Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Flashback #40 - Germans

Okay, I know Falco was from Austria, but it's pretty damned close to Germany and they speak German and he sang in German, so there! I thought of this theme after we had a trivia question this week about David Bowie and good old Major Tom.

Falco = Rock Me Amadeus

Nena- 99luft Balons

Peter Schilling - Major Tom

Friday Feast #18

Appetizer - Who is the easiest person for you to talk to?
My friends at poker.

Soup - If you could live in any ancient city during the height of the quality of its society and culture, which one would you choose?

Salad - What is the most exciting event you’ve ever witnessed?
The terror attacks on September 11, 2001.

Main Course - If you were a celebrity, what would you do for a publicity stunt?
Auction myself off for a charity.

Dessert - What do you consider the ideal age to have a first child?

Thursday, August 30, 2007


What a fun ride it's been this week. What an insane game today. What great news it is that the Phillies are now just 2 games out of 1st place in the National League East after SWEEPING a 4 game series against the Mets!

It's gonna be a HOT September!

BTW - Sorry, Jeff, I know how it must feel (repetitive?) to see the Sox fold like a napkin to the darned Yankees.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Happy Night in Philly

Well, my night was in Atlanta, and it included an unplanned nap while watching Pirates of the Carib. 2 : Dead Man's Chest. When I awoke I rewound and continued while checking news online.

The Phillies managed to beat the Mets for the second consecutive night thanks to a walk-off home run by Ryan Howard (his 35th HR of the year) in the 10th inning. Shane Victorino and Chase Utley are back in the line-up which are two more good things as they try their darndest to make the playoffs this year.

At last check the Braves were trying hard to lose to Florida as they were tied in extra innings and well, props to Cyndi because her Yankees put the hurting on the now 7 games in the lead Red Sox.

And for Amanda (who has started her own blog as an archive of mine, she must be really bored), Ryan Howard is black and I do not hate him.

My famous brother-in-law is coming

For those if any of you who are close to Atlanta and like dance music (not the mainstream kind), DJ Diplo of Hollertronix is coming to Atlanta for a show Monday, September, 17th at the MJQ complex here in Atlanta. Ticket info is listed here. DJ Diplo, aka Diplodicus, aka Wes Gully is actually Wes Pentz, the youngest of three children born to my in-laws. Wes has toured internationally as a DJ and has worked with the singer known as MIA. You can look them both up on and find some of their music.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Grown Up Meme - copied from Sparky Duck

1. Do you have a college degree? Yes. Three in fact.

2.What was the amount of your last electric bill? $505, but that was 2 and a half months worth.

3. Do you have life insurance? I don't think so, but as I think about it, based on the term, this would be insurance that restores your life if you lose it?

4. How many hours per week do you work? 40

5. Have you ever attended a Toastmasters event? No.

6. Favorite place to attend Happy Hour? I don't think there ever is a Happy Hour, but Winston's is the bar I go to the most (for trivia and poker)

7. How many miles is your commute to work each day (one way)? 5

8. What time do you get up every morning for work? 6:30 if it's an 8am shift.

9. What is your definition of sleeping in late? 9-10am

10. Do you check your cholesterol on a yearly basis? yes, quarterly actually.

11. How large was your first cell phone bill? I can't remember that far back. I think Sprint was my first provider though.

12. Does your employer provide good health insurance? Yes

13. Did you use the Internet to write a research paper? No. When I last wrote a research paper we were still using the Periodic Guide books.

14. Have you attended a High School reunion? Yes, the 1oth, and I'm looking forward to the 20th in 2 years, hoping LynnMarie is here by then.

15. How many jobs have you held in your professional career? 7

16. Have you ever been fired or laid off from a job? Yes. The pharmaceutical recovery service I worked for cut me when they were trying to sell themselves. (last hired, first fired)

17. What is your favorite drink? Unsweet Iced Tea

18. What is the most expensive bottle of wine that you have in your refrigerator? I have a $12 bottle of pinot grigio. My wife's wine runs $3/$9.99.

19. Have you been divorced? Nope.

20. How old were you when you stopped getting ID-ed for Alcohol? I still get carded, but I was able to buy it without being carded as young as 18.

21. Favorite casino? Caesar's in Atlantic City - I hit a $5 slot there for $3300. I have only been to 2 or 3 other casinos in my life.

22. Are you happier now than you were in high school? Yes.

23. Did you ever have Hyper color shirts? No, but I have a shirt now that comes to color in sunlight.

24. Do you remember when Michael Jackson was black and was attracted to older people? Yes

25. Do you remember when MTV actually played music videos? Yes, and I miss it dramatically. The programming now is absolute crap.

26. Have you had a will made? No.

27. What music was in your cd / cassette player when you were 16? Um, CDs didn't exist yet, or maybe only for $1000 a player. Cassettes included the Hooters, Debbie Gibson, Whitesnake, Pink Floyd, Boston, Bon Jovi, and R.E.M.

28. Favorite fancy / upscale restaurant? Palo - but it's only accessible if you are on a Disney cruise.

29. How long has it been since you attended a kegger? Um, about 7-8 years. The college girls next door in Orlando had one and invited me.

