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This is an archive collection of entries from  my main personal blog, My Mundane Mid-Life.

This collection of entries is from November 2002.

October 2002 MAIN BLOG December 2002 Next

Saturday, November 30, 2002

Hot Tub Bloggers

Boobies to Florida
After thoroughly enjoying the pictures and stories of Robyn and friends just having a hell of a time partying in Florida (not to mention the entire Boobies to Florida campaign), now they're all in a hot tub - complete with live webcams. Jealousy ensues (on my part), but it's entertaining none the less...

posted at 11:47 PM | Link | Blogging | 2 comments § |
Wolves 2 - Griffins 1 - Overtime

Chicago Wolves Grand Rapids Griffins

read more of this entry »

posted at 10:14 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Friday, November 29, 2002


I'm having a bad day. Physically. I'm really stiff. The right side of my back is in a knot. My neck is stiffening up and I think it's making noise when I turn my head. Didn't do anything all day. Didn't even put the grill away from yesterday. I feel terrible. I want to sleep. In fact, I haven't even gotten dressed today - I'm lounging in my bathrobe. I was going to listen to the Wolves game over the internet tonight from San Antonio, but - the game is canceled due to a mechanical problem in the ice refrigeration system inside the new SBC Center. I'm cranky and depressed, too.

posted at 09:10 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Thursday, November 28, 2002

Long day

My entire body is hurting and I feel like I'm asleep on my feet. My family left after 9, while Carol's brother and wife stayed way too long until 11:30. It was a great evening. I still don't know what happened, but the turkey got rave reviews for taste and being so moist. Go figure.

I am a bit melancholy, however. My dad, though he really looks pretty good, has been having difficulty eating with something that is almost like acid reflux but isn't. It's making him miserable and he's not eating very much. In fact, because of the reflux or whatever it is, he doesn't eat with the rest of us because he's embarrassed by the food coming up, so he ate in the family room.

The saddest thing of all, however, is knowing that this was the last time my father will be in my house. Soon, he won't be able to travel as the cancer continues to wreak havoc on his body.

What I am thankful for today is that I was able to have my father over for Thanksgiving, and share the turkey that I have cooked, even with something we both enjoy - the skin. I hope he had a good time. I will always remember it.

posted at 11:45 PM | Link | Mundane § |
Changing Rooms on TLC

Changing Rooms
TLC is running the BBC America's Changing Rooms marathon. It's really odd, though. Changing Rooms is a half-hour show, but TLC has edited together two episodes into an hour show. Weird. Why couldn't they leave the format alone? is it just because Trading Spaces is an hour?

posted at 06:51 PM | Link | TV § |
BLOG-A-TURKEY - Carve the turkey, enjoy the meal - 4:35 pm

The turkey is off the rack, and now flipped over breast-up, ready for carving A platter of white meat A platter of dark meat The finished dinner table
So, Carol's brother Gil and I hit the utility room and start carving the bird. As I'm carving, there's one thing very clear - the bird is moist. There's a lot of juices in there and you can hear it with every cut. It takes about 20 minutes to clean the carcass. We get a full platter of white meat and another of dark. Carol successfully concocts a delicious dinner and we finally all sit down to enjoy it. Finally.

posted at 04:54 PM | Link | Mundane § |
BLOG-A-TURKEY - Take the bird off the grill - 3:35 pm

The turkey is off the grill
Another check of the temperature shows no change - so that's it. I take the turkey off the grill and bring it inside to my utility room which doubles today as turkey carving central. The washer & dryer is all setup with utensils and platters to help with the carving. The problem is - the turkey is done WAY too early. I grab aluminum foil and basically wrap the bird to keep the heat in. Normally, the turkey would sit about 20-30 minutes to complete cooking before we carve. Now, it's going to sit for about an hour. Hopefully everything will work out.

So, let's see: On the grill at 1:10, off the grill at 3:35, that's 145 minutes for a 16½ pound turkey, or 8 minutes 47 seconds a pound.

posted at 03:36 PM | Link | Mundane § |
BLOG-A-TURKEY - Check the temperature - 3:10 pm

OH, CRAP! NOOOOOOOOOO!!! I went out and took the bird's temperature. I'm shooting for 180 degrees in the thigh and 170 degrees in the breast. Check one thigh - it's over 200 degrees!!! I pull the turkey off the grill to get it away from the heat and try it again. It's in the 190's. the other thigh in in the upper 170's, so the heat is uneven. I flip the bird around and leave it in just for a few more minutes, because I'm just not believing the temperature. I can't believe that a 16½ pound turkey would have been done that quickly. It doesn't feel right, but since this was a brand new chimney that holds much more coal, there's a possibility that there was much more heat and it just got done quicker. We'll see.

posted at 03:10 PM | Link | Mundane § |
BLOG-A-TURKEY - Check on the turkey, start another chimney - 2:45 pm

Check the turkey, add another chimney of charcoal, add more hickory Occasionally, the skin MAY tear. This is OK
Check the turkey, just to make sure everything is OK - and it is. Add another chimney of charcoal and more hickory. The bird is getting much darker and you can see that the skin seems to be drier and more "taut". This may cause the bird to "tear" the skin in some places (most likely near the wings, as these are going to get real crispy by the time we're done). Hold off on starting the next chimney of charcoal. We're in the home stretch now, and it's possible that this turkey is going to be done soon.

posted at 02:47 PM | Link | Mundane § |
BLOG-A-TURKEY - Check on the turkey, start another chimney - 1:50 pm

