Friday, August 31, 2007

One Last Poll

David Lynch Film Festival

My trio of David Lynch DVDs showed up today. LBB wants to watch with me, but she's tied up in all this Princess Diana that's going on today. So I may just go ahead and watch Wild At Heart.

The boy was completely insane tonight. Not in a wild way, but in a strange way. He suddenly decided he wants big muscles. He started doing push-ups and squats and many other exercises to buff up. His technique was almost perfect. I've done a few push-ups here and there, but I never noticed if he was watching. I'm not sure where this is coming from, and I'm not sure a six-year-old should be doing strength exercises, but hey, maybe he can motivate me!

So, between the films and mini-Jack LaLanne, I don't guess I'm getting to the website redesign tonight.

This night is lost.

Right now, though, after the crazy boy and the somewhat grumpy wife have turned in, I'm enjoying a mellow moment listening to America.

Nostalgia is quicksand. I have stuff to do, but dang it, Tin Man is a great tune.

Oh, and now Stevie Wonder just came on. Sir Duke, a classic. Oh, and next a bit of Joni Mitchell. Listen to the Hejira album and love the bass. Jaco Pastorius. One of a kind.

And thank you, it's finally raining. Yesterday for about ten minutes, and today over and over, for ten minutes at a time. It's something. It's helping. Let's see if the yard can transform from Rice-a-Roni golden brown to Ho-Ho-Ho Green Giant green.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Big Changes on the Way

I've decided, after my initial doubts, that I want to keep on blogging, ad infinitum. My traffic has increased steadily, as has my interest in writing. The site design has suffered some neglect, though. Basically, I set up the shell of the site back in February, and other than a few minor cosmetic rearrangements and sidebar additions, it's remained the same.

"It's time to change, to rearrange, " screeched Peter Brady.

A month or so ago, I started experimenting with some things I'd like to do, and I found Blogger lacking in flexibility. This weekend, I'm hoping to switch over to Wordpress.

I'm guessing the whole JSR experience will be quite different once I'm through. And yes, it's about time I ho' myself out with some ads. Neal Peart said you can't get something for nothing. But it would be nice to get a little something for something - other than everyone's loyal readership, which is it's own reward. Thank you! Wish me luck.

Of course, these plans may change radically, because I have not one, not two, but three David Lynch movies en route from Amazon. Two I haven't seen yet: Lost Highway and the latest one, Inland Empire. These are parts one and three of a loose trilogy, sandwiching Mulholland Drive, which was fantastic. I also ordered Wild At Heart, which I've seen. I didn't love it, but I'm rounding out the collection.

So, if they get here, I may be too freaked out by these movies to accomplish anything productive.

$4K For The Top Of His Head?

This poor fella had the top of his head shrivel up in a faulty fridge while he had brain surgery. Can you imagine? He was compensated the equivalent of $4,100.

I'm no fan of outrageous settlements for medical errors. Mistakes happen. Still, it seems to me $4,100 is rather weak for someone who has to wear a bowl on his head for the rest of his life.

Tag, You're Out!

For crying out loud. This school decided it caused conflict to allow children to play tag on the playground. They are still allowed to play "running games" as long as they don't "chase each other".

Explain what those running games might be. Seems to me, if kids are playing running games, they are likely to chase each other, unless they are having running races. Well that will be the next to go, because you certainly don't want any of the children to lose a race. It might damage their weak little self-esteem.

This is just another example of adults hovering over kids and micromanaging everything they do.

I call BS! If a kid is being chased against his or her will, there's a simple three step process to put an end to it:
#1) Ask politely that the chaser stop. (We just added this option in the last 20 years or so.)
#2) Retaliate. Try reciprocal chasing, clever name-calling, threats, or stopping suddenly in mid-flight so the chaser runs square into your back and busts his nose. Or how about this obvious solution: don't run away. Shouldn't that put a quick end to the chase?
#3) Tattle.

I bet the staff at this school never let this process work through. They nipped it in the bud by ending the fun for everyone before step 1. Either that, or there is a contingent of whiners that relied too heavily on option #3 and the teachers got sick of dealing with it.

Pshaw! I say fiddlesticks. We need to give kids a chance to learn creative play on their own. This includes all the negotiation, euphoria, and disappointment that goes along with playing a game. You win some, you lose some. If you lose, you come back and try harder next time. If a child opts out of certain games, no problem. If he opts out of everything, there are probably other issues going on.

