Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Music Flashback

Today's music flashback takes us to 1981 and Paul Davis singing "Cool Night". This is some obvious lip-syncing from Solid Gold. I actually wanted to post " '65 Love Affair" since I heard that on the radio earlier today but the released video is awful (filled with public domain weird snippets that remind me of Reefer Madness for some reason). So, this will have to do.

One thing I didn't know is that Paul passed away last year of a heart attack at just 60 years old. Well, enjoy Paul, the sounds of proms gone by, and all of his hair.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Today predicted - 28 years ago

Three thoughts on this:
1) 1981 doesn't seem like that long ago.
2) We had plenty of warning.
3) I seriously need to update my résumé.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hiatus Over

Wow. It's been almost a week. I would say I've been on hiatus here recharging the brain, but really I've been completely buried at work and just too busy to think about writing here.

During my downtime, I've been goofing off on the netbook. It's the Asus EEE 900A - currently marked down to $199 at Best Buy. This netbook rocks - I wish I did something productive on it, but I mainly goof off. I installed EEEbuntu and 2GB of RAM and it flies quite nicely. I have started downloading podcasts also, so the slacking potential is huge.


Then, there is the evil Folgers Cappuccino drink. It's good - like hot chocolate but a bit snappier. Drink it fast - it's like a Krystal - when it gets cold, it's ruined.

The forecast tonight is for ice and I'm hoping I don't pull a repeat performance and fall on the ice like I did a week ago tomorrow while out of town for work. The soreness peaked Friday and stayed through yesterday. It is amazing how slowly you bounce back as you get older. And, I'm not talking "really older" either. I'm scared to think what a fall like that could do ten years from now. Ten years ago, it would have been quickly forgotten!

I have a laundry list of topics to write about but I'll hold off starting on them until tomorrow night. Time to get some sleep before the ice starts plinking off the windows.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tophats

I realized that my tophat twitpic was a little hard to see, so I present it here for a closer look.
Tophats - they're making a comeback among the high school kids.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A song for Friday

A couple of months ago, I said I would try "theme Fridays" and present a classic song every Friday. That lasted one week.

So, I will never again promise a theme but I will try to get off my duff and share some songs that are my favorites at least once a week.

Today's song "Goodnight Tonight" by Wings. This one came out in 1979. The older I get, the more I appreciate Paul McCartney and Wings. It's really one of my favorite bands and there is really not much that dates this song, even today. It's not really disco or "soft 70's" - it stands quite well on its own.

Hello Winter!


This is as low as it got here and we've already rebounded to 10.

The power stayed on. The pipes are good.

Spring is right around the corner!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Blog neglect and lack of sleep

Hopefully, my blog neglect is almost over. This has been a very busy week and I'm still up putting some finishing touches on some stuff - and making sure the pipes don't freeze.
Unusually cold for this area of the country through Saturday:

We were in the old house for the last real cold weather like this. Of course, at about 1AM, when it was 7 degrees, the lights went out. That seems to be typical for this area. The power went off again a few weeks ago when it hit 15 degrees so I am not looking forward to the next couple of days. Maybe they have the kinks worked out by now?

This house is only 5 years old and I feel a draft. Shoddy construction? Nahhhhh. Don't get me started on that.

Well, that's it. It's 1:24 AM and I am heading to bed so I can get my 5 hours in. Good night!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A day of nothing


I started out the morning by building the kids a blanket/chair tent in the living room. Doesn't everyone do this from time to time? I may build one for myself so I can sit in it when I have a bad day at work.


Of course, the rain came and flooded the yard again! This was barely a half an inch - I would hate to see what a full blast storm would do. Luckily, we have snow in the forecast since it will be much colder next week. That means no more rain and maybe the yard will dry out a bit. Looks like we'll be buying a truckload of topsoil for the backyard this spring.



These are actually little seeds or something (I do not have a green thumb) that are floating on top of the water. It is quite odd.

It will take quite a bit of soil and grass seed to fix all of this mess!

Other than this, we did very little today. We watched the Tennessee Titans lose and I updated the Ubuntu on my netbook (geek stuff). It was really a wasted day but I guess everyone needs a wasted day every so often. That's it! Off to bed!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

After Christmas Cleanup Continues

The other night I mentioned Trivial Pursuit games that I have piled up over the years. Here they all are - piled up and ready to head to the thrift store. The two on top are at least 25 years old. We spent a lot of time playing these but they are pretty dated now and are just taking up space. Hopefully, someone will get some use out of them!
I guess I held on to all of these because my mother bought most of them and was the key person who insisted we play - a lot. I owe all of my knowledge of useless trivia (and most other things) to my mother. It's funny what you get "attached" to. These are just board games. I've gotten rid of so many things over the last year - it's amazing that I made trip after trip to the thrift store and still allowed these games to stay.
My current dilemma is all of the kids school papers. I have several little totes full of drawings, worksheets, certificates and they are only in kindergarten and first grade. I'll have to make some tough decisions.
My next big areas of the house to tackle are the little catch-all area of the attic (designated for a warmer weather clean up), the garage and the outside shed.

I am glad it is almost the weekend. This has been a tense week. There are a lot of changes happening at work again and it is hard to know how it will all play out. We are staying hopeful and positive that there will be no major changes and at this point I feel lucky to just be employed at all with the way things are. I don't feel I have much right to complain considering what people around me are going through.

