Thursday, November 30, 2006

Before Downloading

courtesy of

Quite A Winter Thunderstorm

Wind damages theater in Branson
by Gene Hartley, KY3 News

BRANSON, Mo. -- High winds peeled the roof off part of a theater on Wednesday evening but the performers vowed to go on with the show. Elsewhere in Branson, police had reports of trees blown over and at least one power pole down.

About 6:45, just as people on buses were starting to arrive for a 7:30 show, wind blew the roof off the back of the Jim Stafford Theater. Cameras and other equipment used for special effects during the show are in that area.

One of the theater managers described the sights and sounds as "horrendous." A lot of audience members hadn’t arrived yet, but the staff had to work hard to get people away from windows.

Frantic calls went out to lumber stores for boards to cover the hole. Stafford planned to go on with the show, for an audience of about 800, even if it started late.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Help With Holiday Boredom

Since the holiday season is upon us, we will likely be spending way too much time with extended family members. Here's an article I found on that might be useful. Feel free to use this technique for anyone who bores you, not just your Dad.

How to Entertain Yourself When Your Father Tells the Same Old Tired Story:

As people age they tend to repeat stories a lot. This can be very annoying. Here are some tips on how to entertain yourself while your father is telling the same old tired story again.

Steps -
1. Choose one word and every time he says it, go "ding!" inside your head. Count how many "dings" you get.

2. Pick some fine point of the story and argue about it. Like, if he says that Uncle Felton like to eat hard boiled eggs a lot, say, "Really? Are you sure it wasn't soft boiled eggs? I could have swore..."

3. Play "Bait Dad" with other relatives. This is a game where you try to get him to say certain stories by baiting him. If he has a story about plumbers, you might say, "Boy have I been having trouble with that sink lately!" This can be a very enjoyable drinking game as well.

4. Eat chocolate.

5. Play a variation of "Bait Dad" called "Tangent." In this somewhat more challenging game you have to lead your dad from one story to the next, with no more than one or two transition sentences. This game is best played by advanced players.
Remind yourself of how much you will miss the old man when he's gone.

6. Imagine he is a character in a movie. Things that are just annoying in real life are often entertaining in movies, so imagine that he is acting from a script in a quirky independent film.

Things You'll Need
family members make it more fun too

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Online Friends

Because of the Holiday season, and a few other things that have come up with the family, I have not had as much online time the past 2 weeks as I normally get. And it's because of this that I have began to realize how important my online friends are to me. Maybe it sounds silly to you guys that I could actually miss people I have never even met, but it's true.

There are several people, like Zach, Granny and a few other who have blogs that I am addicted to. There really hasn't been much interaction between myself and them, but if I don't get a chance to read their new postings I get a little anxious about what I may be missing. They are very important to me even if they don't know me.

Then there is Misty, who I have actually met in real life but don't get to see very often because of our schedules. Mostly we talk online at a local forum. If I don't get a chance to login and chat with her I feel like I'm really missing out on visiting with a friend. I will be really thankful when things change enough to allow me more time to actually hang out with Misty - and if you're reading this girl, you need to email me and catch me up on your life.

And there's Amy, who reads my blog and leaves comments and I read her blog and leave comments. For some reason, I feel like I really know Amy even though I have never met her. That sounds silly, but that's the way I feel. The weird thing is that I would love to have even more comments from and to Amy and maybe even several email conversations, but I am afraid to actually meet her in real life. I keep thinking how fun it would be to invite her and the kids to go do something, but at the same time I'm afraid that she'll say "yes" just as much as I'm afraid she will say "no".

But either way, I just wanted to let you guys know that I am so thankful I have online friends. If I weren't so shy and self-conscious I would invite you guys all to meet me (Misty didn't care, she elbowed her way into meeting me), but until then please continue being my online friends. I appreciate it so much.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Customer Support Jokes

You wouldn't believe how accurate these really are:

Tech Support: "Where in the building is your printer located?"
Customer: "Middle of my desk."
Tech Support: "If I have to give someone directions, where do I tell them to go?"
Customer: "In the middle of my desk where I work."

Customer: "It tries to log in and then gives this error number. I forget what it was...uhm...six one something? Or was it seven...? Four something? Or was it--"
Tech Support: "Ok. Open up 'Dial-Up Networking'."
Customer: "Ok. I double clicked on the icon on my desktop. It's now dialing."
Tech Support: "No sir. Click on 'cancel'."
Customer: "What? There's nothing here that says 'connect'. There's just a 'cancel' button."
Tech Support: "Click on 'cancel' please!"
Customer: "Oh, now it says it couldn't connect due to an error..."
Tech Support: "Click on 'ok' please."
Customer: "...of type 619. I can't click on 'cancel'. There is an 'ok' button."
Tech Support: (sigh) "Click on 'ok' then."

