Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt - Body Parts

My left foot, shot through the water of the Atlantic Ocean on an island in the Bahamas.

Please also visit my 80's music blog where it is Soundtrack Saturday at

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thirteen Things about Mike

1. The number of dogs I have ever owned, Lucy the Basset Hound.

2. The number of brothers I have. Peter is older by 2 and a half years and Tim is younger by 7 years.

3. The number of cars I have owned. I had a 1986 Chevy Cavalier, a 1993 Chevy Cavalier, and I now own a 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee (with almost 185,000 miles on it).

4. The number of types of restaurants I have worked for. I worked for Steak and Shake for about 2 weeks back in the late 80's (burgers). I worked for Hungry Howie's Pizza in the 80's and Pizza Hut in the early 90's. I worked for a Mexican fast food place in Underground Atlanta during my freshman year of college because my friend's family owned it. And finally I worked for Chick-fil-a in Atlanta from 2004-2007.

5. The number of nephews and nieces I have as of 8 days ago! Janie (7), Seth(5), Owen(3), Basil(3), and Cameron (born last Wednesday).

6. The number of countries outside the USA I have visited (Canada, Mexico, The Netherlands (St. Marteen), Jamaica, England, The Bahamas and The Cayman Islands) Okay, that's really 8, but can you count Canada or Mexico as complete sovereign nations? They would not be what they are if not for the USA. :)

7. I think this is the number of times I have seen Jimmy Buffett in concert. When I moved to Florida in 1990 I knew his name and I knew the song Margaritaville, but I did not know the two were connected.

8. The number of first cousins I have. Rick and Chuck and David and Rebekah are all older and are two sets of siblings. Chad, Nikki/Heather, and Geoff and Kristin are younger, a set of 3 siblings and an only child (well she has half-sibs).

9. The number of churches I remember attending long enough to remember (dating back to the 1970's).

10. The number of houses/apartments I have lived in over the course of 37 years.

11. The age I was when we moved from Pennsylvania to Georgia. I never stopped being a Phillies fan.

12. The number of donuts you get in a dozen.

13. The number of books Amy and I have bought for LynnMarie's library by buying her one book each month on the 23rd, her log-in anniversary day.

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Wordless Wednesday - Attacking the Green Monster

There is a manly satisfaction in taking care of the yard of a house that you own (and yes, I need to finish painting the shutters)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Achievement - Baseball

This is Jamie Moyer. He is 45 years old and he is a major league baseball pitcher. Last night he pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies in a game against the Colorado Rockies. His team won the game by a score of 20-6. In achieving that victory, Jamie Moyer beaten all 30 teams in the major leagues. THAT is an achievement.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Back to the 80's

We were watching Austin Powers - the Spy Who Shagged Me tonight and we got to the part with Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach. I noticed a store behind Austin named Pauls and supposed it was an omage to Paul's Boutique, the early Beastie Boys album. Then I decided to try to find the Elvis Costello/Darryl Hall duet video for "She's Not the Only Girl in Town." I could not find that one, but from 1986 here is Darryl Hall with "Dreamtime."

Shoulda Had My Camera

This afternoon we tried something new, something we've been remiss in doing for the almost 4 years we have lived in Kennesaw. We went to the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.

We did not see a lot of it, but we definitely plan to return. We decided we wanted to go for a walk and we wanted to take Lucy with us and dogs are welcome there. We met lots of folks who had the same idea including a miniature greyhound, 2 pugs, a poodle/schnuaser mix, and Caeser the great dane. We walked with Caesar and his parents for a good bit.

We walked about 3/4 of a mile on one of the trails and then turned back so we could find some water for the dog. Lucy got a lot of compliments and a lot of people think she is younger than her 3 years because she is not a fat bassett hound.

When we return, I will definitley take my camera, for the dogs and for the nature and for the history. The battle took place during Sherman's march to the sea in 1864. It's an amazing thing walking the trail under the canopy of trees and thinking almost 150 years ago there was a battle being waged right there.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What it's about

This past week was a weird one for me. I don't know if depression is the right word for what I was experiencing. I don't like the idea that I may be clinically depressed because I don't think it is natural that we should need chemicals to alter/correct our mental balance. I don't think that is how God created us. I do understand that mood swings are common symptoms of diabetes, and I have never controlled my diabetic condition well.

