Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy Freaking New Year

So it's 10:40pm on New Year's Eve. Big Freaking Deal.

New Year's Eve has never been anything more than just another night for me and pretty much anyone in my family. It generally comes down to a reason for people to get together and have a party, and well, I've never been the type of guy to get invited to many parties, New Year's Eve or otherwise.

In honor of the end of the year, a little reflection on some major events.

My wife and I completed the process to apply to adopt a baby from China only to later discover that it will be something close to five more years before this dream might become a reality.

In June I was fired from a job I generally liked. The depression that ensued lead to accepting a job making about 60% of what I had been making and not being motivated to try to find anything better. The mortgage and other bills remained the same despite the reduced income to pay them.

I was called a racist by a woman I don't even know, and she decided to start a website dedicated to bringing attention to me.

I spent over $2500 to have repairs done to my vehicle only for the repairs to fail about 5 weeks later.

I upset my wife numerous times with things I said or did both on this blog and in person with people, including alegedly causing great strain in a relationship with another couple we know who she loves to tell me how awesome they are.

I had a period of excellent control of my diabetes swing 180 degrees the opposite way. After my firing I gave up the expense of gym membership, while we continue to pay over $400 a year for my wife to belong to a gym that she visits about once every 6 weeks.

I have apparently become angry at the world because I refuse to pander to political correctness and because I make an effort to point out the flaws that lead to the hardships for people who the world seems to want to pity. Responsibility is not a requirement in any form or fashion anymore, and yes, I do not always live by the same rule I talk about, but who in this world is not a hypocrite in some manner? Does being similar to those I talk about make them any less wrong?

And the final fun thing, as New Year's Eve ticked along this afternoon, I was asked to promise not to go out and be anywhere at midnight where I might kiss someone. The precursor to this request is the fact that before I was engaged to be married, I kissed someone other than my wife. Note this was BEFORE I was even engaged, let alone before I was married, so this is the level of trust I am merited.

Happy Freaking New Year

Pixel the Hunter

The tally as of this afternoon....

Pixel versus....

Birds... Unknown loses, though he hides in the Camellia bushes to monitor the bird feeder. He has at least 3 complete wins and one tie when Peter rescued one alive and got it back outside.

Chipmunks... I think we've seen one dead, and Pixel knows where they live.

Lizards... Little Gecko kinda guys that I didn't know lived this far north. Two wins for Pixel including one we saw outside and a carcass I found in the dining room today.

Snakes... One loss for Pixel as I found him with the snake alive in the dining room and I rescued and released it.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Also Stupid

More local news.....

A father and his teenage son were shot and killed here in Atlanta yesterday over "candy money."

Someone came to their apartment and wanted to rob them of their cash. The suspect knew there was cash there because it was known that the family was running a miniature convenience store from their place.

Am I wrong to think that if these people had not been breaking the law in running a store without a license and without paying taxes that their husband and son might be alive today?

Also, from what I've been told by members of the law enforcement community, this type of "business" is not uncommon among people who were not born in the United States, do not have the legal right to be here, and typically come from countries located South of the United States.

Are The Darwin Award Nominations for 2007 Open?

All due respect to the tragic loss of the children's lives, with the exception of the thought that
these were the children of the adults responsible and there is genetics and heredity involved...
The Darwin Award honors those who serve the rest of the world by removing themselves from the gene pool.

Read on..... (and then tell me how this is simply part of their culture and not their fault, as many people said about the Michael Vick dogfighting case)

Four people including two young children were killed and two others were injured in a fiery crash in rural Butts County late Friday after the group had been "mud-bogging," authorities said.

None of the victims was wearing a seat belt, their Ford Bronco was going an estimated 70 m.p.h. when it ran off the road and into some trees, and most of the adults connected with the incident were intoxicated, police said.

Three adults and three youngsters in the Bronco had just freed themselves from having gotten stuck in mud while playfully driving around, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

It is believed that most or all of the victims live in Butts County and live on the same road -- Lucy Lane -- about a mile from where the accident occurred, State Patrol Trooper J.T. McMillan said.

Authorities identified the deceased as:

--Susanna Guffey, 24.

--Lucas Ross, 2.

--Christina Levan, 36.

--Zoe Flick, 5.

Guffey was driving the Bronco, and Lucas was her son, police said.

Zoe's mother, Tammy Flick, 36, and Guffey's son, Brody Guffey, 4, survived the accident by crawling through a back window after the crash, McMillan said. Flick broke one of her legs, and Brody sustained only scratches.

The crash was reported around 11 p.m. on a curvy, narrow stretch of Lunsford Road that is lined with trees, McMillan said.

Two of the women's husbands had just helped get the Bronco out of the mud but, in the process, had gotten their dump truck stuck in a ditch, the trooper said. While the men tried to extricate themselves, Guffey and her passengers sped off in the Bronco.

A short distance away, Guffey lost control, and the Bronco went off the road and hit one tree and then another before bursting into flames, McMillan said. The husbands came upon the wreck on their way home and called 911.

Autopsies will determine whether the four died from the impact or from the fire that engulfed the Bronco.

