Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Major Family Change

Based on growing tension and feelings of being belittled and criticized by one of the biggest hypocrites on the planet, I may now be ending any relationship I have with my father.

In the past 3 years his words have driven away his youngest brother, his oldest son, and now his middle son. All the while he continues to embrace and develop his relationship with Jason Morhaus, the son of his wife and her first husband, who openly calls my father "Dad." So where he has burned bridges with his two biological sins, he has built one with this person. I suppose it's not unfair considering he had his life ruined by getting my mother pregnant with Peter and having to marry her as a result. Apparently he never actually loved her, and since his situation was irreperable, he went ahead and had two more kids with my mother before finally leaving her for another woman.

Sp on New Year's Eve 2006, I look forward to a new life without a father.

Happy New Year!

Evebody hurts - REM

Friday, December 29, 2006

Friday Flashback - Story Videos

Here are three great songs that had concept videos to add a little story line.

Berlin - No More Words

Shadows of the Night

.38 Special If I'd Been The One

Sunday, December 24, 2006

ManCard Renewal

My Man Card Renewal is complete with the achievement of today's 2 and a half hour power shopping.

I left the house roughly at noon and hit the mall for about 5 stores and then a local plaza for 4 more, got a full tank of gas, lunch from Taco Bell and was home at 2:30.

I have alwqays operated this way in regards to Christmas shopping. It does not usually include Christmas Eve, but with the work schedule I have maintained recently, leaving me too tired to do anything after my shift, it became a necessity today.

I am happy to report that most everyone I encountered was in good spirits. Lines were not too long, traffic was only snarled due to poor arrangements of patterns in the Target center in Woodstock, and a lot of people responded well to me as I was wearing jeans and a UCF t-shirt topped off with a puffy-banded santa hat and my RayBan shades (kinda Blues Brothers style).

So we'll be off to visit a local church we've never attended, Shiloh HIlls Baptist Church for their 5pm Christmas Eve service and then home for some Chinese food and wrapping gifts and watching movies. Amy will be pleasantly surprised with some of what I came up with for her. Let me simply say a lot of her gifts revolve around her comfort levels.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

I Believe in Blueland

Tonight I attended my first professional hockey game. I have never been a fan because it's difficult to follow on TV, especially with the camera trying to keep up with the action and not seeing the whole rink. I enjoyed this live experience very much,

Thrashers 5, Devils 2.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Scotch on the Rocks (Scottish bands who make guitars sound like bagpipes!)

Big Country - In A Big Country

Slade - Run Runaway

I really liked Big Country, this song and their follow-up single "Fields of Fire" which you can also find on YouTube. Slade was a flash in the pan in the USA, but the song was fun and I have no idea why the video includes a guy doing the caber toss and the lead singer in close-up playing with his tongue, but enjoy these.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My eyes

My eyes are bugging me. It's been going on for a few weeks where I have to squint to focus even with contacts. Now it's causing headaches which makes me irritable which is not good for work.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

News/Talk 750 WSB's Chris Krok takes on a taser

Atlanta radio station News/Talk 750 WSB's nighttime Talk Host, Chris Krok wanted to show you why it's good that police use taser or stun guns to control criminals. He allowed himeslf to be shocked live on the radio Wednesday, June 21, 2006!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Fifteen Years or so Flashback/Flashforward

Debbie Gibson Foolish Beat (live concert)

Debbie Gibson - What You Want

Miss Deborah "Debbie" Gibson broke into the american pop music scene in 1987 with the debut ablum "Out of the Blue." A decade and a half later, she was still trying to make a place in pop music, but her talents have translated better in a career on Broadway starring in such productions as Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Grease, Funny Girl, Cabaret, and Les Miserables. Here's an early one (what cute bangs) and a more recent pop ditty.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Michael W. Smith Christmas Concert

with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

one word..... AWESOME

fav song.... EMANUEL

thing to look for... Michael Olsen new artist on Rocketown Records debut album coming in February.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Flashback - Yeah, it's for charity, but....

Chicago Bears Shuffle

In honor of the pending playoffs and the fact my Culpepper-less Dolphins stopped the Bears 9-0 start this year, we set the Wayback Machine for 1985 and let the hilarity ensue.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Feliz Navidad Y'all

So it's Sunday. Amy worked last night so she came home and crashed after we watched a bit of last night's SNL. I rarely, I mean VERY rarely watch SNL, but the host was Lost's Matthew Fox and the musical guest (big stretch here for that term) was Tenacious D. Really now, can anyone call this music? It's campier than anything even Spinal Tap put out. I got points later in the evening though because I recognized the guy who is not Jack Black as an actor in "Elf."

Amy goes to bed and I stay up to read the paper. All is generally well except for a headache and Lucy being in destruction mode. She decided to steal and destroy the sleeve for Amy's new Season One of Beverly Hills 90210 and the bag and wrappers from my morning trip to Mrs. Winners for some steak biscuits. Of course she does this by waiting til I go to the restroom and then runs out the doggy door to have free reign to run from me in the backyard. She is definitely smart enough to know to do this when she is unattended while you are on the commode, and sometimes there's just not enough time to get her in her kennel before leaving the room.

So after catching and disciplining her, I go upstairs to lay down for a bit as we have until 1:45 or so to be out the door for the event of the day, the Chick-fil-a Roswell Town Center Christmas Party. Really not a party, but just free food and comraderie on the expense of our owner/operator Jim. For some reason Jim chose to hold it at a Mexican restaurant in Alpharetta (about 4 miles north of our store). The food was very good, but I just didn't get the choice of the venue. The cool thing though was a connection for Amy.

We have an employee named Brannon who came with his fiance Melissa. It turns out they met while Brannon worked with BSM at Georgia State University and one of the staffers there (I think this was mid-late 1990's) was someone Amy knows from Union University. She'll have to explain who it was on her blog or in a commenton mine for y'all to find out who it was.

So anyways, we were there til 4:30 and then took a cross-country route home so Amy could see "The Castle," a private residence in Roswell that is built like a miniature castle complete with gnomes on the fence posts acting as sentries. We proceeded north and west finally coming to I-575 in Canton which is about where the hills become mountains.

We made it home stopping at Publix to pick up the postage stamps Amy left there Friday and some sodas and we finished the trip home driving through the neighborhood to see what houses had added Chritmas lights this weekend. I made her the promise we would work on ours on Wednesday so they'll be up before our Christmas party on Sunday.

It seemed the right thing to do, so me made calls to family tonight. We started because my mother called us as we were walking in the door. We then called my brother because Mom told me our nephew Basil had surgery on Friday and we had not heard about it prior to her call. Basil is fine, though like his father and uncles he has had to have tubes placed in his ears. He is just shy of 17 months old and has had two infections already in his short life. It's an outpatient deal now lasting only about 4 hours where it was a much bigger deal back in the 70's.

We also called my father's house and spoke with my step-mother. She too was unaware of the surgery so I think Tim may be in trouble with Dad on this one.

Amy and I settled down to watch "Elf" after viewing a portion of the Casting Crowns concert I recorded from GMC last night (we were at this particular show they taped). So we did not make it to either of the free Christmas concerts we could have gone to tonight (Newsong with Rachel Lampa and Todd Agnew or Natalie Grant) but we had a good time together and now I must get to bed for I have to get up for work in 6 hours.

Friday, December 01, 2006

And Guest Starring.....

This week's Friday Flashback features 80's videos with special guest stars, actors you know from movies and tv helping out their favorite bands, or at least those willing to pay them. Not wanting to overdue it, I selected four favorites. Others not included are Danny Aiello as Madonna's father in the "Papa Don't Preach" video and Chevy Chase in Paul Simon's "Call me Al."

Its tricky - run dmc (featuring comic duo Penn & Teller)

Starship - Sara (featuring Rebecca Demorney)

Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry Be Happy (featuring Robin Williams and Bill Irwin)

mike and the mechanics - taken in (featuring Richard Belzer)

Belzer also appeared in the video "Can't Cry Anymore" for Kansas (from thier Power CD). That video also featured the USC Marching Trojans Band which had previously appeared in the "Tusk" video for Fleetwood Mac.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #5 - 11/30/06

Thirteen Things about Michael

Unique Things About Members of My Familiy

1. My father served in the Army and achieved the rank of Major before retiring.

2. My mother who was PTA President and supermom in the 1970's went on to be a Founder with USA Today, opening the Atlanta market as the original Circulation Director in 1982.

3. My Aunt Elaine (Mom's older sister) is a nationally recognized corporate attorney. Both she and mom started out as teachers.

4. My Great-Uncle George still owns and runs a horse farm in SE Pennsylvania where he breeds and trains harness-racing horses.

5. My Great-Grandfather Costantino Giannaris was recognized by the King of Greece for his work in supporting other immigrants in the USA.

6. My younger brother Tim was a high school rowing team member and continued rowing for the Men's Crew Club at the University of Central Florida.

