Thursday, December 27, 2007
Well someone I know, namely our "kid sister" Aslin dyed her hair red. Ironic considering that her mom is a natural redhead. Amazing what that girl comes up with.
Its only the 27th and I'm already a tired wreck. Amazing what happy kids can do to you having to jog alongside Laci as she furiously pedals her new bicycle down the way. She has yet to put that bike down.
And Gigi is in love with her new portable DVD player (which we require her to share with Laci). Got the idea from Carolyn & Joe (long time close family friends) who got their little girl, Emma a portable DVD to watch educational videos. Thought we'd try the same with our two and its working like a charm.
Of course we also have to deal with Bratz and Dora the Explorer videos but they're educational as well. Dora seems to be quite interesting as she helps teach two languages (English and Spanish).
Browns stupidly lost last Sunday to the Bengals. Now their playoff hopes are out of their hands and depend on the Indianapolis Colts to win for the Browns to get in. Had they beat Cincy, they'd have locked up a playoff spot. Aaahhh, that stinks.
Can't say I did bad this Christmas myself. Ended up with a new HD DVD format player. Now all I need is a Blu-Ray player and my upgrade will be complete, at least till the new HD projector comes along. But that is still around $2200 away but the price on 1080p products is dropping. I may wait a little longer for those.
More comin soon.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
My wife and I have another way, we shop together and she picks out what she really wants and I get it for her (at a later date to preserve some semblence of surprise). I also try to get one nice real surprise gift or two. Works like a charm.
I've received word that my family has bought me some real gifts as well this year.
As for everyone else on the gift list, except for two soon-2B-spoiled little girls, I get them either gift cards or maybe just plain cold cash. Works every time folks. Now on occasion I get to take someone on a shopping spree (like I did for Carri-Anne and Aslin) for a special day like Christmas or their Sweet 16 birthday.
But the real meaning of Christmas goes far beyond simple presents. It represents the ultimate gift of eternal life that Christ died for to give us. Which is why we celebrate His Birthday on this Earth. OK so we don't have an exact date for His earthly birth but we celebrate it on December 25th.
OK enough from Pastor Hank. I'd make a lousy Billy Graham.
GAMEDAY: Today is game day for the Browns and this one is a big one for the men in the Orange helmets. Win it and we secure a playoff spot. Lose it and we may need a lot of help next week to get in. Its the Battle of Ohio and we're up against the Cincinnati Bengals. OK so we're 9-5 and we should beat a 4-10 team but you never know with this rivalry. The Browns better bring their A game which I think they will.
HEADED HOME FOR CHRISTMAS: Its rainy here in Georgia as I get ready for the final leg back into Florida and home for the holidays. I'll be on vacation for awhile but it will be anything but a nice, relaxing vacation, thanks to two new additions to our family (Gigi and Laci). Which is OK by me but oh are we ever in for it.
Saw a cute little cheerleader doll which of course I ended up buying for Laci (3). Gigi of course is big into the Bratz line and that is what our family is getting her. Those two are going to make out like freakin bandits this Christmas.
POLITICAL RANT: So I'm tracking the Republican race for the candidacy and my favorite, Tom Tancredo already has pulled out of the race. He only ran on one issue, immigration. Hopefully some of what Tom stood for will be reflected in the race coming this January.
Now why do I NOT feel like writing any more political ranting stuff today. Maybe because it is the Christmas season and I'd much rather write about family & friends than roast Republican political hides (don't worry Democrats, I'll be roasting yours big-time when the primaries are over).
Merry Christmas to All and God Bless You
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Christmas is almost here. My boss (my wife) and I are buying this year for two new special family members (Gigi and Laci, more on this in a future blog) but suffice to say I've spent about half my Christmas wad (and a chunk of the $$ I had designated for a new second digital SLR, Canon EOS-40D) on Dora the Explorer and Bratz stuff.
Oh and for this run, my wife put one of the big "Bratz" dolls in the passenger seat, named it "Kyrsten" and I'm supposed to make sure it stays there with me until I get home for Christmas where "Kyrsten" will be given to Gigi as a Christmas gift. OK so you get some good-natured ribbing from some of the NASA guys but once I tell them what it's for, I get some honest-to-goodness congratulations and well wishes.
(Personally I wanted to get Gigi a BB gun, a Jags cheerleader outfit and teach her how to shoot but that will have to wait till her birthday. My mother-in-law would have a flying fit).
This year, I got the Christmas cards done real fast even if I no longer have a copy of my old dBASE (later Access) Christmas list database. Little by little though I'm rebuilding the database (the old file got wiped out last year when my hard drive crashed. One of the things I didn't have a backup copy of). Good thing about this is that I can get rid of the old Christmas listings (folks I haven't heard from in 2-3 years).
I was going to add to Aslin's a iTunes gift card but she's apparently lost her iPod. I'll have to ask Kirsten (Aslin's mom) if they're planning on replacing Aslin's lost iPod.