Checking the turkey. Nice color. Add another chimney of charcoal around the holes and more hickory. Note - potential for grease fire The hickory seams to be working just fine
We're in maintenance mode now - time to check on the turkey. It's looking really nice. Great color - it's gong to get much darker from here. Using a tool of your choice, try to push down the coals that are on either side of the drip pan. This will get rid of any dead ones, push more ash out, and make room for new coals. Add the new charcoal from the chimney buy pouring the charcoal into the holes, as well as on top of the grill near the holes. This is a dangerous time from here on out - anytime you add coal and you have the lid off, you now run the risk of a grease fire from the drip pan. Don't worry about it, but work quickly. Add more handfuls of hickory to the new coals and get the lid covered. This will extinguish any flames. You should see some great smoke pouring out of the lid as the hickey begins to work even harder.

posted at 01:53 PM | Link | Mundane § |
BLOG-A-TURKEY - Transfer the charcoal, add the hickory, put the turkey on, start another chimney - 1:10 pm

The turkey is ready - oiled up and placed in a rack breast-down Add the second chimney of charcoal, put the grill on, and put the turkey on the grill Empty the water out of the Ziploc bags and place handfuls of hickory on top of the coals
The second chimney is ready, so it's time to make our move. Carol has taken care of the turkey preparation, which is only oiled-up and tressed a bit and placed breast-down in a rack. The bird now goes outside. The second chimney is now poured on top of the other coals on either side of the drip pan. The grill is finally put on the Weber. The orientation is crucial - the handles on the grill (which also have holes around them) should be placed over the coals on each side of the drip pan. This allows you to add more coals later into that space. The rack with the turkey then sits on the grill. Open one of the Ziploc bags and empty the water out of it. Take handfuls of the wood chips and place them on top of the coals on either side. Cover with the lid, and start another chimney of charcoal. So, here we go! The turkey is on the grill at 1:10 - let's see how long it takes!

posted at 01:10 PM | Link | Mundane § |
BLOG-A-TURKEY - Transfer the charcoal, start another chimney - 12:30pm

Add a drip pan to the bottom of the Weber If the coal at the top of the chimney is white, the chimney is ready Pour the charcoal from the chimney along the long-sides of the drip pan Fill-up and start the next chimney of charcoal
Hmmm... this is getting hard to actually cook and blog at the same time... the digital photos are taking too much time to setup...
Time to check the chimney and it's ready. First I need to put a drip pan in the grill. I learned the hard way one of the first years we're doing this. We had a grease fire that took off a lot of Carol's hair in the front and singed her eyebrows in a freak accident. So, the drip pan goes in. You can tell the chimney of charcoal is ready when the coal at the top is white. The charcoal is then poured into the spaces between the drip pan at the side of the grill, only along the long sides of the pan. Put the cover back on the Weber, and then start another chimney of charcoal. When this one is ready, it'll be time to start grillin' the bird.

posted at 12:32 PM | Link | Mundane § |
BLOG-A-TURKEY - Prepare the hickory - 12:05 pm

While the first chimney is starting-up, it's time to prep the wood. I use hickory to smoke the turkey while I cook it. Though it does seem to lend a bit of the hickory to the flavor of the meat, the other thing it seems to do (and I have no scientific proof of this at all) is "seal" the skin of the turkey, retaining a lot of the juices. I had this fail only once when we had a bad thermometer to test the bird's temperature and it wound-up being overdone, and thus, dry. Otherwise it's moist.

A bag of Weber's Hickory FireSpice Wood Chips Empty the hickory into Ziploc bags Fill the Ziploc with water - remove the air in the bag and seal it Let the bags sit in the sink so that the hickory can get soaked
Since the object of using hickory is for the smoke, you don't want the wood to burn. To make sure that doesn't happen, you have to soak the wood in water for at least an hour. I use Ziploc bags to make sure that all of the wood gets submerged by filling then up and removing the water from them. Now we wait for the first chimney to get finished.

posted at 12:07 PM | Link | Mundane § |
BLOG-A-TURKEY - Start the first chimney of charcoal - 11:41 am

A brand new Charcoal Chimney by Weber Crumple newspaper sheets into a ball Flip the chimney over so that you can see the newspaper compartment Cram the crumpled balls of newspaper into the area at the bottom of the chimney Flip the chimney upright, place onto a pie tin, and fill it to the top with charcoal Light the newspaper through the holes on the side Make sure the newspaper is lit
Here's the start of the day for me - starting the first chimney of charcoal. I highly recommend using a chimney to start the coals because NO lighter fluid is used, just newspaper, and the coals are kept in a tight area, so the heat transfer occurs more efficiently and get white-hot quicker. It's very easy to start: 1) get some newspaper - 3 sheets works well and crumble into a ball 2) shove the newspaper underneath the chimney 3) fill the chimney with charcoal (there is a grill separating the area where the newspaper is places and where the charcoal goes. Don't use a chimney that uses flat metal separating the compartments - it just doesn't work) 4) light the newspaper. That's it. The paper will light the bottom coals and, in turn, the entire stack of charcoal.

posted at 11:44 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Every Thanksgiving since we've moved out to Hoffman Estates we've held the family Thanksgiving dinner. At each of those YOUR'S TRULY has cooked the turkey. Actually, barbecued the turkey. On my Weber. Since this is the first year of my Blog, I'm going to Blog my way through the barbecuing!

Here's the subject of today's Thanksgiving dinner:

Our Fresh Butterball Turkey >Our turkey is 16½ pounds
It's a 16½ pound fresh Butterball. Carol will be preparing everything else for tonight's dinner. This turkey is mine.

