Wednesday, April 30, 2008

the awards recap

The awards thing was good. It was very long, but I guess that's to be expected. I really didn't know what to expect in the way of format. I thought several kids would be nominated for each award, whatever they may be, and one would win....but that wasn't the case. Being invited ensured you were walking out with something. They gave awards for the highest grade in each class (like Freshman English, Freshman Honors English, Spanish I, Spanish II, Advanced Calculus, Computer Applications I, Computer Applications II, etc.). Then they also gave awards for most improved in each of those and a few 'you did really good even though you didn't get the highest grade' awards...kinda like runners up, for each as well. The youngster was a runner up for Computer Applications I. Figures. If it involves sitting at a computer....but yes, I am very proud. He got a certificate, and all in's a good thing for his self esteem and will help him grow..I hope. Seeing that his work gets people other than me and the wife, is a good thing

Like I said, it was long. Not only were there the individual class awards for every class for Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors (the Seniors apparently have their own thing.), but honor societies, and perfect attendance, and other miscellaneous awards. By the time it was over, we were all we left there and went to a restaurant. It was well after 9:00 when we got home, so that pretty much ate up the a very good way.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

speaking of reaches

Got this e-mail from the principal of the youngster's (aka. the woodpile's) school about a week ago. It was announcing the school's academic awards ceremony, to be held the 29th. It said it was an important thing. Dress up a bit if you're coming (shirt/tie or dressy dress) and RSVP.

I to all the parents...nice if your kid's the academic type...hit the delete button. I don't need to go into the youngster's academic history, but to say it's been a struggle would be an understatement...even now. He's doing much better since he hit high school, but we still have to ride him a bit. On to whatever else was in the e-mail bin...

OK, but then a few days later, he came home with an envelope. Inside the envelope was an invitation...that looked a lot like the e-mail I read..academic awards ceremony...important Tuesday, the 29th...dress up...RSVP.

The wife asked him..."Did everyone get these?"
"Did Josh (his friend from grade school who is pretty damn smart) get one?"
"No. When he saw mine he said, 'So, you got one.'"
"So, does that mean you're getting an award?" (fragile - must be Italian)
"It means I've been nominated, but I don't know what for. One of my teachers must have nominated me for something."

So there we go...and hell yes, we're going. I'll be leaving work a bit early today to make sure I get there in time. The youngster...he who scraped by getting out of 8th grade and into high school...has been nominated for some academic award. I don't know what it is, and I don't expect him to actually get whatever it is. I'm just thrilled that someone picked him to possibly be recognized for something academic.

The work's paying off...and I'm a pretty proud dad. First the Katie Ride...which was no small feat, and now...even better.

So...thank God for the wife, who actually went through the youngster's closet and got out a shirt and tie, and made him try the stuff on. He's grown a bit since the last time he needed a shirt and tie, and both were way too small. That lead to an emergency trip to Kohl's last night for a new shirt and tie, so when he's fitting in with the smart kids, he'll look like it all fits.


Monday, April 28, 2008

they call it a reach, but that's OK

Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for? - Robert Browning

For the first time in I don't know how long, the Jaguars did what I hoped they would do in the draft. Time will tell if it was the right thing, but in my mind, it was at least a good thing.

In the first round they knew they couldn't get Derrick Harvey, the defensive end from Florida. He'd be long gone by the time they'd pick, and they needed a defensive end in the worst way. The prevailing thought, even by me, was get the next best one....or the best one available when you pick. They went and traded several picks, moved up to the 8th pick in the draft and got they guy they wanted. Floyd Reese, ex-general manager of the Titans, called it overkill, which could help explain why the "ex" is in front of that title and he's working for ESPN instead of the Titans now. Others (ie. Mel Kiper Jr., supposed draft expert, and his clone, Todd McShay) are criticizing the move, saying there were better players available for the 8th pick, and Harvey was a reach at number 8. That isn't the point. If you're trading matter what spot you're trading to, you need a few things to happen. First, you need another team willing to trade with you. You need to have what they want to trade with. You need to have something worth trading for. The Jaguars had all that getting to the 8th pick. There was no guarantee they'd have that at 12 or 15 or you jump when the situation allows it. They were willing to trade a few picks for Harvey. It didn't matter what pick it was. He wasn't going to be out there at 26, and maybe he wouldn't have been a "reach" if the Jaguars could have moved up to...say...the 17th pick in the draft, but the reality of it all is...there's no guarantee the team with the 17th pick wants to trade with you. They have their own agenda, and could very well want nothing to do with a trade. In fact, if they're in your division and want to make your life miserable, there's a fair chance they won't trade with you, just to stop you. Who cares if you make the guy the 8th or 28th pick. If you believe he's what you need to beat the Colts and the Patriots of the world, you move.

