Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year Revolution

So 2007 is drawing to a close. Not really a year for the books, but we all survived to now, and 2008 is just around the corner. As is customary in this world, we all decide to start the new year right by deciding on some changes in our lives. And then in about 9 days, we abandon it all and go back to the box of Twinkies. Here at SALS, I know that there are major changes I can stand to make. I consider my changes, though, a revolution - an attack on the old to bring about radical change.

I have broken them down into four categories, and I get the feeling I will be rambling, so I will only post a couple today, and then the rest in a day or so. Well, do you ride the edge of your seat with bated breath wondering what my 4 changes are? No? Well, I'm telling you anyway. My life alterations will come in the sections of my weight, finances, emotions and spiritual life.

1) Lose weight. No brainer, huh? It is the most popular new year resolution, after all. And I, like others, could stand some waist trimming. We are the fattest nation, growing at an alarming rate. At my age, I don't need the extra health risks. Going to the chiro has helped my back a great deal, and I can only help it more by getting down near a more ideal weight. I figure I have at least 30 extra pounds I am carrying that diet and exercise will remove, and about 10 more pounds that will transform from fat to muscle. I am shooting for between 205-215. So no more snacking after 8pm. More bag lunches and less eating out. The benefit of that will trickle down (actual trickle down theory, not that fake Reagan one) into another resolution. Healthier snack foods like fruit, veggies, yogurt and more, instead of a trip to the vending machine. Walks with my wife and/or my dog around the block, or a stroll on the treadmill in front of the TV. Discipline - that is the key.

2) Lose bills/gain savings. Getting the finances tamed is another popular one, and I'm gonna snag it up. My goal in 2008 is to stop saying the phrase "Ok, who can we afford not to pay this month?" and replaced it with the phrase "where shall we go on vacation this year?". I am fortunate to have some very talented friends that kick major tail when it comes to budgeting. While I have touched on their knowledge in the past, I have not stayed on course and continue to stumble through pay weeks. Not only do I need to speak with them more, I need them to help me be accountable (pun intended) to keeping on track with the payments on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Nothing like a kind, but firm, smack down for failing to keep within a plan. It's all for me and my family's best interest to live in our means. Another aspect of my financial is to have the ability to be more charitable. I am blessed with a roof over my head, food in my stomach. Sure - it's rough some weeks, but we make it. Some people need that help. My home could provide that, if I was better prepared. I have too much crap anyway.

So that's two down and two to go.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

800x600 = 480,000

So I was messing around with my layout yesterday. I'll be honest - I am not a huge fan of this template. Kinda boring. So I was hunting around for other templates, found one that was decent and was trying it out, but I'll need to tweak it some to make it work, and I really don't know if I want to deal with that. But in the process of uploading the new, and then going back my original layout, I realized this template is designed to be view on a monitor with the resolution set at 800x600. And that made me think - who really uses that setting anymore? For those of you reading this (all 3 of you - thanks!), for fun, flip your resolution back to 800x600 and enjoy the hugeness that is the My Computer, My Documents and Recycle Bin icons. Hurts, huh?

At home, my monitor is set at 1024x768, mainly because my nice 19 inch screen went belly up and I reverted back to a smaller CRT. At work, I have a nice huge 21" flat panel, so I run it at 1500x1400. And let me tell you, this blog runs down the middle of my work PC like the racing stripe on a '67 Shelby. Even the cheapest Dell comes with a 17" monitor and a video card capable of 1920x1440 (25% higher if you go digital).

I guess my thought is this: let's force 800x600 out. Think about all the other items that were forced out in the world: leaded gas, DDT (not DDP), dietary ephedrine, Chinese toys, and real Jingles! If we can get rid of 800x600, then our page width will no longer be hampered by the resolution of the viewer's monitor. RISE UP AND REVOLT!

Now playing: "International Pop Overthrow" by Material Issue
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

You're a mean one....

'Tis the season. Lights, presents, cookies, TV specials, over commercialization. Oh, and some fat dude in a red suit.

Enjoy this fine rework of a Christmas classic. Well - a classic for my generation, as a Christmas season was not complete unless you watch the special on TV. Now, you can watch it any ol' time on DVD.

Friday, December 7, 2007

I ain't putting that in my mouth.

So my wife bought me a box of Jingles the other day for work. I have had them for a few days, and finally broke open the box today. Talk about disappointment. Those dumb elves have no clue how to bake. I guess they must have some baking skills, but no idea about the fine, delectable taste of Jingles. To be blunt - they screwed up BIG TIME! I have had a box of McDonald's cookies that taste better than these abominations. Calling these Jingles is akin to calling Domino's "pizza". I was all prepared for that delicious anise flavored biscuit to crunch and crumble in my mouth with the sweet shot from the crystals of sucrose. Instead, I attempted to stomach this illegitimate outcast from some 4th level of Dante's Hell. Utterly flavorless, unless you consider "crap" a flavor. And what's with the meager sprinkling of sugar? Is there someone who counts out the granules?