POLITICAL RANT WARNING:
Watching the current crop of Republican candidates from which I MIGHT choose one to vote for is getting to be a real bore. Only about 3 of these turkeys actually sound like real Reagan Republicans (which unfortunately doesn't include any of the so-called "top tier"). It will be interesting once the electoral process gets underway in January. C'mon Republicans, give me a reason to get out and vote for you, other than keeping the Socialists (formerly the Democrats) from winning. Its a real drag having to choose between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich in November.
Well my new film scanning business is just about ready to go live. The web site still needs a little work but the new web site is up and ready. Just need a few additional scans put up. Some of these pics are over 30 years old (some old Kodachrome 110 slides and negatives) which I shot. Once I get them reduced down to size (the 110 TIFFs are like 12 MB in size), I'll post a few here. That Nikon film scanner is pretty amazing the job it does with the small 110 frame.
OK so the Cleveland BROWNS are now 9-5 (assuring them of their first winning season since 2002). One more win and they lock up a playoff spot. Pretty amazing consider everyone was picking this team for no better than 6-10 this season. Personally I'm hoping for a Browns vs. Jaguars playoff game maybe played in Jacksonville (the wife, me, Gigi and Laci would go to the game. Aslin would join us as well, heck we need a babysitter while I'm yelling my head off cheering on the BROWNS).
Well, I'll add more later as I think of it. Got some techincal issues to tend to now.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Film Scanning Business Update: I've been testing out the new 110 film holder for my Nikon film scanner. Works great in that it gets 110 negative strips thru the scanner unharmed and scanned nicely using Ed Hamrick's VueScan software.
But VueScan still has a couple bugs to work out when using it with the FH-816 film holder on the Nikon 9000ED scanner. I've sent a detailed report to Ed along with the log files. So far Ed has been pretty good about supporting his product.
So far though, I've scanned over 100 of my old surviving 110 negatives, some of which were shot over 32 years ago. I'm getting some good scans but as any photog knows, Kodacolor 400 film in 110 format was one of the grainest (lousiest) films made. There's only so much image data you can pull from a 110 negative (but its far more than can be pulled from scanning a 110 print).
Once I get em scanned, time for some Photoshop magic to pull out image data and make for saving my old memories for the digital age.
Christmas cards are almost done, and I'm getting exasperated with sticking money (and gift cards) in the cards. But the warm feeling of giving (especially to our family and neighbors) more than makes up for it. And Christmas shopping, sheeesh!!! (What Aslin, that new iPhone you want costs WHAT? ). And my wife's gifts.....well there went that lump of $ I was hoping to save for the new digital SLR (Canon EOS-40D) for my photo business. Guess it will have to wait a couple more months.
But maybe I'll see that new HD-DVD , or even a Blu-Ray player under my tree this year. Tough choice between the two, and I'll probably end up with both anyway. I might want the HD-DVD player first since the newly remastered "Star Trek" episodes are out on HD-DVD.
And now I'm drooling over the new Panasonic HDTV projectors (model PT-AE2000). Oh to have that new 1080p model to watch Cleveland BROWNS games on. OK so I do have a HDTV but the new projector technology puts my 2004 model to shame.
That and I'd love to see one of my old cult favorite movies on HD-DVD or Blu_Ray, Night of the Comet featuring one of my big movie star "crushes" from my college freshman days, Kelli Maroney (Kyrsten kinda resembles Kelli, heck Kyrs even had Kelli's feathered hairstyle back some years ago before I met her).
BTW: Glad to see that Kelli is still doing quite well for herself as an actress. Count me as one of her fans for life.
Speaking of films on DVD, they still haven't released one of my older favorites, SkateTown USA on DVD. What is taking so long? Oh it was a cheesy film about the short-lived roller-disco craze but that's what makes it so fun to watch, much like Thank God Its Friday (which I do have on DVD). I keep checking Amazon.com. Who owns the reproduction rights to Skatetown USA anyway?
Getting near time to update the MySpace page with some newer pictures, to include the "Charlie's Angels" pics (the three lovely young ladies helping Kyrsten and I decorate our home for Christmas). I've posted one in a previous blog here.
And speaking of Christmas stuff, good to be getting some of my lost and broken equipment replaced. Someone made off with my Lumiquest kit at a wedding I did and I managed to break a hot shoe on one of my flash units. Clumsy me. But its finally getting replaced.
And to say it again....Merry Christmas to all who read this blog.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Glad to be home in Florida this particular week considering the ice storm hitting out in the Midwest. Makes for some beautiful landscape picture-taking but miserable for driving and for the electric power grid.
Now wouldn't you know it. We get some of those small lighted trees (you buy from Home Depot) to line our driveway with. Looked beautiful when we put it up but now 3 of the little trees won't light. Seems a connection has gone bad somewhere. Come to think of it, is there anywhere you can get Christmas decorations that aren't el-cheapo junk mass-produced in China? Christmas lights that light from year to year for example would be nice.
