Friday, September 29, 2006

Halfway There (23 Down, 17 To Go)

For this to make any sense, you'll want to either scroll down or just click here to read. Then after scrolling down, you'll want to scroll back up to the column just below this one or click here to read.

So, on my list of 40 things to do on my 5 day vacation, I've accomplished 23 tasks, with currently doing (40) a running diary, and then just now finishing (32) updating this page.

You might scroll around and see a few things added and removed... I did add a picture to the top of my profile (Steph hates that pic), while notably adding my friend Ambre's page to the links and also adding links to Kid Sister's page, my bro-in-law Tyler's page and for Steph, a link to John Tesh. And, you'll notice that the name was changed a few days ago from "Dave's Sojourn" to "Clouds In My Coffee". On my own MySpace page, you'll notice the blog there is "Clouds In My Coffee II", which mostly has the same stuff. I may post some stuff here or there exclusively, but check one or the other, and you'll get your fill of Dave, I'm sure.

So, what have I not done yet on my list? (1) Roll change & deposit $40 to cover the cost of my Sports Illustrated subscription--well, I've got the change rolls, I just need to roll.
(3) Watch Lost. Tomorrow, maybe.
(7) Finish 2 books. This may or may not get done.
(8) Mail out Thank You Cards for NYC--I'm working on that off and on
(9) Attend football game. Will do so tomorrow night
(11) Call Mom. Tomorrow
(12) Set pedometer and (13) Walk 3 miles. Hmm... we'll see.
(14) and (15) Read I & II Samuel. Tonight or tomorrow.
(18) Figure out 160 pictures to go in my new Creative Memories slide album, and (19) start working on said album. This afternoon.
(21) Update b'day and anniversary calendar, and (22) update prayer calendar. Tonight.
(29) Email one more person that I haven't talked to in a long, long time... Jason Smith. Later.
(31) Update Deuce Weekly Archive. I'll try to get this done today, between DFC updates.
(36) Get long overdue graduation gifts. I need to discuss with Stephanie.

But first... shower. It is 109pm, after all. I love my life.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

21 Down, 19 To Go

If you haven't read "40 Ways To Vacation Like You Were Dyin'" yet, scroll down to do so. Otherwise you might be a little lost...

Finally got started on my list around 1130am...

1145am... (25) Email at least five people I haven't talked to in a really long time. Sent an email to Susan Christiano, who was a journalism buddy of mine in college--we haven't spoken in at least ten years I would say. Well, she did email me first, but I email her back with a longer "here's how I am, how are you" letter. So that's one down.

1230pm... (20) Have a conversation with a total stranger. On my way to accomplish (16), I realized I was heading in the wrong direction, so I turned around to go where I was supposed to. And I stopped in Waffle House for a quick lunch... I have figured out that I'm resuming my Weight Watchers diet on Monday, so I felt okay to do so. Anyway, a girl named Jennifer was my waitress, and I got to talk to her awhile. She'd actually be perfect for Starbucks--I may go back and recruit her.

1pm... (37) Get the MYM ball rolling. Made a few phone calls, am starting this process quick enough.

115pm... (16) Out-serve Steph. This is hard to do, because she does so much for me, but I tried. She and some fellow Creative Memory consultants have a booth set up at Kid's Market, in the old Winn Dixie building up on 150. I came in to give the girl in the CM booth, Angie, a lunch break.

A few observations:
--The booth next to CM was Southern Living Home, manned by a lady named Sybil Johnson (yeah, I thought the same thing too--when I mentioned it, she pursed her lips and said "I know her" in a way that made me think I wasn't the first person to bring this up). She was hardcore, though... every time anyone walked by, she was hollering "Sign up for a $50 gift certificate??!!" I didn't do anything of the kind for the CM booth. I'm there to man it, not market.
--To mark the different sections of the Kids Market, they had removed the Winn Dixie lettering off the walls. Apparently, they didn't have enough letters to go through all the sections, hence signs that read "A CESS RIES", "SAFET CE TER" and "KIDS MARKET & M M"
--Big lady sitting across from me. She was on her phone. She was wearing a short skirt. Needless to say, I cringed when I discovered she was wearing white underwear. Have you ever conciously NOT looked straight ahead for any given amount of time? Its hard to do.
--We had a fish bowl for people to sign up for the drawing (a basket full of free stuff). Some little kid walked by and put his hand in it, picking up cards. Before I could even say anything, he drops them all, says "Them ain't baseball cards" and walks off. I can't help but think some how some way my taxes will be paying his welfare in a few years.
--When Angie came back, I walked out. The security guard said "I can't help but notice you movin' in a fast pace, man."

245pm... (30) Fold clothes. Piece of cake. Did that while (4) watching the pilot episode of Heroes (it was intriguing), then when I finished the clothes, I moved onto (17) sorting pictures, though that will take me more than today.

Alright... so it's 4pm, and I'm off to accomplish #33, #34 and #38. Wish me luck. More later.

9pm... Never got around to doing (33), though I did see both Melissa and Michael, and wished them Happy Anniversary. The special day has been acknowledged, a card now would be overkill, so I'm marking this off the list. I did (38) drop off the books and pay the $2 fee, but I didn't get to (34) pick up the b'day card.


2am... It's way too late. However, I just (24) emailed Blair Andress, and even invited him to the game this weekend. It would be good to see him.

240am... I was laying on the couch (this late at night, I just sleep on the couch, for fear of waking Steph in coming to bed--she's grumpy the next day) and just finished (4) watching Jericho, the first episode, on my iPod. Its a pretty good show... leaves you curious. I'll watch it again before I commit to it.

1048am... Now that its daylight, and I'm up and moving, I'm about to go shower, then head out to knock out (11) get game tickets. I'll probably try to get (34) b'day card while I'm at it. Then, hopefully, I can do a series of tasks this afternoon, one right after the other, like 1, 2, 6, 11 ,12, 14, 15, 21, 22, 26-29 and 35 before I dig into some of he longer tasks.

1pm... Headed down to UAB Ticket office. Just had lunch at Sneaky Pete's, and got to see the Presidential Motorcade pass by (Dubya's in town for a speech). Got to UAB's campus, parallel parked as pretty as you please, then found the box office. Along the way, they've got "The Fall of Troy" written everywhere, with badly drawn dragons all over the place.

If you've ever seen Roxanne, a complete underrated and little-seen brilliant Steve Martin movie from the 80s, there's a scene where the mayor is kicking off the town's annual Oktoberfest Celebration... in front of a mic, he holds up a forthy beer, sounds a whistle and says "Let Oktoberfest... BEGIN!!" The camera pans out to about three people walking down the street, not paying the least bit of attention.

This is what I'm guessing homecoming at University of Alabama-Birmingham is like.

Anyway, they have this deal where, for $40, you get four tickets, four hot dogs, four cokes and a t-shirt, and I need to buy 2 for the 8 people that are going to see the game on Saturday night. Well, the smarmy guy at the window said I could only buy 1 pack per family.

Of course, this probably had something to do with my Troy shirt I was wearing, plus the fact I told him I needed tickets to "The Rise of Troy on Saturday night". As I typed this, Wookiee called me and said he was going to pick up the other tickets, so (10) get tickets for football game is taken care of.