Then in the second round, they got another defensive end, Quentin Groves. This was one of the names I thought might be their first round pick, but he was still available when they picked in round two. OK, maybe we went a little overboard in the defensive end category, but we definitely addressed my concerns. They moved up to get this guy too, but to get him they traded away their 7th round pick next year. My hope is...he'll be Mr. Irrelevant.

Being as how we traded out 3rd and 4th round picks to jump up to get Harvey, the rest of the first day of the draft had nothing for Jacksonville....but I don't think it had to. We got a linebacker, defensive back and running back in the later rounds who might develop into something, but they're there mostly for depth, I imagine. After taking Jerry Porter in free agency, I feel better about our only other glaring weakness...wide receiver. Overall....going from here into training camp, I'm feeling pretty optimistic.


Friday, April 25, 2008

ahhh, the French..

Ted Nugent, rock star and avid bow hunter was being interviewed by a French journalist and the discussion came around to deer hunting.

The journalist asked, "What do you think is the last thought in the head of a deer before you shoot him? Is it, "Are you my friend?" or is it, "Are you the one who killed my brother?'"

Nugent replied, "Deer aren't capable of that kind of thinking. All they care about is, 'What am I going to eat next,who am I going to screw next, and can I run fast enough to get away.' They are very much like the French."


the miracle answer to all your depression issues

After trying every anti-depressant medication known to man and feeling like nothing's time. Tom Cruise, bite me.


the draft cometh

I'm not going to wax knowlegable on the NFL draft and what the Jaguars will do, because every year they baffle me. Every year there's a guy I think we need, and every year I'm wrong...or I may be right, but I pick wrong, like last year when I was screaming at the television, "Take Brady Quinn!!" to no avail.

So this year, instead of going on and on about our defensive end needs, I'll leave you with this.

Is it just me, or as the years go on, is Mel Kiper Jr. evolving into a really bad Elvis impersonation? Not so much in the picture in the link, because it must be a few years old, but watch him on ESPN. If you tune in to their draft coverage tomorrow, I'm sure he'll be hard to miss. I'm God, look at that hair. Just put a couple dozen gold chains around his neck and it could be a Blue Christmas....


Thursday, April 24, 2008

the mystery of memory

Why is it I can get interrupted while writing a sentence, go back to it and not remember what I was writing or why...yet, shit like this is etched in my brain from 20-something years ago....

"What if you mix the mayonnaise in the can, with the tunafish? Or... hold it! Chuck! I got it! Take live tuna fish, and feed 'em mayonnaise! Oh this is great. Call Starkist!"

Billy to Betelgeuse, the best Michael Keaton role ever.


Presidential politics...watching's really the same thing

It struck me the other night, as the wife scrolled through the little programming guide on TV and found absolutely nothing that made me sit up and take notice...

"There's nothing on"
"I know, so what do you want to watch?"
"I don't"
"Well, we have to watch something."

And there's the big difference...with television, no, you don't...and I told her so.

"No, we don't.
"Whaddaya mean?"
"I mean, turn the damn thing off, let's take the dog for a walk and do something else. There's no law that says we have to watch TV when there's nothing but crap on."

Oh, if we could only do the same with politicians......


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

land shark

Yeah, I'm probably beating a dead horse, but I don't really care all that much. It's my lumberyard, so sometimes it gets to be all about me. (OK, lots of times it's all about me, but let's not get mired in the details.) Last night after doing the gym thing, I was web surfing a little. I went back to the J'ville fishwrap site to check out the pictures from the Katie Ride for Life. It seemed...there were more of them. More? Maybe I can find one of us.
OK, I was only halfway successful. I was hoping for a picture of me with the youngster, or honestly, another of the youngster, even by himself. I have pictures of me on a bike. I don't have many of him. I did, however, find me..cruisin' Amelia Island in my Dogfish Head jersey, somewhere around 11 miles into the ride.
So no, I didn't find what I wanted, but I found this, which is still a whole lot better than finding nothing.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

50 is the new 50, dammit

I keep hearing this stuff around...especially around people my age. 50 is the new 40, or better, 50 is the new 30. So I guess that's my first problem. Can we get some consensus on what 50 really is now? Is it 30, 40...or can we just be honest and say it's 50?