You know you have too many decorations when you get the house the way you want it and still have tons of decorations to put up somewhere. So they stay in the semi-retired bin for the year. This year my wife got our tree so nicely decorated, I didn't want to add to it with my Hallmark Signature ornaments (the Star Trek series being one of my favorites). So now I'm looking for a place to hang them. We need a second tree.
But we had some good help too as you all know our neighbor Les and two of her friends helped out. Later when Leslie's dad came back from his job, he pitched in in helping to deck my halls.
I watched my Cleveland Browns give me a near-heart attack (as usual) in defeating the NY Jets 24-18 in a game they almost blew in the 4th quarter. Defense still needs some work but that has to be addressed in the off-season. For now we're stuck with a porous defense (but somewhat improved), a decent offense and a 8-5 win-loss record which nobody was predicting at the beginning of the season.
And now time for more Christmas shopping as my wife is pulling on my ear.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Of course we started decorating the house for Christmas but this time with some help. Our cute teen neighbor, Leslie and three of her friends (Ryan, Lizzie and Allie) being bored out of their minds on a Saturday, we got them to help us decorate the house. And all it cost me was two big cheese Papa John's pizzas and sodas.
But of course, the decided they wanted to be Christmas decorations so:
After all that, our teen friends decided they wanted a slumber party and wanted it at our house. Since Leslie's dad was working on a contract, he appreciated having someone look after Leslie. So we volunteered, only rule, no boys (gotta draw the line somewhere).
But I made it up to Ryan, he stopped by the next day and we watched a NFL game in Hi-Def, the Browns victory over the Texans.
Glad to have my mother down here for this Thanksgiving because even though mom is still quite healthy (in her 70s), you're still never sure how long she's going to be around. So any holiday with Mom is special nowadays.
Below, my mother (Lois) as she looked in her mid-forties...or was that mid-twenties? (Love ya Mom).
Not to be conceited but when you have a beauty queen for a mom, nice to know that I have her "youth" genes. She kept her looks well into her golden years.
Love ya Mom.
Well now time to break out the bicycle and pedal away some of that turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, whipped cream and other twice-a-year goodies (twice a year is all I allow my body nowdays to indulge).
Here's to a Wonderful Christmas Season.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
First of all, that wacky Cleveland BROWNS 33-30 victory over the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday left me emotionally drained, and looking for a way to stick the hair back in my head that got pulled out by yours truly.
Well, I found out that colorfast materials aren't always colorfast. I had to do some whites (including "shudder" my briefs) and threw them in the wash along with a red and white "muscle shirt" thinking the material was colorfast. Well it was but the collar and sleeve ends were of a different material and not so colorfast.
You can guess what happened.
About 10 of my briefs (and some white socks) came out.....pink. Oh it was a very nice shade of rose pink but still, pink really isn't a guy's color unless it is a pink (camisa) business shirt. So I'm stuck with some pink briefs until I run them thru a strong-bleach wash again.
One feature I hate on this laptop. Everytime I'm trying to do some typing, I keep getting the DVD function query window as it wants to play the "Lois & Clark" DVD I have in there. Rather irritating as it takes over the laptop and I have to close the window. Two minutes later it pops up again.
Ah yes, Thanksgiving Day a coming and with it warm thoughts of a delicious roast turkey dinner, some hot apple cider drink (it does get rather cool in Florida this time of year), delicious corn-bread stuffing and of course some extra bike-riding to burn off the extra calories.
And most heavenly, hot pumpkin pie with real whipped cream on top.
I keep wondering how many more years I'll be able to enjoy this before my wife and my doctor team up to put me on a diet and destroy this one little pleasure of life.
And our public schools should BRING BACK SQUANTO and teach the real meaning of Thanksgiving and how it started. Not the PC claptrap that somehow a Thanksgiving evil lurks behind the holiday. For crying out loud PC liberals, take a freakin hike on this already and let Americans celebrate our National Holiday of Thanksgiving.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Good Evening Savages:
Well folks, a couple days ago, I was sitting in stopped traffic on I77 as the tunnel up ahead was closed down for some odd reason. Oh well I thought to myself, this is the only way thru and now I can't move so I shut down and enjoyed some music from Sirius.
And then my phone rang. My wife again? Maybe a new business assignment?
Well I answered the phone and on the other side were two gentlemen whom I didn't know but they did some name-dropping (that of my business coach, Sean) and for that reason, I talked to them. I was hoping that this was another new contract possibility that Sean dug up.
No such luck.
Instead I found myself on the receiving end of a total sales spiel. Swell I thought to myself as like a fellow blogger (Russell Glasser), I hate sales pitches and despise the people who give them. And these two jokers were masters.
I did listen to what they had to say. OK so I can't remember it word for word but here were some of the highlights:
" How would you like to achieve a residual income around $13,000 per month (implication, that's what this guy was making)?
