Friday, December 22, 2006

Checking in

We're in leg one of our journey -- at my father in law's house. He has broadband, so it's not too bad getting on, checking mail, etc. My parent's (where we leave to tomorrow) only have dial-up (darn country livin') and I will not even try and hit certain sites.

Last night the wife and I went to see Rocky Balboa. I mean, if you're in my age group, Rocky was a huge part of your childhood. Like it or hate it, it's nostalgia. I liked it and was looking forward to the movie. Honestly, this was the best installment since the original film. I mean, you have to suspend some disbelief, but in which Rocky installment have you not had to do that?

The thing about this one is that it relies heavily on story and character interaction long before you even get to any fighting or training. The build up is intense and the film delivers. I was very happy with it. Glad we didn't see Eragon.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Want your opinions; vacation break

Part the first:

Happy Wednesday everybody. I am soliciting your opinions. We have decided to home school our children. It has been a long and arduous process coming to this decision. We are very unhappy with the curriculum in our local schools and want to be able to focus more personal attention on their specific education needs.

That said, it is not without some apprehension that we go into this. My wife worries about being able to instruct our kids. You know, drawing the line between mommy and teacher. We worry about having the time to home school and still get all the daily things done around the home.

So, what I'm asking is if any of you have any experience with homeschooling and, if so, what that experience has been like?

My wife and I have both had experience with home schooled children and home schooling families and from my experience, it's kind of a mixed bag. But there's always the fall-back option: If it doesn't work, they can always go back.

Part the second:

Today we're leaving on vacation. After work, we're taking off for a lengthy drive to the Gulf Coast for a couple of days. Then it's on to Louisiana for a few days, and then back home by New Year's Day.

I wish you all the very best this holiday season. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, etc.

For my family and me, 2006 has been both a challenging and rewarding year. We look forward to 2007. So, again, I say to all of you, happy holidays.

Oh, and if you want to hook me up, my birthday's Jan. 3.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Pitching a tent

So, I thought I was just visiting the nothing farm, but apparently I'm setting up camp.

We are preparing to go on vacation soon and life is accordingly busy. There is much to do to get things in order before we leave, both at work and at home. So, posting, among other things, have been light lately.

I do have a couple of things I want to share with you as I'd like to get your thoughts on them. I just don't really have the time to put it down here like I want to, and, since vacation is coming up soon, I doubt I'll have the time to address much of what I want to. But I do hope to get something substantive up later today or tomorrow.

I hope everyone is doing well and I will have a decent update! Someday.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Faster Than My Debt

I'm at Faster Than The World today with an article wherein I detail the upcoming Elf baseball season. OK, not really. I talk about guitars and stuff.

Get thee hence and make sure to leave comments!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I wasn't going to post today, but ...

Today I went out to cover the first day of our Marine Reserve Detachment's Toys for Tots toy hand outs. It was amazing. I can't describe the feeling of watching our Marines (and corpsman) perform this charity task. They love doing it. And the people! I can't believe the spirit.

The line wrapped around the old dilapidated building in which they were handing out toys. But even with the long line and long wait, everyone was cheery. It was the exact opposite of the line at the movie theater. Or the line at the DMV. The feeling of charity was infectious. I gotta tell you. I wasn't in the Christmas spirit this year until this morning. My heart just grew three sizes.

And while out, I noticed some things around the area that looked like great subjects for some quick photography. It's pretty overcast out today and it just casts everything into a cool frame.

This shot just jumped out at me. It really speaks of the state of this town in a lot of ways.

As though it's attempting to put up a good front, but cannot hide the decay and corruption going on within. I wish I could have shot this under better circumstances (without cars surrounding it, etc.). I guess I'll have to shoot it another day.

This is what inspired my little spat of personal photography this morning. This building shared the parking lot with the old department store where the Toys for Tots hand outs were going on. I really love the texture of this building and all the vines. I do not like the fact that I couldn't shoot it without all the power lines and modern-day obstacles, but I just love it. Also, we just got new lenses for our cameras and I wanted to test it out a bit. It an 18-200 zoom and I really kind of dig the circular deformation in wide-angle.

This is a closer shot of one of the windows of the same building. Just look at all that texture!

The minor and stark color contrast is amazing, I think. And in B&W the contrast is just too damn cool. Oh, the first thought I had when I saw this building is how cool it would look shot in B&W. Well, thanks to digital photography, Photoshop and Ctrl+L, we can approximate.

What I really like about this shot is that the window is about 7 feet or so off the ground and I was able to shoot low which gives the foreground the effect that it's bending away from the window. Almost like you could walk on that wall and the window's a door.

Last shot of the day.

This just happened to be on my route to my shoot and I made a mental note to go back and get a couple of shots. Something about trains appeals to men, I think. I never got into toy trains or anything like that. I have no hidden fascination about ever becoming a railway engineer, but I do admit some sort of visceral pleasure from looking at trains and railways.

Well, I had some fun this morning while on the clock. Hope you guys like the shots.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Not so much ado about nothing

I had the weirdest thing happen yesterday.

I wasn't feeing great, so I took the afternoon off (that in itself is weird), but I was having headaches and kind of seeing double. Never had that happen before. Well, not unless I'd been smacked upside the head.

So, the wife had some kind of candle party last night and I man'd up and took the kids out to dinner so she could get things in order. Got home and got the kids squared away and I sequestered myself in my bedroom.

I watched Pulse. Don't waste your time. It sucked.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

While my guitar gently weeps

I haven't played guitar in many days. It has something to do with time, but a whole lot to do with pain.

As my job requires me to spend all day on the computer, and a lot of my leisure time is spent here also, I use my hands for keying and "mousing" a lot. And, of course, my posture and typing/mousing habits suck. I have, over time, developed tendonitis in my wrist. Which, because I ignored it long enough, has caused me to put pressure on different areas of my arm and I developed pain in my elbow and lately I have begun to feel some pain in my shoulder.

So, not only does is hurt to stay on the computer for too long, but it also hurts to play guitar and that really sucks.

Guess I should start wearing that damn wrist brace.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Oh yeah ...

Make sure to go to Faster Than The World today to check out my new All About the Guitar column.

I've compiled a nice list last minute shopping items for that special guitarist in your life. Of course, all I want for Christmas is peace and harmony and the end of all banjoes.

A commercial

A local spa here has a commercial that airs often. One of the things they say in the commercial is: "We have a variety of services available for that special person, including massages, facials ..." and it really doesn't matter what they say after that because I'm giggling like a school girl.

What the hell do they think we're going to think?

Relative notoriety

Recently watched The Notorious Bettie Page. Bettie Page was one of those people in the peripheral of my pop consciousness until I read The Real Bettie Page about 10 years ago. Since then, she's always been of interest to me. When I heard that this movie was coming out, I was very interested in seeing it.

It certainly isn't disappointing, but anyone who's read the Foster biography won't find anything here they didn't already know. Rather, it's the performance by Gretchen Mol that is most worthwhile in this pic. She brings a fresh-faced naivety that is hard to associate with Bettie Page through the pictures that made her famous.

The movie is more than a story about her life though. The director uses Page's history to question our concepts of innocence and morality. Even naivety. Was Page really so naive after so many years in the business, or was actively attempting to justify her actions to herself?

Expertly presented in black and white with color scenes in Miami.

Disturbingly, the extra features include a color video of Page -- in what is obviously not one of her more professional works -- stripping down to stockings only. After watching the movie, this video seems contrary to what the film was all about. It just really seems out of place.

Anyone else seen it?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Tonight, but not the rest of my life

Our installation Christmas Tree lighting ceremony is tonight. I have to take photos of the event, but I'm taking the kids with me so it should be nice. It's usually a pretty quick thing -- a little prayer from the base chaplain, some music and carols with some of the brass section from the band, some hot cocoa and roasted peanuts, and the tree is lit. Pretty nice.

Go here, do this

I urge you to go to Faster Than The World today. As always, there is stellar content, but I pimp it today especially 'cause my friend's post is up today: The Fictional Universe.

This is part two of a video Q&A project. Please stop by and let him know what you think.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


The flag on base flew at half-staff.

And several people had to wonder why.

And that fact really made me angry.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Us and Them

During lunch today, I took the opportunity to catch up on an episode of Torchwood.

One of the topics they bring up during the episode is the difference between "you" and "we." That is, a new person joined the organization and every time she referred to something involving the organization, she said, "you have" instead of "we have," and the unit chief called her on it twice. I can sympathize with her.

I have worked for the Marine Corps for almost two years now and still find myself saying "you guys" when referring to the way Marines do things. Granted, I am not a Marine nor was I ever. And I spent 10 years in Army, which colors my thinking about "us and them."

