Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

Shameless self-promotion of my writing skills or lack there of.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Leaving on a Jet Plane

But, I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go


You're welcome for putting that song in your head.

Yes, I know what you are thinking. It’s Friday, where the hell is the latest chapter of The Dance? Well, I don’t have one for this week. Let’s just say it has been a hectic week. Not only have I had to deal with the shuffling of personnel, but I have been trying to spend a little extra time with the Mrs. She is leaving for Germany tomorrow and well…Ok, I just like spending time with her. Is that a crime? This is a really big deal for her and I am proud as hell that the opportunity was given to her (actually, nothing was given, she earns everything she gets).

I’ll tell you what, if you are really heart broke that I left you with that cliff hanger last week and that I dropped the ball for this week, I will write to chapters and post them for next week. I have a feeling that I will be doing a lot of extra writing in the coming days. Must…keep…mind busy; can’t…think…of extended periods of time without the feel of her…touch, the taste of her…lips, and her breath on my neck. Oh, my! Now these are the exact thoughts that I must avoid until she returns.

Well, I think I hear her moving around upstairs so I had better be on my way. We are going to have an us day and it sounds like it is about to start.

Before I go, I will leave you with something to ponder.

I remember standing in line to watch the first three (well actually IV,V,VI but you know what I mean) Star Wars movies multiple times. Yes, I fell for the hype and yes, I tried to set a record for the amount of time a single movie could be seen in our local theater. I have always been a bit of a Star Wars geek, but I don’t think I have ever been as geeky as these guys.
Anyhoo, after saying all that, is it wrong that I am actually more excited about the release of the Hitchhiker’s Guide than I am about the final installment of Star Wars?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

When I was your age...

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the

1930's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they

carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored

lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we

rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took

hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE

actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but

we weren't overweight because

WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back

when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down

the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the

bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no

99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell

phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat

rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no

lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays,

made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang

the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't

had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They

actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers

and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

And YOU are one of them! CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as

kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.

While you are at it, print it out and show it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Exciting Times at the Day Job

My company is going through a “restructuring”. It has been brewing for a couple of months, but looks like it will be finalized soon. Some of the actions and attitudes that I have witnessed since it all began would be funny if they weren’t so darn sad. It seems that nothing brings out the worst in people than letting it be known that there is an opportunity to gain more power. Luckily, the men that have behaved so badly are very few and were spotted early on as the connivers that they are. They will be dealt with swiftly and harshly during the final phases of the restructure

The following are strictly hypothetical scenarios that could probably be found in nearly every company in America.

“It’s a shame about so and so.” Slimy…er Senior Engineer begins.
“What do you mean?” VP asks, brows pursed in confusion.
“Well, with that drinking problem of his, you have to wonder how long it will be before it starts to affect his work.”
“I didn’t know he had a drinking problem.”
“Oh yeah, he drinks like a fish. He has had one for as long as I’ve known him. You remember that Christmas party last year; he was hammered at that before the dinner was served.”
“Really, I had talked to him and didn’t even notice.”
“That’s what makes him so dangerous. You never know when he’s drunk.”

Another favorite of mine is the implied misconduct.

“You should have heard so and so ripping into his employees. I thought he was going to get physical with them. I heard he even raised his fist to one of them, but stopped just before he actually threw a punch.”
“Oh my. Why wasn’t there a report filed?”
“I guess they figured it was just an isolated incident.”
“I should go question his employees myself.”
“Uh, uh, I wouldn’t do that.”
“Why not?”
“Because they will just deny that it happened.”
“Why would they do that?”
“Because they are afraid of the repercussions.”
“I see, well how did you come across this information?”
“I am here in the trenches, sir. I have my thumb on the pulse of the company.”
“Doesn’t your thumb have a pulse of it own? I would think that it would mask anything you might feel from the trenches.” The VP snipes, sensing the reason for their conversation.
“Well, yes…I mean no. Damn it, you know what I mean.”
“Yes, yes I am sure I know what you mean.”


On a happier note, my company (Syntroleum) truly is on the verge of greatness (hence all of the restructuring). Syntroleum Corporation is in the business of monetizing remote and/or stranded natural gas. It is the developer, user and licensor of the Syntroleum Process, a proprietary process for converting natural gas (or synthesis gas from coal) into synthetic liquid hydrocarbons - a process general known as gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology. We employ our technology to form joint ventures and acquire equity in oil and gas development projects where GTL is critical to a project's success. We also license the Syntroleum Process to others. Syntroleum's unique capabilities enable us to offer attractive solutions for natural gas reserves (including flared gas) that are not economic to produce using traditional methods.

The Syntroleum Process produces synthetic liquid hydrocarbons, also known as synthetic crude oil, that is virtually free of contaminants that are normally found in products made from conventional crude oil. These synthetic liquid hydrocarbons can be further processed into higher margin products through conventional refining techniques, including Syntroleum's proprietary Synfining Process. These products include:

• Ultra-clean liquid fuels for use in internal combustion engines and fuel cells;
• Specialty products such as synthetic lubricants, process oils, waxes, etc.
Costs to produce these products using GTL technology are increasingly competitive with conventional process technologies. Moreover, the ultra-clean properties of GTL fuels meet or exceed the new and proposed environmental requirements that will soon go into effect for the U.S. and Europe.

Key advantages to the Syntroleum Process include its use of air in the conversion process, which is economically competitive and inherently safer than the requirement for pure oxygen in other GTL technologies; and Syntroleum's proprietary catalysts, which enhance conversion efficiency of the catalytic reaction. These features help to reduce capital and operating costs of plants, and permit smaller plant sizes, including mobile plants that can be mounted on barges for offshore service. Research indicates that the Syntroleum Process can be economically applied in plant sizes from less than 20,000 to over 100,000 barrels per day.

It is generally accepted that, if converted to liquid, there are enough known stranded natural gas reserves in the world to produce more than 250 billion barrels of synthetic crude oil. To put that in perspective, that would be equivalent to finding another Saudi Arabia.

Ah, but the most exciting news about Syntroleum involves our latest announcement. We have received approval from the Federal Government of Nigeria for the assignment of interest to it and other participants in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 113, offshore Nigeria. Additionally, the participants previously received approval of their required drilling permit for the first appraisal well. Syntroleum last year acquired the rights to the 413,000-acre block, including the Aje Field, a discovered oil and gas accumulation from Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum Co. Ltd. ("YFP"), the Nigerian operator of record. The company views Aje as a potentially significant commercial opportunity for its Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) technology.

