Monday, June 30, 2008

80's Memories Contest

Thanks to everyone who came to play in my 80's memories contest, sespecially those of you who came at the direction of my wife. A special thank you to Amy for pimping my blog. I decided today to award 2 prizes and to gie them to whoever posted 10th and 20th among the comments.

Lyrics - "Angry Young Man"

There's a place in the world for the angry young man
With his working class ties and his radical plans
He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl,He's always at home with his back to the wall.
And he's proud of his scars and the battles he's lost,
And he struggles and bleeds as he hangs on the cross-
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.

Give a moment or two to the angry young man,
With his foot in his mouth and his heart in his hand.
He's been stabbed in the back, he's been misunderstood,
It's a comfort to know his intentions are good.
And he sits in a room with a lock on the door,
With his maps and his medals laid out on the floor-
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.

I believe I've passed the age of consciousness and righteous rage
I found that just surviving was a noble fight.
I once believed in causes too,I had my pointless point of view,
And life went on no matter who was wrong or right.
And there's always a place for the angry young man,
With his fist in the air and his head in the sand.
And he's never been able to learn from mistakes,
So he can't understand why his heart always breaks.
But his honor is pure and his courage as well,
And he's fair and he's true and he's boring as hell-
And he'll go to the grave as an angry old man.

There's a place in the world for the angry young man
With his working class ties and his radical plans
He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl,
He's always at home with his back to the wall.
And he's proud of his scars and the battles he's lost,
And he struggles and bleeds as he hangs on the cross
-And he likes to be known as the angry young man.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Six Flags Accident

Many of you have seen the news about a teenage boy who was killed this weekend at Six Flags Over Georgia. According to all reports I have seen and read, he and a friend were visiting the park with a group from their South Carolina church and left the park to get lunch. They decided to try to cut through some restricted areas to re=enter the park rather than go through the main gate like every one else is supposed to do.

They scaled two fences, both marked with signs describing the area as restricted and dangerous. One of the two boys was struck by a passing roller coaster and died instantly as he was decapitated.

Tonight on, the web site for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution there is a quote from the dead boy's father, who was also at the park on Saturday. He said, "He didn't do anything wrong," Ferguson said. "He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

While the story says the family does not blame the park, why is it they can not lay blame on their idiot son? "He didn't do anything wrong." What is correct about trespassing, scaling two 6-foot fences and placing himself, his companion, and the riders of the roller coaster in danger? "He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time." Is there a right time to be in the wrong place? He was struck by a roller coaster that runs at speeds up to 50 m.p.h. A similar incident involving a Six Flags employee a few years ago resulted in the employee's death and the hospitalization of a passenger on the ride. Would it have taken a passenger being injured or this boy's head flying off and injuring his friend in some way for the father to think his son did any wrong?

It is people like these that make the Darwin Awards possible.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Meet the Bassets

So today Amy was at her overnight Beth Moore retreat and so I was on my own until about 7pm. I decided to try to be productive, so I got out of bed when I woke around 8:45 and headed downstairs to check in on the Saturday morning China adoption chat.

Being it's a week before July 4th I decided to go give blood. I have type O positive, which is a type they like to have donated. I have still not been able to donate since returning to Atlanta. I donated over 2 gallons in Orlando, but here they had records issues for about 4 years. In the past 3 it's been issues like iron level too low, heart rate too high, and today it was the iron thing again. I've been taking a multi-vitamin, but that is not enough it would appear.

So after leaving the blood bank I headed back towars home stopping at PetCo because the folks from Basset Hound Rescue of Georgia were there. When I got there, they had about 15 hounds there, bi-colors, tri-colors, and even a solid brown one. They were nice people and they verified our application to adopt and said we wil be approved after clearing one thing, getting Samson and Delilah updated on their shots. They call your vet to verify you take care of your animals.

If you go to you can see the site for the group and you can see some of the hounds currently needing homes. The one we are most interested in is a female named Zayna. She gets along very well with cats and she looks a lot like our dear Lucy (who would have been 3 years old yesterday).

So after meeting, playing with, and being drooled on by some of the dogs, I went over to Winston's for a little free poker. I came home to feed the cats and wait for Amy to return and she told me she had a wonderful time. We went to dinner and are relaxing watching Last Comic Standing and checking the updates to find out that the Phillies finally won a game again!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Feast #49

Appetizer - What is the weather like today where you live?
Hot, mid-90's with some scattered showers moving about. We're about 18 months into a nasty drought which is mind-boggling considering the flooding in other parts of the country

Soup - On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how career-minded are you?
5 - at this point in my life, I don't forsee any real career happening, just a series of jobs.

Salad - What type of window coverings do you have in your home? Blinds, curtains, shutters, etc.?
A combination of blinds and curtains, though tthe curtains are all dressing around the windows, not functional ones to cover them.

Main Course - Name something that instantly cheers you up.
There are a lot of things. The PC answer is something like my wife, my niece and nephews, our pets. The answer I find humorous is naked female breasts.

Dessert - How many times do you hit the snooze button on a typical morning?
Typically, one time. When I have to answer the alarm, it's because I have to get ready for work, so 9 minutes after first buzz, I have to get up.

Look below the post on books for kids and find the contest post.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

25 Years Ago I Was Reading...

For no particular reason, tonight I found myself thinking about books I read long ago. I've been doing a lot of reading recently, in particular all of the crime novels by Michael Connelly. There was nothing about these books to make me think back about the juvenille fiction I remember so well so many years later, but it does tie in nicely to the 80's theme of the memories I asked readers to talk about.

In today's world of google and amazon I found listings for both of these titles.

