Tuesday, August 31, 2004


I'm not going to say anything about the RNC. I won't, nope nope nope nope, I won't.

Ok, except this.

How is it possible two perfectly reasonable human beings can have two completely different responses to the same speech - not just the content, but the style, and the references, and the subtext...?

Has it gotten to the point where it's impossible for anyone -- anyone at all! -- to respond or react to anything anyone does with objectivity? Is it impossible to remove the rose-colored (or ash-colored) glasses, and let ourselves view those things and people that we agree or disagree with in anything but absolutes?

And there are a lot of bloggers covering the RNC, just like they did the DNC. And a lot of them are, of course, are reacting to the speakers, and the pageantry, and the atmospheres in diametrically opposite ways than they viewed the previous convention.

Is there anyone left that's just a little bit objective? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

As I said yesterday. What's the Point?

TV Tuesday

Week 21 - Olympics

Now that the Olympics have closed let's review!!

1. How much of the Olympics did you watch?

I actually watched a good bit, though not a lot at any one particular time. It was on in our house most every evening, and we kept our eyes on it here and there.

2. What's your favorite Olympic sport?

Well, I used to love to watch fencing but I've gotten over that a bit. I think my favorite is probably volleyball, with some of the track and field and swimming. I don't really enjoy gymnastics much at all. Diving is interesting, but ultimately frustrating because of the ambiguity of the scoring.

3. What's your least favorite Olympic sport or one you feel should be removed?

I don't enjoy boxing at all, and wouldn't cry if it were gone. I don't think I watched any wrestling, either, and wouldn't miss it. I think the rythmic gymnastics could go, and the eight-person synchronized swimming was just weird...it reminded me of an Esther Williams musical by the Stepford Wives..

~Bonus~ If you could participate in the Olympics what sport would you want to be in?

Fencing, maybe. I always wanted to try to pole vault or do the hurdles, but never took up track when I was younger. I guess the sport I would be best suited for would be volleyball.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Don't Cross This Guy

  • I feel really sorry for Vanderlei Lima, who possibly lost the gold medal in the marathon...

  • I think good old Cornelious O'Whackedinthehead needs to have a serious date with the little men in white coats very, very soon, and..

  • He unfortunately picked the wrong moment to interfere, because he engendered the wrath of white-haired bearded guy in the grey shirt...

That guy, who came out of the crowd to assist Lima and apparently beat the snot out of ol' Cornelius, is my new hero. Yay old guy!

What's the Point?

Friday, August 27, 2004

Flux Capacitor......Fluxing

Great Scott!

Michael Williams gets - or will get - a visit from a very special traveller:

"...As for the first, well, because I'll answer your questions, satisfy your curiosity, and leave you always wanting more," [Sherman] said with a grin, and sneezed. "As for why I'm here, in the grand scheme of things, well, I'm an applied historian."

"That's an oxymoron," I said, almost smiling despite myself, and Sherman laughed.

"Yeah, I'm glad you appreciate it, that's probably why I decided to stay with you. Really though, I'm a time traveler."

"Oh, of course, that's excellent," I said. I'd always wanted to meet a time traveler."
This is heavy...

Physical vs. Psychological

I hate this.

For years, I've had a physical aversion to needles and/or blood. Not psychological, but physical. Oftentimes when I see a syringe or some other medical instrument intended to poke into me, or when I see blood I start to:

1) sweat
2) my head gets so light it feels as if it's lifting off my shoulders
3) (others have told me) I turn deathly pale in a matter of moments
4) my hearing starts to disappear, as if everyone were getting farther and farther away
5) finally everything goes black like the iris of a camera lens, and I'm in the floor

Now, lest some people question my toughness - it's purely a physical reaction. I have no problem with needles or blood - mentally, I have no aversion to either. I've watched my share of movie splatterfests. But sometimes they're just like kryptonite to Superman - their mere presence, and my understanding that they're about to, or being used on me, can cause a blackout.

In the past, it's happened when I got a mole removed from my back (that was the first time, and for a while after I and the doctors thought I was allergic to the local anesthetic they used). Then I wiped out after witnessing a particularly nasty car crash. Other times were when trying to give blood, have blood taken for testing, or even when they were showing what an epidural needle looked like at childbirth classes. One time it happened when I was ill with a stomach bug, and riding (not driving, thank God!) in a car. I ended up in the ER, dehydrated and with a abnormally low BP after that one.

It's been awhile since it's happened. I've gotten several flu shots, standard cholesterol screenings - nothing. Till today.

There's a new cholesterol test that takes only five minutes (!) to get the results back, and our Community Health team was demo-ing it at my office this morning. The only requirement was to fast for 10 hours beforehand, so I came to the office hungry.

So there I sit, one of our new CH employees began administering the test. A quick needlestick on my left middle finger, and the oozing began. As she collected the sample in a tube, I could feel the symptoms charging toward me like a freight train.

Thankfully, by now I'm able to recognize them early. Unthankfully, no force of will can stave them off - at least not till the inevitable conclusion.

I bent down with my head between my knees, breaking out into a cold, clammy sweat. Some of them around brought me water, and a paper towel to wipe the sweat. After a few minutes, it passed.

And I hate this. I hate that this happens to me, I hate that I have a purely physical reaction that I can't resist mentally. Well, yes, I suppose it is a psychological reaction, too, since it's caused not by the objects themselves, but the thought or idea of the objects. I feel I should be able to mentally order myself to not react this way, but it doesn't help.

I'm assuming it's related to vaso vagal syndrome, but I've never been able to medically pinpoint it.

So it continues to plague me. I just hope it doesn't ever hit at a most inopportune time, like when I'm trying to help out in a crisis.

Friday's Feast

What is a word that your family uses that would not be considered common?

"Filagree, Pedigree, Apogee, Perigee", or "Traguna Mekoides Tragorum Satis Dee" (can you guess what they mean?)

What theme of calendar do you have on your wall this year?

I have a "spacial objects" calendar, meaning photos of galaxies and such...

Name 3 people you speak with on a daily basis.

My wife, L.
Teresa (my two co-workers)

Main Course
If you could put a new tattoo on someone you know - who would it be, what would the tattoo be of, and where would you put it on them?

I can't stand tattoos. I hate them, even the cute little ones women get - I think they're ugly. That said, if I had to put one on someone, I'd find Michael Moore and Ann Coulter and force them to tattoo "I'm With Stupid -->" on their foreheads.

What is the last beverage you drank out of a glass bottle?

Black Cherry Soda

Thursday, August 26, 2004


Ok, I got this idea from The New Jan Brady.

Use the new random "Next Blog" feature at the top of this page, or any regular Blogger site and write down several interesting quotes from the ones you jump to.

Links are optional - unless the site is so amazingly memorable, it might be fun just read the quotes on their own terms, and leave the blogs more or less anonymous.

Here we go:
  1. Internet Markting Seminar

    Internet Marketing Seminar

    Internet Marketing Seminar

    (This text and the below linked text is posted once every fifteen minutes for the page 6 days for a total of about 288 identical posts. The links are linked to another site. This is similar to what's known as Google-bombing. Look on it and scoff.)

  2. "I know I haven't said goodbye to most of the people i should've, but goodbyes are overrated if you ask me. Plus, they make me uncomfortable and i avoid them like the plague. They should consist of being drunkedy shoved into a cab at some ungodly hour of the morning - followed by a day of feeling so ill that you can't really think about anything except water and asprin."

