Sunday, December 25, 2005

10:00 A.M. Christmas Morning

When I was a kid, 10:00 Christmas morning was about the time we all sat down to breakfast. Presents had been opened, coffee had been brewed, bread had been toasted, bacon had been fried. My brother and I had awakened before dawn, ran to my parents' room to wake them up so we could all go downstairs to see what Santa had brought. We would be grumbled at, told to wait until the sun was up before we could go downstairs. We would then go to our rooms and lay under our covers, wide awake, peering out the window in order to spy a tinge of orange breaking over the horizon.

My wife's family always opened their gifts on Christmas Eve, and slept in on Christmas morning.

It appears that our 2-year-old daughter takes after her mother.

She stirred at about 9:00, crying that she couldn't find her pacifier. I found it for her, and she closed her eyes and rolled over. I tried to entice her by asking if she remembered who was supposed to stop by our house after she went to sleep.

"Santa," she peeped, eyes open just slightly.

"Do you think he left us anything?"

No response.

"Isn't Santa supposed to bring something when he comes to your house on Christmas Eve?"

"Presents." Even mousier than before.

"Do you want to see if he brought you any presents?"

"No."

Cute. Meanwhile, I am waiting to see her face when she walks into the living room and sees the pile of toys and wrapping paper beneath the tree. I want excitement. I want my daddy moment. She is not playing fair. I took a shower, not trying to be quiet, hoping I would wake the two of them. I even shaved and ran the heat fan.

No dice.

Right now, she is snuggling with her mother in our bedroom. I am waiting for either one of them to get up and join me in the living room. It may be noon before I am no longer alone.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Twenty-One

Twenty-one is a magical number isn't it?

It is the best hand possible in Blackjack.

It is the age at which you can walk into any bar in this country and legally order an alcoholic beverage.

It is the building number on Jump Street where officers Hanson, Penhall, Hoffs, Ioki, and Booker met to coordinate their undercover activities.

But most importantly, it is the number of pounds I have lost since November 8.

Monday, December 12, 2005

5 Things About Me

Thanks to K at the Daily sKWeez for this one. I get to tell (all six of you that read this) 5 random things about myself, and then tag 5 of you to do the same. I don't know that I have 5 things to tell that I haven't already mentioned in this blog, but here goes:
  1. I have attended college at 4 schools: undergrad work in Biology/Pre-veterinary Medicine for 2 years at Michigan State University (go Spartans!), Accounting and Econ Classes at the local community college here in FL, 3 years culminating in an AS and a BS in Computer Information Technology at a private college here in town, and I am currently working on my MBA at Florida Gulf Coast University. Ok, a lot of you already know most of that. But did you know that was spread out over 13 years? With a seven year break where I contributed to the economy, rather than leeching off my parents or the student loan system? Didn't think so.

  2. I used to play the trombone. In Jr. High and High School. Concert, marching, and jazz bands. Yeah, I'm cool. Actually, from having the bassline in most songs we performed in jazz band, I was able to throw down a nasty blues bassline the first time I ever picked up an electric bass. I would love to learn to play bass and be in a cover band, but my wife won't let me "waste money on that." Maybe when it's time for my midlife crisis…

  3. I was raised Catholic, which accounts for the low self-esteem and nagging guilt I feel on a daily basis. No stories about priests with wandering eyes, though. I must not have been good looking enough, even back then. I am currently in recovery.

  4. I like chocolate. In fact, I am a chocoholic. I need a little bit of the stuff every day to keep me sane. Thats one of the reasons I dropped off Atkins the first time I was on it. Now they make delicious shakes and brownie bars. I am an addict.

  5. I studied in Germany for 2 weeks this spring, but don't speak a lick of German. Luckily the classes were in English, and they are used to tourists there, so we got by. The only words I remember are "nein Deutsch," which, roughly translated, is the equivalent of the migrant workers around here saying, "no speekee inglees." Funny story though, we ended up in an Italian restauraunt, with a waiter who didn't speak English. He did however speak Spanish, in which several of us can get by. So there was a table of English-speaking Americans in a restaurant in Germany, speaking Spanish to the Italian waiter. Only in Europe!
Okay, that's my five things. Now for the punishment. I tag:

Beth
Biatch
Kim

Crap. This blog is still pretty new, so I don't have many confirmed readers (i.e., people who leave comments). I could tag A, but she doesn't have a blog. K tagged me and Kara, so I can't tag either one of them. I actually just went through my entire blog to see if anyone else commented, but to no avail. I even checked for referring links, but no one new there, either.

You silent fuckers are making it hard for the rest of the readers. Like boot camp, when the whole unit gets punished for the one slacker screwing up, here is your punishment:

Each of the 3 of you get to list 8 things instead of 5. Unless someone else 'fesses up and volunteers for their 5 lashes. But that is still one thing shy of the total if 5 people did 5 things. So I will be a sport and give you one more:

    6. I have scored between 155 and 190 on various IQ tests. Commence nerd jokes.

In the immortal words of Captain Sunny, Now go on!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Stock Tip- December 9, 2005

Buy stock in NEC Corporation today! They just announced a radical new battery design for electronic devices that is thin, light, and flexible. It's perfect for mobile devices, flexible OLED displays, and RFID tags. It won't be ready for prime time for a couple of years, but once it is, expect NEC to make a killing, as no one else has anything that will come close to this technology anytime soon.

Price opening on December 9, 2005: $6.05

Check back with me in the future to see how this pick turned out.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A Little More than One Seventh, or, Fifteen Percent

Discouragement had started to set in. The last several times I weighed in, my progress had stagnated. I was stuck at the same weight for over a week and a half.

