Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Fun with Microsoft Photo Editor Posted by Hello

OK, OK...enough already. Good thing I'll have a car tomorrow. Anyway, time to get in the kitchen and start working on some shepherd's pies. I apologize for today's blog onslaught.

Lakewood Posted by Hello

I live in Lakewood. I like this font, so I took a picture.

Today I was car-less, and stranded at home, so in spite of the hot and the level orange pollution alert, I took a walk around the neighborhood and took some pictures. For some reason, someone stuck this doll on the telephone pole. You can't tell from the picture, but there is a hole right through its head. It has been there for at least three weeks.

Scenes from the Hood

Disturbing Doll Posted by Hello

Lakewood Owl

The only owl in my neighborhood is this fake one. It is sitting on someone's window unit. I reckon there are no little birds crashing into the window here. Posted by Hello

Hibiscus Posted by Hello

I just thought these flowers were pretty. A good thing about my neighborhood is that many people have nice gardens.

Castle: Side View Posted by Hello

My house Posted by Hello

Castle: Front View Posted by Hello

Please compare my house to this new house which is being constructed in my neighborhood. It is a monstrosity. It has two turrets. I think they are currently working on the moat.
Teardowns are causing a lot of tension in my neighborhood. I agree there are a lot of run-down houses around here that need to go. But the new construction is awful...too big for the lots, too West Plano for the area, no trees, no yards, etc. What really ticks me off is the double standard. If I went to a gated community in Plano and tried to build a house that looks like mine, do you think they would allow it? Certainly not.

Red Five Standing By

I am obsessed with Star Wars. I don't know why. I think I might be having Post-Star Wars-Letdown or something, since I know it's all over. We watched the original Star Wars (Episode 4) on Saturday night, and I was afraid it would seem a little hokey after all these years, but it wasn't. It was great. I was right in my other post. Without all the computer graphics, it was simpler, more about the story, and easier to follow. You knew that the X-Wing Fighters were the good guys and the Tie fighters were the bad guys. R2D2 and C3PO had much more interesting and entertaining dialogue. And Darth Vader was cool and scary.
We were gonna watch Empire Strikes Back last night, because I need to get this all out of my system, but Kev fell asleep after dinner, and when he woke up, he said he couldn't really go for popcorn. Kev pretty much has to have popcorn, or he just doesn't enjoy watching movies. So, maybe tonight we'll watch it. I'm not going to let him have seconds at dinner so he'll have room for a nice salty snack.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Eastern Screech Owl 1 Posted by Hello

Eastern Screech Owl 2 Posted by Hello

This morning I recevied Email from Kev's sister who lives on Long Island. She was writing to report an owl-sighting, as she knew I would be excited. She sent the two photos posted above, and a short movie of these two eastern screech owls which she and her husband saw early Memorial Day morning. To learn more about Eastern Screech Owls, go here: http://www.enature.com/fieldguide/showSpeciesIMG.asp?imageID=17542

You can click on the bird audio icon from there to hear what an Eastern Screech Owl sounds like.

I am very jealous, because I have never seen an owl except at the bird show or the zoo. I dream about owls all the time. I recently had a dream that Kev and I were camping, and we saw an owl, and I said "Kev! It's a REAL owl! It's not just a dream this time!" and then I woke up. Dangit.

Last night I had a dream that I found a "Magnificent Tulip Bird" which was blue in front, but had tulip-shaped markings on it's back, and walked around saying "tu-lip, tu-lip." Don't ask me why. I might be going a little crazy.

Anyway, a big shout out to Kim and Marty for sending the cool owl pictures!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Loved it I didn't.

Warning: Do not read this if you haven't seen Revenge of the Sith yet.

Last night, Kev and I went to the Addison Studio Movie Grill to see Star Wars Episode 3. It was a good night out, and I'd like to take this opportunity to recommend the barbecue chicken wrap. It comes with very tasty sweet-potato fries. Studio Movie Grill is such a great concept, and I feel bad for people who don't have this as an entertainment option in their town. In fact, they should open one and make tons of money! Anyway, the movie. Well, first of all, it might have been more enjoyable without the table full of loud silly teenagers behind us. Thankfully they left about half-way through the movie. Now, I LOVE Star Wars. The first movie was the greatest thing going at the time it came out. We had the soundtrack and the Story of Star Wars album with the various scenes from the movie and the action figures and ships. We knew all the words. It was cool. The thing I liked about the original was that it was pretty simple. You could easily tell the good guys from the bad guys. The story was just as important as the effects. It was great. Empire Strikes Back was great too. Then for some reason, George Lucas went crazy and thought the next logical thing to do would be to add a bunch of giant puppet teddy bears. Needless to say, I was not a big fan of Return of the Jedi. But that's OK. Then came episodes 1 and 2, which certainly had their problems, Jar-Jar, terrible acting, etc., but it was at least interesting to see the back-story. Regardless, I will tell you I was really psyched about Episode 3. It looked really cool and dark from the previews, and would at last answer all of my questions about Darth Vader, who up to this point was my all time favorite movie villain. The acting was still bad, except for Ewan Mc Gregor and the guy who played Palpatine. Even Samuel L Jackson was bad. But I could deal with that. I didn't mind that R2D2 suddenly had the power of flight. I didn't even mind the long drawn-out and confusing battle scenes which seemed more there to showcase special effects than add to the plot. But when the newly-masked Darth Vader stumbled clumsily off his rack like something from Young Frankenstein, and screamed "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO." I actually laughed out loud. And then I was sad. Once you laugh at Darth Vader, he has no more cred as the best movie villain ever.
In spite of all this, I will see all the Star Wars episodes again, and if Lucas decides to make 7,8, and 9, I'll see those too. I still love Star Wars. Just not quite the same way I used to. It's lost some of the magic for me.

