Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Flashback

I started shooting pictures with an SLR about 10 years ago, and this was one of my first that I also developed and printed myself at a dark room at UCF.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Bro Code

One of the gifts I received for Christmas was a book from my brother Peter. This book is titled, The Bro Code as "authored" by Barney Stinson and Matt Kuhn. Barney Stinson is a fictional character on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother played by Neil Patrick Harris. Barney is the ultimate guy's guy and lady's man. It's funny how well he plays the character considering the actor is openly gay.

According to the Bro Code...

If a bro gets a dog, it must be at least as tall as his knee when full-grown.

When wearing a cap, the Bro may position the brim at 12 o'clock or 6 o'clock, anything inbetween is reserved for rappers and the handicapped.

A Bro must always post bail for another Bro unless it's out of state or like, crazy expensive. (crazy expensive equals # of years you have known Bro time $100)

A Bro shall stop everything he's doing and watch Die Hard if it is on TV. The same goes for the Shawshank Redemption, Top Gun, The Big Lebowski, the first half of Full Metal Jacket, and porn.

If a Bro forgets a guy's name he may call him "brah," "dude," or "man," but never "Bro."

A Bro shall drop whatever he's doing and rush to help another Bro dump a chick.

Bros before Hos.

If two bros decide to catch a movie together, they shall not attend one starting later than 4:40pm.

If a Bro should pick up a guitar at a party and start playing, another Bro shall point out that he is a tool.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Almost 15 years ago I traveled the furthest I ever have traveled when I went to London, England for a week.

In about 3 months I should be traveling to China. It's something like 17 hours on the plane.

What's the farthest from home you have traveled and what was the purpose of the trip?

In my case it was London and it was as an unofficial chaperone on a trip with the high school I was student teaching at. We visited museums, historic sites and saw theatre shows. I remember we stayed in Hampton Gardens and visited Cambridge and Stratford-on-Avon. We saw An Absoute Turkey, Cats, Les Miserables and Macbeth performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. I fell asleep during MacBeth, but I fell in love with Les Miserables.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - Christmas Expected/Unexpected

Thirteen Things about Mike's Christmas, the expected and the unexpected.

1. Expected - Bluejeans. I realized I last bought new bluejeans in the Spring of 1999 before going on a mission trip to TN with my college ministry group. I asked for 2 new pair of Wranglers. I received 3 new pair of Levis and a nice wool-lined denim jacket.

2. Expected - Boxer shorts. Last year I received 3 really nice pair of J.Crew boxers from my s-i-l and this year it was 3 pair of Izod. We'll see how they compare. Again they were from Kelly. Here's a tip. It is okay for your sister-in-law to buy you underwear. It for a guy to buy his s-i-l underwear (except maybe longohns).

Well, that was all that I ASKED for, so the rest of these fall in the Unexpected category.

3. Number 3 in this 13, but number 1 on my list. A daughter. By early Spring I will be a daddy. Go to to learn more.

4. An Xbox 360! I would have enjoyed a refurbished Xbox so I could continue to play the games I have for it, but Amy got me the newer one and it should play some if not all of the older games.

5. A Jeff Dunham DVD. Jeff Dunham is probably my favorite comedian. Granted, he's a ventriloquist, but I have been watching him for over 10 years and even got to see him live back in '98 or '99 at the UCF Homecoming Week Comedy concert. "Peanut, you lost a shoe." "No I didn't. I FOUND one!"

6. The Bro Code - from our favorite sitcom, How I Met Your Mother, authored by Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) a copy of the book The Bro Code.

7. An itunes gift card. I hope that it works for downloading songs I can use on my mp3 player because I don't have an ipod.

8. The Dark Knight - in my opinion the best movie I saw this year. Now I own it.

9. A new UCF hat, white with the UCF logo.

10. A new UCF polo shirt, primarily black with gold and white stripes and the UCF Knights logo.

11. Whatever is coming from my brother and his family (it didn't arrive yet).

12. A book on being a daddy (from Amy).

13. Step-brothers (the movie). We have not seen it, but we generally like Will Farrell and the ads looked funny.

Merry Christmas to those of you who read my blog. I found out there are a lot more of you than I realized. make me happy and leave comments sometimes. I'll find out who some of you are and some conversations, discussions and relationships might just begin!

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 23, 2008

A Very Special Announcement

Please visit to meet..... my DAUGHTER!

Merry Christmas Y'all!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cold & Cold

A few days ago, like Friday, it was in the high 60's here in Atlanta.

Today it is currently 21 with a "feels like" temp of 16. Ouch

Add to this I now have a cold.


I had yesterday off from work and today too.

On Saturday we had a couple from our small group over for dinner and a movie and we watched Love Actually by my reccomendation. I totally forgot that one of the subplots involved a couple who meet on the job, which happens to be working as stand-ins on s movie set so they can fix the lighting before the stars come out to act. Well, they work on a porn set so they have to keep getting undressed and simulate sex acts and here I am showing this movie to people from church. I reall was embarassed. Aside from that, it is a good movie, with a fair bit of dry British humor.

Sunday we went to church which was really good. I found the sermon intriguing and wanted more of it when it was over. We hit the grocery store on the way home for things needed for dinner and sandwiches for lunch. We then watched the 2nd half of the movie Juno. It was good, not great, not one I need to see again.

Later last night we had some friends over again, another couple we know through adoption. We had chili and grilled cheese sandwiches and we watched Christmas Vacation and part of the Jeff Dunham Christmas special.