As a result of receipt of the approval, Syntroleum shall receive from certain of the other participants a cash payment of $5.7 million as part of the consideration for joining the Aje project.
"Receipt of the approval of this assignment is the final administrative step required to allow for the drilling of our first appraisal well on the Aje structure at OML-113," said Jack Holmes, President and CEO of Syntroleum. "We and the other participants have made a commitment for a drilling rig that should allow us to spud our first appraisal well in August or September 2005. The cash bonus that we will receive as a result of the assignment is expected to cover our share of the drilling and testing of this well and the majority of costs of the second appraisal well at Aje."

As previously announced, under a Joint Development Agreement between the two companies, Sovereign Oil & Gas and Syntroleum identified a potentially major accumulation of oil and natural gas during previous testing of Aje's geology and reservoir at two pre-existing wells. This accumulation could be confirmed with one or more delineation wells. As currently interpreted, the crude oil and natural gas reservoirs are separate and can be produced independently.

With the oil situation being what it is, it doesn’t take long to realize the importance of the work that we are doing. My wife develops the catalyst that makes this wonderful process possible and I program the control systems that make our plants run.

If you want to know more, click on the Syntroleum link in my sidebar. I think you might be surprised by what our quiet little company is up to.

On Being a Mother

This was passed along to me and I thought I would share. I hope you enjoy.

After 21 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to
take another woman out to dinner and a movie. She
said, "I love you, but I know this other woman loves
you and would love to spend some time with you." The
other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my
MOTHER, who has been a widow for 19 years, but the
demands of my work and my three children had made it
possible to visit her only occasionally.

That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie.
"What's wrong, are you not well?" she asked.
My mother is the type of woman who suspects that
a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign
of bad news.


"I thought that it would be pleasant to spend some
time with you," I responded "just the two of us."

She thought about it for a moment, and then said, "I would like that very
much."


That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick
her up, I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her
house, I noticed that she too, seemed to be nervous about our date.
She waited in the door with her coat on. She had
curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she
had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary.
She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an
angel's.


"I told my friends that I was going to go out with
my son, and they were impressed," she said, as she
got into the car, "they can't wait to hear about our meeting."
We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy.

My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat
down, I had to read the menu.
Her eyes could only read large print. Half way
through the entries, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom
sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was
on her lips."It was I who used to have to read the menu when
you were small," she said.


"Then it's time that you relax and let me return
the favor," I responded.
During the dinner, we had an agreeable
conversation.... nothing extraordinary, but catching up on recent
events of each other's life. We talked so much that we missed
the movie. As we arrived at her house later, she
said, "I'll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite
you." I agreed.


"How was your dinner date?" asked my wife when I
got home.
"Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined,"
I answered.


A few days later, my mother died of a massive
heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn't have
a chance to do anything for her. Some time later, I
received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the
same place Mother and I had dined. An attached note
said: "I paid this bill in advance. I wasn't sure
that I could be there; but nevertheless, I paid for
two plates - one for you and the other for your
wife. You will never know what that night meant for
me. I love you, son."


At that moment, I understood the importance of
saying in time: "I LOVE YOU" and to give our loved
ones the TIME that they deserve. Nothing in life is
more important than your FAMILY. Give them the time
they deserve, because these
things cannot be put off until "some other time."


Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get
back to normal after you've had a baby ... somebody
doesn't know that once you're a mother, "normal" is
history.


Somebody said you learn how to be a mother by
instinct ... somebody never took a three-year-old
shopping.


Somebody said being a mother is boring .. somebody
never rode in a car driven by a teenager with a
driver's permit.


Somebody said if you're a "good" mother, your
child will "turn out good".

Somebody thinks a child comes with directions and a guarantee.


Somebody said "good" mothers never raise their
voices ... somebody never came out the back door
just in time to see her child hit a golf ball
through the neighbor's kitchen window.


Somebody said you don't need an education to be a
mother.... somebody never helped a fourth grader
with his math.


Somebody said you can't love the second child as
much as you love the first .... somebody doesn't
have two children.


Somebody said a mother can find all the answers
to her child-rearing questions in the books..
somebody never had a
child stuff beans up his nose or in his ears.


Somebody said the hardest part of being a mother
is labor and delivery somebody never watched her
"baby" get on the bus for the first day of
kindergarten ... or on a plane headed
for military boot camp.


Somebody said a mother can do her job with her
eyes closed and one hand tied behind her back ...
somebody never organized seven giggling Brownies to
sell cookies.


Somebody said a mother can stop worrying after
her child gets married...somebody doesn't know that
marriage adds a new "son" or "daughter" to a
mother's heartstrings.


Somebody said a mother's job is done when her
last child leaves home....somebody never had
grandchildren.


Somebody said your mother knows you love her, so
you don't need to tell her.... somebody isn't a
mother.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Book Smarts

Five guys were on a plane...a kid, a preacher, a doctor, the captain, and a lawyer. The captain came on the P.A. system and says "Mayday, Mayday! We're going down and there is only four vests on the plane. You guys decide who's staying but I'm jumping now!!!" The doctor says "I've saved lives my whole life so I think that I should get one," so the doctor jumps. The lawyer says "I'm the smartest man in the world. I've solved over nine dozen cases so I'm jumpin' bye!" So the preacher goes up to the kid and says "I've lived a long and happy life and I know I'm going to heaven, so you take the last vest and go." The kid says "No, you grab this one and I'll grab the other one because the smartest man in the world just jumped with my book bag!!!!"

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Joy of Fishing

“I’m telling you, man. We caught like 60 fish in about six hours. It was unbelievable.” Ron declared first thing Friday morning.
“Seriously?”
“Yeah, hey I doubted the stories too; until I went down to check it out for myself.” He nodded his head vigorously.
“Derek said that he and his son catch about that many every time they put their boat in the water.” I added starting to get a glimmer of hope.
“Not just him, Paul went out there with him and caught about that many.” He continued, “Nek and Tilly have really great luck down there too.”

So, I began making plans. I had a few things that I needed to do Saturday morning, but there was no reason that I couldn’t be on the water by early afternoon. It turns out that there were several reasons that I couldn’t make it that early, but that is a whole other story. By 3 O’clock, we packed up the boat and started the long trek to Choteau Bend. We were going to fish in the Grand River (or Reeever as my friend I met in Cozumel says.) And our hopes were high for catching the first fish of the year (Yeah, I have had some rotten luck in that department so far).

It was just me and my son (my wife had to work) so I had to back the trailer into the water, unload the boat, tie it off near the ramp and go park the truck. This was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. I fired up the fish finder and headed south with the current. We started seeing a few fish show up on the sonar but they were all 25 feet or deeper (the river averaged about 30 feet deep) so I took us a little closer to the bank.

We started fishing and fishing and fishing…yeah four hours later and we only had a few nibbles but nothing that we actually brought into the boat. The only really exciting thing that happened was I forgot to pull up the anchor when we decided to go home. The rope broke and nearly wrapped around my head when it left the water. Don’t get me wrong it was still a nice father son type day, but it would have been a lot better if we had caught a few fish.

