Sunday, July 31, 2005
Kinlock Falls
I had two hours sleep last night, so as Prince might say, forgive me if this goes astray.

Matt, Michael, Danielle, and I ventured down to Kinlock Falls this afternoon. It is located out in the Bankhead National Forest. Here are a few pics.

A picture of the falls. Sliding down is fun!


At the top of the falls, looking over the edge. The rock in the top center is the highest one I will jump off of :-)


A little farther back upstream, still looking towards the falls:


Looking upstream at the creek which feeds the falls:


It was a million miles of fun. When we got there, we were the only ones there. By the time we left, there were probably at least 30 people, along with a couple of dogs. There seemed to be an abnormally large amount of fishes down there, and that made me think about Pablo :-) I got to talk with a guy who lives on the Cherokee reservation, which I didn't know was just a few miles away. That was neat. One of his kids was jumping off the very highest ledges. After one such jump, he turned to me and said, "Every kid I raise is dumber than the last one." Oh man, it was hilarious. Anyway, it was nice. The water was so cool and clear. There is some place I have always wanted to go called the blue hole. It is supposedly not far from Kinlock. But I have never been given exact directions.

The rest of the weekend...
Kyle and I headed up to Nashville Friday after work. We first stopped off at Shane's to pick up some video gear. Well, Shane recently contracted viral meningitis. He must have gotten it when he and Angelina went to Africa to try and adopt a child. No, wait, that was Brad Pitt. Anyhow, I had it in my head that I would just stay in the car to avoid any virality. But when we pulled in the drive, there was a strange vehicle there. Kyle thought it might be Tammy. But I saw the Maryland sticker and knew exactly who it was. So there it was... meningitis versus hottie. Guess which one I chose.

After that, we met up with Cassie and hung out downtown for a few hours. Had dinner at Big River Brewery and shot pool at Buffalo Billiards. BB's has these big front windows which they leave open most of the time in the summer. They open out onto busy 2nd avenue, so you can see all the people walking by. We always try to get one of the front two tables, which we were able to do on this night. This is when the most exciting event of the night occurred. While I was shooting, I hear this loud crash and thud behind me. I turn around and see this 300 pound guy clamboring to his feet. He has either jumped or been pushed thru the window. There's a couch right next to the window, so he tumbled over that and onto the floor. What the freak!? He gets up and clambers back out the window. Shortly thereafter, someone comes and closes all the windows. Got home about 2:30.

Saturday, I worked until 2:00. Hung out with some friends Saturday night. Shot pool, watched TV, ate, and played NCAA Football 2006. Got home a little after 5 AM. What the freak?! I have no business being out that late. But it's nice to know I can still do it once in awhile... I guess. Sorry this hasn't been too creative, but I'm really exhausted. I think I'm seeing purple spots. Not sure if it's the meningitis or the sleep deprivation. Either way, now I must sleep. Hope you all had a good weekend.

"City girls just seem to find out early, how to open doors with just a smile..."
Friday, July 29, 2005
Sorry, July...
... but I'm afraid you can't go just yet. What the freak is going on? Weren't we just at the fireworks like last week? This seems like it has been the (fastest/shortest) month of my life. Why is everything moving so fast? Where does the time go?

Memory Burn
Certain moments in life stand out, I guess, for as long as you live. I can remember things, specific events, where I was, who was there, and sometimes even how I felt, from twenty or twenty-five years ago. And those moments are just as clear as if they had happened yesterday. That's memory burn (according to an episode of Seinfeld), things that are seared into your mind. And yet, there's all the other moments, hours, days, weeks, months, that are just a blur, and I can't remember much of anything about them. What makes certain moments stand out, even when at the time they happened, they may not have been as significant than other moments that have long since been forgotten?

One of my favorite "memory burn" moments is when she and I were at the beach, I guess about seven years ago. We were sitting by the pool on the second floor, facing the beach, with our legs thru the railing hanging off the deck. I was singing "The Coast Is Clear" of all songs. It was almost sunset. The ocean breeze was cool. Why did she put up with my singing? Why do any of them? I don't remember what we did that night. We surely went to eat somewhere, but I don't remember. I don't even remember getting up and going back to the room. It's just that one moment that stands out. I can just almost feel that breeze. That is a moment I never will forget.

The night the lights went out... at the tennis courts
Four little Mexican kids were running wild around the tennis courts Tuesday night while we were playing. All of a sudden, the lights went out. Well, once you turn the lights out, it's at least 15 or 20 minutes before they will come back on. Anyhow, I looked over and the kids, who all looked to be under 8 years old, were standing by the light box. So I walked over there and told them to go away. One of the boys pointed at this friend and said, "He did it." The accused looked at his friend and in this really evil little voice said slowly, "You.. betrayed.. me." I am really beginning to understand why people move to affluent, gated communities.

These pretzels are making me thirsty!
Two great Seinfeld eps were on last night, "The Implant" and "The Alternate Side." Some quotes:

"You don't touch the nose! You don't aspire to reach the nose. You don't unhook anything to get to a nose, and no man has ever tried to look up a woman's nostril."

Jerry: There's Sidra.
Kramer: There's Salman.
Jerry: Where?
Kramer: Talkin' to that woman.
Jerry: Talkin' to Sidra?
Kramer: If that's Sidra, she's talkin' to Salman.
Jerry: I don't think that's Salman.
Kramer: Well, I don't think they're real.
Jerry: If that's Rushdie, they're real.
Kramer: If they're real, that's Rushdie.
Jerry: Well, I gotta know. I'm talkin' to Sidra.
Kramer: I gotta know, I'm talkin' to Salman.

"What was wrong with that? I had a different interpretation! Do you know anything about this pretzel guy?! Maybe he's been in the bar a really long time and he's really depressed because he has no job, and no woman, and he's parking cars for a living! Alright! Alright! Shut up! Shut up! I hear you! I'm coming down! These pretzels are making me thirsty!"

Jerry: Shouldn't you do something with the extremities?
Elaine: What extremities?
Kramer: What's an extremity?
Jerry: You raise the feet, get blood to the head.
Kramer: You raise the head, you get blood to the feet.
Elaine: OK, what about a cold compress? They always do that.
Jerry: I don't have a washcloth.
Elaine: We'll use a paper towel.
Jerry: You can't put a paper towel on his head.
Kramer: What about a big sponge?
Jerry: How you gonna hold it on there?
Kramer (taking off his belt): We'll use a belt!
Elaine: No, no. It'll drip all over him.
Jerry: Should we walk him around?
Kramer: Yeah, I've seen them do that.
Jerry: No, no, that's for a drug overdose.
Kramer: Well, maybe that's what he's got.
Elaine: No, Kramer, I just had lunch with him, he didn't leave the table.
Kramer: Well he could have dropped acid when you weren't looking.
Elaine: He is not a drug addict!
Jerry: Hey, you know what? Maybe he's a diabetic, he might just need a cookie or something.
Kramer:Can you give him a cookie?
Elaine: How's he gonna chew it?
Jerry: We'll move his teeth. It happened to my uncle. The sugar revived him.
Elaine: Careful, you're getting crumbs all over him.
Kramer: I got him chewing, but I don't think he's gonna swallow.

I hope you all have a great weekend. I think I am heading up to Nashville tonight. Would like to get down to Kinlock Falls at some point, if I have time. There's a swimming hole, some rocks to jump off of, and of course, the falls. I'll try to take some pictures if I do make it down there. Here is one pic I found online.

"You're not the best thing that I knew. Never was. Never cared too much for all this hanging around. It's just the same thing all the time. Never get what I want. Never get too close to the end of the line..."
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
The first girl I ever called
Here's another fine literary offering from the mind of Manuel Labor. Names changed to protect the weak.

