Friday, October 31, 2008

Blah

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Champions


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

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

Congratulations guys!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ten on Tuesday #17

10 Favorite Horror Films

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

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

Flashback

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

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

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

Drama and Disappointment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 27, 2008

Frigga's meme

I answered thee questions on Frigga's Blog (www.anyapples.blogspot.com) and I encourage you all to do them here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christopher died at Baystate Medical Center.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Long, Fun, Long, Awesome Day

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



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



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



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



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



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


Up close with Autumn

Old barn

Red barn and Fall colors.


The Tomato House

Shopping with pumpkins and gourds

Fresh tomatoes in October!



A boy and his dog

Northbound into Helen

A walk before heading home.

Chattahoochee River in Helen.

Adirondack chairs for sale - very inviting.

Octoberfest always means live music at the International Cafe.







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


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


Game 3 Victory


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


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


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Oh Hapy Day

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

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

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

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

I am excited and I am hopeful.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The United Tour - Michael W Smith & Steven Curtis Chapman



Saturday Photo Hunt - Family


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


Friday, October 17, 2008

Walk for a Cure

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

http://walk.jdrf.org/walker.cfm?id=87158946


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

Thanks!

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

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Satisfaction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Autumn - The Basset Hound

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








Anniversary Trip Pictures

Thursday, October 09, 2008

2008 NLCS - Here We Go

This evening the Phillies start their best of seven series against the Dodgers. If you look at the stats, I believe they should win, but it should take seven games. Here is why....

The Phillies and Dodgers played each other 8 times in the regular season this year.

Four games were played in Philadelphia.

Four games were played in Los Angeles.

The Phillies won all four games at home and lost the four on the road.

In the National League Championship Series the Phillies have home-field advantage, meaning that if the series goes seven games, the majority of the games will be played in Philadelphia. The first two are in Philly, the third and fourth games are in LA. If needed, a fifth game is in LA and if needed, games six and seven are in Philadelphia.

It would appear that these teams are very well matched. Here are some other stats from this year.

The Phillies outscored the Dodgers 27-5 at home.

The Phillies were outscored 22-16 on the road against LA.

The Phillies pitchers who won the games against LA have a cumulative record this year of 34 wins and 27 losses or a 55.7% winning rate. The Dodgers pitchers who won against Philly have a cumulative record of 23 wins and 23 losses or a 50% win rate.

Based on this simple analysis, the games should be good, and if the Phillies can win one of the first two games in LA, they ought to be World Series bound.

Thursday Thirteen - I Miss My Dog


Thirteen Things I miss about Lucy the Basset Hound





1. Puppy Power - doing laps full speed around the back yard

2 Sideways Head - She would stand on her hind legs with her front paws on the top of the baby gate and look at us with her head tilted.

3. Engine Noise - Amy could scratch/pull her ears and she would make a noise like an engine trying to turn over and not making it.

4. Big Sad Puppy Dog Eyes - If we were eating ANYTHING, she would sit and stare at us hoping we would share.

5. The Adventures of Lucy and Pixel - Amy always said she should write a children's book based on the play of Lucy and Pixel the cat.

6. Doggie Daycare - About twice a month we would take her to Man's Best Friend for doggie daycare. She loved to play all day with the other dogs and when we got home with her she would be the best-behaved, quiet dog.

7. Rides - She loved to go for rides and enjoyed sticking her head out the window and greeting anyone who saw her.

8. Ears - Well, she's a basset, so she had these big soft floppy ears.

9. Naptime - When it was time to rest, a blanket was all you needed to have a friend in your lap for hours.

10. Warm blankets - Amy spoiled this dog. Every night she got a blanket or towel that had been run in the dryer for a few minutes. It was an excellent way to get her to go into her kennel for the night.

11. Walks - She loved to take walks and I enjoyed taking her. I was proud of our dog.

12. Hunting - Lucy was a basset hound and they are bred to hunt small mammals. One morning around 5:30 I let her out and she started an alarm bark. I went out with a flashlight to find she had cornered an opossum. Another day she cornered a chipmunk in the drainpipe, and a few months later she and Pixel found the chipmunk burrow.

13. Kids - Lucy was great with kids. Oour neighbor has a daughter who was 3 when they moved in. Natalie loved to come up to the fence and reach through to pet the puppy.





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Monday, October 06, 2008

Appreciation

It has been an interesting few weeks for me. I have become active in a pair of men's Bible studies. I have become more enthusiastic about the worship experience at my church. I have been actively working to raise money for a health-based charity that is close to both my family and to me as an individual. I have been reading a work of fiction that is touching me in some very unexpected ways.

If it makes sense at all, I would like to say I have a better appreciation of God now than I have in recent months. That sounds pretty weird, but it's the best word I can think of to explain it.

I also have a better appreciation to report and that is an appreciation of a gift I received from God. That gift is my beautiful wife Amy. Today marks 7 years since we were married and more than anything I find myself thankful for the fact that she loves me both for who I am and in spite of who I am.



Sunday, October 05, 2008

A minor setback but cause to celebrate

Good morning Y'all,

It's Sunday and there is Phillies baseball to watch today! I had actually hope this would not be the case, but the guys had a hard time of it last night in Milwaukee where the best the commentators could say about the fans was that they are professional tailgaters and they like beer and brats.

The Phillies lead the National League Divisional Series 2 games to 1 now, and a win today or Tuesday will advance them to the NL Championship Series against the LA Dodgers. Yeah for the Dodgers! They kept the Cubs out of contention by sweeping 3 games from them including two in Chicago. Dodgers manager Joe Torre is showing he can lead any team to and through the post season which is funny because he was fired from his position with the Yankees last year and this year the Yankees did not even qualify for the playoffs.

There is another cause for celebration and that is that I am about 12 hours away from celebrating my 7th wedding anniversary with Amy. The traditional gifts are either wool or copper. Since we also have our church directory photo tomorrow, I am thinking that matching sweaters may go over better than matching suits of armor. What do you think?