players, Corvettes and more, I found a picture of Pittsburgh before it was "Pittsburgh:"

Notice they had just cleared out a bunch of warehouses and such, getting ready for Point State Park to come in! The fountain isn't even erected in aother photo I found of this same time period. Notice the bridge on the right is just pillars! And the bridge on the left is nothing yet!

Here is a more modern view of the city of bridges:

Very cool walk down nostaligia lane, for sure. Not that I was around in '55. Heck, I wouldn't show up for another 14 years!

I don't always do the right thing

On one of the baseball card sites I frequent, the author posted a message regarding the golfer who recently turned himself in for using a ball that was a 'prototype' ball. He did not realize he had used the until he was back in his hotel room after the round of play. His use of the ball rendered him disqualified.

The question posed by the author was "How honest are you?" What you see below was my response:

At the end of the day, we have to face ourselves in the mirror. My wife and I recently shopped at Target. After our purchases were rung up, I realized that the total was in no way in line with what we bought (even though every item had triggered a 'beep' on the register). Sure enough, there was a bag of items totalling more than $50 that we had not been charged for. We talked about it, and I ultimately decided the right thing to do was to go back and pay for the items. At the next store, my wife had forgotten to pay for an item she was holding. She immediately went back and paid for it once we realized she hadn't been charged for it.

We don't always do the right thing, but sometimes we just have to...

Nov 18, 2008

600 ramblings later...

Wow. I hit post number 600 a couple posts ago and didn't even realize it. I like round numbers - 100's, 50's, and so on. I also like the fives - 75, 125, etc. Yeah, I'm weird like that.

So, in the scheme of things, what does hitting 600 posts mean? Nothing. That's the beauty of this thing we call "Web 2.0". Some people had 600 posts in their first two weeks online. Others will hit the mark in about three years. And the great thing is - it doesn't matter! Why not? Because what matters is that the folks who are posting and who continue to post are doing it because they enjoy it. Or I hope they do. I guess some folks do it for money, but I think they'd still have to enjoy doing it or else they'd give it up for a 'real' job.

As I've said on here before, I write because I like to get things off my chest or let the things rattling around in my head have a voice. Granted, some things would have been better off NOT escaping the confines of my cranial shell, but that goes with the territory. And, if you're reading this, then you either agree with me, disagree with me but want to see what I have to say anyway, or you are one seriously bored person. Hey, if you are the latter, I have no problem with that at all! I'm not picky about who takes a look at my ramblings! I'm just glad you ARE reading along, no matter how you know me or if you don't have any idea who I am from Adam. No, not that Adam, the other one.... No, not that one either.... I guess it helps to know an Adam before you could know someone FROM Adam...

Well, it WAS Monday...

The Palm training was a nightmare. We had to change labs because the first lab was screwed up. Oh, wait, at first I went to the Tech Center because I thought that’s where I was told to go. Then, I lugged the 30 boxes of unopened Palms to the Vo-Ed, puttered around there for almost an hour as the techs tried to fix the problem (well, half the problem. The other half of the problem was spotty wireless). Finally moved back to Tech Center and got things set up.

I think I need to install CWT software (that's the software the folks were learning how to use) before the workshops rather than having the people do it. The tech skill levels of the participants are just all over the map, and it leads to frustration on the part of those that want to get things moving and those that have trouble working the stylus.

As far as I know, I never got upset with the people, it wasn’t their faults, just the way the day was going in general. In fact, a couple people remarked that they wondered how I wasn’t blowing my top and appreciated that I was not condescending. I just don’t understand how techs get that way toward people. Why be condescending toward other people?

Well, we FINALLY got the software installed, and then we had various issues with the logins, etc, but I got Teachscape on the horn and they fixed everything that could be fixed quickly. There are some issues with folks that are doing multiple campuses because they only had one campus show up and some had only one teacher, and others had NO teachers. Weird.

Without going into detail in a public forum such as this, I just have to say that we got the cell bill the other day. We did not have Tyler on an unlimited texting plan. The boy is a texting wiz - a skill we did not fully comprehend until the bill came in at three times its normal amount.

The phrase "this will hurt you more than it hurts me" doesn't even begin to describe it...