I wasn't necessarily wired, but I sarted looking for elementary school friends on Facebook and found a couple who I have not seen or heard from in 25-30 years. It will be interesting to see if they remember me at all.

I went to bed after 1am and it was COLD upstairs. I awoke just before the 8am alarm and made it to the doctor (I had an appointment arranged al;ready). I did a few errands on the way home and am now just killing time until Amy takes her nap so I can go do some Christmas shopping for her.

If you make it over to my 80's music blog, I think I am going to scrap the daily theme for a while and just post videos at random.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A meme stolen from Frigga

Do you like blue cheese salad dressing? Yes - not my favorite, but yes.

Favorite late night snack? Popcorn

Do you own a gun? Not yet (this was Frigga's answer and I like it too)

What’s your favorite drink at specialty coffee shops? Bottled Water

Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? No - anxious about the time I have to wait, yes, but not nervous

What do you think of hot dogs? Good for any meal and most snacks.

Favorite Christmas song? Christmas Eve Sarajevo by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Coke Zero, Unsweetend Iced Tea

Can you do push-ups? Can I? Yes. Do I?

What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? My cross. My Nana got it for me on her last trip to Athens before she died.

Favorite hobby? Poker

What’s one trait that you hate about yourself? Being void of willpower.

Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment. - I like the movie Iron Man, I have to dress for work in about 30 minutes, our adoption is making progress.

Name 3 drinks you regularly drink. Coke Zero, Unsweetened Iced Tea, Jaeger-bombs

Current worry right now? Finances

Current hate right now? Bills

Favorite place to be? On a cruise

How do you ring in the New Year? Same as any other day of the year. New Years Eve/Day has never been anything special to me.

Like to travel? Sure.

Do you own slippers? Not in the last 30 or so years.

What color shirt are you wearing? Currently? I am topless.

Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? I think I would, but I don't believe I ever have.

Can you whistle? Yes

Favorite singer/band? Jimmy Buffett/Casting Crowns

Could you ever make it 39 days on the show Survivor? I'd like to think I could physically, but I know I would be booted pretty quick either for being a Christian or for being a smart-ass.

What songs do you sing in the shower? None.

Favorite girl’s names? Margaret, Jennifer, Rebecca, Jordan, Sarah, Elizabeth.

Favorite boy’s names? Michael, Steven

What’s in your pocket right now? Nothing

Last thing that made you laugh? Barney's perverted Christmas Carols on last night's How I Met Your Mother.

Like your job? Most of the time.

Do you love where you live? Love? maybe a bit of a strong word, but I like it.

How many TVs do you have in your house? Three

Do you drive the speed limit or speed? I speed.

Does someone have a crush on you? Yes :)

What is your favorite book? Where Is Joe merchant

What is your favorite candy? Nestle Crucnch

Favorite Sports Team? UCF Knights, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Thrashers

What were you doing 12 AM last night? Watching TV

What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up today? 10:30? Did I sleep 9.5-10 hours?

Sunday, December 14, 2008


What are the differences between things like a CD-R, DVD-R, CD-RW, etc?

What the crap is a 3G network and does it have any bearing on a non-tech-geek like me who actually uses a phone to make phonecalls?

To the lady in the school bus renamed a Toyota Sequoia, did it make a huge difference rushing and swerving around the pedestrians in the Target parking lot so you could get stuck at the traffic light?

Why does my dog ONLY bark at my brother, who lives in this house, when she does not bark at anyone else?

Why do I own 3 unopened Monopoly games?

Friday, December 12, 2008

What Christmas Movie Are You?

Your Christmas is Most Like: A Very Brady Christmas

For you, it's all about sharing times with family.

Even if you all get a bit cheesy at times.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


In the past week I have been thinking a lot about attitudes. I have thought about my attitude towards my work, my wife, my life in general, people in general.

Little things have come to mind like getting on the interstate tonight, knowing the two ramp lanes merge into one and not caring what place in line I am because I will get where I am going eventually.

Bigger things have come to mind resulting in a desire to express a new philosophy through my words and actions. The basis of this philosophy is "What can I do to make YOUR day better?"
I put it into practice today, and despite a major threat to my attitude early on, I rebounded and made a very positive impact on two of my customers today.

This afternoon I took my wife out to dinner (Chinese, which we have not done in a while) and a movie.

My fortune cookie message was "You will develop an interest and appreciation for the culture of China." WOW. (note: fortune cookies are NOT part of the culture of China)

The movie.... we went to see Fireproof.

What a re-enforcement of my attitude/philosophy. This is one to own and to share with your friends, churched and unchurched, married and unmarried.

I have to think and digest (mentally) and I hope to write more later.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Ten on Tuesday #19 Favorite Christmas Songs

U2 - It's Christmas, Baby Please Come Home

George Winston - Christmastime Is Here

Olivia Olsen - All I Want For Christmas is You - Love Actually

Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas?

Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Christmas Eve Sarajevo (Carol of the Bells)

Casting Crowns - While You Were Sleeping

Point of Grace - One King

Steven Curtis Chapman - All I Really Want For Christmas

Debbie Gibson - Sleigh Ride

Amy Grant - Grown-up Christmas List

Faith Hill - Where Are You Christmas

Monday, December 08, 2008

Casting Crowns Christmas Show

Michael English performing "Mary, Did You Know?"

Natalie Grant - an awesome performance of "Oh Holy Night"

Hometown band Casting Crowns hosted and performed throughout the night.

