Wednesday, August 29, 2007

when/why we first got caller i.d. at home.....

This might be hard to believe, but the phone feature "caller ID" was once a novel thing. Now it's pretty commonplace, but it used to be pretty unique. Back in the late 90's we thought about getting it to ward off telemarketers, but that wasn't what ultimately caused us to purchase caller ID.

I used to have a boss that liked to call my house in the evenings and at night. She would call and ramble on and on about things at work. And she wasn't always sober. And when she wasn't sober, she'd mix in things that had nothing to do with work. I'd usually come out of the conversation with a confused look on my face. The bride could always tell when the boss would call. I'd roll my eyes and walk away to another part of the house.

Call ID cost something like an extra $10 a month at the time. Not only did I not make enough money to listen to after-hours rants, I didn't make enough money to justify caller ID. But we got it anyway. Best $10 a month we ever spent.

It was the most valuable during UT's national championship game January 1999. With everything that was going on in the game, back and forth, I'm pacing, doing my obligatory screaming and yelling - the phone rings. My first thought was, "What idiot would be calling me during the national championship game???" I had my answer when I looked at the caller ID box. It was the boss.

At first I got really mad. Then the bride reminded me that because of caller ID, I was able to let it ring and know that I wasn't missing an important call. She left a somewhat slurred message about the game. The next morning she asked me if I got the message. I lied and said we'd been having trouble with our answering machine.

From that point on I didn't answer the phone whenever I saw her home number on the caller ID box. If it was a real emergency, she'd leave a message and I could call back. But blind-sided calls ceased to exist from there on out.

I learned alot from that job. And I readliy admit that I wouldn't be doing what I do now without the experience I gained there. But I can honestly say I don't miss working for that boss one bit.....

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

the one about being banished to the workshop.....

Every college football season starts out with me promising the bride that I won't lose my temper as much as I did last season while watching UT games. It's really not my fault. If they'd just win every game in convincing fashion, I'd have no need to get anxious, nervous, on-edge or panicked. But that's not realistic now, is it?

I remember when they lost to Vanderbilt in 2005. It had been almost 30 years since Vandy had beaten Tennessee, and to make matters worse they did it at Neyland Stadium. I said things louder than I should have during some of my "exhortations" toward the team. Some things I said that should never really be said, especially loud enough for children to hear. (Yeah, found out about that later on.) I remember leaving the house before the game was over just to drive and try to shake off the feeling of shame that Vandy had actually beaten UT.

I remember the 2001 SEC Championship game. UT knocked out LSU's starting quarterback and it looked like we were going to skate right to the national championship game. But we let their backup quarterback beat us and make us look foolish in the process. The bad thing about that game was that I had some of my office staff over for a Christmas party and they didn't leave until after the first half was over. I had plenty of time to throw pillows and scream in the second half.

But the time I got the most out of hand was the Orange Bowl game in 1998. Peyton Manning's senior year. Nebraska. UT went into the game as the #4 team in the country. Had they beaten Nebraska, they might have ended up ranked #2. I went into the game with 100% optimism. By the second quarter I was losing it. Nothing went right. Sometime during the second quarter the bride had had enough. I don't remember all that happened, but I watched the second half in our workshop. It was January. And cold. And the workshop didn't have cable. But that's where I watched the rest of the game. I think our chocolate lab, Cocoa, was glad to have someone out there with her, but I wasn't much company. Not even for a dog.

I wish I could watch UT football without getting so emotionally wrapped up in the game. I wish I could watch a careless fumble and respond with a "tsk, tsk". I wish I could watch a 10-point halftime lead dissolve against Florida and say, "oh, well, that's just how it goes". I wish I could watch as Jamarcus Russell throws a touchdown pass to beat us with less than a minute to go and react as if nothing had happened. I wish I could watch a referee blow a call and reply, "he's only human". But I've not been able to do that up to this point.

So here's my resolution for this year - I resolve to tone down my reactions during UT games this season. I'm going to do my best. Will I sit there and not react? Nah. But I will try my hardest not to go over the top with it.