  3. Tryckta gratistidningen Stockholm City, avdelning Näringsliv, publicerade en häpnadsväckande artikel (26/8) med rubriken: ”Stockholm har blivit hett – öppenheten och toleransen gör att vår tillväxt ökar mest i hela Sverige”. Artikelns kärnbudskap till intelligenta människor i Stockholm genom artikelförfattaren Jesper Pettersson är två:

    (I have no idea what it means but it sounds really dirty)

  4. im in love

    "yes as the title says im in love, with janessa,i dont care what y'all say, i love her, i know i just finished with sam but i love janessa, and a lot, shes wonderful, and she likes me back as well, i also have a good feeling about this as well, the sort of felling it will work out for the long run and maybe longer, i probably shouldn't have put it here but i had to do something i couldn't keep it bottled up, just to confirm: I LOVE JANESSA. sorry but i do, anyway, im great today, i dont think of sam anymore and and im really happy, right now, stuff is going right for me and at last myt life might be turning around, well im off now cya later bye."

Have a Happy

I've been remiss in posting my happy thoughts for this week. To catch up:

Tuesday: I don't remember :( I'm still alive, so I guess at the end of the day I must have been happy some time...
Wednesday: My parents 43rd wedding anniversary. That they are together after 43 years makes me very happy :)
Thursday: I get to spend the evening with my kids. Brainyboy (v8.5) is making a dragonfly out of beads and string, and I'm going to help him finally finish it.

Also, I just bought a bag of Very Cherry Jelly Bellies and Watermelon Jelly Bellies.. :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

What's Old is New Again (Part 3)

(Read also Part 1, and Part 2)


I was supposed to play in a...yes, believe it...a mud volleyball tournament Saturday morning at 9:00 for a local charity. 8am rolled around, and so did I - back under the covers. After last night, no early morning for this boy...

(As it turned out, I wish I'd gone. My team's first opponent turned out to be a team from Hooters. Let's just let that thought simmer for a moment.



L. and I spent most of the day Saturday running errands and enjoying our brief childless freedom. Kids were still with grandparents, and would be until Sunday afternoon.

L. would not be able to attend tonight's festivities with me, sadly. Her work required her to be at a soiree this evening on the other side of town, so I'd have to go alone..

Well, not alone exactly. I had a date :) When I found out L. couldn't come, Beth agreed to be my "date" for the evening. Well, at least we would ride together. I would pick up Beth at her parents' house that evening where she was staying while in town.

(Now before any minds start wagging, Beth and L. know each other and have for a long time. Everyone was cool about it.)

So we played it up. I got dressed in my new suit (thank you, Men's Wearhouse) and drove out to Fountain City, which is the North Knoxville suburb where she and I both grew up.

I'd visited her house several times in high school, and just driving back to a neighborhood I hadn't seen in twenty years was as nostalgic as anything. I pulled into the driveway and she met me at the door in curlers. Women. Same as always.

I was a little disappointed that her parents weren't home - I was looking forward to either:

a) Promising to have their daughter in early, or

b) Declaring that we were 38 years old, and I'd keep her out just a long as I damn well please ;)

Finally she appeared in a very flattering black dress - thanks to the miracles of Febreze Wrinkle Releaser - and off we went.

I pulled into the Country Club parking lot...now Beaver Brook Country Club is way out in Halls, in North Knox County. I've never actually seen the golf course that is there, but I'm assuming it exists.

As we got out, a girl...well, woman (twenty years later they aren't girls anymore, but it's hard to break the habit) pulled in beside us. It was Laurie, who hadn't even heard there was a reunion till she happened to call one of the other grads. He told her it was tonight! So there she was. Laurie is now vice-principal at an Elementary School in Oak Ridge.

As we went inside, 80's music was playing from the DJ. Over the course of the even we were serenaded to such tunes as Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart," Met at Work's "Down Under," J. Geil's Band's "Centerfold" and other late, lamented tunes from the last era where music was actually interesting.

IT was much more relaxed in the banquet hall, at least for me. Beth was getting a bigger and bigger kick out of seeing everyone again for the first time, but since I'd spent time with them last night we fell into familiar patterns easier.

When dinner time rolled around, we were short tables so had to move some in from the deck. What a team we were ;)

One thing I was glad of was that nobody I talked to seemed to be making a deal out of where they were in their careers or jobs. Sure, we ran the gamut from lawyers to bankers, internet designers to AOL Marketers, housewives to horse caretakers, but there was little bravado, or one-upsmanship. We were who we were, and that was that. We celebrated each others' successes at face value.

Remember how I was starting to obsess how I looked? And what clothes to wear? Shouldn't have - didn't make a difference. Like before, we all looked how we looked and nobody cared. The girl who probably wouldn't have said two words to a certain guy in school was chatting amiably about something funny her kids did. Looks didn't matter, jobs didn't matter...we were friends, and classmates.

Another new face was Missy, who played Ado Annie to my Ali Hakim in our senior production of "Oklahoma!". She and her husband had traveled from the DC area to attend, and I have to say of all the people I saw again that night, she had changed the least. She still looked about 18, but with just a different hairstyle.

When she first walked up to me, she looked at me at bit quizzically for a moment, then glanced down at my name tag. In that moment of recognition, she glanced back up smiling, and said, "Oh! Barry! You've grown up!"

Hm. Wasn't quite sure what to make of that at first, but I took it as a compliment ;)

It was interesting, though - her personality in high school was bubbly, flighty...it was rare when you didn't see her smiling. In the here and now, that was still there but I could see it was tempered with experience and wisdom. For all of them, it was true - personalities were the same, really. Beth is still sarcastic, Danny still had the dry humor, Andy was still sharp-witted, Lee had the same bravado...but it was different. There was seasoning. There was travel, there was heartache, there was love, there was hate, there was misery, there was joy - these qualities didn't exist in us in 1984, but who we are now in 2004 was that core person, the basic good people, and viewed through the crucible of time.

Were we now....gasp!...mature?

Is this what maturity looks like? Sure, there was giggling, but it wasn't over boys - it was how cute the pictures of our kids looked. There was ironic laughter, and appreciation of where we'd been when Danny brought in some of the old school newspapers he'd saved from our senior year. We read through the predictions, the "Last Wills and Testaments" where we gave away things to the underclassmen.

For a long time I've felt I was still clinging to the last vestiges of my childhood. I'm lucky to be able to relive some of that through my kids. Star Wars, Land of the Lost, Schoolhouse Rock...I can share these things with BrainyBoy and GiggleGirl and watch them bring joy to their lives as they did mine. But until now I felt I didn't yet belong in the adult world. I'm 37, married with two kids and I've still felt like I'm 23. I was uncomfortable around "grown-ups". When people my age or older get together at church to talk, or fellowship - I find it difficult to relate and gravitate toward interacting with people younger than I. I still feel people see me as a kid, a college-age kid who sometimes may have something of value to contribute but mostly needs to hush and keep out of the way.

Maybe that's over. I saw that night all the people that I still remember as kids....they were grown up. And not 10-year-reunion 28-year-olds - we're 37 and 38 now. We're grown up. We can't ungrow, and everyone's become adjusted to that fact.

And if they can do it, well so can I.


The party continued on into the night. Lee was upset because last call was 11:30, and he and Beth avoided any (friendly) political confrontations. I got drafted volunteered to start up a CHS Class of '84 webpage to post information about our grads. Missy's husband Gerry and I talked about internet healthcare marketing. I caught up with Harold's brother and parents, who lived near my house when I was growing up. Beverly and Danny live near each other and didn't realize it until just recently.

We missed Carl, and Johnny, and Tyson and the the other classmates who have left us.

We also thought about and remembered the ones who were unable to attend for whatever reason: Tracye, Chuck, Laurie, Joanna, Kim, Karen, Paul, Cindy, Wiley, Sonja, Kris, David, David, Tammie, Lynn, Beth (the other one), Billy, and others. We hoped to catch up to them again, someday.

And we promised -- promised -- to have a 25th reunion in five years. In the meantime, those who live close by would continue to organize mini-reunions as often as possible.

I mentioned on my site once before that I've never seen a group of people who were so willing to co-exist with each other across cliques. Almost everyone had some kind of interaction with everyone else there. I hope that acceptance and tolerance has carried over into their lives.

It got to be midnight, and the party broke up. Some of us stood outside in the parking lot for a while to chat, then finally we headed out.


