Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Survivorman scouts out Africa

Les Stroud has posted another blog entry giving us some details on his scouting mission to Africa (after which he stayed somewhere around here). He's looking for two locations for an episode a piece. Interesting that most documentaries are within fenced areas (to keep the animals in and poachers out). Never thought of Africa as having a lot of fences.

The encounter with the snake was a bit creepy. Not being a fan of snakes made it a bit hard to read, but I am glad everythign turned out well.
Here's hoping the episode goes well too.

Oh, side note, the Forums are now open on the Les Stroud site. Yeah!

Where are you Asha?

Asha Degree went missing February 14, 2000 from Shelby, North Carolina. Yvonne and I had the unfortunate chance of living in Shelby at the time. Very scary stuff when something like this happens so close to home.

(age 10, around the time of her disappearance)

Yvonne taught at the school Asha attended and one of her good friends was Asha’s teacher. She took it hard. Real hard. And I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Yvonne gets a call in the next 2 or 3 weeks from her friend.

(age 14, after age progression)

What really upsets me about this case are two particular things, the night she disappeared and the media.

The night she disappeared, there was a storm in the county. Some say she left the house because she was afraid, but that makes no sense to me. Her father last saw her in bed at 2:30 am. No big deal there. But the fact that a motorist saw her walking along the road at 4 am strikes me as disturbing. A ten year old girl, walking along the road, at 4 am. Would you not call the cops or stop yourself to see if she’s alright? She was alone and you didn’t think to say something? Does Fallston Road (aka Route 18) look like a place for a little girl to be walking alone? I’m not sure how these witnesses are sleeping these days, but I can only hope they’ve made peace with themselves and the Degree family.

The media is the other aspect of the case that disturbs me. We’ve progressed a lot since 2000 in our technology and in the reporting of missing children via Amber Alerts. But why does the media continue to focus on missing children that are white? Yes, Shelby is a rural area that some may think of as a little on the racist side. But in my experience, they didn’t really care what race you were. Whites and blacks got along just fine. The only prejudice I experienced was religious. If you weren’t a Baptist, they tended to look down on you. So I don’t see this story as being “forgotten” by the media of the area.

In fact, I remember the local paper (The Shelby Star) as covering the story quite frequently. But the national media never picked up on it much. What a shame that a white girl can go missing while on vacation at the beach in a foreign country and garners more attention that a little black girl walking down the road by herself.

I’ll end this public service announcement with a final link to the Asha Degree and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children sites. Interesting that the later has a link to Heroes star Hayden Panettiere (the cheerleader) doing a promo for Teen Online Safety site 2SMRT4U.

Pledge on a Shower Curtain

So, three weeks ago, I was cleaning our bathroom before going to work (about the only perk to working the late shift) and I was dusting things here and there as there isn't much to dust in a bathroom.

Anyway, I made a discovery (S. C. Johnson, feel free to send me some free Pledge).

Pledge works as a great lubricant on the shower curtain rod.

We have a standard two-part curtain where the inner section is the waterproof vinyl and the outer section is the decorative curtain. These hang from the fancy brushed nickel hooks and slide on a basic curtain rod.

Well, the damn hooks always provide some resistance when opening or closing them. I think it's a combination of the intense humidity and the metal on plastic that causes some sort of increased friction.

Well, I decided the rod needed dusting and the curtain has been sliding like greased lightning since. I love it.

And the dork in me lost the argument. I was going to make a video of my discovery but decided not to. Sorry Dorky Me.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Major Heroes Post

So, watched Heroes this morning via old-school DVR (that's VHS). Combine that with a little research, I give you, the oddest Heroes post I've made to date.

1. The graphic novels - I keep harping about these things folks because they're good. Real good. The latest one (released today) continues with the story of the radiation guy (aka Exploding Man or Ted Sprague). We learn more about the hypo-gun (this causes the marks on the neck) and the potential of another group may be searching for the Heroes (meaning somebody besides the Horned Rim Glasses guy and his crew).

2. How many groups - We learn from yesterday's episode that there is at least two groups searching for the Heroes. Horned Rim Glasses (HRG) guy and his goons from the Agency Without Initials (AWI). Added to this group was Hiro's father (played by Mr. Sulu).

3. How many Heroes - We were introduced to Claude (the Invisible Man) and Meredith (Flaming Finger Lady) who is Claire's mother. And the previews for next week gave us a taste that Clarie's father might also have special powers.

4. Primatech Paper - Primatech (where HRG is employed) actually has a web site (operated by GE, the parent of NBC). Call the number and enter the code under the employment section. You'll get an email like this:

And they have another site. This will link you to several blogs, including Zach, Sylar, Svetlana, Nikki, Mohinder, Claude, Mr. Muggles, Isaac, Mr. Bennet, Claire, and Brody.

Yikes, quite a collection of stuff to digest there.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Battlestar Galactica and Credit Reports

Sunday Night TV

What the frak is going on with BSG? Seriously. I've seen more action in the sack from the pilots than I've seen in space. Let's just take Baltar and Caprica Six and shove them in a room with the four lovers. Whoever comes out wins. There's a match-up worth watching.

By the Gods I didn't sign on to watch a love square (there are four of them), I signed on to watch a science fiction show with space battles and bad guys that look like us.


And The Dresden Files isn't making my Sunday night viewing any better. A magical detective guy sounded neat at first, but after two episodes, yuck. Double yuck.