Here is a prime example where larger companies buying up smaller companies is a major mistake. Salerno knew what it was doing when it created the Jingles brand many a moon ago, along with it's other major contribution to snackage. Keebler seems to have just wanted the name, and thinks that shoveling dirt in a box marked "Jingles" will sell. Maybe at first you will have buyers, but you cannot change the recipe of a favorite that has been around over half a century. I don't recall hearing a major market fluctuation in the price of anise, so one is baffled as to why those dang dwarfs think they need to change what currently (well, current until the present nauseation that is on the store shelves) has been a great seasonal seller. Interesting enough, Kellogg's sold off the Salerno brand, but kept the name. Morons.

So if you seek the real Jingles, just be on the lookout for a little cookie sold as "Santa's Favorites", under the Salerno brand. I hear you can find them at Target, which curiously is the same thing I would like to put on that stupid elf tree.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The end of the world as we know it...

So the first significant snowfall has hit the Chicagoland area. And yet again, dang near every driver could not identify the strange tiny white objects falling from the sky, and drove as if some horrible was happening.

Funny - I have been in this area all my life. 4 plus decades. I don't remember a December without snow. And I see all the plates read Illinois. Kinda sad.

And what about SUVs? Just how poorly designed are they? I have only been in my wife's CR-V, and that thing is pretty stable. Is her car an exception to the rule? Are many of the others unable to grip the road and have rotten handling? I mean - there's slow, slow, and slow, but come on! It's the little pedal on the right, push it. Do they put bald tires on most SUVs? Maybe the front of the vehicle has some kind of oil spray jet, ala James Bond?

Now, I don't expect a person to operate their car at too high a rate of speed in bad weather (though if you really want to be noticed when you are going through an intersection, an angle works best). But doing 25 in a 60 on a road that looks like it rained - that's a little too cautious.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Go with the flow.

The common translation of Tao is "the way of nature". It's a sense of not struggling against the world but instead finding the path of least resistance. It's not a selfish sense, though, but more of a feeling to allow one's self to work in harmony with the world.

Being a Christ-follower, I see how the way of nature is my path and purpose. In the world, we tend to do so much, yet gain so little. And in the end, we feel tired, and unsatisfied. But by letting go, surrendering to God's will and following His plan, I do little and gain much. Hear (read) me out (and I'll start with a metaphor to thrill my English teacher):

My life is a river. In my decisions on how I want to live and what I want to do, at times I swim side to side, even upstream, against the current. I expend a ton of energy trying to go against the water, and gain little ground. Then when, and if, I get to where I want to be, I'm wiped out. No power left to do anything - at least not with any good results.

Now, let's go the other direction in the pool. Instead of fighting the waves, I allow the flow to take me downstream. I expend just enough energy to stay away from the banks, and if I hit a stone in the stream, I simply go around it, instead of trying to push it out of my path. I travel a great distance, and when I arrive, I am filled with strength to accomplish the task at the end.

This is me following God's way, and not mine. Why do I just get this at 42 years of age?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Uncle Ben said so.

So I was sick last week and into the start of this week. Fever, cough.....the whole deal. Bronchitis. Big whoop. Got some augmentin and I am on the way to recovery.

There....I talked about while I was gone. It's sort of expected in blogs, I hear. Oh. I am losing my voice. Kinda tough when your job is talking on the phone all day.

Anywho - if you have not visited this link: should. And right NOW! Don't ask, just go. And have fun saving the world, 10 grains at a time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The gratuitious sex post

Family values. Fair and balanced. We report, you decide. You hear that a lot on a certain cable news channel, which really seems to avoid such monikers. See - there is this little website, Fox Attacks, that keeps a watchful eye on Ruport Murdoch's empire of politically skewed news reporting, and show it for what it really is. How they stomach watching the site deserves a Nobel prize, if you ask me. At least the Rolaids relief man award. I think Fox has hit a new low, as the below video will document. How any of the images matched up with the "news story" being reported - that's a heck of a stretch. Is someone getting their arm touched a the Playboy mansion news? I guess to the editors at Fox it is. Do we need to see a teeny bikini contest to help us better understand there is a possible serial killer loose in Daytona Beach and how we can protect ourselves? Does pouring ice water on my chest while wearing a white t-shirt scare him away?

See for yourself:

Is it really number one with viewers because of it's "fair news" or it's sex appeal? Considering this report, I wonder.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The wedding ring (or: How I Went to A Rock Concert and Had an Epiphany)

This is my friend's band Eutychus Falling. They RAWK, and rock pretty hard, I think. That's Josh Campbell on his banana colored guitar (this is actually an old pic - that guitar is now a sweet black with pinstripes), Brian Walker hiding behind the drums, Brian Weber on acoustic, and Josh Jahn bassing it up. Yes, Josh/Josh, Brian/Brian. I don't know if they planned that. They had a gig at Clayton's Tap in Morris. First one in a while, and it was a pretty sweet show. I sat with Josh Campbell's lovely (and slightly pregnant) wife Laura. She's the best! As the show was rocking, Laura made a comment about having to get Josh a new wedding band. Being the HVAC guy he is, he goes through them a bunch. He had been without one until Laura got him a replacement. It seems Josh was the target of some major pick-up action at the last EF show. So now his ring finger is adorned, again.