I have to ask...if 50 is the new 30, what does that make the old 30? 10? God, I feel sorry for those folks. Puberty was a bitch once, but having to do that twice??

Don't be blowin' smoke up my ass. As I approach the ripe young age of 51, let me just be happy that I am (or will be) 51. Don't be trying to make me feel like I'm younger than I am, or insinuate that 51 used to be old, but it's not now. It really is not old now, but it wasn't before, and being old is a state of mind, not a number.

I'll be old when I hang in the barcalounger all day watching Lawrence Welk do the bubble thing in syndication while chuggin' Geritol, mumbling to myself with my teeth in the jar on the table next to me just in case I need 'em, and a bit of drool on my chin. Until then, 50's the new 50, dammit....and it's not such a bad place to be.

In other news...John of the Lumberyard is the new Brad Pitt.


I'm not sure I agree, but I didn't make up the questions...

Your Personality at 35,000 Says...

Deep down, you prefer spending time alone to spending time with others. You enjoy thinking more than talking.

You are good with your place in the world. You are confident and comfortable with who you are.

Your gift is having a good eye. You take amazing pictures and have the natural talent for most visual arts.

You are inspired by what is possible. Real life is often too ordinary for you.

It's very easy for you to feel happy. You can find peace with any situation.


local TV celebs, trash day, we're all over the map

Many years ago in J'ville lore, there was a female newscaster and male sportscaster working for the same station. He was a graduate of the University of Florida, and she of Florida State...bitter rivals. Yet somehow, they fell in love and married. All was right with the world. They were a well known couple about town, spotted at big time functions everywhere...until...trouble in paradise. The newscaster was more of an athlete than the sports guy (strange but true) and they had other differences. The weather guy at the same station, however, was a blond haired surfer dude who ran races and captured the newscaster's heart (and at one time many years ago was the subject of a nasty gerbil rumor). After a few bitter divorces and remarriages, the newscaster and weather guy live happily ever least for now. Sportscaster's new wife, strangely enough, is not an employee of the station.

Somewhere in all that bitter divorce and remarriage stuff, weather guy and his ex-wife had an estate sale...which is the real estate phrase for yard sale. The wife...had to go. She wanted to pick through weather guy's stuff, and when the dust settled, I had to find a way to transport weather guy's patio furniture to our house. We did all that, but the table now sits in the garage with stuff all over it, and little by little the rest has seen better days. The last two chairs sat on our front porch, and got considerable use over the last few years.

Well, in the last week, we've had our house repainted, and the wife decided those chairs have to go. She wants to get rockers for the porch..and we eventually will. In her desire to clean up a little, she also decided my old bicycle...the one I started training with last year before I bought the new one, which has seen absolutely no use since, needs to go too.

Today is trash day, so last night I put the cans on the curb, and moved the old chairs and bike out there with them, and came in and said, "Five bucks says those chairs and bike disappear by morning."

We aren't the only ones experiencing this phenomenon, are we? Somebody knows when trash day is in our neighborhood. They troll the streets in the early morning darkness, looking for...stuff they can use? stuff that might sell on eBay? I'm not sure, but they do. When they finish their cruise through the streets surrounding stately Lumberyard manor, shit disappears. I guess in a way it's a good thing. It's like recycling without a whole lot of effort. It's just amusing. That bike is over 20 years old, and it has no seat, because I bought a nice gel seat for it last year when I was riding it, and this year the youngster wanted it, so I put it on his bike. Yet, somebody took it. They took the chairs too, which...if the wife would have taken the bet, would make me five dollars richer. She was smarter than that though.


Monday, April 21, 2008

we rocked, we rolled, all that...

Saturday was pretty much everything I could ask for in a bike ride. The weather was great. The route was beautiful. It went pretty much south from Fernandina Beach to the mouth of the Saint Johns River for the first half and returned the second. There was a breeze out of the south, which meant the first half had it's hard parts (especially the bridges) but the trip home was easier.