>Important equipment: Ove Gloves
I went out to Walgreen's to pick up a pair of 'Ove" Gloves - made of Nomex and Kevlar. I need something to handle the hot stuff around the barbecue and my old gloves are shot. The only other things I need are charcoal, hickory (for smoking) and a charcoal chimney to get the coals going quickly and efficiently.

posted at 09:35 AM | Link | Mundane | 1 comment § |

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Wolves 4 - Grizzlies 1

Chicago Wolves Utah Grizzlies

read more of this entry »

posted at 10:52 PM | Link | Wolves § |
Amazing Race 3 - Episode 8

The Amazing Race 3
"This is More Important Than Your Pants Falling Down"

read more of this entry »

posted at 09:02 PM | Link | Reality TV § |
Survivor Thailand

Survivor Thailand
"A Closer Look"
ARGH! A DAMN CLIP SHOW! ON A WEDNESDAY! (Well, it's the last night of November Sweeps, so they snuck in one more program into the sweeps period.) Looks like there are visitors to the island next week.

posted at 08:07 PM | Link | Survivor § |
OK, what happened to Fall?

It was 16 degreees this morning!!! What the heck is going on? It is bright sunshine, though, reflecting off the new snow from yesterday so it's a bit blinding to look outside. I just want it in the 40's. Is that so much to ask?

posted at 10:15 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

I Love My TiVo?

Melinda sent this to me earlier today. It's a story on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and it was talked about tonight on the Screen Savers on TechTV: If TiVo Thinks You Are Gay, Here's How to Set It Straight. Even though it's touted as one of the great benefits of TiVo, we don't have it automatically record shows based on our viewing habits - we just don't have enough space on the damn hard drive and I'm not upgrading the box. Of course, this made me check our TiVo suggestions, and I feel pretty normal looking at the list: Everybody Loves Raymond, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Mysterious Ways, Judging Amy, Law and Order, Sex and the City, M*A*S*H, Boston Public, JAG, Third Watch, ER, Frasier, NYPD Blue, The Practice, Behind the Music. What has TiVo suggested for you?

posted at 06:53 PM | Link | Technology § |

Pozo plowing my driveway. Gotta love it.
It snowed enough today that Ali Pozo called to see if he'll be plowing our driveway again this year. I said yes - he was already on his way over and was plowing the driveway within 10 minutes. Wow. I like this guy.

posted at 06:45 PM | Link | Mundane § |
It's snowing again

It's snowing again. 11:00am It's snowing again. 1:00pm
I just noticed that it was getting brighter outside. No, not sun. Snow. Lake effect snow, all the way out in the northwest suburbs.

posted at 11:37 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Monday, November 25, 2002

Sick day

I know it wasn't Diane's cooking, but I'm not feeling well today. The weird thing is that most of my problems (other than some odd gastric issues) seem to be all nerve-related. I've been having trouble waking up in the morning the past few days. There's a nerve that's getting pinched in my neck that's causing this particular nerve to just "Zing!" from the right side of my jaw down the front of my neck. The pinch is really severe and it is like getting an electrical shock. It's scary to wake up that way. Then I've been have some really bad leg twitches for about a week. So in other words - I'm a mess and don't feel like writing today.

posted at 10:54 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Sunday at Diane's

Mom opening-up her presents Oops. Diane and I get Mom the same card
We drove into the city to pick up my parents and went to my sister Diane's for dinner. (First, though, when we went to my parents' house, we had to go in to watch the Bears beat the Lions in overtime!) Dad was in surprisingly good shape for the ride and visit. It must have been one of his better days. Diane cooked a great dinner (a pork roast) and we annihilated the entire dinner. We must have been hungry or something, but there was only three pieces of pork left and absolutely nothing else. We had the dinner because we celebrated Mom's birthday (which was yesterday). There was one embarrassing moment, however. After all of these years, somehow Diane & I bought the same birthday card for mom. It started snowing while we were at Diane's, but the traffic wasn't bad going home. In fact, it was almost like people were off the roads, afraid of the snow.

posted at 10:38 PM | Link | Family § |
Clock is ticking...

Bills are paid through December 5th. After that, we're screwed. What am I going to do???

posted at 12:00 PM | Link | Unemployment § |

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Wolves 6 - Aeros 1

Chicago Wolves Houston Aeros

read more of this entry »

posted at 10:33 PM | Link | Wolves § |
A Prairie Home Companion

Garrison Keillor at the Auditorium Theater for tonight's A Prairie Home Companion (taken from their live webcast)
Tonight's A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor is in Chicago, broadcasting from the Auditorium Theater. The guests include saxophonist Franz Jackson, Eddie Blazonczyk's Versatones, The Sones de Mexico Ensemble.

posted at 05:04 PM | Link | Mundane § |
Quark-induced earthquakes?

Imagine the ramifications - scientists think that totally unrelated seismic disturbances (not associated with an earthquake) might indicate passage of strange quark matter (also known as nuclearites) through the Earth at speeds of 250 miles per second.

posted at 11:53 AM | Link | Odd § |
Remind me not to buy a Dell Latitude laptop

Oh. My. God. When I had an IBM ThinkPad on my lap on the way home from work for an hour on the train, I have to admit - my lap got pretty warm. But this - this is is just frightening. I mean, toasting one's private parts?

posted at 10:53 AM | Link | Odd § |

Friday, November 22, 2002

Stadium Seating illegal

Just a few hours after coming home from the AMC South Barrington 30, I was watching the Channel 5 news and saw a story that said a federal court in Los Angeles ruled that AMC "violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by offering patrons who use wheelchairs and their companions only inferior seating in the front rows of its new stadium-style movie theaters." The wheelchair accessible seats were in use during the movie, and though they were on the main floor, they're still almost a dozen rows from the screen, but this was one of the larger theaters. I can't imagine how they're going to redesign the theaters to comply.

posted at 10:15 PM | Link | Odd § |
Bond, Ja... aw hell, you know the name...

