Thursday, June 30, 2005


Okay you music geeks… what band would you like to see saluted by way of a tribute album? Feel bold enough to pick artists and tracks?

Gotta start with one of my neverending obsessions, Jellyfish. I'm not the best-versed, most name-droppin' music guy out there, but if you don't like it I'll take my ball and go home:

Eric Matthews – “Glutton of Sympathy”
Ben Folds – “My Best Friend”
XTC – “The Man I Used to Be” Hey, it’s my damn fantasy lineup…
Jason Falkner – “The King is Half-Undressed” Okay, call it a copout because he was IN Jellyfish… this sort of thing isn’t unheard of, and I’d love to hear his own layered vox approach to this song, which is still does live sometimes.
Helmet – “All is Forgiven” I can just HEAR Hamilton and his mercenaries launching into this noisefest…
Brian Wilson – “Hush” This song always reminded me of the Beach Boys anyway.
Matthew Sweet – “Joining a Fan Club”
Brave Combo – “Bye Bye Bye” Okay, I’m not so much into these guys anymore, but hell, don’t we owe them a shot at any polka raveup?
Teenage Fanclub – “New Mistake”
Aimee Mann – “Bedspring Kiss”
Bob Mould – “All I Want is Everything” Because I really want to hear Mould’s overdubbed harmony vox again… I still listen to “If I Can’t Change Your Mind” by Sugar pretty frequently.
Elliott Smith – “I Wanna Stay Home” Since I’m omnipotent and all, I'll just bring back Smith from the grave...

Warming Tar for Feathers...

That's what Mike Scioscia is surely doing in the dressing room right now, as the Rangers just defeated the Angels 18-5.


Tonight is the psychology of personality final, 100 questions in 80 minutes, all online of course. I think I’m reasonably well-prepared.

And it looks like I’ll have the same prof for an online course next semester, social psychology. It sounds like it’s about the least interesting of the psychology courses I’ve taken, but it’s my only choice.


We’ll be taking THEBOY'S friend to the Cats game tomorrow night. I happened to buy an extra ticket just as sort of a built-in buffer to get us some space. The friend's mother just lost her father, and I’m certain she could stand to have some free time for any number of reasons at this point.

Glad to do it, as she’s certainly earned her wings lately by watching THEBOY a number of times while we did house-related stuff.


So tomorrow night we’ll go to Fort Worth for the game. Saturday we will see two not-yet-listed houses that friends/family told us about in Corsicana. Both sound interesting for sure. After that we’ll have a July 4th celebration I believe.

The rest of the weekend will be spent just getting more house repairs done. I think I’ll tackle the cranky drain in the front bathroom.


Our own house doesn’t seem to be listed yet. I left a message with the agent this afternoon. She was transitioning between realtors, potentially, and maybe that has something to do with it.


Not up to commenting at length on Kenny Rogers’ assault on some local media folks yesterday. On the one hand, I think lots of the local sports media folks are genuine assholes (I’m talking to you, Rick Renner and Randy Galloway…)

But that doesn’t justify what Rogers did. No way.


The first thing out of THEBOY'S mouth this morning: “Do lobsters like crabs?”

Uh… er…

And later: “Do scorpions like lobsters?”


Tick tick tick… I think the clock is slow…

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Attractive to So Few

Wednesday… will this week never end? At least there’s a long weekend coming up.


Inspired by our successful trip to see the Frisco Roughriders last weekend, we’re now headed to Ft. Worth Friday night to see the Cats play. Snagged four good seats for about $40 total.


An interesting bit from Roger Manning’s bio on his website:

“I purchased not one but 5 music notation books of transcribed Chicago albums. These amazing books contained guitar tablature, piano chords, vocal melodies and lyrics, as well as separate transcriptions of brass and string arrangements represented on the original recordings. This was a crash course in pop song composition and arranging.”

I still love those old Chicago pop records like “Searchin’” and “Wishing You Were Here.” Ditto for “25 or 6 to 4,” but mostly for the guitar playing. If I’m going to sit through a long solo I like the ones where you can hear the guitarist think, if that makes any sense. Too many guys just sound like they’re marching out the same scales they can play backwards and forwards. I like to hear them stumble a bit, work to make transitions between licks.


Once Chicago transitioned into the “high school homecoming” band, though… eh, they lost my interest. “Hard To Say I’m Sorry” seemed to be huge at the time, but it doesn’t hold up well at all.


I did a quick spot vacuum job this morning, and when I finished THEGIRL clapped. That’s one happy kid!

Thank you, thank you… I can operate the Kirby…


I have a new haircut and no one has said a single word about it. I’m not sure if that means it’s awful or it’s perfect.

Or perhaps it’s just further evidence that no straight man has ever worked among so many women yet been attractive to so few…


Lunch approaches… slowly…

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Killing Time Before Time Kills Me

I dreamed someone stole our new security light.


Our traffic tools here at work are not currently working.

It’s a double log day. Eh, I ain’t worried.


You know, car commercials are pure fiction in one way. They always show how roomy and great some car is, and they always show the owner accelerating up some mountainside road to avoid a rockslide or something. Or making a quick maneuver in traffic, thus indicating that the car has the necessary horses to make those quick moves.

It never, ever works like that. If you’re driving down the freeway and someone is coming up the onramp, they never, EVER stomp on the gas and attempt to blend in with the freeway-speed traffic. No, they just ease on over doing about 27mph, and they never even hear the explosions behind them as cars swerve and screech to avoid hitting them.

(Partially nicked from Jeff Prowse)


Hood’s been doing some gigs for the Ticket 1310. He’s in the background of a shot titled “Jesse Jane arrives, and Darnell is visibly taken aback” in the grey shirt.


Tools are supposedly back up. We’ll see.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Long Live Torgo!

That's an article in an El Paso newspaper about Manos, the Hands of Fate, which many consider to be the single worst movie ever made.

Naturally, I've got it on DVD.

Dear Prudence

Not sure what THEBOY did to the CD player in the van, but since last night it’s refused to play anything except “Dear Prudence” by the Beatles.


He and I had a fine time at the Roughriders game Friday night, by the way. The drive up 121 to Frisco is no fun, but once we got there everything went without a hitch. We had tickets that Erik Hood gave me. Since we spent nothing to get in, it meant we could spend more on junk food and souvenirs!


Hot Rangers prospect John Danks pitched, and he looked good. Not great though. Lots of his outs were fly balls caught at the warning track, and that won’t cut it down the road in Arlington. Those fly balls leave the park without so much as an adios there.

Steve Karsay, cut by the Yankees and picked up by Texas earlier this season, looked lousy. Everything was up in the zone and had little or no movement. This guy looks like he’s got nothing left.


My fantasy baseball team is 11-1. The next best record is 7-5. Henley’s team is 5-7. Anything can happen in the playoffs, of course, but I’m not exactly shakin’ in my boots at this point.