The local fishwrap covered the event and got this picture of the youngster. Looks all determined and focused, doesn't he? I'm not sure where I was when they took this. From the angle, the photographer needed to be right about over my shoulder. There's a video from the newspaper of the start, and we're in it. You can't blink, but there's a little time counter at the bottom left. When it gets to about 1:23, you can see the youngster go by in his yellow jersey. I'm right in front of him in the Dogfish Head Beer jersey.

That was pretty much the start of a great day in the lumberyard. I was (and still am) so proud of the youngster. We kept the speed manageable, and paced him all the way. He did the whole 100 km, and yeah, toward the end he was slow, and asking me how much farther, but he pedaled his way all the way to the finish line. The rest of Saturday, he didn't want to move much, but he did it...and yeah, when we finished I gave him a big hug and told him how proud I was. It was my own private Hollywood moment in the Lumberyard, and I appreciate that more than I could ever put into or anywhere. I know it's a day I won't soon forget. I'll stop before I get any more sappy about the whole thing.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

we're big time

Well, sorta...maybe..almost...

Got up this morning and on the local news they were talking about tomorrow's Katie Ride for Life. Opened the paper...on the front page of the Metro section is this kid and the story about his sister, and why he's riding the 60 km option in the Katie Ride.

I didn't think it was that big a deal. I had never heard of the ride before I found a link to it on a local bicycle club's web page. Maybe I just wasn't paying attention. Maybe doing the ride and begging friends and family for money is just part of what I can do to make sure more people don't make that mistake. When you see that family's story, and realize people do die waiting for organs that could be made available...every day. It really rips your heart out.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

the road to dentures is paved with good intentions

Part of an old Stephen Wright comedy bit (from memory):
Most people brush their teeth before going to the dentist to get their teeth cleaned. Not me. I'm eating Oreos. They're working for my money.

While on my mini-vacation, I had my 6 month checkup with the dentist. This exercise means teeth cleaning...scraping...poking the fillings...reminding the Steeler fan dentist that it's been years since his boys beat my Jaguars, despite two opportunities last year where we kicked their sorry asses...which of course leads to more forceful scraping and poking, but it's worth it. Do your worst Dr. Steeler Fan.

Part of that experience is my 6 month lecture from the hygienist on flossing. I am a dental hygienist's nightmare. I suck at flossing. Oh, I leave there, every time, vowing to do better. Then I do...for about a week. Then I start to forget, and just don't bother, or whatever. A month later I'm not flossing at all, and 6 months later I'm hearing the same lecture all over again. The cycle begins anew with the same question as last time...

"How often are you flossing?"

So here I am again, within the one week span..and I'm all gung ho. (That's in gung ho...not as in Snoop Dogg's...never mind.) We've beaten back gum disease once more, but it's time to step up to the plate and take care of my teeth. This time the lecture came with a recommendation. She said I might want to try this flosser thing, which makes it easier and doesn't require you to be sticking your fingers in your mouth. Last night, the wife needed some stuff from the grocery store and asked if I'd make a run, so I did. There, in my travels up and down aisles, I saw the flosser thing and thought....maybe. Maybe this will help me get over the one week hump, because I really really don't want to deal with dentures any time soon...or any time later, for that matter. Time will tell, but wish me luck.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

just around the corner

It's coming...only a few more days, and I'm psyched!

This Saturday, the youngster and I will bike 100 km in the Katie Ride for Life. For those of you, like me, who are metrically challenged, it's a little over 62 miles. While I won't say it's a herculean task, 62 miles is still a pretty damn long ride, but it will be through one of the more scenic areas around here..Amelia Island, Talbot Island, Fort George Island and the like. As you may guess with all the island talk, it's a route very close to the beach.

For me though, it's more about doing something like this with the youngster. Yes, we'll do the MS ride later in the year, which will be a longer, more difficult trek, but this is the first thing like this we've done together. It's the first time we've done something physically challenging like this, where there will be times where we have to encourage each other to press on, where we're almost on equal footing. He's growing up, and it's a bit like he's an adult, albeit on training wheels...but they're one in front of the other, instead of side by side. So far the weather looks like it'll cooperate, and as much as I know it'll be a challenge, I'm really looking forward to congratulating the youngster at the finish line, and giving him a huge hug.

ps. I didn't know this until two weeks ago, but if you go to the link and learn about the Katie Ride and the Katie Caples Foundation, you'll learn that it was started by the parents of a high school girl who didn't survive an accident, and donated many of her organs to others. The part I didn't know...the accident occurred after a charity walk, and my next door neighbor's daughter was not only in the same walk (and a classmate of Katie's), but got hurt in the exact same accident. She, fortunately, survived and is doing fine.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sports slump?