But I am a Marine Corps employee and it's weird that I haven't assimilated that into my way of thinking. I really don't think that way, even when I try and force myself to. I think of myself as a Department of Defense employee. I don't know if that will ever change.

I do hope I can stop the, "Gee, you guys don't do that this way? In the Army ..." because even I'm getting tired of it.

Any of you (ever) have a you vs. we issue?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

So, I finally saw Clerks 2 ...

And I hated it. And, more than that, I hate that I hated it.

See, I'm a huge Kevin Smith fan. Big, big Kevin Smith fan. Like, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is one of my favorite movies ever, big fan. For someone to admit that in writing out here in the ether, you know I have to be a big fan.

Prior to this movie, there wasn't a Kevin Smith film I didn't like.

To me, Clerks 2 just feels like a shade of his pre-Jersey Girl movies. Clerks 2 is a horrible mesh of the frenetic energy of his earlier films and the sappiness of Jersey Girl and the two do not mesh. And I'm a fan of Jersey Girl.

Jersey Girl works for me in the way that most chick flicks work for the women folk. It pushes the right buttons to make me feel something, it's funny enough, emotional enough and delivers a sappy, happy ending. I fully understand that it's not good film making. But it was, for me, an enjoyable and touching movie.

Clerks 2 fails because it captures none of his earlier manic force or the sentimental sappiness of Jersey Girl. Some of this is because the main roles required more acting ability than Brian O'Halloran or Jeff Anderson could muster. They're fine with all they have to do is deliver witty quips and O'Halloran has to act harried. But when they have to convince us their emotional turmoil ... well, let's say that it would have been nice to have Assfleck. And I hate Affleck.

I avoided reviews of this movie like the plague because I really didn't want them to taint my POV. I just checked Rotten Tomatoes and am shocked to see that it did so well. I mean, I honestly thought this movie fell flat. I didn't laugh once during the entire thing.

Each to his own, I guess.

A Heroic break

No new Heroes until Jan. 22. What's up with the huge break in schedules for TV shows lately? I'm afraid that, for the most part, I don't feel compelled to come back and finish the season. Honestly, I'm seriously considering not bothering with LOST. But, I will with Heroes. And Monk and Psych.

Last night didn't accomplish much, I didn't think. I was very upset that it took the entire episode worth of jumping around for 20-second bytes of what's going on with certain characters to bring us to the anti-climactic cliffhanger. OK, Haitian dude can talk. And he's not going to wipe Claire's mind. So? Tell us something.

There was nothing terribly plot advancing, except for what was almost an aside: "Maybe it was 'save the cheerleader,' THEN 'save the world.'" Which I was beginning to suspect anyway.

So, as the shows go on hiatus, we'll have to revel in repeats or in obscure cable shows. I'm sure there will be plenty of American Chopper and Mythbusters marathons over the next few weeks.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sell your soul

My new post is up at Faster Than The World.

Make sure to check it out.

Patience is a virtue I possess only in limited quantities

I am waiting for some information that could significantly impact my life in the near future. And waiting has been hard.

Hard. Hard. Hard.

I am not a patient person, but I want to be. I would love to be able to better accept the natural timing of things. But I'm not. I would love to say that I've gotten better at waiting as I've gotten older. But I haven't.

Why won't they just hurry up and let me know something?

Friday, December 01, 2006

I'm a one-man comedy club, over here

My 7-year old (who I said was 8 recently on another blog, but she's 7, she just acts 8) is a fan of "funniest home video" style shows. She has become so fond that she really wants to get a video camera and shoot her own videos.

I once asked her what she would film and she said, "You, daddy."

"Me?" I asked. "Why?"

"Because you're funny," she said.

This exchange (and it's really a paraphrase I'm sure) happened quite some time ago. But last night as I was taking care of some mundane kitchen stuff, my daughter comes in and says, "You are so silly."

I realized at that time that my behavior was the kind of thing she was talking about taping. See, I have a habit. When I'm doing something boring or mundane, especially if the kids are around, I make up songs. And not good ones. Usually the lyrics have something to do with whatever I'm doing and the tune is usually ripped off from whatever TV program is currently on - OR - I sing variations of the show's theme song to different tunes.

I have officially been put on silly notice. Thankfully my 7-year-old digs it. My five-year-old is already acting like she's embarrassed though.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Half a Pica Exclusive:

Scientists praise endangering of North American species

BERKELEY, Calif. – Scientists at the Berkeley University of California released their annual list of the planet's most endangered species. Topping that list was the North American White Male.

"Generally, a species being on the list is cause for great concern," said Dr. Jane Dough, UC Berkeley biology department. "We usually celebrate when a species, through the conservation efforts on the part of liberal-minded, eco-conscious, realists everywhere, make it off the list. However, this is probably the first time in the history of our list that the entire campus, heck, the entire city was ecstatic over a species being on the list."

Immediately after the list's release, conservation groups across the nation began to argue with the findings.

"Come on," said Greenpeace spokesperson I. M. Aschmuck. "I mean, look around you – the North American White Male is still everywhere. Hell, I'm a North American White Male. As much as Berkeley, and any right-thinking person would want the species to be endangered, I'm afraid it simply isn't so."

Defending their findings, Dough said that while the species may still appear to be quite prevalent, the NAWM is actually beginning to exhibit traits of other species. "The species is endangered not so much because of dwindling numbers, but because of their assimilation into other species. We've noticed the North American White Male is beginning to far more resemble the East European White Male; there is also a significant number who are beginning to exhibit traits of the North American African American Male."

"It's truly a wonderful thing," Dough continued. "We all know that the North American White Male is the most destructive species that ever lived."

But not everyone is happy.

"How can this be a good thing?" wondered John Smith, president, Average White Men. "Remember when the East European White Male was distinguishable from the female of the species? It wasn't that long ago, people!"

If the Berkeley findings are accurate, the NAWM may be facing extinction within the next four years.

"The political landscape does have a lot to do with it. Our school system has been stripping our boys of the evil, evil masculinity for many years now. A robust renewal of this system, under the proper political slant would speed along the process," Dough said. "And how can that be a bad thing?"

Smith, and his Average White Male organization have answered the findings with a conservation plan that involves zealous amounts of couch-sitting, football watching, deer hunting and truck driving. Baseball cap and T-shirt wearing are optional, but, according to Smith, can only help.

"This is the preservation of a species. We hope our plan helps reverse the trend, but if we see a continuation of the trend over the next couple of years, we'll have to take more drastic measures. Moonshine production and horrible firework injuries are ready to be implemented at any time."

UPDATE: The story continues to develop. Conservation groups have pointed to this story as evidence that the NAWM is alive and strong in Berkeley itself. However, Dough pointed out that this is a sub-sub-species of the NAWM called Crazy Berkely Ashamed of their Whiteness Male.

© Half a Pica Distance News Service

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Oh yeah (Heroes)...

I have been meaning to blog this for a while, and just now have gotten around to it. I swear I almost wet myself because of this news: Christopher Eccleston to join cast of "Heroes."

The Doctor Who from the first season of the revamped season. I mean ... that's cool beyond words. Like, cool in a scanner head explosion kind of way. It's almost too much cool for a head to contain.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More heroics

So ... last night's Heroes. Thoughts?

It was cool to see some Sylar backstory, but it wasn't much of anything I hadn't suspected. The whole "eat your brain for the power" thingy seemed pretty evident.

Nicky's dual personality history was good, and Hiro's lost in time episode was cool. Honestly, I found the Petrelli brothers' story most interesting. Lots of cool motivation there.

So ... thoughts?

Holy Jeebus! I'm busy!

Working with newspapers, it is very common for your submissions to be too short or too long. It's generally not a big problem. It's easy to add some fluff to pad something or to cut lengthy tales. Occasionally, you get extremes. Submissions that are so short, they are barely news briefs. They barely contain the who, the what, the where, when and why. And sometimes you get something terribly long. An essay. Something that the author must have been extremely proud of because he kept going on and on and on for no apparent reason.

And sometimes you get the extreme-extreme. Like when your service branch gets a new chief of staff/commandant and they send down a 14-page monster for you to run in your newspapers. Not negotiable. Must run. And, oh, yeah, you can’t really condense it either.

Holy crap! Today has sucked.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Back to work

I hope everyone had a good weekend and are recovering well from your turkey comas.

We spent Thursday together and Friday we went to Macon. Saturday, I began Fall Cleaning. Yes, I know. It's supposed to be a Spring thing. But I got inspired and had the time. I spent the majority of the day getting rid of stuff in our outdoor storage shed. It took a good quite a while to get it clean and to separate the stuff I was going to keep from the stuff I was going to junk.

We also have a storage shed I have to go through. I pulled out all of our Christmas stuff Saturday and almost everything else in there, in my opinion, is junk. We haven't used it in a year and it can go.

