This collection of entries is from September 2002.
Monday, September 30, 2002
Nimbus 2000 Update
Amazon.com has apparently discontinued the Harry Potter Nimbus 2000 Broom that I talked about earlier this month. Now it's listed as "This item is not stocked or has been discontinued". Was the demand too high or were they a little disturbed at the reviews they were getting? Mike pointed out an OpEd piece in the NIU Northern Star that has even more "unusual" reviews from other buyers. The solution? Just take the damn batteries out, and all you've got is a Harry Potter Nimbus 2000 Broom. Without the vibrations.
That's it - the White Sox lost yesterday. The season is over. Yes, there's playoff games and the World Series, but when your team ends its season without post-season play - it's over. (Oh, but if your team gets into the Post-season - that's a whole other matter - the joy, the excitement, the constant following of everything your team does, as well as those in your league, and even dare to think it - those teams in the other league just in case...)
I get all melancholy at this time of year. I measure my life by the seasons - baseball seasons that is. Yes, hockey is just around the corner (my minor league favorite - The AHL's Chicago Wolves - lost their first preseason game Saturday night 6-3), but I don't feel my body clock pacing hockey. It ticks to baseball. When the season is over, I count the days until pitchers and catchers report to camp, the days until the first Cactus League opener, the days until the first pitch of the new season, the first pitch of the home opener... I love baseball... I love being at the park and watching the games, watching how it progresses, the ebb and flow, the grass, the sounds, the tastes, the passing of time... how hard it was to leave Comiskey Park this week...
I am always reminded of my favorite quote from a fictitious Terence Mann, talking to a fictitious Ray Kinsella:
"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come."
Oh, to be in my seat again...
I can barely hear the phone ringing. I'm asleep and I hear the last ring before voicemail picks it up. I look at the clock - 7:22am. OK, that's not a damn telemarketer - who was it? I flip out of bed and look at my computer screen to see the last Caller ID message that was sent to the computers in my home network. It was Carol. OK, that means she's not home downstairs. The phone rings again and it's her. She has a flat tire and wants me to come help. So a throw clothes on, get in the car, meander through rush hour traffic to a gas station that has no air for her to use. We change the tire - first time on her Suzuki Grand Vitara, so we had to learn where all of the pieces are (jack, tire iron) and how to get the damn spare off the back of the SUV (including finding out that she has a key lock for the spare, which we didn't know about). As I'm jacking up the truck, you could see the problem clear as a bell - nail head. The entire nail is embedded in the tire. Anyway, change the tire, get her to work, get me home to collapse. Ugh. What a way to wake up...
Sunday, September 29, 2002
Antibiotics for Dad
Went to my parents house this afternoon. Stopped at a Walgreens to pick up a prescription that the hospice nurse called-in for my dad - it was clindamycin, an antibiotic in a heavy dosage. The nurse was waiting for us to get there. One of the cancerous tumors in the neck lymph nodes is casing some kind of infection, causing the lymph system to go nuts. Dad's face is all puffy - the right side of his neck is like a football, and (though I didn't see it) this infected "lump" is indeed oozing. The antibiotics should help kill this problem and get the swelling down, and maybe get swelling in the face down. I felt better talking to the nurse (who was just the "weekend nurse" and not Dad's normal hospice nurse). She says that they probably couldn't diagnose this correctly back on Thursday, and with the way things have changed over the past few days, it became clear that it really was an infection of some sort. I hope this all works - Dad was in better spirits later in the day, but he's much weaker. He needs to eat more. We'll see how this goes.
Dad is oozing
My sister called this morning - apparently Dad is worse. The "thing" is bigger, it's "oozing" more (how the hell is a thing on the neck oozing? Is it open?) Mom's waiting for the nurse to call. I had to call Mom to see how she was doing - she sounded pretty good on the phone - considering. The thing is "larger" (not in diameter but in "height"), oozing more (I don't get this...) and Dad's in more pain and isn't eating as much. We'll see him in a few hours and maybe I could understand what he's going through. I'm just not understanding...
Saturday, September 28, 2002
Arg... where's that screw...
An emergency trip to LensCrafters at Woodfield - one of my nose-piece thingies fell off, complete with screw which I somehow found. I'm going to need to get some eyeglass screwdrivers or something... I could have done this myself if a) I had the tools and b) I could actually see what the hell I'm doing - after all, it's my glasses that I needed to fix...
Dad has an alien?
Talked to my mom on the phone - sounds like dad's neck-thing is getting worse. I can't get a good description out of her or from my sister (an "alien growing out of his neck" is not exactly a definitive description of what's happening). I'm bothered by the fact that only a nurse has actually seen him, and that was a few days ago.
Looked out the window this afternoon - and it looks like it started. The trees. They're not exactly green anymore, though they haven't turned the yellow/orange/red of fall. But it's started.
Friday, September 27, 2002
Keeping tabs on Dad
I got a call from my sister this afternoon. She's going out of town for the weekend, and she wants me to keep in touch with our parents this weekend. Dad's not feeling well - he's got some kind of growth on his neck that Diane is describing as "an alien" that's growing there, and it's starting to ooze. It's supposed to be large and painful. The hospice nurse has seen him and has contacted the doctor (presumably the oncologist Dr. Clark) who is saying that this is probably the cancer that doing this. But this thing has just "sprouted" since Tuesday. The nurse will call tomorrow and she may get a hospice doctor to visit. This is weird. Can his cancer all of a sudden grow like this? I'll have to keep tabs on this.
Friday 5 - Relaxation
Time for another Friday Five...