The latest incarnation of Avalon - Jana Long (2nd fr left) is only original member.

The guys from Casting Crowns doing "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch"

To open the show - and midway through, a beautiful ballet performance.

Finale with all artists and a choir from First Baptist of Woodstock.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Completely Random

About 15 minutes ago I was in the shower thinking about the evening ahead with friends from the area who have adopted or are adopting internationally. This idea came to my mind.

The one thing I look forward to the most in this part of my life is hearing a child call me "Daddy!"

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A Grammy Nominee In the Family

My wife's baby brother, Wes Pentz, aka Wes Gully, aka DJ Diplo has been nominated for a Grammy for 2008! He is a DJ and producer who worked with dance artist M.I.A. whose single "Paper Planes" is up for RECORD OF THE YEAR. Their fellow nominees include Robert Plant, Adelle, Coldplay, and Leona Lewis. Here is the video for "Paper Planes."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

SCC - Narnia

Prince Caspian - the 2nd Chronicles of Narnia movie came out on DVD this week. In honor of that release, I am posting this video by Steven Curtis Chapman from the soundtrack of the 1st Narnia movie.

Steven Curtis Chapman - "I'll Be Remembering You"

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Yeah, so it's been a week since I wrote anything here and that was half of a meme. can you say uninspired? I've bene working a lot, having done 6 straight days last week with a day off on Sunday. I then started another 4 day stretch yesterday which will be followed by one day off, one day on and one day off again.

As for work, it's pretty much the same every day, with the exception that we now know the ssue that was stressing my photo printer, a worn gear that holds a chain drive tight so pictures got too close to each other and caused the sensor to miscount and sometimes jam.

I hear a good bit about the potential of becoming a manager, which i have less and less faith in happening and whether it is something i want anymore anyway. It seems there is no sense of rank and direction among the management I serve and there is no accountability for the things that go wrong or don't get done. Excuses are made and life goes on. The money is my only real incentive.

I did get up and out today to vote in our runoff election, trying to re-elect our incumbant Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss. We have a personal stake in his re-election because he helped us fasttrack some of our adoption paperwork through the State department. There has been a ton of negative advertising, spearheaded by national groups wanting to influence the balance of the Senate. the best the Democrats can come up with is to misrepresent the Fair Tax and Chambliss' support of it, hoping people are too dumb to know it's a misrepresentation. Sadly, they are right.

Just under two hours til work tonight. I have to make a little time to pull the Christmas tree out of the garage and set it up (always a pain becuase it's prelit and i can never get the cords connected correctly to light the whole thing.

In the meantime i am watching Grosse Pointe Blank on Encore Love. it's a black comedy, anda in no way a love story, but it is a great movie especially for fans of John Cusack. Here's something i learned about it today. Dan Akroyd has a role in it that I always thought wass named Grosser. it turns out his character is named Grocer. I have to think if there is any signifigance to that.

Minnie Driver, Jeremy Piven, Joan Cusack and Hank Azaria also are in this movie.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ten on Tuesday #19

Today's Topic - Ten Things I Want For The Holiday
1. Some new jeans, last bought them in '99.
2. Some new boxers, sis-in-law got me some nice ones last year. BTW it is okay for a s-i-l to buy a b-i-l underwear, but it should NOT be reciprocated.
3. New socks, the white athletic kind because ours seem to disappear here, in volume.
4. There is honestly nothing else I need and the wants I have are way outside our budget, things like...
A new Xbox (not a 360 mind you) just a working original one.
An external flash for my camera. The Canon flashes are in the $200-$350 range.
A buyer for my Jeep who will help me get out from under the $2500 I put into it in the past 2 years. CarMax offered me a ridiculous $400.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Long Weekend

I almost wish I had to work part of this weekend. I would rather be busy and making some money than sitting around trying to find things to do that require little to no money. When I got married I was making about twice what I am making now. I left that job for an equal-paying job which I lost about a year and a half ago. I took the first thing I was offered because I needed income and there was a good prospect that I would work a regular service level for about 6 months and then be able to move into management where even as an assistant manager I would be back to my old income.

The big problems are these. Our expenses have not changed though our income has. i have not been motivated to look for new work because the market is not friendly to my need. Bottom line is it will take more work and I am too lazy to make the effort.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - Firsts

Thirteen Things about Valtool.
Valtool's firsts...
1. Home that I remember - a split double house in Coatesville, PA. 1004 Olive Street to be exact. You can see it on google earth maps.
2. Movie I remember seeing in a theater - Star Trek the Motion Picture.
3. Album I bought - The Muppet Movie Soundtrack
4. Cassette I bought - Kilroy Was Here by Styx
5. Important Person I met - Jimmy Carter (I was 5 and he was running for President)
6. Time I rode a horse - December, 1988 at Younglife's Windy Gap
7. Broken Bone - November 1997 - L2 vertebrae when thrown from a horse!
8. Car - 1986 Chevrolet Cavalier (a red one, literally for all you fans of Swingers).
9. Hockey Game - Atlanta Thrashers hosting (and beating) the New Jersey Devils, December 2006.
10. NBA Game - Orlando Magic, 2000, only because Avalon was performing after the game.
11. Trip outside the USA - went to Canada when I was about 8, only remember Niagara Falls.
12. Musical Instrument - started trumpet in 4th grade, played through 9th.
13. Beer - Moosehead. This should not be ANYONE'S first beer, especially at 15 years old.

