Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

You’d think a holiday would be all about relaxing but it was all about packing and getting ready to hit the road to Michigan tomorrow. Once I realized how long I was taking to pack I remembered that I have not been on the road in just over six months! In fact, my last trip was also Michigan and that was two weeks before last Thanksgiving. Instead of packing like a pro, I was pretty rusty today and now I have the “what am I forgetting fear”. I guess I’ll figure that out when I check into the hotel tomorrow night.

I’m actually stopping right near Cincinnati tomorrow afternoon to fix a problem and then I will drive two more hours north to spend the night. Then it is on into Michigan Wednesday morning. I’m hoping this will be a quick week. My plan is to leave by noon Friday and head straight back home.

So, that was Memorial Day. It was a blur. It’s been a good four-day weekend that I wish wasn’t ending so fast!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Weekend

Sara went bowling and then was forced by her crazy father to stand by the highway next to a giant bowling pin so a photo could be taken.

sara_bowling

Just another typical day around here.

In the confusion of the extended weekend and without turning prime time television on since Wednesday, I turned on the TV at 11:30PM last night expecting to see Jimmy Fallon. How easily we lose our bearings when we break out of our established patterns. As much as I like certain shows, I do enjoy the break I get when nothing new is on to watch and I especially enjoy having 4 days off in a row even if they are going my way too fast.

My new experiment into Foursquare is kicking right along. I guess it really is just another micro-blogging tool that, like Twitter, probably takes away from actually writing a blog. I do find the tips and to-do’s interesting but I can’t imagine using these functions to make a decision about where to eat or where to buy something. If you’re already there, it’s going to be hard to leave just because of a random recommendation. I am trying to check in as much as possible because I expect for the Library of Congress to one day archive all of this information and I believe it will be helpful for future generations to have a permanent record of all of the fast food establishments I have visited.

I will keep using it when I am on the road next week and then I will make a decision about where it falls into my long-term plan for the blog.

In Wii news, we re-discovered Animal Crossing: City Folk for the Wii and Lindsay has taken quite a liking to it now that we are in there trying to discover new things about it. I’m not sure how long the excitement will last but it has been a nice diversion for the long weekend (and proved to be quite a bargain when we picked it up at Christmas for just $14!).

animal-crossing-city-folk-us

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday

Today was a much needed day off from work and it was also the first day of summer vacation for the kids. Summer vacation is pretty short around here so you have to pack in as much as possible. Today was a blur so day 1 of stuffing as much into each day must have been a success.

I signed on for Foursquare today. Foursquare is one of those things which annoy me to death when I see people attach it to their Twitter feed or their Facebook page so I have created a separate Twitter for it that is over on the right hand side of the blog. I think it will be something to use when I travel with work this summer. I also goofed around with it tonight around town and I have to say that unlocking the badges is quite a hoot. It reminds me of the Activision badges you’d get by sending in a Polaroid of your high score on games like Pitfall! or Stampede. I do think you have to find a way to use Foursquare that doesn’t annoy your friends. The one really nice feature was checking in and then seeing what other people had written about a restaurant.

The original plan was to stay in tonight but that was thwarted when the storms knocked out the power and we could not cook. I had the bright idea to head over to Watertown to eat. I am glad I did solely for the pictures I got.

First, we have the twin toilets in the bathroom of the restaurant. A set up like this at home would have saved many marriages.

toilets

We came out of the restaurant to discover that the mighty Ford Contour was about to leave town to elope with a pearly white Mercury Mystique!

contour

We made it home where my wife insisted that we watch the movie “Dear John”. I can proudly say that I made it 11 minutes in before retreating to the back of the house to update this blog. This is just not my kind of movie.

Finally, a short note about Gary Coleman. He’s a classic example of sudden fame just destroying a life. Yes, he made plenty of mistakes but how was he supposed to react to becoming a huge star at the age of 10 and having virtually no parental guidance or support? I guess now there will be an SNL skit where Todd Bridges goes to the graves of his departed cast members and breaks out in dance (a la John Belushi).

53179132CA034_Video_Games_L

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wednesday

One day of the work week left for me before four glorious days off. Then, my travel season ramps up again with a trip to Michigan next week and upcoming jaunts to North Carolina and Florida. Time to get those frequent flyer miles and hotel points!

I watched a little of the live oil cam tonight:

oilcam

Not much to see, eh? The amazing thing is that this hasn’t happened before.

Other than hoping I can get through tomorrow at work unscathed, there is not much else to report. I am enjoying there being no new TV to watch. It frees up my evening quite nicely. I did catch the end of Idol tonight and I must say – boring! Paula’s dress was just plain scary and that was probably the highlight of the whole thing.

That’s it for tonight. Over and out.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tooth Time

Another week begins with another doctor looking at my teeth.

IMG00080-20100524-1541

The news was good. I have one wisdom tooth that has to go. The other three do not appear that they will not be going anywhere. Supposedly I should be about ten years too old for this but I guess the fun never stops.

