Monday, March 31, 2008

more time for what matters.....

I talked with a friend of mine the other day who's a grandfather. Jim talks about his grandson like he's the greatest human being to ever live. And Adam feels the same way about Jim. Adam frequently tells his grandfather, "I wish I lived with you and Grandma all the time."

Jim told me about his trip to the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville with his grandson last week. And his eyes lit up. He talked about how Adam was a little shy in doing some of the things at first, but after he got going he couldn't see the exhibits fast enough. They did the exhibits and interactive things as Adam wanted to. They ate when he wanted to. And when Adam was ready to leave, they left. It was all on his schedule, not Jim's. And Jim was fine with that.

It hit me during the conversation that the big difference in being a father and a grandfather is time. As a dad, you're always worried about schedules. What has to be done, how fast it needs to be done. As a grandfather, especially a retired grandfather, you work more off of the schedules of others. You're not as concerned about your own agenda. Your availability to others means more to them than anything. When you make yourself available to them, it pays dividends to you in the love you get back from them. And I'm pretty sure that means more to Jim than any bonus or raise he ever got.

Makes me wonder why it takes us so long to figure out things like this.....

Friday, March 28, 2008

sad end to the season.....

With 4 minutes to go, Louisville had a 15-point lead. Tennessee had done almost nothing right the whole game. And it wouldn't get any better.
Lofton continued to struggle from the field. Foul trouble took both Tyler Smith and Chism out of their games. And the point guard experiment failed miserably. Turns out we never really had a point guard after the regular season ended.
31-5 is by no means a terrible season. This was the most fun UT team to watch in years. Just seems they collapsed down the stretch. After the big win at Memphis, they just never seemed like the same team.
Oh, well, just 144 days until football season.....

Thursday, March 27, 2008

a bit too reliant on the internet.....

Ever been working right along in the office and all of a sudden your Internet connection stops responding? Happened in our office yesterday.

One by one employees either came into my office or stopped me on my way back to the computer area, a slight look of panic on their faces as they said things like, "Um, did you know the Internet is down?" or "I was doing such and such online and it just stopped."

After turning the DSL modem off and on several times (which is what all tech support people are told to say first, so I got it out of the way), I called AT&T. No one answered the tech support line. They ran a message that said something like, "Due to technical difficulties, we're unable to answer your call. Please call back later." I figured that meant it wasn't just us having the problem. I got a call from our web host, who also uses AT&T, and they said there was a regional outage. Yeah, it wasn't just us.

I never heard what the actual problem was or just how big it was. But I did notice that the pace in the office slowed drastically. It was like because our Internet connection was down, all work had to cease. Never mind the files that needed to be filed. Or the dozens of other tasks that can be done without the Internet.

Now if I could just figure out how to get the Internet to file our paperwork for us.....

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

there's no winter wonderland in canada.....

Edmonton Sun-CP - 12/5/07

When a 72-year-old Levis, Quebec, woman cleared her walk with a snowblower in December, sending some of the snow onto the adjacent property, the 43-year-old neighbor grabbed his blower and sent it back, and the two spent about 10 minutes blowing snow on each other before they stopped. (They "faced each other," "engines roaring," wrote the Canadian Press.) The neighbor then allegedly punched the woman (and her husband, who had come to help her) and was charged with assault.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

sandra bullock would be proud.....

Fayetteville Observer - 2/2/08

Miss Fayetteville (N.C.) 2007 Jenna Walters is scheduled in court in April to answer for her November arrest in which police said she had veered recklessly through traffic in Southern Pines, N.C., in order to harass driver Angela Thomas. She pulled in front of Thomas, blocked her path, then got out, screaming and taunting the woman, but then quit and drove off, only to return moments later from the other direction, bump Thomas' car and resume screaming, then left but returned yet again, bumped Thomas' car from behind and yelled some more. In the 2006 Miss Fayetteville pageant, Walters was voted Miss Congeniality.

Monday, March 24, 2008

back in the swing of things.....

The bride and the girls arrived home safely Friday afternoon from Seaside. I think they wish they were still there, but I'm glad to have them back home. They had a wonderful week in the sun and enjoyed their visit with Mark, Jennifer and Helena.

I was able to entertain quite a few people yesterday. The bride's side of the family came over for lunch during the afternoon. We had originally planned to have lunch at Ken and Hattie's, but since the game was onat 1:30 we decided to have everyone over to our house instead. Everyone seemed to enjoy my antics during the UT/Butler game. I'm a bit more animated than anyone on the bride's side of the family.

Now back to a normal week for us all.....

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


They say once you stop learning, you begin a process of atrophy. Not wanting that to happen, I've learned a couple of things this week:

* If I lived alone, I would weigh 450 pounds. While at the grocery store, everything looked good. Orange cinnamon rolls found their way into my cart, and they were eaten both Sunday morning and Monday morning. Butter pecan ice cream has been consumed nightly.

* I found yet another home project I detest - grouting wall tile. If given the choice between grouting shower tile and having my appendix surgically removed through my left ear, I'd now choose the latter.