I've talked to some friends about this and they don't see me making it through the Florida game.....

crossin' my legs and hopin' for the best.....

The bride had a dog when she was growing up named Missy. Missy was a dachsund. A big dachsund. When I say big, I mean big. She weighed around 45 pounds. Yeah, a 45-pound weiner dog. She had no hair on her stomach because it drug the ground. What I'm saying here is that Missy was big. But that's not how I'm like Missy. Even though I've got to do something soon or else my stomach will be dragging the ground before long.

Missy used to get really excited when people came to their house. She would bark and run around. Then when she could no longer contain her excitement, she'd pee. All over the place.

Before I go any further, I should also point out that I'm not incontinent, either. I can hold my bladder. I may have alot of things not right about me, but incontinence isn't one of them. No, the similarity that Missy and I share is that of excitement. Whenever I see orange on television, in the newspaper or on the web, I get excited. Really excited. Especially this time of the year.
We're about 108 hours away from kickoff of the UT - Cal game. I can hardly wait! Sure, there are alot of questions on this team, from receiver to defensive line to offensive line to running back, but it's Tennessee football! I'm just ready to watch them play again. We could be 3-0 after the first three games, but we could just as easily be 1-2. Either way, it's football time in Tennessee.

The bride may want to put some newspapers down on the floor Saturday night just in case.....

Monday, August 27, 2007

just a couple of hours.....

I volunteered to help with the high school guys' lock-in Friday night. We were supposed to do a service project and wash the church vans, but we had an unexpected (but much welcomed) rain storm. We ended spending most of our time inside that night. There was only one minor injury the entire night. One of the guys suffered a severe wrist sprain during a game of "capture the flag".

I stayed inside with a few other guys during "capture the flag". We played with the Wii. They had it set up on a projector so the screen was about 10' x 12'. Nice. I stunk at tennis, but really enjoyed golf. Really enjoyed it. I'd like to try the new Tiger Woods game on the Wii. As addictive as the base games were, I figure the others like Tiger Woods and Madden would be even more so.

I slept from about 3:30 until 5:30, then went with one of the other leaders to pick up doughnuts around 6:00. I thought the lack of sleep would really affect me, but it didn't. At first. By 7:00 Saturday night I was pretty much a zombie.

The bride said she was proud that an old guy like me could stay up as late as I did. I wasn't sure whether I should be offended or flattered.....

Friday, August 24, 2007

sick of mike vick? meet mike flynt.....

About a month ago, our pastor brought a guy named Mike Flynt on stage during the morning service. Mike and his family are members at The Peoples Church. With Rick's help, Mike told an incredible story about how he was going to go back to school and finish his senior year of college - as a football player. What makes the story incredible is that he's 59 years old. Yesterday there were dozens of stories about him online. Here's one from ESPN. Read it and be inspired.....

Flynt, 59, making comeback with Sul Ross State University

ALPINE, Texas -- Mike Flynt was drinking beer and swapping stories with some old football buddies a few months ago when he brought up the biggest regret of his life: getting kicked off the college team before his senior year.

So, one of his pals said, why not do something about it?

Most 59-year-olds would have laughed. Flynt's only concern was if he was eligible.

Finding out he was, Flynt returned to Sul Ross State this month, 37 years after he left and six years before he goes on Medicare. His comeback peaked Wednesday with the coach saying he's made the Division III team's roster. He could be in action as soon as Sept. 1.

Flynt is giving new meaning to being a college senior. After all, he's a grandfather and a card-carrying member of AARP. He's eight years older than his coach and has two kids older than any of his teammates.

"I think it was Carl Yastrzemski who used to say, 'How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?' I'd be in my late 20s or early 30s, because that's how I feel," said Flynt, who has made a living out of physical fitness. "That's been my approach to this whole thing. I feel that good. I'm just going to find out if I can perform and make a contribution to the team."

