Friday, November 30, 2007

Sorry, Can't Find Any of Those Here...

Should I be concerned that my site was found by someone searching on Google for this word?

Or should I be more concerned that someone is so obsessed they actually worked their way through the first 500+ pages of search results to get to my link?

Geez, and I thought I was bad...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Friday's Feast

Feast One Hundred & Seventy

Appetizer - What is your favorite carnival/amusement park ride?

If I had to pick one, it'd probably be the Pirates of the Caribbean at Walt Disney World. Honorable mention would go to the Haunted Mansion at WDW, Twister at Universal Studios, and the old Okefenokee Swamp at Six Flags over Georgia

Soup - How do you react in uncomfortable social situations?

I pull off the side and don't interact with anyone. I wander, waiting for someone a little more extroverted to strike up a conversation with me.

Salad - On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy discussing deep, philosophical topics?

I'd say about a 7, although my technical and academic knowledge of actual philosophy is very limited. I do have my own beliefs and I think I can converse with someone fairly coherantly.

Main Course - Did you get a flu shot this year? If not, do you plan to?

Of course. I got mine a couple weeks ago, and it's provided by my work. One of the perks for working for a health system. Why wouldn't someone get a flu shot? Can't be that expensive...

Dessert - Approximately how many hours per week do you spend watching television?

Not counting time just occupying the same room a TV happens to be on, probably about 10 hours actually sitting down and watching a program on TV.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Coming Soon





Coming December 1st

Monday, November 19, 2007


My girls both have assorted sore throats, fevers, swollen glands, and other general malaise. On top of that the boy left a pen in his pocket and inked a whole laundry load of his school uniforms. I feel like I'm being slowly made obsolete at work and my other personal responsibilities keep mounting. I need to help get the house clean, and help fix the clothes and all that. I feel helpless. And at times kind of useless. I'm trying...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

It's An Honor Just To Be Nominated

My good friend Tish (who is still my friend even though she ditched our gig last night - just kidding, Tish!) has bestowed on me a Major Award!

Thanks, Tish! You're one of my favorite friends, too.

I'd like to pass this award on to several of my blogging friends whom I'm fortunate to have known already in real life: Big Orange Michael, Lane at Masses of Everything, Annie at The Beaver Dam, Rachelle at Tennesee Mama Duck and Phillip at The Beast's Lair. Congratulations!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday's Feast

Feast One Hundred & Sixty Nine

Appetizer - What was your first “real” job?

My first "real" job was as an usher at Halls Cinema 4 in Halls, Tennessee (north of Knoxville) the first summer of college. It will always be one of my favorite jobs I ever had, because - hey, free movies and, hey, free popcorn. But seriously, I learned to stay on a schedule, be responsible for my finances, manage my time, learn customer service, and I also made friends through that job that have lasted to this day. After a couple of years, I parleyed that job into an Assistant Manager at Sevier Cinema 3 in Sevierville, which at the time was owned by the same company.

Although technically my first job was working at the UT Music Hall as a stagehand/tech it was Work Study job arranged with the financial aid department and not one I actually applied for. I did end up working off and on there as well the whole time I was at UT.

Soup - Where would you go if you wanted to spark your creativity?

The theatre. I'm at my most creative when I'm in a theatre, surrounded my musicians or actors and in the midst of rehearsal.

Salad - Complete this sentence: I am embarrassed when…

I am embarrassed when… I once again forget something I was supposed to remember. I have the worst memory in the world, and it's not something I've been able to make any progress beating. I think I'm just brain-damaged.

Main Course - What values did your parents instill in you?

You name it. All of them. Fairness, kindness, listening to other people, empathy, patience...

Dessert - Name 3 fads from your teenage years.