Tech Support: "Ok, ma'am, do you see the button on the right hand side of your mouse?"
Customer: "No, there's a printer and a phone on the right hand side of my mouse."
Hmmmm.... Let's try a different approach.

Tech Support: "Now I want you to click the right mouse button over the [ISP] icon."
Customer: "Yep."
Tech Support: "Did a menu appear with 'Properties' being listed at the bottom?"
Customer: "No! It just says [ISP], and there's two buttons, 'Connect' and 'Cancel'."
Tech Support: "Ok, let's just try again. You must have double clicked using the left mouse button. No problem, just click 'Cancel'. Now, I'd like you to click the button on the right of the mouse, not the left, and I'd like you to click it only once."
Customer: "Now it says 'Create Shortcut Here'!"
Tech Support: "Ok, click on 'Cancel'."
Customer: "Left or right button?"
Tech Support: "Left, please."
Customer: "Now what?"
Tech Support: "Ok, let's just try this again."
Customer: "All right then, one last time."
Tech Support: "Right, ok, please click the right mouse button over [ISP] and please try and keep the mouse still when doing so."
Customer: "Which button is the left button?"
Tech Support: "Not the left button!"
Customer: "Which one's that?!"
Tech Support: (groan, sigh, urgh)
Customer: "Oh, never mind. 'Properties' is listed."

Tech Support: "I need you to click on the 'Start' button."
Customer: "Where is that?"
Tech Support: "It's on the bottom left hand corner of your screen."
Customer: "..."
Tech Support: "Did you find it?"
Customer: "Ahhh.... No. I don't see it."
Tech Support: "Look closely at your screen. In the bottom...left...corner."
Customer: "I don't see it. I only see button that says 'Control'."
Tech Support: "No ma'am, that's on the keyboard. The 'Start' button is on the bottom left corner of your screen. You know, the monitor. The thing that looks like a TV."
Customer: "Aaahhhh, yes!!! Ok."
Tech Support: "..."
Customer: "..."
Tech Support: "Well, did you find it?"
Customer: "No. I still only see 'Control'."

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday

Yep, I'm one of the idiots who always goes shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, and this year was no exception. Of course, this year I wasn't able to be at Wal-Mart at 4:15 am because I had to work until 7:00 am, but that didn't stop me from going once I got off work. I knew there was no point in trying to get any of the doorbusters that Wal-Mart had advertised because I had gotten such a late start, but I was determined to head over to Target and get some Christmas shopping done.

My sister Wendy and my best friend Bobbie met me at my house around 7:15 and we piled in together and headed that way. They had actually been in line at the James River Wal-Mart at 4:30 am and managed to grab the stuff they needed (in hindsight, I should have asked them to pick up the 1 item I really wanted). They were laughing about the crowds and the long lines and Wendy even had a story about some woman grabbing an item out of her hands. We weren't in a massive hurry because Target wasn't doing any doorbusters. In fact, their sale bill advertised their savings as a "2 day sale", so there was no need to rush. We decided to run into McDonald's real quick and have some breakfast.

After leaving McDonalds it was probably 7:45 and we headed down National towards Primrose on our way to Target. We were shocked to see the huge line of traffic that was backed up down Glenstone waiting to turn in to the parking lot. Because we came up Primrose from the other direction, we got a green arrow at the stoplight and got turned in pretty quickly. But parking was another story altogether. We noticed people were actually parking at Lowe's and walking over. I have no idea why the store was so crazy, they didn't have any doorbusters! But you couldn't tell it by walking inside. It was complete madness. I did manage to pick up some gifts (after fighting my way through the crowds), but some of the stuff that was in Target's toy ad last week and wasn't even on sale this week was already freaking gone. I just don't understand what happened.

Why was Target so busy? I don't know if I'll ever figure it out. Maybe the explanation is they were there for the same reason I was, the early morning stuff at the other stores was already gone, so why not head over to Target and check out their sale items. I don't know. I do know I was disappointed to discover they were sold out of the space age ant farms I had wanted to get for the twins. Maybe they will get more in stock since those weren't a sale item anyway. But, my day was certainly not ruined. I did find several gifts there as well as some stuff for myself. After we left we went to several other stores and had a good day. I decided to treat us all 3 to lunch at Hinodes (yummy!) and then even though I wanted to accompany them to the mall to continue shopping, I had to let them drop me off at my house so I could get some sleep and be ready for work tonight. I didn't get in bed until 12:30 this afternoon and had only 9 hours before time to be at work, but it was well worth it.

I had a good day, ate some good food, was with some of my favorite people, and managed to buy myself 16 DVD's at super low prices. What more could you ask for?


