Tuesday, October 30, 2007

...and the agony of defeat

Within the span of two-weeks, my small town has gone from "small" to "a little bit bigger," due to the expansion and world domination plans of two mega-corporations.

Early reports from the newly opened McDonald's are showing long lines at most hours of the day, McTrash and McLitter starting to turn up in the gutters downtown, wooing of the local non-profits with unsolicited $1,000 checks being handed out to a select few "educational" based 501(c)(3)'s in town (including a check to the non-profit on whose Board I sit on - full disclosure here), and even a temporary shut-down for the first few nights of 24-hour drive through access due to the McKitchen actually running out of food.

All reports are pointing to the fact that it may take months, even years, for the local community to figure out that our McDonald's is the same as other McDonald's and that it is, in fact, just a McDonald's.

Fun McTrivia fact...our McD's was the newest McD's to open...for 4 hours. That's right, somewhere, somehow, someplace in the world, Ronald opens a new franchise in the time it takes me to download, install, cuss out, and trouble shoot the latest Windoze Service pack.

Want some fries with that?

If that wasn't enough to send the collective blood pressure of the 4380 residents of my small town into control-alt-delete hyperdrive, our newly constructed WalMart SuperCenter just opened it's doors to all the fanfare deserving of the low price leader in the retail industry.

Here too, people can't seem to get over the fact that it is, in fact, just another WalMart, as opening weekend aisle bombers and cart stuffers were in rare consumer driven frenzied form.

After school on opening day, I scurried the girls over to get C some AAA batteries for her short wave walkie-talkies, and no kidding, we saw a representative of just about every family we knew in town, pushing a cart and gazing in wide wonder at the feast of capitalistic trappings before them.

The lighting was hyper white - more than 8800 kelvin by the light meter in my eyes.

The cement floors were hyper polished - over 50,000 sq feet of floor space, beckoning the question of just how many more "accidental fall" lawsuits will they face this year as compared to their 20,000 sq feet of floor in the old Walmart?

And the shoppers were hyper excited - you know that look that your kids have in their eyes when they're walking down Main Street, USA in Disneyland for the nth time?

Same look, only toss an OU sweatshirt over them, add a few lbs. and put them behind a stainless steel Walmart buggy.

The excitement was tangible...and sticky.

Meanwhile, back at the old WalMart, the sign on the street was being painted over, the 15-foot tall white letters were being brought down off the store facing, and that night, the lights on their side of the parking lot, which they share with what used to be our one and only grocery store in town, were turned off - rendering the lot into 50% darkness.

I'm not looking forward to going into the grocery store later today to get some Halloween supplies.

The air of doom may be too heavy for me to endure.

But maybe I'm being paranoid. Lot's of small town grocery stores survive just fine when a SuperCenter moves into town...don't they?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Same as it ever was....same as it ever was

And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful Wife
And you may ask yourself-well...how did I get here?"
We've all had these moments and yesterday I found myself humming the Eno/Byrne lyrics to myself not once but twice in an 8-hour span.

No one whispered to me to "build it and he will come..."
The second half of PK's school field trip involved a slow cruise on the back of a hay bale filled trailer through a maze that was haphazardly cut through the corn field of a local farmer.

As I took up the rear echelon behind the cavalcade of parents trailing the filled to 4-year old capacity trailer, I was overwhelmed by the realm of the fish-out-of-water senses.

Like many LA natives, I've bought corn, I've shucked corn, I've cooked it, scraped it off the cob, poured it out of a can, souped it up in chowder, popped, buttered, salted, and stood in line at the State Fair for a roasted ear of it dipped in a vat of greasy, yellow, steamy liquid that in an alternate universe could pass for a butter flavored condiment.

But all my experiences of the corn nature, up to this point in my life, were with dead corn.

This was the first time I walked among it as a living entity.