The Pushcart War and Escape from Warsaw.

The Pushcart War is a story about pushcart vendors in a large city (might have been New York), who are being bullied by drivers of large trucks that are crowding the streets. The conflict continues as the pushcart drivers fight back by shooting pins into the tires of the trucks using pea shooters. Eventually the mayor get involved, being a he is backed by the trucking company owners. The citizens come to the defense of the pushcart operators and eventually the little man beats the corporate machine.

What I found really interesting is that though this book was published in 1964 and further printings have updated the time of the conflict, always keeping it contemporary and in the near future for the setting.

Escape from Warsaw was originally titled The Silver Sword. It was an adventure story of sorts depicting the efforts of three children living in Poland during World War II. Their father is taken by the Nazi's and later their mother is taken too. The kids must then fen for themselves, working to travel to Switzerland where they are sure they will reunite with their father who has since escaped from Nazi imprisonment.

If you have kids who like to read, probably in the age range of 9 to 12, they may enjoy this book.

I'm having a contest

This one may be entirely subjective, but it's m contest and I want to hear from people, especially about experiences in ny favorite decade. So, tell me about your favorite things in the 1980's. What was your favorite TV show, movie, sporting moment, concert, song, etc. What fads did you participate in, which ones did you love or hate? Take me back! I'll pick a random winner from the submissions received between now and Friday and that person will win something cool I picked up in the Caribbean last month. If you recruit people to come and leave a story, tell them to mention you sent them, and I'll do a second prize for the person who refers the most commenters.

Here's a little start you off....

For me it was a number of things. I enjoyed my senior year of high school more than any year I remember. That was the Fall of 1988 through Spring of 1989.

I remember 1987 very well because I went to almost every major concert that came through Atlanta that year. I saw Genesis, the Cars, Bryan Adams, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Whitesnake, Level 42, Great White, Boston, Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, and U2. It was also the year that Debbie Gibson hit the charts, actually singing, writing songs, playing the keyboards and producing songs (three things Tiffany never did).

I remember major cultural events like Reagan being shot (I was in 4th grade and I remember them telling us over the PA),

I remember Lionel Richie bringing down the house at the closing ceremony of the 1984 Summer Games in L.A.

I remember everybody wondering who shot J.R. Ewing and I did not care.

I remember the Philadelphia Phillies beating the Kansas City Royals in the 1980 World Series and then losing to the Baltimore Orioles badly in the 1983 World Series.

I remember that George Brett (3B for the Royals) had bad hemheroid issues.

I remember the Space Shuttle exploding on takeoff and watching at school a few years later when we successfully returned to space.

I remember wanting to be on Student Council so badly and finally making it in my Senior Year.

I remember playing offensive right tackle in 8th grade football, switching to marching band in Spring of my 9th grade year in order to go to festival in Panama City Beach, FL, and earning a Varsity letter as manager for the baseball team my senior year.

I remember the Miss RHS Pageant my senior year because I suggested the theme "Pure Energy" based on the Information Society song that repeated it constantly, AND that friend Cathy sang from Oklahoma, Julie danced to Indian music, Carrie sang and signed Amy Grant, and Heather danced to A-Ha.

I remember Cosby, Night Court, Cheers, the A-team, Magnum P.I., Riptide, Misfits of Science, M*A*S*H, Knight Rider, Airwolf, L.A. Law, Facts of Life.

I remember where I saw (actually what theater) Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, Return of the Jedi.

I remember that Stone Mountain Park used to have some water slides and when White Water opened in Marietta, and rafting on the Chattahoochee River years before most people decided they won't go in that water.

I remember my first job, at Kroger, and moonlighting as a driver at the Hungry Howie's next to it and hanging out helping the guy who owned the video store also in that plaza.

I remember scratch and sniff stickers (collecting and trading), Teddy Ruxpin, Cabbage Patch Dolls, Rubix Cube, Simon, Richie Bear's at Christmas (Rich's Dept. Store), parachute pants, Ocean Pacific, Izod, selling Krispy Kremem donuts as a fund-raiser, Swatch, the British Flag (Union Jack) as a t-shirt, Spencer's Gifts as THE place to buy posters, B. Dalton and Waldenbooks being the only bookstore chains and there was one of each in every mall, Chick-fil-a only being in malls and serving the value meal in a box with a tent-style top, going to the Varsity if you went on a field trip that took you to downtown Atlanta, the Junior/Senior egg fight each Spring,

I remember a lot of the music, and you can too by visiting "Taking You Back" at

And to get you in the mood...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Ever have one of those days at work where you do a good deal at work, and you don't care that it's getting later and later because you are getting things done? I had a day like that today. I was scheduled 8-3:30, but I have some flex time (about 5 hours a week) for projects and covering special needs, so today I did not leave until almost 6pm and I felt good about my day of labor.

I got caught up on paperwork and organized part of the lab that needed a little work.
I called about 15 customers with outstanding orders to be picked up and cleared about 5 more from the inventory due to various issues that enabled me to close them out.

I served the guests who placed orders with us throughout the day.

I worked a ton of product into the cooler, making room for tomorrow's truck and clearing out a lot of overstock.

I restocked the 12-pack displays of Pepsi products which are on sale this week, which required moving about 50 12-packs.

When I walked out the door I felt pretty good.

Icame home to relax a little, check email and finish watching "Usual Suspects" with Amy and then we went to trivia at Winston's. We were joined by Charlie and his 4 year-old daughter Sabrina and we had a good time despite struggling a lot in the early rounds. We made a comeback and placed 3rd. We actually played last night at our old venue in Roswell (Tijuana Joe's) becuase we hoped to play with our old teammates the Houghs but they could not make it. We took first place there and won $40 in house cash.