"we have this wonder new product. For the first time, someone has been able to combine all 174 nutirents the body needs everyday into one small package" (Any health experts out there can confirm that number"
"This product is going to take this nation by storm" (Surrre it is)
"This produce will give you your full requirement of vitamins, minerals, amino acids". You'll feel better, have more energy and lose weight" (Oh really now?)
"We're looking for smart, highly motivated people like you Brad. Sean (name dropping again) said you were our kind of guy"
And then this real kicker"
"We want winners Brad, not losers. Don't let this opportunity pass you by"
(Russell, if you're reading this, I'm sure by now you're ROTFLYAO).
They got done with their spiel and traffic was getting ready to go again soon. So they asked me would I be interested in a business selling this wonderful product.
And then of course the other shoe drops, "for a initial investment of $500" (Somehow I just knew that was coming).
My response: "Two words gentlemen, FREE SAMPLES. A month's worth of free samples so I could try the product and see if it really did work"
This sent the duo into sales spiel seizures.
"After all, if you're making $13K per month off this, a month's worth of free samples should be nothing to you" I continued.
Traffic started moving again and I excused myself from this conversation. As I started rolling, I thought to myself, sheesh, this was just like one of those old stupid Amway sales spiels.
(Amway, and its Internet spin-off Quixtar for those who don't know was/is a pyramid scheme where the few up top get rich off the rank n file distributors by selling them their educational "tools". More on this can be found at Scott Larsen's site:
Scott Larsen's AmQuix Site.
Then, thanks to that Amway thought, it hit me. Both guys told me their names but one seemed to stick out. The big honcho named Steve Yager (I think).
Was he related to that Amway prima-donna Dexter "Dillinger" Yager?
I ran the name thru some Internet search engines and sure enough, Dexter does have a son named Steve Yager.
So good chance I was being prospected, for a different business rather than Amway by Dexter's son.
Which is probably why my suggestion of free samples sent these two jokers round the bend on the phone. Nothing ever comes free from the Yager family.
Seems now the Yagers are branching into some "miracle vitamins" or whatever whiz-bang product they're peddling.
I can say up front that if they call again, I'll be sure to tell them not to waste any more of their time and MY money. I've got a wife, a home and a real business that I'd rather use it on, rather than fatten the pockets of the Yager family.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Kept my eye on eBay and lo & behold someone wanted to sell theirs as they had no use for it. They used it to scan 16mm motion film but are done with that and wanted to see if they could sell it. Got it for $100 less than going to Nikon. Would have been even less but some gooney-tooney got a bid in which raised my bid. But I got it.
Getting ready for Thanksgiving and we're planning on having my mom come on down from Jacksonville. I'm going to be baking my favorte brand of pumpkin pies, with orange-colored crust (making Cleveland Browns pumpkin pies). Yum, yum.
I usually make one using Splenda instead of regular sugar (thinking healthy here). The Splenda ones usually turn out pretty good. And I whip my own real whipping cream, better than Reddi-Wip.
I know what I want for Christmas, the Panasonic PT-AX200 digital HDTV projector. Already got a HDTV but this would replace it for big events..like for example BROWNS games. Imagine the game up on a 96-120 inch screen in my house. This one with it's light output is perfect for Sunday games.
My lovely wife wants me to get this how-to photography book. Seems she got some photo ideas she'd like to try out...as my model (no objections here):
Got a MySpace note from Olivia. I was asking her for Christmas gift ideas for her and joked about how the Colorado ski trip for her and her boyfriend isn't quite in my Christmas budget. She didn't miss a beat..."Work harder". And this from a 17 year old.
Speaking of Christmas, time to check out my Microsoft Access database for the Christmas Card list. Who's in (that sent me a card last year), who's out (no card, no nothing in fact the past 3 years). And hope I get it right before I print out the labels.
What kind of graphic should I use on my Christmas card label this year? Maybe Christmas Bells. Of course a Browns Super Bowl trophy would be nice but the SB isn't till Feb.
Anybody want a mean cat? I'm looking to get rid of one we've had 3 years since it was a kitten. My wife is the only person the cat likes, it hisses and swats at everybody else. That does it, out to the back patio for that cat (with a boot in the butt). Phooey.
Definitely not "cool for cats" here.
N.C. Baptists expel
Myers Park church
At issue: Welcoming gay congregants
GREENSBORO --Delegates to the annual meeting of the N.C. Baptist State Convention voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to expel Charlotte's Myers Park Baptist for welcoming gays and lesbians without trying to change them.
The liberal church of 1,970 members became the first to be kicked out under rules passed at last year's meeting that said any Baptist church that affirmed or endorsed homosexual behavior would be considered "not in friendly cooperation with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina."
Well folks, as a Southern Baptist, I think the NC Baptist State Convention is really stepping in it with their stick-in-the-mud stance. I would fully support their right to disallow gays to hold church office (in accordance with their beliefs) but their stance on gay congregants is just plain stupid.