“Dad, why don’t we just go fishing at a pond? I always catch fish when I go to the pond.”
“I don’t like fishing in ponds, son; I like to fish from the boat.”
“You caught more fish before we got the boat, dad.”
“Yeah…I know son.”

We finally get back home and I call up Ron.
“Hey, I just got back from the river…”
“Didn’t I tell you?”
“I didn’t catch a damned thing.”
“Really?”
“Yeah, I headed south from the ramp and barely saw any fish let alone caught any.”
“You went the wrong way.”
“What?”
“You have to go north from the bend up near the dam.” He snickered. “You went the wrong way.”

I chalked that up to bad luck and decided that we could try again on Sunday when my wife could join us. She said that she would rather go to the lake than the “reeever” (she went to Cozumel with me).

This time I was loaded for bear. I bought a slew of lures. I bought minnows. I even bought worms. We were going to cover the whole gambit and by god, we were going to catch some fish.

We set out on the lake and I remembered the broken anchor. My wife suggested that we slip over to the marina and pick another one up. As we eased into the docking area, I put the boat in reverse to slow us down (boats don’t have brakes you know) and much to my surprise the boat lurched forward, crashing into the dock.

“What the hell was that all about?” My wife exclaimed.
“I put it in reverse, but it didn’t work.” I informed her.
“Well should we take it back to the ramp?”
“Nah, forward still works.” I shook my head. “I will worry about getting it fixed when we get home.”

After we inspected the boat for damage (yeah, knocked a little coating loose, but all and all it fared well) we traipsed up to the store at the end of the docks. It was closed and wasn’t due to open for another two hours. We re-boarded the boat and pushed it around (the reverse wasn’t working after all).

We putted across to a little island that was directly across from the marina and decided to try our luck with the fish. After awhile I noticed that we were getting a little close to the rocks on the bank (no anchor to keep us in place) and decided to put a little more space between the rocks and us. I fired up the engine and pressed forward on the throttle. Nothing happened. I put it back in neutral, checked the lever and tried it again. It refused to engage the rotor.

“What are we going to do now?” My son asked.
“Didn’t we buy paddles last year?” My wife wondered aloud.
“Yeah, they are down in the cargo hold.”

I pulled out the two oars and assembled them. Now, keep in mind, I fish from my boat, but it is no small fishing boat. It is a big beastly 20 footer that is better equipped for pulling wake-boarders than trolling for fish. Never the less, we began to paddle. The boat seemed to be moving with relative ease. Once we made it out away from the island, the wind and the current decided to show me “what’s what”. No matter how hard and fast I paddled, we were carried further away from our desired direction.

After a bit, the owners of this gigantic sailboat notice our (I’m sure comical by now) flailing and stop in to offer assistance. They inform me that there boat is too big to go into the harbor where my boat ramp is but the can get us close. Heh, close was definitely better than paddling this beast.

“Alright, we are going to pick up a little speed and sling shot you in that general direction.” The captain of the other boat shouted.
I gave him a “thumbs up” as he made ready to release the rope that pulled us.

I felt the boat pick up momentum and crossed my fingers as he released the rope. We didn’t make it. We were a lot closer, but still not close enough to bring it in with those stupid paddles. Another, somewhat smaller boat sees our plight and comes to lend a hand. He offers a similar situation, but can get us a lot closer before the big “slingshot” finale. He drops the rope and we start creeping towards the shore.

“We aren’t going fast enough to make it all of the way in.” My wife informs me.
“Alright, I know what I have to do.” I said, as I stripped off my shirt and shorts (don’t worry I had a pair of swim trunks on under the shorts.)
“What are you going to do?” My wife asked, worry very evident in her voice.
“I am going to pull us the rest of the way in.” I replied as I gathered up the towrope. “Watch the depth on the sonar and tell me when it says five feet.”
“OK, 20…15…10…8…7…hey it says that the water is only 60 degrees” My wife suddenly blurted.
“Yeah, I know. Just tell me when we are in five feet of water.”
“6…oops, we are back up to 7…8…honey I think we are drifting back out.”
“Start paddling again.” I instructed and followed suit.
“There it is five feet.” She shouted.

I jumped in feet first. Oh…my…god! That water was cold, but I managed to get the boat pulled the rest of the way in. Have you ever tried to trailer a boat that wouldn’t run? Yeah, that was no small feet either. We finally got the damned thing loaded up and back to the house.

After today, I am beginning to think my son is right. Perhaps, it would be better to go back to fishing in a pond.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Yeah...That's about right.

A young man walks into a café carrying a shotgun and bucket full of horse manure. He sidles up to the counter and orders a coffee. A couple of minutes later the waiter serves him his brew.

He downs the hot coffee in one gulp, throws the manure in the air and blasts it with his shotgun. He looks around at the shocked faces in the café, smiles and walks out.

The next day he returns, again carrying the bucket of manure and a shotgun. He walks up to the counter and orders a coffee.

“No way, big guy.” The waiter informs him. “We are still cleaning up the mess you made in here yesterday. What the hell was that all about anyway?”

“Duh!!! I am training for a management position.” The young man shrugs.
“What?”
“You know: I come in, drink some coffee, shoot the shit, create a big mess for others to clean up and then disappear for the rest for the rest of the day.”

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Breast Cancer

I received this message in my e-mail and I thought I would pass it along. Please feel free to cut and paste the contents and send it to others (or you could just direct them here, ahem, wink, wink) that might find this to be useful information.

We need those of you who are great at forwarding on information with your e-mail network. Please read and pass this on. It would be wonderful if 2005 were the year a cure for breast cancer was found!!!!

This is one email you should be glad to pass on. The notion that we could raise $35 million by buying a book of stamps is powerful! As you may be aware, the US Postal Service recently released its new "Fund the Cure" stamp to help fund breast cancer research. The stamp was designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Maryland. It is important that we take a stand against this disease that affects so many of our Mothers, Sisters and Friends.

Instead of the normal 37 cents for a stamp, this one costs 40 cents The additional 3 cents will go to breast cancer research. A "normal" book costs $7.40. This one is only $8.00. It takes a few minutes in line at the Post Office and means so much. If all stamps are sold, it will raise an additional $35,000,000 for this vital research. Just as important as the money is our su pport. What a statement it would make if the stamp outsold the lottery this week. What a statement it would make that we care.

I urge you to do two things TODAY:

1. Go out and purchase some of these stamps.

2. E-mail your friends to do the same.
.

Many of us know women and their families whose lives are turned upside-down by breast cancer.


It takes so little to do so much in this drive.

We can all afford the $0.60. Please help & pass it on.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Where'd I put my cane?