7. My older brother Peter graduated high school when he was 16 years old. He began his college that summer at Georgia Tech and did not turn 17 until late that July.

8. My brother-in-law Wes (Amy's little brother) is an internationally known DJ touring as Diplo. His girlfriend (M.I.A.) is a club singer from Sri Lanka.

9. My Cousin Hope Allen was Miss Teen Georgia in the late 1980's. She has worked as a model and actress in NY and LA and has appeared on NBC's Friends and got to slap Jim Carrey in the playground scene in Liar Liar.

10. My Uncle Philip produces and performs music in the Indianapolis area. He also writes and is a Shotakan karate Sensei.

11. My wife Amy is a pediatric nurse and has worked for one of the nation's most prestigious non-profit children's hospitals for the past five years.

12. My Paternal grandmother, my mother, and I all attended the same elementary school in Coatesville, PA. It was demolished the summer after my third grade year, which was the last year we lived in Coatesville.

13. I worked as a freelance photographer while in college and shot many bands in Orlando in the early 2000's including work published by or for Deborah "Debbie" Gibson, Vonray, Deroot, and The David Rankin Band.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Makes Ya Wonder

Ever stop to think about what other people around you are doing in their cars as you drive down the road jamming to your favorite Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas CD?

This afternoon I got out of work early. We had too many people scheduled and my Amy was off from work so it was a good thing. On the way home I stopped at a local gas station to redeem a winning lotto ticket and play the winnings on other scratchoffs. While I was there, chatting with the clerk, a woman came in to buy some beer and cogarettes. It was roughly 12:45 so I guess this was lunch.

I had dropped a coin and the beer lady was nice enough to pick it up and said something as she handed it back. I don't remember what she said because I was overwhelmed by the alcohol on her breath. She was buying two 24oz Budweisers and had taken two styrofoam cups from the soda fountain. Apparently the plan was to transfer the beer to the cup so it would not be obvious what she was drinking.

What makes it better is while being rung up, the clerk answered the phone and was trying to talk and ring the beer at the same time and the customer lady said she needed to hurry up because SHE HAD TO GET BACK TO WORK!

So she is driving after drinking by noon. She's buying more beer to drink surreptitiously, and she's heading back to work some more today!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Fun Sunday

I woke up this morning at about 8 and found Amy was not home yet. I then remembered she was going to stop at the grocery store on the way home.

She arrived a short while later and together we set about final preperation for our guests. You see, we were going to be visited by her sister Kelly, Kelly's husband Monte, and their three kids, our niece Janie, and our nephews Seth and Owen.

Part of my responsibility was getting the Christmas tree set up so they could help decorate it which we did after a lunch of hama and cheese sandwiches. Kelly and Monte were both very complimentary of the changes we have made to the house in the past year, painting rooms, installing hardwood downstairs, installing bookcases around the fireplace, some new furniture. We are definitely making the house our own now.

After the kids left Amy and I set in to watch some movies we got from Netflix, including Click which we both liked but found a bit different from our expectations. Amy recognized the cameo by Rob Schneider as Prince Habibu. Then we watched Disney's The Wild which we saw on our cruise back in May.

We went out to an unimpressive dinner at Buffalo Wild Wing Cafe and returned to start another movie from our collection of "Christmas" movies. As Amy made it my choice it was The Family Man with Nick Cage and Tea Leoni. I made the statement that Jeremy Piven is one of the most under-appreciated actors today, and though he will never carry the lead in a major film, I'm glad he was recognized with the Emmy for The Entourage this year.

And the quote of the day, from the Koala in The Wild. "I can't imagine starting a day and NOT licking myself"

Thursday, November 23, 2006

It's an All 80's Christmas Charlie Brown!

Band Aid

U2 - It's Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Hall & Oates - Jingle Bell Rock

Run DMC- Christmas In Hollis

Sunday, November 19, 2006

This one's for my Wife!

She sings the chorus so much, I had to post this in Amy's honor. Just don't go into sacherine sweetness or cheese overdose while watching it.

Friday, November 17, 2006

About Last Night

No pun intended, but the title of this post is the same as the title of a movie and that is what it's all about.

At 5pm yesterday, Amy and I braved the rush hour traffic to venture to Kennesaw Town Center Mall where, upon arriveing in the food court, we met the collective conscience of Valfrey.

We hung out for about an hour talking about all sorts of things including the fashion sense (or lack thereof) of our other mall-goers as we people-watched.

Deciding we were hungry (though Valfrey had a moderatley late lunch at the Cheesecake Factory), we coordinated our vehicles and the newlyweds follwed me and Amy to our favorite neighborhood family-owned Italian restaurant, Bergamo. There Jeff and I enjoyed the calamari and Jeff got jealous that Amy and I had bigger and better salads (we had ordered our house salad made Greek for the extra $1.95).

Amy enjoyed her manicotti, and I my veal parm, and both Jeff and Val partook of the lasagne. After dinner we ajourned to the Christopher house for an evening of socializing and game playing. Val spotted our wedding album in the living room and seemed envious of the style and layout. If I remember correctly our photographer put it together for us. We got Jeff some sudafed so he could tolerate a few hours in the house with 4 cats and a dog and we moved to the family room to try a new game.

I bought Amy the DVD game Scene It for Christmas and we'd not had the ocassion to open it until last night. I deceided we'd play every man or woman for his or her self and we began. The game involves answering trivia questions about movies or identifying them based on word questions and video clips. Early on I was lambasted for having a large lead, but things tightened up and in the end Jeff won the night (but not the war). it is a fun game and refill/extra editions include one on Disney movies.

It was very enjoyable to have a some friends, a couple, come over and spend some time. We are making progress at becoming normal!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Friday Flashback - Bad Girls

Here are Two from the 80's (Idol was 1990) featuring girls you might not take home to meet your momma

Billy Idol - Cradle of Love

Loverboy - Notorious

Night Ranger ~ Sister Christian *80s RETRO*

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #4 - 11/16/06

Thirteen Things about Michael

Michael’s Thirteen Favorite Traditional Animated (non-Pixar/CG) Movies

1. The Last Unicorn – thank you HBO fir playing this one so much. I can always watch it

2. The Secret of NIMH – based on the great kid’s book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – it was the first Don Bluth animated I was aware of his name being attached to.

3. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast – Probably Disney’s greatest modern work, and it translated very well to the stage.

4. Disney’s The Little Mermaid – The one that brought Disney animation back into the limelight.

5. Disney’s The Aristocats – among the early works, this was a family favorite. We even had a cat named Tolouise.

6. Anastasia – FOX scored well with this one. I loved the cast of voices and the songs.

7. South Park : Bigger, Longer, and Uncut – they can’t all be family-oriented.

8. Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame – A lot of people considered this one to be a grown-up’s Disney film. As a fan of Les Miserables, I liked Disney’s take on Hugo.

9. Disney’s Tarzan – The Phil Collins soundtrack helped this one a lot, and Mimmie Driver did good voiceover work.

10. Disney’s The Lion King – I saw this one at a matinee and went back the next day to see it again. 

11. The Hobbit – saw this one in school and though the animation is not great, the story enraptured me.

12. Race For Your Life Charlie Brown – A kid’s take on Deliverance? Orientation? We’re not going to China!

13. Snoopy Come Home – Bittersweet, how can you not love the Peanuts gang?

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

New Awesome Christmas Music

Amy and I bought this CD this week. I listened to it first and thought it was pretty cool. Then today (Sunday) we were driving home form the mall and track 13 came on. I hadn't paid much attention to this original song the first time through, but I caught the lyrics and started to cry today.

Top News of the Day

To all of Jeff and Valerie's Memphis friends... admittedly, neither record is good, but tis better to be 3 and 7 tnan 1 and 9. Go Knights!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Bat Out of Hell

What peculiar things you find on YouTube.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Friday Flashback

Creating something new from something old. Starting today I will post a classic music video from my favorite decade, the 1980's. Enjoy and comment at will.

Aha - The Sun Always Shines on TV

The second single from the album that brought us "Take On Me," this video picks up where TOM left off, and was a pretty catchy tune.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Save the World, Sterilize this man

For the most part, I don't care about celebrity news, espoecially in this day and age of manufactured celebrities. This said, I could care less how much or little Lindsay Lohan, Paris H1lton, Nicole Richie, Hilary Duff, eat, don't eat, date, don't date, get chased by paparazzi, wreck cars, get DUI's, make bad sex tapes, etc. There are greater degrees of this with ones like Duff and Lohan who are celebs because Disney says so, or HIlton and Richie who are celebs because of DNA links, and DNA is where I am going with this. We must save the world.

