Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

"I have met the enemy, and it is the eyes of other people."
--Benjamin Franklin

"We have met the enemy, and he is us."
--Walt Kelly, "Pogo"

"I have met the enemy, and it is Black Friday"
I have, for years, smugly slept in on Black Friday, as only a bachelor with no serious gift requirements could. I've been perfectly content to do my Christmas shopping on those last days before the big Holiday, rummaging through the dregs of what was left on the store shelves. I scoffed at those who would brave the elements, hauling their cookies down to the Wall of Mart at or other dens of iniquity at 6AM to spend hundreds of dollars on the latest toys that their bratty kids have been demanding since they first saw it in the August toy catalogs. Yes, it's another one of those "I'm glad I didn't procreate" moments. This year was to be the same, until fate stepped in...

Let me set the story. I have purchased two television sets since 1988. They have served me well. I don't need a new TV. The one I have is just fine. And I've mentioned here in the past that I don't watch much TV, because it's all pretty much crap. I've never really rented movies, and I don't buy many either. More often than not, it's simply on in the background. But then I saw it. Someone had leaked the Black Friday ad for Target. And there, on the top of the front page, sat that stupid white dog next to a 40" LCD TV for $298. I was intrigued. I checked the specs. I compared others' ads. There were cheaper ones available at other stores, but they were all smaller. No, fate had stepped in. This is the one that was meant for me (it had nothing to do with the 73" TV that BIL3 bought this fall that we watched the Grizzly/Bobcat game on in high def. didn't...). It was time to face my first Black Friday. No perusing the bargains. No looking around. Go in, buy my TV, get out.

I figured that if I got to the store about 45 minutes early, I'd be in good shape. Times have changed though. The early hour of 6AM has been moved to the obscene hour of 4AM. Which means getting up at 3AM. That's OK. Keeping my eye on the prize and all. I leisurely drive to the store, noticing that the traffic was light for 3AM (not that I know what traffic is usually like at that hour). As I turned into the parking lot, I saw why. Every car in town was already there.

That's a bit of an exaggeration. But 45 minutes before the doors were to open, I was at the back of what appeared to be a line of 250 people. And these people were PROS! These people had LISTS! These people had thermoses full of HOT COFFEE (it was a brisk 20°--springlike, compared to the past 3-4 days)! I stepped to the back of the line, and just stood in awe of their experience. But these were younger couples, here to buy toys, right? Certainly, out of the 250 people in front of me, only a dozen or so would be interested in the TV. I shouldn't have any problems at all.

Then I started listening. People started chatting as the big door-opening event was drawing near.
"I'm getting that TV on page one. I need to get one for the other kid's bedroom."
"We don't really need another TV, but how can you beat the price?"
"I heard they only had 20 of those TVs. I hope they're wrong."
Wait...what?? I started to get edgy, but I didn't panic. The girl in front of me seemed to be like me. She, too, was looking to buy the same TV. We both started looking around, trying to figure out who we'd need to elbow out of the way to get to the treasure. While we were deep in the line, there must have been over a thousand people lined up by this time (hard to tell, as the line wrapped around the corner of the building), and we felt fortunate to be where we were. And then the line started moving. Quickly. Our pace quickened, and we mutually decided to help each other find the area. TVs? Back in the electronics area. In the diagonally opposite end of the building. That's OK. I'd run interference, and she'd follow along with a shopping cart. I'd found an ally!

We got closer, and security was making sure that the late-comers weren't cutting into line. Damned cheaters! We get in the door, and the only word that comes to mind is "cluster". Organized, and feeling like we were being herded like cattle, but "cluster". We sneak off the main aisle and find a fairly empty lane. Shopping carts are lined up throughout the store to avoid congestion in the front. She grabs one as I'm quickly walking ("no running, please"), deftly guiding her through the growing congestion. We get to the electronics area, and we find...nothing. Other than the rest of the TVs that only had $50 taken off or something. Not the big ticket item we were searching for. It was at this point that we parted ways. I head back to the front, as I'm noticing all sorts of people with my TV in their carts. I had to find out where they found them!!!