We saw some previews before the movie. I usually love previews. But Kev and I are convinced Hollywood is out of ideas. They are re-doing things left and right. And the few original movies look SO cheesy. There is a new Jamie Foxx one where a computerized jet-fighter-of-the-future develops a mind of its own and is going to destroy the world. Blah. He must have done this one before Ray.

I am looking forward to Madagascar though, and I can't wait for March of the Penguins.

I welcome your hot Star Wars opinions if you have them.


Our new-ish across-the-street neighbor just had a 20 minute garage sale. He set up one table and one rack of clothes. It was pretty sad-looking. Then he stood behind his table wearing very shiny blue track pants and waited for customers. I only saw one guy stop by. Now there is a big storm a'brewin' and he's taking his stuff back inside. I bet he didn't make one dollar. I was going to use his garage sale as an opportunity to go say hello and introduce myself, but our shiny-pantsed neighbor was on his cell phone the whole time. Or was he? Maybe he was pretending to be on his phone to look like he has friends, or to keep his neighbors from coming over to chat. I read an article about that. Something like 75% of people with cell phones have pretended to be on them at some point to either look busy or important. I wonder if the annoying lady at Central Market was pretending to talk on her cell phone this morning over by the ears of corn. She was talking very loudly about people with "sophisticated palates." Gimme a break. It's just corn.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Rescued Cat


Here is the cat that Cousin Ben rescued from the drywall. Very funny picture.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

LRHS Setback

According to the Tacoma Rainiers official web site, the Official Minor League Basball Player of the LRHS, Tim Rall, has been sent back to San Antonio. We are certain this is temporary, and that Tim will be back in AAA before too long. Hopefully this means we'll get another chance to see him pitch in the meantime. Anyway, I've been thinking about these minor league guys and how hard it must be on them. In a matter of two weeks, Tim had to move from San Antonio to Tacoma and then back again. How does he do it? What about his stuff? What about his apartment? At least he's single. Can you imagine if he had a family, kids and stuff? This seems like a good subject for a book to me, if any of you are looking for a topic. Life in the Minor Leagues. So, hang in there Tim...we are pulling for you.

All this baseball talk has me thinking about when I was a much bigger baseball fan as a kid. My grandma and grandpa used to take me and my cousin Curt to Cincinnati to see the Reds play a lot during the 1970's era of the Big Red Machine. I LOVED it. I was always in awe of the whole scene, sitting in the stands watching guys I saw on TV all the time. I especially loved the opportunities to shout CHARGE at the top of my lungs. It wasn't often it was OK to be loud, so I made the most of it. One time we went on autograph day, and I got to meet Dan Driessen and George Foster. But my favorite player was the great Davey Concepcion. I had a poster of him in my room. I thought he was the coolest. And I spent hours playing with the basball cards I cut off the back of Ding Dongs boxes. We still have them...I think my brother has them. I can still picture some of them clearly in my head...Rusty Staub, Bake McBride, Dave Parker. I wish baseball was still untainted by greed and drugs. Well, maybe things will change. Meanwhile, I will continue to support Minor League Baseball.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Munster's House

On Christmas Eve last year, we tried to go bowling, but it was closed. So then we ended up driving to Rhinebeck NY, home of the Munster's house. Here it is. That was a fun day, plus it wasn't hot outside. Posted by Hello


After doing a little searching on the internet, I have found pictures of the Munster's house that look nothing like this house, and I can not find anything connecting the Munsters to Rhinebeck NY. I am wondering if someone is pulling my leg.


This house actually looks more like the Addam's family's house, but I still can find no connection to Rhinebeck. Maybe this Munster's thing is just something New York people like to tell us gullible southern folk. Let's get Tara! She'll believe anything! When I first met Kev, he showed me a picture he took of the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, and told me it was his parents' house. I believed him. I had no reason not to. Now there's this Munster's thing. I just don't know what to believe anymore.