Thanksgiving had been my bane, and I gorged myself for a day and a half on the forbidden carbohydrates. It was the Tuesday afterward before the Metabosticks again detected ketones in my samples. I continued the Induction phase, keeping my net carbs below 20 grams per day, even though this is only recommended for the first two weeks. I took vitamins, and three days a week arose before the sun to ride the stationary bike.

Still, no progress.

I figured I would stop weighing in as regularly and eventually I would get on the scale and its needle would have moved a wee bit counterclockwise. So I stopped getting on the scale. Out of sight, out of mind. I would continue to follow the plan, and as long as I was finding more clothes in my closet that had magically grown to fit me again, I would be happy.

Then it hit.

The end of the semester.

Final Exams.

Term Papers.

Term Projects.

Late nights with the study group.

The perfect justification for cheating.

But I didn't. One of my classmates is on the plan too. We buy salted peanuts and water from the vending machines and keep each other honest. I come home grumpy, eat a sandwhich with low-carb bread and go to bed. I cast aside my aspirations about waking up early to ride the bike. This week, it ain't gonna happen.

Then this morning, while I was brushing my teeth after my daily constitutional, I made the trek over to the guest bathroom. Home of the scale. I stepped on, ready to accuse the blasted thing of having a worn out spring or some other such garbage. I looked down.

I couldn't believe it. Three more pounds gone.

I have officially lost 15% of my goal. I am right on track with my original target date to be at the weight I was my senior year in high school. Yeah, I was still considered overweight then, too, but it's a start. Once I hit that one, my new goal will be another 40 pounds over six months, to get me into the official US government weight range for my height.

But that's a year from now. Right now, I'm looking at my brother's wedding this New Year's Eve. It's only three weeks, 1,300 miles, and eight pounds away.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Fun with Keywords

Imagine my surprise this morning when I looked at my Google Analytics account and discovered that no less than seven people had visited this site by clicking on a link from a search string depicted in the following window:

Woohoo! I am number nine in a search for Napoleon Dynamite sound bites and I don't even have any on my site... just a rant about how terrible that steaming pile of turds is. Oh, but Gorillamask, the #1 site listed on the search has an excellent Naploeon Dynamite soundboard. I actually got A with that one a couple of times when she called in to talk to me at work. Two thumbs up.

Post-Thanksgiving/Pre-Christmas Shenanigans

Last night I returned home from study group after midnight. Its the end of the semester and my team is putting the finishing touches on our semester projects. Not five minutes after I walked in the door, A's mom called her and told her that they had another attempted break-in. E, A's brother, heard a noise in the backyard and looked out his window (the one that was broken in the storm and used for entry for the break-in in November, and now repaired) just in time to see someone kicking down the fence panel that had been blown down and broken in the storm and used for entry for the break-in in November, and now repaired.

E told my mother-in-law to call 911 to tell them someone was breaking in, and he took his flashlight and shined it out the window to see if he could get a look at the guy. He got a good enough look to see that it wasn't the guy who was living back there before, and that it was a hispanic guy. When the guy saw the flashlight shining at him, he took off running. The cops got there pretty quickly and searched the neighborhood, but didn't find anyone. They told A's mom that he was most likely looking to cut through her yard. WTF???? Who breaks down a privacy fence panel to cut through a yard when there is an easily-stepped over picket type fence in the next yard?

This incident begs the question, was the guy we found living in the shed in the adjacent lot REALLY the person who broke in, or was he simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, and got the brunt of A's family's frustration? Is this guy who tried to break in last night the real culprit? If he is brazen enough to break down part of a fence to get to a house that is obviously going to be occupied by people sleeping or at least getting ready for bed, what else would he be willing to do if he found them in there sleeping?

A's mom is ready to move now. I can't say I blame her. I live 2 blocks away and Iwant to get the hell out of there as soon as we can afford to.

Now, a word from my effed-up family.

A instant messaged me today with the following:
A: Did you know your mom owns a boat?

J: WHAT???????????????

A: She loaned (her-ex boyfriend's friend) some money 2 years ago to bail him out of jail, and he signed her boat over to her if he didn't pay her back. Now he's in jail again and she gets to keep the boat.

J: Jesus. Where the fuck does she find these people?

A: Now she's looking for someone with a trailer hitch to come pick it up for her.

J: Knowing the kind of friends she has, its probably a piece of shit.

A: She asked if she could park it at our house. I kind of let that one go without saying anything.

J: It would probably get stolen.

So now I will probably end up having a leaky, rusted out eyesore masquerading as a watercraft sitting in my driveway taking up my parking spot, forcing me to park my rollerskate even closer to the road. Thanks, mom.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Atkins Update: End of Week 4

So I have completed almost a month of Atkins, and am proud to report that I only cheated on Thanksgiving (ok, and the day after, its all one big food-fest weekend, but I stopped by Friday night). Unfortunately two things have transpired that make it look like I will not make it to my goal.

Obstacle #1: According to my scale, I haven't lost any weight since the first week. My wife and my mirror are telling me another story. So are my clothes. Last week I was able to wear two different shirts that didn't fit a month ago, and hadn't for some time. Last night I was able to fit into my leather jacket that I got for my 16th birthday. It was snug, but last time I tried, I couldn't even zip it. So I got brave and pulled out my tuxedo. The last time I wore it was on my honeymoon, almost six years ago. It buttoned. It didn't fit, but it buttoned. So my scale is most likely sprung out and I should really check at one of those mega scales like thay have at the grocery store.

Obstacle #2: See previous post. My goal was to be down by 60 lbs. by my brother's wedding in May. Now he's getting married in 4 weeks. Asshole. Oh well, he will be able to show his kids how fat Uncle J used to be before they came along.