Thanksgiving is a great day for eating good food and spending time with family and friends. Lucky for me I got to do a lot of both of these things. But Thanksgiving is even better when the Chiefs beat the Bronco's. Woo Hoo. Go Chiefs!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Spending The Day With Jessica

So today I got the opportunity to spend the day with my 10 year old neice Jessica because she stayed home from school sick. We spent all day laying on the couch, watching Disney movies and eating junk food. Then I spent some time laughing at her as she died repeatedly playing one of my spongebob games I have. That was fun for me, but probably not so fun for her.

Her dad's on his way to come get her now, so our time together is almost up. I figured I'd spend the last few minutes proving to her I really could post her picture on the internet. So, her it is.

Fassnight Park

So, I had never been to Fassnight Park before and I was really bored last Friday morning after I got off work and decided to check it out. I'm sure most of you are familiar with it, so I'm not gonna bother describing it for ya. But I will say I rather enjoyed it. Sure, it's not very big, but the rock footbridges and the creek are really pretty. Plus, it's a great place to do some bird and squirrel watching.
Also, I liked this photo I managed to snap while I was there.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


A few days ago, I sat down with Cordell and watched the new Disney movie Cars. Cordell had already seen it in the theater months ago, but when it was released on DVD recently he just had to have it. I hadn't seen it yet, but I was sure it was going to be just as good as the others and I was not disappointed (Finding Nemo will never be topped - it was the best).

Cars was really cute and touching just like all Disney movies are. It was absolutely amazing to see how the animators did such a great job giving cars and trucks accurate facial expressions. The whole movie was simply delightful...for children. Don't get me wrong, it was delightful for me also; but I just couldn't help noticing that the Disney movie I was watching with an 8 year old was flirting with sexual content. Or maybe it was just me.

Help me decide - did the movie contain language which was meant to be interpreted a certain way by children and a completely different way by adults, or am I just a gutter-minded pervert? Here's an example of one of the lines in the film. This was spoken by Tow Mater, a tow truck played by Larry the Cable Guy, "Oh man, you get to work with Bessie! I'd give my left two lugnuts to work with something like that!"

Funny line? Yes, it is. I chuckled, it cracked me up. But then I realized that Cordell had laughed also. Not because he understood the implications I understood it to have, but because it was obviously setup to be a joke and he knew it was meant to be a joke, so he laughed. Now, I don't pretend to know much about other 8 year old boys, but I certainly know a lot about this one and he is a kid who likes to tell a joke. He "attempts" to make up jokes constantly. He thinks he's freaking hilarious. So, what would happen if he went to school, the teacher tells him to help Jenny do something and Cordell seizes the opportunity to crack up the class with this joke he heard yesterday. "I have to work with Jenny? I'd give my left two lugnuts to work with Ben instead." Is it funny then?

Now, I'm really not trying to give Disney a hard time here. I know they expect millions of small children to watch their films and they are smart enough to know that the small children cannot drive themselves to the theater or watch the movie by themselves. They understand they are going to have a lot of parents in the audience and they are trying to entertain both age groups. It makes sense that they would have to do that. But, I think the content that is obviously sexual in nature should be left out. We all know kids are nothing more than little parrots and love to repeat anything they hear - especially if they noticed you laughed the first time you heard it.

There were all sorts of other lines in the movies that were aimed at adults that I didn't have a problem with at all. For example:
Lightning McQueen: Wow, this organic fuel is great! Why haven't I heard about it before?
Filmore: It's a conspiracy, man! The oil companies got a grip on the government. They're feeding us a bunch of lies, man!

Lightning McQueen: I'm serious! He's won three Piston Cups!
Mater: [spits out fuel] He did WHAT in a cup?

Filmore: [looking at a stoplight blinking yellow] I'm tellin' ya, man, every third blink is slower.
Sarge: The '60s weren't very good to you, were they?

See, if a kid repeated any of the above, no big deal. So what's the point of putting the lugnut line in there?

Fun With Kids

Stolen from (with permission of course)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Wow! High Speed Internet Is Super Fast

I was slow to join the internet revolution of people having service at home. Not because I didn't want to, but because in the very rural area I hail from it took years before there was an ISP that wasn't a long distance phone call. But finally, one glorious day about 5 or 6 years ago I was able to have dial-up internet from my very own home. Sure it only offered a speed of 28.8 and didn't always work right in the rain, cold weather, or anytime after 5:00 on Friday and Saturday nights - but hey, I finally had it. And because everyone around me had the same ISP, I didn't really realize how slow it was for quite some time. Heck, I even managed to download music at a rate of 1 song in approx. 37 minutes.

Now, of course, I can't stand to use dial-up. I use high-speed at work and at my house in Springfield and I am addicted to how much sweeter that actually makes the internet. The DSL is hooked up to a wireless router and I am free to move my computer anywhere in my bedroom I want without tripping over cables. Life is good.