For Beth, the night was still young. She had made plans to go back out and meet up with her younger brother. Back at her house, we hugged one last time and she was on her way.

I drove home, again with thoughts and images reeling through my head. Got home, couldn't sleep.

Where am I? What are you doing with your life?

Exactly where I want to be, doing exactly what I want to do.

Just now, finally - like she said - all grown up.

TV Tuesday

Week 20 - Back to School

It's that time of year again and everyone's heading back to school! So we'll talk back to school this week!!

1. What's your favorite show that deals with school in some way? (Facts of Life, A Different World, Saved by the Bell, Fame, etc..)

I loved Fame when it came out, and the New York City High School for the Performing Arts was a place I would have loved to attended. I watched Facts of Life because of Jo (ok, and Blair). Never watched any of the other two. I probably should've watched more of the show where Howard Hesseman was a teacher but I never caught much of it. Never got into Square Pegs either.

Ok, I guess my favorite school show would be: Welcome Back, Kotter

2. Which TV school would you have attended if given a choice?

New York City High School for the Performing Arts. I wanted to riff on the keyboards with Bruno Martelli, joke around with Danny Amatullo, act with Mr. Rearden, and...um..er...make beautiful music with Julie Miller, the cellist (Lori Singer). ;)

3. What's your favorite back to school commercial?

Can't recall any specifically, sorry

~Bonus~ Reality check! What's your most memorable back to school moment?

I just recall the rush going to my high school the first day, so many people...so many people...

Monday, August 23, 2004

Auntie Em! Toto! It's a Twister, It's a Twister!!!

Oh, wait, it's not...
"The skies in the Los Angeles basin were fair Saturday morning when computers connected to the National Weather service in Oxnard began screaming.


There was hardly a cloud in the sky, but the alert stated in horrifying detail:

Four minutes later:
Jubilant Los Angeles residents took to the streets to celebrate their newfound freedom from the tornado menace, and the jubilations continue at this hour--

Oh wait, this just in...

The National Weather Service has issued a statement, consisting of one word:

Happy Thoughts

Saturday: Relaxing at home, going to the Hobby Store with BrainyBoy and the family.
Sunday: Spending time with friends at the pool.
Monday: About a hundred things aren't on my shoulders that were last week ;)

Saturday, August 21, 2004

What's Old is New Again (Part 2)

(Read also Part 1)


The Friday night meet-and-eat was to be held at the Foundry building, on the World's Fair site. I haven't been back in the Foundry since it was the Strohaus at the 1982 World's Fair, so I was looking forward to returning and seeing what it was like. My wife L., being the social butterfly that she is, had been several times for other events and assured me it was a lot different. No more German oompah bands? No strudel? No chicken dances? I don't wanna go.....

But I bravely went on. I'd heard Motley Crue or somebody was having a concert on the lawn at the Fair Site that night as well, and feared for the parking but apparently the fact that it was on the other side of the park, combined with the fact that most Crue fans these days need walkers and ride public transportation, parking problems never materialized...

We arrived, the sky sparkling clear and barely hinting at dusk. Pulling up near the entrance, I noticed other couples leaving their cars and making their own ways to the front doors. I glanced around, hoping -- and not hoping -- to recognize someone. I didn't. There were several sets of people I didn't recognize at all.

Now we had a small class - 242 at graduation, I believe - which was the smallest class our school had had in decades. Contrast that with the class that graduated 4 years later, it had the most. Which meant I thought surely I would recognize someone. There was a line entering a door at the side, and being the good automotons that we humans are we joined the line. Still didn't recognize anyone.

"Oh, Lord," I thought, "This is going to be horrible."

After a few moments, a little kid (?) stuck his head out the side door, peered up and down the line, and hollered, "Is everyone here for the Farragut High Reunion?"

Huh? I timidly raised my hand, "No, Central High".

"Oh," he said, waving us in excitedly, "Come in this way."

Well, no freakin' wonder. I'm in the wrong reunion.

We moved past the line of unfamiliar 30-somethings in fancy outfits and proceeded inside. Yes, indeed, Farragut High Class of '84 - all 14,431 graduates - was having their reunion at the same time and place as ours. Compared to them, our class looked like the kids table at Thanksgiving. But I digress.

Instead of trying to do a play-by-play narrative, I'll just do the stream of consciousness high points:

  • Met up with Danny, one of my best friends. He'd emailed me earlier that day that he was looking forward to being there. Danny has one of the funnies and dryest senses of humor I've ever known. I used to sit in the back of English class and crack up at his deadpan jokes, at our teacher's expense. He was a little taller, and a little chubbier, but still the same guy.

  • "Whoa...who was that? WHOA...I remember her now --- WHOA, she did NOT have those back in high school...! ("must stop staring...must stop staring...")

  • Saw Jack and Hal, both who played baseball with me in rec leagues and we were all coached by my dad.

  • Ok, this is getting weird.

  • Lots of hand-shaking, some perunctory hugs.

  • Man, it's loud. No music, really, just drinks and chatter - it's hard to hear.

    Or is that just my own hearing? Uh oh.

  • Kelly and her husband live in Virginia, and had left their house boarded up because of Hurricane Charley - they were leaving tomorrow to go back and re-batten down the hatches. They would miss the dinner the following evening.

    Her husband eerily reminded me of Christopher Walken. He was very nice, but I've always thought of Walken as ubercreepy, so it was disconcerting at first.

    Kelly took digital pictures all over.

    I didn't recognize her at first, because she now had blonde hair - in school, it was brown. I actually thought she was one of our exchange students at first (sorry, Kelly) :)

  • The jocks came, the cheerleaders came - all in a gaggle, as usual. Some things never change. One group of ladies arrived in a pack, chattering and giggling among themselves the same way they'd done twenty years ago.

  • I couldn't get over just how good everyone looked. Sure, there were some wrinkles, and paunches, and this is that was sagging a bit but everyone just looked good. It's hard to descibe. I'll talk more about that during the 3rd part.

  • I was disappointed that there was no music - it would've made it more difficult to hear, but I still missed it.

  • We had a buffet dinner that was very good.

  • Laura seemed to enjoy herself, and eventually parked to chat with Jack's (see above) wife for the bulk of the evening. Not having grown up in East Tennessee, she didn't know anyone in particular.

  • I was also disappointed in the no-shows. Beth had been stuck in New York and let me know earlier in the day that she would miss this evening, but would be back for sure the next day - that was fine. But the ones who didn't make it back at all were some of the ones I was most looking forward to seeing. And some even still lived in Knoxville, or in the area.

    Tom, one of the organizers of the event and my fellow delegate to Boys State in 83 informed be that there were about 10-15 other classmates who couldn't make it that night, that would be there the next day. That's good.

  • I told a lot of people that same things - what I was doing now, what I did in college, showed them pictures of BrainyBoy and GiggleGirl at the beach. It was fun hearing other peoples' stories but retelling my own time after time got old after a while ;)

  • Amusingly, we got crashed. A lady wandered in, and rushed over to me - "Barry! Remember me?" I looked at her face with that old, "Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....yes I know you! it's great to see you! who the hell are you!?" look, until she showed me her name badge. Her name was Kristi, and had gone to Gresham Junior High with a number of us way back even farther in time - the late '70's. She had transferred out to Farragut High when starting high school, and had stepped in to see if she recognized anyone she knew in Junior High. There were about three girls I had little-kid crushes on in Junior High, and she was one of them. Amazing what coincidences can happen. :)

    No, I didn't tell her, that.

  • Overall the evening was great fun, but for me even upon getting ready to go, I could tell the party was just getting started. The awkward, "Gee, how are you - great to see you - so what've you been up to?" stage had been entered, and passed by most of us there. Tomorrow night at the Country Club we'd already be past the awkward first moments and be ready to remember why it was we liked...

