Monday, December 31, 2007

Tree roots and skin staples

Ah... an intriguing title... no? Well, read on...

Donny and Marie were out for their afternoon chase the other day and Donny apparently cut his foot on something. No biggee, we thought... just cleaned it up a little and put him in his crate for the evening at about 5:30 since we were going out for my birthday dinner at Red Robin. By the time we came back, his foot had swollen up and he was limping pretty badly. After taking a look at it, it seemed like he had a small hole up underneath the toe on his front paw.

Now if you know anything about greyhounds, they do not show pain AT ALL. For him to be limping the way he was, we knew he must have really been in pain. So... off to the emergency vet we go. Sarah and I are old pros at this by now, what with Marie's frequent trips back when she needed her chest sown up multiple times after having the skin ripped open during a Christmas stay at a border... but that's a story for another time...

I called the place the vet recommended, and luckily they were open 24 hours. No appt necessary, and it's the largest facility in the tri-county area. We decided that Sarah would stay with Ethan while I took The Dons with me, so Sarah grabbed Donny's pillow, while I grabbed the Donster -- man is he heavy! -- in a cradle-carry and we went out to the car. He didn't squirm or anything, so I know he was really hurting. It was 10:30pm on my birthday. Happy Birthday, Jeff... so much for that Chimay chillin' in the fridge.

After an examination by the vet, he told me there was a puncture wound about 1/4" wide under the toe (which I had seen earlier), and they would need to sedate Donny, clean out the wound, and then staple it shut. He also recommended an X-ray, which I agreed with... just to make sure nothing was broken. It was now 12:15a...

Luckily there was nothing broken -- which would have been a whole 'nutha ball-o-wax. Donny came through with flying colors, and although he was a bit disoriented from the drugs, he limped out to the car and we headed home 1:40a...

2:15a... back home. Carried the dog inside. He didn't want to eat... just wanted to lay down somewhere. I obliged. And then went to bed myself. Whoopie... and now it's no longer my birthday. Oh well.

So we think that we're gonna have to do something in the backyard. Marie cut herslef the other day while outside, and my guess is Donny did something similar by stepping on an exposed tree root or stick or rock or something. The ground is really uneven out there, and we might have to resort to having a landscapre come in and even everything out, re-sod, etc. -- most likely a $1000+ proposition. It's either that or keep spending hundreds of dollars on doggie foot therapy. Yuk. There's no good option...

Happy New Year Everyone. For all my "animal lover" friends out there...

May your furry friends be in perfect health
And may every day in 2008 and forward
Be a reminder of what joy they bring to our lives.
Despite the hardships, vet bills, messy feet and accidents on the floor,
Despite the late night walks in the cold and incessant barking,
Despite their curious nature that often causes more harm than good...
We wouldn't trade it for anything,
Our lives are better for having them here with us.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas update 2007

Returned yesterday from Tuscola IL where we spent Christmas with Benji, Liz & Mimi. It was a nice visit, and we had ample time to hang out, eat, and just chill. Ethan was really pretty good, all things considered, and the doggies got along with Sampson (again). All is right with the world. We ended up not leaving until Sat AM (actually, it was more like "Noon-M") since both Sarah and I were asked to play for the big Christmas drama "A Cat Named Bruce" at VCC. Sarah also got to sing "Here With Us" (Joy Williams) with Benji on Christmas Eve and I accompanied... only after finding out that Sarah had mistakenly sent the ORIGINAL song instead of the track. DOH! Benj learned some bg strings and sang harmony while Sarah did the lead, and I pianoed. It was loverly. Sarah even had a request to sing at someone's funeral... and they weren't even dead yet. That was one of the all-time weird moments in my history as a musician... seriously.

Sarah and Liz cooked up a scrumptious Christmas feast complete with Honeybaked Ham, mashed taters, Sarah's baked apples, Cauliflower gratin (an Ina Garten recipe we saw on Food Network), rolls and a yummy salad. And dessert... whoa. Sarah made the Chocolate Hazlenut Mousse Torte again and it was freaking awesome. I'm stuffed just thinking about it.

Packed everyone up and hit the road for Decatur to visit with Sarah's aunt and uncle and cousins. Donny & Marie got to spend most of the evening in the upstairs room -- where we were going to be sleepnig -- and actually got to go crateless for the whole vacation. They did really well... perhaps that's a sign of things to come? Are they settling down perhaps? Either way, I sure am glad I broke down their crates and bungeed them to the car and then got to set them back up again after I got back... :-)

I left early Wed AM for a 5 hour drive back to Cincy with the dogs, took a shower and headed off for work. Sarah actually stayed on for another night and returns later today with Mimi & Ethan. It was nice to be a bachelor for a night (which happens rarely) and I thought I'd take advantage of it and set up the PlayStation, watch some TV or something... but what did I end up doing? Cleaning. Yep. Did the dishes, straightened up a bunch and before I knew it, it was 12:15 and time to go to bed. I invited the puppies to sleep in the bed with me sort of as a reward for their good behavior over the vacation, and I think they were kinda happy... wish I coulda taken a picture. It was a sight to behold I'm sure... :-)

Christmas pix to be posted as soon as Sarah gets abck to town. Love to all of you this Christmas season!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

It's that time of year again...

Christmas music. Crazy malls. This year, however, I am actually DONE shopping! Gotta love!

There are still one or two things I would LIKE to have completed if possible, but for the most part I am done. Since Sarah took care of most of the family shopping already, I only really had to concentrate on getting some things for her. I LOVE BEING MARRIED!

Sarah's really good at the whole "present thing" -- perhaps that's because she loves Christmas so much and loves getting gifts and little "special somethings" for people. I'm truly grateful for that... and I wish I were better at it, honestly. But I'm trying...

Went to go see "Christmas in Lights" up in Mason... perhaps you've seen a video of it from past years online. It was actually featured in a Millier Lite commercial a few years ago (or was it Bud Light?), and for all you doubters, let me tell you it is 100% REAL. Check it out online here...

The display had gotten so popular that they had to move it out of this guy's neighboorhood and now it's in a local park. There are actually 4 songs that are choreographed complete with a live broadcast of the music that you tune your car radio to in order to watch the show. It was really quite cool -- and they take cars in groups, and everyone turns off their headlights... so it's really a nice viewing experience. It was definitely a fun thing to do..

We're also involved in the original Christmas play they're putting on at church -- check it out here: We'll be playing in the band Thu and Fri nigths, and then it's off to Illinois Sat AM with Mimi and the doggies to spend Christmas with Benji and Liz (and Sampson!)... we're looking forward to it. Because Monday the 24th is technically a holiday for our company, I'm taking the morning of the 26th off and will be returning to work that afternoon. It will be a nice break and a good visit, I'm sure.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Christmas in LAME-son (... I mean "Mason")

I thought it would be fun to go and do something as a family... and there's this event called "Christmas in Mason" that's about 45 minutes north of us. There were supposed to be carolers and a parade and Santa Claus and all kinds of fun events... even a parade where the doggies dressed up in Christmas outfits. I thought it would be fun.

"Thought" is the key word.

Can you say "Over Promise and Under-Deliver?"

It. Was. ROTTEN.

And I do not use the caps unsparingly. If there was a "Caps-Cap" I would use it here. Maybe this will give you an idea of how I feel about it...


They should get that as their web address next year --

(I actually think I'll suggest that.)

It was raining a little, so I'm sure that took away from the festivities.... but it was really just a whole bunch of stores that stayed open later and a lot of teenagers walking up and down the street (4 blocks or so) throwing snowballs at each other. When the highlight of the evening is a 5-minute shuttle rider on a school bus, that's saying something.

Yeah, something ROTTEN. :-0

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Slashdot | MP3 Format Still Gathering Momentum

Slashdot | MP3 Format Still Gathering Momentum

Quote of the Day...

"I'm just gonna go ahead and wait for MP48's, so I can play them on my HHDDVVDDBVD player."

Chris Farley lives?

Who said there's no such thing as reincarnation?

I think this baby was born in a van... DOWN BY THE RIVER!

Monday, December 3, 2007

My pet peeves, Volume 1

Here is a list of my pet peeves, in no particular order. I'm sure I'll post more later, but here is what I've come up with so far...
  1. People who make their smiley faces upside-down (:
  2. The fact that there's no official playoff system for NCAAF. Division II schools have one... so why can't Division 1? Could it be... oh I don't know... GREED?
  3. People who pull into the left-hand lane before making a right-hand turn (except for Trucks -- they're allowed).
  4. Christmas decorations going up before Thanksgiving.
  5. People who don't throw their trash away when in public places (like sports arenas, movie theaters, etc).
  6. Stereos (and subwoofers) turned up so loud that you can't hear your OWN stereo inside your car when your windows are CLOSED.
  7. People who say they can "probably come" or something like that when they already know darn well they're not going to attend and just don't want to say No.
  8. The NFL blackout rule.
  9. People that won't try new types of cuisine... at least once. (Weird stuff that you'd only see on Fear Factor or Bizarre Foods doesn't count here...)
  10. Rude patrons.
  11. Form letters that don't answer the original question.
  12. Newspapers and other circulars that you never asked for which are delivered in little plastic baggies and that sit on your front steps until YOU have to pick them up. I wonder if we could fine their distributors for littering?
  14. People using the "Reply To All" when I don't care what they have to say, especially when I'm on a mass distribution list.
  15. People that let their dogs roam the neighboorhood, pooping on anything they darn well want to.