And 7th Heaven isn't helping either. I loved the show and grew up on it, but it's becoming a bit too much of a political platform lately. And none of the original crew is there (meaning the kids).

Credit Reports

I got my credit report from two of the three agencies today (for some reason TransUnion didn't like me). And things look quite good. I took a financial class today (free from work) and didn't exactly learn anything new, but got some motivation to do something about the monkey on my back called debt.

I've signed up for two more classes, so hopefully I'll get something more out of them besides the motivation.

Anyway, things are looking up. Heroes is on tonight! WOOT!!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

My Psuedo-Family Crest

Here's my family crest. Or at least what I thought it was for one of my high school classes (circa 1993). The swords were likely because I liked swords and was heavy into reading R. A. Salvatore. The Mickey Mouse ears are completely foreign, no idea where they came from. The flags (Scotland, Norway, and Ireland) are obviously my heritage. The Star of David is ancestral as well, but nothing I observe. And the "Rich But Burnt" banner was the best I could come up with for my last name (Richard becomes RICH-CHARRED, like "charred from a fire").

Les Stroud in the Amazon

As I sit here at my cube on a Sunday afternoon, I wonder what life would be like if I had made different choices in life. Like, if I had learned that my some-time hero as a child (Richard Dean Anderson) bicycled across Canada as a teenager. Would I have done something similar to discover myself? Would I have taken an interest in the outdoors more and looked for a job in that arena?

Well, we can dwell in the past, but we must excel into the future.

On that note, the fans of Les Stroud can finally read about his latest adventure into the jungles of the Amazon where snakes are just as dangerous as the local tribes.

You can read more here about his trip, but I'll give you the highlights.

He's taking the following supplies:
  • 3 feet of fishing line
  • one can of soda
  • one match
  • fire "dust" [not exactly sure what this is]
  • mosquito hat
  • multi-tool
  • dugout canoe
  • blowgun*
  • machete*
  • spear*
*The last three items are included so he can "live like the tribesmen."

He's in Ecuador.
There are vampire bats that pee on him.
He leaves his camp on the night of the sixth day (early by his standards) because of a jaguar.

Thanks Les for doing what the rest of us are too afraid to do. And thanks for being intelligent about it too.

Not like that idiotic Man vs. Wild guy. Now there's proof that natural selection isn't working.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Yes, son, blacks can be racist-edited-

Today's paper had a rather disturbing article about the local NAACP President, Mozett Petway, confronting the Spotsylvania County leaders about the lack of basketball courts in the county's parks. Apparently of the seven parks in the county, only two have basketball courts.

That wasn't the disturbing part.

Petway said the black community favors basketball to most other sports and this failure to include more courts could be perceived as as an attempt to exclude blacks.

Um, can you say WHAT THE FUCK!?

Are you nuts?

Seriously, are you?

To think that a county or its leaders would purposely not add basketball courts in an attempt to exclude blacks from using the parks is insane. The easiest answer (and likely the only answer) the county didn't include the courts is because people like you didn't give them enough money to build them. If the basketball courts are that important to you, get some friends together at the NAACP, get donations, and build one. Or seven.

Mr. Petway, while I doubt you'll ever read this, I would seriously like to thank you for further proving that as I grow older, more militant, black-Americans like you are giving the rest of your race a bad name. It's because of people like you that I, as a white-American, face prejudice and racism in society.

Just look at the NAACP. You don't even need to look at the actions this group takes, just look at it's name. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. COLORED people. If I called you "colored," I'd likely be sued. With February approaching, we, as a nation, are about to celebrate Black History Month. When can we celebrate White History Month? -edited-

That would be racist.

Just as racist as all the others. If we want to live in an equal society, where race and gender do not matter, then we need to live life that way.

Don't cause a ruckass because there are too few basketball courts in the county. That's like saying there's not enough baseball fields for the Latinos. Or not enough Bocce courts for the Italians. Or enough go kart tracks for the rednecks. Or enough golf courses for the businessmen.

Mr. Petway, I sincerely hope that you retract your statement. It was clearly meant to be inflammatory. That's fine. But to make a racist comment and claim unfair treatment because of your race? Well, as Mr. Wu of Deadwood would say, you're nothing but a "cocksucka."

And one final note before I blow my top any further. Below are two athletes that share your last name, Mr. Petway. Yes, the first plays basketball, but isn't it odd that one actually played for the Negro League (that's baseball in case you didn't know).

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I'm a Heroes junky

I love Heroes. I know, it's likely more a case of "teenage lust" than "adult love" but I enjoy it.

So for those that don't already know, Heroes has a graphic novel. Decently done, and available a day or so after the episode airs. Which means you can get a little extra info between episodes.

Anyway, the latest comic introduces Wireless and the Exploding Man. And I happened to stumble onto the Heroes Wiki, a great source for fans.

Not mine, but funny

I never dreamed slowly cruising on my motorcycle through a residential
neighborhood could be so incredibly dangerous! Little did I suspect.

I was on Brice Street - a very nice neighborhood with perfect lawns
and slow traffic. As I passed an oncoming car, a brown furry missile
shot out from under it and tumbled to a stop immediately in front of

It was a squirrel, and must have been trying to run across the road
when it encountered the car. I really was not going very fast, but
there was no time to brake or avoid it -- it was that close. I hate to
run over animals, and I really hate it on a motorcycle, but a squirrel
should pose no danger to me.