    ...and disliked...

    each other in the first place.
We got home fairly late, L. went on to bed. Quiet house, no kids. I stayed up for a while but when I laid down, faces and names and stories kept going through my head.

It took a long while for sleep to come.

Next: Saturday Night, at the Country Club with my date

There's a Bird in my Wall

...and it's flapping around driving me crazy. That or it's a squirrel that's climbed in from the outside and gotten trapped.

It's happened a couple times here before - some critter crawls in through a hole somewhere and gets trapped inside a hole in the wall that divides my computer desk (where I'm typing this now) and our bedroom.


I keep waiting for it eventually to dig through the drywall and poke its head out at me.

Friday, August 20, 2004

What's Old is New Again (Part 1)

I haven't had much time to write about my 20-year class reunion much since last weekend. I wish I'd started sooner when the memories and impressions were fresher, but work and home life got in the way. I'll try to start some stream-of-consciousness blogging and see where it takes me. (that's an AP English inside joke right there. Laugh, Beth ;))

Background: I was a fairly typical geek in high school. An arts geek, though, mostly. I did band, chorus, and drama as much as possible as well as AP (honors) english and math. I enjoyed school - I really did - but on its own terms. In other words, whatever my high school offered to me as an incentive or enticement to excel or enjoy, I took it and that's all I needed. I didn't party. I didn't drink, or smoke. I went in, did my work, saw my friends, enjoyed the school and went home. On Friday nights there were football games where I marched at halftime, we went to Mr. Gatti's on Clinton Highway after the game for pizza, and then I went home.

I also never went out with anyone in high school. Quite simply, I didn't know how. I had a crush on several girls while I was there but they were always unrecognized and unreturned - a fact which caused no end of teen anguish. (This is early 80's anguish we're talking about, here, not early 2000's anguish. If it were today I'd probably have shot up the school). But I gazed from afar and continued what I was doing.

After graduation, I went to college and got my BA in Theatre, got married, started a career, had two kids and started a blog. (interesting bio, huh?)

Fast forward 20 years past graduation. I've kept in touch with only one person, really, since graduation. The above-mentioned Beth was one of my best friends - smart, independant, a little wild (well, she was wilder when not around me, but I caught the fringes of it) and possesses a fierce passion for horses. Other than her, I simply stepped on with my life and new circles of friends.

We had a 10-year reunion back in '94, which was fun, but even 10 years out is not a lot of time for major life changes. I had no kids yet, had been married only two years. Similarly for others that returned.

This time I knew it would be different.

Around the first of the year I started looking at my calendar and wondering. I wasn't a class officer, and never had any responsibilities for starting things up so I sat and waited. Eventually, I was contacted by a representative for a professional Reunion company that arranged these things professionally. The date was set in mid-August, and I made reservations for my wife and I to attend.

Then the introspection started. What would they look like? How do I look compared to them? There were a number of nice-looking guys in high school and, judging from the attention I received 20 years ago, I was not. You start taking a look in the mirror. How's the gut? Not so bad...I certainly didn't weigh 200 pounds in '84 like I do now, but hey, it's distributed like it should be expected. A 6'2" frame and fairly broad shoulders help.

I look at the face. I've had a beard for several years, but no one has ever seen it really. A beard screams "old guy" though in some ways. What to do? Got it - goatee! (shave, shave, trim, trim). Done. Hey, sporty ;) What else?

(looks at pasty white skin)


Hilton Head in early July! Fun in the sun! Took care of that real quick. (ouch)

Ok, feel a little better.

Time slipped by, and the date approached. Then a bad thing happened. Our high school quarterback, best-looking guy in the class and all around swell guy that everyone would be looking forward to seeing again...well, he died. Click the link to where I've talked about it already.

Beth came to town briefly to see some people and pay her respects. We got together with another classmate and caught up briefly.

Wait a minute. My friends don't die! That only happens to other people, not us. We're not getting older, we're not. Really....

I wasn't very close to him, but Beth was, and I felt badly for her. Mortality isn't an easy thing to recognize and accept.

However, it's simply another thing you have to embrace as part of life. Scary, yes, but always there.

Well, now it's last week. Friday and Saturday nights were approaching fast. I was checking the website that listed people returning. Some names I was surprised would be there were there, and others I really looked forward to seeing were not. What would we talk about? Current events? I didn't look forward to spending the weekend talking about politics, terrorism or war. The Olympics Opening Ceremonies were friday night - would we talk about that? Hurricane Charley was currently pounding the Florida coast - heavens, would the main topic be the weather??

The nerves began in earnest. I'm not a good person in crowds of people I'm not very familiar with. I'll talk your ear off if you walk up to me, but to initiate a conversation can be torture sometimes. What about the people I really didn't know that well? Would I be able to discuss deep philosophical theories with them? Would they still think I was the tall gangly band geek?

Ok, Barry - screw your courage to the sticking place. Kids are at the grandparents'. Get dressed, cause it's time to go....

Next: Friday Night, the first evening

Friday's Feast

What does the color pink make you think of?

Are you kidding? I have a four-going-on-five-year-old girl. Pink is Barbie. Barbie is Pink. Resistance is Futile.

Name something you have lost but later found.

I was going to say something really bold and philosophical here, but let's just say my cats.

In 3 words, describe this past week.

Mentally, physically exhausting

Main Course
What are you obsessed with?

Childhood nostalgia - old Saturday morning TV, etc.

What kind of perfume or cologne do you like to wear?

Sorry, I don't.

Website Plug

One of the newest of our Rocky Top Brigade members is Cathy from Domestic Psychology.

Cathy lives in Knoxville (which is always an indicator of a greater intellect) with her husband and two four children. I've really enjoyed reading her site since she joined, and I recommend you make her one of your daily reads as well. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

More Happy Thoughts

If it weren't for the happy thoughts, I'd have nothing to post.

My happy thought for today is that a wonderful friend of mine won a Covenant Platinum Award today, honoring outstanding seniors in Knox County.

Congratulations, Joan!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Please Make It Stop

Spent all day preparing for a Senior Citizens awards banquet tomorrow. Being the evil genius that I am, I'm running the teleprompter for the speakers. which requires a deft touch, keen intellect, technical know-how, razor-sharp reflexes......and the ability to realize -- after many minutes of puzzlement, frustration, reconfiguration and frantic phone calls -- when the monitors are turned around backwards.

I'm a freakin' genius.

And that's my happy thought for the day - I love it when a plan comes together.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Happy Thought

Take The Challenge

I'm tired today. So very, very tired.

My happy thought for today is that I'm still alive, I breathe, I exist, I have blood pumping through my veins.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Fore! Going on Five!

Spent part of the morning and afternoon shooting video at the Patricia Neal Golf Classic for the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center.

It's hot, but it's a dry heat ;)

Oh, did I mention it was this hot chick's first day of Kindergarten?

(No, no, I'll be ok......)

Happy Times

Take The Challenge

Friday and Saturday - immersing yourself completely in memory, friendship and nostalgia makes me happy because I love remembering where I've been and the things I went through to get to this point.

Sunday - Spending time with my kids after they've been with grandparents since Thursday makes me happy because it reminds me of the glory of the here and now.

Monday - Sending your daughter off to Kindergarten and son to Third Grade makes you ecstatic about their future...

Sunday, August 15, 2004

The Reunion

Well, it's over. I really want to give a full report, but I can't get the time right now. Hopefully sometime this week.

Suffice to say:

Extreme nervousness
Purple Rain

More later...

Friday, August 13, 2004

Run Away!!! Run Away!!!

Evacuate? In Our Moment of Triumph?

Plus Live Action Shots of Charlie in progress (maybe)

Boca Grande, FL is where I worked for two weeks back in February as Musical Director for Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. I met a lot of good folks down there, and there are some beautiful old (and expensive) houses. Wishing them all the best of luck and good health as the hurricane passes through.