I realize that I am really not that old, but at times I seem to feel every bit of my age and then some. I can remember a time when I couldn’t wait for the weekend (Yeah, I said weekend, but I am pretending for the sake of argument that I didn’t go out five or six nights a week). I would hit the clubs and bars, alternating between finding a good place to dance and a finding a really good live band. I have always been a sucker for live music, but sometimes the bands that I like to listen to, aren’t necessarily easy to dance to. At times, I would stay out all night, catch a few hours of sleep in the early morning, go play golf (or some other form of activity) and get ready to do it all again as soon as the sun went down.

At some point, I can remember exactly when, I began to cut the number of days back. I started spending more time concentrating on work. My son came along and next thing you know, I am only going out when he goes to stay the night with his grandmother. Oh, but when I do make a night on the town…I made it a night to remember (well, at least piece together bits of it as told by friends that witnessed the revelry).

Before long, I realize that either a) the lack of practice or b) my age was making the morning after such adventures almost unbearable. So the drinking and partying slowly dwindle as well. Oh, sure I still occasionally get a little carried away, but it only happens like once or twice a year; just enough to remind me why I don’t like to do that sort of thing anymore.

Sounds like a normal progression, right? Here’s where the problem comes into play. I still love to hear live music. My wife and I make plans (sometimes as much as a month in advance). The night finally arrives and we arrive at the club about an hour before the band starts (which incidentally is nearly the exact time that I normally go to bed). We watch the place slowly fill up and then become almost too crowded. I catch my wife trying to peek at her watch without me seeing her. I stifle a yawn and wonder why the band hasn’t started yet.

By 11 O’clock the band is finally in full swing. We are in luck they are actually playing a song that we both like to dance to. We wade out onto the dance floor, dodging elbows and lit cigarettes. Of course, at least half of the patrons are three sheets to the wind (I can tell, because I used to be one of those revelers). When I try to spin my wife, I inadvertently take a tiny step backwards and am rewarded with an elbow in the middle of the back. The next song seems to be even more popular and more people try to press into the dance floor. No one can do more than a little shoulder wiggle and the occasional hop up and down to the rhythm of the music, but they sure are having a good time. I wish I was enjoying it. We barely make it to the first band break before we decide it is time to call it a night.

Surely, I…we are not the only couple that feel this way. It’s not that we don’t enjoy going out; we just don’t like staying up till all hours of the night. Yeah, okay so maybe that does make me sound a little older than it should, but sometimes the truth hurts. I think the movers and shakers of Tulsa should open up a new hot spot for people like us. It would be a club scene with only minor variations. The band would start by 7 and wrap up by 11. There would be nothing allowed on the dance floor but shuffling feet (no smokes or drinks). There would be plenty of room between the tables to help less the likelihood that someone elbows you as they walk past.

That’s all I want. I don’t think that it is too much to ask. I just want my random night out to be an enjoyable experience.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Advertising Genius

Okay, so the owner of this gas station in the Deep South is having trouble attracting business. He thinks and thinks and finally comes up with a way to boost his sales. He posts a sign over the pumps that reads: Free sex with every fill up!

It works like a charm. Before you know it he has a steady stream of customers. On one busy afternoon, two rednecks pulled in for a little “full service”. The driver gets out, fills the tank and signals the owner over to ask him about the enticing sign.

“Oh, of course.” The owner says scratching his chin. “Pick a number between one and ten.”
“What?” The redneck asked looking at his buddy for support.
“If you guess the number that I am thinking of, you win the free sex.” He explains.

The driver waves off his buddy’s suggestions and finally guesses eight.
“No, but you were close.” The owner shakes his head. “The number I was thinking of was seven. Sorry, no free sex today. Maybe you will have better luck next time.”

As the two men drive off, the driver turns to his buddy and says: “You know, I think that game is rigged. I bet you he doesn’t really give away free sex.”

“No way Bobby Joe, it ain’t rigged at all; my wife won twice last week.”

Monday, April 18, 2005

Project Mayhem

Foreword

Is your work environment ho-hum? Do you seem to be stuck in a rut, having the same conversations with the same people about the same stupid stuff day in and day out? Does your company’s current “water cooler talk” leave you wanting to jab your eye out with an unsharpened pencil?

Your work life should be considered in the same regard as your love life. If either is flailing, you can bet your bottom dollar you are going to be miserable. If you need advice on your love life, you have come to the wrong place. However, if you would like to spice up your work life, you’re in luck. This book was written for you, custom tailored to suit your particular environment. It may not make your work life any more enjoyable, but it will keep it interesting.

Chapter 1
The Basics


The first rule of thumb for any good prankster is to know your audience. How will your prank be received? How far can you take a prank without repercussions? You should never pull a prank that will cause you to lose your job, unless of course, you were planning to leave that job anyways. If that’s the case, the sky’s the limit.

Another point of consideration is the immediate response of your intended victim. Will a particular prank cause your mark to hunt you down and beat you to a bloody pulp? If the answer is yes, you must then ask yourself if there is anyway for you to pull off your prank anonymously, because this type of person is just begging to be pranked. Consider it public service; you are helping them grow as a person and quite possible saving someone down the line the aforementioned beating. When people learn to laugh at themselves, the little things don’t seem to stress them out as much.

If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out. I know this sounds like a comment you would make to a child, but you would be surprised how many people forget this little bit of information. Once the pranks start, you should expect them to spread through your workplace like a wildfire. Yes, this means that you are bound to be a mark at some point from then on. It’s not just a matter of “Do unto others” or any of that philosophical crap. There seems to be a deep seeded need in the human psyche that dictates that a prank be propagated. It is almost as if the only way that we can prove that we are not exceptionally gullible is to make as many people fall for the same prank as possible.
A good prankster should also know their absolute limits. It is a good idea to think a prank through thoroughly prior to implementation. Never pull a prank that could land you in jail or cause your mark to get into legal trouble. Is it possible that the prank could result in serious bodily harm and/or death? I am sure that right about now, you are asking yourself: “Geesh, for a prankster, this guy sure is a worry wart.” All I am saying is that you might want to think twice about rigging up a noisemaker to the desk of a coworker with a bad ticker.

If you do find that you are suddenly the victim of multiple pranks, remember, don’t just get even; get one up. I intend to give you the tools to do just that.

Chapter 2
The Office


Here are a few ideas to stir things up in the cubicle farm. These pranks may not get you promoted, but they are guaranteed to get you noticed.

1. Monday Morning Assault.
Sneak into a co-workers office before they arrive and apply liberal amounts of Scotch-tape to strategic items on and around their desk. Put tape over the ball of their mouse and a small paper clip under their left mouse button. You won’t want to use the whole paper clip, as this will be too easy to spot. Twist the paper clip back and forth until a sizable piece breaks free.