Now I have been excercising just about every day. I get up between 5:30 and 6:00 in the morning and ride the stationary bike before I really wake up. It goes so much faster when you can listen to the morning talk show idiots ramble and worry more about how stupid they are than how much your tailbone hurts from sitting on that goddamned diamond-hard, nut squishing, torture device they call a seat.

I am going to drop as much weight as I can by the wedding. I just wish my face and chin would thin out, because my suit will be a nice slimming black, but you cant hide jowels from the camera's eye. Hopefully, I can stop by Publix regularly for a more accurate weight check, although I won't be able to shed the heavy clothes and shoes for those check ins. The old ladies shopping there will drop their bananas.

Thanksgiving Shenanigans, Part 3

My brother called me on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, under the auspices of asking me questions about The Chronicles of Narnia, my favorite series of books growing up, and now a major motion picture series, the first of which "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" will be in theatres this month.

Anyway, after I answered his BS question, he asked me if I could ask B a question for him. His question was, "Would you like a little cousin?"

I asked him if the order had already been placed. Affirmative.

My next question was, "How does this affect your wedding plans?" They are getting married New Year's Eve. Now I get to take a vacation in less than a month. At least its on a holiday weekend, so I will have one less unpaid day than if it had been another week. It's all about me, you know.

Seriously, I am happy for them, and glad that I no longer have to worry about school scheduling conflicts and flights and car and house rentals. Plus, we convinced my dad that a great x-mas present for us would be the flight to MI and a room to stay in at his place. My dad rocks.

I believe that is all for the Thanksgiving Shenanigans. Oh, I forgot, I STILL did not get to experience a Turducken. Maybe next year.

Thanksgiving Shenanigans, Part 2

Fast-forward to Thursday morning.

A's mom & dad were in the backyard looking at the broken fence panel, and smelled cigarette smoke. They pulled the broken fence panel completely down and found a shed in the adjacent backyard of a house right on the main road. Between the shed and the fence were piles of human waste and empty beer cans.

A's dad went back into their house to get her brother, who brought out a 6-foot wooden pole. They bang on the door and a scruffy looking transient stuck his head out the window on the door to the shed. A's brother (E) just about put the guy's eye out with the pole, jabbing it like a spear and yelling and cursing at the guy.

Her dad grabbed a screwdriver and jammed it into the door frame, locking the guy in. He was yelling and screaming at us in Spanish and beating on the door trying to get out. Every time he stuck his head up to look out the window, E poked at him with the pole, taunting him and telling him to stick his head up again so he could knock it off.

Meanwhile, A's mom called the police to report the transient. A didn't think that was going to get them to come fast enough, so she called back and told them that the guy was being violent and might hurt someone.

The first cop to arrive on the scene was a big black guy who looked like he should be a bodybuilder or linebacker. He pulled the guy out of the shed and had him face down on the ground so he could search him. While he searched the guy, E stuck the pole right in the guy's face, yelling at him and calling him a thief and other unpleasant things, and the cop just laughed. He told E that he wished more people would do what he was doing, because the police really can't, and they are sick of the illegals just flaunting the law. Then he told him to tone it down as soon as his sargent showed up.

One of the six cops who eventually arrived recognized the guy as someone who ran from him a couple of weeks ago, so they had an outstanding warrant on the guy, plus they charged him with loitering and vagrancy.

I told my mother-in-law that fun shit like this never happens with my family.

I think this incident in our neighborhood has really put A over the edge about not wanting to ever move. Ever since it happened, we are really disappointed in the quality of life in our area. It seems like if you can't afford a million-dollar home, you have to live in the barrio. We are now considering moving after I graduate, if I can't get a job in the area that pays six figures.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Thanksgiving Shenanigans, Part 1

Okay, I finally have time to write about the Thanksgiving weekend goings-on.

Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, my mother-in-law discovered that her house had been broken into. She left for work at about 9 AM, and my father-in-law had come down from Skeeterville, and arrived at her house at about 10:30. When he got there, he noticed that there was some jewelry spread out on her bed, but didn't think much about it. Later on in the day, when she got home, they realized that someone had been in the house and gone through her things. The person didn't get much, only about $200 worth of jewelery and cash that she had hidden in the obvious places in the house, and some change that my brother-in-law was keeping.

The sherriff's department sent over a deputy, who looked over the place and determined that the person who broke in probably came through the window that was broken during hurricane Wilma, climbing in using a lawn chair that had been moved beneath the window. Since there was a relatively small hole in the glass (my fat ass definitely wouldn't have fit through it), he figured that it was a tall skinny crackhead looking for some quick cash to get his fix. He proceeded to tell us that our neighborhood had become a crack den in the last 2 or 3 years, and that the allocation of sherriff's department's resources to this area were so low that they are scant to do anything about it.

He was unable to get any usable prints off of the chair the crackhead used to get in through the window, and my mother-in-law didn't really want to clean up fingerprint dust inside the house (their old house had been broken into several years ago and it took them forever to get it cleaned up). So there were no solid leads, and it looked like the guy was going to get away with it.

Then we went back over to her house on Thursday morning...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Busy Busy Busy

Holy crap! Where did the last two weeks go?