I did make the effort to organize my medications towards the end of the week, and I started to feel better both physically and mentally.

On Wednesday my brother's wife gave birth to their second child, a second son. I was excited for them and I was confused and a little upset when I was omitted from the group email that Tim sent out announcing the birth and presenting a few pictures. Intentional or not, I took it as a slight against me. I later was told that I was not included because he did not have my email address handy, which seemed reasonable except that he called our other brother to ask him his email address, so why not call me?

Later that evening, after trivia, we learned about the death of Maria Chapman, the adopted daughter of Steven Curtis Chapman, who is a person who had a great influence on our decision to adopt a child. I wrote a post that came across as "hard hearted" to quote one friend of our family who read it. This post was not meant as a slam on the Chapmans by any means.

I have been struggling with a number of spiritual questions for about 9 months now. Part of my expression of these struggles has already cost me a few relationships with people I would have gratefully called my friends. On Wednesday, the blogging world came alive as news of the Chapman tragedy spread. As a beacon for the international adoption community and as the artist with more Gospel Music Association Dove Awards than anyone else ever, Chapman's loss drew a lot of attention, including calls for prayer in support of his family and I saw people posting prayers, literally typing out their prayers to God in the comment sections of people's blogs.

This struck me as bizarre. I've never been one to pray very much, it is just not a habit I ever developed and as for public prayer, I am really not comfortable. As a result of what I saw and how I feel about prayer I asked why people should pray for comfort for the Chapman family. As I understand it, God is all-knowing and all-powerful. Friends have people at church often refer to God having a plan that governs every aspect of our lives. This being the case, I don't see the point of prayer, and this is what I was lashing out at, people believing that they could have an impact on the healing and the comfort the Chapmans would need by typing words to God and posting them on the internet. In as much as an individual can not stop the wind from blowing, can an individual make God change His mind? If everything that happens in our lives is in accordance with His master plan, than there is no point in petitioning Him to do anything we would like to see happen.

So by Friday I started to feel as if something was changing. I went to work as usual. When I got home we decided that would go out to dinner and it was an enjoyable meal. Afterwards I went to Winston's to try to promote the charity tournament I am helping to coordinate through my work. It wasn't a great success, but I felt good about making the effort.

Nothing important happened yesterday for Amy and me, but in Nashville they held the funeral for Maria Chapman and Amy and I talked about it a little bit more.

This morning I went to church alone. Amy had to work tonight and needed to take care of some things before sleeping this afternoon. When I walked in the doors of the church I heard my name called out and I saw some friends from the local adoption community. I haven't seen the Ladman's in about 4 months, during which time they traveled to China and returned with Micah, a beautiful 2 and a half year old who gave me both a high five and a knuckle bump. The Ladmans actually live about 40 miles away, but came to visit our church. With them I saw the Perrys, with their son Sheridan who is another awesome little guy from China who just turned 3. I loved seeing both of these families. I have missed them.

During the service I was working in the bookstore and I was a little surprised to discover most of the people I was working with had not heard about Maria Chapman. I opened the internet browser on our store computer and showed them the "dishwashing song" video of Steven and Maria and the video posted below this one, for "When Love Takes You In." Watching these videos and talking about this tragedy with these fellow church members and bookstore coworkers brought me to tears. It finally hit home, especially considering the devastation I know that I would feel if something similar happened to me with LynnMarie.

I still have questions regarding prayer and its usefulness as related to predetermination, but I know that standing around that computer this morning my heart softened.

When Love Takes You In

View from Above

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Important this weekend and always

Special thanks to Frigga for taking a stand to help educate a neighbor who surprisingly enough claims to be a veteran but said he knew nothing of flag etiquette. You can read about her experience here.
Flag Etiquette
(copied from

The Flag Code, which formalizes and unifies the traditional ways in which we give respect to the flag, also contains specific instructions on how the flag is not to be used. They are:

The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.