That's all for now... more to come.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm with Stupid...

Contrary to popular opinion, there are WAY MORE IDIOTS in the world than first believed.
There are"Yes, Virginia... there is a Santa Claus."
And he pays for his sleigh-fuel with counterfeit bills...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

When cows fly...

This is rather unfortunate. Especially for the cow...

Cow plunges off cliff onto moving minivan

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Green Monster is gone!

And before all you in the Red Sox Nation start worrying about what those enraged Rockies fans did to your beloved Fenway... don't call the cops. Call off the search party. Everything is cool. I'm not talking about THAT Green Monster...

Nope -- we sold our couches last night! Major kudos to my wife who is becoming quite the internet shopper now turned internet seller! Sarah found some old pictures we had from the house in MD and posted them on CraigsList. Then after a weekend and a day, we had a guy come over last night and just like that - bing bang boom - we were $400 richer and 2 couches lighter. SUPERB! It stinks that we're still paying on them, but you might remember from an earlier post that the monster couch was never able to make it down into the basement, no matter how hard we pushed, pried, prodded and perthwuddled (OK, I made that last one up... there was no perthwuddling). With all the other furniture, not to mention the color of the monster, it just wouldn't work in the living room.

Now we have the sleeper sofa with slipcover in the front room, all the boxes have been temporarily moved from the living room to the guest room, the rug has been put down and we are waiting to see if the sleeper sofa is gonna sell. I kinda like this CraigsList thing. Much more immediate than eBay, and a much better option for larger items. I'm sure a lot of you have heard of it, but for those who haven't, CraigsList is a free consumer-focused garage sale basically. Since it's all locally-based, people look things up by area and then negotiate with the seller. It's strictly a cash deal, and unlike eBay, CraigsList assumes no responsibility for financial transactions. The reason I like it is cause it's immediate, it gets searched a ton, and offers some quality USED stuff. As long as you heed the old "caviat emptor", everything's hunky dory. So anyway, I think I might be putting some more stuff up there for people. If they want them -- great. If not, oh well.

Oh yeah -- and we got a piano! We were visiting friends in Indianapolis over the weekend and they offered us their spinet Wurlitzer. We actually took the legs off and got it to fit in the back of the van, and now it's sitting in our living room awaiting its final resting place. Luckily our awesome neighbor and his brother in law (who just so happens to be the previous owner of our house) came over to help Sarah and I get it into the house. I was stupid and tried to do it with Sarah by ourselves on Sunday evening, but wasn't thinking clearly -- since it took SIX of us to get it INTO the van. Gravity is cool and all, but seriously Rezer... what were you thinking?

After all of the movin' and shakin', we put together the old trusty futon in the basement (since we were now couchless (loveseat, actually) and it's just like old-times. Man we got a lot accomplished yesterday. Sarah did a lot of work on her own, and she deserves some serious rest today... but unfortunately she's not going to get much. Now we have to start packing for our big trip east for my cousin's wedding. Hurray! Looking forward to visits to both Philly and MD, and it will be nice to see everyone. It's been too long...

Monday, October 29, 2007

It's official!

Nothing like a holiday weekend to open up spots on a team and offer a chance to serve! Sarah and I are scheduled to play Nov 24-25!
We're psyched to be part of the VCC worship family! Now all we gotta do is write a bio... :-)

Treasure in the Attic

Sarah and I enjoy watching shows from time to time like Anyiques Roadshow and Treasure in the Attic. My guess is that they've never experienced a motherlode like this one!

Piles of old coins found in Pa. home -

Friday, October 26, 2007

They like us... they REALLY REALLY like us!

Sarah and I got a chance to sit in on a rehearsal for the Vineyard Cincy band last night with Charlie Hines and the crew and had a blast! It was so great to be back in that environment again, and playing with GREAT players to boot! It was also nice to be able to roll into a rehearsal and not set up any GEAR since the church provides everything, including the tech crew, house sound, lights, etc for REHEARSAL. Whoa. Very nice. They also use the Aviom monitor system which we were looking into getting for JC, and I must say it's quite cool. Being able to set individual levels for all the players in the band in my mix, and even have them even pan L-R if I want, was WAY cool. We jammed on 3 of the 4 songs with the team (including another drummer who was auditioning), Sarah go a chance to sing lead and harmony on a bunch of songs, and then we turned it over to the full team so they could finish their rehearsal for the weekend.

Afterwards a bunch of us (including some of the tech staff) went over to Chili's for some "Mango Tea." Side note: It was kinda funny cause I thought he said we were going for "Mango Time", referring to everyone's favorite SNL character -- although I didn't quite get the reference or understand WHAT we were actually going to be doing there if we were indeed going for "Mango Time"... but I digress...

We socialized for a while and then Charlie said -- "Well, congratulations! We'd love to welcome you to the team!" WAHOOO! So it looks like Sarah and I will probably serve the same week (once per month) so we can continue serving on the tech team as well -- we're actually running cameras tonight at Cincinnati Worships which should be quite coolio. Love it!

It's going to be so nice to serve this way again. I'm really looking forward to playing, experimenting with new keyboards and sounds, and getting to know the different team members and meeting some new friends. REALLY looking forward to it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Now from the mind of Jeff

I've been posting articles and other things lately, so enough of that. Here's the real news:

We got a settlement on our table, etc lost by one said moving company ("They Who Shall Not Be Named"). The furniture company, Little's in Frederick MD, is replacing the order for us and we should have it in about 12 weeks. At least that part of it is over. Unfortunately there's still that matter of ALL OF OUR MISSING STUFF! We're finding out new things that are missing every day... like our Christmas Tree stand, a box of clothes, etc. There will probably be new revelations every week or so. Ahhh, moving. The gift that keeps on taking. :-)

We're gonna try to file in small claims court to get the payment for services not rendered by They Who Shall Not Be Named. Don't know if it will work, cause our CC company won't dispute the charge since we actually SIGNED the delivery form stating that everything was received. Lovely. One of those things you don't really think about until it's too late.

We're going to Philly next weekend for my cousin's wedding and are really looking forward to it... seeing family, etc. It will be a great time I'm sure, and we've scheduled just enough down-time to allow for a real vacation, I think. Also planning on taking an evening to head down to DC, staying over with djcunnin et al and going to JC in the morning. It just so happens that it's HarvestFest, so we'll be able to visit with a lot more people than we would be able to normally, which is cool. Bummer of it is that TravelinGirl76 and bulldogslair will be in New England for a wedding... but we're gonna try to catch up with them on their way back down I-95.

Sarah and I get to audition with the Vineyard band tonight. REEEEALLY looking forward to it. Music is my true passion and it will be great to experience it again in an intimate setting like this, plus I'm sure we'll forge some new friendships. I'm really excited we're finally gonna be able to plug in this way.

OK - that's all for now... more to come (as usual). And I promise to make sure I write more from me and less from others. Honest. :-)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

'Space diving' to be latest extreme sport - Telegraph

Forget bungee jumping. Sign me up for this! Sure, I'd be scared out of my britches, but it would be SOOOOO cool... that is, if I survived the fall...

'Space diving' to be latest extreme sport - Telegraph

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Great song...

Heard this at a night of music at Vineyard last night... it's been running through my brain today and I thought I'd share. Anyone interested can download it on iTunes (the guy on this actual recording is the worship leader at Vineyard Cincy)...

Tim Dobbelmann, Gabriel Brennan, Nate Brennan

What have I in this life
But the love in Your eyes
This empty world will one day fade
Only Your truth will remain

Jesus, all I have is You
You're the hope I'm holding to
I might weep but still my faith
Rests in You...

As the heavens hold the skies
It's Your hand that holds my life
And Your love will lead me on
When all else is gone...

Ah, my dark and steamy mistress...



Black Gold.

The Elixir of Life.


and my personal fav...


Mmmmm.... cofffeeeeeeee........ Is there nothing you can't do???

You know you are addicted to coffee if ...