THEGIRL has started talking a bit more. It’s fun to ask her what a cow says to hear her say, “Moooooo,” or to hear her sweet “Hiiieeeee” (hi) when she gets out of bed in the morning. She’s a pretty happy-go-lucky little gal.


Bored bored bored…

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Last Time in My Life

Solid weekend for sure.

We went to Corsicana yesterday and looked at some houses. We're no longer considering the Sycamore house. We took a video camera with us and really poked around in there to get some idea of what the place needs. It's more than we originally expected. There's water damage here and there (from an upstairs bathroom? A mysterious chimney that seems to originate nowhere?), plaster in bad shape in some places... More than we want to deal with.

People keep asking why we haven't found anything, and sometimes the tone is a bit incredulous. Hey, it's Corsicana. We see 4-5 houses when we go down, and it doesn't take much to rule one out. It's not that we're super picky. But take yesterday for example: We saw one with almost no back yard, one with slightly more back yard than that, a terrific house with a great yard that we loved for $50k more than we want to spend and a house so nice I felt like the poor relations just walking through the door for $75k more than we want to spend. So really, most of the houses we saw yesterday we could rule out from the get-go. I insisted on the one with the great yard just to see if I'd be overcome with desire to forego our financial limitations and make an offer. Nope.


Was home today to do yard work. First off was to paint the eves.

Rented a pro-quality paint sprayer from Lowe's for an ungodly sum. They gave me a quick crash course and I came home to get to work.

I put the primer hose in the bucket, just like they said, and listened for it to sound like it was primed. I was about ready to shut off the priming mechanism when the hose popped out of the bucket and spewed paint all over me, the brick wall and the patio.

This wasn't starting out well. The clock was ticking on my four hours of rental time, and I already had a major cleanup job to do.

I grabbed the water hose and sprayed everything down the best I could. I'd already considered renting a high-pressure washer, and at this point I decided I had no choice but to do that one day soon.

I hit the start button on the sprayer and BZZT, it shocked me. I was standing in water and fiddling with an electric machine. Bad combination.

So, more cleaning up and drying things and I was ready to go.

Well... sort of.

One squeeze of the trigger and the corner of the eves was soaked with WATER. Seems that whoever cleaned it out before me hadn't bothered to get all the water out. Now the place I wanted to paint was WET.

More cleaning up and drying.

Finally got started in earnest, and discovered that no matter how you set the pressure, the sprayer basically shoots out a gallon of paint in about one minute. It was like holding a fire hose that shot paint. It was going on way too thick, and dripping everywhere.

I did eventually get a bit of a technique to help with this, but after covering about 2/3 of what I'd intended to paint and realizing that I was creating a tremendous cleanup job for myself, I cut my losses and decided to finish the rest by hand.

And that, boys and girls, is the last time in my life I will use a paint spraying gizmo not called a "can."


Finishing by hand wasn't bad, and I got a new light put up in back and a lot of junk (like old wood from the eves) thrown out.

It's been one of those days when I've just been going nonstop. I'm happy to have accomplished so much, but man, I'm worn OUT. My legs and feet really hurt.


Our house is likely to list starting Wednesday. We've got a great agent in our friend Renee Kocurek.


Ya'll have a good week.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Morning Quiz

I am awake at 7am on a Saturday morning, and have been up since 6:25 because:

A. I'm a morning person and a go-getter... can't wait to hop outta bed each day!

B. I'm expecting Ed McMahon at the door with my Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes check any moment.

C. The bed bugs were biting

D. I dreamed I squirted a squirrel with THEBOY'S Super Soaker and it ran down the tree and jumped on the back of my neck, waking me up with a gasp and making my neck pop.

See the comments section for the answer

Friday, June 24, 2005

All Things Being Equal...



Made a 90 on my psych exam last night. I’d have done better, but the prof threw a lot of biographical stuff at us. He even warned us in the review. Still I didn’t go over that stuff much. I don’t care who was born in Austria (that’d be half the guys in the book, actually) or was the youngest of six children. So… those were most of the questions I missed.


I dreamed that I found a way to talk to my grandfather, who passed not long ago. There was a place on his old property where, if I cocked my head just right and spoke in the right direction, we could exchange a few words. He was planting flowers, then headed across the street to eat some barbecue.

Sounds like Heaven to me.


I think about him, and people from previous generations, sometimes, like during our house hunt. JJ Briscoe lived in a two-bedroom house he built on a few acres of land he cleared by hand with my Dad in Brazoria, TX. Heavily wooded place with aggressive mosquitoes, and there weren’t any chainsaws. Dad spent the first 11 years of his life sleeping in the same room as his folks; his older sister Lynda had her own room.

JJ had some tough jobs in his career. He worked in a sulfur plant for a while. Big vats of liquid sulfur had catwalks over them, a dangerous setup. Once in a while a man would fall in. He’d manage to swim a few strokes, but that’s about it. Liquid sulfur… bad stuff.

He also worked in an ice plant. Some machine in there caused him to lose a substantial portion of his hearing. Seems the lever snapped out of position unexpectedly, catching him flush in the side of the head. It broke some of the bones in his middle ear.


He wrapped up his career working for Brazoria County Mosquito Control. In a mosquito-infested area like that, the county has an entire workforce dedicated to dealing with them. Trucks drive around spraying insecticide all the time.


I was staying at his house once when I was a young boy. I slept on the couch. He got up and went to work before sunrise. I watched his silhouette go past the window, and a second later the silhouette of an owl swooped past the window behind him.


So… when I feel like I MUST have a two-car garage and three bedrooms and more than 2000 square feet and central AC… I have to stop and remind myself just how good I have it.

Hell, I sit in an office so well air-conditioned that I sometimes wear a fleece jacket. I drink coffee all morning. I listen to streaming music.

This life ain’t rough at all.


Owls. I love them. There’s one in our neighborhood, a young one. Spotted him at dusk once when I wondered what the heck the mockingbirds were screeching about. They were doing their best to swoop at him and give him hell, and he didn’t care, didn’t budge.

Saw him a few nights ago, and he was watching Oreo. Hmm…


An owl was perched in the trees outside our apartment in Austin years ago, which made him barely above eye level. Oreo spotted him too, and went into predator behavior.

Oreo, my friend… I don’t think you had an accurate idea of just who was the predator in that scenario.

We brought the cat inside.


My sister’s dog Louie was chained up outside a few years ago. He’s a miniature greyhound, a wiry little guy who’s maybe 11-12 pounds tops. He started barking and yelping and whining. They rushed outside to find a huge gash in his side, which required veterinary attention.

They didn’t see what he tangled with, but my theory was that it was likely an owl. Being chained up may have saved the little guy. I don’t know what else has the capability to do that much damage that fast that’d be likely to show up in a Lake Jackson back yard. I guess a raccoon is a possibility too. I didn’t see his wounds.