150pm... On the way back, I (34) got the b'day card, then (35) called Hallmark about our Gold Crown membership. These are things you never imagine doing until you get married.

220pm... Stopped by Starbucks on 280 to continue working on (37) Elisabeth's Make Your Mark project. Also, I spent two hours last night doing nothing but vegging out in front of the computer finding friends like Liberty Leak and Anna Kelley on myspace, so that will quailfy for (23) spending two consecutive hours doing nothing of value. And this morning, I (26) emailed Anna Kelley, someone I haven't talk to in a really, really long time.

340pm... As soon as I hit "publish", I'm going to start working on (6) retype skits for WalkAbout. See you soon.

1208am... Well, I just finished (2) inventory of my new comics. That took a long, long time, much longer than I expect. Steph had the girls Bible study here, like usual on Thursday nights, so I went to Vestavia Starbucks... now I could have done several things, but I did something that I forgot to put on this list, yet was just as important... cast skits for WalkAbout. That took the better part of an hour or more.

Then, like a goob, instead of working on (7) finishing a book, I actually started another one. Duh. I won't even tell you what it is just yet, because I'm only ten pages into it... I may not get any farther.

I did, however, (6) retype my skits.

And so I'm going to update the DFC Blogspot page, then go to bed.

1124am... Got up late. This did bother me, but hey, I'm on vacation. Just finished (27) emailing Bradley Grantham, an ol' college buddy of mine. Also (28) emailed Ambre Lake, another college buddy (and one time FH Formal date... whatever, she's no Stephanie).

1218pm... Finished (39) catching up on the Sports Guy columns. This stuff is just plain funny... where else would you see sentences like "The 2006 season has been overtaken by NFL coaches with man-boobs." and references to "Dustin Diamond's sex tape"? Hilarious.

40 Ways To Vacation Like You Were Dyin'

Today I start vacation. Starbucks' fiscal year ends on Sunday, and I have 24 hours of vacation (ie, three days) to use, so my manager was nice enough just to give me the rest of the week off... now, normally, at 845am in the morning, I would still be sleeping until about 10am, and do so every day until Sunday, but this week, I wanted to get some stuff done.

You know how there are a dozen or two little things just around that you need to get to, you just haven't made time to do it yet? Simple things that might take you an hour or less to complete, and would be totally satisfying upon completion, but you just haven't taken time to jump on the task? Well, thats this week for me.

So, I've made a list of several things I want to accomplish: Skydiving, rocky mountian climbing, ride 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu-Manchu, love deeper, spoke sweeter, give forgiveness that I've been denying... okay, just kidding.

Here's really what I want to do, not necessarily in this order:

Just got a sweet deal on an 18 month subscription to Sports Illustrated, complete with a Cincinnati Bengals long sleeve t-shirt. Of course, $40 out of the budget means I gotta put $40 back into the budget. Good thing I have $40 change in my spare change bucket, so (1) Roll $40 bucks in change and deposit it before Stephanie yells at me.

For the two or three people who don't know, I'm a big comic book collector, and I keep track of them on a spread sheet I created a few years ago... you may think it's dorky, and it may be, but it helps me to remember what I'm missing. Right now, I have a stack of comics that need to be filed away, so (2) inventory and file comics.

Couple of tv shows to watch, so watch (3) last season's finale of Lost on dvd, (4) the pilot episode of Jericho on my iPod and (5) the pilot episode of Heroes on video.

For my middle school drama team, (6) retype skits and send to Kathy Compton for printing.

I've been reading four books at once, "Body Piercing Saved My Life" by Andrew Beaujon, "100 People Who are Screwing Up America (and Al Franken is #37)" by Bernard Goldberg, "One for the Money" by Stephanie Evanovich and "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown. Hopefully, I can half this stack by (7) finishing at least two books this weekend.

I'm long overdue to finish this, and this may be one of the first two or three things I do, (8) to finish and mail out thank you cards for people who donated to the NYC mission trip.

(9) Attend a college football game
(10) Get tickets for said college football game
(11) Call Mom

When I was at NBC, we had this health initiative for walking, and everyone who participated got a pedometer. (That word makes it sound like you are measuring pedophiles... "Yep, my pedometer is picking up 4 in this area"). Anyway, I have one, and the only reason I've never used it is because I have to set it to my walking stride--so (12) set pedometer, so I can get an idea of how much I walk during the day.

Speaking of walking, I do need some exercise... five days, I can handle three miles, right? (13) Walk 3 miles.

The services at Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship) have been great these past few weeks, studying the life of David. I've found myself actually reading ahead of the sermon notes, and I told myself I'd read through the books, so what a better time to do so? (14 & 15) Read I and II Samuel all the way through.

As a doting husband, figure out some way to (16) out-serve Stephanie this weekend... though I think that opportunity has already presented itself.

Within (16), I have been meaning to already do a few things... she is a Creative Memories consultant (scrapbooking) and though I don't go for putting pictures in a book with designs and cut out letters (not to demean it in any way, its a cool thing) they do have new slide albums, like your traditional books that you just slide pictures into--but better. Safer for the picture, the design is better, and there is room for notes about the picture. Of course, I need to (17) sort through the box of pictures I have, (18) figure out which 160 pictures will go in my new slide album and (19) start the album.

I was in a Barnes & Noble the other day, when someone asked me if I was from India. No joke. We chatted for just a second, and I moved on. Looking back, it was so random, who knows if that was just that--random--or a divine appointment that I blew off. So, hopefully, I have another shot at it. (20) Have a conversation with a total stranger

We love sending out birthday and anniversary cards, and recently, we have more names to add to our list, so (21) update b'day/ann. calendar.

I used to keep a great weekly prayer calendar, with all our friends and family on it, with each day having a different list of people to pray for. Needless to say, Steph and I haven't really looked at that lately, so (22) update prayer calendar.

Sometimes you just want to veg and do nothing, right? (23) Spend at least 2 consecutive hours doing nothing but sitting on my rear and flipping channels.

My friend list on my MySpace Page is getting large. Lots of people I've added that I haven't talked to since I added them, including one friend who emailed me a good letter that I haven't responded to.

(24) Email Blair and respond.
(25-29) Email five people that I haven't talked to in a really, really long time just to say hey and find out how they are doing.

Finishing a task I started on Monday, (30) fold clothes and get them out of the living room.

Back in February, I started posting the Deuce Weeklys, each time five years to the day of when they were orginally released. Since I got back from New York City, I haven't been very good at it--I'm a month behind. So (31) Update The Deuce Weekly Archive.

(32) I really need to update this page, while I'm at it. I think I'll call it "Clouds in My Coffee"... thats cool name. I don't want to be one of those middle school girls who change email address and myspace pages fifteen times over, but "The Adventures of Dave" was okay, and "Dave's Sojourn" just doens't ring with me like I hoped it would. Plus, I need to update some links.

Going back to (21), I need to (33) pick up an anniversary card for Michael & Melissa Clark and while I'm at it, (34) get a birthday card for my buddy Ryan. Plus, I need to (35) call Hallmark and find out why we haven't been getting their quarterly coupon thingies for being Gold Crown Members.

Months overdue, I should finally (36) get the graduation gifts we promised for Kourtney, Kandice and Jaci.

