Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Just a quick note to say Merry Christmas to each of you. I'd actually like to talk about traditions, how they start, why they end, why it's okay - if not completely necessary and part of life - if new traditions begin, and why it's important for you to accept invitations to be involved in new traditions, but my mom doesn't read this and the Nazis may lock out my access to Blogger as I'm typing.

I don't know exactly how long we'll be here, but if any one has any risk management or insurance questions or if any one needs our services, we're here today to help. Anyone? Anybody? Somebody? takers.

I really wonder how long we're going to have to continue this charade today. It's like they've realized how useless it is for us to be here, but they're afraid that we'll be upset if they tell us to leave at 9:30AM.

Here's hoping Santa is nice to you tonight. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Goodie Week Update

Just a quick note to let you know that someone actually brought something novel and tasty to work. Someone brought sliced pork and little rolls for lunch yesterday, and as a side course, they had baked macaroni and cheese in little muffin cups...the result being a little macaroni and cheese muffin. Very tasty because you have to add real cheese to the recipe in order to get the crusty side to the muffin. This couldn't have been hard to make. This is my "guessicipe" on how to make it....Follow the directions on the box, then add about a 1/2 cup of shredded cheese to the mixture, and spoon in to a greased muffin pan. Bake at 325 until the cheese melts, probably 15 minutes. Give it a try.

How bored am I? I just googled to see who Tila Tequila (a/k/a Tila Nguyen) selected.

And on the homeowners association election front, it appears that I'm going to be the beneficiary of a little "old row" help. BACK!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sleeping on the job...

The fun Nazis must be sleeping on the job, because I can access this site today. Maybe they're having their HOLIDAY party where they sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons, or whatever that element of society is playing these days.

Anyhoo, since Karly added me back to her links list - albeit at the bottom - I feel obligated to say something.

Dear Boo, I apologize (is there any one left that I haven't apologized to lately). I now understand that self-deprecating humor is only acceptable when it is self-deprecating.

This week is GOODIE week in our office, which means that people bring food and put it out in the kitchen for people to scarf on all day. Sounds like a good idea, but it's really turned in to an edible version of Dirty Santa. People are just bringing left overs and putting them out there...or they're bringing whatever they found in the BP on the way to work. I mean, I like an Oatmeal Creme Pie as much as anyone, but buying 4 of them out of the vending machine, cutting them in quarters and putting them on a Styrofoam plate isn't really what is expected.

We have people in our office that don't celebrate Christmas in their homes, so those of us who do celebrate Christmas all go around whispering "Merry Christmas" in passing so as not to offend anyone with our dirty little expression. It's ridiculous, really. Just because someone doesn't celebrate Christmas doesn't make December 25th NOT Christmas. It's still Christmas Day. I mean, peeps in Canada celebrate Boxing Day, but just because Americans rush back to work on the 26th doesn't mean that Boxing Day isn't happening. Not saying 'Christmas' isn't going to make Christmas go away. It all gives me a headache, really.

Our neighborhood residents are taking over responsibility of the homeowners association in January. As a new neighborhood, the developer had control of the association until now. Well, we needed 7 Directors in order to transfer power, but at the first call for volunteers, only 1 person stepped forward. At the urging of neighbors, I agreed to volunteer to serve, thinking that we MIGHT get to 7 people. Well, the nominations came out Monday afternoon and there are 12 people who volunteered. That means there's going to be a full-on election for 7 at large Directors. I'm really not in the campaigning mood. One of the candidates stated in her little bio that, "as a substantially younger member or the neighborhood" she had ideas blah, blah, blah. None of residents in the over 50 demographic - which is about 90% of the Stonegate population - wants to hear how much a May 2007 college grad knows about anything....rookie mistake. Jack and I may have to go knock on a few doors, although it will not be a disappointment at all if I'm not elected. The election is January 15th. I'll keep you posted.

Jamie Lynn is preggers...oh my. Was the story a few years ago that the Spears womenz kicked Daddy out because he objected to ho-ing the girls out? I bet he wishes that he would have fought a little harder for his girls. Jamie Lynn was the Great White Hope of the Spears family. Now I read that she's going to raise the child in Louisiana so that the kid can have a normal childhood. Good luck with that.

Now for a little segment called "I Bet You're Not Watching" where I use my knowledge of regular readers' television viewing habits to come up with a show that is right up their alley, but that they are not watching. You'll understand as we play along. Karly likes her a show revolving around competition...Survivor, The Amazing Race, Duel, DWTS....but still, I bet that she is not watching "Clash of the Choirs".

I hate "working" this time of year. There is absolutely nothing happening. I'm forced to do work that I've put off for 6 months. The best line that I've heard that fully describes what it's like to work this time of year was from JRod when he said, "I think I found the end of the Internet."

Monday, December 03, 2007

Double Down Birthday!

Happy Birthday to Michelle, and, though he’ll never read this because the internet is just for porn and other assorted tools of Satan, Happy Birthday to my dad! My mom, spur of the moment, took him to Las Vegas last Saturday morning. They’re coming back tonight. I can’t wait to hear how Las Vegas has nothing on Philadelphia, Mississippi.

There were quite a few, but below are a few comments over heard last Friday night at either Cocina Superior or The 19th Hole:

“You sound like me.”

“It’s like an eclipse.”

“You just need to tighten up the pixels is all.”

"I'll think of you when I take a bath. I mean, I'll think of you and Leah when I take a bath. I mean...."

“You know him! He had a unibrow.”

“Her daddy died IN A WAFFLE HOUSE??!!??”

“There’s some dirty whores in here BAD.”

I haven’t been to a place infested with durrrty whores in quite a while, too long really – not since I lived on 19th Street anyway - but before we get to the 19th Hole, can we discuss La Cocina Superior?

Poor Bre and Joseph. I’ve read their names on other blogs, but we’d never met. Hands down they were the nicest couple at the table. The rest of us just try to balance each other out so that some degree of normalcy is maintained, but they are both genuinely nice people who had the unfortunate pleasure of sitting across from Brian and I. As most people know, our wives provide the uplift on the “Socially Acceptable” meter for each of us….or we drag them down, however you prefer to look at it. Now, I’m socially inept which, of course, comes with an implied apology, so I’m really just apologizing for Brian’s behavior. Why does the apology come from me? Because after a few beers, I drag Brian down. It’s really not much of a hill for a mountain climber, but I still feel responsible. Any way, best wishes to B&J this week!

I’m not sure who decided that girls would sit on one end of the table and guys on the other, but it worked out pretty well…except for the poor waitress. Note to self, do not ever again tell a waitress that “it really doesn’t have to be right” unless I’ve already gotten my bill. I’m not sure who had all or part of three margaritas, two Corona Lights, the enchiladas, cheese dip, tortillas, and a taco, but you’re welcome. It’s okay, really. Merry Christmas!

I was able to get Brandon to agree to do an 8-mile run on my birthday. Actually, I suggested we do a 6-mile run and Brandon somehow bumped it up to 8. That Brandon, always upselling.

It was $7 to get in to the 19th Hole (was that the name of the place?). Is that what cover charges are up to now? I mean, I paid $6 to get in a Jump! Little Children show one time, but that was JLC! And it was only me back then, which meant I still had $4 to buy a drink or two…yes, that was a long time ago. The 19th hole was what it was. Girls dancing, guys standing around drinking, and 2 song sets. Did Brandon do that shot or not? I never did see. We left early to relieve the baby sitters and because the baby they were sitting likes to wake up early on Saturdays. Some guy I passed as we were leaving made the dirty whores comment. That’s guy talk for, “I don’t have a shot at any of these girls.”

This Saturday night is the annual Christmas party that we started when 5 of us lived in a house on Overton Road. I don’t know how many years ago that was…it started in 1997 I believe, but I’m no historian. Any way, we’ve got to take a present for Dirty Santa…any ideas?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Game's over, let the hangover begin....

I was on vacation the last time that I posted? It feels like I haven't been on vacation for about 3 years.

Harry Gooden from the Southside of Birmingham wrote the following Instant SoundOff after yesterday's Alabama - Auburn game.

If the Louisiana Monroe game was Alabama's 9/11, then the Iron Bowl is Alabama's War on Terror. Alabama got hit from all sides, was completely demoralized, and at the end of the day was no closer to victory than they were 5 years ago.

The News refused to print Mr. Gooden's comments. My standards are obviously a little lower.

I went to the game in Auburn yesterday. It used to be fun to go to the Iron Bowl when there was some question as to the game's outcome. That hasn't been the case in a long time. As I was reminded several times by the ass hats sitting around me..."4 million dollars will buy you a lot, but it won't buy you a win against the Tigers!!!" Well, war eagle to that I war eagle guess.

I may have been to my last Alabama - Auburn game. I don't do well losing, even though I've had a lot of practice and even though I knew that we were going to lose. I text and say things that I really shouldn't say. They aren't nice words, even if they are true. Sorry JRod. I really hope you had fun showing everybody the toilet paper being thrown in to that dead oak tree and sipping on $14 gameday lemonade at Toomers Drug.