The White Trash Pop Princess (Britney Spears) has filed from her divorce from her wanna-be-rapper (Kevin "K-Fed" Federline), apparently CAN dance, sperminator of a husband. Here's a young lady who married a guy who had fathered two other children with another girl (who was still pregnant with the second kid when Spears. Spears is dumb, but not, she allowed herself to be photgraphed for all the best mom-of-the-year competitions recently by walking into an outdoor-access gas station restroom BAREFOOT, EWW! She has been seen driving with a child in her lap rather than a car seat, and driving with the wrong type or misinstalled car seat. I will support her having SOME intelligence (or her handlers) because she is reported to have an iron-clad pre-nup.

Mr. Federline has recently taken to making appearances on professional wrestling shows in order to promote his dismally selling rap CD (WWE fans are NOT the type to buy such crap). As one report says, Kevin became enraged when Mrs. F laughed at a tape of his wrestling appearance and he became violent with the furniture.

I don't know that either member of this couple has anything to contribute to society as far as the gene pool is considered. She has nice looks, but that's about it. Kevin is only good at impregnating women, so let's call a cease and desist on that one. All in favor of forced chemical sterilization?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Blah, blah, blah

Saturday - College Football

My UCF Golden Knights are far from golden with a 2 and 7 record. What happened to that team of last year that ended the then longest current losing streak in Div I-A college football and went on to a conference division championship, hosted the championship game, and played an awesome bowl game on Christmas Eve in Hawaii? Primarily the defense has let us down and we have switched starting quarterbacks. Though predicted to win the conference division again, it will not happen, nor will we make a bowl game. Let us simply hope that a new year opening our on-campus stadium will bring better things in 2007.

Georgia lost to Kentucky and have at minimum 2 more loses coming (Auburn and Geaorgia Tech) and may not make a bowl, at least not one that is played AFTER Dec. 25th. I picked Georgia to go 8-4 this year, looks a lot more like 6-6 and they sure tried hard to lose to Miss. State too.

Georgia Tech won a great one that saw the only threat from defense and special teams as the minority of NC State's points were scored on offensive team play. Special Teams and Defense contributed for two touchdowns.

Now I'm going to bed.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #3 (11/2/2006)

Thirteen Things about Michael

Thirteen Favorite Music Videos from the 1980's, when MTV SHOWED music videos!

1. The J. Geils Band - "Centerfold" - Okay, I was a teenage guy and there were lots of girls in negliges and sweaters and stuff.

2. Men at Work - "Down Under" - Probably the most famous video by these Aussies, I once heard that the scene at the end with the guys dressed alike carrying the box was an omage to a slavery issue in Australia's past. Never could figure out Greg Hamm's teddy bear on the rope though.

3. Hall & Oates - "Family Man" - Darryl and John never really broke past the performance video to do concept videos in the 80's, but Family Man had this cool animation running across the screen while they were shown being beat on by lots of little kids.

4. Michael Jackson - "Thriller" - Okay, despite the fact he has proven to be nuttier than a goo-goo cluster, it was and is still a landmark music video. John Landis directed.

5. The Hooters - "And we Danced" - the first hit single for this Philadelphia-based band. The drive-in theater that the video was shot at is now a strip mall, but in the 70's my family would go there, in Exton, PA.

6. Huey Lewis & the News - "If this is It" - these guys always had fun with their videos and this was no difference with the whole beach thing while Huey obsessed over the chick in the white one-piece and the guys were buried up to their heads in the sand.

7. Paul McCartney - "Pipes of Peace" - This video did not get a great deal of play, it was from the same album that had "No More Lonely Nights." The video was set in WW I, and depicted a Christmas Day armistace that lead to the English and German troops coming out of the trenchs to play soccer, exchange well-wishes, drinks, and smokes, eventually disrupted by artillery and McCartney returning to his trench with a German's girlfriend's picture instead of his own.

8. BandAid - "Do They Know It's Christmas (Feed the world)" - Still my favorite contemporary Christmas song. I love watching the video and seeing all the singers so young. There's a longer version that either shows and/or reads a letter about the production night.

9. Duran Duran - "New Moon on Monday" - The lyrics are kind of hard to make out at times, but I always liked the video depicting a resistance movement to an oppressive government and there are a lot of fireworks at the end.

10. Glen Frey - "Sexy Girl" - It wasn't a big hit, the second or third song from his solo album "The Allnighter," but it had a really pretty girl that moved into his neighborhood and got every guy's attention.

11. ZZ Top - "Sleeping Bag" - from the album "Afterburner" - it continued the rebellious neature of the guys and their keys to the magic car that changed lives in all their 80's videos.

12. Twisted Sister - "We're not gonna take it" - Glam Metal and the reappearance of Actor Mark Metcalf spoofing his role of Niedermeyer from Animal House as a drill-sergeant father.

13. U2 - "Where the Streets Have No Name" - In an omage to the Beatles rooftop performance, the boys in U2 staged and filmed a performance on a roof in LA that drew so many fans the police came and shut them down.

There are many other great ones, but these were the first 13 I thought of. Other suggestions are encouraged in the comment section.

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Game On!

Trivia is back in swing! Tonight (without Peter who was downtown watching the Thrashers get thumped by the Hurricanes) Amy and I went to Winston's to play Head Games Trivia at 8pm. Winston's is a neighborhood pub kinda place where Pete's longtime friend, the psychotic Matt D is the bartender. (Did you hear the one about the termite? He walks into a pub and says, "Hey, where's the bar tender?")

We played very well, with Amy and I each contributing good answers. We were in 4th most of the time, but moved up to a tie for 2nd going into the final bonus. We tied for second after correctly identifying Subway as the fast food company with the most franchises in the USA (over 17000, more than 2000 more than McDonald's) but we lost the closest to the pin style tie-breaker as to how much domestic revenue Titanic made. We said 433mil, it was over 600. BUT we came in third winning $15 house cash and because the first place team had won last time, we qualified as one of the top two teams and get to come back to the invitation only Dec. 6th monthly tournament of champions!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

I Cried Tonight

Usually people cry at weddings. I did not yesterday. I did not think about it at the time, but a little later I guess it came to me that it was a wonderful thing to be witness too and an honor to be invited to share the experience. Jeff and Val's wedding was the second I've been to, but the first I was only a guest at, since I married Amy five years ago. I digress.

We got home and were discussing the schedule Amy got for her job for November and with five years seniority she has Thanksgiving and Christmas off this year. We were talking about who to have over and could we get my mother to come up from Orlando. I had talked to mom yesterday driving back to Jackson from Millington, but we lost signal out there in the cotton fields.

So we called her back tonight and then we got the bad news. One of my mother's cats, one of MY cats died yesterday. While I was in college I brought home three cats over the years that became Mom's when I married and moved out. They were more attached to her and Amy and I had adopted a pair of kittens 3 months before the wedding. So there are Nittany, Rascal, and Jasmine. That's their order in age and the order in which we adopted them. Nittany came from the humane society and was 2 when we got him, as a replacement for Smokey who got feline leukemia and was put down. He's now about 15 or 16 yeaqrs old and is skin and bones and throws up a lot of what he eats, but he has a cool personality and still has a lot of energy to play with Mom's youngest cat, Rusty, who she found outside her office in December, 2000.

Rascal is a problem as he used to weigh about 20 pounds and has lost a lot of weight and poops runny poop all over Mom's house. He has no diagnosis, but obviously has a problem. Mom has talked about having him put down in order to save the value of her house, but it is hard when you have loved this big fluffy thing for 11 or 12 years, as he is that old because I got him from a co-worker when I was a driver for Pizza Hut. I expected him to be first, out of mercy if not Nittany out of old age.

Jasmine is the one who was put down yesterday. She was never a very sociable cat, but she was pretty to look at with a blended patchwork of orange, black, and white. She's the only cat my Mom never had declawed because she found out about the process right about the time I brought her home from the Humane Society. I remember doing it on a whim and lying to Mom that they had called and asked if we would take another cat due to overcrowding. Jasmine was loyal to Mom and would sleep with her each night and during the day Jasmine would nap on Mom's pillows or under the covers of the made bed at the base of the pillows. This Friday, Mom noticed she was listless and sitting on the floor in the open of the living room which was out of character. As Mom works, she hadn't been home to see Jasmine eat or not eat, and she brought her water and discovered she had lost a lot of weight. Saturday morning Mom found Jasmine hanging from the bedspread, her claws stuck as she had not had the strength to pull herself up on to the bed. Mom called and took her to the vet and held her for over an hour while they ran tests. Evidence pointed to cancer which had caused kidney failure. One radical treatment was available, but the vet had only seen it succeed one time in her career. Jasmine never liked to be held or touched unless it was on her own terms. She purred a bit while Mom held her that hour and never fidgeted, and here I am in tears again as I recount this story, hoping it will be therapeutic to share, and thankful for God allowing us to enjoy the companionship of domesticated animals, but sorrowful for the emotions we feel when we lose one like this. I don't even have a working scanner to be able to find and post a picture.