Tyler had his first basketball game of the season on Monday. We were told the game was at 5:00, but then we were told 6:00. So, we followed the bus to the town where the game was. We got there at 5:15 and decided to hang out in the van instead of going into the gym. Shan had some tests to grade and we just listened to music and stuff. At 5:45, we got out and headed in for the game. The game was about a minute from going to HALFTIME! For his age group, Tyler's quarters are 5 minutes long. The game started at 5:30, thank you. So, we drove 40+ miles to watch 10 minutes of game because we were told the wrong time. Twice. How lovely.

Well, it WAS Monday, after all...

Nov 16, 2008

Skin of my teeth

It's about 11:03 pm here in south Arkansas as I write this. And even though I missed my post-a-day goal, I still try to post as often as I can.

I just spent the last few HOURS (okay, off and on) updating my Indians baseball card collection. Through the wonders of blogging, I have managed to do quite a few trades and I was falling behind in getting my received cards logged into the database I use to track all of my Indians cards. For those who are curious, I now have 7,950 non-duplicated Indians cards. Now, before you get the bright idea of coming out to the boonies and stealing my 'treasure trove' of cards, you might want to know that Indians cards do not garner the kind of high-dollar allure as say, Yankees do. Granted, it's a nice hobby with a fair market value, but no one (including me) is going to retire off these cards.

Why do it then? I think it's cool, for starters. I've collected the cards since I was about 5 or 6 years old. Yeah, do the math and I should have a lot more than 8000 cards. But, I spent a LOT of years NOT collecting. I also do it because it beats the crap out of a smoking or drinking habit. :-)

I'm teaching 30+ people how to use Palm handhelds on Monday. I'll let you know how that goes.

The kiddos are out all week when Thanksgiving rolls around, and I am planning on joining them! I've got a few projects I want to get done around the house, and Thanksgiving week is the week we put up the tree and decorations for Christmas!! WAHOO!

Of course, what I really need to do that week is build Daisy a run-in/lean-to to help keep her out of the weather this winter. We'll see how that goes.

Random thought: I wish I could add words to the Blogger spell-checker. It always says I misspell words like "Wahoo..."

If you thought Michael Jackson was already plastic...

HotToys, a company in Japan, plans the upcoming release of several new Michael Jackson-related toys. Yes, I'll let you read that again. Take a moment for that to sink in. It's not really sinking in? Well, does this help:

No, those are not photos taken by the Paparazzi. Those are photos directly from the manufacturer's web site. The look of Michael during his most popular years as a performer is uncanny. The doll/collectible is completely poseable. HotToys makes some of the most articulated figures I have ever seen and they have licences for all kinds of movies, etc. They also have a James Dean (red jacket) version of a doll/collectible, but no one seemed to have wigged out when they released it. Do a search for "Hot Toys Michael Jackson," and you will see all kinds of people asking all kinds of questions.

The only thing I can figure is that the doll commemorates Jackson's recent 50th birthday. But, there is more to this doll than meets the hand, er, eye:

Yes, you received ALL of those hands with the "Build-a-Jackson" kit. Now, I know there has been somewhat of a sarcastic tone to this post, but I am a HUGE Jacko fan. Not of him personally, but of his entertainment, singing, performance. Yeah, he's got some seriously deep-seeded issues, but he man can dance and sing like very few people before him. Period. One question that I have seen all over the web is "Why so many hands. It's creepy." Well, yeah, in a way, it is. But, since the company is not up to articulating the actual fingers, collector's and fans know that Jackson has a different stance for almost everything he does. Honestly, I don't see this as any weirder than all the feet and hands you get with Bratz or the latest incarnation of Polly Pocket. (I know these things because I have a 6-year old daughter, and it is a Daddy's job to know.)

So, while it may seem creepy to non-fans, I think the target audience for this is going to love being able to swap out looks. I am most impressed with the ability to replicate some of his classic 'moves:'

How many dolls do you know that can pull off the "Jackson lean?" Yeah, okay, you're asking yourself, "How many people would WANT their doll to pull it off?" I'll give you that one.

But, this doll is NOT the only Jackson-licensed thing Hot Toys is developing (or has developed, it's hard to tell because, well, I don't read Japanese):

The articulated collectible has rumors of being available before Christmas this year, though I have seen a release date of February 2009. If they were smart, they'd grab the Christmas rush (assuming there actually is one). I have no idea if the mini-dolls are already out or upcoming.

Shan and I spent the day shopping on Saturday. At one point, I overheard the following conversation:

Mother (presumably to son, growling in exasperation): "RRGH... Your mother is NOT doing well. I've had no luck in finding what I'm looking for."
Son: "Well, then can we look at toys?"