I ran into my second cousin's wife. She works for Target. She's a diminutive woman, and looked like she was shell-shocked. I said hi, she asked how the family was doing, and I asked about the TVs. She told me there were 80 of them in a stack, and they were gone in less than 2 minutes. AT THE FRONT OF THE STORE ON THE MAIN AISLE! I asked her how were supposed to know that. "Didn't you get a map while in line?" WTF??? Apparently there were maps passed out, but my little section of the line didn't get any. She pulled one out of her pocket and showed me exactly where they were stacked. Right about where the girl and I veered off the main aisle.

Obviously my partner was a neophyte as well. Neither of us realized that the best deals of the day would be available at the front. Looking back, after the fact, it makes total sense. And those who are longtime veterans of Black Friday know that. I am now a veteran. And I have nothing to show for it. Sure, I saved myself $300, but that's not like I won $300. I've been to battle, and I have lost. I'll check to see if there's any more deals in the next four weeks, but I don't anticipate I'll find anything quite as good. I'll continue to not pay attention to TV on my old set.

I have participated in my first, and probably last, Black Friday. And I'm writing about it at 5AM. "I have met the enemy..." I concede defeat.

Then again, there's always Cyber Monday...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Good Man HNT

Perhaps you're one of the many who haven't been by since posting your "I'm up" last Wednesday night. If so, you missed the rest of the week's news--my father's unexpected death on Thursday morning. You can read all about it in earlier posts from the week.

The post-funeral reception on Tuesday was a chance to hear stories from his friends, both from the dental and golf communities. I had no idea that he would take my mom to the grocery store and load up a cart or two, and take it all to the local Food Share. There were the stories of when he started his dental practice, and his liberal use of the barter system. Or the oft-told story of the Labor Day golf tournament in Butte, where he led after the first day after shooting a 69 (after a celebratory night of free drinks, courtesy of the Butte boys, he went out the next morning and put his first two shots out of bounds, and ending with an 84). Everyone had a story or a memory. The pictures that the grandchildren put up on the poster boards sparked even more memories for many of them. It also gave us an opportunity to see how much his health had affected him. You can see that below.

There's so much I could write that would bore you to tears, but I wanted to say something. I opted for reposting the one I did for his birthday/Father's Day from 2006. Adjust the years, but everything else is just the same...

Yes, this is Dad, and today is his 72nd birthday. Since it's close to Father's Day, I'll take care of business here, too. This man has supported me through thick and thin. He hasn't always understood the paths I've chosen over the years, but he's never tried to interfere. He worked very hard at his dental practice to put 4 kids through college, and still have enough money left over to spend 3 months/year in Hawaii for the past dozen years or so (my inheritance going right down the tubes there....). He's been married to the same woman for almost 49 years. He's bailed me out of jail, not when I was a teenager, but in my mid-30's. He's survived 2 major heart attacks within 2 months of each other. That was 9 summers ago. He used to smoke like a chimney, but quit cold turkey after the first attack. He will give you the shirt off his back. I have never heard a negative word said about him. He's been strong through some adversity, but cried like a baby when his mother-in-law died. He is on a variety of blood thinning meds that make his face purple. And if you look at his arm funny it will bruise. He's got two new knees, will be getting a new hip this winter. He still plays 18 holes of golf about 4 times/week. He has made peace with the fact that I will probably not be carrying on the family name. And he's glad that his daughters were fertile.

He is the greatest man I have ever known. Perhaps that's why it hurt so badly when two of my bloggerfriends lost their fathers unexpectedly this spring. I wish you guys had the chance to see your dads in your later years. I don't take it lightly that Dad saw the "light" when he was on the table for the second heart attack. I cherish the golf we still get to play together and the family dinners with all of us. So Happy Father's Day (early), and Happy Birthday! I love ya, Dad!
Finally, the picture below on the left is from 4 years ago in Miami. Both of us were a bit bigger than we are now. And the one with my mom is from last month on her birthday. The last night anyone got pictures with him. You can really tell a difference in his look. Even moreso in the family picture from last Friday. There's not much more to say. He's gone, but he'll never be "gone". Gonna miss him, though.