Home Again

Well, it's 6:45pm in Atlanta and we are home from the event of the year, the Howell/Rushing wedding in Millington, TN. Special thanks to those who made it possible, Jeff and Val, the happy couple. Sarah Barnett for providing the place to crash in Jackson, TN (and the movies and the rum). Jenny and Kevin Hinton for the opportunity to see Leeann Brigman and her kids as we lunched at the Hinton's before the wedding. By the way, the Hinton's are Christians and they pray before their meals so be careful not to be on the fourth bite of your sandwich when you realize this factoid.

We had a good drive home, having left Jackson at 11am Atlanta time and getting to the Red Lobster in Kennesaw for Endless Shrimp at 5pm Atlanta time. This included stopping for about a half an hour outside Chattanooga to see my father who was driving NW as we were heading SE and happened to cross paths. He had some ideas to offer for the name of our coming daughter including Diana, Alexandra, Sarah and Maria.

Not much is planned other than work tomorrow through Wednesady and then Friday and Saturday. We need to go buy Halloween candy tomorrow and we have our first visit with our social worker for the adoption on Thursay night and we have to find a new place to play trivia for when Jeff and Val get back from Jamaica. Click on the title of this post and it will get you to some pictures from the wedding.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The 1980 World Series, Phillies over the Royals in 6 Games

Let me put things in perspective and a small bit more of the story.

We won two tickets. My father drove us to Philadelphia and let us out in front of Veteran's Stadium (now gone). This was 1980, so the risk and mindset of a 9 and 12 year old on their own in the crowd was not a big problem. Peter and I went in to enjoy the game and Dad went to a bar to watch it, returning to pick us up after the game. (this was also the time in America where kids had free reign to roam the entire town on Halloween without fear of how many sexual predators lived in the zip code or who would poison our candy)

In perspective, I was 9 and a half. I still remember the starting line-up of that team 26 years ago. I can't tell you half the names of the starters for the Atalnta Braves (where I now live).

1b - Pete Rose (gambling aside, his play merits Hall of Fame residence)
2b - Manny Trillo
SS - Larry "boom boom" Bowa (been employed twice more as a coch and manager)
3b - Michael Jack "Mike" Schmidt - best third baseman ever and a member of the 500 HR club. He retired when his game dropped off, though he could have stayed on 5 more years and pushed his numbers, classy guy)
RF - "Shake and" Bake McBride
CF - GAry Maddox - Multiple Gold Glove Winner - The Mighty Burner
LF - Greg Luzinski - The Mighty Pole (as in Pollak)
C - Tim McCarver and Bob Boone shared the duties
P - the satr was "Lefty" - Steve Carlton, who did not like the press
P - the ace reliever - daddy to Tim, dad-in-law to Faith, it's Tug McGraw, sadly died of cancer a few years ago, but not before establishing a great relationship with his son and grandbabies.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Thursday Thirteen 10/26/06

Thirteen Things about Michael

Thirteen Random Memories from my Childhood

1. September 1980 - Having moved that summer from Coatesville, PA to Hatfield, PA, my brother Peter and I each worked on a paper route and won a contest for getting new customers. Our prize was 2 tickets to game 2 of the WORLD SERIES! For a 9 and 12 year old to get to see their hometown (Philadelphia) team in a world series was just an awesome Americana moment. Where was Norman Rockwell when we needed him?

2. Summer 1976 - My father was on the city council in Coatesville and eventually becmae a delegate to the 1976 Democratic National Convention. As a result, I have a clear memory of meeting then Gov. Jimmy Carter just months before he was elected. I also remember about 4 years later my father becoming a Republican after Carter's order to rescue the American hostages in Iran lead to the deaths of many special forces troops who died due to poor intelligence.

3. February 1985 - My first concert, I went with Peter to see Hall & Oates on the Big Bam Boom Tour at the Omni in Atlanta. It was a 14th birthday present for me.

4. December, 1977 - I remember being woken up in the middle of the night and taken to my cousins house because my mother was having a baby, my brother Tim. Peter and I went to school the next day and the principal announced it was now the My Three Sons for the Christopher Family.

5. Summer, 1976 - I have a picture from the Coatesville Record of me watching another student and his mom sweeping up glass that was on our playground. Mom was President of the PTA and organized a clean-up for the beginning of the school year.

6. Summer 1980 to Summer 1982 - Video Games. That's where the money from the paper route went. Some to the PacMan and Asteroids at the 7-11 near the town pool, some to the arcade near the Clemon's Supermarket in Lansdale, and a lot to cartridges for our Atari 2600; Pitfall, Freeway, PacMan, Defender....

7. 1983-1984 - 7th grade in school. As Dekalb Co. GA then had K-7 and 8-12 for the schools, seventh grade was considerted integral for our social development so much that I got in trouble for bringing a novel with me to the lunch room because I was supposed to be talking with classmates and not developing my intellect by reading.

8. 1976-1980 - Allergy shots. We had a small medical office across the street from our house in Coatesville. I used ot have to go once every two weeks for a shot. it was also convenient because I was able to go for help when I lodged a piece of screen door window in my finger after putting my fist through it because Peter had locked me out of the house.

9. 1976-1980 - Outside play - We had a 2 story brick house and in the side yard it was great for throwing a baseball against the wall to bounce off and catch. We also played baseball with a tennis ball in the grass parking lot behind the funeral home and went sledding in the side yard of Mr. Harley who had some extra land two doors down from us.

10. 1980-1982 - Super Minnow! In Hatfield there was a nearby creek and we would go fishing with friends. We never caught anything big, some perch, some sunfish, the odd eel, but mostly minnows which we would leave on the hook, cast downstream, and reel in as fast as possible so they would speed along skimming the surface of the water.

11. Spring, 1982 - Fire. Our best friend was John Short, who lived across the street from us. His house was hit by lightning and burned badly. We were about to move to Georgia, so the Shorts rented our house while it was on the market to sell and while waiting for thier house to be repaired. They later moved back to Elkton, MD and we lost track of them. It was the second house of theirs to get hit by lightning.

12. 1976 to 1982 - Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts - My father was in the special forces in Vietnam which made for a "different" experience with him as our scout master. While other kids slept in store-bought tents and cooked on Coleman grills, we slept in tents made from two ponchos that snapped together and ate military C-Rations. A LONG cry from today's MREs.

13. 1976 to 1980 - Teti's and Cavuto's, Santi's, Al the Barber, and Drey's. Mr. Teti (tee-tie) had a general store/pharmacy on main street in Coatesville that had an actual penny candy counter with things like tootsie rolls, swedish fish, and other sold by the piece candy. Cavuto's was the town bakery where just about every cake came from and every Saturday after delivering papers Peter or I would bring home donuts (fresh glazed, a Northern Krispy Kreme if you would). Santi's was an actual family-owned pharmacy with general shopping and a soda fountain coupled with a florist. Al was our family barber, a neat Italian guy. I remember once we went in, Dad, Peter, and I and he joked he had to call his wife and tell her to order the roast from the market because the Christopher's had come in for haircuts. Finally, Drey's. The last time I was in Coatesville, October, 2000 it was still there at 8th and Main selling awesome Philly cheesesteaks and Tastykakes.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

What I do for Chick-fil-a

Since Steven M Russell asked...

I am a manager (in general). Most stores have a General Manager in addition to an Owner/Operator. My owner/operator has a team management approach where we all have certain responsibilities in addition to the general task of running the store to the best of our abilities making sure the quality of the food and the experience exceeds the guests' expectations.

I am currently in charge of the Accounts Payable and Catering business we do. Other things that rotate include inventory and truck orders, kitchen supervision, and maintenance of the facility.

Now, as I hope to one day be an operator myself, I am doing all the extras that I can in order to be noticed by those at home office who will need to know me. I have been a Grand Opening Trainer for 4 units (travelling) to these units to help for 1-2 weeks as we model the behavior and teach new employees the Chick-fil-a way. I have been to Fredericksburg, VA, St. Petersburg, FL (this was the first store operated by a grandson of founder S. Truett Cathy), Owasso, OK, and now Madison, GA.

In late November I will likely be working a grand opening in Oklahoma City, OK but as a marketing grand opener rather than a grand opening trainer in operations.

I will also likely work the 1st Chick-fil-a Bowl on December 30 at the Georgia Dome (formerly, or formally if you are in Jeff Rushing's wedding announcement) the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl, where last year I won 1st place in sandwiches sold during the Fanfest and came in third on my floor (as well as third overall) in sales in the dome during the game.

I have a degree in Communications (Advertising/Public Relations) and that should be a helpful tool as I continue to learn and do for the 2nd highest volume chicken chain in the USA (and we're closed on one of the 3 highest revenue-producing days!)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Oooooooooooooooklahoma where the wind comes something on the plains

OKay, not much going on today, but I might be heading to Oklahoma in two weeks for another Chick-fil-a grand opening, in Stillwater (maybe get to go to Eskimo Joe's, seen the t-shirts). This would be different and important because it would be to work marketing rather than operations.