I barely had time to brace for the impact. Animal lovers, never fear.
Squirrels, I discovered, can take care of themselves!
Inches before impact, the squirrel flipped to his feet. He was
standing on his hind legs and facing my oncoming Valkyrie with
steadfast resolve in his beady little eyes.

His mouth opened, and at the last possible second, he screamed and
leapt! I am pretty sure the scream was squirrel for, "Bonzai!" or
maybe,"Die you gravy-sucking, heathen scum!" The leap was nothing short of

He shot straight up, flew over my windshield, and impacted me squarely
in the chest. Instantly, he set upon me. If I did not know better, I
would have sworn he brought 20 of his little buddies along for the

Snarling, hissing, and tearing at my clothes, he was a frenzy of
activity. As I was dressed only in a light T-shirt, summer riding
gloves, and jeans this was a bit of a cause for concern. This furry
little tornado was doing some damage!

Picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in
jeans, a T-shirt, and leather gloves, puttering at maybe 25 mph down a
quiet residential street, and in the fight of his life with a

And losing...

I grabbed for him with my left hand. After a few misses, I finally
managed to snag his tail. With all my strength, I flung the evil
rodent off to the left of the bike, almost running into the right curb
as I recoiled from the throw. That should have done it. The matter
should have ended right there.

It really should have.

The squirrel could have sailed into one of the
pristinely kept yards and gone on about his business, and I could have
headed home. No one would have been the wiser. But this was no
ordinary squirrel. This was not even an ordinary angry squirrel.

Somehow he caught my gloved finger with one of his little hands and,
with the force of the throw, swung around and with a resounding thump
and an amazing impact, he landed squarely on my BACK and resumed his
rather antisocial and extremely distracting activities. He also
managed to take my left glove with him! The situation was not
improved. Not improved at all.

His attacks were continuing, and now I could not reach him. I was
startled, to say the least. The combination of the force of the throw,
only having one hand (the throttle hand) on the handlebars, and my
jerking back unfortunately put a healthy twist through my right hand
and into the throttle. A healthy twist on the throttle of a Valkyrie
can only have one result.


This is what the Valkyrie is made for, and she is very, very good at
it. The engine roared and the front wheel left the pavement. The squirrel
screamed in anger. The Valkyrie screamed in ecstasy. I screamed in ..
well .. I just plain screamed.

Now picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in
jeans, a slightly squirrel-torn t-shirt, wearing only one leather
glove, and roaring at maybe 50 mph and rapidly accelerating down a
quiet residential street on one wheel, with a demonic squirrel of
death on his back.

The man and the squirrel are both screaming bloody murder. With the
sudden acceleration I was forced to put my other hand back on the
handlebars and try to get control of the bike.

This was leaving the mutant squirrel to his own devices, but I really
did not want to crash into somebody's tree, house, or parked car.
Also, I had not yet figured out how to release the brain
was just simply overloaded. I did manage to mash the back brake, but
it had little effect against the massive power of the big cruiser.

About this time the squirrel decided that I was not paying sufficient
attention to this very serious battle (maybe he was an evil mutant
NAZI attack squirrel of death), and he came around my neck and got
INSIDE my full-face helmet with me.

As the faceplate closed part way, he began hissing in my face. I am
quite sure my screaming changed intensity. It had little effect on the
squirrel, however. The RPMs on the Dragon maxed out (since I was not
bothering with shifting at the moment), so her front end started to

Now picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in
jeans, a very raggedly torn T-shirt, wearing only one leather glove,
roaring at probably 80 mph, still on one wheel, with a large puffy
squirrel's tail sticking out of the mostly closed full-face helmet. By
now the screams are probably getting a little hoarse.

Finally I got the upper hand ... I managed to grab his tail again,
pulled him out of my helmet, and slung him to the left as hard as I
could. This time it worked ... sort-of.
Spectacularly sort-of to speak.

Picture a new scene. You are a cop. You and your partner have pulled
off on a quiet residential street and parked with your windows down to
do some paperwork.

Suddenly a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in
jeans, a torn T-shirt flapping in the breeze, and wearing only one
leather glove, moving at probably 80 mph on one wheel, and screaming
bloody murder roars by, and with all his strength throws a
live squirrel grenade directly into your police car.

I heard screams.

They weren't mine...

I managed to get the big motorcycle under control and dropped the
front wheel to the ground. I then used maximum braking and skidded to
a stop in a cloud of tire smoke at the stop sign of a busy cross
street. I would have returned to 'fess up (and to get my glove back).
I really would have.

Really... Except for two things.

First, the cops did not seem interested or the slightest bit concerned
about me at the moment. When I looked back, the doors on both sides of
the patrol car were flung wide open. The cop from the passenger side
was on his back, doing a crab walk into somebody's front yard, quickly
moving away from the car. The cop who had been in the driver's seat
was standing in the street, aiming a riot shotgun at his own police
car. So, the cops were not interested in me. They often insist to "let the
professionals handle it" anyway.

That was one thing. The other?

Well, I could clearly see shredded and flying pieces of foam and
upholstery from the back seat. That is one dangerous squirrel. And now
he has a patrol car. A somewhat shredded patrol car
but it was all his.