The smell of the surrounding living corn plants, the squish of the hardening dirt/mud below my Sketchers, the fragrance of the fuel oil exhaust from the overworked tractor pulling the trailer, and the utter absence of a visual horizon line beyond the tops of the corn stalks and the end of the trail from whence we came and where we were headed came at me in a rush of FieldofDreams fantasia.And you may find yourself in another part of the world,And it kinda freaked me out, in a claustrophobic, looking up at the sky from the bottom of a 6-foot hole in the ground sorta way.And you may ask yourself-well...how did I get here?Zoned out without a plan
Roughly 7 hours later, I found myself standing inside the downtown municipal building before a panel of selected townspeople known as the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Within 20 minutes of my introduction and a few seconds after I pulled my finger away from the 18x24 diagram resting on the community easel at the conclusion of my presentation, the panel had unanimously voted their approval for the placement of the first of 6 historic downtown walking trail markers that the non-profit group I serve on was proposing to install in the next few weeks.

Unlike most normal folk, public speaking has never been a weak spot in my repertoire of nerve inducting skill sets. Parallel parking in front of a group of sidewalk onlookers, now that'll get me sweating, but getting up in front of a bunch of people to spout off some fact, figures, measurements and humorous anecdotes (hey, I thought they were funny) is a piece of cake.

Thus my first ever public presentation to a representative body in my small town came to it's "what the heck and I doing here" conclusion.

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Animals are people too

Last night, while cruising Google Maps looking for info on the fires near my Pops town, I came across these two VERY Google post'em popups.

Two-legged animals need not apply. No soup for you!

Horses gotta eat...even homeless ones.

Just spoke with my StepMom who tells me that even if the evac order came down for their street, not to expect the old man to leave his home and hot rod without a fight.

I got him on the phone and told him what better way to die than trying to outrun a fire in his big-block deuce, gas pedal floored and head tucked in low wearing his leather Snoopy-helmet and goggles.

He laughed and said he'd think about it.

They report lots of ash, smoke so thick it's an effort to breathe, and a quiet stillness that pervades the little cul-de-sac where they live.

We didn't start the fire

Pardon my housekeeping as I use my blog to provide a quick update to concerned friends and family members who have been contacting me regarding the status of my Pops who retired down to Oceanside, CA.

On the graphic below (provided by the local news station down in SD - the same station where the reporter who watched his house burn on national tv worked out of), the little blue hot rod represents approximately where my old man's hot rod is currently garaged. As you can see, as of this afternoon he wasn't in any imminent danger.

But those Santa Ana's blow hard and strong at times. Hopefully the onshore flow that keeps Oceanside cool and mild (average annual temp is low-70's) year round will keep the sparks at bay.

Latest update showed a few small fires burning bright around Camp Pendleton, which is just north of his position. Hopefully the Marines will squelch these out with some boot scootin' and not let it get anywhere near the camp's perimeter.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tally ho, away from RI we go

All right, let's tally it all up and say so long to the quahog state...Lobster rolls consumed my moi - 3

Lighthouses spotted to visited ratio - 4:1

U-turns made from the right hand lane - 4

Meals ate in a genuine Worcester dining car in the state named as the birthplace of the American diner- 1

Bottles of locally grown wine decanted and leisurely sipped on the private beach in front of our rental cottage - 1

Number of times I mispronounced the town where our cottage was...Matunuck, before being condescendingly corrected by a local grocer - 1

% cleaner the house was upon our return, even though I did a massive Mother-in-Law cleaning before we left - 99%

Number of grimaces S would dispense every time I'd pick up a carved wooden salty dog figure or lighthouse statue in a tacky nautically stocked gift shop - 100+

Ratio of ghosts seen, felt, and heard to Walking ghost tours taken - 0:1 (most disappointing).

Ears of fresh corn purchased at local roadside farm stands, then cooked and consumed on the upstairs deck overlooking the beach - 6 each

State where we'll be spending our anniversary next year - Arizona

The Grand Canyon for our 10th anniversary. Not too shabby.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A chicken in every pot and a plunger in every restroom

A cute little sandwich shoppe in downtown Chickasha avoided a bathroom disaster last week by having the good sense to provide a plunger in it's ladies room.