Die Another Day at James Bond (PIERCE BROSNAN) and Gustav Graves (TOBY STEPHENS) take up the sword. Photo by Keith Hamshere - ©2002 DANJAQ, LLC AND UNITED ARTISTS CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Just got back from the AMC South Barrington 30 and Die Another Day. It's been over two months since we saw a movie. (First off, before the movie, we saw a trailer for a movie whose title was so unique that it just sticks with you: Bulletproof Monk. Also saw a trailer for Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle and the place almost booed and threw things at the screen. It sure didn't look like something I'd run out to see.) Well, after 40 years, it's still a good ride. The movie has the same trademark opening chase/disaster/escape (this time - GASP! - no escape!), the trademark opening credits (and Madonna's theme song isn't that bad). Halle Berry was great (and looks great). John Cleese picks up the mantle of Q perfectly (from Desmond Llewelyn, who died in an accident December 19, 1999. Did you know that in The World Is Not Enough, Desmond Llewelyn was Q but John Cleese was R? And Why "Q"? Because he's the Quartermaster.) Even Moneypenny (Samantha Bond, of all names) has a cute scene at the end. Best scene - a fencing match that gets way out of hand. Things are stretching a little bit, though. A plane stays in the air - intact - for way too long during a critical segment of the movie. Also, I was dissapointed that the director has stooped to using slo mo shots of fight scenes and other optical effects just to try to reach the level of some of the other movies that we have been accustomed to seeing. This Bond, for cripes sake. He doesn't require these effects. 40 years, 20 movies, 5 Bonds (6 really) - he still has it.

posted at 08:10 PM | Link | Movies | 1 comment § |

Movie times - four screens worth of Bond At least I got a matinée price... Too many treats for bunnies A macaw at PetSmart looks like he's never seen a digital camera before Too much Christmas at Hallmark
Had to run some errands today. First stop: AMC South Barrington 30 to pickup tickets for the 5:10 showing of Die Another Day. Then off to PetSmart to get some chow and bedding for Indy. Well, it's not chow, but rather a Kaytee Exact Rainbow for Rabbits. I hate going shopping for Indy. For some damn reason, I can't get out of the store without buying her some kind of treat. Today it was Banana Yogurt Dips. (Of course I don't know if she even likes these things.) Final stop: Hallmark for birthday cards for my Mom (her 73rd birthday is tomorrow). I don't know - I feel like there's a downturn in the quality of birthday cards recently.

posted at 02:52 PM | Link | Mundane § |
JFK +39

I was in grammar school. I remember listening to the radio broadcast over the P.A. system (which, looking back on it, was a bit of a technological feat). I remember watching the funeral procession a few days later on our TV. I know a lot of you out there weren't even around when this happened, but this event really changed America. Considering how much the human race has become more violent in these 39 years since his assassination, I think it's absolutely remarkable that the U.S. Secret Service has been able to step up and handle Presidential security.

posted at 12:57 PM | Link | Current Events § |
Cooties wins

Mike aka cooties makes it to #1
In the battle between Mike and Erin to get to #1 on Blogdex, Mike wins.

posted at 12:05 PM | Link | Blogging § |
No Friday 5

The Friday Five
Time for another Friday Five...
Hmmm... going to the website, it says:

smattering the weblog is gone

friday five - nothing until december

more than was expected is going on this
month between birthdays, family visiting and
going out of state for thanksgiving. the f5
falls to the bottom of the list this month but will return
in december. thank you for understanding.

So I guess it'll be a while for the Friday Five to come back.

posted at 09:03 AM | Link | Friday Five § |

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Survivor Thailand - Episode 10

Survivor Thailand
"While the Cats Are Away"

read more of this entry »

posted at 08:05 PM | Link | Survivor § |
Everybody wants it...
posted at 05:26 PM | Link | Blogging § |
I gotta get out of this place...

Hello, Welcome to Burger King! Would you like to try a Whopper Combo Meal? Ripping up the concrete median along Golf Road Steamrolling asphalt for a new temporary median on Golf Road
I just had to get out of the house... I'm just going nuts. I decided to at least get out of the house to grab some lunch instead of scrounging around here. The weather is bad. It's been raining all morning, the wind is actually howling, the temperature is actually dropping. I go out anyway. Where? Burger King - the taco's are cheap and for some reason I like them. There's even more construction on Golf Road now. They're not supposed to rebuild it until next year, but they've been taking it apart to help get ready for when it's time. A lame entry, but I had to get out...

posted at 01:20 PM | Link | Mundane § |
Don't we all?

Mike at aka Cooties has just one favor to ask:

Mike needs to be famous... and fast.

posted at 12:23 PM | Link | Blogging § |

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Amazing Race 3 - Episode 7

The Amazing Race 3
"I'm Supposed to Be Indebted to Her for the Rest of the Race?"

read more of this entry »

posted at 09:02 PM | Link | Reality TV § |
WWJD - What Would Jesus Drive?

Watched ABC World News Tonight and saw this story: From Peter Jenning's Journal on

"We are going to take a closer look tonight at Jesus and the SUV. Executives from the nation's leading carmakers are meeting today with a group of evangelical Christians who are trying to make the fuel economy of cars a religious as well as environmental issue. The group plans to roll out a TV campaign arguing that gas-guzzling SUVs are antithetical to Christian moral teachings, which encourage human beings to protect each other and the earth. The tagline for the ads reads: "What Would Jesus Drive?" "

posted at 06:20 PM | Link | Odd § |
Survivor 6 Location - The Amazon

Survivor Thailand
This is really late, but Survivor 6 should now be shooting in the Amazon. Survivor Maps has the details on the site, including photos, maps and other information (they have had great detail on each of the Survivor sites, before shooting even begins).