There have been the occasional problems, sometimes the wireless signal isn't very strong and one of us, or maybe all 3 of us, will have trouble getting pages to load. But overall, it's been really okay. I mean I'm comparing it to 5 years of dial-up so I think it's awesome.

Then on Thursday, my brother makes a casual comment about a spot on the carpet being caused by the SBC/Yahoo guy. "Why was the SBC guy here?" I ask. "They were checking out the lines to see why the internet acts up so much" he replies. And apparently they discovered that there is a problem with the lines. Not just the ones directly into our house per se, but apparently just the lines going out our direction. And they told him they are going to be immediately working on replacing them at any time. Now, I'm not sure if they already have that work completed or not, but I do know that the internet was not very accessible most of the day yesterday and when it finally reappeared last night it was freaking faster than it had ever been. This whole time I was so happy to be downloading songs in approx. 6 minutes compared to over 30, and suddenly last night I was downloading songs left and right at about 3 minutes each. All I can say is wow - high speed internet is super fast. Even faster than I already thought it was.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Playing In The Park

Last week my little buddy Cordell got a chance to come up and spend some time with me while his mom was busy in town. So, I took advantage of the fact that he had no choice but to go where I made him and dragged him around so I could take some pictures. It was nice having someone to talk to, even if he does talk about Pokemon way too much.

First, we went to Sequiota Park:

We checked out the caves -

Then we got friendly with the animals -

Cordell collected some pretty leaves -

After that we picked up Aunt Jordi and our four-legged friend Sadie and took them with us to Nathaniel Greene Park:

The fall leaves were beautiful that day, so I made them pose -

Happy Feet

Happy Feet opens in movie theaters tonight. This movie looks so adorable. Plus, Robin Williams plays 2 different characters in the film and he usually kicks ass in animated flicks. I won't get a chance to see it until Sunday, but you guys should all go check it out whether you have kids or not.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

When Did I Get So Bland

I have discovered that I love blogging. In fact, excluding the occasional time away from the keyboard, I am completely addicted to it. But sometimes I wonder why I bother. I mean, there are days when I look at my site and I think "how boring". Sure there are all sorts of news stories about a variety of subjects, I throw in a random recipe, some entries are about things going in my life. But overall, it's boring.

I don't know what happened. I used to be more passionate about things. There used to be certain subjects that I actually formed opinions on. Now it just seems like I live my life (not just my blog) in the neutral zone, trying my darndest not to offend anyone. For example, when did I start using the word "darndest"? What a bland word. There was a time not too long ago when I would have said "damndest". Not that I'm condoning using swear words, I am just using that as an example.

Oh man, did you see that? I just apologized for not really using a swear word.

That is exactly what I'm talking about. When did I get so bland. Not that there's anything wrong with trying not to offend people. But, where does it end? Why should I let it take my identity away from me? If you were a personal friend of mine and had known me for years, which would offend you more: reading a curse word in my blog or noticing I had changed and was never quite openly myself around you?

Or what if you are simply a loyal reader of my blog, curious about what new recipe I'm going to post this week, and suddenly you see a post where I rip apart a celebrity or admit my disgust with politics or maybe share a paragraph or two about stem cell research that is the complete opposite viewpoint of the one you have? Would that make you decide you no longer like me? Would it scare you away from my site? Or are most people capable of realizing that I can be a good person and not agree with them all at the same time?

I just can't figure out when I got like this. Is it a direct result of this blog? I know some of my family reads my posts. Am I worried they will spot something they don't like and no longer invite me home? No.

So what's my problem? I think it started with the blog, being aware that anyone can read it, trying to be careful not to upset anyone. But it seems to have carried over into my real life. I'm becoming bland on-line and off. And I don't like it. For one thing, I don't want people to finally figure out I'm getting old.

I do know it's been a strange year for me. Maybe that has something to do with it. I started a new job where I basically work by myself all night, I partially moved half of my life to Springfield, but also still live 2 hours away in Seligman. I've had a huge increase in income and an almost equal increase in my payments (but my new car is worth it!). I've just been all out-of-sorts this year. Nothing about me is settled. I live in 2 houses, own 2 cars and go to work by myself on weekend nights when the rest of the world is out watching movies and hanging with friends.
Plus, I now live with my brother, who for years I had only seen maybe 2 or 3 days out of every month. So that's awkward. He's a cool guy with cool friends so I'm constantly worried about not being dorky, which instead makes me act retarded.

The roommate I've had for several years in Seligman tells me she's so used to having the house to herself when I'm in Springfield 4 days a week, that now when I come home for my 3 days off it's weird having me there and I throw off her schedule. And why am I telling you guys all of this? I don't know. I just think maybe it's all sort of connected. Like my life is in such limbo that the only thing I have going for me is occupying my time with this blog. I want to build a huge audience and apparently I'm afraid to personalize my entries with anything that someone might not like. I'm an idiot.