Anywho....the show closes out (with Freebird - what else?) and Laura is all giggly and turns to me saying "I am so glad he is married to me, cuz I would want him SO BAD!". A cute statement, to say the least. So cute I had to mention it to Josh. Well, I am heading home and I think about what Laura had said, and it struck me - she is still in awe of her husband. He can still do something that amazes her. And I thought about my own marriage, and I really can't recall the last time my wife said "I am so glad he is married to me". And that is my fault, because when is the last time I did something that amazed her? If I can't excite my wife with getting the garbage out on time, or keeping the bills organized, or getting a door on the shed, how am I going to amaze her with anything else? How many other couples may struggle with their marriage because they don't amaze each other? I am sure in some couples, there exists an impossible level that one spouse can never achieve. That's unfortunate. Yet in so many others, doing the little things could really keep that spark around. And in doing the little, mundane things, there will be energy left so when you do something really neat, you can be a hero to your spouse.

Friday, November 9, 2007

How about a little gratitude???

Now, I seem to recall a hearing that a Seinfeld episode talked about this very subject, but let me say up front that I was never into that show. I can't even watch the reruns. I have probably seen all of ten episodes, and I just don't find the amazing humor that is Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer. Then again, I thought Paycheck was a pretty dang good movie.

However, what in the world has happened to the courtesy wave? Has it become that impossible to show a little appreciation for kindness? Now, the rampant disappearance of this endangered species won't stop me from being thoughtful to my fellow motorist. In fact, being nice actually speeds up my commute, so you can think of this as me really doing it just for myself. However, why can't someone acknowledge your actions and show a little love to you with a simple hand swaying? If you have this whole 2/10 hand position fear, remember you are probably traveling at under 5 MPH when you merge, so I don't think you will be crashing any time soon, Jeff Gordon. And waving won't get me pulling out a gun for I think you are flashing some rival gang sign at me. And I am fairly certain I passed far enough through math class to discern the difference between a 5 fingered expression of gratefulness and a single finger symbol of displeasure.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

My secret....

The computer tech support rep. The Dittos addict.
Jeff has agreed to be in a blog about addiction. He does not know he will soon face an intervention.

Ok, so here's how it started. A couple months ago, an my way home from work one day, I stopped to get gas at Speedway. I usually will go in to pick up a little snack for the rest of the ride home. Lunch is early and a feel a little nibbleish. Well, I couldn't find any Cracker Jack this day, so in my search, I came across Jenny's Dittos. Not the cheddar or the butter, but the caramel corn Dittos. I think Heaven has been found on earth!!! Where to start?? Ok - this is a popcorn product with no husks. +20 points right off the bat. But the key of these gems is the caramel coating. The kernel is not lightly coated like Cracker Jack but a heavy, hard, sweet caramel coating exists on each delicious nugget in the bag. Words cannot properly convey these golden globes of gourmet goodness (my English teacher would be so proud of that alliteration). I can only suggest to you that you yourself procure a bag of your own to really see what all my fuss is about.

However, you stay out of the Speedway's located at 1) Itasca at Arlington Hgts Rd, 2) Bolingbrook on Joliet Rd, 3) Bolingbrook on 53 & I-55 and 4) Shorewood at Rt. 59 and Black Rd. Those are MY stores - don't be buying from my pushers. Find your own freaking supplier.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Nutjob followup.

Great article here from Huffington Post:

So basically, she's a liar. She hates liberals, 9/11 widows, the Democrats, the Clintons, Jews, gays, etc..... But she is more that willing to frequent a gay owned business with possible gay companions. Kinda reminds me a Hitler.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

But who would be my padawan?

Find out What's Your Jedi Name at

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Some people seem crazy. Others like to give the impression they are crazy. Others still have episodes of being crazy. Then we have Ann Coulter. Each time I see her or hear from her, I think she has hit a new level of dumb. And then some other TV show gives her airtime and she out does herself from the previous time. Does she make for good ratings? Do the producers support her words? Are we all just fricking insane and she is the normal one? I can't quite grasp how anyone wants to give this woman any forum to open her mouth. From hating Jews to hating 9/11 widows to hating Democrats to hating gays, she has cornered the market on being a total..... This has to be the final straw:

I am sure it won't be. Fox News is always a place for her.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Global warming...