If someone is cheating, let the kids figure out on their own that it's no fun to play with a cheater. Let these things play themselves out and eventually, you will find the cheater has fewer and fewer playmates. He might learn something from that. Interfere and the learning process breaks down before it even gets started.

No more tag on the playground? Nonsense! It's no wonder kids are getting chubby. The only time we leave them alone is when they are playing video games.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Brownie Points For My Boy

Monday night LBB hosted her book club at our house, which was a cue for TB and I to get the hell out.

He had soccer until 6:30, so after a quick change of clothes we headed out to the local hangout for dinner. Then we took a walk around the neighborhood for awhile. After that, of course the boy wanted a Slurpee. Sucker that I am, especially when it's just the two of us out on the town, I caved and took him to get one.

As we were leaving 7-11, which is right next to the local hangout, a trio of extremely attractive 20-something women were walking to the restaurant. Two had long blond hair. While I would not say they were working it, exactly, they were all dressed in that casual, summer way that you just can't ignore, if you are a dirty old man like me. I love summer.

Anyway, TB noticed me as I noticed them. They were maybe 40 feet away, and had their backs to us at this point, and here is where he banked some brownie points: "Daddy, who is that? Is that Momma?"

Well, then! Considering that his Momma is about twice their age, I knew this would be a winner. I was right. When we got home, I told her (and the rest of the book club) what he said, and there was a lot of, "Aww, cute!" and a big hug from LBB. I let him stay up an extra half hour to watch baseball with me that night.

Now that he's long past the toddler torture, having a "guys night" with my son is getting to be a lot of fun.

Weekend: Diet Killer

I was doing so well. Down six pounds as of Friday. Well, I negated all that progress over the weekend, because at one point Sunday, I was right back near my starting weight. I didn't count that, though. I'm trying to control for midday fluctuations by making the pre-breakfast weigh-in the official measurement.

So, as of Monday AM, I'm down a total of a pound and a half. Clearly, I'll have to be more food conscious on the weekends. I hate that.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bite Me, Too

Kate is in a foul mood, and so am I. So it's a great time to say, "Bite me!"

I had some fun stuff from the weekend to tell you about, but I'm too sour right now for fun. Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Dry, Dry, Dry

TB had a huge day yesterday that didn't end until after 10PM, so he slept late, until 9:00 and beyond. We enjoyed the extra sleep, also. At one point, early in the morning I heard some thunder. Thank goodness! They were calling for the chance of a stormy day, and good god, we need it here in SW VA. Our lawn is gone. If you chucked a lit match on it, I think it would catch and smolder for days. I haven't mowed the whole yard in a month. I call that a drought.

Once we got up, yes it was cloudy and a little misty. Around 10:30 or so, it started showering steadily, like we haven't seen in at least a month. Yes! Then, after about 10 minutes or so, done. The rest of the day, the sun slowly wiped the clouds away, and once again we are bathed in sunny heat. At least it's only upper 80's today, instead of upper 90's, but still I wish it would rain, rain, rain.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Naive Blogger, Baiting Traffic

I've been a'blog since January. My traffic has steadily increased, from zero to 20 or 30 visitors a day - wheee! Still, I'm intrigued by the forces that drive blog traffic. Yes, I know, interesting content is a good start. I can tell that I've hit a homer a time or two, and struck out many, many times.

Here's the thing, though: a few days ago I posted a link to a goofy picture of the South Park guys and suddenly my traffic has gone through the roof. I'm not sure why that picture was such a draw, so I thought I would experiment a bit.

I'm curious if this picture of breasts will entice anyone; or maybe these thighs, or this pecker.

I'm just playing around, so if you've been lured here against your wishes, welcome! Have fun, and vote in the mini polls on the left sidebar, because they are about to be retired for good. Not enough response to be statistically significant, revealing, or interesting in even the smallest little way.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Post #200, just for it's own sake, since January 24. That's 200 posts in 211 days. Many of them expendable nonsense, but not a bad start, I would say.

Portobello and Tomato Sandwich

When I got home from the gym, there was a sack of tomatoes on the kitchen floor but no sign of my family. They had gone to the pool. So, now my portobello mushroom quandry is solved. Portobello and tomato sandwiches, with the leftovers of last night's couscous salad. What could be easier?