  • You grind your coffee beans in your mouth.
  • You sleep with your eyes open.
  • You have to watch videos in fast-forward.
  • You can take a picture of yourself from ten feet away without using the timer.
  • Your eyes stay open when you sneeze.
  • The nurse needs a scientific calculator to take your pulse.
  • You're so jittery that people use your hands to blend their margaritas.
  • You can type sixty words per minute with your feet.
  • You can jump-start your car without cables.
  • You don't sweat, you percolate.
  • You've built a miniature city out of little plastic stirrers.
  • Instant coffee takes too long.
  • You channel surf faster without a remote.
  • You have a picture of your coffee mug on your coffee mug.
  • You can outlast the Energizer bunny.
  • You short out motion detectors.
  • You don't even wait for the water to boil anymore.
  • Your nervous twitch registers on the Richter scale.
  • You help your dog chase its tail.
  • Your first-aid kit contains two pints of coffee with an I.V. hookup.
  • You ski uphill.
  • You answer the door before people knock.
  • You haven't blinked since the last lunar eclipse.
  • You can thread the needle on your sewing machine... while it's running

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New 'Metamaterial' Brings Scientists Closer Than Ever to a Cloaking Device

New 'Metamaterial' Brings Scientists Closer Than Ever to a Cloaking Device

Can you say "Star Trek" anyone???

And there was much rejoicing!

Jeff posted in his blog! There's been a lot going on... so here's a brief (and I mean BRIEF) recap:

Traveled to IL to visit Benji & Liz. Doggies got along well with Sampson... we'll be going back for Christmas, so the fact that they were able to hang out with each other in close quarters was a good thing.

Big E had his 2nd Bday party! He's getting older every day... (duh) and is learning things at an incredible rate. He knows shapes, colors, numbers, letters, instruments, notes of the scale, sings songs with Sarah and even can tell you his favorite "fa-tah" (football) team -- "EAGLES -- Yay!!!!" Yesterday he learned numbers 11-15 in about 5 minutes. It's really scary how quickly he's learning!

We're giving up on the moving company and ordering a new table and filing an insurance claim. I don't want to talk about it. Tried filing a police report and we need to travel to MD to appear, so that's not reasonable. There's no regulating agency that can help us, and I had assistance from 2 or 3 difft consumer-run groups trying to track them down. Apparently they are GONE. No phone number, no forwarding address -- NADA. I may decide to hire a lawyer to send registered mail to that address, but haven't made the decision on that yet. Soooo... we're filing an insurance claim. Yet ANOTHER reason why you shouldn't always go with the lowest quote when hiring a mover... :-(

Getting ready for a trip East for my cousin's wedding... and an extended vacation and trip back to JC and to visit friends. Really looking forward to it. I'm sure there will be plenty of people to see and places to go, and hopefully we have time to squeeze them all in.

We FINALLY moved everything out of Mimi's place -- Sarah and I disassembled the crib and packed all the remaining items in the car and Mimi's place is officially "Rezer-free" -- with the exception of a few toys and whatnot for when Ethan visits. Now we REALLY have to clean the house and find places to put all this stuff...

Got an Email the other day from the lead worship guy (Charlie) over at Vineyard and he wants Sarah and I to come to a rehearsal! YAHOO! Apparently the audition a few weeks ago went well, and we really are looking forward to connecting with some new people there and will heopefully be able to start serving, if even on an interim or substitute basis. I know Sarah misses it and she's really excited to be able to just SING and not to have to lead. I think it's ashame she hasn't been able to use this gift much at all for the last 6 months or so, and I know it's something we need to plug back in on. Hopefully things will work out and we'll be able to get involved in some level with the band. They already have full teams, but you never know what might happen -- and it's always good to be ready to step in when asked.

We've also had a chance to join a small group at church with a few friends and meet some new people too... we've been participating in a church wide series caled 4Ward, and it's all about serving others and being outward-focused. One reason we decided to come to Vineyard was their passion for serving and outreach -- something Sarah and I are also passionate about. In fact, the term "servant evangelism" was basically coined by the folks here at Vineyard... and now you can probably Google it and find a bazillion mentions. Cool.

Tonight we're going to an event being put on for this series... it's an all-worship evening at church, something we haven't been able to participate in for a LONG time. Really looking forward to being a little selfish and not leading, serving, managing, organizing or playing... just BEING. Should be an awesome time to "quiet down our busy minds and find a resting place..."

Money's been stressing me out more than normal these last few days... it's been hard trying to predict what our expenses will be, and we've been spending more money on eating out and other things like that than we really should have. One of our vices is eating out -- and we LOVE to do it... so that's something we probably need to cut back on. Well, not probably. DEFINITELY. It's a convenience and a vice at the same time, which makes it EXTREMELY difficult to pass up. I'm sure some of you have been there...

I tell myself that there are good reasons for why we've been spending more lately, but the truth is that there will ALWAYS be things like this, and we're going to have to make an adjustment to either our lifestyle, income level or the way we manage our finances -- cause we're lurking on the edge of falling right back into the hole we were trying to climb out of before when we were in DC. I have to keep reminding myself that money shouldn't control us and that it all belongs to HIM anyway, but honestly that doesn't help very much most times. We still have to pay bills and would like to enjoy our lives at least a little.

It's been difficult to settle in to a new routine as of yet and I still don't feel like we've "settled". There's always too much going on and we seem to fall behind on keeping up with things -- laundry, dishes, finances, cleaning -- you name it. There's still junk all piled in our "living room" and it's really quite a mess. And it's not going to get any better with the holidays coming up... ugh. I like to think that if I "just had a few days" I could get it all straightened out, but that's never the case... the truth is I really need a few days of "a few days" in order to make a dent in the chore that lies ahead... and that usually comes at the expense of something else -- time with Sarah, Ethan, work, the dogs, "down-time"... you name it. Ugh.

So this post has gone on for longer than it should have. And now I'm starting to feel a little depressed, so I'm going to stop and remind myself of the good things.


These are all more important than anything else that comes our way. I just have to keep reminding myself of that... OK, I'm back in my happy place.

Thanks for listening...

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Yes Virginia, there is a T-Rex

Some of you who know me REEEEALLY well know I have a bit of a fascination with Dinosaurs. Loved them as a kid, and was really quite enamored with the whole idea of these huge creatures walking around the earth before mankind was even there. As I've grown older, I still believe in dinosaurs, although thinking about them doesn't take up most of my day. I used to love watching LAND OF THE LOST, and now I'm a sucker for a good program on the Discovery Channel like "Raising the Mammoth" or even that animated documentary series they ran about dinosaurs that used John Goodman as the narrator. It was cool. (Name, anyone?)

So -- now when I see an article or headline in my RSS aggregator about dinosaurs, I am always compelled to go read it... and this one's funny.

"T-Rexes weren't named Rex" -- by Lore Sjoberg

I recently discovered that there is serious scientific evidence that velociraptors had feathers, which, as world-shaking discoveries go, is somewhere above "trilobites had more flexible dorsal axial structures than previously thought" and below "iguanadons created a backdoor pilot for a gritty crime drama set in Minnesota."

This should create some serious debate and consideration in the paleontology community, which would be a perfect time for a supervillain to capitalize on the confusion and take over. Imagine the unparalleled might of an evil genius -- possibly wearing some sort of powered armor -- with a vast army of tenured paleontologists and paleoclimatologists at his disposal. I don't think I need to point out that the ensuing chaos and carnage would be nifty.

That's why I'd like to help this hypothetical overlord along by presenting some of my own intensely scientific discoveries concerning some of the higher-profile prehistoric vertebrates out there. While my discoveries will be extensively detailed in the prestigious Quarterly Bulletin of the International Society for Academic Mendacity, I give you a preview here.

Apatosaurus Had Wings
For decades, nobody knew how apatosauruses supported their massive weight except for the people who studied them. This seems silly to me. If a person has to be smart to understand a dinosaur's physiognomy, then how did the dinosaurs, who had brains the size of various edible legumes, manage it? According to my calculations, apatosauruses would be far too stupid to figure out how to stand up. That's why I'm fairly certain that they had huge, feather-covered, pink wings, which they flapped constantly. That's pretty easy to understand, right? Just flap, you big stupid lizard.

All Dinosaurs Were Big

Countless dinosaur picture books start out by saying, "Not all dinosaurs were big. Some were only slightly larger than a chicken." I have applied the scientific method to prove this wrong. Hypothesis: The idea of a tiny dinosaur is just ridiculous. Experiment: Say the following out loud: "Hey, look at that tiny dinosaur!" It sounds stupid. Conclusion: Dinosaurs were so huge. I suggest that eventually researchers will discover the existence of "prehistoric shrinkweed," a poisonous plant that shrank various dinosaurs before killing them, thereby giving the false impression of chicken-size dinosaurs.

There Were No Tyrannosaurus Rexes Named 'Rex'
These huge predators may have been designed by nature to be unstoppable eating machines, but they also knew a trite name when they heard one. Thorough investigation of late Cretaceous wedding registries indicates that the most common name for male T. rexes was "Jayden," followed by "Palmer." The three most popular female T. rex names were "Ashley," "Ashlee" and "Ashlie," in that order. There was one T. rex named "Dex," but he had no friends.