I took a deep breath, turned on my turn-signal, made a gentle right
turn off of Brice Street, and sedately left the neighborhood. I
decided it was best to just buy myself a new pair of gloves. And a
whole lot of Band-Aids.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Potomac Elementary School, King George, VA

Can you tell I'm busy at work today?

Now that I've jinxed myself, I scanned this old photo from the days of yore. It's Ms. Francis' First Grade class at Potomac Elementary School in King George, VA. Time frame is October of 1982. From the surrounding landscape, I'd say this was taken behind the school (the furthest side from the front doors of the time) on one of the soccer fields. If I recall correctly, there was nothing out there but open field. The playground didn't come in until a few years later, and that would have been closer to the school from my best guess.

I've named as many people as I could, but they are garunteed names nor spellings. Old age tends to make you forget things that were vitally important years ago. Like who the guy is sitting in front of you in class.

Anyway, if anybody out there finds this and knows who these people are, please feel free to send me an email.

Front Row (l to r) Unknown, Unknown, Jeff Orsalack [confirmed, I know I spelled it wrong, but it's close]

Middle Row (l to r) Kara Farrington [I think], Unknown, Unknown, Sean Gates [confirmed], Neil Richard [that's me], Jason Nance (Bryant) [I think this is him, his last name changed at some point]

Back Row (l to r) Sarah Simpson [now Sarah Snow], Vicky Tannenbaum [I think, last name may be spelled wrong too], Unknown, Unknown, Lenny McLelland [later commited suicide, last name may be spelled wrong], Anita Davis [I think last name could be White], Unknown

Family history

Why is it that "genealogy" is so hard to spell? Why can't it be as easy as "family history?"

Anyway, I've been slowly scanning what I can since I discovered the copy machine at work will scan and email as PDF attachments AND I got a scanner on my desk to use for troubleshooting issues related to our software.

Makes it a heck of a lot easier to scan here than at home.

Anyway, I found a blast from the past for all you Lesters out there. The June 1980 Lester Olympics II.

Cinda (sorry, "cinda" - must be a bad day for capitalization too), I'll be sending you copies for you to distribute among the rest of the Lester clan. Mom, you'll get a copy too, shouldn't be too large.

Ultrasound pictures

Went back to the OB doc today with Yvonne. I skipped the "girly" part but went back for the second ultrasound. And since work was kind enough to supply me with a scanner, I've scanned the images in. The scanner didn't eat them, but didn't scan them straight, so the corners are nicked off do to cropping. Everything was fine, heartbeat looked good. We go back next month to hear the heartbeat and will take Elizabeth with us.

This was January 4th.

This was today.

Memes, are they for you?

So Epheros has thrown down a challenge that I've decided to accept. I'm not much of a fan of memes, but they do provide some interesting info about the person answering the questions. I just usually don't open up much.

So Epheros, challenge accepted.

1. Elaborate on your default icon: It's currently a self portrait that I photo-shopped with mustache and beard (a la Captain Morgan style). The photo was taken back when we lived in Shelby, NC.

2. What's your current relationship status? Married for 6 years. My level of happiness varies from day to day.

3. Ever have a near-death experience? Depends on how you define "near death." I've lifted a body in a body bag once, that was not fun. But the closest I've come to death (that I can remember) would be a tie between my bike accident as a kid (I blacked out) and the car accident I was in as a kid (again, I blacked out). Again, not fun.

4. Name an obvious quality you have: Organized to a near-Monk level.

5. What's the name of the song that's stuck in your head right now? I'm currently removing the Umpa Lumpa song from my head by listening to Eminem.

6. Name a celebrity you would, in a fantastical hypothetical world, like to get to know. Bill Gates or Warren Buffett. I don't know much about them, but they do give a lot of their money away. Something I would do if I were rich.

7. Who will cut and paste this first? Probably nobody.

8. Has anyone ever said you look like a celebrity? Yes, Neil Patrick Harris. Odd that we have the same first name.

9. Do you wear a watch? Yes, but on the wrong wrist. Most right-handed people wear their watch on their left wrist. I wear mine on my right.

10. Do you have anything pierced? Yes, mt left earlobe. I did a bit of a social experiment at work to see if anyone would notice. Surprisingly they did. Haven't worn an earring on a regular basis since college (circa 1995).

11. Do you have any tattoos? Yes. Two, one on each shoulder blade. Left side is the Rebel symbol, right side is the Imperial symbol. I'm considering another one.

13. Do you like to shop? I grew up as a mall-rat, so that's an obvious yes.

14. What was the last thing you paid for with cash? A soda from the machine at work. Although, I guess that was just a quarter, so maybe it doesn't count. Before that, lunch at McDonalds last Monday. 4 piece Happy Meal (for Elizabeth), 2 double cheeseburgers, 1 medium fry, and 1 small Coke. Total cost was $7.62.

15. What was the last thing you paid for with your credit card? Hang on, let me check, it was gas at Sheetz on Saturday. 12 gallons for $24.95.

16. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone? My wife (Yvonne), this morning to find out if I was at the doctor's office yet. I was.

17. What is on your desktop background? Currently the two guys from Psych.

18. What is the background on your cell phone? Elizabeth from this summer. I should really update it.

19. What was the last movie you watched? Completely, would be Die Hard. Still haven't finished Click yet.

20. What was the last book you read? Currently reading Conquistador by S. M. Stirling. But the last one I finished was The Mystery Box by Gordon McAlpine.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Are you okay?