The first girl I ever called was Connie Cooper. She was tall. As long as I can remember, she was one of the tallest girls in class. Tall for a girl when she is 12 means something entirely different than when she is 25. Connie and I were big love note buddies. You know, I-like-you-do-you-like-me-yes-no-maybe kind of notes. She would always say yes. Then along came my friend James. He was interested in Connie, too. So during second grade (I think), we began an all out battle, vying for Connie's heart. Some days, we would see who could write more love notes to Connie. At some point, I guess she got tired of this. One day she sent my note back with a check in the "maybe" box. How dare she not say yes? (Let me note here that James was my note envoy to Connie, so he probably checked the box himself. At least I have always been highly suspicious.) So, I wrote her a note back, saying "I hate you" and sent it via James. The teacher was in a reading group at the time and stopped him on his way to his destination and asked what he was carrying. He gave the note to her. That traitor! Everyone knows you destory the note, eat it or something. He could have never been a double-naught spy. The teacher read my note out loud to the class, which as you can probably imagine, was not embarrassing at all. It was the only time I can ever remember telling anyone I hated them while I wasn't heavily medicated. Well, except for Dad. (Boy, that was a fun phase, wasn't it, Dad?) Of course I didn't mean it.

Anyhow, back to the phone call. I remember going into a room by myself, closing the door, and (What story was I telling again? Oh yeah...) psyching myself into it. I was incredibly nervous and obviously had no experience, so it never crossed my mind to think about what I might say to her if she answered. I called. A man which I assume was her dad answered. I asked to speak to her and he told me to hold. It was at this point that I distinctly remember picturing in my young mind Connie being upstairs in her room, and coming down a long, winding staircase to take my call. She came to the phone. I do not remember what I said. I just remember that the entire conversation seemed awkward to me. We got off the phone and I never told anyone what I had done. And I never called her again.

A couple of years later, a group of us at school were talking one day about who we liked and such. Connie was in the group and said something to the effect of, "This guy I really liked called me on the phone one time. I thought it was so sweet." And she looked right at me. For the first time, I realized that she liked me. She had liked me for a couple of years. For whatever reason, I never pursued things any further. I guess my priorities at that time were on other things. Girls were somewhere below Atari, baseball cards, and probably a couple of other things. There would be plenty of time for girls later. Back then, it seems like you were just friends with whoever was in your class, then the next year, you made new friends. No big deal.

Connie's dad was killed in a car wreck at some point while we were still young. It was just one of those things that you heard your parents say, and you knew it was bad, but you were too young to really understand. Seems like it happened over the summer, and by the time we got back to school, no one remembered it, or at least no one talked about it. Not long after that, Connie's mom moved her and her brother to another town. And if I ever saw Connie again, it was not more than once.

James and his family had moved to Florida for a couple of years. They were moving back about this time, and as fate would have it, they moved into Connie's old house. He and I got to be good friends. I went over to his house a few times. There was no winding staircase. It was just a normal, three-bedroom, one-story house. Funny how a young boy's mind can conceive such images.

I really enjoyed school, especially high school. I wasn't the most popular person, but I was somewhat popular. I was just kind of someone that everyone knew and made people laugh, and I came to really enjoy and relish that role, whatever it was. At the time, I am sure I was probably wishing the days away, in a hurry for it to be over. But now, I would love to go back for just one day and walk those halls one more time. But, time doesn't work that way. I occasionally have dreams where I am still in school, being late for class, not being able to remember my locker combination, or some other minor crisis. Sometimes I can close my eyes and almost hear the bell ringing and lockers slamming.

So where are they now? Well, James and I have remained good friends to this day. He got married a few years ago, and I went to his wedding. I still get a phone call from him every now and then. The first girl I ever called, well, she is married to a golfer on the PGA Tour. I won't say which one. No, it's not Tiger Woods. But he has finished in the top ten on the money list a couple of times. I guess she did OK for herself. And me... well, you know all about me.

I think I hear the bell ringing, so I guess that is all for now.

Don't want to be late for class.

"I'm real sorry 'bout the shape I'm in. I just like my fun every now and then..."
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Who doesn't want to wear the ribbon?!
Wal-Mart Halts Singles Shopping

(excerpt) ...One dissatisfied customer was Leslie Winton, 27, who found out on her way into the store that Singles Shopping is no more. "This is very disappointing," she said. "I drove up from Franklin County to be here. I've been thinking about it all week." (end excerpt)

Well, we just can't have that. Email me ;-)

I guess now it's back to meet-an-inmate.com and RussianBrides.com. Oh, I'm kidding. Those aren't real sites. Oh, they are? Well, I've never visited them.... (No offense, Svetlana.) Well, OK, they aren't in my favorites though.

Nocturnal Phantasm 705B
I've been on an incredible streak of remembering dreams lately. Last night, I dreamed I was either a coach or a teacher in high school. I was sitting at the front of a classroom, next to my high school health teacher, who was also the girls varsity basketball coach for a couple of years. It was a regular class, with probably about fifty students in it. But once we started to teach, it was like he was suddenly a football coach, and I was an assistant, even though the students remained the same. He brought in a newspaper which had all the scores from the previous Friday night's games, and my assignment was to read the articles or recaps of three games, and then give a summary of each.

Random thoughts
I fed Pablo a couple of pieces of a Fruity Pebble yesterday. He seems to be doing OK, although I think he might have had a sugar high. He was darting all over his tank.

My fantasy baseball team is up to 3rd place, which is the highest I've been all year. Click on the link over to the right if you'd like to see. But hurry, I probably won't be there for long.

When you get behind a car that is emitting lots of unpleasant, toxic exhaust, do you stick your nose in your shirt and take a breath? I do. I guess I prefer the combination of human perspiration, Tag body spray, and Mitchum, to whatever is coming from the car in front of me. I do that in the bathroom too, if someone has defiled it. But it only works well for like the first breath or two.

Yesterday, I killed one of these giant hopping bugs in the kitchen. I smothered it with some Raid. Then once it was dead, I caught myself doing a victory dance, taunting the deceased with sort of a pro wrestling/NFL end zone celebration combination. Why do I do that? Perhaps I have some pent up energy. Too bad there was no video camera.

If I ever become a porn star, I think my name will be Manuel Labor. I will typically be a construction worker or something, glistening with sweat.

"Her hat is hanging by the door, the one she bought in Mexico. It blocked the wind, it stopped the rain. She'd never leave that one. So she can't be really gone..."
Sunday, July 24, 2005
That girl is like a sunburn
Amy invited us down to her house on Saturday. She lives on Smith Lake. Jonathan and I headed out around 9:30. Need I say it was hot? Rode the jet ski, the pontoon, and swam lots. It was a lot of fun, and quite exhausting. I love the water! Took some pictures, and figured I'd share a few...

This handsome feller walked over from the neighbor's yard while I was lying in the hammock. I love dalmatians:


Here is the view from Amy's deck:


A couple of lake houses:


I got a sunburned a little, so I have spent the better part of last night and today lathering myself with aloe... which isn't a lot unlike other weekends.

Other highlights... I went running Friday. I was sweatin' like Dan Quayle at a spelling bee. (Oh, that was bad. I'll probably get an outdated analogy citation for that one.) Had dinner at Los Charros (Mexican) with my sister and her husband. Picked up a Bobby Brown greatest hits CD at Wal-Mart. (Yes, these are my weekend highlights. You know you wish you were listening to it right now.) It was only $9.72, so I couldn't pass it up. Today, the apartment kids created a new game. It's a really fun one where they ring my doorbell, then are gone when I get to the door. Fortunately, I was lying in bed in my underwear when they first played it, so I had to get up, put some shorts on and go to the door. Is it any wonder I love living here? Oh, and two cop cars were at the house across the street again Saturday night. Hope you all had a good weekend!