I still don't have time to write about everything I want to yet. I'm taking a quick break from homework to give y'all a sort-of coming attractions for all that's happened in the last couple of weeks.
  1. A new addition coming to the extended family
  2. Brother's wedding moved up by five-and-a-half months
  3. J's upcoming trip to MI for New Year
  4. Mother-in-law's house broken into
  5. Non-English-speaking crackhead vagrant discovered living 50 feet from broken window
  6. Angry brother-in-law locks vagrant in refuse-filled shed
  7. Sherrif's deputies arrive on Thanksgiving Day
All this, and Andy Rooney, next time I can find sufficient time to write about it. Probably when I get back to work on Monday.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Atkins Update: End of Week 1

I went grocery shopping over the weekend, to finish stocking up on Atkins-friendly foods so I don't end up blowing my diet by snacking on something I'm not supposed to have. I mentioned before that the last time I tried the Atkins diet, I eventually went off of it before the whole low-carb craze kicked in. I just couldn't stick to it because I loves me the breads. Boy was I in for a treat when I discovered all the products on the market now.

Some of my favorites:
  • Low-carb Ketchup
  • Low-carb Tortillas
  • Low-carb Pasta
  • Low-carb Ketchup
  • Low-carb Cinnamon Bun Breakfast Bars
  • Low-carb Pseudo-Peanut Butter and Chocolate Snack Bars
  • Low-carb Ketchup
  • Carb-free Fruit Punch Drinks from Tropicana
  • Diet Rite Pure Zero (cool because not only is it caffiene free and sugar free, but doesn't have Nutra-Sweet, with all its brain- and mood-altering goodness)
  • Low-carb Ketchup
  • Pepperidge Farm LOW CARB FREAKING BREAD!!!!
Did I mention they now also have Low-carb Ketchup?

They say Atkins is a lifetime change in eating habits. With all these foods available to me, I really think I can do this for good this time. I have always been a meat & cheese lover, and the only vegetables I really eat are salads anyway (and those are not just allowed, but required on Atkins). I can cut back on the bread as long as there's still some that I can eat. I just may get down to my rowing weight sooner than I have planned. You can track my progress on the chart under my profile. I will update it twice a week or so. I'm already down six pounds. Woohoo! Yay Induction! Hoorah Ketosis!

When that Buzz is Fading Fast


Does the tap on your basement kegerator take an eternity to pour your cold glass of brew?

Does the line to the keg at your backyard barbeque quickly wrap around the house and down the block?

Afraid your bride will sober up before the reception is over, making for a less-than-desired first night of wedded bliss?


Fear no more-Turbo Tap Home Edition is here!

Yes folks, the same people who brought you the concession stand Superman have brought their 4x speed beer tap to the home user.

Alcoholics rejoice! The Turbo Tap Home Edition complements the decor wherever you keep your keg, including:
  • rec rooms
  • basement bars
  • garages
  • backyard decks
  • kitchens
  • living rooms
  • bedrooms
  • bathrooms
Still unsure? The makers of the Turbo Tap Home Edition promise up to 30% greater yield form each keg. That's up to 20 more glasses of beer in between your love handles and 20 fewer glasses of foam sticking your shoes to the floor.

Don't delay! Order yours today!

Hopefully Michelob Ultra is available in kegs.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Atkins: Revisited

This past Tuesday, I decided to go back on the Atkins diet. I was previously on Atkins about five or six years ago, back when I was working at my previous employer. I had to work the night shift for a couple of months to train a few new people. I figured that since I had to bring my own meals there instead of going to the local fast food establishments, I might as well do it in a way that would help me drop some weight. It worked pretty well, I lost about 30 pounds in a few months—I forget exactly how long I was on it.

But the Atkins diet was a year or more away from being a full-fledged revolution. There were very few low-carb products on the market, save the ones that were naturally so. So after awhile I gave it up, because I was just too lazy (or busy) to go on preparing my own meals 3 times a day.

Then I got married, went back to school, and became a father.

Last month I caught strep throat from my daughter, and had to actually see a doctor if I wanted to get better. I hate going to doctors for one reason. Its not the part where I'm waiting in a room with a bunch of other sickos, wondering what weird diseases they might be spreading to me, and its not the part where I have to turn my head and cough (although that isn't very pleasent either). No, its the part where the nurse or medical assistant makes you step on the industrial-strength scale, the one that looks like they weigh bags of grain on. This last time I was there, the MA had to move the 50 lb weight over one more notch. It landed with a resounding clunk! I was officially a lardass.

I have never weighed this much in my life.

And I am going to be in my brother's wedding in 6 months.

Since the wedding is out of state for us and the wedding party, and most of our family and their friends won't be attending, the pictures are going to be spread around all over Michigan and parts unknown. I don't want any of those people (some of whom I haven't seen in a decade) looking at the pictures and saying "Boy, J got REALLY huge, didn't he?"

I did the math, and if I lose 10 pounds in the Induction phase and 2 pounds a week thereafter (not an unreasonable expectation for Atkins) I will drop nearly 60 pounds by the wedding. This is my goal, but if I reach it early, I am not going off the diet, because my long-term goal is 100 pounds. This will get me down to the weight I was when I rowed in college.

I think I will have to start lifting weights again to keep the muscle mass I had at that point in my life, which means either dropping a bunch of change on a gym membership, or convincing A that a Bowflex/weight bench or punching bag on the lanai or in the computer room is a good idea. The gym thing won't happen unless my job search pans out with a substantial increase in pay, but the way things are going lately, I'm not sure the weight bench will happen either. I will probably end up putting some posts in the ground and hanging a heavy bag in the backyard. Maybe I'll do that this weekend, after I finish my mid-term and homework. A heavy bag will definitely let me work out some job-related stress. I will just have to catch bitchface (my boss) with the digital camera so I can tape her picture to the bag.

And no, my decision to go lo-carb has nothing to do with my conversion to FSMism.

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Monster in My Daughter's Room

One night last week my 2-year-old daughter was playing in her room, then peeked her head out into the living room.

"Daddy?"

"What, B?"

"I scared."