Got a note in the mail yesterday, found out one of my drama kids has Type I diabetes, and there is an event at the end of the month to raise money for a cure... this would be a perfect Make Your Mark idea (its a fund-raising program from Starbucks), so (37) get ball rolling for MYM for Elisabeth's event.

Due today, my audio book copy of Ann Coulter's "Slander", to the Hoover Public Library. This one whuld be easy... (38) drop off due books and pay overdue fees for a dvd I had out last week.

Speaking of reading, I'm waaaay behind in my Sports Guy columns. (39) Catch up on TSG's stuff.


Just sat here for about ten minutes watching Sports Center to see if they had any info on Terrell Owen's alledged suicide attempt (none yet), and just thinking of how to end this list on a nice, even number (who ends a list on the number 39?). I just saw a commercial for the dvd of Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift... what if I watch that? No, I like my 138 IQ.

I think I'll just keep you updated on my progress. (40) Keep a running tally of how much I've done (and didn't do).

Think I can get it all in? It's 10am... I need to shave and shower, and let's begin...

Friday, September 22, 2006

How Sweet It Is

Stephanie's birthday is Monday, and though I won't tell you how old she'll be, I will say she's celebrating her second 29th birthday.

I already got her something earlier this month for her birthday, which wasn't much, and I thought about sending her flowers, or getting her flowers again, which I've done several times already. Trouble is, I worked today (and here it is, already 3pm) and I work on Monday, and honestly, though she's worth it, flower delivery is expensive. And we're all on a budget.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Taken at one of our wedding showers...

So, I thought it would be fitting today just to tell her, here on the world wide web for all nine of my readers to read, how much I love her. So, here goes...

Steph, you are amazing.
You're truly the most unselfish person I've ever met.
I remember when I was so frustrated with NBC, you would just lay and listen to me for hours, only wanting me to be happy... and instead of saying "Honey, we can't afford for you to leave", you told me "If you hate it, just leave. Work at Starbucks full time. We'll make it work, somehow. I just want you to be happy." That's the example I use to people to tell how wonderful you are.
To use the term "I married up" would be funny, but within the humore, there is truth to be found. We're approaching three years of marriage, and somehow it feels like we got married yesterday... and at the same time, it feels like we've been married for decades... and I look forward to those decades to come.
Never could I have imagined God's purpose for my life when it came to who I married, and never could I have imagined being so blessed in so many ways, whether its someone to go to the $1 movies with, someone to sit on the couch and watch CSI dvds or lay in bed at midnight and just discuss life, work, friends and whatever else comes to mind.
Sometimes when I know you are coming home, or I know I'll get to see you, I still get butterflies in my stomach, like I had that morning of our first kiss.
Anyway, I love you so much, and I wanted to give you the words of a song I discovered, and I thought it was fitting.

You know what, though? I posted this featuring a great Johnny Cash song... the words are:
We're the best partners this world's ever seen, together as close as can be... But sometimes it's hard to find time in between... To tell you what you are to me... You are the rose of my heart... You are the love of my life
A flower not faded nor falling apart... If you're tired, rest your head on my arm (well, until it goes to sleep, then we'll figure something else out)... Rose of my Heart.
When sorrow holds you in her arms of clay... It's raindrops that fall from your eyes... Your smile is the sun come to earth for a day... You brighten my blackest of skies... so hard times or easy times, what do I care, there's nothing I'd change if I could... The tears and the laughter are things that we share... Your hand in mine makes all times good... You are the rose of my heart, you are the love of my life, a flower not faded nor falling apart, if you're cool let my love make you warm... Rose of my heart

Now, this is a great song... but this is my Stephanie we are talking about here. She'll think the above was really sweet, but I realized, after I posted this originally, that she's just not a Johnny Cash type of girl. And after this came up on my iPod, I decided to send out something that's more your style...

How sweet it is to be loved by you
How sweet it is to be loved by you

I needed the shelter of someone's arms and there you were
I needed someone to understand my ups and downs and there you were
With sweet love and devotion, deeply touching my emotion
I want to stop and thank you baby
I just want to stop and thank you baby

How sweet it is to be loved by you
How sweet it is to be loved by you

I close my eyes at night,wondering where would I be without you in my life
Everything I did was just a bore, (well, thats not true... the Deuce was anything but boring, but still)
everywhere I went it seems I'd been there before
But you brightened up for me all of my days
With a love so sweet in so many ways
I want to stop and thank you baby
I want to stop and thank you baby

How sweet it is to be loved by you
How sweet it is to be loved by you

You were better to me than I've been to myself
For me, there's you and there ain't nobody else
I want to stop and thank you baby
I just want to stop and thank you baby

Truly, how sweet it is to be loved by you

You are always My Song


(remember all of this when I tell you about my new subscription to Sports Illustrated)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Tales From the Drive-Thru: ...and then...

I'm pretty tired right now. Sleepy too. But this morning was just too much of a morning to keep all to myself... I have to share the jollies with the world.

Yesterday, Thursday, was my day off, but I get a call at 545am in the morning from one of our shifts, Merkel, at Starbucks. Our manager, Josh, is on vacation this week, so who calls shots this week? Ding.

Anyway, Merkel tells me that the computers are down. We can't ring anyone up, we haven't run the "open store" program that has to be run for the store to open properly, at least computer-wise, and they have started just giving away drinks and pastries upon request. He's on the phone with the honchos at our Enterprise Help Desk (they "help" us with the computer issues). I roll out of bed, throw on some clothes and take an early morning drive to 280, across town from The Dos Pesos (our apartment) just to help out. He's got it all down pat, though, just like I knew he would. He's a good guy.

I leave, and Merkel calls me later, telling me that the system is up and running and la-dee-dah, all God's childrens are happy.

You ever had those days when so many weird, odd things happen, that if someone walked in, gave you a jar of peanut butter and $100 and asked you to kick him in the shins using authentic Super Bowl XVII cleats, you'd think to yourself "On any other day, this might seem strange... but not today..."? Yeah.

I have to open this morning, Friday. I roll up around 455am, go in, and what do I see on the screen on the computer in the back? Yep, the blue screen of death. I spend about twenty minutes on hold with Enterprise...

...which leads me to a point... if there are that many people having problems to keep me on hold at five in the morning, then either they need to hire more people, or really crack down on fixing what is wrong with all these problems...

...and then...

...we figure out how to get the registers up and running. There is no connection between the registers and the back computer, meaning its almost like a really fancy concession stand at a football game. We can't open the "dummy till" in the drive thru--the way it works is when we get busy, one person takes orders and punches it into the system, and hands off the cup to the bar person. Meanwhile, the other person pulls up the order you just punched in on her register, then opens the window and takes the money. While she's taking money, I take the next order and so on and so forth.

Well, the register I am using doesn't work. So now, I'm writing on post-its each order, passing it off to Renee, handing the cup to Nall on bar, and Renee is now having to enter everything in her register before taking money... and its slowing us down like crazy.

...and then...

...the paper order arrives. The driver comes in, and says, "I have two invoices, but I am thinking its not all for you, even though both invoices have your address on it." I look, and they are the same invoice... but since he has two, that means there is two exact orders on his pallet. And on the order we take, its got 16 boxes--SIXTEEN BOXES--of grande hot cups. We ordered 3. I told him that we would take three boxes, and he could send back the other 13. Sixteen boxes, thats about 500 pounds of freight that we'd have to pay for. Plus, we have no where to put it.