Way to show the love of Jesus there NC Baptist State Convention . (/sarcasm)
And kudos to Myers Park Baptist Church for showing that Jesus died for everyone, not just some venal old stodgies in stuffy suits and their wives.
And in case my liberal friends start getting all happy with me here, I'll make a bet here that your friends at NBC, CBS, CNN and other news services will make hay with this and try to paint all Southern Baptists as a bunch of intolerant hicks. The Charlotte Observer made sure to make this front page news as a excuse to get Hillary's Planted Question foopah off the front page.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Originally known as Armistice Day which was originally dedicated to our soldiers who fought in World War I, it has evolved into Veteran's Day, a day where we SHOULD stop and honor those who served and gave the ultimate sacrifice.
A Special Shout Up to Aslin's Father (a U.S. Navy Veteran, now in Heaven): God Bless you up there in Heaven pal. Your daughter is loved and cared for by wonderful people down here. We'll all get together someday up there with You.
For my Fellow United States Marines, Today and Yesterday.
"If the Army and the Navy
Ever Look on Heaven's Scenes
They Will Find the Streets Are Guarded
By UNITED STATES MARINES.
I have the satellite on the Christian Talk station which I find spiritually filling for those Sundays on the road.
Good grief it is cold up here in Georgia where my assignment has me now. Thankfully I do get a Sunday rest. Wish it was at home of course but the job says otherwise. But I will get a nice long Thanksgiving for this. But at least I can order up a Papa Johns pizza or something. Or maybe I can find a way to get to a local Browns Backers place. There's one about 20 miles from here, but I can't use government vehicles for personal use. May have to find a cab.
Or I can just order a Papa John's pizza and hear the game on the satellite radio.
Well, I've been boning up on my COBOL, CICS, JCL and other IBM mainframe technologies getting ready for my next computer assignment, whenever the Lord sends it in my direction.
I did complete scanning Leitha's slides, the first batch she gave me anyway. She can't wait to show them to Aslin, being that Aslin has never seen these old slides (from the early 1980s). It will be interesting for Aslin to see what her mom, Kirsten was like when she was Aslin's age.
But Aslin did get to see my high-school senior portrait (when I was 17). Did she think I was "cute". I don't know, she hasn't stopped laughing at my hairstyle yet.
And Finally, Kyrsten and I may have something wonderful happening in our lives very shortly. I'm not mentioning what it is yet but it looks like its going to happen.
I keep thinking about the song by Creed "With Arms Wide Open". Quite a fitting song for this.
I say in days past because as of recent since the BROWNS revival, the Browns have only won 3 against the Squeelers since 1999, out of about 16 games. And that truly stinks. Of course this is because the next-generation Browns have been a textbook case of how NOT to build a winning team, how to BLOW a goodly number of Draft Picks and how to establish a tradition of losing nearly rivaling that of the Washington Generals.
And in our last contest against Pittspuke, the Browns got their arses handed to them, 34-7.
But something has happened since then.
The BROWNS in that hideous loss reached down deep within as a team and learned how to WIN.
Since that loss the BROWNS have gone 5-2 and just a blocked field goal short of 6-1. The BROWNS offense, led by the cannon-armed Derek Anderson has come to life and is now one of the most feared offenses in the NFL.
This would be totally great, except for the other side of the coin, the BROWNS defense just plain sucks. OK so a great team takes time to build and "Rome wasn't built in a Day". But oh, if they just had a NFL average defense....
So quite frankly, the BROWNS aren't quite ready for prime time yet, but they're going bat-out-of-hell (a little Meatloaf there) in the right direction.
Unfortunately, Pittsburgh is simply too good of a team.
Most experts are picking Pittspuke to win the game today (in Pittspuke) and I have to agree with them. Oh my heart says the BROWNS pull the upset but logic points to another loss to the turnpike rivals.
But I'll follow my heart and say
Defeat the Pittspuke Huns.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
It was George's children who back in 1969 became known as The Osmonds, a huge rock n roll singing group from that era. I remember that era well (1969-1972) as I was just starting to come into adolescence (with all its travails of course).
And I really liked the Osmonds music, high energy, danceable (even though I couldn't dance a lick back then), and rather romantic, evidence by millions of swooning teenage girls who adored these guys and their music.
(Note to Aslin, Lisa, Leslie, Olivia: If you were alive back in 1969 as a teenage girl, the Osmonds were probably one of your big idols, along with David Cassidy, Barry Williams, etc. Think of your most favorite musicans today and you get the idea).
I happened to catch yesterday's (Nov 9th) Oprah who was doing a special feature on the Osmonds in honor of George Osmond. And what do you know, there they are, the Osmonds once again doing "One Bad Apple" (in their 50s no less) with a big video screen in the background showing the Osmonds performing back in the early 1970s. Gotta admit, it brought a tear to me eye.
I have the Osmond's Greatest Hits on CD and would like to complete the collection by getting Donny and Marie's later works (Donny's "Soldier Of Love" from 1989).