I was a teenager in the 80's, so all my formative fads are from there. I remember:
  1. Rubik's Cube - not just it, but a dozen other hand-held put-them-back-together puzzles. I know I had a couple others besides The Cube. People might remember all the various self-help books that came out about that time on how to beat the Rubik's Cube, plus a number of books on how to beat all the video games that were just getting popular - Defender, Qbert, all of those..
  2. Winged Hair - not the Farrah Fawcett "feathered" look, specifically, but the parted down the middle, swept back to the sides hairstyle that a lot of teenage girls (and some guys whose hair was long enough) favored. Let's just say I REALLY liked that look on some of the girls in my school... :)
  3. Hand-held electronic games - The precursors to GameBoys were Electronic Football and Electronic Basketball. Small boxes about the same size as a GameBoy but using LED lights you manipulated around a screen to simulate a sporting event. They were specialized - they could only play the one specific game they were designed for - and they were everywhere. I remember sitting in high school study hall and hearing, "beep boop! beep beep beep boop!" all over. The teachers eventually confiscated most of them, but we learned to disable the sound and keep them out of sight.

    You know, I could go on and on with 80's fads...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Please, Just Don't...Don't....DON'T Get Them Wet!

You remember last month I warned everyone about the gremlins in the water?
Is it just me, or does there seem to be an inordinately high number of school closings lately, especially those based on breaks in the local water systems?
  • Broken water main washes out Pigeon Forge classes
  • Water problem gives Jefferson County students school break
  • Water main break closes Pellissippi’s main campus
  • Central High back in session tomorrow after dishwasher problem
Either there's some mad plot by a Batman-type villain, determined to keep students out of school (Could it be the dreaded Drainer? Or how about the Mad Sprinkler? Or dare I even mention the maniacal Captain ColdorHot?) That or there are some fiendish Gremlins wreaking havoc across East Tennessee, determined to get wet after midnight and spawn more of themselves.

Well, apparently the gremlins couldn't get enough of Pellissippi water, because they're at it again - this time at another campus:
Classes are canceled Thursday night at Pellissippi State's campus on Magnolia Avenue, due to a water line break.

Officials say classes are expected to resume Friday morning.

Maintenance crews are working to make repairs.
What are they making these water lines out of - posterboard? Saltine crackers? Flan???

And You Thought The Only Dead People Were Animatronic...

Apparently some folks are tossing more than their cookies on some popular amusement park rides:

Looks like the Haunted Mansion has more than 999 Happy Haunts...
he big problem isn't graffiti or hot-to-trot teens in a back row, it's park visitors smuggling in the cremated remains of their loved ones and then spreading the ashes inside a favorite attraction. The Haunted Mansion is by far the most popular location for this, but you'd be surprised where else people are dumping cremated remains at Disneyland.

The craze seems to have gotten its start at the Haunted Mansion, with the earliest known incident taking place in the late 1990's. Ever since then the practice becomes more popular by the year, and it happens so frequently now that Disneyland has trained the ride operators how to handle such an incident and what to do when remains are discovered inside the attraction. Sometimes the person spreading the ashes is seen on the surveillance cameras and the Cast Members can respond quickly.

Because they have been instructed by the Security and Legal departments to never actually detain a park visitor, most of the perpetrators spreading the ashes are never actually caught however, and they disappear into the park. But when a Haunted Mansion Cast Member sees ashes being spread from a passing Doom Buggy, the attraction is cycled out and shut down for hours at a time while the Custodial department comes in and begins the clean up. The Anaheim Police are also involved in the incident, but there's rarely anything they can do about it either.
I'm assuming the problem is as big or bigger at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, but the article doesn't specify. Think about the air you're breathing next time you roll through the Haunted Mansion's graveyard scene :)

Apparently the Mansion isn't the only popular venue for quick disposal of Dear Aunt Betty:
While the rate of "HEPA Cleanups" has been increasing lately at the Haunted Mansion, the recent Pirates of the Caribbean movie craze (with its supernatural plot themes) means that ride isn't immune either. Just this past Friday a Cast Member watching the security cameras noticed a woman in the back of a boat throwing a powdery substance into the lavishly decorated sets in the cavern scenes near the beginning of the ride. Even though Pirates is a 15 minute long ride, by the time the lady spreading the substance returned to the loading area Security had yet to arrive.

