Friday, July 31, 2009

Actual conversation at my house

It will be just my youngest daughter (Lindsay) and I Saturday morning. She wants to do something fun.

Here was our brief discussion last night about that:

Lindsay: I want to do something fun Saturday morning.
Me: Like what?
Lindsay: I dunno. Something fun!
Me: I guess we could hold up a liquor store.
Lindsay: Well, I don't like licorice.
Me: Eh, OK. Good night.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Entry #500


Today was so rainy and cloudy and just plain "blah" which did little to make me also not feel "blah". In addition to being "blah", I've also been dealing with this nagging sinus headache all day.

This did not stop me from updating the layout here in celebration of entry #500.

Where has the time gone? I started writing here on Friday, June 17, 2007. There have sure been plenty of ups and downs over those 2 years and 40 or so days.

I've had a lot of personal and professional changes happen and I guess "change" would be the keyword to describe my life at work for the past 5 months ("Blah" was just the special keyword for today). After a while you just want to settle into a groove and relax and that is not happening. I think it is slowly wearing me down.

I wish I had some profound words for this special occasion but I do not. I'm not sure that there is much that could be called profound in any of the entries here. All I can do is keeping looking around and writing about those things I feel I can put into words and sharing those things that give me a chuckle. I try to share things I feel are important for my kids to look back on and read one day - like capturing the special times we had together. Time passes so swiftly.

I'm looking forward to the next 500. I wonder where they will take us.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Truth in Advertising? Grade D B-Holes

It's not the extremely over the top commercials running here for the Hardees Biscuit Holes (or "B-Holes" as they call them on TV) that made me want to try them. It was my love of cinnamon and the fact that normally Hardees has a decent breakfast.

Read this awesome description from the Hardees website:

Made from Scratch™ biscuit dough, cut into doughnut-like holes, deep fried then tossed in cinnamon & sugar. Served with sweet icing for dipping!

Look at this picture provided by Hardees online:

Look how they are shown on TV:


Look at what I got this morning. No, they are not hushpuppies. These are the actual B-Holes.
Plus, the broken apart one was like that when I opened the box.


They look like wads of dough thrown in the deep fryer at the county fair but don't taste near as good:

There was a slight slight hint of cinnamon on at least 2 of them that I ate. They didn't taste terrible - it was just like dipping a biscuit in icing. The ones that were overcooked went in the trash.

I give this batch of b-holes a big fat D.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Music for Thursday

I kicked around a few ideas to write about tonight:
- Why does school start next week? School always started at the end of August when I was a kid and we turned out just as well as the knuckle-heads graduating today.
- Conan vs. Fallon? Fallon wins.
- The President deeply disappointed me with his comments on the Henry Louis Gates, Jr. thing last night. Gates got a great lesson on racial equality - he was treated just like everyone else (and probably better than most). Try that crap in East Nashville - black or white - and see what happens to you.

Instead of all of this, I'll go with Paul McCartney instead.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My laptop needs a passport

Dialed in to work a bit ago and I decided to hit the internet. Since I work for a Canadian company, my homepage has been transformed:


And the true evil of the international boundaries of the internet has been revealed! (No Hulu!!)



Oh, well. Just imagine all of the hockey I'll be able to watch through this connection!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

When Harry Met Sally...

20 years ago today - Friday, July 21, 1989 - my favorite film was released.

I can't even guess the number of times I have seen it since I first saw it in the long gone AMC Fountain Square theater in Nashville.

And, even though I've thought about it over and over again, I can't really explain to people what the film means to me or why I feel such a deep connection to it. I just do.

It's amazing to me how dead on it still is 20 years later. It's just as relevant and doesn't feel a bit dated when I watch it but it also still transports me back to the late '80's every time I watch it.


Yes, it is not the typical "guy movie". And, after "When Harry Met Sally...", I can't remember many non-romantic, non-comedy movies I have actually sat through. I also can't think of many movies that have come close to it for me. Some people would say "Sleepless in Seattle" or "You've Got Mail" but neither have "it". "(500) Days of Summer" is getting a lot of buzz right now and several reviewers have called it the "When Harry Met Sally..." of today's generation. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed on that one. (As soon as I see it, I'll write up my opinion on that!)