30. Where were you when you found out about 9-11? I was at Amy's apartment that morning. She was online and saw a headline about the first plane and we turned the TV on from there. I had to work at 12 I think, and we closed the store at 6 because no one was out. Coincidentally, it was the same day that Michael W. Smith's first worship CD was released, and it was a great tool for healing.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Poker and Groceries...

So last night I went to Winston's as usual and enjoyed a good game. Fridays are the busiest day there, with 70-80 players. I placed 6th reaching the final table and going out with two pair when the chip leader caught an ace on the river to take a higher two pair.

I got home late and knew I was going to enjoy my rest. I slept from about 1:30am to 10:15am this morning. When I got up, I took some time to watch the news and check email and I went out to play the afternoon game today. Today I was doing well, but lost to a fifth card suck-out again. I deceided to stay and play the consolation game, and I wound up winning, so I received a $10 gift certificate to Winston's and a place in an invitational champion's tournament.

The talk around the tables today was last night's lunacy which involved a pair of college-aged brothers who came to play. The weirdness came in with them as they were dressed almost exactly alike (and were not twins). Both wore jeans with identical pink shirts, with the sleeves folded up (long sleeves) and ironed to make set creases. It was kinda weird. They dranka lot and one of them wouund up losing. The other one (the one that would not shut up all night) wound up next to me at one of the last two tables.

He had started annoying most of us, and in one hand he made a bet, another player raised to "all-in" and a third player was considering his move. The loud kid started jabbering on about the time player 3 was taking and player 2 cmae to his defense. This escalated to loud guy and player two almost getting up to go outside and fight. Loud guy's brother came over and took their keys off the table and went outside. When the brother returned, someone saw him holding a gun in his pocket, so the police were called. Things settled at the table, the loud guy lost the hand and then moved to the other table where he lost the last of his chips within a few minutes and they both left before the police arrived, but we hear they caught up with them down the road.

Drama. Drama. Drama.

So after poker today I went to Publix to do some shopping for the next few days. Amy is working, so I will plan things out. The next few nights should include, lamb with orzo (a Greek pasta), spaghetti, and chicken with cheesy pasta. That will get us to Wednesday and trivia night. Thursday may be a roast. I made one this past Monday, and then the meat went on sale on Thursday, so I got another one and put it in the freezer. By this time it'll be about Friday, so we'll make another grocery trip by then.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Consider a Gift

WSB RAdio - AM 750 in Atlanta is now doing their 7th annual care-a-thon for the AFLIC (Aflack!) Cancer center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. CHoA is a not-for-profit children's hospital system and the employer of my lovely bride, Amy. Amy has worked there on the neurological floor at the Scottish Rite campus since we moved to Atlanta in 2001. She sees kids daily with brain and spinal tumors, cleft lip and cleft palate repairs, kids with seizures and kids who have been physically abused and suffered neurological damage as a result.

If you click HERE you will be taken to the website for WSB's Care-a-Thon 2007 where you can read about real kid's stories, see some of the auction items and listen live through Friday.

WSB is our local news/talk station, bringing weather and traffic every 6 minutes in the drive-time hours and is the flagship station for Neil Boortz and for Clark Howard. They also carry Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, and local host Chris Crok.

Friday Flashback #39 - Heaven

I guess it's fair to say that music from the 1980's is a slice of Heaven.(which is better than a slice of Warrant's "Cherry Pie"). So we have two Canadians, Bryan Adams and Loverboy. We have hair mania with Warrant and the ever-lovely lead singer from the Go-gos, Belinda Carlisle. Enjoy til next week y'all.

Warrant - Heaven

Loverboy - Heaven in Your Eyes

Bryan Adams - Heaven

Belinda Carlisle - Heaven is a place on Earth

Friday Feast # 17

Say there’s a book written about your life. Who would you want to narrate the audio version?
I started reading this question and thought it was going to be who do you want to play yo in the movie, but I will stand with the same choice, Jeremy Piven.

Take the letters from your favorite kind of nut and write a sentence. (Example: Perhaps every avenue needs understanding today.)

A Last Minute Order Naturally Demands Specificity.

If you could go back in time and spend one week in another decade, which decade would you choose?

Definitely back to the 1980's - I go there every week for my Friday Flashback Video Posts.

Main Course
Name a song that brings back memories for you.

"Patience" by Guns and Roses. We had a classmate die the night before finals our senior year and two guys played guitar and sang this song at our next Younglife meeting.

Do you prefer to wash your hands in cold water or warm water?

Warm Water.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #26

Thirteen Things about Michael

Thirteen Famous People I have met.
1. Deborah "Debbie" Gibson - 1980's teen pop singer now does Broadway work - I was in her fan club and later did some photo work for her at a concert in Tampa.

2. Yakov Smirnov - Russian comedian popular in the 80's-90's, met him at a hotel I was working at in FLorida and again outside a comedy club in Orlando.

3. Amy Grant - Contemporary Christian/Pop Singer - I worked for a Christian Bookstore and we hosted several events with her in Atlanta.

4. President Jimmy Carter - My father was a delegate to the 1976 Democratic Convention. I was 5 years old, but I remember meeting him.