Truth or Plot?

According to NBC5i.com, it is supposed to rain every day for the next 5 days, bringing the temperatures back down into the 80s. It is awfully sunny out, and I didn't see any big storms approaching on the radar picture, so I checked with WFAA Chan.8...same forecast. Hmm. Could it be true, or did the meteorolgical community get together and design a fake forecast to give us hope and make us feel better so we'll stop blaming them for the weird heat-wave? Then, if they are "wrong," they can just shrug their shoulders and say, well, looks like it missed us! I decided to check the national forecast on weather.com. They predict rain every day for the next TEN days. I hope they're right, but I'm very suspicious. Meanwhile, do I water my plants? If I do, it means a minimum of 5 mosquito bites, probably more. Do I take my umbrella to work? That would almost guarantee it WON'T rain.

I talked to Kev's mom last night. She lives in Upstate New York. "It's freezing here, it's 50 degrees," she kept saying. I told her she'd get no sympathy from me.


My apologies to the Channel 5 team of meteorologists and their colleagues. We are having a huge and wonderful storm.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Where did they get those bland boring Celine Dion-sounding songs they had to sing on American Idol tonight? Yuck-o!

Monday, May 23, 2005

LRHS Song Retirement Nominations

I think there are some songs that should retire. We've heard them enough. This means they could no longer be played in public places like the radio, weddings, baseball stadiums, basketball arenas, etc. People could listen to them at home, of course, but not in public. Since I realize NEVER is a long time, I would be willing to compromise and let these songs come out of the vault in, say, 20 years, be played once, and then put back in for another 20. I just feel like there are some songs that we don't really need to hear anymore, even some decent songs like Hotel California. Let's make room for some new songs to be overplayed! Here is my list of nominations:

Hotel California
Turning Japanese
Black Dog
Sweet Home Alabama
Old Time Rock and Roll (kryptonite!)
Six Flags song
Achy Breaky Heart
I Believe I Can Fly
Born in the USA
American Woman
Magic Carpet Ride
I am starting to realize I could go on and on all day, so I will stop there. Please feel free to submit your own nominations!

Doi Doi Doi Doi...

When I was in high school, some friends of mine invented the word DOI. A doi is a person with bangs that hang in their eyes, they are really sensitive, and they have a spiral notebook that they carry around for when they need to write down their thoughts, or maybe a poem about sadness or rain. "Doi" is supposedly the sound effect that goes along with writing in the spiral: Doi doi doi doi doi...and so forth. Feel free to use this word so maybe it will take off and end up in the OED someday. I bring this up because I gave Kev a notebook yesterday with tiny staff paper lines, for when he has a song idea (he tends to forget the ones he doesn't write down). And he said, "Do I have to go doi doi doi doi when I write in it?" I thought it was funny, because I don't even remember telling him the story of doi, but he remembered hearing it.
I guess one could argue that blogging has a certain amount of doi-ness about it. But not really.


It is hot. For the next 4-5 months, it will be hot. I do not have a good attitude about hot. I cannot practice patience and tolerance of hot. It just sucks, and that's all there is to it. Some people like the hot. Not me. I hate it.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Bowling for Birthdays

I have just returned from a birthday party for one of my students (and his twin brother) at a bowling alley in Garland. This is the same bowling alley where Kev and I went for our anniversary, only this time it was full of people and quite smokey. I am surprised that people are still allowed to smoke in bowling alleys, but apparently it's true. Anyway, it's a pretty cool place for a birthday party. The kids got to bowl for an hour, and then they got pizza and cake. The coolest part was that the birthday boys each got a real bowling pin to take home, which all their friends autographed. If I was allowed to give Kev a surprise party, I would do it at the bowling alley. He likes bowling. But I think somewhere in our wedding vows, I promised there would be no surprise parties.

My brother and I were talking the other day about kids and birthday parties. Kids these days (boy, is that an old person way to start a sentence or what!) have big elaborate parties every stinking year. Bowling alleys, skating rinks, Build-a-Bear, Paint yer Pottery, etc., not to mention the kind of party which you have at home with some kind of big rented production, like a bounce-house. I know some kids that had a whole freaking petting zoo at their house! This stuff ain't cheap. When I was a kid, my cousins came over on my birthday and we ate cake, and if it was a special birthday, there was Pin the Tail on the Donkey. And that was OK with me.

Maybe that's my ticket to a million dollars and my Alaskan adventure! I can be the Kids Birthday Party Guru (Gurette?). There are plenty of rich lazy people around who could use such a service. I better get to work on this...