Place a single piece of Scotch tape on the telephone receiver to secure it to it’s stand on one end.

Disconnect their Ethernet connection from the wall jack but leave it in far enough that it looks like it is still hooked up.

Crank the volume on their speakers up to max.

When they come in on Monday morning, the first thing they will do is fire up their computer. The two mouse pranks are the easiest to spot at this point, followed shortly by the blast of noise that spouts from their speakers. Once they get logged on, they realize that they can’t connect to the network (this is a fairly common occurrence in my office) so they grab the phone to call IT. Since the receiver is connected to the heavy base, they both come crashing down on their desk. It is a great way to start a workweek.

Repeat after me: “Superglue is our friend.” You can superglue anything and everything on a coworker’s desk. They beauty of superglue is that once the seal is broken it peels off with little or no damage.

2. My Computer is Possessed.
You should practice this prank several times on your own computer so that you will be able to do it quickly. This operation will need to be performed after your mark has logged into his computer, but has left his desk. It will also help to have a list of changes that you want to apply.

The steps for this prank will differ, depending on the word processing software that your office uses. For my example, I will be using Microsoft Word.

Open a blank copy of Microsoft Word and select “Tools” from the toolbar. You want to open the “AutoCorrect” feature.

Once the option is open, verify that “Replace text as you type” and “Automatically use suggestions from spell checker” are checked.

Begin entering commonly used words in the “Replace” box and your alternatives in the “With” box. Don’t get too exotic here. If you try to keep the words similar, it will be harder for your mark to realize that they are writing a bogus sentence. For instance: “If you refer to the numbers from last year.” Becomes: “If you reefer to the rubme’s from last year.”

You can get as creative as the mind allows on this one, but again, I must caution you to know your audience. Don’t use language that will get you (or your mark) fired if it is used in a correspondence to the CEO. Unless, of course, you think they will get a kick out of it.

3. What’s that Smell?
There are several ways to pull this prank off. Whichever way you choose, remember not to go overboard. A little well placed seafood goes a long way. If it is just the occasional whiff, it will make it harder to find the source and the prank will last longer.
Take a small shrimp (or any other easily concealable smelly morsel) and place it under your mark’s chair. Depending on the type of chairs your office uses, you can place it in the shaft of the chair or just slide it in between the cushion and the adjustment mechanism.

Another option is to use a piece of Scotch-tape (yes, I am quite fond of tape) and attach it to a portion of their desk that faces a wall.

Your mark’s fragrant gift can also be inserted in the heating/cooling vents of their office. This one is a little more risky, as you must climb on something (in most cases) to reach the vents.

Of course, using actual pieces of rotting flesh around the office can leave a trail of evidence. As a more covert option, use fish oil. This will give you a little more flexibility in its application. Just be sure to use a Q-tip to administer the juice so that it is harder to trace back to your smelly hands.

No matter which method you use, within a day the smell of seafood that has passed its prime will begin to get the attention of your co-worker. If the mark is in a cube farm, this prank may actually get several victims at the same time.

4. Bring on the Noise.
Pull string fireworks can be used in several different scenarios to give your coworkers a start. They can be attached from a chair to the bottom of a desk.

If your mark’s desk has a center drawer, it can be attached from the drawer to the back of the desk (again you will need tape).

Poppers (the little white balls that you throw or crush between your fingers to make noise) can be placed under the wheels of a coworker’s chair.

When all else fails; keep it simple. Know when you see a good opportunity and take advantage of it. Everyone has entered the office of a coworker only to find that they are so engrossed in their work that they don’t notice you are there. I recommend using a sudden intense burst of noise to announce your presence.

5. Sudden Movements.
On most office chairs, there is a lever that allows the user to lock in the vertical position that they feel is most comfortable. A minor adjustment to this lever should allow the chair its full range of movement. When your mark goes to sit in their chair, it falls backwards and for a split second your victim thinks they are hitting the floor.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

One Man's Trash

My friend Shari stopped by my office this morning and said she had something that she wanted me to look at. The wind had blown a piece of paper into her yard and it settled near her front steps. She was in the process of picking it up to toss it in the trash when she noticed that it had something scribbled on it in pencil.

“What do you think it means?” She asked after I read it.
“It looks like someone’s attempt at writing a country song.” I laughed.
“I was wondering if this was something that this person witnessed or…”
“Maybe. It is a little hard to read though.”
“It looks like whoever wrote it was drunk or extremely uneducated.”
“Or both.” I said before my eyes were drawn to a faint picture sketched in the background. “Hey, did you see the picture?”
“What picture?” She asked taking the paper back.
“That picture.” I replied, pointing to the center of the page.
“Oh, my god! Is that a…”
“Yep, you brought me a picture of a naked lady.” I replied with a smile.
“I didn’t even notice that. Don’t tell anybody that I brought that to you.”
“Uh, sure. I won’t tell a soul.” I replied, keeping my crossed fingers concealed under the edge fo my desk.

I cleaned it up a bit, adding a few words and changing some grammar that seemed necessary to make the story semi-legible, but by and large this is what was written on the paper:

Take your drink to the end of the bar, buddy.
Come on now, don’t be a fool.
I’d rather have the hot seat in Sing Sing Prison
Than to sit down by her on that stool.
What’s that you say, well I guess you’re right
Ain’t nothing to me
See that man? She belongs to him, buddy.
Drink up and leave while you can.
I can tell by the way he looks at you buddy.
He is sure to be a quick tempered jealous man.
What’s that you say? Well I guess you’re right
Ain’t nothing to me
Ain’t nothing to me
There you are stretched out on the floor, buddy
See what you made him do?
There coming to take him to jail, buddy
And tomorrow, somebody will bury you
Ah well, that’s life on distant worlds.
Ain’t nothing to me
Ain’t nothing to me
Ain’t nothing to me
Ain’t nothing to me


So what do you make of all that?

Friday, April 15, 2005

What kind of American English do you speak?



Your Linguistic Profile:



35% Yankee

25% Dixie

25% General American English

10% Upper Midwestern

5% Midwestern




Ok, so I took this test that I found over at Empty Writing (Thanks Matt)http://www.livejournal.com/users/mtreiten/

Yeah, It looks like my English reflects the fact that I have lived everywhere. How did yours turn out?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Murphy's Work Laws

I ran across these this morning and thought I would share.

Enjoy!

MURPHY'S LAWS ON WORK

A pat on the back is only a few centimeters from a kick in the pants.

Don't be irreplaceable, if you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

The more crap you put up with, the more crap you are going to get.

You can go anywhere you want if you look serious and carry a clipboard.

Eat one live toad the first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.

Never ask two questions in a business letter. The reply will discuss the one you are least interested in, and say nothing about the other.