Whatever we've been feeding our girls, seems to not only be nourishing their little bodies and propelling them to new heights in both school and post-academic activities but it's also producing end product of menacing proportions.

All I have to say about it is, "ouch."

Apparently I'm not alone in this area, as fellow Dad-Blogger Dennis' imps have provided him with similar adventures in pottydom.

When I was summoned by the panicked stricken voice of my 7.5 year old to enter with haste into the normally forbidden realm of the restaurants femme facilities, a quick scan of the focal point of my daughters stressed state revealed a nearing of the rim floodwater state.

Jumping into action, I pulled up the tank lid and lifted the plunger arm, thus sealing off the water supply that was causing the toilet bowl to reach max cap.

Made it with about an inch of bowl lip to spare.

Spotting an industrial strength black rubber headed plunger of plenty tucked covertly behind the rubbermaid trash can in the corner, I motioned for my now near gagging offspring to hand me the wooden handled tool of commodious salvation.

The hand-off was made, and the black rubber head of the baby plunger was dipped into the toilet bowls baptismal waters. Like a streaming video off the DIY website, the proper tool used properly (albeit one-handed) made short time of the clog of my own daughter's doing.

All the more reason why if I'm ever appointed to the State Legislature (I'd never run for it...too many skeletons in the old water closet) I'd propose a bill that would require all public restrooms with sit-down type commodes should make available a working plunger to it's temporary occupants.

Modern high fiber diets deem it more than necessary.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Rhode's Roads 2 of 2

The first thing I encountered on my initial trek to Rhode's roads was how easily I could burn some rubber from a standing start, quickly covering my lead foot by placing blame on my unfamiliarity with the vehicle.

Whoa nelly. Gonna really have to watch those speed limits

How ironic then that the second roady strangeness we encountered were the ridiculously low speed limits that nobody but a ticket cautious tourist in a bright red car was seemingly obeying.

Roads that appeared to be worthy of a 65 zone, were posted as 45.
35 mph was a luxury on the 2 lane country roads we took to and from our beach cottage.
25 zones were everywhere, regardless of there being only one house in sight for dozens of miles.

No kidding, we and our bright red Okie tagged car were the only ones approaching a close proximity to the posted speeds.

So, either RI neglected to follow suit with the rest of the country in leaving the federally mandated 55 p.m. max speed limit behind, or more likely, they just want to slow people down on the highways so they won't get distracted scanning their XM Satellite radio dial and miss seeing the state entirely.

That's right, the Ocean State is a definite "blink and you'll miss it" experience. We made it from Providence, which is approximately in the upper third of the state, to the furthest reaches of the southern coast in 45 minutes --- and that was via strict obedience to each and every posted speed limit. Meaning we could probably go end to end in about an hour.

Heck, I couldn't get from Malibu to Santa Monica via PCH in that amount of time.
Here are some other roadway oddities we encountered...

U-turns from the outside lane. It's funky and if you want/need to make a U-ey, you'll have to know ahead of time where they've constructed these special outside U-turn lanes to do so, but it sure makes it easier to head in the opposite direction while holding a cinnamon donut in one hand while turning the wheel with the other. Inside lane U-turns are virtually impossible in a front-wheel drive car with no power steering while simultaneously grasping a fried dough ring.

Stone walls lining the property borders - no cattle fence here. The fence builders of Rhode Island old saw no point in deforesting their property just to put up some fences. Instead, they picked up a few million of the VW engine sized boulders and made walls out of them. Whenever we spotted a rock wall in disrepair and running adjacent to a large tree, I'd look over to Wifey and say, "What, Andy? What's buried under there?"
To which she'd reply, "You'll have to pry it up... to see."
We both love that flick.

Lack of street signs - Rhode's roads are marked for locals, and no one else. Maybe I'm CalTrans spoiled and am so used to having my hand held as I navigate my way through unknown neighborhoods that I've lost my hunter/gatherer instinct and have become sign dependent.

But really, is having a single street sign at every intersection too much to ask for?

Just a single sign?

Hand painted on a piece of driftwood would do it.

