Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Hey, I almost forgot - today is my 2 year blogiversary! Year two has really flown by. It's also been way more stable than year one, which is OK by me. Wow, I've gone from no readers all the way up to three! That's one-and-a-half a year!


Why Yes, I Do Have a Light

This is my final entry for the elements theme. I'm still going with the element of "fire".

And if I could really do this, I wouldn't go around lighting cigarettes!

To see what others are doing, click here.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Toof Update

I went to the dentist yesterday to show them my messed-up tooth. No hot dentist this time. They think that it may be OK with just a filling, but it's deep enough that it might aggravate the nerve. If that happens I would need a root canal and crown. So Tuesday (that's when my discount plan starts) I will be getting another filling and then waiting to see how the tooth responds. I'm glad that it doesn't hurt! I've worn my mouthguard the last two nights and so far my jaw isn't hurting.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Tooth Trouble II: Oh Shi...!

I had already resolved to get a mouthguard to wear at night so that I could avoid further damage to my teeth. I found a dental lab that will ship you the putty so you can make your own impressions, ship them back to the lab, and then get your custom mouthguard a few days later, and I had already ordered one. Then about an hour and a half after I got to work today I noticed one of my teeth felt kind of weird when my tongue touched the side of it. Definitely didn't feel right. I went to go check it out in the bathroom mirror and I saw a large chunk of that tooth missing. SHIT!!!! I was panicking there for a while because tooth problems really freak me out, and my dentist is closed on Fridays. Not to mention that a root canal and crown would cost me $1600 or more since my dental coverage only covers basic cleanings and basic x-rays.

I really do try to live by the principle that you shouldn't freak out about things that you have no control over, and also that you shouldn't freak out about stuff too far in advance. Wait until it's time to freak out before freaking out. This situation has really challenged this idea. I've been trying extremely hard not to flip my wig. I think for now I have gotten a bit of a grip. I'm going to the dentist in the morning, and I'll wait to see what they say before the next freakout. I purchased a discount dental plan that will cut my cost on the root canal and crown (I'm assuming I will need these) to "only" around $1000. The plan won't kick in until Tuesday, though. I'm hoping to hear that I can at least wait until then to do anything drastic to the tooth. It doesn't hurt, which is a very good thing. I can wear the crappy store-bought mouthguard (that really hurts my jaw) that I have until I get the good one. And I can hope that it's not too late to forestall any further damage to my chompers.

The whole thing just really bums me out. I always thought that tooth problems happened to people who didn't take care of their teeth, and I do take care of mine. I brush and floss religiously, and I use mouthwash to prevent plaque. They always tell you as a kid that that's the deal - be good to your teeth and they'll be good to you. I guess grinding or clenching your teeth at night really doesn't have anything to do with how well you take care of your teeth. They don't know why people do it, and they don't know to make them stop doing it. I guess it's one of those "what can you do?" situations. So much for that new camera lens.

8 Random Facts

Kit tagged me to do this meme a few weeks ago. For some reason I’m really bad about doing things that I get tagged for, but I try to do them eventually!

8 Random Facts About Me

1. By the time I was 5 years old, I had lived in 3 states. But in the last 30 years I have only lived in one state.

2. Even though I have lived in Texas for 30 years now, I can’t stand country music. However, if forced to listen to Willie Nelson or Lyle Lovett I can resist the urge to slit my wrists.

3. I’ve never had a broken bone.

4. I’ve never had surgery.

5. I absolutely hate getting up early. For me “early” is any time before 9AM. This hasn’t changed after 12 years of having jobs where I have had to get up early. I think it’s just a part of my makeup, like my eye color.

6. I mow my own lawn.

7. The summer before my senior year in high school I went to live with my uncle in Florida and worked at Disney World. I wanted an adventure, and I got one. The job was by no means glamorous – I was a custodian who spent most of my time sweeping up trash, and they were dead serious about keeping that place clean. But the people-watching was top-notch. Men who worked there weren’t allowed to have facial hair, which wasn’t a huge problem for me back then but I did have to shave the peach fuzz on a regular basis. I always thought it was funny though because Walt Disney himself had a mustache. I think they may have since revised their policy to allow mustaches, but back then they didn’t. I also had to keep my hair somewhat short. I learned some important things that summer like how to cook for myself and do my own laundry. I am grateful to my parents for letting me do that.