...and then...

...taking an order in the drive thru, there's a sweet young lady in a Jeep Liberty who orders at tall nonfat caramel latte, with whipped cream and caramel drizzle. I took the order, said, "We'll see you at the window." She sits for a minute, then says, "I'm sorry... my car just broke down." I laughed. I grabbed Rocky, one of our shifts, and we both went outside and pushed her vehicle out of the drive thru (we gave her the drink)

...and then...

...the mocha guy shows up. Apparently, there is a shortage in Seattle of mocha powder, which is used to make the chocolate syrup. Our district manager made the call to order a bunch of cases of mocha, and have them delivered to our store. Because our store is easy to find, we're the easiest place to store it, so the stores from Huntsville, the one in Anniston and the one in Tupelo can come get it from us. So, we've got seventy cases of mocha. No, seriously... seven-zero. SEVENTY. In the middle of the rush, we just stack 'em anywhere we can, some in the back, some in the front, wherever. I called the DM and asked him, to which he said,"Can you find a place in the back to put them?" and I replied, "Uh... no. There is nowhere." He tells me each store should get 3.5 cases.

Do the math. Of all the markets I listed, we have about 18 stores... that's about 63 cases. That leaves us with 7. Okay, as long as we can get all the stores to come get theirs, quickly, we can get rid of this. And each case has six bags of mocha, each bag weighing 2 or 3 pounds, so this junk is all over the place. Well, Scotty2Hottie from the 150 store comes in to pick up theirs... S2H tells me that he talked to Huntsville, they already have theirs. And that our DM has miscalculated, and so with each store now getting 3.5, we'll have about 25 cases left. I give 150 five cases. Lakeshore, 119 and Galleria all got 4. I sent 8 to Vestavia.

...and then... girl didn't show up for work. Another girl called in, crying. Family emergency, she said she's going to be an hour late. I told her to not come in crying, just don't come in at all.

...and then...

...a girl named Brandi (you're a fine girl) bought six pounds of coffee. Well, when you buy three pounds, thru September 30th, you get $5 Starbucks gift card. Unfortunately, our systems are down, so we can't load any Starbucks cards. I have to get her name and address and promise to send it to her.

...and then...

...Nall dropped a bottle of Frappuccino--well, it actually fell out of the fridge when he opened it. It crashed, spilled under the immovable fridges. We got it cleaned up.

...and then...

...we can't close tills. When someone is leaving for the day, or we are closing, each person has to go count their register drawer electronically, and it transmits a report based on over/under and how much each deposit is, and how much should be left in the drawer. When the computers aren't working, however, there is no information transmitted to the back, so while counting the drawer isn't hard, there is no report. We have to wing it, and I have to get info from Jacob and Renee, who are both leaving, so I can finish closing their tills later.

...and then...

...I also have to wing the deposit. Nothing to compare it to in the system, I have to count and hope its right (which, by the way, when the system did come up, I was one penny off... who's house? Run's house. I said who's house? Runs's house.)

...and then, I spent an hour on the phone with Enterprise Help Desk, finally getting the computers working...

...and then, I had to go to the restroom, but four times when I found time to go, someone was in there (including one guy who didn't lock the door--eeesh)...

...and then, we were out of root beer...

...and then, after I left for the day, I'm sitting on the couch tonight watching The Lifetime Movie Network, and Meredith calls me from the store, saying the computer is still down. Everything is working up front, all the registers are okay, both drive-thru tills are operational, but the motherboard in the back is fried.

...and then, I look back on the morning, and realize how lucky I was to have Nall, Renee, Jacob and Rocky on the floor with me... they rocked. Absolutely rocked today, through everything...

...and then, I think about how I'm married to the most incredibly wonderful woman in the whole wide world... I've got a Creator that loves me very much... I'm friends with some of the greatest people in the whole world... I weigh too much (which means I get well enough to eat)... I've got DVDs runneth over... I have an iPod... my car works... I do enjoy my job... Jessica Hawbaker gave me just the nicest compliment the other day, one which I'm still kinda smiling about (the power of positve words, thats an upcoming column, I think)... and I'm listening to an inspiring Nichole Nordeman right now...

...and then...

I know I'm so blessed to be David Dollar right now. Life is good.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Five Years Later: Where Some of You Were

On Monday, I sent out a simple email to random people in my email address book and on my myspace page: Amidst all the tributes and specials about 9/11, tell me where you were on that day. I asked that there be no political jargon, just a simple “here’s what was happening with me when I found out” kind of thought. And I got a lot of responses. Below are some of the best, some of them have been edited for space, but none so much as to lose the sentiment behind it. To you who responded whom I didn't quote here, I say, Thank You... and to you who allowed me to post your thoughts, I say Thank You even more.

It’s one of those things that, to use a much over-used cliché, “you’ll always remember where you were.” For the greatest generation, that was Pearl Harbor. For the baby boomers, it was when JFK was shot. For our generation, it was 9/11.

Katy Sexton, then some chick I didn’t know, now one of my favorite people in the world – My friend Allison and I had planned a short vacation together to San Antonio and then Austin, Texas. The morning of the 11th we were in our hotel room in San Antonio and I was in the bathroom and Allison was watching TV in the room. She was just glued to the TV staring at it not saying anything. I came into the room and she said "look at this"! And then I saw one of the towers on TV on fire and smoke pouring out of it. We were speechless, far away from home. It was very depressing and very sad. We didn't cry about it then though. We weren't scheduled to come home for several days so we just stayed there and hung out. We flew home with no problems. Once I landed at the B’ham Airport I just broke down and sobbed like a baby.

Meredith Watkins, then Meredith Tisdale, a student at Belmont University, now Meredith Watkins and a good friend of mine from Valleyd Church (an sbc fellowship) – I walked into my dance class (college elective) and over heard people talking about it. My first thoughts were trying to sort through recent movies I had seen and trying to figure out which one it was. As conversation continued I realized it was not a drama on the screen but a live act in play. Second thought, which airline. First emotion, horror. My brother had just started to fly as a flight attended. Praise the Lord he was not flying. As I watched the two towers collapse along w/ a hundred other students and teachers in the library, my thoughts were "Is this the worst of it, or has a nation wide attack just begun?..."

Personally, I have a few of these events… the first was probably the Challenger exploding in 1986 (I was in Mrs. Wikel’s social studies class when they told us). Next was the Berlin Wall tumbling down in 1989 (I was in my room, watching tv when the news broke—sadly, I missed the performance by The Hoff). I was in a Bible study at Lisa Turk’s house when we heard about the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. I was two blocks away from the tragedy when the Olympics were bombed in 1996. And in 2001, I was in a radio station, like you, watching it unfold live on tv.

Kourtney Kelley, now freshman at Carsen-Newman College, then a 8th grader at Oak Mountain middle school – I was on a school field trip at a camp during which the faculty and administration decided to hide the attacks from us so as to not upset us while we climbed walls, did trust falls and other team building exercises. I think they should have packed us all up and taken us back to the school because not only did we not know what was going on, our parents could not get a hold of us either. While the rest of the country watched it piece by piece, I had everything thrown at me at once as I stared at the TV screen of my room, alone and bewildered.

