Friday, December 30, 2005
If you have never watched this HBO series, you must find a way to see it.
I won't go on and on about it here, just make sure you watch if you have never seen it.
I found a link to watch it for free. If you use Winamp, go to "internet TV" under file.
then choose Shoutcast TV. It is one of the links that are called ess.tv.
It plays nothing but Curb Your Enthusiasm ALL day and ALL night. Sometimes it is hard to get in there because not that many people can watch at once. So try at different times, or let winamp continue trying to connect. It's worth the effort.
And if you already knew about this show, maybe you just learned a new way to find it.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
I asked him, "why are you jumping around like a monkey?"
"LOOK WHAT SANTA BROUGHT ME!", he screamed. He pointed to his new remote control car. As I was putting the battery in it for him he told me he had heard Santa.
"When you heard him, what did you do?", I asked.
"I came running down stairs, but he was already gone.", he told me.
I explained that Santa is very fast because he has so many places to go.
Randy said, "Yeah, he is fast for an old man."
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Not my cat. Not my problem.
She was getting upset about this situation, so I offered to help. Don't think for a minute I'm actually going out to get the cat. I'm just the idea guy.
She called the fire department. Can you believe she actually called a fire department to get a cat from a tree? They laughed at her and told her they don't rescue kittens.
Next she called animal control. They also do not retrieve cats from very tall trees. They did offer her a piece of advice. They told her the cat would come out of the tree when it became very hungry.
She has an extension ladder leaning against the tree, still keeping the kitty out of reach. She opened a can of cat food and placed it on the top of the ladder. Still no cat.
My first suggestion, and probably my best, was to throw rocks at the cat.
"Throw rocks at my kitten?", she screeched.
"You want the friggin' cat out of the tree or not?", I replied as I tried to knock some sense into her. I didn't suggest she throw a boulder at the cat. Just some small rocks aimed at the cats body.
She called home and reported my theory, but he laughed. My idea was obviously better than what he had already done, because his cat was still in the tree.
Before I ended the conversation, I suggested tying a noose in a rope and yanking the kitten from the tree. That idea was not welcomed.
Several days later I stopped to talk to her again. "How's your kitten?", I asked.
She told me it had come out of the tree. When she went home he climbed the ladder armed with a pool net. One on a long pole. He essentionally knocked the cat out of the tree. She claims the cat caught itself on the way down and is now safely on the ground.
Two hours later her dog chased the cat back up the tree.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Rick and his family had come over for dinner one day last week. We needed to make a quick trip to the grocery store for one item. Rick volunteered to go, and I volunteered to help him. For me, going to the grocery store is like going on a field trip. On our way out the door, Cari told me to pick up a box of kitchen garbage bags. I was told to get the ones that have draw strings. She specified Glad or Hefty brand. Which ever is cheaper was the instruction I remember.
After we picked up our one item, Rick and I headed to find the bags. We approached that section, and I went to work doing my shopping.
Shopping is not complicated, and I try not to make it complex. First thing I did was scan the pictures on the boxes for the draw strings. Next I located a brand. First one that caught my eye was Hefty. Several size boxes were available so I chose the largest box on the shelf. Shopping is not fun, and I do not want to be making this trip again anytime soon.
As we headed to the front my team mate questioned my purchase. "Cari said she wanted Glad.", He said.
"These were cheaper.", I replied with confidence. Then I continued, "besides, she said they could be Glad or Hefty."
Rick had that uncertain expression on his face, "Well, she said she prefers Glad. Anyway, you did NOT comparison shop, I saw you pick that one up without a second thought."
This dialogue went on for a while as we were checking out. After telling him I was "pretty sure" the Hefty was cheaper, he laughed. The truth is no comparison shopping took place. The Hefty box had a pretty picture of what I was there to get. I didn't even look at the price until I had to pay the cashier.
Rick continued to contest my decision to the point I thought he was working for Cari.
When we arrived back at my house, we left the box outside. We were going to ask Cari what brand she wanted. Rick claimed that she REALLY wanted the Glad bags. While I said she would accept either.
I entered the kitchen. "On those bags, what brand did you say to get?", I asked Cari.
She said, "Glad."
Quickly finding a way to recover I helped her along, "Glad or what other brand would you like?"
Rick was already doing a victory dance as Cari replied, "I wanted Glad. You can get Hefty if they were on sale."
There was my way in. I jumped in with, "Or cheaper, right?"