8. I’m going on a short trip next week. For now I’ll specify it as an undisclosed location. It can be a surprise for all 3 of you. Except one of you already knows where I’m going (shh, don’t tell). Then I’ll beat everyone down with pictures after I get back. I’m sure you can’t wait.

I’m supposed to tag 8 people, but 8 people don’t even read my blog and a couple of the people who do have already done this. So I won’t tag anyone. If you want to do this one, though, knock yourself out!


Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Police

OK, I’m finally going to blog about The Police concert. Not that anyone gives a shit at this late date.

It was raining cats & dogs on the day of the concert. I decided to be Mr. Public Transportation and ride the train to the arena. If you’re from the Northeast you may not grasp how unusual public transportation is around here. Everyone usually takes their car everywhere. Although the train has proven to be quite popular and the lines are being extended, so maybe it will catch on more in the future. I wish I could ride it to work, but it doesn’t go where I need it to. The rain actually factored in a lot less than the fact that I really didn’t want to pay the ripoff $12 that it costs to park at the arena. I had to park a fair distance away from where one catches the train, and despite running as fast as I could I was pretty well soaked by the time I got on the train. I had dried off for the most part by the time we arrived, but there was another stretch of open air to get from the train stop to the arena. So by the time I got inside I was drenched. I was under the impression that you couldn’t bring an umbrella into the arena, so I didn’t bring one. Apparently you can, though, because on the way home I saw a lot of people who had been to the concert who had umbrellas. So I got drenched for nothing. Whoops.

Once inside I proceeded to find my seat. The opening act had already started, which I expected but it was OK as my interest in seeing them was fairly low. The opening act was Fiction Plane, which is fronted by Sting’s son. They were serviceable but nothing special, which is about what I expected. Joe does sound eerily like his father. Did any of you see the Sting documentary Bring On The Night? It was filmed in 1985 and featured the birth of one of his children (literally, in all the gory detail). I kept wondering if Joe was the kid that was born in that movie, but apparently he is not. So I don’t feel quite as old as I thought I did.

You have to understand that my anticipation for this concert was pretty high. I became a Police fan around 1985, and the following year they broke up. So I was thinking that I might never get a chance to see them live. So it was quite a rush when they came out and started playing. They opened with “Message In a Bottle”. Throughout the show the sound was OK, although the vocals were a tad muddled. It was sometimes hard to understand the between-song banter.

I thought Sting sounded better than I thought he would. He can still sing pretty high, although some of the songs have been rearranged to be in a slightly lower key. Speaking of rearrangements, they didn’t play most of the songs exactly as they were on the records. I actually thought this was a good thing for the most part, although I didn’t much care for the current version of “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”. I love how it was just the three of them up there playing. I think it’s kind of cheap when a band that claims to be a trio goes out on tour with a gazillion backing musicians. I guess I can understand it if one of the band members plays multiple instruments on the album, but I still like the idea of a band having X number of members and that’s the real band all the time.

Stewart Copeland was a highlight, he was drumming his arse off. He also had some special setups for some of the songs that had all kinds of weird percussion pieces. The crowd was pretty into everything, and at the end you could see Stewart positively beaming. I think he was a little taken aback by the reception. For me some of the song highlights were “Walking On The Moon”, “Wrapped Around Your Finger”, and “Roxanne”.