1. What are your favorite ways to relax and unwind? Go to a baseball game, watch TV, sit outside on the deck at my sister's house in Michigan and do nothing
2. What do you do the moment you get home from work/school/errands? Well, back when I used to work, I would usually just sit on the couch and watch TV. I love TV.
3. What are your favorite aromatherapeutic smells? Coffee, Chocolate. Pizza, maybe with a slight burned cheese smell. Oh, wait! I got it! BACON!!!
4. Do you feel more relaxed with a group of friends or hanging out by yourself? By myself. I can just veg out and do what I want and not have to talk or entertain, even though I love my friends.
5. What is something that you feel is relaxing but most people don't? Surf the web and just do stuff on the computer.
Thursday, September 26, 2002
Survivor Thailand - Episode 2
"The Great Divide"
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Chuay Gahn just can't win - they seem to get so close... anyway, "Tennessee" Tanya Vance, the Social Worker from Kingsport, TN, gets the boot this week. (I'm going to miss those eyes...). Jan is the weakest (and inadvertently causing tension) and should go soon. I don't know why, but I love the idea of Clay's luxury item: the golf club & ball. It just looks like a great "down time" item to pass the time. In the meantime, even though they've been winning, Sookjai just looks like it's a mess, like an accident waiting to happen - though it looks like the accident is going to happen at Chuay Gahn next week between Ghandia and Ted...
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Last Home Game
I couldn't help it - I had to go to the White Sox game this afternoon. It was the last game of the season at home, and I felt compelled to go. Got a single ticket in the 11th row behind the plate. When I walked into the park (which was pretty empty at the time), you could tell the work on the upper deck was on it's way - all of the seats on the third base side had been covered in a blue tarp, and some scaffolding had been erected - looks like they're going to strip and paint the roof. Whoopee - new paint (too bad they don't have the money to fix the upper deck, like change the pitch, change the seating...). And speaking of new paint, the paint samples I saw Sunday night aren't the same paint samples that are there today - maybe they've gone from four colors to two in their selection process. I get some sausages (Polish with grilled onions and a Brat with kraut, which later I found out was an Italian Sausage instead) and go to my seat. Just before the game starts, this guy sits down in front of me with a bunch of equipment, and some other people are running an extension cord and some coax cable to his seat. He's working for NESN (the sports network that covers the Boston games) as a radar gun guy. this guy is definitely not a baseball fan, as he really acted like he wanted to be somewhere else all game. He must have got no more that 80% of the pitches on the gun, as he was fidgeting and bored and not paying attention. Oh, and it looked like he had pennies in his earlobes. Anyway, the game was great. Danny Wright held Boston to two hits in seven innings. Magglio Ordonez got a homerun off of first-time starter Josh Hancock. Keith Foulke got his career 100th save. Sox win 3-2. When Frank Thomas came up to bat in the eighth, the fans gave him a standing ovation - it could be his last at bat as a White Sox (because of the "Diminished Skills" clause of his contract (officially referred to as "revised payment rights") may be activated in the off-season). Then, the game was over, the season was over. I walked around the park almost by myself - there was only 12,304 in attendance and there were less people there now than when I was there last month for what could have been the last game before the strike. It was sad. I was sad to leave the place and I can't tell you why. I didn't want to leave. I just wanted to find a seat and just sit there - by myself. Me and the park. Me and Roger Bossard's turf. Me and the crappy blue seats. I felt safe. I felt comfortable. I couldn't stay - I had to go. And as I'm walking down the ramps, my eyes start to water behind my RayBans. Goodbye Comiskey. See you next year.
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
Shirtless Top 10
Dave just isn't letting it go.... tonight's Top 10 List:
Top Ten Shirtless Father And Son Explanations
10. He was obstructing our view
9. Autographed Tom Gamboa baseball would be worth more if he were dead
8. We're sorry, you'll have to talk to our shirtless lawyer
7. You try staying in your seat during a White Sox-Royals game
6. Dr. Phil says fathers and sons form stronger bonds when they commit senseless acts of violence
5. When two shirtless idiots can't attack anyone they want, the terrorists have won
4. People do crazy things after nine beers
3. For generations our family has proudly beaten first-base coach Tom Gamboa
2. Getting in shape for hockey dad season
1. Couple Mets players gave us some crazy weed, man
Big Brother 3 - Day 81 - Finale
With the exception of Jason (which was expected), everyone Voted for Lisa - Lori, Tonya, Eric, Josh, Chiara, Gerry, Roddy, Marcellas, and Amy. Lisa wins 9-1. I've been watching the live feeds the last few days, just to see what they would say. Danielle called it - she knew she was going to lose 9-1. Big Brother 3 was very enjoyable this year (compared to last). The live feeds rule - instead of seeing the edited production on CBS, watching the houseguests live their lives like guinea pigs in a lab situation was intoxicating to watch. It showed the truth, it showed how much the people tried to like each other in a situation that didn't allow it to happen. It's an experience that I would love to try someday, though I know it would never happen. I'm going to miss these (as Roddy would call them) "knuckleheads".
Tuesday, September 24, 2002
Well, $521.34 later, NTB installed 4 brand new Dunlop tires, balanced them and gave the car an alignment. The car rides a bit differently now - it rides better. Who woulda thunk...
Monday, September 23, 2002
Not much to talk about today... just a lazy day. A nice, cool, clear FALL day outside. Having a major motivational problem today. Some days, that just happens. Oh, well. Got to get new tires tomorrow...
Sunday, September 22, 2002
IT'S OVER... Summer passes into Autumn...