I hate being a pack rat. I'm horrible about it. It's one of the things we want to work on over the next few weeks -- reducing our stuff. We want to make our footprint smaller. There's just so much junk we don't need. And it's hard to get rid of it. Not just the physical labor (although that can be intense) but also psychologically. As you try and get rid of stuff, you think, "Oh, wait, I can use this some day for this, or this, or this ..." and you wind up never getting rid of it. So, my new way of thinking is if I haven't used it, it's gone.

Any advice or sympathies?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Macon rocks

Shamelessly stolen from 'ospreydesign's' flickr accountI had never been to Macon before and that's where we went yesterday. There is a very neat Museum of Arts and Sciences we wanted to visit.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was great. Not a huge place, but very nicely put together. There is an art exhibit area, a planetarium, and a kid's learning section. Of course, we spent a huge amount of time in the kid's learning area. It was quite fun.

On the way, I saw a billboard for the Georgia Music Museum, and plan to hit that some time in the very near future.

Check out the Macon MAS website.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

I wish the blessings of God upon everyone. I am thankful for each and every one of you and for this great world upon which we live.

I pray that we can see past our differences to the fact that we are all human.

Oh, and knowing that a tryptophan coma is coming doesn't make it any less powerful. I'm off to nap soon.

Take care guys.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

whistle - whistle - whistle ... wah - wah - wah ... It's a ghost town here

The day before a holiday, this place clears out around noon. An hour after noon and it's dead. There's hardly a green-suiter in sight (the Marines get off at noon) and many civilians took leave (or took advantage of military bosses not being around).

It's funny really.

The internets is flying with no one being on the network :)

Takin' it eeeeeasy ... takin' it eeeheeeheheasy

Nothing. Got nothing.

I mean, Thanksgiving is tomorrow, but I got nothing. I don't even have any good Thanksgiving stories to tell. Most of my holiday memories from the past involve going to my grandparent's house in Louisiana and having a huge meal then going outside and getting cut up by riding the three-wheeler through the nearby woods.

There have been some good ones here and there. The military usually has food collections for the younger, lower-enlisted military folks. I've benefitted from it and, later, have donated to it. It's a great way to take care of your own.

So, thinking about it, I guess I'll talk about something really important to me -- food. I am not a big fan of turkey, or bird of any kind. I'll eat it, but it's not my favorite. Give me a ham.

Even though I've cooked plenty of holiday turkeys, I've never had one come out quite like I would have liked it. I've smoked 'em and baked 'em. Last year, we fried one. I think I'm simply not fond of the meat.

But cranberry sauce! Oh, I love Thanksgiving for the cranberry sauce. Ask me, I think craberry sauce is a underutilized food stuff. I could eat this jellied mash all the time. I don't know why we don't.

Green-bean casserole ... a staple of Thanksgiving around our house. I hated it as a kid (except for the Durky onions, of course!) but I learned to love it when I grew up.

Pecan pie ... how can you not have pecan pie? Pumpkin is all right, but pecan is where it's at.

So, what foods do you like to have?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Exploding tops ... not of the girls gone wild variety

So, we finally did the Mentos and Diet Coke thing. It was cool, but I wished I'd planned it a bit better. I had some problems getting the 4 Mentos in the Coke (the amount the Mythbusters said was the best) at the same time. If I'd rigged up some kind of cylinder ... oh well.

Exploding Coke is always fun.


Heroes. I can't say that I'm not happy that there's been some progression. But there certainly wasn't as much as I would have hoped. If they keep this up, they're going to frustrate their audience in the same way Lost has done theirs (which, I guess are about the same).

Going back to explain things in the past is cool though. I do look forward to that. I am wondering if stripper chick is possessed.

Informal poll: Did stripper chick paste her ex-husbands head?

And any comments are, as always, are welcome.

Monday, November 20, 2006

It's getting drafty in here

OMFG. I agree with Charlie Rangel. I should probably have my head checked.

I don't agree with him on the why, but I certainly do believe that the U.S. should have a draft. In fact, I think it should be taken further than that. I think we should institute some kind of conscripted service for EVERY citizen of the country. I further agree that the kids would have the option of serving in the military or some other kind of government service.

Of course, I don't feel this way because I think the government would think more about comitting to a war. I feel this way because I think everyone would care a good bit more about their country if they have to serve it.

I think that if you hit a certain age range you should have two options: Serve or move.

Check it out y'all

I almost forgot, make sure to head over to Faster Than The World today to catch my most recent All About the Guitar article.

Plenty of great things going on over there.

A great weekend

I hope you all had a good weekend.

In the Cullen household, it was hectic, busy and the culmination of a lot of preparation. My oldest girl appeared in her first community theater show -- a production of "Annie Jr." She played "Tessie," the orphan who says the "Oh my goodness, oh my goodness" lines. I was under the impression that she only delivered the line once, but Tessie has about four or five lines throughout the show. It was pretty doggone cool.

I must give props to the Albany Junior Theater group. They put together a great show and a good cast -- especially Miss Hannigan. A senior at a local high school played the evil oprphanage mistress and she was phenomenal.

Performances were in the theater of a local community college. I was also very impressed with the theater. I really didn't think the school had such great facilities. Wish they'd have more productions there. It would also be a great place for a jazz show.

What was really nice is that my parents came in from Louisiana to see the show. My kids were really psyched about that. This was the culmination of six weeks worth of long weeknights for my 7-year-old. I am very proud of her.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Would be a great trend ...

Macon, GA's Fox 24 has decided to drop the OJ Interview from their network.

It makes me sick to my stomach that there are people that still pander to this sick man.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The horizon

Sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees. Other times, you get to mow those bitches down and see the good times ahead on the horizon.

Waiting on pins and needles seems to be a theme for some of us blog-folk lately.

I guess, when we're hoping for something good, all we can do is hope and pray and not lose sight of what's going on in front of us right now.

Perhaps I'd better not be too hasty in knocking down those trees.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A tsunami

Wow. I really hope the wave peters out, but that is really scary and particularly topical to my life right now (I'll let y'all know sometime in the future).

I wish the people of Japan (and anyone else who might be in the path) the best. Please obey all safety messages!

UPDATE: Well, that was thankfully a minor event.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Shave the Cheerleader

So ... Heroes.

I am happy that they went a lot further toward answering questions than Lost would have, but it still wasn't very fulfilling. And having memory chick get knocked off was kind of depressing.

My wife and I remarked that in Lost, it would have taken the Indian dude five episodes to open that damn drawer. ;)

It seems to me that the only person who can stop Silar would be the guy who can stop time, you know? Or, maybe, the power-copy guy.

Your thoughts?

Open discussion. Go.

I'm not sure this is going to make sense...

... But please bear with me, I need some advice.

When you're attempting to reach a goal, you set up steps to accomplish along the way. Each step in the process brings you closer to that goal.

So, let's say you have a seven-step process and you're currently at, say, step three. Suddenly, an opportunity to skip to step five falls in your lap. But, not accomplishing steps three and four may come back to haunt you later. But, you can still accomplish steps three and four while at step five, it will just delay things a bit in the short term.

Would you skip ahead?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Don't forget ...

To visit Faster Than The World today. My weekly Because I'm All About the Guitar is up and, as always, there is plenty of other great stuff to check out.

Let me tell ya ...

Even long weekends go by like they're nothing when you all of your time is occupied doing things you don't really want to be doing.

Let me explain.

My oldest is in a local production of Annie Jr. The play opens this coming weekend. The producer asked me if I could do the programs for the play. Not something I thought would be a big deal. However, I didn't take into consideration all the "shout outs" that would be in the program and all of the different fonts I'd be using. It took FOREVER to get this thing done.

On top of that, I had a large research paper to do.

Weekend went flying by.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Dear Everyone Who Does This Wrong:

When referring to U.S. Forces, the term "soldier" is not generic. The term soldier refers specifically to someone serving in the Army.

Here's a primer for you:
U.S. Army = soldier
U.S. Air Force = airman
U.S. Navy = sailor or seaman (snicker)
U.S. Marine Corps = Marine

According to AP Style and all-but recent convention, the only one of these nouns that is proper is "Marine." However, it has become common among the services to capitalize Soldier, Airman and Sailor also.

Generic terms for all services include: service member, military member, troop (which is always refers to more than one person, and is specifically used to define a company-sized element in U.S. Army Cavalry units).

Please listen. Current and former military folks alike laugh at you when you make the mistake.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Two points of note

#1: Happy 231st Birthday, U.S. Marine Corps! Eat cake and be merry Devil Dogs.