Dinosaurs Were Not Huggy
If you go to the gift shop for any museum even remotely related to dinosaurs, you'll find disturbingly inaccurate scale models of the giant lizards covered in fuzzy, velvety skin and stuffed not with massive bones and organs but with some sort of synthetic plush material. Even more disturbingly, if dinosaurs looked as they are depicted in these models, they would not have been able to survive, hobbled as they would have been with soft, rounded teeth and claws. I hate to think of our nation's cribs and strollers containing such startling apocrypha. I'm sure that once my paper is published, gift shops and toy stores will quickly throw away all their obsolete dinosaurs and replace them with accurate models, ones with bony limbs; harsh, scaly skin; and razor-sharp teeth and claws that slice open soft tissues at the slightest touch.

Iguanadons Created a Backdoor Pilot for a Gritty Crime Drama Set in Minnesota
The show is called Twin Smittys, and it's about twin cops named Smith, one of whom is upstanding and lives in Minneapolis, and the other of whom is crooked and lives in St. Paul. Or vice versa. Each week, they solve crimes and clash with each other, caught between personal morals and family loyalty. The show has some mafia guys and some polygamists and some ladies who always want sex -- it really has HBO written all over it. Everyone swears a whole lot. The iguanadons have chosen me as their sole representation; give me a call.

Captain Ridiculous strikes again

I'm all for inspections and regulations. Really, I am. It's the only way to police a lot of businesses that could really do some harm if left unchecked. Restaurants... airlines... moving companies (see one of my previous posts). But not companies that take computers OUT of landfills. Check out this link.

Local Recycle & Reuse Hits A Bureaucratic Roadblock

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

No left turns allowed...

I got this in an Email the other day from my grandfather... and it was definitely worthy enough to post. Enjoy... it's a great read.

This is a wonderful piece by Michael Gartner, editor of newspapers large and small and president of NBC News. In 1997, he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. It is well worth reading, and a few good chuckles are guaranteed.

My father never drove a car. Well, that's not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive a car. He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet. "In those days," he told me when he was in his 90s, "to drive a car you had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive through life and miss it." At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in:"Oh, bull----!" she said. "He hit a horse." "Well," my father said, "there was that, too."

So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors all had cars -- the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford -- but we had none.

My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines, would take the streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together.

My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we'd ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. "No one in the family drives," my mother would explain, and that was that. But, sometimes, my father would say, "But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we'll get one." It was as if he wasn't sure which one of us would turn 16 first. But, sure enough , my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts department at a Chevy dealership downtown. It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with everything, and, since my parents didn't drive, it more or less became my brother's car. Having a car but not being able to drive didn't bother my father, but it didn't make sense to my mother.

So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive. She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to practice driving. The cemetery probably was my father's idea. "Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?" I remember him saying more than once.

For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he loaded up on maps -- though they seldom left the city limits -- and appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work.

Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn't seem to bother either of them through their 75 years of marriage. (Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)

He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustin's Church. She would walk down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw which of the parish's two priests was on duty that morning. If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her home. If it was the assistant pastor, he'd take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests "Father Fast" and "Father Slow."

After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along. If she were going to the beauty parlor, he'd sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. In the evening, then, when I'd stop by, he'd explain: "The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored."

If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out -- and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said to me, "Do you want to know the secret of a long life?"

"I guess so," I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.

"No left turns," he said.

"What?" I asked.

"No left turns," he repeated. "Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic. As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left turn."

"What?" I said again.

"No left turns," he said. "Think about it. Three rights are the same as a left, and that's a lot safer. So we always make three rights."

"You're kidding!" I said, and I turned to my mother for support.

"No," she said, "your father is right. We make three rights. It works." But then she added: "Except when your father loses count."

I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing. "Loses count?" I asked.

"Yes," my father admitted, "that sometimes happens. But it's not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you're okay again."

I couldn't resist. "Do you ever go for 11?" I asked.

"No," he said " If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can't be put off another day or another week."

My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90. She lived four more years, until 2003. My father died the next year, at 102. They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bough t a few years later for $3,000. (Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have a shower put in the tiny bathroom -- the house had never had one. My father would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times what he paid for the house.) He continued to walk daily -- he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he'd fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising -- and he was of sound mind and sound body until the moment he died.

One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about politics and newspapers and things in the news.

A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, "You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred." At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, "You know, I'm probably not going to live much longer."

"You're probably right," I said.

"Why would you say that?" He countered, somewhat irritated.

"Because you're 102 years old," I said.

"Yes," he said, "you're right." He stayed in bed all the next day. That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the night. He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy, he said: "I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet..."

An hour or so later, he spoke his last words: "I want you to know," he said,
clearly and lucidly, "that I am inno pain. I am very comfortable. And I have had
as happy a life as anyone on this earth could ever have." A short time later, he died.

I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I've wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long. I can't figure out if it was because he walked through life, or because he quit taking left turns."

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about the one's who don't. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Off to the races...

Greyhounds are fast. REALLY fast. I however, am NOT.

Yesterday Donny decided to go for a stroll without permission...

As I was taking some cardboard boxes outside to put them in the car, I placed them in front of the back gate as I opened it slowly... only about 6-8". Now mind you... the boxes stand about 3 feet high and are approximately 2-3foot wide. The door is open about 6-8".

Ahhh... But greyhounds are skinny.
Seizing the moment, and hearing the clatter
Donny sprung from his perch to see what was the matter...

Although nothing was really the matter. He just wanted to get out.

So he did.

So the Punk Trash Dog vaulted the boxes and in one motion, squeezed (squoze???) between the gate and the fence and took off like a shot. There he goes...

It took me all of about 10 seconds to throw my stuff on the ground, lock the gate (so Marie couldn't join us on our leisurely stroll) and run around the corner.

And Donny was nowhere to be seen. I start running down the hill in the direction I think he went. I quickly call Sarah to let her know Donny's on the loose (she's at Mimi's place with Ethan, so she really can't help anyway) and I hang up and continue running.

Stupid dog. This is NOT good. We've been at the house with the dogs for no more than 24 hours, so there's no POSSIBLE way he'll know how to get back. And although the road outside our house isn't a highway, there's some pretty decent traffic. And he's nowhere in sight.

Quick prayer. (huff, puff) Stupid doggggg (huff, puff)...

At this point, I'm thinking to myself that there's no way I'm going to catch him. I should have gotten in the car, but at this point I've already committed. So I keep running... and I'm already gasping for air.

Then a guy in a blue truck calls out to me... "You lookin' for a dog?"

"Yeah..." (gasping for air)

"He went WAAAAAY down there (motioning down the road). I'll see if I can stop him for you... does he bite?"

"No..." (even if he did, I wouldn't have told him)

So nice blue truck man drives on down and I see him pull over. I'm yelling to Donny, and from past experience, I know the Donn-meister hears me but is just ignoring me... I can only imagine his thought process...

No way I'm coming back there... First you leave me at the house in MD for 2 weeks with almost no human contact, then you ship me off to Philly, and now where the FREAK am I??? I've been that stupid crate all day and there ain't no way I'm coming back yet...

Now blue truck guy and another man has reached the fleeing canine and, true to form, Donny approaches (after making his 20th "pit stop" of the trip) and jumps up to try to sniff the guy's face... basically how he greets all humans. Helper-guy grabs Donny's collar, and the journey is over. I thank him and blue truck guy as he drives past, and start the long huff-puff journey back up the hill toward home.

I have decided to wire the gate shut. We will no longer use it. End of story.

No more happiness...

In Fantasy-land, that is. My team lost, despite only needing 6 points from 2 players combined. And to top it all off, Deuce is out for the year, which means my top 2 RBs are now out with injuries. It's a wonder I've even won a game at all... I SO shoulda won that game. Stupid Saints.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fantasy Football Happiness...

I wrote this in an Email to my bro this AM, and thought I'd just put it up in a post.

Good thing I decided to play Westbrook [Eagles RB] and McNabb [Eagles QB]yesterday. I got a total of 76 points from them, plus another 25 from the Dallas D, who is now on my good side again. :-)

I've got one more player (Cris Brown) going into tonight and it's already over. 124-108.

In my JC league, I need a TD from either Colston or McAllister, or some combination of 150 Yds rushing/receiving between them. If one of them goes over 100yds, that'll
seal the deal right there as we get 1pt/25 yds and 3pt bonus for +100.
It's always nice to come home to a weekend without football (minus the part where we watched Penn State lose to [shudder] Michigan... (you know, the team that lost their first game to a Division II school? ) and find that your home team wiped out the opposition and your two fantasy teams played well enough to pull out the victory. Now I haven't won my 2nd matchup yet, cause I still am losing, but I do have two players going tonight for the Saints on MNF and it looks like I'll be able to pull out the W. Good times... that'll make 3-0 in my JC league and lookin good.