I love how kids' minds work.

In the mall, Cold Stone Creamery opened a new shop. Honestly, I have no idea why you would open an ice cream shop in the mall in November, but it saved us a trip out to the brick-and-mortar shop. The problem with the one in the mall is that they have very little selection because they have very little space. Well, I say that, but in reality I think it's because they have very little planning, but whatever. The ice cream is still good.

There were two girls working the counter. No, there was one girl working the counter while the other tried miserably to make waffle cones. The smell of burnt waffle filled the air and grew progressively worse as we sat there eating. If they were trying to get customers to AVOID the place, they were doing a good job.

There were two separate conversations that took place during our stay. The first went something like this:

Girl1: "I keep messing these (waffle cones) up!"
Girl2: "You'll get the hang of it."
Girl1 (watching Girl1): "How can you do that like that?"Girl2 (mixing our orders up in cups because despite the NAME of the place, there is no actual STONE in the mall version): "I learned how to do this at events. I've been doing this for two years. Trust me, in two years, you learn how to do a lot of things. It's no big deal for me now. If you're here for two years, you'll know how to do it like this, too."

I didn't know if she was implying Girl1 would move on to (presumably) better things, or if Girl1 wouldn't LAST long enough to be around for two years...

The second conversation went like this:

Girl1 (coming out from the back area, smiling and excited): "Yes! My Mom said she didn't care WHAT time I came home tonight, just so I was home in time to go to church in the morning."
Girl2: "Well, that should be interesting."

Girl1 said something else, but I don't remember what it was. This conversation struck Shan and me very funny. Here, this girl was excited about the prospect of staying out late (presumably all night), and all her mother was worried about was whether or not the girl was going to be home in time for church. Now, I admit, we did not hear the conversation Girl1 had with her mother, so it is very possible that she told her mother where she was going and who she'd be with. Then again, I may be old-fashioned and kids today just don't bother with such trivial things. I can tell you MINE will deal them, or they will deal with ME...

Shan told me about a conversation she heard between two young adult/teenaged girls that went something like:

Girl1: "I talked to my professor, and she was like, 'between your grades and your attitude, you have the makings for a college drop-out.'"
Girl2: "Do you really think you'd drop-out?"
Girl1: "Well, I have a scholarship that I don't have to repay if I say to the end of the year. But, I have a Pell Grant. That's $5000 I'd have to repay. I don't have $5000! I would like to be an X-Ray tech, but I'd have to take a lot of classes. I hear they make good money though. I could also be a (Shan could not remember what the girl said), but like, it only pays like $17000. $17000!? That won't even pay for my CLOTHES!"

There were a few tidbits in there that I forgot, but you get the gist... Today's kids (okay, that's too broad, so I'll say MANY) have NO CLUE what the cost of living is, nor do they understand that their first jobs are most likely going to be lower-paying. Now, on the other hand, depending on the student and the field of choice, kids could walk out of High School with varying technology certifications and land themselves mid-to-high five figure salaries without so much as setting foot in the doorway of a college (either in-person or online)!

Still, from Shan's retelling of the conversation, I was pretty sure there were ceiling fans in the store that were moving without the aid of electricity above the girl's head...

For those of you asking yourself, "How did Dave even find out about those Michael Jackson things?" Here is how my IADD (Internet-based Attention Deficit Disorder) works:

Shan and I were shopping for Christmas presents yesterday. We saw a Hannah Montana Malibu House. I made the comment that they should make Jackson dolls. For those not privy, Jackson is Hannah's brother on the show. I made a comment that I would have to look that up online. So........ I wake up this morning to post on my Indians blog. I scan in the cards I received in the mail (along with the crayon-written note). Before I get to posting, I remember to look up the Hannah Montana Jackson doll information. One of the first things that pops up is a 'news' item regarding the Michael Jackson doll. That, of course, led to the post you read earlier. See? It all comes around eventually. Well, sometimes anyway.

And, THAT is also why I named this blog "Popped in my head" in the first place - because you just never know...

Nov 14, 2008

Emily breaks out the crowbar

Emily has been saving her money for quite a while. She finally decided that what she wanted was an iPod Shuffle. I tried to convince her to get one of the Nanos, but she knew what she wanted and that was that. She also knew what color she wanted. Okay, well, we ALL knew what color she wanted. Today, she finally broke out the crowbar to pry open the wallet that had her money in it.