"The Production Camp will be located at the posh Ariau Towers Resort reserved October 22 through December 22. "

"Sources say the Tribal Camps will be located on the Rio Negro's Praia Grande (Great Beach). Rumors say Tribal Council will be deep in the Amazonia rain forest on the Rio Acajatuba near Acajatube Village."

posted at 03:38 PM | Link | Survivor § |
Clay's Bankruptcy

Survivor Thailand
The Smoking Gun has documentation that shows that Clay Jordan piled up debts totaling $420,250, according to a bankruptcy case that was closed out in January, just months before he shipped off to Thailand.

posted at 03:24 PM | Link | Survivor § |
IM Blog Updates?

How cool is this... if you read a blog regularly, and you want to know when it gets updated (NOTE: The Blogger must be pinging for this to work), you can use BlogToaster to get a Microsoft Instant Message to let you know when the blog gets updated! (And it really works!)

posted at 01:53 PM | Link | Blogging § |
How screwed-up IS the job market?

How strange is it when an a guy from England, working for a search firm in Manhattan, calls me - a guy outside Chicago - for a contract job in Des Moines, Iowa? At least my paper is circulating, but this is a stretch. Why can't I work somewhere around Chicago??? (Of course, with the guy being from England, he doesn't really know how "close" places are to each other in the US. I also love it when people from England end their conversations with "Cheers!")

posted at 11:11 AM | Link | Job Search § |

Monday, November 18, 2002


Monday Night Football Chicago BearsSt. Louis Rams
Oh, great... another Monday Night Football with the Bears... They do such a great year last year that they earned a couple of Monday Night Games this year. They hadn't been on since 1997, until a few weeks ago when they lost to the Packers. Should be interesting... da Bears have lost seven in a row... and I think I know why: the Bears have not played on grass all this year!
Update: End of the 1st: Rams 7 Bears 0
Update: End of the half: Rams 14 Bears 6
Update: End of the 3rd: Rams 14 Bears 13
Update: Final: Rams 21 Bears 16. Eight straight losses.

posted at 08:02 PM | Link | Bears § |
Trading Spaces in Changing Rooms Backyard

Trading Spaces Changing Rooms
Our favorite DIY show is Changing Rooms, now in their 6th year on the BBC, but also being broadcast in the U.S. on BBC America (Even tough it's been 6 years and 100 episodes, I don't know what a "season" is over there as they are broadcasting the 10th "Series" episodes on BBC America). Anyway, TLC is going to broadcast Changing Rooms on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 28th, from 5 to 11 pm/et. (Wow... that's 12 episodes!) Why are they doing this? Well, on November 30. TLC is broadcasting a Trading Spaces in London, using Paige as the host and Genevieve and Hildi as the designers, but using "Handy" Andy Kane from Changing Rooms as the carpenter. I really enjoy Changing Rooms more than Trading Spaces, so this should be interesting... On a different note, Somebody wrote in the Trading Spaces Message Boards about TS being near them in San Antonio, and took some pictures as well.

posted at 07:55 PM | Link | TV | 1 comment § |
I love my TiVo, Part II

The Chicago Tribune published another article on TiVo called Revolution, interrupted. I LOVE MY TIVO. It really has changed the way we view television at home. I'm looking forward to the new Series 2 for DirecTV to really help us out. I don't know what to say - this device is wonderful. I was able to get one at a very reasonable price well over a year ago and paid the lifetime fee, which has now paid for itself versus the monthly fee. This is a technology that really does work and no one seems to be getting it. As in - not purchasing it and not getting how it works and what it does. I guess the TiVo Evangelists aren't doing a good job of selling the concept. I guess I'm not doing a good job, either in this weak, rambling rant. I love the box. It really works. It gives us great enjoyment. God, that's lame... I just don't want it to go down the BetaMax path...

posted at 10:37 AM | Link | Technology § |

Sunday, November 17, 2002

First Snow

First snow Four hours later and the snow is goneow
I guess it was a bit cold all day yesterday. When I woke up this morning, all of those "snow flurries" decided to accumulate on the lawns in the neighborhood! It's actually the first snowfall of the season.
Update: It all melted four hours later.

posted at 06:41 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Saturday, November 16, 2002

Happy 15th Birthday, Sam

Today we went to my cousin Kathy's to celebrate a couple of family birthdays. Now, with Dad feeling the way he is, we knew he wasn't gong to go. He always had a low tolerance for kids, and that just advanced with his age. Now, with the Cancer, there's just no reason to put him through that. But what was surprising is that Dad said Mom should go. So Carol & I drove into the city to pick up Mom and drove out to Hawthorn Woods.

read more of this entry »

posted at 09:36 PM | Link | Family § |
Down the drain...

My entries have been sparse. I feel like I'm in a downward spiral... I've got nothing to say because I've got nothing going on in my life. No job, so I don't commute regularly and see things to comment on, no coworkers to comment on their behavior. It's only Carol and me at Home (and, well, Indy too), so I can't comment too much on siblings or children, and, though I love Indy very much, she doesn't do too many things out of the ordinary. I comment about the Reality TV shows that I watch, so so much for television. That leaves the odd things around the internet (which are more scary than I expected) or comment about current events which is even scarier. I mean, you get your ambiguous terrorist threats to hospitals in Chicago (where the hell did that come from???) or how about the new "spectacular attacks"? I need to get busy. I need a job. I need to get out in the world.

posted at 11:00 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Friday, November 15, 2002

No Friday 5

The Friday Five
Time for another Friday Five...
Hmmm... going to the website, it says:

smattering - gone

friday five - not this week
a vacation? why, thank you!