Recurring dream
I keep having a dream where it's Christmas or Christmas Eve or whatever, time to exchange presents, and I have forgotten to shop. Sometimes I don't have any gifts for any of my family and sometimes I have only forgotten to buy for one or two people. It really distresses me. I love Christmas time and probably over-buy, if anything, for family. Interpretations?

Farewell Tour
Lance Armstrong wrote what will likely be the final chapter of his cycling career Sunday, winning a seventh straight Tour de France. I started following the tour back in the Greg LeMond/Miguel Indurain days. When Lance first came up, to me he seemed like a brash young punk who had not paid his dues. And although billed as America's cycling future, I had my doubts. Once he came back from cancer to ride the tour, I was immediately converted into a Lance Armstrong fan. Still I never thought he would even finish, much less win it, and much less seven times. I imagine that any person who survives cancer is a source of hope and inspiration for others. What better gift could you give anyone.

You had to be there...
(In the lake...)
"This water is really warm."
"Oh. Sorry about that." (Ewwww!)

"So when did that show come on, the forties?"
"Um, I don't know, maybe the fifties or early sixties. It might have been on in the late forties. When did TV even begin?"
"Well, in Back To The Future, they were just getting a TV in 1955."

"No matter what your friends try to tell ya, we were made to fall in love. And we will be together, any kind of weather. It's like that. It's like that..."
Friday, July 22, 2005
I lost my purse!
Keeping things on the lighter side today...

Played tennis for a couple of hours last night. It was so humid, like a rainforest. A couple of times, I thought I saw a tse-tse fly. Too bad, I could've busted out my Steve-O thong and done an impromptu episode of the Wild Boyz. Anyway, when I got home, around 10:45, I couldn't find my wallet. Turns out I had left it in Java's car. Augh!! Why must there always be a problem? Anyway, big thanks to Java. We scheduled a late-night rendezvous (Note to self: Change previous phrase before publishing, as it doesn't sound ultra hetero) and made the drop halfway between my bachelor pad and his fortress of privacy. I had to have my wallet. Why? I'll let my friend George Costanza explain:

"Because important things go in a case. You got a skull for your brain, a plastic sleeve for your comb, and a wallet for your money. This is an organizer, a secretary, and a friend."

J Walking Talking
Conversation I had this morning...

Her: He's from Nigeria. What country is that?
Me: Uh, Nigeria is a country.
Her: Huh? Oh, maybe he said he's from Africa. What country would that be?
Me: Africa's a continent.
Her: I always get those mixed up. Well, what country do we live in?
Me: United States... of America. Man, I wish I was recording this conversation.
Her: Well, what is South America then?
Me: That's a continent.
Her: So what country is Africa?
Me: Africa's a continent. Nigeria is a country in Africa.
Her: Nigeria can't be a country. Are you sure?
Me: Fairly.
Her: Well, what state is it then?
Me: I don't think they have states.
Her: Man, I suck at geography. If I ever see Jay Leno coming, I'm walking the other way. Ask me some questions.
Me: Uhh, who is Vice President of the United States?
Her: Oh, I know that one, Dick Cheney.
Me: Who ran against George Bush in the last Presidential election?
Her: Al Gore.
Me: Nope.
Her: It was too Al Gore!
Me: John Kerry.
Her: Oh. Well that's who I was picturing in my mind.
Me: OK, who just announced she is retiring from the Supreme Court?
Her: Condaleeza Rice.
Me: No. Sandra Day O'Connor.
Her: I thought that was a singer.
Me: That's Sinead O'Connor.
Her: Ask me something that doesn't have to do with court.
Me: OK, what is the capital of-
Her: (interrupting) I don't know. No, go ahead.
Me: What is the capital of Texas?
Her: Dallas.
Me: No.
Her: Houston.
Me: No.
Her: San Antonio.
Me: No.
Her: Fort Worth.
Me: No.
Her: I don't know.
Me: Austin.
Her: Aww, man. OK. Let me ask you some. What is the day that will live in in..famy? (laughing) I almost said infantry.

Blogathon 2005
Be sure to stop over and support Kerry at Webgrits during the upcoming blogathon for charity. Or you might want to sign up yourself at blogathon.org. Hope you all have a great weekend!

"Mister, can you take me into Little Rock? I'll buy the coffee and I'll fill your truck. I'll listen all night if you wanna talk. Just don't mention Memphis..."
Thursday, July 21, 2005
My old man
Sorry if this is a bit too personal...

Today is Dad's birthday. He is 55. You know, the old speed limit. Dad got a speeding ticket a few months ago, which is humorous in itself. Today, I thought I would share a few Dad memories.

When I was quite young, probably five or six, Huntsville was the nearest place that you could legally buy alcohol. Now, let me say here that as far as I know, Dad has never even had a sip of alcohol since I have been alive. Anyway, for some reason, Mom and Dad liked to drive around on Saturdays and Sundays. And more than one time, when we would cross the river going towards Huntsville, Dad would tell me he was going to get drunk. He was kidding, but I thought he was serious. I don't know why that terrified me so, but I would cry and say, "No, Daddy!" Gee, I can't wait to play that trick on my kids.

Some of my favorite memories are lying awake at night and asking Dad to tell me stories about when he was growing up. I could picture the stories in my mind as he was telling them. He was, and is, a simple man. Whenever we would get a newer vehicle, Mom would drive it, and Dad would always take the lesser one. He never seemed to care too much for material things. He thought the kind of person you are was more important than what you had, and that is what he tried to teach me. Of course, all the memories aren't good. He had a short temper and yelled a lot when I was younger. He wasn't perfect. Neither was I. But I guess when it comes to looking back on the past, I like to dwell on the good.

His father died before I turned two years old. He never spoke much of it, but I always wondered how he dealt with that. He did not have much family, just two half-brothers who were at least fifteen years his elder. His mother passed away in 1987 (I think). So Mom's family, eleven brothers and sisters, became his family.

On the 4th of July weekend of 1998, I was working on an early Sunday morning when Mom called and said that she was at the hospital. Dad suffered from acid reflux, and he'd had an incident that night which triggered an asthma attack. He couldn't get his breath and a lot of fluid had gotten in his lungs. The ER nurse had told Mom to "call the family in." Those words hit you like a ton of bricks, stop you in your tracks. If you've never gotten that call, there is no way to explain it. I rushed up there to see him. Thankfully, some paramedics happened by, inserted a tube in his throat, and long story short, after a few days in the ICU, Dad was OK. But I remember so many of Mom's brothers and sisters and cousins being at the hospital that day. Dad was never like an in-law to them.

Last night, I was trying to think of one memory, one story, that would sum up Dad. Well, this is the best I could come up with. When my engagement ended, in 1999, I was crushed. As I had spent basically all my free time with my girlfriend/fiancee over the past four years, suddenly I had nothing to do. Worse, I didn't want to do anything. I couldn't eat. It was as close to depression as I have ever been. I could tell Dad was concerned. One evening after work, he took me out to dinner, just me and him. We had never really just gone out to dinner just to be going. Soon, this became a Monday evening ritual. The first couple of times, we talked mostly about what I was going through. But after that, we would just talk about life in general, work, anything and everything. Our Monday night dinners would eventually come to an end, after several months, or a year, or more. I'm not sure. But that always meant a lot to me.