#2: I have the day off work. Neener, neener, neener.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A good morning

My boy will be 16 months old this month. Ever since he's been old enough for us to put him in his own crib and go to sleep on his own, I've done the same thing every time I put him down. I giev the sign for "I love you" and tell him "I love you," then I give him the "rock on" sign \m/ and say "Rock on!"

He's been mumbling for a while. He says Moma and daddy and a few other words. He's been giving a mumble "I love you" for a while. This morning, for the first time, he raised his fist and said "Rock on!"

I am so happy.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Magical healing powers

That's the bullshit we're all about to get spoon-fed. The things that have been going pretty well over the past several months, suddenly the MSM is going to start telling us about how, miraculously, the economy's healed, and such.

All hail the Dems magical healing powers!

Man, I wasn't going to post any more political shit for at least another year and a half. I mean, I was going ot wait for the next election stuff. But Rumsfeld, man. I can't ignore that. Too much, too soon. Too damn much.

Guess I need some of that magical healing kool-aid.

Time to buy a gun*

So, votes were cast and the chips have fallen. Not where I'd like to have seen them fall, but that's part of the democratic process. Sometimes your point of view is shared by the majority, sometimes not.

Oh well.

Dean's World commenter Scott Harris made a funny in a post at Dean's:

I suppose that's the difference between Republicans and Democrats. When Democrats lose, the whine, and promise to protest in the streets.

When Republicans see the country going to hell in a hand basket, they go buy a gun.

Oh well, the next two years should be interesting.

*As though we need a reason.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Help us, Kerry-wan, you're our only hope

Stickied through Nov. 7
Really. What did that dumb ass expect? That'd we'd just sit down and accept his explanation? 'Cause, you know, he's been so forthcoming and honest with us so far. And he's really shown his support for the troops thus far. I mean, to say something like that is bad enough, but then to not even apologize to the troops? OK, he did, eventually, but first he had to be approached by HIS OWN PARTY! They kicked him off their campaign stumps. GOD, what an assclown.


The front page of our daily fishwrap features the following headline: Low poll turnout expected.

The story, written by a staff writer, never explains how or why Georgians are expected to stay away from the polls. The lead paraphrases the headline and then goes into a lengthy rundown of Georgia elections up for grabs.

This is a case of a bad copy editor. Someone too lazy to look past the story's lead to find out what the story actually says. But it's also the fault of the writer, because he did include the information in his story with no attribution for that fact.

Further proof, to me, that the feeling among the LWM is "Republicans, please stay home."


Monday, November 06, 2006

Historic elections

On this day in 1860, one of America's greatest presidents was elected:

Abraham Lincoln is elected the 16th president of the United States over a deeply divided Democratic Party, becoming the first Republican to win the presidency. Lincoln received only 40 percent of the popular vote but handily defeated the three other candidates: Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, Constitutional Union candidate John Bell, and Northern Democrat Stephen Douglas, a U.S. senator for Illinois.

Your vote counts. Please get out and vote tomorrow.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Insanely thorough music meme*

Name your top 10 most played bands (they say on iTunes, but since I don’t use it, I’m guessing):
I’m doing this at work, so my selection is a bit limited, but that’s probably a good thing.

1. Dream Theater
2. Reverend Horton Heat
3. Ramones
4. Joe Satriani
5. Pink Floyd
6. Motorhead
7. Megadeth
8. SOD
9. Liquid Tension Experiment
10. The Beatles

What was the first song you ever heard by 6?
“Ace of Spades.” Couldn’t even tell you when or where, but I’m pretty sure is was with a good friend of mine who introduced me to a lot of that music.

What is your favorite album of 2?
Lucky 7, but Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em is a very close second. There isn’t much by RHH that I don’t like.

What is your favorite lyric that 5 has sung?
Jeez. How does one pick one favorite Floyd lyric? Um, I always liked “The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older.” Then there’s “Oh, by the way, which one’s Pink?”

How many times have you seen 4 live?
Never, and I feel bad about that. Joe Satriani has long been one of my favorite guitarists. I honestly don’t know why I’ve never made the effort to see him. I will say this – I wanted to see the G3 recently and they didn’t come close enough to me for me to feasibly see a show.

What is your favorite song by 7?
Sheesh, with the hard questions and such. Hmm. "Looking Down the Cross."

What is a good memory you have involving the music of 10?
Sitting by the railroad tracks with two buddies at age 15, drunk on grape Mad Dog and singing “Happiness is a Warm Gun.”

Is there a song of 3 that makes you sad?
Joey Ramone’s version of “What a Wonderful World” is kind of poignant, but I guess that doesn’t really count. I kind of listen to the Ramones because they are the antithesis of sad, you know.

What is your favorite lyric that 2 has sung?
Heh. “When your knees start to squeeze and you open your eyes, my whammy bar shakes and … satisfies.”

How did you get into 3?
Good lord … I had a friend that was moderately into punk and I was really into metal. He would play the Ramones and I just really dug ‘em.

What was the first song you heard by 1?
“Pull Me Under,” their only big MTV hit.

What is your favorite song by 4?
Right now it’s “Just Like Lightening” off Super Colossal. Amazing song.

How many times have you seen 9 live?
Never and I’ll never have the chance.

What is a good memory you have involving 2?
Disneyworld. We took a trip to Mickey Mouse land at the beginning of this year and RHH was a good portion of our road trip music.

Is there a song of 8 that makes you sad?
“Fuck the Middle East” because we have yet to do so.

What is your favorite album of 5?
Probably Animals closely followed by Wish You Were Here.

What is your favorite lyric that 3 has sung?
“Now I’m a guy for the CIA. Hooray, for the USA.”

What is your favorite song of 1?
“Stream of Consciousness”

What is your favorite song of 10?
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” followed closely by “In My Life.”

How many times have you seen 8 live?
Never and I’ll never have the chance.

What is your favorite album of 1?
Scenes From a Memory

What is a great memory you have considering 9?
I only got into LTE in the past couple of years, so my best memory is discovering this great music.

What was the first song you heard by 8?
“United Forces”

What is your favorite cover by 2?
“Folsom Prison,” a happy version that is odd but very good.

*I picked this up kind of randomly and the person I got it from referred to this meme this way. I have to agree.

The last time we were bombed on our own soil ...

We went in like we were there to kick ass and chew bubble gum. And we were all out of bubble gum.

This Day in History: In 1941, the Japanese Combined Fleet receives the order to bomb Pearl Harbor. 34 days later ... a day that would live in infamy.

Are our wars too politicized now? Of course they are.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Advanced voting rocks

Here in Georgia, you can vote early at a centralized voting location in your county. I went ahead and performed my civic duty yesterday afternoon.

I gotta say, it was awesome. There were already 20 people or so there, but it only took me about 45 minutes from start to finish. I'm very glad I decided to go early 'cause I couldn't imagine waiting for the lines that form on Nov. 7.

Now I've just gotta wait until Nov. 8 to see how my vote panned out.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

This day in history, and today

Six days folks. Six days.

Remember what history tells us about unfair taxation:

On this day in 1766, British Parliament enacts the Stamp Act.

In the face of widespread opposition in the American colonies, Parliament enacts the Stamp Act, a taxation measure designed to raise revenue for British military operations in America.


Parliament would again attempt to force unpopular taxation measures on the American colonies in the late 1760s, leading to a steady deterioration in British-American relations that culminated in the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775.

This day in history.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

That is all. But I mean it.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Hello, innerwebs?

Yeah, it's me, Cullen.

Um, all this quiet lately ... yeah, it's really eery.

Orson Wells smacks America up

This Day in History, Orson Wells delivered his infamous radio rendition of War of the Worlds.

As many as one million people are believed to have been fooled by the program.

Just goes to show you that we're not any worse today. There just more of us around.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Another polictical post, you've been warned

And another one due to Teflon.

I, as Teflon says in his inspirational post, I will be voting for the Republicans this election.

While his data contains interesting information, I'm still pissed off concerning how much money we're spending. My reasoning is simple and in line with his point #1: As a conservative, I am interested not in the advance of party but of ideology.

And I can't do that if I sit one out.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Great freakin' music meme

Can't believe I haven't seen this one before. Stolen from Rob at FIU.

So, here's how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend your cool... and alot of the songs fit with the setting.