5. M.I.A. - MIA is a club/dance singer originally from Sri Lanka and she is dating my brother-in-law Wes (DJ Diplo). MIA has been on MTV and Jimmy Kimmel and just this week was featured on's home page.

6. Ken Block - the lead singer of Sister Hazel. While recording their second CD, Ken took time off to fly back to Orlando from LA and came to see my friend's band at a local gig in Orlando.

7. "The Nature Boy" Rick Flair - While working for a radio station in Orlando he came to an event we hosted to do an autograph session. (note: he is a shrimp. I am bigger than him)

8. S. Truett Cathy - the founder of Chick-fil-a. I honestly think about 80% of Atlanta has met him because they will all tell you this if you make them mad while working at a Chick-fil-a.

9. John Tesh - again due to the Christian Bookstore - he records praise and worship music now and he performed at our manager's conference.

10. Cal Ripkin, Jr. - he came into my Chick-fil-a back in December, about a week before he was announced for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

11. Matt Serletic - Matt was a year ahead of me in my high school and we played in the school band together. He went on to produce records for Collective Soul, Matchbox 20, Edwin McCain, Taylor Hicks, and Aerosmith and to become chairman of Virgin Records.

12. Chris Gardocki - Chris is another high school classmate (also one year ahead of me). He is a professional football player and won a SuperBowl Ring in 2005 as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

13.Several other Christian bands and musicians, again through concerts and other promotions tied to work, including Jeremy Camp, Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, Newsboys, Rebecca St. James, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Jars of Clay, Smalltown Poets, Geoff Moore, Stacie Orrico, Derek Webb, Across the Sky, Joy Williams, Kristy Starling, Souljahz, TobyMac, Casting Crowns, Vince Gill, Third Day, Chris Rice, Mark Schultz, and Avalon.

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!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Four Kinds of Mornings

It's my assertion today that there are four kinds of mornings.

1. The alarm goes off and you want another 10 minutes to sleep (and another, and another).
2. You wake up 10 minutes before your alarm and you're perfectly fine with that.
3. You don't have the alarm set and you don't care.
4. You don't have the alarm set and you are now in big trouble!

Today for me is a #2. It's a good follow-up to yesterday when I woke up on time, was at work early, had a pretty productive day at work, got a haircut after work, got home and did the dishes, changed the kitty litter, cleaned part of the garage, took the trash down to the curb, called the mortgage company, and prepared dinner (reheated the roast and veggies I made yesterday), and oh yes, the Phillies won last night!

Wordless Wednesday #22 (Key West, FL @ Sunset)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Joyful Welcome!

Ladies and Gentlemen, May I introduce to you....


In the past week there has been a new voice posting comments on Valtool's Box, he is retrodaddy as far as his comments, but he is much, much, more.

retrodaddy aka MacTool aka Mike McNamara

MacTool is one of my longest friends and one of my best friends, in fact we go back about 11 or so years now.

Having met through an online fan forum for a once popular 80's singer, we met in person at a fan convention near NYC back in '96.

As Mike was at the University of Florida (on the 11 year plan) and I was at the University of Central Florida, we got together for road trips to Tallahassee for concerts, football, and to try to meet girls.

We enjoyed beers and buffalo wings, meals at the Ale House in G'ville and eventually he was a groomsman when I married Amy.

After we moved to Atlanta, he graduated and relocated to the metro-Atlanta area as well.

We've done the Peachtree Road Race and 4th of July BBQ's, we've played trivia (and won thanks to his 70's music expertise).

and I suppose I must explain how the name MacTool came to be. Along with Pennsylvania WNBA fanatic Rob Polinsky (aka PoTool), we formed the Tool Party, a political faction offering an alternative to the groups that pass for leadership here in the USA. Our platform was built upon the need to enjoy social times with excellent 80's music, excellent sports, and excellent food and drink, all without imposing on other people's feelings, rights, and general well-being.
I was the party social coordinator and public relations specialist, but I can't for the life of me remember whether Mike or Rob was our Presidential candidate and the other was the running mate.

So anyways, welcome Mike to our blogosphere. He ought to show up at Amy's blog as well. Jeff Rushing has met him and can vouch for his coolness, and ladies, if you are in your low-mid 30's, single, and have short brown hair, let me know so I can let Mike know.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The $50,000 question - a meme I created (having not really planned on creating a meme)

A philanthropist awards you $50,000 with the stipulation that you may use half of it for yourself and the other half you must use for the benefit of others. By "benefit of others" it can mean anything really, buying a gift for a family member or donating to a charity.

a. How do you spend the money on yourself?
b. How do you use the money for others. Please be detailed, so if you say "give X dollars to charity, let us know what charity and why you select that one.
c. If you were to spend part of your money to have a performer do a show for you, who would it be and why?
d. If you were to use it on a new vehicle for yourself, what kind?
e. If you spent part of it to go to a "fantasy" camp, what type would you choose?
f. If you were to use it to buy season tickets for a sports team, what team would it be?
g. If you were to use it to go on a cruise (assuming you like cruises) where would you cruise to?
h. If you were to use it to go to NYC to see a show (or shows) what would you see?


i. Totally off subject (but since Fall is coming) what is your favorite carnival food (I was watching "Big" while writing this and saw them at the carnival)?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Flashback #38 - Dreams

Welcome to Friday, August 17, 2007 and the 38th edition of my Friday Flashback. This week I was listening to a CD of MP3's on my new car stereo. This is a disc burned from an old laptop I had back in the days of Napster and has quite a variety of files. I think my biggest surprise was the audio from one of the Budweiser comercials with the wassup guys, but it was the white yuppie version "What are YOU doing?"
Somewhere around track #130 I hit "Life in a Northern Town" by Dream Academy and that was the inspiration of this week's flashback. I will also mention that if you saw Ferris Bueller's Day Off, then you have heard more Dream Academy as they supplied the instrumental piece playing when the kids are in the art museum and Cameron gets totally absorbed in a piece. So enjoy this week and pan down for some laughs on my Thursday Thirteen - Comic Quotes.