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!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Yesterday was the second consecutive Saturday that I really enjoyed. Last week it was a day spent with Amy and Autumn at the basset bash and then Heather Whittaker's blog party.

This week Amy and I went to watch the UCF football game with the Atlanta Alumni club. It ha not been a good year for UCF. I attended two previous viewing parties and both were horrible losses. Last night we redeemed ourselves after losing our homecoming game on the 8th. Last night we were the homecoming opponent for Marshall and we ruined their homecoming by beating them 30-14 in a cold, rainy West Virginia autumn night.

On the way home we decided to go by Starbucks and I texted some friends from church to see if anyone wanted to meet us. We got a response and rerouted to Marlows Tavern with the Mantooth family. We'd never been to Marlows and it is an upscale tavern that we enjoyed a great deal. As the evening progressed they had live music too.

we got home just before 11pm having been out for about 8 hours and it was a great day. to top it off we flipped to snl in time to see Justin Timberlake tear it up in an unannounced appearance.

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's Friday

A day off!

Amy didn't know I was off today, so she was a little surprised when I was still in bed when she got home. We watched last night's episode of ER to enjoy the return of Dr. Mark Green and we were surprised to see other returning cast members including Dr. Romano (who like Green is dead), Dr. Carey Weaver (who moved away), Jerry the desk clerk and Chuni the nurse. There was also an introduction memorial to co-creator Michael Chrichton who died this past week. The intro was done by former cast member Eric Lasalle who played Dr. Peter Benton.

Last night I watched Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The best I can say about this DVD is that the special features were more entertaining than the movie itself, though I am glad to see they brought Karen Allen (Marion Ravenwood-Williams) back for this film.

After Amy went to bed I went to the gym - for the second time in 3 days! I enjoyed it, working out for an hour on the eliptical and the weight machines. I then went to Publix to get dinner preperations for the next couple of days.

Autumn the basset hound is a complete needy whiner. she hates to be left alone and wimpers and whines at the baby gate if you leave her. She was very happy to see me come home and now she is in a deep sleep on the couch behind me as I type this and rewatch Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Driving home from the store I was listening to Boortz and heard this funny story. A Pennsylvania man went into a bank planning to rob it. As it was near closing time the teller he went to had no cash in her drawer. this angered the would-be bank robber and to relieve that anger he went to the branch manager to file a complaint about the teller having no cash!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Origin of the Name

Last night I had a great experience meeting bloggers. You might think, what? What a geek? Well, blogging is hip in it's own way. My blog is where I can talk about things I do and like and think and whatever else.

Heather Whittaker hosted a blog party at a restaurant in metro-Atlanta. Heather had a popular following as does her husband Carlos and we had probably 50 people sign up for dinner and socialization.

Stephanie Lee, wife of Third Day guitarist Brad Lee helped Heather coordinate a lot of the evening and as Heather lost her voice this week, Stephanie did most of the emceeing for the night.

So we were all hanging around chatting and eating and having fun but I kept getting asked what is the meaning of Valtool's Box (the name not the blog itself) and I have realized it is not something I have ever explained. so here it goes.

in the late 80's I was a big fan of a pop singer named Debbie Gibson. Her radio popularity fell off in the early 90's but I continued to buy her recordings and in the early days of the internet there were the usenet news groups. That's where i met a number of other Debbie Gibson fans including Mike McNamara.

Mike and I knew each other online and met in person in July '96 at a Gibson-organized fan convention in New York. Mike was then a student at the University of Florida and I was between degrees at UCF. We got to be friends and made a couple of road trips to FSU for football and other events. Mike was one of my groomsmen when Amy and I married in 2001.

In those early days of the Internet, long before AIM, facebook and myspace there was a MOO. A Moo was a site we could log into and interact with other people, setting up our own "rooms" and people could come and visit you or you could meet in common spaces like a coffee shop.

In '94 I went to London and saw Les Miserables and chose Valjean as a screen name for the MOO. McNamara had an account there as did another guy from the Gibson fan base named Rob Polinsky. During the '96 election, Mike and Rob decided to create their own virtual political party which was dedicated to 80's pop music, sports, trivia, buffalo wings and beer. They named this the Tool Party and adapted their screen names to represent the party. MacDaddy became MacTool, Poman became PoTool and Valjean became Valtool.

Rob and Mike were the President and Vice-president nominees. I was the party press secretary and social planner. So since '96, holy cow 12 years ago now, i have been called Valtool. When i was looking for a blog name i wanted to incorporate Valtool. well, where do you store your tools and tool-related things? a toolbox right? So Valtool's box was born.

Wordless Wednesday - Basset Hounds

Snoopy is a beagle, but this basset wants to be a WWI Flying Ace too.

Deputy Dawg

This one is ours - our Autumn.

Don't forget if you love or miss the 80's, visit for today's Wednesday's Women post!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Presidential meme

You Are Most Like George H. W. Bush

You're considered boring by people that don't know you well. But like Bush senior, you do crazy things.

Maybe you'll end up banning broccoli in your house, or puking on the Prime Minster of Japan!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Knock knock


I forgot that I had this picture to post. I actually shot it with my cell phone.

Look Who I Met!

Me and Carlos Whitaker - he writes

Friday, November 07, 2008


According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution website, Brian Nichols is no longer the accused Fulton County Courthouse Murderer.

He IS the Fulton County Courthouse Murderer.

Word had been that the defense was willing to take an offer to plead guilty if the prosecution would remove the option of the death penalty. So in other words, he would admit he shot and killed a Fulton County Deputy Sheriff, a Fulton County Judge, a court reporter and a United States Customs Agent if they wouldn't seek to have him put to death, otherwise they would say he did not do it.