Generally speaking, it's not a good idea to make men guess a direction when they're driving and searching, cuz stopping to ask for directions is NOT, I repeat, NOT an option.

Next up - Why do lighthouses and those Gorton's Fisherman-looking wooden figures with pipes and seagulls on their Skipper hats depress my wife so.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rhode's Roads Part 1

One of the many reasons we take these annual treks is to see America.
Not to just fly over it.
Not to drive through it on an interstate.
Not to let Google maps route the fastest path from point A to point B.

To get off the beaten path, see things that locals get to see, marvel at things that tourists like to marvel at, and attempt to get a feel for things that make each and every state a jewel in it's own right.

Which usually puts us behind the wheel of a rental car once we arrive via the convenience of flying the friendly skies.

In my limited experience, rental cars can be problematic as much as they can be a blessing. The sub-compact selection we were assigned by RI Budget was no exception.

"Space 12, down this aisle, on your left. Keys are in it, here's your contract...show it to the attendant at the booth on the way out."

Problematic or Blessing? - our two-door domestic Chevy pocket rocket was shod in a chronic "slap-me-with-a-speeding-ticket" red skin. Wifey took a quick gander at the blazing hue and expressed her contempt for red cars, citing some long ago read AAA magazine article labeling them as beacons for ticket happy Highway patrol officers.

In a classic guy movie moment, my vision went tunnel and only two little letters, slapped stealthily on the side of the door of our $175-per week online rental deal came into focus....SS.

I quickly checked to make sure we were at the right space and looking at the right car.
Wifey quickly checked to make sure there were no pre-existing dents, dings, or scratches that we may get tagged with upon our safe, accident free and non-LDW signed rental.

The coast was clear -- for both of us.

Wifey got in as did our luggage. I popped the hood and found myself doing a dead eye stare with a 2.0L Supercharged DOHC ECOTEC four-cylinder.

Everything looks good under here," went my mouth.
"Vroom" went our rental car.
"Rhode Island rocks," went my brain.

Problematic or Blessing? - our rental actually had Oklahoma plates on it.
Yep, that's right. Two connecting flights, 1500 miles, a half dozen or so states, 2 bottles of water and several bags of peanuts later, we found ourselves sitting in a car that had recently made the same general trip as we had just made.

Why, you ask, could this be construed as problematic?

Tell me honestly, all you non-Okie's out there...when you are driving around your own state and spot a car in front of you with Oklahoma plates, what's the first thing that pops in to your head?

Thought so...thus the problematic label.

So, here we were, a couple of Okie's, driving a rental car with Okie plates, around a state that is not Oklahoma.

After making a mental note of which side the gas filler cap was on...to avoid that potentially embarrassing pulling-to-the-wrong-side-of-the-gas-pump situation (been there), we were off and running on the Rhode's roads.

End of Part 1

Next up, Rhodes roads Part 2 - Stranger on a strange road

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A week without red meat is like...

The day following our return to my small town we gathered up the kiddies and went forth to make a small cash donation to the local Catholic Church fundraiser in exchange for a rib dinner.

Now, I don't know what kind of beef ribs these were, but we could smell them smoking and brewing and festering over burning wood and coals in jet black rolling smokers for hours beforehand. By the time we got to sinking our pearly whites into the thickly sliced hunks of prime Oklahoma fed, raised, and butchered rib meat, the flesh was literally falling off the bone.

Those Knights of Columbus boys sure make some good ribs.

While picking our teeth and sipping our post-fundraising feed tea, the Wifey and I got to talking about our recent culinary choices while in the land of the Rhodes and came to the realization that we had had not a trace of red meat the whole time away on our anniversary vacay.

Not a rib, nor breakfast steak, t-bone nor all beef wiener had done the downward spiral toward either of our stomachs for the previous 8 days.

However, the following is a relatively complete listing and description of what replaced the bovine-based consumables in our diet for the week.