Birthday cake and ESPN Sunday Night Baseball
Went to my parents house for lunch. My sister Diane was over with Melinda so we could celebrate her birthday (remember, she was out of town on her birthday, though Carol and I already got her a present). Carol is driving this weekend since my car has that damn space-saver spare on it. I'll be getting new tires (yep, a full set) later this week. I think she's upset that she's driving, even though I've been driving to my parents and the ballpark all summer. She's pretty tired and stressed out right now. I didn't see too much of Dad. He didn't talk much, seemed tired and not as energetic as he has been. Hopefully, that was just today. His hospice nurse quit, and he has a new one - hopefully he wasn't the cause!
Hardly anybody in the parking lot when we pulled into Comiskey Park tonight, our last game of the season. The game time was moved to 7:05 just a few weeks ago, so ESPN can broadcast the game. They really bring out the equipment for the broadcast - they added 3 cameras around the plate, all remote control (one on the backstop, one at each dugout), one in straight away center, above the batter's eye for that special Strike Zone analysis shot. Plus three cameras in the regular center field position, a roving camera on the outfield concourse... Parabolic Mics everywhere in the outfield and camera wells - on guy in the camera well next to the White Sox dugout got hit with a ball - it went through the parabolic mic dish! I was looking around the park and noticed that they started test painting the concrete on the upper deck. There's four different colors, all gray. That's part of the off-season rehab. Nothing major - there's not enough money to really fix the upper deck. Did you know it would cost $4 million to replace the blue seats with green ones? It was Fan Appreciation Night - the team gave out gifts to some of the fans. We weren't one of them. The Sox SWEEP the Twins 8-2. It doesn't mean anything, as the Twins already clinched the division, but it was a show of PRIDE. Mark Buehrle got his 19th win (19-11), Frank Thomas, D'Angelo Jimenez, and Magglio Ordonez each had a home run. Afterwards, fireworks and saying goodbye to all of our Season Ticket buddies hoping to see them sitting somewhere around us next year. It was our last season ticket game this year, but I think I'll go to the Thursday afternoon game against the Red Sox, since that is the last home game. I just can't seem to let go of baseball this year...
Saturday, September 21, 2002
Big Brother 3 - Day 77
The First Head of Household became the Final Head of Household as Lisa wins the final phase of the challenge over Jason who had won Phase II over Danielle. Then, on the live show, Lisa evicts Jason. Danielle was distraught, and after the live show was over, she told Lisa everything. Everything about Jason, (including the fact that she wasn't going to take Lisa to the final, even though she gave her word), and even some truths about Roddy. Wednesday night, the evicted houseguests vote on who gets $50,000 and who gets $500,000. Go Lisa! (Wish it was Jason.)
White Sox 14 - Twins 4
Friday, September 20, 2002
Museums, Fish, Pearls, Fish
Well, the big vacation really isn't over. We drove back into the city to pick up Barry & Buffy to go to the Museum Campus. First stop - Shedd Aquarium. We hadn't been there since the Ocenarium opened. We caught one of the Dolphin Shows. Had lunch at the Bubble Net Food Court (which was actually good food for a food court). Watched the feeding at the Caribbean Coral Reef (where the rays really cool because they didn't have any tails - "some (unnamed) fish ate them off!!!" Then it was a walk over to the Field Museum to take in the special exhibits of Chocolate and Pearls. Alas, the girls couldn't get through the Pearls exhibit without buying some! The museum was closing-up, so it was off to dinner. We were going up on Lake Shore drive, when my passenger-side front tire blew out. We made it over to an emergency area and the pit crew changed the tire in about 7 minutes. Then it was off to Clark Street and Atlantique for dinner. THIS PLACE HAS MY HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION! GO. NOW. EAT. ENJOY. Service was impeccable. The food and presentation were phenomenal. Pricey - $200 for the four of us with appetizers, wine, and dessert. Worth every penny.
Friday 5 - Relationships
Time for another Friday Five...
1. Would you say that you're good at keeping in touch with people? Absolutely NOT. I have let way too many people slip out of my life due to my inaction. I miss them all.
2. Which communication method do you usually prefer/use: e-mail, telephone, snail mail, blog comments, or meeting in person? Why? EMail - it allows you to communicate when you can - you can respond to Email when you have a moment as opposed to calling someone and have them be in the middle of something and can't take the time to talk. I would prefer face-to-face, but is difficult to coordinate.
3. Do you have an instant messenger program? How many? Why/why not? How often do you use it? Yes AOL, MSN & Yahoo. I never use them. I probably should.
4. Do most of your close friends live nearby or far away? Most of them live in the Chicago area. I have some friends that have recently moved out of state - I miss them, but hopefully we can communicate through my blog and EMail
5. Are you an "out of sight, out of mind" person, or do you believe that "distance makes the heart grow fonder"? I'm not "out of sight, out of mind" kind of guy - I don't forget anybody, I just keep them with me in my thoughts. For some of them, there isn't a week that goes by that I don't think of them, even after many years.
Thursday, September 19, 2002
Big Brother 3 - Day 75
After 6 nominations, Amy finally gets the boot out of the house for the second time. The final Head of Household competition starts, as the first of three parts. Part One is endurance as the three remaining houseguests sit in liferafts in a pool, with one hand clutching their key which is in the nomination box in the middle of the pool. Last one that still has their hand on the key wins this phase of the competition. Oh, there's wind, lightning and cold rain that pass through every once in a while.
Update: Jason accidentally let go after about 30 minutes. After about 4 1/2 hours, Danielle gives up and Lisa wins Phase One - only after Danielle lies to Lisa that she doesn't have an alliance with Jason, and then lies again to say that it will be Lisa and Danielle in the final. So, Danielle lies, and admits to lying, but when Roddy may have lied, he was the devil? Bitch.