Sounds pretty good, but I still can't wait for a giant bowl of pasta or a big juicy burger this weekend.

Crushing Disappointment

I'm on day four of healthy living. I haven't killed anyone yet, but I am a bit cranky. Earlier, I was thirsty and craving some water, so I went to the break room and hit the Dasani button. Out shot a Cherry Coca-Cola One. That is not what I had in mind at all. There were a few people in there, and I let them know I wasn't happy. They just looked at me.

I'm not a water snob. Ordinarily, I have no problem using the water fountain in the hallway, but today there was a wadded up tissue laid up on it. Yuck. I think I'm the only one in the building that uses the fountain anymore. It's always bone dry when I use it.

I know, I know, a fountain is supposed to be awash with bacteria, but if I'm the only one using it, how dirty can it be?

So, I'm a bit hungry these days. I've been eating sensibly - except for a couple cold ones at the pool last night - and I'm keeping track. A light breakfast, turkey sandwiches with mustard instead of mayo for lunch, reasonable low fat dinner. Last night, I announced to my wife that the diet could "suck me", but I ended up making a couscous and tomato salad anyway. It was OK. My best guess, I've been averaging about 1400 calories a day.

Tonight, we are going to do something with portabella mushrooms, but I don't know yet what it will be. I'm going to hit the gym after work.

I went running last night, although it was a very short run while my son had soccer practice. While there, LBB called and said she was at the pool, so we went over there. Of course everyone was clinking it up, so I had to have a beer or two. Empty calories, but I was parched after my run, and boy did it taste good.

I'm not going to be a martyr to my diet over the weekend, but there are a few things I'm planning that should help. First, TB and I have been ordered out of the house Saturday morning so LBB can clean. (Bye, bye, now!) We are going to go for a hike, weather permitting. That will burn a few. Also, on the weekends, I often eat a big lunch, so I'll skip the second sandwich and fill in with some veggie snacks.

At some point though, before the weekend is over, I want a senseless meal, a major overindulgence. I'm going to grub it out. Then Monday back to the new healthy routine.

So far, I'm down 5 pounds. I know the first 10 are easy and then you level off, but it's encouraging and I'm determined to make my goal.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Bears + Beers = Bad

My wife sent this to me because I like beer and I joke sometimes, when asked where someone is, that they "Got 'et by a bear."

Ryan Seacrest to Host Yet Another Thing

Looks like Ryan Seacrest is going to host the Emmy Awards. Why don't we just put an end to the speculation and ask him to host everything from here on out? He's got Idol and American Top 40 on the radio. He has hosted dozens of award shows, pageants, red carpet galas, and any other Hollywood extravaganza that you can imagine. Just give him the job for everything.

Send Whoopi, Regis, Conan and Billy Crystal down to the second tier. Jon Stewart, Chris Rock, and Ellen DeGeneres: there's a ribbon cutting ceremony down at the new Lincoln Mercury dealership in San Bernardino. Better get going, they need an MC.

Ryan gets the big jobs now, but why? I don't get it. Clearly he's riding the wave of American Idol, but he is certainly not the reason people tune in.

I don't care for award shows, overall. I'm glad we've gotten past the days of uncomfortable forced banter between the presenters or "Fartman" drifting down from the rafters. Still, there's nobody more innocuous than Ryan Seacrest, so any shock factor will have to come from the presenters and the acceptance speeches.

Maybe Colbert was crossed off the list after he skewered the President last year. I'll tell you who should host if they really want to make an awards show into a big fun mess: Trey Parker and Matt Stone from South Park. That would be worth watching.

Ahoy, Mateys! A Whale!

While we were at the beach last week, a friend was kind enough to Flickr some pics from our previous beach trip. Here's one of LBB, TB, and me making merry by the sea as we awaited a table at an oceanfront restaurant.

It was a fun, whimsical shot, but one thing that disturbed me was how much kinder this was to me than any others from the set. There were a few shots of me frolicking in the surf, and they looked like this (although I didn't get quite that tan):

I'm 5'10" and 215 pounds right now. I've allowed myself to get quite large; corpulent; lethargic; with all the aches and pains that go along with it. I'm a fat-ass.