The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speakers desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.

The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard

The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations.

The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind.

The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.

The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.

When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.

Note: Most American Legion Posts regularly conduct a dignified flag burning ceremony, often on Flag Day, June 14th. Many Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, and Girl Scout Troops retire flags regularly as well. Contact your local American Legion Hall or Scout Troop to inquire about the availability of this service.

Displaying the Flag Outdoors
When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.

When it is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag - of a state, community, society or Scout unit - the flag of the United States must always be at the top except that the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for Navy personnel when conducted by a Naval chaplain on a ship at sea.

When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag's union should be farthest from the building.

When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor - to its own right.
..The other flags may be smaller but none may be larger.
..No other flag ever should be placed above it.
..The flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.

When flown with the national banner of other countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that of another nation.

Raising and Lowering the Flag
The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night.
The flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is the longest.

Displaying the Flag Indoors
When on display, the flag is accorded the place of honor, always positioned to its own right. Place it to the right of the speaker or staging area or sanctuary. Other flags should be to the left.

The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of states, localities, or societies are grouped for display.

When one flag is used with the flag of the United States of America and the staffs are crossed, the flag of the United States is placed on its own right with its staff in front of the other flag.

When displaying the flag against a wall, vertically or horizontally, the flag's union (stars) should be at the top, to the flag's own right, and to the observer's left.

Parading and Saluting the Flag
When carried in a procession, the flag should be to the right of the marchers. When other flags are carried, the flag of the United States may be centered in front of the others or carried to their right. When the flag passes in a procession, or when it is hoisted or lowered, all should face the flag and salute.

The Salute
To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the heart and men with head cover should remove it and hold it to left shoulder, hand over the heart. Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge.

The Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem
The pledge of allegiance should be rendered by standing at attention, facing the flag, and saluting.
When the national anthem is played or sung, citizens should stand at attention and salute at the first note and hold the salute through the last note. The salute is directed to the flag, if displayed, otherwise to the music.

The Flag in Mourning
To place the flag at half staff, hoist it to the peak for an instant and lower it to a position half way between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag is to be raised again to the peak for a moment before it is lowered. On Memorial Day the flag is displayed at half staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset.

The flag is to be flown at half staff in mourning for designated, principal government leaders and upon presidential or gubernatorial order.

When used to cover a casket, the flag should be placed with the union at the head and over the left shoulder. It should not be lowered into the grave.

Saturday Photo Hunt - Shoes

Shoes (to fill) - This is my new nephew Cameron, with his big brother Basil and mom (sis-in-law) Mery. Cameron has some shoes to fill as he has a big brother who is pretty neat and a dad who is pretty cool. Cameron Sebastian Hall Christopher joined the family on Wednesday of this week

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Another reason to shop at Target

Teen accused of biting butts at Wal-Mart Suspect allegedly attacked at least 10 women at Lovejoy

Clayton County police have arrested a middle school student and charged him with biting or grabbing the buttocks of at least 10 women at the Lovejoy Wal-Mart.
Capt. Greg Dickens said police believe there are more victims who have failed to report the assaults. The 15-year-old suspect has been charged with four counts of sexual battery and more charges are expected. Dickens said complaints of rear-end assaults at the store began in August and continued throughout May. The boy was interviewed by police Wednesday after a victim saw him with relatives and confronted him, Dickens said

Nothing to say

I am here to say that I have nothing to say. But isn't that saying something itself?

It's been an uneventful week and a half or so. The last I posted anything where I was writing, it was about my mother coming to visit. It was a nice visit, but it was nothing eventful. We had a few meals together and played trivia one night, but beyond that I worked a all but one day that she was here and we more or less sat around that day and watched TV. I am glad she came, and I enjoyed the company, I just have nothing to blog about regarding the visit.