She is a VERY good saver, and it took her a long time (for a six-year old, for sure!) to pick out exactly what she wanted and she learned how much it cost and how much she would have left over.

When we got home, I hooked it up and we Sync'd songs up to it for to listen to. I'm sure she'll have the battery worn down before the end of the night. :-) Well, maybe not quite...

It has been a long time (I'd say at least a year) since Emily, Tyler and I all sat down to play games on the computers together. We fired up Battlefield 1942 and started having a blast! We played for quite a while Thursday.

Tonight (Friday), Emily and I played and we discovered a cool trick that allowed our characters to walk up the steel frame of a bridge and watch the action from WAY up high! The funniest thing was watching the enemy planes coming in low, trying to shoot us down only to run head-long into the bridge. Man, we could have killed off a lot of Axis enemies if we had tried that back during the war.. :-)

So, what are the things on my Christmas list this year? Well, let's see (not in any order):
  • Baseball cards
  • Indians items
  • Call of Duty 4 (PC Game)
  • Fallout 3 (PC Game)
  • SingStar Pop 2 (Playstation 2 Game)
  • Crysis Warhead (PC Game)
  • Any family-fun Wii game (one that we can all play together)
  • Clothes (I'm not really picky)
  • Whatever else pops into someone's head

Nov 12, 2008

I would have written this yesterday, but...

I meant to post this on Wednesday, but I spent much of the evening providing telephone support for my Aunt. That is not a complaint by any stretch. We achieved something that takes quite a few steps, but was needed for her blogging success. No, I'm not talking about AdSense - she already has that. I'm talking about changing email addresses and logins for Blogger.

Though the steps are available for those who are both lucky and tenacious enough to find them, here is what you do in a nutshell:

  • Create a new Blogger account with your new email address,
  • Sign out, and log in with your old Blogger account,
  • ADD an Author by INVITING your new email address,
  • Sign out, and close your web browser (just to be sure),
  • Check your new email and find the 'You've been invited...' message,
  • Click on the link and sign in/up using your new email address,
  • Sign out if Blogger signed you in,
  • Sign back in with your OLD account info,
  • Under SETTINGS, go to PERMISSIONS again,
  • Click the link to make the new address an ADMIN user and click YES or OK or whatever,
  • Go to the profile info as the OLD account and copy anything you want to save for your NEW account! The easiest way to do this is copy each section from blogger onto a new, blank line in notepad,
  • Sign out,
  • Sign back in with the NEW email address,
  • REMOVE the OLD account,
  • Edit the profile by PASTING the copied info from notepad into each section (or just put in new info if you want),
  • Save your settings and you are good to go!

See? Nothing to do it.... uh, yeah, right...

Wednesday morning, I had to drive to Little Rock for a meeting. As usual, I was running a little behind and had to get Tyler to school. I could not find my truck keys. I went into the home office and looked around, but couldn't find them. After some more searching, I remembered they were in my jacket pocket. So, I grabbed the jacket and headed out. As I pulled up to Tyler's school, I realized I did not have my wallet! Well, I was not about to drive to Little Rock without it, so back to the house I went. I looked around, and eventually found myself in the home office once again. I moved a few things around, and sure enough, my wallet was hidden under a book. Yeesh...

On the way to the meeting, I was passed by a car with a vanity plate that read "MLBxxB" (the xx's weren't there, but I don't think I'm allowed to post someone's license plate online). I thought it was pretty cool that someone had the initials "MLB!" Nothing like growing up with baseball in your blood! :-)

After the meeting, a bunch of us went to "Cheeburger Cheeburger" for lunch! I had forgotten to remember that Shan had eaten there before. While everyone she went with got burgers, she did the healthy thing and got a salad. I probably should have remembered to remember that before I got home Wednesday night and talked about the big ol' burger I ate... :-) Seriously, if they one these near you and you haven't gone yet - GO! The shakes are delicioso!

You ever have one of those days that you are so busy, you don't remember what you did all day!? Yeah, mine was kinda like that today (Thursday). But, at one point, I hooked up dual monitors to my computer at work. Once I had it actually working (which took about an hour), I was hooked. How anyone only uses one monitor for work is beyond me, now that I have two. I can have the web open on one screen while I am remoted into a server (or two) on the other, copying and pasting information between the screens. Oh, man, my productivity just doubled! Or, does that cut it in half? Well, whichever. :-)

I have to say, I am a VERY lucky man! Now that Shan is becoming more and more my "trophy wife" with her weight loss, I'm lucky she hasn't booted me to the curb! She has always been a very beautiful woman to me, but DAWG, she is ssssmmmmmookkkiiinnnn! I'll have to sneak a picture of her on here. She hasn't quite got to the point where she "likes" to have her picture taken yet... :-) Way to go, Honey! You look great! I love you!