A guy at Starbucks this morning was sweetening his venti sized coffee beside me. My venti iced coffee gets on Equal. His took about six.


Rangers shortstop Mike Young and his wife just had a baby, a son named Mateo. Interesting name. I’m really curious as to why they went with that one.


Okay okay… I’ll get to work.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Flitting Away

I’m fabulously disinterested in doing my work this morning. Which is pretty typical.

But I feel like flitting away, like eluding the grasp of responsibility to do… anything else!

Yes, I’m a freakin’ butterfly, the type that’s currently listening to “Ironhead” by Helmet. We’re a rare breed.

Dang… the boss brought Gevalia coffee… maybe she spiked it…


My class is winding down, sort of. I’ve wrapped up the chapter quizzes, all 15 of them. Average score: 93. Got a big exam tonight, and too bad, because we need to do a lot in the house before the cleaning lady comes tomorrow.

Oh, it’s not that “my house is such a wreck that I have to clean it before letting the cleaning person in” conundrum. It’s just that we have to put things away, reduce clutter, that sort of thing. We’re hoping to list Monday.

Between now and then I need to:

Paint the eves
Put in a new light once I’m done painting
Rig up a new electrical outlet in the back yard (most likely)
Get rid of the scrap wood from the old eves
Clean the garage
Clean out my closet

And I get the feeling the slow drain in the front bathroom is going to come back to haunt me before all is said and done. But at least it won’t jump out at anyone touring the house.


Headed to Frisco with Kevin tomorrow night to watch the Roughriders, with tix courtesy of Erik Hood. They’ve got three pitchers with a serious buzz at the moment: John Danks, Thomas Diamond, and some guy named Volquez. I’d sure like to see one of those guys pitch.


And Saturday we go to Corsicana to shop for more houses. I think we’ll take another long hard look at Sycamore.

There’s another house on my mind down there, one at the very upper end of our price range, naturally. But it’s sort of captivating me… it’s neat and tidy, spacious, with a manicured front yard and a huge back deck that overlooks this great wooded area. It’s almost a perfect yard for a little boy as far as I’m concerned.


Kelli got her hair cut and she’s looking good. Like I always tell her, it’s like having a new woman in the house when she does that.


The Longhorns are going back to the College World Series championship game. I felt bad for Baylor to see them dispatched with the walk-off homer and all… but not that bad.


Speaking of baseball… here’s Soundgarden doing “Ty Cobb.” Not sure the song really has anything to do with the man himself, but I love the chorus: “Hardheaded, f*ck you all!”


I’m all out of meaningless prattle for now. Have a good Thursday, or I’ll have Mike Llorca kick your butt.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Tired Daddy's Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray DEAR GOD let my kids sleep

All through the night, but if they wake

I pray this one my wife this one will take…

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Good news!

They found the missing Boy Scout!


The Sycamore house just won’t die.

We might actually make an offer.

We might have lost our minds.


A conversation from long ago.

I picked up the phone, and he said, “Brian, Brian, it’s me, _____.”

Me: “Oh, hey.”

Him: “Hey, I don’t know what they told you, but I’m innocent, man, I’m innocent. I didn’t do it.”


Him: “Okay… I DID it I killed him.”


Him: “But it was self defense! It was self defense, man—“

I hung up.


Our house is coming along nicely. The raised bed in the back is done. I need to wrap up painting the eves, put in a light, and figure out what to do about the electricity running to where the wellhouse used to be.

I meet cleaning ladies at the house on my lunch break today. Our place is a bit of a wreck at the moment. I shouldn’t care, right?


THEBOY finally got to eat some crab meat Sunday. He’s been obsessed with the idea of eating crabs ever since we went to Matagorda and caught crabs with his grandfather.

So we went to Joe’s Crab Shack Sunday. I ordered snow crab legs. You should have seen his eyes light up when I handed him a pincher. The little carnivore loved it!


Erik Hosch might be moving to this area, which’d be cool. We’ve been long-distance buddies (via New Orleans and Tampa) for many years. First met when I worked at KERA. We saved each other’s bacon with show dubs many times and became friends when we realized we’re both baseball nuts. So… keeping my fingers crossed for the guy.


Made a mistake in my online class: I thought I had three chapters to cover this week by Friday. No, I have six. Ugh. I’ll make it.

Scored a 100 on the quiz last night at least.


Lunch beckons…

Monday, June 20, 2005

100% Monday

A nice review of my new knife.

Good weekend overall. Last night was a low point, but otherwise Father's Day went well. I got to sleep in, eat a good lunch yet still capitalize on the day and get a fair amount of stuff done in the yard.

It's 100% Monday, ain't it?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

THEBOY: Good Luck Charm

THEBOY and I went to the ballpark today for a meet & greet with Rangers first baseman Mark Teixeira.

It was a special affair for members of the Jr. Rangers fan club. This is the second year I've enrolled THEBOY. For $13 he gets a cap, assorted goodies like wristbands, vouchers for monthly gifts (usually posters or somesuch) and vouchers for some really cheap tickets.

A few hundred parents and kids filed into the lower home run porch. Teixeira and Rangers announcer Chuck Morgan showed up right on time. Morgan asked Tex a few questions, then started taking questions from the fans.

The questions ranged from "What's your favorite ice cream?" to queries about teaching a child to be a switch-hitter like him. He gave good answers, was respectful and down to earth, seemed glad to be there and certainly made a good impression.

And THEBOY raised his hand. I asked what he wanted to say, and I didn't hear him well. I knew it was something about home runs.

Morgan finally called on THEBOY, who simply said, "I love it when you hit home runs!"

Tex smiled and said, "I love it when I hit home runs too."

I was proud of the boy for not being too shy to speak in front of all those people.


The Q&A session lasted about half an hour, and given the heat, that was about perfect I'd say. After Tex's departure they had some drawings for door prizes, but we didn't win anything. Kelli's the one who always has luck in those things.


And my camera died quite noisily while we were there. It's the automatic, not the good one Dad gave me. Something inside it started grinding, and we got no photos. A lady next to me said she'd email me hers.


Oh, and when Tex was leaving THEBOY yelled goodbye to him, and Tex waved.


So the game came on tonight. As Tex came to bat the first time, I told THEBOY to watch in case he hit a home run.

And BOOM, HE DID! First at bat he banged one off the fair pole, close to where the meet & greet had been held that afternoon.

THEBOY was thrilled, and I wonder if there's any chance Tex thought about the little boy who told him how he loves those home runs.


A few innings later I called THEBOY to watch another Tex at-bat.

And you know, he hit ANOTHER home run. This one landed nowhere near where we'd been sitting.

THEBOY: Good luck charm.


I got it in my head that I'd like to have a really good pocket knife. Typical me: I want an excellent product at a reasonable price, so I go online and read as much as I can stand about it.

