Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Peek Pic 61

*sniff sniff*

Good Cop, Bad Cop, Part 2 of 2

After not getting things worked out with Finance, Dave and I head over to Wendy's to take a breather. Dustin thinks the deal is over. It wasn't. While we eat, Dave suggests calling the General Manager. I call, and in a matter of 15 minutes, we're sitting in his office. Bob, the manager, appears to be a friendly guy, but as soon as he opens his mouth and starts to talk shop, you can tell he's nothing but a war-hardened car guy. A serious prick.

Mike: Bob, I'm having a problem and hoping you can fix it for me. We were just over with Leon and Dustin and got quoted some numbers, agreed on them, shook hands, and now we're being told you can't make it happen.

[Bob pages Dustin to "please come to my office immediately." Dustin arrives in seconds.]

Bob: So Dustin, did this figure come from Finance?

Dustin: Uh, no.
Bob: Why are you quoting payments instead of finance?
Dustin: I was trying to help the customer. He was on a short schedule and finance was out to lunch. I must have miscalculated the trade-in or the taxes.

[Bob's face turns red. You can tell he's completely pissed at the predicament Dustin has gotten him in.]

Bob: Mike, I'm sorry, but I just can't sell you this car for this price.

[Silence. Dave leans forward. The gloves are off. I sit back to watch].

Dave: Bob, with all due respect, I'd like to press back on that a bit. Because there was an offer and acceptance, a signed document with specific terms on it, and a HANDSHAKE, I'm inclined to suggest you have to. Surely someone in your position knows the elements of a binding agreement.
Bob: Hey Dave, Mike can always walk away from this deal. [I'm thinking: "Hello, I'm in the ROOM here! But I'm enjoying the fireworks. Tension is HIGH].

Dave: Well, we appreciate your flexibility, Bob, but YOU can’t. That's why contracts exist—to bind BOTH parties, even when it's inconvenient for the one that wants to back out of it.

Bob: Well now you're just painting me into a corner here. From what I've heard so far, Mike is willing to work with us. Is that correct, Mike?

Bob slowly glares from Dave back to me. He was retreating. And Mean Dave must have sensed that his work was done. He leans back in his chair and doesn't speak another word. This was my cue.

Mike: Yes, I really am. Is there ANY way we can maybe make this a win-win here? Maybe meeting in the middle somewhere? I'm just hoping you can do a little better than Dustin came back with.
Bob: [To Dustin]. This is the goddamn reason we don't quote payments. That's why we have processes – to keep shit like this from happening. This one is on you, Dustin.

[Dustin sulks in the corner like a scolded child. I can feel Dave glowing with satisfaction.]

Dustin: I know, sir. I'm sorry.
Bob: [Looking back at Mike]. I can do $_____ [$14/month higher than our original deal), that's it.

Mike: OK, it's a deal.

Bob: Dave, you happy?

Dave: [Smiling]. I'm happy if Mike's happy.

[Dave and Bob shake hands with a knowing smile, like they've done this a thousand times.]

And boy, did I have fun. Not only was I highly entertained, but it only cost me a cheeseburger and a Diet Coke. The moral of the story: Dave almost always gets what he wants. Or in this case, what I want. Thanks Dave, you can be my bad cop anytime!


I confess, I've been on a diet. Well, actually, more of a new eating regimen. With all the cookies and pies and coke floats and fried pork chops available to me while home in Texas--coupled with my penchant for eating as a coping mechanism--I added a pound or ten two.

So this morning, while walking from the parking lot to the front door of my building, I see a woman struggling with 6-7 large boxes stacked on the top of a not-so-stable push cart. Because I Play Well With Others, I waited for her so I could open the door and help her inside.

In the boxes: DONUTS. She offered. I declined.

Size 31 waist, here I come!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Peek Pic 60

The extreme bedroom makeover is coming along. Final pictures soon.

Good Cop, Bad Cop, Part 1 of 2

[Note: I have invited my good friend and former co-worker Mike to be my featured guest blogger for today. Naturally, I asked him to speak about me only in the best possible light. But, he never listens… Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Mike.]

*tap tap* Is this thing on?

Today I want to post a little about a side of Dave that he never talks about in his blog. I've known Dave for quite a while and have worked both for and with him in various aspects of our jobs. This has given me a lot of insight into his personality--even the dark side. At the office, we affectionately call him "Mean Dave." Mean Dave is Dave's alter ego and is quite the intimidating creature. At nearly 6'3" with a booming voice and a razor-sharp tongue, he’s infamous around the office (and now, around town). Here's a recent real story…

Dave mentioned in one of his posts that one of the things he can do is negotiate. Having worked with Dave quite a bit, I can tell you that this is true statement. And when I say negotiate, I mean he almost always gets his way. Last week, over lunch, I invited him along to "look" at a new Nissan Murano with me. Luckily, he brought Mean Dave along with him... and boy, was it fun. We started with the usual car salesman dance:

Salesperson (Leon): So, if we can get you a good deal on your trade would you be interested in buying the Murano?