Got the puppies this past weekend and things are starting to come down the homestretch to normalcy. We met GeGwee and Pop in Washington PA... "Why Washington...?" you may ask? Well it's not cause we're a little homesick for good old Montgomery Village... although we are. It's actually about 1/2 way between here and Philly, and it was a great way to meet them and have them deliver the pups without too much trouble. Pop managed to tie their crates to the roof, the puppies hopped in the back and we had a grand old time. Stayes at a Red Roof Inn for pretty cheap -- they accept pets with NO weight limit, so that was happy. They really behaved well (the DOGS, that is), and although it was a whirlwind 24-hour visit, it was a great time.

We'll get to go back again in Nov for my cousin Kristen's wedding, so it's only another 6 weeks till GeGwee can get another dose of the mighty E. We'll try to post some pix from the visit soon... God knows we took enough of them!

Later Shpater.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Die Hunde kommen!

Yes, that's right -- the dogs are coming home this weekend! We've missed them terribly. Going to meet GeGwee & Pop about 1/2 between here and Philly, spend some time with them and have a nice little visit since they won't be able to attend Ethan's 2nd Bday coming up soon.
Here's a picture of Marie and Colin just chillin'... they've been getting some serious "puppy love". No doubt my nephew's gonna miss them... not to mention GeGwee and Pop!
It's been great knowing they've been getting some attention and love they deserved after the DC Debacle. Hope they enjoy their new digs in Ohio. Sarah and I have decided they'll be sharing the Master Suite with us... it's really the only place we can put their HUGEMUNGOUS crates that makes any sense.
We'll be sure to post more pix after they get settled in... although I doubt it's going to be as comfortable for them as it seems to have been in Philly...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Donovan Diatribe

OK. I'm a little disturbed by something... I heard some comments made by Eagles QB Donovan McNabb the other evening on some HBO show, talking about how African-American QBs are criticized more than other QBs... I don't know whether that's true or not, and I'm not making excuses. I don't even pretend to know what his personal/professional life is like. I know he rushed his recovery from a torn ACL to come back way sooner than the norm, and I know he hasn't been able to get near enough time on the field to work out the kinks and get ready for the start of the season. I am pretty sure of one thing, though...

After losing in week one to GB, and then losing the other night to Washington while displaying a pathetic looking offense that couldn't even muster a single TD, don't you think there should be less time spent on politicking and more time spent on PRACTICING?

Do I sound like a ticked-off fan? Maybe. Am I insensitve? Perhaps. I'll grant him the fact that this may be a legitimate issue, but I'd rather have him focusing his energies right now on continuing to be the excellent performer he has always been. He is the consummate professional in my eyes, and is definitely a role-model. He has taken every insult, commentary and resounding BOO that the most-times-less-than-understanding Philly fan or member of the media can dish out... and he's always been top-drawer. I admit I was ticked off the other night while watching the game... but I've been thinking about it more and more in light of these comments he made the other day and want to send out my support to #5. Hang in there.

And for all you other McNabb haters out there, I say... "Well at least he's no Kyle Boller..." :-)

Just my $.02.

Could this be the year?

Probably not... but it's worth raising the question. I can't count the number of times the Phillies have raised my hopes with the possibility of making the post-season, and now they are doing it once again. They are ABSOLUTELY RED HOT and are beating every team in sight -- including winning the last 8 games in a row against the Mets (Aug and Sept). Meanwhile, the Mets are tumbling, have lost 5 (or 6) straight and the Phils are now just a game and a half away from the division lead. They're also either a game and a half or just a half game away from the NL wild card lead (depending on how San Diego did last night) and with only a few weeks left (if that), there's a distinct possibility they might actually get to the playoffs for the first time in like 10 years. Now don't get me wrong -- I don't EXPECT them to do it. That would be just plain silly... :-)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Nothing up my sleeve... PRESTO!

As quickly as it disappeared, the table has now been found (see previous post). Should be delivered by the end of the week. I'm sure there are other things that never made it to us, but nothing that seems so important that I'm going to lose sleep over at this point.

Spent the evening over at the house by myself the other night working in the basement... "Why the basement?" you ask? Cause that's where the TV is! Can you say "Monday Night Football"???

Yes folks, I got to experience not one but.. count 'em... TWO Monday Night Games. I could only hope for this to continue throughout the season, but I doubt it will. And it will be tough to keep up with those West Coast games if they don't start till 10:30pm.

So my FF teams are 1-1. I won in the JC League, but lost by ONE POINT in my work league. Can I jsut say how much I really hate Dallas? I should have known better selecting their stupid defense... I lost a point when they allowed the Giants offense to run rampant and score a bazillion points. And in the end, I was undone by Tony Robo-QB hooking up with TO for 2 scores, throwing for 2 more and running for a 5th TD. Can you say MEGA-POINTS scored against Jeff? Oh well... at least the league is free. :-)

High School Nude-sicle

Oh, Vanessa...

Disney backs star after nude photos revealed

Friday, September 7, 2007

First you see it...

Then you don't. It's nice for magicians, but not so nice when you're moving cross-country. Let me just fill you all in a little...

We moved in Wednesday. The movers broke the foot on an antique, the sofa won't fit down the basement stairs, and they can't FIND our dining room table. An expensive one. No idea where it is. We are ticked.

Besides all this, I get the sneaking suspicion that there are more things missing... nothing too terribly important (except for the table),... but missing nonetheless. My 2 keyboard stands? no idea where they are. Other missing items include misc. gardening equipment (lawnmowers, weedwhacker, rakes, etc) and probably a bunch of other stuff we didn't need anyway... ugh.

Luckily, we have Ethan's room almost set up, our king bed made it up the stairs, and things are starting to take shape. It's gonna take a while, but we're on our way. Luckily Benji and Liz are in town this weekend for Debbie's 60th -- so we drafted them to help. Good thing too -- I'm gonna need help getting our extra Queen bed back to Debbie's to replace the busted air mattress. It was a lovely way to wake up this morning... poor Sarah. I know for sure she can't WAIT to be back in our own comfy bed... Ahhh.....

Thursday, August 30, 2007

We're in!

I realized I hadn't posted, so just wanted to fill everyone in. We closed on Monday -- happy day! The previous owners are really cool and as it turns out, they're living right next door! Now, it's only temporary cause they're building a new home close by, but the woman's sister is our neighbor -- no doubt we'll be seeing a lot of them. But it is kinda weird to see their kids and have them watch us do all kinds of things to their house... but at least they're cool about it.

Sarah and I started painting (well, priming -- haven't got to the paint part yet) and we have 2 rooms to go. Thought it would be a good idea to get all this done before the movers showed up, but it doesn't look like we'll finish. If we can at least get some of it done, it will help a lot, I'm sure. There are only 4 rooms to paint, including a bathroom, so it's not that bad. The only problem is that we have a limited amount of time to do it, since we're away this weekend in Chicago for a wedding and won't return until late Monday. That leaves tonight (Thu) and next Tue to finish up... hopefully we can get everything at least primed and perhaps get one or two rooms totally finished. Cross your fingers!

Nothing to lose your head over...

Or is it? This is just disturbing...

Man loses top of his head in brain operation

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Tomorrow's the Big Day!

We're closing tomorrow. So psyched.

Sarah and I went over with Mimi and Ethan tonight to do the final walkthrough, and were pleasantly surprised when we found not only the big screen TV and speakers (like we were expecting), but also 2 tuners, a CD changer, a DVD player, a component switcher and a bunch of other things! So cool! Now we don't need to fix our stuff!

The pool table is gone (as expected), but that's good cause it means we won't have to deal with it. We would have sold it regardless, but it's one less thing we need to do. We will need to purchase some patio furniture to enjoy on our nice big deck, but most of the other stuff we already have. Sarah wants to purchase a few chairs for the living room since most of our furniture will be downstairs in the basement, and we have some painting to do in the rooms upstairs, but everything else is basically ready to go -- move in condition, clean and smelling all purdy. NICE.

I am so thankful that this is almost done. And before I forget to mention it -- we're basically paying NOTHING at closing. We asked for $2000 back from the sellers bringing our costs down to $750 -- but we're getting a $750 rebate from USAA for using their services. How cool is THAT?!?!? Looks like we'll owe something like $.53... Love it.

The movers don't come until next week, so that gives us a little time to get things together (painting and whatnot). Really looking forward to finally having a place of our own (again)...

"Our house, in the middle of our street..."

Friday, August 24, 2007

Great article

Dad sent me this article by one of my favorite writers George Will. It's a great look at a great umpire, Bruce Froemming. In a time where many professional umpires opt for the easy way out, here's one who unfortunately is considered a throw-back. He actually CARES about what he does. He calls them like he sees them... not like he's EXPECTED to see them. INTEGRITY PERSONIFIED. I guarantee that if there were more Bruce Froemmings in pro sports, we'd have a lot less of the headline-grabbing nonsense that the rest of them are generating. But, I digress...