Opening Credits: Stream of Consciousness - Dream Theater
Waking Up: Rid of Me - PJ Harvey
First Day At School: Killed by Death (Live) - Motorhead (ooh, ominous)
Falling In Love: Do You Love Her Madly - The Doors (I'm not shitting you, they're coming up in this order)
Fight Song: Jezebel - Reverend Horton Heat
Breaking Up: Doctor Rock - Motorhead
Prom: All Over the World - Pixies
Life: Slow - Reverend Horton Heat
Mental Breakdown: In My Life - The Beatles
Driving: Don't Pass Me By - The Beatles
Flashback: Run Like Hell - Pink Floyd
Getting back together: Baddest of the Bad - Revered Horton Heat
Wedding: War - Meshuggah (heh, heh)
Birth of Child: New Day Rising - Husker Du
Final Battle: I Saw Your Mommy - Suicidal Tendencies
Death Scene: Octopus Mode - Reverend Horton Heat
Funeral Song: The Dance of Eternity - Dream Theater
End Credits: Rockin' Dog - Reverend Horton Heat

Man! This was super fun. I did this at work with like a 20th of my collection. I didn't think it'd be this cool.

Try it out.

Junior, when we get home, I'm gonna slap your momma.

There are times I have to fight road rage, swallow it back like rising bile. It's not that traffic here is very bad, there simply isn't the population for really bad traffic. What we do have in abundance are bad drivers.

I have lived all over the U.S. and in Okinawa. I have driven in Afghanistan. Some of the people in this town rival the worst drivers I've seen anywhere. Of course, that anger over their driving translates to more aggressive driving on my part. Now multiply that times a couple of thousand for all the other people on the road who are not driving so poorly, and now you have a few really bad drivers on the road and a whole bunch of pissed off aggressive drivers. Not a great environment to be jamming along at 70.

Yesterday, on my way home, I was behind one of the worst drivers I've seen on the road here to date. He obviously worked for a car dealership -- the car had dealer plates. Or maybe he was test driving. Whatever, the dude almost caused two accidents in the span of five minutes. First, when entering the highway, he almost ran right into a car on the highway, paying no attention to the nice, big YIELD sign that on-ramp traffic is supposed to obey. Next, as we are building up some speed, we approach the next on-ramp. I am, unfortunately, behind this guy still and we're in the right lane. There are two cars in the right lane that haven't been picking up speed. As we get to the on ramp, there are more cars zooming onto the highway with no regard to oncoming traffic. In the right lane, one car hits its brakes to let a car get in front of him. This guy in front of me, SLAMS on his brakes at the same time as the car next to him. So, instead of speeding up to get around the problem and freeing up space, he jams up the problem. I honestly thought I was in an accident. I was breaking as hard as I could and was fully expecting someone to slam into me. Fortunatley it didn't happen.

But man. I so wanted to be able to pull that driver over and ask him what the hell he was thinking. So, as soon as Emily gets her Friday eff off thread up, I have some creative venting to take care of.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Whiney McWhinewhine

My normal morning commute, home to office, takes about 15 minutes. Most of that is spent on our highway bypass and some of it is spent driving at a far more moderate pace down the narrow neighborhood road that leads to our installation back gate.

Most days, the wonderful and professional military police just look at your base sticker and wave you on, occasionally stopping a car for further inspection. Sometimes, however, they conduct a 100% ID check. This morning was such a time.

My complaint is not that these Marines are conducting the checks or that the base requires it. My complaint is with the people who obviously had to dig through their shit to get to their IDs.

I usually spend about three minutes, maybe four, from when I turn onto the narrow neighborhood road to the time I'm wavied through the gate. This morning it took 30.

I spent that time wondering what the hell was going on, and I pulled out my ID and set it on the seat next to me, just in case. Sure enough, by the time I got to the front of the line, I just had to show my ID and I was on my way. Which makes me wonder why there were times when I was stopped for a full five minutes before proceeding. It doesn't take much imagination to figure out that people just didn't have their shit ready. Thanks folks.

/end whine

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Of dreams and anger

There goes that darn chastity.At night I dream in cascading thoughts and images. Things I experience during the day, things I am anxious about, things important to me, and sometimes cool vignets of things put together in their own tale.

Sometimes, my dreams' colors are all out of proportion to what they should be. Oversaturated hues and transposed shades are often the norm.

Sometimes I get to fly. Sometimes I have super strength. Sometimes I am on the receiving end of a super villain's dastardly plan.

Sometimes things melt. Sometimes things explode. Sometimes things are way out of perspective.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingSometimes things involve people I know and care about. Sometimes they involve what are obviously amalgams of people I know or have seen, but are unique to my dreamscape.

However, at no time have I ever confused what's going on in a dream with what's real.

Apparently, women, you don't have that same ability. Why, oh why, women do you get mad at us over a dream that you had?

Stuff it U.N.

See where diplomacy gets you:

1774 : Congress petitions English king to address grievances

On this day in 1774, the First Continental Congress sends a respectful petition to King George III to inform his majesty that if it had not been for the acts of oppression forced upon the colonies by the British Parliament, the American people would be standing behind British rule.

Despite the anger that the American public felt towards the United Kingdom after the British Parliament established the Coercive Acts—called the Intolerable Acts by the colonists--Congress was still willing to assert its loyalty to the king. In return for this loyalty, Congress asked the king to address and resolve the specific grievances of the colonies. The petition, written by Continental Congressman John Dickinson, laid out what Congress felt was undo oppression of the colonies by the British Parliament. Their grievances mainly had to do with the Coercive Acts, a series of four acts that were established to punish colonists and to restore order in Massachusetts following the Boston Tea Party.

This day in history.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

An observation

The reason so many bands today suck so hard is because Booker T and the MGs soaked up so much awesome.

Maybe, someday, a worthwhile post

I still have nothing. So it's time for another day in history:

YES! Oct. 24 1997 : Marv Albert faces sentencing in sexual assault case

Circuit Court Judge Benjamin Kendrick announces that he will dismiss the sexual assault case filed against Marv Albert by 42-year-old Vanessa Perhach if the sportscaster agrees to get counseling and stays out of trouble for a year. Albert faced up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

According to Perhach, Albert had invited her to his room in the Ritz Carlton Hotel on February 12, 1997, after announcing an NBA game between the New York Knicks and Washington Bullets. He then purportedly bit her on her back after she refused his request for three-way sex.

And yet the phrase, "Get this Marv Albert off my back" never caught on, hmmm.

This Day in History.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Faster Than The World has my new Because I'm All About the Guitar up. The focus this week? Scary guitarists ... ooooohhh.

Go forth and comment!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Funny moments

Discussing a child's recent test:

Me: XXX told me she got a XX on her test.

Wife: Yes it's on that book she read. It's a comprehensive test.

Me: Comprehension.

Wife: Whatever.


Appropriately born in October

I never drink ... wine.Today Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó, better known to today's world as Bela Lugosi, was born in 1882.

Lugosi today represents the horrors of typecasting. He was a classically trained actor with tons of experience in dramatic roles in Austria-Hungary and Germany. His first role in the U.S. was Dracula and we all know what happened afterwards. His associationg with Edward D. Wood, Jr. was made popular by the Tim Burton film, Ed Wood.

A huge contributing factor to Lugosi's decline in pop culture (at the time), was his addiction to opiates. Lugosi suffered from chronic sciatica brought on by injuries he received while serving in World War I. Natural remedies grew to opiates grew to addiction grew to the man we saw portrayed in Ed Wood. I truly wish we had had a bit more explanation in the film.

Lugosi is an indelible part of horror film lore. Throughout film history, there have been many Draculas and many vampires. But there was only one Lugosi.Here is a great site for the documentary Lugosi: Hollywood's Dracula.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

It just doesn't mean the same thing

I am (still) in the process of archiving my CD collection to my computer. It's a daunting task. I've got about 40 gigs so far and am maybe halfway through. I've actually just shelved a bunch of 'em right now and hope to get around to it again eventually. It's just so time consuming.

The upshot of all this storage is that my random play on my computer is intense. I don't have to hear the same band twice within an hour if I don't want to. Also, I'm hearing a lot of music that I haven't listened to in a LONG time.

Do you experience that? I'm sure you do ... when you hear some music that used to mean something to you, and it just doesn't carry that meaning any more. I am, in this context, for me, specifically speaking of Nine Inch Nails, but it's equally applicable to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stone Temple Pilots, and Mother Love Bone. Moderately applicable to Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. In the early '90s, these bands meant a lot to me and were pretty much the soundtrack to my life. It's what I hear in my head when I remember those days.

Anyway, the other day, a NiN song popped up in rotation, one of the tunes off The Downward Spiral. I burned a hole in this CD I listened to it so much (figuratively speaking, of course). So, the familiar chords blared out, the familiar keyboard notes plinged, and the familiar voice warbled. And you know what? Nothing. Didn't move me in the least. I didn't even feel any sense of longing or nostalgia. In fact, if I felt anything, it was embarrassment that I used to listen to this. It wasn't that good.

So I put the entire album in queue. And I felt the same way about the whole thing. So I queued up some other bands from that time and got similar reactions, or nonreactions. Kind of weird.