Mike: Only if the numbers are right. And we should get moving, we're on a super-tight schedule.
Leon: Right, I'll go see how things are going with your trade.

[Leon leaves. Many minutes pass. Leon returns].

Leon: Mike, would you mind signing this paper, just to let us know you're interested?

Dave: We said we're interested didn't we? You're gonna have to take us for our word. He's not signing a blank piece of paper.

[Mike signs the paper. Dave officially comes unglued. Leon takes the paper back to his boss.]

Dave: Why, on God's green earth, are you signing a blank piece of paper?

Mike: Leave me alone. We're in a hurry. I just wanted to move the process along.

[Leon returns. More back and forth. Finally, the sales manager, Dustin, arrives.]

Dustin: Nice to meet you, I'm the sales manager.

Mike: Nice to meet you, I'm Mike and this is my grumpy sidekick, Dave. [Dave stares].
Dustin: Here's what we came up with: Here's your trade, here's the MSRP, here's your purchase price and here's your monthly payment. [Written on the blank paper I previously signed].

[The deal is a good one. A very good one. I'm shocked. So is Dave.]

Mike: That payment includes everything, right?

Dustin: Yes. All taxes, title fees and all other charges.
Mike: So I can walk out of here in 10 minutes with the Murano and that will be my monthly payment? No out of pocket expense.
Dustin: Yup.
Mike: Sales tax is included in that number, right?
Dustin: Yes.
Mike: Ok, you've got a deal.
Dustin: Let me get the final paperwork over to Finance and we'll get you outta here.

[I shake hands with Dustin, followed by a hand shake with Leon].

Dave and I wait for the finance guy….and wait….and wait….and wait. One thing that Dave didn’t have to teach me was patience – because he doesn’t have any either. Finally we get up to make an unannounced appearance in his office when Dustin comes over.

Mike: So you guys about ready to get me outta here?

Dustin: [With a sad, apologetic look. Both hands in his pockets]. Guys, I’m not sure what happened during our calculations, but I screwed up.
Dave: Hmmm. [Sarcasm, with a slight tone of "do you feel lucky, punk?"]
Dustin: We miscalculated your payment. It should actually be _____ ($74 more per month).
Dave: Oh no, no, no. The negotiations are over, Dustin. You made an offer, he accepted and you shook hands. I witnessed it. Whatcha have there is a done deal that we expect you to honor.

Though he won't admit it, Dave likes to argue, and this was an invitation for a serious knock-down, drag-out. I think I actually saw him drool.]

Mike: [Trying to keep things nice]. Now, how did you get to the new figure?

Dave: Wait, wait, wait. That doesn't matter, Mike. You'll be taking your car for the negotiated and contracted price, no less. [At this point, Dave is no longer using his inside voice--not that he ever has much of one of those anyway].
Dustin: I'm sorry, man, we screwed up. We just can't sell it for that price.
Dave: I'd argue, Dustin, that you already did. You shook HANDS. It's written on the PAPER. And SIGNED. And WITNESSED.
Dustin: [Dustin tries the retreat tactic and turns to me. For Dave, this is a lot like a lion chasing a rabbit.] Look, I don't know how this happened, but we just can't do this.

For the next few minutes Dustin proceeds to adjust numbers and figures on his 1984 desktop computer with a DOS-based finance application. I am genuinely trying to get the numbers to work, because I want this car. Dave on the other hand, is standing outside the glass office pacing and spewing not-so-gentle reminders of our deal with Dustin. I'm pretty sure an F-bomb or two was dropped. Poor Dustin was trying really hard to ignore him, which of course was just making it worse.

To be continued.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Pleasure and Pain

His name is Anthony. We don't see each other very often. In fact, I can admit that I only see him when I've got physical needs. But lord have mercy, when I DO get to spend time with him, it's magic. Spine tingling magic.

He's tall and blond and muscular, about my age. He's grown a goatee since I last saw him. I like it. We make chit-chat while he stands behind me with his huge but gentle hands on my shoulders.

Anthony: It's been a while, hasn't it?
Me: Yeah, I thought I could stay away for a while, but I can't seem to.
Anthony: So, how are you?
Me: Pretty good. Things are going well at work, nothing new to report.
Anthony: Well, you want to get down to business?
Me: I thought you'd never ask.

He always starts gently. A soft touch here and there. But then he gets rough pretty fast. I love it. He loves to put me in different positions and test my limits of pain and pleasure. Some on my back, some on my side. Mostly, though, on my stomach with my face pressed hard into the pillow.