So that, along with a recent rise in my cholesterol, has convinced me that it's time to lose 20. I really should lose 40, overall, but I decided before going to Wisconsin and then to the beach, that losing 20 by the end of September was achievable with a bit of discipline and self-control. I knew the two weeks away were a lost cause, so I was pleased that I only gained a pound during that time.

So, how am I going to do this? I haven't mapped out the specifics yet, but I am going to keep an intake and exercise tally.

Note the brown bottle with the red and white label in the first picture. I'll have to severely cut back on those. Stepping up the exercise should be easy. I've been running about once a week since the beginning of this year, so doubling or tripling that regimen should be no problem. I have a membership at the Y that I just might use.

So, world, today I begin sharing with you my experiment in healthy living. I won't bore you with daily details, but I'll keep you in the loop. Down to 195 by 9/30. Wish me luck!

This Is Roanoke

Hey all, especially you Roanokers: This Is Roanoke is a great new site that aggregates all sorts of interesting local information, blogs, news, ads, and other miscellany. All this put together by one guy who recognized a need. If you ask me, it's much crisper and more useful than, and I say that not just because Andrew was kind enough to include my feed.

Check it out!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Home for a Day

Home at Midnight last night after a tight connection in Detroit. I like that airport, but when you deplane at gate A73 and you have a connection in 15 minutes at C26, and your tummy has the growlies, it becomes a sprint. Got to the gate with three minutes to spare before boarding started, so I gobbled down a Fuddrucker's burger. All was well.

Today we pack, and tomorrow, it's off to the Outer Banks for a week. Life is grand, baby!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Bear In The Buckwheat

Yes, I have one more thing to crab about before I call it a night, but first, I thought I'd explain today's quote in the upper right sidebar. RDB is my father. "Look at that bear shit in the buckwheat!" is what he (and my grandfather) used to shout out to distract us before they swatted us in the head for doing something brainless.

What he is referring to is not a discreet pile of bearshit, in the buckwheat. Imagine a big ole' bear, squatting down and shitting in the buckwheat. That's the distraction, and that gets you a whack in the head. I'm not sure if he got his verb tense exactly right, but to me, the act of the bear is a much more powerful vision than the end result.

So, oftentimes when something disturbs me, I'll say that someone needs to hear about the bear in the buckwheat.

So here is something: I was thinking of ordering a sub tonight from a pizza joint that delivers to the hotel. When I looked at their menu, of course I checked to see if they offered anchovies as a pizza topping (because if they don't, it's not a pizzeria). Well, they do have anchovies, but with a big ole asterisk saying it counts as "two toppings". Huh? Not only anchovies, but the following all count as "two toppings": BBQ sauce, Pesto, feta cheese, parmesan cheese, chicken, meatballs, artichokes, red peppers, spinach.

Explain. Someone please explain why I shouldn't tell these people about the bear in the buckwheat!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Noodle is a Noodle, You Say? Wrong!!!

The thing is, the twirling and the brushing of the sauce from the edges of the bowl. You can't do that with tubular pasta. All it does is smear the sauce around. It's like the difference between Charmin and the store brand.

I won't elaborate, but you know. Oh, yes, you know!

Here's how I know they knew they f'd up, too. With a bowl of ziti, and a garden salad with dressing, here is the inventory of condiments they sent up:

1 extra tub of salad dressing
5 salts
3 peppers
2 ketchups (?)
3 mustards (??)
2 mayos (???)
3 packets of hot pepper
2 packets of parmesean cheese

Do they think I'm making chili dogs up here?

Yeah, I'm a spoiled, whiny American summbich. There are people all over the world who could eat for days on the condiments they sent to my room. That's what makes it infuriating when things aren't right.

We should expect quality product and service in line with what we can afford, and we should ration our spending, also based on what we can afford.

If the fruits of our outlay are exceptional, then the provider of the service is charging too little. If the results are weak, the provider is charging too much. Tossing condiments at the problem doesn't help, it just causes waste. Waste of products, resources, and labor that should be allocated elsewhere. What it boils down to is an inability in our society to grab hold of one's own responsibilities, be productive, take pride, and take credit where due (and raise the bar).

Conversely, if the product or the service is poor, we need to put an end to it, not take a free coupon for another visit and more of the same.