Friday, May 20, 2005

K, Roscoe, and Ryan

Here is Kev last Christmas, with the great Roscoe (Official Boxer of the LRHS) and Ryan (Official Nephew). Roscoe is very smart and nice and well-behaved, and he is my pal. I miss him because he lives on Long Island. Ryan is our only nephew. He is also very smart and nice and well-behaved, and also very funny. He likes dogs and cats and light sabers. I miss him too, because he lives near Boston. Posted by Hello

Problem Theory

Today during chores I started to develop a theory about why I am starting to go a little insane. I think part of the problem is that about 85-90% of my conversational partners are little kids. Not even normal little kids, but little kids with all kinds of speech and language issues. Here are some examples of typical daily interactions I have:

E: (E. has Asperger's Syndrome) UGH!!! (E. stomps into the room and puts his head down on table).

Me: How was your day, E.?

E: Not so good.

Me: Why?

E: Well, the zoo visit was kinda tiring.

Me: Oh, you went to the zoo! Cool. Who did you go with?

E: Oh, my little brother and sister.

(We talk about the zoo for a minute)

E: (Pulling his hair and grimacing): CAN-WE-JUST-STOP-TALKING-ABOUT-THIS-NOW!!! (Puts head down dramatically on the table)

Me: E., when you said that, your face looked like this (I grimace) AND-YOUR-VOICE-SOUNDED-LIKE-THIS!!! When people see that, they might think you are angry or mean. I know you, and I know you are just tired, but when you talk to me like that it still hurts my feelings. We were just talking about the zoo, and then you yelled at me. That is pretty, uh...

E: Disrespectful.

Me: Yeah. When you talk to other kids like that, they might think you are mean, and not want to be your friend.

E: Well, I have about 10 million friends so it doesn't matter. Do you know I found three snakes at my house?

(E. has no friends by the way.)


C: (Autism) I want that one.

Me: Which one?

C. I want that one (points to top of cabinet).

Me: There are lots of toys up there, C. Which one do you want?

C. I want that one I want that one.

Me: You want the heilcopter, or the bubbles, or...

C. I want that one helicopter.

Me: OK. Tell me if you can't reach it.

C. You can't reach it.

Me: Tell your mom, say I can't reach it.

C. I can't reach it.

Me: I can reach the helicopter. I'll get it down for you.

C. Oh dear, we'll have to do it again.

Me: Do what again?

C: Oh dear, we'll have to do it again. Oh dear, we'll have to do it again. Oh dear, we'll have to do it again.

etc. This session ends with C. having a complete meltdown on the floor because he doesn't want to give me a turn with the helicopter.


Then there is J. who can't talk at all. He only says ma-ma-ma-ma. He is five. He spends a lot of time under the table or turning the lights off and on.

I love my kids, but I would give anything to have a grown-up conversation during my work day. I am worried about my brain.


Hyper-groove has sent my wheels flying off in all directions. Today there will be an attempt to get them back on. I started with a trip to Central Market. This helped because everyone there was really nice and friendly. And I bought some herbs to plant in the garden tomorrow. When I got back, I battled the mosquitos to give the tomato plants and the Japanese Maple their daily drinks of water. I am worried about the tree. The leaves seem a little dry around the edges. Maybe I need to consult Neil Sperry for some advice.
Now it's time to clean the house. The good thing about this is that I can put on some good loud music while I do it. And I will feel better when the house is all nice and clean.
This morning I opened the back curtain briefly and saw the bird-print of the poor cardinal on the window glass. Ugh. So sad. I called the bird store down the street. They have some birds-of-prey silhouettes that you can put on your glass to keep birds away. These are not permanent stickers, mind you, but temporary, like colorforms. I don't think we can afford to get screen doors at the moment. The other solution would be to move the feeders, but I don't know where. The only real tree in the back yard is directly across from the windows. And I like to look out there and watch the birds. So I don't know what to do. I just want the back yard to be a happy place.
The afternoon is going to be all about cooking dinner, so that should be sorta fun.
I don't know what we'll do this weekend. Maybe go see Star Wars, but I'd kinda like to wait until the crowds ease up a little. Tomorrow I am going to a birthday/bowling party for one of my kids. I understand there will be pizza.

It's been really weird around here with Kev being gone all day. I don't think I like it, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't care for it much either. Perhaps we will both appreciate weekends more now.

Game 6 tonight. Must-win for the Mavs. (official NBA team of the LRHS).

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A Bad Day for the Bird

I was not the only one who had to deal with bird death yesterday. My friend Gordon hit a grackle with his car. And I heard that a bunch of birds down in Houston were attacking people for getting too close to their nests. Good bird news: Some builders out in California found a baby owl on their construction site, and they decided to build around it until it could safely be re-located.

I am hanging out with Albert the Dog today until time to go to my office. It is one of my favorite things to do. Albert is a good smart dog. He creates lift when there is drag. I think I will make him the Official Dog of the LRHS. Hmm...maybe that's what this blog needs...Official things.