Also, called my friend Matt today (from my days with Family Christian Stores) and he says the new Newsboys album (street date 10/31/2006) is GREAT!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Bad News, Good News, and Something to Mitigate the Bad News

Bad News - the days of battling the Old People are over. We received an email from Patrick today announcing his receipt of a phone call to tell him that his venues for Tuesday and Wednesday were cancelling trivia affective today, so no more Tijuana Joes in Roswell or Alpharetta. He says they cited budget cuts.

Good News - Babies, babies everywhere - My friend April (closest thing I'll ever have to a sister) IM'd me this evening mildly upset about not seeing me online in a week to announce that her daughter Rachel is going to be a big sister in May! Congratulations Charles and April. In addition to that, her brother Eric and his wife are expecting about two weeks before them. Also, Mike and Kristy, two more friends of mine from college are due in mid December, They are having a girl and Kristy is 33 weeks right now. Also, our trivia friends the Hough's had their baby girl Emily a week ago today.

Mitigating facts to offset the bad news - Patrick still has one weekly venue, a sister restaurant to Tijuana Joe's called Mexico Lindo and it is about 5 miles (if that far) from the new home of Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Rushing, so it could be the Thursday night option (being the ONLY option) may be the way to continue the legacy with Jobu (still needing a refill).

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Casting Crowns

Something to think about and enjoy.

$5 and 2 hours wasted

So this morning I woke up at 4:30am to start the bread machine and again at 7:30 to be ready to make breakfast for my returning Amy. It really didn't pan out as I waited for her to get home fearing she might bring breakfast and then we'd have two, so I waited and she got home and she went more or less straight to bed.

I read the paper and watched some television. I started some laundry, took a shower and went out to waste some time and money going to an 11:25am showing of The Marine. It sucked. PLus it didn't actually begin until 11:45 after the previews.

Don't wait for DVD or the dollar theatre, save your time and your money.

On the way home I did some grocery shopping for the next 4 days and filled Amy's car with gas for her.

Tonight : crabmeat stuffed tialapia and bay scallops with broccoli and 4 cheese risotto.

Tomorrow : spaghetti with garden salad and Texas toast.

Tuesday : Trivia and dinner at Tijuana Joe's

Wednesday : Beef roast with red potatos, baby carrots, onions and muchrooms done crock-pot tender by Amy.

Thursday: leftovers or something simple because Friday and Saturday we'll be on the road.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Taco Bell Express - Not

So, in Madison, GA there is no Papa Johns (20 miles away), there is a Domino's but they put you on hold forever and then hang up, and the button on the hotel phone marked Pizza Delivery rings a Pizza Hut that does not deliver.

So not wanting to leave the hotel, but having no choice, I don a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and prepare to hit a drive-thru. Alas, my sneakers are in my gym bag which is in the Jeep because I took casual stuff to work in case I needed to be COW again. SO I grab the work shoes and go sockless (a weird feeling for a normally socked guy).

The easiest looking thing is across the street on the same side of the INterstate I am on, it's a TravelAmerica truckstop with a diner, Popeyes, and Taco Bell in it. So I drive across the street and go inside (ther's no drive thru) to the fastfood counter. The menu at Taco Bell Express is about 1/3 that of a standard Taco Bell, and the prices are about 50% higher. The odd part is the name Express which implies speed, yet it took longer to get an order composed from a simpler-to-assemble menu than the standard Taco Bell than it takes in the drive-thru OF a standard Taco Bell. Sigh.

So I overbought (as Amy does at Taco Bell), sacrificed my good parking spot at the hotel and returned to my room with a chicken quesadila, 4 hard tacos and 2 bean burittos to find nothing of interest on TV other than a 2 hour Dateline NBC special (airing on the USA Network and not renamed Dateline USA) where once again they got 20-30 sickos ranging from 20-45 years old looking for sex with a 13 year old girl. I turn it off to come down and check email and in the process see the Atlanta news that John Mark Karr (the sicko who said he was with Jonbenet Ramsey) has moved back to Atlanta to live with his dad and the parents of all the kids in the local area can do nothing about it.

Anyone wanna form a commune with safety from the outside world and nothing but trivia, video games, 80's music and 80's movies while we await the Rapture? Or would that commune signify the rapture? Or is this the Taco Bell talking. Time for bed, up in 6.5 hours for Day 3 of Chick-fil-a in Madison, GA!

Rsponses to recent comments


Yeah, it's tough to support the Phillies, but I grew up there and I have been with them for all these years. Besdies, you can't like the Braves. All they do is take up perfectly good playoff spots.


She's a nurse on the night shift, so she gets paid a lot of money to fight off boredom by reading blogs and doing things to "cheat" in her terms to get people to read hers!


Since you asked, Mike "MacDaddy" McNamara gave me the name Valtool. In my early days online ('93-'94) I was a new fan of Les Miserables and used the screen name Valjean on a number of sites. Mike was an online friend from the Debbie Gibson International Fanclub who had created the Tool Party, an online political party centered around guystuff, sports, beer, buffalo wings etcetera. He was MacTool, his frine Rob Polansky was PoTool, and I was ValTool. They campaigned as presidential and vice presidential candidates for the purpose of annoying our online community and I was the Party Press Secretary and Social Representative which meant I was in charge of communication and party arrangements. There was the DebCon of '96, and the FL State/Clemson roadtrip tour through Florida in '97. Mike wound up as one of my groomsmen when I got married in 2001 and became most-likely to not make it home from the rehearsal dinner in one piece.


Amy and I both like Grey's Anatomy. We tried taping it in the first season but never got around to them, so we have been watcing the DVDs and trying to get Amy caught up on LOST at the same time. As it is, we have about 20 episodes of each to be caught up and neither of us have watched any of season three of either show as we have had very little time together for TV in the past 2 weeks.

Amy Drops the "B-Bomb"

In this media-crazed world in which saying the wrong word will get you villified for "dropping the F Bomb," my wife has jumped online and created the B Bomb, the Blog Bomb which is ill-advised to use on someone who might not blog daily, or even weekly. asically, without telling me, she did some very effective (and appreciated) marketing for my blog and the result is a lot of people finally reading and commenting on my musings, which, for the most part, are meant to entertain and invoke response. It does not work that much.

So, as it is, I am out of town. I left on Monfay to ead to a small town in East Georgia, Madison to be exact. Here I am spending a week and a half helping to train employees and perform other duties at the grand opening of a new Chick-fil-a! Yeah!

I have helped team members learn the register, I have made lemonade, I have run errands like making keys and buying and wiring outdoor lights, I have taken out trash, I have taken a lot of photos and allowed others to use my camera (thank you Amy) to take pictures for the grand opening, and most fun of all, I have been COW. Not a cow or the cow, I am COW. I have received many, many compliments and I can thank GA Tech because I attribute my COW success to wanting to be like the much-loved Buzz, the Georgia Tech Yellowjacket mascot.

I'll be here til next Thursday (so likely no TT) and then I have to go to some wedding or something.

Friday, September 29, 2006


My Phillies arenow 2 games out of the wild card race for the national league playoffs.

I miss the 1980's.

After working today, I am off for a week.

It's less than a month to my friend Jeff's wedding to the lovely Valerie.

My wife was awake and blogging at 2:30am.

My wife and I finished season one of Grey's Anatomy. Last night we started on Season two of LOST.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Been Busy, What Else is New?

Saturday afternoon and I'm at work, so you ask how busy can it be, right?

Well, I came in 2 hours earlier than planned because we received a call from a guy I know with Student Venture on Thursday, telling me that they had 100 teens gathering in the parking lot behind us at 12 today to leave for a whitewater rafting trip. I'm jealous, because I love to whitewater raft, but it's so late in the season, they are gonna freeze their Christiaan bootys off! So they head out to the Ocoee for some reckless fun!

I am taking care of some invoices for work and getting ready to go take the headset for the majority of 2-7, and I'll likley get out early, between 7 and 8 tonight.

Plans are taking shape as the Amy and Michael 5th Anniversary trip begins in 7 and one half days. We're driving to Williamsburg, VA, site of our honeymoon for a full week including staying at the same condo complex with jacuzzis in every condo! I think my biggest expectations are driving up to see the National Zoo and dinner a the Williamsburg Inn on our anniversary night.

Lucy will be going off to obedience training on Thursday (for 2 weeks), and I'll be heading off to Madison, GA for a grand opening of another Chick-fil-a a week after we return. After that it's a weekend trip to west Tennessee for a weding for some friend of Amy's from college. :)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about Michael

1…. Start your list here!

Since I gave this idea to my wife this morning, I'll do people I'd like to have at my dinner table.