I do have one that is in there crooked but it actually appears to be resting on the nerve so the doctor said it might be foolish to go after that one. And, two opinions have said that these things should be in permanent place by now. I guess we will see!

So, I go back for an appointment at my regular dentist in two weeks and then try to narrow down when I will get this one yanked out.

In other news, it was a fairly quiet day at work. Those are the days that I typically get nervous waiting for a disaster to hit. I am off Friday so I only need to make it three more days. The countdown to the extended weekend has begun!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Movies: Avatar and Everybody’s Fine

Redbox struck again as I was outvoted and sat through two movies I had no desire to see in the first place. The good news was that my hunch on both movies was validated. The bad news is Redbox is so cheap that I see no way of avoiding having to watch bad movies again in the future.

First up, Avatar.

angry_smurf_2

I had low expectations going in and due to that, it was better than I expected. It was action packed but the whole thing made me feel like I was watching a video game on the laptop. It was a lot like Tron with Smurfs. I never really figured how miners ended up with an inter-galactic attack squadron in 2154 when they can’t even get decent wages and a safe work environment in 2010 but I guess we’re not supposed to dwell on that.

I do see that there are all kinds of political overtones in this. Maybe the miners are BP and the Na'vi are the people living on coastal Louisiana – who knows. (Sidenote – it’s odd to see the government grilling BP on Capitol Hill for the destruction in the Gulf after the way the government let all those people die in Katrina, isn’t it?) All I know is that I will never get those 2 and a half hours back but it was worth the dollar just knowing that all the people who love this and buy it to watch it over and over again are nuts.

Second, Everybody’s Fine.

everybodysfine

Man, oh man. This is like getting a band aid slowly peeled off. It is so predictable and so maudlin and so over the top. It should be called Everybody’s Lying or Everybody Needs Therapy. The plot : No one tells Dad what is really happening and they all ditch him for a cookout at home. Dad travels all over the country seeing the ungrateful bunch and discovers (the shock!) that he knows hardly anything about them. Dad’s too chicken to tell his own doctor that he left town and needs his prescription sent to one of the 7,500-plus Walgreens across the country so he risks his life flying without medication. In the near death experience, Dad interrogates the kid versions of his adult children at the picnic table. (Each one of those child actors are probably now in therapy) Every one comes back together after Dad nearly drops dead in the bathroom on the plane. All is well. The End.

How does stuff like this get made? Because tons and tons of people actually live like this.

I want my dollar back.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Music Flashback: Yacht Rock on Fallon!

We’re back on to the early 80’s tonight on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon with what he calls “Yacht Rock 2010”. Last year, Jimmy featured Christopher Cross. Tonight we’ll see Robbie Dupree performing his big hit “Steal Away” from 1980.

“Steal Away” made it up to #6 way back when and I believe it is featured in the new movie MacGruber.

80’s music just will not die!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Pothole and A Podcast

What happens when you get 15 inches of rain in two weeks? You get potholes – really big potholes.

pothole

This happened this morning on the interstate between Nashville and Chattanooga. They’re incredibly lucky no car went in there. That is some scary stuff. Supposedly this one will be fixed by Saturday night. Until then, all traffic from here to Chattanooga and Atlanta will be taking the scenic pre-interstate route around it.

If you happen to be out driving and come up on a ginourmous pothole, here’s a podcast to listen to while you are enjoying the countryside gridlock: Wiretap. If you’ve never listened to Wiretap before, start with this week. In about the middle of the show, there is a segment where different people who work at the CBC read selections from the short notes posted at the blog Dear Old Love. I had not heard of this blog before the show and I’m still not sure how to describe it. It’s something you have to hear (and read) for yourself.

If Jonathan Goldstein from Wiretap sounds familiar, it is probably because he is a former contributor on This American Life. He’s featured on the episode this week, which is a repeat from 2002.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Weekend

The weekend was filled with on and off rain. This was a good excuse to avoid all of the lawn work that needs to be done.

We did a lot of kid juggling this weekend. Sara was at a friends house last night so we took Lindsay to see Furry Vengeance. She enjoyed it. My wallet got much much lighter. Movies are geting way too expensive. My thoughts on the movie? I was done with seeing Brendan Fraser getting beat up by animals about 20 minutes in but Senor Chang was soon on the scene so that made it better.

sc sc2

Today, Lindsay went to a birthday party so it was Sara’s turn to choose something ridiculously expensive for us to do. She chose bowling which is an awful lot more expensive now than it was in 1993 (This was my third time bowling since 1993 when I once actually bowled semi-regularly).

IMG00059-20100516-1514

IMG00069-20100516-1537

I had two strikes. I only used the bumpers to achieve one of those. I believe Sara also had two strikes. Show-off.

In other news, I get to call the dentist tomorrow. One of my wisdom teeth is annoying me. I guess I should feel fortunate that I made it to 36 without a wisdom tooth extraction. I’m more fearful of what else they will find wrong in there. It has been a while since I’ve been to the dentist and I’ve drank a lot of Coke since then – an awful lot. I’m a bit of a anti-dentite.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bubbles

A box from my mother arrived here yesterday. Inside this box was a bubble machine and enough canisters of bubble fluid to last all summer and then some.

