Friday, April 29, 2011

30 years later, another wedding

Yes, I was one of the 750 million tuned in to Charles and Diana getting married almost 30 years ago. There was no HD and no internet. We all had to sit in front of the TV. I know that sounds insane to the young uns out there.

So, why did so many people tune in back in 1981 while we have so many Royal-bashers out there today? We were in desperate need of good news. President Reagan had been shot at the end of March followed by the Pope being shot during the middle of May. The world felt like it was about to tumble into chaos. And, much like now, the economy was in the crapper. I think that Charles and Diana somehow represented hope during a not so hopeful time.

Unfortunately, we know that this story does not have a fairy-tale ending. The births of Will and Harry were also quite the press spectacle but it soon became apparent that the marriage was crumbling. The dirty laundry continued to be aired out years after her untimely death. Is it any wonder why the reactions for today’s wedding are a bit more reserved?

The information overload that so many embrace today is another reason why 750 million of us will not sit down in front of the television and embrace an event like this again.

Finally, many people feel that it is “cool” to be anti-everything. They may have tuned in just so they could poo all over it. That’s a shame. We could all use an extra bit of hope now and then.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sunshine

There was hardly a cloud in the sky today.IMG00770-20110428-1131

We’re finally drying out from all of the rain.

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If you drove two hours south from here you would end up seeing complete devastation. We watched all of this unfold live yesterday and it was all scary and sad at the same time.

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The rain moves back in Saturday night with the next round of storms rolling in Sunday evening. We’re going to enjoy this sunshine while we can.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Oh, what a beautiful morning?

I had to look around at other webcams to find a decent looking morning and I settled on Chicago. That’s a pretty cool view. It must stink going to college right on the lake during the winter but it is nice to look at in the spring.

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Here’s our view. It’s a bit soggy.

nsh webcam

We’re looking at five inches of rain by tomorrow night. That’s not as much as last year during the flood but it is still enough to cause some issues.

So, why am I blogging in the morning? I’m sitting here waiting for the system to process some files. I spend this waiting time in various ways – sometimes I answer emails (caught up), sometimes I fix problems (did that), sometimes I gather notes for my upcoming calls (did that yesterday).

Ah! It’s done! Back to work.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Photo Round-up

I cleaned out my recent Blackberry pictures.

Here’s a cloud that I thought looked like a jumping poodle.

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Here’s corporate America using a holiday to promote obesity and diabetes (or diabeetus, if you are Wilford Brimley).

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This is the evil Sadie right after she was groomed. I had to go pick her up in a driving downpour and I believe she laughed at me.

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This is a triple order of hashbrowns at Waffle House. I took a picture because I will never be foolish enough to order this again.

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I took this in traffic. I would never, ever, put these decals on the back of my car unless my kids had been very bad and I wanted them to be terminally embarrassed.

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I took this picture this morning when Lindsay and I went to Watertown, TN to eat breakfast. This was in an antique store and if the price had been $20, Maurice would be sitting on the shelf in my living room right now.

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We’re about to go eat. If something really exciting happens, I’ll take a picture.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The morning routine

I took a few pictures of the morning goings-on here and two made the cut for the blog.

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The recipe for a good quick cup of coffee around here is a Tasters Choice packet, a packet of Equal, and an International Delight Caramel Macchiato creamer. Yum. This is the coffee I ended up spilling down my pants leg not soon after.

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This is the home office. I am waiting on a file to process. Sometimes they take so long that I almost slip out of consciousness. Sometimes the phone rings before they finish and I halfway forget what I am doing. This is why I have created many checklists to work off of.

If you click on the picture, you’ll notice that my monitor is labeled “POOP”. I also have a Pac-Man that I got in 1982. And, I have a decapitated doll head resting on a pink Barbie toilet.

Just look at that view of the shed. That’s some fine nature right there.