Read on -- Diamond-Hard Integrity -- Bruce Froemming.


A 6-pack a day...

I started this little advenuture about 6 weeks ago at Jungle Jim's where I decided I would choose a variety of individual brews to create a custom 6-pack, and then sample and review them over the course of a week or two. Well, needless to say I DID finish them all (no doubt!) but I haven't had a chance to review them yet.

Now, mind you, I'm not really a beer connoisseur, but I do enjoy all the difft flavors you get across the variety of different IPAs, lagers and stouts. I plan on getting up my "6-pack review" soon -- that is, if I can find the list where I wrote down all the different kinds I tried.

The one I do remember a brew by the Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland OH called Eliot Ness, an amber lager if I remember. Very nice smooth feel, slightly toasty (and no, I was not "TOASTED"!!!) and not much of a hoppy aroma to it... I remember a bit of hops in the finish, and it was quite drinkable, despite the strange name -- actually the reason I chose to try it. Apparently he loved to frequent the brewpub and got a beer named after him. Maybe I should ask the folks over at Dogfish Head to consider renaming their Belgian Dark -- perhaps the "Rezer d'Etre"???

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ethan's musical genius

OK - so I took this video with my camera the other day cause I had to share with the world the musical genius that is Ethan Rezer. Nevermind the fact that he's only 23 months...

In case you can't hear real well, Daddy is calling out the names of the notes of the scale -- OUT OF ORDER -- and Ethan is playing them on the piano! He rocks! Look out Liberace!

Click on the video to bring it up in the player. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I hate the Braves

Isn't it about time for the Phillies to dominate the NL East? Haven't I waited long enough? Just when you though the Braves were headed downhill, here comes the newly acquired Mark Teixiera, hitting 9 homers in 18 games and revitalizing the Braves offense. Oh, and Smoltz is still as nasty as ever, proving so by striking out 12 in his most recent outing. The Phils are hanging in there, scoring a ton of runs and leading the NL in that category, but it seems like they just can't seem to push it over the top. The pitching has been pretty steady, and a once inept bullpen has really been top-notch as far as I have been able to see in the limited amount of games I've been able to track. Is it too much to ask for a little post-season activity? There's still hope... but it's never a given with the Braves hanging around.

Oh yeah -- I hate the Mets too.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I've been waiting...

For a Blo - - og post...
To go on-to Jeff's site...
Yeah, waiting...
For a Blo - - og post...
To see if he's alright...

OK. Lou Gramm I'm not.

But neither are you - so leave me alone.

Seriously... the first 2 weeks of work have been jam packed. Things are going well. I jumped in with both feet and hit the ground at a quick jog and haven't had time to look back yet. I hadn't even realized that there wasn't a post about my first week until I started getting reminders from TravelinGirl76 and djcunnin. Sorry folks.

I like my office, the people I work with and the stuff I'm doing A LOT. I've had to dust off some of my analytical skills as well tidy up the cobwebs on the math side of my brain. I've been working at compiling online ad stats (pageviews, visits, CTR and more) using a variety of different tools for about 50-60 sites that F+W owns. More on that later. Suffice it to say it's a great way to learn about everything going on here.

I helped prepare the monthly reports the first week I was here, got to send them out to everyone and already got my feet wet answering questions from some of the online marketing managers. I think this is going to be a great match for my skillset... analytical thinking, web experience, some programming and some people-skills. There's also a good bt of "why isn't this working" brainstorming going on with my boss, which I highly enjoy. My mom can definitely vouch for that -- I started at a very young age by always asking her... "Mom, ask me a hard question."

Well, these are definitely some difficult ones. But I'm up to the challenge. I started practicing a long time ago.

More later...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sunday, August 5, 2007

New job starts tomorrow

I'm a little excited.

A little bit nervous.

Sort of anxious.

A little frightened.

a LOT grateful.

Start at 9:30 and I'll be jumping right into orientation, lunch with my boss and afternoon meetings. He called it "orientation with a purpose". I don't care what it is -- just glad to be getting my shot. Finally.

Friday, August 3, 2007


Sarah narrowed down about a million listings down to a few that we've been checking out with our new USAA-Approved realtor. She's great... very knowledgable, likable and even from one of the target areas. I still can't believe what $150K gets you around here. It's ridiculous. Our $350K townhouse in DC would be about a $600-700 house here. LOVE IT.

We are torn right now between 2 great possibilities -- one is a fantastic space, ready to move in, gorgeous finished basement and beautiful... the other has a lot of potential and has a great master suite and a TON of room. So do we go for the gorgeous no-work required house with less space and no master bath or do we go for the one that has a ton of room but will need carpet and paint right off the bat? Argh! Choices...

Opinions would be welcomed...

More soon.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Playing Catch-up

And while I'm on the subject... what's with all the spellings of that word anyway? Catsup? Ketchup? Catchup? Sheesh... :-)

I GOT MY JOB! I interviewed last Thursday with F+W Pubs and it went really well... I was expecting to hear something more in about a week and a half, plus thinking I would come back to meet with the head of the department, but I got an Email the next day with an OFFER LETTER! God is good! Not only was it a great offer, it was MORE than I asked for. AWESOME!

The position will be a great mix of business and tech, and I am looking forward to being able to contribute to this fantastic team. It seems like a great opportunity and a great match for me all at the same time. I'll keep you all posted in the weeks to come as I start as ONLINE ADVERTISING SPECIALIST next Monday, Aug. 6. YAHOO!

Now, on to finding a house!

Monday, July 23, 2007

House, Job and PotterMania

OK, we finally closed on the house last Friday, July 13. Yes, that's right -- Friday the 13th. We didn't have much of a choice. After a long arduous process of fixing it up, cleaning, painting, renovating, etc... it's OVER. You can check out the pix on the Photo Gallery. Honestly, I didn't know if I had it in me when I started, but since we didn't really have a choice, we were able to get it done with A LOT of help from our friends. We've received our settlement check (A LOT lower than we wanted) and now are just waiting for our final escrow amounts to come back. Goodbye MD. We'll miss you.

I was potentially interviewing for the Online Advertising position last Friday (the 20th) but it got postponed to this week because the department head was out of the office. Hopefully I'll hear early this week. Heard back about the CSR job in Dayton and although I passed the interview with flying colors, there are no open positions at this time, although from the sound of it they are expecting more openings as soon as the parent company authorizes the hiring process for the department. This is still a fallback, but I'm holding on for a better opportunity. Also a possibility of working for a company called PowerNet Global as a helpdesk specialist. That one is pending approval from the company, and I'm not the only one being interviewed.

Sarah is a little sad these last few days because the final Harry Potter book was released and she has already read it (within 24 hours, I might add). She and I went to Borders for the midnight release party and picked up the book, then we went home (after a McDonald's stop for "brain food") and started reading around 1am. She read for about 4 hours and took a short nap, got up at 9:30 and read the rest of the day, stopping only to eat for about 5 minutes each time. She finished shortly before 7pm... insane! She sure does love Harry Potter. I consoled her by mentioning that there would still be 2 more movies coming out, but she said "honey, it's not the same..." I agree. But at least it's something...

More to come

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Behold the new!

Sarah and I got creative and started putting together a new home page. Lots of good stuff to come, but check it out. It's now ready for PRIME TIME!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Many possibilities in the works...

So after a week of feeling very down, now I'm feeling cautiously optimistic and actually excited. I had a phone interview with a company for the position of Online Advertising Specialist yesterday for a media company, and it went REALLY well. They want to have me in on Friday afternoon to meet some other folks from the company. This opportunity would be great cause it's a nice blend of business and tech, and I think would really allow me to flex my people-skills. The company sounds very team oriented and I think it would be a great fit for me... please keep this situation and opportunity for me in your prayers.

Secondly, right before this phone interview, I got a call from a tech recruiter for a HelpDesk position that would pay fairly well that's right in my location target area, the same area that I had been working earlier in the month. It may be a bit over my head, but I could most likely do the work if given the opportunity. The pay is not as good as the job mentioned earlier, but it's still higher than the third opportunity...

...which is with the company I'd been interviewing with for the last few weeks. This company is HUGE and they're located up in Dayton, about 45 min from here. The pay is low, and the hours are horrible, but it's at least a job with an opportunity to advance and make a little money. I know this is something I don't want to do full-time, but if I need to take it while I continue looking elsewhere, I will... but only if the others don't pan out.

Now, in the meantime I'm continuing to apply for some positions and am keeping my options open, but I'm hopeful that the first opportunity mentioned here will actually work out. They are looking to hire within 2-3 weeks, and have a few candidates already, including one from inside the company. This makes me a little nervous, but I can only do my best and hope they see me as the best fit for their company and the position.

"I'm holding on..."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Shock the Monkey...

For some hysterical reading, check out the latest adventures of Monkey Rezer.