"You're scared? Of what?"

"Mouse."

"You're scared of a mouse?"

"Yeah. My room."

"There's a mouse in your room?"

"Yeah."

"A real one? or a toy mouse?"

"Real."

At this point, I get my fat, lazy ass up off the couch and go with her into her room.

"Where is this mouse you saw?"

She walks into her closet with a big grin on her face and pulls out the dress from her Minnie Mouse costume.

"On."

"No, honey, you can't put your costume on tonight, it will get dirty."

That little turd tried to guilt me into letting her wear her Halloween costume a week early.

(((sigh)))

Happy Halloween.

Update:

Here's the costume in all it's glory...

You would think she would look happier, but this is the expression on her face in all of the pictures we took. It must be the lipstick.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Google's Plan for Worldwide Domination

From the desk of Dr. Eric Schmidt:

Action plan for Global Ogling Operations Ground Level Execution:
  1. Trick NASA into sharing access to data; compile access codes for space-based initiative
  2. Use high-resolution satellite imaging to map every inch of the globe; analyze strategic weaknesses
  3. Offer free e-mail service; mine data from messages for "advertising" purposes
  4. Offer free IM/voice chat service; link to e-mail service; log calls and mine data for "administrative" purposes
  5. Get Remote Control for humans from Nippon; upload to every computer using Google software
  6. Find Sarah Connor; terminate

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Pictures from Skeeterville

Now that I am back home (and working there, since the power is still out at the office) I can share some pictures that I took while we were in Skeeterville waiting out the storm.

Did you ever see a self-walking dog? That's our BDM.


More to come...

Monday, October 24, 2005

Do Not Run Your Generators Indoors

This was one of the messages Governor Jeb Bush urged Florida residents to heed in the wake of Hurricane Wilma. It was also the one that the empty heads sitting behind the anchor desks on CNN and The Weather Channel chose to parrot ad nauseum throughout the day on Monday.

Is this how dumb we have become? Not just that we have to be told not to run an internal combustion engine in an enclosed, unventilated area, but that we have to be told over and over again?

I can see some dipshit without an extension cord setting up camp in the living room so he won’t miss Jerry Springer. But does he have to be told 19 times before he realizes that it’s a good idea to get some fresh air? These warnings are why the intelligence of our society is declining. We protect the sick, wounded, stupid, and careless of our species, rather than letting nature weed them out of the gene pool.

I say, tell them once, and let them decide if their genes should continue on for another generation.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

WIIIILLLLMMMMAAAA!!!!!!

The J clan has evacuated our hometown, since the center line of Hurricane Wilma’s “cone of uncertainty” has been pointed straight at us since last Wednesday. A’s dad has a place in Skeeterville, in the North part of the state, so that’s where we are staying until the storm blows over.

Her brother decided to stay home, so if there is phone service, we will be able to get status updates on electricity, water supply, etc., before we decide to take the 4 hour trek back down I-75.

Our drive up here on Friday night was pretty uneventful. We had a three-vehicle caravan, A, her mother N, and the B in our minivan, A’s Dad (Grumpy) in his pickup with his mother and her cat, and me and our dog (Big Dumb Mutt) in my P.O.S. KIA bringing up the rear. A and I had a pair of walkie-talkies and I kept her entertained by serenading her over the airwaves as familiar songs came on the radio. Normally, she drives and doesn’t want the radio on, so it was nice for me to be able to listen to music on one of our long drives for a change. It was even nicer to be able to reward her and N with my wonderful singing. They loved it.

We spent the day Saturday between relaxing at home and a trip to the Wal*Mart. A lot of excitement in the big city! Then for dinner, we stopped by Sonny’s BBQ. Its really too bad that we did everything this town had to offer in one day. We sat around all day Sunday watching the Weather Channel for incremental storm updates. All this waiting around is getting on everyone’s nerves, and we are all starting to get testy. Nothing left to do now except drink. Cheers y’all!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A Lunchtime Surprise

Today at work, I was minding my own business, heating up what looked to be a pretty tasty treat for lunch:

Then I saw this warning under the cooking directions:

HOT???? This is going to be HOT????

How could this be?

I just put it in the microwave oven to cook for 3 1/2 minutes and NOW they're telling me it's going to be HOT? Jesus Tapdancing Christ, there's cheese bubbling out of the side of the crisper sleeve, and steam is pouring out of both ends. I can't believe its REALLY going to be HOT when I bite into it.

OWWWWWW! DAMMIT! Those bastards at Nestle weren't kidding! I just burned my tounge. The skin is peeling off of the roof of my mouth. I won't be able to taste anything else for days!

I just can't believe that a product called HOT Pockets would be HOT after I cooked it! I want my money back.

**OK, the 2 of you from work who read my blog have already been witness to a live performance of this rant, but I need to share this type of genius with the world. Sue me.

I Have Been Converted.

For the longest time, I have denied the existence of a higher power. I was trained in the Scientific Method at a Big Ten University, and refused to accept the existence of anything without verifiable, empirical evidence. I studied the biological sciences, including genetics, in-depth, and even forced the evolution of fruit flies through selective breeding. I **KNEW** that Charles Darwin was on to something with his Theory of Natural Selection (that was Darwin's theory—not evolution—other scientists extrapolated Darwin's work to come up with the current, scientifically-accepted model of evolution, but nobody knows who they are, so we just refer back to Darwin because we are all too lazy to look it up).