To my surprise, today he ends gently, but abruptly, before I've had to chance to get everything I needed from him. My longing for his touch at its peak. With his hands all over my face and neck, completely in tune with my body, he tells me I've had enough for the day, and to come back next week for more. Disappointed, but tingling with pleasure, I agree. Next time, he says, we'll get out the electrodes. Mmmmm.

I just LOVE my chiropractor.

I case you weren't convinced that I am a dork

As many of you may know, I am an ardent Treo 650 user. It is always at my side, literally. Not only is it my phone, text messenger, e-mail, mobile Web, calendar, camera, video camera, etc. like many other phones, I've also added several cool software upgrades that allows me to play movies and TV shows (yes, real movies and real TV shows), music (MP3s, etc), capture video and take many of my office documents (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, PDFs, etc) with me on the road. If you'd like to see ALL the cool things the Treo can do, take a look at one of my favorite tech blogs called Treonauts.

The picture above is a bag that I carry in my backpack which has the requisite tools to complete my utter geekdom. Sometimes I even wear it as a hat. But I digress. Today you've got the ultimate treat: a look into my most sacred sac. Eww.

1. This is my Seidio retractable sync and charge USB cable. This lets me charge my Treo (which hardly ever needs it, btw) and do a HotSync with my work calendar, etc. at the same time. It expands to two feet from just 4.5 inches. Mmmm.

2. I have a lot of music, pictures and tv shows on my Treo, and that takes up space. This handy little tool is a portable USB port that allows me to slip in my 1G SD (memory) card and easily (and quickly) move files to/from the computer. These things work for cameras, too. They're handy.

3. So that I don't bother my friends and co-workers with the very loud external speaker on my Treo (which is made more powerful with software called VolumeCare), I have these retractable ear buds with a 2.5mm jack. This lets me listen to music and movies in full stereo sound, and, when the phone rings, I can click a button and talk directly into the built-in microphone. Cool.

4. These are just some extra headphones I have in here with a 3.5mm jack. My laptop takes 3.5mm headphones, and well, you never know when you're gonna need some privacy.

5. This is my D-Link ExtremeG wireless network card. While my personal laptop has built-in wireless, my work laptop doesn't. I like to keep this with me in here just so I don't accidentally leave it at home if I go on a trip. I have a backup at home, too. Ya know, in case you have visitors.

6. This is my super-handy USB extension cord. Rather than stand on my head and look at the back or side of my computer to find a USB port and swap devices in and out, I just leave this thing dangling. I'm a dangler, what can I say?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Guest Blogger Next Monday

Set your watch. Bookmark the page. Next Monday: A guest blogger with a story about me. He's been dying to tell it. Be sure to tune in.

Two Horns

While I was out for lunch today I was behind a cop--a policewoman to be exact. I followed her for about a mile then we came to a red light. When it turned green, she was busy typing something into her computer. I waited. And waited. Cars passed me. I couldn't bring myself to honk at her thinking I'd be spread-eagle on the hood of my car shortly thereafter.

This got me to thinking... with all the road rage, why can't each car have two horns? You've got two settings for your headlights. Two (or more) settings for your windshield wipers. Two radio frequencies. Two turn signals. OK, maybe that's necessary. I digress.

I need communication options. I think cars should have a friendly "beep beep" horn like you hear on older Japanese cars, and a much more aggressive "HONNNK" horn like you find on an 18-wheeler. The former would say "Excuse me," or "Time to go!" or even "Careful, I'm behind you." You'd label the button in the interior of the car with a smiley face with lines protruding from its mouth. The latter would be more aggressive for special situations, like "Are you a fucking IDIOT?" "Watch the goddamn road, fuckhead!" or even "Hurry up, you stupid bitch!" That would have to be located in a hard-to-reach spot and would probably be best labeled with a frowny face.

As the driver of a giant, leather-wrapped, soccer-mom-mobile, I had no "beep beep" to give Ms. Sallybadge, so I sat. Helpless. Eventually, she saw me waving pleasantly in her rearview mirror. She didn't wave back. Stupid bitch. Where's that friggin' frowny face when you need one?

Peek Pic 59

As a means of advertising, this idiot filled a bag with rocks, inserted his make-shift business card and threw the bag into my front yard. Now, why would you do something so customer-unfriendly like littering as a way to get business? Next time maybe he should write his name and resume on a flaming bag of dog poo and toss it on my porch. Customers would FLOCK to him.

Feel free to call his number and tell him not to do that anymore (I did).

Fat Head

I'm not sure how I was able to stumble blindly through 35 33 31 all the years of my life with out knowing bananas contained fat. Subtract this from the 225,483,214,106 things I don't know.

And, has anyone heard of something called American Idol? Eh, me neither.

MeMe Time

David has ever-so-politely requested additional information from me in the form of this meme. His wish is my command, as usual.