The consumer has some responsibility, too. If you know your quesadilla comes with guacamole, salsa, and sour cream, and you don't like guacamole and sour cream, well then, Genius, tell them to hold the guac and the sour cream! I don't know how many trays I walked by this morning that had cups of untouched guacamole sitting there.

Either the guacamole was rancid, or the buyers were thoughtless.

I'm tired of seeing so much waste.

You, eater: either understand you get what you pay for and stop bitching, or tell them what you want. If you don't get it, don't go back. And you, restaurant: when the menu says fettuccini, either make fettuccini or own up to it.

Yeah, you bet I'm funny about my pasta. It wasn't the right shape, but damn right, I ate every bite.

Funny About My Pasta

LBB, and now TB, and I have a saying that we are "funny about" things. LBB is funny about her laundry: don't touch it! TB is funny about his breakfast: don't let the pancake syrup touch the (fake, Morningstar) sausage!

I'm funny about a number of things, but tonight I'm funny about my pasta. I'm tired, so I ordered room service. Last time I stayed here, I saw a tasty looking seafood alfredo on a plate in the restaurant. I thought I'd give that a whirl tonight.

The menu says "fettuccini" alfredo. That's key. Alfredo sauce needs to be on a noodle, not a tube (unless the tube and sauce are baked in a caserole). Well, what arrived is fargin' ZITI alfredo and there is almost no alfredo. It was hidden under a lid until I finished my salad.

You know what that tells me? Either I'm the first one to order this in a long, long time, or they ran out of the proper pasta.

Leo the lion ain't going "grr", he's going "Goddam, get it right, people!"

The Stray Shopping Cart Project

This is interesting. Flip through it for awhile and find yourself getting sucked in. You start to feel sorry for the strays.

Overheard In Madison

Just one more thing for tonight. Here's something I overheard as I was walking back to the hotel from the fireworks. This is disturbing, joke or not:

Middle-aged white mom with two teenage girls, gathering up their stuff and loading a minivan: "Pick all that up, what do you think, I'm your cleaning lady?"

One of the teenagers: "No, who do you think I am, your black lady?"

Mom: (laughter)

Sad, sad, sad. If anything like that ever comes out of my son's mouth, I want to know, because he sure never learned it at home.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Funny What You Stumble On

Last night, on a seven or eight story office building next to my hotel, a big sign was going up about the "Concert In The Park". I didn't think there were any actual 'parks' nearby. I'm in the middle of an office park so I didn't think further about it.

This morning, I went for a run and sure enough, there was a stage going up behind the building where the sign was.

Right beyond the stage was a corn field; way out of place in the middle of this office park was a corn field. To realize how unlikely this is, if you've ever been there, think of Fairfax County, Va. Turns out this huge office park used to be a farm, and there are either some gummint incentives or some restrictions on the land that require they keep planting some corn.

Anyway, as it turns out, the concert was a once a year performance of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, followed by a fireworks show.

Imagine that! And I was right next door.

Funny thing about events with crowds: there is always a neurotic subset of the crowd that will do whatever necessary to beat the traffic out of the venue. It was amazing how many scurried before the end of the concert, and then there was a mass exodus before the fireworks.

Now I will admit, if we are at a boring ball game, where the chance of MY team coming back from a big deficit is remote, and my boy is falling asleep in his chair, or he's wound up and torturing people around us, then we will leave.

But a concert with fireworks is not a blowout ball game. Why leave early?

In the Interest of Full Disclosure

I guess I should not give a capital TW to Family Feud, as much as I carried on about The Price Is Right. Also, I did become a finalist in a Jeopardy contestant search, so I'm just waiting for my call from Alex Trebek.

It was fun. A whole big line of us (800) waited a few hours for the chance to answer ten questions on paper. Those who got enough right were called back the next day for a fifty question timed test. Then, fifteen names were called out and offered a chance to play a "real" game (which was really an audition). Yes, I was one of the fifteen!

So now, I'm just waiting for the call. C'mon, Alex, give me a ring, will ya?

TW, a Big TW

TW = Total Wreck

I just took a break from blogging to watch Family Feud for 20 minutes. TW. I have a long list of topics to bore you with, and nothing else to do, and I'm sitting there transfixed by Family Feud.


Little Miss No-shine

I was all excited. You know how when you are in a hotel, you usually have HBO? I just assumed. Then I was further encouraged by the HBO programing guide that was tucked in with the map of emergency exits and the room service menu.