I read a review by one local writer whom I really respect on movies, but I thought he was off-base on his concert review. He hated it, and didn’t even stay for the whole thing. He sounded disappointed that they didn’t sound like they did in 1978. I mean, c’mon. In 1983 they didn’t even sound like they did in 1978. I happen to like Synchronicity and the early stuff. I guess if you expected them to sound exactly like their first album then you would have been disappointed, but who could have realistically expected that? Lots of us wish the Rolling Stones sounded like they did in 1968, but it just ain’t gonna happen. And yeah, I wish this concert had been completely free of the corporate-rock trappings, but that’s just not possible today with a band of this stature. You’re just not going to see The Police at the Gypsy Tea Room (assuming it was still there), and even when a big name plays a small place like that (like Beck did last fall), you still have people bitching about it. Yes, I’m sure it’s a great thing to see an up-and-coming band in a rattrap dive with 50 people, but you can’t go back in time.

I ended up not going the second night. I had bought some extra tickets when they first went on sale in an effort to make some extra money. I thought they would be in high demand and that maybe I could sell them on ebay for some extra scratch. Um, not so much. The market for these tickets was extremely soft. I listed them on ebay multiple times with no bids, eventually I even listed them for less than face value, and still – nothing. Finally on the actual morning of the second show I listed them one last time as a Buy It Now or Best Offer listing. At first it looked like it would be another slow listing, then around 4 some offers started coming in. I had decided that if someone didn’t meet the Buy It Now price by the time I got home from work I was going to cancel the listing and go to the concert. I was actually getting psyched up to go, but by the time I got home someone had paid the full price, so I sold the tickets. I sold them for about 60% of what I paid for them. Perhaps this is the universe’s way of telling me not to be greedy?

Teh Setlist:

Message In A Bottle
Synchronicity II
Walking On The Moon
Voices Inside My Head
When The World Is Running Down
Don't Stand So Close To Me
Driven To Tears
The Bed's Too Big Without You
Truth Hits Everybody
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Wrapped Around Your Finger
De Do Do Do De Da Da Da
Invisible Sun
Walking In Your Footsteps
Can't Stand Losing You
King of Pain
So Lonely
Every Breath You Take
Next To You

Here are a couple of Youtube videos of halfway decent quality of “Roxanne” and “Walking On The Moon”:


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

SPC - Fire 4

Fire definitely has a duality to it. It can be controlled, but only up to a point. Sometimes it does what it wants to. It can give warmth, but it can also burn you. It can light the way, but it also casts shadows.

People have dual natures too. And just like fire they can be ever-changing and hard to pin down. Sound like anyone I know? Maybe.

I kind of wanted to capture that "around the campfire" feeling. Gathering around the warmth while the shadows lurk about around you.

To see other peoples' take on the theme, click here.

Here are some "outtakes".

Guah, could I be "mopey emo-album cover guy" any more than this? I don't think so!


Monday, July 23, 2007

Tooth Trouble

Saturday night when I was brushing my teeth before bed, I noticed some sensitivity in one of my teeth. I didn't think much of it, but then last night the same thing happened. I decided to take a look in the mirror with a flashlight. There was a hole in that tooth! It was right at the gumline. It also looked like there was another one forming in the tooth next to it. So this morning I called the dentist so they could take a look at it. It turns out it was something called an abfraction. Basically when you subject a tooth to a lateral force, it bends. Eventually this can cause a piece to break off, which is what happened in my case.

The dentist gave me two fillings for the abfractions. I also had a cavity forming near a previous filling, so I had three fillings done. But hey, it's my lucky day, right? One of the abfractions was so small that they didn't charge me for filling it. So instead of being out $600, I was only out $400! My regular dentist was not in the office today so the fillings were done by one of the other dentists in the office. And I have to say, this dentist was kind of a hottie (and before anyone makes the joke, yes it was a woman)! But know this dear reader, it doesn't matter how hot the dentist is - the things they do to your mouth are decidedly non-hot. I can already tell that the bite need an adjustment. Hopefully it won't take three adjustments like it did last time!