Four Jobs I've Had:
Swim Coach
Coordinator of Clinical Education

Substitute Teacher

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over:
The Sound of Music
Moulin Rouge
Before Night Falls

Four Places I've Lived:
Baytown, TX
New Rochelle, NY
Dallas, TX
Kansas City, MO

Four TV shows I Love to Watch:
The Today Show
Everybody Loves Raymond
I Want That (HGTV)

Four Places I've Been on Vacation:
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Key West, FL
Taos, NM
Park Cities, UT

Four Websites I Visit Daily:

Four Favorite Foods:
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chili Cheese Burgers
Coke Floats

Four Places I would Like to Visit:

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Peek Pic 58

I like 'em dirty. REAL dirty.

Roommate Advice from Casey

Deer Kirt,

So I heer yur gunna be liffing at owr howse fur a whyl. I theenk that es neeto. I reelee lyk Helen uhlot, but Pepper kynda barkz tew much at me sumtymes. Aniway, ur ok en miy buk.

I theenk thare r sum theengs u nede to no, tho, abowt Daddy. He's funnee sumtymes about stuff. I dont wont u to git yelld at, or wers, git put en ur howse. So, heer et goze:

1. Dont puut anytheeng in ur mowth xsept ur toyse, or ur bown.
2. Win he toots, let him blayme it on u.
3. Dont wayk him up uhnlez itz tha mornin.
4. Dont jumpup. Reelee. Dont do it, itz not werth et.
5. Win he sayz STA, dont moove a mussel.
6. Dont whyne. He haytz that.
7. Eff u git en trubbel, luk az cute az u kan (thin hyd undur tha tabul).
8. Eff ur guud, yule git a treet. Sumtymes.
9. He lyks it win u play ball wif him (just dont pul his feengur).
10. Wutever u do, nevr, evr poop on tha carpit.

Guud luk and welcum to owr howse.


P.S. Daddy dint fede me this mornin. Reelee. He dint.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Peek Pic 57

This--for whomever can't tell--is my crotch as of 4:15pm today. I've got a hole forming in a very unfortunate spot on my most comfy jeans. You really have to wonder how the hell that got there. Really. I'm not even IN to frottage. And besides, my backside gets a whole lot more action that this spot. Wait, I meant because I SIT more, perverts. Really. Seriously. I can't decide if I should just stop wearing them to work, or keep saying "Helllloooo, I'm up HEEEEEERE." Ya know, like I always have to do.

Interesting Tidbits

From Harper's Magazine (various issues):

Percentage approval rating of Bill Clinton the day after impeachment and George W. Bush in November 2005, respectively: 73, 34 [The Gallup Organization (Princeton, N.J.)]

Percentage of Russians today who approve of the direction their country took under Stalin: 37 [VCIOM (Moscow)]

Number of U.S. prisoners serving life sentences with no parole for crimes they committed while juveniles: 2,225 [Human Rights Watch (N.Y.C.)]

Number of prisoners serving such sentences in all other countries worldwide: 12 [Human Rights Watch (N.Y.C.) ]

Percentage by which circumcision reduces the risk of HIV infection, according to a study in South Africa: 60 [Bertran Auvert, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (France)]

Percentage of free condoms distributed in India that are used for purposes other than sex: 75 [Rama Kant, King George Medical University (Lucknow, India)]

Number of Alabama state senators co-sponsoring a bill last summer to “protect” public displays of the Ten Commandments: 10 [M. J. Ellington, Decatur Daily (Montgomery, Ala.)]

Number of them who could list the Commandments: 1 [M. J. Ellington, Decatur Daily (Montgomery, Ala.)]

Monday, February 20, 2006

Peek Pic 56

These pseudo-cartoon TV commercials for a financial services company really creep me out. And, if I got MY face turned into a cartoon, they'd be taking those huge bags under my eyes OUT. Creepy. *shivers*

Too Much Information

Saturday, 5:15 p.m. I enter my regular tanning place and say "Hi" to Gail the receptionist, who also serves as the keeper of the magic timer and peddler of overpriced lotions. She informs me that I must wait a couple of minutes while her sidekick cleans my room. I sit in the nearby waiting area and open a magazine. No sooner than I got to the table of contents, Gail begins chatting with me:

Gail: "I'm sorry your room wasn't ready. We were too busy reading this juicy survey in Cosmo."

I thought for one fleeting moment to let this go, but I mentally shrugged my shoulders and went after her conversation-bait like a fish to a worm.

Me: Ahh. [Pause.] Well, what's it about?

Gail: It's called "Sex Tips From Guys." They asked a bunch of guys what makes a woman, or a man I guess, unforgettable in bed.

Me: [Chuckles]. Seems like the tips might be a little different if they were talking about men.

Gail: Yeah, good point. But not all of them!

Me: So which one is your favorite?

Gail: Well, I probably shouldn't be telling you this, but what the hell. This one says "When we're doing it missionary style, put your legs up on my shoulders. It feels so good to be so far inside you, and the way your breasts squeeze together and get bigger is incredibly hot." [Pause]. Can you believe that?