My apologies also go out to all those sitting around me that had to listen to my string of obscenities when, in the fourth quarter, an Alabama defender hit Brandon Cox late giving Auburn a first down and, I assume, continued the drive for their touchdown. I say assume because I left the stadium before the two flags that the referee threw on the play actually hit the ground, leaving in my wake quite a few "damns", "dumbasses", "retards" (I know), and "sons of bitc#es don't give two $hit$ whether we win or lose". Nice. I'm someone's dad. Yes, I usually have an emotional hangover for about 3 weeks after every Alabama game that I attend. I had just gotten over mocking the LSU fan that did jazz hands every time an on-the-field call was overturned on replay during the Alabama - LSU game.

In my defense, being called "TIGER MEAT TIGER MEAT TIGER MEAT" all the way up the ramp did not put me in the best of moods. Why were there so many New York Jets fans in Auburn? was a good thing that CousinJim didn't go to the game. He wouldn't have made it to his seat.

It was also about 8 degrees in the 8th Circle of Hell that is the west upper deck at JERRRRRRDAN-HARES. And, Sodexho ran out of hot chocolate and coffee by the middle of the 1st quarter. That happens in Tuscaloosa, too, except it's the opposite. On a 95 degree September Saturday, there will be no ice in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Any way, I left the stadium and started walking. All that I remembered was the we parked somewhere near Momma Goldberg's, just over the railroad tracks. On Wire Road (I swear) I stopped cussing long enough to ask a nice Auburn fan the way to Momma G's. He pointed me in the right direction, and told me that I should try the love. I pray that he was talking about a sandwich. I made it back to the car alone - that is, sans the love...oh, my apologies to the t-shirt lady that offered me a gameday t-shirt for $5. I don't really want six of them, and it's physically impossible to do with those t-shirts what I suggested that you do with them. What seemed like an hour later, JRod and Miss NatLee made it back to the car and we left Auburn for what may be my last time ever. I'm sure they won't miss me any more than I'll miss them.

Did y'all know that Bear's dead? He is. He's playing poker in hell with Satan. And cheating.

Oh, what else...I had a lot to say, but it all seems stupid now. Yeah, I know, if I didn't post stupid I wouldn't post anything. I've got a pot roast in the slow cooker. Honestly.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


I doubt any one will read this because I've been removed from the blog hub that is Karly's friend list, but I'll give it a try any way. Thank you Katie for sticking with me.

I've been on "vacation" since Thursday September 27. Team USA lost the Kiva Cup (again) because I couldn't put a ball in the fairway (again). My handicap should move from it's current 18.6 to a more accurate 29 at the next revision. We did get to see fake boobies for no good reason at all at a dive bar. I haven't told Leah the story yet. I'll tell her tonight after a couple of beers.

In the condo with the in-laws this week. Why is it that we have to wash Solo cups and re-use them when we're on vacation? I mean, I don't do that at home, and I'd gladly buy 200 of them just to not have to wash them. I don't get it. If we're going to use them and re-use them, why can't we just use the real glasses? It's goofy if you ask me.

As is tradition, Jack has been sick all week with a 102 degree fever. The pharmacist at the Publix was nice enough, and Jarrod and I saw a scared girl buy a pregnancy test and go straight to the restroom. We wanted to stay and see how the movie ended, but we thought that would be rude. Anyway, we thought Jack ate a rock, but I've since decided that he did not. He lo-loves the pool, but he hates the beach. He cannot stand to get sand or dirt on his feet. The flies are awful and they bite.

We ate at Captain Dave's last night to A.) avoid drama and B.) as Jarrod said, we can't eat any where as a group unless we have to walk under a fiberglass crab to get to the front door. Jarrod, NatLee, Leah and I are going to The Red Bar tonight. I'll get the chicken with capers and mashed potatoes. Who wants a t-shirt?

What happened to Michelle's blog?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pen and Paper

I've always been one of those people that thinks that you should be able to solve a math problem without the help of a calculator (or functions in an Excel spreadsheet). I don't really know what that has to do with what I'm about to say, but here I go...

When I first started a blog, More or Less, it was because Katie and Karly (the two other desk jockeys) got tired of getting my rantings and smart-a$$ remarks in the form of a dozen or more emails a day. So, taking Katie’s “You really need a blog” suggestion, More or Less was created. Though the work product suffered, I stopped emailing people quite so much. (Removing the pen from the paper, if you will.)

And then, as we’ve discussed, the Fun Nazis took away my ability to post to, or read, blogs at work. Little surprise here, but the number of posts to The Conch Shack decreased tremendously. To top it off, pen and paper doesn't work any more either because Katie and Karly no longer respond to email in rapid fashion, so I’m essentially incommunicado with that group of friends.

Well, today, the email server is down. They installed some new and improved SPAM blocker to our email server. It blocks everything except SPAM. Anyone interested in some really cheap Viagra and Cialis? $1.78 a pill. Let me know. Anyway, so I’m not able to communicate with ANYONE today. I guess that I could use this beige thing on my desk with all the numbered buttons to…I don’t know, CALL someone, but where’s the fun in that?

I know that Boo, Jrod, Ziggy, Capt’N Jim, and Skabs are sending emails today. I’ve already been told that I’m “missing some good ones”. I’m almost afraid of the number of emails that are going to flood my inbox once the server is restored.

So, here I am. Typing my post in to a Word document that I will then email to my home email address…oops, there’s a flaw in my logic already. I have no email from work. I’ll send it anyway and post this if and when I receive it. I feel like I’m talking to myself.

Hey, here’s something that you never, ever want to hear. I walked in the break room today at lunch to retrieve my sandwich from the refrigerator. Two female co-workers were already in there heating up their lunches in the microwave. Just as I walked in, one of them said to the other, “My stomach was a little messed up this morning.” They stopped talking when they saw me, but I wonder how much detail she would have provided had I not walked in..."I mean, it was all busted up and stanky"...I don't know.

Who talks about that at work? Who talks about that _______________ (fill in the blank)? Why? Why? I don’t need to know that kind of stuff. I don’t need to know. I don’t need to know.

You know what else you never, ever want to hear? Anything that begins with, “When we were in Vegas, Jammy……….”


Even Leah said, “I know PromKing totally made that story up, but you need to tell him to keep that stuff down home, cuz.” (She almost went to Auburn.)

Speaking of loss of yardage and loss of down, we’re within two weeks of another college football season. Two weeks before the Junior League lady behind me that's wearing elephant earrings yells “LET’S GO, BIMA!” Two weeks before the first eight notes of the fight song gives be a small case of goose bumps. Two weeks before we see what a $4 million coach can do in 8 short months on the job. Two weeks to hope, and as Andy Dufresne said in The Shawshank Redemption, “hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Katie, it was “Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)” by Billy Joel.

Until next time…

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Quick Poll

Since I can't access this site from work, I really can't maintain it regularly. I won't even be able to read the results of this quick poll for two or three days.

Should I just close up the Conch Shack?

Fun Nazis deserve a good swift kick in the nerts. Freakin' Doom playing bastages.

I miss reading about what's happening with you guys. On the upside, I've learned to slow down and really appreciate my 90 minute lunch hour.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The No Fun Zone

Hi. It's been so long since we talked, I felt like I needed a little ice breaker instead of just jumping right in. That's all I've got. Oh yeah, back in the day, I was a hit at The Houndstooth.

I'm not sure how Harry Potter ends, but it must have been devastating to the peeps (I wanted to call them virgins, but I thought that unfair to virgins) in our IS department. Those fun Nazis have blocked access to all sites from our work computers. NO FUN FOR YOU! I can't read any of your stuff, and I can't post any thing from work. What a bunch of kill-joys. Now I can only access my site and all of your sites from home. Like I've got time to do this from the house! Tonight is the exception, though, because Leah had a function of some sort to which guys and kids weren't invited.

I used to work through lunch, but if they're going to be that way about it, I'm going to do like everyone else. That is, leave 5 minutes before lunch officially begins, stay gone for an hour and fifteen minutes, then show up with a sack full of Krystals and sit at my desk and eat for another thirty minutes whilst ignoring all responsibility or sense of duty.

No, I won't do that. I'm too nice.

A wise man once told me, "A job's not worth having if you can't take advantage of it every now and then." No word if he said that before he was fired or after.

Anyhoo. What else?



The best line that I read about them was that he was famous because or her, and she was famous for being somewhat famous.

He's a SOCCER PLAYER (injured) AND SHE, NOTHING MORE THAN A SOCCER PLAYER'S WIFE! Oh, she's friends with Katie Holmes! I hope she's had her crazy shot. Over that.

A couple of weeks ago, before it rained, I was watering our drought stressed Japanese Maple with the garden hose when I took a sip of water out of the garden hose. Well, Jack saw me do it and he HAD to have a drink. The kid LUVS water, and to drink it out of a garden hose was too much for him to resist. So, they're we were...the tree got a sip, Da got a sip, Jack got a sip, and Jack's shirt got a sip. It made for some really cute pictures and we all had a great time. All of us, that is, except Grandma Lolly. Grnadma Lolly was repulsed by this activity.