UPDATE (3:15pm): Looks like the Eye of Charles is going to pass right over Boca Grande as it nears landfall around Fort Myers. Take a look:

(Image removed due to passing of hurricane inland)

UPDATE 2 (8/16) Sorry about that, it's spelled Hurricane Charley. And Boca Grande got nailed, but no loss of life or injuries that I can tell. Go to top link above to see some of the damage.

Save the Liver!

TV chef Julia Child dead at 91

In honor of the passing of popular culture's truly great icons, I bring you the transcript to the great Dan Ackroyd's Saturday Night Live sketch.

Oh, wait - this just in. Food Network cooking personality Emeril decided today that in tribute to the late Ms. Child, he would proceed to fry his own giblets.

Happy Moments

Take The Challenge

My happy moment for Friday is a) finding my high school annuals, prepping for the reunion tonight, and b) getting an unexpected email from one of my old friends who will be there tonight. I haven't spoken to him in years, and it will be great to see him again.

Welcome to the Rocky Top Brigade!

Here are our new recruits:

Eric at Argus, Doug at Dropstones, Kate at Tennessee Talk, Cathy at Domestic Psychology, John at What Can Brown Do For You?, and Michael Silence of the Knoxville News Sentinel at No Silence Here.

Blogroll has been updated. Here's the code to put the RTB Blogroll on your site:

<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript" src="http://rpc.blogrolling.com/display.php?r=bc437d5b4878268597cc4cb373738dc1"></script>

Every so often, one of our Rocky Top Brigade members hosts the Volunteer Tailgate Party, a bi-weekly compendium of the best and brightest posts of our members over those two weeks. If any of the new folks (or anyone at all) is interested in hosting the Party, please check the Calender and let me know.

Welcome everyone!!!

Friday's Feast

Who is your favorite news anchor/reporter? Why?

Of the national ones, I prefer Tom Brokaw from NBC. He's always seemed to be the most genuine and explains things with a lot of pathos. Oh, and I stop whatever I'm doing whenever Kelly O'Donnell comes on the screen.... ;)

Name 3 foods that are currently in your freezer.

1) About 350 Kids Frozen Dinners
2) Frozen Mozarella Sticks and Potato Skins from Applebees
3) A Bag of Hash Browns I bought about a year-1/2 ago because when I was in Las Vegas I had a meal that came with Hash Browns, but they had a special kind of seasoning and were spectacular. I wanted to try and recreate them here at home, but never have. I don't know if they're still edible or not...

If you were to have the opportunity to name a new town or city, what would you call it?


Main Course
What will most likely be the next book you read?

The next major book I will read will probably be the final book of Stephen King's Dark Tower series, called "The Dark Tower" (natch). It comes out in September, just before our Disney trip.

Of course I'm always reading something, so it won't actually be the very next book I read. Big Orange Michael brought me a ton of books when he came to visit last week.

What's the first thing you notice about the opposite gender?

Their face.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Chitty Chitty Whiz Bang

Here's a really cool little story about how Dick Van Dyke has fallen in love with Computer Graphics animation.

Happy Time

Take The Challenge

What makes me happy today? As much as I love my wife and my kids, tonight I get an evening off. They're out doing other things all evening, so it's just me, myself, and Knoxville Tennessee.

What should I do with myself? Any suggestions?


How's that for a title? :)

Well, Knoxville and Knox County politics are ugly, tricky things. Take a dollop of good-old-boy, stir in a snifter of downtown snobbery, a peck of hillbilly, a smattering of religious influence and mix in a large helping of money and you have Knox politics.

Oh, and you also get Mary Lou Horner. Gawd bless her.

But it's funny how tables can turn. Only a couple of years ago, Knox County Executive Mayor Mike Ragsdale was running unopposed - unopposed!! - for his position. Democrats couldn't muster anyone with enough, um, er, gumption to run against him and Republican Mike sailed into the job on the wings of eagles.

Today, the feathers have come of the wings a bit.

Thumbing through today's Metropulse, Ear to the Ground has this story that's circulating:
"A group of people upset about the wheel tax and the direction of county spending has begun to bombard the sheriff with e-mails asking him to “save” Knox County by running against County Mayor Mike Ragsdale."
I ask, where were these people two years ago when nobody ran against him for County Executive Mayor?

It's also typical of those under the influence...er, I mean who want to have influence in local politics to use the "sky is falling" tactic to enact change.

"OMILAWDY! A WHEEL TAX! WE'RE DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED! Garb the gerbils and head fer the basement, Martha, hit's a twister!"

I have really nothing against Ragsdale. I didn't know a whole lot about him before the election (why learn? He's unopposed!), but so far he's seemed a decent enough sort. He doesn't run with scissors, and plays well with others (Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam - a big change from the last 16 years). However, it's amusing that the people who are wanting to oust him from now didn't seem to be anywhere around when he was elected.

The wheel tax is unpopular, yes. It's probably unfair to those in lower income brackets. But is it the kind of thing to want to toss someone out of office? Hardly.

Now, that said, this kind of thing can't possibly help Ragsdale's image:

Harber throws his weight around Knox County (Frank Cagle, Metropulse 08/12/04)
"Tyler Harber is becoming a living legend in Knox County politics. The 23-year-old special assistant to County Mayor Mike Ragsdale has, in recent weeks, accused the most popular female officeholder in Knox County of throwing bitch fits, collected $42,000 from a campaign working “pro bono” and has threatened to shut down a restaurant owned by Mike Chase because they wouldn’t serve him another cocktail."
Also reported by Betty Bean at the Halls News, which I mentioned a few days ago, Young Master Harber has apparently been a bad boy lately...

A probation officer for the county and - according to him - a "special assistant" to the Mayor, his penchant for Goldschlagers caused a bit of an uproar at Copper Cellar. He threatened to get the waitress who cut him off fired, call the health department for a surprise inspection, shut the place down, and, um, possibly even breathe on them.

Never fear, once Sherrif Hutchison and County Executive Mayor Ragsdale caught wind of this fellow's shenanigans he was suspended for three days from his job. Yeah, that'll teach him.

All kidding aside, Harber is 23, owns some political consulting firm called "National Public Strategies", and worked on the campaigns for Ragsdale and some of colleagues such as Billy Stokes (who just got trounced in the State Senate primary to Jamie Hagood). This campaign work resulted in some conflict-of-interest accusations related to his county job.

I've read Frank Cagle's column above, those in the Halls News and also in the News Sentinel and I can't quite figure out how someone as young as 23 can accumulate this much influence and political responsibility. 23! When I was 23, I was a couple years out of college and still trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life.

Maybe he's smart, maybe he's got some good qualifications, maybe he just has great connections and influential friends. I don't know. But if his track record is any indication of his influence in Knox County government, it doesn't speak well for County Executive Mayor Ragsdale in who he chooses to run his (and his friends') campaigns.

Can you tell I hate the title County Mayor? I thought you could.

Thinking Cap Thursday

Thinking Cap Thursday

What do each of these 3 things have in common?

1. The Mouse that Roared - Dr. Strangelove - The Pink Panther

Peter Sellers Movies

2. Pile Driver - Sleeper - Suplex

Wrestling Holds

3. A Steer - A Wether - A Gelding *Spelling correction... lol... this is what happens when you try and type to fast LOL*

Kinds of horses?

4. Fishing - FInish - Dotted

Types of Lines

5. Woody Allen - Sidney Pollack - John Hughes

Movie Directors

6. Charging - Blocking - Traveling

Basketball infractions

7. The Presidential Inauguratioin - The Olympics - Leap Year

Things that happen every four years (or so)

8. Pennsylvania - Reading - Short Line

Monopoloy Railroads

9. Mr Robinson - Gumby - Buckwheat

Eddie Murphy characters from SNL

10. Finger Stalls - Dress Shield - Quiver

Hmmm...things with arrows?

11. Spiral - Compound - Greenstick

Types of fractures

12. Golf - Time - Cosmopolitan

One-word magazine titles

13. Merald Knight - Edward Patten - William Guest

Have no idea. They're actors, but..?