If you have to ask, then the answer is no.

Why, by the Light, do I put so much pressure on myself to do the right thing. I don't want to hurt her feelings, but I know if I talk about it, we'll end up arguing about it, which means nothing will be done about it. I'm feeling used and abused. Things were going great. Better than great. I should have known it would rear its ugly head and make itself known to the world again. By not talking about it, I can only hope it will go away, that things will work themselves out again. I really don't want to go back to where I was all that time ago. It sucked, it blew, it was a serious ratfuck. I can't help it that I have unnatural desires. I've done my best to ask God for forgiveness but he continues to test me. Maybe I should stop praying to him and pray to Jesus instead. I tried and it didn't' work. Maybe Buddha will answer my calls. The Wheel weave as the Wheel wills. And I can't get my little thread to move beyond an average person. In fact, I've decided that's my curse in life. Some people can be average and get along fine in the world. They make little ripples in the Weave but nothing major. Me, I'm not average, I'm terribly average. Which means this ratfuck of a life doesn't make so much as a ripple when a damn elephant sits on me. My little thread is nothing more than a speck of dust on the tiniest flea on some horses ass. I've also figured out that the time of the Devil is not midnight, or even 1 am (as the 13th hour). No it's 11:34 at night. Why? Because that's when all the crap from the day decides to hit you so damn hard you end up trying to cry yourself to sleep. And when that doesn't work, you end up going tot he living room to read for so damn long your eyes have no choice but to fall like leaden weights as soon as you hit the bed. Nightmares don't matter at 11:34, because when you turn it upside down, you get the word HELL. And that's what it is, Hell. The beauty is asleep and the beast is stirring. No wonder they cancelled that show. It never could have worked between them. Well, fuck the critics, I want this to work. I've put so much of my soul into this, it has to work. I'm not bloody giving up on this freak show just yet. It has to end happily ever after. Maybe I am like an onion with so damn many layers and a bit of an ogre like Shrek, but who the frak cares. I just want it. And I don't want to be used. Christ, will this ever end? Buddha, do you have any words of wisdom? What about the flaming Light? Blood and ashes, I'm sick of this crap. No I'm not okay, and no I don't want to talk about it. Leave me the fuck alone before I ball my eyes out like a little girl and get so damn pissed off I can't see straight. If you have any questions, go call somebody who cares.

Monday, January 22, 2007


So last night I had a bizarre dream about three young women coming into the bathroom while I was using it. It was a public bathroom and I was in a stall (standing, not sitting) and they kept trying to push the door open. Then they decided to peak over the wall and say "Gross" before going to the mirror to put their make-up on.

I didn't care so much that they came into the bathroom. And I didn't even care that they peaked over the wall. But they kept pushing the door and that makes it hard to aim.

Anyway, Nel and Zevina and their friend were not on my friends list after that. And no, I don't know who Nel and Zevina are, but those were the names on their name tags.

In other news, we got some snow yesterday and ice last night. I wasn't too concerned about the snow, but the forecast for ice had me a bit worried. -edited-

-edited-By afternoon they had treated our road (with sand, not salt), but it was drivable enough to get some lunch at McDonald's. Yvonne promised Elizabeth lunch there since she (meaning Elizabeth) went poopy on the pottie.

And it was nice to stay home and get things done. We cleaned off the desk and I finally got it dusted and organized. And I got to clean the laundry room and Elizabeth's bathroom. Still need to clean the floors, but that shouldn't take too much.

Let's see, Epheros, you were looking to see when Dresdin Files were on. Right now (1600), tomorrow (Tuesday) at 2300, and Thursday at 1800. And some stories to critique? Check these two out. Introduction. Prologue.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sweep The Leg Johnny!

Sharon Stone visits Edinboro University

Sharon Stone will be visiting her old college, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (EUP). Back in the 1970s, Stone attended school here before going on to a major acting career.

While attending school at EUP, there was a rumor floating around that she used to live in Rose Hall. I never put too much weight into it until I heard it from many different sources. Not exactly the biggest claim to fame for EUP, but it was about as close to celebrity as I could ever get.

Yes, we have Bruce Baumgartner, but to me, the biggest celebrity to come out of EUP was Mister Rogers. No, he never "officially" attended school there, but he spoke at my graduation ceremony. That was big. That was bigger than big, it was huge. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.

While Sharon Stone paying a visit to my alma mater is good news, the sad news in this article (after you read between the lines) is that President Pogue will be retiring this year. Bummer. He was always very nice and I felt like he took EUP in the right direction.

Thanks for the info Mom.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Fraking Heroes Texting Survivorman-edited-

I'm starting to feel like Epheros by blogging at night. Maybe I should make him read my stories to return the favor.....



Aside form that, a few non-related updates (pardon while my FTL drives warm up).

- BSG (that's Battle Star Galactica) begins anew this Sunday. For me as a viewer and fan, this will be the defining string of episodes. If serious progress is not made, I will be dropping this show from my Must Watch list.

- Heroes is due to start this Monday. And unlike BSG, they have a ways to go before I drop them.

- Conquistador finally got to an action sequence. Thankfully. Things were getting a bit slow there for a moment.

- You may have encountered a person in a public restroom before talking on their cell phone. Well, today I encountered something different. Text messaging. Personally, I like this better than an actual phone call because they won't be able to hear you flush. -edited-


- I have yet to finish watching CSI from yesterday and I'm almost done with the Mythbusters Pirate special from Wednesday. Tonight is Psych, one of those shows that sneaks up on you. Subtle humor at its best.