And this is my special tribute to a man (George Osmond) who actually left a lucrative position and dedicated his life to his children's careers. God Bless You George.
God Bless the Osmonds and thanks for the wonderful music.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Hey, I might actually get to watch "Smallville" tonight. The new Supergirl character has been added. Could be interesting.
After careful consideration with years of experiences to develop this theory, I've come to the conclusion that I absolutely hate cold sores.
The moderators and some board admins at the Orange & Brown Report (Scout.com NFL board) suck eggs.
Why is it when I go to Wal-Mart to get about $15 worth of needed stuff, I end up leaving with $65...of needed stuff?
(I mean really, cream cheese frosting is a important part of a healthy person's diet, isn't it?)
I've got the new TV tuner card for the laptop, and no cable outlet to hook it up to here.
My wife and I read on our MySpace account some of the travails of our teen family & friends members....and long for those good ol days when all we had was those same problems.
Got some new red Christmas lights for our giant candy cane Christmas decoration (which my wife brought to our marriage).
Now that we have a new roof on the house, I can only put up 1 lousy string of Christmas lights (used to put up 5 all around the house) because of the edge seal on the new roofing. Unless I want to nail in every light, all 125 of them.
The Christmas decorations are all out at various shopping locations, having been up since about mid-September. I have to remember to call the Hallmark store to make sure they keep my Hallmark keepsake decorations on layaway.
Thanksgiving is coming and with it one of my favorite pastimes, making pumpkin pies. Normally I use Libby pumpkin to make the filling and probably will this year (the unsweetened, unspiced regular kind of pumpkin so I can use my mother's recipie). I keep asking will this be the year I make a pie from the actual pumpkin?
(It is considerable work from what I hear).
Who is going to cook the turkey this year?
Who is going to get the Honeybaked Ham (Thanksgiving and Christmas are disasters without Honeybaked ham).
Who is going to make the Holiday eggnog (not the kind you buy in the store). I tried it once. I don't know what I ended up making but having a full plain omelet turn up in your eggnog can't be a good sign.
Ah yes, this Sunday, the BROWNS on HDTV, a big Extra Cheese pizza with mushrooms, onions, goat cheese, Canadian bacon and anchovies, chips (whole grain) with cheese & bacon dip, Pepsi max diet soda. Yum Yum and GO BROWNS.
Well here I am, AGAIN, in the state of Indiana where tonight's temparature is somewhere in the 30s. Being a native of Florida, I find my blood literally running cold as I made my way back to my vehicle.
But really, I kinda enjoy these trips thru Indiana. During one stop in Indianapolis, my wife and I joined in at a Damon’s where they were having karaoke night. The people doing the show were very nice and helped out quite a bit during my wife's turn at the mike. She did a killer rendition of Meri Wilson's "Telephone Man" while looking at yours truly here. (Go google “Telephone Man” and hear the soundtrack).
Speaking of music, the title of this post is a reference to R. Dean Taylor's 1970 hit song, "Indiana Wants Me". I hear it every now and then on Sirius 70s Channel.
Anyone who isn't a hermit has heard of those two dopey girls in Ohio who decided to photograph themselves topless. The rub here is that one girl was only 15 and the other rub is that the other girl, age 19 (Victoria Schattauer) was her cheerleading coach. Here's a link to the Fox News article:
Now I've read the news articles and seen the picture (censored version). Apparently they were at a party (always at a party) held by the school's football coach. The 15 year old got an idiot notion to photograph herself topless and send it to her boyfriend. Her 19 year old coach (now how did a 19 year old get to be a coach at her age?) showing true leadership (sarcasm) decided to join in saying something like "let's give him a show".
Next of course they made the real smart move (biting sarcasm) of sending it to the 15 year old’s boyfriend. And like a true gentleman who knows how to treat his lady right (extreme biting sarcasm) , the idiot boyfriend sends it to all his friends in some sort of male braggadocio moment.
I digress here for a moment to harken back to my teen years. No I never had any girlfriends give me any topless Polaroids (in the days before digital photography) but had one done so, I would have immediately, if nothing else, kept the photo in a safe place and probably end up giving it back to her after the inevitable breakup (as most teen romances end up). I certainly would not have been showing it off to friends. Back to the topic.
This incident harkens back to the recent Vanessa Hudgens incident (Google that if you want more info) where the renowned 18 year old actress photographed herself nude as a gift for her boyfriend. To their credit, her employer, Disney cut her a break and didn’t cancel her role on “High School Musical”. I strongly believe in second chances. But the scandal is still there and a lot of parents now have to explain to their kids something they probably aren’t really ready for. Now back to Miss Schattauer.
Well if anything, Miss Schattauer has really put herself behind the 8 ball if she was planning a future career as a coach/teacher. Assuming she gets thru college (with her clothes on), what school district would want to hire her, even with her looks?