UPDATE: I received an email from www.thedarwinaward.com and they will not consider this story for consideration because the children who died were innocent victims. While this is true, I think it is arguable that their removal from the gene pool may help the world as much as the removal of their mothers' DNA.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Saturday Photo Hunt #21 - Messy


Randomness

On the way home from the eye doctor yesterday I stopped at Publix to get dinner fixings. Nothing fancy, just spaghetti, but for some reason it was a very tasty batch. I noticed, and Amy noticed.

I made plans while at the store to do breakfast this morning. It's a nice thing to do, and Amy has a bad flu-like cold, so I figured a nice hot meal before bed would be pleasant.

I went out to play cards last night, had a good time and stopped at Kroger to get Amy some Nyquil and at Taco Bell for a snack on the way home. By the Taco Bell there was a police scene with about 4 Woodstock Police Cars and a Georgia State Patrol cruiser there. I noticed the wrecked cars and kept on. When I passed it again heading home from Taco Bell I realized the car with the worst damage was a Woodstock Police car, which would explain the GSP unit there. I think they have to respond to any accident involving another department's vehicle.

I didn't get to sleep until 2am or so, and I had the alarm set for 7:30. I got up okay and came downstairs to start the roast for dinner tonight (in the crockpot with potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and onions). Then I started on breakfast. Omelets with ham, cheddar cheese, onions and mushrooms, cheese grits and toast, and Amy got the last glass of OJ (need that vitamin C) and I made some iced tea. We enjoyed our breakfast while watching the season premiere of Private Practice (the Grey's Anatomy spin-off) and while AMy participated in her Saturday morning waiting mom's chat group.

Amy's asleep now, and I am considering a nap before enjoying my day off by going to Winston's to play cardsa t 2pm and to watch my UCF KNIGHTS play in the Autozone Liberty Bowl this afternoon at 4:30. They are playing against Mississippi State University in Memphis, and UCF is favored to win by 3 and a half points. (not that you can have a half a point).

Oh yeah, it's going to be in the mid-60's here today. We had a lot of rain in the past two days, so much that a building had a roof and wall collapse over on the NE side of town. We'll still take all the rain we can get!

There are 2 days left in 2007. It has not been a bad year, but neither Amy nor I have EVER had any interest in celebrating New Year's Eve. It's just another night followed by just another day, but New Year's Day does mark the two week countdown to our birthdays, yes plural, birthdays. Amy and I have the same birthday. Did you know that? January 15. I find it hard to believe I am about to be 37. Where did the time go? (I say this while watching We Are The 80's on VH1 Classic)

Oh yeah, the original random thought I had. I remembered something this morning when I looked at the Valtool's Box page and the Peanuts theme. We had some Peanuts sheets and pillowcases while growing up and I remember fighting over who got to use the cool Snoopy pillowcase on which he was the World War I Flying Ace. (hint if anyone can find some of these, notice the birthday mention above). :)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Bright and Blurry

It's abou 3:30 on Friday. I am sitting here watching the Disney Christmas Parade (we taped it while I worked on Tuesday). It's warmer today, in the low 60's here, and even though it is overcast, it's too bright for me because I had a visit with the eye doctor today. Guess whose eyes are dilated?

About half way through the parade here are the two highlights, the opening number with Jon Secada singing and celebs and dancers from Dancing with the Stars including Drew Lachey and Joey Fatone. Now we are told Jessica Simpson will also be performing, but she could be in CA where the rest were in FL (not that it matters because the parade is taped in Octber and edited for broadcast on Christmas) because Nick Lachey is Jessica Simpson's former brother-in-law and as a member of 98 Degrees, he was in direct competition for your music money with Joey Fatone who was a member of N*Sync. You see what being married to Amy has done for my knowledge of celebrity relationships and all things boy band?

Friday Flashback #55

Motley Crue - Home Sweet Home


Posted for my wife who told me last night she does not know this song.

Bravo TV Network's Top TV Characters

I was channel surfing and found an interesting show on. In 5 segments Bravo is listing and having guest commentary on their list of the top 100 TV characters of all time. When I turned it on, they were on #11 and moving up the list. Here's what I saw....

# 11. Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City, they liked her independence, her influence on style, and the fact she was there trying to determine who she wanted to be when there was a lot of expectations on her based on her age and place in life.

#10 Tony Soprano from The Sopranos, husband, father, Godfather, patient. That's how they started his commentary. He kills people at will, but would die for his family.

#9 Capt. James T. Kirk from Star Trek, a bonified hero with a moral compass, though he said he was overwhelmed, it was disgusting how many beitiful women he had every week.

#8 Mary Richards fom the Mary Tyler Moore Show, a grown up Laura Petrie from the Dick Van Dyke Show. They rode the crest of women's liberation creating a great role model for single working women.

#7 Lt. Columbo from Columbo, as described by Peter Falk himself, "an ass-backwards Sherlock Holmes." Tom Selleck said, "Trying doing COlumbo with ANYONE but Peter Falk."

#6 Kramer, George, Jerry, and Elaine, yes the entire cast of Seinfeld. My personal thought is since the show is about nothing, it makes sense that it takes four people to make one character on the show.

#5 Homer Simpson from the Simpsons. He sees donuts where the rest of us see anything else.

#4 Fonzie (Arthur Fonzerelli) from Happy Days - did you know that Henry Winkler went to the Yale school of Drama?

#3 Lucy Ricardo from I Love Lucy. The first very pretty woman, sexy woman to play comedy according to Carl Reiner.