Tomorrow should be interesting because it is truck day but I have a project day in the lab. The plan/policy now is once a year DTR (our company electronics and support division) comes out and does inspection and evaluation on our equipment with a pass/fail result. This will be my first one and it is really bad because I have only been on this machine for 6 weeks where I was on the machine at my last store for 8 months.

I am looking forward to possibly hitting the gym tomorrow and hopefully going out and giving blood in the next few days. Do any of you do that? I gave over 2 gallons when I lived in Orlando. I am O-positive which is a good one to have to donate.

Wordless Wednesday

Sunset on the Inter-coastal waterway near Daytona Beach Shores, FL, 2000
My friend Sarah at prom, May 1989

The pic of Sarah is special for two reasons. First, thanks to Sarah and I have reconnected in the past week. She remembered we had a nice pic from prom, and I know I have one, but I could only find this one of her alone tonight. It's probably a good thing too because I was pretty hideous back then.
The second reason is the 80's are the theme of a contest I am running through Friday. Look at the post above this one and leave a comment describing your memories of the Decade of Excess.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Scam Avoided?

Last week I was at work one day and I received a mysterious phone call. The caller heard my name and said I was the one he needed. He said a coworker of his had been in the store and I had either helped his coworker or him. They liked my service and how I instructed people and were interested in if I might consider a change in employment. I was interested, and agreed to meet with him to discuss opportunities with his company this week. I was supposed to be there today at 10:30am.

The exciting thing to me was the earning potential, and when I asked, he said he was with Citibank.

Last night I checked the address where we were to meet on mapquest. I also did a search on Citibank in the area of the address and found no matches.

I did a reverse search on the phone number and found it was a cell phone.

I googled the address and it came up as Henriquez and Associates. I hit on the address lead me to a link on

It turns out there is a direct affiliation with Citibank with a company called Primerica. There are reports of odd recruiting practices and contract issues with money required and being difficult or impossible to get refunds. Basically there are elements of this company that are similar to pyramid marketing schemes and it's a good way to lose $199.

Lock Down the House!

Well, Pixel may not like it, but as of very early this morning, our house is on lockdown.

We went to trivia last night after meeting with our social worker to update our adoption home study. We lost at trivia after being in 2nd place before the final bonus question, which was what 4 connecting states are all among the 9 most-populous states in the USA. We had 3 of the 4 correct, with the answer being NY, PA, OH, and MI. Our guess had been NY, NJ, PA, OH.

So we got home and we are close to heading to bed in our almost-spotless bedroom when I notice Bagheera is in the kitchen and I call out a hello to my brother's fat black cat. I then look more closely and realize it is NOT Begheera. This is important because we only have one black cat in our household. I get up to investigate and discover it is a cat we have seen in the neighborhood before and that on at leat two ocassions before we have seen in our house. So he saw me coming and he turned and fled through the doggie door.

I followed to yell at him and scare him off (using the patio door rather than the doggie door).

We went to bed late (about 2am) and around 2:45 Amy wakes me up worried about our cats because she can hear one of them crying/growling. So we get up and we find the strange black cat is in the white room (LynnMarie's future room) with at least 2 of our cats confronting him/it. We cause it to run, but it runs to our room. I follow and it goes to the hall bathroom (passing the stairs and escape twice. Out of the bathroom it runs into Peter's room and under the bed. A flashlight and broom drive it out and it runs down the hall away from the stairs further to hide under a bed in the guest bedroom. It wound up under one of the twin beds with Bagheera who was not very happy about the arrangement. By lifting the beds up I managed to flush him out again, chasing him down the hall past closed doors, down the stairs and out the doggie door which I then secured with the slide panel.

Then I went back to bed.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ipod/MP3 Shuffle Meme

I had to look to find this one, as I di done similar last year sometime. You put yout iPod or mp3 player on shuffle and the titles of the songs that come up in order are the answers to these questions... for me it is...

Will I have a happy life?
Set Me Free - Casting Crowns

What do my friends really think of me?
Shake Your Love - Debbie Gibson

What do people secretly think of me?
Shine - Von Ra

How can I be happy?
Shut Up - Black Eyed Peas

What should I do with my life?
Signs - Michael W. Smith (song says Follow the Signs)

Will I ever have children?
Simple Kind of Life - No Doubt

What is some good advice for me?
Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat - Guys and Dolls

How will I be remembered?
Six Foot Town - Big & Rich

What is my signature dancing song?
One Particular Harbor - Jimmy Buffett

What do I think my current theme song is?
Inside Out - Vonray

What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
I'm Free - Geoff Moore and the Distance covering The Who

What song will play at my funeral?
Circle in the Sand - Belinda Carlisle

What type of men/women do you like?
I'll Be There For You - Bon Jovi

What is my day going to be like?
Apology - Von Ra

Sunday, June 22, 2008

ABC Meme - I got tagged

A is for: Attached or Single? Attached for almost 8 years, legally for 7.

B is for: Best Friend? They say your spouse ought to be your best friend, but aside from Amy, I would have to say April.

C is for Cake or pie? Both? fave cake is gonan be a Black Forrest Cake, pie is Dutch Apple Crumb

D is for: Day of choice? Saturday, I am off about every other Saturday and that's a day for watching sports and playing cards.

E is for: Essential item? Something to read. I can't handle break time without a book or sudoku.

F is for: Favorite color? Blue, several shades but there's a shiny metallic blue you see on cars sometimes I really like.