Nov 10, 2008

Live with your mistakes, learn from them

A 16-year old girl goes to a party. At the party, she decides to drink the alcohol she has been educated about. She knows the consequences from drinking based on what she's learned in school, from friends, from her parents. But she makes a mistake. She drinks anyway. She gives in to her desires. She enjoys herself, having a great time. And then, it's time to go home. She gets in the car and drives herself home. She finds out later that because of her mistake, she had made another one. She ran over a baby carriage being pushed along by a mother, killing the baby. The girl is taken to court. She is put on trial for killing the baby in her drunken state. Should she be convicted for her mistake? It was just a mistake, after all. I mean, we all make mistakes, right? Surely, she will learn from this one and not drink and drive again, so there is no need to put her jail for it. She has the right to move on from what happened and simply live her life, right? Right?

What's that? Not so sure about that? Why not? It was just a mistake.

I suppose what makes this any different than a teenager aborting a child because of a 'mistake' is the lack of ability for some people to accept that a baby is a human from the moment it is created by the joining of two people. Or, more specifically, the joining of the sperm and egg. I mean, come on, it was just a mistake, after all. We all make mistakes. She can get over killing a baby, just as the drunk girl can get over running over the baby in the carriage. Oh, that's different? Why, because the baby was a week old? Already born? I don't care what anyone might think about the actual time a "fetus" becomes a "baby," there is no way to deny that if the SEX is known, it is a CHILD. Sorry, but no one will EVER convince me otherwise. If one can tell whether it is a boy or a girl, then it is a human child.

Am I anti-abortion? No. I believe there are very specific circumstances where the life of the mother or the life of the child may warrant such a thing. Possibly rape as well. But, "I made a mistake" is NOT an excuse to have an abortion. Yes, there was a mistake. Yes, life is going to be extremely difficult because of the choice that was made. Deal with it. Put on the big-person pants and live with the consequences of the actions, teenager.

Drink and drive and kill someone, live with the consequences and responsibilities of that. Sleep with someone and have unprotected sex, live with the consequences and responsibilities of that.

Just because I don't believe in abortion except for extreme cases, doesn't mean I believe a woman should not have any say or any choice. I am saying that a TEENAGER, under the age of adulthood does not get the right to simply pick up and move on. Her mistake. Her consequences. If one were to steal money and get caught, one must deal with the consequences. Pull a gun and kill someone out of anger, deal with the consequences. Get pregnant because one was too immature to act responsibly, deal with the consequences. Period.

I don't really care if anyone reading this agrees with me or not. The reader will take careful notice that no kind of religion has been mentioned here. As far as I am concerned, religion has very little to do with it. It's about responsibility and consequences for the lack thereof. Yes, there is 'choice' here: One has the 'choice' not to make the 'mistake' in the first place.

Beware the gift horse

Some time ago, a Dell Optiplex GX280 was donated to me through my office. I brought it home and installed it for the kids to play on. It's actually spec'd out very nicely. I turned it on, and it sounded like a huge jet preparing for takeoff. After it started booting, though, the fan inside calmed to respectable level.

And then I fired up "Battlefield 1942." Yes, the gamers out there will scoff, I'm sure, but my kids and I love playing the game. Tyler likes to help kill off the baddies (or me if he chooses the other side) and Emily likes to fly the planes. You have not lived until you let a six-year old fly a plane in a game.

The computer's fan(s?) started up and I couldn't hear myself think. It was so loud, you couldn't hear the game. I quickly shut the game down, and started poking around the Internet. Sure enough, the GX280's are notorious for being loud as it was Dell's first real foray into 'liquid-cooled' cases. Funny, I thought liquid-cooled meant NO FANS. WRONG! The fans they use are set up to suck the air out of the case, rather than blow cool air across the chips. Stupid design. Stupid free computer. Well, unless I buy a heatsink/fan for it. Frankly by the time I do that, I can just get them a new gaming machine.

This is one 'gift horse' that will go back to the company that 'donated' it... Pronto!

Nov 8, 2008

Roadkill Bingo - seriously! And other "gifts"

I have no idea what led me to the Roadkill Bingo Company (here), but if you want something to help pass the time while driving.... Here you go...