#2 Ralph Kramden from the Honeymooners. Jackie Gleason NEVER has been equaled. He could do no wrong. In the mind of Kramden, your adversary wasn't your boss, it was life.

#1 Archie Bunker from All in the Family. He's probably the ultimate TV character, the most complete and compelling of all time. He was an American working-class male that was afraid of the changes that were happening in time around him.

Having only seen the last 11 of the 100, I am curious where a few other characters placed (if they did)...

Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H
Dr. Johnny Fever from WKRP in Cincinatti
Arnold Drummond from Different Strokes
ADA McCoy on Law & Order
Judge Harry Stone or ADA Dan Fielding on Night Court
Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher on Murder She Wrote
Agent Fox Mulder from The X-files

Friday Feast #33

Appetizer - Name 2 things you would like to accomplish in 2008.
Get out of debt and get Amy pregnant.
Soup - With which cartoon character do you share personality traits?
Hrrmm, could it possibly be Charlie Brown?
Salad - What time of day (or night) were you born?
4am(ish)
Main Course - Tell us something special about your hometown.
In response to a law passed in some other state back in the 80's that severely regulated the ownership of firearms, Kennesaw, GA passed a law requiring a firearm in EVERY household within city limits.
Dessert - If you could receive a letter from anyone in the world, who would you want to get one from?
Sesame Street. They always said today's episode is brought to you by the letter ____.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rescuing the Snake

Well, you never know what you're going to find when you go to investigate the noise you hear coming from the dining room when you have a 9 month old kitten in the house, especially one that knows how to use the doggie-door.

About a half an hour ago, I got up because I heard his claws dancing on the hardwood floor and I figured he's playing with something. I took a look and there he is standing over, watching a long thin snake, I would guess about 15 inches when not bent in curves.

I went to the kitchen to find a 32oz tumbler and a magazine and a few minutes later I had a snake heading to the front yard. Pixel is still in the dining room trying to find out where his toy went.

Thank You

Very, very, special thanks to the Blog Fairy(ie). She did my whole Peanuts Christmas theme, and tonight as I was writing my Thursday Thirteen, I noticed things were , um, CHANGING!

Pplease post here if you liked the Christmas layout and if you like the new one, and Blog Fairy, please feel free to jump in to this post and add a link to your site.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #34

Thirteen Things about Valtool
In Honor of VH-1's Top 100 songs of the 1980's, I give you, my favorite power ballads of the decade of excess.
1. "Keep on Loving You" by REO Speedwagon
2. "Don't Let It End" by Styx
3. "Send Her My Love" by Journey
4. "Hold on to the Nights" by Richard Marx
5. "High Enough" by Damn Yankees
6. "Close Your Eyes Forever" by Ozzie Osbourne and Lita Ford
7. "Take My Breath Away" by Berlin (the song that killed the band)
8. "Angel" by Aerosmith
9. "Patience" by Guns and Roses
10. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler
11. "Home Sweet Home" by Motley Crue
12. "I'll Be There For You" by Bon Jovi
13. "Drive" by the Cars

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! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day - So Far

The alarm buzzed at 6am. By 6:20 we were at Waffle House.

We were the only people there besides the two overnight employees. Everyone else was due in by 7 it appeared. We enjoyed our breakfast and came home to do the gift thing.

We kinda had to do it 2-3 for me and one for Amy because she prefers quantity to quality, but that was the way I went for her. Amy received the first season of "King of Queens" a Garth Brooks greatest hits CD/DVD, several sermon series CD sets, and the main thing, a new set of pots and pans, branded by Emeril Legasse! She also had a stocking hung by the chimney with care.

My stocking was just handed to me when we sat be the tree. My loot included a wrestling DVD I asked for, a t-shirt from Pennys, several games, a few DVDs that were unexpected including The Departed and The Goonies (because those two are so closely related), a couple of books, and a few things I don't think I am allowed to mention.

I went to work from 8:45-1:30 and had very little in photo to do, but I helped a LOT of people find the food items they needed. I recommended some gift items, and worked on straightening a lot of the food areas and cooler.

Now we are home and about to leave to see the new Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts movie and go to Shogun for our Japanese Steakhouse dinner.

Gotta Run!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas



From Our Home (Literally) To Yours....

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Forgot to Mention

It's time again to BELIEVE IN BLUELAND!

After 4 straight losses leading into last week, the Thrashers have won their past three games, including last night at home, and tonight on the road in St. Louis, both games won on overtime (that means free hockey for the fans!)

Thrasher Claus

Yesterday (Saturday) it was really slow at work, so I asked the boss if we could try something. We still have the Santa suit from two weeks ago, so I put it on and took a large sign advertising we're open until Midnight down to the road and waved at cars and held up the sign. I jokingly mentioned that I had my Atlanta Thrashers Jersey in the car and it would fit over the Santa suit enabling me to be Thrasher Claus. He liked the idea, but decided to pass.

So, as it is, I spent about 4 hours on Saturday down on the road waving at cars. I really enjoyed that part of my shift (despite the cold hands). When I am driving along and see someone advertising a business on te roadside, dressed in a costume, or just in uniform holding a sign, I generally try to avoid eye contact and move on. There is something different about doing it as Santa (like when I was the Chick-fil-a Cow) that people will smile, wave back, an honk their horns as they pass. It actually felt like I was spreading joy in some fashion, which was pretty cool. Now see, I'm not all this negative guy that some of my posts would make you all believe.