In other news, we didn’t blow away last night. The weather radio woke me up at least three times but we didn’t even come close to blowing away. The next chance of tornadoes and the like is Friday night. At least I can sleep in if the alarm goes off in the middle of the night then.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hectic Tuesday

I’m thinking that taking Monday off is the worst thing you can do. Tuesday always turns into a hectic mess and today did not disappoint. Every time the email notification went off, I cringed. By late this afternoon I was at least back to the typical “I’ll never catch up but this is manageable” workload level.

Now we’re just waiting for the next round of severe weather to roll in sometime between 1AM and 5AM.

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There were 17 counties with tornado warnings in Missouri and Illinois a bit ago so we have that to look forward to. It always stinks to have these things come in during the night. My beauty sleep is going to be interrupted and I need every minute I can get.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Back in Time

I took today off and went to see my parents. The house has barely changed in the last 35 years – a few updates here and there but basically still the house I pretty much grew up in (we moved in right before I turned 3).

I ran some errands and took care of some odds and ends and basically tried not to consider that they are getting older and frailer right before my eyes. I went through all of this with my grandmother years ago so it’s almost like déjà vu even though it seems like time is slowed down for this. Maybe it’s because I am also older and have to deal with this while also handling all of my “big person” responsibilities that I didn’t have way back when.

It’s weird how quickly times seems to pass when you’re not paying attention and how slow it seems to drag when you get to the point that you jump every time the phone rings at an unusual time (or freak out when no one answers the phone within 5 or 6 rings).

Also, being at home reminded me of my 20-year high school reunion coming up that I am leaning toward not attending yet again. The invitation sits here and taunts me but my cheapness will most likely win out. ($165 for two people! Are they nuts?!?)

So many things to consider on a not-so-typical day off.

It was nice driving back tonight in the old Contour with the windows down and Buffalo Tom playing way too loud and remembering that only 17 or 18 years ago I was driving down the same streets in my old Cavalier with Buffalo Tom playing way too loud.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Keeping an eye on the sky

I’m been watching all of this tornado coverage all day and I’ve been thankful that, so far, it has been pretty far south of us. What we have seen so far is pretty high wind (50mph gusts) and a ton of heavy rain.

I’ve been watching the CBS station in Birmingham that has been showing a huge tornado / funnel cloud moving toward Birmingham. It’s amazing what the radar technology today shows that we didn’t see 10 or 20 years ago.

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That’s some scary stuff.

In weirdly related news, the new weather radio I bought for travel came in the mail today. It was quite the deal – brand new $10 including shipping. And, it’s tiny. Hear it is next to something ancient so you can tell just how small this radio is.

weather radio

It picks up just as good as my Midland table weather radio that is on my bedside table. I always have it on with the alarm on just in case. I don’t think it would be fun to wake up to a roof peeling off and the weather here just seems to get crazier and crazier as the years go by. It will be a good companion for my work backpack as I travel from place to place.

It’s a Midland HH-50. It’s not meant to be an “always on warning radio” though it does have the alert feature. I think it’s best suited for travel and being out and about. Why they don’t have weather radios in every car radio is beyond me.

I’ve always been interested in the weather – maybe it’s a hobby or a fascination. Who knows. In any case, it’s good to have a weather radio and be prepared for what might happen. It always amazes me to read about people who take a direct hit and afterwards say they had absolutely no warning. We’ve known there would be a severe weather outbreak for several days so there is really no excuse for having no warning in 2011.

So, that’s my weather update blog entry. I now will return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gophers–We Got ‘Em!

No, not Gopher from the Love Boat.

fred grandy as gopher

I’ve got the ones that look more like this.

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They LOVE digging tunnels. I finally got a lot of the grass seed going and now our little rodent friends are burrowing across my backyard. And, I have two crazy dogs who love digging for gophers. Getting fresh mud off of 8 tiny dog paws is challenging and doing it three or four times a day is downright annoying.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

No Microsoft Windows on the first shuttle–maybe that’s why it worked?