With the increase in CO2 and the horrible things man is doing to the planet, the temperature is slowly increasing. We have had some of the warmest summers and winters on history in the past few years. The increase in the weather activities (rain, floods, hurricanes) can all be directly attributed to the imbalance in the atmosphere. Right now, in October, the Chicago area is having 80+ degree days, so hot that an unfortunate death occurred in this year's Chicago Marathon.

So with all this, one thing I have noticed (and has been overlooked, in my book) is how freaking hot or cold the workplace is. Hear me out: with the bizarre fluctuations in the weather - 25 degree swings day to day becoming the norm - most building managers can never get the HVAC system in sync with the outside conditions. You end up being uncomfortable in your cubicle from the room being either too hot or too cold. Today, it's too cold and I need to run down and grab a jacket from my car. I am sure, looking at the forecast, it'll be too dang hot in here next week.

Thanks a lot, Mother Nature.

Now playing: "Bullet The Blue Sky" by U2
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lost Palaces

Last week, while I am not sure what brought it to my mind, I was thinking of the old Brighton Theater on Archer. I had only visited the theater a couple times (most notably to see ESB with my mom). What a great theater it was - balcony, murals...a classic. And I say was, cuz it was closed and torn down a while back.

Anyway, thinking of the Brighton made me want to see the old gal again, so I did a little googling. And what should I come across, but this website. Holy Cow! For someone that just adores going to the the movies, seeing some of the past greats was fantastic, but at the same time, disheartening. What have we lost by putting up yet another strip mall with a dry cleaner, Blockbuster and pizza joint? As a society that needs everything right now, we have lost the pure joy and beauty of going to another world for a couple hours in a beautiful room, ornate and pristine. In our hurry-up lifestyle, we have replaced the pleasure of a night at the movies by going to a mega-googa-überplex where we can see one of 700 movies, all starting in the next 5 min, sit down in a sterile, cold, unfriendly room on top of the person next to you, shovel in stale popcorn and gigantor drinks that we needed a small loan to afford....all to see a movie that quite frankly sucks.

I ask you to browse that site and see all we have lost and will never get back. Thank God that many have seen just what these are worth to us, and many have been spared the wrecking ball. They may not be in their original state and purpose (The Oriental comes to mind), but the beauty of the architecture remains, and that is a bonus to us all.

For those that wish to really enjoy a great night out with a loved one, your family, or even a little trip to the past with friends, may I recommend a trip to to Downers Grove and a visit to the Tivoli for a experience that should take you back, or your first real movie theater experience if you have never seen an ancient jewel. The Tivoli is the 2nd movie theater ever built in the United States exclusively to show "talkies". From an over 1000 seat auditorium to beautiful reliefs, you can be like my children and spend the first 20 minutes just staring at the walls. I highly suggest a Friday or Saturday night show to get the joy of the organ before the show.

I want to thank the owner of the Lost Palaces website for allowing me to post a picture and link to his page. I lost your email, but thank you so much for sharing your love of old movie theaters with the rest of us!

Now playing: "(Keep Feeling) Facination" by The Human League
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Where were you 2191 days ago?

Visit Exhibit 13.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pet Peeves

So I noticed I have a few pet peeves. Well, I know it makes me human. Who doesn't get frustrated over silly things? Fact is - mine are way more important than your's. :) Ok - seriously. I have always wanted to write a book about my pet peeves. I'm no starving, closet-wannabe author at all. I just thought it could make for a funny book. I also have an idea for a pregnancy book for men. So many books about pregnancy are for the women. Let's face it - when your wife starts carrying that baby, EVERYTHING changes. But that's for my book (or another blog entry). Anyway, I thought I would just throw a few of my current pet peeves up, cuz I got nothing better to say right now, except that I wonder how much longer we have to deal with the "Rex Grossman experiment".

  • Don't give me butter straight from the fridge to spread on my toast. It's just not going to work. You're only option is to cut wafer thin slices and lay them strategically on your bread. At a restaurant, forget about it. In those little plastic cups??? You're screwed.
  • If you drive an SUV or a truck that has the spare tire on the back, and over that same spare tire you have a cover of some sort with a word or more, could you please straighten it? Come on - can't you tell that "HONDA" tilted at a 49º angle make you look lazy? It takes about 5 minutes to fix - find the time, Marty McFly.
  • Toothpaste works much better when it's pliable. In that regard, put the cap back on. Thanks.
  • When you leave the house, not only should you have a destination, you should also have a decent idea how to reach that destination. Don't make it up as you go along. And if you really have to, don't make it up as you drive on a major avenue in front of me.
  • The first personal computers came out in the 70's. That's over 30 years ago - one generation and then some. How many people have still not come in contact with a computer? And why are they calling me for help every day? I'm going to take a wild stab and say you still have some digital clock in your house that is not programmed to the correct time.
I have just scratched the surface. I better stop here.
Now playing: "Your Attention Please" by Blue Man Group
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Kevin Bacon score of 2...