Me: Wow. [Raises eyebrows]. That's pretty descriptive.

Gail: [Looks at the magazine for a second, then at me]. Eh, it's a bunch of shit. I mean, I don't know who he's fuckin', but when MY legs go up above my head, my tits are in my armpits!

Thankfully, it was only a matter of minutes before I was able to stare directly into the ultra-violet bulbs and forever burn that image out of my mind's eye. Some things, especially for overly-talkative tanning bed receptionists, are best left unsaid told to bloggers.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Peek Pic 55

The previous post got me digging through old photos. This is a pic of the go-cart, with my friend Keetha as passenger. And you know what's funny? I saw some high-school kid with the EXACT outfit I'm wearing just yesterday at the mall. I guess that makes me stylish. Or really old.

Friday, February 17, 2006

A Gift from Dad

[Father Fridays: An ongoing series about my Dad...]

When I was 11 or 12 years old, I had an irrepressible desire for a go-cart. A friend of mine, Heath, had a small motorcycle and while I probably enjoyed sitting close behind him and hugging his chest as a passenger, I longed for similar knobby-wheeled freedom to call my own. Unfortunately, because my second cousin was killed on a motorcycle around this time, I had to seek something with less risk of bodily injury. A go-cart seemed to fit the bill.

My father subscribed to the notion that children shouldn't be spoiled and that they should earn everything that was considered a "want." Sure, they fed me and put a roof over my head, but unless it was Christmas, I earned money through manual labor. Usually mowing the lawn, pulling weeds or helping around the house. By my calculations, at the going child-labor rate in my household, it would've taken me 137 years to earn enough for the go-cart I wanted. So, in a stroke of prepubescent brilliance, I decided I was going to BUILD one.

My father was amused by this plan and showed great interest in it. First, he took me to the library, where we researched go-cart design and engines. I found several books and took them home to study like mad. I made drawings and parts lists, and asked my Dad lots of impressive questions that regular 12-year-olds shouldn't ask, like "Dad, what's torque?" or "What do you think a good turning radius would be?"

This went on for a couple of weeks, maybe more. I would work every day on my plans: How to assemble the frame, what size engine to get, where I'd buy the tires and parts, etc. etc. Now, before you start to think that I possessed mechanical aptitude beyond my years, you should know that my design
wasn't exactly crafted with safety, stability or even rolling in mind. In fact, if memory serves, it looked a lot like this. I just wanted it to be fast and really bad-ass looking. Those were my only requirements.

Apparently my Dad, while impressed with my enthusiasm, was not so confident in my ability to make my dreams a reality. One day after school I came home and went directly to work on my masterpiece. After 30-40 minutes, my Dad calls me into his bedroom.

Dad: Hey, how's the go-cart coming along?
Me: Well, I'm still trying to figure out how to mount the engine on the back.
Dad: You know the Auto Parts place we go to?
Me: Yeah.
Dad: Well I talked the owner, Mr. Jensen, into donating a couple of parts for you. They're out in the garage.
Me: Really? That is AWESOME.
Dad: Wanna go look at them?
Me: YES!

I was giddy with anticipation. I imagined a series of shiny bolts or even a chain to turn the wheels. Maybe, if I was lucky, big tires. As we got outside, both garage doors were closed as usual. Dad walked nonchalantly to the bay doors and pressed the remote that was suspiciously in his pocket. Both doors slowly started to rise.

Dad: [Hoping to add to the suspense]. Now, this may not be exactly what you want...

Much like a game-show prize, the doors slowly revealed a brand new, five-horsepower, two-seater go-cart. It was bright red with a blue seat and a white, shiny, never-started engine. On the front seat was a helmet. I jumped with utter joy and gushed with appreciation. This was, without a doubt, one of the happiest moments in my previous 12 years. I beamed.

Dad: Now Dave, we got this for you because of how much effort you put into trying to build one. Your Mom and I are really proud of how much work you did. Really proud. This is your reward for all your hard work.

And though my childhood naivete didn't pick up on it at the time, this day would eventually morph into something infinitely more special that a go-cart. This was the day my father taught me that hard work and dedication to a task was the backbone to getting what you want in life. It was the most valuable lesson I ever learned.

Thanks, Dad.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Peek Pic 54

Including interviews with Canine Klein, Yves St. Bernard and Ruff Lauren.

Random Thoughts #12

--My treadmill is making a squeaking noise every time I take a step with my right foot. I was thinking of hitting it with some WD-40, but I was afraid I might have to walk faster. Or worse, find out that it was my hip squeaking instead.

--I can't remember if I blogged about it, but I was having a little problem with my newly remodeled second floor bathroom dripping water onto my dining room table. Surprisingly, my contractor came and fixed it for me--for free--almost a year after the work was done. Then yesterday, I got a $50 gift certificate to the Plaza (our local shopping area) and a note apologizing for the inconvenience. Now THAT'S what gets someone a customer for life. Or, a sure sign that you overpaid.