A bit cryptic, but alas, no Friday 5 this week.

posted at 12:05 AM | Link | Friday Five § |

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Survivor Thailand - Episode 9

Survivor Thailand
"Desperate Measures"

read more of this entry »

posted at 08:02 PM | Link | Survivor § |
I'm what?

Carol and I were watching West Wing last night on NBC. There was a commercial for tonight's Good Morning, Miami. One of the characters (Penny) says (to Jake):

"Yeah, I'm so into this whole pint-sized dork thing you got going on."

"It's like God carved you out of a block of pure geek and then protected his creation with a thick coat of fur. Yum."

Carol turns to me and says "She just described you!"

I'm not sure how to take that!

posted at 10:14 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

I'm Goin' to Mars

My name (along with Carol's) is going to included on a DVD that's being flown to Mars next year on one of the Rover Missions! Each rover will photograph and return to Earth a picture of each DVD disk of names as they rest on the Martian surface. Cool!

posted at 11:16 PM | Link | Space | 1 comment § |
Amazing Race 3 - Episode 6

The Amazing Race 3
"I'm a Much Better Liar Than You Are!"

read more of this entry »

posted at 09:04 PM | Link | Reality TV § |
Burning bush

Our Burning Bush in full crimson fall colors Our Burning Bush empty of crimson
Looking out my front door this morning I noticed our crimson is gone. Our Burning Bush dropped it's leaves. There were three fat, fuzzy sparrows in the bush, slowly plucking the remaining leaves. I love the color of the bush and now it's gone for the season.

posted at 03:27 PM | Link | Mundane § |
24 years and holding

I started my first job in Corporate America 24 years ago this morning, reporting to work at Brunswick Corporation's World Headquarters in Skokie, IL as a programmer trainee. The odd thing is that I took the next day off to fly to Detroit to shoot an HR film for the Budd Company. Somehow, I stayed at Brunswick for 7 months short of 20 years. That's a long time to be at one company, especially in an IT position. I loved my time there, and I'm fortunate to still have a few friends from there.

Now, I wouldn't mind starting another long stretch at another company... if I could just find a job...

posted at 09:18 AM | Link | Unemployment § |

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Northwest Side Catholic

I went over to my parent's house today. I had printed-up some tickets for a Christmas party for my mom, and she had some errands to run so I drove her around for a while.

Growing up Catholic on the Northwest side of Chicago was actually part of my mundane life. It had nothing unusual. I was an Altar Boy, I was in Scouts. I sang in the Folk Choir. I even temporarily directed the choir until a permanent director could be found. I had a normal childhood.

I remember saying out loud recently that I thought it was interesting that I never had experienced or even heard of any instances of impropriety by the priests in out parish. None of my friends had ever said anything and I never saw anything.

There was one priest that, when I was younger, I really liked. He was a nice guy. He was always supporting the scouts, he ran the Altar Boys. He was just a fun nice guy.

Typical to the Archdiocese, he was moved to another parish over time, just like every other priest that I liked that had come to the parish.

My mom told my today that he has been withdrawn from all pastoral duties by an Archdiocese of Chicago review board investigating charges of sexual misconduct with a pre-teen boy.

It allegedly happened 15 years ago, decades after he left my parish.

I pray this didn't happen. I prefer to remember Father Thomas the way I remember him from my youth - a good guy, a good priest.

posted at 06:26 PM | Link | Mundane § |
Not a good feeling

I'm not feeling too good about this search company. I haven't heard from them, and my communications with my contact have been a bit, um, "fractured" - like he's got too many people he's working with and can't remember who was up for what.

posted at 12:47 PM | Link | Job Search § |

Monday, November 11, 2002

A dog in the night

We got to John's house at around 9 o'clock on Friday. I had never been up there before. John had to scurry around the house to get it up and running - heat, water, etc. He called me out to the back deck.

It was dark and cold. But once my eyes corrected, I saw the sky was full of stars. THere was no light pollution - we were a long way from any large city or town. It was perfectly quiet, except for a dog barking somewhere in the darkness, across the lake. There wasn't a single other sound to be heard. The amount of low magnitude stars was so amazing, it was almost confusing. You get used to seeing constellations out in the suburbs - you see the primary stars in the constellation an nothing else. Out here, there's so many stars, it's hard to really see the constellations.

We're on the deck for 10 minutes. The dog, in the meantime, has been continually barking. I turn to John:

Me: "Isn't there anybody over there to shut the dog up?"



John: "They shot the dog!"

It got quiet across the lake. We're laughing because we can't believe what we thought we heard.

We never heard the dog the rest of the weekend. We have no idea what happened.

posted at 08:00 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Sunday, November 10, 2002

The Away Team

The Away Team - Joe, Michael, Barry and John La Valle - Population 446 A view of Dutch Hollow Lake and surrounding area John's house at Dutch Hollow Lake in La Valle, WI Taking in the view off the back deck The view off the back deck toward the lake Watching birds (Bluejays) at one of the feeders on the deck
I had a nice time this weekend. I was part of The Away Team - the group of coworkers that go up to John's house in La Valle Wisconsin to spend the weekend. They've been doing this since we worked together, about five years ago. It's been an annual trip, and, even though I had been invited, I've never gone (scheduling conflicts). Well, this year, we worked around the schedule. In fact, we had to reschedule for November, just to make sure we all got up there together. It was worth it. We were about 230 miles away, 4 miles outside of a town with a population of only 446. I lost cell phone connectivity 15 minutes before we hit town. It was a typical guys weekend - sat around, ate beef jerky, drank beer, watched TV, smoked cigars, talked about fishing (it was too late in the year and instead of being out on the lake in boats, we were putting away boats for the season). Fortunately, the weather was around 60° so it was enjoyable to be out on the deck, day or night. We didn't cook - we ate at the local establishments which were... interesting. Had some great prime rib on Saturday night. All in all, a good time. I miss these guys and it was so weird being together again. I can't wait for the next visit. Really. I want to sit out in a boat and fish. I want to sit on that back deck and drink and just watch the birds at the many bird feeders that John has. I want to sit around and just talk - about the old days, about what's going on in the world. I just want to be one of the guys. Like it used to be.