So, I wanted to know where you were. I’ve told you my story, which you can actually read much more
in depth here, a posting I actually wrote in 2002 after I visited Ground Zero 11 months after 9/11, and I put it this site last year at this time. It also features several people giving their story of where they were, including Stephanie’s.

Tyler Campbell, then a 7th grader, now a senior at Spain Park High School – I remember exactly where I was: 7th grade in Mr. Coker's English class. The day was going pretty good until some one came knocking on the door to turn the TV on. Something about the World Trade Centers being hit. I had no idea what the World Trade Centers were or where they were... I remember Mr. Coker explaining some it to us when we saw the 2nd airplane hit the other tower. The only thing I could think to do at that moment was to pray. I had no idea who these people were or what was really going on, but I knew it wasn’t good and that they needed God more than ever.

You know, its funny, that question. No other question can be asked to get the kind of response than “Where were you?” Everyone says almost the same thing, that they turned on the TV, saw the second plane, saw the towers fall and such… yet, everyone has a different take on it. Everyone on this page was at a different point in there life, some in college, some in high school, some were not parents then, maybe even not married, and yet, through this one tragic event, we were all united under a similar circumstance.

Brooke Smith, then student at Alabama, now reporter for NBC 13 – I was in bed…off at college at the University of Alabama. I was awakened by my mother’s frantic voice…”Our nation is under attack”. I woke up and turned on the news…just in time to see the second plane hit. My first thought was…this is it…WWIII. I went to class that day…some didn’t…some where thinking the same thing as me.

Cindy Warner, friend of mine from Valleydale – I was on my way back to Birmingham from a very early morning meeting and as I was coming back into Birmingham, the FAA had grounded all planes and they were just swarming over I-20 coming in to land at the airport. The wings were casting these spooky looking shadows over the interstate - it was very scary. I couldn't help but wonder if they were really going to land at the airport, or whether one was going to go crash into the SouthTrust or Harbert Plaza building downtown. Once I got back to my office, I watched, as most people did, in total amazement as the two towers came crashing down. I learned later that a good friend of mine, Pam West, had lost her New York firefighter boyfriend, Denis Germaine, 33, that day. He had just visited her in July and they had come over to our house for dinner. We had grilled steaks and sat out on our deck and talked for hours. Just three months later... he was gone. A true hero of 9/11, he had rushed into those buildings to save others. They never found him, nor any evidence of him. He just vanished that day in those buildings.

Many of the people that responded to my email I didn’t even know five years ago. Some I barely knew two years ago. And yet, out of everything, this is the one event that we all share. So here are the rest of the responses… some short, some long, some leading to lifelong decisions, others just leading to reflections and tears. Some of my favorite people in the world answer the question “Where were you when the world stopped turning?”

Paula Mackey, then dating Ken Mackey, now married to Ken Mackey – I was driving to Ga. for some job training at a big paper mill and when I heard the news, I hesitated on whether to turn around and come home closer to my children or not, but decided to go on. If I had seen this on TV, I would have chosen to go home. I was stunned and moved and inspired by those involved who were doing what they could in the midst of this tragedy. I realized how much I loved my then “boyfriend” and needed to make that commitment of marriage with him. We were engaged in Nov. 01 and married March 16th 2002 and Nicole was born that following November (My blessings that came from 9/11)

Paula Maddox, mother of one my kids in WalkAbout middle school drama – I was in my car driving to work listening to the Rick and Bubba show when Mark Prator said something just happened to one of the Twin Towers in New York. The one major memory that sticks out most, is the people who made the decision to jump out of the windows from the top of the towers. What despair they must have felt, what they must have felt to think that was what they needed to do to get away from the fire. The other will be the phone conversations from the towers or the planes to loved ones telling them good-bye.

Gary & Margie Eubanks, one of my most admired couples in the whole world – (Margie) We were getting ready for school/work and Gary's business partner called. I answered the phone, and he just said "Margie, turn on the TV. A plane just crashed into the twin towers". I thought it was a joke at first so I turned on the TV. We watched as the second planed crashed into the second tower. We saw it when they fell. We almost could not believe what we were seeing. A friend of ours was working in Manhattan that day. All we could do was pray.
(Gary) I remember seeing the images for the first time and although not understanding at the time the full scope of what was actually happening, I had this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that life wouldn't just go on as "normal" from this point forward. I also remembering questioning everyday things for a short period of time, like "Should we even take our kids to school-are they safe?" I showed my kids, Josh and Meagan (7 and 6) the footage of 9/11 for the first time several months ago...they do not fully grasp the magnitude of the disaster, and could not understand why someone would do that. They do not understand just yet how evil the ruler of this present world is! Praise God we know how the story ends!

Nikki Preede, then a friend from TSU and reporter at Fox 6, now a friend and reporter at WJXT in Jacksonville, FL – I was working the night shift at WBRC in Birmingham at the time so... I was sleeping. My mom called to tell me to turn on the TV... that a plane had just flown into the Twin Towers. This was really scary because 1) my dad was a commercial pilot and 2) I grew up just outside NYC and have friends that work in the Towers. At first, I was certain that it was some sort of crazy accident... then the 2nd plane hit the 2nd tower. I called my mom back and told her that I loved her... then I called in to work. It was a really long couple of days on the job... and I've never cried so much at work –

Ben Caver, then student and fledgling musician, now musician and fledgling firefighter - I was in class in Birmingham, AL when the first plane hit. I started getting messages from friends telling me to find a TV… I got up and turned it on just as the second plane hit. I didn't know what to think other than it just didn't seem real. I basically camped out with the news the rest of the day watching as much of everything as I could, wishing I were there. The whole day inspired me to start volunteering with my local fire dept and that has now grown into what I hope is a long career.

Jennifer Atchison Dale, friend of mine from TSU, now a WKRG news producer in Mobile, AL - At the time, I was producing the noon show. I was told to come on in if possible, a plane had crashed into the WTC and it was going to be a busy news day. I assumed it was some two-seater… and to my shame, I remember thinking, “At least I will have something to put in my show.” When I pulled into the parking lot, our assignment editor was getting out of his car. He yelled, “Another plane just hit the other tower!” I walked in, and we all stood in front of the bank of televisions watching the news. The worst moment was when the first tower collapsed. I heard screaming down the hall. Our sales manager's brother was inside. After the plane hit, he had called her to tell her he was fine, but he was the emergency director, or something similar, for his floor and had to get everyone out before he could leave. He died. You know something? When a hurricane is headed our way, the phones in the newsroom ring off the hook. I don't remember the phones ringing that day. For the next three days, no crime. Everyone was watching TV.