Survivor Thailand - Episode 1
"The Importance of Being E...est"
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HEY! No conch shell trumpeting to open the show!!! (I don't think I like the new theme music). The title of the first show was "The Importance of Being E..est". Most people would immediately thing "Earnest" but in this case it meant "Eldest" as the two eldest male and female chose the tribes (like picking people for your pickup-game). So, that was Jan Gentry (53) that chose the members of Chuay Gahn tribe, and Jake Billingsley (61) chose the members of Sook Jai tribe. John Raymond, a pastor from Slidell, LA was the first booted off the island.
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Sleepy drive home
Last day in Michigan. Woke up and packed to get on the road early (do you belive Carol has to go to work today?). Drove to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. and then drove home - got to our house around 11:15am. Carol went to work and I crashed hard on the couch, with Indy wanting to lay next to me (she missed us!).
Wednesday, September 18, 2002
Gambling, shopping, snoozing and eating
This morning, we made breakfast. Buffy wound up doing the eggs (good omelette). Eventually we got ready and went to Falatic's Meat Market. Spent over $100 on meat (though Barry & Buffy spent about $42 and looks like the have more meat than we do). The quality of meat at this place is wonderful. We dashed back to my sister's and put the meat in the fridge for later. Then, it was off down Red Arrow Highway, to Michigan City, Indiana. First stop - the Blue Chip Casino. Buffy put a $20 in a $1 Read White and Blue Wheel of Fortune and won $300. She cashed out. The rest of us did diddly. The boat is OK, but I think we got spoiled by going to the MGM Grand in Detroit. Next stop - Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets mall where much walking and shopping ensued. Getting tired, so drove all the way up to Stevensville to go to Cracker Barrel for lunch. Went back to D&W's to buy Brie and bread for dinner tonight. Crashed back at my sister's. I decided to drive up to St. Joseph to go to Best Buy to buy Monsters, Inc. on DVD for tonight's entertainment. On the way back, stopped at A&W on Red Arrow Highway to get a half gallon of root beer. When I got back, everyone was vaccu-sealing their meat that was bought this morning (we brought our FoodSaver with us to vaccu-seal the meat). Barry cooked pork chops and steaks (that we got at the butcher this morning). Watched last season's finale of the West Wing and then Monsters, Inc., and off to bed.
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
Henry Ford Museum and drive to Harbor Country
Checked out of the hotel this morning. Has breakfast at a Big Boy's down the street. Had to stop at CVS again to get Barry some different meds (he sounds terrible), the off to the Henry Ford Museum. Somehow, even though the museum is significantly smaller than Greenfield Village, it's a harder day. We're walking on wooden floors, and never changing texture, so our legs and feet are killing us. After the museum, a quick refreshment in the Michigan Cafe, then into the car to get some gas, and then we streak westward across the state back to my sister's house. We make the trip, including a stop, in about three hours. We can't go to the restaurant that we wanted to for dinner tonight because we have started the winter season in Harbor Country and many places aren't open all week. We decide, instead, to celebrate our anniversary at Schulers Restaurant in Stevensville. Great food and a great looking place inside - sort of prairie style. It was back to my sister's to crash. We watched ABC tonight (Diane's TV can just barely pull-in WLS-7 from Chicago). We watched 8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter (eh), Life with Bonnie (enjoyed and will probably watch the season) and Push, Nevada (got sucked into and need to watch more). Then we just crashed and went to bed.
A very good night's sleep. On the agenda for today - check out of the hotel, spend the day at the Henry Ford Museum, drive back across the state to my sisters' place, and out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary (hey, I guess I never mentioned that this past Sunday was our 23rd Wedding Anniversary?)
Monday, September 16, 2002
Back at the hotel from the MGM Grand Casino. The buffet had a nice, wide selection of items, but - WORST. PRIME-RIB. EVER. Dry. Over-cooked. The meat shredded like in a pot roast. Blech. Put a $20 bill in a quarter Five Times Pay Wheel of Fortune slot and walked away with $100. The casino is much bigger than I anticipated. Wasn't crazy about the look of the clientele. Barry sounds really bad. Hopefully the drugs we got him at CVS this afternoon will help.
Back at the hotel. Breakfast at IHOP (oh, what a THRILL that was. *gack*) Spent all day at Greenfield Village. Had lunch at the Eagle Tavern. Took in the Space Station IMAX movie in 3-D. Wow. WOW. WOW! Breathtaking. Absoloutely. Breathtaking. Must see. Anyway, back at the hotel. Barry is coming down with something. He's been hacking-up a lung for the past hour or so. Think we'll try the buffet at the MGM Grand Casino tonight.
Not as bad as I had thought...
Well, the beds at the Quality Inn were better than I thought they would be. Got a good night's sleep after the champagne and The Sopranos. Looks like it'll be a good season - Tony's life should become unglued, I think. Wonder how many guys will still be part of "The Family" at the end of the season?
Off to breakfast and Greenfield Village.
Sunday, September 15, 2002
Well, we went down the street to a BD's Mongolian Barbeque - a chain that we don't have around Chicago. Nice vibe, great service, good selections of meat and seafood. Would do it again. Back at the hotel now, waiting for The Sopranos to start...
Well, here we are in Dearborn, Michigan. The drive was a breeze. We stopped in Sawyer to get some groceries for Wednesday, stopped at the Swedish Bakery in Harbert for snacks, then drove to my sister's house. All of us had lunch at Horsefeathers, then back to Diane's for a Pit Stop. Back on the road to D&W's to get some champagne & brie for tonight, and then on the road. Took us less than 3 hours to get here. We're going cheap - a Quality Inn. Clean, nice, and has HBO for The Sopranos season premiere tonight. Now, it's time to figure out dinner...