Polite Society

I think we have reached a point where having your personal opinion and considering expressing it has taken second place to honoring and respecting other people's opinions, and refraining from either expressing your opinion or criticizing or saying anything contradictory to another person's opinion.

The latest evidence I have come across surrounds worship styles.

It all boils down to interpretations and opinions of art. In this world, anything that someone decides to call art becomes art. I remember a story about an exhibition that included a small crucifix submersed in a jar of urine. That was art. Robert Maplethorpe shot photographs of a man with a bullwhip sticking out of his anus, again art. If you criticize it, you might hurt the artist's feelings

I made a comment on another person's blog (Carlos) at http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com and it was not welcome. Carlos wants to tal to me on the phone or in person in order to explain things regarding this type of worship.

Part of the general argument from Carlos and his supporters, is, as I understnad it, that if someone feels they are reaching God through contemporary rock music, or by infusing The Little Drummer Boy with The Who, then that is worship and the entire congregation should be happy and accepting of this. Yes, lets use the music of a band known for outrageous performances (onstage and off) fueld by drug and alcohol abuse in order to glorify the Creator.

By the same logic, I could walk up on stage, sit on a snare drum and flatulate and call it worship because I say it brings me closer to God, and you would all have to accept it and respect me for my creativity and dedication to my heartfelt expression of my faith.

The solution, as it has been presented is to choose one of two options, accept whatever someone offers you from the pulpit and follow them blindly without asking any questions, or find another church. It's basically saying, if you don't like it, then leave, but in my case I like the teaching and we have numerous friends at our church, so leaving is not desired. Any other options?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Wanting, Needing, Hoping

I have checked back since last week, and noticed that at the time the site meter was at 4900 and change. Today it is over 5100, which leads me to believe there are people still interested in this thing. I don't foresee a groundswell like MTV's demand for Claire Danes and "My So-called Life" but I'm curious if you want more of MY So-called Life?

The floor is open for comments.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

# 500

Okay, here it is, the 500th post.

Having spent some time thinking about something my brother told me once, I have to agree there is truth to his comment, that the whole proliferation of blogging is simply a way for the average person to boost their ego and hope that others will for whatever reason be drawn to read about and comment (the true ego boost) on what the author has written.

I have accomplished nothing here other than meeting a small handful of people who have become online friends, and for you, I encourage you to write me directly at my email address, mjchristopher@comcast.net.

The expression of opinions and feelings publicly is a source of continued misery it seems. When I express my opinions, I find myself being labeled with names I do not appreciate. When I express my personal feelings, I find myself in the whirlpool that I wish I could escape. The world is not about me, and I am the cause of my own destiny. My words and my actions (or lack of words or actions) perpetuate a cycle in which I am unhappy, and I either get told that I am over-reacting or taking things too personally. Today the continuation is that even people I consider friends and loved ones are telling me I am to blame (see the 100% agreement that Carnegie is my savior).

I am almost 37 years old. I am not going to change who I am. I am too far gone. I am not looking for pity or consolation. I simply want you all to stop telling me to change because I honestly believe that I can not. Who I am is a result of my upbringing, the influence of those who raised me (and now participate in blaming me for my own situation, thanks a lot Dad).

So go read my wife's blog. She's widely accepted as a happy and positive person (except when she comes home and talks about how people at work make her miserable). Perhaps things might change in 5-7 years when or if we get to adopt our daughter. We'll see what happens.

In the meantime, have a nice life.

Postscript - those of you who read this and take offense, please do not hold it against my wife. She is concerned that my disfunction will cause her to lose friends, and that is not my desire, especially since I would be held accountable. If you are offended, blame me and reciprocate against me please.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

What Next

While making a post yesterday, I realized/noticed that my next post (after this one) will be my 500th. So what do I do or say? You know what I am about. I post pictures and videos. I participate in a handful of memes (not every one regularly), and I write about what's on my mind or going on in my life from time to time.

Here's a little something that just happens to be on my mind. I lost a good job this summer for a combination of reasons including my lack of tolerance of those I found intellectually inferior, and my natural tendency to be a smart-ass. It came across in part that there were employees that worked for me who complained about me to my boss, and this was part of my downfall.

I now am in a position where I am titled as a head of a department, but I really have no authority to direct others. I am encountering difficulty with a supervisor and I think I am in the same position that those I directed previously had when it comes to issues with management personalities. In this case, I really hate having to work with one of the managers. She is the sister of another manager I have worked with, and they are exactly alike. The first sister I worked with told me she did not talk about work outside of work because she did not want to, but her sister replaced her here, and she told me she knows all about me, so she came in with a preconceived opinion of me based on talking to her sister.