When the bosses talk about improving productivity, they are never talking about themselves.

If at first you don't succeed, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.

There will always be beer cans rolling on the floor of your car when the boss asks for a ride home from the office.

Mother said there would be days like this, but she never said there would be so many.

Keep your boss's boss off your boss's back. This is what I'm doing wrong.

Everything can be filed under "miscellaneous."

Never delay the ending of a meeting or the beginning of a cocktail hour.

To err is human, to forgive is not company policy.

Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing.

Important letters that contain no errors will develop errors in the mail.

The last person that quit or was fired will be the one held responsible for everything that goes wrong - until the next person quits or is fired.

There is never enough time to do it right the first time, but there is always enough time to do it over.

The more pretentious a corporate name, the smaller the organization. (For instance, The Murphy Center for Codification of Human and Organizational Law, contrasted to IBM, GM, AT&T ...).

If you are good, you will be assigned all the work. If you are really good, you will get out of it.

You are always doing something marginal when the boss drops by your desk.

People are always available for work in the past tense.

If it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would get done.

At work, the authority of a person is inversely proportional to the number of pens that person is carrying.

When you don't know what to do, walk fast and look worried.

You will always get the greatest recognition for the job you least like.

No one gets sick on Wednesdays.

When confronted by a difficult problem you can solve it more easily by reducing it to the question, "How would the Lone Ranger handle this?"

The longer the title, the less important the job.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.

An "acceptable" level of employment means that the government economist to whom it is acceptable still has a job.

Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it makes it worse.

All vacations and holidays create problems, except for one's own.

Success is just a matter of luck, just ask any failure.

A Game of Twister

It’s that time of year again. Springtime in Tornado Alley is always interesting, to say the least. I was listening to the radio on the way to work this morning and they were already giving out safety tips, urging us to designate a safe place in or near our home in the event of a tornado. Why is it so important to pass those tips along today? Apparently there is some sort of major storm blowing through Green Country this afternoon and it is supposed to roar all night.

I actually love a good storm, though. There is just something majestic about a fierce cleaning by Mother Nature. Granted, it almost seems that Mother Nature has been on a week long bender before she turns her hung-over, bleary eyes towards us, but she always puts on a good show. Other times, times she is nothing short of an artist, painting momentary masterpieces across the sky. I hear she writes her own sound-track for the event. Of course, it only consists of a wind and percussion sections, but she manages to convey the mood perfectly.

Alright already; I’ll get to the point. If you are a scaredy-cat and/or really worry about what to do during a tornado, here are a few tips:

1. Bend over and place your head as far between your legs as possible.
2. Kiss your ass goodbye.

Just kidding, these might be a bit more useful.

Basic definition:
A tornado is a violent windstorm characterized by a twisting, funnel-shaped cloud. It is spawned by a thunderstorm (or sometimes as a result of a hurricane) and produced when cool air overrides a layer of warm air, forcing the warm air to rise rapidly. The damage from a tornado is a result of the high wind velocity and wind-blown debris. Tornado season is generally March through August, although tornadoes can occur at any time of year. They tend to occur in the afternoons and evenings: over 80 percent of all tornadoes strike between noon and midnight.

Prepare a Home Tornado Plan
• Pick a place where family members could gather if a tornado is headed your way. It could be your basement or, if there is no basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.
• If you are in a high-rise building, you may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor. Pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.
Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit Containing--
• First aid kit and essential medications.
• Canned food and can opener.
• At least three gallons of water per person.
• Protective clothing, bedding, or sleeping bags.
• Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
• Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
• Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas, and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn natural gas service back on.)
Stay Tuned for Storm Warnings
• Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information.
• Know what a tornado WATCH and WARNING means:
o A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area.
o A tornado WARNING means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area. Go to safety immediately.
• Tornado WATCHES and WARNINGS are issued by county or parish.
When a Tornado WATCH Is Issued...
• Listen to local radio and TV stations for further updates.
• Be alert to changing weather conditions. Blowing debris or the sound of an approaching tornado may alert you. Many people say it sounds like a freight train.
When a Tornado WARNING Is Issued...
• If you are inside, go to the safe place you picked to protect yourself from glass and other flying objects. The tornado may be approaching your area.
• If you are outside, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy building or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area.
• If you are in a car or mobile home, get out immediately and head for safety (as above).
After the Tornado Passes...
• Watch out for fallen power lines and stay out of the damaged area.
• Listen to the radio for information and instructions.
• Use a flashlight to inspect your home for damage.
• Do not use candles at any time.

This program was brought to you by the letter T.

Thanks for playing.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Weekend Adventures

My plant is in the middle of a “turn around”. This usually means that the plant is down and I get a much deserved break from supporting it. Sadly, I think I received more phone calls this weekend than I did during the entire last run. Most were just easy questions that I was able to answer and return to my weekend in under a minute. However, there were a few that were not only too complicated to take care of over the phone, but came in at the most inopportune times.

On Saturday, we went to Rob and Amy's house, for a little food, fun, libations and Black Jack. We were mere minutes from the start of the tournament when my cell phone rang.
“Hello, Mr. Goodman. Sorry to bother you, but we are experiencing a few problems with your control system.”
“What kind of problems?” I ask, between bites of food.
“We seem to be losing data. All of our trends have flat lined and none of our remote programs are seeing the historical data.”
“But, you don’t need any data this weekend; the plant’s down for the next couple of weeks.”
“Not all of it. We are running a feasibility study with the upgrader section of the plant.”
“On a Saturday? Why couldn’t these tests wait until Monday?”
“Because we are going to run the upgrader on Monday. You do remember that it isn’t part of the turnaround, right? We are going to run it for as long as we can.”
“Uh…yeah. I knew that.” I stuttered.
“You didn’t know that, did you?”
“No, I didn’t.” I admitted sheepishly. “I will be there in a few minutes.”

Luckily, it didn’t take too long to fix the problem and I was able to return in time to lose the tournament. We did a chip count at the half way point and I was up $330, but I was in second place. I started betting a lot more boldly in an attempt to close the gap between us. Yeah, I was the first one out. I was only a few hands ahead of my wife though, followed shortly by everybody but Rob. This is the first time that one of our tournaments didn’t last the full thirty rounds.

On Sunday, my phone rang like crazy while I tried to prepare my boat for it’s first trip in ’05.
“We don’t have any GC data.”
“How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?” I asked randomly.
“What?”
“Never mind, it was just a Pink Floyd reference.”
“But, we don’t have any GC data.”
“Try to remain calm; I am going to walk you through this. I will stay on the line with you until help arrives.”
“Aren’t you coming out here to fix it?”
“That was my emergency operator impersonation.”
“Why would you do that? We still don’t have GC data.”
“I was just trying to be funny.”
“Well, you shouldn’t.”
“Why?” I asked, sensing the stress in his voice.
“Because you are not very good at it. So, are you going to retrieve my data or not?”