The girls are having a great week in Destin. I get daily reports on their shopping, pool visits and beach romps. I'm really glad they were able to get away and relax. I'm equally glad that I'll get to see them in a few days.....

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

just play and prove them wrong.....

Several Tennessee fans were upset with the selection committee when the Vols weren't given a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Sure, I was disappointed. I had hoped they would get a top seed. And up until Friday I thought they deserved it because of their #1 RPI and #1 or #2 strength of schedule. Then they gave up 88 to South Carolina in a win and lost to Arkansas while giving up 92 to them.

When March Madness hits, you've got to play defense. They didn't do it. And it cost them a slot.

The best way to prove the committee wrong is by winning the whole dadgone thing. Sure, you've got a tough road and will probably have to play Butler, Louisville and UNC to get there, but they can do it. Maybe losing the SEC tournament is the best thing that could have happened to them.

Looking forward to the first game Friday.....

Monday, March 17, 2008

the bride back then.....

Here are a few pictures of the bride from "back in the day".....

Classic color picture, classic pose

Another classic, this one in black and white

Wonder if she'll be doing this today?

Mike, the bride and Jennifer

Have a great birthday, Susie!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

and then there were two.....

As of today, we've got two teenagers living in our house.  

Sara (or Sara-boo, as I like to call her) turns 13 today!  Thursday night her life was made "complete" when she got a cell phone.  Turns out she was the last 12-year-old on the planet without one.  Who knew?
Happy Birthday, Sara!

Friday, March 14, 2008

all by myself.....

For the next seven-plus days, I'll be living the life of a bachelor. The bride and the daughters are heading for Destin/Watercolor this morning to spend a week with Mark, Jennifer and Helena. I know they'll all have a great time together.

I plan on eating chips and dip for dinner, watching movies the bride doesn't like to watch, and re-grouting the shower. You know, manly things.....

Thursday, March 13, 2008

shades of mike fuller..... - 3/12/08

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Contraband candy has led to big trouble for an eighth-grade honors student in Connecticut. Michael Sheridan was stripped of his title as class vice president, barred from attending an honors student dinner and suspended for a day after buying a bag of Skittles from a classmate. School spokeswoman Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo says the New Haven school system banned candy sales in 2003 as part of a districtwide school wellness policy.

Michael's suspension has been reduced from three days to one, but he has not been reinstated as class vice president. He says he didn't realize his candy purchase was against the rules, but he did notice the student selling the Skittles on Feb. 26 was being secretive.

I heard this story on my way in to work and it made me think about a friend of mine from back home. Mike Fuller and I went to school together for 12 years. In junior high, Mike started his own business - candy sales. Every morning he'd go by a little market (I think it was the B&B in Indian Springs) and buy his supplies for the day - bubble gum, candy bars, etc. When he got off the bus, kids would come and find him. To make a profit, seems like he basically just doubled his cost. And nobody complained, they were just glad to have a "source" at school. Teachers would sometimes hear about it and Mike would stop selling for a few days, then start things back up.

He knew there were risks, but like any good businessman he weighed the risks with the potential reward. Of course, Mike didn't have a class VP position at stake either.....

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

not enough time on my hands.....

Ever have days/weeks where there just seems to be more to do in a day/week than you have time? Yeah, that's me lately.....

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

dumb crook news.....

Toronto Star - 2/27/08

A 16-year-old boy was arrested in Toronto in February after he emerged from a CIBC bank with about $150,000 (Cdn) stuffed in a sack. Despite numerous Hollywood movies emphasizing the need for speed in a bank robbery, the kid had dawdled inside for more than 45 minutes after the silent alarm had been pressed, collecting cash not only from the vault and tellers, but from customers, and by the time he walked out, the bank was surrounded by cops.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

our evening with mr. brown.....

I won't say that I've been to hundreds of concerts over the years, but I've been to a few. I can say that I've never been to a concert like Jackson Browne's concert at the Ryman Saturday night. On the stage sat a piano and 15 guitars lined up side by side. And it was just Jackson Browne on vocals. No backups. No special guests. And the Ryman was so quiet and perfectly still during the songs, hanging on every word and note.

After his opening These Days, he said, "You know, I don't have a set planned for tonight. I'm just going to play whatever." That's when the "requests" started pouring in from the audience. Several people would yell out song titles, he'd decide which one he wanted to play, then he'd play it. He said he did have two rules he would abide by - whenever someone requested Running on Empty, he'd play it immediately; and if someone requested a really obscure song that he was particularly fond of, he's play it over any other requests.

I'll have to admit there were a couple of songs I wasn't familiar with. One of the men sitting beside us knew more about Jackson Browne than probably anyone else on earth. He yelled out My Stunning Mystery Companion. Jackson looked up our way and said, "Wow, that's a great request. I wasn't expecting that." He was right, it was a great song.