Two days later, like manna from heaven, Fox News, the Rush Limbaugh Radio Empire or the Sally Struthers Network miraculously ran a story about the dangers of allowing children to drink from garden hoses because of all the bacteria that builds up in the hose. So much for that fun.

But I'm telling you, the kid loves water. During his bath, he has taken to filling up his plastic Elmo cup and DRINKING HIS BATH WATER. Inside, I feel like this is a little more dangerous than drinking from a garden hose, but those that know me know that I'm a "choose my battles" type of guy (actually I'm not, because is it really worth all that?), and my battle is with the garden hose. We're not going to tell Lolly that he drinks his bath water. We'll let that be a surprise the next time she babysits. Should be fun. Pee, poot, drink, repeat.

Did you guys watch Greek last Saturday night? I saw half of it before I fell asleep. Yes, I'm aware that I fell asleep at 8:30.

Kathy Griffin is a funny funny lady.

That's really all that I've seen.

Lastly, to the interest of no one reading this, I ran a grand total of 17 miles last week. Four 3-mile runs and a 5 miler on Saturday. My goal this week, two 3s, two 4s, and a 6. If I did my math right, that's 20 miles even. Get y'all some of that.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Oh OHHH Dreammmmm Weaver...

Tell me what this dream means. I've had it a couple of times now.

It's Christmas Eve. We've been every where and seen every one that we're supposed to see on Christmas Eve. After putting Jack to bed, Leah and I collapse on the sofa and try to relax for a moment. We try our best to recover from all of the forced family fun and rest up for more FFF to come the next morning, day and night. As we exhale, in the silent calm of that moment, it hits me that I haven't bought Leah one single Christmas present. I'm horrified and frightened and embarrassed and feel like a total arse.

And then I wake up.

I never get to see how it turns out. My guess is that I stayed up all night making a card on the computer that reads "Sorry you don't have a present to open" on the outside, and then the inside says something like, "But I couldn't find a box big enough for New York City! Pack your bags. We're spending New Years Eve in Times Square!"

I would then have to book airline tickets and a hotel room.

What does it mean, and how does the story end?

I'm going to get her a t-shirt and a loofa sponge at Target on the way home, just to be prepared.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

We went to a movie!

Wow, what a weekend. It's taken me two days to organize (loosely organize) what all happened.

Deep we go:

Friday night Leah and I went on a date. Alone. No Jack. No Brandon and Karly. No Prom King and Katie. No JRod and Ellie Walker, the lady druggist. Just us. It almost didn't happen, because little Jack-Jack had a come apart when we left. I don't think that it was so much that we were leaving, but that we were leaving in the CAR. He luvs the car right now. He loves to sit in the driver's seat and turn all the knobs and stuff. He's silly. Anyway, back to the date. What were we supposed to talk about? I hope nothing, because that's about all we discussed. We went to the Summit Tavern (the one up top, not by Fleming's). Did y'all know that the Tavern doesn't serve Coors Light? I think that I knew, too, at one time, but I forgot. It was nice to have a meal that didn't end in me having to pick chicken up from the floor or leave a 40% tip. I got the prime rib sandwich (of course) and Leah got French onion soup and a salad. She wanted to save room for the movie theater popcorn.

After dinner, we went to see Ocean's 11, Part three. I enjoyed it okay, but I actually liked part two better. Of course, Ocean's 11 was still the best. One funny thing did happen during the movie. No surprise here, but the movie is set in Las Vegas, right? There are a couple of scenes from McCarren Airport, and that means that there were more than a couple Southwest planes seen in the movie. Well, every time one of those peanut serving planes was shown, the girl next to me would get all gitty, clap her hands, and squeal "wwhhhhHHHHHEEEEEE southwest". Just like that. Low at first with a fevered midpoint that tapered off to a low, fast "southwest". She did it all within acceptable volumes for a movie theater, but it was still a strange, Pavlovian type of response to a blue and orange plane. I looked at her a couple of times before I realized that she was a Southwest flight attendant.

So we get home Friday night relatively early. The news had just come on, I think. We went to bed because the real party starts every day about 6:00 AM, even on Saturdays. Actually, Jack slept in a little and didn't get up until about 6:45 Saturday morning. Must have been the rain.

We went to the Galleria early Saturday morning...we were there before 10AM. It was kind of weird to be walking around before the stores were open. I felt like one of those old guys that used to walk around Eastwood Mall because it was temperature controlled. I'm running out of time and interest, so here are the rest of the highlights:

Jack likes to ride the carousel 2.5 times.
There are at least two Dippin Dots vending machines in the Galleria Food Court. Yea Banana Split Dippin Dots.
Yea for game day apparel! Jen can help you guys out with that.
The old High Country store (lower level under Parisian Kids entrance) has Pearl Izuma trail running shorts, Brandon.
Why is K&B Toys so crowded with stuff? Shouldn't a store with a bunch of kids running around be a little bit less cluttered?
Yea three hour Jacknap after a morning of running around.

I don't think Prom King likes Davenport's Pizza.
I got the high score on Ms. Pac Man, and the third highest score on Donkey Kong.

Both of Jack's Sunday School teachers were out last Sunday. He didn't like the replacements at all. "Did he cry the whole time", we asked. "Off and on" was the watered down answer.

We had a lazy Sunday afternoon.

What a waste of your time. I'm sorry about that.

Monday, July 02, 2007


wasn't selected this week either. The topic, Top Ten Rejected Titles for the New Bruce Willis Movie (I guess we're using the term "new" very loosely). My entry, "Die Already!", didn't make the cut.

They selected instead, "Die of Old Age Already", submitted by Greg M. of Milford, PA.

Shout out to Birmingham's Curt P.!! His entry, "Die Hard of Hearing", was #7 on the list.

The only other good one, "Dude, Where's My Wife?", submitted by Shelley R. of Port Orchard, WA.

Did y'all watch the big Diana Tribute concert last night? Me either.

We left Jack in the nursery at church yesterday. His fits of church nursery crying are not only heart-breaking, but somewhat legendary. He used to start crying when we turned the car in to the church parking lot. Not kidding. He'd cry, and cry, and cry, and pass out, and cry in his sleep, and wake up crying in the car on the way home after church. We've progressively gotten better such that the crying now begins when we walk down the nursery hall and ends when we turn on The Wiggles CD (he no longer passes out from crying).

Yesterday, when we got to the nursery 1/2 door, his little bottom lip began to quiver and tears formed in his eyes -- oh it's too much to even recount -- but, when we went back after 'preachin' (we haven't gotten to a SS class yet), he was standing up next to Mrs. Holly pounding on some toy that probably wasn't a pounding toy having a great time. Holly and the other teacher, Felicia - who I know can't wait for promotion Sunday - looked at us and in unison said, "Oh my gosh!"

Now, I'm thinking that he hit someone with a toy. Or threw something at someone. Or, although he's never done this before, bit someone. Why do we always think the worst?

Well, none of those things happened. They continued with, "He was so good!" hhhhoooooof. He played and talked and laughed and did 'more more more' when they ate goldfish crackers. He was excited to see us, but he would've stayed a bit longer.

They also said that he was "brilliant" and that his deductive reasoning skills were incredible. All that means is that he knows that if he's sweet, you'll let him crawl in to your lap, and from that perch he can reach your cell phone that's on the counter. He even told them "bye" and snapped his fingers when we left. He's so Fonzie and he doesn't even know it.

He's a good boy.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Countrywide LUVS me again!!

Sorry for the posting delay lately. I'm just now exiting the shock-like state I entered after reading about some peoples' visit to 119.

The a-holes at Countrywide Mortgage called me a couple of nights ago to tell me that they reviewed my file, that I'm a great customer, and that they think they can save me some money on my home mortgage.

SIDE NOTE: If a company that you're already doing business with calls you and tells you that they can save you money on the product or service that you're already buying from them, they're jerking you around. If the price you're paying for the service is higher than the price they're currently providing the service to other people, why would they call you? I made that mistake with CenturyTel - our phone company - I knew the monthly bill would end up costing more than my current plan. Why did I switch plans?

After she said she could save me money, I asked her if she really reviewed my file. If she really reviewed the file, she would have seen the ceritified letter that Countrywide sent to me 5 months ago telling me that I was in default and that they could enter the house to inspect its condition, demand payment in full of the loan, and/or foreclose on the property. She was silent - no doubt looking for that little response in her scenerio playbook. I thanked her for calling and hung-up.

Last night, CenturyTel called to say that they could save me money on my internet bill. I told the caller that the last time they told me that they could save me money, my phone bill actually increased $5 a month. His response, "Well, uh, that was your phone bill, right? Uhh, I'm calling about our internet service."

OHHHH, well, I'm sure that y'all won't screw me on for your internet package like you did for the phone package.

What else? Oh, can anyone explain to me what's happening on Teletubbies? Jack loves that show, but it's kind of weird to me. Even more so than the Doodlebops.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

One More Twist & Shout Request

"Come On Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners. They'd have had to put a new roof on the joint.

I've meant to add that to my list for about a month. Now on to other matters.