Thus it was noon before we ever dropped the boat in the water. We fished for nearly six hours and didn’t catch nary a fish. What up with that? My fish finder showed them all around us, but none of them wanted any of our juicy minnows. Oh, well there is always next weekend.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Click...Click...Boom

I have come to realize that submitting proposals is a bit like playing reverse Russian roulette. A very slow version mind you, but still possessing very similar characteristics. You load your mss into the chamber, say a little prayer and fire it off. You wait patiently for it to hit its mark. The waiting in itself can become a form of mental torture if you let it. Sitting in a crowded room, yet utterly alone, you can lose yourself in the many possible futures of your book.

At last, you venture down the path that leads to your mailbox. It has been so long since anything remotely interesting waited for you there that you no longer skip along the trail in giddy anticipation. Today, you make the journey in the pathetic shuffle of a dejected wanna be. Stop the press!!! “I spy with my eye…something that looks a lot like my own handwriting.” Your heart beat quickens and your breath comes in deep gulps. You stand at the curb in your bathrobe, looking at the stack of mail that contains your letter. You suppress the urge to open the letter on the spot, instead choosing to shuffle it to the back as you sort through the other envelopes.

You throw the whole stack of mail onto the end table and go in search for your missing cup of coffee. Finally, the anticipation becomes too much. Snatching the envelope up, you rip it open and peruse its contents. You have pulled the trigger and it went…click.

The letter reads:

Dear sir or madam,
Thank you for thinking of us. We were quite pleased that your query rose above those in the slush pile that were submitted by the mentally ill, but we don’t think this book will fly with our readers. Good luck placing it elsewhere and be sure to think of us when you finish your next treasure.


Weeks, months, possibly even years pass in similar fashion. By now your routine is getting old. You have become a bit calloused by the whole affair. You hardly even flinch when you pull the trigger now.

Then it happens. “What have we here?” You wonder as you open an email with the title of your book in the subject line. “I didn’t submit my query to them through the e-mail, did I?” You wonder if it may have happened late one night while you pecked away at the keyboard as if you were in a drunken stupor.

You read the letter/pull the trigger and…Boom. You are instantly validated. Someone, other than your mother, thinks you have written something worth reading. There will be no shuffle down death row for you. You will hop, skip and jump wherever you go from now on, because you have finally made it. Well, at least until you try to submit your next piece. For now, though, savor the flavor. There is nothing in this world that is quite as sweet, is there?

Sunday, April 10, 2005

That's My Special Boy!

I went to pickup my son from his tutor yesterday and he comes running out of the school, looking a little glum. He is wearing this big white button, but I can’t quite read what it says until he gets a little closer. He shuffles his feet across the parking lot, struggles to open the door slower than what seems humanly possible and eases himself into the backseat with all the grace and speed of a hundred year old man.

“What’s a matta you, eh?” I asked, trying to get a smile out of him, adjusting the mirror so that I can see his face.
“I don’t get to go to tutoring any more.”
“Really?” I looked again at the big white button.
“Yeah.” He nodded. “It’s because you didn’t pay for me to stay isn’t it?”
“What? Tyler, your tutoring was free. It’s a program that your school runs for 1st graders.” I said, turning around to look at him directly. “Why would you say something like that?”
“Because everyone else gets to stay except for me and Bobby.”
“Son, what does your button say?”
“It says: Independent Reader.”
“That’s right. The whole reason you went to tutoring was to get your reading up to where it needs to be. You read very well for your age.” I assured him.
“Does that mean that I congratulated?”
“No…but I think it means you graduated and for that I will congratulate you.” I laughed.
“Yessss.” He said, his mood instantly better.

So we get home and look through his homework. As we put the finishing touches in his notebook, he looks up at me and I can almost here the light bulb turn on in the background.

“Dad, since I graduated and all, after we finish my homework, can we watch the The Incredibles again?”
“You really liked that one, huh?”
“Man, I can’t say enough good things about that movie.”

I had to stop and stare at him for a good 3 seconds before I broke into laughter. It always slays me when he says something so adult like that. Ah, my seven year old’s first movie review; could I be any prouder?

“What’s so funny?”
“Nothing, son. Just finish your homework and I will get the DVD set up for you.
“Thanks, Dad.”
“No, no…thank you.”
“For what?”
“Just for being you, son.”

Friday, April 08, 2005

An Evening of Farming and Family Fun

About a month ago, my wife and I were having a conversation about gardening. Through no fault of my own, during the planting portion, my mind locked on a really old memory. No, it wasn’t a memory of my earliest gardening experiences. It was, however, an image that came rushing out of the deep recesses of my brain and demanded to be noticed. It was an image of a neatly manicured garden that several rows of crops that were covered in gunny sacks.

I asked my wife if she had ever seen the movie, to which she just raised an eyebrow. Yes, I forgot the conversation(s) that we had about the fact that she missed nearly ever horror movie released before she was 25 or so. Her viewing of this movie now became my quest.

I searched the web, made a quick visit to e-bay (I did manage to resist the urge to break into an impromptu musical number) and searched through their titles. Low and behold, not only did I find it, but it was now on DVD. Wait, not just any DVD, but a double feature DVD that had the movie in question and Deranged on the same disc. The whole package was offered at the low low buy it now price of $6.90. Wow, what a bargain; they obviously didn’t realize the true value of the little treasure they had in their possession.

In the weeks that passed as I waited on the movie to arrive, I touted it as being a cult classic. That it deserved to have a space right up there beside the Shining and Rosemary’s Baby. This movie was, indeed, a must see.

At last, it arrived, gracing my mailbox with its presence yesterday afternoon.
“It’s here!” I informed her with glee.
“Goody!” She returned playfully.
Being the conscientious father that I am, I waited until my son was settled into his room for the night before popping it in. As we waited, I read a few blurbs to her from the box.
“Well, would you look at that; it has Wolf Man Jack in it.”
“Really? When was this thing filmed?” She asked, her skepticism rising.
“Let’s see…Oh, here it is. Looks like about 1980.” I answered with my best cat who ate the canary grin.
“Hum” was her only reply.
“Hey! Cliff from Cheers has a short appearance as one of the Punk Rockers from Ivan and the Terribles.”
“Is this a B movie?”
“Well…it is on the B side of this disc, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a fine piece of filmmaking.”

Finally, I set up the disc and let her run.
“Did he just shoot out that tire or did it blow out by itself?” She asked as Farmer Vincent watched a horrible motorcycle accident occur right next to him.
“You will just have to watch and see.” I shrugged.