I know an employee at another location of my company who worked with sister 2 and had similar issues with her, which makes me think I am not the issue, but in the back of my mind I fear that I may still be the problem. I do not want to rock the boat, but I fel like I am being mistreated by this woman. She and her sister are what they like to call "direct." (which is an excuse to be rude)

So today I am about to end my shift, and sister 2 comes to take over my postion (because we are short-staffed in my department). She called me over to reprimand me for something she thought I was doing wrong. In reality, I was doing exactly what I should in accordance with the proper use of the equipment in the lab, and avoiding unnecessary waste. I responded to her reprimand by explaining the proper use and operation of the equipment. You need to know that sister 2 has never used this machine before coming to my store 4 weeks ago, but her personality does not allow her to learn from someone who reports to her. Her comeback was an insincere "okay" and to start into telling me how she's had complaints about me. I decided to avoid further escalation of emotion. I told her I was off the clock and turned and walked away.

I enjoy the job, though not the pay. If I beceome a manager, my pay will double. If I pursue a resolution with sister 2 through proper channels, I feel I will risk becoming known to higher-ups as a problem employee. I know the guests I work with sincerely thank me and express real gratitude with the help I give them, but you seldom hear of a guest wanting to talk to a manager to pay a compliment.

So what do I do? I don't have the ability to walk away from this job. I have two degrees and have never worked in the fields of study I graduated with. I don't have the connections necessary to enter those fields, and I wind up wondering what good there is left.

Sorry if this rambled a bit, but I get distracted trying to tell the story.

UPDATE - SUNDAY 1:30 PM - I just spoke with one of the other assistant managers from work. He called me because of a question regarding a guest's order. We talked a little further and he told me he knew that sister 2 called the store manager last night after she screwed up the equipment in the lab and jammed the printer. I feel a bit righteous now.

Christmas Countdown Picture #9

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Countdown Picture #10 (Caught Up)


Friday Flashback #54

Friday Feast #32

Appetizer - Make up a word and give us its definition.


Glittorious - I made this up today while at work. The level of sparkly, glittery brightness an object has.

Soup - What is currently your favorite song?

Christmas Canon by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Salad - What’s at the top of your Christmas wish list this year?

Membership to a gym, because despite what I said on my anger post yesterday, I would like to live as long as possible.

Main Course - Name a scent that reminds you of someone special in your life.

Roasting lamb. (assuming you want to know who... my late Nana)

Dessert - Who is someone on television that you feel probably shouldn’t be, and why?

Oprah Winfrey. The woman has way too much influence over the easily lead.



Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Countdown Picture #11


Christmas Countdown Picture #12


Christmas Countdown Picture #13


Business Needing to be taken care of

Mandy Nickels, you are not welcome here. Please refrain from submitting comments to this blog. Any comments you post will be deleted as soon as found by the blog owner.

You have informed the blog owner that you find the content here inappropriate, so it is hard to understand why you wish to participate, other than to be an annoyance.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Anger

A feew months ago, I wrote a couple of posts that resulted in a perfect stranger deciding that I was a number of things, including a racist and an angry person.

Today I have to wonder how much truth there is in the latter part (as the former is totally untrue). Amy and I were doing some Christmas shopping, and we stopped at Sam's Club in search of a requested item. We found that item, and I also picked upa box of Sweet & Low, which I use in my iced tea as sugar is not good for me being a diabetic.

On our way out we got to our car, and a female senior citizen was in the vehicle next to mine. She rolled down her window and asked me if the Sweet & Low was for my personal use. I responded that it was, and she asked if she could follow up with another question, and I responded that if it nvolved my personal health, then no.

She proceeded to try to engage Amy and me in a conversation about one of the ingredients in Sweet & Low being a cause of Alzheimer's Disease. I have heard rumors of this (typically via alarmist emails) and also about diet coke (something about the change in the chemical sweetner if it is warmed (like left in a hot car) and later consumed. I really did not care to hear about this again, as I do not put a lot of faith in this story, and I REALLY found it out of place for a stranger to want to interrupt me to be my personal watchdog. I basically told her to mind her own business, got in my Jeep and we left.

Amy asked me about the incident, and my response was that even if this is true, it is not a concern of mine, because I seriously do not expect to live long enough for Alzheimer's to be an issue. In 5 weeks I will be 37 years old and I have no reason to believe that I have not already passed the half way point of my life. Amy said something about that statement answering one thing for her.

Maybe I need anti-depressants, but i don't put much faith in them either. So what's next?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Contest - Help Me Win

My blogging friend Frigga, www.anyapples.blogspot.com is having a contest and I am one of the competitors she selected.

Basically last week she posted the needed word types from a Mad Lib. Volunteers then gave her their choices without knowing the context of the story. The end results were then published and voting was opened to determine a winner. The winner will receive a game for the computer (which I have never really played games) so I would like to win.

What I am asking, is for you, any of my readers to go and vote for me (whether you think my story was best or not). I know the idea is based on voting for what you think is the best, but I just want to win. :)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Countdown Picture #14







A few shots from the Christopher Christmas Party 2007

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Christmas Countdown Picture #15

Yes, That is Valtool as Santa on 12/8/2007.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas Countdown Picture #16

The Moon on November 24, 2007

Friday Flashback #53

Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas? (Feed the World)


U2 - Christmas, Baby Please Come Home

Christmas Countdown Picture #17

Friday Feast #31

Appetizer - What was the last game you purchased?


The Friends Edition of Scene It (DVD trivia game)

Soup - Name something in which you don’t believe.

Censorship in the name of Political Correctness.

Salad - If you could choose a celebrity to be your boss, who would you pick?

Morris the Cat from 9-Lives Commercials

Main Course - What was a lesson you had to learn the hard way?