I don't know if it's because of what was going on at this point in my life, what I've gone through since, or if the music just isn't any good, but I just don't connect with that it any more. Oddly enough, bands I picked up a couple of years before and a couple of years after I still listen to.

I don't know what this means, if it means anything. I just thought it odd.

225 years ago today...

British General Lord Cornwallis surrendered 8,000 British soldiers and seamen to a larger Franco-American force, effectively ending the American Revolutionary War.

Pleading illness, Cornwallis did not attend the surrender ceremony. His second in command, General Charles O'Hara, carried Cornwallis' sword to the American and French commanders.

As the British and Hessian troops marched out to surrender, the British bands played the song, "The World Turned Upside Down."

This Day in History.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Worthwhile reading...

Teflon at Molten Thought has posted a primer for the media that is well worth reading.

Political content within.

CBGBs is closed

It's been all over the news for the past few days, and CBGBs has now closed its doors.

I wasn't sure if I was going to post about this because I have no strong tie to the place. I've never been there. I thought it was something that would outlast me. Some place that I could just go visit any time. I mean, I know that's not very logical, but it was a place of such mythic proportions that it just didn't seem that it could end.

And in that, I guess that it did affect me. The bands that cut their teeth there certainly were a huge impact on my life and the lives of many others. It's a sad day.

I certainly hope Mr. Kristal lives to get his new club opened.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A movie meme

Not tagged, I picked this up from Portnoy.

1. The last movie you saw in a theatre It was either Pirates of the Carribean 2 or Superman Returns, I can't remember. I think it was Superman because I saw it on base and they always play later than the current screenings.

2. The last movie you rented/purchased for home viewing. Sitting on top of my TV right now are Click and Garfield 2, neither of which have been watched yet.

3. A movie that made you laugh out loud. One of the funniest movies I've ever seen is The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra.

4. A movie that made you cry. Crash. Yeah, yeah, the little girl with the invisible cape thing blew me away.

5. A movie that was a darling of the critics, but you didn't think lived up to the hype. There have been many, but I despise Dances With Wolves.

6. A movie that you thought was better than the critics. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

7. Favorite animated movie. Fire and Ice.

8. Favorite Disney Villain. All right, I'm kind of cheating on this, but I'm going to say Marsellus Wallace. Yeah, yeah, released by Miramax, but Disney is Miramax's parent company.

9. Favorite movie musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show

10. Favorite movies of all-time. Blade Runner, The Matrix, Fight Club, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, Pulp Fiction - hell, all Tarantino movies, From Dusk 'Til Dawn, The Prophecy, Dawn of the Dead (both) ... many, many, many.

No tags. Do it if you'd like to.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Seriously, At This Point I Wouldn't Mind if Someone Would Just End My Life

I am, at this very moment, stuck in a class. A class I could have tested out of. But I didn't. I thought, at the time, that it would be an easy A. It was another class to bump up my GI Bill from 3/4 time to full time.

Dammit I am an idiot.

The ongoing ant diaries

The boys feet were pretty much good by Monday. They still looked nasty, but they were scabbed and healing.

So, how does he decide to test how well his feet are doing? Well yesterday he decided to dance in an antpile again. This time he got far fewer bites. But still.

You think he'd have learned. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

And Ken rejoices

Goats Key to Spread of Farming, Gene Study Suggests

Goats accompanied the earliest farmers into Europe some 7,500 years ago, helping to revolutionize Stone Age society, a new study suggests.

So, there is history behind Ken's urges.

More nothing from the nothing farm

The big event of the day yesterday was watching Mythbusters. That's how my life is going right now.

We are down three employees in our office of six. At 50 percent manning, I am now officially doing three jobs (including my own) and sometimes one other. It wouldn't be quite so bad, but after work, most nights of the week, I have classes. And this semester is kicking my fourth point of contact. I only have one more semester after this one to graduate and that's been my mantra.

I fear becoming used to this level of busy. Once we have hired more employees (job announces Oct. 16, any photojournalists or communication majors interested in working for the government, contact me via e-mail and I'll let you know how to go about it) and my school is over, it will be dead dull. Right now, I look forward to that boredom, but I know that if I become used to this operational tempo I will dread that once it happens.

Otherwise, everything is status quo. Hope everyone else is doing OK.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Happiness is ...

Attacking the water with reckless abandon.Leaping into a situation with such carefree abandon that you don't care that you're getting your pants wet.*

* Of course you know that mom and dad are going to take care of it, but still.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Boy + Ant Hill = OUCH!

It looked worse in person.We went to and have returned from Biloxi, safe and sound. It was a good trip and got to see my wife's dad and step mother and my parents, who came down from Louisiana.

Didn't do much exciting. Played on the beach a little during the chilly morning. Saw lots of very cool cars because it was Cruisin' the Coast weekend (the website hasn't been updated, but the about info is all sound). Many classic cars packed the roadways. There were plenty to drool over -- classic GTOs, Cameros, Thunderbirds, Barracudas, Roadrunners, and many more.

Bowled a little bit. Did some shopping. Tried to relax a bit before jumping back into the hornet's nest that work has become.

Speaking of small insects that inflict much pain, right before we left, the boy (14 months old) stepped in a pile of red ants. Both of his feet were covered. He received about 35 bites per foot (click on the pic for a larger view). I really felt for the guy, but other than right after he was bit, he didn't complain about it. He didn't like wearing shoes too much, but he was a real trooper.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Faster Than The Redesign

Today is day one of the new format at Faster Than The World.

We are now a daily magazine in both name and format. Please stop by and check us out. My Because I'm All About the Guitar article is up with several other funny and interesting articles.

Bookmark us and check us out daily.

Don't forget to leave your comments.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Odd, unintentional behavior

I've got this quirk. Whenever I type something that I type often -- say, a username and password -- I will pull back my right hand when done and drum my fingers across my desk. It's very odd and I've only recently become aware that I'm doing it.

I mean, I've always been aware, but I've only recently noticed that I always do it and always in these circumstances. Any time I've typed something rote and reach back for my mouse, I tap the fingers. It's like knocking on wood or something.


Whatsabout you?

Blogiversary, among other things

Good Thursday to you all!

I hope everyone else is getting a long weekend this weekend. I'll be out of the net as we're heading back to Biloxi to visit family.

Monday marks my one-year blogiversary. I can hardly believe I've been doing this for a year now. I don't know if I've added anything to your lives by coming here, but you've certainly added something to mine. Through your own blogs or the comments you've left here. Whether you've validated my opinions or have given me something to think about, shared an experience or funny story or just stopped in to say hi, thanks.

I look forward to another year with the blog and my new weekly column at FTTW.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Disappointing endings

Anyone else more than a little torqued off at the Eureka season finale?

Look, TV writer/producer people. I don't mind if you end a season with a question. I don't mind if you don't really answer any of the issues you've been building during the season. I don't even mind if the ending only leaves me wanting more. Hell, it'll make it that much more exciting when next season rolls around.

HOWEVER, if you're going to do any of the above, don't advertise the season finale as "The episode that will explain everything!" 'Cause, dudes, then you just alienate your audience and piss us off.

I would have been fine with: SHOCKING DISCOVERIES, or EVERYONE LIVES HAPPILY EVER AFTER, OR DO THEY?, but your build up was far off the mark of your delivery.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Heroes, part deux

A good lineup for the fall line up.I finally caught up on episode one over the weekend and watched episode two. This is quickly becoming my new favorite show. Being a fan of comic books my whole life, it's hard not to love a show about superheroes.

Oddly enough, I just read the "Marvels" mini-series that Marvel Comics put out in 1994. Hadn't read it before. For those who haven't read it, the series is a twist on all the old comic tales. It starts with the birth of the original human torch. You know, the 1930s-era torch. And brings it up to near-present day. But rather than just retell the stories, it tells its tale from the point of view of people who are being effected by all the superhero activity. It was a rather ingenius concept. It puts one into a perfect frame of mind for watching Heroes.

We're not only seeing the stumbling first steps of new heroes, but the rarely-seen-in-comics effects on the world around these people. Most comics would have you believe that John Doe one day gets hit by a bolt of cosmic radiation and immediately dons a cape and goes to fight evil. It's just the way they're built. And I love them for it.

Heroes is about characters first. And is done very well. I highly recommend the show.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Itchin' for some fiction?

The fine folks at Faster Than The World are holding a Halloween Fiction Writing Contest.

Entries need to be fiction, Halloween themed (but not necessarily about Halloween), no more than 500 words, and no more than two entries per person.

For a complete list of rules, visit FTTW.

It is hard to relax...

When you have a bunch of stuff coming up. When you have time consuming and pressing activities over the weekend and equally pressing activities waiting for you back at the office on Monday.