Shield the kiddies eyes, this may get ugly...
  • Quahogs (kwaw-hawg, -hog, kwoh-, koh-, kwuh-hawg, -hog) - native coast clam, fun to say, funner to eat. Also the fictitious namesake of the Family Guy's home town.
  • Clam Chowder - RI-style chowda is clear-broth based (lactose intolerant chowda---heaven in a bowl). Not good if you don't like to see the big hunks of quahog clams in your chowder, but if that's the case, why are you eating clam chowder in the first place?
  • Jonnycakes - flapjacks and pancakes hefty stone ground cornmeal cousin, made famous in an old episode of The Sopranos.
  • Clam cakes - cross between a crab cake and beignet, with bite sized chunks of clam hidden within. Best when dipped into a steaming bowl of RI clear broth chowder.
  • Lobster bisque, lobster roll sandwiches, lobster ravioli, lobster salad, fried lobster, whole boiled lobster (stop me when you get tired, Forrest)...
  • Dunkin' Donuts- with a DD on just about every corner throughout this most miniscule of state, I chose the cinnamon laced fried dough confection because that's what Spenser would have selected. There are two DD's in the metro OKC area so I'm familiar with their quality and selection. Honestly, they aren't the best donuts I've ever eaten, but their ease of access, availability and selection make for a tempting mid-day sugar rush.
  • Coffee milk w/ Autocrat syrup - just think chocolate milk made with a coffee flavored and colored Bosco. So popular, it was recently voted as the official State Beverage, beating out Del's Lemonade.
  • Local wine purchased at a Package Store - I recalled these odd named liquor stores from last years jaunt to Massachusetts. We luckily found a really tasty wine made at a local vintner.
  • Awful Awful - (awful good, awful big - no kidding). Don't ask for a milkshake in RI -- you'll get a flavored milk drink. To get a traditional ice creamy type milk dessert drink, look on the menu for a Cabinet, the ultimate one being the "Awful Awful" from a local chain of creameries.
  • A substantial Italian immigrant population in RI ensures two things - a big Columbus Day celebration and an Italian eatery on every corner not already occupied by a Dunkin' Donuts. For our traditional anniversary meal (pizza), we turned to a local favorite on top of Federal Hill's Little Italy district. Caserta Pizzeria made us a neapolitan-style medium 4-topping special (they only offer 5 toppings, the last of which being anchovies, which normally I would heap on, but this being our anniversary pizza, I went without to keep the peace) as well as their signature Wimpy Skippy -- a folded over spinach filled pizza pie stuffed with cheese and pepperoni. Swigged down with a couple of Narrangasett lagers, color us happy.
  • NY System wieners - mustard, meat sauce, onions, celery salt on a steamed bun. We ordered 2 wieners each and were happy to do it. Also happy to report no negative after effects that night or the morning after. Plus, admit it...it's just fun to say "wieners." Regarding our red meatless week, there may have been some real beef in these wieners, but I'm not brave enough to venture a guess as to what the meat content of these dogs were. Remember, I'm a Spam eater, so I'm definitely a "don't ask-don't tell" processed meat consumer.
  • Drake's coffee cakes - okay, not really a local treat, but when I saw them sitting on the prepackaged bakery goods next to the familiar Hostess products, visions of Seinfeld flooded my head. I've never seen these on the bakery shelf here in OK, nor back in LA, so I had to partake. The combination of the moist cinnamon topping and ultra dry crumbly cake made for a happy food dance moment.
  • Bon apetit.

    Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    Singin' those Rhode Island blues

    Ahhhh, Rhode Island...

    Before I blog about the beautiful fall foliage that was on the verge of hitting peak colors...

    Before I tempt your seafood encrusted tastebuds with tantalizing tales of the tenderest clams, lobster, and scallops we feasted upon...

    Before I wax poetic about the stunning coastlines, lush scenery, dramatic sunrises, and pounding Atlantic coast surf sounds that lulled us to sleep and awoke us every morning in our beach front cottage on R.I's southern coast...

    I need to state for the record that Rhode Islanders treat their dogs better than they do their guests.

    And I mean that in a good way.