So Mom left on Sunday. I had Sunday off but Amy had to work, so I spent the afternoon playing cards. I worked Monday and Tuesday nights and the past two days I worked day shifts. Work is good. I am still enjoying the new store and today I had a class at our district headquarters about a new program (that will benefit the company, but do nothing but add more we have to know and do in our jobs). On June 9, we are becoming a drop off and shipping location for DHL Courior Service. So you can skip the UPS store and the United States Post Office and Fedex/Kinkos. You will be able to go to Walgreens, get your drugs, your groceries, your diapers, your over-the-counter birth control, and you can ship your stuff (note to Ebayers!).

Last night a celebrity's child was killed in an accident involving a family vehicle, an older brother behind the wheel, and a long driveway where kids were around but not seen by the driver or by anyone else responsible who could have prevented the accident.

This is all over the internet as far as news sites because the father is a singer/songwriter and because he is an advocate for international adoption and this child was one of three that he and his wife adopted from China. So basically, a lot of people know who he is because he promotes adoption, and people adopting internationally are in large part bloggers. To make matters more dramatic, the singer has a current song about savoring the moments with your daughter.

I appreciate the tragedy, but I am not up in arms calling for prayer for the family. God placed the child in the care of this couple, providing the means for them to travel to China 3 times to bring back children to raise. I can't see how the events of last night were not part of a plan He has for this family, so for me to pray to God and say please comfort this family seems a bit pretentious on my part. He will do what He chooses as it was his choice to make this child part of the family and then to take the child away as he did. Anyone who says otherwise has issues with the concept of an all-powerful Creator.

On this same day, Wednesday, May 21, 2008 we had a new addition to my extended family. My brother and his wife welcomed their second son to their family. I found out from my wife and my mother as they received emails about the birth and the name with pictures. When they forwarded it to me I noticed I didn't merit an email and no one I have heard from got a phone call. I can't say what it means. I could have been a mistake, but I was one of the most-interested members of the family, so I don't know what it means that I wasn't sent an email like the others. If you are interested, the baby's name is Cameron Sebastion Hall Christopher, little brother to Basil Alexander Seaborn Christopher.
Even internationally-known DJs need their cereal in the morning. DJ Diplo at home in Florida.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mom's Coming

It's about 6:20pm here and within an hour or so my mom will be here. This is her first visit to GA since before we got Lucy (the Bassett Hound) and Pixel (my brother's kitten/cat). She'll be with us for 3 days before heading home and we start her visit tonight with a trip to trivia!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

wordless Wednesday - Me and the Captain

Krystal Story

In responding to a comment on Jeff's blog, I decided to relate my Krystal story.

"How I picked up a Bridesmaid at Krystal at 2am"

This goes back about 5 years now, I only know because it was before my grandfather died and I still owned my now-stolen Fender Stratocaster.

I had been playing cards at Whirlyball, a game center in Roswell, GA and as I left the game I wanted something to eat. Based on the time, my options were limited, but I like Krystal on occasion and there was one on my way home.

I pulled in to the drive-thru (the dining room was closed due to the hour) and got in line. Behind the car in front of me stood two women, one in jeans and a t-shirt and the other wearing what looked like a prom dress. This struck me as peculiar for a number of reasons including it was late for prom season, the 2nd woman was not dressed up (maybe a chaperone?) and they were not in a vehicle.

As the line advanced, they walked along behind the car in front of me. They stood in front of the speaker box and waited but no one asked for their order. They tried jumping up and down, but could not trigger the sensor in the ground. They walked back to my car and explained the situation.

They were hungry after a late night after a wedding. They walked down from the Holiday Inn on top of the hill behind the Krystal but could not go in because the dining room was closed. They asked if they I could order for them when my truck set off the sensor. I agreed, and rather than try to have both our voices order, and for safety reasons, we agreed they ought to get in my truck with me and we got our orders in.

When we got to the window they paid for all our food and I offered to show my thanks by giving them a ride back up the hill. The hill was steep, it was very late, and the bridesmaid was still wearing heels which would have been pretty uncomfortable to wear while climbing that hill. So we drove up and I dropped them off at the hotel entrance and I went on my happy way home, munching on my cheese Krystals, corn pups and Krystal chiks.