When I was little, anytime I would have to ask Mom and Dad for money or anything, I would always say, "I'm gonna pay you back someday." And I had every intention of doing so. But after 32 years of accumulating debt, it has become clear that I will never be able to repay the balance in full. I decided a few years ago that really the only way to repay my parents is to try to do the same things for my kids, if I'm ever blessed to have kids.

So, anyhow, happy birthday, Dad. And thanks for not getting drunk.

"I'm sure instead of all that attention, all he'd of wanted was a few words mentioned. A simple man, simply laid to rest. As they drove him away in that big Cadillac, with a tear in my eye I had to laugh. Daddy never was the Cadillac kind..."
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
The Sparrow Incident
As I was lying in bed last night, watching Craig Ferguson interview Ludacris, which in itself was a little odd, it just hit me that tomorrow is my Dad's birthday. And my sister's first wedding anniversary is Sunday. You gah suh shopping to do, Lucy. Oh wait, there is no Lucy. I guess I have some shopping to do. What do you get for a first wedding anniversary? Paper? Or is that just what the couple gets each other? Ahh, I need a woman.

A seemingly endless supply of Foxworthy material
Spotted on a white, full-size '98 Chevy pickup last week. In the upper left corner of the back window, an "8" sticker. In the upper right corner, a picture of a deer head. In the lower left corner, a "W" sticker. And on the vanity plate? GTERDUN.

That's it, sparrows. We have NO DEAL!
This pseudo-tragedy occurred on my way home from work yesterday. The largest part of my commute is two-lane. During one particularly long, straight stretch (where I normally like to pass many cars, but that is neither here nor there), I spotted a little bird in the distance right in the middle of my lane. Now, let me insert here, that while I am not in PETA, I do consider myself somewhat of a conservationist. I enjoy nature... deer, mallards, etc. And I would never harm a little birdie.

So, back to my story. As I drew closer, I figured the bird would eventually fly away and out of danger. But no, as the gap between my vehicle and the ornithological creature closed, he/she did not seem to even be cognizant of me. What should I do? Should I swerve? Don't they say never to do that? Don't we have a deal with the sparrows? They move out of the way of our vehicles, we overlook the droppings on our cars. Maybe this is a deaf bird? You can't hit a deaf bird, Bone. Maybe it's just had a really bad day and it wants to be hit, ending it's miserable fly-by-day life. There's nothing coming. I could swerve into the other lane. All these thoughts were racing thru my head. And by that time, it was too late. I was going to hit it. I just knew the fragile creature would take flight just in time to get plastered across my grill. An afternoon of picking sparrow feathers out of my radiator was not what I had planned. And then, at the very last instant, I realized... what I had thought was a bird turned out to be a piece of a tire. Ahh. Silly Bone. I laughed at myself inside. Then I thought as I continued on my way, I will have to blog about this.

Nocturnal Phantasm 705A
I dreamed I got a phone call from an ex-girlfriend who I have not heard from in awhile, and who I still care deeply for. (Oh, don't worry, I care about you all.) She started off asking what I would say if she wanted to get back together. Then, her voice began sounding troubled, bordering on panicky. I asked how things had been going. I said I heard she was engaged. She said she had been, but that he was fat and bald, and she ended it. I can't remember much more of the conversation, but I could tell things were not right. I asked what was going on. As her voice broke, she said she had been listening to a fortune teller. In my mind, I equated this to a psychic. They were controlling her every move. She said she had to go, and told me to call her. Something was said which led me to believe someone was coming to take her away, like she was crazy or something. But I knew she wasn't. We got off the phone, and I was very troubled myself. I knew I had to help her, but I didn't have her number to call her. I laid there with a most awful feeling in my stomach, not knowing what to do.

"Come out Virginia, don't let me wait. You Catholic girls start much too late..."
Monday, July 18, 2005
LaGrange pics
Here are some pics from the excursion Friday evening, to help illustrate my LaGrange story a few posts back.

This is the view from the main highway. You take the curve to the right and after a short while pass the school site, which has a couple of cabins on it, some picnic tables, and a few other things:


A monument at the school site:


Here is one of the cabins at the school site. I don't know how old these are, but I do know you can rent one and spend the night there. Why you would want to, I'm not sure:


Immediately after you pass the school, the paved road ends, and things start looking like this. Keep in mind we walked out of here at like 11 PM:


After probably a quarter to a half mile, the gravel road turns sharply left and goes uphill to the cemetery. At that point, this muddy path is straight ahead. This is where we got stuck that night. They have since put up a gate. There is also a no trespassing/private property sign in the upper right hand corner. This past Friday as we were leaving the cemetery, there was an old truck coming out of this road. Yikes:


From that same point, this is the view looking uphill at the road which leads to the cemetery:


The cemetery is located at the end of the gravel road, probably close to a mile from the school site. It is surrounded by dense woods on all sides, except for the entrance where the road ends. It has really been cleaned up since that night eleven years ago. At the time of my story, all of this was overgrown and you could only see a very few graves:


This was a little freaky. The box on the right is what I assume to be an above-ground concrete coffin. Never seen that before. ("We bury our dead underground, so they can't get out and get us.) This was pretty far back in the cemetery. Once I saw this, I started heading back towards the car:


Well, maybe those will help illustrate my story somewhat. I am fairly certain this was my first time back to LaGrange since that night. The whole place is undergoing a restoration actually, so it's very pretty. "Now I know why people like golf. It's just nice to be outdoors in a well-manicured area." Still, with all the stories I have heard, and with what happened that night eleven years ago, I was expecting someone to come out of the woods at any moment.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and my story.

"She got out of town, on a railway New York bound. Took all except my name. Another alien on Broadway..."
Folklore, fair maidens, & double faults
While talking to some girl I just met at Buffalo Billiards Saturday, I was reminded of this ever-so-true Seinfeld bit:

Women need to like the job of the guy they're with. If they don't like the job, they don't like the guy. Men know this, which is why we make up the phony, bogus names for the jobs that we have. "Well, right now, I'm the regional management supervisor. I'm in development, research, consulting." Men, on the other hand, if they are physically attracted to a woman are not that concerned with her job. Men don't really care. Men'll just go, "Really? Slaughterhouse? Is that where you work? That sounds interesting. So whatdya got a big cleaver there? You're just lopping their heads off? That sounds great! Listen, why don't you shower up, and we'll get some burgers and catch a movie."

Friday
It was quite a weekend. Friday evening, we ventured to LaGrange (before sunset) so that I could take some photos to help illustrate my story from a few posts back. They have really fixed the whole area up. They've done a little clearing, really cleaned up the cemetery, and put a lot more gravel on the road. Anyway, I uploaded the pics to my computer last night, so I hope to put those in a blog entry, maybe tonight. Thanks to Kyle for risking life and limb to go up there with me, since he had no real interest and there was little, if any, chance of encountering girls there. The oft-repeated phrase of the evening: "Now why are we doing this again?"

Saturday
Saturday was long. I worked until Noon. Soon afterward, we headed to Nashville. Stopped off at S&M's Kennel, then ended up downtown around 6:00. Shot pool at Buffalo Billiards. At some point, we were playing doubles with these two chicks that Kyle had managed to coerce over to our table. Referring to her cue, my extremely attractive teammate said something like, "How do you hold it?" Well, as you might imagine, I was all over that like Jared on a foot-long sweet onion chicken teriyaki sandwich. I gave her a couple of um, tips, and amazingly she sank the shot, which was a fairly long one. Hmm, maybe I need to take my own advice. Had dinner at Amerigo's Italian restaurant, which caused me to randomly blurt out "Amerigo Vespucci" the rest of the night. Did some labeling and packaging, about two and a half hours worth, then got home about 2:30.