Verona, Missouri

The small town of Verona is located just west of Aurora off of Hwy 60. Don't blink, you'll miss the turn-off completely. Why am I bothering you about this miniscule town you've never heard of? Because this morning I stumbled across a news story about the Verona City Council monthly meeting and it is way too cute not to share.

The original story can be found at The Monett Times, but below are some of the excerpts that I found to be cute and adorable. Wouldn't it be nice if every city or town in the world never had any problems worse than these?

Charles Brady
Community Editor
Published November 15, 2006 4:00 PM CST

Odor problem and what is being done to combat it occupied the attention of the Verona City Council at its October monthly meeting.
Brad Friend of American Dehydrated Foods (ADF) spoke to the council. He said ADF is experimenting with equipment to try and reduce odors generated from their wastewater system.
Several complaints have been made by residents in the past few months concerning the foul smell.
Friend said ADF is continuously monitoring odor emissions from the industry's air-handling systems and has also started to track wind direction. He added ADF will work closely with the city to investigate odor complaints.

Concern was expressed over the length of time a yard sale sign can be left up. It was pointed out that city ordinance states that a permit must be obtained, the sale can be no longer than four days, only two sales are allowed per year, and all signs must be removed within three days following the last day of the sale.

The council voted to allow police officers Nick Frohmann and Justin Day to take the city's police car to a Spanish class November 6-8 in Iowa.

Also in police matters, the council voted to allow Day and Frohmann to purchased one new uniform this year and to purchase an additional uniform every year hereafter.

Fire Chief Morris Koehler reported a quiet month in October and that he and his crew are ready to start painting the new fire station.

Alderman Lloyd Airrington stated he has been busy recently patching holes in streets, and is nearly finished.

The PlayStation 3 Is Coming...But Is It Worth All Of This?

Check out this news article from 1 hour ago

Three PS3 campers and news reporter hit in drive-by shooting
Humphrey Cheung
November 16, 2006 03:07

Lexington (KY) - Three PS3 campers and a WKYT news reporter were hit in a drive-by Wednesday night while outside the Lexington Kentucky Best Buy store. The four people were hit by BB pellets and were not seriously hurt. According to WKYT, some of the campers are now afraid for their lives and have left the line.

Dorsett was interviewing someone while the shooting happened. She was hit in the back of the leg. No one has been arrested yet and police are still investigating the shooting. Police will stand guard over the campers until Friday morning, when the store opens.

The Sony PlayStation 3 console will begin selling on Friday. Some stores are opening at midnight, while others will open at regular times. Campers have staked out turf at many stores, including the Best Buy in West Los Angeles and Hawthorne California.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Microsoft Tries To Challenge The iPod

The newest mp3 player hit the shelves yesterday, but it is already easy to see that the Microsoft Zune will never equal the iPod. The Zune has a few nice qualities, such as a built-in FM radio (iPod requires a $50 accessory to listen to FM radio), and a screen which is a full 1/2 inch larger than it's competitor. Microsoft also brags about their wireless networking capabilities, but don't let that fool you. They have been heavily advertising the fact that you can share songs wirelessly with your friends, but according to Dean Takahashi with Mercury News, it's not quite as awesome as it seems. For one thing, you can only share songs with other Zune users and there just aren't many of them out there yet.
Within a couple minutes of charging my two Zune players, I was sharing a song. But it's not a lasting relationship. Each song you share lasts for only three plays or three days on your friend's Zune.

And if you share a song with a friend, you can never share that same song with that friend again. To me that is a lame concession to the music studios, not the rights of users. If you think of all the things that Microsoft could have done with wireless networking, Zune disappoints. For instance, you can't surf the Web, or act like a DJ so your friends can listen simultaneously to the same song you're playing. And the Zune won't wirelessly synchronize with your PC. It has to be connected by a USB cable.

Dean also discovers a few other issues with Microsoft's Zune which aren't as obvious as they should be.

The advantages of Apple's momentum are evident in other ways. Microsoft's Zune Marketplace has 2 million songs versus Apple's 3.5-million song iTunes Web site. Microsoft is also playing catch-up with iTunes in providing TV shows, movies, music videos, audio books and podcasts. And there are only dozens of accessories for the Zune, compared to 3,000 for the iPod.

To buy songs, you spend points that you must purchase in $5 increments, a system that is similar to the e-commerce model on the Xbox 360 but annoying compared to the convenience of using your credit card to buy songs on iTunes for 99 cents. Deceptively, Microsoft sells its songs for 79 points, but it costs you 99 cents to accumulate that many points.