Credit Cards are evil.

Dessert - Describe your idea of the perfect relaxation room.

Something involving a hot tub, a big TV that would not be affected by the steam, and a service of comfort foods and pleasurable beverages.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #33











Thirteen Things about The 80's TV, Mike's Favorite Characters.


Tom Hanks as Kip Wilson on Bosom Buddies


Harry Anderson as Judge Harry Stone on Night Court

Woody Harrelson as Woody Boyd on Cheers

Jm. J. Bullock as Monroe on Too Close For Comfort

Bruce Willis as David Addison, Jr. on Moonlighting

Dwight Schultz as "Howling Mad" Murdock on The A*Team

Pierce Brosnan as Remington Steele on Remington Steele


Ted Danson as Sam "Mayday" Malone on Cheers

Michael J. Fox as Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties

Jason Bateman as Matthew Burton on "It's Your Move"


Markie Post as Christine Sullivan on Night Court

Lisa Welchell as Blair Warner on The Facts of Life

Howard Hesseman as Dr. Johnny Fever on WKRP in Cincinatti








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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! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!






Completely Unexpected

Amy and I watched The Holiday tonight after our delicious meal (see above). Kate WInslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Jack Black. A very sweet movie that may absolutely reaffirm your faith in love, that the right things happen for the right reasons to the right people.

Wordless Wednesday #34



Christmas Countdown Picture #19

Monday, December 03, 2007

Something Different - Interactive Day

Let's see if we can't get the comments rolling....

Tell me/us your favorite Christmas memory.

For me it is November of 2000. I was newly engaged to Amy, and I guess it was the weekend after Thanksgiving. She was working these 16 hour shifts from 3pm to 7am.
I had the weekend off as I was working a 9-5 job and traveling a lot.

Amy went to work that Saturday, and I went to see Charlie's Angels at the movies. On the way home I stopped and bought a Christmas tree and took it to Amy's apartment (I had a key). She had already left for work, so I set up the tree near the living room/kitchen border. I cleaned the apartment as much as possible, strung lights on the tree and set up a boom box playing Christmas music on repeat before leaving the apartment.

When Amy got home the following morning she entered the apartment to find the lit tree, the place cleaned, and music playing. For a Christmas fanatic like Amy, I could do little better, and I think I have yet to top that one.

Christmas Countdown Picture #21


Menu Plan Monday

Okay, I don't ordinarily participate in this this particular meme, but I did the grocery shopping today and I planned out some meals for the week, so here we go.

Tonight (Sunday) - NY Strip Steak (was on sale at Publix) with sauteed mushrooms, baked potatoes, and fresh broccoli.

Monday - Amy has to work, and I will join our small group for trivia at the pizza joint, so I'll likely have the hot Italian sandwich.

Tuesday - Crab meat stuffed Tilapia with broiled bay scallops (the small ones) and risotto.

Wednesday - Our regular Trivia night at Winston's. We won last week, so we have $20 of the $40 first prize to use toward our meal.

Thursday - Smothered Chicken - chicken tenderloins with onions, mushrooms, and green pepper under mozzarella cheese. I'll decide on a couple of sides, possibly mashed potatoes and a veggie.

Friday - It's the first Friday of the month, so it's dinner out before our adoption support group, which this month is at an Italian restaurant we have been wanting to try, La Vida Dolce.

Saturday - something simple because our Christmas Party is Sunday.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Christmas at Rockefeller Plaza

Amy recorded this program when it aired on NBC this week, and I watched it this morning while surfing the net. Here are my thoughts....

Josh Groban - the guy has an incredible voice, one you might think does not match the body.

Carrie Underwood - An incredible talent. I loved her performance.

Tony Bennett - Another legendary artist. I like his style and his voice, but the lyrics he sang had me wondering if he was improvising or simply didn't know "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" as well as any 7 year-old in the country?

Ashley Tisdale - They had to tell me who this girl is (mentioned something about People's list of hottest stars under age 25). Her performance of "Last Christmas" was pretty good, despite some pseudo-cutesy/sexy knee-dips and being distracted by her Debbie Gobson-esque large nose.

Taylor Swift - She redid "Silent Night" and I hated it. Nothing against her personally, just not an appropriate thing to do to such an established song.

Celine Dion - Another legendary voice. It was kinda weird hearing "The Christmas Song" paired with Heart's "Alone" though Celine can sing either one quite well. Here's the negative - CUT OUT THE THEATRICS AND POSTURING. It's been ten years since she thumped her chest throughout every performance of "My Heart Will Go On." I looked up during her "previously taped" performance in a small restaurant setting and there she is, stance - legs spread, pumping her arm, and hugging herself, just sing the songs already.

End notes - -I wasn't paying close attention to the hosts names, so they mentioned and I realized the one Donny Osmond looking guy was Nick "I blew a marriage to a beautiful woman after being in a boy band" Lachey. Also, when they lit the tree at the end they had some dancers on the screen who were pretty and had very nice outfits (though they must have been cold).

Christmas Countdown Picture #22


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Conference USA Champions!

University of Central Florida 44, University of Tulsa 25

UCF hosted the C-USA Championship game today at noon for the second time in the three years they have been playing in that conference. The other appearance was in 2005, also against Tulsa, which they lost.