Saturday, September 14, 2002
A & W
I know this is pretty mundane (hell, that's why my Blog is named what it is), but this was just so enjoyable. Carol, late this afternoon, decides she needs to go shopping for a few things for the trip, and she invited me along (I was shocked!). Anyway, we went to Target and didn't find what she wanted, so I suggested Woodfield. So, we shopped around there and got what she wanted at, of all places, Brookstone. It was getting near dinner-time. Somehow we went over to the A&W All American Food place. We couldn't decide on the food (we had Mickey D's for lunch), so decided on just getting a mug of root beer. I WAS IN HEAVEN. I had forgotten what fresh A&W tasted like. They give you a chilled mug, and you just go over to a tapper (that's mounted on one of their old barrels) and draw your own. Wow. I remember how we used to drive just to get a gallon of Root Beer to bring home. I haven't done it since the 80's. By then, the closest A&W was up in Racine, Wisconsin. We drove up and brought back a few gallon for us. Now it looks like they have a deal at this store to get 64oz. of root beer. It's not a gallon, but damn it's a much quicker ride! I just had to sit around a bit and sip and enjoy. Just had to share that.
Which Sim Are You?
Crazies around the world
OK, so I guess there was a bunch of stuff that happened in the world recently - Ramzi Binalshibh was captured after a shootout during two raids in Karachi, Pakistan. (Wonder if The U.S. will ever see him?) Al-Jazeera broadcasts another "documentary" titled "Top Secret: The Road to September 11" that has Binalshibh on tape talking about the planning, including coded messages. Five men were arrested during a raid on an apartment in Lackawanna, NY that allegedly "disrupted an al Qaeda-trained terrorist cell on American soil." And the three Muslim men that were detained yesterday in Alligator Alley are pissed. Do you blame them? They came up clean and accused the waitress who made the call of "flat-out lying."
Host is back
FTP host is gone...
Hmmm... FTP problems with my host... can't update the site... It's been a bit spotty this weekend. DNS trouble last night, now FTP problems.
I got woken up by a large sound that seems to be coming from underneath the bed. When I abruptly sat up, Indy popped out from under the bed. It was after 8am, and Carol was downstairs cleaning Indy's cage. She must have lost track of Indy, because she decided to venture out into "BunnyLand" and came upstairs for a visit. I didn't sleep all that well - the skunk's odor didn't dissipate until after 2am.
Well, I got the car washed at Turtle Wax in anticipation of our little trip. Every year, since 1994, we've gone to Las Vegas either at this time of year, or in Spring, or sometime both. This year, with my unemployment situation being as bad as it is, there's no way we could go. Instead, we're doing a driving trip. We're going with Barry & Buffy up to my sister's house in Michigan, then driving over to Dearborn, Michigan to visit Greenfield Village on Monday and the Henry Ford Museum on Tuesday, then driving back to my sisters' and spending at least a day there, before driving home. Much much cheaper. We had to do Greenfield Village on Monday, since it is closing until June of 2003 for some underground restoration project.
Don't know how often I'll be able to Blog from the road - we'll have to see how this works out. We all need to get away for a while, though.
Friday, September 13, 2002
Eet eez love, ma cherie
He came back. It's been a long time since he was here, and we didn't miss him. We open-up the windows at night - the weather has been great, and the nighttime temperatures have been in the 50's-60's. Great sleeping weather. Well, our "friend" just came back to the neighborhood.
I'm in my den, and I can smell him from here. The bedroom, with its windows open, is rank with his smell. Last year, he showed up every couple of weeks. This year, he hasn't been around since - believe it or not - winter. He's so "potent" that we had problems with him during the winter when the house was sealed-up. But with the windows open, ewwwwww. It's going to be hard falling asleep - his "presence" will be known for at least the next 2 hours...
The damn Alligator Alley terror alert could be a prank... In any case, nothing going on here, move along... move along...
Allegators and terror
Hey ... there's a "terror alert" down in/on Alligator Alley (I-75) in Florida, with two suspicious cars, with plates from Illinois - one from Hanover Park which is just one suburb over from me.
Yow! How did Friday the 13th sneak up on me?
Friday 5 - School Days
Time for another Friday Five...
1. What was/is your favorite subject in school? Why? It was my television production classes in both high school and college It allowed me to be creative and do something that I really enjoyed.. My second favorite in college was History of Popular Culture. Third favorite in college was Wine-Beer-Booze Geography - complete with wine tastings.
2. Who was your favorite teacher? Why? In High School - Mr. Morris, the Communications Department chairman. He was irreverent, yet had a good feeling fort television In college, Howard Shapiro a director for ABC. He directed a lot of local stuff, as well as some Olympic coverage. He wasn't a professor - he was a real guy in the business. Forget the books, get educated on how it's done in the real world.
3. What is your favorite memory of school? High school was the TV studio and the staff and productions we had done through the years, as well as the daily shows. In college - it's the time I spent outside of class, hanging out, eating microwave burritos.
4. What was your favorite recess game? I don't recall any organized game at recess in elementary school - I just remember hangin' on the monkey bars (and falling off once)
5. What did you hate most about school? I don't remember anything I hated about High School. In college, I hated that my professors were just professors and had no clue about how things are done in the real world. Hated that arrogance - teach by the book with disregard to how things are done.
Thursday, September 12, 2002
Big Brother 4
CBS has started accepting applications to Big Brother 4 to be shot in 2003.