Official Dog: Albert
Official tree: Japanese Maple
Official vegetable: Mushroom
Official minor league baseball player: Tim Rall
Official drink: Central Market Amaretto Coffee
Official bird: Yellow-bellied sapsucker
Official bird (flightless): Emperor Penguin
Official nemesis: Kay Bailey Hutchison
Official planet: Earth
Official mascot: Sock Monkey
Official vehicle: Hybrid car
Official vehicle (water): Canoe
Official theme song: Holidays are Nice
Official band: PPHPHB
Official Blog Motto: The LRHS is OK!
Official mission statement: To practice patience and tolerance, keep the positivity going, and try not to complain much.

Let me know if I am leaving anything out.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Tale of Great Sadness

Was minutes away from leaving for work when I heard a loud thud. Dammit - another bird has hit the back window, I thought. Doves are always hitting the back window. It stuns them and they move on. But I always worry about it. This time is wasn't a dove, but what appeared to be a young cardinal. It was lying on the ground, and it clearly had broken its neck. It struggled for a few seconds and gave up. The daddy cardinal sat on the flower pot above and looked at it for a minute, then flew away. It was horrible. I didn't know what to do, so I picked it up with the shovel and put it in a box, because I was afraid if I left it, one of the neigborhood cats would get it. I don't know the protocol for disposing of dead birds. I feel very sad and now I have to go to work and be all happy and fun. Argh. Anyway, the curtains on the back window will remain closed as long as this is a danger to the nice unsuspecting birds that come to my yard.

Cousin Ben - Cat Rescuer!, Stef, his new wife, Cousin Brad - cool because he went with me to yoga on the cruise and for other reasons, and the Watermelon Pig Posted by Hello

Watermelon Pig Posted by Hello

Cat Talk

Archie Posted by Hello

This morning on my walk I saw a cat who looked a lot like my cat Archie. Archie is a good fat cat that lives in a very nice home with a very nice lady who took him in because Kev was allergic to him. I think about Archie all the time and miss him a lot. I went to visit him a couple times, but it made me really sad. Plus Archie did not forgive me for the trauma of the move, and hissed at me while I was there. It was heart-breaking. It's OK though, because I know he likes his new home and is very well taken care of. I get a Christmas card from him and his new mom every year.
Recently, my cousin Ben was walking by a house under construction, and heard some squeaking. It turns out that some jack-ass had drywalled over a kitten that was trapped between two studs. Ben punched a whole in the drywall and rescued the kitten. Ben is a hero! Ben also plays the banjo and has an elaborate home-brew setup and knows how to make watermelon pigs. I shall post a picture.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Waiting for the Mail

I love it when the mail comes...I just saw the mail carrier across the street, so I am hanging out here by the window until he gets here...

Salsa verde is done. It is pretty good. Very mild. I used the anaheim chiles from Kev's garden, which are a mild type of pepper. Anyway, not much heat, but the flavor is pretty nice I think. Will have to wait until Kev gets home as his palate is more trained to judge salsa than mine.

Henceforth the Faucet-bot 2000 will be known as the Snow-bot 2000, which is a much better and far less cumbersome name. I don't know why I didn't think of it. Thanks to Kev, who is apparently listening on the sly at work.



Last week I heard they found a body in White Rock Lake, but I can not find any information or details of the story. Does anyone out there have any info?

Tuesday Two-fer

Woke up this morning with the blues. I am grateful that Kev's new away-from-the-house job has catapulted me, ready or not, into hyper groove. I accomplished more before noon this morning than I usually do in three or four days. This activity has been good for distracting me from being troubled, and I feel a lot better now.

This afternoon, I shall be attempting two new recipes: blackened catfish and tomatillo salsa verde (that's green hot sauce for you readers from the north). I don't know how it will turn out, but there are some back-up chickens in the freezer in case of any unfortunate kitchen disasters.

I looked on the Ticket's web site for pictures from yesterday's skipping exhibition, but I couldn't find any. For those of you who are familiar with Georgio, I am sure you can imagine how funny it must have been to see him skipping along across the bank parking lot.

A lot of people I know have started blogging! This pleases me. Rob is right...it is a good way to keep up with people that you don't get to see much. I encourage you all to try it.

Faucet-Bot 2000

One day when I was washing my hands, I noticed this strange figure in my faucet. Sometimes I think it looks like a snowman. Sometimes I think it looks like a primitive kind of robot. I think maybe my father-in-law would think it's "kinda cool." He has a knack for seeing the robot potential in most inanimate objects. Posted by Hello