"Watch the monkey get hurt... monkey."

Now on to some job-related news... in bullet-point fashion:

  • Interview with Robert Half Technologies went well, although I bombed the Windows XP help desk test (did well on the hardware test). My rep there will be back to me once they have a position for me... may be a while, but who knows...

  • Took some MS Office proficiency tests this AM with Adecco (the same company I've been temping with at Tom Raper RVs) and scored +90% on all of them. They were pretty easy, but if this is any indication of the talent level out there, they should be paying me hundreds of millions -- as soon as I can land a job...

  • Sent a resume/coverletter to a company that I heard about through my networking group. It's for an online advertising specialist and I already got a call back on it... will be interviewing (phone) with the HR manager on Wed. This is probably the hottest prospect yet, so please say a prayer...

  • Have my followup interview with LexisNexis Tue AM -- part Q&A and part tech simulation. I should do well, and if all goes as expected I hope to have an offer from them by the end of the week. The question is... do I hold out for something else or go with the sure thing? Decisions, decisions...

So that's it for now. Please keep me in your prayers...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Kobeyashi gets squashied

Yes, folks, it's old news, but I was watching a re-run (no, not Freddie Stubbs from 'What's Happening') of the Nathan's Hotdog Eating Contest and the mighty Kobeyashi has fallen. An American (Joey Chestnut) finally beat him, eatng 66 hotdogs AND BUNS within the time limit. Let me just tell you it was disturbing in that "I can't bear to watch this but for some reason can't avert my glance" kind of way. What a feat.

OK, that's all fine and good (and slightly sickening), but the reason I mention all this is because of a comment the one announcer said. Let me see if I can quote him so you can get the full effect...

"If Chestnut can hang on here, it would be [one of] the greatest moments in American sports history..."

Are you freaking kidding me??? That statement has got to me one of the most ridiculous and assanine statements ever uttered by a "sportscaster". Greater than Willie Mays' famous over-the-shoulder catch? Greater than the Miracle at the Meadowlands? The Immaculate Reception? US Beating the Soviets in the 1980 Winter Olympics? Chamberlain scoring 100 in a single game? Puh-lease. It doesn't even top Gus Frerotte's famous endzone headbutt celebration...

This idiot should lose his sportscasters license. What kind of credentials does this buffoon have anyway? It's people like this guy that make some ESPN'ers the laughing stock of knowledgable sports fans everyway.


Last day at Tom Raper

Well, maybe. It was supposed to be yesterday, but I came back for a few the morning to make another $.99. Whoopee. Well, at least it gives me some time to write in my blog. It doesn't get busy till later in the day.

Sarah and Big E come back today from Illi-no-ah. I'm SO ready for them to be back. You can only watch so many episodes of Flip This House before it starts to get old. I almost put in a Veggie Tales DVD the other day cause in a weird way I almost missed watching it. ALMOST.

We're getting excited about the new release of the Harry Potter movie. I can only imagine that Sarah is going out of her mind. And not only does the movie come out this weekend, the 7th and final book is not far behind. She's already got her reserved copy ordered and will most likely polish the entire book off in a night or two. Seriously.

Looks like Momma R is now in the land of Gmail and IM. Got her hooked up yesterday and upgraded her from her old JUNO acct. There's no need for that old dialup acct anymore since she's on the church's LAN. It will be nice to chat with her on a regular basis without needing to be near a phone. And I'm sure Dad is not far behind in the IM world... I can almost hear Sting now...

"I want my, I want my, I want my Instant Chat..."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

And now... Paula Cole!




You would think that during a major multimedia event like the All-Star game that they'd have this wired a little tighter. Is there a sound issue? A cable not plugged in? What's up? Where's the sound engineer? The roadies? AAAAHHHH...

At this point we see her keyboard player hunched over the keyboard trying frantically to either select a sound, see the display or figure out why it's not working. I have an incredible feeling of deja vous. Know the feeling. Don't envy her right now.

More silence. The long-distance TV camera pans the crowd. Still nothing. I can't believe it. Wondering if she's going to start singing acapella. She probably should. Start Paula. Please start. Why can't they figure this out. This is embarrassing...

I can almost hear the sound of James Adams in the background "Down-time, Down-time...let's go guys..." But Flip Like Wilson never played to a crowd like this... even at the Bottle & Cork in Dewey Beach.

Ok -- finally. She says something about the country, men and women fighting... very nice. I don't remember exactly. She starts singing. You can hear the nervousness in her voice as she sings. No wonder. She just had a couple hundred million people watching (or not watching) her sing.

Ok... sounding better now. Actually, this sounds quite good. Nice version. I'm glad... nice recovery. I'm happy for her. And me. My blood pressure is returning to normal... as normal as it could be, I guess...

All-Star Extravaganza

OK. If you didn't see the game last night, the finish was fantastic. Bad in a baseball sense, but good for thrill-seekers.


OK... so for those of you who either don't have a DVR or don't care about the outcome, here we go...

It was a rather uneventful game, except for a few cool moments. Ichiro hit an inside-the-parker. He rounded the bases like it was nothing. By the time the outfielder retrieved the ball, he probably could have gone half way around again. That guy is ridiculous. And if I could say it in Japanese, I would, just so I'd be sure he could understand how I feel. Suffice it to say that he is probably the best pure hitter in the game right now -- (yes, including BARRY) -- and don't even get me started on the fact that the guy can plain out FLY on the bases. Silly good. And he's a pretty good fielder as well.

Speaking of "Fielders"... I know there's a lot of emotion and hype and all for the game, and the players probably have the an equivalent amount of adreneline in their systems as if they had just downed a case of Red Bull, but what's up with Prince Fielder dropping a simple throw to first? That was plain out sad. Coming from an ex-first baseman, there was no excuse for dropping that ball. And I wasn't a perfect "Fielder" either, but I feel like I should be able to throw some stones here. Maybe Prince should think about dropping that last name of his and just going by his moniker... oh wait, that name's already been taken by the Purple One. :-)

OK, so a lot of stuff happened blah blah blah and then as usual, the American League pulls ahead and is leading 5-2 going into the final inning. Then a 2-run shot by another ridiculous hitter Soriano.. so it's 5-4. (Side note: I find it funny that he hit it off a reliever whose last name is "Putz" -- even if he does have 24 saves and a sub 1.00 ERA)

There are 2 outs. They bring in Francisco Rodrigez. He proceeds to walk the bases loaded, and if it weren't for some fine defensive catching by Posada it would have been tied. Finally Rowand flied out to end the game, but the NLA almost pulled it out... almost. Oh well. It's been 10 years... they've got to be due SOON.

I read an interesting stat the other day... the starting salaries of the NLA -- $52mil. The ALA -- over $120mil. No wonder they always win.

"Take me out to the ballgame..."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Interesting web fodder...

New dictionary includes 'ginormous'

OK, fine. But do they also list 'hugemungous'? I think not.

So there. :-)

Going, going, gone...

I watched the Homerun Derby last night... not all of it, cause it is INTERMINABLY LONG... but I watched a nice chunk of it nonetheless. It was difficult to tune out the incessant banter of Chris Berman's "backbackbackbackback" but I managed to do so for most of the evening and just catch the highlights. I was disappointed in Ryan Howard's showing, but I didn't expect him to put on the same show he did the previous year anyway. Oh well. I guess that players other than Phillies are allowed to win every once and a while... :-)

There's a great article by Jayson Stark on how to improve the Derby for next year...check it out if you have the chance. He is awesome, and I highly recommend anything he writes or says. He is fantastic and very insightful, not to mention entertaining.

Monday, July 9, 2007

OH to IL and back again

After a whirlwind weekend, I'm back in OH sans Sarah and Big E, who have stayed behind in IL with Uncle "Bubba" and Aunt "Yi" (Benji and Liz). I picked up Debbie (Sarah's mom) at the Indy airport on Friday night at 11:55pm... since she was 1:30 late, we decided to get a room in Indy instead ov driving the addtl 3hr to Decatur IL for a wedding the next day. Let me tell you-- I now know why they "leave the light on for you" at Motel 6 -- it's so all the cockroaches scatter before you open the door. :-)

After a rather uneventful evening (except for the fact that the fan made it sound like a semi was idling in our bathroom), we hit the road and arrived in Decatur to meet Sarah and Ethan who had gone ahead of us. We did a little running around and exploring, had lunch at La Gondola (home of the slightly strange sweet bread) and got a little snack at Del's Popcorn Shop(YUMM-O). Some of the best caramel corn and definitely the best kettle corn I have EVER had. The wedding was later that evening in Clinton -- nice service, lots of Sarah's family involved... her brother and cousin sang and her uncle did the marryin'... Ethan behaved VERY well and kept announcing to everyone that he knew the people up there... at one quiet point during the minister's message, he proudly exclaimed "Pa-paw" (Sarah's uncle) -- needless to say, that was Papaw's favorite part of the entire wedding! One thing that I thought was cool that I had never seen before -- Nick and Jessica (bride and groom) actually came back in again after the recessional and dismissed the guests. Quite a nice touch. Wish I would have thought of that... :-)

Back again to Decatur for the reception -- fairly uneventful, but there were some items of note...
  1. It was held in a Masonic Temple. Nice place, but I had never been to one before. It's a little more interesting to me after the whole DaVinci Code thing lately...
  2. Food was quite good
  3. Beer was quite not
  4. Neither was the wine
  5. During the reception, one of the centerpieces (a bottle of some sort of cherry infused wine) spontaneously exploded, drenching the entire table of 60+'s with red liquid. We think it got too close to the candles on the table, which heated the air inside the bottle and then "PRESTO" -- instant entertainment!