Sunday
I did laundry. Went to eat dinner at Applebees. Played tennis last night.
Wow, it was humid as all get out. I was sweatin' like Richard Simmons to the oldies. J-Mo managed to snap some photos of me in all my Wimbledon-ness: I'm glistening! You know if you didn't know better, without actually seeing where the ball ends up, it actually almost looks like I know what I'm doing.

Hope you all had a great weekend. Don't forget ESPN begins airing the World Series of Poker tomorrow night (7/19)! Phil Helmuth, Dan Harrington, Sam Farha, David Williams, Dutch Boyd, Doyle Brunson, Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer, Jason Lester, Phil Ivey, Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, and my favorite, Annie Duke. Love ya, baby!

"Oh, baby baby, it's a wild world. I'll always remember you, like a child, girl..."
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Everything you always wanted to know
Thanks to everyone who answered my five questions in the last post. I found it interesting and it satisfied some curiosity. Now, I shall attempt to answer the questions you asked in response to question #3, "What is something you wonder or would like to know about me?" (I will edit this post if and when more questions are posed.)

Anonymous asked: Dude, why are you still single?
I could ask you the same thing :-) Well, let me try to add a little here. I suppose it would be best to ask some of the girls I have dated this question. Perhaps I am modeling my life after Jerry Seinfeld, who didn't get married until he was forty-five. Of course, it might be a little more difficult sans the hit sitcom, successful stand-up career, lucrative endorsement deals, best-selling book, comedy album, and DVD sales. Then again, I do have a blog.

Dea wonders: Why exactly you stalk me?
Because you're irresistible and easily acccessible.

InterstellarLass asked: What's your favorite flavor ice cream?
Well, I am not sure I can pick just one. Here are a few I enjoy: Mint chocolate chip, cotton candy (mmmm), homemade vanilla, orange sherbet... I could go on. I'm really hungry now.

Kerry says: I'd like to know who you think will make it to the MLB playoffs.
White Sox, Yankees, Angels, and Red Sox in the AL. Braves, Cardinals, Padres, and Nationals in the NL. I think the Twins or Orioles could slip in, but it's hard to pick against the Red Sox and Yankees.

Crys had several. Why your name is Bone?
Well, this all stemmed from "The Maid" episode of Seinfeld, where George decides it would be cool to be nicknamed T-Bone. People started calling me that. It wasn't too long before it was shortened to just Bone.

What your real name is?
Well, not to be ultra secretive, but I choose to use Bone to keep things at least partially anonymous.

Are you married or divorced?
Neither. I am single, never married.

Cindy aspired to know: Do you like Chinese food? If you do, what do you like? If not, have you been to decent place with good food yet?
I'm not real big on Chinese food. I think I had Chinese food like one time before the age of 22. But since then, having dated a couple of girls who liked it, I have found some things which are OK. I really like lo mein and the egg rolls. I actually occasionally buy frozen pork & shrimp egg rolls at the grocery store. I usually order some kind of very spicy chicken. Bone likes his chicken spicy. (If you get the Seinfeld reference there, then bonus points for you.)

You compared me to:
Danny Tanner
Seinfeld
Kenny Chesney
Newman

Your nicknames for me:
B-Diddy
Bama Bonester Babe
Jeffrow
Little Blogger Friend
Pookie
Tenacious B

Those are better than nicknames I've actually had. For awhile in 8th and 9th grade, I was given the nickname "Elvis." I think this was because I developed a habit of curling my lip when I smiled (I still do that), and maybe because of my hair at that time. Thankfully, once I got my hair cut a little different, that name faded away.

"Girls were a mystery that we couldn't explain, and I guess there are some things that are never gonna change. Man, I don't know, where the time goes, but it sure goes fast..."
Friday, July 15, 2005
Five Questions
Hey all. I thought this would be an interesting post to do and leave up for the weekend. Just comment with your answers to the following five questions. The more detailed and specific the better :-) And if you can't think of anything, that's OK, too. Thanks, and have a great weekend!

1. How did you first come across my blog?
2. Why do you come back?
3. What is something you wonder or would like to know about me?
4. Besides Steve-O, what person, real or fictional, would you compare me to?
5. Since someone brought this up a few posts ago, think of a nickname for me, and explain. (Boy, I'm really asking for it here.)

"The last thing I expected was to get her call tonight, cos the last thing that I heard from her, she'd found Mister Right..."
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Germophobia and Big Sweaties
I was always a little disturbed at how easily Bo and Luke Duke could obtain dynamite. They always seemed to have a few sticks whenever they needed it. How much did they have? Don't you have to have some sort of permit for that? Perhaps Uncle Jessie had traded in his moonshine-running days to sell explosives on the black market. I just always thought that was a little odd. Other than that, I found the show extremely entertaining and realistic.

RANDOM EDIT: My sister called me last night. She said, "You remember when you used to have that message on your answering machine where you were singing?" (I still do, but that's beside the point.) I said, "Yes." She said, "I have just now realized after all these years that you got that from Seinfeld. I just got done watching that episode." Funny. And I thought everyone knew that.

Life as a germophobe
Lately, I have become somewhat of a germophobe. Everyday when I get in the studio, one of the first things I do is wipe down the phone, mouse, mousepad, keyboard, all major knobs and switches, all pens and legal pads, and sometimes even the doorknobs, with a Clorox disinfectant wipe. Depending on the stink factor, I also sometimes spray down the room with Lysol. Then I'll go to the bathroom and wash my hands before eating my morning snack. I don't know what has gotten into me. Perhaps this comes from having worked with a Big Sweaty.

What is a Big Sweaty? Well, I'm glad you asked. I got this idea from OC Girl's Onion post. I hope she doesn't mind me doing my own version.

Characteristics of Big Sweaties
- They have the AC set to subarctic levels almost year round.
- Regardless of temperature or season, they tend to sweat profusely.
- Often seem out of breath after walking a short distance or up or down stairs.
- Seem to prefer defiling the employee restroom rather than going at home.
- Due to excessive perspiration, they often emit a malodorous scent.
- Said scent lingers long after Big Sweaty has waddled away.

So does anyone else have germophobic tendencies, or work with a Big Sweaty?

You had to be there...
"ETA on her messaging me?"
"Uhh... Well, I can't find the sideways 8 on character map."

"I heard your Thriller song today."
"Really? Where?"
"ZYP Metro 80's lunch."
"Retro."
"Whatever. It's all the same."
"Not really, but this is likely going in my blog."

(singing) "Duh-duh, duh-duh, dude looks like a lady."
"So do you ever hear from Clay?"

"How could I tell her no? Her measurements was thirty-six, twenty-five, thirty-fo. I like the way you brush your hair. And I like those stylish clothes you wear..."
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
When zippers were cool
I had a dream last night. The only thing I remember about it was that someone was asking me and several other people questions. It was sort of an interview-type setting. The only question I can remember was, "What is the one thing that you miss?" Just a very general question. And you know what I said? You'll never guess in a hundred zillion years. I said, "I miss the Michael Jackson of the 80's... Thriller, one glove, jackets with zippers, still had most of his nose." What the crap?