A longtime strength and conditioning coach at Nebraska, Oregon and Texas A&M, he's spent the last several years selling the Powerbase training system he invented. Clients include school systems and the military. His colorful life story includes being the son of a Battle of the Bulge survivor and having dabbled in gold mines and oil wells -- successfully.

Flynt's life was supposed to be slowing down this fall. With his youngest child starting at the University of Tennessee, he and Eileen, his wife of 35 years, are planning to take advantage of being empty-nesters for the first time.

Instead, they've moved to this remote patch of West Texas so Flynt can mend an old wound and, he hopes, inspire others.

He became emotional discussing his goal of "helping a bunch of young men to make up for those guys that I let down." Then he laughed about the reality that fellow Baby Boomers are getting the most out of his comeback.

"People are kind of in awe. They keep comparing me to themselves and where they are physically," he said. "If I can help anyone out by what I'm doing, then it's all worth it."

Flynt's position is still being determined, but he used to play linebacker.

Wherever he lines up, he'll likely become the oldest player in college football history. Neither the NCAA or NAIA keeps such a statistic, but research hasn't turned up anyone older than their mid-40s. And even those are rare, for obvious reasons.

"I told him he's an idiot," said Jerry Larned, who coached Flynt at Sul Ross in 1969 and counseled him at the start of his comeback. "I said, 'Gosh, dang, Mike, you're not 20 years old any more. You're liable to cripple yourself.' He understands all of that. But he has a burning desire to play. ... He is in great physical condition. He still runs a 5-flat 40 and bench presses I-don't-know-what. He's a specimen for 59 years old."

Back in the day, Flynt was quite a player.

In 1965, he was on the first state championship team at Odessa Permian, the high school featured in "Friday Night Lights." He was offered a partial scholarship at Arkansas when the Razorbacks were among the top teams in the land, but instead went to Ranger Junior College.

He wound up at Sul Ross in 1969. An NAIA school then, the Lobos were in the Lone Star Conference with East Texas State, which at the time had future NFL stars Harvey Martin and Dwight White, and Texas A&I, which was starting a two-year run as national champs. The highlight of Flynt's two years at Sul Ross was sticking A&I with its only loss in '69.

Flynt was going into his senior year in 1971 when he got into a fight that was far from his first. School officials decided they'd had enough and threw him out of school. He earned his degree from Sul Ross by taking his remaining classes elsewhere.

"I actually grieved for more years than I can remember the loss of that senior year," said Flynt, who'd been a team captain and the leading tackler as a junior. "What really got me was I felt that was my football team and I had let them down. ... I don't know if I ever got over it, but I finally learned to live with it."
Then came word of a reunion of former Sul Ross students from the 1960s and '70s. Randy Wilson, who has been best friends with Flynt since they met as college roommates in 1969, talked a bunch of his former teammates into using that event as an excuse to get back together.

During several days of reminiscing, Flynt's pain became fresh as ever, especially when one of the guys said their '71 season went down the drain without Flynt.
That's when he told them of his remorse. And, he added, "What really gets me is that I feel like I can still play."

"You might as well give it a shot," Wilson told him. "The worst thing that can happen is you get your head knocked off and come home."

When Flynt returned home to Franklin, Tenn., his wife wasn't as fired up by the idea.

"I feel like I'm married to Peter Pan," she said.

It took time to accept that instead of joining their daughter at Tennessee's home opener she would be watching her husband hit kids one-third his age.

Eventually she came around. They've sold their suburban Nashville home and are now living in Alpine, a town of about 6,000 residents near the Big Bend National Park, a three-hour drive from the nearest major airport.

"I told her, for me to know that I can do it and not do it would be worse than losing out the first time," he said.

A devout Christian, Flynt sees many religious undertones to his story. He also believes it touts the benefits of strength training.

"People have asked me, 'Mike, what is the fountain of youth?' Well, it's strength training that builds muscle, increases bone density and burns calories," he said. "It's the one thing you can do in your 90s and benefit from."

Just to be clear, Flynt won't be playing football in his 90s.