--So just out of curiosity, I just went to my contractor's Web site and they have my bathroom pictures posted. I knew he had a guy come over to take pictures for his site, but had no idea they looked so good. Mine is Bath #1. These pictures actually do it some justice. It was nice of them to Photoshop my underwear and sweatpants off the floor.

--Rather than pick any special athletic event for this year's defining moment, I'm voting for the Bob Costas interview with Dick Button and Scott Hamilton. It was a true "Oh no he didn't" moment (and I rarely have those). They were discussing Johnny Weir, who is fairly outspoken and obviously presumably gay (and adorable, in my opinion), when Bob asks Scott what he thinks of Johnny. Scott says tongue-in-cheek, "Well, Johnny's philosophy is "I'm here, I'm Weir."" Naturally, I only think that's funny if Johnny does.

--I think I prefer racing sports to sports that require judging. My brain is more comfortable with the exactness of a clock and a finish line. It's easy for me to tell who wins. Or maybe it's just that they wear skimpier outfits, who knows.

--Since U.S. Airways is merging with AmericaWest, I got a letter telling me I needed to use 4,500 frequent flier miles that I didn't even know I had. My only options since there were so few of them was to go to a Web site and order magazines. So, in addition to the 4-5 I already get, I've added Travel and Leisure, Time, Wired, GQ, Out and Spin. I think I'm going to send a few to my friends' addresses. I can't possibly read all that crap.

--I have no interest in gossip or entertainment-world blogs. I just don't find them interesting or funny. Really, I just don't care. While I would never have the literary skill to describe it so eloquently, here's exactly how I feel about them, especially Perez Hilton.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Peek Pic 53

The ultimate in canine control.

Out with the Old

Dear Bode,

It is with great disappointment that I write to you today, as I must bring an end to our otherwise fantastic relationship. You have brought us much shame with your exploits in Torino.
You promised our late-night phone sex wouldn't affect your performance, but it did. And who exactly were you looking at when you missed that pole the next day? I mean, I'm all the way over here in Kansas. What else could possibly distract you??

You know that I had great plans for us. With your gold medals and all the endorsement deals, I was going to get you a new razor, and maybe even some botox injections for me. But nooooo. I was even planning on coming to Turino to sneak into your trailer in the Olympic Village for a little medal presentation of my own. But noooo. And now that all of America thinks you're a big loser, I'm NEVER going to get to meet Matt Lauer. I'm not sure I'll ever forgive you for that.

Instead, I'm moving on. I've found someone else. He's cuter, a better skier, and I'm pretty sure he won't embarass me in front of the entire world. In fact, after reviewing his unbelievably hot pictures credentials, I have no idea why I let you into my life in the first place. I mean seriously, no plumbing?

Sorry it had to end like this. If you want to, we can talk again in four more years.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Peek Pic 52


I Need a Vacation

I'm finally home, but I'm not as excited as I expected to be. I don't like to complain much (at least online), because I know it's not interesting reading. But I'm exhausted. I have a POUNDING headache. My bedroom reeks of dog. I have to be at work early in the morning. Casey's anal glands are leaking. My neck is killing me from sleeping on an awful bed for 10 days. And worst of all, Bode didn't return my Valentine's Day call.

Ambien, take me away!

Mission Impossible

I'm heading back to Kansas City today. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't ready to get back to my regular life. I've been here 10 days and in retrospect, I'm not really sure I've accomplished very much.

I came here with a plan to convince my parents to make changes around three critical issues: Access to Care; Transportation; and Daily Living. I wanted them to consider living closer than 60 miles from the nearest hospital that can take care of them, and to not drive as much, especially in emergency situations. I wanted them to consider regular in-house care so that someone could do day-to-day things for them like grocery shopping and getting a box out of the attic. And how'd that go over? Like a ton of bricks. I got as far with them on those three things as I would've gotten had I proposed never watching TV again, getting a sex change or voting for Hillary.

I shouldn't feel defeated, but I do. It was a bit naive for me to think I could fly in and make sweeping changes in their lives. After all, they've been sitting in the same chairs thinking the same way about the same things for a long, long time. If anything, I raised some issues for them to think about and let them know where their kids stand on their health care. I also got to show them a few pirated movies they wouldn't have otherwise seen, and hung new house numbers on their mailbox.

Funny thing, I think the thing they appreciated most was me just sitting on the couch watching TV with them. And lord knows, I can sit on a couch like nobody's business.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Peek Pic 51

In the lobby where my father gets medical treatment, this 15-foot-tall mural is on the wall. Seriously.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Peek Pic 50

Me: "Mom, where are your measuring cups?"

Mom: [From lving room]. "Look up in the cabinet above the microwave."

Me: "Ahh. Silly me."