1. The obligatory Jesus Christ (though I'll wait for Him to make the reservation).

2. Meg Ryan

3. Julia Roberts

4. Daniel Negraneau (professional poker player)

5. Mike Schmidt (retired baseball player, my childhood idol)

6. Duante Culpepper (most famous person to graduate from my college)

7. My Nana (Mary Giannaris Christopher)

8. Constandino "Gus" Giannaris (my Great Grandfather who died when I was an infant)

9. Big & Rich

10. Toby Keith (gotta be BBQ)

11. Vaughn Rhea (best local artist who shoulda made it big)

12. Jimmy Buffett

13. Neil Patrick Harris (have you seen him make fun of himself in Harold & Kumar?)

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Back to the list of things about me

Picking up at 31....

31. As a kid I loved collecting and playing with Matchbox and HotWheels cars.

32. Despite having set foot on soil belonging to 5 different nations, I have but one stamp in my passport.

33. I am a Debbie Gibson fan. In '97 I went to a fan convention where she was very involved including Q&A sessions, charity auctions, meet & greets, and a private concert. It was there that I met a guy who later became a great friend and groomsman at my wedding.

34. The first concert I ever went to was in February, 1985. It was Hall & Oates, on the Big Bam Boom Tour, live through '85. I saw tham again on an unplugged tour in '91.

35. Other artists I have seen in concert more than once. U2, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Debbie Gibson, Newsboys, Third Day, Tobymac, Michael W. Smith, Point of Grace, Jimmy Buffett, Vonray, Amy Grant, Sting, Casting Crowns, Jars of Clay, Plumb, Paul Coleman Trio, Meatloaf.

36. Artists I have never seen in concert but would love to include... Big & Rich, Toby Keith, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Black Eyed Peas, Gwen Stefani (and No Duobt).

37. I once weighed 315 pounds. I want to weigh 215. I'm about half way there.

38. I asked for and received a Monopoly game on my wedding registry. I will be married 5 years soon and we have never opened it. I remembered a game I loved a s a kid called Othello. A few years back my wife gave it to me for Christmas. We hadn't played it before we moved to our house from our apartment. It got packed and disappeared (as did my Leatherman).

39. I don't care much for coffee. I will drink it, but seldom as a first choice.

40. I would much rather be cold than hot.

My Poor Aching ME!

Sunday morning, 5:45am.

It's close to when I normally wake up as I typically work at 6:30. So my body, being on something of a schedule wants to void the bladder. I accomplish this and decide to go let the dog out to void its bladder and we'll likely sleep on the couch til Amy gets home.

I somehow missed my footing (placement of my foot and the worn carpet on the stairs) and I found myself falling. First was the impact of my forehead above the right eye on the stairwell wall. Next the panic of the uncontrolled sliding descent to the landing below. I made enough noise to wake my brother, who only came out to verify I had not broken anything. It appears not. I do have a bit of highly abbrasive rugburn scabbing over on my right calf, and though no bruises, my right thigh and shoulder are both very sore.

I missed work today in an attempt to heal, especially as we had a truck to unload today and I work the Monday trucks. A lot of sleep and two hot soaks in the tub have helped a bit, and a lot of ibuprofin.

The one positive note (with a negative side) was Amy and I did go to see Beauty and the Beast as the Disney production tour was in Atlanta this week. I've seen this production at least once before (in NY) and I think I saw it on tour in Orlando. We had great seats in the balcony and Amy had her first taste of Disney on stage. The problem came at the end, when at the finale I started to cry. It's the happy ending element, but I started thinking about it and determined I have something of a "beast complex."

With my size and lack of model-quality looks, and my abbrasive sense of humor/personality, I realize I have a great deal in common with this character.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

My Poor Aching Knights

With great expectations, I left work this afternoon having changed from my uniform to my UCF Football Jersey and UCF ballcap, and I attached my UCF flag to my Jeep and away I went to the sports bar that is home to the Atlanta Area UCF Alumni Association. We had our first viewing party and had a great turnout - about 45 people!

The problem is we had to play the Gators of the University of Florida, IN Gainesville.

I left after the 1st half as we were losing 34-0. It wasn't so bad we lost to a team that is consistently in the top 25 in the nation. Theur coach displayed extrememly poor sportsmanship by running up the score. Late in the 2nd quarter, 1 minute, 15 seconds to be exact, UCF got the ball deep in their own territory. They could have easily run out the clock and gone to halftime. Instead, Coach Meyer called a timeout after each of UCF's three running plays in order to stop the clock and preserve time in the half. UCF had to punt and UF got the ball with 45 seconds left and in good field position. Within 3 plays they scored, leaving it 34-0 at with 5 seconds left in the half and kicking off to UCF again. With a 28 point shutout in the works, why beat on a team that is down simply because you can? Boo!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Thirteen Things about Old TV Shows I Watched

1…. Start your list here!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Following in the footsteps of my beloved

The Thursday Thirteen

It appears that in certain blogging circles, a tradition called the Thursday Thirteen. You basically make a list of thirteen things that are connected in some way. For instance, today Amy listed thirteen old TV shows she liked to watch. Here are mine...

The A*Team - in the height of the 80's controversy regarding violence in TV there came a show about an undergrouond fugitive unit of commandos lead by a cigar-chomping part-time actor (George Peppard), a "face" man, gret with the con and greater with the ladies (Dirk Benedict), a bad-ass black man (Mr. T), and a mentally deranged dguy who could fly anything (Dwight Schultz). Of course it pales in comaprison to moderrn TV, especially cable. Ever notice despite being elite commandos, they never managed to score a fatal shot on an enemy?

WKRP in Cincinati - honestly, would you rather be stuck on a deserted island with Jenniferr Marlowe or Bailey Quarters? Hell would be being on that island with Les Nessman and Herb Tarlik. Greatest TV quotes "As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."

Key West - a short-lived show in the early days of the FOX network starred Fisher Stevens as a NJ factory worker who won the lottery and moved to KW to pursue writing. His ex-wife got the money from him so he went to work for the island newspaper and the show was very well written and the cast included Denise Crosby and Jennifer Tilly.

Battlestar Galactica - here's Dirk Benedict again as ladies man/starfighter Starbuck in a show that was very obviously themed on the tribes of Israel.

Wanted - it appears this TNT drama is not coming back after one season, but I liked it. A special fugitive squad is assembled to hunt LA's 100 most wanted, teaming LAPD, FBI, ATF, DEA, and Navy Intel officers.

Riptide - a private detective show with two studly guys and the geeky guy who helped them all the time. Remember they had a huge helicopter called the "Mimi."

Night Court - Harry Anderson, John Laroquette, Markie Post. Very funny.

Laff-Olympics - back in the day, kids would look forward to Saturday morning to wake up and run downstairs to spend the entire morning watching cartoons. Tops among these were the Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner Show, The Justice League (where the entire group of superheros hung out in the Hall of Justice and worrked together to fight evil), and my favorite The Laff-Olympics. In the spirit of the Battle of the Network Stars, Hanna-Barbara came up with this show with teams of the Yogi's Yahooies, Scooby Doobys, and the Really Rottens (including Mutley from the Stop the Pigeon cartoons).

The Dukes of Hazzard - late 70's, early 80's, my brother and I loved this show. We lived in PA, and there was a road near our house that crossed a creek. It was midway down a steep slope, and the bridge had a drop off down the hill. We would encourge our dad to accelerate for a cool drop we called the "Duke dive off Hazard Hill." In 1982 we found out we were moving to Georgia. I was 11. I looked at a map to find out where Hazzard County, GA was located. No such place.

Whiz Kids - somewhere in the 80's there was a show about a bunch of computer geeks. As is the formula, I think there was one cute girl, shoulda been cheerleader or something. I don't recall the plotlines, but the opening credits played Mozart's "allegra."

The Powers of Mattthew Starr - about the same time as Whiz Kids, Louis Gossett, Jr. was the teacher/guardian/confidante of the exiled/hidden prince of an alien culture who, like Superman, had abilities beyond Earthlings.

Magnum, P.I. - he lived for free, in Hawaii, and got to drive a Ferrari. The only downnside was the annoying flashback episodes where he was a 40's era private dick.

M*A*S*H - perhaps my favorite show of all time. It was funny, it was serious. When it ended the finale was the most-watched program of all time. The suiting title of the finale was Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Tiger Woods of Trivia With Patrick.

So it is Tuesday and we had our weekly round of brainbusting at Tijuana Joes Mexican Cantina. Tonight's version of the team "Jobu Needs a Refill" was Amy, her coworker Andy Bankston, and me. We had a small opposition of 4 other teams, all regulars. The Old People, Camarillo, The Bambinos, and Dark Chocolate were present. We took the lead with the first round bonus, where prior to the question we were in second by one point.

The first-round bonus on BASEBALL. What number did Babe Ruth wear as a New York Yankees . Andy knew wit was number 3.

We kept the lead the rest of the night, but round 4 was a bear and we found ourselves in first place with the three remaining teams (Dark Chocolate left early) all within 5 points. We lead with 50 going into the final bonus. Patrick named 8 sitcoms and the names of the wives/mothers. We had to name the actresses who oplayed these roles. We got all 4 of the ones we tried for, just enough to hold off a team that moved from 3rd to 2nd with their efforrts. Here's the list...