Bulbs and mosquitoes
I really didn't want to write anything yesterday. It was just hard to be home and avoid the coverage. It was, however, a gorgeous day outside - low 70's, not a cloud in the sky. I needed to escape, but I waited for Carol to get home and we went out to Chevy's. I paid for it when I was trying to sleep last night, though. Urp... Today, another gorgeous day, but a little more clouds. Went to Home Depot to buy some lightbulbs for the outside lights. I only had 100 watt bulbs and that was over the rating for the fixtures. There are too many damn lightbulbs to chose from at Home Depot. Tonight, about 9 o'clock, the mosquito abatement truck was going through the neighborhood again. This time we didn't hear it (the generator on the back of the truck was noisy) - we saw the flashing yellow Mars light as he went by. Let's see how that West Nile Virus Tote Board stacks up - great, 314 cases, 13 deaths - both are highest in the nation. Why here?
Big Brother 3 - Day 68
Let's see if I can summarize a week... Jason nominates Amy and Marcellas. The houseguests all fail the Dinner Party From Hell food challenge and everyone eats Peanut Butter and Jelly for the week. The Power of Veto is now the Golden Power of Veto - the added twist is that if you are a nominee and you win it, you can take yourself off the block. Marcellas wins the Golden Power of Veto. Because of other programming, CBS hasn't broadcasted Big Brother until tonight. The Power of Veto meeting was held tonight live on-air. This meant that: 1) If a nominee is removed, the HOH (Jason) has to nominate someone in their place (again Live on-air), and 2) Since the Veto Meeting was held live on-air, the voting must be done live on-air. Marcellas doesn't use the Veto. Danielle goes into the Diary Room and votes to evict Marcellas. Lisa goes into the DR and votes to evict Amy. Jason, as HOH now has to break the tie vote - live in front of the nominees. In a distressed speech, Jason evicts Marcellas in something that no one except Danielle saw coming. Amy is shocked. No, She's SHOCKED. Marcellas looks worse - numb, zombie like. He leaves with little to say. Danielle wins the Head of Household competition for the first time since the show started. Damn - I wanted her out.
UPDATE: I was watching the live feeds at about 10:30pm. The houseguests were outside at the table, just talking. Then Julie Chen came over the speakers and said "Houseguests!" And they all replied "Hi, Julie!". Julie: "It's time for this week's luxury challenge!" (they cheer) "We have hidden four cell phones in the house..." (Amy screams) "Settle down, Amy. When I say go, you have two minutes to find them. Once you have found a cell phone, you must stay in the room that you found the phone in..." ... and the feed shifts to the Front Of The House (this is done on the internet feeds when the producers don't want you to see something happening in the house. They play that damn theme music on an endless loop forever). According to tonight's show, the winner of the competition will be able to call home. They were off the net for two hours. Apparently Amy won, being able to talk to her mother. I think the cell phones were from
Verizon T-Mobile- Amy was complaining about the connection quality. She also won $10,000, too.
OK, let me start by saying this - this is Chicago. If you go to a sporting event here, don't even think about starting a wave. We don't like it. It shows disrespect for the players on the field (or ice or court). It shows that you aren't paying attention to the damn game. Having said that, the University of Hungary has actually done a study of the wave.
OK, be honest - how many of you breathed a sigh of relief today when yesterday passed without any apparent attack on U.S. interests somewhere? Perhaps it's time to finally move on. Never forget - but move on...
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
You're travelling through another dimension...
I'm hearing the theme music from The Twilight Zone and the hair on the back of my neck is standing up... Today's Evening Numbers drawing of The New York Lottery for Wednesday, September 11, 2002: 9 - 1 - 1.
Remembering one year ago
It has been one year. The United States is still alive and free, though not the same.
al Qaeda is still alive and kicking, perhaps within the United States. The United States is under a high terrorism alert. Afghanistan is struggling to move forward with a democratic government. An overwhelming majority of Muslims do not believe the 9/11 attacks were carried out by Osama bin Laden, or by Arabs, or by Muslims, even though Al-Jazeera broadcasts tape of the hijackers planning the attacks and broadcasts tape of Osama bin Laden praising the hijackers. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has escalated. And, instead of helping the region by stepping in and help resolving the conflict, the United States wants to piss off the entire world by going after madman Saddam Hussein by playing the terror card with no solid, tangible evidence.
The world is no longer the same.
We were all touched one year ago, one way or another. My sister Diane worked for a company that is headquartered in New York, blocks from the World Trade Center. Somebody that she worked with had bought a disposable camera after American 11 had already impacted the North Tower. He was in a conference room, taking pictures out the window, when United 175 streaked through the sky, impacting the South Tower. Here are a few of the pictures he took that day. If the first picture looks familiar, it was on page 328-329 of the September 2002 issue of Vanity Fair, as well as in the book Here Is New York: A Democracy of Photographs. I remember when Diane emailed the photos to me. It gave me a "link" to the event and I finally felt a little bit connected from hundreds of miles away - though I'm sure it's only a fraction of a percentage point of what it was like to actually be there.
Tuesday, September 10, 2002
Getting oiled up
Since we're taking a trip next week (hey... I haven't told you about that yet, have I? I'll tell you later in the week...) I brought the car in for an oil change, change the wipers, fix a busted turn signal, top off everything, etc. at the local Jiffy Lube. Glad I did - I was a bit overdue (by about 7,000 miles)
*sniff* Where's my Blogmommie?!
I'm sad. Erin, my BlogMom, has decided to leave us. *sniff* I hope she'll come back soon...
Update: That wasn't long at all - 8 hours... don't scare me like that...
Just got a call from Damian - Chelby's husband. She made it through 6 hours of surgery, but the bones didn't break they way they wanted to, so Chelby now has a titanium plate in her jaw - permanently. She was going to have her jaw wired shut for over a week and then some kind of rubber-band contraption for 3-4 weeks afterward. Now, with the plate - she's going to be wired-shut for six weeks. Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch...