Lateral forces on a tooth can come from three possible sources - the tongue pressing against the teeth when swallowing, an improperly aligned bite, or grinding of the teeth when sleeping. Filling an abfraction without addressing the underlying cause is not a long-term solution. So, it looks like I may finally have to get my teeth grinding problem fixed by getting one of those mouth guards made by the dentist. If I don't my tooth might eventually just break in half, and I bet that's even less fun than getting a filling from a hot dentist. I've been putting this off because it only costs a cool $600. Dammit! Maybe I can sell bald cardinal wigs on ebay.

On a totally unrelated note, did you all see the story about the chihuahua who saved the baby from a rattlesnake by sacrificing its own tiny body? Awesome!


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Anyone Know Where I Can Find a Bird Toupee?

Here's my poor little bald cardinal. Notice the one feather right on top? At least she ought to look much better when her new feathers come in.

For some reason teh moths seem to love the ash tree in my front yard. I guess it tastes good.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Random S

OK, this post is a bit scattered, but then so am I.

*Last night I was taking a breather in my backyard when I noticed a cardinal that had a bald head. It was completely bald except for one little feather sticking up where the crest would normally be. It kind of freaked me out and my first thought was that maybe it had some type of illness. I did a little research, however, and thankfully it looks like this is just a rare example of how some birds molt (grow new feathers every year). There’s a good article about it here. And it’s a good thing for the propagation of the cardinal species, methinks, that this takes place after the breeding season. Cuz you know, it’s not a good look for Mrs. Cardinal.

* I really couldn’t give two shits about the iPhone. Mostly because I can’t afford one even if I wanted one. But those commercials are pretty damn cool.

* I highly recommend watching "Extras" to any fans of British comedy out there. In fact, I also recommend it to fans of comedy in general. I had watched season 1 when it came out on HBO,but I had to wait for season 2 on DVD and it just came out. I proclaim season 2 to be the British "Curb Your Enthusiasm". If you can watch the David Bowie scene in episode 2 without laughing out loud, I'll pay you a dollar.

* I have Arrested Development on the brain again, thanks to Kit. So here's some Franklin!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Jury Doody

This is a real bummer – they’ve started blocking Blogger at my workplace. I was hoping that yesterday was just a fluke, but it was still blocked today. It seems like this happened once before and it was unblocked later, so there may be a shred of hope. I’m actually surprised that it wasn’t already blocked since they block flickr, Yahoo mail, and Gmail. Crap, I can’t even read comments left on my blog anymore from work. It’s like they actually expect us to work or something. Sheesh!

My favorite download site has a really nice Hendrix set for download here. While the set is quite short, the sound is great. I’ve heard tons of live Hendrix, and as far as quality these tracks can stand alongside any of the other ones I’ve heard.

Now the most boring tale of jury duty ever! Monday morning I returned to court to potentially serve as a juror. We were supposed to be there at 8:30, and I got there right about that time. After passing through the metal detector I made my way up to the 5th floor where we were supposed to report. It looked like a bus station up there, there were people sitting and standing all over the place. Luckily I brought a book, but all of the benches were taken so I had to sit on the floor. I had to dodge a steady stream of people going to and from one of the courtrooms since I was pretty close to the door (hey, don’t like me sitting on the floor getting in your way? Then don’t make me wait in the hall!). It turned out to be a pretty long wait. It was 10 before they started calling out names for us to line up and go into the courtroom. Actually, it really didn’t bother me since I would rather sit somewhere reading a book than go to work.

There were 50 of us total in the room (actually 49 since one person didn’t show). Since they only needed 12 jurors and 6 alternates, the chances were pretty good that I wouldn’t get picked. The case involved a man who was charged with selling a controlled substance, in this case cocaine. The state lawyer went through a Power Point spiel where he explained why it was a felony (there was between 4 and 200 grams of cocaine involved), how they had to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, and how any potential non-cocaine additives in what this guy sold would be considered to be cocaine. So if he sold 1 gram of cocaine mixed with 199 grams of baby powder it would be considered 200 grams of cocaine.