I really don't get it. The local sports guys are complaining that we're in a sports slump, because (according to them) March Madness sucked because all the favorites went to the final four and there were no surprises, and the Masters sucked because Tiger should have played better and won, because they're all Tiger fans.

You can't have it both ways, people. Either you like when the favorites win, or you don't. Personally, I loved both events. I liked March Madness, first of all because Villanova went farther in the tourney than I expected. Second, I loved watching Stephen Curry almost single handedly take Davidson farther that anyone expected. Yes, the #1 seeds made it to the final 4, but there were pretty cool stories in the journey. All else being equal, I'm an underdog kind of guy, and there were enough upsets and scares to keep me happy.

As for the Masters, my opinion on both the tournament and one Tiger Woods are well documented. I loved seeing someone, anyone, else contend and give him a run for his money...and it's even sweeter when that someone takes the tournament. Even sweeter still, the guy who took it battled back from surgery in December...and was a pretty cool story.

Slump? I don't think so.


back, and badder than ever...

...or is that worse than ever. I can never get it straight.

It's been a nice 4 days. Nothing special...just nice. The weather, on the other hand, has been spectacular. Friday I got up when I wanted to...not when the alarm went off..and went for a bike ride. It was payday at work, and yes, I could look online and see what I got paid, but I figured I wanted to ride somewhere, so why not to work to pick up my pay stub. It's a little over 20 miles each way, so it was a good workout. I'd wear the jersey we wore for the MS ride, so if anyone in any of the offices saw me, it might stir some talk about the ride, and yeah, I'd get the pay stub.

Not that great of an idea....

The ride was nice enough and the weather was beautiful. It is fairly long and involves two trips over a pretty large bridge over the intracoastal waterway. I did get my pay stub, so that objective was met. I doubt anyone considering the ride noticed me. The people who did notice me co-workers...let's just say I may not hear the end of it for a while.

"Nice hat."

"Did you have to come in in your underwear."

"Oh God, I could have gotten through the day without seeing that."

"Now, he's just showin' off."

I heard one sort-of ego boost whispered from one woman to another..."Notice how the guys are all giving him shit but the women are going...hmmmmm." Still, the reality of a 50 (almost 51) year old guy in bike clothes ain't quite the same as 22 year old guy in bike clothes. I realize that.

I pretty much underestimated the effect of walking into a bullpen sort of setting (where our keeper of the check stubs sits) in bike clothes, but hey. Live and learn.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tim Tebow - what's not to like?

Ya know...I'm not exactly a Gator fan, but I can't help but think the world of this kid. OK, part of it is he's from J'ville. I know that. Part of it though, is many Heisman winning college quarterbacks go out of their way to organize a fund raiser for kids with no food?

The kid's not even 20 years old yet, and this is where his head is at. I don't want to go into where mine was when I was his age...because I wasn't even thinking with that one.


and we'

Every year I complain about the Masters, and how it celebrates everything I hate about golf. This year I'll forgo the rant and boil it down to one sentence. It's way too snooty for its own good.

I'm doing a four day weekend because the youngstrer's school is doing a four day weekend. We'll go bike riding in the morning, get some yard work and other chores done, grill some dinners and basically....chillax.

Might get here in the next few days, and might not. The plan is to be outdoors as much as possible...or at least a lot. Hope y'all have a great weekend....


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

what can I get for this post?

The youngster's school is private. It's a Catholic school and it's small. Unlike other small private schools, the tuition is a lot, but it doesn't rival small college tuition. I have heard the numbers for some snooty private schools in J'ville and no....we aren't paying that kind of money. To make up the difference though, there are fund raisers...and there are a ton of them...and being involved in them isn't optional.