OK so there might be places like Boulder, Colorado (where the school administration is now encouraging sexual behavior on the part of their students) or Portland, Maine (where they want to give birth control to 11 year old girls). Or maybe she’ll land a spread in Playboy. But those are the wacko exceptions. Chances are, Victoria has closed herself off from a lot of potential future opportunities as a coach, even if the law goes easy on her (which is quite likely). She now has quite a mountain to climb in front of her, all of her own making.
As for the 15 year old, she’ll face some sort of disciplinary action though exactly what hasn’t been made public. I imagine her parents (assuming she’s living with at least one of them) are probably livid. But I don’t know and don’t want to speculate but she’ll have quite a bit of “damage control” to do as well. Luckily for her, the record will be expunged when she turns 21, I think.
Freedom Of Expression
This particular incident brings to mind issues about freedom of expression. Doubtless, some web sites have posted the full, uncensored picture of the two girls, possibly risking charges of child pornography (because of the 15 year old). Most current federal and state laws specify that in order for a image to be considered pornographic (child or otherwise), it must be depicting sexual activity. The picture in the news doesn’t quite fit that category as the girls are not depicted engaged in any sexual activity (but it can be said that they are engaged in some real stupid goings-on). Now that's a overally generalization. Doubtless that some states or municipalities would want to prosecute any web site showing the uncensored photo as child porno.
Personally, I think that our law enforcement has better things to be working on than trying to pursue some idiots who insist on posting the full picture, citing their right to free speech. You, me or whoever do NOT have to go to their web sites, and you’d probably wouldn’t know where they are unless you do a web search. There are other sites that law enforcement needs to be concerned about, like terrorist sites and real child porno sites to prosecute.
I’d prefer to err on the side of freedom in this case.
And that's all for now. I'm stuck up here in chilly Indiana longing for the warmth of my Florida home and my lovely wife, which is where I should be in a few days. The stupid truck decided to malfunction, sticking me here for awhile. But at least I get to catch up on my new photo biz web site work.
God's Blessings to all who read this.
Monday, November 5, 2007
It was close but the Browns D got a big stop. The offense came on, marched down the field and kicked the winning FG to take a 33-30 victory. Oh was I need of a dose of Risperdal after that game.
Now onto some politics.
Being a Reagan Republican, I have warm memories of the days of Ronald Reagan and watching him march the GOP to victory in 1980 and again in 1984. Oh those were the days.
Today, I just can't get excited about any of the so-called "top-tier" Republican candidates. None of them seem willing to tackle the issues that Americans care for most in a positive way. For me the biggest issue is the immigration issue because that directly affects our homeland. The only candidates that take a true pro-American stand on this issue are Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul. Neither looks like they have a chance at the nomination and that in itself is a sad reflection on the state of the American political scene. All of the top-tier candidates seem all to willing to let the immigration issue, both legal and illegal continue as is. Oh sure they talk a big game but none have any real substance.
For example none of the top-tier candidates have stated how they will secure the border. They just offer vague "I-believe-in-a-secure-border" platitudes with no specifics on how they'll implement it.
Like for example, stationing 50,000 National Guard troops on the border to close it off entirely until a real fence is built and more Border Patrol guards can be trained and fielded. Have you heard any top-tier candidate propose this?
Well that enough of this depressing state of affairs for now. Time to get ready for Monday Night Football and hope as a Browns fan that the Steelers get their butts handed to them.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Not taking this one for granted of course but the Browns are favored at home.
And honestly, we haven't had this much excitement for a possible winning team since the heady days of Bernie Kosar. Our biggest surprise, quarterback Derek Anderson who has more TD passes than any NFL quarterback not named Tom Brady. And he's learning the game to where he's having a lot more Otto Graham moments than Billy Graham moments.
(I digress here for a explanation. A Otto Graham moment for a Browns fan is where a Browns player, most notably the QB, executes a great play. This is named for the former Browns quarterbacking great of the 1940s and 1950s, Otto Graham. Derek Anderson throwing a TD strike to Kellen Winslow qualifies as a true Otto Graham moment.
A Billy Graham moment (named for the great evangelist for whom I have utmost respect) happens when a player, again notably the quarterback, makes a real bonehead play. The Billy Graham reference comes from the ability of Billy to make a entire stadium full of people rise to their feet and yell "JESUS"). A bonehead play tends to have the same effect on the home crowd (or the TV crowd for a away game) making them all stand up and yell "JESUS", for an entirely different reason of course). Derek Anderson throwing a interception into the end zone against New England, killing a Browns scoring drive definitely qualified as a Billy Graham moment. I credit Adam Schein on the Sirius NFL channel for this term ).
So today the REAL NFL Game of the Week (not that little dustup of New England vs. Indy) is the BROWNS vs. the Seahawks. Most of my fellow NFL fans will disagree of course but hey, I'm a true BROWNS fan.