The win gives UCF their first conference championship title in their football program's history. It also guarantees an invitation to the Liberty Bowl, to be held in Memphis on December 29. It is the second bowl game for the Knights.

Four and a half years ago they fired their coach mid-season. Four years ago they started a new program under former Georgia Tech head coach George O'Leary. In 2004 they did not win a single game. In 2005 they won the divisional title in the C-USA and went to the first bowl game in the school's history. Under Caoch O'Leary's guidance, they have built an indoor practice facility on campus, and this Fall they opened the on-campus stadium, ending over 25 years of driving 15 miles to downtown Orlando to play their games in the Citrus Bowl.

UCF is a program establishing itself as the 5th football power in the state of Florida, standing tall along side of perennial powerhouses like Florida, Florida State, and Miami, and joining newcomer USF in making headlines.

I am proud of UCF as my alma mater.

Christmas Countdown Picture #23

Friday, November 30, 2007

Deborah Gibson Sleigh Ride

Friday Flashback #52


Taking me back to my Senior Year of High School, we had a Miss RHS event for the Senior girls, sponsored by clubs/sports teams. We made this song the theme for the event (by my suggestion) as I FINALLY made Student Council my Senior Year.

Christmas Countdown Picture #24


Friday Feast #30

Appetizer - What is your favorite carnival/amusement park ride?
Definitely roller coasters!

Soup - How do you react in uncomfortable social situations?
I typically try to excuse myself and avoid further involvement.

Salad - On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy discussing deep, philosophical topics? 3. I like the lighter side of life.

Main Course - Did you get a flu shot this year? If not, do you plan to?
Yes, the day before Thanksgiving, and it worked as I now have the flu! I work in a drugstore, so it was very convenient, and as a diabetic it is recommended.

Dessert - Approximately how many hours per week do you spend watching television?
About 20, 25? Does having it on while surfing the net count as watching?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas Countdown PIcture #25

Thursday Thirteen # 32

Thirteen Things about Our win at Trivia tonight, 13 of the questions we got right!

1. Novels - In what novel is "Big Brother" watching you?

2. The Moon - If the moon is "waxing" is it increasing or decreasing in size?

3. Holiday Music - In The Chipmonks Christmas song, what does Alvin want for Christmas?

4. Movie Music - What song on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack was written and performed by the movie's lead actor Patrick Swayze?

5. Disney Films - What is the name of the Princess in Aladdin?

6. 90's Music - What band had the hit "Bittersweet Symphony?"

7. Cartoons - What cartoon character had a band called The Holograms?

8. Christmas Stories - What is the name of the Grinch's dog in Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas?

9. U.S. Geography - What US State shares a border with Canada separated by the Straits of Juan de Fuca?

10. Sir Names - In the USA, what 4 colors are the most common sir names?

11. Basketball - What L.A. Lakers rookie lead the team to the NBA Championship in 1980 as he played in all 5 positions?

12. Ivy League - In what state is Yale University located?

13. The Final Bonus (we were tied for 1st) - What auto manufacturer was the first to mass produce cars with seat belts as a standard feature?


The answers, 1984, increasing, hula hoop, She's Like The Wind, Jasmine, the Verve, Jem, Max, Washington, (Grey, Brown, White and Black), Magic Johnson, Connecticut, and Volvo.

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! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Look out for the Cheese!

Pepperjack?
Bleu?
Parmesean?
Gouda?

It doesn't matter what kind of cheese you like, you'll get it and plenty more if you go to see Disney's new movie Enchanted.

Amy and I went to see it at a matinee this afternoon, and we really enjoy Disney movies and this is a combination of many elements from the fairy-tale animated films we love.

The premise is that in a fairy-tale fantasyland, a prince has met his true love and will marry her the next day. His evil step-mother does not want to lose her throne, so she sends the bride-to-be to modern day New York City. Her hero follows, along with his page who is secretly working with the evil Queen. The problem is the bride meets McDreamy from Grey's Anatomy, who is about to become engaged to the bi-sexual performance artist from Rent who also happens to be the Wicked Witch of the West from Wicked! (not that any of this has to do with the story)

So anyways, song, dance, magic, and ever-after happy endings prevail. If you go, struggle through the Central Park musical number because that's the cheesy best (or is it worst?).

We enjoyed it, and anyone who believes in true love's first kiss will as well!

Wordless Wednesday #33 and Christmas Countdown Picture #26



Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Christmas Countdown PIcture #27

The Snow Angel at Stone Mountain Park.

Ten on Tuesday #10

Ten best games (video, board, card).
(not ranked)
1. Uno - easy and fun. Reverse! Skip! Draw Two! Draw Four Wild!
2. Othello - Minutes to learn, a lifetime to master!
3. No-limit Texas Hold-em Poker
4. Yahtzee (hand-held electronic, very addictive)
5. Silhouette (arcade sniper game)
6. Trivial Pursuit - for over 20 years a family favorite
7. Hearts - many, many weekend nights in high school playing with friends
8. Zork - okay, it's been 20 years, but it was fun at the time
9. Scattegories - I tend to overanalize which makes this one fun
10. Kickball - always a childhood classic

Monday, November 26, 2007

Christmas Countdown PIcture #28


My lovely wife Amy (right), and my lovely sister-in-law Kelly (left),
posing with the big guy at Stone Mountain.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Weekend Review

Well folks, it's Sunday night, almost bedtime. I just finished adding the music to my blog and posting what is the first in a series of pictures I'll be adding each day here.