Robyn Lively was in The Karate Kid, Part III with Gabriel Jarret
Gabriel Jarret was in Apollo 13 with Kevin Bacon

On a side note:
Elic Bramlett has a Bacon number of 3.
Elic Bramlett was in The Best Movie Ever Made with Steve Michaels
Steve Michaels was in Nowhere to Hide with Maury Chaykin
Maury Chaykin was in Where the Truth Lies with Kevin Bacon

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Christmas in August

Any chance this could be under my August Christmas tree?

September 24th is such a long way away......

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Running neck and neck...

So I now go to a chiropractor. It's really been a long, oft delayed action of mine, and I am sure, by 6pm tonight, I'll get smacked (figuratively) for waiting this long.

Really, if we go back, all my back pain (and let me tell you, there is some back pain) can be traced to a fall out of a tree when I was 14 or so. Landed right on my coccyx from about 5 feet or so. I recall it hurting pretty bad, but being of that age, big whoop, right? I felt fine the following day, so I thought so little of it.

Well, let's move ahead years, to me waking up with back pain at the base of my spine. Hurt, but a simple rotation of my waist, a pop and a crack, and I was good to go. And if we jump a head a few more years - the pain is still there, but the Chubby Checker move just ain't cutting it. Yet, stupid me just puts up with it, Advil'ing it and warm baths.

Well, with my wife going to take care of some issues she's having, I got a free exam out of the deal. While the pic here is NOT me, it's pretty dang close to my neck. And for those they don't know, that is not a good neck. No curve at all. Not good. I am putting too much pressure on my spinal cord. Tonight, I see the xrays of my lower back. Yeah....those should be pretty funny.

So it'll be an entire wellness program. Get that curve back in my neck and see what can be done to loosen my back. Don't get old. Trust me on this one.
Now playing: "Slow Turning" by John Hiatt
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Move to Russia, have sex, make babies....

.....and win lots of prizes!!! I wonder if they have a showcase showdown at the end.

While the article cracks me up, a few of the comments to it have me a little worried. Just how many more people will buy into the "no global warming" myth?? Just what catastrophe has to occur for people to truly understand that man and some of his activities on this planet have a negative effect? Katrina wasn't enough? Floods all over the world? Wicked temperature changes? Acid rain? And when do these same people switch gears and pull out their "well, the Dems didn't do anything about it" talking points memo?

Time to wake up people. 90% of scientists can't be wrong. Especially when most of the ones that CLAIM there is no such environmental change are the same ones that are funded by oil, coal and other fossil fuel organizations.

Oh....the girl? Well, search "Russian flag" in Google and she was one of the image returns. It was you that thought naughty. You should be ashamed.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Vacation, part deux...

So, back to my vacation. Week 2, otherwise known as the "full week" of vacation, started with housework. For some reason, my daughter talked my wife into a yard sale. So, getting all the stuff (and by stuff, I mean that in the nicest sense cuz really, what is sold at a garage/yard sale but sh*t) together was a chore beyond chore. Pricing and all - a lot of work undertaken by my wife. I was mostly the grunt, moving stuff about. Before the big days (Fri and Sat), we took a little trip to Yogi park in Plymouth, IN. Man - I have been going to this place f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Best guess.....27 years. The kids love going there for it has long worn off it's fun for me. But since they like, we go. Plymouth is a "not much" town. Not a lot to do. We did hit the movies (the drive in was not an option with the rain), the kids fished, dinner at Ponderosa (don't find many of them anymore) and then a stop at Albanese candy factory on the way home. Oh yeah.....just call that place heaven!

So, yard sale. We sold a bunch of stuff. A lot of the rest went from the driveway to Morningstar Mission. 'Nuf said.

Monday, back to the doctor. The son needed his HS physical and I had a follow up. Doc and I talked more about my crappy numbers. So, I'm still alive, and I have a goal to drop at least a pound a week until I go back in December. Pressure.... And we didn't touch the Cubs banner. Yet.

Friday, July 27, 2007


So I am on vacation this past week or so (total of 10 days to be exact). No real cash to go anywhere, so we have been puttering around the house. It's not like there wasn't activities to do, though. It's been a pretty decent time off.

Started with Ignite Chicago. That was a blast and then some. Some really great bands on stage. We arrived in the middle of Seventh Day Slumber's set, and they were sounding pretty sweet. Metal meets Jesus....who knew. After them, Tree 63 took they stage. They were great to listen too, and of all the bands there, really had the only decent t-shirt I liked. But I didn't really have the cash, so I didn't buy it. I will kick myself later. After Tree 63 finished, Barlow Girl came on. Dang!!! They KILLED! Chicks can rock! I started working my way to the stage during Rebecca St. James's set. She was RSJ - very standard and very good. She had her brothers sing a song. You can just see the line of swoony teenaged girls mentally jotting down their Myspace page to add on their friends list. After Rebecca (and a too long a break cuz of a technicial glitch, which was passed with a little crowd surfing to return a passed t-shirt to autograph):

came David Crowder - the real reason I wanted to come. And he didn't disappoint. The crowd was totally into the band and his set. It was a crime when his set ended, but they already had him extend it one song. The night was complete with Casting Crowns, who were, I guess, considered the head liners. They finished the night very well, and we all left with a good smile on our face (to match any of the red from the sun).