14. Grete Waitz - Joan Benoit - Miki Gorman


15. Silver - Trigger - Mr Ed

Famous movie/TV horses

16. Elizabeth Taylor - Natalie Wood - Melanie Griffith

Actresses...but what in common?

17. Always - Jaws - Nuts

One-word movie titles

18. Bribane - Darwin - Hobart


19. Butt - Cock - Breech

Parts of a gun

20. Ross - Crazy - Elmer's

Types of glue

Hey that was fun - kinda like playing $20,000 Pyramid ;)

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

What's Up With Me?

I'm in a funk.

Can't explain it, really. The normal blargage is still around me: construction on the highway into work. Uncertainty from world events. Fed up with politics and politicos and poliblogs and anything connected with it. Work's tedious but eventful. Will UT find a Quarterback? And other things...

Same old, same old.

I just recently returned from Hilton Head - I should be happy! happy! happy! Well, I am. Sorta.

Could be any number of things, really. I think it boils down to two:

  1. My 20th-Year Class Reunion is Friday and Saturday.

    I graduated from Knoxville Central Hight School in 1984, fresh and wide-eyed - ready to take on the world. My high school days revolved around two things: arts (band, chorus, drama) and academics (AP English, Trig, History).

    I went to my 10th-Year Reunion, well, 10 years ago. A lot of people were there - a lot weren't. I learned that one of my friends has since died. Several had changed - a lot. Quite shocking, in some cases. Some were pleasantly much the same. Some were even better. More than a few of the particular people I hung out with weren't there at all.

    So I'm not sure what to think about this weekend. Beth, one of my best friends from high school is coming back for sure. My wife's unable to attend the Saturday night banquet, so (with her blessing and trust) I'm actually going to "escort" my friend Saturday night so I'm looking forward to that.

    Just uncertainty. Another friend died not too long ago. Several others will not be there at all. A lot of others will be there that, frankly, I never really knew that well. Will I enjoy myself, renewing old acquaintences and actually sparking new ones? Or will I sit staring at the walls, wishing it were over?

    Ok, the real question. What will they think of me? We're all 37-38-39 years old, ten years older than the last time, twenty years since some have seen each other. Do I measure up? Will I impress? Will my hairline scare them? ;) Will some of them scare me? Who got plastic surgery? Botox? Boob jobs? Beer bellies?

    Will we actually have anything to talk about besides Bush/Kerry, imminent terrorist disaster, or the upcoming UT football season? I don't know.

    Guess I'll find out :)

  2. School Starts Next Monday

    Now, I've gone through three "first day of school" rituals with BrainyBoy (v8.5). He's started third grade, and it's old hat for him this time. I haven't met his teacher yet, but don't anticipate any problems. He's a great student, a great kid (if a bit headstrong) and will excel.

    But then there's my little girl. GiggleGirl starts kindergarten.

    Same school as BB - they'll be there together, every day, brother and sister.

    Why does this bother me? I didn't have a problem when BB started kindergarten. "Ok, cool, nice uniform - gotcher backback? - all smiles - let's go!"

    But, she's, like....it's GG. She can't go to kindergarten. She's not old enough. You can't be that old. Not yet. Not her.

    She turns 5 in September. Can't she stay 4? Just a little while longer?

    They wear uniforms at her school - she has some "skorts", and navy blue jumpers. They're all freshly washed (thank you, thank you) and ready for her to "dry run" try on sometime today or tomorrow.

    I don't want to see. I'm not sure I can take her looking like a young girl, instead of a little girl.

    Don't grow up too fast...


All I Want For Christmas Is...

My two front teeth...

Happy Moments

Take The Challenge

Seeing this story on TV this morning:

Bill Cosby's HU freshmen settle in
"A June newspaper article about two high school seniors living on their own in Springfield, Mass., caught Cosby's eye. Two months later, the teenagers featured in the article, Loren Wilder and Jimmy Hester, along with their friend, Wesley White, were escorted to Hampton University by Bill Cosby, with the promise of an all-expense-paid education.

The three, who intend to try out for the university's football team, impressed Cosby with their ability to succeed without parental support. When they arrived on campus, they made pledges - not to forget where they came from, to work hard and to inspire one another.

"Look, you can't get any better than that," said Cosby, smiling."
(This story is from the Hampton Roads, VA Daily Press - I saw the story on the Today Show, but couldn't find anything about it on their website)

The story on TV profiled the two boys that Cosby was impressed with - and they impressed me too. Basically abandoned by drug-using parents when they were 14 and 15 they stayed in school, played football and graduated with honors.

I'm hopeful that these three young men will succeed in college. Of course, college is much different than high school and there will be a lot different temptations to fail - without the home support a lot of new freshmen count on, the road will be rough but I hope they succeed.

Cosby has been the target of controversy lately in his calls for more active and responsible parenting in poorer minority communities. This is one way he's showing he's doing his part to help - by holding successful kids up as an example of what other can do when they raise themselves out of their own situations.

A personal note: in my experience in Theatre, I've run across several people who have either worked with Bill Cosby in the past, or known stories about him. A lot of them are unflattering, and don't quite fit with the "lovable father" persona he's built for himself. I don't know if they're quite accurate or not, but maybe these actions will help dispel those images. I hope so.

But seeing three kids go to college - three smart, ambitious, eager kids, who did not have the opportunity before - really makes me happy.

So there. :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The Final Spoon Post

Ok, I thought the spoon thing was kind of funny.

Apparently not.

Tonight, tonight

Tonight I walked the dog. Well, actually the dog walked me. She's kind of big.

Washed some clothes, grilled burgers on the George Foreman. Read the paper.

Put the kids to bed, and now I'm sitting here writing this.

Someone alert the media.

Happy Thoughts

I'm happy that, um, well, I get to listen to tunes on my PC.

I'm having a bit of trouble coming up with different happy thoughts every day. What does that say about me?

Take The Challenge

Monday, August 09, 2004

Random Musings of the Day

  • True Happiness:

    Me: So, do you know where you get to go on Thursday?

    Gigglegirl: To Grandma and Grandads!!! (my parents)

    Me: And spend the night, and where do you get to spend the night Friday night?

    Gigglegirl: Grandma and Grandads!!! (getting more excited)

    Me: Yep. And THEN! And THEN, on Saturday, you know where you get to go and spend the night and part of Sunday?

    Gigglegirl: (thinks for a moment) Mimi and Pop's!!! (my wife's parents)

    Me: Uh, huh. And THEN!! (I get real close to her face) Do YOU know where you're going on Monday for the first time??

    Gigglegirl: (ponders for a second, then eyes light up, and she squeals, jumping up and down) KINDERGARTEN!!!!!!!!

    That, my friends, is happiness.

  • Goldschlagergate!

  • Several hours later, I saw another fire engine near the airport - this time, fortunately, headed away. Well, unfortunately for those it was actually responding to, but you know...

  • Is it also any less masculine of me to admit I tried out on of those home-dance PlayStation game things last night. We had dinner at the home of some friends of ours, and they have a 14-year-old daughter. She showed us how it works, and of course I had to show them how it was really done. All 6'2" of me.

  • Is it any less masculine of me to say I really enjoyed splurging on new clotheses for my 20th High School Reunion this weekend? New suit, pants, shirt, sport coat...

  • It's never fun to see a fire engine, lights and sirens blazing, headed toward the airport.

  • The Super-Exciting Season Finale to THE 4400!!!


UPDATE: For Leslie - see link to Playstation game above.

Welcome to the Family

Michael Silence of the Knoxville News Sentinel now has his own blog.

Michael's been covering the Knoxville and Tennessee blogging beat (hey, I like that) for a while now. He's provided some of us with some good exposure in the newspaper, and helped bring legitimacy to our online world of opinion, news and fluff.