It's equal parts anxiety, anticipation and a desire to get it over with. But whatever the cocktail's made of, sipping it has caused my battery to be left running. I never went into recharge mode. And I hate the feeling.

I bought my girls new bicycles this weekend and they've been riding fools. Better to focus on that.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Office humor

Best unintended double entendre of the day:

My goodness, that nut was salty.

Sometimes, I love my office.

Another embarrassing photo post

Circa mid-1999.Signs of a secret devil worshipping rocker:

Secret devil hand sign? Check.

Danzig, Slayer, King Diamond, or Iron Maiden T-shirt? Check.

Tongue in or out? Out.

Setting a good example for youth? No.

Recommended action? Immediate termination.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Irony is so ironic.

Parody dammit!

With this oven you could cook two turkeys, broil two different things, cook four different items and still cook some pancakes on the middle, built-in skillet. What're you waiting for, woman?Women of America, you have lost your way. But, take hope, I am here to show you the way!

At what point did you lose your love affair with the wonder of modern appliances -- the gas oven? What did the oven ever do to you? It's done plenty for you and your family, let me tell you.

A ladies and her oven should be the best of friends. It should be a lady's oven -- a LOVEN, if you will. If this is not the case, perhaps you just haven't cooked that meatloaf that you've had in mind. Maybe you feel that your oven has feelings for another lady. Take heart! This is not the case! Just broil a steak, it will cure everything!

On behalf of the BACK TO THE KITCHEN movement, I implore you, women, cook a potroast! Bake some bread!

Nothing says lovin' like something in your LOVEN!

A Utopian kitchen.What's wrong with the picture at right? Well, what woman has time to talk on the telephone when she's concocting creations in her kitchen?

An observation...

V-8 with hot sauce makes a damn fine breakfast.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bringing the hammer down


If you plan on reading Marvel's Civil War series and haven't read #4 yet, you may not want to read any further.

I covered my feelings on the Civil War series a little while ago.

Well, I still feel the same way about the series as a whole. But there are some things that happen in comics, regardless of the circumstances surrounding it that are so amazingly cool, there are no words to properly describe their awesome.

Such is the case in Civil War #4. Their explanation is cheesy, the battle is getting more and more ridiculous, but they offer us this:

I come from the land of the ice and snow, of the midnight sun...

And I didn't even show the aftermath, 'cause I'm sure your head would explode from the hyperawesomeness.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I haven't seen it; tell me it's nice

One of the most anticipated new shows of the fall season, for me, was last night's Heroes. Well, I didn't watch it. I did record it though and hope to watch it tonight or tomorrow. Most likely tomorrow.

But, if any of you watched it, without giving anything away, what did you think?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Six Degress of Celebrity Smackdown

Will riding on the car hood be enough to put TJ over?Is The Fall Guy strong enough? Fast enough? Was beating on Farah, training enough?Today at Faster Than The World we are engaged in a riotous debate over who would win in a TV character throwdown: Captain Kirk or TJ Hooker. While the answer should be obvious (Kirk), much debate rages.

But as I thought about it, I decided to ask the true and deep question (playing a little Six Degrees of Heather Locklear here): Who would win in a throwdown -- The Fall Guy or TJ Hooker?

You tell me.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I have been tagged ...

Otherwise I'd have nothing to post about today.

It's the books meme I avoided before because no one tagged me specifically. But, Portnoy tagged me, so I will be agreeable.

1. One book that changed your life: STP 21-1-SMCT Skill Level 1 I probably could have answered the Bible, but I was raised on it, so it wouldn't really have "changed my life." I don't want to use any of my fiction authors for this question because some of them are already going to repeat. So, the Skill Level 1, Soldier's Manual of Common Tasks, issued in basic training and expected to be memorized by graduation. Profound change.

2. One book that you've read more than once. Since this is only one book, I'll say The Federalist Papers

3. One book that you'd want on a desert island. Portnoy had a great answer for this. I'd say 101 Things To Do On A Desert Island would be good -- if someone's written it. If not, I'd go with my Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy compendium.

4. One book that made you laugh. Oh, definitely the above answer. But recently I've been reading The Government Manual for New Superheroes and it's a riot.

5. One book that made you cry The 9-11 ComMission Report.

6. One book that you wish you had written. The book I haven't written yet.

7. One book you wish had never been written. Meh. I have no hate against thought. Plenty against practice. It'd be easy to say Mein Kampf or The Communist Manifesto ... but, really, it's people and their charisma that put this stuff into action. Not books.

8. One book that you are reading at the moment. The superhero book I mentioned earlier.

9. One book that you've been meaning to read. American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson

10. Tag five others that you’d like to do this meme. Nope.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Because I'm All About the Guitar: Welcome to my new addiction

Can you shred?As my kids get a little older, I am getting more and more tempted to buy a game console. The XBox 360 is insanely expensive, so we were looking at many of the older consoles. I know that the PS 2 is about to be replaced, but they just came out with one of the coolest games ever -- Guitar Hero.

I almost bought the console just for that. But, a little internet research led me to find: Frets on Fire. It's a freeware game that is modeled after Guitar Hero.

So, my fingers have been busy pecking along to the songs. While Guitar Hero gives you a guitar-like add-on to strum, Frets on Fire uses the keboard. You press one of five keys for one of five strings and use the enter key for "plucking" the strings. It's more a game of timing, musical rhythm, and hand-to-eye coordination.

But it's about the guitar. So I'm hooked.

Go to the Frets on Fire site, download it, and try it out. It's too much damn fun.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

New toy fun

Click for larger picture.It must be toy day in blog land today. We got some new toys in the office today. Two 10.5mm fisheye lenses.

So I took some time to go out and take some pictures I've been wanting to take for a while. I've been wanting to take some shots of the front of our headquarters building for some time. We use these kind of shots often for all kinds of publications and requests for such kind of shots.

Now, I go out for a story today and decide it's a great time to take these shots.

Click for larger picture.I get to the front of the building and there's a doggone van out there in front, so I couldn't get some of the shots I want. At least not that I'll use for reproduction somewhere.

But I was able to shoot some "proof of concept" photos. The flagpole shot was exactly what I wanted. Turned out exactly like I wanted. Damn van.

The next shot was better than I expected. I stepped on the other side of the van to get some idea what my field of vision would be. I was able to get far more in the picture than I thought. They claim 180 degrees. Not sure if it's quite there (shooting with a D1, the CMOS senor is smaller than a 35mm mirror and film), but it's doggone close.

Can't wait to do some more shooting. FTTW is having a photography "contest" and I think this has secured for me the idea I was thinking about.

According to my bank, I am a pedophile

My wife was conducting some business with our financial institution this morning. At one point, she had to confirm her birthdate. The process failed. She attempted several times, all with the same fruitless results.

So, she called them to find out what the problem was. They said, "To give you any information, we'll have to have you verify your birthdate."

My wife gives her birthdate and they say, "No, I'm sorry, we can't give give you any information."

She tells them that no, that is her birthday. So they ask, "What about the birthday of one of your children?"

She gives them our oldest daughter's birthday. They say, "That's the birthday we have on file for you, ma'am."

So. My credit union thinks my wife is seven years old. Go figure.

Favorite toys

This toy rocked!Tracey has a great little meme going. One of the questions is, what toy were you most obsessed with? The meme focuses on ages 5 - 10.

My answer was the Evel Knievel stunt bike, but I after I read her blog post, I ran across the photo I posted here. I loved this freakin' thing growing up. It's part of the whole weeble-wooble people city thing, but this toy served so many purposes in my childhood. It was of great use for my Matchbox cars. Later, it served as urban terrain for G.I. Joes. Good stuff.

When I was young, in the 5 and younger range, I had this huge Cookie Monster puzzle. At the time, it was bigger than me. I grew out of it, but my parents kept it for my brother. They wound up pasting the puzzle to some fiber board. I think it's still around today.

So, what are yours? Make sure to visit Tracey and comment there.


My fears have come to fruition.

Two of my co-workers have accepted positions elsewhere. Both are leaving in less than two months.

Getting this base to hire someone sucks. They are slow. And lazy.

I am already doing someone else's job on top of my own since our base photographer left several months ago. Somehow, I am going to have to find a way to absorb these other duties also.

The downside of government work is that you don't get compensated when you are given all this extra responsibility and work.


/Pity party.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

It's a good day, but I don't own an AK

Dudes. It's 68 feakin' degrees out here this morning. Yesterday it was like 80 something by this time and we hit 90s again later (after the rain). Today is wonderful. I can't wait until this is the norm again.

And yesterday gas was $2.21 at my regular watering (well gassing, I guess) hole. Today it's $2.15. Nice.

Just thought I'd share.

Don't go in there!

Squishy, squirmy, icky and disgusting.

What horror movies have made you cringe?