You see, the story is entirely innocent. One person was being helpful to two others, but it sure sounds good when you describe it as "How I picked up a bridesmaid at 2am in the Krystal drive-thru."

Monday, May 12, 2008

Conflict the Sequel - Man vs. Himself

Today it began.....

With a little encouragement from my spouse, my friend, and the guy my spouse knows from college, it began.

I had a dental appointment scheduled for this morning, at 7:30, and they called to say the tech called off so they needed to reschedule. I crashed back to bed and later woke up to check email and blogs and such.

Here's what I found. After a great 5 weeks building up to our cruise, Amy has lapsed as far as hitting the gym and the Weight Watchers thing. I can't criticize because we signed me up for a gym in January and I have been there ONE TIME since that day. Add to this my friend. My friend is April. She has been very public about her desire to improve her health and has been the bravest woman I know who is doing this because she is actually posting her weight publicly, which certainly adds to the accountability. In a similar manner, the guy my spouse went to college with, Steven, is doing the same thing, but he is asking for support from those who will help him be accountable and who may join him (at least online) in their efforts.

So here's the deal. I had some stuff to do today. Some of it was planned, some of it obliged, some of it just needed doing. So, I left Amy at the house and went over to Woodstock in search of a haircut. I was pretty sure there was an old-time, traditional barber shop in downtown, but I found another one very close in, at Hwy5 and Hwy 92. I was a little surprised to find it open because traditionally barbers work Tuesday through Saturday, but it was open and I went in.

The shop is called E's Barber Shop and it just opened in January. It is a simple design with 5 cutting stations and a hair-washing sink, add to it a video game (old school arcade style) and a small flat-screen TV on the wall and the proprietor Jim. Jim is the father of E who is currently in barber college. E stands for Engelbert. Jim owned a barber shop in South Florida for 30 years and moved here because E has provided a grandson and an excuse to head North as Jim is originally from Syracuse. Granted, Woodstock, GA is not Syracuse, but it is considerably cooler than Fort Lauderdale.

For $12, less than the cost of a wash and cut at a national chain, I was advised about what I should try versus what I thought I wanted, and then got a cut which included a shave with warm foam and a straight razor and a warm towel wrap at the end. Guys can appreciate these long-forgotten nuances in the realm of a haircut.

After the haircut I went to the Walgreen's I used to work at to drop off copies of a flier I designed for our Poker Tournament. The tourney is the final incarnation of what was originally a casino night to benefit the American Cancer Society. My old boss, Kevin, is the district coordinator for charitable efforts, and I was helping him find a venue and make it happen.

The event will be on Saturday, May 31 at Winston's, the pub where we play trivia and I occasionally play poker. It'll be a $25 donation to enter, with raffles and door prizes for the players. The bar will benefit from the business that night and we'll likely award extra chips to the players for buying food and drinks during the game. Our top prizes include box seats to a Braves/Phillies game in June (provided by Coke) and a mountain bike (provided by Pepsi).

After dropping off the fliers and chatting with now former coworkers, I went to, THE GYM!

It's been a long time, so I can't hurt myself by jumping in too strong. I did 20 minutes on the elliptical machine (with a 5 minute cool down). The end result was just over 2 miles and about 300 calories. I then worked a bit on 3 of the upper-body weight machines and came home to Amy.

So here's my introductory post on the get-in-better-shape-to live-a-longer-life-for-my-wife-and-my-future-children effort.

Monday, May 12, 2008 262 pounds.
Ultimate goal 210 pounds.
Progressive goal 10 pounds per month on average.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Me versus nature

I remember from school discussing classic forms of conflict. There was...

Man vs. Man
Man vs. Nature
Man vs. Himself
and I think there was one more, but I can't remember it right now, maybe Man vs. God.

This week I renewed my battle against nature in the form of my lawn and property. For the past two years we have paid for a local service to care for our lawn and tend to the bushes and such. The guy we first hired we found because he was doing the lawn next door. He did a good job, but there was something weird about his finances as he had a company name and invoices but wanted checks made out to his name. He lived in our neighborhood, but was apparently evicted from the house he lived in and it was sold at auction. He had moved to an adjoining neighborhood and continued servicing our lawn through Fall of '06.