I did have a black jacket with lots of zippers that I would wear to school when I was like 12 years old. And I had the Thriller vinyl 33 1/3 album. I would listen to it and try to imitate Michael's dance moves. I listened to it so much that it became scratchy and would skip quite a bit during certain songs. When friends would come over and we would listen to it (because listening to albums was still a cool thing to do in 1984, or so I thought), I knew all the places that it would skip, so I could still sing right along without ever missing a beat. But worst of all, my dancing was apparently fairly entertaining, for one reason or another. So at family gatherings, my aunts, uncles, and cousins would encourage me to do my Michael Jackson impersonation. And I would. I would take it seriously, too. My cousins always seemed to conveniently have the album ready. So they would start it and I would go back in the hall and come out to the music. Ugh. I still cringe when I think back to those days. Thank heavens no one had a video camera back then.

Poll Results
In other news, I'm tired of this bar soap poll taking up space, so here are the results, and thanks for voting:

What is your usual bar soap replacement policy?
1. I don't use bar soap. Someone else has rubbed it over and through every crevice on their entire body. Gross. (31.5%)
2. Once the soap reaches a certain point, I throw it away and open a new bar. (29.6%)
3. I wait until it completely disintegrates or gets so small that it slips out of my hand and goes down the drain. (27.8%)
4. I mash the old bar into the new bar, melding them together, so as to not waste any soap. (7.4%)
5. Depends on who I'm bathing with. (1.9%)
(tie) I dunno. My Mom takes care of all that. (1.9%)
Total votes: 54

Let's see... so only 3 people besides me fuse the bars together in some sort of primitive soap-conserving amalgam? I just did that the other day. I nearly took a before and after picture to post on here, but I didn't have a camera in the shower... oddly.

"Why weren't we able to see the signs that we missed, and try to turn the tables?"
Monday, July 11, 2005
What is your life path number?
I'm not sure why I'm always so interested in things like this, which supposedly tell me about myself, but I am. (Read about your own life path number.)

7
A Life Path 7 person is a peaceful and affectionate soul, and by nature rather reserved and analytical. The overwhelming strength of the number 7 is reflected in the depth of thinking that is shown; you will garner knowledge from practically every source that you find. Intellectual, scientific and studious, you don't accept a premise until you have dissected the subject and arrived at your own independent conclusion. This is a very spiritual number and it often denotes a sort of spiritual wisdom that becomes apparent at a fairly early age. You need a good deal of quiet time to be with your own inner thoughts and dreams. You dislike crowds, noise and confusion. You are very thorough and complete in your work, the perfectionist who expects everyone else to be a meet a high standard of performance, too. You evaluate situations very quickly and with amazing accuracy. You rely heavily on your experiences and your intuition, rather than accepting advice from someone; your hunches usually prove to be very accurate, and knowing this, you are one who tends to follow the directions they seem to guide. It's easy for you to detect deception and recognize insincere people. You aren't one to have a wide circle of friends, but once you accept someone as a friend, it's for life. You really aren't a very social person, and your reserve is often taken to be aloofness. Actually, it's not that at all, but merely a cover up for your basic feeling of insecurity. You actually like being alone, away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. In many ways, you would have fit in better in much earlier times when the pace of life was less hectic.

In the most negative use of the 7 energies, you can become very pessimistic, lackadaisical, quarrelsome, and secretive. A Life Path 7 individual who is not living life fully and gaining through experiences, is a hard person to live with because of a serious lack of consideration and because there is such a negative attitude. The negative 7 is very selfish and spoiled. If you have any of the negative traits they are very difficult to get rid of because you tend to feel that the world really does owe you a living or in some way is not being fairly treated. Fortunately, the negative 7 is not the typical 7, at least not without some mitigating positive traits. This number is one that seems to have some major shifts from highs to lows. Stability in feelings may be elusive for you.
-----------------

Wow, if you ever wanted to know all about me, most of that is accurate. I started to highlight some of the things, but then I was highlighting almost everything, in the first part anyway. If you're not sure how to figure out your number, you can go here and it will figure it for you. Then if our life paths should happen to cross...

"When you've had a taste of paradise, back on Earth can feel as cold as ice..."
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Hurricane Dennis & other stuff
Well I spent much of today watching the coverage of Hurricane Dennis on CNN and The Weather Channel. I sure hope everyone made it thru OK. We're pretty much just expected to get lots of rain and a few storms up here. During Ivan last year, the power went out here for a little bit, but that hasn't happened so far with Dennis. If I lived on the coast, I think that I would have to stay and ride one out just one time. Anyway, those on-site reporters are definitely something to see. I can see an SNL skit with one of these guys getting picked up by the wind and blown down the street a few blocks, still yelling into his microphone:
"Can you believe this, Jim? I'm flying! Have you ever seen anything like this?!"
"No, Stu, I never have!"

iPod Playlist
J-mo let me check out his iPod Friday night at Logan's. Among the songs I sampled:
"Under the Bridge" - Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Axel F" - Harold Faltermeyer
"Addicted to Love" - Robert Palmer
"Hey Ladies" - Beastie Boys
And last, and least...
"I'll Be Loving You Forever" - New Kids On The Block

Sometimes it's Cops, sometimes it's Springer
This afternoon, while just hanging around the proj, I heard some yelling outside. Adults yelling, rather than the usual incessant kids yelling. I peeked out my window to see a confrontation of Springer proportions taking place on the porch of the neighbors apartment. There was a large 300+ lb. redneck-type (who I hope does not have internet access) and his wife/girlfriend/cousin/or-some-combination-of-the-three standing there. He was yelling at this guy I had never seen before, who was sitting on the porch, shirtless, eating a sandwich while this guy reamed him out. All I heard was something like, "If you have a problem with her, you come take it up with me! Understand? Don't smart off to her." I was just waiting to hear gunshots. Where's Steve when you need him? I gotta hurry and move.

Saturday
I worked until 1:00. Mom cooked lunch, so my sister and I went over there and ate. Knowing the rain was supposed to move in Sunday, I got in a short run. There was a softball game going on at the high school. As I turned the corner, there were two girls and an older man (maybe a coach) standing against the fence. I could hear the girls yelling, but I had headphones in so I couldn't understand what they were saying. I looked over and the coach was waving his arms towards me. So, rather than stop, I threw up my hand to wave and just kept running.

Cassie was down here cleaning up her old house this weekend. So she, Kyle, and I went to Huntsville Saturday night.
We had dinner at Carrabba's. I had manicotti, a salad, and the 'Little Rosa' dessert. Hmm, it didn't seem like such a non-manly meal at the time. Anyway, it was good. Not worth a 2-hour wait. But it was good. Fortunately, we had called ahead and only waited about 20 minutes. I think 30-45 minutes is my limit on waiting for a table. No food is worth more than that, unless I was standing in line for the Soup Nazi. I mean, it's not like I can't come back another night. After dinner, we went and shot some pool at The Jazz Factory. Roy (aka Flux Capacitor Boy) was working security. He introduced me to the cute hostess girl by saying, "Hey, this is Steve-O." Ah, that never gets old. Then it was closing in on midnight. K was wanting to go to The Brick, but I was tired, so I came home. (The picture at left is of Cassie and I in the lobby of the Jazz Factory. We're not really green all the time, just on a camera phone.)

You had to be there...
"Odd that an Italian restaurant would name a dessert after a civil rights activist."

"Do you think Gulf Shores will be open for business in two weeks?"
"According to illchangemontgomeryforever.com it will be."

"Avoid eye contact or she'll come over and start talking!"
"Here she comes! Red alert!"
"We've just gone to DEFCON one."

"Tragic eyes, I can't even recognize myself behind. So if the answer is no, could I change your mind?"
Friday, July 08, 2005
LaGrange
It's been awhile since I've done a Friday Flashback. When you've blogged for a couple of years, it's sometimes hard to remember what you have blogged and what you haven't, but I don't think I've blogged this story yet.