There was never any doubt that he committed these crimes. There were plenty of witnesses. The only reason to escape responsibility was to claim he was insane at the time he killed these people. His reason for insanity, the defense said Nichols felt as if the courtroom was a slave market.

The whole reason he was in the courtroom to behin with was that he was on trial for kidnapping, raping and sodomizing his ex-girlfriend. In his killing spree he also kidnapped and carjacked a number of other people, beat another deputy so badly she has permanent brain damage and held another woman hostage overnight while doing drugs in her apartment.

On Monday the penalty phase will begin.

For One Night Only, The Triumphant Return of The Blues Brothers Rythem and Blues Revue

My brother Peter and his friend Gary last Friday night.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Lyrics - Amen

It's another night in hell
Another child won't live to tell
Can you imagine what it's like to starve to death

And as we sit free and well
Another soldier has to yell
Tell my wife and children I love them in his last breath
C'mon now amen, amen, amen

Habitual offenders, scumbag lawyers with agendas
I'll tell you sometimes people I don't know what's worse
Natural disasters or these wolves in sheep clothes pastors
Now God damn it I'm scared to send my children to church

And how can we seek salvation
when our nations race relations
Got me feeling guilty of being white
But faith in human nature, our creator and our savior,
I'm no saint But I believe in what is right
C'mon now amen, amen I said amen, amen

Stop pointing fingers and take some blame,
Pull your future away from the flame
Open up your mind and start to live
Stop short changing your neighbors
Living off hand outs and favors, and maybe
Give a little bit more than you got to give

Simplify, testify, identify, rectify
And if I get high stop being so uptight
It's only human nature and I am not a stranger
So baby won't you stay with me tonight

When a calls away to break the sound
I'm faden down, I need someone Oh to be someone
They just sinken down, and holden back
I hold the dawn and run They don't save a child
Oh, to save a child
It's a matter of salvation from them patience up above,
So don't give up so damn easy on the one you love, one you love
Somewhere you got a brother, sister, friend, grandmother, niece or nephew
Just dying to be with you

You know there's someone out there who unconditionally, religiously, loves you
So just hold on 'cause you know it's true
And if you can take the pain
And you can with stand anything, and one day
Stand hand in hand with the truth

I said amen, I said
said amen, I said amen,


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Upcoming Events

The BHRG Basset Bash and Waddle is this Saturday. It's an annual event sponsored by and benefiting the Basset Hound Rescue of Georgia. I don't know how many people attend as it will be our first such event, but I can imagine there will be a lot of long-eared hounds waddling around. Of course pictures will be coming.

Later the same day we have another gathering coming. It's a blog party! Coordinated by Heather "Whitaker Woman" Whitaker with her husband Carlos ( and we'll be meeting this couple and a good number of other bloggers who have crossed paths through this couple's blogs. It will be a dinner and social event

Every day is an event at If you like music from the Decade of Excess, click on the link and see what day it is and what the theme is for that day. Leave comments about your likes and dislikes, your memories associated with the videos and leave your requests for Long-distance Dedication Friday!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Ten on Tuesday #18

This week's topic - 10 Things You Like Talking About






Sports (sometimes)





Did the deed

Voting is done.

Voting was fun.

Now, let all the people start all the complaining and fighting saying things were done unfairly or fraudulently (let's talk ACORN).

I'm just glad that they kept things right in Georgia, making sure that you must be able to prove with a photo ID that you are who you claim to be in order to vote.

BTW - it was 50 minutes from getting in line to walking out the door having voted, so to those who complained about a 6 hour wait last week during early voting, thanks for going early and making the line shorter today.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


I'm curious about what kinds of fasting there are and what those of you who have fasted would suggest.

Our church is calling on a day of prayer and fasting tomorrow for the benefit of our nation as the following day is election day.

Obviously there is a pretty big rift between people suporting the candidates of the two major political parties. I personally support John McCain, but I fear too many people cannot separate the failures of President Bush from Mr. McCain. They are NOT the same person and it is hardly a reason to turn the leadership of our nation and our military to a man with no military background, very limited leadership experience, and a questionable background that includes openly and willingly associating with a known anti-government terrorist and a pastor who preaches hatred from the pulpit, and what do we really know about Obama's Muslim background/upbringing in a day and age that Muslim extremists want to destroy our country.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Today was kind of rough at work. Part of it was the volume of business. Part of that was the special project I had, setting up a studio-like backdrop and taking portrait photos of kids in their costumes. it was kind of fun, but I could not see myself working in a studio. There were a lot of cute and adorable costumes.... an infant in a giraffe suit, another in a tiger and a third in a Mickey Mouse. Toddlers and preschoolers as Dorothy and Glinda, Tinkerbell, Minnie Mouse. Employees as a pirate, mod dude, witch and M&M.

The thing that got me the most was wishing I had a child to do the whole costume thing with and to take trick or treating, son or daughter, it does not matter.

Later in the day I spoke with a friend from church about a mutual friend/couple. I received a voicemail that the wife had emergency surgery last night, but no details. The other friend knew more and shared that it was a matter with an eptopic pregnancy. I don't know that they even knew they were regnant and of course this condition causes a serious threat to the mother and that is why the surgery was required. I am told she is fine, but obviously the couple is devastated. We hope to go see them tomorrow as an invitation to visit in the hospital has been extended. It's just sad.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


My lifelong favorite baseball team won the World Series tonight. A lot of people said it would not happen, that the Tampa Bay Rays were the better team and had the worst to first story going for them in their first post-season appearance in the history of the team.