Last Spring ('07) we went to contact him and found the house he had moved to was gone. The property was overgrown and there were signs that parts of the trees on the property had been charred. Very strange.

So, needing a new lawn service, I knew of another house in the neighborhood where a guy who owned a service lived, so we hired him and he was doing a good job too. Late last Summer he moved out from his wife/girfriend/whomever, but he had a local P.O. Box and continued to work our account. About 2 months ago he left a note in our mailbox to call when we wanted the Spring clean-up. I called about 4 weeks ago and got a cell-service message about the number being unavailable (not disconnected). We tried for about 2 weeks to no avail. We then went on our cruise and decided if we can't reach him, we need something because the yard was getting out of control.

I tried our lawnmower, a hand-me-down from my mom which I had not used in two years and could not get it to start. Rather than attempt repair or suffer repair costs, I decided to shop for a new one, knowing I could return the other one to my mom or otherwise dispose of it. Ultimately though, we would save money versus paying a service and I would get some exercise and be able to take some pride in the appearance of my yard.

So this week I went to the new Sears store that sells tools and appliances only and bought a Craftsman mower with a Briggs and Straton engine and on Friday I came home from work and had at it.

There is a wonderful new thing in the world of mowers called "self-propelled." It is still a push mower, but the engine has a transmission that drives from the front or rear wheels depending on the model and if you grasp a lever on the handle, the drive kicks in making it a TON easier to move over hills and slopes.

The front yard was not bad, and I cut it pretty short for the first cut of the year (scalping is what they call this). The back yard was a jungle! Weeds had sprouted in some instances as tall asa 3 feet high. You could lose a small person back there! Amy was concerned about the dog and the one cat that go out back that they could not "enjoy" the yard with it like that. Happy to say we cleaned up the majority of the trash (plastic containers, pieces of cardboard, etc) that Lucy had taken out back and I had at it. We can now see the entire yard in the back!

Yesterday when I got home I reclaimed a 6 foot section of the fence and part of the house itself that had been overrun by some vines that actually stuck (attached itself) to the siding and to the wood in the fence. In the next day or two (days I have off from work) I'll clean up the garage a bit and take a whack at the hedges with the electric clippers we were given by my father-in-law.

Pictures will come.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt - Any

From the Disney Cruise Line, Capt. Mickey makes his entry on a zip-line between the two stacks on the ship.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Contest Ideas and 1st Contest Begins

As promised.... Amy and I did some shopping, individually, for gifts to use as contest prizes while we were in the Caribbean last week. My selections include the following, which will be grouped in prize packs for 3 or 4 contests.

3 DCL (Disney Cruise Lines) shot glasses
2 packs of Pirate playing cards from St. Thomas
1 Pirate-themed mouse pad
1 set of Uno cards featuring Disney attractions from FL and CA
1 Plush Pirate Mickey Mouse

The first contest is inspired by Mark Hall, the lead singer and award-winning songwriter of the band Casting Crowns. During concerts he talks about his time as a youth pastor and telling kids two important things.... "You're not cool" and "It's NOT about YOU."

In that vein, this contest is about selflessness. You all have until Friday to submit nominations for people you feel deserve to win a prize because of who they are. Post your nominations in the comment section of this post and I will make a decision over the weekend.

Another contest might feature a caption contest, and I will post a few pictures (possibly to be included in the contest).

Friday Feast #

Appetizer - When someone smiles at you, do you smile back? Yes, can't help it.

Soup - Describe the flooring in your home. Do you have carpet, hardwood, vinyl, a mix? A mix of hardwood/laminate downstairs except for the Spanish tile in the kitchen and carpet on the stairs and throughout the 2nd floor.

Salad - Write a sentence with only 5 words, but all of the words have to start with the first letter of your first name. Mother, may Mary make meatloaf?