Last night, Little Miss Sunshine was supposed to be on at 10:15, so I settled in for a new movie experience. Guess what? No HBO on this TV. I flipped through the channels at least five times.

Grrr. Grrr. Leo the Lion goes "Grrr!".

New Cheap Chinese Experience

I'm in a hotel with no cronies to hang with, so I'm not motivated to go out and dine like a king. Tomorrow, I think I will. It's my last night.

Tonight, I just wanted Chinese take out. I found a joint about 3 minutes from the hotel called "China Express". I thought I would take my chances.

They had something called "Governor's Shrimp". This involved breaded jumbo shrimp (or swimps, if you're from Virginia), with hot peppers, peanuts, broccoli, and water chestnuts. Most everything on their menu had carrots (i.e. filler). This didn't, so I gave it a whirl. Oh, baby, was it good! I ate enough for a family of four, and I didn't even bother with the rice.

Let's see how it goes as it works it's way through.

I did a Google search for Governor's Shrimp and everything came up Wisconsin. I need to know, who was this Governor, and why isn't he sharing with the rest of the nation?

You Got Baggage?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

It's Over

Note: you'll have to read back through a few posts to understand what this is all about.

Whoa! At precisely 10:00 CDT, it ended and another potentially strange public access show is coming on. I'm switching over to ESPN, because now we have a sped up film of a big dude eating a pie.

I'm not sure I like Wisconsin anymore. Generally, I like weird, but an hour of grilling meat?

Drumsticks, Disappearing!

Several of the drumsticks have fallen through the grate and into the fire.

Oh my GOD somebody just hurled a bunch of lighter fluid on the whole pile! The hams are literally boiling on the grill now. The heart-like-mess is shrinking, slowly.

This may turn me off of grilling forever. Without a doubt, this is the most fucked up thing I've seen in a long time.

I See Char

OK, I turned away for 10 minutes or so to type the last post. Now it looks like it's really cooking. No one is turning it, though. The bottom of the chicken legs are black and burning. The hams have collapsed in upon themselves. The heart is shrivelling up.

I wonder if this is someone grilling pieces of their lover or something.

Drumsticks, Hamhocks, and Hearts Afire

I'm in Madison, Wisconsin for work (because I'm an important bizness man, you know). I'm in the hotel watching TV and I am looking at the oddest thing I've ever seen on television.

Do you remember the Yule Log? On and about Christmas day there would be an endless loop of Christmas carols and videos of a cracklin' fire? I guess they still do that, but I haven't checked in a few years.

Well, for the last 30 minutes or so, I've been watching a loop of meat grilling. Now I know they love their meats here in the midwest, so I'm not trying to bring some eastern sensibility to this. Still, watching meat grill endlessly on TV is most definitely odd. It is a public access channel, so I'm sure someone is trying to be funny, but why?

Every ten minutes or so, we get a different camera angle. It's a round grill. At each clock hour from 2 to 9 there are chicken drumsticks. At 11, 12, and 1, are three big hams. In the middle is god knows what. To me it looks like a giant human heart. I can't even imagine what it really is. It's on a loop, so it never gets any more done. There's a lot of smoke, but nothing's getting cooked.

Every few minutes you hear a guy cough in the background, or make a funny sound. It's like Hapax Legomena (the Shriekback song, not the latin term).

This may be the oddest, most frustrating experience I've ever had.

It's now 9:47 CDT. I'm hoping this ends at 10:00. I'm going to stick it out and let you know what happens, OK? Follow up to come.

Monday, August 6, 2007


When I started blogging, and even before that, when I was offered the Jefferson Street Realist column, I thought I would do a lot more ranting. I'm generally steamed about something or another, so I expected easy pickins from the peeve pile.

It hasn't always gone that way, though. Sure, there have been some rants, but I've been surprised how often the end results have more than a dash of hope. It's been therapeutic to realize that I've been able to synthesize more positivity through writing than I usually express in my own internal conversation. A realist isn't always a pessimist, right?

So, having said that, here is a comic that has been taped to my monitor for the last year or so. It's finally torn in half and started to crinkle up, so I thought I would scan and share. I still think this is quite true.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Getting Cross w/ Blogger

I hooked up with Blogger when I started this because it was quick, easy, and I never thought I would follow through for more than a couple weeks.