30 years ago today, I saw this live on television. And, watching it again tonight, you can tell how we were all wondering if this brand new technology was actually going to work.

This is quite a feat for 1981 considering that Pac-Man was about as advanced as we got technology-wise. Just think – DOS didn’t even come out until later that year and thinking of trying to launch a space shuttle with DOS is pretty scary. Maybe they are still using good old reliable punchcards!

Back here in 2011, I’m still waiting for the yard to dry out from the two inches of rain we got yesterday. I really needed to mow tonight but it was far too wet. Maybe I’ll get to it Thursday night before the next round of rain moves in.

Another exciting Tuesday is in the record books.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Extreme Facebook Picture Tagging

I was tagged in a photo this weekend where I am sitting about 40 to 50 feet behind the main subjects in the picture. Of course, this is now my new profile picture.

me

Monday was filled with work and the weekend was filled with running all over the place. We did get some Spring Cleaning time in and finally tackled the books that had overflowed across shelves all over the house. The thrift store ended up being the lucky recipient of 9 Walmart bags and 1 big box full of books, cds, and DVD’s. I’m just glad to see all of this stuff go.

I don’t understand why we buy DVD’s. There is rarely a movie I want to see more than once. And, most of the music we buy is online now.

Books are different. There were a lot of the kids books from when they were tiny tiny. There were also books I had hauled around since junior high. I finally decided that no, I most likely will not ever read that copy of O. Henry’s Short Stories that I bought in 1989. There is also no point in keeping all of the Garrison Keillor books I read 15 years ago. Also, I can download most of the classics for free on the Nook.

The bad thing about the Nook is all of the free books available. A lot of the free books are crap but I am curious and love free stuff so I download all types of free books just to see how far I can get before I have to give up and delete them. I read one a couple of weeks ago that was so bad. I won’t name it here. I once, many years ago, wrote a not-so-flattering review of a novel on Amazon and the author (who was a New York Times bestselling author) actually wrote to me and chewed me out for it. Luckily, the “real” reviewers sided with me but it was still an awkward and uncomfortable experience.

I guess tomorrow is Tuesday. Just four more days until the weekend!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

More cassettes, more memories

There is a surreal aspect to thinking about the past: when it’s your past, it doesn’t seem as long ago as it actually is.

I’ve been thinking about the past this week while going through cassettes and listening to the radio station I basically grew up listening to. When I hear the familiar voices and the familiar jingles, time seems to stand still. It’s easy to forget that these tapes are twenty-five years old. For example, I’ve got a ton of memories in the gaps that lie between me and March of 1986 but I can listen to these tapes and it only seems like day or two separate me from that time and place.

Of course, I hear songs on the radio and can temporarily ‘forget’ about the mortgage and work and suddenly, whatever song is on will trigger a memory that seems as present and vivid as anything that is currently happening but is really so far ago that the people in the memory are no longer even around. I guess this is all the process of aging and it’s hard to explain but I’m sure everyone goes through it. Maybe they all just don’t try to explain it!

Speaking of March of 1986, here are two clips from that month that I taped on my trust (and long gone) Magnavox portable AM/FM cassette recorder:

And, here is a clip I taped on my Soundesign stereo system in 1989. Yes, I thought I was ‘da bomb’ with my huge speakers, turntable, dual cassette deck, and “speaker intensity display” that lit up based on how loud I turned up the volume. This stereo is still in the shed behind my parents house!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

From my dusty box of cassettes: Coyote McCloud and Y-107

If you’re not from these parts, you may have never heard the name Coyote McCloud. I grew up with Coyote on the radio and “back in the day” he was considered a “shock jock”. It’s amazing how tame he was compared to what is on today. Half of the songs are so bleeped out that I can’t understand what they are saying.

Coyote passed away yesterday and I went into my cassettes looking for the couple of tapes I thought I had with some Coyote clips on them and here they are. I didn’t have much but what I did have shows that Coyote wasn’t really a shocker but he was dedicated to the job and loved what he was doing.