G is for: Gummy bears or worms? Bears, I guess.

H is for: Home town? Atlanta, GA, but almost 1/3 of my life was Orlando and I still have a heart for Philadelphia.

I is for: Favorite indulgence? Poker

J is for: January or July? January, it's our birthday month and I hate being hot.

K is for: Kids? sooner rather than later

L is for: Life isn’t complete without? Food, Shelter, and Companionship

M is for: Marriage date? October 6, 2001

N is for: Number of brothers and sisters? 2, both brothers, one older, one younger, Peter and Tim

O is for: Oranges or Apples? Oranges, but they have to be California Navel oranges

P is for: Phobias? None really, though I do have a habit of facing all of the bills in a cash drawer the same way, but it is not an absolute.

Q is for: Quotes? Movies, always movie quotes, usually out of context to the person I am speaking to.

R is for: Reasons to smile? Phillies and UCF victories, watching kids play and imagingin having one of them be MY son or daughter.

S is for: Season of choice? Autumn, coling off temps, changing colors, holidays approaching, fireplaces being used...

T is for: Tag 5 people: Amy at Amy's Randoom Thoughts, Bubba's Sis, April @ Discovering His Plan, Jeff @ eeyorejeff (not that I've seen him do a meme that I remember, no wait, he did the Ipod shuffle meme), and Sparky Duck

U is for an Unknown fact about me: If I told you, it wouldn't be unknown now would it? So how about a not-so-well-known. I once helped the police in an investigation yiel;ding 24 arrests including a law-enforcement officer.

V is for: Vegetable? Corn, though broccoli is a close second, and do they still consider a potato a veggie? All I ever hear is it's a starch.

W is for: Worst Habit: Aggressive driving and intolerance of other's driving styles.

X is for: X-ray or Ultrasound? Had both, ultrasound was on my kidneys once. To pick one, I guess ultrasound as I don't think you get the radiation that way.

Y is for: Your favorite food? Chinese - in particular Four Seasons, beef, chicken, pork, shrimp and veggies.

Z is for: Zodiac sign? Capricorn, for what it's worth.

Z is for: Which zoo animal is your favorite? the big cats, tigers in particular.

Old Music I Always Liked

Jean Michel Jarre - Equinox

Friday, June 20, 2008

In the Headlines

One High School, 17 Pregnancies

Let's try the one-liners and see what my reader(s) can come up with. To start....

It wasn't me!

I did not have sexual relations with those women.

Sounds like they need some new after-school activities.

But Mom! I'm going to be the only one in my class without a baby!

Not so random question

So, if I went to a doc of some sort and got on a mood/mind altering drug, would it get some of you off my back? It appears it may be the only solution to bring about change in who I am.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Friday Feast #48

Appetizer - If you could live on another continent for 1 year, which one would you choose?
Europe - lots of countries and history to experience and learn about.

Soup - Which browser do you use to surf the Internet?
On the PC - Firefox, on the LAptop Explorer because Firefox likes to lock up too much.

Salad - On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how much do you know about the history of your country?
I'd like to say 7 or 8 but history seems to change a lot depending on who you talk to.

Main Course - Finish this sentence: Love is… "an illusion created by lawyer types like yourself to perpetuate another illusion called marriage to create the reality of divorce and then the illusionary need for divorce lawyers." - a classic quote from the movie St. Elmo's Fire.

Dessert - Have you ever been in or near a tornado?

Shakespeare Knew Me

From "Much Ado About Nothing" which is almost a description of my life....

Conrade: You are an ass, you are an ass.
Dogberry: Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost thou not suspect my years? O that he were here to write me down an ass. But masters, remember that I am an ass: though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an ass.

I must have been a foretold incarnation of Dogberry.

Hobby vs Obesession vs Laziness

I was asked today about the number of times I play cards each week, which varies dramatically according to my work schedule, Amy's work schedule and the opportunity to play. The question involved whether or not I would go play at a restaurant tonight in a free game after playing last Thursday night at a restaurant, Friday night at a friend's house, and Saturday and Sunday afternoon at Winston's.

On Monday we played trivia, Tuesday I worked (and cut the lawn in the morning), and last night we played trivia. So for tonight, was I going to go play while Amy worked. I planned on it and I did it. Had I not gone to play cards tonight I would most-likely have sat in the family room watching TV and goofing off on the internet, so I would not have done anything productive either way. That being the case, why should I feel guilty about doing something I enjoy and that relaxes me. Granted I could have used some of the time to work on any number of things that need cleaned or fixed here at the house, but I chose to play.

A week or so ago I wrote what I thought was a well-thought post about time and it's use. If anyone read it, they did not comment on it, so as far as I know either no one agreed with it or disagreed with it strongly enough to post a comment, or no one cared.

If that's in part the case, it just adds some support that the whole purpose of blogging is primarily a cry for attention and it CAN be a creative outlet, but if no one sees your creative product, there's not much purpose in creating is there? Perhaps the creator gets pleasure from their own work, but there are certainly other things one can do to pleasure oneself.

So how many nights out for a childless uindividual who works a full-time job is too many nights out? Your opinions (if anyone besides my wife and 2-4 others read this)?

Trivia Update

Went for the standard Wednesday game and had a new and different experience. We were part of a FIVE-WAY tie for 2nd place. The host had never had that happen so she started trying to break it.

First, all five teams had to answer this question - How many million copies of "Thriller" did Michael Jackson sell? The winner was to be determined by what team came closest. We said 27 mil. The answer was 28 so we were closest, but another team ALSO said 27, so we had a new tie.

We had another question with that team only as our competition. The winner would get second place and the loser would get third, and the next closest team from the Thriller question secured 4th place.