Side note: I always thought "Natural Selection" was an unfortunate misnomer. To be completely accurate, it should have been called "Natural DE-selection", because nature does not have an active hand in picking which individuals will survive, it is really a passive system in which the slowest, dumbest, "least-fit" individuals are killed by being eaten/drowned/dehydrated/frozen/overheated/falling over a cliff before they have a chance to breed. Since they don't have any offspring, their genes are never passed on to the next generation. This way, the next generation is less likely to die by being eaten/drowned/dehydrated/frozen/overheated/falling over a cliff. Over time, the cumulative effect of the "weeding out" of less fit individuals results in a species that is best suited to survive its environment.

But there is a catch (there's always a catch, isn't there). Genes mutate. They mutate at a relatively steady rate, as long as there is no outside interference from things like poorly shielded nuclear weapons repositories. Sometimes (usually) the egg or sperm containing the mutated gene cannot even be fertilized. Sometimes, the mutations cause the resulting offspring to be non-viable and they are spontaneously aborted sometime after when the embryo is fertilized. Rarely, but frequently enough to make things interesting, the mutated gene does not cause the offsping to die, and may actually even give it a physiological advantage over its parents—stronger muscles, a larger lung capacity, a more intelligent brain (this last one is what happened to me).

This back and forth action between Natural Selection weeding out unfit genes and spontaneous mutation throwing random genes into the game is what fuels evolution. Then there's the whole issue of a dynamic environment that can, for example, cause a rainforest to become a desert and wipe out most of the life forms suited for a wet, humid enviroment. Our universe is a dynamic place, and we need to look at it not as it is now, or was 100 or 2000 years ago, but how it has been over the course of millenia.


Or so I thought.

I have discovered a group of people who have found some ancient writings that prove that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. I know, I know. You're asking what is a Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM)? Is this some kind of pasta-induced hallucination, like the Native Americans out west have in their sweat lodges or after smoking peyote? I really don't know. All I know is that Mr. Bobby Henderson of Oregon is fighting for inclusion of FSMism in science classrooms alongside discussions on evolution and intelligent design.

"I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster," he wrote. "I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country and, eventually, the world: one-third time for intelligent design, one-third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one-third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence."

This religion is growing exponentially. There is even a Jesus-fish-like car bumper plaque. This HAS to prove that he exists, and has touched many with his noodly appendage.

How can you ignore the evidence? I am convinced. Millions of dollars and countless hours of research be damned. I am now a Pastafarian.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

One of My Favorite Songs of All Time
(by Rush, natch...)

Natural Science

When the ebbing tide retreats along the rocky shoreline,
It leaves a trail of tidal pools in a short-lived galaxy.
Each microcosmic planet a complete society.
A simple kind mirror to reflect upon our own.
All the busy little creatures chasing out their destinies.
Living in their pools, they soon forget about the sea...

Wheels within wheels in a spiral array,
a pattern so grand and complex.
Time after time we lose sight of the way
our causes can't see their effects.

A quantum leap forward in time and in space,
the universe learned to expand.
The mess and the magic, triumphant and tragic,
a mechanized world out of hand.
Computerized clinic for superior cynics
who dance to a synthetic band.
In their own image their world is fashioned.
No wonder they don't understand.

Science, like nature, must also be tamed
with a view towards its preservation.
Given the same state of integrity,
it will surely serve us well.
Art as expression, not as market campaigns,
will still capture our imaginations.
Given the same state of integrity,
it will surely help us along.
The most endangered species, the honest man,
will still survive annihilation.
Forming a world state of integrity;
sensitive, open and strong.
Wave after wave will flow with the tide
and bury the world as it does.
Tide after tide will flow and recede,
leaving life to go on as it was...

From the album, "Permanent Waves" (1980)

Friday, October 14, 2005

Ellen DeGeneres Sells Out to Politics

Ellen DeGeneres congratulated New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on her 30-year marriage to former President Bill Clinton.

"He's the kind of person you really want to be married to for 30 years because he washes dishes," Clinton said.

Because, yeah, that makes up for the (alleged) drugs, (confirmed) cheating, and (alleged) physical abuse and rape.

She needs to shut the hell up. She is NOT a role model for our daughters.

Shame on Ellen. She should have called her on it.

I have lost respect for Ellen DeGeneres now. She is a sellout.

A simple little comment like, “Do clean dishes really make up for him getting a hummer under his desk in the Oval Office, lying about it to you, then admitting it later in court and his memoirs?”

That would have put her career in the stratosphere. By coming out and being a genuinely caring human being, Ellen has done more for women’s rights and gay rights than Hillary ever did. And she did it without being a bitch like Rosie O’Donnell. Even some of Hillary’s femi-nazi supporters would have laughed at that one. Some people respect you even if you call someone they like to the carpet, especially if it is in the moment and not staged or forced.

I think Bill would have been a better president without her. There’s this unwritten rule, or stigma associated with someone who is not married that they can't be a good leader.

At least a single person could concentrate on his/her job. I think, if your marriage is not working, have the guts to admit it and get over it. That’s the true mark of a leader. Being able to admit you made a mistake and then do what you can to correct it immediately.

Anyway back to the Ellen thing.

Hillary was bragging about how great her marriage has been, and her problems are public knowledge. Ellen should have ripped into her. Nothing is more hypocritical than when people ignore the elephant in the middle of the room. I think she should have said something because it would have been funny. She’s a comedian, that’s her job. Not doing so shows that she is putting politics first, probably because she has a hidden agenda to help Hillary get elected President in 2008. Busting her chops would have run counter to that agenda. It’s a conspiracy dammit!

There is a difference between the media (news) and comedians (entertainment).

It is the reporter’s job to report the politicians’ stories (the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth). That is what the public expects. It is the comedian’s job to comment on inconsistencies in politicians’ stories. Again, this is what the public expects, and what they are paid to do. No intelligent adult expects a comedian to report the whole story, just the funny/interesting/incredible parts.