We know four families that are dealing with painful situations this week - 2 of which received worse than expected diagnosis. A few weeks ago, Randall Friesen posted a blog entry that has stuck with me and offers great hope in such difficult times.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Odds and Ends

Just some odds and ends tonight.

In recent news, I already broke one part of my "goals for 2009". I bought another book for the book shelf - a $3 copy of Billy Crystal's memoir. Shame on me, but I will get to it and it was just $3!!

In updates for 2008: I think my biggest goals for the year was organization and simplifying.

If you read this blog, you might remember that I took pictures of my closets and posted them online (link). I guess I was trying to shame myself into cleaning them up since they were completely out of control:


Well, I actually cleaned that one up -
I also cleaned up most of the clutter from the house. Instead of garage sales, I collected up everything of value and gave most of it to the thrift store (multiple car loads!) or found a home for it on Freecycle. A few items found homes on eBay and gave us some extra Christmas money. Not only that, we've really tried to limit what comes into the house. I'm not trying to go all Al Gore or anything (we still have regular, Earth destroying light bulbs), but I think we've successfully cut down on wasted items. If what was kept doesn't get used for 6 months, it is gone.

There are a few items that still need to be gone through and removed (I'm not sure how I accumulated so many Trivial Pursuit games or coffee makers!).

I return to work tomorrow. This is the first time I can remember taking so much time off during the holidays, but I really needed the recharge. I hope I can hold onto my newly found energy and get back in the groove quickly.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Random Resolutions

I am not a 'resolution' type of person, but I will use the New Year as an excuse to post a few random goals I know I need to accomplish in '09-

1. Re-read Elements of Style. Do this in a last ditch effort to start writing using correct grammar and sentence structure again. I have written technical documents for so long that anything more complex than explaining how to turn on a computer in kindergarten-level detail is becoming more and more of a challenge.

2. Read more. I started out three years ago with a couple of books that I bought to read but never found time to read them. I now have a two shelf bookshelf with one shelf completely full of books that I have bought with the hope that I will one day read them. I have sworn to buy no additional books (except for technical ones - sorry - it's my job!) until this shelf is cleaned off. Reading more will also help me correct my bad writing habits (see #1).

3. Work less. OK - my boss wouldn't like reading that, but I've really blurred the line between work and personal time in the last year. It was a rough year with a lot of projects, but I must not look at emails during lunch (Treo) and on days off (I love my old "keeping the inbox manageable excuse" - I've had myself convinced on that one). In fact, I am off today and Monday. My email is turned off. I cannot even accidentally look at it. I feel...free!

4. Try to not take on so much. I think I thrive on being busy. There are days that I rarely sit down. If there is not a work project, there is a home project (current to do items for the house include staining the deck and putting whirly-birds in to vent the attic) or I think of some crazy activity with the kids (such as throwing pizza on the roof and flying electric helicopters into trees - which happened last week) . I need to sit down and rest more (partially so I can read more - see #2).

5. Get more sleep! Oh, me - I am on a run of almost a week of 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night. I blame upgrading my Zune and downloading podcasts. "This American Life" kept me up until almost midnight last night (but it was worth it - best show on the radio).

6. Speak up! There are just some times where I should be a tad more vocal. For the last year of so there have been times where I have just bit my tongue to preserve the status quo. There is a delicate balance involved in this one. And - no - this does not apply to work. I speak up plenty there.

7. Figure out which side thing I do could actually make me happy (and financially stable) for the rest of my life and put more into it! Building and managing web sites? Fixing computers? Writing online? I do all of these things part of the time (which might contribute to my need for #'s 3, 4, and 5!!). I wonder if I need to take the leap and do one of them really well all of the time (or at least more of the time). Writing I enjoy the most but what will I really do with that (other than technical writing - oh - already do that)? Fixing computers is great and there is some money to make and anyone can be cheaper than places like Geek Squad (who are way too expensive but fill a needed niche!). Websites are cool but take up a ton of time if you are too OCD (GUILTY!).

Wow. Once I started writing, I got on a roll! I only had number 1 on my mind when I sat down.

I had a couple of vague goals like this for myself in '08 and I'll write up an update on those next time.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Years Day 2009

I still couldn't figure out how to make TwitPic work with my phone today (I think I got it tonight), so I had to wait to share these pics. I decided to take a few pictures to show how my New Years Day went. I did not take any pictures of packing up and putting all of the Christmas stuff in the attic, but I have the cuts and bruises to show for it.

Redbox was finally up and working today. I am starting to understand their racket. Every time I rent movies, I go to return them and the machine is always down. And no - I am not waiting until the last minute either. This machine was stuck on "Inventory Processing" last night. The one down the street was stuck on a Dell boot screen.

I guess I was meant to return them a day late. I got behind this woman with her kid. Notice that she proudly had "Big Nasty" embroidered on her sweatshirt. I bet her son is extremely proud.


Walmart had the Valentines gifts out early! Just what I wanted - TP! And, notice how Charmin Ultra Soft is correctly merchandised under the sign that reads PLUSH.

Notice how you should be frugal when buying Valentines gifts this year. Nothing says "I Love You" like a 12 pack of cheap paper towels. I think giving the cheap stuff could ruin your holiday but I do realize that the economy is tough.

Finally, I did eat my Black Eyed Pea for good luck tonight. These things taste like dirt bubble gum, so I decided that one should still do the trick.

That's it. I hope your New Years Day was as exciting as mine.