FB2K Posted by Hello

Monday, May 16, 2005

Monday Skip Theory

This morning on the Ticket, the musers were discussing George Dunham's theory that skipping is a very efficient way to get from point A to point B, as it is faster than walking, but easier than jogging or running. Then they broadcasted a skipping exhibition in the parking lot of a bank in Plano, where they were appearing for this morning's show. They held three 40 yd races, each with a skipper versus a fast-walker. Each time, the skipper won, and exerted much less energy than the fast-walker. They also all commented on how it was impossible to feel sad while skipping. I am for transportation that promotes happiness! When I got to my parents house, I continued to think about this theory. I neede a drink of water, so I decided to skip to the kitchen and see what happened. George was right! I felt happy and got to the kitchen and back quickly and with little effort. And I am almost willing to bet that if one peson starts skipping around at the office, it will make others in the office feel happy too. If anyone tries this, let me know how it works out. Here are some people that could probably stand to incorporate a little skipping into their lives: Rush Limbaugh, Zell Miller, my mom, the mean guy from Belmont Garage, Noreen from Emeraldbile, and Judge Judy. These people probably already skip: Robert Smith, Morrissey, and Avery Johnson.

I stayed up late watching the Mavs again last night. What a great game. I think Avery Johnson has found the right strategy to use against Phoenix. But it kinda sucks when even with a 21 point lead, you worry about your team's ability to hang on. Steve Nash is awesome. He nearly came back and beat the Mavericks all by himself last night. Next game is Wednesday.

Our weekend was good. Sunday we grilled out. I am enjoying this pleasant weather. I'll be sad when the heat and mosquitos take over.

Time to go to work.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Tales from the Great Game

Last year when my brother and I went to a Rough Riders game, one of us read the calendar incorrectly. When we got there, we discovered the team was on the road. No game.

So, yesterday, we tried again. We headed out to Frisco in the late afternoon, and stopped at Steak and Shake for "dinner." Then, we headed to the stadium for the game. We pulled into the line for parking only to find out it was the line for people with parking passes. So we were told to go to the parking garage, which would be three dollars. Somehow, Jeff missed a turn, and we got to the parking garage in a round-about way and managed to bypass having to pay. Free parking! Cool. So we walked toward the stadium and made our way to the ticket counter, which was displaying a big sign: This Game is Sold Out. D'oh. Now what? We decided to look for scalpers. None. So we asked a ticket-taker lady if she could tell us where the scalpers hang out. She didn't know, and sent us to the next ticket-take lady. This turned out to be Judy, the nicest ticket-taker lady ever.

Judy the Nice Ticket-Taker Lady Posted by Hello

We told Judy and her partner our sad story, and asked if they knew where the scalpers hung out, because we drove a long way and really wanted to see the game. Nice Judy felt sorry for us, and pulled two tickets from her apron pocket. "These are free," she said. "Enjoy the game." Free tickets! We thanked Judy and entered the stadium.

For a while, we stood around and watched a parade of little leaguers enter the field. It was apparently Little League Appreciation Day or something, which is why the thing was sold out. We found Tim Rall (#30) warming up on the field.

San Antonio Missions - Pre-game Warm-up. Posted by Hello

After the little league parade, Tim and the other pitchers headed for the visitor's bullpen.

Tim entering the bullpen. Posted by Hello

We were going to go say hi, but I was unsure of the protocol when talking to players. I didn't want to get Tim in trouble, or worse, embarrass him in front of his team-mates. So we decided to wait to say hi later. We didn't have seats together according to our free tickets, but we noticed that in the section behind home plate, there was hardly anybody there. Jeff reckoned these were season ticket seats owned by corporate people who hardly go to the games. So we went and found seats five or six rows back. Very nice. Note the guy in the front row with the bad yellow cap and the flip-flops inthe View from Home Plate photo above. I'll get to him later.

View from Home Plate Posted by Hello

Deuce Posted by Hello

During the game, there was a lot of stuff between innings to entertain the kids. The rough-riders really have a pretty good game presentation. Some of it is a real beating for adults, but little kids love it. This is Deuce, the mascot. He is a Prairie Dog.

Sideburns Posted by Hello

This is a guy that we named "Sideburns." Sideburns is your typical annoying fan. He sat on the front row with his posse. His schtick was to yell ,"Go Ball-boy!" as loud as he could, every time the ball boy came out of the dug-out to get a stray ball or bat. Then Sideburns' posse would join in by yelling "Whoo-hoo!" This wasn't funny the first time, or the fifth time or the 30th time. I was glad when Sideburns went away.

We enjoyed watching most of the game from our good fake free seats behind home plate. I will tell you that the Rangers have some good future prospects on the Rough-Riders. I decided that it would probably be OK to go say a quick hello to Tim during the 7th inning stretch, because I noticed the guys in the pen talking to fans now and then between innings. I told Jeff I was going to hit the restroom, go say hi, and be back after the stretch. When I came out of the very clean and surpisingly decorated bathroom, Jeff was over by the bullpen. He said we were kicked out of our seats, even though the section was half-empty. So we decided to go say hi to Tim and hit the road to beat the traffic. We asked him if he thought he would pitch, and he said no. He said if he did, it would be in the ninth. So we talked to him for a couple minutes, and went back up to the concourse. The Rough-Riders hit a home run. They were winning 5-1, and it didn't look likely that there would be a bottom-of-the-ninth, for Tim to pitch. So we left, got in the car, turned on the radio, and heard, "Well, here we are in the bottom of the eighth, and now pitching for San Antonio is Tim Rall." DANGIT! So after all that, we missed him. And he did well! Two strike-outs and a very solid inning from the youngster from New York. The announcers called him "deceptive." And I'll be damned if after his outing, he wasn't promoted to the AAA club in Tacoma! So congratulations to Tim Rall, and best of luck during the rest of the season. Sorry we missed your last inning with the Missions.