Need a gift for the person who has everything? Or you just want to freak people out? Here ya go... A "Saw Puppet" mini voice recorder... Yeah, it's kinda weird, but kinda cool.

You say the memo deal was not for you? How about an upright gaming system like in the 'old days?' Yeah, you can get the one below that has 12 Midway classic arcade games in one machine. Cost? About $250 or so... Not a bad gig if you like low-res, easy-to-play retro games... :-)

Ned a flash drive, but don't want to look like everyone else? Well, why not add a little more cash to the Hannah Montana coffers?

And, of course, if you'd rather just have a plain old thumb drive, there is always this little gem:

And, last but not least for today... If what you really want is a woodie:

Yes, USB drives made out of wood... Now, why didn't *I* think of that!?

Hello?? Is thing on?

Okay, my Aunt is one of those bloggers that posts when she is able to take a breath. She's got a lot of interesting ideas and puts a unique perspective on many things. But, for whatever reason, I can't comment on her posts. When I try, I get a rejection notification that her account is not valid with adelphia. I'm sure it's as an Adelphia thing.

So, her most recent post is about the fact that Obama is *NOT* the first black President-elect. He is, in fact, BI-RACIAL. Top that off with the way most schools deal with bi-racial students: They are given the race of their mother.

Of course, I think the fact Obama is bi-racial should actually lead to MORE equality and unity, rather than less. Then again, I don't think it really matters in the long run, anyway.

I told a couple of colleagues my take on his Presidency: He will make things "look good" for four years and get himself re-elected. Then the first three years of his second term will also be filled with false "goodness and groovies." Then, the last year will show the truth of the legacy and life will fall apart in ways we have never seen. But, that's just my two cents. :-)

Nov 6, 2008

"We ain't gotta listen to you no mo'!"

That is a direct quote from one of three students in one of the districts I serve. They were speaking to a teacher who had asked them why they were in the hall and told them to get back to class.

Yes, the teacher was white and the students were black. The conversation also included many cuss words from the students, along with other related tidbits. Among those tidbits was the phrase becoming more and more popular, "it's OUR time now."

Perhaps the scariest thing said was, "You'll get yours... I'm gettin' paid, and you'll get yours..." Make no mistake. This was a threat.

A colleague said that now Obama is going to be President, we have finally leveled the playing field. Now, there is no excuse for anyone, any color, to say they can't do this or can't do that. I agree. Unless it is disrespectful or breaks the law. That applies to EVERYONE.

I don't care what color you are, where you live, what you have gone through, what you have been taught in life: You will get nowhere fast if you are disrespectful. You think Obama got where he did by acting like a fool and showing disrespect? No. He followed the rules - got an education, ran for Senate, learned and taught, then ran for the highest office in our land. There are rules you live by. There are rules WE ALL live by.

Another colleague (for the record, a black woman) said this about the incident: "We black folk cannot stand to see another one of our own kind get more than us, do better than us. We are the first ones to reach up and grab his ankles and drag him back down. Blacks is a jealous people, killing each other, putting each other down. Obama's undoing will be by black folk, not by whites."

For the sake of America, for the sake of American history, I hope she is wrong.

Nov 5, 2008


A change is gonna come

Taylor Hicks sang that song as his audition for American Idol. Little did he know how right he was. On one of the blogs I follow, the title of a post-election day entry is "Waking from an 8-year nightmare." My response?

I agree the past 8 years have been a nightmare. However, I'm afraid (to use a quote) we've "awakened from a nightmare only to find the nightmare all around (us)."

I'm glad we live in a country where we are free to choose (well, sorta given the current electoral college arrangement) our leader: black, white, Hispanic, you name it. I believe the people gathered at McCain's consolation speech behaved horribly. Booing, chanting negatives. Obama's supporters were cheering and celebrating even when his remarks focused on McCain. I have to say, that speaks volumes. Then again, cult leaders have the same effect. No, I'm not saying Obama is a cult leader. But, it'll be interesting to see how things "change" in the future.

Change is gonna come. Let's hope the change does not include what it means to be an "American..."

How will "redistribution of 'wealth'" change America? Let's see, it started out at the $250,000 mark, then fell to $200,000, and as of this writing, the redistribution starts at $120,000. How long before it ends? How long before the 'redistribution' reaches down to $50,000 or lower?