He'll be out of eligibility then.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

welcome to the family, kid.....

Elizabeth Anne Cathey entered this world around 10 AM on Wednesday, August 22. She weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces, measured 19 inches long and has a head full of black hair. I believe Dale, Julie and Grace are going to keep her.....

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

best out-of-office automatic email messages.....

*I am currently out at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position. Be prepared for my mood.

*You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn't have received anything at all.

*Sorry to have missed you, but I am at the doctor's having my brain and heart removed so I can be promoted to our management team.

*I will be unable to delete all the unread, worthless emails you send me until I return from vacation. Please be patient and your mail will be deleted in the order it was received.

*The e-mail server is unable to verify your server connection and is unable to deliver this message. Please restart your computer and try sending again. (The beauty of this is that when you return, you can see how many in-duh-viduals did this over and over.)

*Thank you for your message, which has been added to a queuing system. You are currently in 352nd place, and can expect to receive a reply in approximately 19 weeks.

*Hi, I'm thinking about what you've just sent me. Please wait by your PC for my response.

Monday, August 20, 2007

maybe vince should have watched hsm2 instead.....

OMG! Like, HSM2 was the BEST movie EVER!

The bride and the girls had been looking forward to the premier of High School Musical 2 for months. Sara had a couple of friends over for a viewing party. Meg went to a friend's house for a viewing party. The bride had the den to herself for her own viewing party. I stayed in the bedroom and had my own manly viewing party - watching football.

The Titans won the game, mainly because our 2nd/3rd stringers beat New England's 2nd/3rd stringers. When the first teams were in there, our defense looked pretty good. We had one blown coverage in the endzone that looked bad. But we picked off Brady a couple of times, and that was good. As for the offense, uh, well, there wasn't any in the first half. Vince Young looked like the proverbial deer in headlights. Like he'd never played as an NFL quarterback before. The announcers kept talking about the we playing field and making excuses for his play. Even Fisher said the rain was the reason for Young's poor performance. But ultimately the weak outing falls on VY. Could the "Madden Curse" be underway already?

Hopefully Vince goes back to work this week and learns from Friday night. And hopefully the rest of the offense will do the same. Otherwise the Titans could be taking a step in the opposite direction this year.....

Friday, August 17, 2007

multiple choice quiz.....

Which one is the millionaire?

a. the guy

b. the one on the right

c. not the girl

d. all of the above

Thursday, August 16, 2007

woulda', shoulda', coulda'.....

It was 30 years ago today. I was 13 and staying with my grandmother for a few days before school started back. I remember getting up early to go fishing with Earl, my grandmother's husband. We were heading towards Knoxville to a lake. We were crossing a rather long bridge and I remember the DJ on the radio saying something like, "...and if you're just joining us, Elvis Presley died in his home earlier today....." My mind instantly went back to about a year before.

A bunch of my friends and I were in the driveway one afternoon playing basketball. One of my neighbor friends came down and said they had an extra ticket to see Elvis the next night at Freedom Hall Civic Center in Johnson City. He said I could have it if I wanted it. Free. I thought it might be cool to go see Elvis. But before I could say anything some of the other guys started making comments about how stupid it would be to go to an Elvis concert. They wanted to know why anybody in their right mind would want to go see some old fat man sing and dance around a stage. I really wanted to go. But peer pressure won out and I said no.

It's 30 years later and I've always wished I'd taken the ribbing and gone to see Elvis. But at 13, being cool in front of your friends means more than doing what you really want to do.....

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

i think this kid may go to my church.....

San Jose Mecury News - 6/12/07

In June, a 17-year-old boy survived but was seriously injured when he fell about 75 feet onto some rocks at California's Mount Diablo State Park. He had climbed over a handrail in order to fake a fall so that his pals could capture the plunge on video to put on his MySpace Web page.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

the ofit starts streaking.....

We used to kid my youngest sister, Julie, that when she cleaned windows it looked like a dog had licked them. I think over time I’ve developed the same ineptness for cleaning windows. Except for me it’s as if I’ve taken honey, smeared it on the windows and then allowed a black bear to clean it off with his tongue.