The only other time the Phillies won a World Series Championship was in 1980 and I was present at game 2, watching my boyhood idol, Hall of Fame Member Mike Schmidt. Tonight I am feeling very good as are a lot of people in the Philadelphia area.

Congratulations guys!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ten on Tuesday #17

10 Favorite Horror Films

I need to first say that horror movies don't do much for me. The standard blood and gore slasher film does not interest me, so it takes something more along the lines of a supernatural creepiness to draw me in. That being said, here is my list, not in a ranked order.

1. Signs - the scene where you see the alien in the alley at the birthday party actually startled me.
2. Scream - It was more a murder/thriller, but it made light of the horror genre.
3. The Others - I only saw it once, but I liked the gothic drama of it.
4. Bram Stoker's Dracula - the 90's version with Anthony Hopkins and Gary Oldman.
5. Nightmare on Elm Street - the only slasher series I ever liked.
6. The Lost Boys - Kiefer Sutherland as a badass.
7. The Blair Witch Project - a little school pride as the guys who made this were from UCF and you have to appreciate the budget and the marketing campaign.
8. Nightmare Before Christmas - very clever.
9. The Birds - what a concept!
10. Poltergeist - they're here!


So NBC has a series called Chuck, about a an average nerdy guy who gets an entire intelligence data system downloaded to his brain. He is then paired with a hottie CIA agent and a stiff NSA agent to find and deal with intel threats.

In last weeks' episode, a high school classmate of the CIA agent bumps into her and Chuck ends up identifying the classmate's husband as an intel threat. That character in Chuck was named Mark Ratner.

Being part of a high school theme, the inside joke was that Mark Ratner was the name of the kid who worked at the movie theatre and wanted to date Jennifer Jason Leigh in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Something like this is not an accident, and it is put in there for the amusement of the writers and trivia geeks like me who pick up on such things.

Drama and Disappointment

So last night was the potential final game of the 2008 World Series. It was not the final game. It was the first 2/3 of the final game.

It rained the entire game. It was cold and windy. It was not a night for the boys of Summer.

The Phillies (my heros) got off to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. The Rays got one run somewhere around the 3rd or 4th I don't know because I was driving home and there is NO radio in Atlanta broadcasting the World Series.

The grounds crew came out several times to check the status of the infield and the pitcher's mound. They made it to the 6th inning with the Rays up to bat. They got a runner on 1st and he stole 2nd. Another batter got a base hit and the runner scored from 2nd (he's very fast even with the sloppy field conditions), so we then had a game tied at 2-2.

The umpires were the ones responsible for the game status, play, delay, suspend.

With the game tied and the Commissioner of Major League Baseball in attendance they called for a suspension of play and the tarps were brought out to cover the infield.

No more baseball was played last night. The game will resume, if possible, tonight at 8pm. The weather is not supposed to be good. The game time calls for 50% chance of rain, high winds, and temperatures around 40 degrees with a wind chill of 29.

If the umpires had suspended play as much as 5 minutes earlier, the game would have been officially over, having played more than half the game, with the Phillies in the lead 2-1, they would have won and the World Series title would have been theirs.

It's a tough situation for a fan like me because I would like to see the Phillies be the World Series Champs, but not by winning a final game that was called off short of 9 innings due to weather. I don't think it has ever happened in the past and it would give the 2008 World Series an asterisk feeling when it goes in the record books.

So we are faced with a poor forecast for the weather tonight, but I am hopeful for the clean Phillies win. If they lose, they have to travel to Tampa and win one of two games to be held down there. I would almost like to see that now because I have to work tonight and would miss the end of the series if the Phillies win.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Frigga's meme

I answered thee questions on Frigga's Blog ( and I encourage you all to do them here.

01) Are you currently in a serious relationship?
02) What was your dream growing up?
03) What talent do you wish you had?
04) If I bought you a drink what would it be?
05) Favorite vegetable?
06) What was the last book you read?
07) What zodiac sign are you?
08) Any Tattoos and/or Piercings? Explain where.
09) Worst Habit?
10) If you saw me walking down the street would you offer me a ride?
11) What is your favorite sport?
12) Do you have a Pessimistic or Optimistic attitude?
13) What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?
14) Worst thing to ever happen to you?
15) Tell me one weird fact about you.
16) Do you have any pets?
17) What if I showed up at your house unexpectedly?
18) What was your first impression of me?
19) Do you think clowns are cute or scary?
20) If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?
21) Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?
22) What color eyes do you have?
23) Ever been arrested?
24) Bottle or can soda?
25) If you won $10,000 today, what would you do with it?
26) What’s your favorite place to hang out at?
27) Do you believe in ghosts?
28) Favorite thing to do in your spare time?
29) Do you swear a lot?
30) Biggest pet peeve?
31) In one word, how would you describe yourself?
32) Do you believe/appreciate romance?
33) Favourite and least favourite food?
34) Do you believe in God?
35) Will you repost this so I can fill it out and do the same for you?

What's legal isn't always what's right

This one falls under the "What were the adults thinking?" category.

WESTFIELD, Mass. — An 8-year-old boy died after accidentally shooting himself in the head while firing an Uzi submachine gun under adult supervision at a gun fair.

The boy lost control of the weapon while firing it Sunday at the Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo at the Westfield Sportsman's Club, police Lt. Lawrence Valliere said.