How will "rights regardless of sexual preference" change America? What does "sexual preference" mean, anyway? Taken to the ultimate definition, we're not just talking about boy-girl, boy-boy, girl-girl, but what if your "preference" is an animal? What if it is a blow-up doll? I realize my words will come off as sarcastic to many, but I assure you, there is nothing but seriousness here. Where does "sexual preference" stop? Do you have an answer? Is that the answer for YOU or the answer for EVERYONE?

Let's talk about the chunk of money that Obama has promised the UN... Why the heck should the US continue to fund that organization? Will the UN still be around in four years? What will the "World Powers" look like in four years or less?

So, now that I've talked about those issues, let's talk about race. People go bat-crazy after their team wins (or loses) a FOOTBALL game. What do you think is going to happen when Obama takes office? I am predicting mayhem in the streets, from both those who are elated and those who are not-so-much. The fact that Obama has won does NOT instantly cure the racial issues in this country. There are whites who still hate blacks and vice versa. yes, it would be great if this win for Obama wiped that all away, but I see things getting "Nastier. MUCH nastier." (to borrow another literary quote)

Change is gonna come. Change is painful. Many people want change. Many people are afraid of change. The question is: After all the "change," how many people will be crying to "put things back?"

I am a big enough person that should I be 100% wrong about things, I will gladly stand up and say it loudly. I just don't believe "crow" is on the menu....

Those that voted for Obama wanted change. Congratulations. You got it.

Nov 4, 2008

Let's see who's cheering in about 9 months

There was a rap several years ago: Don't believe the hype. People would be wise to follow that advice during the next "four years." I put that in quotes because I believe things will reveal themselves LONG before four years comes around.

This is not a race issue, though I do believe that race will play a part in what happens in the near future. As we have watched the coverage, we have seen many people on the TV shouting things like, "It's OUR time now!" and "We've made it to the promised land!" You can laugh and correct me all day long, but I am saying it here and now - there will be civil unrest before things anywhere near getting better.

I think history has been made. Let's hope it is a history that proves to be positive and something we will be remembered for in a positive light, and not one that has befallen empires before us: The Ottomans, the Romans, the English - none of those great powers are anywhere to be found in the capacities they once had.

God, please, continue to Bless America. We're going to need it.

Nov 3, 2008

Now, THAT'S a sunrise!

Your vote don't mean Jack, or does it?

Go vote. Not because your vote doesn't mean Jack in the decision process of choosing the next President. I mean, honestly, by now we all know that our votes don't amount to a hill of beans as far as the Presidential election goes. That's all about the stupid electoral college, put in place because we Americans are too stupid to pick the 'best' candidate or the 'right' candidate. Voting on the National level is a complete waste of time. Write in Mickey Mouse or something. Who cares. Oh, political yokels will tell you to be part of 'the process' and all that crap. Process? Oh, you mean the one where the majority of the people voted but it doesn't count? No thanks.

But, the things that *DO* matter are the things going on in your state, in your county, in your city. Those are things that you *DO* have a say in. Lotteries, school boards, water treatment, wetland destruction, you name it. It can all come down to one person's vote. That person could be you. I know, you don't think you make a difference, right? I mean, you are just one person, after all. But, there have been issues, local issues, that have passed or failed because one person, ONE PERSON did not get out and vote. That one person could have forced a run-off or could have stopped a new local tax, or created a new opportunity.

We live in a country where we each are given the right to make a choice for something we believe in, or stand up for something we don't. There are a lot of things wrong with America, but this is one of those things that is right. At least, at the local level. I know my words may not affect your decision to vote one way or another, but if there is a chance that you are reading this and you aren't sure if you are going to vote or not, PLEASE vote. Read the local issues that affect you, and cast your ballot as your heart leads you.

Nov 2, 2008

Our own little SingStar!

I grabbed the Flip Video camera and recorded Emily singing Taylor Swift's "Our Song" on our new SingStar game! :-)

Kickin' it Country, SingStar style!

While we were out and about yesterday (Saturday), I ran into GameStop to see if they had the new SingStar Country game. I haven't been able to find it anywhere. Evidently, there are quite a few closet SingStar folks out there!

Well, GameStop had it, and they had it at the same price Wal-Mart showed on the empty shelf! Plus, GameStop had Legends and Pop2. I decided to go with Legends.