On my walk this morning, I passed three fellow walkers and dog owners. I like it when people say Hi to Casey when we walk, so I like to reciprocate the attention by stopping and petting the pups that are out and about. Today I met a Bassett Hound named Belle, a black Snauzer named Heidi and a fuzzy collie mix named Westy. I felt naked without a leash and a silly doggy pulling me around. I miss my little Casey Bear.

Oh, and blogging's not the same without a Beagle in your lap.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Peek Pic 49

An interesting smudge on the sidewalk.

Sister Act

Now that my sister is gone, I'm feeling a little bit useless. She's a hard act to follow. With four kids and an home day care business, she's learned to multi-task in ways I could never dream. While I would sit on the couch and pick my nose, she'd be talking on the phone, cooking dinner with one hand, crocheting with the other, folding clothes with her left foot and vacuuming with her right foot. She's a domestic goddess.

Oh well. I can lift things. And that helps.

Fridge Overload

I'm not sure when it happens, but at some point, one refrigerator and freezer isn't enough.

The kitchen fridge.

The garage freezer.

The second garage fridge.

Good to know that we're ready to cook a meal in case the People's Republic of China happens to drop by for dinner.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Peek Pic 48

Me, staring at the ceiling. That's pretty much all I've been able to do the last couple of days. I promise to make things more exciting here soon.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Peek Pic 47

Mmmm. Comfort food.

Random Thoughts #11

--Things are a little better here. My Dad knocked on my door and said he was sorry for the way he acted. We had a nice long hug and I got to whisper "I love you so much" in his ear. It felt really good to hold him, even though I couldn't squeeze his delicate frame as tight as I wanted. Unfortunately, this didn't really change the situation. We've still got a lot to decide. I think this time we're going to do it Dad's way... By ignoring it and letting it play out on its own. More to come on this.

--My sister is a master crocheter. She's making a giant afghan or poncho or hot air balloon or something. She does it all day long and never even looks down to see what she's doing, so I figured it couldn't really be that hard. Yesterday at Wal-Mart, she got me my very own size G crochet needle and some yarn. So far, I've made one row of a dishtowel doing a "chain" stitch. The second row is a "single crochet" stitch and is so hard that I'm thinking of stabbing this needle into my eye. Or maybe my sisters.

--I wish I had tape-recorded my sister's crocheting lesson. Things she told me to do: "Stick it in there." "No, in THAT hole." "Pull it out." "It has to be tighter." "Don't go so fast." "Relax." I think this kind of sibling conversation is only legal in Arkansas.

--Isn't it funny how we only put the pretty athletes on pedestals during the Olympics? Or is it that the best athletes are pretty? Or are pretty people just confident enough to make it to the top? Speaking of...

--My Mom and I went shopping at Best Buy for a new TV for my Dad. We had the CUTEST guy helping us. James was his name. When they didn't have the model we were looking for, we went over to Circuit City to see if they had one. The guy who helped us there was a hideous ogre. I hate to be shallow, but I REALLY wanted to buy that TV from James. Oddly, I think my Mom did too. She said something like, "Well, I liked the guy at Best Buy anyway" when we left Circuit City empty handed. I guess apples don't fall far from the tree.

--And after only one additional program (AVSConverter), I have mastered the art of making .avi files playable on a stand-alone DVD player. I am now a full-fledged, bad-ass DVD-making fother mucker.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Peek Pic (Vid) 46

How I cope with stress...
Click to start. (700K, 46 secs)

The Family Stone(wall)

My sister and I presented my Mom and Dad with two options this morning at breakfast. Get 100%, round the clock care, including no more driving, or one of us (me) is moving in to take care of them. As you might imagine, that didn't go over so well. What transpired was without a doubt the worst argument this family has ever seen. And guess what? It's all my fault.

My father has locked himself in the bedroom. Stewing, no doubt, at his disrespectful son that doesn't give a shit about him. You know, the one that is willing to give up his job, his life, his dog, his house--everything--just for the purpose of making his father miserable. He threatened to kill himself. He told me I was causing the stress that will ultimately kill him. And that if I loved him, I'd just let them be.

And, since apples don't fall far from the tree, I've shut myself in the office at the other end of the house. Instead of being mad, though, I'm just feeling helpless. Crying my eyes out seems to help, but not much. This sucks so much. Oh my god. SUCKS.

My sister just came in and we hugged for a few minutes. That helped. I think I'm going to go do a power walk around the neighborhood. Maybe if I'm lucky, a deranged elderly man will be rushing his wife to the emergency room and will run me over.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Peek Pic 45

"You forgot your sunglasses? Don't worry, you can borrow your father's. He won't mind. "

Downloading Movies, Dave Style

Yesterday I spent practically the entire day trying to download a movie from a newsgroup. This might not sound like something that should take an entire day, but I have a special process of trial and error that is uniquely my own. This process involves several key principles in order to work properly, they are:

1) Always think you know exactly what you're doing
2) Never, EVER, read any directions
3) If something starts to go wrong, stop immediately and try something else
4) Continuously drink Diet Dr. Peppers
5) Don't stop until you get what you want

So in case you ever want to try stealing pirated movies downloading home videos from newsgroups yourself, I thought I'd give you some step-by-step instructions. In order to maximize your downloading experience, DO NOT SKIP ANY OF THESE STEPS.