For really the first time in almost two weeks, PawPaw opened his eyes yesterday. He has, so I'm told, opened them once or twice when other people went back to see him. Yesterday, though, he had his eyes open just about all day. He was nodding his head to answer questions, and he was smiling. That was good to see. Should I ever find myself in intensive care with six broken ribs, a punctured lung, a right arm that was almost amputated, compromised kidneys, a broken nose, and 212 stitches in my scalp, I hope that I can smile. It makes everybody feel better. Y'all know it takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown.

Leah's in Memphis this week. I think that Jack-Jack likes it when Daddy keeps him. He gets to watch Little Einsteins while he eats breakfast - which consists of yogurt, Fruit Loops, and 'Nilla Wafers. I also let him play in the dirt and the water and I let him pull the neighborhood cat's tail. He learns life lessons when he's with me.

Are they really going to sentence The Gubner to life in prison for accepting a motorcycle? Really? I mean really? Just because the US prosecutor couldn't convict Coach Scrushy in the HealthSouth trial?

What else is happening? Rick and Bubba are on this "Mexican children are allowed in school without having the immunizations that all the other kids are required to have" kick. If all the other kids have the immunizations, then what's the big deal with letting the Mexican kids in school? I mean, if I have my circle-circle-dot-dot cootie shot, then I can't get cooties. The only ones susceptible to catching cooties are the other illegals that don't have cootie shots, and if I understand correctly, they start them on the shot program straight away.

I'm not saying that the illegals should be draining the public school resources, I get that they're here illegally and are given passing grades even though they don't speak English and blah, blah, blah, but I just need a little better reason to keep them out than they don't have an MMR. Honestly, I got mine in 1996.


Monday, June 18, 2007

What a difference a week makes

Last Monday, I didn't have the energy or desire to recap the trip to see the shuttle launch. Today I wish that I had taken a videographer to record the whole weekend...even the parts where we got snubbed at IHOP and got the finger from the local at Melbourne Beach.

Long story short, for those that don't know, my PawPaw was in an automobile wreck last Thursday - four days after we got back from our trip. He was thrown from the vehicle and suffered massive internal injuries. He had some significant cuts on his scalp, but suffered no blunt force trauma to the head. He is in the TBICU, however, with injuries to just about every internal organ. He has not regained consciousness, but he does respond to commands to wiggle his toes and squeeze hands. He plays favorites, though, and only squeezes the hands of his daughters and my cousin Donna.

My family, while very concerned, will only be serious when the time is right. We'll laugh as much as we can through the pain. It's not just us "older kids" either. The younger generation knows how to laugh also - or at least how to make us laugh with their honesty. My cousin's 8 year old daughter made PawPaw card using a ball point pen and a piece of notebook paper.

On the outside, she wrote "Dear Great PawPaw, I (heart) U".

On the inside she wrote, "Are you o.k.? I am so sorry that you almost broke every bone in your body."

Thanks for the thoughts and prayers, even from those of you that aren't quite sure what to say. I've been there, too. I'll try to keep you updated.

One last thought...girls are much better nurturers than boys. My mom and her sisters haven't gone 100 yards from PawPaw since he's been here. My female cousins, Donna and Teresa, have stayed night after night, lending moral support and medical interpretations (they're both nurses). It just makes me wonder who would take care of me if I were in PawPaw's place.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cruising (or not)

I said, "Jack, hands at 10 and 2." He stepped on my sunglasses instead.

Thoughts and a few cringes go out to a friend today as the doctor puts a scalpel in a place that scalpels really shouldn't be placed. There has got to be a better way. All that pain and it's not even 100% effective? I hear tell that, after the procedure, there are still shells in the shotgun. We can send a man to the moon, but we can't come up a better system? Where's the outrage, Oprah?

We watched one episode of The Office from the BBC last night. Almost word for word, it was exactly the same as the NBC version. Even the plot lines were the same. Dwight K. Shrute is better than their Assistant to the Regional Manager (they used that line, or we stole it from them, whatever). Overall, it was kind of a let-down given all the extra work you have to put in to understanding what they're saying. The British accents are a little heavy.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Midweek tidbits

Other items from our trip to Orlando/Kennedy Space Center:

I was flipping channels on the television Sunday morning and I heard a voice that I sort of recognized. I waited for a few seconds and then, right there on my TV screen, the face of Elizabeth (Liz, as the hipsters call her) Artz appeared. She’s, apparently, a weekend anchor at the ABC affiliate in Orlando. There was no co-anchor. She looked the same because, well, people don’t change a whole lot in 6 months. She was wearing those black rimmed librarian glasses that all the cool kids have.

I told you guys my Cracker Barrel idea a few months ago and, as I sat in traffic for 2 –1/2 hours trying to go 35 miles after the shuttle launch last Friday night, I came up with another one. How about a counter feature on Mapquest that gives the number of times people have requested directions to/from a specific place in the last 7 days or 30 days or whatever. It would say something like, “198,654 people have requested directions to or from your requested location in the last 7 days.” That would be good information to know. Maybe it could then strongly suggest that you try an alternate route. Just an idea.

I got some sad news today. As you may remember, Mr. Wizard was a guest blogger once on the old More or Less site. Mr. Wizard passed away yesterday. So long, friend.

The car that we rented had XM Radio. I don't really have much to say about it, except that it was pretty cool. Every baseball game was broadcast. There were stations galore on every topic imaginable. I think I'll look in to getting the XM.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Some of you have met my granddad. If you’re not sure if you’ve met him or not, then you haven’t met him. You’d remember it.

Paw Paw’s a fair man. He’s kind and, for the most part, gentle. He doesn’t want to beat your ass, but if he has to, he will. He’s worked hard his entire life and he’s never asked for, or expected, anything more than what he deserved. What he expects from you is nothing less than what he gives until you give him a reason to stop; respect.

So we’re at the Wal-Mart in Melbourne, Florida because no trip is complete unless you’ve seen that annoying roll back smiley face. My granddad found a bounty of electric razor blade attachments, batteries, electronic solitaire, and fruit that he wanted to buy and we made our way to the 20 items or less line.

SIDENOTE: If you’re in a hurry, never get behind me in a lane of traffic or check-out aisle. I have this innate, irreversible, ability to always end up in the slowest moving queue.

We waited, somewhat patiently, while the cashier tried in vain to scan a panty hose egg and four packs of pork stomachs that the people in front of us were going to use as stink bait at Lake Okeechobee. (What else can you do with pork stomachs? I guess you could make your own violin bow, or your own pork rinds, but I digress.)

Finally, after 12 people had gone through the check-out lane we were in before my bright idea to switch lanes, the cashier began scanning Paw Paw’s purchase across the pork stomach juice laced scanner.

Cashier: That will be $49.20, sir.

Paw Paw: Can you break a hundred?

Cashier: Sure, that’s fine.

My granddad, trying to relieve the soreness in his artificial hips by placing his hands on the check-out counter and leaning on them, handed the cashier a $100 bill.

Now, we all know what happened next, but we’ve become desensitized to the slight because that’s our generation. The cashier took the $100 bill and, with some type of marker, scribbled on Paw Paw’s $100 bill. Satisfied that the bill was legal tender, the cashier placed the bill under his tray.

Paw Paw: What’d you do that for?

Cashier: What?

Paw Paw: Scribble on my money.

Cashier: To make sure you didn’t give me counterfeit money.

Paw Paw: Oh.

My granddad is 80+ years old. He was a very, very young soldier during WWII. He’s a member of the greatest generation. In my mind, he’s one of the greatest members of the greatest generation. To say the least, he is not desensitized to the routine, if arguably necessary, slights of today.

Cashier: Can I give you a fifty back, or do you want smaller bills?

Paw Paw: A fifty will be fine with me.

The cashier handed my granddad a $50 and some coins as his change. Paw Paw, in a move that involved enough aggression that I was taken aback and a little uncomfortable, snatched the marker from the cashier and scribbled with fervor on the $50 bill. I'm not even sure if Paw Paw knew what to look for in a counterfeit bill, but he told the cashier – who was standing in shock - "You scribbled on mine, I'm scribbling on yours. I don't want any fake money either!"

If ‘bitch’ was any thing more than a female dog to my granddad, I’d like to think that he would have added it on to the end of his statement. Nonetheless, his point was made. The older lady behind us, in her distinctly Northern transplant accent said, “That’s right! We don’t want no funny money either!”

Oh, I can’t wait to get old.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Wow. That was a lot. I don't even care to recap it. I'm not as good as Katie, and I only had a camera phone, but here are some pics:

This is smoke at the launch pad a couple of minutes after launch. Looks like it's close by, right? It's 6 miles away. See the little bump across the river (right above the left ear of the guy in the hat)? That's the launch pad.

This is the smoke trail left by the shuttle. The solid rocket boosters came off about where the smoke trail ends.

After the launch, we went back to Kennedy Space Center. Winds had taken the shuttle's smoke trail and created this formation in the sky. Pretty neat, no?

The picture that impressed Jack the most.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Twist and Shout Regrets

I'm going to let Karly detail the evening, but I had to make one comment about our visit to Twist & Shout. You really need to have a game plan before you go in there. Next time I'll know.