As for the holiday week...

Wednesday - spent the day at work, knowing that family was on the way. I arrived home shortly after my in-laws got here, FiL Tom, MiL Barbara, SiL Kelly, and niece Janie and nephews Seth and Owen. We played with the kids for a bit and went out to dinner at Chili's. I sat by Owen (almost 2 and a half) and he was quite entertaining. After dinner Tom and Barbara took the kids to their hotel and I took Kelly and Amy to Target for a few things they needed for Tom and Barbara's anniversary gift. They celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on Thanksgiving Day!

Thursday - I went to work with a short shift 8:45-1:30. It was slow, but we did have some customers. I got home and escaped upstairs for a short nap. I awoke about an hour later as Amy came up to tell me everyone was here. We were joined for dinner by my brother Peter, his friend Gary, my father (Dennis) and his wife Paula, and Paula's son Jason. The kids were picked up by their dad late Wednesday night for the holiday in Nashville, so we had a total of 10 for dinner. I really enjoyed waking up to a very large, fully-prepared meal. After dinner Peter and Gary went off to Winston's, Dad and Jason went to the Falcons game, Paula went home, and the rest of us drove up to Lake Lanier to drive through the Magical Night of Lights.

Friday - Work again for me. We had a few guests right at opening, mostly looking for electronics as we had a digital camera and a digital camcorder on the 7 hour sale. We also had a sale on a digital photo keychain, $9.99 instead of $20 for the 7 hours and we sold a lot of those. I downloaded about 30 pictures from our laptop and demonstrated the keychain throughout the day, along with making announcements over the paging system. I was off at 3:15 and went home to relax while Amy and Kelly continued working on their parent's gift. Tom came over (Barbara was not feeling well) and we went out to Georgia's Stone Mountain Park for their Christmas events. It is the best Christmas event we have attended in years. We sat for two musical shows, watched the laser show on the face of the mountain, and watched the 40 minute 4-D version of The Polar Express before heading home.

Saturday - another day of work for me, quieter. I got off a little early as I was feeling a little ill myself. I came home to watch the Georgia/Georgia Tech football game, which was a real mess as far as officiating. The good news of the day was the UCF VICTORY over University of Texas - El Paso. It gives us a 9-3 record for the season, with 7-1 record in conference play. For the 2nd time in the three years we have been in Conference USA we have won the Eastern Division, and we will also host the conference championship game next week against Tulsa in our brand-new home stadium on our campus! BTW we played Tulsa earlier in the season in Tulsa and beat them by about 18 points!

Sunday - both Amy and I went to bed early last night (by 10pm) as we are both a little sick. We slept until 8am and got up for church. I excused myself from my shift in the bookstore during the second service. It was a very small crowd today, for the final week of a series on the fruits of the spirit, wrapping up with self-control. It was a different format, with one of the pastors interviewing a couple from the congregation about their struggle when, after 4 years of marriage, the wife discovered her husband had lied about being a virgin when they married and also has an addiction to pornography. I can't say I got anything out of it as they said a lot about it being hard on them, but I didn't hear much about what they have done to address and resolve the issue, or how he is exercising self-control now.
Amy and I stopped at Waffle House for breakfast (and had to send back both our plates because there was no cheese on our smothered and covered hash browns). Once home we sat in the living room and were visited by the kitties for a few minutes and then we settled down to relax, rest our sick bodies and watch TV for the day. We made it through I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (not very good) and Reign Over Me (which I liked quite a bit). We had more leftover turkey and sides for dinner and watched The Polar Express, leading up to this point, about time for bed.

Christmas Countdown PIcture #29

Bathed in green for Christmas, this is the carving on the face of Stone Mountain. I wish I had a tripod, as it was difficult holding still for the low-light exposure, but it's still a fairly cool image. Check back daily for more pictures of the season as we approach Christmas.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Saturday Photo Hunt #20 - Hot



At Mallory Square on Key West, FL



At Disney/MGM Studios in Orlando, FL during a rehearsal for the
Indiana Jones Stunt Show.


Please pan down to Wordless Wednesday for a few shots taken in New York City, 11 months before the skyline changed.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Changes

So, I like Christmas, and I like the Peanuts. I even played Charlie Brown in a production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown back in '95. Amy found a lady named the Blog Fairy and ordered a Christmas template for her blog, and asked if I would like one too. My thought was Charlie Brown Christmas.

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Updates

Pixel had his surgery yesterday and he came through very well. He is his normal self, playful and affectionate today.

We made GREAT strides in cleaning the house over the past two days. In fact, LynnMarie's room is ENTIRELY cleaned out. I asked Amy to shoot a few pictures and post them to the nursery webpage tomorrow.

The computer room is cleaned up too, and will now be able to be used as a guest bedroom. It took many hours, but I found homes for over 100 CDs that were not in their cases.

SiL Kelly is coming to stay with us tomorrow through the weekend and FiL and MiL Tom and Barbara will be at a local hotel (cat allergies). We will have 10 or 11 people for Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Wordless Wednesday # 32 - NYC Oct. 2000