Dream Academy - Life in a Northern Town

Van Halen - Dreams

Crowded House - Don't Dream It's Over

Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams

Friday Feast #18

Appetizer - Describe your laundry routine. Do you have a certain day when you do it all, or do you just wash whatever you need for the next day?
When I did my own laundry I would just do it as needed, so maybe once a week. Now I am married and Amy does about 95% of the laundry and she does it almost daily. (p.s. I do a lot of cooking).

Soup - In your opinion, what age will you be when you’ll consider yourself to truly be old?
I don't know about truly old, maybe 60, but I get pangs of oldness now as I hire and train people who were not alive when I graduated from high school.

Salad - What is one of your goals? Is it short-term, long-term, or both?
To be debt free, long-term, short-term, and always, and it's a tough one. I actually downgraded our cable TV service yesterday as part of this plan and the lawn guy is next to go.

Main Course - Name something unbelievable you’ve seen or read lately.
Yesterday I read that something like 500 people died in Iraq in a single day (Iraqi people) due to a series of bomb attacks.

Dessert - On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how happy are you today?
7. I am enjoying working and actually having a job, but it is a lot of physical work right now and will be for another 2 weeks or so, and it's wearing me down a bit. Add to this some stresses at home, can't go above a 7.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #25

Thirteen Things about Valtool

Thirteen Funny Quotations...

1. "Life is like a dogsled team, If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes" - Lewis Grizzard

2. "After three divorces I resolve to never get married again. I will simply find a woman I hate and buy her a house." - Lewis Grizzard

3. "There are few things that are so unpardonably neglected in our country as poker. The upper class knows very little about it. Now and then you find ambassadors who have sort of a general knowledge of the game, but the ignorance of the people is fearful. Why, I have known clergymen, good men, kind-hearted, liberal, sincere, and all that, who did not know the meaning of a "flush." It is enough to make one ashamed of one's species." - Mark Twain

4. "If you work without a shirt on and so does your husband, you might be a redneck." - Jeff Foxworthy

5. "God, she's growing up, and I don't know when it happened, man. I used to buy her Minnie Mouse panties and little Winnie the Pooh underwear. I was helping my wife fold cloths. I picked up a pair of skimpy underwear. I looked at my wife and said: "When you gonna wear these for me?" She goes, "I can't. They're your daughter's." "Aaaaaaahhhhhh! No, No, No!" There was nothing to them! The how-to-wash tag was the biggest piece of cloth on there." - Bill Engvall

6. "I had a rough night. I had a dream that I drank the world's biggest margarita, and I woke up - there was salt around the toilet bowl. That's not good right there." - Larry the Cable Guy.

7. " Always be wary of the Software Engineer who carries a screwdriver." - Robert Paul

8. "Hollywood is where they shoot too many pictures and not enough actors." - Walter Winchell

9. "All men hear is blah, blah, blah, blah, SEX, blah, blah, blah, FOOD, blah, blah, blah, BEER." - Dennis Leary

10. "Nobody believes the official spokesman, but everybody trusts an unidentified source." - Ron Nesen

11. "Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them." - Abraham Lincoln

12. "A good rule of thumb is if you've made it to thirty-five and your job still requires you to wear a name tag, you've made a serious vocational error." - Dennis Miller

13. "If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?" - unknown

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!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Casting Crowns - Does anybody hear her ?

I've posted this video before, but it is so significant, I have to do it again, and in time I will repeat it again. Casting Crowns is as bluntly truthful as any band I have ever heard, and the video illustration speaks volumes about the problem of so many "church people."

Stop the Madness

The kids are back to school.

I know this how?

Today while running an errand for work I passed a public elementary school. It was close to release time as the traffic zone was in effect and I noticed over 40 cars lined up in the parking lot and stretching out onto the highway on the shoulder, allowing breaks for business entrances because little Johnny or Susie is too frigging precious to ride the bus which the county has to supply and pay for regardless of how many kids ride it. It was fine for me when I was growing up, why not now for your spoiled offspring?

How else do I know the kids are back in school?

An hour ago the doorbell rang and the dog went nuts. At the door were 2 elementary-ages girls selling wrapping paper to raise money for whatever it was they needed.

It's the SECOND day of school for the year!!!!!!

Here's an idea. Mom and Dad could pay for your extra-curricular activities if they were not burning gasoline and taking up space sitting around to carry your pampered little butts home after they doubtlessly drove you TO school as well!