Tie-breaker #2. In what year was hockey's Stanley Cup first awarded. We have a Canadian on our team, but it was not enough. We said 1885. The other team said 1895, and the answer was 1893, so they were closer and took second and we got third, but we had fun!

Thursday Thirteen - Family Trips

Thirteen Things about Mike.... I decided on a pictoral Thursday Thirteen. Here are 13 places I remember visiting on vacations and family trips as I was growing up. Can you determine what they all have in common? The answer is at the bottom.

The fort at Saint Augustine, FL

Washington, D.C.
Williamsburg, VA
Jack Frost Mountain Ski Resort in the Pocono Mountains, PA

Kennedy Space Center, FL King's Dominion Amusement Park, Richmond, VA

Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, VA

Niagara Falls, NY

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, VA

Epcot Center, Orlando, FL

Gettysburg National Battlefield Park, Gettysburg, PA

Hershey Park, Hershey, PA

Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA

The common theme or element is we never left the East coast of the USA.

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, June 17, 2008

Tuesday so far

Trivia last night... we were in 3rd place before the final bonus and blew it, so we did not place. We did enjoy about an hour with Mrs. Leslie McElhanon, a friend from church and small group.

The question we missed was... in 1989 Sports Illustrated released the 25th Anniversary Swimsuit issue. Who was the cover model? a) Christie Brinkley b) Elle MacPherson c)Kathy Ireland or d)Cindy Crawford

The answer was Kathy Ireland, we said Elle. This was 19 years ago y'all.

This morning Amy made her breakfast casserole and it was GOOD. Eggs, ground sausage, bread, and cheese I believe.

We watched some TV, slept through most of the movie Michael Clayton, and I mowed the lawn.

Now it's a little chill time before a shower and off to work for the night shift.

Ten on Tuesday #13

Ten Great Moments in My Country's History

July 4, 1776 - Deciding the rule of a monarch an ocean away was not gonna work, our founding fathers decided to make this our country.

1860's - A resolute president struggels to keep the union intact. A great price is paid, but we remain the world power we are because of that sacrifice.

Summer of 1969 - Humans land on the Moon, another President with a vision.

January 15, 1971 - Valtool is born

September 11, 2001 - We stood right back up when we were knocked down.

June 25, 1944 - Normandy invasion. The USA leads the allied forces in the invasion of France to push back the German aggressors.

January 17, 1991 - The United States military comes to the defense of the nation of Kuwait to free the Arab nation from the Iraqi army's invasion.

April 12, 1981 - NASA launches the first reusable manned spacecraft, the space shuttle Columbia on STS-1

1803 - The Louisiana Purchase - we buy 828,000 square miles of land for 15 million dollars in cash and forgiven debts.

February 1980 - a group of college kids defeat Russia and Finland to win the Olympic gold medal in ice hockey.

Monday, June 16, 2008

First and Last Meme

Copied from Frigga @

First real job: Age 14 - a Christmas tree lot in Stone Mountain, GA, where I tasted my first beer, a Moosehead which should not be ANYONE'S first beer.

First screen name: fldebfan and or valjean, lived in FL and am a fan of Deborah "Debbie" Gibson and was a fab of Les Miserables

First funeral: Mr. March, my brother's friend's father. I was maybe 8 or 9

First pet: George/Fluff depending on who was calling him, long-haired tabby/persian orange cat

First piercing: One and only one, left ear, 1997, so I was 26

First tattoo: not applicable

First credit card: Freshman year of college, first purchase - sent a girl flowers

First kiss: You know, I don't remember. I can only guess it was my first girlfriend, Kerry. We won't be going there.

First enemy: Scott and Doug, two guys in elementary school who like dto pick on the fat kid.

Last car ride: Well, I usually drive, but I did get a ride home from work today from Amy. I decided to get up and walk to work this morning when it was 69 degrees out. She did not want me walking home in 93 degree weather this afternoon.

Last kiss: Yesterday I think, but in about 15 minutes it will be tonight.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Funniest Disney Thing Ever

Okay, last month we went on a Disney Cruise. It was our fourth time, but we had never spent much time (basically none) in the sports bar/pub. Fellow cruisers told us we HAD to go to "Pub Night" on the final night of the cruise to see the "show." This is a video of the performance, and you may not believe it is Disney employees or Disney sanctioned, but it is....

Happy Father's Day

To all the dads out there, a happy father's day. My Amy got me something special today, my first Father's Day gift! Granted, we are childless at the moment, but our hope is that LynnMarie will be with us at this time next year. Below are some pictures of my gifts, and I'd like to send out a special Happy Father's Day to Tim and Tymm. Tim is my younger brother, who became a father twice over 3 and a half weeks ago with the birth of his second son, Cameron. Tymm is a friend of ours from church and the international adoption community. Yesterday he and Laura me their baby girl when they made it to the orphanage in Ethiopia where she has been living.

Didja Ever #2?

Did you ever notice the microphones during professional golf on TV?

I have watched a fair bit of golf coverage over the years. I don't obsess over it, but if it is being broadcast and if Tiger Woods is involved, I might watch for a while.

So, Friday night we were watching coverage of the U.S. Open before playing poker and they showed a wider than normal shot of a golfer getting ready to make his first shot on a hole.

The tee box is a flat area from which the golfer makes his first shot, and is marked with colored wooden boxes (about 4" x 4") on the let and the right of the flat area. The color determines who should hit their ball from that area based on gender and skill level.