I hit Academy last night, and the poor clerk didn't know what hit him. I was asking him about steel quality and he was lost in about 10 seconds. And I'm no expert.

I asked to see a Gerber knife. He was demonstrating the locking mechanism, and lo and behold it failed and closed unexpectedly. He was staring at it with much consternation as I began to think I'd be better served in a real knife shop. His phone rang and I took my exit cue.


I managed to hit the Parks Mall in Arlington tonight and got to the knife shop there with about 15 minutes to spare before closing. The sales guy was very helpful without being pushy. He clearly knew his stuff, and he was very patient with me, even as they lowered the gate to close the store.

But it was pretty easy once he showed me the Columbia River M16-00K compact ( Airplane-grade aluminum frame, AUS-8 carbon steel. Very light, very durable knife with very good quality steel. Fits nicely in the pocket, and is just big enough without being obnoxious Closed it's about 4" long, 7" open.


When did the Parks Mall become so scary anyway? I thought I'd need the freakin' knife just to get to my car safely.


Tomorrow's Father's Day, of course. I'll touch base with Pop, see if he got the package.

I'm determined that we're going to eat seafood for lunch. THEBOY's dying to try some crab. Not sure Razzoo's has it, actually. Joe's Crab Shack will, sure, but it could be a zoo in there.

Might break down and go to Red Lobster. Not exactly my favorite place, but we can probably get an okay meal. I guess there's no guarantee THAT place won't be overcrowded though.


Oh, the knife's got a lifetime warranty, and the shop where I bought it will sharpen it for free whenever I want. There's one in a mall that's not so ghetto, so maybe I'll do that once in a while.


Ya'll have a good weekend.

Friday, June 17, 2005


THEBOY made a little book at school as a Father's Day gift for me.

Here's what it says:

My Daddy is the most wonderful Daddy in the world!

He is as handsome as a monkey.

He is as strong as a muscle.

He can lift 65 lbs and is 100 ft tall.

His favorite food is corn.

His favorite activity is eating.

In the good ole days when Daddy was little, he would brush his teeth.

I think my Daddy looks funny when he puts shaving cream on.

But I know he is really mad when he tells me what to do.

I wish my Daddy would play with me everyday.

I would not trade my Daddy for watching movies.


Just for kicks, here's one about MY Daddy.


My Daddy is the most wonderful Daddy in the world!

He is as handsome as a I'd like to be--amazing how many women used to bat their eyelashes at him when I was a kid.

He is as strong as a man 20 years younger. No wait, that'd only make him as strong as ME...

He can lift himself out of bed in the morning to help his friends with the most difficult favors, and is surely 100 ft tall in their eyes for it.

His favorite food is, I imagine, something fried up just right that used to swim in the river about an hour ago.

His favorite activity is probably anything that has to do with killing time in Matagorda.

In the good ole days when Daddy was little, he would do enough crazy crap to fill a book.

I think my Daddy looks funny when he dresses like Marilyn Monroe.

But I know he is really mad when he doesn't say anything--he was more patient with me than I am with THEBOY. No idea how he did that.

I wish my Daddy would hit it big at the dog track.

I would not trade my Daddy for Salma Hayek. Well... nah, I'll stick by that answer.


Scattered memories of Pop...


Him dropping me off at Papaw's for a few days when I was about three. When he picked me up there was a baby named Amanda at the house... Is it time for her to go home yet?

(Just kidding, Sis)


The tire swing in the back yard on Akers Street he rigged up for me.


The classy things he did over and over, setting an example I hope I can live up to: Never making an ugly scene or badmouthing our mother during or after their split.

Coming to our mother's house during a domestic dispute with one of her husbands, squaring off with him in the front yard and defusing the situation with one sentence (amazing).

Doing his utter best to handle my sister's emergence from childhood with sensitivity and aplomb. I had no idea what was going on at the time.

Tell me a bad breakup I had with a high school sweetheart was as bad as a divorce. It was a nice validation at the time, something I was sort of glad to hear considering how rotten I felt. Now that I know what the real stakes are, I suspect he was working some Dad psychology on me.

Putting up with me as a teenager--whoa.


He taught me how to use a gun and a fishing pole. I peaked at "mediocre" with both.


Became Juke's biggest fan, and remained so after my imaginary blues man went to his literary grave.


Supported my freedom and made it clear that life in Brazoria County isn't the right path for some folks.


Waited until I was 22 to hint that he wished I'd move out on my own. If ever there was a young man in need of a kick in the pants, it was yours truly.


This isn't enough. I could sit here all night long adding bits. Sometimes it's simple stuff, like him asking me wistfully, "Son, wouldn't it be nice to be with a girl who smiles?"

It is, Pop, it is.


Happy Father's Day (even if it is a bit early)

Monkey Paw!

Funny, I thought I'd mentioned this before, but a quick perusal of my previous entries doesn't turn it up.

It was during the Detroit Tigers/Texas Rangers series a couple weeks ago. Joie, who is from Detroit, was talking some trash during the game as I listened.

Lo and behold, the Tigers won. So I told Joie that I need to "take this monkey paw back to Wal Mart," because it's obviously defective.

She found that funny, and she spent the rest of the day walking by my cube and blurting out, "Monkey Paw!"

And it stuck.

Why I'm Not Singing the Blues

Why I’m happy today:

It’s Friday, and I’ve had my iced coffee and cinnamon chip scone.

I’m wearing my favorite shirt, a Nike mesh polo. Perfect for this weather, yet suitable for the office.

I’m wearing my Boston Red Sox batting practice cap.

I made a 98 on my psych exam last night. It was no walk in the park either.


This cap tends to be a bit tight sometimes. Not sure if caps work like doorframes and change sizes according to the humidity or what. Okay okay… probably related to how badly I need a haircut, but actually, I DO need a haircut.

Anyway… Got this one at Fenway Park, on a sweltering day when Kelli and I sat by the right field fair pole. We’re told the Sox and Angels played that day, but since we were staring into the sun the whole time we can’t be certain.


And of course, I like this cap because it’s got a big letter B on it. B—that’s me.

Having the initials BB gives me a built-in nickname, which I like. And for a BB King fan, well, that’s even better.


Was listening to BB King during the drive in, in fact: “Don’t Answer the Door,” “Paying the Cost to Be the Boss” and “The Thrill is Gone” got me from home to the KTVT gates. Nice way to spend the morning drive.


Seems another nickname is creeping up though. “Monkey Paw” has stuck here at work. I find that funny for some reason. Little Joie spontaneously blurts out “Monkey Paw!” when she walks by my cube sometimes. Eh, it’s kind bluesy, kinda funny. Oh, I don’t think it’ll be on my headstone or anything, but the boss’s boss called me that in a meeting this week, so I guess it’s making the rounds here.