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Daily Recap

1. Went to work from 8-4 and found out that Wednesday we should be heading to my store to start the setup there.

2. Went to BestBuy and got a new car stereo. Not only were the speakers gone, but the CDd deck as well. They had a sale on Kenwood with the speakers half off the already sale price if you bought a deck there the same day. This one is kinda cool because it has a front plug for MP3/Ipods and it has a remote (not that I can't reach it from the front seat anyway.

3. Went to play cards and lost early, but I had a good time and saw people I know and enjoyed playing and chatting. When I was done I sat at the bar with Gary to talk to Matt and I got heckled for using the word "dude."

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Good sporting day

Alrighty, two of my three expected or hoped for outcomes came through today.

On ESPN Sunday Night Baseball the Phillies took down the Braves to win 2 of 3 at PNC Bank Park in Philly before a sell-out crowd. The key play was a 3-run homer by the Rhyno, Ryan Howard in the bottom of the 6th, giving the Phils a 4-2 lead. They hung on to win the game 5-3.

There were a few interesting plays, one in the 6th where Jimmy Rollins was in first and Tadahito Iguchi hits a grounder to the second, who tosses to short. The shortstop steps over the bag as Rollins slides in and is safe as he never touched the bag with his foot. The throw to first in an attempted double play is a very close one, possibly a tie and BOTH runners are safe, setting up Howard's homer. Braves coach Bobby Cox came out to argue and Amy said she saw him say "Bull___!" He did NOT get thrown out tonight.

The other noteworthy plays necessitate this memo. Attention ALL MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYERS.... Do NOT under any circumstances attempt to score from second on a ball hit to right field against the Braves. Jeff Francour WILL throw you out. You may also wish to rethink any attempts to tag from third.

Beyond that, Tiger Woods won his 13th Major tournament, and as I said earlier, Jeff Gordon managed to spin himself out and recover only dropping 8 positions, at least he wasn't stuck in the kitty litter (the gravel surrounding some of the curves at Watkins Glenn.

Sunday Sunday

I'll add more details and thoughts later as I am working on preparing dinner right now (yes, another Michael night of cooking ladies and gents).

As Amy mentioned on her blog, we went to church this morning and had a wonderful experience with a great final message as we finished the book of Ecclesiastes and had a lunch/new member orientation class after the service. We will be joining this church, North Metro Church, later in the Fall.

We got out of the meeting in time for me to bring Amy home to rest and I could still go out to play cards. I did not last long in the primary tournament, but I won the consolation tourney and a $10 gift certificate to Winston's as a result.

After watching the end fo the NASCAR race (Jeff Gordon spun himself out with 3 laps left when he'd had the lead), I went to Publix and bought ingredients for two meals. Tonight I am making crabmeat-stuffed tilapia with broiled scallops, rice and a veggie.

Tomorrow we are on our own for dinner as Amy has to work and I'll be working too late to join her for dinner, but Tuesday I'll be making my ziti with italian sausage, yummy.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Fun Saturday

I woke up just as Amy got home this morning and promptly scared the bejeebers out of her when I came downstairs and she did not hear me come into the kitchen. I take great pleasure in those moments, though Amy hates them.

I crashed on the couch for another hour and a half or so, allowing Lucy to be out all morning and at 1pm I left to go play poker at Winston's. The Saturday game is very casual, seating about 30 players, and I placed 4th today so I did not win anything except a beer, and that was not related to my placement. I won the beer because I had a STRAIGHT FLUSH. This is about the highest-ranked hand you can achieve.

I was on the big blind, meaning I was forced to put chips in play regardless of my feelings for my cards. I was dealt the 5 and 6 of spades and no one raised the bet, so I was able to see the flop for free. The flop was all spades, so I had a flush made with the Ace , 4, and 7 of spades. I was in a bad spot as anyone with a single high spade could make a better flush, so I checked, and one player bet 3000 chips, I raised to 6000 and he called my bet. The turn brought the 3 of spades, giving me a strgith flush, the 3,4,5,6,7 of spades. I checked my hand and so did Ronnie. He had an ace in his hand, so he had the top pair, but feared a flush, so he checked too. The river card was inconcequential, so he checked and I bet my remaining 7000 chips and Ronnie folded. For proof of my awesome hand, I showed my cards and revelled in my accomplishment.

I ordered Chinese for dinner fo us as I was unsure when I would finish cards. As it is, I went out in 4th at about 5pm, so I filled my Jeep with gas and bought some soda and made it home in time to see Amy for about 20 minutes before she had to go to work.

After eating, I took Lucy out to Petsmart to buy some catfood and kitty litter, and we hit the Chick-fil-a for a gallon of tea. She enjoyed the outing but she was seriously hot and panting as today was our fourth consecutive day of 100 degree or higher heat in Atlanta. Now I'm home and Lucy is resting on the couch as I am settling in to watch the Phillies/Braves game, in which the Phils are down 3-0 in the 2nd, though I have faith as they were down 4-0 in the first yesterday and they still won.

Update 7:54pm - Phillies moron LF Pat Burrell made 2 rotton plays allowing 2 Braves triples and a 4-0 score at the midpoint of the 3rd inning. However, Jimmy Rollins led off the 3rd with a solo home run. Burrell was booed while in the outfield and missing those plays, and he got booed again as he came to bat in the 3rd. However, he just hit a double to start redeeming himself.