The following day came a trip to Burbank for the Chicago Fire vs. Celtic FC. While it seemed that Celtic could just bring their developmental team, best I could tell from fans and my partners (which included my son, his friend and his father, who hails from Scotland), this was a good part of the real Celtic. The game was great, as were the seats. I am sure the size of the field made it a little more difficult for Celtic, but the teams did have a pretty evenly matched feel to them, which was a good surprise. An "all play at one end" domination would have made the game pretty crappy to watch. Turned into a 1-1 draw, and I guess that is the best one can hope for, with the garbage season the Fire is having anyway.

Ok.....more vacation fun in the next posting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hey batter, batter....

So I play in a Saturday morning softball league. Some days, 7am comes REALLY early. But it is fun, paling with friends, laughing, and getting back (sort of) to one of my first loves - baseball. I'm back patrolling 2nd base, like the good old days. But, those were long ago, and my stick and glove are quite rusty. I can't recall a single error I made back in my baseball days. Now - my body just doesn't move fast enough or bend over low enough to make the play. I need to work on that.

Now, in regard to the lumber (errr....aluminum now), that is slowly coming back. I was never the long ball hitter. Hell - I only hit one home run in my entire sporting career, at that was at a field with no fences. Ball in the long grass on a fly = Home Run. I bet that ball hit the grass about 3 inches off the ground (I never looked at the ball). In the beginning of the league, I was having major issues. From swinging bunts to crappy pop fly Texas leaguers - nothing like I was used to. "Get your elbow up" was all I heard. Well, I finally decided to just concentrate on the back elbow, and low and behold - the stick came back. I even hit a home run, go figure. So it was a bit of an error and some unknown wheels that got me all the way around the bases - that was a home run in my book. We are in first place right now, playing the top team just percentage points behind us this weekend. Does it get any better than that?

Oh right - it may not, since the coach is moving us up to A division next season. What the....?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Fun with Goodyear

This cracks me up. Especially the ending. 6+ min long, but worth it, I think.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tab A into slot B

Can I just say that getting your car repaired after an accident is akin to being sent to the toilet bowl wax sealing ring convention, entering a drawing for a trip to San Francisco, hearing your name over the intercomm, only to go to the booth and find out the trip isn't ready, returning to the "exciting" convention, hearing your name again, and so on and so on.

I am now on week 2 without my car. And a PT Cruiser is a POS replacement, let me tell you. First the parts were delayed, then there was more damage that took the insurance company 2 days to get back and approve, and now the aftermarket part fits like crap, so they are swapping it out for an OEM part. Delay, delay, delay.....

(BTW - no, that is not a pic of my car. That is more how I feel about the whole deal. But thanks for asking.)

Monday, July 2, 2007

Paper never played so good

Welcome to my new addiction. Oh man - these things are SO dang awesome! These are Star Wars Pocket Models by Wizkids. These things are just amazing. First off, they are Star Wars. That, alone, is enough to make them beyond awesome, into some realm that, quite frankly, I cannot create words that would truly describe them without taking away from the greatest they are. Second, the design of these little models is well thought out and designed. They just ooze cool. Third, these are not those cheap, cheezy paper models when I was younger. The paper stock is über thick, and I has to have some kind of plastic coating. The ship construction tabs just will not bend when you put tab A into slot B. So no 5 year old frustration of the completed "toy" looking like crap or falling apart here.

You can find them at Target and Walmart, they claim, though Walmart has been a bust for me so far. They aren't cheap at $5 a pack, but you get at least 4 ships in a pack, sometimes 8 (I have run that range in the packs I have bought, averaging 5 ships - 4 fighters and a larger ship). Plus you get 6 cards with them, ala CCG cards. The standard common, uncommon and rare kind (3-2-1 packing). I have a couple foil cards. Not sure if this is the standard for the cards I got (Solo and Vader) or if they are more of a "rare" rare.

But what do I really care - these things RULE!!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

My comfort zone

I have THE best seat at work. Except for the office dwellers (which would be the boss above my boss and our HR person), I have the best location. Back in the corner. No one behind me. No one in front of me (empty cubicle), a wall to the left and the only person really near me is on the right, but our cubicle design really keeps them away. Basically, I am in a land of my own. If someone comes to talk to me, I can see them from a good 20 feet away. I feel in total control of the office. I'm no control freak, mind you. I just like things a certain way.