The boy, Christopher Bizilj of Ashford, Conn., was with a certified instructor and "was shooting the weapon down range when the force of the weapon made it travel up and back toward his head, where he suffered the injury," a police statement said.

Christopher died at Baystate Medical Center.

Although police called it a "self-inflicted accidental shooting," police and the Hampden district attorney's office were investigating, officials said.

"We are going to review all the circumstance regarding what happened, who was involved, what authorities they may or may not have had, who was supervising," District Attorney William Bennett said Monday.

It is legal for children to fire a weapon if they have permission from a parent or legal guardian and are supervised by a properly certified and licensed instructor, Lt. Hipolito Nunez said.

Those conditions were met in this case, he said. He declined to release the supervisor's name.

The club said on its Web site that the event, run in conjunction with C.O.P Firearms and Training, is "all legal and fun." People are allowed to fire weapons at vehicles, pumpkins and other targets, it said.

Officials of the private club and the firearms group could not be reached for comment. There was no response to a message left on a club answering machine. The C.O.P. group's machine clicked off without taking a message.

The sportsman's club was founded in 1949 and describes itself on its Web site as promoting "the interest of legal sport with rod, gun, and bow and arrow, both directly and through training."

It has eight firing ranges as well as archery and fishing facilities located on 375 acres in Westfield, about 100 miles west of Boston.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Long, Fun, Long, Awesome Day

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away. Well, no, I had no troubles yesterday.

9:30 ish - wake-up. Amy woke me up because her parents were on their way over from their hotel to say goodbye before they left back to Florida.

10:30 ish - loaded up the car and headed down to PetCo to hang out with BHRG, the Basset Hound Rescue of Georgia. We helped hang out and hold dogs after first making Autumn our officially adopted rescue Basset Hound. We'll do this as much as possible as they always need people to hold leashes at the adoption events and it's a lot of fun interacting with the people who stop by to look at and meet the dogs. Yesterday we had Pretzel, Hugh, Elijah, Dottie, and about 8 more hounds.

12:00 - we left PetCo and swung by Winston's to drop off the prize from the poker tournament we held two weeks ago (52 free Chick-fil-a sandwich coupons).

12:30 ish - back at the house to grab a blanket and bone and Amy, Autumn, and I loaded back into the car and headed North up to Octoberfest at Helen, GA. Helen is up in the mountains, the southern end of the Appalachians and pretty close to the gold rush town of Dahlonega. Helen was developed as a tourist attraction, where all buildings are required to fit a certain code so they all look like Bavarian Alpine buildings. Basically the town is full of shops selling t-shirts (beer, biker and party-oriented), German-looking nick-nacks, candy (mostly made in the shops), restaurants (mostly overproced but one excellent Mexican restaurant) and a lot of cabins for rent, mostly with hot tubs.

Autumn had a very over-stimulated day. She enjoyed meeting the other bassets at the adoption event, and she rides in the car very well, curled up and sleeping on the back seat. We walked her around Helen and she met other dogs, she got lots of attention from people and kids and she got a little scared by the horses pulling carraiges.

Up close with Autumn

Old barn

Red barn and Fall colors.

The Tomato House

Shopping with pumpkins and gourds

Fresh tomatoes in October!

A boy and his dog

Northbound into Helen

A walk before heading home.

Chattahoochee River in Helen.

Adirondack chairs for sale - very inviting.

Octoberfest always means live music at the International Cafe.

We drove home, arriving right about 8:30pm which was going to be great so I could watch game 3 of the World Series. There was a rain delay, and the game did not begin until 10:06 pm. Taylor Swift performed the National Anthem, country style with her guitar. Tim McGraw read off the Phillies starting line-up. His father is the late Tug McGraw, the star Phillies relief pitcher from the 1980 World Series Championship team. Jamie Moyer, a Philadelphia-area native cut school to attned the 1980 series. He is the oldest pitcher in Major League Baseball and was the starting pitcher for the Phillies last night. His hero from 1980, Phillies pitcher Steve Carlton was there to throw out the first pitch of the game.

Jamie Moyer (45 y/o) reacting to a pitch that was almost hit out of the park.

Game 3 Victory

Hall of Fame Member Steve Carlton threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Peter and I saw him live at game 2 of the 1980 World Series.

It was an excellent game. Three Phillies hit home runs including slugger Ryan Howard who broke out of his month-long slump. A bad call by the 1st base umpire, coupled with a pair of stolen bases and a throwing error caused a tie game in the 8th inning. It remained tied into the 9th when the Phillies came to bat. A hit batter got a runner on first. When he stole second the throw was off and he advanced to third. The Rays then intentionally walked 2 batters to load the bases with no outs and they pulled their right fielder in to be a 5th infielder. The next batter tapped the ball down the third base line. The runner on third advanced to home plate and the 3rd baseman's throw was way off, so the Phillies scored a run, making it a 5-4 final, winning game 3 and taking a 2-1 lead in the best of 7 series. Games 4 and 5 are tonight and tomorrow night in Philadelphia. if the Phillies win both games, they will win the World Series, otherwise it is back to Tampa for one or two more games on Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Oh Hapy Day

It's been 15 years since the Philadelphia Phillies appeared in a World Series. It was a dismal performance against the Toronto Bluejays.

Previously it was 1983, when they lost to the Baltimore Orioles.