FTW baby!!

(Almost forgot, Les Stroud is due to release a new season of Survivorman soon. Stay tuned!)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Random Thoughts for Today-edited-

I haven't had random thoughts in awhile. Well, I haven't posted them in awhile, I always have them. Anyway, I'll spitball some ideas and see where this post takes me.



Reading - I've been making a strong attempt to "thin the herd" of books amassed on my bookshelf. While I feel I've made some progress, I somehow doubt I've done enough. So I'll be making another attempt this weekend (or this week if time permits). I already have a few titles up for sale on my site, so maybe I'll get some more added soon.

I'm currently reading Conquistador by S. M. Stirling. Odd that one of the main characters is a descendant of John Rolfe of Jamestown fame. 2007 marks the 400 year anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. Anyway, Stirling has mixed things up in the past before with plot, characters, time lines, etc. It's a bit of an adjustment for the reader, but it's bearable. Each change in pace is clearly marked on the page, so you don't get too lost.

Added to this, I'm listening to Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan again. It makes the drive to and from -edited- much more bearable. And as before, I tend to "snap out of it" just as I'm pulling in driveway and cursing that I don't have just a few more minutes to listen to a little more. Most surprising though, I remember most of the storyline. I assumed I'd forget most of it by now (it's been nearly a year since I listened to it).

Body Wash - Odd topic, I know, but there's a bottle on my desk and it gave me something to talk about. I've been making another attempt at going to the gym on a regular (or at least semi-regular) basis. In being honest with myself, I know I have a few more inches on my waist than I need and, as I haven't found a way to stop the aging process, I need to consider my future health. I've gotten some motivation from outside sources, but my hardest obstacle has been my own lack of motivation. I like to eat and I hate to exercise. But I look at myself in the mirror in the mornings and hate that suitcase-sized gut.

Oh, the body wash is for the showers I take after I work out at work.

Genealogy - -edited- I've found some neat stuff, but there's so much more to learn. So much more.

Stormtroopers - You've likely noticed the plethora of Stormtroopers in this post. Thanks to my aunt-in-law for taking the time to make a little Photo DVD of my sister-in-law's wedding. And thanks for adding these photos to it. I can now increase my level of Dorkiness to +50.

And to think she was worried I'd be upset. I nearly peed my pants from laughing so hard.

Friday, January 12, 2007

My mouth is running on empty

Which means, I don't have much to say here.

So, let's see what's happening this week and weekend.

  • We have a friend (Karla) coming to visit this weekend.
  • Luke is having his second birthday party this weekend.
  • I discovered more photos of Uncle George after he was shot down over Russia from this site (see him below on the far left).
  • I've been working more and more on family history and have almost finished the next family newsletter (about 2 months earlier than expected).
  • Work Tax season has started and it sucks already.
  • I'm reading along quite nicely in Conquistador by S. M. Stirling. So far, entertaining, but a little jumpy with the plot. And from what I recall from his other series, he does that.
Hope everyone has a great weekend. And, as epheros would say, "good night and good fight."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

For Better or For Worse, Life will go on

Growing up as a child, I was always a fan of the comic section of the newspaper. Garfield, Marvin, Beetle Bailey, Peanuts, the list goes on. These were an early outlet for me to escape to before I picked up the habit of reading.

As I've grown older, I've made an attempt to follow the comics as they've progressed. And as I've grown older, the characters have stayed young.

I could literally relate to the issues these characters had as I was nearly the same age as the Patterson children. Life imitated art, which imitated life.

And now, striking yet another blow to the comic community, Lynn Johnston will begin to "freeze" the age of the characters. I was devastated to learn that Bill Amend was moving Foxtrot to a Sunday only comic. Now I find how close I was to loosing FBoFW permanently.

Read on here and here.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Mystery Box by Gordon McAlpine

Holding true to my previous thoughts on reviews, I'm only review those books I deem worthy enough to share with others. Which means, I'll tell you what I've read, but I'll only review those I feel are good enough to talk about.

The Mystery Box is one of those.

I had heard about this book awhile back from a message board of Hardy Boy fans. The board is now defunct, but I'm still collecting Hardy Boy books. Guess I'll rewind the tape on my life a bit and start at the beginning to reduce any confusion.

Many years ago, my Mom's sister's husband's parents passed away (my Uncle Phil's parents) in the Chicago area. Dad and I were in the area (for what reason I don't recall) and Uncle Phil invited us over to their apartment/house to take what we wanted. There were a few items Dad was interested in (I recall a letter opener and a measuring tape from US Steel), but I was completely enthralled by this collection of old books on the shelf. It was my first introduction to future adventures with the Hardy Boys.

Since that moment, my Dad and I have amassed a decent collection of original Hardy Boys (circa 1930s), reprints (circa the 1990s), Casefiles, and Super Mysteries (with Nancy Drew). In that time I've learned about how Franklin W. Dixon and Carolyn Keene were not real people, just pen names.

Enter Gordon McAlpine.