Well, all that is about to change. They are flipping the seats around. Being that I am right next to the lab, they have an idea for the three cubes over here (me, empty and Patamint). So I guess Patamint and I are getting the bump. And I may NOT be moved to the back of a row. That is what I am really bummed about. I do not like being on display. If I want attention, I will draw it to myself. And I work best without anyone looking over my shoulder.

It was fun while it lasted, I guess.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Bayan (and Weird Al)

It's like an accordion, but just slightly different.

Monday, June 25, 2007


5-1. 2-1. 3-0. This is dreadful.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Organization, stress and the rest...

So my life is in total disarray. Who's isn't, right? With all the responsibilities of being a parent, spouse, employee, home owner, friend and about a million other hats, it's very simple to live a life of complete chaos. Then factor in my incredible skills of....well....suck-a-tude, and you have a recipe even Rachel Ray would turn up her nose. I really don't know how I got to this point, other than to believe one or more of the seven deadly sins (I'm looking at you, Sloth) had a huge role in it. Then we factor in that my doctor tells me my cholesterol is high, my sugar is high, my good cholesterol is low....blah blah blah....and that's enough of a wake up call that says it's time to kick Sloth to the curb, along with his pals (not so fast though, Lust).

Just can leave too, Lust.

Anywho - so changes are in the works. For starters, a good "To Do" list, with all the crapola I always forget on the list, with actual completion dates and such. The dates are the hardest part (contrary to what Tom Petty says). When the list is as big as it is, trying to knock out tasks in an orderly fashion and on schedule is difficult. Then have someone quite....well....suckful, trying to make some sense and create a viable sequence of said tasks - that's a challenge. So it's a slow go right now, but a go at the very least. Better than the past, which was a long series of inefficiency.

Then the whole doctor thing. For starters, I have eaten more fruit in the past two weeks than any fruit bat. And man, I really want a Hostess cupcake! But I do feel a little better. My back is still ....well....suckage, but that will come as I get the weight loss in gear and start the exercising. Eating healthy is a chore, but it is important to me. My wife mentioned something that cinnamon helps with lowering cholesterol. I wonder if cinnamon sticks are tasty to chew on, ala beef jerky.

And finally, the bills. I don't think I need to go into any description of the total....well....suckedness, of the family finances. Budgeting, yet another ability I failed to receive. It is definitely a learned talent. One would think with my mad math skillz I would have no issues with budgeting. Well, I can handle balancing a check book. That is simple. Balancing the out going cash.....that is a skill. A friend (Kayla) is incredible at money organization. I just need to continue picking her brain.

So my goal is about 210lbs and just some medical debt by 2008. Then I won't....well....suck.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Random musings 6/15/07

I love payday. I hate the bills that suck up the cash, but I am grateful the day arrives and I can help the family survive another week.

Saw POTC3 during the week. What was wrong with it? It wasn't as bad as I have read.

I need to pick up my Star Wars stamps. I hope my wife doesn't mind a $300 purchase at the post office. I hope the couch is soft this weekend...

My doctor says my cholesterol is high, so I need to get that down. I don't think anyone has eaten as much fruit as I have in that past week. He also said my sugar is high. Geeez - I am missing the vending machine on my 2nd break. Getting old bites.

I am amazed how good I am feeling each week after softball. Maybe I am not that old. (I almost typed that without laughing)

Thank goodness for all the Viagra ads in my email. I just don't know what I would do without knowing of the 56.3 million places I can buy it without a prescription. I am getting old, ya know.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Sometimes, you can't go home (or at least you shouldn't)

So I had a doctor's visit yesterday. Nothing too serious (some stomach thing), but really, that is not the basis of this post. So let me explain.

My family doctor moved his practice out of state a few months back, so we have been on the hunt for a replacement. My mother suggested her doctor, so I made an appointment with him. His office is located in Evergreen Park, so I headed there after work. As I said - no biggie, take these pills, see you in a month, blah, blah, blah.... I left and headed home. Being where I needed to park, I found myself at 99th and Crawford, so as I live south of 99th street, I turned left. I called home to let me wife know the baboon heart transplant was not needed at this time (we had surmised either that or I would need a partial lobotomy - insert your own joke). As I was driving, I was commenting on how the neighborhood had changed (side note - I grew up in the area. Maybe I should have told you that before. Sue me.). This place was gone, this place had get the idea. Well, I hit 115th and Crawford (Alsip) and comment "Hey - I am near my old house, I should drive by" which my wife returns with "go for it". So I turn down 117th heading for the old digs. Small talk as I drive ("The ball fields are still the same. Man, the trees are big. There's my grammar school that we used to climb on top of the roof."). So a jog here, a turn onto Rosemary and then a right onto Howdy Lane (yes...Howdy Lane. If you want a story on the name, you will have to ask). So the chat continues - "The Grant's lived there. I forget the name of the people there. These peop....". I stop. For I see the house. The house I grew up in for the first 17 years of my life. The house I threw a rubber baseball off for hours each day in the summer. The driveway I rode my skateboard, minibike, bicycle on and shoveled in the winter. The bushes I would dive into when the neighborhood kids would play "war". The garage that I still remember the day it was built - there is a 1972 penny embedded into the concrete. The sidewalk that was the ramp for many an Evil Knieval bike jump over numerous Tonka trucks. There was my house.......and it was ruined.