Overall, it doesn't sound to me like the Zune is going to be an immediate threat to Apple's iPod. However, just as they did with the Xbox, I am confident Microsoft will continue improving the Zune and will continue investing money into it until they finally do have a product that will seriously threaten Apple's monopoly on the portable music market. Maybe when that happens I will have grown tired of my 60GB video iPod...but I doubt it.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Bad Schedule - Good Reason

My sleep schedule is all screwed up! Normally I go to work at 09:30pm and get off work at 08:00am. But I'm on vacation and the past 2 days I have been going to bed around 09:30pm and getting up at around 05:30am. But it's all been worth it. Yesterday, I got up early to clean house and pack some clothes for a busy weekend. The 1107th AVCRAD arrived in Springfield from their debriefing in Ft. LeonardWood and we had their official homecoming ceremony. So, I will be spending several days in the Cassville area, spending time with Dad and helping him out. The ceremony was loud and exciting, but the best part was when the soldiers were released and were free to go home with their families. It was great. We all stopped and had a quick lunch together and then headed straight down to grandma's house where all of his brothers were waiting. It was an all-night celebration at grandma's because dad had requested fried chicken, fried potato's and country gravy for dinner.

This morning I am up early because dad has agreed to participate in the Veteran's Day ceremony being held at the school his grandchildren attend. They were so excited he was going to get home in time. The ceremony is at 09:00am, so I am up and getting ready to hop in the shower. After we're done at the school, it's off to dad's to help him get some spring cleaning done at his house. He's a bachelor, so things became a little neglected while he was gone.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tony Hawk's Project 8

I love my video games and my all-time favorites are the Tony Hawk games. But the new one which will be released tomorrow is so sick, I can't believe I ever liked the old ones.

Tony Hawk is back with his newest game, Project 8. One of the added features is called "nail the trick" and it really brings this game to a whole new level. I got a chance to play a 20 minute demo a few weeks ago and I knew immediately I would sell my right arm to be able to buy this game. "Nail the trick" allows you to decide which direction your board flips and how many rotations it makes so that you are essentially creating your own tricks. Instead of hitting a combination of the control pad buttons, you can enter "nail the trick" mode off of a jump and use the joysticks to determine what your board does and when you land it. Unless of course you hit the ground first. While you're in air and have initiated "nail the trick" the whole game slows down to a matrix style slo-mo so you can concentrate on how your flipping your board. It's totally awesome.

Of course, the pre-designated tricks that are accomplished with the control pad buttons are still there and they are just as tight as ever. The demo I played didn't allow me to leave the one small area I was in, but in just that area there were several objectives and challenges to complete, so it will feel like the old games in that respect.

And then there are the graphics. All I can say is WOW! You can check out some trailers of the game in action (including "nail the trick") here. Don't forget it comes out tomorrow and anyone who wants to buy me a copy will get the privilege of watching me play it at my house on the 50" HDTV. And I might let you play it for a minute too.

An American Icon May Be Going Extinct

Here's a heads up for all you collectors out there, this article is in the Neosho Daily News.
As Time Goes By
By Kay Hively
Published: Monday, November 6, 2006 5:04 PM CST

Are pink flamingos in front yards extinct?
I read some sad news this past week. The once-popular pink plastic flamingos which once decorated so many lawns may be on its (literal) last leg. Thanks to high production costs, the company which started making this piece of American pop culture is closing its doors.

Will the pink flamingo survive? There are some talks under way with other lawn ornament companies about taking over the flamingo production but it doesn't look like the production will stay in Leominster, Massachusetts, where the flamingo was born and produced by the millions.

The reason I took an interest in this news is because I am a pink flamingo aficionado and anyone who knows my house in warm weather has seen the pair that hang about under my dining room window. Over the years, I have gotten many comments on my pink flamingos. And, in fact, they were noted as part of Newton County history when Billie Stewart used some features of my house for the 1950s section of the big mural in the local courthouse. Although she changed some features of my 1952 house, she gave my flamingos a very prominent place out in the front yard!

Finding the original pink flamingos is getting more difficult all the time. The pair I have came out of an about-to-be-closed hardware store in North Dakota. They were still wrapped in their package and covered with a nice coating of dust when Russell dragged them off a top shelf.

It's tempting to say I wish I had kept them in their package now that they will become big-time collectors items, but I really am glad I have displayed them for many years. They have brought many smiles to many faces over the years.

But now that they may become extinct I suspect my flamingo will be retired to the inside of the house to ward off any possibility of theft.

In the news item I read about these plastic birds, I learned that an artist in Leominster, Massachusetts, used clay to sculpt his famous birds in 1957. He worked on them from a photograph he found in National Geographic magazine.

Will the famous birds survive? My guess is they will be continued by another company and, very likely, in another country. So, if you have some good old American made pink flamingos I would suggest you take good care of them.

Monday, November 06, 2006

On This Day In History

1860 - Abraham Lincoln was elected president

1946 - Actress Sally Field was born

1962 - U.N. condemns apartheid

1970 - South Vietnemese forces attack into Cambodia

To find out what happened on any particular day in history, visit The History Channel.