The perfect house was listed in Corsicana yesterday. Good area, good size, good updates, good price… but the perfect house is on a tiny piece of land.



THEBOY and I are going to the ballpark tomorrow to meet first baseman Mark Teixeira (“tuh-SHARE-uh”). It’s some special deal for the Jr. Rangers fan club. He’s pretty pumped up about it. Last December he received a birthday card ostensibly from Teixeira, and today THEBOY took it to school to show his friends.


Be good. Mostly.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I Love Heavy Metal

The online course continues to go fairly well. I’ve covered 10 of 15 chapters since June 1. I seem to make a 90 on every quiz, make perfect scores on the discussions, and thus far scored a low B on the exam (the second exam is tonight, and I hope to do better). So it’s not quite like this.


BACS has now had five people resign in eight weeks.


I dreamed I was in a record (as in VINYL) store and picked up something for Toland that he’d wanted for a long time: A copy of Sweet Life by Varnaline featuring the LP-only bonus track called—ready for this?—“I Love Heavy Metal.”

Toland was ecstatic.


I also dreamed I was looking at a house, and inside were members of Bad Brains, arguing with HR because he was dumbfounded over not being in the latest publicity photos. “It’s because you didn’t show UP, HR!”


Okay, update:

House house house.

School school school.

Kids kids kids.

There you go.


Okay okay… we’re close to being ready to list, believe it or not. I meet an AC guy at home today over lunch so he can give our stuff a checkup.

We’re about done trying to talk ourselves into the Sycamore house. Just considering the scope of what we’d need to do to the bathrooms is tiring.

BUT… cousin Ronnie is going to have a good look at the place this weekend. I’d say that unless he reports to us that the very sight of the place made him do a backflip, we’re out of the running.


Thursday… hang in there.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


THEBOY made a paper clam shell, and he was playing with it this morning as I got dressed.

He stood in the hall and poked it around the corner into the bedroom.

THEBOY: “Hey Dad look, it’s an EASTER!”

Me: “Oyster.”

THEBOY: “Oyster!”


From the Dallas morning news. I think this is great. Holtz was a classy guy and a terrific broadcaster; that's his voice you hear on those clips of Nolan Ryan notching the final out of his seventh no-hitter. He’s been dead several years and is still sorely missed.

And Wetteland was also a model of class, accountability and—oh yeah—talent.

HOLTZ, WETTELAND ELECTED TO RANGERS HALL OF FAME The late Mark Holtz, perhaps the most recognizable voice in the history of the Rangers' franchise, headline the two-member Texas Rangers Hall of Fame induction class announced Wednesday. Closer John Wetteland was also elected. Click here for the story on

Monday, June 13, 2005

Too Bad My Epilady is Jammed...

Tired, sore… worked in the yard yesterday, off and on (mostly on) over the course of about 12 hours, I managed to injure my lower back a little, pull both hamstrings, get scratched up, and discover that if you get dry concrete in your hair and then sweat all day you end up with an interesting mess to wash at the end of the day.

Kelli matched me step for step working on some landscaping out front. Tired, sore… but the feeling of accomplishment is quite rewarding.


We had lunch at Double Dave’s yesterday, where we saw a big bodybuilder guy.

He was dressed as a woman, complete with blonde wig, miniskirt, purse, sandals… No idea exactly what was going on there, but he wasn’t playing it for yuks.


The Sycamore house (the three story affair I mentioned before) won’t go away.

Here’s what’s sticking in our craw: If we play this right with a low enough offer, get a good price on our house… we’d actually walk into Sycamore with a nice fistful of cash for remodeling.

We just don’t know if it’s enough.

Kelli’s cousin has built a house and done a ton of his own remodeling. We’re hoping to send him to have a look this week for an honest appraisal of whether the cash we might be able to cough up would make satisfactory progress. Heck, the kitchen’s not even that bad.

But the bathrooms are downright creepy.


Last night while shopping at Wal Mart, one of my fellow shoppers was a man in a kilt.

Did I miss a memo about guys wearing skirts yesterday or something?


My fantasy baseball team is 9-1.

I’m bad, I’m nationwide.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

A Day With the Realtor: Scandal at No Extra Charge

We went to Corsicana to search for our next house today, and we don't believe we found it.

This is not to say that we didn't find something interesting here and there...


We stopped by the huge house just because I couldn't stop obsessing about it.

Peering in through the windows didn't reveal much that we didn't know from the listing, except that the place needs some pretty extensive work. It's not a disaster, but it hasn't been maintained very well from appearances. Needs paint, landscaping, new floors, that kind of thing.

It's on a corner lot next to a fairly busy road, and that certainly made it less appealing as well. Satisfied, we went to meet Lisa, the realtor.


We saw a few places, most of which were good indicators that Lisa understands what we're after, but didn't quite satisfy us. One would be nice with a tiny yard, another would be nice with no place for the study we need. One was gorgeous, with a lot of creative design and a uniquely landscaped yard. Great for retirement, but not for raising kids.


One has real potential, a house on Ficklin. It's huge too, at 3000 square feet. All that and it's still got a fairly big yard. Heck, it's even got a neat swing set.

But the kitchen is tiny, and the layout is a bit awkward. It's one we're considering seriously.

Turns out it's on the market because of a scandal. The owner is a prominent local politico. He and his wife were trying to have kids and could not for whatever reason.

Then she turned up pregnant, and the man made an appearance in church, thanking everyone for their prayers and support.

Next thing anyone knew he'd left the wife for another woman, boom. D-I-V-O-R-C-E.


Lisa filled us in a bit on the huge house. I was right about it being part of an estate. And the downside is that it floods. Three times since '89, we're told, and not just trickles. The heirs have been advised to get an engineer out there to assess what can be done, but they're strictly trying to move it for $$$. It's been on the market a while, and it's becoming a bit of an albatross. Curious to see what will happen to it, but it WON'T be the next Briscoe abode.


I thought we were done when the agent started talking about showing us this other place. Before getting the key she wanted to drive by and see if we were even interested in stepping inside. Kelli was, I could take it or leave it.


As we walked up to the front and I peered into the screened porch, I thought, This is the kind of house Ann Rice would live in.

It's a three-story house, ya'll.


It's in the Carriage district, this great old neighborhood in Corsicana full of homes built in the 20s. Lush gardens and magnolia trees here and there, with quaint cottages separated by the occasional gen-you-wine mansion. People are snatching up property over there to renovate and turn a profit.

And this place also comes with a scandal at no extra charge. Seems the owner had herself an improper relationship of some sort with a 15-year-old boy, allegedly. Was charged accordingly and got to walk due to a mistrial. She has left town and listed her house.


The place is in reasonably good shape, though it would still need work. The bathrooms are in dire need of updating, and in fact, one contains a mikvah (

Turns out that's a Jewish shower, something used for ritual cleansing after childbirth, after menstruation, or perhaps after some other occurrence considered "unclean," like contact with the dead.