When reporters try to be comedians they betray the public’s trust.

When comedians ignore the glaringly obvious joke to spare a politician's ire, they have betrayed their craft.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

What are you, some kind of moron?

I'm the IT manager. Do you fancy me?

I'll smoke you a kipper, because you'll be back for breakfast. You're the cult television show quoting, user account deleting, soap loathing IT Manager.

Something in your childhood has made you the way you are. You've been hired to provide a service to everyone else in the office - you make the computers run, and you make them run well. You've streamlined everything; you've removed all the viruses and installed all the firewalls. The only trouble - the only hole in your veneer of digital perfection - is the way you laugh at everyone.

If someone doesn't know UNIX, you laugh at them. If they lose their password, they laugh at them. If they visit a website using Microsoft Internet Explorer and their computer succumbs to an Internet worm, you laugh. Then you take a swig of your Coke, and with another hearty chuckle tell all your friends on IRC about the idiots you have to deal with.

Maybe it makes you feel better about yourself, although let's face it, you don't need help in that department. You're great, you. Fantastic like burning cool. If only those luddite office fools would let you play Unreal Tournament in peace.


Which Office Moron Are You?
Rum and Monkey: jamming your photocopier one tray at a time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Finally! The Secret to Success!

J, your secret to success is to be Imaginative

Your ability to look at the world from fresh perspectives keeps you both in touch with what's current and able to come up with novel solutions to vexing problems. Unlike many people, you're not one to stick to tradition if something isn't working. Most of the time, you'd rather make up your own new-and-improved traditions. By creating fresh ideas from old ones, people like you can become pioneers in their chosen fields.

Being inventive is a gift. While others rely on tried and true methods, your natural tendency is to seek out innovative alternatives. This trait can make you a great leader in creative brainstorming sessions, business process improvement taskforces, and other areas where innovation is a must.

To take The 7 Secrets of Highly Successful People test, click here.

See, that's what I've been trying to find a job doing, and I've found nothing. If Tickle can see this in me, why can't potential employers? I know one of my problems is that I don't interview well, but Most of the time I don't even get to the interview stage. My resume just sits in a pile somewhere; lost or forgotten.

Help me out here people, especially those of you in the Naples/Fort Myers area who have hiring authority...

Will work for, well, a salary, like everyone else. But I will be one of the most innovative leaders your company has ever seen. <><>End Self-Important Solicitation <><>.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Take Online Quizzes, or Do Homework? Hmmm... I Guess I Will...


What Pink Floyd Song Are You?

Money

You're materialistic, money is a top priority in your life. You enjoying stepping on other people to get to the top. In other words: You're a jerk.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.




Which Sublime song are you?

What I Got

You don't cry when your dog runs away, you don't get angry at the bills you have to pay. You don't get angry when your mom smokes pot, hits the bottle and goes right to the rock. And you can play the guitar like a motherf...flippin' riot.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.



What is your inner political identity?

Moderate Free Thinker

Congratulaions, you carefully assess the issues regardless of partisan politics.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Phillip Morris, General Mills, McDonald's, and ... Microsoft???

Bill Gates & Co. have joined the ranks of companies who try to ensure lifelong customers by getting children hooked on their products. Microsoft has announced the creation of a new programming language designed to get kids used to programming in MS's .Net environment. Kid's Programming Language (KPL) is designed to replace BASIC as the beginner's programming language of choice.

And guess what? It is very similar to .Net, so when kids are ready to make the switch to a new language, it's much easier for them to upgrade to Microsoft's proramming products than to use one of the myriad other languages out there.

Guess what else? It only works with Microsoft Windows!

There is no truth to the rumor that Joe Camel, who has been unemployed for the last 8 years, is in talks to be the spokesanimal representing KPL.




Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Fun at Work

Who says we have too much to do at work?

This was waiting for me next to my desk when I got back from lunch today.

This Reeks of a Scam

Last night, I arrived home to find a FedEx envelope on my doorstep. Actually, it was a plain white envelope with a FedEx label affixed to the front of it. It was rather thin, and I didn't recognise the return address, so I carefully opened it.

Inside was a letter on A4-sized letterhead (not typical American 8.5"x11") from "EuroLotto" in Barcelona. It claimed that I had won second place in a sweepstakes that I had entered online, in the amount of $940,000. Not too shabby! I am always entering drawings online, so I was glad one of them finally paid off.

Also inside was a "European Union Tax ID Application." The letter went on to state that I had to pay EU taxes on the full amount, but it could not be deducted from the $940,000 (Red Flag #1). So, they sent me a check for $4500.00 to cover the taxes. All I have to do is deposit this check, and write a check to their "law firm handling the sweepstakes for winners who are US residents" (Red Flag #2). Then I looked at the check. Its a real check, with all the security features like watermarks and color-shifting ink, but it looks like one of those QuickBooks "print-it-yourself" type checks (Red Flag #3). And it is written on an account from a construction company in Kentucky (Red Flag #4).

So I'm thinking what will happen is, I deposit this check and it goes through, and next month when this construction firm's accountant is reconciling their checking account, they find this check that they didn't write, and now I'm in hot water for forgery, meanwhile the check I wrote for $4500 is good, and now I have to pay off the construction firm, plus any legal fees I have to incur.

But its all worth it for $940,000, right?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Just In Case There Was Any Doubt...

I am 6% Idiot.
Friggin Genius
I am not annoying at all. In fact most people come to me for advice. Of course they annoy the hell out of me. But what can I do? I am smarter than most people.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I Hate Napoleon Dynamite, But This is F-ing Funny!