The college age Cast Members operating the attraction knew that legally they were not supposed to detain anyone, and when they confronted her about what she was doing in the cameras she told them she was only throwing baby powder around. The woman quickly disappeared out the exit, never to be seen again, but she'd actually left more than baby powder all over the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Security and the police finally arrived, and the ride was shut down on a busy afternoon of a holiday weekend. The ash was identified by the Anaheim Police as cremated remains, and the custodial department found most of it all over the "Captain's Quarters" scene in the caverns. The woman had done a very thorough job of spreading the ash everywhere though, and after an hour of cleaning with the HEPA vacuums there was still work to be done.

Because those lavish sets are maintained by costumers and maintenance crews that don't come in until Midnight, and with a growing crowd of cranky tourists outside wanting to know when Pirates would reopen, Disneyland management was faced with the decision of reopening the popular ride with ash remaining on the bedspreads, props and antiques in the caverns.

While custodial did a thorough job of cleaning the ash from the rockwork and the areas closest to the passing boats, much of the cremated remains would have to stay there until the set could be dismantled and cleaned completely after the park closed for the night. So after a lengthy downtime, Pirates of the Caribbean was reopened by management with the remains of a very devoted fan still spread through much of the Captains Quarters.

Still, that's not so bad as the torture some poor family could put their dearly departed through:
It's a Small World is another long, fifteen minute ride that doesn't have a single security camera anywhere. All sorts of illicit things happen inside Small World at the end of the night, and leaving Grandma's remains in there to listen to that catchy song for all eternity is definitely a possibility.
Nothing like floating serenely by happy animatronic children, singing about peace and joy and togetherness, while glancing down to see a fragment of a femur floating by....

They may have to change the nickname to "The Happiest Place...for all Eternity".

Dang! My Secret is Out...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Atomic Horns Concert Tomorrow Night (Friday)

My band, The Atomic Horns, will be playing tomorrow night at the Elk's Club in Oak Ridge at 8:00pm.

The blogging public is invited, but I'd ask you let me know if you're planning to come because I have to give them your name at the door for access. There's no cover, and I'm sure there will be plenty of liquid refreshments :)

I believe the Elk's Club is across from the Home Depot on the Oak Ridge Turnpike, near Traffic Light #3. I can have more detailed directions available soon.

Come out and hear us!

From Knoxville…getting into OR from the east…jump on Melton Lake Dr (starts near Bull Run Steam Plant – winds beside the lake where they row)…when you get to the marina take a left on Emory Valley Rd, heading west. About a mile or two…it’s on the right at the traffic light.

From Knoxville…getting into OR from the west…you’ll be on Illinois Ave – take a right on Lafayette (at the big intersection next to the old K-25 entrance)…take another right on Emory Valley Rd…about a mile down, it’ll be on the left.

Googling “Elks Lodge in Oak Ridge ” does a good job.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Is A Puzzlement....

Ok, here's a word puzzle for all you math whizzes out there... This is an actual word problem that's on the Kid's Menu "Fun" sheet at Calhoun's restaurant in Knoxville. Our whole family - myself, Laura, Brainyboy and Tink - could not figure out the answer. At least, we apparently couldn't figure out the answer correctly. The answer we came up with is different than the answer they provided. Try it yourself and see what you come up with:

At the beginning of each hour a train leaves Memphis for Chattanooga, and at the beginning of each hour a train leaves Chattanooga for Memphis. If it takes 7 hours for each train to complete its journey, how many trains will an eastbound train meet on its way to Chattanooga?
So, what's the answer? I know the answer they give, and what my answer is, but I want to know what you get. I'll post their answer and mine in a couple of days...

Show Your Work!

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Flickr of Light

I've added some photos to our Flickr account, including pictures of my suite at the Venetian Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas. Take a look, if you like...

Friday's Feast

Feast One Hundred & Sixty Eight

Appetizer - Which snack do you like to get when you go to the movies?

Popcorn, always. I used to like it smothered in "butter" but now I ask for it sparingly. I also like the spicy salt stuff all over it, and if they have sprinkle cheese flavor I'll put that on it too. Mmmm. Now I want some...

Soup - What year did you start using the internet?

I'm not sure what year the actual "internet" came into being, but I was on the precursor to IRC (Internet Relay Chat) when it was just called "Relay" back in college, so that would have been the mid 80's. I subscribed to Compuserve eventually, then was pretty heavy into the old dial-up BBS's back in the day. Those eventually evolved into the internet we know and love today.