What you are about to read is real. Some names have been altered so as to avoid federal prosecution. Exact times and dates have become hazy over the years. But what is crystal clear are the events that transpired on a late night and early morning during the winter of 1994. This is a story of curiosity, adventure, and dangerous naivety. Proceed if you dare.

Over the years, LaGrange had gained somewhat of a fabled,legendary status among the youths in the area. Oft-repeated tales of ghosts, animal sacrifices, and devil worshippers sparked not only fear, but also morbid curiosity. The legend grew to mythical proportions.

It was January or February, a very cold night, whatever the month. A friend of mine, we'll call him Little Joe, and I were bored one Friday night. Around 10:00 PM, our curiosity and stupidity got the best of us and we decided to venture to LaGrange.

LaGrange was the first chartered college in the state of Alabama. From what I have read it originally served as a military academy. Once the Civil War began, most students left to serve in the war and it was turned into an all-girls school. That only lasted a short time as Union soldiers burned it down a couple of years later. Now there are basically only a couple of deserted buildings, a cemetery, and a park remaining. It is located on a "spur" of the Cumberland mountains.

Entering LaGrange, once you leave the main highway, you are traveling almost immediately uphill. There are just a handful of houses, then you pass a deserted building that (I assume) was part of the college. Almost immediately after that, the paved road ends, and you enter into a dense area of overgrown weeds and trees. Probably about a quarter mile after that, the dirt road forks. To the left and up the mountain a little way is the cemetery. I have never known what was straight ahead. For some reason, that night, we decided we would find out.

After getting out and walking around the cemetery for a little while, we got back in the car and started out. Not too bad, I guess. The deserted buildings and the cemetery had been scary, but no real big deal. Well, when we get back to the T in the road, rather than going right and going home, Little Joe decided to see what is to the left. I can't recall if it had rained or snowed, but whichever it was, the road was muddy. We paused for a moment and I tried to talk him out of it. I told him if we got stuck, there was no way I was going to get out and push the car. Well, he didn't listen. We turned left, got no more than 30 or 40 feet down the road and realized this road was in extremely bad condition. It was much muddier than the other roads and there were very deep tire tracks, more like trenches, all the way down it, which we were following. Little Joe agrees to turn around. But the road is so narrow that there is no way to turn around. So he has to back it out. The car wouldn't move. It had bottomed out, as the tires had sunk deep down into the muddy trenches. So there we were, stuck deep in these eerie woods. I kept my word at first, and made Little Joe push, but he couldn't budge it. Finally, I got out of the car and tried to help. Still wouldn't move.

So there we were, with all the horror stories I had ever heard about this place running through my head. We could lock the doors and stay there until daylight, or we could start walking. We really had no choice. We decided on the latter. Keep in mind, this was before cell phones were commonplace. I remembered a little store that we had passed on the side of the main highway. I wasn't sure how far it was, and it wouldn't be open at this hour, but maybe there was a payphone we could use. So we found all the change we could and started walking. That was the most scared I have ever been. I have never heard so many weird noises and so many things moving. We didn't have a flashlight or anything. It was just us on a dark, narrow dirt road, surrounded on both sides by trees and weeds that seemed to have eyes. Finally, after what seemed like an hour, but was probably only like ten minutes, we reached a house, and that felt a little safer.

At last, we reached the main highway, and thought we could see the light from the store down the road. It looked a lot closer than it was. I think one time a few weeks later we drove out there and checked to see how far we had walked. Seems like it ended up being like 3 or 4 miles total. Let me insert here that during this time I was going through my heavy country music phase, and was wearing western boots that were about a half-size too small for my feet. Anyway, I don't remember exactly when we got to the store. Seems like it was a little after midnight. Thankfully, there was a payphone. We decided to call a friend of ours. Let's call him Ben. It was a long distance call. Pooling all our change together, we had just enough money to make the call and have like twenty cents leftover. I called. Ben's mother answered. He was asleep. I asked her to wake him. I told him our situation, that we were stranded, and had used all of our money to call him. He said OK and that he could come to pick us up. But something in his tone of voice had me worried. 12:45. 1:00. 1:30. Nothing. No sign of Ben. That loser! He had left us there to die.

Let me remind you that it was now officially freezing. There was a wooden bench in front of the store that I laid on while we thought of what to do. From here, we were probably about 30 minutes from home, by car. It was now closing in on 2:00 AM. We pondered hitching a ride with an 18-wheeler, as we had seen a couple of times. We decided to call a friend of Little Joe's. We'll call him Hoss. I charged the call to my parents phone number. Hoss was thought to be more reliable than Ben, so we were hopeful. 2:00. 2:15. 2:45. No sign of Hoss. Finally, around 3:00, a van pulled up to the store. It was a guy delivering newspapers. I decided to tell him our situation. I told him we were waiting on someone to come get us, but that it didn't look like they were coming. He said he had a few more stops to make in the immediate area, then he would be heading to a town which was about halfway home for us. He said he would stop back by in a little while, and if we were still waiting, he would give us a ride as far as there.

So we froze for about another hour. Thankfully, the newspaper guy showed up and we rode in the back of a gutted out van for about fifteen minutes. At least we were closer to home. And there was heat. It was probably about 4:15 by now. He let us out at a store that he said would open around 5:00. When the store owner showed up, he let us in to use the phone. It was now a local call, so we called Hoss again. He was just getting back home. He said he had been driving up and down the road, but couldn't find the store we were talking about. Turns out he wasn't going far enough. He had been turning around just before he got to where we were. So anyway, we explained where we were now. He showed up about fifteen minutes later and took us home.

The next day when Little Joe went back to get his car, the back window had been broken and several items had been stolen!

And that concludes this week's Friday Flashback. Have a great weekend!

"Please come to Boston for the springtime. I'm staying here with some friends, and they've got lots of room..."
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Not in a bloggy mood
Hey all. Mom is having some tests done today, so I am taking a couple of hours sick leave and going with her. She has had some spells of dizziness, numbness, and speech problems the past couple of weeks, which has really had me scared. She finally went to the doctor yesterday. He thinks she may have had one or more TIA's, which from what I have read are like mini-strokes and sometimes serve as a warning of a more serious stroke. Anyhow, even though the test results will probably take a few days to come in or whatever, I can tell she is really nervous, so I am going over there with her today.

I will try to blog more and be funnier another day.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
NCAA 2006
It's coming. July 12th (or 11th, depending on who you ask). Just a warning, so you know that your boyfriends/husbands may be "away" for a couple of weeks. Just in case you thought we may have matured since last year, rest assured... we haven't. We're still the same. What time we're not spending at NCAA 2006 parties or leading our team to the national championship will be spent talking about it, thinking about it, and catching a couple of hours of sleep here and there. Just accept it. Besides, we don't ask for that much. And hey, at least you know where we are O:)

Tour de France
Be sure to follow the Tour de France online each day, as Lance goes for his 7th consecutive win. Looks like he held on to the yellow jersey today. There was some talk of relinquishing it
for a few days to one of the sprinters until they reach the mountain stages, but that didn't happen today.