Hopefully I'll be back here with a BROWNS victory post, assuming I can get to a WiFi station tonite.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Hello, my blog name here is Hank the Tank which is a take on my old military nickname "Hank". How I got that nickname with my real first name being Brad is its own story but I won't bore you with that here. One of my favorite self-descriptions is the following:
Florida-Based Cleveland Browns Fan Extraordinaire, male model, former Palm Springs gigolo, married to a Victoria's Secret swimsuit model and Your King.
Of course some of that is pure bull (definitely not the part about my wife).
Actually as a born-again Christian, My King is Jesus Christ. But now on with the blog.
I live in sunny Florida with my lovely wife Kyrsten and the rest of our family who also lives in Florida. My mother, Lois lives up in Jacksonville as do some dear family friends named Leitha, her daughter Kirsten (not the same as my Kyrsten, different spelling) and her teen granddaughter Aslin. Aslin is now 15 and a teenager with a attitude as I can attest to first hand.
My wife's mother, Marti lives about 1 mile from us and runs her own interior design business. Nice to have family close by. She also has a nifty network of friends who we all consider family as well.
And then's our network of wonderful friends who are family to us. Including:
Tanya (Dr. Ziadi)
Terri (Tanya's significant other)
Amy, her husband Matt and son Clint
Ed & Hughanne, daughters Tina, Holly, ???ok I'm having a mind block here on the third.
I'll list the others as my brain recalls them.
My wife and I do have our own MySpace page as well (myspace name: hanktank88) which we set up at the behest of Aslin who has her own (naturally). We're one of three adults whom Aslin actually allows on her MySpace Friends list (the other two being her mom, Kirsten and her life partner Cynthia). I've known Aslin since she was 6 so I must have done something right being a big brother to her. But that's another story.
My first love is photography and digital imaging in which I'm in the process of setting up my own little mini-biz as a photographer and digital imaging. I specialize in photographic restoration (using the latest version of Photoshop) and film scanning. I just bought a Nikon CoolScan film scanner and now learning the finer points of scanning old film and slides so I can offer that service to people who have lots of old negatives they'd like to digitize for future preservation.
My wife's first love is horses, we have two thoroughbreds. She can tell you more about those, believe me I hear about them every day. Lord I love her.
I graduated from Kent State University in 1988 (hence the 88 in my hanktank88 handle) with a degree in Computer Science. I spent four years in the Air Force as a mainframe COBOL programmer which I would later parlay into a contract job at NASA, again as a mainframe programmer. At NASA, I maintained and developed software for Space Shuttle support systems, most of which by now are no longer maintained being that the Shuttle (which I now refer to as a obsolete Space Dipsty Dumpster. The only thing it does well nowadays is suck up government revenues from other more worthy space programs and enrich contract-firm CEOs)
Nowadays, I drive a van around the country to all the states where NASA has bases being that all the systems I worked on as a computer programmer are no longer maintained, except for minimal maintenance. The Space Dipsty Dumpster is being retired in 2010 (should've been retired in the 1990s) but only after the Columbia disaster.
I have a lot more to say about my days at NASA (actually a lot of good times) but I'll save those for a future blog.
I do keep my mainframe systems resume out on the big career search sites for COBOL or ADABAS/Natural jobs as a lot of firms are not going ahead with replacing their mainframes since they still do the jobs they were designed to do very well. In fact as of 2005, old COBOL programs were still processing more transactions than all the newer object-oriented (and distributed) systems combined.
Politically, I consider myself a Reagan Republican but with some Libertarian beliefs and even some occasional Liberal thought thrown in. Which makes me more of a independent thinker. Note I say Reagan Republican because the Republican Party of today has strayed afar from what was their base beliefs (smaller government (laugh), lower taxes, border protection (another big laugh), and personal freedom. All of which are not represented by today's Republican Party. And don't get me started on the Democrats.
You'll read more in future blogs.
I'm a avid Fan of the Cleveland Browns and call myself the Offical Dawg Pound Ambassador on the Scout.com sports web sites. Even if they haven't won a championship since 1964, they're long overdue.
Finally, I do wish to thank a Liberal blogger, Russell Glasser (and his lovely wife Ginny) for inspiring me to start this blog. I don't agree with much of Russell's political beliefs but admire him for his independent thought and his rather irreverent way of expressing his beliefs.
We have one thing in common, a definite dislike for Amway and what that company truly represents. I was in Amway for a few years (yeah, I admit it) but left it behind thanks largely to Russell's web site on Amway. I make it a habit to read Russell's blog, it is quite educational.
And I guess I'm rather irreverent myself as I have a definite dislike for phony baloney fat cats both in corporate America and in government. I voted for George W. Bush twice and now realize how much I should have held my nose in the voting booth both times. Particularily with his stances on Immigration and U.S. Border protection. Pres. Bush has proven he takes his cues from his CEO buddies in the Cheap Labor lobby and not from the Constitution.
Well that is all for this, my first Blog here. Hope you all enjoy this and stop by in the future.