Matt Latta, then a student at Lee University, now married to Ginger and a new proud father - I will never forget how that day unfolded. I was beginning my sophomore year at Lee University and I lived in an apartment near the campus. Ginger was teaching some autistic children on campus that morning for part of her internship and she was going to come to my apartment at 9:30 for us to go to Tuesday chapel. I was still asleep that morning when my cell phone rang. I looked and saw that it was my mother. She told me that I better get up and turn on the TV, that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. Still kinda dazed, I went downstairs and turned it on Fox News to see what was going on. As soon as I started watching, the second plane flew into the towers and I knew that something was going on.
A few minutes later, Ginger walked in… She sat down with me and we watching in horror as the first tower collapsed, and then the second. We were completely stunned and didn't know what to do. While we didn't want to leave the TV, we felt like we really needed to go to chapel. We sat down with hundreds of frantic students, wondering what was going on and if everyone's families and friends were ok. We spent the hour praying, as a university, for everyone in New York and Washington and for our President.
When the service was over, I went to my Microbiology class… the teacher cancelled class so we all hurried home to watch the events unfold. I arrived back at my apartment to find my three roommates, all having just returned from US Marine Boot Camp over the summer packing their things thinking that they were about to be called into active duty.
The University had planned a candle-light vigil for that evening to pray again for the people involved and we felt compelled to attend. As I stood in the dark, holding a candle, listening to the prayers and songs of so many dedicated people crying out to God, somehow I knew we would be ok.
After the service, I rushed to my car to hear the President Bush's primetime speech on the radio, since I would not make it home in time to see it on TV. I will never forget the scene as I opened all of the doors of my car and people from all walks of life, many of us strangers to each other only moments before, began to crowd around the radio to hear our President tell of the day's events. It was like a scene from a movie- all of us joined together by our identity as Americans and as Christians.
I had a hard time falling asleep that night, yet somehow, through my anxious anger and heavy heart, I knew that God was in control. My roommates never got called into active duty, but we all knew we would never be the same. The world was a different place now.
As I sit here, five years later, holding my newborn daughter and thinking about that night I am overwhelmed with the same feelings I had that day. Sometimes I wonder what kind of world we have brought this precious child into. But then I am reminded that our God is greater than this world, and we have an amazing kingdom awaiting us after this world fades away. Thank God for perspective.
I think I might make this a yearly thing. Perhaps next year, I'll ask about twenty other people, and see what they have to say. Thanks for reading. We'll lighten the mood next time, I promise.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years Later: Today's Thoughts

Not like you can miss it.

Today, of course, is the 5th anniversary of the Attack on American Soil, and I've just finished watching ABC's behemoth "Path to 9/11", with 2 hours and 45 minutes last night, plus 2 1/2 hours tonight (not to mention a twenty minute speech from the Prez right in the middle of it). There were no commercials--I think that was because no one would sponsor it.

First, I have a lot I want to say... I have my thoughts on Clinton sending his lawyers to ABC to block airing the movie because he didn't like how he was portrayed, and there are thoughts on what went wrong and how stupid our government--Dubya included--can be...

...but I'll hold it for later. Not today. No politics today. Just thoughts on five years ago.

I've told the story before, but I'm sure I have a lot of new readers, at least five more now, so I'll share my little tale... I was working at Oldies 106.9 (first The Point, then The Eagle) with Rob & Shannon, who are now working at Magic 96. I was an intern producer, learning the ropes of the board and such, and we had just finished discussing old record albums with some guy from San Francisco (found out my King & I soundtrack vinyl record is worth about $8), when Ericka Woode, also then at Oldies 106.9 now back with Magic 96, called in and said "Hey guys... turn on the television. The World Trade Center is on fire."

We turned it on, and sure enough, there is one of the largest buildings in the world with smoke billowing out of the one of the top floors. Needless to say, no one was prepared for the plane that came along a few minutes later, crashing into Tower 2, and of course, what followed that morning. I won't get into all of it, because if you've watched any tv today, you've relived it already--and you should. I think a problem we are having in this country is we don't see images anymore. We don't see what happened, because "its too horrible... we need to heal... we need to not see those terrible things", while I contend that sometimes--maybe not often, maybe not all the time--but just sometimes, we need to be reminded what happened, why we are at war and what we went through.

That's all I will say about that, at least for now. What I do want to do, though, is give you some of my favorite 9/11 tributes. Entertainment Weekly did something on their page today, so I thought I would echo. Here are a few videos, books, shows and other things that I have really found introspective, informing, and just great.

"In Memoriam" on HBO. This is an amazing documentary. It chronicles the events as they happen, following Mayor Guiliani that morning as he, like the rest of the world, begins to realize how big the events are. Its pulled from 100+ sources, like audio, video, phots and such. Perhpas the most gut-wretching scene is the unknown man who is hanging out one of the top floors of the WTC. The fire is raging about 20 stories below him, and he's just waving a white towel, awaiting rescue. And the NYFD can do nothing, and they know it.

In one shot from a helicopter, you see a tower collapsing. The pilot is just shouting "It's gone! It's gone! HO-LY CRAP!!". Because its on HBO, you can already know some of the things you are see are very, very disturbing... and very, very real.

"United 93". Never has a movie pumped me up and ticked me off at the same time. This film is brilliant. I went to see it last April when it came out, all by myself, because I knew I couldn't watch it with anyone, not even Stephanie. It deals almost exclusively with United 93, and its passengers that took back the plane (crashing in Shanksville, PA), and the FAA. Some of the air traffic controllers and administrators actually play themselves, and even though you know the outcome, you are still just as shocked as everyone slowly discovers what is going on around them. And in one thing you've not seen, you see the terror in the terrorists eyes... they believe in what they are doing, but then again, they are still scared, especially when the passengers stage an uprising.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
You know the ending, but you get goosebumps anyway

And in a funny moment, if you can find one, one single passengers begs the other passengers to just sit, and perhaps talk to the hijackers, to understand whats going on... a total "just sit back and they'll leave us along" mentality. The funny part? The guy is French.

102 Minutes by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn... chronicles the 102 minutes that transpired between Tower 1 being hit, then it falling (Tower 2 was the 2nd to be hit, but the 1st to fall). It gives first person accounts of everyone from business people to police, fire and port authority officers, and great stories of survival, with heartbreaking stories of loss. One story that sticks out is Ed Beyua, who was confined to a wheelchair from a pre-existing medical condition, and was working on the 27th floor with his friend Abe. Abe could have left at any time... but stayed with his friend Ed. Because the elevators were down, there was no way for Ed to get out. They both died when the tower collapsed.

It gives you history of the towers, good and bad, and some of the problems that existed between the NYPD and the NYFD which was magnified with 9/11. There is a list in the back of people, people accounted for in the book that perished somehow in the towers, or in Tower 7, the Marriott hotel in between 1 and 2. Everytime I read a new name, I would flip to the back to see if they made it. Sometimes they did... sometimes they didn't, and when they didn't, you would read on to determine how they died. Sometimes in the blaze. Sometimes from jumping. Sometimes you'd read their last phone call to their loved one. While its an easy read, its not a breezy read.

"The Path to 9/11", on ABC. It should be available on iTunes in the very near future. Watched part 1 last night, part 2 tonight, and I gotta tell ya... its pretty good. To keep from playing politics, I'll only say thing... ABC has always contended this is a "dramatization of events, based on the 9/11 commission report, interviews and some parts have been fictionalized." And the left went nuts, because this movie does not portray the Clinton administration in a very good light.

The fact that NYTimes hated it, Washington Post said it was a factual mess and Clinton sued ABC to keep from airing it proves that you should see it. Yes, much of it was fictionalized... but the parts where we had chances to catch and/or kill bin Laden, but didn't due to the bumbling of Clinton's guys... yeah, that happened. The movie only shows it happening two or three times. It actually happened about 8 to 10 times. Not kidding.