So, here's to "When Harry Met Sally..." - my favorite movie. Here's to all of us out there who have seen it so many times we can speak all the lines right along with it. Here's to all of us who can't help but think of it on every New Years Eve. Here's to all of us who will celebrate the 30th anniversary and beyond.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A stinker

I can't think of a better way to describe today. The day started at 4AM when I ran some computer programs. I think they don't automate them just so they can torture me. By 6AM, it was apparent that there was some system wide network problem that was so bad I couldn't even leave the house long enough to get the kids to school. By 8AM I was seriously considering pulling out my hair in clumps.





The day only got slightly better after that.

Maybe tomorrow will be better?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

As seen on our trip

Color TV? I know where we are staying next year.
Even these guys heckled my miniature golf skills.

I'm not sure what I want for supper - the steeak or the hammburger.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Walter Cronkite

I remember when Walter Cronkite was on the CBS Evening News due to the fact that the evening news was on in my house every night growing up and no supper was served until it was over. Also, I can remember my mother feeling that CBS had shafted Walter Cronkite by forcing him into retirement so they could move Dan Rather into the spot. We watched CBS until Walter's last day and after that we only watched the NBC Nightly News! It was sort of like the Letterman-Leno deal.

I learned a lot about him when I read his book "A Reporter's Life" years ago. He was an fascinating person. I would say his passing is a loss for television journalism but television journalism is on life support anyway. Everyone favors the yelling and finger pointing that is so prevalent - especially on the cable networks. It's a shame. The big 3 (CBS/ABC/NBC) are the last homes for anything approaching real news and they slip more all the time.

Honest journalism? Telling the whole story and the facts behind it? That's the way it was. Good night, Mr. Cronkite.



Watch CBS Videos Online

Crazy old July

The winds of July are blowing in fall-like weather this weekend - lows in the 50's and highs in the 70's. I think July is just trying to trick us before August scorches us.
July is sneaky like that.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Field Trip!

"Take your kids to work" day is normally in April every year but I was out of town this April (all of it, just about). I've been promising the kids I would show them where I work for quite a while and today I delivered on that promise. I had to go ahead and do it early since school starts back at the end of July and my workplace won't exist when next April rolls around. (We have right under one month to go and it is finally starting to sink in. Don't fret - it appears I will continue to have a job after all of this happens).
So, here are some pictures capturing the event...
Sara took this picture. Looks like a pudgy middle aged guy has taken over my office.
Sara took this too. This is Lindsay getting ready to discuss her write up for reading magazines on the job.

The kids were most fascinated with this machine. This is where magazines (and sometimes unfortunate purses, cell phones and bags of tools) go when they are bad. Shame on them.

These are totes filled with the magazines you see at Walmart, Target, Kroger, etc. Endless information about Michael Jackson is ready to leap from these pallets.

This is Sara after she stole my nametag.

Here they are at the end of the tour. Next stop was Target where they begged for clothes. At least they are not begging for toys anymore.
We all emerged from the warehouse with all of our fingers still attached. That alone made today a success.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

But I STILL love technology.....Always and forever


Today I was going through tons and tons of computer equipment that will need to find new homes since my building is going "bye bye" soon and I started to think about how much everything has changed since I was playing Pac-Mac on the old Atari VCS.

We have technology today that I couldn't even imagine when I was a kid.
You'd think I would be designing the next Space Shuttle or curing cancer, but nope - I do mundane stuff like this all day....
  1. I poke people. Virtually.
  2. I throw sheep at people. Last year I threw the Golden Girls at people. This made me realize I have a problem and I stopped using SuperPoke.
  3. I live vicariously through tons of other people via their Facebooks, Tweets, and Blogs. I can just sit here and goof off and let them do all of the actual living.
  4. I get emails - tons and tons of emails. Who needs a regular mailbox when they can have an electronic mailbox? Between work and personal email, I can get several hundred a week. I rarely write with a pen and paper and have gotten to the point that I have basic chicken-scratch instead of handwriting.
  5. I watch television on my computer. Yep - years of invention and advancement and I turn it right back into a TV.
  6. I listen to the radio on my computer. Who needs a $10 transistor when you have a $700 laptop you can listen to radio on?
  7. I could read books on it but I'm not going to. I sit in front of a screen all day. I have to have a real book. I have to have at least one thing in my life that doesn't have the possibility of blue screening.
  8. I can Skype but I try not to. I have a telephone. I have no need for people to see me talking to them. I might sneeze or something. I would also have to dress properly when using the phone and I've already used up the energy I would use to look presentable by just motivating myself to make a call in the first place.
  9. I could use instant messenger instead of picking up the phone or shooting out an email. I had it at work for years and thought I couldn't live without it. I don't miss it one bit. If I am buried under work, I can ignore emails and phone calls. I cannot ignore a stupid smiley popping up on top of the UNIX window I am digging through trying to find someones lost invoice.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer is slipping on by