Upcoming Event

This is the next event from the Springfield History Museum that is posted on their website.
Historic Tours and Holiday Open House
November 11, 2006
come by and see the holiday decorations
and take a guided tour of downtown
tour cost - $10.00 per person

Museum hours extended
8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Photos Of Springfield & The Ozarks

Flickr is an online photo sharing website that allows you to upload your pictures and share them with your family, friends and everyone else in the world. It's a pretty popular site, so I'm sure you guys already know all about it. But did you know that you can also choose to join a Flickr group and help create a collective pool of photos all relating to a specific place or subject?

I am just barely getting started with my Flickr account, but there are a couple of Flickr groups that I have joined and really enjoy. One is the Springfield, Mo group photo pool. There is also a Southwest Missouri group photo pool and an Ozark group. You should check them out, you might find something that interests you.

And if you're interested in the few pictures I've shared you can look at them here.

Random Thoughts I Had Today

I need sunshine. I'm really tired of these gray clouds and this incessant drizzle.

I've got to remember to defragment my computer when I get home.

If the KC Chiefs can play so well, why don't they do it more often?

The book I haven't finished yet is due back at the library, must call and renew it.

I hate doing laundry.

When did I eat the last of the sherbert?

I cannot forget to go by Sears this week and trade in Chuck's socket wrench for him.

I need to find someplace where I can get boxes and start packing away my stuff.

Well, I'm bored so I think I will see what's happening on eBay.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My Horoscope

According to this morning's local paper, my horoscope is:

Virgo - You're presented with a choice. You can either feel right, or you can feel happy. There is something to learn either way.

Now, I don't really ever pay attention to horoscopes. I probably only read mine 3 or 4 times a year total and usually only if it happens to catch my eye. When I do read them I view them the same way I view fortune cookie fortunes - just a little bit of humor that sometimes randomly applies to your life.

However, this morning I was stunned to read my horoscope and realize it is talking about my life exactly. Although it should be my permanent horoscope instead of just today's or this week's. Because for years now, choosing between what feels right and what makes me feel happy has been a constant struggle. And for the record, I never seem to make the right choice at the right time. I suck at it completely.

Here's What I Got To Do Yesterday

My brother, my sisters, my neice and nephews and myself took a little roadtrip to spend about 4 1/2 hours with my dad. He has finally returned from a 1 year deployment to Iraq. He is in debriefing now, so we only got this short visit. But soon, we will have his homecoming party.

I'm only being vague because the military demands it.

Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Chips

1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix
1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup hot water
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then grease and flour your Bundt pan.
Combine cake mix, pudding mix, oil, eggs, water, sour cream, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool.



Stumbling forward,
Holding the line.
Convincing the world
That I’m doing fine.

Secretly hoping
I don’t take a fall.
Trapped in myself,
Feeling so small.

Avoiding all conflict
I play each game to lose.
Constantly tripping
Each time I must choose.

Never being consistent
Means I usually fail.
Never being myself
Means I’ll never prevail.

I’ve become slightly bitter,
I regret things I say.
And I’m mad at myself
For becoming that way.

My sense of injustice
Is now more sensitive.
I’m way too concerned
With how others live.

I’m desperate to change me,
But I’m too scared to try.
Afraid I’m too selfish,
Afraid I might cry.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The following is a commentary that was published in the Cassville Democrat this week. It's very touching to see how the Cassville school district handled this terrible situation and just as heartwarming that Mount Vernon publicly recognized them and sent a sincere thank you note in return.
If only more people, schools, communities, counties, states, and nations could have this sort of compassion and respect for each other. I am proud of both the Cassville Wildcats and the Mount Vernon Mountaineers.

MVHS students thank Cassville community
Thursday, November 2, 2006 3:50 PM CST

Dear citizens of Cassville,

I would simply like to thank all of you for the amazing understanding and compassion you showed toward Mt. Vernon on Oct. 6. That day, after school was dismissed, two of our cheerleaders were involved in a wreck, killing one and injuring the other.

Even though the football game that night between Cassville and Mt. Vernon had been billed the game of the week, your players, coaches and administrators agreed that the game could not be played. Mt. Vernon High School appreciates your understanding. It will not be forgotten.

Many of your fans told us there are things more important than the big game, and for that we thank you. We, the students of Mt. Vernon High School, are grateful.

Brent Spradling
Mt. Vernon High School
Student Body President

Busy, Busy Day

I've got a VERY big day ahead of me that I cannot tell you about. Well, I can tell you about it, but not until after it's over with. One of the cool parts about my day is that I will be getting to take a small roadtrip and that is one thing I am always up for. Hopefully we'll get to see some sunshine instead of the dull gray clouds that were threatening earlier.