I know it’s a cliche, but as soon as I see a lawyer my BS detector goes on high alert. Some cliches are cliches because they are true. I have very little patience for the smarmy brand of BS peddled by many lawyers. They use their chicanery to get you to say things that you may not fully understand and try to make you feel stupid. This guy kept asking in each row in turn if we agreed with everything he said, and he implied that “quiet people were more likely to be picked” so that everyone would give him a loud “yes” when he asked if we agreed with what he was saying. Gag.

The defense attorney then got his chance to ask us questions. This guy seemed a bit seedier than the state attorney. He seemed like one of those guys that would have a splashy ad in the Yellow Pages or a TV commercial that runs during the Gilligan’s Island reruns. He latched onto his approach like a pit bull, and asked everyone in the first 2 rows the exact same questions: “Are you afraid of the government?” “Do you think the government could be wrong?” and “Would you be afraid to tell the government that they were wrong?” Not hard to see where that defense is going.

When both of the lawyers were done they sent us out into the hall again. Luckily since I was close to the door I got to grab some bench this time, and I sat down and continued reading my book. We were out there for about 25 minutes when they called us back in. The judge then called the names of the people who would be on the jury, and I was not one of them. Oh well. I wouldn’t have minded serving, but I’m sure I’ll get another chance someday. It was probably for the best, I might would have fried the bastard after that long wait they put us through. One odd note, there was a guy there that I went to junior high with. I recognized his name when they called it. I never would have recognized him from seeing his face, he’s about doubled in weight since I last saw him. I guess 20 years can do that to a person.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Very Special Birthday

Today I bring you the rare double post to celebrate the birthday of a very special American. I know we've all seen this person fall on some hard times, but today's all about the good times. Happy Birthday David Hasselhoff!

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SPC - Fire 2

The theme for this month is the 4 classical elements - water, air, earth, and fire. I find myself still gravitating toward my natural tendency toward fire. I had 2 ideas for photos that I was not able to realize as of yet, but I'll keep trying. Plan C turned out to be something that looks like my head in a jar. Which is kind of weird, but there you have it. I photographed my face through this pumpkin spice candle that I had sitting around. I like how the eye on the left ended up with that Alex from Clockwork Orange look, that was just one of those happy accidents.

To see other takes on this theme, click here.


Monday, July 16, 2007

So Many Critters, So Little Time

Saturday was like a National Geographic special around here. No, it wasn't because of all the topless tribeswomen. I saw an amazing variety of wildlife yesterday. Of course, I had to take pictures.

I'm in ur yard, eatin' ur gras. Again!

Hey, anybody home?

I'm on ur dor, pickin' ur lok.

Damn, my chin itches!

C'mon, it's freakin' hot out here!

Sasquatch tracks?

I went looking for my bird buddy, and I found him! I like how the bird is a tiny splash of color amongst all the green in this photo.

Closeup from the previous photo.

Moth dance

Hi, Mr. Hawk, what's goin' on?

Nothin'. Just chillin'. You know where I can find some chicks around here?

Whoa, what the?

Lookout Mr. Hawk!

Ain't skeered.

This is a stick mantis. It's actually the same species that was on the door earlier.

Their faces look like aliens.

It totally looks like a blade of grass, no? OK, I can't resist the cheezburger version - I'm on ur gras huntin' 4 bugs.


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Friday, July 13, 2007

The Animated JC

I waited to post today because I had jury duty this afternoon and I thought maybe I would have some interesting tale to tell about the criminal justice system. Um, not so much buddy. I sat there for an hour before they told 50 of us that the judge wants us to come back on Monday morning because they are trying to finish up the case from this week by the end of the afternoon. And that, dear reader, is why you don't schedule people to come in for jury duty on a Friday afternoon! I guess my Matlock moment will have to wait til Monday.

In case you missed my update to the Quik-E-Mart post, here is the quite frightening result of what I would look like as a Simpsons character:

I was a bit disappointed in the lack of wardrobe choices. Lots to choose from in the hair and face departments, though. Except for the goatee mouth - there was only one of those to choose from. Truth be told I even fudged on the nose a little bit. The most accurate one made the whole thing even more hideous.

