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?"


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 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:


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...