Go to FTTW and let 'em know!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Lunch time

I have discovered that my new favorite steak sauce is a combination of A-1 and rooster sauce. They were made to go together.

For some good food advice, visit Baby Huey's Dishful of Metal at Faster Than The World.

My wild world of dreams

The Wilder Wonka was weird.I don't remember a lot of the dreams I have. At best, most of the time, I only remember snippets. But sometimes, I get a lucid, memorable dream. And those are usually quite odd.

So last night was such a night with such a dream. I dreamt that I was part of a group of people learning about amusement parks. Like, how to operate them and how to build rides that are wild enough to be fun, but sedate enough for a youthful audience.

The guy showing us around, the big boss ... ? Willy Wonka. Gene Wilder Willy Wonka.

Couldn't have Scarlett Johansson or anything. No. I get Willy Freakin' Wonka.

I don't even like roller coasters.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Check it out

My new Because I'm All About the Guitar post is up at Faster Than The World. Make sure to check it out!.

Another taste of my Mondays

A while ago, I told you all about a chaplain whose submissions made my Mondays hell.

Please read the link if you're unfamiliar with the tale. I'll wait …

Well, he's back y'all. Check out these gems:

Our world does not abide poor planning and lacking resources. Our lives do not capitulate well, when needs are not met and wants cannot be assimilated. The same can be true in our spiritual lives. The same can be correspondingly important in our love life.

I can't make out if he's talking about love and spirituality or a Star Trek plot involving the Borg.

One of the more essential elements of those blessings is to experience the joy and pain of love. Love can find itself in any number of places in many different kinds of things. The love we may experience can be significant, it can be troubling at times and it can be sufficient enough to keep us coming back for more. Love is more than basic affection or sexual activity. Love can be more sentimentality and much more than superficial niceties both warm and fuzzy.

I am dumbfounded. I don't even know quite what to say about that. Except that maybe we should put a GPS on that love think since it keeps finding itself in so many different places.

Oh, this is profound:

The chronology of our life is an unfolding anthology.

It's like a Mad Lib for a profound statement.

The (insert noun) of our life is a/an (insert adjective) (insert noun).

Try it yourself. Make it as nonsensical as possible. It'll sound more deep. For example: The carburetor of our life is an unwritten leopard.

How cool is that?

Lastly, the good chaplain uses his best pillow talk to seduce his reading public:

I have experienced three plausible ways that love can grow. First, my thoughts toward you can be nutrients of our love. My mind is filled with pleasantness. Second, my feelings about you can be the fruit of the love that has come to fruition. Third and maybe the best, is my life with you. It all culminates in the everyday. We live and love together. Love is God, God is love and in our hearts, that’s a winning combination.

I didn't say it was a good seduction.

Have a good day.

Ghost town

Sorry posting has been so light here in HAPD-land. Real-life events have taken over a lot of my time lately.

This weekend my wife and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversay. Don't know how she put up with me that long, but she has. Add to that the normal lifestyle of having three kids and, viola, instant busy!

I don't know if their will be any substantive updates later today, I have a mess of a week ahead of me. But make sure to hit Faster Than the World today. Aside from the outstanding regular content, my weekly Because I'm All About the Guitar will be up this evening.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Here I Come to Save the Day

Ability to fly comes standard.Dudes. I was the towel master.

A huge safety pin, my special towel, and a vivid imagination are the the most cherished things I had as a child.

My special towel was this near-lime green colored thing that was unremarkable except that at one end it had an extra flap of material about an inch-and-a-half long. This end was the top of the cape. It was like a folded down collar.

Slap that thing on and I was Superman. Or Dracula. Or my own variation. Running up hills, jumping off barrier walls, running around "flying," and doing whatever else my cape allowed me to do was how I spent a lot of my youth.

And I have scars to prove that I was a typical, unthinking boy. The handle of a screen door carved its initials in my face once when I tried to run through the door, thinking I was Superman. I believe I was four. Another time, I ran and jumped smack into a wall, knocking myself senseless. I was hoping to stick. Like Spiderman. Somehow, I avoided ever getting the cape caught and choking myself. The safety pin would have given way, probably, but I'm still surprised it never happened.

I had a buttload of kids in my house last night. My wife's best pal from this area is moving today. Her three kids and my three kids have been great friends. It's a pretty sad day. Last night, the kids were over so they could play one last time and the adults could be free to do some packing, etc. Another friend, dropped off her three kids for a bit. It was crazy.

I tried to get some things done before I had to go to class, and all the noise and distractions were frustrating. But as I watched them play and jump and dance to music, I wish I had my cape.

These days all I have are towels.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

In the doghouse

Keep your nose clean, brah.a>Wow. I admit, I like this show, but I can't help feel the force of the irony in this story. I hope this works out well for him and his family. But, there's something to be said for obeying the law. Not just ours, but of the country you're in.

Updating my roll

If you take a look at my sidebar, you'll notice a couple of new entries. Reel Hollywood is a site by a guy in the movie biz, but he blogs a lot about guitar stuff. So it's cool. Reel Fanatic is a site by another Georgia guy. It's centered on film and TV. Very neat stuff, and not only do we share a state, but we also appear to have very similar jobs.

Go check 'em out.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

You should be ashamed of yourself

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingOkay. We've all written or responded to blog posts that have posed the ol' guilty pleasure question. That is, what movie/song/TV show do you like that you are ashamed to admit?

Well, I'd like to put a spin on that. What movie do you think current stars should be ashamed of having appeared in? There are easy examples: Ben Assfleck in just about anything he's ever done (outside of Kevin Smith movies), Susan Sarandon in Rocky Horror Picture Show (not that I personally think RHPS is bad, I love it, but Ms. Sarandon has long been embarassed by her role in it). I'd like some new material, or things we might not have thought about before.

My entry is Brad Pitt in Johnny Suede. Not only is the hair a thing of wonder, but the movie itself is just plain bad. Embarassingly funny bad.

What're yours?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

My, how animated

Technology Business Blog has a post up rating the top 10 animation movies. It's a pretty weak list, honestly.

I'm sure we can do better:

Akira. Spirited Away.

So many more.

Monday, September 11, 2006

We're on a mission to destroy

The mission is not new.

It all began as a way for two old-school punk rock fans to talk about their passions. It has grown into something much larger than the sum of its parts.

Debuting today is Faster Than The World's new online magazine format. Over 20 writers, of which I am one, will post new content weekly on a variety of subjects. From music, to guitars, to movies, to sex, to life on this planet: the new FTTW offers something for everyone.

Make sure to stop by and see FTTW in all its glory.

Faster Than The Fucking World

Sunday, September 10, 2006

2,996 Project: Remembering Benito Valentin

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI never met Benito Valentin, but I have a feeling that it would have been memorable if I had.

He was a father and a husband and was dearly loved by many. One of the most memorable things about Benito was a funny routine he did singing along with a remix of Rapper's Delight.

His wife wrote: To my darling husband, whom I miss dearly, you will always be unforgettable. Your in our thoughts, prayers, and hearts. Your spirit will live thru us always and forever, 'til the end of time.

And his son wrote: Hey daddy its me jay jay. i really miss you daddy.every time i see a picture of you or hear the rappers delight song i think of all the times you made me, danyelle and alyssa laugh.guess what we got a dog her name is baibee,you would like even if poops all over the place.mommy is doing fine so is danyelle,me and alyssa.but we all miss you,and never forget you because you were the best daddy anybody acn evr have.WE ALL LOVE YOU!!!!

Please. Never forget.

Other 2,996 bloggers:

Lisa remembers.

Ken remembers.

Sheila remembers.

Visit the 2,996 Project.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Because I'm All About the Guitar: Is moving

The Gibson ES 335 is one of the most legendary guitars in rock and roll.This will be my last regular Friday BIAAtG post here. My column will be posted weekly, Monday nights at Faster Than The World. Since my column here will be either a cross or supplemental post of what I'm doing at FTTW, the posts here are moving to Monday evening also (or Tuesday morning, depending on how late it is they get the post up).

So, as this is my last Friday BIAAtG, I pose this doozy of a question to you: Where would American music be without the guitar?

It's the one instrument that drove our music to be different. Although it took jazz years to use the guitar as a primary instrument, blue was developing at the same time as jazz using the guitar as the only instrument.

The guitar was very influential in early Country and Western (hillbilly) music. Not really as an instrument to set melody, but as a rythmic instrument. There weren't any drums in the early C&W and the guitarists developed a strum-knock way of playing that was both rythmic and percussive.

Of course, the guitar truly came into its own with rock and roll. Would we even have rock and roll without the guitar? I think not.

So, compose your thoughts. Where do you think we'd be without the guitar? It's surely a place I wouldn't want to be.