The bad news is that now that Tim's leaving Texas, Marty and Kim will NEVER come to visit us.

Tim Rall - Future Mariner Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Looney Toons

This morning Kev was emailing his sisters about an idea that we were discussing over breakfast. (We ate on the porch, by the way. It was very pleasant outside, and it smelled good because of the storm). He was typing something about me, I can't remember what, and I said, "No, don't say that...your family probably already thinks I'm a cartoon." And he said, "They do."


I am not a cartoon! I am a human being! If you cut me, do I not bleed? If you drop an anvil on my head, do I not see little stars and birdies? If you shoot me at close range, does my beak not swing around to the back of my head so that I must re-adjust it manually? Oh, um, wait a minute...

Anyway, if people think of me as a cartoon, I hope it is like the Fat Albert Show, where if you're not careful, you just might learn something. Or Samurai Jack, which is really colorful and groovy. Or the first few seasons of the Simpsons, which were really heart-warming when all was said and done.
I hope I am not like Itchy and Scratchy, which is violent. Or Yugi-oh, which is weird and confusing. Or Ren and Stempy, which I don't really get, but I think has quite a bit to do with boogers.

How I loved Saturday mornings as a kid. I would wake up and sit within inches of the TV with my bowl of Honeycombs or Sugar-Pops, and watch Fat Albert, Hong Kong Phooey, Sigmund and the Sea-Monsters, Dr. Shrinker, Land of the Lost...etc. So great. We 70's kids didn't need Japanese card games or video games to go along with our cartoons. No! We just needed a big pillow and the most unhealthy cereal available. Then at about noon, it was time to go outside to play some Hot-Box or (forgive me) Smear the Queer with the neighborhood kids, or shoot baskets or see how long I could jump on my pogo stick or ride my bike around and around the block until it was dark. I almost NEVER see kids outside playing in my neighborhood. It's very sad. If I still had my pogo stick, I'd be outside jumping on it right now. It is a beautiful day.

Tonight I am going to the RoughRiders game with my brother. It should be a great night for baseball. The Mavericks let me down last night. They hung in there until the last few minutes, but then it in fact DID come down to the fact that Phoenix made more baskets. Dallas couldn't get a shot to go in from anywhere on the court. It was pretty awful. Tomorrow is Kev's last day of leisure before starting his new job. Maybe we'll go do something fun.

Have a great weekend!
P-T-P-T-P-That's All Folks!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Political update

I feel I should let you know that I finally received a letter from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison yesterday regarding the Alaska Wildlife Refuge. I am working on my reply.

Friday XIII

At last it is Friday. The house is clean, or at least tidy, I am all full of coffee, I don't have to drive to Plano today, my car is in proper working order, I can't complain. No obligations this weekend. I will probably go to see the Rough Riders take on the S.A. Mission on Saturday with my brother. One of the S.A. pitchers, Tim Rall, is the brother of my brother-in-law, Marty. I haven't checked his stats lately, but last I heard he was off to a pretty good start. I am a fan of minor league baseball. Maybe I am romanticizing things a bit, but Minor League ball seems more pure, since the players don't make much money and they are all playing as hard as they can, trying to move up. And HOPEFULLY they aren't all 'roided out like the MLB players of late. Drugs are bad for people.

I saw a show on PBS last night about this lady and her adult daughter who lived in a house so full of stuff that there was no room to walk around, and the daughter had to sleep on a pallet on the floor surrounded by cardboard boxes of crap she collected over the years. She was unofficially diagnosed on the show as having "hoarding" issues. Then they made her sell a bunch of her stuff, give some to shelters, and some of it, they made her throw into a horrible machine called "The Crusher." She was sad, but liberated in the end. I think I have the same problem, although to a lesser extent. I am terribly sentimental, and tend to keep stuff for years. Every now and then, I take it out and look at it, and think, "Oh, that's nice," or whatever, and then put it back. Our garage is full of plastic bins full of stuff like that. I think maybe it's time for a bin overhaul. I really don't need a small cardboard Prince stand-up or pins that say "RUSH," or a book about how to speak like a Valley Girl. I reckon Feng Shui for the most part is a bunch of malarkey, but they (the Feng Shui-ists) are right on with their theories of passive chaos versus active chaos. Passive chaos is piles of stuff that just sits there never getting used, which creates a lot of drag everytime you see it. Like in that TV house last night. Active chaos is good, like when there is a big temporary mess in your kitchen because you are preparing an exciting meal.