The city of Franklin has issued a watering/car wash ban because of the lack of rain lately. Not washing a car on the weekend seems un-American to me. So I decided to at least wash the windows on my car and on the bride’s van. I thought I’d done an outstanding job until I looked at my windows a little later.

I buy the streak-free window cleaner. I’ve used paper towels. I’ve used cloth towels. (I may have to resort to newspapers, but I don’t like the mess.) I never clean the glass in direct sunlight. Nothing seems to make a difference. The glass looks clean and then I see streaks and smudges galore within a few hours.

I wonder if they sell a pill that helps men in their 40’s clean windows better…..

Monday, August 13, 2007

the very definition of irony.....

It's the Michael Vick chew toy. Just $10.99. And part of the profits go to help get the word out on animal abuse.....

Friday, August 10, 2007

me and #24, separated at birth.....

No offense to Misters Morricone and Chabrol, but really? And Frank Oz? Is that what the bride has to look forward to (or dread) in 30 years? Francesco Totti? Huh.

I'm not sure what it is they're comparing here. I have ears and so do the other guys. Other than that.....

Thursday, August 09, 2007

message to the guy behind me on the entrance ramp last week.....

Yes, McDonalds was on your way home.

Yes, it was hot and you probably wanted something to cool you off.

Yes, the soft serve cones are just 79 cents.

Yes, I'm sure it was delicious.

But, Dude, the ice cream goes in your mouth, not all over your face. I mean, come on, you're in your 30's. Did you not realize that with each bite you were getting more and more on your face? First it was the end of your nose. Then the left side of your face, then the right side. Followed by your chin. And you either didn't know it was all over your face or you didn't care.

All of this was bad enough, but suddenly you decided you needed to make a call? So you're driving, a cone of cream in one hand and your cell phone in the other. Perhaps that's why you couldn't use a napkin - you were out of hands.

I'm sure that as a child you were adorable with a face full of ice cream. But those days are over. Next time you stop for ice cream, pick up a handful of napkins. And turn your cell phone off.....

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

birds be gone.....

I was taught from a young age to take good care of things that are mine. I may not always have the latest and greatest stuff, but it's almost always going to be in great working order and clean. I can't stand to have dirty cars, so I try to wash all three on a weekly basis. But lately it's a losing battle because I can't keep them clean for long.

We're having an issue with birds at our house. Actually it's not the birds but rather their byproduct. They're dive-bombing our vehicles from the Bradford pear tree beside the driveway. It's like they have twice-daily meetings on the strategy to poopify our cars. (Poopify - to cover with poop. It's a word, look it up.) We've resorted to parking only two cars in the driveway to stay away from the tree. Whoever comes home and sees two vehicles in the driveway has to park down the street.

I washed both my car and Meg's car Monday after work. I'm having to use this special bug and tar remover on the cars to get the bird droppings off. And sometimes that's still not enough, even when I let it sit for a couple of minutes. (I swear I think I saw part of a human finger in the bird stuff. These are obviously very tough birds.) So I got them both washed and they were spotless.

I came out Tuesday morning and my car was still nice and clean. I went out to my car at lunch and there was more bird crap on the hood. What, are they following me? Is there some sort of bird syndicate they've contracted with to defecate all over any car I drive?

Someone told me they once had the same problem and they ended up putting rubber snakes in the tree to scare off the birds. And it worked. I might just try that. And if that doesn't work I may put real snakes in the tree.....

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

so i got my copy.....

I got home from work Friday afternoon and the bride told me that I had received a package from Japan in the mail. Yep, it was the book. It took about 6 weeks to get here from Japan, but it was worth the wait.

One of the things I was concerned about was that I don't know how to read Japanese print. That didn't matter because Dan had the blog entries printed in both Japanese and English. I was surprised to find not one but three of my blog entries in his book. One of my friends, Sista Smiff, also had a couple of her blog entries in the book, too. Her "chapter" is just before mine.
Maybe it's just me, but I find humor in the fact that sometime soon college students in Japan will be reading about someone from America who calls himself the Old Fart In Training.....