Over the next hour or so, she was bombarded with such information as:
“Well, you’re too late dear; I put him in the ground this morning.”
“Who gave you permission?”
“Ma’am, in this county, it is perfectly legal to bury someone if there are extenuating circumstances.”

Oh, and we can’t forget: “It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent’s fritters!”

Do you have it figured out yet? No? Well, just be patient, I will call it by name before this post is finished. You have my word on it.

The credits begin to roll and I look over at her with a smug look on my face. Yep, she was sound asleep.

“Hey! You didn’t like it?” I asked, wondering how that was humanly possible.
“Meh, it was alright.”

So there you have it, ladies and gentleman. Motel Hell receives a solid “Meh” from the Mrs.

Are there any movies from your childhood that you have went back, watched and wondered what the hell you were thinking? If so, send them my way. Chances are, I will probably enjoy them.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Was it a Stroke?

My Aunt sent this to me and I thought I would pass the information along:

A dear friend of mine just had a mild stroke about two weeks ago. She had driven to the garage to have her car worked on. She tried to talk to the mechanic and she could not speak. She did not know anything was wrong until this happened. They took her right to the hospital and she has made a full recovery.

IS IT A STROKE?
Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:
1. Ask the individual to smile.
2. Ask him or her to raise both arms.
3. Ask the person to speak a simple sentence.

Ask the person to 'stick' out his/her tongue...if their tongue is NOT 'straight' but goes off to one side, that is another indication of a stroke.

IF he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 9-1-1 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

After discovering that a group of non-medical volunteers could identify facial weakness, arm weakness and speech problems, researchers urged the general public to learn the three questions.

They presented their conclusions at the American Stroke Association's annual meeting last February. Widespread use of this test could result in prompt diagnosis and treatment of the stroke and prevent brain damage.

Tell as many people as possible about this. It could save their
lives!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Happy End O' Lent

Well, the Easter bunny came and went during the night. He left a slew of chocolate and little trinket toys scattered around my house. I guess my son will just have to round them all up. Big house, little boy, 30 or so chocolate eggs (with various fillings of course)…I am willing to bet (hope) that he doesn’t complain about not having a real Easter egg hunt this year.

The forecast has called for rain, rain and yep, more rain. We decided (actually, I wasn’t privy to that conversation but my proxy was) that my nieces, nephews and son were old enough that they wouldn’t be upset if they didn’t get a traditional hunt (complete with prize with valuable prizes and cash). They…er, we opted instead to shower them candy, chocolate and trinkets in the form of gifts. There will be no great scavenger hunt, no survival of the fittest/quickest, no earning the unhealthy bounty that will be gorged upon for days. No, there will be no children that run through the yard with such haste that trip, sending basket and goodies hurling through the air at light speed.

No, there will be no over abundance of hardboiled eggs this year. There will be no Uncle that makes it his primary responsibility to eat as many of them as possible (lest they go to waste), causing him to be banished to the outside of the house (down wind) with in an hour or so.

Ah, but we will have great food, family and friends. For this, I am grateful. I have spent far too many holidays separated from family, not to appreciate the importance of that. Well, that’s about as far down that memory lane as I care to go. Today is a day of celebration and mild defeats, so keep your kin close and enjoy all of your feasts.

Update: Nature decided that she didn't want to see a large group of kids miss out on a great egg adventure either. The sun burned through the clouds and we had a lovely afternoon for the hunt. Nearly 1,000 candy filled plastic eggs later and all of the kids have enough candy to last them at least until Halloween.

Happy Easter (or just happy three days off if you don’t go for the whole religious holiday thing.)

By the by, the first draft of my super secret writing project is complete. More details coming soon.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Long Time No Post

I just wanted to take a second to apologize for neglecting my blog. I have a project in the works that is taking up a little more of my time than I anticipated. It just so happened to coincide with a fairly time consuming project for my day job. I hit a wall that I feared I would run up against someday; not enough time to write everything that I want to get on paper (or at least on my PC).

I had several things happen over the last week, week and half, that I thought: “Wow, I wonder if my readers would like to hear about that.” Truth is, I made a conscious decision to ease up on the amount of posts I put on my blog until a) I finish my secret project and good things happen because of it. Or b) I finish the mind-numbing database collection and creation program that I am working on.

Before I go, I would like to throw a few things out here in cyberspace:

1. Congratulations to my friend Amy for winning the first allotment of prizes for her picks in the NCAA Basketball tournament. You might know it better as March Madness.
2. Rob, better luck next time. When we hit Vegas we can do that up proper. Counting down the days, man.
3. I would like for you to think of three things that someone referring to a “hood ornament” might be talking about. I giggle every time I think about this one.
4. I have been following this Terri Schiavo case and I can’t believe her parents would want to put their own daughter through all of this for their own selfish reasons. I am saying it now for the record. If I have to depend on a feeding tube to live, that ain’t living. Let me put an official end to this life, so I can move on to the next one (or where ever your faith dictates that I would go). 14 years people! She has been eating through a tube because she is stuck in persistent vegetative state. The President has no business sticking his nose into such a personal matter.
5. Just because most everyone I meet under the age of say…25 seems to be a complete and utter moron, does not mean that I have turned into one of those old men that used to talk to me like I was a moron at 23. We really do have an abundance of idgets in the state of Oklahoma.

Well, back to the grind. I hope to be back in full swing by next week.

Monday, April 04, 2005

WTF

Why...o Why didn't I take the blue pill?

Friday, April 01, 2005

Things You Laugh at, but Shouldn't

I lifted this from the links over on Making Light. I thought I would share the guilt.

Enjoy, but not too much.

Bring on the Pain

Well, it’s that time of year again. We began my ritual self-abuse today. That’s right, it’s race season. We participated in the 22nd Annual Tulsa St. Patrick’s Day Run. It wasn’t the hell that I remembered from last year. I actually performed pretty well and more than that I enjoyed it. My time was by no means stellar, but it was better than my fastest 5K from last year.

My wife was more than a little disappointed that she didn’t place this time. She did, however, run like a jackrabbit and shamed me something horrible, finishing with a time just over 26 minutes. All three of the place winners for her age group finished in the 22-minute range.

Being a St. Paddy’s Day race, I felt compelled to wear this giant green Dr. Seuss hat with a shamrock on it. Let’s just say that it caught a few strange stares, but all and all, it achieved the desired result of causing people to smile. Hell, some of them out right laughed.

After I crossed the finish line, we went in search of water and some fruit that was provided for the runners. We find both of these with no problems, but it was the beer stand that seemed to stand out like a sore thumb. Yep, they were also serving beer to the runners. No one seemed to give a second thought to the fact that it was only 9:30 in the morning. Oh well, when in Rome…

I hate to admit it, but I am actually looking forward to the next one. Who knows maybe this year I can train enough to actually be able to catch my wife.

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