In 1980 they won their last World Series, a 6-game series against the Kansas City Royals. I was at game 2 and got to see Steve Carlton pitch and win, with stars like Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa, Bake McBride, Gary Maddox, and Manny Trillo.

In less than 24 hours they will be playing in another world series. It will be the first time the Tampa Bay Rays (formerly the Devil Rays) have appeared in a World Series. The Phillies have a great offensive line-up and a great bullpen. The series will hinge on the starting pitching which includes Jamie Moyer, who is old enough to be the father of every other starting pitcher that will play, but he is the most-experienced and has beaten every team in both the American and National Leagues.

I am excited and I am hopeful.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The United Tour - Michael W Smith & Steven Curtis Chapman

Saturday Photo Hunt - Family

We got a new friend last Sunday, Autumn the Basset Hound - she is a rescue dog we are fostering, but we are probably going to adopt her ourselves.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Walk for a Cure

On October 18th, I am participating in a Walk for the Cure event for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I have a personal goal of raising $300 and I need sponsors to do it. If you would like to help, you can make an online donation at my pledge page by going here...

Any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated, and if I hit my goal before you can get there, it certainly does not mean you can't donate too!


Originally Posted on 9-19-08 - donations as of 10/16/08 are $300. Goal is $300.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I have never done a lot with charities in the way of fund-raising, but I feel pretty good about the level of success I have found in the past month.

The company I work for has two charity drives per year. In the Spring it is for the American Cancer Society and their Relay for Life and in the Fall it is for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. In April and May I was working in a store where my store manager was the district coordinator for charitable efforts, so we worked together, trying to set up a casino night as a major fund raiser. It fell through, but we organized a poker tournament instead, using prizes donated by vendors we work with in our retail business. We had no costs on our end, the bar that hosted the tournament aid the tournament director and we raised $750 in a night's work.

I changed stores in May and at the store level a volunteer "captain" is needed. Because JDRF is an organization I have close ties to, and because it looks good to my district manager, I volunteered to represent my store.

To open things up, we set up a table with 8x10 photos I have taken over the years and sold them for $4 each or 3 for $10. Next, we held a bake sale with employess making the treats and we sold those to our staff and guests over a weekend. Between these two efforts, we raised $120. Outside of the store I coordinated another poker tournament. Our top prize was donated from Chick-fil-a and I used the $120 to buy Visa giftcards to use as 3nd and 3rd place prizes.

We had fewer people turn up for the JDRF poker tourney, but we managed to turn the $120 into $580!

In addition to the above, it was made possible to create a walker's account at and people could log in and make a donation to support me as a walker. Our store goal was to raise $500, and I considered that to be a goal to be met by forming a team of walkers each with a goal of $100. I only found 2 other willing employees, so I set my goal at $300. I then went about emailing friends and promoting my walker's goal on this sblog and on my facebook account. Amy helped too, hitting up her blog readers and friends from work and school.

As of this morning I was at $210 and we have until Saturday morning before the walk (which will be at Centeniel Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. Tonight I received a very generous donation that brought me to my goal. I want to thank this person (respectfully anonymously) for the donation. The weird thing is I have been thinking about him a lot recently. We had a falling out earlier this year when I said some thoughtless things, thoughtless as to how they would be taken and as to how they could offend.

I have been thinking for about a week about posting a public apology. I have been thinking about him quite a bit as a lot of my attitudes towards others are changing. Part of it is probably due to better mental health as a result of better physical health. Part of it may be a change in my awareness of how God wants me to be. I am really trying to improve as a person, with the biggest part trying to be less judgemental of others. It's difficult especially when we find ourselves being judged so often. And is it just me or is this intensified due to the fact we're in the peak of the political season?

I digress a bit, but here's the point. I want to thank everyone who has made donations. If you still would like to or can help, you can find the link in the post above. Just because I met my goal does not mean I can't exceed it too! And to my friend who I wronged, I am sorry. I hope that in our limited interaction you can see the changes I am efforting, and I hope you can not only forgive my words but re-establish the relationship we were developing before I was such a jerk.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Autumn - The Basset Hound

This morning we got up and went out to church - great sermon on temptation, focussing on Joseph and the temptation he faced with Potipher's wife. We hit McDonald's (a rare thing) on the way to Publix to get ingredients for enchiladas tonight.
We came home and relaxed until 1:30 when we coralled Samson & Delilah to take them to the vet for their rabies updates. We brought the cats home and headed out again to Roswellto the BHRG event. What is BHRG? It is the Basset Hound Rescue of Georgia. We met a few of the dogs they have on their website and we signed the paperwork to become foster parents. The hound with the longest time in their boarding kennel is Tulip. Tulip was rescued from an animal shelter in Murray County, GA. She is believed to be 3 years old and is considered a stray, but little else is known about her.
On the way home we stopped at Publix for some doggie supplies and a few things we forgot earlier. We then went to the pumpkin patch at a local church. There we brought the dog out again, by this time having decided to rename her Autumn. She had only been called Tulip for a month and only at a kennel, so they said we could rename her.
Autumn loves to be out and loves to meet people. The first people we met at the pumpkin patch just hapened to be a couple with their adopted Chinese daughter. Imagine that! So we hung out a bit and got some pumpkins. Autumn does VERY well in the car, sitting in the back seat and just enjoying the ride.
We got home and set up the baby gates for the first time since May 31 (when Lucy died). We took her out back with Pixel and they played a bit and Autumn loved running around and rolling in the grass. She loves her belly rubs and we heard her Basset voice when Pixel ran off through the fence to where Autumn could not reach her.