What it amounts to is a six or seven-foot deep pit you get into by descending a ladder. It looks like all sorts of trouble for a wandering toddler.

The upstairs bathroom would need renovating as well. Like the rest of the place, the bathrooms haven't been neglected, but the quaint charm of the fixtures of yesteryear doesn't nearly make up for their utter uselessness.


The kitchen downstairs is small, but there's really good room to expand it into the breakfast area and make something really useful out of it. Living room is a good size.

Upstairs are two BIG bedrooms and a small room that's doesn't have an AC vent, so it'd probably be for storage or somesuch.

To go farther up, you have to climb a ladder.

It's the attic that was converted into this creative extra room. It's full of nice woodwork, with great built-in shelves and a pair of beds at the end. It's big up there, and utterly cool. This is the kind of place THEBOY would love to hang out with friends, a clubhouse extraordinaire.. His sister wouldn't be able to get up there to bother him for YEARS. She'd have her own large bedroom on the second floor anyway.

Not sure I could get over my fear of Kevin and his friends going up and down that ladder.


Like my coffee shop idea from many months ago, this house is an example of a good opportunity that's just not right for me though. With school looming, there's just no way we could commit the time to working on (or overseeing) the updates this place needs. Every dollar sunk into renovations would probably double at resale, and it's not like we plan to be in our next house forever. The place is really not in bad shape, but it just needs a few key improvements that would be a real stretch for us to pull off.


A link so you can see it for yourself:

Photo #3 shows the entry to the mikvah.

Sorry for the links--when posting from the Mac I don't have the option of hyperlinks for some reason.


We found out about the scandal with the 15-year-old from Kelli's father, by the way. The agent, citing the fact that she represents the owner, refused to play rumor-monger. A prudent move on her part I'd say.


Be good.

Friday, June 10, 2005

In An Effort to Creep Your Ass Out...

I wasn’t so much of a Lidsville fan. I was more into Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.

I don’t look back on those Sid/Marty Croft shows with this glowing nostalgia. I just wonder what the hell the writers were on.


All these preparations to sell the house get expensive. $500 here, $600 there…

We head to Corsicana to check out houses tomorrow. A couple look really interesting to me.


I have a morbid fascination with one house in particular. A week ago it was listed at $190,000.

Then yesterday the price dropped. Bigtime. It’s now posted at $120,000.

Oh, and it’s got 4,500 square feet.

You read right.

I figure there are a number of reasons the price can drop $70k in a few days. Could have massive structural issues, like a pricey slab problem.

But I look at the photos (a local realtor had extensive interior shots—not sure which offhand or I’d post a link) and see hints that an elderly person recently owned the home—go figure.

SO, I’m guessing well-to-do grandma died, left the house to someone who’s just sick of trying to unload a cavernous house in some small Texas town.

4,500 square feet and it’s only got two bedrooms…

The photo of the formal dining room is just ridiculous. I believe it’s bigger than our current house. I look at the master bath with its garish pink tile and the master bedroom with all the scrolled woodwork, and I just get this… “Mommy Dearest” vibe. It’s like some old-school, forgotten actress lived there and slathered on pancake makeup day after day, peering into the smudged mirror while the kudzu took over her garden.

I have to see this place for myself.


Happy Friday.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Took the psych test tonight, and it was hard! That guy's not messing around. I scored an 82, but two questions seemed to score incorrectly. I plan to talk to the prof about it.

But I got 100% on my discussion group contribution from the week. Honestly, when I was reading the other postings it didn't seem like anyone else had actually done what the prof assigned.

And you know, he sent me a brief email saying he "appreciated" my contributions. It was so short that I almost expected more... "but, you are still an imbecile--demerit!"

Okay, maybe not THAT.


Bed soon. Friday is almost here!


Oh, you know, I got a 10 CD changer for the van when we bought it. Thing is, it's not the luxury I expected, because changing out 10 CDs at once is a chore. I then tend to leave them in until I'm utterly SICK of what's in there.

SO, bearing that in mind, here's what's freshly loaded:

A Jellyfish rarities CD compiled from the Fan Club box.
Imperial Drag. Giving this one another shot. I never really fell in LOVE with it.
XTC -- Apple Venus Vol. 1
Hermano -- Dare I Say
Chris Cotton -- I Watched the Devil Die. Looking forward to hearing this guy.
BB King -- The Ultimate Collection
The Dragons -- Rock 'n' Roll Kamikaze
Roger Manning, Jr -- Solid State Warrior. Because I need a trip to the Land of Pure Imagination
A weird, two-song Jason Falkner CD I made with "Good Night Sweet Night" and his cover of the Move's "Do Ya?"
Helmet -- Size Matters. It's actually been a while for this one. It sounds good pounding in the van.


Have a good Friday.


A scene from the bathroom this morning as I dressed THEBOY.

THEBOY: “Dad, there’s a spider!”

Me: “Where?”

THEBOY: “Down there by your foot!”

(I look down to observe a black spider small enough to nap comfortably on a pencil eraser)

Me: “Well Kevin, you should—“

(THEBOY picks up a rubber ducky)



Bert and Ernie would be mortified. THEBOYdidn’t just kill the spider. He TAUGHT IT A LESSON.

It’s the same way Kelli closes cabinet doors. She doesn’t just close them. She TEACHES THOSE DOORS A LESSON each time. BAM! CRASH! You will stay CLOSED!


Well, I guess the spider didn’t actually have much time to learn anything…


Met the plumber at home over lunch, and he capped the gas line in the back. It’s one of those projects I’ve meant to get to forever (that is, it’s one I’ve meant to HIRE someone to get to forever—I don’t jack with gas lines).

Bit by bit we’re getting the house ready. It feels good to get these things done, even if it’s for the next guy.


The online course is going well I suppose. I’m covering a lot of material, taking quizzes almost every day. But it’s interesting stuff, and my grades are solid, earning me a 90 thus far.

At the graduate interview they told me the ratio of females to males in the psych program is 20 to 1, and thus far that seems to be accurate. Far as I can tell 18-20 folks are in this online class, and the only other male name is the prof’s (Marcel).


I dislocated my pinky toe in Judo class in January, and it still hurts sometimes.

I’m not a regular man; I’m Juan Gonzalez minus the bitchin’ bod.


We run a commercial for a church called Inspiring Body of Christ Church. Only in our listings it’s abbreviated. I chuckle to schedule Inspiring Bod Church.

What time is the service?


Friday's a-comin', ma...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Off the Rails

“Woke up this morning, after ‘nother one of those crazy dreams…” BB King (“Chains and Things”).


What’s written on the bluesman’s tombstone? “Didn’t wake up this morning.”

(I love that one)


Dreams. I guess it’s from reading about all of these pioneers in psychology that my brain has decided to go completely off the rails come dreamtime.