Seven months later I'm still at it but I am starting to get frustrated with some design limitations.

Sooooo ... any advice? How about Wordpress or Typepad? Other apps? Pros? Cons? Any horror stories converting from Blogger?


Link-a-dink-a-dee, link-a-dink-a-doo.
Curious? It's clickalicious!


I just got a haircut, and on the walk back I got to thinking about my haircuts over the years. I remember the old-time barbershop I went to as a little boy. My father still goes there. The place smelled like old men.

Then when I was eleven or so, I started going to a salon to get my hair 'feathered'. We all looked like Shaun Cassidy back then, or we tried. Yeah, I carried a big handled comb in my back pocket.

I know where I went in college, and I've been going to the same place in Roanoke for the last 12 years. What is scaring me, though, is that I have absolutely no recollection where I went for haircuts when I lived in Washington, DC from 1989-1995.

I don't get it cut very often, maybe three or four times a year, but still, you'd think I would remember six years of haircuts. The only thing I recall is that once I went to the Hair Cuttery (a.k.a. the Hair Fuckery, per my wife) , but I didn't do that all the time. I know I had a regular place, but it has completely vanished from my memory. I remember my dentist and where I got my car serviced and where we went out at night and I can tell you some great shortcuts across town. I just don't know who cut my hair.

I'm slipping, folks!

Sixteen More Than I Could Handle

This family now has seventeen kids. Seventeen! And not a one of them adopted. We have one and we're exhausted. How many mini-vans do they have, I wonder?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


I lost interest in home video games after the Atari 2600. Remember that? It had a joystick and you could play Space Invaders or Asteroids, maybe Pac Man? I completely missed the train after that. You know why? I never had one in my home, so I decided it wasn't all that important. Hmmmm . . . thoughts for current and future parents . . .

Last weekend, I spent a good bit of time playing on a Wii. Well, then! You're not just sitting on a couch anymore, because you need to get your arms, your legs, and your toosh up into it.

On the Wii, you can play tennis against some little cartoon people, but they are good players. Soon, you feel like you are playing an actual game. You get sweaty. It's a workout. You think about strategy, you try to place your shots. Imagine that!

Once the graphics get better this will be huge. Wine and Wii. Group Wii tennis tournaments. Wii might just take over the PGA.

OK, no, the real sports will go on, but it's great fun to pretend.

Who has time for this?


The Mets were supposed to have an insurmountable lead by now. They are barely over .500, and the Phillies (can you stand it?) are right on their heels. Pitching has been shaky, and hitting has been weak.

I still have confidence that they make the post-season, but for crying out loud, they need to take command in the NL if they have any chance against the AL pennant winner.

Come on you Mets fans out there, send your good Karma to the team. I think they need it.

OMG! We're Rich!

Last weekend, we spent a couple hours at the Lucky Strike Gold and Gem Mine. It was fun, but decidedly weird.

First of all, we weren't exactly sure where it might be. We picked a route toward Marion, NC, but with no assurance that we'd find the mine. By the oddest luck we picked the right highway, but drove right on past the place (because the sign said Lucky Strike "Campground", not Lucky Strike "Mine".)

Eventually we got turned around and located the place. We found ourselves deeply in Appalachia. Rather than give you the specifics, lets just say it's what you might expect, or fear; it's what you read about.

Once we figured it all out and got comfortable, we panned for gold and gems. You buy buckets of sand and sift through and get what you can. Oh, there were rubys and sapphires and garnets. We found a few little flakes of gold.

I learned that I could never be a "Miner, 49er", because I have no patience for it. For $5 though, TB "mined" through a small bucket of sand and found a sack full of pretty rocks and a wee bit of gold. The kids loved it, and it was a gorgeous ride through western North Carolina. Strange as the place was, it was worth it. I'm not sure everyone would agree, but I had fun.

August Circle

Here's a link to a PDF of the August issue of the South Roanoke Circle. Give it a read. It's a quality publication. And I'm not just saying that because my column is in there (on page 11, in case you're interested). This month's column is much more melancholy that my usual trifling nonsense, but of the ten I've done so far, it's one of my favorites.

If you like the paper, and you're a local (or not) and you are interested in advertising in the Circle, let me know. I'm married to the ad rep so I can put you in touch.