Not as glamorous as one might think
The bachelor's life is not always about hotties, staying out late, or watching TV in your boxers while eating a block of cheese the size of a car battery (although that last part is true more often than the others). Let's just look at yesterday, for example:

Early AM - The day started off with a nice surprise. As I was getting ready for work, I received a phone call and found a girl standing at my back door. OK, so this isn't doing much to support my non-glamorous-bachelor claim, is it? But trust me, it's all downhill after this.
1:30 - Left work early because I worked way over last Thursday.
2:00 - Arrive home. Turn on General Hospital to see if I can catch up and figure out what's going on.
2:59 - I can't figure out much. There's a new Carly, a new Felicia, and a new Lucky, best I can tell. Oh, and a new Elizabeth... or Emily. I get them confused. Carly has married Alcazar. Some girl from her past (Reese) has appeared looking for revenge for something, apparently. She has hooked up with Sonny. Jason and Carly are suspicious.
3:00 - Decide I need to change out Pablo's water. He is sooo cute when I change his water. He fights so hard to stay out of that net. Then once I finally catch him, it's just like he gives up. He's so helpless, but it's so cute. He totally relies on me to take care of him ;-) He's sooo widdle.
3:20 - Water replacement procedure completed. Decide to have a snack. I have a Sun Drop and a Little Debbie brownie, while surfing online and watching Game Show Network.
3:35 - While watching Family Feud, I find it a bit odd that they have a question asking what one thing you would require if negotiating a peace treaty with Iraq. Then again, maybe that's not a bad idea. "Survey says... awww, zero. Nuke 'em. Nuke 'em was the number one answer there."
5:30 - It has been raining all day. Decide to take a short nap, thinking maybe the rain will have stopped later and I can go running.
7:30 - Short nap turned into a not-so-short nap. Wake up a half hour later than I had planned. Rain has stopped, but I skip running anyway.
8:11 - My sister calls to tell me there is a baby frog plastered to the side of her house.
8:30 - Decide to fix dinner. I put a Healthy Choice meal in the oven, somehow thinking that eating healthy will make up for not running.
8:31 - While meal is cooking, I wash dishes and take the trash out to the dumpster.
8:37 - Mom calls.
8:55 - Fix a salad to go with my dinner... lettuce, pickles, pepperoni slices, shredded cheese, ranch dressing, bacon bits.
9:00 - Eat while watching something on TV. What, I can't remember.
10:00 - Surf the net and chat while watching Seinfeld.
10:35 - Turn to Letterman. Continue surfing the net.
11:00 - Nicole Kidman is on Letterman. You know, if it wasn't ever clear before, between her and Tom, she is definitely the more sane, grounded individual.
11:35 - Letterman goes off. Get ready for bed.
12:01 - This is the last time I remember looking at the clock. Craig Ferguson is telling a joke that is really funny, but I think it probably wouldn't be nearly so funny if I weren't almost asleep.

"Seven years went under the bridge, like time was standing still..."
Monday, July 04, 2005
Welcome back
You're traveling thru another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are those of imagination. There's a signpost up ahead. Your next stop, If You Read Only One Blog This Year.

Sorry. There was a Twilight Zone marathon on Sci-Fi last night and today.

Blogger Fix
Welcome back, small font. I've missed ya :-) Blogger finally has a fix posted for the div clear:both issue, which had left me with a gargantuan font. There is now an "Enable float alignment" option in the formatting settings, which can be set to "no" to clear up the problem. Glad to have everything back to normal.

Guess what?
When someone says this, I think it is much more entertaining to actually guess. I hate when someone just says "what." That's no fun. Be creative. Like if someone says to me, "Guess who I saw today," then I will guess, maybe something like Betty White, or one of the New Kids On The Block. Or if they say, "Guess what I did today," I might say something like "started an ant farm" or "played with a Slinky." I think this makes conversation much more interesting.

Fireworks and freedom
Well I had to work today until 1:00, then I see soldiers on TV in Iraq, and suddenly working a few hours on a holiday doesn't seem so bad. Dad grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, so I went over there after lunch. I had bought a watermelon last night. We also had peach cobbler. Mmmm. A funny moment happened when Dad's cell phone rang. He got it and sat it on the table, reached in his pocket to get his reading glasses, so that he could see who was calling.

Amy called later wanting to go to Point Mallard and see the fireworks. So she came by a little before 8. We stopped by Matt's for a little bit, switching between Nick & Jessica's 4th of July special and the Macy's Fireworks special. Of course, that only reminded me of being in NYC for the fireworks two years ago. Nothing will top that. Anyhow, rather than fighting the Point Mallard traffic, we ended up on the side of the highway watching the fireworks. Kyle met us up there. Unfortunately, our view was partially obstructed by some large trees... and by several passing 18 wheelers. So, we saw about one out of every four fireworks. Fortunately, we were right behind a large pickup truck full of kids singing along to Hank Williams Jr's greatest hits. So that provided entertainment during the times we couldn't see the fireworks. And now, it is very late, and I must go to bed.

You had to be there...
"That's not sleep apnea, that's narcolepsy."
"I thought that was where you steal stuff all the time."
"No, that's kleptomania."

"There were three cute girls at that table behind us."
"I know. That's what I was trying to tell you."
"Really? I didn't hear you."
"I said there were some cute senoritas back there."
"Oh, I heard that. I didn't know what that meant."

"There's a seat for you at the rodeo, and I've got every slow dance saved. Besides, the Mexican food sucks north of here anyway..."
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Scenes From A Park
Well, I really enjoyed my day off yesterday. I slept in until about 10:45. It was much needed, believe me. Went to a cookout Thursday night. Hamburgers, hot dogs, pork chops. Mmmm! Decided to go play tennis after lunch yesterday. Two equally interesting, yet entirely separate events occurred while we were there.

The bitter end
We had only been there a few minutes when two separate cars pulled up in the parking lot, and I noticed a girl and guy sitting on one of the picnic tables over by the batting cages. They appeared to just be talking or whatever, sitting next to each other, so I turned my attention back to tennis. A short while later, I heard a girl screaming, almost like she was in pain. Then I hear her yelling things that you typically hear when couples are fighting, like "I did the best I could do" and "You have always accused me of that." So over the next few minutes, she proceeds to let this guy have it. Finally, he gets in his car, and she kneels by his window and continues her barrage.

I imagined that he was in that "just let this hurry up and be over with" mindset that guys sometimes have. You know it's coming and you know it's going to be bad, but you also know that if you can just make it thru this final face-to-face assault, that you'll be free and clear and over the wall into West Berlin. At the same time, I could see her heart breaking and imagined that she probably had that feeling that her world was crumbling all around her. Another situation we have probably all experienced. Watching her clinging to whatever was left, seeing her love and feelings expressed in anger and tears, I wanted to tell her that she deserved so much better and that everything was going to be OK. (Of course, I didn't.) Finally, he sped out of the parking lot, squealing the tires on his 1984 Honda Civic, as she walked back to her car, feeling empty and lonely, heart broken in two. At least that's how I imagined it. It was just a very real, raw display of emotion and of the human condition.

Almost Famous
It was about twelve thousand degrees outside, and I was sweatin' like an Iraqi POW at Abu Ghraib. A WAFF-48 cameraman approached us and asked if he could take some footage of us playing tennis. They were doing some story on how hot it was and being outdoors in the heat or whatever. Well, Kyle tightened up like Tim Duncan shooting free throws in the 4th quarter of the NBA Finals. It was like this: Serve, net. Serve, net. Run to retrieve the balls. Serve, net. Serve, net. I was just laughing. So finally, he was like, "Here, you try." So I got my second serve over. We hit a couple of groundstrokes, then he lunged for one and hits it clear over the fence behind me. For some reason, after about two minutes of our dazzing display, the camera guy left. So I got home and watched the 5:00 news. The heat story was the second story they did, but almost inexplicably, they didn't use any of our tennis footage.

OK, I'm out for now. Hope you all have a good and safe weekend and a happy 4th of July.

"Please tell me why, my car is in the front yard, and I'm sleepin' with my clothes on. I came in thru the window last night, and you're gone..."