Update 8:33 - Bottom of the 5th, Phillies are down 6-1 now. No outs we get men on 1st and 2nd and a "catcher's balk" happens. The ball hit the ground in FRONT of the catcher, bounced up under his chin and fell down between his chest protector and his chest. The ruling, both runners advance one base. A walk ensues, loading the bases, followed by a 2-run double, and Pat Burrell is up again. He just hit a nice single, scoring one run, so it's men on 1st and 3rd with no out, the score is now 6-4 and the Braves are changing pitchers!

Update 9:57pm - I don't know which it is, but God either likes the Phillies, hates the Braves, or loves torturing Phillies fans. 9th Inning, Braves are up and the Phillies bring in some guy named Durbin (2000 HS player of the year in Arizona! woohoo) to pitch. He walks the first three batters to load the bases and there is no one in the bullpen! Fortunately a double play happens next, second baseman fields a grounder, throws out the runner at home and the catcher throws out the batter at first. A hard grounder to second is recovered to put out the next batter (Texeira). And we're into the bottom of the 9th, and the Braves tub-o-lard Wickman is pitching. Phillies open with a double, and a flyout, but Jimmy Rollins is up now....
Jimmy hits a hopper to short and is thrown out despite his speed, last out but the tying run is at the plate in the form of Tadahito Iguchi who is filling in for the injured Chase Utley at 2nd base. Igucji grounds out to SS and we have a 1-1 series with the rubber game for the Braves/Phillies tomorrow at 8:05 on ESPN.

Star Blazers - The Quest for Iscandar

Jumping back about 25 or so years, my older brother Peter and I used to love to watch a cartoon called Star Blazers. Star Blazers was the American production name of a Japanese series called "Starship Yamato" and is considered a breakthrough in the genre of anime.

I'm not a fan of anime, but this was our favorite program growing up. I had forgotten, but recently I was talking about the show with Peter and he remembered that we had even taken some plain white tee-shirts and used markers to fashion them like the uniforms of the characters on the show.

The theme was traditional good vs. evil, and the plot revolved around an evil planet bombing the Earth with radioactive material that was making it unlivable. People had built underground cities, but those were threatened. A princess (Starsha) from a distant planet (Iscandar) sent a message offering a machine that could clean the Earth and plans for a space engine and weapon system that would be necessary for the Earth to send people to her planet and return within a year's time (the life expectancy of the Earth). The ship used for the mission was built in the remains of a sunken Japanese battleship (the Yamato). When launched as a star battleship it was renamed the Argo.

They made an entire series detailing this mission, and 2 more "seasons" as you could call it. Thankfully, they are now available on DVD and that is what I am watching today!

Saturday Photo Hunt # 16 - Row

Not your average row of parking spaces, this row includes the location of the pitcher's mound in what had been Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, the same pitcher's mound from which Hank Aaron's 716th career home run hit was pitched.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Feast #17

Appetizer - What is your favorite kind of pie?
Easy one. Dutch Apple Crumb.

Soup - Name something that made you smile this week.
Spending time with Amy. We went to trivia and came in 2nd place. We had dinner together 5 days straight (4 of which I cooked).

Salad - What do you do to cool off when the weather is hot and humid?
Stay inside with the AC. We didn't pay HOA dues this year so no pool.

Main Course - You receive $1,000 in the mail with a letter that says you can only use the money to redecorate one room in your home. Which room do you pick, and what do you buy to spruce it up?
Toss up - The family room needs some hardwood replaced and the stereo wires concealed in the walls. The other option is the future nursery for LynnMarie, but we have years before she arrives. (adopting a baby girl from China)

Dessert - Fill in the blank: My _________ says __________, but I __________.
My car stereo says it's 5 minutes faster than it is, but I know better.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Friday Flashback #37 Stop the Madness!

My lovely wife Amy likes to use the phrase "Stop the Madness!" and this evening while cooking dinner we were watching The Bachelor (the Chris O'Donnell, Renee Zellwegger movie) and I heard "It Must Be Love" and remembered this was a cool rock/ska band from England and a great subject for a Friday Flashback theme.

Our House

It Must Be Love

One Step Beyond


Okay, it is official... Here in Atlanta, at Hartsfield Airport, at about 12:15pm today a new record high temperature was recorded. The previos high was in 1980, at 101 degrees. Today we it...


and I am on my second summer without air conditioning in my Jeep, and yesterday the radio went out (I believe it's the death of the last two speakers).

Trivia Wednesday

Peter's in Canada this week, not that he makes it to help us much anyway, but Amy and I took second place tonight after having a two point lead before the final bonus question. We had no real idea, but it turns out my first instinct was right.... here are some of the questions.

The final bonus - Built in 1910, Rickwood Park is the oldest baseball stadium in the United States, in what southern city will you find it?

What brand is the highest selling in the USA for each of these four types of liquor... Vodka, Rum, Whiskey/Bourbon, and Tequilla.

What author wrote Blades of Grass, a book of poetry given as a gift to both Monica Lewinsky and Hillary Clinton by Bill Clinton?