Afterwards, we headed to Benji and Liz's place in Tuscola IL. We went to church outside in the park the next morning as part of the 150th Anniverary celebration for the town (otherwise known as the 'Sesqicentennial'). Benji's band sounded great despite the heat out there, and we enjoyed a great message. We then headed home for a short rest, returning at 2pm for a set of original music by Benji and the band... now known as Taking Refuge (although some of the promotional items out there heralded them as Taking REFUSE)... ! The played well, and we stuck around to hear the headliner, Building 429. Great band. Check them out online. Very cool.

Went out to dinner that evening with Liz's parents and I began the uneventful trek home around 7:30 -- which was 8:30 EST. Got back at midnight, yutzed around for a while and went to bed. All in all, I probably logged 600 miles and ate my share of Del's popcorn. Not a bad weekend. Can't wait till Sarah gets home. :-(

Thursday, July 5, 2007

closing is being pushed...

Just found out... probably July 13. Friday the 13th. Don't know if I'm happy about that, for more reasons than the obvious... :-)

Good news is that it gives us a few more days to get the trash out. Bad news is that it delays our payoff, so we get less money, so we have less money to work with NOW...which is the major problem. Prayers are appreciated.

Wow I am lame

Lot going on - let's try to break it down into personal stuff, house stuff and job stuff

First - Job Stuff

Still working at the RV through next Friday. My interview with LexisNexs went well but apparently not well enough. They wanted someone with more coding experience. Understandable I guess... I've never really considered myself a coder, and I had really been out of it for 2 years or so while working at JC. Unfortunately for me, it's not like the whole "riding a bike" thing... I definitely do forget a lot of it. But I have a follow-up phone interview for another position with the same company -- less money, but a job none-the-less. Let's see how it works out. I also have an interview with another recruiter sometime this week or next -- I applied for a number of positions online for this same company, so I'm not sure exactly what they are interested in me for... but hopefully it's something good. (duh!)

Next - House Stuff

Had to go back to Maryland last week to finish packing up... left on a Tuesday and came back on a Friday. Lots of box-packing with Mom in the meantime. She came down to help out and ended up staying way later than originally anticipated CAUSE SHE ROCKS. The best Mom ever! I don't care what the rest of you say! :-)

We packed a ton of boxes and unfortunately I had to give in about 4pm on Friday without finishing CAU... and because I have the best friends in the world, I had 4 people volunteer to come by and help finish packing while I was back in OH. I need to mention them here because they are SUPER AWESOME. Thanks to Jen C, April A, April R and Angie F. You are the bestest ever!

Had to find a moving company while I was there to handle the move - we were originally planning on having someone come while we were there, but since there was no way to get it done in time, we decided to get a company to come in for us and move the items without us being there (apparently this is done often enough that they didn't sound surprised when I asked). The original company we wanted to do it for us quoted us one rate and then said it would be about $2500 more when they did a walk through. UNACCEPTABLE. We found another company and they gave us a NTE price, plus they're storing items for 1 month for free. This is superb since we don't have a place to put things yet -- there's no way it's fitting in Sarah's mom's place that's for sure! Closing is still scheduled for Monday the 9th, and it's on track. There's still a lot to do by then, but we are praying and hopeful that everything will happen as it should and we will be done with the MD house. Hurray!

Finally - Personal Stuff...

There's a wedding this weekend in Illinois -- looking forward to meeting more of Sarah's family and catching up with my brother and sister in law, Benji and Liz. Besides the wedding, we're supposed to attend a church service in the park (Benji is leading worship) and afterwards we'll be going to a concert. Benji's band is opening up for a band called Building 426 (?) or something like that and it should be a good time. Sarah, Debbie and Ethan are staying through Thursday, although I'llbe leaving to heard back around dinnertime Sunday cause I have to work. Gotta pay the bills ya know.

I'm feeling slightly anxious yet also invigorated these past few days seeing things line up in anticipation of Friday (job) and Mon (house). Mom and Dad have been a great shoulder to lean on as have other family members (Debbie and Aunt Robin) and have kept me encouraged. It's difficult to be struggling so much right now -- I've never had to really worry about finding a job before (they've always found me), and honestly it's been a bit of a blow to my self-ego. I know there's a job out there for me, but I feel like I don't even have the time to wait for it cause I need money NOW. We have been blessed by financial gifts from friends and family, have had some unexpected windfalls in the way of tax returns, etc., plus I had some client billings that came in... so we have had money to live on. I know that God will provide... but it's been a trying time to say the least.

Church out here is way cool. Sarah and I are meeting with the Creative Arts pastor of Vineyard Cincinnati next Friday and hopefully can start to get plugged in -- either band, tech or something. We really feel comfortable here and seems to be a natural extension of our time at JC without the pressure. It's a great place to worship and is really outreach focused... check their site and learn all about the recent Sumnmer of Service they hosted for teens!

Ok -- that's all for now...

"Our house... in the middle of our street..."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

8 random facts

I've been tagged by Deb to give you eight random facts about me...I have to post these rules before I give you the facts. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog. I'm not sure I even know 8 people who blog, let alone 8 that haven't already done this, but I'll try anyway.

Fact #1 -- I'm semi-ambidextrous. Now I say "semi" cause there aren't all that many things that I do left handed, but enough that make me a little weird (imagine that!). I bat left-handed (although I throw RH), play golf left-handed and even sleep on my left side. I hold my cell phone with my left hand and usually only drive with my left hand. One other cool fact -- my left hand is really way more advanced when playing the piano than it should be, enough so that when I tried out for my highschool jazzband, I actually soloed with my left hand instead of my right. The band leader was floored... and I got in. To be honest, the solo wasn't all that good, but I think he just thought it was cool. So do I. :-)

Fact #2 -- I sorta like mowing the lawn. I think I developed an affinity for it in highschool when I got to go out and put on my headphones and mow... and just kinda fade away into the music. Also something about making those little back and forth strips in the yard made it almost look like some of the major league parks with the criss-cross pattern of grass in the outfield. A littlle odd, I know... but I thought it was worth sharing.

Fact #3 -- I hardly ever do any casual reading. It's bad, I know... cause I do actually enjoy a good book (when I have time). I usually only get a chance to do it on vacations (plane rides, etc) or when I'm sick or something. Which leads me to...

Fact #4 -- I hardly ever get sick. Maybe I just ignore it when I am. I get sniffles and sore throats and stuff but I usually don't think much about it at the time... but I really only get "stay-home-from-work-cancel-your-plans" sick about once every two or three years or so. Call it good genes, call it luck, call it something else... but I guess I'm blessed in that area.

Fact #5 -- I am VERY uptight about needing to know how things are going to happen in the near future. Ask Sarah. I need to know directions 3 turns out. I think through different scenarios and plan out my responses way in advance. I over-analyze conversations to the point of silence. Maybe that's good in some ways, but sometimes it's very annoying to others I'm sure. Oh well.

Fact #6 -- I like lima beans. Seriously. I know most people hate them, but my brother, father and I all love them. Don't know why. But they're yummy.

Fact #7 -- I learned how to play chess in 2nd grade. Now maybe that's not a big deal, but it is kind of odd for an 8 year old. I had a bunch of friends at school that liked to play, and I'm sure we couldn't have beaten Kasperov, Fischer or Deep Blue but we enjoyed it all the same.

Fact #8 -- I was an Eagle Scout at age 14. Well, maybe 14 1/2... but it was still kinda early. Something I'm really proud of, although I think more so now than when I was younger. I actually went through the program at the same time with the scoutmaster's son, and the 2 of us were pretty much neck and neck the whole way through. It was kinda cool to have someone doing it at the same time that I was friends with. I also got a cool memory book of sorts when it was done that the troop put together for me with all kinds of letters and stuff from notable people like Senators, Representatives... even the Pres. But the coolest of all was the one from Billy Joel (my hero at the time). OH -- and the 6 free cases of Pepsi Free and other products I got from Pepsi Cola. Sweet!

OK -- so those are my facts. Now I will randomly tag the following people... and if you don't blog, go ahead and send me an Email with the answers!

Dan C
Aunt Robin