On this hole, the camera showed the driver and the boxes on either side of how he was lining up his shot. Just to the left of the lefthand tee box there sat (mounted) a microphone (the kind with a fuzzy cover you sometimes see a sound man holding over a person to be out of the picture) and THAT is why the golfer's shots sound so crisp and loud when they strike the ball.

A few minutes later I noticed Tiger making an approach shot (he was on his second shot, about to make one that would take him to the green) and ther behind his caddy was a guy holding a similar microphone.

I had never noticed this before. Was I blind or was the production a little sloppy Friday night? Steven or Jeff?

Something Cool Found on YouTube

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Small World

So I go to play cards last night and I am talking to one of the regulars at this game. I come to find out he used to be a member of the Georgia Legislature back in the 80's. We starat talking about the times and what area he represented and it was where we lived back then We talk some more and find out, not only did he live 5 houses down the street from us, at the time, he was the step-father of a classmate of mine in high school.

It's 20 years later and we're playing cards about 40 miles away from where we used to live every Friday. Small world, huh?

Saturday Photo Hunt - Emotion

Niece Janie - either she's up to something, or she smelled something funny.

Samson - he was yawning.

Pixel - he was sweet and innocent at 8 weeks, playing with a dangling toy I caught him looking like he is praying. Nowadays he is preying (a master hunter and the scourge of birds, moles, and lizarss).

Nephew Owen - I don't know what to make of this but I'm thinking he looks like Hitchcock or Churchhill.

Someone else's Bad day at work

On Tuesday I posted about the bad day Brett Myers had as a profesional baseball pitcher. As a fan of the Philadelphia Phillies, I was not pleased with the game. Tonight it was someone else's turn.

The Phillies are in St. Louis for three games this weekend against the Cardinals. Tonight was the first game, and the starting pitcher for the Cardinals managed to get outs against the first two batters he faced. The third batter he faced was Chase Utley (who I think has the coolest name in baseball). Utley hit a home run. Then Ryan Howard came to bat. Howard hit a home run. Next was Pat Burrell. Burrell hit a home run. Ouch, double ouch, triple ouch!

In the fourth inning the Phillies scored 9 runs without a home run being hit. The Phillies pitcher, Kyle Kendrick (sounds like a NASCAR driver's name) had two hits that inning and got an RBI! Pitchers are not supposed to get hits in the NL!

By the time all was said and done, the Phillies won the game by a score of 20-2. This only tied the record for the most runs scored by a team this season. The other time a team scoroed 20 runs in a single game, it was the Phillies (against Colorado).

Now if only the Phillies could get pitching as dependable as their batting.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Didja Ever?

Be aware, the following is a venting of frustration with an annoying individual. The possibility of action as described os 0%.

Did you ever just want to smack someone? Not necessarily hard, but hard might be good. :)

I'm at work today and a ladt comes in who is a 25-year younger version of Magda, the screwy next-door neighbor to Cameron Diaz' character in There's SOmething About Mary. You know, way overly tanned, about the color of bacon, flambouyantly colored sundress, etc. So I helped her yesterday when she dropped off some filma nd today she comes back to pick it up.

She decides she wants to look at them before I ring them up, which is the immediate indicator that she doesn't know how to use a camera and wants the company I work for to pay for her mistakes with the cost of the chemicals and paper. She finds two pictures she does not want, that's one frame of double prints. I go back into the computer to make the adjustment and the price of her job drops, are you ready for this? 14 CENTS!

So I give her a corrected total. After some items she was returning, her total went from $5.45 to $5.30. She looks in the purse for her charge card. Flostered, she resigns herself to cash and says she'll have to break a twenty. Having experienced some form of epiphany, she says hang on and goes for coins coming up with 29 cents and then ASKS ME FOR A PENNY!

I just wanted to smack her. She's so cheap she won't cover 14 cents worth of her mistake and then, even though she has a full $20, she wants me to help her pay just so she won't have to carry some coins around in her gym-bag-sized purse?

Here's the photo logic BTW. If you go into a craft store and buy some paper, paint, and brushes and you go home and try to paint a picture of your cat, but realize you suck at painting, you do NOT have the option of returning the used paper, paint, and brushes. How is this different from the scenario when you shoot a frame of film (poorly) and want a business to credit you for the cost of their paper, chemicals, and labor of their employee?

Friday Feast #47

Appetizer - Do you consider yourself to be an optimist or a pessimist?
It depends on the day I guess, is there such a thing as a nowist?

Soup - What is your favorite color of ink to write with?

Salad - How often do you get a manicure or pedicure? Do you do them yourself or go to a salon and pay for them?
Never. Unless clipping my toenails counts, but that's all I do to them. In that case it's about once every 2 months I guess.

Main Course - Have you ever won anything online? If so, what was it?
My future. I met my wife online.

Dessert - In which room in your house do you keep your home computer?
We have a PC in the spare bedroom/"office" and a laptop in the TV/Family room.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - Tom Hanks

Thirteen Things about Mike

I was working on the new template and a commercial came on the TV for Forrest Gump. For lack of anything else, I decided to make a list of thirteen of my favorite Hanks movies. He IS basically the Jimmy Stewart of our time.

1. Forrest Gump

2. Philadelphia

3. Castaway

4. Charlie Wilson's War

5. You've Got Mail

6. The Terminal

7. Bachelor Party

8. Toy Story (and Toy Story 2)

9. Saving Private Ryan

10. A League of Their Own

11. Big

12. Apollo 13

13. The Green Mile

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!