What was the first top 40 hit for Kiss?

Founded in 1982, that national newspaper was quickly branded McPaper due to it's use of color and short articles? (nice question as my mother was a founder of this paper and was the first circulation director in the Atlanta market, which was the second to start after Baltimore/DC).

Which of these 4 TV shows has NOT won the Emmy for best drama? Lost, 24, CSI:Las Vegas, or ER.

What music group had hits in the 1990's with "Zombie" and "Linger?"

Thursday Thirteen #24

Thirteen Things about Michael's Time at UCF

Taking inspiration from my wife and her legions of Union University Alumni, I give you Thirteen Things about my time at the University of Central Florida.....

1. Going to college with Heisman Trophy candidate and future NFL quarterback Daunte Culpepper.

2. Attending football games at the Florida Citrus Bowl in downtown Orlando. UCF is opening thier on-campus stadium this September, so no more 15 mile commutes to the games.

3. Fall of 1998, the opening home game of Daunte's senior year (as he decided to play rather than go into the NFL draft) against the Idaho Vandals (a large crow-like bird).

4. Writing editorials and features for both Knight Times and the Central Florida Future. I later shot photos for the CFF as well.

5. Being around in '93/' 94 when the CFF got kicked off campus. They were unofficial but had space in a trailer and they got in trouble for an editorial cartoon of President Hitt as Hitler. It had to do with rules about rollerblades, skateboards, and bikes on sidewalks in heavily pedestrian trafficked areas of the campus.

6. Many years of good times with the Wesley Foundation, the United Methodist Campus Ministry. I was there for two different leaders, both of whom were in my wedding, one as a groomsman (Rev. Steve Binkley) and the other (Rev. Anna Jackson) did a reading.

7. Two mission trips from Orlando to the Cumberland Mountains in Tennessee.

8. Two road trips from Orlando to Tallahassee for football games at FSU, one with my groomsman and UF grad Mike McNamara, and one without. The one with Mike was fun as it included staying at the Motel 6, dinner with Shelly (a mutual friend) and going to a Village People/KC and the Sunshine Band concert and clubbing Friday night. Wings, beer and football all day at Buffalos and the night time ESPN game of FSU and Clemson.

9. Graduation in 1994 with the surprise arrival of my Nana when my dad and brother flew in from Atlanta. Nana got to sit on the floor of the arena behind the students because of her wheelchair.

10. The homecoming comedy concert with one of my favorite comedians, ventriloquist Jeff Dunham.

11. Knowing my friend Melinda and getting to use her parent's theatre tickets to see Big the Musical, and State Fair.

12. Discovering the internet with help from Heidi "Boing" Ferrell, who BTW is now a friend and coworker of my brother Tim and attended his wedding.

13. Covering the news story about Jesus coming to UCF. Campus Crusade for Christ arranged for the Jesus film to be broadcast on the outdoor movie set-up at the reflecting pond in front of the library.

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, August 06, 2007

Ten on Tuesday #6

This week's list is 10 Things I will NEVER do again....

1. I will NEVER have again have intimate affairs with anyone other than Amy Christopher.
2. I will NEVER work another day for any of the following companies, Chick-fil-a, Marriott Hotels, Pharmaceutical Recovery Services Inc., or USA Today.
3. I will NEVER again attend an arena football game.
4. I will NEVER again watch a VHS videotape.
5. I will NEVER again program a computer in BASIC or PASCAL, or any other language for that matter as those are the only two I ever knew.
6. I will NEVER again be part of a sports team other than men's slowpitch softball.
7. I will NEVER again drink as much as I did on my brother's 39th birthday (look at last Saturday's post for details).
8. I will NEVER again put money into an online poker site.
9. I will NEVER again see Disney's Beauty and the Beast on Broadway (because it closed last week on Sunday, but it is still touring!).
10. I will NEVER again vote Democrat. (only ever did it once in 1992).

Sunday, August 05, 2007


For lack of anything much better, I figured I'd share the plan for the week as we went grocery shopping yesterday and I did all the selecting as I made menus in my head. The result, a mix of comfort foods from the USA and Europe so to speak.

Tonight we started with meatloaf, the way my mom made it. Nothing fancy, but with mashed potatoes and gravy and yellow corn, definitely comfort food.

Monday, due to time constraints with my getting off from work and Amy having to go to work, we're headed to Old Bavaria. Bratwurst on the grill with sauerkraut, mashed potatoes again, and most likely broccoli.

Tuesday, I'm off from work, so prep time is no issue, I need to get some mushrooms but all else is ready for sirloin steak on the grill, baked potatoes with the fixings and corn on the cob.

Wednesday is trivia night, so bar/pub food at Winston's.

Thursday I work the closing shift, so off to Italy for a little pasta. Simply put spaghetti, again the way mom taught me, with garlic bread. This works because I can make it by lunch time, and we can both eat it and have leftovers to take to work.

Friday is indefinite, we have some chicken breasts in the freezer, but Amy's heart is on a meal that reminds her of her childhood. Fish sticks, macaroni and cheese, and green peas. I am adding a box of fried clams for my own liking, again it's easy to do at lunchtime and I'll brown bag work.