Via the magic of cassette tape, let’s journey together back to the 80’s:

I also found a couple of other Y-107 clips – one of the infamous “Eat My Shorts” dedications and another of the song “Drive Like a Nashvillian” which is just as true today as it was 25 years ago!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It’s all downhill from here

- to the weekend, that is! Because it’s hump day! Of course, we covered that last week.

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I added the bird feeder to my outside view. I wanted to see something other than the shed and thought birds fighting over seed might be fun. I also can now watch closely for the evil squirrels.

We got news tonight that one of my favorite DJ’s passed away. Coyote McCloud was quite popular here in the 80’s. I met him in ‘81 or ‘82 at a radio station where I had won a phone and last saw him a couple of years ago at the fair here. I could care less about seeing most of the stars around here (and there are plenty lurking around these parts) but I was always excited to see Coyote.

Farewell, Coyote! Thanks for all of the laughs.

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Of course, radio is trying to be more like an iPod now and the personality is getting sucked right out of it. I think that is a shame.

Now, on to Thursday.

Monday, April 4, 2011

We didn’t end up in Oz

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The house is still here. The shed is still standing. It appears that the roof still has all of the shingles.

Now, we are just waiting for all of the rain to end. We’ll see how much of the yard has washed out tomorrow.

Gotta go - it’s time for me to start barking like a dog to cheer on Butler! Woof woof woof!!!

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Where does the time go?

My mother got the call from California about 10PM last night. Her cousin and best friend had passed away at the age of 78.

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Mary, Sara and I - 2007

In the last few years, Mary served as the last ‘voice of reason’ for my mother as she as dealt with repeated medical setbacks since her cancer surgery. Losing that person she trusted enough to listen to on such matters is going to be tough on all of us as I am certain she is the main person that pulled her back from the brink of giving up so many times. Just in the last few weeks, she convinced my mother to go in for more tests and take more medication that she is certainly sick of by now.

I had always called her Aunt Mary. We saw her from time to time. Mostly, she would travel out this way but we went to San Diego for two weeks in 1981 and I think the thing that always stuck out the most in my mind was how different her marriage to the man I called Uncle Jim was from the marriages I had been around. I’ve seen few that compare to what they had. I always wondered why my parents stayed together and why they would have endured what they did when there were people out there who were actually happy. Maybe that’s too honest for the blog but it is what is on my mind.

Mary’s husband, Jim, was a manager at Pier One Imports for years back when they were cool and sold all sorts of knick-knacks and fortune cookies. When they visited in 1988, Jim and I went to a local Pier One to look around and I never forgot how friendly he was to everyone there. He made people feel good because he was the real deal. He died not long after that trip, in 1989, of the cancer he had fought for several years.

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Mary’s husband, Jim, at our house - 1988

I flipped through old pictures tonight and thought about that time in San Diego – 30 years ago this summer. I remember how odd it was that they would eat supper at 8 or 9 PM and how they would always have classical music records playing while they ate. It was a completely different kind of life.

Mary came back to visit several more times. Once she drove all over the country with just her dog and stopped by. I was impressed that someone would travel alone so far. It took me a long time to be comfortable just eating alone when I traveled for work. I’m not sure I would want to do it by choice.

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Mary, at our house in 1988, working on our state of the art (at the time!) Amstrad computer

Somewhere, Jim has turned on that classical music again and it is just about supper time. There is a lot of catching up to do.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fun fun fun fun

Here is the video sweeping the nation. I am posting it so you can go ahead and poke out your eardrums with ice picks right now. 77 million people can’t be wrong.

Are the vocals any worse than anything else you hear on the radio today? I don’t think they are.

The lyrics, however, are horrifying.

  • “Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal”
  • “Which seat can I take?”
  • “Fun, fun, fun, fun”
  • “I got this, you got this”
  • “We so excited”

In other Friday news, nothing exciting happened today. There were no big April Fools pranks. I’m seriously considering an 8:45PM bedtime.