Check out what the lovely and talented Deb made for me:

Biggest. Nerd. Ever. Yeah, but which one?


Thursday, July 12, 2007


Sleep deprivation is making me feel not so great today. In fact, I think I may take some sick leave and go home early. I'm moving and thinking about as slow as a turtle today. I feels dumb.

I'm all behind and stuff on teh blog. I need an SPC photo, a Simpsons avatar, a Police concert review, yada yada yada. Someday I'll catch up.

About the only thing I can coherently (yeah, right) blog about right now is food. Last weekend I hit my local farmers' market. I stocked up on peaches, okra, and tomatoes. I'm about to finish up the last of the peaches. So good. I fried about half of the okra the other night. It was good, but I want to try something different for the rest of it. Okra and tomatoes sounds kind of good. I love okra, but man that stuff is slimey if you cook it any way other than frying it. Oh well, sometimes you have to take the bad with the good.

That's it - I'm outta here!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Annoyance Coma

It’s a headphone day. I’m very easily distracted by people talking when I’m trying to read or write. There are a couple of people at work whose voices have become beyond irritating to me. When I hear them it’s like I go into some kind of annoyance coma. My brain shuts down and I can’t do anything. I think what I have latched onto about these voices is that they are different from what I normally hear. One person has a very flat, nasal, northeastern accent, and the other sounds like a record player playing at the wrong speed (too slow). Kind of like Lurch from the Addams Family. When I was working on my final paper for my management class last week I almost flipped out. I planned on having two days at work where I could get a lot of work done, but the coma-inducing voices were driving me absolutely b*&%^$t crazy. When I’m trying to do some real writing I don’t like to have music playing either. But if the choice is between music or annoying voices, music wins. At least now that I don’t have anything important to accomplish I can rock the music. Do any of you get easily distracted by voices, or am I just super-weird?

I got A’s in my summer classes! This was not a sure thing because I got a C on my management midterm paper, which was 25% of my grade. That was the one where I had to observe a library manager. I overlooked some of the instructions and left out part of what we were supposed to talk about. Killed the final though. Speaking of libraries, yesterday there was a really cool article in the New York Times about librarians. You can check it out here. It makes being a librarian sound cool! It’s very true that lots of people have misconceptions about what it’s like to be a librarian these days. Bekka, I would like to hear your take on the article since you’re a librarian and all. In the classes I have had where we had face to face meetings I have noticed a few alterna-people. Still not the majority by any means though.


Monday, July 09, 2007

Thank You, Come Again

I'm a Simpsons fan from way back, so when I found out that I could visit a Kwik-E-Mart nearby, I was sold. Several 7-11s around the country have been morphed to look like the Kwik-E-Mart in the show to promote the upcoming Simpsons movie (wait, I just promoted The Simpsons Movie. I feel so used). I was feeling kind of weird about bringing my camera to take pictures. I thought there might be one or two other nerds taking pictures, but um, not so much. It was a scene. People everywhere taking pictures. Guy in the first picture even has a tripod. So, I figured I would just blend in with the other nerds. Inside there was even a line for Slurpees/Squishees. I didn't get a Squishee because I wasn't craving sugar. They were supposed to have Krusty-O's cereal for purchase, but I didn't see any. And I think the Buzz cola was just a different cup for the self-serve drinks. So I passed.

Judging from the crowd, the Simpsons is quite a multi-cultural phenomenon. Who knew?

I love that there's no reference whatsoever to 7-11. Oh, and a BMW station wagon and a Lexus in front of a 7-11? It doesn't get more Dallas than that. Vomit.

Even the gas pumps have been totally Kwik-E-ized.

Even grandmas came out for this thing. I wonder if she was mad that there was no Abraham Simpson cutout?

Worst nachos ever.

This was my favorite part. All of the workers were wearing shirts like Apu's, and they had "Apu" nametags.

The official "movie donut"

You know these people have to be hating life right now.

UPDATE: Here is what I would look like as a Simpsons character! Scary!

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Feathered Fwiend

This new lens rocks!