We hit the deli at Publix for some roast beef and picked up some ham and turkey in the regular lunch meat section, so I got some Dagwood style sandwiches to make and take all week, and that is it folks!

A good day for the Tool in sports

Hey campers..... It's Sunday.

I worked today (8-4) so I missed church, and had a decent day. We had some trouble with the equipment which included a victory for me in how I figured out how to outsmart the thing. Basically a piece had been broken yesterday and I found an identical piece that the machine would not miss from its home, so I moved it to where the broken one was because the machine had a problem with the broken one being missing. So, as fate would have it, about 30 minutes after I fixed the printer, the developer decided to stop working. So we could print internet and digital orders.

But the topic today is sports. Last night Amy got called off from work so she got to come to trivia. We came in third place on all sports and entertainment trivia... we couldn't have caught anyone else, but we did advance from fourth on the final bonus.... what college has the most National Chamionships.... it was Notre Dame. While we were there, we saw Barry hit number 755, the best part was the four guys in T-shirts with 7, 5, 5, and *. We also saw A-Rod's 500th. I'm better now as they mentioned that with A-Rod's youth and progress, he will beat Barry anyway.

And today,......

Tiger Woods won this weekend's tournament!

Jeff Gordon came in 4th at Pocono. All he has to do is finish top 10 for the rest of the year and he'll have another championship.

My Phillies! Despite a heartbreaking loss last night when a homerun was stolen from them in the 9th. Revenge.... Down 6-1 in the top of the 9th, they scored 5 runs to tie it. In extra innings we got 2 runs with two outs in the 11th and won the game!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Saturday Photo Hunt #15 Funky

Friday Feast #21

Appetizer - On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how polite are you?
Somewhere around 6, depending on my mood and the people I am being forced to interact with.

Soup - What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
A few minutes ago I had gone downstairs. My wife thought I was still in bed so when she came down and rounded the corner, it startled her and I laughed out loud.

Salad - Who is your favorite cartoon character?
Neat question considering I was in the presence of so many of them just yesterday (Thursday Thirteen post on Six Flags). I have to say Bugs Bunny.

Main Course - Tell about the funniest teacher you ever had.
Mr. George D. Bagwell. He was the computer teacher at my high school back in the day when BASIC and PASCAL were our languages on Apple II, Apple IIe, and Apple II+ machines. His middle initial actually stood for Dilmus, and we were all allowed to call him "Dilly." He was famous for telling and making puns, so I loved him. Last I heard he was in charge of all computer education in Gwinnett County, GA in metro-Atlanta.

Dessert - Complete this sentence: I strongly believe in the soul, the c__k, the p__y, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days. (okay, this is taken from Kevin Costner in Bull Durham, but it is the best "What I Believe" I have ever heard, the delivery was perfect)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Friday Flashback #36 - Roxette

Welcome to the Friday Flashback. Coming from somewhere in Scandinavia, Sweden I think, we had Roxette. They were cool. The girl was hot even with the short hair, or maybe because of it? But what about the poor guy? Was he just there to write the songs and play the guitar? However it evolved, they had a good run of 2 or 3 albums and then kinda disappeared, not without first leaving us the love song from Pretty Woman, and a song to be remade by a club dance group some 15 years later.... enjoy.


The Look

It Must Have Been Love

Listen To Your Heart

Thursday Thirteen #23

Thirteen Things about Michael

Thirteen Things About My Day At Six Flags Today

1…. Amy and I went with my father-in-law, Tom, my sister-in-law, Kelly, and our neice Janie and nephew Seth.

2... We indulged in the unlimited refills souvenier cups for $11.99.

3... We Started off by taking pictures with the characters just inside the entrance. I had my picture taken with Batman, Bugs Bunny, and Marvin the Martian.

4... The first ride we went on was the Georgia Cyclone, a wooden roller coaster which rides rough (needs shock absorbers) and is a lot longer than it looks.

5... We then rode the Dahlonega Mine Train (similar to Disney's Thunder Railroad but tamer). It was the first roller coaster built at Six Flags back when it opened in 1967.

6... As you can tell from the above item, Six Flags over Georgia is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

7... I'm told that Six Flags has a fairly new CEO and he has done a LOT to make it a better place (cleaner public areas (especially the restrooms) and dress code and behavior enforcement). It made a real difference.

8... We spent time in Bugs Bunny Land where the kids rode just about every ride.

9... While Janie and Kelly went on one ride, I took Seth to the restroom and then we played one of the carnival games where you shoot water at a target to lift a meter to determine the winner. Seth is 4 years old and he beat me! I waited to make sure he knew what he needed to do and he took off ahead of me, so he won a large plush Bugs Bunny!

10... Amy rode a total of two rides, the carousel and the Six Flags Railroad which tours through the park.

11... This is the place to be if you like roller coasters. They have, The Georgia Cyclone, the Great American Scream Machine, Superman Flight, Batman the Ride, The Mindbender, The Ninja, The Dahlonega Mine Train, The Georgia Scorcher, Deja Vu, and Goliath.

12... We spent just 6 hours there, in over 90 degree heat, but we had a good time!

13... We've reunited with my mother-in-law, Barbara and nephew Owen and we're headed out to dinner and back to their hotel for a swim!

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!