I have to say, Country is awesome! Almost every song on the game is a hit, and it covers current charters like Jewel, Taylor Swift, Lady-A, and goes back to Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. If you have never had the chance to karaoke to Cash, you need to try it once in your life. His talk/singing is VERY difficult to mimic in-time, on-key. Okay, well, it was for me, anyway... :-)

No matter how you cut it though, SingStar Country is one of the best add-ons for the game.

Here is the songlist:

Alan Jackson - "Chattahoochee"
Kellie Pickler - "Red High Heels"
Alan Jackson - "Good Time"
Kenny Chesney - "Big Star"
Big & Rich - "Save A Horse (Ride a Cowboy)"
Lady Antebellum - "Love Don't Live Here"
Blake Shelton - "Home"
Martina McBride - "A Broken Wing"
Brad Paisley - "Online"
Montgomery Gentry - "My Town"
Brooks & Dunn - "Boot Scootin' Boogie"
Montgomery Gentry - "What Do Ya Think About That?"
Brooks & Dunn w/ Reba McEntire - "If You See Him/If You See Her"
Rascall Flats - "Bless the Broken Road"
Bucky Covington - "It's Good To Be Us"
Sara Evans - "Born to Fly"
Faith Hill - "Red Umbrella"
Taylor Swift - "Our Song"
Gretchen Wilson - "Red Neck Woman"
Terri Clark - "Girls Lie Too"
Jewel - "Stronger Woman"
Trace Adkins - "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk"
Johnny Cash - "A Boy Named Sue"
Trace Adkins - "You're Gonna Miss This"
Johnny Cash - "I Walk the Line"
Willie Nelson - "Pancho and Lefty"
Josh Turner - "Another Try"
Jessica Simpson - "Come on Over"
Keith Urban - "Days Go By"
Miranda Lambert - "Kerosene"

Legends has some good songs on it, but we did not know several of the songs (maybe I should have bought Pop-2 instead. Oh well, we'll get that one day anyway!!)

Some of the people ARE legends. Others, we had to wonder just how their name and "Legend" was even in the same breath... Like the Johnny Cash songs, singing Patsy Cline's "Crazy" on-key, on-tempo proved to be difficult, but often hilarious.

Like all SingStar games, if you know the words to the songs, you can concentrate on just hitting the notes and lengths of notes... If you don't know the words, you'll screw yourself trying to read the words and hit the length/pitch all at the same time... Which is why we love playing in the first place!! :-)

Not near as fun as Country, here is the song list:

Barry White - "You're The First, The Last, My Everything"
Marvin Gaye - "What's Goin On?"
Biz Markie - "Just A Friend"
Michael McDonald - "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)"
Black Sabbath - "Paranoid"
Nirvana - "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
Bonnie Tyler - "Total Eclipse Of The Heart"
Patsy Cline - "Crazy"
David Bowie - "Life On Mars?"
Ray Charles - "Hit The Road Jack"
Dusty Springfield - "Son Of A Preacher Man"
Sam Cooke - "Wonderful World"
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong - "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off"
The Jackson 5 - "I Want You Back"
Elton John - "I'm Still Standing"
The Monkees - "Daydream Believer"
Elvis Presley - "Blue Suede Shoes"
The Police - "Roxanne"
Grateful Dead - "Touch Of Grey"
The Righteous Brothers - "Unchained Melody"
James Brown - "I Got You (I Feel Good)"
The Rolling Stones - "Sympathy For The Devil"
John Lennon - "Imagine"
The Smiths - "This Charming Man"
Johnny Cash - "Ring Of Fire"
Tina Turner - "What's Love Got To Do With It?"
Joy Division - "Love Will Tear Us Apart"
Tom Jones - "What's New Pussycat"
Madonna - "Papa Don't Preach"
Whitney Houston - "I'm Your Baby Tonight"

Halloween 2008 Photo Ops!

This year, we continued the tradition of going to Greg and Michelle's house to hand out candy, act silly, and have fun!

Emily dressed as Sharpay Evans from High School Musical and Tyler went.. in his own words: "As a hobo. I'm so poor, I can't afford to put a picture on my shirt." I have no idea what what means... Teenagers... Kensley (our niece) was dolled up as a ladybug.

Because Emily was one of the students who hit the "Sell 20 items of more" level in her fundraiser, she got to ride in a stretch limo Hummer to Pizza Hut for lunch! She had such a great time, and was completely awed by the limo (and when you see the pics, who wouldn't be!?)

While we were at the Hartman's house, we broke out the RockBand and the kids (okay, Greg and I, too) had a lot of fun!