Rick was about to tell her I didn't comparison shop, but Cari beat him to an answer by saying Hefty was only acceptable if they were on sale.
After hearing the answer, I headed back to the porch to retrieve my Hefty bags. As I did this, I think Rick was giving Cari a hug.
Not that it matters, but the Hefty bags seem to be working just fine for our kitchen garbage.
I had to send my new camera for repair last week, and I have not received it back yet. I really only had one day to play with it, so I am excited to see it come back after the 1st. After that, I'll be having more pictures up. I try to get at least one with every post, but that doesn't always work out.
I also enabled the comment moderation. This forces me to approve every comment that gets posted. There is no real negative to this. You just won't see your comment appear until I check my e-mail. The good thing is nobody will have to read crude comments. I appreciate getting comments on my posts, so I hope this doesn't discourage anyone.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Not very much time to update so far this week. There is quite a bit that I would like to write about. I hope by Wednesday night I'll get a good post up here for you.
Most people now have power back on in their houses. When I got home from work tonight, WE had no power. After making a joke about all the people with no power and no hot water, I was now one of them.
I kinda liked it because I got to use my flashlights. I even had the small light that straps around my head on so I could walk around the house hands free.
We went out to dinner and when we got home, the power was back on. I'll be thankful for that when I take my shower in the morning, but I did have to put my flashlights away.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
I just now got internet connection back. It's been off since the ice storm two days ago. Sounds pretty horrible, doesn't it? No internet. How are people to survive?
We do have electricity, something 400,000 of my neighbors don't have.
Ice storms are pretty. Icicles on everything. The problem is that ice is heavy, causing tree branches, and many times entire trees, to come crashing down. Often times they bring down power lines also. Thankfully, we never lost power on our block. Most of my co-workers do not have power. Yesterday they were complaining about sleeping in their coats and having no hot water. Then they would look at me and ask if I had power. In a very soft voice, while looking down, I would reply, "um.. yeah, we never lost power." That's not a good way to make friends.
The morning that the ice storm was the worst, I was driving to work about six am. Every once in a while, I would see a flash of light in the sky. At first I thought it was lightning, but then I realized it was transformers exploding on the power poles.
Birds sit on power lines during the winter to stay warm as the electricity flows through. That's why I thought it was funny driving home from work yesterday and seeing about thirty birds lined up on some wires. Wires with no power.
I realized last night, as I was turning off my Christmas lights that most families in our area don't have a way to heat their house, keep their food, or see in the dark, yet I'm using electricity to power Christmas lights.
This will be a scene I'll be wishing for in July:
It's going to take a little while to get caught back up. I just wanted to post something quick this morning. Sorry my thoughts are so scattered.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
National Weather Service notice:
...ICE STORM WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM EST THURSDAY...
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG HAS ISSUED AN ICE STORM WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM EST THURSDAY. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.
THROUGH THIS EVENING...FLURRIES AND ISOLATED SNOW SHOWERS WILL CONTINUE ACROSS NORTHEAST GEORGIA AND THE WESTERN CAROLINAS. HEAVIER AND MORE WIDESPREAD PRECIPITATION IS EXPECTED TO ADVANCE FROM THE SOUTHWEST BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND 4 AM. THE PRECIPITATION SHOULD BEGIN AS A MIX OF SNOW...SLEET...AND FREEZING RAIN. BY DAWN THURSDAY THROUGH NOON...THE PRECIPITATION SHOULD PRIMARILY FALL AS FREEZING RAIN. ICE SHOULD BEGIN TO ACCUMULATE ON ELEVATED SURFACES SUCH AS TREES AND POWER LINES LATE TONIGHT AND WILL CONTINUE TO ACCUMULATE THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING.
TWO TO FOUR TENTHS OF AN INCH OF ICE IS EXPECTED TO ACCUMULATE ALONG AND NORTH OF INTERSTATE 85 FROM TOCCOA TO GREENVILLE TO GASTONIA BY LATE THURSDAY MORNING. DAMAGE TO TREES AND POWER LINES USUALLY BEGINS WHEN ICE ACCUMULATIONS REACH A QUARTER OF AN INCH. AT THE VERY LEAST...TRAVEL ACROSS UNTREATED BRIDGES AND OVER PASSES WILL BE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.
AN ICE STORM WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. TRAVEL IS STRONGLY DISCOURAGED. COMMERCE WILL LIKELY BE SEVERELY IMPACTED. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT...FOOD...AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY. ICE ACCUMULATIONS AND WINDS WILL LIKELY LEAD TO SNAPPED POWER LINES AND FALLING TREE BRANCHES THAT ADD TO THE DANGER.