He took two fictitious authors (Dixon and Keene), developed them as characters, turned them into lovers, and finally made them writers. What's most interesting is how Keene and Dixon mature. Keene's father re-marries a younger woman (who turns out to be not as nice as she may appear) and a rift develops between father and daughter. Dixon loses his brother in WWI, searches for and finds him, only to lose him again. There was quite a lot of interesting back story going on, which helped flesh out Keene and Dixon as if they were real people.

McAlpine adds even more flair and flavor to the mix with the introduction of literary heavyweights. F. Scott Fitzgerald (and wife), Ernest Hemmingway, Gertrude Stein, and others. While keeping with historical fact to some degree (like them all being in Paris at the same time and in the same social circles), McAlpine does take some literary freedom by introducing them to Keene and Dixon.

Out of the story, the worst part was the dragging dialog. Most was fast-paced and easy to follow, but there were about two or three spots in the story that seemed to hit a bump in the road and slowed down to the pace of a turtle. And to make it worse, it almost felt like the scene was difficult to write, as the words felt forced and combursome.

In the end, this was a great read. And for any Hardy Boy and Nancy Drew fans out there, this is a MUST read.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Survivorman Returneth

That's right folks. Despite forgetting (yet again) that the Dakar Rally starts New Year's Day, the positive news from OLN is that Les Stroud (aka Survivorman) will be returning to television with a new season of daring-do scenarios of survival. He's been around the world in the past, and will be returning to his travels in an effort to educate the world.

The bad news out of all this? There's no firm date on the release of the show in the US. I've heard January or February on OLN, Discovery, TLC, or Science Channels coming from Africa, Australia, New Zealand, or South America.

The bottom line is, he's coming back, but we don't know when, on what channel, or where from.

So keep you Scooby-Do underwear on, he'll be back.


Monday, January 08, 2007

This one's for you Kurt

While doing research on the potential murder of an ancestor, I found this ad in the Nebraska State Journal (January 1, 1910).


My future in writing reviews

I've been writing reviews for a solid two years now. Thanks to the guys at FantasyBookSpot (FBS) I got the bug to write (and to help remember what I read). Now, after 2 years, I'm tired of writing. It feels like a job.

It feels like work.

And that takes the fun out of reading. So (get ready for it) I've decided to only review those books worthy of my time.

I know, very subjective, but that's the nature of reviews anyway. I will try to at least keep track of the books I've read by posting a little blurb about them, but I won't be writing a full review. Which means the last book I read, OSS: Stories That Can Now Be Told, won't be reviewed. The book I'm reading now, The Mystery Box, looks like a good candidate for a review. So far.

Anyway, we'll see how this works. And I do plan to continue to write reviews for FBS as they want them.

Weekend Weather and Reading

We had some wonderful weather this weekend. Got to about 73 on Saturday. Didn't really know what to do with all the sun. So I settled for shorts and a t-shirt. Yesterday brought some cooler temps and eventually rain. And more rain. Still raining today. After a year in Bellevue (just outside of Seattle) as a kid and 5 years in Edinboro (just south of Erie, PA) for college, I've grown to hate the rain.

No, that's not quite right.

I HATE the rain!

Speaking of weather, I ran across this a couple of weeks ago.

Dad and I were rummaging through what was left of his mom's estate from 20 years ago. I got such a kick out of this, I took it home. It now graces my desk along with a tube of chap stick, a GI Joe (12" Paratrooper Duke), and photos of Elizabeth and Yvonne. And my pine scented candle (unlit of course).
Aside from the usual shopping this weekend, not too much to report. I watched several movies, most notably were A Series Of Unfortunate Events and The Missing. I was surprised at how much I liked ASOUE. Even after watching it a second time.
And I finished a book (a Christmas present from my sister-in-law). While the stories were quite interesting, the editing was horrid, nay, non-existent. I'm not the best speller, nor the best editor, but I daresay I'd have polished this collection of short stories into something a bit more readable. But, as I said, it was nice to learn more about the Carpetbaggers and their missions during WWII. *[I'll post separately what change in reading habits this book brought about.]
I also started a book that's been waiting for some time to be read. It stars Carolyn Keene and Franklin W. Dixon, the pseudonym authors behind Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Quite a good read so far.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Yet another quilt from Mom

I must be catching up for lost time over the holidays.......

I've neglected to post photos of our present from my Mom. She made yet another quilt for us, this time large enough to fit our bed. She made a red one for our wedding, a blue one for our couch (seen in the background here), a Star Wars one for the spare bed (a really great quilt that I can't find photos of at the moment), and now a blue one for our bed. We gave her the measurements and basic patterns we liked and as usual, she added a bit of flare and took a rather vague idea and made something wonderful from it. And of course she made matching pillowcases and bed skirt.

For those interested in getting a quilt done like this, they are expensive. If you're not afraid to spend money on something nice though, check out her site here. She's had several quilts in national and international shows, so she's not an amateur by any means.

Anyway, on with the show of photos!

Spaz on a Plane

Yes, that's right, I'm the King of Spazs. I have it on good authority (my wife and her fellow teacher and friend Rhonda) that I have taken the prize. A few weeks back, there was some doubt as to the veracity of my ruling power when a fellow husband made a comment about a song about being undefined. He said it reminded him of dividing by zero.

While there was some discussion as to if that fell into the Spaz or Nerd category, it was an odd enough remark to bring my rule into question.

But alas, I have yet again proven my strength.

About a year ago, I heard about this weird movie called Snakes On A Plane. Then a website was created called Snakes On A Blog. I ended up buying a shirt. Then making a shirt to wear to the movie. Even my co-workers went with me (in matching shirts). It was the culmination of months of anticipation.