Salad - What is your first name in Pig Latin?


Main Course - Name something you are picky about.

I'm very picky about food - I don't like a lot of things most people consider staples. Peanut butter, fish, most chicken, peas, corn...

Dessert - Fill in the blanks: I ____ ____ yesterday and I ____ ____ today.

I was hopeful yesterday and I lost hope today.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

This is Totally Unacceptable

A new No. 3 in Tennessee?
Chattanooga has been the fastest growing major city in Tennessee in the 21st century and may someday bypass Knoxville as Tennessee's third biggest city, according to new population figures touted by city officials Wednesday.
Ok, people, listen up.

For my entire life, Knoxville has lagged behind only Memphis and Nashville as the largest city in Tennessee, and has ruled the roost in the eastern section of the state.

Chattanooga has always been the kid sister to the south, straddling the border between Tennessee and Georgia. Nice rest stop on the way to Atlanta back in the days of 55-mph 2-lane highways, today there's a good aquarium and an IMAX theatre. I'm sure the folks that live there are very nice folk. But guys, it's Chattanooga. They have the UTC Moccasins, for goodness sake. And a place called Red Bank. And, oh my, Soddy-Daisy....

Knoxville has UT, TVA, Oak Ridge - not to mention the world's greatest blogging community - and hundreds of other things going for it. It's up to us, people of Knoxville, not to let those upstarts from downstate push their nosy selves ahead of us.

So don't move - stay here. I know our government situation is in a shambles, but hey, whose isn't? Relax. Retire. Find jobs. Make babies. Offer scandalous bribes. Do anything, but keep Knoxville #3 in Tennessee.

In fact, that's our new motto - repeat it often:


*sniff*. I feel so proud...

***Disclaimer: Citizens of Chattanooga, Red Bank, Soddy-Daisy, elsewhere - you have a lovely town. I'm just joking :)***

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Johari Window

Kind of interesting, and a companion to this post:

Barry's Interactive Johari Window

The Johari Window was invented by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in the 1950s as a model for mapping personality awareness. By describing yourself from a fixed list of adjectives, then asking your friends and colleagues to describe you from the same list, a grid of overlap and difference can be built up.

Go to the site, pick five or six words from the list that you think best describes me, and submit. The results are compiled to determine how you are perceived, how you perceive yourself, and the differences therein.

Please go give it a try!

Wonder What I Can Bet $20 On?

Remember last week I posted I lost money playing poker at the theatre conference?

I neglected to mention that the next night, I won it all back. And another $20 :) So you could say I ended up the weekend pretty well.

So, what that means is I'm going to save that extra $20 and take it Las Vegas with me tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow I'm flying out to Las Vegas for the 11th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference. I've been twice before and both times I had a great time.

The conference is at the Venetian, which is a spectacular hotel/casino right on the strip, near Caesar's Palace and the Bellagio.

I also was invited to dinner with a vendor we've done business with in the past at the Parisian hotel, in a private dining room overlooking the Bellagio Fountains across the street. I don't know if they just like me a lot or they're trying to sell me something ;) Guess I'll wait and see.

UPDATE: I also will just miss the Blogger Conference :( Ah well, would've been fun to visit it for a while.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Getting to Know the Real Barry

Tish has asked me to post this on my site - it's a good one!

Bloggers tend to be very honest, spilling their deepest thoughts into the blogosphere without a moment’s hesitation. It is that openness that allows us to feel that we really know the people behind the blogs. But what if we could get to know them even better? You’ve read the bloggers’ words. Now read what the people closest to them have to say.

Please take a moment to tell my readers about the real me - the Barry that many of them know only from my own words. Do you have a memory to share? A story to tell? Thoughts to pass on? If so, please leave a comment.

I challenge all of my readers to tackle this assignment. I would love to get to know you better. If you do choose to participate, please let me know, as I would love to leave my thoughts about you on your post!

Now, how about telling my readers all about me?

The Family That Staggers Together, Stays Together...

My nomination for Picture of the Week

The McGaughan Family continues to outdo themselves in the name of (Addams) Family Togetherness.