Should be a fun drive in to work tomorrow morning.
Monday, December 12, 2005
Cari said we had to be home at 6:30 because the neighbor that had Meredith was having company and we had to pick her up. We got home right at 6:30. It was dark, and sure enough, there were a ton of cars across the street. Before leaving the house, I intentionally turned the Christmas lights on and now they were off. Maybe the power went out.
Cari and I were walking up the steps and the dog was jumping all around my feet. I started to cuss at the dog and push her out of my way as I unlocked the door. When I opened the door, I flipped on the outside light. It came on, so now I wonder what happened to my Christmas lights. I take a step inside and look down the hallway. There were no fewer than four people standing in my bedroom.
At first, I thought it might have been the neighbor getting something for Meredith. Then I thought I recognized one of the faces as someone from church. I took another step in as I stared ahead. Then it happened. . .
Lights pop on and,
I like having attention, but I don't necessarily like being the CENTER of attention.
Cari and Rick had planned this surprise birthday party for several weeks. I had not a single clue any of this was going to happen. Cake, cookies, cards, etc. . . it was really cool.
Lots of friends were there, and it was awesome. As I sat down to blow out the candles, I looked up at Rick who was behind me. "You were helping plan this for me while I was doing all that stuff at work?", I asked. He laughed a bit and said it was true. All the "stuff at work" is the barrage of practical jokes I tortured him with all week. More details about that will be posted soon.
I didn't really come out of shock mode until Sunday morning. It was really awesome. All the while, Cari kept saying the same thing to me,
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Driving toward Greenville I see several ambulances and fire trucks up ahead with lights on. I see the back end of a car sticking up in the air. As we approach, we see:Initially we drove past without stopping. The camera was in the back seat of the car and I asked Cari several times if she thought I should get a picture of that wreck. She suggested we continue on to Greenville. Following her direction, I continued on, but only for about two blocks. We stopped at a church parking lot and walked back about five blocks to the wreck.
It's a good thing I got those pictures, because I don't think anyone would believe it otherwise.
Friday, December 09, 2005
I started reading about this camera months ago. It started slow. Reading a review now and then. At that point I read about similar cameras in class. Once I narrowed it down to this one, I was hooked. Reading every bit that I could find about it. Talked about obsessively with Cari. I even read the owners manual on the Nikon website. I read the forums related to the camera model on no less than three websites.
At this point I still had never held the camera, so true obsession had not really kicked in. Cari was tired of hearing about the camera. I could tell from the groans she would make when I would start, "Oh, also this new camera would have. . ." Then I would fill her in on another feature that our current camera does not have.
My next step was to sell this camera to Cari. Not an easy task. The first thing is to address the complaints that she had with our current camera. That was easy, but she still wasn't impressed.
About a week ago, we were in Staples. Because of my absolute obsession with this camera, I knew that the model was stocked in most Staples locations. Cari and I wandered over and I picked it up and snapped a few pictures. Then I handed it to her and let her try it.
"Ok, let's get one.", she said.
I didn't buy one there because I knew it would be much cheaper online. As we drove home I asked, "Did you say to buy one just to shut me up?"
"Partly.", she responded.
I ordered my camera online. If it seemed I had read every scrap of information on the camera before, I surprised myself by finding more to read.
The true obsessive behavior started the day my camera shipped. I was off from work that day. The UPS website received no fewer than three thousand hits from my computer that day. I had it shipped ground. That day, it seemed that they may have strapped my box to the back of a Honda. A Honda with three wheels.
It left New York city and stopped in Baltimore. It didn't seem to stay there long before heading to Raleigh, North Carolina. I'm pretty sure the driver took a nap there. He may have gone out drinking, because my package stayed there for what seemed like an eternity. In real time, that would be about eight hours. I continued to refresh my tracking status. I sent UPS a feedback e-mail suggesting that I should be able to see GPS tracking of my box in the truck. Maybe even a webcam of the driver. I want to know what that guy had for lunch. Did he take a long enough break? I don't want him to crash with MY package.
I was working the day the box came. Cari received several calls from me with the following message, "You didn't leave the house did you?"
"I have your box", was the text message I got from Cari later that day.
I went crazy that night. It was freezing and dark out by the time I had the battery charged up for it. I was shooting pictures of Cari washing dishes, and even some of the dishes. If she thought I was horrible talking about the camera, she was in for a surprise.