In my mind, the Christmas season can officially start tomorrow. In a different twist on the Mystery Guest thing, we're going to dispense with the "mystery" part of it. I've been plugging her efforts for the past couple of weeks, but now 'tis the season. Ashly Star has been supporting the efforts of the US Marine Corps Reserve Toys For Tots Program over the years. Last year, she decided to go public with her efforts, and asked other bloggers to help out. I don't recall what her final numbers were last year, but she bought a boatload of toys! And to allay the fears that she might pocket the money herself, she documented her toy-buying spree and posted the pictures online. She's already started this year's purchases, using her own money, and some of the early money that's come in.

In the spirit of the season, please consider making a donation to her efforts. It doesn't take much. She's not asking for even $20 from anyone. Small donations of $1 or $5 add up quickly, and that's what she's looking for. Of course any amount will make a difference. You can find a PayPal donation button on her Toys For Tots page sidebar, so it's no work at all. Click, type a handful of keystrokes, and help her make the day of a number of disadvantaged youth. She's not expecting as good a turnout as she had last year due to the economy. Let's prove her wrong, OK? It's almost the Christmas season, and no kid should go without a new toy.
There's a definite turkey theme going on over at "...the Other HNT" this week. Feel free to go back for seconds, but be sure to leave some comments for your hosts!
Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving! Especially those of you having to travel. Enjoy the "enhanced security" groping if you're lucky enough to have to go through the procedure!! And for those of non-American persuasion...hope you have a good weekend too!

And for everyone...if you get the chance to hug your parents today, be sure to do it. OK?

The End of a Long Few Days...

Actually, it wasn't that bad. The weather was atrocious. Below zero temps, a stiff breeze, and a bit of snow. As my mom said, it was a good thing that it was his funeral, because he wouldn't have ventured outside for someone else's! Lots of family friends, and lots of people I didn't know. The open bar didn't turn out to be a mistake. Most people had filtered through within two hours. Lots of food left over too, so football and Thanksgiving will be taken care of! (Speaking of Thanksgiving, it was pretty much going to be a downer this year already...anyone have suggestions about what to be thankful for?)

I think we're all doing well. And definitely tired. Mom told us all that we were supposed to spend tonight at home and stay out of the weather. I think she just wanted to have some 'alone' time. She's got a list of errands that she needs to take care of by herself on Wednesday (including picking up Dad to hang onto until we take him to the cemetery on Friday). She's definitely refusing to wallow.

Thank you to all of you who sent emails and messages. I'll try to respond to them in the near future. Trust me, they were very much needed! And if you left a comment on one of my posts or on FB, trust that they were read and appreciated! To those of you who have never before left a comment, or lurked without my knowledge (Kat! Damned glad to see you're still around here!), I hope you stick around! I wish we could all meet and have a big group hug!

Things will get back to normal shortly around here. There's so much that has been left by the wayside. The Griz lost. I lost my bet to Gucci. The Saints won. The weather sucks. Black Friday will actually get some of my business this year. Symphony stuff starts up for the Christmas season. Busy, busy, busy around here!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I cannot wait for this day to be over.

The tears have been shed. The laughs have been laughed. Piles of pictures have been rifled through numerous times. Final wishes have been carried out, or will be. Today is the funeral. And reception (chatted with someone who'd never heard of a reception after a funeral--is it not common?). As Dad wanted, it's going to be a lunch buffet at the country club, with an open bar. Oh, dear Lord! But that's the way he wanted it.

I cannot wait for this day to be over.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Compare and Contrast

Kettle of fish
Barrelful of monkeys
Crock of shit
Hill of beans
Can of worms
Discuss amongst yourselves..

Friday, November 19, 2010

2010 can just suck it...

It's been a long day. Lots of things I want to write, but don't want to write. I'll keep many details out...

The short story--Dad got up early this morning to pee. Mom didn't realize he hadn't come back to bed until about two hours later. Without going into detail, she found him collapsed in the bathroom. No way to really know what happened. Other than it was unexpected. His health problems have been mentioned numerous times here. He probably suffered a heart attack.

We didn't waste time getting the funeral arrangements started. That will be on Tuesday. Cremation will take place later today, after S1 makes it to town and gets to say her goodbyes. The rest of us got to see him today. Honestly, he looked better than he has in weeks. Probably says a lot about his health right there.

S2 has been pretty stoic. Of course, she went through this with her husband 5 months ago. And then again with her FIL just last month. It's like old hat by now. Which is good, because we're all numb.