Saturday night I couldn’t think of anything, but the ideas are coming fast and furious now. Some of the tunes would have been funny and the piano players could have had fun with, others I would have just liked to hear played on the piano. Songs I wish that I had requested, in no particular order:

Alcohol (Brad Paisley)
That Don’t Impress Me Much (Shania Twain)
Straight to Hell (Drivin N Cryin)
Islands in the Stream (Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers)
Drivin My Life Away (Eddie Rabbit, alternate – I Love a Rainy Night)
Scenes From an Italian Restaurant (Billy Joel)
Cantaloop, Flip Fantasia (US3)
Gangsta’s Paradise (Coolio)
Complicated (Avril Lavigne)
Hand in My Pocket (Alanis Morissette)
I Go Blind (Hootie & the Blowfish, alternate - Time)
Low (Cracker)
Italian Leather Sofa (Cake)
Allison Road (Gin Blossoms, alternate - Cheatin’)
U Can Look (Jump, Little Children, alternate – Dancing Virginia)

That would have been enough for them to tell me to sit down next to Dead Girl (a/k/a White Snake) and leave them alone.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Caribbean Clash – Jamaica vs. Turks & Caicos

I’d say that I was trying to write a compare and contrast piece, but as my lebanese English 102 professor succinctly stated, “You have no idea what a compare and contrast piece is.” No, I don’t, and thanks for the pep-talk!

Comparing Jamaica with Turks & Caicos is a little unfair to both islands. Jamaica is the third largest single island (behind Cuba and Dominican Republic/Haiti) in the Caribbean with roughly 4,250 square miles and a population of just under 3,000,000. Jamaica’s mountains rise from its watery marshes like Bob Marley in my Uprising poster.

Turks & Caicos consists of 8 main islands and at least 20 smaller ones and has a total population of less than 30,000. Providenciales (Provo), the main tourist island, is roughly 38 square miles and accounts for approximately two-thirds of the T&C population. If there aren’t any trees in the way, you can see the ocean on both sides of the island from the third floor of any resort.

We’ve been to Jamaica once, Turks & Caicos twice. They’re really two unique places that you have to see, touch, hear, smell and taste to fully appreciate.

I will say right off the bat that the Jamaica trip had a lot of things going against it before we even left our house that the island just could not control. As I’ve said before, it was the first time that Leah and I left Jack at the same time for an extended period, so we carried some emotional and mental baggage with us that didn’t show up on the airline’s scales. Honestly, three days before the trip, I still wasn’t convinced that we were going. This lowered my “psyched-up” factor, which is HUGE before you take any trip.

This is not meant to encourage you to visit one place over the other, or to discourage you from visiting either place, I just thought it would be fun to try and prove my EH102 professor wrong. I know that it’s supposed to be in paragraph format, but I’m using the mano a mano style for this one. Let’s start from the start.

Air Travel: Delta serves both islands direct from Atlanta. It’s a shade over 2 hours to Provo and about 2 hours and 45 minutes to Jamaica. Depending on the plane, you could have entertainment on your way to either destination. We watched TV shows and a really interesting piece on the Apple iPod on the way down to Jamaica, but no such entertainment on the way back. About 20 minutes in to the return flight I wished that I had gotten the video iPod and downloaded the entire first season of The Office. Due to the shorter duration of the flight to Provo, you probably have less of a chance to watch a movie during the flight. Even if a movie is playing on the Provo flight, the cabin staff is scurrying around like workers at a Mexican restaurant trying to fill drink orders, pass out snacks, and collect trash. If you go to Provo, this is the last time that you’ll see anyone rush to do anything until you get back on the plane for the return flight. It’s also the last time that you’ll understand every word of a sentence. Advantage: Push.

Airports: In Jamaica, you exit the plane to a covered jet way that leads to an air-conditioned hall that winds its way to immigration where at least 23 people await to process your arrival. The only roadblock for us was that we didn’t complete our immigration forms correctly and were ordered against a wall and made to complete the bottom portion before actually going to immigration. Had this been The Amazing Race, Karly would have LLLLLOOOOSSSSTTT it. She still LOST it a little, but it could have been much worse had 4 international flights landed at the same time and there were 1,000 people that got ahead of us. Alas, ours was apparently the only international flight to arrive at that time, so only a few people got ahead of us. A few if them smirked as they passed. Form completing nerds.

It still didn’t take 15 minutes to get through immigration and then down to the baggage area. There was no air-conditioning in the baggage area and, for the first time, the heat and humidity let us know that we were in a tropical area. The baggage handlers were a little slow, but our minds were too occupied by the talk of rainy forecasts, so we really didn’t notice much else around us…except the large woman’s really, really short gray cotton workout shorts and half of her saggy cottage cheese ass hanging out of them. I still haven’t forgiven Brandon for pointing that out to me. Nor will I any time soon.

After baggage claim, we walked to the Couples lounge where we had our first Red Stripe. We were only there for a few minutes before we were told that there was a bus ready to take us to the resort. I could have waited on the next one and enjoyed the Red Stripe, but off we went.

In Provo, you exit the plane on one of those ladders that Home Depot puts right in front of whatever it is that I went to their store to get. You race, on a hot tarmac, the other 1,500 people from the other airplanes that all landed within 5 minutes of each other to a very small immigration room. Four islanders, who have place to go, staff the Immigration Office in Provo. Remember, the island is 38 square miles. For them to host a marathon it would have to be an out and back course plus a little. Anyway, the immigration workers are not in a hurry to get you processed. Baggage claim is actually only one carousel. There is no lounge at the airport, nor do I remember being overly cool as the herd moved through the airport from one pen to the next. Even if there were a lounge, you would not want to stay there any longer than necessary. Advantage: Jamaica.

Travel to the Resort: This is the most perilous part of any trip outside of the U.S., because everyone else drives on the wrong side of the road. Someone reading this knows someone that knows someone that knows someone that’s been taken out because they looked left-right-left instead of right-left-right when crossing a street in a foreign land. Islanders are, universally, tailgaters, speeders and – well, they’re not lawbreakers, because there are no traffic laws. You get the idea. The roads in Jamaica are more developed than those in Provo. You’re prone to hit a pothole or two in Provo. The roads in Jamaica, while far from being jammed with traffic, do get more usage than those in Provo. Prom King even let Katie drive a rental car in Provo (having taken out all possible forms of insurance, of course). He would not have done that in Jamaica. There’s an eerie confidence among Jamaicans sharing the street – pedestrians, cyclists, animals and other drivers – that the other person knows what he’s doing and isn’t going to hit them.

The ride to Negril was about 90 minutes, give or take a Red Stripe. You could drive three laps of Provo in that time. The scenery in Jamaica is very nice; from the Caribbean waters on one side to the majestic mountains on the other. Along the way, you get an idea of how many Jamaicans live day to day. In short, they just do. Shantytowns and lean-tos dot the mountainside, while goats, cows and mules graze at roadside. Uniformed school children crowded the sidewalk in front of the local snack shop, like Tarrant kids used to do at Kessler’s Pharmacy. It’s really a remarkable ride.

Provo’s highest point is about 42 feet above sea level, so the drive doesn’t offer much variety. This is resort specific, I’m sure, but Couples provided a medium-large, air-conditioned bus for our 90-minute ride. Ocean Club sent a beat-up 15-passenger van with the windows permanently rolled down. I’m sure that transport to the Grace Bay Club might be nicer – and we could have paid for the car service to take us to OC - but the ride to Ocean Club is 15 minutes TOPS. The ride's lack of scenery is atoned by its brevity. And brevity is appreciated, especially on leaving day. The quietest time of the Jamaica trip was the 90 minute bus ride back to the airport. I’m not sure that any one said a word, even the bus driver. He could neither confirm nor deny that the Lucea clock was really meant for St. Lucia. Advantage: Push

The Sounds:
Music: I don’t care who you are or where you’re from or where you went to school, you know Bob Marley. You may not know that he was born in Nine Mile, Jamaica, but you know One Love. You may not know that he was one of the most influential socio-political leaders of his time, but you know Redemption Song. You may not know that he squired at least 11 kids with 9 different women, that his son Rohan played defensive back for the Miami Hurricanes (but you may know that Rohan is loosely married to Lauryn Hill), that his son Ziggy continues to make reggae melody, you may not even know his name, but you know his music.

I don’t know how you measure the influence that one man’s life had on the development, culture, political climate, and overall existence of an island, but there’s little doubt that Jamaica would not be the same place today were it not for Bob Marley.

With the exception of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Marley’s music is everywhere on the island. For those in Alabama, the presence of Marley equals that of Bear Bryant in Tuscaloosa. I don’t know who Jamaica’s main rival is, but I wonder if they walk around screaming, “BOB’S DEAD” every time they see a t-shirt with his face on it.

Provo doesn’t boast such a rich musical history. In fact, I don’t really remember hearing a lot of music in Provo. Why clutter the beauty of the island by drowning your senses with sound? Aside from the occasional Shaggy (It wasn’t me) and the island anthem (Welcome to the islands, to the Turks and the Caicos Islands), you really don’t hear much music unless you bring your own. Sorry Boo, A Boy Named Sue – as good as it is – doesn’t really compare. Musical Advantage: Jamaica.