One that is mandatory (you have to contribute a minimum of 7 hours of time to it in some capacity) is an annual auction. It's their biggest money maker of the year, and is apparently (little did I know) a major thing on the Saint Augustine local social calendar. As a parent, you are expected to either work at the auction or attend. Since we got all our required hours going around and begging businesses for stuff to auction off, we didn't have to work the auction, so we attended.

I've never been to an auction of any kind before. What an education. First there's just trying to keep up with the fast talking auctioneer, which requires a lot of focus and caution. Then there's watching the price fall and rise. He starts at the "value" of the item, which nobody's going to jump on, and works down until someone bites, and then works back up. So, for example, if he has a vacation package that's supposed to be worth $2000, he starts at $2000. Nobody bites. Everyone's waiting to see how low it'll go before someone else bites, so he asks $1500, then $1000, then $800, then $500. Finally, at $200, someone raises this paddle thing with their number (everyone gets their own number) on it to signal a bid. Then everyone else's worth $2000 and it's only at $200, I'll go higher than that...and the bidding process begins, paddles go up in a constant stream of auctioneer verbage, pushing the price back up, in some cases more than where the guy started. It was interesting to watch.

Like I said, you have to be careful. The wife saw a painting she liked...a lot, and it was valued at $150. She asked me how high she should go, and I just bad do you want it? It's up to you. She decided on $150, the value, so when the painting came up for bid. It started at $150, went down to $100 and when the guy said, "can I get $150?", the wife was a split second late. Someone else got their paddle up and noticed first, and before the wife got hers back down, the auctioneer had already got out.."can I get 200?" and saw her paddle. Before we could blink, we were out $200 for the painting. Hey, it's for a good cause, I guess. The lesson could have been far more expensive. I bid on a couple of golf packages, but the price went much higher than I was willing to pay, so I just let it go. I guess I undervalue golf, since I can play cheap at work...and heck...I rarely even do that.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

a lumberyard warning to the inhabitants of the earth

The ego is inflating, to the point where it might soon start orbiting the earth and possibly be mistaken for a second moon, affecting the gravitational pull of other heavenly bodies because of its own, and possibly signaling the cataclysmic end of everything we hold dear.

As many of you know, I did the MS Bike ride last year for the first time. Well, when I started that endeavor, I had questions...lots of them. I must have driven my poor team captain nuts (tho she won't admit that) with everything nobody was telling me, but I wanted to know. How much should I train? Do I really need the fancy bike clothes and all that spandex? Would a comfort bike be a better option? What to I have to bring to this "check-in" thing? Where can I go to get my poodle clipped in Burbank?

As the spring turned to summer, I kept all the responses and remembered other tips I got from asking people who had done it before. I thought, I can't be the only person who doesn't know all this crap. I just can't. Otherwise I'd have to admit I'm really slow, and I didn't want to go there. Instead, I thought, I'll write a Rookie Rider Guide for our team, and fill it with all the stuff I wanted to know but had to go ask or find answers, or just stuff that surprised me about the ride that others might like to know ahead of that nasty 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning traffic jam as 2000 cyclists converged on tiny Saint Augustine Airport to start the ride.

After the ride was over, I spent a few evenings hammering that baby out, and finally had something I thought was useful. I e-mailed the final document to the team captain and I wrote this based on my rookie experience. I think it might help others who come after me. Use it if you think it's worthwhile. Trash it if you think its trivial. It's yours to do whatever with.

That was the last I heard of it until....

Last night I was surfin' the web, and I looked at the MS Ride page for this year, and noticed a link that said...Rookie Rider information. I I wonder what theirs looks like. I wanted to compare what they had to what I put together for our team, so I clicked on this .pdf file, and behold...I'm freakin' published! Oh no, not in a way that will bring millions of bucks to the Lumberyard in some book deal, but still...if you check it out, it's almost word for word classic Lumberyard. Oh they edited it. All the references to our team have been removed. They pulled anything that was at all critical of their organization, which I understand, but think it takes away from the utility. For example, they tell you you get a free jersey if you raise over $1000, and leave it at that. My expectation was, if I raise $1000, that jersey will be in my mailbox in the next week or so and I'll be able to wear it during the ride, negating the need to buy one. Well, I was mistaken. I'm still waiting for that jersey from last year, tho I've been assured it's coming. So in the guide, I mentioned that any fundraising incentive stuff they promise you will take a while to get to you, and won't until long after the ride is over. Be patient. It wasn't really meant as criticism. It was more just to let people know what to expect, to head off disappointment. That part's conspicuously missing. They also added some stuff about this year's ride that I didn't know, especially in the fundraising section, but it's pretty much me. A little "special thanks to the Lumberyard" would have been nice, but that's OK. I'm just thrilled the MS folks thought it was good enough to put out there for everyone to use. I feel like Sally Field at the Oscars...."You like me. You really like me!"