Last night was a doozy.

I dreamed I was in some sort of classroom setting, getting ready to take a surprise quiz. I wasn’t prepared, and I was looking for someone among the students who might be able to give me some last-minute info. There was Braves pitcher John Smoltz, so I asked him. He couldn’t help.

If Smoltz isn’t prepared, folks, you’re sunk.

Then I was in a porn shop. Well, a porn/video game/guitar shop/S&M parlour. Yeeeeeah. All sorts of craziness in there, from twisted movies and paraphernalia for sale to bondage demonstrations… I saw a woman who’d had her nose surgically altered to resemble… resemble… okay, I can’t bring myself to finish that description. Let’s just say Freud might have actually cracked a smile over that one.

BUT, old fart that I am, know what excited me most? Finding the guitar shop tucked behind the secret door in the back. Yep. I paid about zero attention to all the naughty stuff and instead took great delight in talking to a young guy about what filters his new pedal utilized to get that sound he loved.

A tight little power pop band was playing too, but then the whole place caught fire. Turns out the band was playing there as some sort of deal with the devil, and they couldn’t really LEAVE when the joint started to burn. They kept on playing as the fire engulfed the members one by one, destroying them spectacularly. Finally the guitar player made an attempt to get out at the last second. He burned right up, but one of his fingernails somehow was left.


Suddenly I was in a car, driving BB King somewhere. A song of his I didn’t recognize came on the radio. It was ethereal, sort of a gospel thing I’d say. I asked him if he ever got used to hearing his voice on the radio, and he said yes. Then he smiled and turned it up to hear the song.


That’s all I can remember. We should all be thankful.


Kelli was a tornado last night, doing a great job touching up the paint in the kitchen, taking off the old hardware. And the exterior of the house looks lots better. I imagine the landscapers will wrap up today.

Of course, sometimes I imagine that Salma Hayek is behind some unrecognized number I see on my ringing cell phone…


Happy Tuesday.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Two Bahs

Thus the weekend concluded, and we all trudged back to our jobs…

Was pretty doggone productive on our part. Cleaning, updating, overseeing a couple contractor/repair guys… man I’ve learned a lot, that’s for sure. Landscapers are at the house right now, and from what I saw on my lunch break today they’re busting their butts.


GDG worked on our garage doors (natch) yesterday.

He’s a talkative sort. He was telling me, well, way too much about everything.

He mentioned his marriage to a Hungarian woman who treats him according to the values she was raised with. That is, she behaves in a rather subservient manner. He loves it, was going on and on about liberal feminism and how wrong it is…

And then he talked about how he’s full-blood German, so his baby daughter has “the good blood. You know.”

Not sure if that was an innocent remark or was really as third reich sounding as it struck me. I just looked at him.


Turns out we can’t build anytime soon. Long story, but basically it comes down to this: By the time a house would be completed we’ll be in school, and not bringing in enough money to qualify for the type of financing we need to build.

It still looks like we can afford a nice place though. We’re going to Corsicana to look at some this Saturday.


THEBOY drew this great picture of a robot standing next to a flower last night. This morning he told Kelli a story about the picture. He’s come a long way in a short time. Doesn’t seem like it was that long ago when he said he wasn’t very good at drawing because he just did “scribble scrabble.”


From a house listing I just checked out: "Spacious home with open den, FP, beamed ceiling, sunroom across back. Four bedrooms, two bahs, office, nice kitchen with many cabinets & dining."

Yes, those two bahs indicate that the home actually comes with its own Ebeneezer Scrooge...

Okay, bad joke.


What did Ebeneezer Scrooge and the sheep say to each other? Two bahs...


I saw photos of the house, and it looked fairly nice. One bah at most...


Stop me, please...

Friday, June 03, 2005

Just a Cigar

What Kelli got me for our anniversary, by the way, were two cigars. I'd never had the Natural ( brand before. They're Nicaraguan.

I had some psych reading to do tonight. Nothing like wrapping up the chapter on Freud while puffing away on a stogie.


That quote "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar" is attributed to Freud, even in the text, but I don't know. It doesn't sound right. It never shows up with a footnote or anything, and it just doesn't jibe with anything else the man said. Even the language sounds too modern to have originated from German-born Siggy.

And besides, a cigar would never be just a cigar to Freud. No way Jose.


Another saying that bugs me is attributed to Yogi Berra (though I believe I've heard it attributed to another baseball curmudgeon, like Whitey Herzog): "It's deja vu all over again."

That one got unearthed a few years ago, got popular, and of course, got misused. I've seen it many times used in such a way that it indicated the author/speaker did not realize that it was a redundancy joke. I cringe every time.


And man, what a smoke this Natural was! I've had periodic flirtations with cigars (Freud would love THAT little bit of association!), so it was certainly nice of Kelli to hit a shop and get me a pair.

The ones that I've paid good money for have ranged from very good to awful. I've had some expensive ones that weren't nearly as good as, say, a 99 cent "Black and Mild" from the drug store.

But this Natural wasn't messing around... it's better than anything I've ever had, and I've had quite a few. First it's got a natural (of course) but not overwhelming sweetness. I'm told there's coffee blended with the tobacco. I cannot taste it, but instead just get this smooth, rich, even taste from start to finish. This cigar does not "turn" and get coppery 3/4 of the way through like a lot do. It burns slowly, has a smooth draw and kind of lets you down easy when you're nearly done. I've gotta say that it was quite fabulous.


House stuff... ugh. Kelli's employer has informed her that, despite the fact that others do it, she will not be allowed to work fewer than 40 hours and/or telecommute while attending her own grad classes this fall. Seems that her team can't take the loss of 10 hours a week of productivity from one person. I'm not being sarcastic when I relay that.

Another challenge... we've tossed around a couple of potential solutions, which I won't go into yet. We're not overly daunted though.


Into the Jung chapter now. Man, early psychology was pretty wacky. Jung had been an heir apparent to Freud's legacy when he began to reject some of the old man's ideas for his own. Their parting was not pretty.

Jung went on to dwell extensively on ESP and the like, as well as to chalk up a lot of what you and I might call instinct to "the collective unconscious." At this point his theories take on a very Joseph Campbell tone as he talks about the repetition of themes and symbols among primitive peoples across the globe.

Like Freud, it seems that he's considered to have hit upon some salient points, but some of the building blocks of his theories are questioned or discounted altogether.


Buddy Bell takes over the Royals and suddenly they're invincible. They just swept the bloody Yankees IN NEW YORK, then beat Texas 2-1 tonight during what seemed to be a good game (I don't have the luxury of just sitting down to take in a game much at this point).

Test 'em all for steroids!


Speaking of which, Nike has unceremoniously ended their nine-year relationship with once-juicin' Jason Giambi.