The Pentagon is considering put live ammunition in weapons that are going to part of the "Clear Skies 2" exercise that's going on September 11. Some military bases around the world have gone to Condition Charlie, while bases in southeast Asia are now at the highest level - Condition Delta. Others here are at Condition Bravo. It sounds like they don't believe that there's a threat domestically, but that the state of alert here is being raised as a precaution. Last year, intelligence people heard of threats to overseas interests on 9/11, but the attacks happened here instead. That's why the threat level was raised here. Possible targets are Military facilities, US Embassies, monuments, and possibly transportation and energy targets.
The Homeland Security Office on Tuesday is raising its nationwide terror state of alert from Yellow Alert Status - Elevated to Orange Alert Status - High on the Homeland Security Advisory System because of "a significant uptick in "chatter" that could be traced to al Qaeda". God, don't let this happen... Just let the day pass in remembrance of last year and let's all just get pass 9/11/2001 and move forward...
Well, our friend Chelby is in for surgery this morning at the hospital that I've known a bit too well over the past year - Loyola. She is having her jaw broken and reset into a different position. She's been wearing braces for about a year now, and this is just another step to re-align her teeth and jaw. She's going to be wired-shut for a while. I don't know how I'd be able to tolerate that. Hopefully she'll get through the surgery fine and this whole process works for her. Ouch.
Monday, September 09, 2002
Well, my lawn is no longer brown and "crunchy" as Carol would say. The rain that we seem to get once a week has turned the lawn nice and green and lush. Of course, that's helped by regular treatments from TruGreen - who happen to be outside right now applying... something. We were under contract for the year, so they come out regularly and do things to the lawn - fertilize, grub treatments, etc. Hopefully we can afford another year of that.
The first story on The View this morning was about the Harry Potter Nimbus 2000 Broom by Mattel, using the same quote from Amazon.com!
Sunday, September 08, 2002
White Sox 7 - Indians 6
Back at Comiskey. The Indians haven't had a 4-game sweep of the Sox since 1948. Great. It could happen today. The weather is hotter and hazier than yesterday. The park is emptier than yesterday - 15,067 paid. The game starts similarly - The Sox lead 2-0, only to go down 4-2, and the next thing you know, we're losing 6-3. Bottom of the 9th, 2 on, 2 out - who comes to the plate? Frank Thomas. This guy has done nothing this year. A DH with a .245 average. I can't remember the last time he's done anything in a clutch situation - strikeouts, ground outs, pop outs. What does he do? 3-run home run to tie it! Magglio Ordonez gets on base, and then Joe Crede - with two strikes against him - singles home Mags. Sox win 7-6! No sweep! And they gain a game on Minnesota
After the game, the Sox released Royce Clayton. So that's why Kenny Williams was hanging around in Jerry Reinsdorf's suite...
Saturday, September 07, 2002
White Sox 2 - Indians 4 (Oh, and Gracie, Greeks and B&B)
Time to pack-up Gracie. She looked a bit confused this morning, almost like she knew something was up but couldn't figure out what it is. But, then again, I think that Gracie's just not wired right. We got her packed up in the car and she just wouldn't settle down. She also didn't seem to recognize the neighborhood around my parents house. Odd. We got there and as soon as we walk into their house, she went nuts. Chelsea and her started wrestling as soon as they saw each other, like they missed it other. We couldn't stay long, since it's a baseball day and Fox has the coverage, so it's an early start.
At Comiskey, it's time to play the Cleveland Indians again. Seems like we just saw them, but that was back at the beginning of July. I mentioned back then how I didn't like their fans, but they didn't show up to cheer their team. This time, nobody showed up to cheer either team. The place was empty - 16,622 paid. It was hot and humid. We had to drink lots of fluids to stay on top of things. The shade didn't get to us until 2 o'clock, which is at least earlier than in June/July when it's 3 o'clock. Anyway, Carlos Lee had a home run, but that was it for the team - Sox lose 4-2. Sad. Jon Garland didn't look too good, not like the complete game shutout I saw him pitch a few weeks ago.
After the game, we went up Lake Shore Drive to Wrigleyville. I'm not getting used to seeing the construction at Soldier Field. It just doesn't look right. The seating "bowl" is huge. It looks pretty damn awkward, sort of out of place. Anyway, we went to pickup our buddy Barry. We met Buffy up in Evanston to go to the Evanston Century 12 to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding. What an absolute fun flick! A Must see! The other cool thing is that it was only made for about $5 Million, and it was the 2nd highest grossing film this weekend! I didn't know it was filmed in Chicago.
After the movie, we went to the Davis Street Fishmarket. OK, this was a delight (I'm starting to sound like James Lipton...). I really loved this place. Loved the service, loved the food. Our girls got roses on the way in (have no idea why). Need to go back again. Highly recommended. Between the movie and dinner, it was a great evening. When we got home and picked-up the mail, we noticed we got out check from White Sox Charities! Thank ou again, Elvis! Except for the Sox losing, it really was a great day.
Big Brother 3 Court Date
According to The Smoking Gun, Chiara Berti "pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor drunk driving charge. On August 30, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge sentenced Berti to three years probation, fined her $1191, and ordered Berti to attend a three-month alcohol awareness program. The 25-year-old also has to take part in California's Hospital and Morgue program (H.A.M.), which brings participants to the L.A. coroner's office for an up close look at mangled bodies from car crashes, gunshot victims, etc. In addition, restrictions will be placed on Berti's driver's license so that she will only be allowed to drive to and from work." Includes the Smoking Gun hallmark - documentation!