I am totally losing track of time and losing my grip on summer. School starts back in just over two weeks (since our local school system is insane) and one month from today, our local operation at work shuts down. Between home life and work life, the to do list is overflowing. But, there is still time for TV.



I watch very little TV and these guys are getting all the attention - even here in my own house. I find myself watching bits and pieces but I really don't get "it". I guess it beats reruns but I'd rather hide somewhere with a good book.



We've started watching this show and it's pretty good so far. Remember Mark Feuerstein from "Good Morning Miami"? It was on NBC for 2 whole years. He's good but I have a terrible habit of getting bored with even the best shows. Tonight I drifted in and out of a magazine during the whole show. I don't know why my viewer remorse happens the most on USA. I was really into "Burn Notice" and then stopped watching it. Same with "Monk". It's just hard for me to commit a whole hour each week to anything!

In "Nerd News", I have 7348 MB available in my GMAIL account and I only have 97 emails in there. I'm guessing that this is a sign that I can't commit to holding on to emails either.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Perspective

In Miami this past week I picked up a copy of Sports Illustrated at work. The cover story was about Coach Ed Thomas - a prominent high school football coach that was senselessly gunned down during a weightlifting session at his school a few weeks ago.

The article was quite moving. You can read the entire article here.

In my mind, I kept returning to one key piece of the article over and over - so much that I had to bring it home with me. Here it is:

Next season the Falcons will have co--head coaches, Al Kerns in charge of offense, Jon Wiegmann in charge of defense. Kerns is a fiery motivator, Wiegmann a savvy strategist. But the person who will get the players through the summer and fall is still Ed Thomas. What he preached last season—in the words of Brandon Simkins, "To suck it up and go"—is applicable once again. When Thomas's older son, Aaron, met with the team last week, he told players to seek help if they needed it. But he also told them, "Don't use this as an excuse. Nothing is changing here."

The last line quoted here played in my mind over and over.

"Don't use this as an excuse. Nothing is changing here."

I can think of two or three specific major turning points in my life growing up where I wish someone had said that to me. I wasted a lot of time.

With age and experience, this concept comes pretty naturally. Even through the job upheaval this year I was calm to the point that I surprised even myself. I never lost faith that things would somehow work out just as they will again. I think you just get to a point where you roll with whatever is thrown at you because you can't just throw your hands in the air and freak out when you have so many people depending on you.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Headin' Home

It's hard to believe. For the first time since March, I have no travel scheduled on the calendar. I go through three stages when I have extended travel periods.. At first the travel was annoying, then for the middle part you get in the groove and always have a bag packed (like Wolf Blitzer). Finally, you just get worn out. Even being gone just three days puts you behind at the house (the grass keeps growing and stuff keeps breaking no matter if you are there or not). The whirlwind in and out trips are so short that you never get comfortable in one place. I keep looking for streets I turned on last week in Richmond while I am here in Miami. It all jumbles together.

Thousands and thousands of Hampton Inn points and airline miles and thousands of miles driven in just over four months. Went to the ocean numerous times. Lots of fast food eaten.

It's all done for now. I need a break.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Last Hurrah?


At 6:15 AM tomorrow morning, my plane leaves for Miami. It's my last scheduled trip since all the travel craziness began in February. Starting next week I'll be focusing on closing out our local operation which is really the last thing I thought would happen. So, there is a considerable deal of uncertainty about the future at this point. I shall take it as it comes and make the most of my 3 days in Florida.

For now, next week can worry about itself.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Legacy?