News Flash

Coming Soon. Coming VERY soon. A brand new look to Valtool's Box. Alert the media, tell your friends, hide your children, break out the blenders, we're changing our latitudes and credit is due and given to.... The Blog Fairy!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bad Day at Work

The Florida Marlins beat the Philadelphia Phillies by a score of 5-4 today. For Brett Myers, the Phillies starting pitcher, the day did not start well.

He gave up a solo homerun to the first batter he faced.

He walked the next batter.

He gave up a two-run homerun to the third batter he faced.


Common Sense?

Working the photo lab this past Sunday I had a guy bring in a disposable camera and explain there were a few pics of his lower rear exposed. He explained these were to document bruises and injuries he claims were inflicted by the police when he was pulled over and arrested for DWI and that he resisted arrest. My thoughts were don't drink and drive, and if you do drink and drive, don't resist arrest


Monday, June 09, 2008

It is Finished....

.... The lawn, that is. It took just over a half an hour for front, sides and back. Again, all credit and praise to those who developed the self-propelled front-wheel-drive lawn mower. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution website, the temperature in Atlanta is currently 93 degrees with an expected high of 99 today (96 or 97 is the record for the date) and a "feels like" temperature that is currently 104. I have showered. I have roused my wife from her slumber, and we are heading to the pool! I earned it.

Now here's a thought that reflects on laziness (not necessarily mine, but who am I kidding). If we were to devote one hour per day (even on average so as not to have to work it in every day) to working on cleaning or otherwise fixing-up, improving, or maintaining our houses, what would that take.

Let's do the math. One hour out of twenty-four, hmmm, 1/24 = 4.1666... percent.

How can we not agree to give less than 5% of our day to labor around our domicile?

How about less than 5% of our day (one hour) exercising?

How about less than 2.5% of our day in prayer or worship? That's half an hour!

Figure 70% of the day goes to work, getting to work, and sleep (not at work!), that leaves us 30 points for whatever else. 30-5 for exercise -5 for chores, -5 for eating. We still have 15% of the day for whatever else, playing with our kids, talking with our spouse, watching TV, surfing the web... that 15% is almost 4 hours and we still fit in sleep, work, food, exercise, chores and an option for a half an hour of time with God.

What do you think?

(and don't forget in a 7 day week most people have 2 full days off from work, adding 16-18 more hours back into the math)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt - Runaround

This has nothing to do with the theme for the week, but I mentioned my desire to shoot and post this picture. I don't know much about regattas, but there is a point they race to and make turns around. This plant is Lucy's turnaround when she would do "puppy power" her mad racing laps around the backyard. I decided to take this shot because Lucy died a week ago, and a few days back I looked out the family room window and noticed the plant was in bloom with white flowers. I don't know what type of plant/bush it is, but it was Lucys turnaround and now it is bloom in white like lilies.

Friday, June 06, 2008


There's a Quktrip across the street from where I work.

This morning at 8:00am - reg. 3.949/gal

At 1pm 3.929/gal

At 4pm 3.999/gal


Once an A-hole, Always an A-hole

Is there a 12 step program for personality disorders?

Is the first step to finding a solution simply admiting that you have a problem?

Is there a drug you can take to make you more socially acceptable?

What do you do when you realize you are your spouse's leading cause of stress?

How do you handle situations where you have offended people and you don't know it?

Can you change who you are?

Is it better to remove yourself from any personal interaction that is not absolutely necessary as a standard of daily life?

Certain people actually can make a profit from being an a-hole, mostly celebrities like Howard Stern and Neil Boortz. I actually like Boortz, but those are just two people in a world of millions.

So, any answers?

Friday Feast #46

Appetizer -When you drink soda/pop/coke, do you prefer to drink it from the bottle, a can, or after pouring it into a cup?
Cans and bottles (20oz), a cup is only if it's a 2 litre.

Soup - What television show are you willing to stay up late to watch?
Basically anything in the 10pm hour which for me is ER, Lost, and WWE Raw.

Salad - Name one person, place, or thing you think of as brilliant.

Main Course - Would you be willing to work 4 10-hour days instead of 5 8-hour days in order to save gas?
Sure, but in my case I work 1.5 miles from home and my wife works 3 days a week (12 hours).

Dessert - If you were a superhero, what would you call yourself?
Fartman, but Howard Stern took that one already.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - Dates

Thirteen Things about Mike

Thirteen Memorable Dates With Amy

1. The first one, dinner at Bennigan's, driving around the UCF Campus, a long time talking about interests.

2. Dixie Chicks concert, had her convinced we were going to a rodeo.

3. A walk, that went long, the trail end was further than we expected and it was about 7 miles by the time we finished.

4. Picnic in the city park on the river with the Parrotheads.

5. Tourist weekend to Chattanooga. We went to the aquarium, Rock City, and got a hotel with a jacuzzi in the room.

6. Orlando Magic basketball game with a post-game concert by Avalon.

7. Taco night with my future-sister-in-law and her husband and Charlie the dog (boxer).

8. Wrapping Christmas gifts at Florida Mall with the Parrotheads to raise money for charity.

9. Any movie or dinner at Waterford Lakes where we then went to Petland to look at the animals.

10. Dinner at Tijuana Flats with my future-brother-in-law, Weslry aka DJ Diplo.

11. Universal Studios Islands of Adventure on the same day Amy's cousins were there, and having lunch at the Margaritaville Cafe.

12. Taking the same cousins (Sheena and Danielle) driving around looking at Christmas lights along with their little cousin Andy and going to Friendly's for ice cream when we finished.

13. Looking all over for an appropriate place to have dinner when I returned from a business trip to Missouri and finding our way to the WW II themed restaurant by Orlando Executive Airport where I presented Amy with an engagement ring, and a goofball waiter came up and said, "Did you just get engaged?