Stand back folks...the head is expanding at an exponential rate. (I know, it really doesn't take much, does it?)


Monday, April 07, 2008

reality vs. the video game

As some of you know, we got the Wii thing, and have been having fun with it for about a month...and all that started when a neighbor got theirs and we had fun playing Wii sports with them. We got together (and still do) and played Wii bowling, maybe some golf and tennis. One of those evenings, the discussion turned to...we should all go out and do real bowling.

I was all over this concept. I used to bowl in a league in my 20's in the Navy. Had my own ball. Occasionally crossed the 200 line in score. Had an average somewhere in the high 180's. I was no pro, but I could bowl. OK, it's been 10...maybe 15 years since I so much as picked up a bowling ball, but how different could it be? I would absolutely rock! Yeah, we need to do that!

So I called home Friday just before leaving work, to see if I needed to pick anything up for dinner, and the wife says, "Yeah, we need something quick. I already called in the pizza. Pick it up on your way home. We're going bowling with the neighbors."

"Bowling? We going to their house or are they coming over?"

"No, real at a bowling alley."

"Oh cool!"

Oh wow...what a wake up call. First there was the ball. When I had my own ball, it was 16 pounds. At this bowling alley, I couldn't find a 16 pound ball. The heaviest one I could find was 15 pounds, so I grumbled under my breath and figured it'd do. The score stuff is all computerized now, so there's no such thing as scoring on paper with a pencil or a practice frame. You just start right up and the computer gives you your score. Well, OK, if that's what we all do, I suppose it's fair.

So I'm last, and after everyone else goes, I get up there and I'm thinking...prepare to be impressed, folks. I start my approach, and the ball takes over. It's flinging me every which way but loose and I'm lucky I didn't fall on my ass. Two frames in, I'm looking for a lighter ball. Even after that, I barely break 100's just ugly. What's worse is, I won. None of us, who are quite capable of breaking 200 on the video game, were worth a damn on a real bowling alley. After one game, the wife took the shoes off an declared herself done. In the end, probably the smarter move, because the rest of us decided to opt in for yet another round of embarrassment. To be honest, it got a little better, because I could actually aim enough to pick up a spare or two, but with no consistency. 142, and I won again, but still...a little better wasn't pretty. I was outa control and searching for my balance, which I was constantly losing. Maybe if I practiced more I could get some of it back, but damn that was not at all what I expected.

So yesterday, I broke out the Wii again. Back in the 200+ range in bowling. 5 under for 9 holes of golf and a Wii age of 24. Life is virtually good.


Friday, April 04, 2008

I got nuthin'

I could blog about the acting debut of Paris 'she with no ass' Hilton on My Name is Earl, butt I missed it. Well, I didn't miss it, but I didn't see it, because I was in the gym. There the feature was some show about my least favorite golf tournament, the Masters, on the Golf Channel. I could blog about the pregnant dude in Oregon, but honestly...I don't care all that much. All I can say is those folks better melt into obscurity in a hurry or that kid's schoolyard life will be hell. At least we can thank God it's supposed to be a girl. A boy wouldn't survive the thrid grade.

So the bottom line is...I ain't got much. Have a great weekend folks.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Jones boys

So Jerry Jones still isn't finished trying to trade for Pacman Jones. Exotic dancers throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area are holding out hope.

I thought Dallas was already getting its share of storms, but what do I know? I do know this. Nobody can make it rain like Pacman!

Then again, my Jaguars have no room to talk....


the art of massage...or not

This morning, as I was driving to work, the conversation on the radio breezed through a supposed video circulating on the internet of the train wreck waiting to happen...John Daly. I feel sorry for that guy, because the writing is on the wall, but that's a post for another day. The topic was this video, where he's on a golf course at the first tee, waiting to hit his ball, and he's puffing away on a cigarette, getting a massage, and the male masseuse starts working his man breasts, and how gross a job would that be? (The answer they gave was...not as gross as shoveling elephant dung...which I suppose is true.)