For hanging from the awning....... was a Cubs banner.

I felt ill. I felt my entire childhood just ripped from my soul, thrown to the ground and trampled. "What evil incarnate life form would do such a thing", I thought. Are we truly in the end days? Is there a forecast for fire and brimstone in the near future? How can such a thing happen? I almost pulled over and ripped that offending flag from the house, in an attempt to save it from further embarrassment. But I drove on, knowing that I must. I am no longer that 5 year old, with the clubhouse in the crawl space. I am no longer that 8 year old, sneakily watching TV after bedtime by lying on the hallway and peeking through the space between the stair runners at the basement television. I am no longer that 10 year old, playing "running bases" along the sidewalk and tearing up the grass when we slide. I am no longer that 12 year old, sledding off the garage roof into the huge pile of snow from the blizzard of '79.

But I do have an appointment back in the area in 4 weeks. That could all change.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Random thoughts....

(This could be scary. You have been warned.)

Yard work sucks. I hate it. Oh, I like how it looks when you finish, but I do not enjoy the pain you get at the end of the day, or for the next three for that matter.

Gas prices are down.....from impossible to unreasonable. I like how John Stossel totally kissed the butt of the oil companies on 20/20. His logic is completely unsound and his claims are total lies. The fact is that oil companies have made record profits for the past two years, while they reap tax benefits. I think Stossel is bucking for a job with Fox News. All he needs to do is spend 3 years talking about Anna Nicole.


The Sox bullpen makes me cry.

Rented "The Departed" this weekend. Ummm....what the hell was that? So Scorsese got his Oscar for that movie. Well, "Gangs Of New York" was a 100 times better of a movie than "The Departed". Just when you get into one of their stories, it flips to the other. Bad editing. I should have watched "Zoolander" again.

My next life, I want to be rich and stupid.

Beer qualifies as an appetizer. I have an Outback steak house coaster that claims that, so who am I to argue.

Friday, June 1, 2007

South Side...."What the??"

I think I got all too chummy on the Sox last week. I don't know what we need, but this team just isn't cutting it.

On a side note......ok - I don't have a side note. At all.

Friday, May 25, 2007

It was 30 years ago today.

People always call me a Star Wars nerd. I just don't get where they get that idea. But I am a slight nerd. I guess you can see proof of my nerdness here. Or here. I can remember the first time I saw Star Wars. It was at the awesome Coral Theater in Oak Lawn. I remember when the movie started, and the Star Destoyer just kept going, and going, and going.....I was hooked. My mom would drop me off at the Coral every other weekend for a viewing. If my count is right, I have seen ANH in the theater 57 times. Factor in video and DVD at home, along with this 8 track (age comments will get you hurt, readers) story I had of the movie and the number of "viewings" exceeds 300. More than a space movie, it was an incredible telling of the basic good versus evil. I, like many, can honestly say my life changed the very day I saw Star Wars.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Good guys wear black

So the ChiSox bats are finally waking up. After giving away 2 games to the Flubs over the weekend (yes - gave away - those were not clean wins Flubs fans), they decided to wake up their bats. Now, it's not doing jack squat for my fantasy team yet, but at least we can battle in games now. Nice to see Thome back and hitting as well. Ya need a stick like that to keep the other teams honest.

Related, while speaking of the Flubs, they did announce that Mr. Cub Ernie Banks is getting a statue outside that pit they call a ballpark. It's about damn time. While you can hate the uniform (it's in your DNA, people), Banks was a hell of a player. How do they give Harry Caray a statue before Ernie? Harry was a shell of himself when he was with the Flubs. Backwards talk, stupid fan shout outs and poor play calling....Caray should have quit years prior (like when he left the ChiSox booth in '82). But if you have seen the videos "When It Was A Game" - Harry was on his game. That guy could announce for the Cardinals. Rent them if you can find them. You might just need to buy those videos, but they are worth it. Baseball from 1946 thru the early 60's. In color. Now that is baseball.

There....I have given you a movie night. Enjoy yourselves.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Post Uno

Don't really read this. It contains nothing you would really care about. In fact, it contains absolutely no pertinent information, except possibly a misspelling. But everything must start somewhere, so here is where it starts. Where it goes? Well - that really depends on what I think or feel. It could end mighty fast; it could just drone on and on about nothing (kind of like this first post); or it could really mean something. Who really knows what might come from my mind and into my keyboard.

I guess this will be just like a big Tootsie pop. Sooner or later, you get to the center.

I guess this first post did have something - a retarded analogy comparing it to a Tootsie pop. I hope I at least got a wrapper with a star on it.