posted at 06:54 PM | Link | Mundane | 1 comment § |

Friday, November 08, 2002

Skipping town

Carol's note
I'm going on a little trip this weekend. I'm going up to a little town in Wisconsin called La Valle, which is at least 3 hours from here. I'm going a bit out of my way first, though. I'm picking up my buddy Barry at the Rosemont stop on the CTA Blue Line and then driving up to Lake Forest to park in the parking lot of our former employer, to meet another friend (Joe, who is also a former coworker) and pick up another former coworker John who still works at where we all used to work together (is that evasive enough?). The four of us are spending the weekend at John's place in LaValle. The other guys have been up there quite a few times before - this is my first trip. It's actually the first time in my life (that I can remember) that I'm "going out with the guys". This is the first time in 18 months that Carol will be alone at home and she's pretty excited about it. She left a nice little note for me, but she still had to be a little "wifey" about it!!! At least she didn't require me to fill out the Application For A Night Out With The Boys. Don't know if I'll blog from up there, but we'll see.

posted at 11:29 AM | Link | Mundane § |
Lethargy, anxiety, “difficulty getting along with co-workers,” and a “reluctance to go out to work”

Well, this explains a lot: Feeling lethargic? Blame the PC

posted at 09:08 AM | Link | Odd § |
Friday 5 - Politics

The Friday Five
Time for another Friday Five...
1. Did you vote in your last elections? Yep, sure did.
2. Do you know who your elected representatives are? Yes, wel... no. The local State reps I don't really know
3. Have you ever contacted an elected representative? If so, what was it about? No. Nothing ever came up to have me contact them.
4. Have you ever participated in a demonstration? No. Saw one or two, but no.
5. Have you ever volunteered in an election? What was the result? No, I never volunteered.

Boy that was quick. Guess I'm not much of a political activist.

posted at 12:09 AM | Link | Friday Five | 1 comment § |

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Survivor Thailand - Episode 8

Survivor Thailand
"Sleeping With the Enemy"

read more of this entry »

posted at 08:09 PM | Link | Survivor | 2 comments § |
School bus

Waiting for the school bus
I live on a cul de sac. Actually, I live on a corner of a cul de sac. The corner is a school bus pickup/dropoff point for kids on out street. Since the cul de sac isn't that big, then why to parents have to not only drive their kids to the bus, but have to park in my driveway and in front of my house blocking traffic while waiting for the bus? Why? I'm not appreciative of having oil dripping from their minivans on my driveway.

posted at 08:24 AM | Link | Mundane | 1 comment § |
So long, National

A National Airlines jet at Las Vegas McCarran Airport executing an aborted landing. This photo was shot from another National Airlines flight taking off on a parallel runway, September 2000
Our Favorite Airline to Las Vegas™, National Airlines, shut down last night. We've traveled a few times with them and absolutely loved their service. It's niche was serving Las Vegas. They flew only 757's and the cabins were always clean and well kept. We had great meals on their flights when they first started up. Like so many other airlines, they discontinued meal service slowly, then altogether. The crews were great as well. The airline started on May 27, 1999 and filed for bankruptcy December 6, 2000. When 9/11 hit, it just killed the carrier. They filed for a loan with the Air Transportation Safety Board, but got rejected and that just about sealed the deal. We're going to miss the airline.

posted at 07:29 AM | Link | Las Vegas § |

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

*click* *click* *click*

I had to dig up my old ankle brace from when I hurt myself a year and a half ago. It still hurts and it's been clicking and popping all day. I wonder what I did... Is this what it's like to get old???

posted at 04:28 PM | Link | Mundane § |
"I'm Anakin Skywalker, and I'm a Sith Lord"

Have you seen Apple's "Switch" television commercial campaign? Here's a quick Flash animation of Anikin Skywalker's version of "Switch".

posted at 11:34 AM | Link | Odd § |

Mike wrote about something that I find absolutely disgusting - spitting. I don't understand the action. Never did. I don't spit. I just don't get why people do this with regularity, like this is just some normal function. It's not. It's never been part of the day-to-day American culture. You may think so because you spit. It's gross. It's vile. It's uncivilized. And... it just pisses me off. Like Mike says: "Is swallowing your own saliva so vile to you that you need to purge your mouth onto the street in front of me?" He's right. Knock it off. All of you.

posted at 10:05 AM | Link | Odd | 1 comment § |
Why am I awake?

I've been up for the last half hour and I don't have a clue why. Was it the elections weighing heavy on my mind? Well, maybe a little - I don't like the idea of the House and Senate being under control of the same party - the same party as the President. (According to CNN this morning, the Senate is 51 Rep, 46 Dem and 2 undecided, and the House is 226 Rep, 203 Dem and 5 undecided.) If the President decides to do something (cut taxes, go to war) that you don't exactly agree with, there's no one to stop him (so to speak). Saw an interesting exit poll question yesterday on one of the local channels - 38% of the people polled said that corruption was the major reason why they voted the way they did.