And now I'm forever immortalized on the Snakes On A Plane DVD. That's right, I'm on the DVD. I was contact by Automat (a company that worked on the special features) and signed a release form and sent them a photo. And it ended up on the DVD.

What a Spaz.

Yvonne and Elizabeth called my sister-in-law last night on the web cam and started chatting. Yvonne told her sister about me being on the DVD and the obvious question she asked was how I got on the DVD.

My response? Because I'm a dork.

Want to see me? From the main menu, go to Special Features and select Documentaries. From there, watch the one on Snakes On A Blog. At about 9 minutes and 12 seconds (just a few seconds shy of the end) you can see me wearing a yellow shirt, holding a trophy, and pointing to myself like an ass.

The due date for our second child

Oh, where to start. Yesterday Yvonne and I went to the new OB doctor for out first visit. [For those that don't know, Yvonne is pregnant again with our second child.] The visit went well, the nurse and midwife were both nice and easy going. Haven't met the doctor yet, but he sounds nice too. They did an ultrasound and gave us a due date of September 9th, 2007. We got the standard print out of the sonogram and both of us were feeling a bit like Rachael on Friends.

Neither of us could tell what we were looking at.

The image has a black spot (the egg sac) the size of your pinky's fingernail. Inside said spot is an even smaller spot that's white and the size of a grain of rice. That's the baby. The midwife said she could see a heart beating, but I couldn't see anything moving.

I did think about scanning the image or taking a picture of it, but honestly, there's nothing to see. And even if it were scanned in, it would take some serious doctoring to get it to look like anything.

Oh, and Elizabeth says it will be a boy. Guess we'll see (and yes, we will find out the sex before the birth, makes planning a little easier). Not sure if we'll announce it or not, but I'm pretty sure we will. Yvonne isn't big on keeping secrets and I end up laughing when I lie.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

First review of the year

My first review of the year is an exclusive for Fantasy Book Spot (FBS). The guys over there have been great in letting me review, leave and still feel welcome, and come back to review again. For years I have been a member of the RASalvatore site and board and felt like an active member. Things changed with time and I began to become a member that sat there and did nothing. And being a non-productive member in society isn't fun.

So when I got the invite to write for FBS, I jumped on it. Limited time and lack of creative writing skills didn't stop me, but the rights to exclusive publication did. So FBS and TK42ONE parted ways in that sense, but I was still a member, just not a reviewer.

Damon contacted me a few months back to do a Star Wars review and, well, the rest is history. I'm now a "special reviewer" of sorts, but probably more like the chief Star Wars nut.

Anyway, here's the link to the review of The Stargate SG-1 Ultimate Visual Guide. Enjoy!

Welcome to -edited-

So the new year has started and I've already neglected to post in my blog. For my devoted fans out there, I sincerely apologize.

Fans.....the only fan I have is sitting on my desk!

Anyway, I was on a bit of a hiatus over the holidays. A few things caught up to me and they needed more attention than my blog. So, I'll do my best to catch everyone up on a few things.




The big news here is Yvonne is pregnant again. At least that is the preliminary result. We go to the doctor tomorrow, so we'll see if we find out more then. The projected due date is early September. My gut says it's a boy, but I think I actually want another girl. I guess time will tell.

In other news, we got to spend some time with Dad on Christmas (and before and after Christmas too). Elizabeth got a bunch of presents. Clothes, toys, and everything in between. [I'll try to post pictures later to today.] She did very well with the opening and the whole "idea" behind the presents. Only asked a couple of times for more presents. Yvonne's parents and her youngest sister also came to visit after Christmas. Which meant more presents. The weather was decent so she got to try out her new bike (from her Uncle Carlo) but it ended up raining when they left (all Monica's fault).

Everyone is doing well on both sides of the family. No major issues. And from the sounds of it, everyone had a good holiday.


I've been working on the family tree pretty frequently for the past 6 months or so. When Uncle Denny died, I got the bug again to find out more about everyone in the tree. To date, we have just short of 30,000 people in the tree dating back to about 1300. My direct lineage isn't as complete as I'd like, but it gets difficult finding things from overseas that are more than a hundred years old. For any family members interested, I can look up some specific people online to see if I can find them. I've found some interesting items so far (namely WWI draft cards). And a big shout out to my cousin Eric for the kudos on the family research. Really helps keep me going when I hear people enjoy what I do.


My reading hasn't started too well this year. I ended last year with the Stargate SG-1 Ultimate Visual Guide by Kate Ritter. The review is still pending my final approval, but I hope to have it up at Fantasy Book Spot soon. This year I've already got a long list in my stack to read and I hate carrying them over from year to year. Maybe I'll be motivated enough to get things read before buying more. And with another child on the way, budgeting my book collecting will be important.

Everything Else

Oh, so much else went on these past few weeks, I don't remember it all. We saw the General Lee downtown one day. Dad and I went through some of his mom's estate. A lot of neat stuff and a little junk. Oh, so much more and I don't know where to start. So, for those reading this blog [my mom, cousin Eric, Epheros, and myself], I hope your new year has started well and I hope it continues to get better every day.

One last thing, a photo of Violet Mae Phillips [circa the spring of 1934]. She was the sister of my grandmother (dad's mom). Enjoy!