Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Piles of old coins found in Pa. home - USATODAY.com
Friday, October 26, 2007
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
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
Friday, October 19, 2007
Return laptop, get a lifetime of beer - USATODAY.com
Thursday, October 18, 2007
ALL I HAVE
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...
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
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.
SARAH - ETHAN - FAMILY - DOGGIES - MUSIC - GOD - My JOB - Our HOUSE - LIFE - oh, and FOOTBALL... :-)
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
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.
Local Recycle & Reuse Hits A Bureaucratic Roadblock
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
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.