Dialect: Having a shared ancestry, Jamaicans and Turks and Caicosans have a similar dialect. While English is their native language, it’s not the same English that we speak.

Jamaicans have also blended English, French, and Spanish with ancient African and added a little “don’t let the master know what we’re saying” to develop Patois. Like most languages, it’s easier for us Americans to interpret in written form. It’s also the reason some reggae lyrics don’t make sense to us. That and we’ve never smoked mary jane for 6 months straight and then wrote a song about an oppression fighting water bong…at least I haven’t.

As stated elsewhere, Coke is something you snort in Jamaica, while pop is a carbonated beverage. Incidentally, Diet Coca-Cola in Jamaica is Coca-Cola Light. I like picking up those little morsels of local knowledge when I visit different places.

The folks of Provo may have a special language, too, but they have a hard enough time communicating with us in English. Their accents are very, very thick, and they tend to mumble…exactly the way that you would expect a time irrelevant islander to speak. In fact, in Provo, if the islanders look at you at all, it’s almost like you’re on exhibit….kind of the way the old gorilla at the zoo looks at people that pass his habitat. It’s like they’re studying you, but not in a scary way. Tourists are still new to them. It’s been within our lifetimes that T&C discovered that it could make some serious money just being the quiet, small Caribbean isle that it is. Dialect Advantage: Push.

Nature Sounds: Had I been able to get my hands on that crow-like bird that was screaming just off our Couples balcony at 4:15 in the morning, I would have kilt it dead. You don’t hear much else in the way of natural sounds in Jamaica. The waves are non-existent, so the seas are quiet. There wasn’t a real breeze bringing the leaves of the Royal Palms to life. Save the music and the crow, it was really quiet.

Provo doesn’t have mountains to block the winds, so the breezes carry sounds across the island. The waves, while not even large when compared to the Gulf of Mexico waves we’re used to, still “crash” to shore and provide perfect rhythm, almost pendulous, that is music to any true beach lover’s ears. Nature Sounds Advantage: Provo.

Overall Sound Advantage: Jamaica

The Sights: Refer back to the “travel to the Resort” section for other items, but the nature sites on the islands are the same, but different, especially once you get to the resort. This is where Jamaica will take a hit in my analysis due to the lack of sunshine. I’m sure that Jamaica’s water, sea creatures, and corral burst with color when hit by the sun’s rays, but under a dreary, overcast sky, it didn’t look much different than the Gulf of Mexico. The sunsets were blocked by clouds, robbing us (at least me) on one of my favorite island past times…sitting in a chair next to Brian or Brandon, drinking and cold one, debating Alabama’s record for the upcoming football season, and awaiting the final “flash” on direct sunlight for the day. I knew that Brian and I would be friends when, on our first trip to Provo, as the final flash moment approached on our first evening there, Brian knew to be quiet and just watch. The girls always want to pose for pictures at sunset. I’d rather just watch.

The waters in Provo are the bluest and clearest that I’ve ever seen. On a skiff ride, we stopped in water that we thought was about 8 feet deep. Once we jumped in – being careful not to land on the corral below - and started snorkeling, we realized that we were in 20 feet of water easily. There was no way we would have landed on the corral below when we jumped in to the water. It was at least 15 feet from the surface, and the water’s high salt content doesn’t allow you to go that deep. I saw glimpses of that when we parasailed in Jamaica, but the lack of sun really hurt. I’m not even going to bring up that, if you’re lucky, you get to swim with a dolphin named JoJo in Turks. Advantage: Provo.

Local Drinks: I don’t care who you are or where you’re from or where you went to school, you know Red Stripe. You may not know that it’s brewed and bottled in Jamaica, but you know that it comes in a squatty brown bottle and is about $8.99 a six-pack. You should also know that it’s very, very tasty.

In our first trip to Provo, we drank Kalik (the Beer of the Bahamas) and Corona (the beer of Missouri…not really, but if I have to tell you where it’s from…). On our second trip, we were greeted with a “sorry” when I ordered a Kalik. “Turks Head, now” was the response from Lee Forbes, bartender extraordinaire at Ocean Club. Turks Head was good, but it was a little heavy for my taste. Don’t think that I didn’t drink it, because I did and I would again, but it’s no Red Stripe.

I mentioned the Bob Marley shot in an earlier post, but the bartenders at Couples Negril also make a drink called Purple Rain…or Purple Haze…or Purple something. Anyway, it’s purple and taste, some say, like baby aspirin. They were yummy-yummy in my tummy.

Jamaica also boasts of some of the regions best coffee “farms” (plantations? fields?) Whatever they’re called, they produce a dark coffee that is very, very good. I brought some home with me and made a small pot Monday morning. The first few sips were just as good as I remembered, and then Jack found my thermos and poured the rest of it on the carpet in our bedroom. It was at that moment that I wished that I had sprung for the $5 half pound bag instead of being such a cheap a$$ and taking a single serve pack from our room. Advantage: Jamaica

Wow. This is getting really long (4 pages) and close to 2,800 words. (Off and on for four days, for those wondering how long this has taken me to write). I’m going to wrap it up now:

Overall Winner of the Caribbean Clash: Push.

The islands are just too different and wonderful in their own rights to choose one over the other. Some people may prefer the reggae sounds and style of Jamaica while others might prefer the small, laid back, close down at sunset style of Turks and Caicos. Visit them both and decide for yourself.

I would encourage you to do what we did, and that is travel with friends who make the good times great and the not so good times enjoyable. A bad day at the beach with friends is better than a good day anywhere else....even if they do cheat at spades.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Jamaica me soggy...

Disclaimer: Everyone that I’ve talked to since our return from Jamaica has listened to my story and then said, “So we shouldn’t go to Jamaica?” That’s not at all what I’m saying. We had bad weather. We had delayed flights. We were in the small minority of people sans a tat. It was the first time that Leah and I had left Jack for an extended period of time, so we had all that to deal with. Still I had a great time and I would go back to Jamaica. I’d encourage all of you to go to Jamaica. There, on with a quick report.

At 3:50AM on Tuesday, three separate alarms sounded in our bedroom. My wristwatch, cell phone, and radio alarm were all set. I wanted time to get ready, double check that we packed every thing, and give Leah’s dad – who was nice enough to be at our house at 5:15 to see us off and keep Jack that morning - last minute instructions on how to use the TV.

At 5:30 AM, I, metaphorically speaking, ripped off the band-aid by rushing Leah to the car before she could wake up enough to feel bad about leaving Jack for 6 days. We were in the car and on the way to the airport.

Because there wasn’t any traffic that early, we were at the airport at 5:54 AM. We decided to use Air Valet as our anniversary present to each other. I hope that didn’t void my “One Night of Fun” coupon. I should have read the fine print before agreeing to use the valet. Too late now. We were at the Delta counter at 5:56. At 5:59, we were all checked in and I felt kind of like a dork for being that early and that prepared. I can’t begin to imagine what Leah was thinking. We sat and watched a couple make-out on the airport bench, and then Karly and Brandon rolled in about 15 – 20 minutes later. They’re so much cooler than me.

The flight from Birmingham to Atlanta was, as always, uneventful and refreshment free. I hate that flight. And I feel like the time change robs me of an hour of my life. We were only in ATL long enough to make a couple of phone calls, spend more than we should at the snack shop, and see some Tampa Bay Buccaneer cheerleaders while they stretched and waited for their flight to Honolulu. Unlike the married Delta workers, I didn’t chat them up or ask if they had boyfriends. I just stared at them, like a little kid in a candy store – or a dirty old man. Whichever. Then we were on the plane and on our way to SUNNY JAMAICA.

Or maybe not.

That little girl from The Crow that said, “It can’t rain all the time”, I bet she’s never been to Jamaica in May. “You don’t come to Jamaica in May”, said the kind man that took our bags to the bus. After playing an exhausting game of “here-a-tip, there-a-tip, everywhere-a-tip-tip” we got on the bus. Our driver, Malik, pointed out some Montego Bay attractions, like the Hip Strip and the Cool Runnings bar. Within 10 minutes we were out of the city and on the road to Negril. “That clock was meant for St. Lucia, but it ended up in the city of Lucea instead”, Malik offered about 45 minutes in to the trip. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I appreciated the effort.

About an hour in to the drive, we pulled over for a stretch break. And a potty break. And a Red Stripe. Me, I’ll eat local cuisine off a grill made from an old oil drum and a stolen section of fencing, so I bought some jerk chicken from the little shack next to the place. Good eats. I got another Red Stripe and got back on the bus. Malik pointed out Sandy Beach (any guesses why it’s called that?) and told us what color uniforms the boys and girls wore at the local schools. Boys always wear “kahh-key”. I liked Malik, and I think that gave him $10 for the effort. I may have, inadvertently, slipped him the reciept from the ATL snack shop, though.

The check-in at Couples couldn’t have been easier. Herbert passed out cold towels and gave some knucks instead of a handshake. Some women gave Karly and Leah the room keys and some other stuff that we summarily ignored, and we were off to the rooms. Christopher took our bags to room “A, tree, oh, SEVEN”. He showed us around and then stood there. Sorry Christopher, my brochure said that you could be fired for accepting a gratuity. I couldn’t live with myself if you ended up on the streets selling mangos. Out you go.