Main Course - Do you know anyone whose life has been touched by adoption? Many people including my own. My wife and I are in the process of adopting a baby girl from China. My ex-boss adopted 3 siblings from Ecuador. We know many other international adoptees from China, Vietnam, and Ethiopia. Visit to learn about our adoption journey.

Dessert - Name 2 blue things. The text of my answers today and my work shirts for Walgreens.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Quote of the Day

"It's okay to have trees in the wilderness, but not around your property." - Irma Colon during a TV News interview regarding a tree that fell in a neighborhood in NW Atlanta. The tree fell across a road and struck no property.

Thursday Thirteen - Cruising

Thirteen Things about Mike

13 Things I learned or experienced while on the Disney Magic last week.

1. St. Maarten/St. Martin is the smallest island in the world with dual national control.

2. The North side of St. Maarten is controlled by France.

3. The South side of St. Maarten is controlled by The Netherlands (Holland/Dutch).

4. Every time I have set foot on St. Maarten I have left with more money than I arrived.

5. This time I won $255 in half an hour playing blackjack at the Coloseum Casino on Front Street.

6. St. Maarten got its name because Christopher Columbus discovered it on St. Maarten's Day.

7. St. Thomas and St. John are part of the United States Virgin Islands (U.S.V.I.).

8. St. John was a gift to the United States Government from the Rockefeller family.

9. In St. John theye drive on the left side of the road.

10. Though owned by the United States, citizens of the U.S.V.I. do not get to vote in the Presidential elections.

11. Cruzan Rum is made in the U.S.V.I. so if you buy a bottle of it (1 litre) you are entitled to 3 more litres of any other alcohol duty free.

12. On a Disney Cruise you can sign up for tastings of wine, beer or tequila/margaritas with interactive teaching about the drinks from the bartenders. We did the tequila/margarita tasting for $15 each and tried a new coffee-flavored liquor called Patron XO.

13. We did not play bingo the entire 7 -day cruise and we did not miss it at all. We did play trivia a few times and enjoed one round of Disney Tune Trivia where a pianist played a few lines of a song and we got a point for each correct title and a point for naming the movie or attraction the song is used in. I think the maximum was 33 points and we got 19 because we don't know High School Musical 2 or Pete's Dragon at all.

Also, if you like 80's music, check out my 80's music blog "Taking You Back" at leave comments and I take requests for Friday's Long Distance Dedications. Email them to

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Cruise Slide Show

Wordless Wednesday - Flowers in Paradise

Last week I was in Florida, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and the Bahamas. Here is some of what I saw.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Free 8x10 @ Walgreen's this Wednesday

It's not just a fact, it's a team name. Another fact is it's the name of the team that won first place at trivia tonight at Johnny's New York.

Here's the deal. Go to Walgreen's on Wednesday or go to and use the coupon found in this past Sunday's newspapers. You can make an 8x10 copy of any digital picture you have sitting around.

To help publicize the event, I made that our team name tonight as Amy and I played against 12 other teams including some as large as 8-14 people.

At half-time we were about 6 points shy of first place. At the end of regulation we were in third place, with 60 points. Two teams ahead of us had 63 points.

The final bonus was this... The Philco Predicta was an early and iconic version of what....
it was multiple choice with a wager of 1-15 points, lose them if you answer wrong... a) Potable Camera b)Television c)Electronic Computer d) Transistor Radio.

We got it right (I went with my gut) and we scored a total of 75 points. The other teams at 63 both bet 0 and had a tie breaker for 3rd place (one team moved ahead of them for second), so we won $50 in house cash and bragging rights.

A few cruise pictures to wet your appetite

It turns out I uploaded 669 pictures from my memory cards tonight, from last Thursday at dinner with Tim, Mery, and Basil to driving home after lunch with fellow adopting families yesterday.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Home (almost)

Disembarked the Disney Magic this morning about 8:30 and am at my Mom's place in Orlando. Tomorrow it's church where we were married, lunch with other adopting couples and the drive home. Work on Monday and then hopefully posting about the cruise and the pics I shot. I took 3 1 gigabyte memory cards and shot over 600 images while on the trip.