Anyway, just wanted to make you guys aware that I will basically be going on no sleep for the next 24 hours and my blogging might slow down a bit. Then again, I'm kind of a crackhead and I could end up with major insomnia which could lead to 23 new posts being created over the next day or two.

Guess we'll all just have to wait and see, won't we?

Saving A Historic Bridge

The Newton County Times features a story about an old low-water bridge in Ponca, AR and how the community is trying to save it from being demolished. Ponca is located about 25 miles south of Harrison, AR and is in the beautiful Buffalo National River Valley.

"PONCA - The old concrete low water bridge crossing the upper reaches of the Buffalo National River may connect the river's past with its future for many more years. That is what local and state officials and at least one U.S. congressman set out to accomplish last Thursday morning, Oct. 26, here.
The bridge, erected long before the Buffalo was declared a National River in the 1970s and was allowed to remain in place after a new elevated highway bridge was built around 1983, has continued to serve the community as a canoe launch, swimming and fishing hole, baptismal pool and a safe means of accessing hiking trails on the other side of the river.
Although park service officials say the removal of the bridge is not a priority, it has long been on the agency's list for demolition.
State Rep. Roy Ragland of Marshall, after hearing complaints from his District 90 constituents about park service policies limiting access to the river, contacted members of the state's delegation to Washington, D.C., and brought the concerns to their attention.....

rest of story here.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Funny Stuff From Area Bloggers

Here are some great posts from other bloggers in this area which I thought you guys might enjoy.

Granny Geek's blog had me spitting Red Diamond tea all over my keyboard the other day as I read Wordplay.

The Snarling Marmot has a cute story about tripping that I can definitely relate to.

Slice of Home, Slice of Life features a photographic memo to John Kerry from soldiers in Iraq.

And finally, Dad's On A Rant has a video for us to enjoy. By now almost everyone has seen what happens when you drop Mentos into a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke. But, have you seen Mentos & Diet Coke meet the domino effect?

Route 66

I have always been fascinated with road-tripping, but recently I have started to become more and more obsessed with the infamous Route 66. So far, I have no plans to try and make the journey to the west coast (mainly because I haven't the time or the money), but I sure do love reading about it and seeing pictures and videos of the way it used to be and even the way it looks now.

I have traveled down some of the sections of the "mother road" that are in this immediate area. Since Springfield is considered the "birthplace of Route 66" I knew I would have to check out the pieces of the road that were near here. I love delving into the history of all the businesses and people that made their living off of the road in it's heyday.

Anyway, if any of you guys are as interested in learning about Route 66 as much as I am, check out the Route 66 News blog and make use of the links and suggestions on the sidebar along with reading the blog postings. There's all sorts of cool stuff just waiting for you to discover it.

Springfield's Upcoming "Official Book"

In the spring of 2007, a book titled "Celebrating Springfield - A Photographic Portrait" will be published through a joint effort between the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Riverbend books. I am already excited and cannot wait to see it. Since the Chamber of Commerce website refers to it as a coffee-table book, I'm sure it will cost more than I want to spend. But they also mention here that it will be released in limited quantities which, unfortunately, will result in me shelling out the money for it. After the money is gone and I have eaten nothing but ramen noodles and spoonfuls of peanut butter for 2 weeks, I'll have a really great book to brag about.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Casting Call November 10

Are you a farmer between the ages of 25-35 years old and in need of a wife? If so, this could be just what you needed. On November 10 in Springfield, MO there will be a casting call to find farmers for the new reality series "The Farmer Wants A Wife" scheduled to air sometime next year.

And if you are a single woman just itching to find a farmer to settle down with then be sure you are prepared for the casting call that will occur at some point after the farmers have been chosen.

Digital Photography

In March, I finally got my first ever digital camera and I have used it almost daily. I'm addicted. Years ago, I was one of the photography geeks in high school - I even served as photography editor for my high school yearbook when I was a senior. But over the years, I had slowed down to doing nothing more than taking snapshots at holidays with a 35mm camera and only processing my rolls of film once or twice a year.

Now, however, I have the fever. I have once again become obsessed with taking "artsy" pictures of landscapes, people and objects. But in high school I used a Pentax K1000 with manual focus and manual exposure settings. Now I am using a Nikon Coolpix L1 and although I love it and it's a great camera, I am trying to figure out ways I can have a little more control over how the shot turns out.

In my searching I stumbled across this website with the authors "Top Ten Digital Photography Tips". I will definitely be using some of these tips to experiment with my pictures.

Housecleaning 101

Just in case someone out there has not figured this out on their own, there is a tutorial available to help you learn how to get rid of spider webs. Be sure and check out the links at the bottom of the page because you can also learn how to overcome the fear of spiders. It didn't work for me, I'm still an arachnophobe, but it might work for you.