Monday, August 06, 2007

me and my 6-inch vertical leap.....

I played volleyball for the first time in years Sunday afternoon. The Williamson County Rec Center has a couple of outdoor sand courts and a bunch of guys from church asked me to play. The thing is that I'm about 20-25 years older that all the guys there.

I played the part of the set guy. Mainly because I don't have the leaping ability I once had. Or ever had. My job was to put us in position to spike the ball. The guys who did the spiking were much taller and much younger than me. All I did was try to pop the ball up near the net, jump out of the way and let them come flying by.
Anyway, I survived the 90 minutes that we played. Just a tad bit sore, that's all.....

Friday, August 03, 2007

the ofit goes to japan.....

Several months ago I received an e-mail from a gentleman named Dan Waldhoff. Dan is a professor at a Japanese college in (believe it or not) Japan and he teaches English to college students. He asked for permission to use one of my blog entries in a book he was writing. Uh huh. Yeah. Right. I e-mailed him back a couple of times and found this to be a legitimate request.

Dan had the idea to create a book that featured a compilation of blog entries, then use the book to teach his students everyday American English. Sounded like a good idea to me, but what did I know about writing? And why would an author want to use my writing? There's nothing special to it, just thoughts that I put down on paper. Dan said that the entry he chose (I can't remember which one he's using) had to do with the girls and me. He said that Japanese students would find it interesting that a father would be so involved in the lives of his daughters because most fathers in Japan have very little interaction with their children.
On May 12 I received the following e-mail:

Just got the galley sheets from the printer. You are in and they are go to print next week. I'll let you know when I see it.
Best to you!

He posted the following entry about the book to his blog on June 28:

Work began in September last year - finished in March this year. It goes on sale tomorrow in Japan. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun. Plenty of both. The best parts are that I met a handful of really good writers and working with my friend/boss, Nino-san at ICCNC, was/is a pleasure.

Dan sent me this e-mail last week:

The books were mailed from the publisher on June 20. You should have your copy soon and I hope that you will be happy with the contents! It looked good to me, though I have to admit I let it sit for a few days before paging through it.
The publisher would like to do a special listing on Amazon Japan. It would allow partial page views, etc. The intention, of course, is to sell more copies. However, they feel that they should get the permission of contributors. If you approve please respond to this message with "Yes, list with Amazon!"

Thank you,

So not only is a blog entry of mine going to be published in a book, the book is actually going to be listed on Japan's Amazon site. It's hard for me to believe. I started blogging 3 years ago for two reasons - first, as a creative release, and second, to do a little journaling. Certainly not to have anything published.

My compensation for the project? Well, my people have been talking to his people, and after weeks, nay, months of negotiations, we've settled on me getting a copy of the book.

Now all I have to do is learn how to read Japanese.....

Thursday, August 02, 2007

riddle me this.....

What's bigger than Lavell Crawford of "Last Comic Standing"?

What's more masculine than Rosie O'Donnell?

What's so large that it could apply for its own zip code?

It's the enormous zit on my face. Seriously, I could sell advertising on this sucker.....

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

hey, look, a new quarter.....

I stopped by a greeting card store on my way home last night. I picked out a few birthday cards to stock up on for work and went to pay for them. The girl behind the counter was about Meg's age, maybe a little older. As she handed me my change, I noticed her looking at the coins.

"Huh", she said, still looking at the coins, "this must be a new quarter."
I said, "Really? Which state?"

She said, "Um, I'm not sure. It just has a picture of a guy playing a drum."

As she showed me the "new" quarter, I told her that this was a bicentennial quarter. "That's not a new quarter. That was around way before you were born."

She looked at me and said, "Oh, yeah, right. I've heard of these. I think my dad used to collect them or something."

I remembered being not much younger than this young lady when these quarters first came out. I left the card store feeling the need to use a cane.....