THEBOY asked me today where God is. I tried to go with a pretty standard parent answer, but to embellish it a bit. He asked if God is in the sky, and I said yes, but he's everywhere. He's in the flowers we got Mama last weekend, and he's in the sound of his sister's laughter.

And THEBOY said, "But the sky is BIG, right? So he can just be in the sky."

Who am I to argue?

I guess he didn't care for my Robert Frost spin...


Bedtime approaches. I hope I don't dream about staircases, playing children, losing teeth or umbrellas, as Freud would associate those with sex.

No, I'd just prefer to dream about SEX.

(Okay, that was too easy...)

Good night.

Go Pete!

A diary entry from rock's greatest curmudgeon.

This Just In...

Another BACS (Belo) staffer has given notice. That's 4 in 6 weeks. This one in particular got the shaft here and there, got treated pretty poorly like me. And she's a class act: forthright, smart... she also had the nerve to tolerate very little bullshit, and it got her the second-class-citizen treatment. I wish I'd handled myself as well as she did under pressure, but I didn't do that bad of a job.

Now I'm feeling greedy... I want to see more. I think a message is being sent, not that BACS has the snap to interpret it correctly.

snails and puppy dog tails

Nice work this morning by Jamey Newberg in breaking down the potential angles for a Roger Clemens trade. This is the stuff Newberg is particularly good at, the kind of in-depth, devil’s advocate approach often not found in the mainstream media.


He mentions, by the way, that Clemens’ wife is an Arlington native.


A conversation from the breakfast table this morning, after THEBOY had announced he was headed outdoors for more of his current favorite pastime, searching for bugs…

Kelli: “Ah, little boys… snails and puppy dog tails…”

THEBOY: “Mom, it’s not called a puppy dog tail. It’s called a ‘slug’.”


We’re moving full-steam ahead towards Corsicana. We’ve gone through several variations of the timeline. Current thinking is to go down and rent a house starting ASAP. We really want to get the kids situated near the family as soon as is reasonably possible.

This means getting our house in shape for selling pretty quickly. And you know, it’s not like it’s in BAD shape… it’s just that when it comes time to show it, you realize all the little projects you’ve meant to get to: Dripping faucet, carpets in need of pro cleaning, outdated wallpaper, discolored grout, garage doors… It adds up.


Ah, garage doors. Ours need work. I thought they’d need to be replaced. Seems Kelli backed into one some time back, bending it quite effectively. Didn’t take too long before the garage door opener’s efforts to move the misshapen door mangled it even more.

Full disclosure: I backed into it first. Only not as forcefully. I love you Kelli.

So I called a local outfit to have a look yesterday, and they sent out someone I’ll call Garage Door Guy (‘GDG”). He’s pushing 40, got a surfer haircut and talks like Jeff Spicoli.

He eyeballed our doors and made this pronouncement: “That’s a 22 gauge steel door, a classic. They don’t make ‘em any more. I’m gonna have to remove this panel, hammer it out, put a different fulcrum on there… it’s gonna be a labor of love, man, a labor of LOVE. You gotta love what you do. This door’s a classic. It’d be a shame to see you lose it…”

Works for me.

GDG was a chatty sort, and revealed that he’s a recovering alcoholic. Now… nice as he was, he gave me kind of a funny vibe. I wondered if by “recovering” he meant “soon to be hopefully recovering, after this weekend maybe…”

I could be wrong.


Was explaining the monkey paw to this department’s resident Australian. She said there’s similar stuff from the Aborigines: If they point a bone at you, for example, you drop dead.

Remind me never to take an Aborigine to KFC.


Moving to Corsicana to rent soon, by the way, probably works to our advantage in one respect: If we stuck with our original plan to just spend 6 months in a rent house while we build a house, I don’t know how much luck we’d have finding someone willing to accommodate us. Then we’d have to perhaps rent a house under false pretenses to get one at all… ugh.


With so much going on, I’m still excited about building a concrete (ICF) house. We’re looking at plans, and as obsessive as we could get over this, it’s clear that we’ll need a custom design job. I’ll tell you what’s odd: It’s hard to find a home plan that does not include a formal dining area, which we don’t want. Did your parents’ house have one of those? Grandparents’ maybe? Yeah… largely it just sits there empty, unused. We’d rather have a breakfast nook and a bar. That’ll do. We don’t need a formal dining area; that square footage can best be applied somewhere else.

And you’d think it’d be easy enough to just live with a plan including one and designate it as a study or something (and we could end up doing that). But they tend to be placed right between the kitchen and the living room, and that’s not always an ideal location to put up walls to close in some space.


Happy Friday. Take the rest of the week off, starting at 5pm…

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Afternoon Ephemera and Assorted Misfires

Current music: “Love Me Like a Reptile” by Motorhead.


Yesterday’s fortune cookie: “Patience is the answer to success.”


Wow. Tomorrow is Free Donut Day.

Wish I could partake. I can eat a fistful of jalapenos with no problems, but eat one donut and I’m sick all day.


Mike Llorca and I have the strangest email exchanges. I can’t even begin to tell you what prompted this: “Normally I'd believe you, but Satan is a career .465 winning pct pitcher. And that's with a lot of run support.”

But it was prompted…


You know… I think Michael Jackson’s gonna go to prison.



Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Hook, Line and Sinker...


Ft. Worth Startlegram sports writer Kat O’Brien falls for one of the greatest lines of bachelor bullshit I’ve ever seen (from today's Postcard from the Road column):

Greetings from Detroit,

Sometimes, the last thing you want to do on an airplane is talk to the person next to you. Other times, you get lucky and have an interesting seatmate.

I should know, I met my current roommate, Christine, on a flight home for Christmas 2 1/2 years ago. We didn't talk through a lengthy snowstorm delay, then someone broke the ice and we talked through the whole flight.

Today was a good seatmate day. After trying to sleep through the first half of my 6:30 a.m. flight to Detroit, I gave up on getting any rest. So did the guy next to me, who had a fascinating story.

Clayton was flying to Detroit, then taking his private helicopter to Pelee Island, in the middle of Lake Erie just across the Canadian border. Independently wealthy from a number of business ventures, but unmarried and with no kids, he has decided he'd like his money to go to a good cause when he dies. He's only in his mid-40s, but decided to start now.

So he is in the process of having a castle built in the style of those in Ireland and Scotland, where his ancestors are from. His plan is to create a foundation and allow families who have lost a child to cancer to go there on vacation and receive family counseling at this upscale site.

He will fund the construction with his own money, but hopes to create revenue to sustain the program by sometimes using the castle as an upscale hotel or for wine tastings.

The details kept me awake, and interested.

From Detroit,



I’d have just linked to the story, but it requires registration.


“Say, Kat… I seem to have left my platinum card in my helicopter… you mind picking up the tab for this Motel 6? Pay ya back…”


Happy Wednesday. Sounds great to be saying that already, eh?