Anyone who knows me knows how pointless I thought Napolean Dynamite was. Two hours of my life I will never get back. It is as if they wrote the movie as sound bites and added dialogue to connect them. There is absolutely no plot. If you haven't seen the movie, and would like the condensed version so you can listen to the semi-funny sound bites, here it is. Oh, and you don't have to look at those ugly mo-fos they hired to act in the original...

Friday, September 09, 2005

Damn You, Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson!

So a year and a half after their "wardrobe malfunction," Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson are still wreaking havok on live network television. Last night, ABC decided to bleep the Rolling Stones while they performed "Start Me Up." Do you remember any dirty words in that song? Me neither. Apparantly double-entendres are a no-no, now.

Remember the part that goes "You make a dead man come"? They bleeped out the word "come." COME ON! This makes the leap from a lyric about re-animation to one about necrophilia. Who are these perverts in ABC's censoring panel? I am more offended that they bleeped the word than I would have been if they hadn't bleeped it.

This is getting out of hand. the only people who took the lyric's meaning in that way were creeps who like to have sex with corpses and hyper-sensitive finger-pointers who are out to spoil the fun for everyone else. You know the type, the nerdy little boy who sat in the front of the class and spastically waved his hand in the air five minutes before the bell rang on Friday afternoon, just to tell the teacher "You forgot to give us our homework assignment!" Meanwhile, everyone else shot daggers from their eyes at the back of his head.

Get a life ABC!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Friday, August 26, 2005

My MBA Course Schedule

Just so I can keep track of the classes I have taken and what I have left to complete:

Complete: Contemporary Management Concepts
Complete: Foundations of Business Finance
Complete: Marketing Management
Complete: Statistical Methods for Managers
Complete: Managerial Economics
Complete: Managerial Accounting
Complete: International Seminar/Business Simulation
Complete: Global Organizational Issues
Current: Financial Management
Current: Operations Management
This Winter: Adv Marketing Analysis & Strategy
This Winter: Management Information Systems
Next Spring: The Challenge of Leadership
Next Spring: Business Strategy (capstone)

By the way, I am still at a 4.00 GPA... WHOOOHOOO!!!

It's Official, I Am a…

Pure Nerd
78 % Nerd, 34% Geek, 47% Dork
For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.

The Nerd, Geek , or Dork? Test

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Random links found in the last couple of days.

Didn't these guys work for the cigarette industry?

When a coworker showed me this item yesterday, available at Target, I thought "why the hell would anyone need this?" Then today, I saw this article.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I just don't care anymore

It occurred to me the other day that the restroom in our office is not soundproofed very well. And by "not very well," I mean, "not at all." And the room that I work in with two other people shares one very long wall with said restroom. Much like the scene in "The Naked Gun" where Leslie Nielsen goes to the john while his lapel microphone is live and piped into the auditorium where he just gave a speech, we get to hear the tinklings of every one of our coworkers. Once I realized this, I took to sitting down, which is not all that masculine, just so the two women I work with wouldn't have to hear me going six times a day (I try to drink all eight 8 oz glasses of water recommended while at the office).

But today, I realized that it is not really all that embarassing. In fact, if anyone is actually sitting there listening to others take a leak, the problem lies within the listener, not the one being listened to. So from now on, no more squatting for me. I will stand like a man and be proud of my urination. And while I am at it, I will sing, too. Today's song selection: "Kryptonite" by 3 Doors Down.

"If I go crazy, then will you still call me Superman..."

Monday, July 18, 2005

A Moment Like This:

Just a minute ago I felt like I was in that comic from "The Far Side." I just tried to get out of the bathroom at work by pulling on the door handle that I was supposed to push. Duh!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

I'm Free!!!! For a month, anyway.

So I finished my term paper yesterday. Got it e-mailed out to my professor with about 30 seconds to spare before the battery in my HP Pavilion zv5000 laptop died. I have had so much trouble with the power pack since I got the thing. It never stayed plugged into the back of the computer very well, now the thing won't work at all.

So I had to go on HP's website on my computer at work to order a new AC adapter for the laptop. Of course, my warranty expired 2 moths ago, so I had to fork out $106 for the d**n thing. You know they engineer those things to just barely outlast the warranty.

So, for the next 4-6 days I have to use my wife's desktop Piece of Crap to do all my computing... at least school is over until the end of August. Maybe I will get outside and enjoy the Florida sun, instead. Yeah right. Oh, there is a barbecue/luau in a couple of weeks for the students of our sister school in Germany who are over here studying for a month. That should be fun.

Gotta run, the B is awake.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Set Your Phasers to "Stun"

Apparantly the US military is working on developing a directed energy weapon that can be used at a much longer range than a Taser, with none of the nasty side-effects like heart attacks and death that the Taser has been known to cause. Its temporary, and you only feel the effects while it is actually shooting you... no bitter aftertaste. Oh, and it makes your skin feel like its on fire. Nice, huh? Me Likee!

Monday, July 04, 2005

I am beginning to hate the whole full-time job/full-time school thing...

It's not that I'm a slacker, because I'm not. Nor is it because I don't like what I am studying, because apart from Managerial Statistics, it has all been fascinating. I think the biggest problem is that the amount of work required for the program takes up waaaaay too much time.

I understand that an MBA requires a great deal of work, but I don't think my wife does. We argue about it on a daily basis. She feels like I am not spending enough time with her and the baby, when in reality, I tend to postpone homework more often than I should just to do what she wants to do. Whatever. ALl I know is, if she wouldn't argue with me so often, I would get done with it a lot faster, and then be able to spend time with her. But she knows what buttons to push to get me worked up in about 3 seconds, then it takes at least a half hour to calm down to the point where I can resume working.