--Subscribe to EasyNews news server
--Install NewsBin Pro to access newsgroups
--Search for a "home movie" you like--I recommend one with
him in it
--Download 57 .rar and 12 .par2 files (1.3 Gig, 4 hours)
--Extract a .cue and .bin file using WinRAR
--Look for a program to convert bin/cue to .avi

--Download a few
--Try a few without reading directions
--Uninstall a few
--Get frustrated, take a nap
--Figure out how to download an .avi from the newsgroup over HTTP
--Re-download new .avi files
--Look for a program to burn .avi to CD
--Install Nero 7 Premium
--Make several coasters incomplete CDs
--Finally burn .avi to CD
--Place CD into 1993 CD player in living room (to watch on bigscreen)
--Drive to Wal-Mart to buy new CD player that supports Divx
--Install new DVD player
--Call Panasonic Customer Support Line when Divx movie doesn't work
--Box new DVD back up
--Watch movie on laptop
--Vow to figure it out tomorrow
--Shut down laptop
--Take Ambien

[Note: If you're really interested in learning more about file sharing via newsgroups, check out Slyck's Guides. It's really very cool. Very. Cool.]

Monday, February 06, 2006

Peek Pic 44

Blanco, TX. Now THIS is a Texas steakhouse.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Talk

It started with a phone call from my sister.

Kelly: Hey.

Me: Hey.

Kelly: Has anyone called you?
Me: No, what happened?

Kelly: Mom's in the hospital.

Me: Oh God. What happened?

Kelly: Her defibrillator went off again. Three times. Daddy wouldn't take her to the hospital and she almost had to call an ambulance.

Me: What? Why would he not take her to the hospital?
Kelly: He said it was her pills that were doing it and there was nothing they could do. Plus, he didn't want to go to the Burnet ER because there're a lot of sick people there.
Me: Grrrr. That makes me want to hook that defibrillator to his nuts.

Kelly: You need to get down here. They're making horrible decisions and not listening to anyone.

Me: Imagine that.

Kelly: John told Daddy they're going to have to move to Austin so John could take care of them.

Me: How'd that go over?

Kelly: Dad said he'd put a bullet in his head before he moved.

Me: Well, bullet in the head vs. being taken care of by John. I can understand the struggle.


Kelly: Well, we're at a crossroad in their care. Something's got to be done.

Me: I agree. And I think I know what's gonna happen.

Kelly: What's that?
Me: Well, it's really pretty simple. If they won't consider moving, which I respect, or accept some type of daily home care, which I also respect, there's only one answer. I'm moving in.

Kelly: Well, I hate for you to have to do that, but I can't move a family of six on a dime. And even though John doesn'’t work, he's still 60 miles away. Might as well be 600.

Me: Yup. And if they push me away, I'll just buy the house next door.

Kelly: It's for sale, you know.

Me: Interesting. I was thinking a tent in the back yard.


Me: So are you on your way there already?

Kelly: Yeah, I'm in the car now.

Me: OK, I'll be there on Saturday. It's the quickest I can get there.
Kelly: OK. We won't discuss anything until you get here.
Me: OK. We're going to figure something out. You get them stabilized and in better spirits and well have a calm rational talk when I get there.
Kelly: OK. I love you and I'll see you soon.

Me: I love you, too. Call me when you get there.

A new HUGE suitcase, a two hour flight and one excellent BBQ dinner later, I'm sitting in my parent's living room. Again. This time, I'm going to be here for a while.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Peek Pic 43

Helen (L) and Pepper (R). My new houseguests. Casey loves them!


I'll spare you the intimate details of the dramatic events that have unfolded in my life over the past two days, but here's a sample:

--My Mom is now on a heart transplant list. My Father isn't dealing with this so well. Neither is she.

--My friend Kurt is separating from his boyfriend and is now at my house with his two dogs. Big dogs. Cute dogs.

--I am leaving for Austin to take care of my parents this morning. I'm not sure when I'll be back to Kansas City. Weeks, no doubt.

--I am frazzled. I am stressed. But this is what we do. And I'm doing it with gusto.

More later...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Peek Pic 42

Posted in the bathroom in the Louisville office. Don't see that every day.

Beach Video

Are you bored with all the beach talk yet? Here's a video I captured on my trusty Treo 650 while taking a stroll with Doug. Click to start. 2 mins, 46 sec. 2.8Meg.