Even if you don't agree with my assessment of Clinton, what the movie truly does is put the blame where it really belongs--on the terrorists. They are evil men who's only passion it to kill Americans because "its God's will", and that is truly frightening. And frighteningly true.

Of course, its okay to make a film called "Death of a President", where President Bush is assassinated--that's art--but don't you dare question the Clinton administration. That's hate speech. Wait, I'm talking politics...

"Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?" by Alan Jackson. It was one of the country music award shows, and Alan Jackson was slated to perform. I think it was October. He sat on a stool with his acoustic guitar, and sang this simple song. And it was moving. What I liked about it is that it pretty much represented everyone--it wasn't vengeful, it wasn't angry... it was just a ballad asking "Where were you?". Because we all know.

David Letterman's Monologue. In the first "Late Show with David Letterman" after the attacks, he quietly asks for our patience and indulgence as he starts just... well, talking out loud, really. It's known he's a liberal, but not this night. This night, he's a New Yorker, an American and he's upset and grieving. And I grieved with him.

and finally...

The Amazing Spiderman, issue #36. Commonly known as The World Trade Center issue, it's Marvel's response to the attack. They just stopped a cliffhanger storyline from #35 (they pick it back up in #37) and this issue was done in about a week. It shows Spiderman, perched atop a building, head in hands, overlooking the flaming rubble of both towers. He simply says one word: "...God..."

As he lands on the street to help, one woman screams at him "Where were you? How could you this happen?" And in just an instant, the powerful Spiderman is just like the rest of us... helpless to understand. And as Spiderman holds a little boy who sees his father being pulled from the rubble, dead, you feel helpless to do anything.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Even the cover, just plain black, is haunting

You see heroes like Captain American moving rubble, Daredevil pulling out survivors and Wolverine (wearing a FDNY hat) slicing through steel and wood, all ending witha tribute to the real heroes, the FDNY, NYPD and NYPA... I have two copies of this, one to save, one to read. Maybe it's just a little boy's silly comic book, but this one issue is more powerful than most 9/11 tributes that I've ever seen.

Coming Wednesday: Some of my best friends answer the question "Where were you on 9/11?"

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Politics & the Evening News

So, I found out that Rush Limbaugh is going to be on CBS' Evening News with Katie Couric tonight, in a segment called Free Speech". To watch Rush, I'm actually watching the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. Its entertaining how much I actually know about politics at this point, that I can actually shout back at the tv saying "That's crap and you know it!!" So I thought I'd keep a running diary.

531pm... Katie, 50, is still cute as a button. Not as cute as when she was hitting on me back in 2002.

532pm... Its a segment on the new tapes from Al-Qaeda. It shows Osama bin Laden from 2001, apparently working with the highjackers of the planes on 9/11, discussing with them what will happen on that day. How does the news spin it? "As President Bush is giving speeches on the war in terror, telling the country how we must stay the course, this new tape is a slap in the face of his rhetoric, like their own celebration of 9/11"

WHAT?? If anything, this should be a reminder of what's going on. WE ARE IN A WAR WITH PEOPLE WHO WANT TO KILL you, me, Tommy McLeod, Paris Hitlon, Michael Nipp & his family, Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Sean Hannity and anyone else who is an American. What is it that you liberals don't get? You're a bunch of idiots.

534pm... A segment on how President Bush's support is waning, even in southern states. They do interviews in Jackson, NC, where a Marine base is located, giving the town a heavy military presence... one guy, a soldier is not asked "What do you think about the war and President Bush?", but instead is asked "Do you think the war is going badly?" The guy answers "No, I think we should stay there until we finish the job". A waitress is asked "Do you support the President?" She hesitates and then says "Yes, I do." The reporter asks "Five years ago, would you have hestitated?" What?

Next, they talk to a retired Marine officer who says plainly he doesn't support the president, he thinks the President has made too many mistakes. You know what? I don't agree, but I can respect that... but then the reporter asks him "How will plan on voting?" and the Marine says," I've been voting Republican all my life, but I'm voting straight Democrat this time around" WHAT??? WHAT??? You actually think having the Dems in power is going to make things better? Holy crap... I feel like I need to go kick a tree or something. While he is a soldier, and I honor his military service, I have to say either this guy is the biggest idiot in North Carolina or he's lying through his teeth. I personally think the latter.

537pm... So, a New York Times/CBS Poll now says that President Bush's approval rating is down to 36%, and that his handling of war effort is down to 30% agreeable. New York Times & CBS Poll? You mean the paper that has spilled military secrets, twice, and the CBS News, who knowingly ran a false anti-Bush story days before the election in 2004? Yeah, thats reliable. Believe that.

538pm... Richard Armitage is talking. For those of you who missed this story, let me tell you... In 2004, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward uncovered that there was a leak in the government, and that a CIA agent's identity was revealed. Normally, this would be a bad thing, because most are covert, possible overseas, and having the name revealed could endanger not just that agent's life, but the lives of others and the mission. So, Valerie Plame was the agent, and her husband Joe Wilson went crazy, touting a theory that Bush's administration leaked it in retaliation for Wilson's writing of a NYT column saying his study found that intelligence that led us to war in Iraq was false (which we find out later that Wilson was full of crap, and his sources were as useful as a poopy flavored lollipop, but thats another column)

Okay, so Patrick Fitzgerald, special counsel from Chicago, is given the case and the investigation as to who outed a covert CIA agent. Over the next year, 2005, Fitzgerald goes after Scooter Libby, who is VP Cheney's chief of staff, and Karl Rove, counsel to the President. After trying FIVE times to find a jury that would indict Scooter Libby, he finally pools a jury to get an indictment on obstruction of justice and perjury--remember, an indictment is a charge, not a conviction, though according to Democrats, it might as well have been. Bob Woodward tells Fitzgerald that the source who revealed Valerie's name was not Scooter Libby. Fitzgerald still charges him with it. After five different testimonies, Karl Rove is not indicted.

Keep in mind, that Joe Wilson is a moron who has completely fabricated all his "pre-war" research, we learn that Valerie Plame was not only never a covert agent, but mostly an office worker, and that by trying five times to find a jury to indict Libby, Fitzgerald is totally breaking the law--of course, this is the same Fitzgerald who gave oodles of money to John Kerry (who served in Vietnam) Presidential Campaign.

Well, lo and behold, former Deputy Sec. of State, Richard Armitage, announces he was the one who leaked the name. Wow! Should we charge him? Of course not.

We went from "Scooter Libby and Karl Rove did this! Those Republicans! They did this because Joe Wilson wrote something bad about Bush--throw them in jail! Throw away the key! You can't out a CIA agent!" all the way to "Oh... Armitage did it? He's not a part of the Bush administration anymore... he can't do us any good. Oh, well, okay then. No harm done. But... we're still going after Libby!" I wish I were kidding.

540pm... Great. Silver fillings are safe. But the FDA says it needs to be studied more. Perhaps they should just release a list of the four things that cannot do you any harm.

543pm... So there is a shot for teenagers called the HPV Vaccine. It protects girls from cervical cancer... doctors are recommending girls get it between 9 and 12... to get it before they become sexually active. Sigh. I miss innocence.

550pm... Here's Rush. His point is simply this... For those of you who want to try diplomacy, tell me, how do you negotiate with people who's starting point is wanting to kill us? Peace follows victory.