Just a quick note before I give up for the night. Try as I might to write here and put on a positive spin for Steve McNair, I continue to question myself for doing so.

Like with Michael Jackson (but not really to the same extreme - he raises the weirdness bar for all that follow), McNair has exited and left us scratching our heads. It's natural to celebrate the way he played and the many charities he worked with but it is impossible to gloss over the personal mess he has left behind.

He's found with his girlfriend. She was just arrested two nights ago for DUI with him in the car. They are both on the registration for the car she is driving. He's with this woman and yet he is still married. He leaves behind four sons that get an unfortunate lasting life lesson.

Is it fair to rate celebrities and athletes on their personal lives?

No one is perfect. But where do we draw the line? Is it fair to expect public people to live a more upstanding personal life, especially when they have the power to influence so many? Should we all just recognize that the public life they are living is no different than the job we go to every day?

In this house, people on TV or the movies or the sports field will have no amount of influence greater than us (the parental units). But still, it is just troubling. Is it that there are just no heroes left or have we become a society where the hero image is impossible - thanks to the internet and the media there is no hiding the bad. It's all out there for everyone to see.

It's funny to be so caught in the middle on my thoughts on this. I guess it would just be nice to have some unblemished people out there leading public lives.

Steve McNair


I already broke my no Twitter weekend so I might as well break my no Blogger weekend. The death of former Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair is a huge shock. Unfortunately, the more I hear on the local news, the more shady and weird this thing gets.

Aside from the personal ups and downs he may have been experiencing, you heard plenty of good things about him in town. He did a lot of charity work and a lot of volunteer work. He just opened a restaurant in one of the poorer areas of town that is trying to come back to life and he was in there even waiting on customers and cleaning tables daily.

He was an incredible player - seemingly unstoppable. He had a monster passion for the game. Being a winner was more important than whatever injury he might have had. He was dangerous as a passer and as a runner. He was just months older than me and still had "it" up until his retirement last year. I complain about my knees and here is this guy tearing it up every weekend.

I got to see him play live at the stadium many times - mostly with my dad. These are great memories regardless of what happened today.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Independence Day!


Interesting Idea - make taking a vacation so hard that no one will actually do it.
I took my first blog vacation on July 6, 2007. I was barely over a month into the blog and I had to recharge. Since then, I've done it several times. It usually happens around holidays. During these little vacations I try to not open the laptop at all. I also avoid Facebook and Twitter on my phone. It's a technological purging of sorts. It reminds me of a time where none of this was even around. I call that time "the eighties".
Some people take it a step further - according to a CBC show I listen to via podcast called Spark (the website is a mess right now for some reason), there are some people who actually direct all of their incoming emails to the trash during these sabbaticals from the connected world. Details here and here.
I'm not to that level yet. I don't want to disappoint all my spammers.
Would I rather go back to that way of living? The music was better in 1985 but I would hate to give up the gadgets and only have the Atari. All of this can get quite distracting but the positives far outnumber the negatives if you keep it all in perspective - hence the need for down time every so often.
So, right now begins the blog and Facebook vacation until Monday. Once I get back home tonight from the airport, I will also be on Twitter vacation (I have to have something to do in the airport and there is always the potential for good TwitPics while waiting).
Have a wonderful Independence Day. See you next week.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

Unfortunately, I am away from home this Canada Day. Our Canada Day tradition goes all the way back to 1997 when a co-worker of mine (Diane) requested off for July 1st. She told me it was for her annual Canada Day party which surprised me since she was not even Canadian. But, I am a firm believer of taking every opportunity to celebrate something (ANY birthday is a great excuse for cake. We even would make up birthdays for cake.). About 4 years ago we took our celebrations up a notch to involve a barbecue, decorations, flags and even t-shirts!

Since I am away in Virginia, we won't be flying the flag until Friday night. But I will be watching the fireworks webcast tonight (another tradition).

Canada Day has always been fun for us. I was fortunate enough to make the trip to Toronto in high school in 1989 and I was hooked. I follow a couple of excellent bloggers in Canada (Randall and Heather) and this year I even work for a Canadian company (who thankfully saved me from having to throw what career I have down the 'ol toilet).

Happy Canada Day!!