1. Claire Huxtable - the Cosby Show
2. Carol Brady - The Brady Bunch
3. Edith Bunker - All in the Family
4. Louise Jefferson - The Jeffersons
5. Ray's wife on Eveyone Loves Raymond
6. The mom on Malcolm in the Middle
7. Alice Cramden - The Honeymooners
8. Bre somethingorother on Desperate Housewives

3 points a piece - wrong answers lose 3, blank answers cost nothing. You have 4 minutes

Friday, September 01, 2006

Where do two weeks go?

I look at my blog and I realize it's been 2 weeks since I was last here. I'm wondering what if anything significant has happened since then.

Amy got our tickets to Beauty and the Beast. We went online to see where the seats are and in the process found ourselves buying two tickets to Michael W Smith doing a Christmas show at the Fox Theatre on Dec 11.

Amy agreed to, and we started watching Season One of LOST.

I had a heck of a workouot with my trainer Monday. He kicked my butt.

We did NOT go to the Amy Grant concert we won tickets for.

On Labor Day I am going to see WWE RAW live at Philips Arena.

Tonight we attended a support group for families adopting from China. I was surprised to see someone there I knew. Brad Avery from the Christian rock band Third Day and his wife Mindy weree there as part of the group.

My friends Kelly and Mindy had their baby this afternoon!

Tina Yothers (Jeennifer Keaton on "Family Ties") says "Weeight loss sucks!"

Tomorrrow is a good day as college football Saturdays start again. I will not be able to see my UCF Golden Knights host Villanova, but I will watch GA Tech vs. Notre Dame and look forward to next week's big one UCF vs. UF in the Swamp!

It's 11:35pm, I need to go to bed.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Back in Florida

For the 4th time in as many months, I am back in Florida. In May it was for the Pentz family cruise (the family I married into). In June it was for a Pentz family birthday (Owen turned 1). In July it was a Christopher birthday (Basil's first), and here we are again in August for a Pentz family meeting.

We came in last night, arriving in Orlando at 9pm as I had worked until 1pm. We made decent time despite a lot of heavy rain and thunder and lightning between Gainesville, FL and the north end of the turnpike. The fun came after a stop at the turnpike rest plaza where Amy thought she lost her cell phone. She had been using it just before we pulled in, and she was sure she did not take it inside the building. We tried calling it with my phone and heard nothing so our only assumption was it fell out in the parking lot and we could not turn around. When we got to Orlando we found the phone. Amy had been sitting on it and not only could she not feel it, we could not hear it ringing!

We went straight to The Club at Firestone where Amy's brother Wes was to perform. He is an internationally known DJ, stage name DJ Diplo. Unfortunately we could not stay to see him as he was the headliner and was not scheduled to perform until about 12:30am. We instead drove to my momther's house, enjoying the drive with the exception of a 300 lb guy on a crotch rocket with a huge buttcrack.

Mom woke me up at 7:00 becuase my brother Tim had called as he was getting himself and Basil ready to leave for work and daycare. I got dressed and walked over to spend about 15 minutes with the baby. He's awesome. :)

For the rest of today we drove out to Edgewater, FL. We stopped at Target on the way so I could get a new watch and a UCF t-shirt and then we made time for the coast so Amy could keep her hair appointment. The guy did an awesome job for the price and now I should not have to hear Amy come home near to tears because her coworkers keep making comments about her roots. We had dinner and chilled at her parents' house for the evening, stopping to watch "The Benchwarmers." I liked it a good bit, but Amy was really tired when we watched it so she may need another viewing.

Saturday started with Amy going out to garage sakes with her sister Kelly and our niece Janie. It's an Edgewater tradition. Not much else went on throughout the day. We all went to dinner at Shells and Amy and I finally got to meet Mia, aka M.I.A. the Sri Lankan dance singer ( She's very sweet and has a British accent from being raised in London. We chill again tonight and head over to Lake Mary, FL tomorrow for church at my friend Steve's church he's been pastoring for about 6 years now. He does not know we are coming, so it should be a nice surprise. We then drive home to Atlanta, perhaps arriving in time to watch WWE's Summerslam.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

More of those (possibly) interseting things....

21. I have only ever lived in three metropolitan areas in my life, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Orlando. Only two of those had professional baseball teams, and neither of those were in the American League. As a result, I had no idea who lead the AL in stolen bases 9 times in the 1980's when it came up in trivia last week.

22. My first experience was beer was when I was 14 and working at a Christmas tree lot in Stone Mountain, GA. It was Moosehead. It was not pleasant.

23. Last week I tried to do something good and called the police on a mother with a toddler not only not in a car seat, but with no retraint at all. About 3 hours later I was pulled over and given a warning for not having my seatbelt on.

24. I like to watch NASCAR races and professional wrestling.

25. The countries I have never seen but would most like to visit include Greece (#1), Germany, Italy, Australia, and Japan.

26. I have been in (including stopping at airports) the following states; FL, GA, AL, NC, SC, TN, KY, IN, WV, OH, PA, MD, VA, NJ, NY, NH, IL, TX, OK, CO, NV, and AZ. By my account, that leaves 28 I haven't seen at all, and of the 22 I have seen, CO, OH, and IL were just airport plane changes.

27. At age 5, I met Jimmy Carter (and remember the event) as he was campaigning for President of the United States. My father was a delegate to the Democratic convention in 1976.

28. My father served in the Army, the Army Reserves, and in the National Guard. His father served in the Army Air Corps (later renamed the United States Air Force) and was stationed at an Army air field in Hawaii that was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941. He is considered a Pearl Harbor survivor. When he died in 2004 he received full military honors. Of my two brothers and me, I was the only one who would have considered enlisting in the military, but a diabetic diagnosis at age 18 ended any hope of ever serving in that capacity.

29. I like to make plays on words. Most people think it's corny. I think I ammuse myself and find it a sign of intellect.

30. Corn, peas, and broccoli are my favorite vegetables.
I have a bun in the oven. Okay, so it's not a bun, unless you consider it to be a really big one. Within a year after my wedding to Amy, my brother, who had been unemployed for over a year, gifted us with his used bread machine. We have used it a few times over the years. We simply but the mixes off the shelves at the grocery and Publix has dropped down to just two kinds now. Kroger has a better selection, As we speak, there is a loaf of Royal Hawaiian Sweet bread cooking. That is Amy's favorite and it's the same kind of bread they make rolls from in the orange packages you find in most grocery store deli departments. I think a trip to Kroger or SuperTarget is in order to get some raisin bread, country white bread, or some other style mix soon.

When I met Amy, she worked in a hospital where they had a bread machine and they made it regularly during their overnight shifts. Fresh bread in the morning, yummy.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

As inspired by cool guy Jeff Rushing ( I give you 100 potentially interesting things about me.

1. I was born on the same day of the year as Martin Luther King, Jr. and so was my wife.

2. I met one of my best friends (and groomsmen in my wedding) because we both were in an online community of Deborah "Debbie" Gibson fans.

3. I have had cats all of my life, but I now also am the owner of a basset hound. (Cats are much quieter and destroy a lot less property)

4. My first car was a 1986 Chevrolet Cavalier (a red one (true despite the Swingers reference). It made me mad that I had to buy it (assume the loan) from my parents because both of my brothers were given their first cars for free. I bought my first new car in 1993 (another cavalier) and my current vehicle in 1998 (a 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee) which now has two blown out speakers, no working AC, and over 160,000 miles on it.

5. I used to be a volunteer leader/counselor for Younglife in Atlanta and Orlando.

6. If I could relive (not necessarily change) and part of my life it would be my sebior year of high school. I really enjoyed that time of my life.

7. I barely know my mother's side of the family. She has an older brother and an older sister. Her brother's sons are 7-10 years older than me and her sister's kid's are a bit closer, but they all generally live up north and I never see them. I last saw two of these cousins in NYC when I was there on business in 2000.

8. I used to play the trumpet and taught myself a bit of guitar.

9. I met my wife online at

10. I never really dated or had a girlfriend until I was 27 years old.

11. It is a guilty pleasure that I enjoy Kevin Smith movies.

12. I believe that political correctness and the general lack of acceptance of the consequences of individual's actions/inactions/decisions by themselves is ruining society as it once was. On a related note, smokers have no consideration for any other people and cellphones have dramatically changed how polite people are to one another in a negative way.

13. My favorite cartoons growing up (childhood through high school) were Star Blazers (a serial cartoon dubbed from a Japanese series), The Transformers, G.I. Joe, Looney Tunes/Bugs Bunny, the Justice League, and the Laff-a-lympics.

14. The first album (vinyl) I ever purchased for myself was the soundtrack to the Muppet Movie. The first cassette was Styx, Kilroy was Here. Before that my brother and my friend John would make mix tapes by recording songs from Casey Casem's American Top 40 on our boom boxes.