    From downtown Providence (pop. 175K) to the smallest bohemian trinket shop in a coastal town with 58 full time residents - shops would put out the welcome mat for canine companions complete with filled water dishes and piles of doggie treats stacked neatly by the entrance.

    Nowhere in the world would I have felt so welcomed...had I been a dog.
    As a tourist however, just the opposite was true.

    Putting aside the rough and acidic Yankee dialect exhibited with pride and honor by a good deal of New England's two-legged population, there just wasn't a lot of warmth to be generated by the state's shopkeepers, grocery clerks, Dunkin' Donuts counter people, Ferry operators, Diner waitresses, coffee shop barristas, or even complete strangers on the street.

    The Ocean State's expression seems to be the "scowl," the pervading sense of humor scale teeters on "lacking thereof," and the population's personality meter was hovering somewhere between defensive and obtuse.

    And all this with a favored NFL franchise that has a currently unbeaten record, and their adopted MLBaseball team in a dramatic race for the pennant.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm sure that the majority of tenants of this diminutive of all states are lovely folk and have much to offer in their own right.

    But when after a week long stay that included dozens of restaurant meals, touristy trappings, special interest tours and a multitude of shopping opportunities, turns up only two people that exhibited the genuine human warmth and welcomeness that is so typical of just about any run-of-the-mill Okie, comparisons are destined to be made.

    Never the one to condemn an entire population based on what was admittedly a small sampling of it's citizens, I donned my west coast So-Cal live-and-let-live cap and reasoned a perceived negative into a quirky positive.

    In fact, after awhile I found the "charming arrogance" that Rhode Islanders displayed (not to be confused with the other irritating type that is blindly hooted and tooted by our Lone Star neighbors to the south), to be somewhat endearing.

    My Oklahoma born and bred wife was not nearly as much convinced.

    I likened it to the yappy little dogs that display absolute authority over their domain and nary a pack of pitbulls or trespassing human shall deter them from their defiant stance to proclaim loudly that what's theirs, is theirs.

    Rhode Island may be just a mere pimple on the acne scarred face of the country, but Rhode Islander's don't want anyone else proclaiming the right to pop their zit.

    And right they are.

    And with that out of the way, on to Rhode Island and a little wonder from the sea known as a quahog.

    Next up, "Our week without red meat."

    Friday, October 05, 2007

    Mother-in-law house cleaning

    The almost all consuming activity that I've been involved in for a good portion of the last two days has duly convinced me that I am in favor of the development of artificially intelligent, non-sentient, fully independently operative beings.

    Especially to help with what I'm labeling "Mother-in-Law House cleaning."

    In my book, there are many different levels of house cleaning...

    The buddies-coming-over-to-help-wrench-on-the-car house cleaning.
    The unexpected drop-in guest house cleaning.
    The parents-coming-over-to-drop-off-a-little-something-for-the-kids house cleaning.
    The 20-couples-coming-over-for-a-dinner-party house cleaning.
    The I-can't-stand-to-live-in-a-pig-sty-so-let's-sell-everything-and-move-to-a-cave house cleaning.
    Then there's the Queen of England stopping in for a spot of tea and bringing the media house cleaning.

    But at the top of them all, the most anal-retentive, spic and span, bleached white glove and quarter-bouncing-on-the bed cleaning jobs to befall this house (and possibly yours as well), is the Mother-in-Law staying in your house for a week cleaning.

    While I'm fully aware of the existence of the Merry Maids and the myriad of other domicile cleaning services at my checkbook's disposal, I have a soul. Because of this, I would not subject even a professional house cleaner to such a task as I have been and am now facing.

    The reason this happens once a year is explained here.

    So, every October while I'm performing a much needed and massive round of picking up, sweeping under, hiding, scrubbing, dusting and moving, I whistle while I work and chalk it up as a cathartic routine that's a small price to pay for a week long getaway with my blushing bride of 9 years (this year).

    This also signals my farewell-for-now blog posting, as I'll be moving into Luddite mode for the next week and be sans laptop and net access - by choice.