Friday, September 06, 2002
Do you remember an episode of The Simpsons from March 4, 2001 called "Hungry Hungry Homer"? Homer discovers that the owner of the Springfield Isotopes baseball team has a secret plan to move the team to Albuquerque. Now, in reality. Albuquerque doesn't have a baseball team. Well, they did - the Triple-A Dukes skipped town about about three years ago to go to Portland. Starting next year, however, the Calgary Cannons, the Triple-A Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Florida Marlins, is moving to New Mexico to become - you guessed it - the Albuquerque Isotopes! (I wonder if they'll sell Duff beer...)
West Nile Tote Board
Illinois now has 224 cases of the West Nile Virus, the largest in the nation (according to the latest CDC data) and higher than Louisiana. This week, the village sprayed the neighborhood. I hadn't seen the mosquito spraying trucks in years. They're hard to miss - they make an outrageous amount of noise as the generators on the back of the truck spew out the chemicals as they drive slowly through the neighborhood. It's hard to fathom that people are dying from mosquito bites. That and transplanted organs. I know the incidence is low, and most people probably don't exhibit symptoms, but damn, this just feels scary. I don't know why. Fortunately, I haven't seen any dead birds around, and really haven't been out in the prime mosquito time.
Trying to watch the White Sox game tonight. Gracie and Indy are checking each other out - both of them really want to play with each other, not realizing how bad of an idea that really is. Gracie actually has been a good dog this week. Indy has only been out about 2 hours this week, so she's a little frantic. Tomorrow, Carol and I drop off Gracie at my parents' house on the way to the White Sox - Indians game. Diane will finally be back from her road trip out west on Monday, and she'll pick up Chelsea and Gracie when back in town. (Diane should be at Jackson Lake Lodge in the Grand Teton National Park tonight, if she's still on schedule.)
Friday 5 - Pet peeves
Time for another Friday Five...
1. What is your biggest pet peeve? Why? Drivers who have no clue of what's happening around them, or having a "Me First" attitude. I wrote an entire list of things that just piss me off. These people are dangerous.
2. What irritating habits do you have? I don't clean-up after myself - put the dishes in the dishwasher, put my empty soda cans in the recycling bin, throw out the junk mail after you (may) have read it, etc
3. Have you tried to change the irritating habits or just let them be? I've tried, but I just keep forgetting. I'm a mess.
4. What grosses you out more than anything else? Why? I'm assuming that this is along the lines of irritating habits... chewing tobacco. It's the inevitable spitting that is just gross.
5. What one thing can you never see yourself doing that other people do? Again, assuming that this is along the lines of irritating habits... the chewing tobacco thing. It's just not my style and I just don't undertsand it at all.
Thursday, September 05, 2002
I want to go to sleep. I can't. Gracie has decided to fall asleep on my side of the bed. On top of that, Carol has fallen asleep, remote still in hand, with her arm sprawled over my side of the bed as well. At least the TV is on TLC... there have been times when she's fallen asleep, and her thumb would twitch a bit and God knows what station would be on when I do to bed...
Big Brother 3 - Day 61
Wait.. what???? Huh??? Greece has
Greece has outlawed all electronic games - consoles, software, even embedded games in cell phones! No, It's true! I'm not kidding! They've already fined people! They're going to close internet cafes if they see any gaming going on!
Welcome to Walmart - sign here
Oh, man... I've never heard of "dead peasant" or "dead janitor" life insurance policies... They're called COLI's - Corporate-Owned Life Insurance policies. In Texas, Wal-Mart took out a COLI on one of their employees - and collected about $64,000 when he died - without the family knowing about it. Does anybody else feel weird about this???
What Drink Are You?
Hmmm... I'm not believing this one...
What Drink Are You?
Wednesday, September 04, 2002
A Happy Birthday trout
My sister Diane called from Montana, mostly to check up on Gracie (Gracie is fine). Diane says the trip has been great. She really did go fly fishing today and got one Rainbow Trout (Melinda got two). Diane, however, did slip and fall and went down the river a bit! She said her waders filled up and she felt like the Michellin Man. Sounds like the trip is going great.
Harry Potter Nimbus 2000 Broom
OK, I saw that Cory posted this over at Boing Boing, and I had to see if this was really true. Amazon is selling a Harry Potter Nimbus 2000 Broom by Mattel. It's a vibrating Harry Potter Nimbus 2000 Broom. Now, remember that as you read one of the Customer Reviews (by poola13 from Ohio): "When my 12 year old daughter asked for this for her birthday, I kind of wondered if she was too old for it, but she seems to LOVE it. Her friends love it too! They play for hours in her bedroom with this great toy. They really seem to like the special effects it offers (the sound effects and vibrating). My oldest daughter (17) really likes it too! I reccomend (sp) this for all children."
Happy Birthday to my buddy, Barry, and to my sister Diane - who is going fly fishing today in Big Sky, Montana!
Tuesday, September 03, 2002
Summer is gone.
I know, astronomically speaking it's not over yet, but yesterday was Labor Day. The beaches have closed. Kids are back in school. The days have actually started to feel shorter. Baseball is wrapping-up. Football - and hockey - are on the horizon. I didn't go anywhere. I didn't do anything.
What the hell happened? Where did the time go? How could I have been unemployed for 15 months already?
Chip your kids
Carol and I don't have kids. I've kind of regretted that during the last few years, but with the way the world as turned ugly over the same years, perhaps it's a good thing. Danielle van Dam. Jennifer Short. Elizabeth Smart. Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis. Too many abductions - not enough recovered alive. Is this going too far or is it something that will be the norm in the future?
Carol and I had a bad night's sleep. My legs were twitching all night and I couldn't get comfortable. Plus Gracie has been walking all over the house all night. Should be an interesting week.
Monday, September 02, 2002
The Gracie Experiment
Sunday, September 01, 2002