News Sentinel blogger makes online debut (Registration Required)
"Staff writer Michael Silence debuts his Web log, "No Silence Here," today on the News Sentinel Web site, KnoxNews.com.

'I'd like this to be quick, funny and informative,' Silence said. 'Initially, I plan to provide daily samples of what Tennessee bloggers are talking about, a sort of one-stop online barbershop highlighting what our neighbors are talking about.'"
The website address for Michael's blog will be posted later today, and I'll update as soon as it's available.


UPDATE: Here it is: http://web.knoxnews.com/silence/.

35 Questions

By unpopular demand, here they are.


I have no idea. Beige? It's always dark when I'm in there.


Unity, by S.D. Perry


At work: A picture collage of all the websites Hatamaran and I operate here at the health system. We put it together a couple of years ago as giveaway to educate the employees about our new corporate intranet.

At home: I don't remember, but I have a great one that has a picture of me and my son on it when he was about 2. It doesn't work really well as a mouse pad (the trackball slips) but I always keep it nearby. There's an identical picture on my wall.


Trivial Pursuit, then Monopoly.


The New Yorker.

Not really. I just put that up to look sophisticated.


Hot buttered popcorn popping.




Of the remaining primaries/secondaries, probably yellow. If you want to dig deeper I don't like aquamarine or magenta.


Three. I wish I could set it for more because sometimes we each think the other's got it, and then it picks up before either can get to it.


Photos and videotapes of out kids growing up.


Black Cherry from Kay's Ice Cream.


Yep. But not severely.


You're asking the father of two little kids whether there's a stuffed animal in the room?? The better question is whether's there's a stuffed animal in my chair, or the bed. Or on the stairs.

In my office here at work....um, yes. My lionfish from the Ripley's Aquarium. His name is Stewart. Oh, and a, um, tribble. He doesn't have a name.


Thunder - don't care, kinda cool. Lightning - can't stand a glimpse. Any possible remote threat of tornadoes - I'm under the sink.


Iced tea, from Back Yard Burgers in Knoxville. Ok, any iced tea.


December 30.


Green Beans


Full-time artistic director for a theatre, that would allow me to direct shows as well. Any inquiries welcome.


I'd just be happy to have more hair, thanks.




1 - Star Wars
2 - Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
3 - Back to the Future


What right keys? Are we making some kind of value judgement on keys, now?

Wait, I'm confused. Do I type on the right keys instead of, like the left ones? Then my sentences would look like this:

hi nn in onl i om m ih hn. (This sentence was written only with keys from my right hand)

Or do you mean do I punch the right keys at all? If I didn't, they'd look like this:

astru fhatj tkeuetka tuas;yio a; thqw

This doesn't make sense...


Monsters. And cats. Boxes of clothes and feathers.


Five. Where are we going with this?


Um, er, um...football. No, BASEBALL!! BASEBALL, I tell you!!!


Failing as a parent. Not doing something I should have done in a critical (or even non-critical moment) due to inattention or stupidity.


Right now my favorite CD is O Mickey Where Art Thou. Of all time, probably Sports by Huey Lewis and the News.


All Time: Star Trek
Right Now: 24, The Dead Zone


Both. Either or. You name it.


* The point of the eagle's beak at halftime of the '85 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
* Kayaking off the coast of Barbados just before swimming with the sea turtles
* Rain Forest and Dormant Volcanoes of Dominica and St. Lucia
* Standing at the altar and seeing the doors open at the back of the church, letting in the blazing setting sun that silhouetted my moments-to-be-wife as she came in to the sanctuary.


Wallpaper: Darth Vader conceptual art from SW:ROTS (work)
Whales in flight from Fantasia: 2000 (home)

Screensaver: EPCOT slide show (work)
Regular starfield (home) (I used to have a Spiderman animated screen saver at home, but it kept crashing the PC)


Don't care. I don't eat at McD's any more.


Back Yard Burgers, Chili's


Probably Joshua. Long story.


The cello. I lurve to hear a solo cello, and would dearly love to learn to play it well.

And one to grow on:


My 20-year High School Reunion.

(Seen at Michael Totten's)

Happy Weekend

The Continuing Saga...

Saturday: Spending time with family, and watching thousands of tiny rubber ducks race float amble down the riverfront.
Sunday: Spending time with old friends
Monday: Not spilling my coke when the lid popped off while I was driving to work. (Ok, that's weak but the day is young. Maybe something else will make me happier later in the day...)

Take The Challenge

Spam Subject Line of the Day

"It Depends on You Lunatic Torsion"

-- discuss the sociological and ethical ramifications thereto..

(Runner-up: "Take a Look Eggplant Pigeonfoot")

Friday, August 06, 2004

Pigs are Flying...

And Michael Totten has done a meme.

Should I do this one, too? I report, you decide (in the comments).

REAL Sunny Day

I take it all back.

Today is gorgeous.. Sunny, not too hot.

Things is good, and I'm happy again :)

Take The Challenge

SPOON: The Continuing Crisis - Day 4

This is your crisis update center.

The latest reports have indicated the fabric of space around the Spoon is slowly unraveling. Our intrepid gully dwarf victim photographer had been forced threatened asked nicely to sneak in and take some pictures:

This was taken just prior to the disturbances...

Then something started to happen - the air began to heat up as the Spoon started to glow...

Glurp tried to run, but his courage held fast (plus I told him he could have my Doritos) so he managed to snap up one more picture before things got out of hand...

My so-called ally Glurp cut and run after that, and is still hiding under the refrigerator (don't ask me how he managed that).

I fear I have angered The Spoon. Perhaps later I will venture in again and check.

Perhaps not...

Friday's Feast

Who are 3 actors/actresses that you think are totally overrated?
  • Will Ferrell
  • Jack Black
  • Halle Berry
Admit something. Anything.

You like asking the easy questions, don't you? Ok.

I admit I'm way too judgemental about people sometimes. It's for (of course) the best of reasons, because all I want to do is help them, and make them happy. But sometimes I estimate their need/happiness on surface impressions and don't dig deeper.

There. Happy?? *hrmph*

If you could take back one thing you've said in your life, what would it be?

The softballs continue...

Can I take back my answer to that last question?


Ok, I wish I hadn't said to my wife (then she was my girlfriend) during an argument that maybe she'd be happier if I just wasn't around. That was the only time anything I said really made her cry, and it's always bothered me.

We made up :)

Main Course
What symbol would best represent your personality?

Maybe those scales like Libra - I always want everything to balance out and be all right. I'm a peacemaker and mediator.

Choose a free gift: a daily back massage, dinner at a restaurant twice per week, or a brand new book twice per month.

We already do the last two fairly often but a daily back massage would be absolute heaven. (are you listening, L?)

Theatre Thursday

Week 12 - Didn't I see that on TV?

Starsky & Hutch is the top selling DVD this week. With that in mind, this week the topic is TV shows that have been turned into movies.

1) What movie based on a television show is your favorite?

Well, the Star Trek movies are obvious, but other than those probably The Fugitive for dramas and The Brady Bunch for comedy.

2) Your least favorite?

Sit-coms are pretty formulaic to make interesting movies, unless they're played up for heavy satire (Brady Bunch is the prime example). Any of those I don't care for. Although I am interested in seeing Nicole Kidman as Samantha Stevens in the new Bewitched (but Will Ferrel as Darrin leaves me cold).

3) What television show would you like to see turned into a movie?

I would love to see a really good, quality Gilligan's Island movie. There's been one in the works for a while (I think a younger Jim Carrey might've been fun as Gilligan) but it hasn't seen the light of day. Then, of course, there's the long-awaited but never-will-be-realized Land of the Lost movie.


Bonus) Should the actors that portray these characters on TV also be used in the movie? Or would you like to see different actors?

Well, of course if the movie is made long after the series it doesn't make sense to use the original actors (unless its a continuation of the series). But I like when they make cameos, like in Lost in Space.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

The 4400

If you missed any of the episodes of this great 5-part miniseries on alien abductees returning home, USA is showing the whole series in a marathon Sunday afternoon beginning at 4pm EDT.