1

I saw a similar device outside of a business blowing bubbles all up and down the street and I thought about how cool something like that would be. Now, we have our own insane bubble machine. Dreams do come true.

3

I wonder if the neighbors saw the bubbles blowing over the top of the house.

2

I wonder if the dog will soon be in bubble therapy.

4

I’m not sure why but all these bubbles makes me look forward to summer.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Good TV: Community

communityjpg

Something weird has happened on NBC. After a sort of slow start, Community has turned into one of the funniest and most original shows on TV.

I’m pretty surprised. I though the show was doomed by last December. There were funny bits here and there but something seemed to be missing. All of a sudden, the show has taken off because of two things – the strength of the ensemble and the incredibly imaginative writing.

In one recent episode, the study group gets transformed into a mafia family all due to the desire for tasty chicken fingers. It sounds strange but the episode was another brilliant example of a show definitely on the upswing.

Watch some full episodes here:

NBC

In local news, the rain passed right by us last night. Last Saturday we were drowned in rain and today I had to run the sprinklers for about 20 minutes on my new patch of grass and the two trees I am planted last year. It’s amazing how fast everything has dried out. As for the big patches of yard that eroded away, I’m not sure I’m going to replant grass there any time soon. I have a serious case of landscaping laziness.

We’re off to Chattanooga for the rest of the day. Over and out.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The New Normal

Nashville took quite a beating last weekend. The water has now receded to reveal hundreds and hundreds of homes and businesses basically destroyed. Nothing much is salvageable. We’ve gone from watching video of water covering everything to watching video of homes and businesses with piles of ruined items out front. All of the contents, the carpeting, the drywall – it is all ruined. It’s overwhelming to watch and overwhelming to think about.

We were extremely fortunate. We have no real damage to speak of out here. I did notice patches of my yard – especially on the side of the house – where even the grass and weeds were washed right out of the ground. There is nothing left but topsoil where the water was really running off. It shows you the power of all of that rain.

To go back to writing here about the normal day to day things happening seems almost inappropriate when so many are in such terrible situations. But, life does keep going on and the new post-flood normal is emerging day by day.

I went through some pictures I had of our trip to Opryland Hotel at Christmas 2007 to show some before and after comparisons. It is amazing that they plan to be open in time for Christmas this year. (All of the flooding pics of Opryland Hotel can be seen here.)

cascades_before

cascades_after

cascades_after_2

delta_before

delta_after

Monday, May 3, 2010

The cleanup begins

The sunshine is back. I think we’ll have to put a new floor in the shed and that is it. Looks like we had about 6 inches of water standing in there but it’s still too soggy to trudge out there and look. Talk about being fortunate. There are people within one mile of me that appear to have lost everything – houses where water was running all the way through them. It’s unreal.

wx2

These pictures are from this live web cam.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Still raining

leb7

This is about 4 miles from the house. Probably 3 or 4 feet of water there now. All schools closed tomorrow. Many roads closed right now. This is going to be a mess of a week as everyone tries to clean up.

Now the lights are flickering on and off. I am hoping we don’t join the thousands sitting in the dark tonight.

Nashville Flooding Links

Live coverage:

WSMV: http://www.wsmv.com/video/9624406/index.html

WTVF: Click here

WKRN: (I can’t get this one to play) http://www.wkrn.com/global/story.asp?s=1343812&displayHelp=true&displayHelp=true

Now the schools are closing also. It’s a phenomenal mess. I grew up here and have never seen anything like this.

Out east where I am, we’re a bit more fortunate. There was quite a mess about 3 miles from here last night (pictures below) but the rain has really stayed west of us most of the morning. We are supposed to see a steady rain move in soon so we are expecting conditions here to worsen. Luckily, our house is sort of elevated so we have had no issues other than half my yard is washed out and my shed is full of water where it all finally came in the door. I needed to replace that floor anyway.

94608168

94609137

I will venture out later to return a movie and take more pictures. Until then, we’re just going to sit around and watch this unfold on TV.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Rained Out

flood2

This is what one interstate in Nashville looks like tonight. I watched this unfold live on television. These people were all driving in one lane when the water came up out of nowhere. It was completely shocking for me and for the people at the station showing this. Then, a building floated into the road. It was surreal, as was the huge boat water rescue we witnessed on the interstate a little bit later. It’s quite scary. I am amazed so many people were out in such horrible weather.

flood3

We did our best to stay in all day. We have quite a bit of flooding here in town also and a lot of roads close. Our house is on a big higher ground and so far, so good. The drainage ditch running in the field behind the house is about 4 times wider than I have ever seen it but we’re thinking it will not get much bigger – even with the 4 to 5 inches we are forecast to get tomorrow on top of the 6 or so we’ve already had today.

More storms are coming too. Arkansas is getting another round of tornadoes tonight. I’m wondering when we are all going to get a break.

Good Song for a Rainy Saturday