I think the other reason I woke up is that my right ankle is killing me. I sort of tore it up almost two years ago getting off a train. I misstepped and must have bruised and tore up ligaments because it got all black and blue. It hasn't been the same since.

I'm not a morning person. I like sleep.

I wonder what's going on downstairs? I keep hearing Carol quietly yelling at Indy. Sounds like she's being bad, and Carol is trying not to be loud so she doesn't wake me up.

posted at 05:35 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Tuesday, November 05, 2002


So, the headhunter calls and says that the company in Des Moines is interested in me wants to talk. I guess I could talk to the guy. It's just that Des Moines is a 5 hour drive from here and airfare is way too expensive to that town (no competition). I don't know if I would be comfortable out of town right now, given my family situation. Hey, nothing is set in stone - we're just talking about "talking" here. No offers. Wait and see, wait and see.

posted at 03:05 PM | Link | Job Search § |
Vote early, vote often...

Do you think there's a polling place somewhere near here? Our polling place - Neil Armstrong School Time to make some dimples and chads...
Just got back from doing my civil, patriotic duty - I went to vote. I remember the days when you would get accosted from pollsters and "workers" to see what you were going to do, or get you to change your mind. The streets were empty. Our pooling place is a grade school, so it's always weird going in there - seeing the classrooms with the little desks. Didn't see any students or teachers, though. This time, everything wasn't setup in the gym - it was setup in a single back hallway, so between the tables, the booths, and the people, it was a bit hard to maneuver. It didn't help matters that there were NO signs to help you with where you should start (because, you know, that one person can't do the whole job - it must be done by a series of people. The voting booth was a little flimsy - definitely something you can't really lean on. I'm still upset that we're still using the punchcard voting system. After Florida 2000, I think this system should be banned. I had found a website (VoterInfoNet) that, once you key-in your address, it produces a list of items on your particular ballot. I always try to do something ahead of time to make sure I know how I'm going to vote before I get there. Not only that, it helps me as a cheat-sheet to remember which judges I want to retain or not (a long, tedious process). Then it was just a matter of poking holes, taking the ballot to a checking machine to make sure everything is OK, and I was on my way.

posted at 01:49 PM | Link | Current Events § |

Monday, November 04, 2002

I think I'm ready...

I think I'm up far enough to finally cutover MovableType into production. The comments and links seem to work so far, now I just need to spruce it up a little more (a lot of CSS work and adding a few things over in the sidebar on the left). I still need a way to import comments from YACCS - once YACCS gets its act together with the buggy export not getting all of the comments. So, MovableType is live at this site. I'm still tweaking, but it is live.

posted at 11:43 AM | Link | Blogging § |

Sunday, November 03, 2002


Carol and I went out to our Chinese Buffet place on Friday night and I've been feeling terrible ever since. I just want to sleep. In the meantime, I'm supposed to do some ticket layouts for my Mom for her parish's St. Anne Society Christmas Party, not to mention trying to force MovableType into this existing website. It's taking way too much time, but I'm positive it's because I'm trying to force it into my structure. Hopefully, I will win... Maybe the website will be back to normal on Monday...

posted at 11:15 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Saturday, November 02, 2002

Wolves 0 - Wolf Pack 4

Chicago Wolves Hartford Wolf Pack

read more of this entry »

posted at 10:19 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Friday, November 01, 2002

Contract? Where?

I received an EMail from that headhunter tonight. He's got a contract that's in the right money range, but it's in Des Moines, Iowa. I like the contract idea again, but Des Moines? I don't think I want to do this. I mean, having money is a real good idea right now, but being out of town is not that attractive.

posted at 07:37 PM | Link | Job Search § |

Looks like the "big drop" happened
Went out to grab a bite to eat for lunch, and there they were throughout the entire neighborhood.


It got cold last night - 27°, Wind Chill 8°. All (well, almost all) of the trees in the neighborhood had this huge drop of leaves. They're everywhere - streets, lawns, sidewalks. So I guess this it it. It's fall. It's cold, too. There wasn't much of a transition here, it literally just "snapped" and the temperature dropped. There's no relief in sight either.


posted at 01:21 PM | Link | Mundane § |
Unemployment Tote Board

Ok, it's the first of the month - time to make an assessment of how long I've been out of work.

Permanent Full-Time: 17 months
Contract: 13 months


posted at 11:59 AM | Link | Unemployment § |
Friday 5 - Religion

The Friday Five
Time for another Friday Five...
1. Were you raised in a particular religious faith? Yes, Roman Catholic.
2. Do you still practice that faith? Why or why not? No. It happened when we moved to where we live now. I've always felt part of my old parish, and I don't feel connected anywhere now. That just made me feel lost, and I started to have feelings about the absolute necessity of going to church every Sunday.
3. What do you think happens after death? I don't know. All I know is that then end of a life just feels too... final. I feel that there is something more. Heaven? Perhaps. Another spiritual plane? Perhaps.
4. What is your favorite religious ritual (participating in or just observing)? Baptism. It's just really cool to see parents bring a child into the church.
5. Do you believe people are basically good? Yesh. I would have normally said Yes a few years ago, but society has changed so much in just 5 years, that I am wondering if people really are "good" if there exists so much evil in the world, so much meanness to one another.

posted at 09:03 AM | Link | Friday Five § |

Aw, Nuts! I forgot about "Rabbit, Rabbit!" Now I've got to remember "Tibbar, Tibbar!"

posted at 08:28 AM | Link | Memes § |


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This Blog was last updated Friday December 18, 2009 13:03:12 CDT (-06:00 GMT)
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