Plain and simple... if you believe in the Democratic values right now, that means you are invested in the defeat of American, and you would rather see President Bush take a dive than see the US win the war on terror. Debate me on this. I dare you.

553pm... Illegal drug use among teenagers is going down... but with baby boomers? Its going up.

556pm... Chicago's Schaumberg Flyers is a minor league team that has allowed the fans to create the lineup. Democracy on the diamond. Its part of an expirament, and is on video for a web based reality show. And the manager doesn't really like it.

559pm... And that's the way we here at CBS spin the news and give you what we want you to hear... doom, gloom we suck, the President is creating terrorists, before 2001 there was no threat to anyone, and so on.

Okay, so, if you are anxious about the upcoming elections, you should be. Let me give you what will happen if the Democrats win the House back... Impeachment. Impeachment. Impeachment. Impeachment. Investigations. Investigations. Investigations. Hearings. Hearings. Hearings. Impeachement.

Tell you what... if you are on the fence, thinking "Man, I want to support the Presdient, but he's just sucking it up right now... maybe Democrats will do a better job of this whole thing" or maybe you are thinking "I'm voting emocrat unless I get a good reason to vote otherwise" or even "I'm voting Republican, but its only because I can't vote Democrat in good faith" (which, admittedly, is partly me), don't decide yet...

Make sure you read this blog the week before the election. I'm working on a four or five part series of how the Democrats have screwed up this country, with hard facts and links of how you can read for yourself. ... and we'll start with Jimmy Carter, the lamest of them all, and we'll make sure we cover Bill Clinton, which is possibly the worst president we've ever had. Then, with what you'll know by then, you can decide who to vote for.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Yes, Hank Jr, I'm Ready for Some Football


I'm so happy.

Football is here. Its September. Give it another month or so, I'll be wearing long sleeve t-shirts with my shorts, the average temperature will be around 65 or so, and the games will just get bigger and bigger.

I watched South Carolina beat up on Mississippi State on Thursday--it wasn't a great game, because the final score was 15-0 and probably should have been 35-0, but Carolina isn't all that great either. No, it was that State is terrible... simply terrible. I'm glad that Sylvester Croom is there, I think give him three or four years (which MSU is going to do) and I have no doubt that State will be in a bowl game (of course, in three or four years, everyone but Vanderbilt will be a bowl game), but right now, they are just terrible. It was fun to watch, I was happy college football was back, but it was Thursday, not Saturday. Not the same.

Well, earlier today, I had to move a washing machine. Well, much earlier, I worked at Starbucks, but afterwards, I coordinated with my dad-in-law, Ron Campbell, to rid the Dollar duo (dos pesos?) of our old machine and then pick up a new one. I won't say where, or who, we got it from, because they gave us a really good deal on a new washer, and I don't want those expectations to be set for somone else, but finally, no more washing clothes at our in-laws house, or next door at the apartment laundramat.

We got the washer in and installed just in time to see the beginnings of Tennessee's throttling of California. I'll admit it, I picked Cal to win it. But, as much as I don't like Fulmer, UT has been absolutely dominating of Cal today.. though I don't know if that's because Tennessee is better than anyone thought (which the announcers are saying) or if that Cal, ranked 9th (at least 'til Monday), just isn't that good.

Auburn scares me. Three of the last four openers have been poops. Twice to USC, then last year to Georgia Tech (which the announcers keep bring up, over and over and over)... I mean, they beat La-Monroe, but then again, both Lattas, myself and Mikey Nipp could do that. That was the year they were robbed of a chance to play USC for the title (admit it, Bama faithful... no, they probably wouldn't have won... but they deserved to be there).

Anyway, the Tigers are ranked highly, the media is going nuts over them, they are 12-1 odds to win not just the SEC, but the whole shebang... Notre Dame and Ohio State are the only ones with better odds. And Washington State is pretty crappy. And all this is to say, this is the perfect opener for Auburn to just lay a big steamer on the 50 yard line, then go on a 11-0 tear, win the SEC, but be denied a chance to play Texas (yes, I said it) for a chance to win the national champion because of this one night. Maybe I'm wrong.

As I type this, Washington State leads Auburn 7-6 at the end of the first quarter. I think I'll go test my reflexes with a brick.

I've been an Auburn fan since 1986. I moved to Alabama, from Texas (which explains my allegiance to Texas), in October of 1984. About six weeks later, Bama won the Iron Bowl, as they did in 1985 (thank you Van Tiffin). By 1986, I realized I had to claim sides, one or the other. I didn't understand that yes, you could actually be a Gators fan, or a Georgia Bulldogs fan or whatever, what I understood was that my 6th grade class was divided down the middle, and I had to go to one or the other, whether I even cared or not. So, I declared the winner of the next Iron Bowl to be my team of choice. Auburn won 21-17, thank you Lawyer Tillman, so there you go.

I will say this, though... it took years, perhaps decades to fully understand--or maybe see a glimpse of--the history of the two teams. I read Warren St. John's "Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer", and in just that book, I realized how deep the Bama faithful run... deep. So, I can only say this... while I think Alabama fans cam be obnoxious, though not to Tennessee's caliber, I respect the heritage. I'll never, ever, ever say "Roll Tide" and mean it, but I think I have a deeper respect for Bama's history than I do Auburn's. Of course, Alabama has 12 titles to draw from, while Auburn really, truly only has the last 15 to 20 years or so to claim as "history", because really, they've had that to be proud of.

It didn't help that I married into a Bama family. Stephanie went there, her sister, her dad, her little bro Tyler has considered it. My connection to Auburn? 1986. War Eagle.

I went to Troy State, of course, so I've learned the easy thing to do is just holler "Go Troy!" Unfortunately, Alabama and Auburn won't play Troy, especially after their trouncing of Missouri in 2004--which was the greatest college game I've ever seen. I would say "live", but besides Troy games, I've only seen Auburn play Arkansas and Alabama play Ole Miss, and thats it. Being in the student section of the Bama game, though, was pretty awesome. I didn't say "Roll Tide" then either, but I cheered them on (mostly because I picked them over Ole Miss in the DFC, but also to impress Amy Wible, my date that night). Oh, I got to see the Iron Bowl in 2000, that offensive slugfest that Auburn won, on the frozen tundra of Bryant-Denny.

The Troy/Mizzu game also led to my ticking off Eli Gold at Starbucks... after the Troy game, Eli goes on and on about "yes, they beat Missouri, but they still stink... blah blah blah..." so when he came into Starbucks one night, I asked him about it. "Why you gotta be all up on Troy, man? Let them enjoy their night," I said. He got mad and left. Made me smile.

Yes, I root for the Gators. And the Ducks. Not a fan of Ohio State. I personally think UAB is a joke (yes, they beat Troy, but still...). I only root for FSU or Miami if the situation suits me. I can handle Michigan, and can deal with Notre Dame, though I'd root against them easily, especially tonight, as I cheer for the Ramblin' Wreck to beat the Fightin' Irish (that is a whole lotta gold on the field, though). And I think Coach Fran is an absolute pud. So I easily cheer against Texas A&M.

I almost opened up my window hearby just to feel the fall breeze. Then I remember its only September 1st, it still a blamy 88 degrees outside, and there is no fall breeze. Not until September 20th, anyway.


I love football.