Did I mention that it was overcast or sprinkling rain? It was. So, what do you do when it’s overcast or sprinkling rain? You participate in activities at the swim up bar. We were not alone at the bar, and it didn’t take long for someone that had been there a while to ask if we had tried the Bob Marley. I quickly lied and said, “Yes”. The man either didn’t believe me or didn’t care because within a couple of minutes there was a little martini glass filled with a layer of red drink, a layer of green drink, and a layer of yellow drink. Quite interesting, really, but you don’t just get to look at it. You’re supposed to suck it through a straw, which Brandon did. I shot mine. That red stuff – Aftershock. Tasty, but I went back to the Red Stripe.

The rain stopped but the clouds stayed behind. There was no beautiful sunset on night one (or two, three, four, or five). No single day was a total washout, but the only rain-free day was Saturday. Leah and I, somehow, managed to get a little sunburned.

Let’s see, what else…lots – I MEAN LOTS – of tattoos. Wow. I never thought that I was in the minority of people when it came to tattoos, but from looking around Couples, there are a lot more people with a tattoo than there are without. Some of the tattoos almost looked homemade, like the guy with KAK on his left chest. It looked like he did that with a wood-burning tool in third grade. Or Freddy Kruger was the tattoo artist. One or the other.

I’m going to stop about the actual trip, because I’m working on a Jamaica v. Turks & Caicos comparison article that will come out in a couple of days. It will have more details about the island; it’s music, drink, food, and funtivities.

The flight back was delayed for 90 minutes due to a thunderstorm over Montego Bay. We were supposed to leave at 3:40, instead we left at 5:10. Well over half of the people missed their connecting flights in Atlanta and most had to wait until the next morning to fly home. If they didn’t miss their flight home because the flight to Atlanta was late, they missed it because a set of golf clubs got lodged in the baggage conveyor and not a single piece of luggage came out of the chute for about 10 minutes. Aggravating.

We were supposed to be in Atlanta for almost four hors, but because of the various delays and baggage malfunctions, we were only there long enough to go through immigration and customs, security screening once again, get on the train to the correct concourse, go to Chili’s and get an order to go, and then go to the gate. It was quite a rush. I hardly had time to forget my credit card on the counter at Chili’s.

That’s right. In the rush to get to the gate, either left it lying on the bar at Chili’s or dropped in on the floor when I went to put it back in my pocket. I had our carry on bag, the bag of food, and my drink in my hands and I simply lost my card. It was used twice Sunday night at two different gas stations, and according to the issuer, has been denied at least three times since Monday morning. Nice.

Still, given all that happened or, in the case of sunshine, didn’t happen, I’d go back to Jamaica today. It’s a beautiful island with wonderful people and food. And rain in May.

A big thank you to Brandon and Karly for inviting us to join them on their third trip to Negril. Their other two trips were also in May, but it didn’t rain. We were just unlucky this time. Also, a belated happy 8th anniversary to you!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Less than 24 hours!!!

This time tomorrow, we'll probably be sardined in the Immigration and Customs area of Montego Bay International Airport that hasn't been expanded since 1964. The employees will be moving on island time, which is to say that they won't be in a hurry to get us through the line and on the way to FUNTIVITIES at the resort. It'll be all good, though. A bad day in Jamaica is better than a good day at work...unless you're the Chief Bikini Inspector at South Beach. I don't know. I just felt the need to talk a little.

Needless to say, this will be the only post this week. OHHHH, Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers. One day, your children will understand Mother's Day and let you sleep past 6:30. I tried to let Leah sleep late yesterday, but Jack was having none of it. He stayed in the living room with me until Emily Yeung came on (he's not impressed with Emily Yeung), but then he tried to get to the bedroom where mommy was sleeping. After about 10 minutes of him screaming at me to let him by I relented, figuring that him going in to the bedroom couldn't be less relaxing than him sitting outside the door crying.

OHHHHH, Katie. I went to lunch with my mom after church yesterday. We went to some little meat and three across from their church. It was decent - not as good as Joel's, but then again...anyway, a couple from my mom and dad's Sunday school class joined us for lunch. (Why? Because my mom invited them thinking that they wouldn't come. Why'd she invite them any way? Why couldn't WE just have lunch on Mother's Day? My mom is one of those mothers that doesn't like Mother's Day....because EVERY DAY SHOULD BE MOTHER'S DAY...well, you know, she's right...but every day is not Mother's Day, it's just when I make an effort, you don't have to appreciate it, but at least be receptive...don't ruin it for the rest of us...has it been an hour already? Thanks Doc. These sessions are helping me a lot. Same time next week?)

Any way, the conversation included this line that made me think of Katie:

We go to Golden Corral now. We used to go to Barnhill's, but it's REALLY gone down hill lately.

Things I'm looking forward to in Jamaica: Conch fritters, conch salad, conch chowder, conch strips, fried conch, roasted conch, conch stew, conch salsa, and conch.

That's all that I have time for today. Have a great week and we'll see you again next week!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Just a quick note. You guys know that I went to the doctor last week for my sore right ankle. I had x-rays and everything. Well, on doctor's orders, I haven't run in a week and I've been taking Aleve (which might be eating a hole in my stomach). The office just called me about the x-rays, and they relayed the following:

The x-ray tech says that your x-ray isn't abnormal, but it isn't normal either. The x-ray show density, which is to say swelling, in the area where you describe having the most pain. It doesn't appear to be traumatic. It is probably quite possibly congenital, but it could be traumatic caused by the continued exercise.

So, I really don't know any more now than I did a week ago. I'll keep taking an NSAID, ice, and lay off the running until we get back from Jamaica. Then if running still hurts, I'll go for an MRI.

Brandon, I really just think that it's the shoes. I shouldn't have bought the GT 2110 because they were on sale.

While I'm here, one more quick story. We were at Parisian this past Sunday. I was trying on a button down shirt (over my Ed t-shirt) when the sales lady walked over and asked if she could help us with anything. I said that I was just trying to decide between the medium and the large. It went something like this:

Sales lady: What size is the one that you have on now?

Me: This is the medium.

Sales lady: Really? Those must run big.

Me: Thanks?

Sales lady: No, I mean, there's no way that I thought that you'd fit in to a medium.

Me: Thanks?

Sales lady: I mean, I mean...what a cute little boy. What's his name?

She then proceeded to tell us that her son and daughter-in-law were getting old and need to hurry up if they wanted to have kids. I didn't ask, but I'm sure that they're both probably pushing 26.

We let her check us out just to show that we weren't offended. It was a fun watching a fish out of water suffocate.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Eight years...

Yesterday (May 7, 2007) evening at 5:15 I asked Leah what we were doing eight years ago at that very moment. She correctly replied that we were standing at the Seaside Pavilion wondering what the wedding planner had available as a back-up location for our wedding. The weather was quite awful. Cloudy and cool with about a 30 mph wind and looking like it could just rain frogs at any minute. I was really concerned about the back-up location, because I knew it wasn't going to be big enough. Although we had invited a few hundred people, we had only planned (and rented chairs for) about 80 people that we thought would make the trip - and that number included some people that we weren't really sure about but planned for any way. I think the final headcount was about 120. I knew the planners didn't have an indoor space to accommodate 120 people (this was before they built the church in Seaside). Where were these people going to sit? Who were we going to ask to not come? How do you even go about that? How much was Seaside going to charge us when they realize that we had underestimated the number of guests by about 50%? I was hoping that Leah's dad brought some more shares of AT&T stock down to pay for the overage charge. Alas, it didn't come to that.

After a dreary Friday evening, we couldn't have asked for a better Saturday. Our wedding started at 5PM. During our three minute ceremony, I said 'I do' about four times. In my defense, Brother Brandon told me to say 'I do' when he paused. Well, while speaking to me, he paused four times. Don't tell me to do something if you don't want it done. The ceremony was over by 5:03PM, I think, which was a huge relief to the 40 or so people that had to sit on the wooden stairs in the blaring evening sun. Did we eat dinner at Bud & Ally's that night? I think that we did, because we saw Meagan and Michelle. That may have been Sunday night. Anyhoo. We stayed in Seaside (Honeymoom cottage #12) for a few days while everyone else went home. I fainted at Red Bar on Tuesday night...not from the alcohol but from a day of hanging out in the sun and drinking about 6 ounces of water all day. That was fun. Leah still has pictures of me in the ambulance if any of you are interested.

Eight years. It really doesn't seem like it's been that long. I guess Kermit the Frog was right when he said, "time's fun when you're having flies."

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Well, that was really about a waste of time. The doctor said, "it's either tendonitis or a stress fracture." I came to those same conclusions when I self-diagnosed myself using an article from a 2003 Runners' World magazine.

Anyhoo, Doc said to take NSAIDs, stay off of it for two weeks, and elevate and ice at night. That's about all. I'm just going to shut up about running.