15. I had newspaper routes as a child in SE Pennsylvania. This enabled me to buy many, many, Atari 2600 games, and because of a sales contest, I won tickets to the 2nd game of the 1980 World Series. At age 9 and 1/2 I got to see my Philadelphia Phillies play and beat the Kansas City Royals. My father drove my older brother and I into Philly and dropped us off in front of Veterans' Stadium so we could go to the game. He watched it at a bar and came back to get us afterwards. You can't do something like that in this day and age.

16. I was a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout. I did not make it far in Boy Scouts, 2nd class or something like that was my highest rank.

17. I like white-water rafting and I have NEVER been thrown from a raft. With the exception of one run on the Nantahala, I have rafted exclusively on the Ocoee River.

18. I once met comedian Yakov Smirnoff after he attended a performance by the SAK Improve TheatreSports company in Orlando, FL.

19. I love Cracker Barrel Restuarant's hashbrown casserole, but the $1.99 for an extra side of it with breakfast is not worth the small portion you get.

20. I hate traffic, but I don't mind it as much if I am not in a hurry or obliged to be somewhere at a particular time.

Monday, July 17, 2006

An Interesting Question

After a dramatic conversation about personality and the impact it has on others, I had this thought last night. If I were to die tomorrow, other than family, who would bother or care to come to my funeral?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

High Power Sleep Depravation, Losing Trivia, & the Will of the Wife...

I could not sleep to save my life last night. I went to lay down at 11:00 and gave up around midnnight. I tried again, successfully, at 3:30am, so I am running today on about 2 and a half hours sleep. Oddly enough I had plenty of energy today att work, and it was another day to need it. It's all about the milkshakes. Yesterday (Tuesday) a full page ad ran in the Atlanta paper with a coupon for a free sandwich when you buy a milkshake. TV and radio ads began and I saw them on FOX during the MLB All-star game and heard them on Star94. Our maximum number sold was about 145. Yesterday we sold 253. Today I had to go to Kroger because we ran out of whipped cream. Personally I like to grab a can of whipped cream in each hand and say, "Okay! Bring on the college girls!" (if this seems inappropriate, read on, it's justified)

Amy and I wound up alone last night. Peter is out of town. Jeff had to work. Chris was asleep. My father bailed. No idea where Mike was. We actually could have placed 2nd or 3rd if we had bet conservatively on bonus questions because we did better than anyone on the final bonus, which was to identfy the artist that performed each of 11 James Bond movie themes. We got 5 correct and none wrong.

While I could not sleep I talked a bit with Amy. As a result, this morning I no longer have sideburnns. It would appear that they reminded her too much of the "sideburns lady" in the opening of The Wedding Siniger. I suppose nothing says "I love you" more than being told be your spouse that you remind them of a gross caricature of undesirable ugliness.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Saturday Afternoon

Man, a rough day at work. It wasn't anything hard or troubling,just poor scheduling and then people deciding they did not want to work the schedules they had, which made things even tighter for us to serve guests well. My hallmark of the day was assembling 50 boxed lunches for a Habitat for Humanity build. A first for my experience, they were building townhomes. We had made 73 milkshakes by the time I left, a little after 2pm.

Making Something New - Call it Greco-Italian

I decided to try to emulate/duplicate/reinvent my sister-in-law's (Kelly) baked ziti. I am instead creating Michael's pasta bake. It's a combination of Ragu thick n chunky with mushrooms, with a pound of ground beef added, rigatoni (big ziti),fresh hot & spicy ittalian sausage, and a blend of ricotta and mozerella cheeses. All are cooked according to spec and then combined in layers in a casserole pan (brreaking in AMY'S casserole dish from the Williams/Sonoma outlet. She just came down and stuck her head in the oven (ruining any surprise) and said it smells good. We'll let you know.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

When you wish upon a star.......

So last night was the final night of TriviawithPatrick's (hosted by Patrick Davis) Hot Summer Thematic Nights, this week featuring all Disney trivia.

We (Amy and I) trekked to Alpharetta to play because it was not theld on Tuesday at our normal venue in Roswell and Amy loves Disney. We did well in many ways. We came in first place, but we forfeited our prize to the second place team and allowed 3rd and 4th to take prizes as well.

Amy did a bunch of research and it helped because the final category was Disney Chronology. The question was o put the followinig classic animated films in order of theatrical release. At three poinnts a piece a possible 21 could be scored. If you miss one, you automatically miss at least 2, limiting your max score to 9 as 2 wrongs (-6) plus 5 right (15) leaves you at 9. The films (not ordered) were Aristocats, Bambi, Cinderella, Dumbo, Jungle Book, Lady and the Tramp, and Sleeping Beauty.

Other questions....

What was the name of the annoying bird in Aladdin?

Which of the seven dwarves wore glasses (it's not Gimli)?

What film featured the Academy Award-winning song "You'll be in my Heart," written and performed by Phil Collins?

What is the name of the evil puppeteer in Pinnochio who wants to cut Pinnochio into a pile of wood chips?

What is thte name of the actor who played Herbie's owner in the original Herbie the Love Bug films?

What is the name of the ORIGINAL narrrator of Fantasia (it was re-recorded for remastered releases)?

In Toy Story 2, who tells Buzz Lightyear that he is his father?

What name did Lily Disney (Walt's wife) convince him NOT to call his c haracter that became Mickey Mouse?

and the big bad one... during negotiations witth Pixar in the early part of this decade, Michael Eisner created a new CG Animated studio that already had plans for park rides and movie sequels based on Pixar films that Disney already owned the rights to. What was the name of that company?

Who is the current president and CEO of Disney?

Name the ABC anchorman who was badly injured this past January in Iraq?

What is the name of the debate show on ESPN hosted by Kornheiser and Wilbon?

Monday, July 03, 2006

I needed to post here in order to upload a pic for my blog. Amy likes this one because we met online and this is the picture I had on my profile from the matchmaker site.

Amy thinks I am quoting some movie or something, but I made the random, and true statement that I would like to learn to fly a helicoptor. It's just a cool, specialized skill that someday in my life I would like to do.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Work was fun.

I spent my first 4 and a half hours yesterday in the kitchen making the food for people. That is, Gonzalo baked the biscuits, Angeles made burritos and chick-n-minis and cooked eggs for biscuits, and I assembled the biscuits and made plattrers and hashbrowns and such.

I was glad to do it on a Saturday, because we are much slower during breakfast than on a weekday, with the exception of 9:15-10:45 or so. The biggest issue is people ordering specialized sandwiches which we can't premake and keep on the hot chutes. I can premake chicken biscuits, sausage biscuits, butter biscuits, sausage-egg-cheese, and bacon-egg-cheese. The problems come when I want to make another 24 or so chicken biscuits to beef up my supply and I get 8 consecutive orders with things like chick-egg-cheese, sausage and cheese, bacon and egg, etc. SO by the time I make those, I have no regular chicken left and I haven't made my 24 I planned to. :)

The rest of the day I worked headset and cash management. I got home a bit after 4:30 to wake Amy and have dinner (Publix fried chicken).

Last night I went to see Mission Impossible III and I was pretty disappointed. It was so much a re-hash of everything we saw in the first movie, including plot lines and tricks. The worst thing I found was a scene with Cruise's character wanting to talk to his kidnapped wife to know she was alive. We've seen in every movie that they can use a microchip over the throat to copy a voice. Granted he asked a semi-private-knowledge question of her, but still..... shouldn't he know better?

We have family in town for the holiday. We hope to see Tim, Mery, and Basil today and or tomorrow.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Friday night 9:50pm. ADD has set in.

Got off work at 4pm, off the clock about 4:08 because was paying the bills. It's the last day of the month you see. However, Chris was there and got off at 4 as well, which meant time to exchange trivia questions. Can you name the 7 wonders of the modern world? Do you know who Regina Belle sang "A Whole New World" with?

out the door by 4:25 or so, traffic heading west and I start playing the CD 80's Hits Stripped. A lot of 80's bands performing their songs acoustically. I miss the 80's.

Dad calls and I miss the call, music too loud. He wants to confirm my schedule and Amy's schedule for Tuesday.

I call information (which I hate to do for the charges) and get the number for Chin Chin and order some food for dinner (take-out). Call Amy and tell her dinner is coming with me.

Eat dinner, watch some TV, parts of the news, Wayne's World II, I turn on my brother's DVD of Cirque de Soliel "La Nouba."

8:30 and I decide to take the dog for a walk, a long one tonight.

9:10 and I'm home. I drink some more iced tea. The dog plops on the couch. I decide to check email and post while watching "For Love of the Game" - a great movie in my book. Oh yeah, I watch John Cena's 5 questions video segment on It's funny, especially because he liks boobies.

Bed soon - up at 4:30 to guarantee out at 5:15 to be at work at 5:45am. For tomorrow, I'm making the biscuits!