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, June 03, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Rain

Lucy & Pixel

Moving On A Bit

Well friends, a few weeks ago I got in a blogging funk of sorts and I did not post anything new for about a week. Just before that I had advertised a contest here on Valtool's Box and I never got back to it. The goal was to nominate someone you felt was deserving of a prize and I would review the nominations and make a choice. There were a few good ones. I wasn't particularly clear I guess and a lot of the nominations were limited in detail as to why the nominee was deserving, but I found something unique about one nominee and she is my choice.

Verna the Blog Fairy is my winner. The primary purpose is... she was nominated by more than one person, something no one else was! She is a China Mom and does blog template designs to raise some cash, but in the past month, and again for June, the proceeds of her work are going to benefit an orphans charity in China called Starfish. So congratulations to Verna. I'll put together a little prize pack of things we brought back from our Caribbean cruise.

I actually have been planning to talk to Verna about an update to Valtool's Box, but I am having trouble coming up with an idea for a new template, so I will open up the floor for suggestions based on what you know of me from reading the blog.

And finally, for today, a plug. Last night I spent some time with a friend from church who was very excited about discovering the 80's videos on YouTube. Speaking of 80's videos....

go check out Taking You Back at leave a comment about one you like, make a request or dedication and you might find it on Fridays.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Mystery Call A Reminder

As I was preparing to run a few errands this afternoon, I picked up my cell phone and noticed I had missed a call this morning. It came in at 9:15 while I was asleep. I fell asleep between 10 and 10:30 last night while watching TV and went up to bed around 11:30. I slept until 10:15 this morning, which was good because I was on pretty limited sleep the past two nights.

So I didn't recognize the call. I hit the callback button and was connected to our vet. I explained I had missed a call but I did not know the reason they would have been calling me. The lady who answered did not know either, but then I suggested that it might have been the Emergency Vet Clinic I went to Sunday morning. She realized that was the case and said they were calling to try to verify what Lucy the clinic was calling about.

We had planned to call the vet this week to tell them we lost Lucy, so now we won't need to. We still need to call the doggie daycare facility because the girls who work there know Lucy well.

I'm going back to work this afternoon, for my first scheduled shift since Thursday of last week. I'm still in a funk, but I imagine it's better than sitting around the house.

This morning I noticed two of Lucy's leashes in the trash can. When I cleaned up her stuff on Sunday morning I saved these aside, as a just-in-case. It seems Amy found them and wanted to dispose of them, but I removed the black one. I bought it one day coming home from work when I had to pick up Lucy at Man's Best Friend. It was my preferred leash for when I took her for walks. I want to keep it.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


Amy got home and we started trying to cope with our loss. She has gone to bed because she worked over night and has to work again tonight. I went to church for the early service. I am glad that I did. The pastor had scrapped his plan to start a new series today and instead focused on the sense he had that so many of us are struggling and hurting. How true for me.

I had the fortune of seeing the Perrys. They had already read about Lucy and they offered me comfort. Their son Sheridan was there too, and when I picked him up he tried to steal my nose!

While driving to church I tried to call my parents to tell them about Lucy. I reached my mom on the way there. On the way home I tried my father again and left a voice message. He called back about 10 minutes later, so I have made it through explaining it to them.

When I got home there was an emptiness.

Usually when we get home from church I enter first and walk down to the kitchen and into the laundry room where Lucy would be starting to stand up and stretch in her kennel, waiting to be let out for the afternoon.

Today there is no Lucy. There is no kennel. There is a space where there should not be and it is not limited to being a physical space.

I regret the times I refered to Lucy as "your" dog when talking to Amy.

We easily expected another 10 years or more with Lucy. She was often a pain to deal with, an inconvenience, an obligation, an annoyance, but damn if I don't miss her already and become more and more aware that I loved her.

Goodbye Lucy

I only wanted to type this once, so it is copied from our family blog.

This morning my our Lucy went to doggie heaven. We knew she was not quite herself today, but her sickness progressed very rapidly. Even a matter of hours would not have helped. I returned home tonight from raising money for the American Cancer Society to find Lucy in her kennel with very shallow breathing. From what we know, she was hemorrhaging internally and we lost her before we knew too much was wrong.
About a week ago I made a post on my personal blog that came across as "hard hearted" in the view of some of my readers. My thought was whatever grief we have to deal with is something God knows about because everything is supposed to be according to His plan. In the case last week, I commented that He will comfort those who need comforting according to His desire and plan, so praying for comfort for someone else was pointless.
Here I am, just 10 days later seeking comfort for myself and for my beloved wife for she loved Lucy as much as any human mother can love her baby.
My heart is heavy because I loved Lucy too, even if there were times I might not have shown it.
My heart is heavy because I had to deal with the physical elements of Lucy's death and the emotion of dealing with the emergency vets who seem extremely cold in dealing with people experiencing emotional trauma and perfectly content to charge these grieving parents exorbitant charges with payment on demand.
My heart is heavy for Amy, for the pain she is feeling and for the guilt and blame she is assigning herself.
My heart is heavy because it was just a week ago that we finally took Lucy for a walk in the National park near our house and we received SO many compliments on how cute and sweet she was.
In my heart I don't know that we will ever own a dog again. Lucy was my first, and I don't know how I feel about trying again. We need some time to heal and to grieve, and I am sorry for the words I wrote last week.
Your prayers for comfort for Amy and me are desired and appreciated.
Right now I feel like drinking, hoping it will ease the pain, but I will not because physically it would be unsafe, and I can't do that to Amy. I just want to say it's what I want to do right now.