    Upon my return I hope to post my customary musings on our trip to the most foreign land known as Rhode Island, as well as the revelation on what great state in this most wonderful of countries we'll be spending our 10th anniversary in.

    Until then enjoy these posts from last years anniversary trip and wish us luck as we enter the realm of the TSA, yet again.

    Georgia '06a
    Georgia '06b
    Georgia '06c

    Wednesday, October 03, 2007

    Wind in her hair...and on her tongue

    If you had told me 3 years ago that I'd soon find myself taking a carefree Tuesday afternoon cruise down a small town Oklahoma country road on an early fall, 78 degree day with my shaggy black haired dog catching some tongue air from the back of my classic El Camino..."Nice afternoon to fire up the Elky and burn some dino juice* out in the country, eh Franny."

    ...I'd have checked the expiration date on the milk carton in your fridge, cuz you surely must have been suffering from sour milk mental meltdown.

    BTW, Happy 1st Birthday, Franny!

    *Note - Video clip is only 14 seconds and about 1.4 megs.

    Tuesday, October 02, 2007

    Coming of the home

    I don't know how they roll where you live, but in my small town, the Homecoming Queens take to the streets on the tailgate of a pickup, leaving their fancy matching high-heeled pumps at home.

    Not to be outdone, the Wrestling Royalty got out the beach chairs and elevated their status a bit. Shoes of course, were still optional.

    And there goes our fine young team of varsity footballers, riding the latest trend in fair weather extreme-sport school bound transportation.

    Seatbelts are optional.

    At the game that night, we sat near the section reserved for the gathering of geezers in town to celebrate Homecoming and their 30th High school reunion.

    Other than the fact that most of them had grandchildren the same age as our girls(!), we sadly fit right in.

    Our team won, 34-8.

    Go team.

    Monday, October 01, 2007

    I spy, you spy, let's all play I spy

    Just finished reading an old Dan (DaVinci Code) Brown novel called Digital Fortress where the heroes are hackers and online trackers working for the NSA's Cryptography division. Good read if you're in the mood for some good technobabble and nerd-herds-gone-wild imagery.

    Which brings me to my blogs hit counter, Siteminder, and all the voyeuristic peekaboo info it provides me on who is visiting the site.

    No visitor names, but countries, cities, domains -- all fun and good to know. But what I really dig is seeing who is lurking on company time.

    You readers know who you are, and before I tell you to get back to work and stop using your employer's T-1 line to read about my silly little life out here in the wilds of Oklahoma...

    ...let me first thank you for using your employers T-1 line to read about my silly little life out here in the wilds of Oklahoma.

    Never call me ungrateful.

    So without further ado...

    Mr. Wells Fargo employee in SF, CA -- I'm not going anywhere and my blog is very dial-up friendly (I don't embed YouTube flix...maybe a link to a YouTube movie, but never embedded in the page), so go home and dial YASTM up.

    Teacher or Staff Member at the Mansfield School District -- if there is actually something of educational importance in my musings, please let me know. Maybe I can get a tax write off for publishing this blog as educational learning materials.

    Students, Professors, or Employees at the University of St. Thomas in Houston -- I've been to Houston...it was humid and uncomfortable but the folks were friendly. However the student's tuition is paying for this connection, so log off and give someone else a chance at this terminal.

    Person at Bosch -- you guys make great spark plugs. Thanks...now get back to work and make some more.

    Student, Prof, or Employee at OSU.edu -- okay, you're kinda excused...but since my wife is an alum and wants our daughters to go to undergrad there and wants the tuition to remain reasonable...log off and quit using the schools net access for non-school related activities.

    And finally, all you dot.gov people....

    I'm not even going to start in on you -- using the taxpayers dollars to spend time frivolously reading my online musings. I do, however feel your pain, since the Gov. computers are probably filtering out any and all good alternative media sites (ahem), and the most provocative sites you may be able to access involve Bindi the Jungle girl.

    But let's not forget who's paying the net access bill you enjoy on a daily, 9-5 basis.

    Watching my hit count go down...