The series finale starts immediately following at 9pm.

Spoon Update: Day 3

The spoon remains, lording over the restroom with sovereign rule.

I swear it's moved a little. It may be developing a burgeoning sentience.

Apparently our office custodial staff is giving it a wide berth. Probably with good reason.

More updates as they become available....

Sunny Day

Since it's been clammy, wet, rainy and downright miserable all day - there's darn near nothing to be happy about.

So what makes me happy? Remembering being a kid, sitting in front of the TV watching Sesame Street. And the fact I still remember some of those songs by heart.

This happy thought is brought to you by the letter "K", the number "7", and The Challenge.

UPDATE: My better (?) half informs me that I neglected to mention a happy thing. A friend of mine from church is coming by this evening to finish replacing the hardwood floor entry to our house. A project he started a couple months ago, but had to stop when we ran out of wood and couldn't find any more that would match. He tracked it down, bought it, stained it and is installing it tonight.


Cause that's the kind of guy he is. I'll find a way to pay him something, or make a donation somewhere. But that makes me happy :)

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The Spoon is Still There

It mocks me.

What Makes Me Happy

Listening to: Millennium Celebration Album.

We visited Walt Disney World as a family in October of 2000, in the midst of the Millenium Celebration. Some of the experiences we had were set to this music, and it never fails to bring back great memories of that trip when I listen to it.

It's such relentlessly cheerful, optimistic music - especially in light of what would happen 11 months later.

Take The Challenge

Testing Meme Propagation In Blogspace:

Add Your Blog!

This posting is a community experiment that tests how a meme, represented by this blog posting, spreads across blogspace, physical space and time. It will help to show how ideas travel across blogs in space and time and how blogs are connected. It may also help to show which blogs (and aggregation sites) are most influential in the propagation of memes. The dataset from this experiment will be public, and can be located via Google (or Technorati) by doing a search for the GUID for this meme (below).

Please join the test by adding your blog (see instructions, below) and inviting your friends to participate -- the more the better. The data from this test will be public and open; others may use it to visualize and study the connectedness of blogspace and the propagation of memes across blogs.

The GUID for this experiment is:


The above GUID enables anyone to easily search Google or other search engines for all blogs that participate in this experiment, once they have indexed the sites that participate, which may take several days or weeks. To locate the full data set, just search for any sites that contain this GUID.

Anyone is free to analyze the data of this experiment. Please publicize your analysis of the data, and/or any comments by adding comments onto the original post (see URL above). (Note: it would be interesting to see a geographic map or a temporal animation, as well as a social network map of the propagation of this meme.)


To add your blog to this experiment, copy this entire posting to your blog, and then answer the questions below, substituting your own information, below, where appropriate. Other than answering the questions below, please do not alter the information, layout or format of this post in order to preserve the integrity of the data in this experiment (this will make it easier for searchers and automated bots to find and analyze the results later).

REQUIRED FIELDS (Note: Replace the answers below with your own answers)

(1) I found this experiment at URL: Pretty Purple Princess

(2) I found it via "Newsreader Software" or "Browsing the Web" or "Searching the Web" or "An E-Mail Message": Browsing the Web

(3) I posted this experiment at URL: http://lasthome.blogspot.com

(4) I posted this on date (day/month/year): 04/08/04

(5) I posted this at time (24 hour time): 09:03

(6) My posting location is (city, state, country): (local city) Knoxville, TN, USA)


(7) My blog is hosted by: Blogger

(8) My age is: 37

(9) My gender is: Male

(10) My occupation is: Webmaster

(11) I use the following RSS/Atom reader software: N/A

(12) I use the following software to post to my blog: Blogger

(13) I have been blogging since (day, month, year): 01/03

(14) My web browser is: Mozilla 1.7

(15) My operating system is: Windows 2000

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Random Musings As The Day Goes On....

  • Apparently my day was not very muse-worthy..

    And the spoon is still there.

  • There's a spoon in the bathroom. I don't know why it's there, but it is.

  • Went to dinner at Steak 'n' Shake last night. BrainyBoy (v8.5) told us that "when he was little" he used to think he had a different tube in his throat for every kind of food to go down. A carrot tube, a green beans tube, etc. And when something "went down the wrong way" that meant a carrot went down a green beans tube by mistake.

    Somehow the fact that an 8-year-old is remembering silly thoughts he used to have when he was younger makes me want to burst out laughing and hug him. It also makes me feel old. Again.

    GiggleGirl said there were, however, three tubes. One of the air, one for the food and one for drinks. When I informed her she was very close, that food and drink went down the same tube, she scrunched up her face and went, "Ewwwwwww". I then continued to explain the whole milkshake/blender effect that happens when food and liquids mix together in her stomach. I don't think she appreciated having that little anatomical fantasy quashed.

What Makes Me Happy

Take The Challenge

What makes me happy?

Watching GiggleGirl dance.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Just Waiting...

I'm waiting to see what South Knox Bubba has to say about this recent letter to the editor in Metropulse (scroll down to "A Right-Wing Green?")
"Well, it’s pretty much a historical fact that since the 1960’s, the residential use of coal for heat has been virtually eliminated, and the vast majority of businesses in the region no longer use coal to heat or produce electricity. Also, those few coal fired plants still operating which continue to burn coal to generate electricity have filters installed to clean their emissions—something that was absent during the first half of the 20th century...

...So then has the pollution created by coal burning also been virtually eliminated. Hence, air quality in East Tennessee has improved, not worsened, in the last thirty years or so.

...The same holds true for auto emissions. Simply stated, most cars on the roads today have anti-pollution equipment installed on them, as opposed to the first seventy or so years of the 20th century, when anti-pollution equipment was not required on autos."
And there's more.

What with historic eviscerations of TVA from SKB (here, here, and here to name a few), I'd expect him to be all over this one...

Bubba and I haven't seen eye to eye on a lot this past year, but on this issue he's right on top of the correct info. I hope to see what he says about it...

(On further reflection...) I don't know, maybe this guy is really being satirical in his letter and is actually making fun of the people who think everything is A-OK. I read it through a couple of times, and it still seems he's being serious. If he's not, I apologize for my density.

Find a Happy Place!!! Find a Happy Place!!!

Take The Challenge

Pretty Purple Princess blog has challenged bloggers to post one happy thought each day in August. I'd especially challenge those bloggers who mostly post unhappiness and cynicism on their sites.

Since I just heard about this today, here are mine for today and yesterday.

8/1) I'm happy that I have a great family, even though my kids drive me nuts

8/2) I'm happy that my faith strengthens with time.

(Thanks to Michael for bringing this to my attention)

Bomb Wrap-Up Stinks

Car explosion was suicide or accident, source says (The Tennesseean, 07/30/04)
"The Williamson County man who died in a massive car explosion last week in a parking lot at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center probably died either by suicide or by accident, a source close to the investigation said.

Since the July 20 blast, there has been no indication that anyone other than William Glen Young, 43, was responsible for the mysterious blast that took his life, the source said."
Ok, so the authorities (who presumably know more about this kind of thing than me) are convinced that this chap wasn't murdered. Well, I say it still stinks like yesterday's diapers.

Why was his car parked way out in the middle of a huge parking lot? What kind of accident could trigger such a massive explosion? I don't quite buy this, but that's ok because I understand the police can't release every lead they have.

Now that it doesn't seem to be terrorism, I'm not as concerned.

Meanwhile, I just thought this exchange was odd...
"They have not disclosed details of interviews with Young's wife. This week, a woman who identified herself as the mother of Young's wife would not comment when reached by telephone."
Ok, so obviously mom didn't phone them (why would she if she had no comment?) so the paper must have tracked her down. If they did track her down...why did they say "she identified herself as the mother of Young's wife, if they already knew who she was to track her down? That doesn't make sense. Ah well.