Thre were three songs I really wanted to hear - Doctor My Eyes, The Pretender, and Rosie. He played all three in a row right before intermission. And if the concert had ended there, I wouldn't have been disappointed. My other favorite song of the night was My Redneck Friend.

He closed the night with Take it Easy (which he co-wrote with Glen Frey and let the Eagles record it first), Somebody's Baby and Running on Empty.

And his fans left there feeling anything but empty.....

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Friday, March 07, 2008

add some spice to office life.....

Office Dares

One-Point Dares

* Ignore the first five people who say 'good morning' to you.
* To signal the end of a conversation, clamp your hands over your ears and grimace.
* Leave your fly open for one hour. If anyone points it out, say, "Sorry, I really prefer it this way".
* Walk sideways to the photocopier.
* While going in an elevator, gasp dramatically each time the doors open.
* When in elevator with one other person, tap them on the shoulder and pretend it wasn't you.
* Finish all your sentences with "In accordance with the prophecy..."
* Don't use any punctuation.
* Interrupt your conversation with someone by giving a huge dejected sigh.
* Use your highlighter pen on the computer screen.

Three-Point Dares

* Say to your boss, "I like your style", wink, and shoot him with double-barreled fingers.
* Kneel in front of the water cooler and drink directly from the nozzle.
* Shout random numbers while someone is counting.
* Every time you get an email, shout ''email''.
* Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has got over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.
* Keep hole punching your finger. Each time you do, shout, "dagnamit, it's happened again!". Then do it again.
* Call I.T. helpdesk and tell them that you can't seem to access any pornography web sites. (bonus points if you get really belligerent with them)

Five-Point Dares

* At the end of a meeting, suggest that, for once, it would be nice to conclude with the singing of the national anthem (extra points if you actually launch into it yourself).
* Walk into a very busy person's office and while they watch you with growing irritation, turn the light switch on/off 10 times.
* For an hour, refer to everyone you speak to as "Dave".
* Announce to everyone in a meeting that you "really have to go do a number two".
* After every sentence, say 'Mon' in a really bad Jamaican accent. As in: "The report's on your desk, Mon." Keep this up for one hour.
* In a meeting or crowded situation, slap your forehead repeatedly and mutter, "Shut up, all of you just shut up!"
* At lunchtime, get down on your knees and announce, "As God is my witness,I'll never go hungry again!"
* Repeat the following conversation 10 times to the same person: "Do you hear that?" "What?" "Never mind, it's gone now."
* Present meeting attendees with a cup of coffee and biscuit; smash each biscuit with your fist.
* During the course of a meeting, slowly edge your chair towards the door.
* Ask people what sex they are. Laugh hysterically after they answer.

Thanks, Chris.....

Thursday, March 06, 2008

they might be missing the point.....

Buffalo News - 12/6/07

On Nov. 30, for a social justice project at Cheektowaga Central High School (Buffalo, N.Y.), students spent an 18-degree night in cardboard boxes on the school's lawn, in supposed solidarity with the area's homeless population. According to a Buffalo News report, the suffering students brought DVD players to watch movies inside their boxes, ate donated Dunkin' Donuts and pizzas, and ducked into the school's heated gym whenever they got too cold or bored.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

another one of my top five.....

I've got a Top Five of favorite musical artists - Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, Don Henley, Jackson Browne and Michael McDonald. The bride and I have seen Billy Joel three times. I'll probably never be able to see Don Henley or Sir Paul without hitting my home equity line. There's still a chance to see Michael McDonald since he lives in the area and does a few shows every now and then.

But I will be able to say that I've seen Jackson Browne after this weekend. The bride and I have tickets to see him at the Ryman Saturday night.

The tickets went on sale about a month ago. I told the bride about them and she said to go ahead and get a couple of tickets. But I waited too long and they sold out that day. While perusing eBay yesterday morning, I noticed that someone in Nashville had a couple at face value so I scooped them up. I'll be able to pick them up either Wednesday or Thursday.

Ah, date night at the Ryman. Don't know that it gets much better than that.....

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

with a little help from my friends.....

It's been rumored that the Beatles wrote some of their best, most intriguing lyrics when they "experimented" with certain substances. I'm thinking of doing a little writing myself this week while aided by the scent of carpet glue and the lack of sleep.

We're having new carpet installed in our offices. And since we don't want to disrupt business during the day, the installation is taking place after hours. And since the office runs fine without me being there during the day, I'm the logical person to volunteer to work the graveyard shift.

I can feel another "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" coming on.....

Monday, March 03, 2008

change in habit.....

WPBF-TV (West Palm Beach), 2/1/08

Two Park Vista High School girls who admitted that they swiped money off the table of a Girl Scout selling cookies at a supermarket in Boynton Beach, Fla., in January told WPBF-TV later that they had no remorse. Said one (on camera): "We went through all that effort to get (the money). We got all these charges (against us), and we had to give the money back. I'm kind of pissed." Added the other, "I'm not sorry. I'm just pissed that I got caught." The victim's mother said that the girls returned to the supermarket the next day and taunted the little girl.