Kev is outside planting the Japanese Maple. It is very windy out there.

I will be pulling for the Mavericks this weekend. I was happy that during Game 2, I only noticed Mark Cuban once.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Suddenly, people I know are asking for new identities. "I will only respond to 'The Captain'." "Henceforth I would like to be called 'Monsieur Valentine'." I don't think you are allowed to give yourself a nickname. I think you are supposed to earn one from people who know you over time. Then again, if you make up your own nickname, I guess you don't have to worry that people might decide to call you 'Stinky' or 'Fats'. When you are named Tara, people get your name wrong a lot. I have been called Teri, Sarah, Tanya, Tar-a (rhymes with Car-uh), Tommy (!), and I hesitate to share this, but once when I was in the newspaper as a kid, they mis-printed my name as Tata. Most unfortunate. It was cool as a kid to get your picture in the paper, provided they spelled your name right. Once in like 3rd grade, I got my picture in the paper with our local TV weather man and the biggest squash in Floyd County, Indiana (he brought it to show our class one day). If I can find it, I'll scan it in and post it here.

Stating the Obvious

Well, Doug, if Dallas wants to beat Phoenix tonight, they simply MUST score more ponits.

That's right, Kevin. This game will come down to making more baskets than the other team.

OK, maybe that's an exaggeration, but one of them DID say, "He (Johnson) needs to get some ice on that eye. If it swells shut, it will affect his vision."

Where do they get these guys?

Anyway, I stayed up way too late watching the Mavs play a MUCH better game, and Phoenix play quite a bit worse. It was worth it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Believe it or Not...

I'm Walkin' on Air...

What is this Greatest American thing? Is this a new show? Are we supposed to vote? I saw something about it today, with a picture of OPRAH next to the headline! I will tell you right now that if Oprah so much as sniffs the top 100, I will make a lot of shock-value-with-no-real-truth-behind-it noise about moving to Canada. When there are people like Abe Lincoln and MLK and FDR and Ben Franklin and John James Audubon and Lewis and Clark, why oh why is there a photo of Oprah on the Greatest American story? Good Lord. Forgive me if she has nothing to do with it...I couldn't actually READ the story because my computer sucks and is very picky about anything requiring Flash-Media.

Kev and I are now the proud owners of my favorite tree, a Japanese Maple, which Bob brought over today. It is cool. I am not sure where we are going to put it though. I am more worried that we are going to kill it. As much as I have tried, I have not developed a green thumb. Thanks to Bob for the great tree. It is beautiful and I will do my best to keep it alive. As soon as we get it planted, I will post a photo.

I have an hour to kill before my next (and last) kid of the day. I am looking forward to going home. There are still a few days left of Kev's reign as Cooker, and I believe tonight we are having grilled pork skewers with peanut sauce. Delightful! This morning, Kev fixed my rearview mirror for me, so my Buick Hot-Rod is ready to roll. Kev does a lot of nice things and I appreciate him.

After a couple of weeks with no sightings, and I happy to report that my two Kestrels are back. They appear to be living under a side-wall overhang on the Ramada Inn, which is a very depressing-looking hotel and never seems to have any people staying in it. I have not seen any Kestrel babies thus far.

I know a family in which the two sons look like Beeker and Scooter from the Muppets and the dad looks like the very serious blue muppet eagle. The mom does not resemble any muppet. I miss the Muppet Show. It was great.

My brother assures me that the family with the 4 daughters named Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday and Brandi does exist. A lady from his work knows them personally, and she doesn't seem like the kind of lady who goes around making up stuff like that.

Well, I am out of material, and I still have about 50 minutes before Cameron gets here. Oh dear. I guess it's Free Cell time...


I hope my previous blog about the Amazing Race didn't make me seem like a TV snob. I'm really not. I like some non-educational shows like King of the Hill, the King of Queens, Americal Idol, Everybody Loves Raymond, and some other stuff. I also like to watch Major League Baseball on TV. Please still like me.

Bittersweet Times

This is a paella that Kev made last week. It was really good. Since he has not been working, he has been doing most of the cooking around here, and I will tell you I am sad to see those days come to an end. Kev is a great cook. I am getting better, but still just kinda so-so. There are a handful of things I can make really well, but I have trouble with variety. It's like the pants. I have about a 4 or 5 meal rotation if I just make the stuff I am good at. So when Kev starts his new job next week, my goal is to be more adventurous and try to make more new things. This is easier said than done, because as you all know by now, I am easily defeated by kitchen failures, plus it is hot outside which really beats me down and screws up my ability to get in a groove. If anyone has some good recipes, please send them to me! Posted by Hello