I took pictures of the new camera with the old camera before I put the old camera "away".
Then, after the old camera had served its purpose, I took its picture with the NEW camera. . .
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Maybe one of the wise men brought a Fraser fir to the manger that day. Later, it was known as a Christmas tree, so all Christians decorate their houses in memory of that moment. Probably not.
When I was doing some reading, I found that Christmas trees actually started around the area of Germany. Not by Christians either. Druids were known to put evergreen branches in their homes during the winter. It was during the 1800's when this custom was brought to the United States and it started to become a Christmas tree.
Live trees in a house are messy. They drop needles, drip sap, and constantly watering the thing is a pain. The trees also take up a lot of space in a home. They are pretty to look at, but what do they have to do with Christmas?
Just as easily as someone started the tradition of Christmas trees, I would like to end it.
What I propose is
You don't need to have a cow. Just the bell would be fine. There were likely cows near the manger scene at the time of Jesus' birth. At least more likely than a Christmas tree.
A tree costs roughly $40 and up every year. A cowbell, $2.50. You could afford to put one in your car, at your desk, in your windows.
In celebration of the birth of Jesus, you should decorate your bell. Some may use lights, some may paint them. The sound of a ringing cowbell would become the song of Christmas time. When you hear that Christmas Cowbell ringing, you would be reminded about the birth of Jesus.
I'm sure that this idea won't be popular with the tree farmers around the world, but the bell makers will be ecstatic.
It's too late for this to really take hold this year. But spread the word! We need a symbol that makes sense! The Jews have the menorah. IT MAKES SENSE! It ties in with their holiday.
Go out, buy a cowbell! Decorate it! Ring it in the streets! Celebrate the birth of Jesus! Don't buy a Christmas tree. Think of the needles you will vacuum out of your carpet. Think of the sap you will have to scrub out of your clothes. Think of the clean up and removal after Christmas. For what reason?
In our house, we will celebrate around our Christmas Cowbell. After Christmas, we will take it down from the window, and place it in it's Christmas Cowbell box.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
We have much more displayed this year compared to last. Meredith loves the two deer we have put out. So much, that she spent an hour making sure they had food. After feeding them she spent some time petting one of them.
Next year I'll put twenty deer in the yard to keep her busy. When I do that, I'll have to hire an electrician to map the extension cord layout.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
In my house lives a nosy neighbor.
Cari is a nosy neighbor.
Ever since Yankee and his ugly wife moved in two doors down, Cari has played the role of investigator. Any time Yankee is outside, Cari finds an excuse to be out there. Just so happens she is checking her mail as he walks past the house. Doesn't matter what is going on, Cari will drop it all if Yankee or the ugly wife is outside.
This happened three times in about two days.
The climax of this behavior happened just the other day. Cari saw Yankee knocking on the door across the street. Cari ran out, being a good neighbor, to tell him that nobody was home. Then she ran out to engage him in conversation. Yankee told her that he had repainted the boys room for his son. Trying to gain entrance to the house, Cari showed great interest in the painted room.
Our friends across the street (that were not home) needed to deliver some papers to the Yankee later in the day. Cari told our friends that she wanted to go with them to Yankee's house. That afternoon, Cari and I were putting up Christmas decorations on the house. I was hanging out of the upstairs window and Cari was on the ladder outside. The friends started to walk toward Yankee house. Cari didn't notice until they were already in the driveway. Cari left me hanging in the window, started shouting at our friends, and RAN across the neighbors yard to catch up. All of this was in an effort to gain entry to the Yankee house and see what was happening inside.
I'm not really sure what she expected to see. Perhaps Yankee lives like some freak, and we could open his house as a museum. More than anything, she was just being nosy. My wife, the nosy neighbor, came back to the house and climbed up her ladder facing me.
"She wouldn't let us in.", she said in disgust.
"The baby was sleeping in that room.", she continued.
I looked at her and saw the disappointment. She made every effort, and was denied.
"Cari", I said, "You are THE nosy neighbor."
After she told me I was wrong, I started to present her my case.
She realized as I was speaking that there was some truth to what I was saying. She told me at that moment on the ladder that she was NOT going to be a nosy neighbor.
Now I am proud to tell you that I am the husband of a REFORMED nosy neighbor. A FORMER nosy neighbor.
Now we get all the gossip from our friends across the street. The true nosy neighbors.