I'm just going to shut up period.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Injury Bug - The Director's Cut

If this is the first time that you're readying this, the post may not make sense to you because it's disjointed and reads like it was written at two different times. I wrote part of this on the fly earlier this morning and now I'm going to SUPPLEMENT. I don't know why I screamed that in my Jesse Jackson voice, but it made it more fun. Anyway, I'm not sure why I felt the need to explain. I mean, you're reading this, so how picky are you with your choice of literature in the first place?

I really have a lot on my mind that I'd like to write about, unfortunately I have a 10:30 meeting this morning and it's 10:05. I'll hurry for five minutes, then I got to quit.

1. Two weeks to Jamaica!!! I've been trying to find a "Two Weeks to Better Abs" program that includes Twix bars. There is no such plan. Just as well, I'd hate for my six-pack abs to cause so many newlyweds to stumble right out of the gate.

1. Part two: I wonder, if I did 6,000 crunches a day every day for the next two weeks, if you could see a ripple in my abs. Probably not. I read some where that your body fat has to be less than 2% for your ab muscles to show. So much for having my abs on the cover of Men's Health by the time I'm 40. And yes, I am that vain.

I hope that I'm outside unloading the bags when the room assignments are discussed at the front desk. I'll leave the "oh, it is a problem, mon" to Leah and Karly.

We went to Target last night. I bought playing cards, because that was my job.

I'm excited about:

Red Stripes, the cliff jumping, the sunset cruise, the smoothies, the Red Stripes, the sun, the sand, the flag that you raise when you need another Red Stripe, the water, the sounds, the van driver (SHOTGUN!!!), the van driver stopping for Red Stripes, the plants, the locals, the Red Stripes, and the Red Stripes. Odd, I haven't seen 'conch' anything on the menus. No conch fritters, conch chowder, conch salad. Maybe it's implied that they have those things because they're an island in the Caribbean.

I'm not excited about missing Jack. He's such a good boy. I know that I'm going to miss him, but I'm going to fight through it!

2. Brandon and I are, quite literally, limping in to this vacation. He has a strained hamstring, I have a strained ankle (I think). It's been bothering me for about a month, whenever I flex - or extend - my when you put on socks, it hurts along the top and front of my ankle bone. Like most of my injuries, it doesn't hurt when I run. Well, not after the first half mile or so it doesn't hurt. I have a doctor's appointment today (the making of which was another ordeal) wherein I expect to be told to ice, take NSAIDs, and don't run. I just hope that my ankle is better before I go snorkeling.

2. Part Two: On our last trip to Turks & Caicos, Boo Tapas, a/k/a Prom King, tried to snorkel with a sore ankle. It didn't work too well. He tried it with fins, which actually puts more pressure and strain on the ankle, and he tried it without fins. Snorkeling without fins is like walking through a crowded bar. You're kind of at the mercy of the current, and you're always afraid you're going to be pinned up against something - or somebody - that you'd rather not be pinned against.

When I called to make the appointment, the appointment taking person asked, "Is this a physical or a follow-up visit?"

Well, it's neither. I'm a return patient, but this is a new condition, and while I'm overdue for my annual physical that's not why I called. The appointment person said, "I'll have to connect you with the doctor's office. The first appointment that I see is in September." And that, my friends, is why I don't recommend anyone to the facility that I'm forced to use. The medical care is great, unless you have a problem and need to actually receive the medical care.

The appointment lady transferred me to the doctor's office where I pressed 4 to make an appointment, 3 to select my physician, and 2 to enter my last name, only to be told that the line was busy so I should call again later and disconnected.

Call who? The physical or follow-up lady?

After about 30 minutes of internal phone database searching, I found the back office number for my physician, who's on vacation until the day we leave for Jamaica. His back-up is seeing me today, so I'm sure that my health insurance provider will deny the visit because the physician that I'm seeing isn't my PCP. I better call them to make sure it's okay.

It's okay. Deborah said that I could see the back-up.

Time's almost up...

3. Gossip on's flirting. Tom's confident in his relationship with Katie. I'm sure he is, what with that ironclad contract and all. Their "intimate" relationship is about as real as my superhero powers.

3. Part two: Katie's flirting with her co-star. Continuing to kiss his mouth (That's an Ernest T. Bass line for you Andy fans) after the director says cut. She's been seen touching his arm the way girls do "accidentally" when they like a boy. He's been seen throwing stuff at her and putting paper in her hair, so they're definitely TLA, or at least FWBs.

Is there one living, breathing person that believes Suri was made the old fashion way?

One minute over. Gotta run.

Okay, that's really all this time, except to tell Marsha that building a home is an awful, awful, awful, awful experience. It's not disturbing, but it's awful. It's awful and everyone that you let see the house during construction will just make it a more awfuler, awfuler, awfuler experience. One little thing that I will say is that, if there's a debate about whether to spend the money to do something now, if it's something that can't be changed later, go ahead and do it during construction. Paint colors, door handles, light fixtures can all be changed later, but you can't easily put a door where you didn't put one during construction because you didn't want to pay $350 to have one installed. Leah actually did a better job of that than me when our house was "built" two years ago. I wish now that I had put an exterior door in the garage. Spend your money on things that can't be changed, and then spend what's left over on other stuffs. Or Red Stripes.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Conch Shack (rejected) Top Ten

By popular demand, my losing submissions to the Late Show with David Letterman Top Ten Contest for the week of April 16. This week, there's a good reason none of my entries will be selected. They all suck.

Top Ten Little-Known Facts About American Idol's Sanjaya

10. Prefers to go by his middle name, “Kenny”.
9. Thought he was auditioning for “American Chopper”.
8. Plans to continue his fight to gain worldwide acceptance of the faux-hawk.
7. Has ugly fights with his sister when she uses his Panteen Shimmer #5.
6. Didn’t really like "Shrek the Third".
5. Would stay up for hours voting for himself.
4. Owns two turntables and a microphone.
3. Possesses the gift of understanding everything that Paula Abdul says.
2. He loves Ding-Dongs. (But who doesn't?)
1. He’s not a strong singer.

Do people on the west coast just watch taped episodes, or do they do the show over again later for those markets?

Good weekend.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Dare - from a purely scrambling around, wondering what's going to happen next perspective, it's like JCAHO showed up and brought the Medicaid auditors with them this week! Actually, it might be worse than that.

The first part of Monday's frenzy:
The Virginia Tech Shootings

Followed by:
Student Struck by Police Car

Then on Tuesday:
Student Dies at Campus Aquatic Center

It's enough to make me numb to Katie knocking me down to like 11-teenth on her links list. It's not been a good week.

I was going to tell you guys something, and now I've forgotten...maybe it was that I'll never get my new jeans if my neighbor keeps making cherry pie and homemade ice cream...maybe it was that Jack getting molars is not the most peaceful thing I've ever experienced...maybe it was that American Idol this year, yeah it's not so good...who knows. My mind is every where and no where at the same time.

Saturday is the Statue to Statue 15k. I've wanted to run this race for a few years, but for one reason or another, I've never done it. Brandon is slightly injured and will be running at about 50%. Maybe I won't be too far behind him for once.

BBL. Out.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Odds and Ends

Do y’all remember that show, Who Wants to Marry My Father?? (?) It came on several years ago on NBC. Heidi, one of the daughters on WWtMMF, parlayed her exposure on that show in to a role on Passions, and she’s still on Passions today. How about that? That’s like, Elisabeth Filarski kind of stuff.

Can y’all think of any one else that has done that…been on a reality show and gone on to success on a “real” show?

I guess it depends on your definition of ‘success’ and ‘real’, but let’s not include any Real World – Road Rules kids (well, they were kids 18 years ago when they started) that just KEEP ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON with the MTV challenge shows. I’m talking to you Eric from RW season 1 and THE GRIND, annoying a$$ Beth from Hawaii – or maybe it’s Amaya from Hawaii and Beth from San Diego or Seattle…who ever and where ever she was, she remains annoying and whiney today and I wish bad things to any cameraman that aims his camera at her.

That’s all the people that I can think of right now…we thought Colleen from Survivor had a shot at something, but all she got was a Chap Stic commercial and a role as Rod Schneider’s love interest in “The Animal”, and that’s not really much of a prize.

I know Coby is doing something, but I don’t know what it is. And “Hey Budddddeeee” Stephen is on One Tree Hill or Men in Trees or something about trees. Big Gay Naked Guy is in prison for not paying taxes on his winnings, which I think is funny but I also wonder why the producers weren’t required to withhold taxes from his prize winnings…like they do if you win the lottery or more that $1,000 at any casino. I wish I knew an accountant.

I submit entries weekly to the Late Show Top Ten Contest. This week’s category was “Top Ten Signs Your Accountant is Nuts”. One of my responses was, “His name is Parker T. Nuts.” I know that it was simple and the writers of the show probably saw that one coming from 900 miles away, but I laughed about that one all day yesterday. To be honest, I’m chuckling a little now. Maybe it’s because his middle initial is “T”. It’s good to be self-entertaining.

A former More or Less contributor and one of the smartest people that I know now has a “regular” blog. Check it out.

Lastly, but most importantly, happy birthday wishes go out to Hayden!!! HH will be celebrating her 4th (fourth?) birthday this weekend. That just doesn’t seem right. Kids must age faster than the rest of us.

Enjoy your weekend.