Actually, I don't want to discuss how gross a job that might be, either....not that I'm filling out an application.

What it made me think of, is massages in general. I'm not a massage person. I've never had one...well, excluding purely consentual, get the idea. I've never employed a massage therapist, licensed or otherwise, and I'm not in a big hurry to do that. My muscles haven't cried for that attention. My opinion may change if I ever do, and then think, "Wow! So that's what I've been missing!" For now though, the idea of some person I don't know workin' the muscles doesn't have a lot of appeal. The idea kind-of hit home this past summer and fall doing the bike ride thing. One training ride the MS Society put on had free massages when you finished the 50-something mile trip, and people were lining up. I walked right past. One of the perks if you raised over $1000 for the MS Society in the MS Bike Ride was a free massage when you finished. I passed on that one too. Out team tent in Daytona had a masseuse in Just not interested. I sat in the tent with my burger and beer...OK, beers..and watched others take advantage of the service. I was even asked if I wanted "next", but I declined. I'm not sure what the benefit is supposed to be, but I just don't feel the need. I don't know what I'm missing, but I'm just not missing it. I know many people think they are amazing. One of my neighbors is a massage therapist, and she never lacks for clients, some of whom are other neighbors who swear by her. When I finished the training ride where people were lining up for their seven minutes in heaven, I overheard one guy say, "The massage people. Oh thank God!" I should have asked him, "Why?"

I have this idea in my head, that the world is divided (in one of the many ways it can be) into massage people, and non-massage people, and I'm clearly in the non-massage camp. Maybe, this year when we get to Daytona, I'll do the massage thing. After all, it will be free. Maybe then I'll know what it is I now feel no need for, and can make a more informed choice.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

and from the other basketball tournament

Last night was a gym night, so I watched a bit of the NIT final four...featuring the Florida Gators losing to U. Mass. In a way it was like watching my Wildcats in the NCAA tournament. the teams are similar. They start mostly freshmen and sophomores and they're...young and inexperienced.

This morning, all the talk on the radio was "what went wrong." Well folks, how about...nothing went wrong? How about, they just weren't good enough? Just like Villanova, they're young..many in their first year out of high school, and they're playing against 5th year seniors who have been doing this for a while, and they're good at it. They're...better than you. How's that for a concept? I know. It's not easy to accept that the other team is just better, but sometimes, they are, and even if you play your heart out and leave it all on the floor and all're still gonna get beat by the better team. That's just how it is. Stop over analyzing it and just accept the fact that U. Mass was too good for you. Then go back to practice, and work on being the team that's too good for someone else next Fall.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Lumberyard night at the movies

Either my taste is going Disney, or we just hit a bad run of flicks.

This weekend was a movie weekend in the Lumberyard. We hit the local Blockbuster, so Saturday night we watched I Am Legend with Will Smith and Sunday featured Enchanted from Disney. They're pretty much opposite ends of the film spectrum. One's dark and brooding and the other is so bright and cheerful you could almost puke.

Both had pretty good reviews and neither really jumped up in the Lumberyard list of really great movies.

I Am Legend had some very cool special effects, but as a story...just dragged along. It was a mercifully short movie that had very little substance. The reviews said Will Smith carried the movie. I don't think his arms were very full. He did a good job of portraying a man who has been alone for a long time, and the nightmare-ish insanity that would be part of that existence, but that's not enough to make a movie. Tom Hanks did it in Cast Away, but he had more to work with. I know it was a remake (but I never saw it) and based on a novel (I never read) of the same name. Must have been a pretty thin one. I didn't dislike the movie, but I didn't like it either, and one viewing was definitely enough. It was one of those "glad I didn't spend theater money on this" kind of movies. If it showed up on my coffee table next week, or on HBO, and I had nothing to do for an afternoon, I'd go find something else.

Enchanted was pretty corny, but had it's funny and cute parts. It's so saccharine-y sweet it makes fun of itself. The signature song of the movie is still stuck in my head, and it does a great job of pointing out the absurdity of Disney movie assumptions thrown into a real world. Of the two, I liked it more, and it had more of a plot to work with. So, cheesy, but kinda cute cheesy. I'd watch it again if it showed up on HBO and I had time to kill.