S3 is a blubbering mess. She's the baby of the family. She's always been like that. It would cause concern if she weren't.

S1 and BIL1.2 will fly in from Portland in the afternoon. Being the only one away from home, she took it hard, but I think she's leveled out some. Shock does that to a person.

BIL3 is taking it hard, but not as hard as when BIL2 died. Three of the four grandchildren have been with us all day. They're quiet, but sad. Two of them have just lost both of their grandfathers in less than a month.

Me? I'm doing ok. I cannot tell you how much I've appreciated the Blogger/Facebook comments and the emails. Many of you did the "I'm here for you" thing, and that's also greatly appreciated. I know that there's not much else to offer. Not much more to say. And that's OK. There are many of you who I wouldn't hesitate to contact.

But that's not the way I deal with things. I'm very internal in these matters. It's not the first time I've had to deal with something tragic, and it won't be the last. I have my mechanism in place. I'm going to be fine. But it's still nice to know I've got support!

All I'd like to see now is normalcy. If I could dig a hole in Mom's back yard and place his ashes in there and be done with things, I'd do it in a heartbeat. But that's not how it works. Four days of visitors, and hugs, and tears, and "who was that?"s, and decades of photos, and funeral plans and a myriad of other things. I love crowds of strangers. I really do. I hate crowds of people whom I have a slight inkling of knowing. And there's going to be a lot of them. I want it to be over with, and it hasn't even started.

So in the spirit of normalcy, I'll be back here as much as I can. I'll be back to work on Monday, and working as much as I can. The busiest part of the symphony season starts right after Thanksgiving weekend, so that's going to be a blessing. The Grizzly/Bobcat game is still on Saturday, and we're not going to miss it (and the bet with Gucci is still on!). We're going to be ok. After all, we've had enough practice this year...

This is after we took Mom out for her 75th birthday.
Dad's hair is goofy, only because it was windy!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gone for a bit...

Mom called.
Dad died.
Back in a bit...

#110 HNT

The day is getting near.
The "Brawl of the Wild".
The 110th Grizzly/Bobcat game.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, or don't know about the change in colors here, read the post below.
I will be the first to say that I'm nervous.
The Griz' chance of making it to a record 19th straight appearance in the playoffs is is jeopardy if they lose this game.
The Cats are playing well enough to win.
I won't be at the game, but I'll be watching it at home.
With a big pot of chili brewing on the stove.
And maybe a beer. Or two.
But definitely wearing my fuzzy Grizzly slippers!

Through the dark a whisper is heard,
a heart skips a beat.
Your soft breath moving against my wet skin.
Whisper my name.
Say it over and over till it becomes the rythm of our bodies.
Whisper in my ear.
A little hole, filled up with all the big words you dare not say out loud.
All the secret spaces that make you whole.
Breathe them into me.
Your whispers filling the holes in my heart.
My tears erasing the lines left between us.
Whispers from your soft lips.
You made a mistake, on the day that you met me and lost your way.You thought you saw all the right signs but I shoulda told you to leave.
Cause I knew all the time you couldn't handle me!
But you're so dam hard to resist, and you ache for this.
But you don't understand...That's not me.
I shudder, and my mind clears.
But my longing for you returns so swiftly.
Your lips on my skin.
So soft and wet.
A feeling that resonates in my skin and shatters my self-control.
Emotions rise to the surface and move me to action.
I need to see you now.
Feel your body do things to mine that
I can't express in words.
Oh just fill me up!
I'm a flame.
But with you I'm burning brighter, hotter.
Stand so close and burn with me.

Come back Thursday afternoon to find out who this Mystery Guest is!
I'm late in revealing the MG, but as you can's been a long day. She's Blossom, and you should go check her out!

Lots of fun over at "...the Other HNT" this week. Stop by and check out your fellow HNTers! And yeah, it's NSFW!
Be sure to stop over at Ashly Star's blog to help her with her Toys For Tots Christmas project. It doesn't take much. She's taken care of most of the work for you! Click a button. Fill in the blanks. Doesn't take much, either. A couple of bucks...five bucks...fifty bucks. Whatever you want. And then we get to watch as Ashly goes toy shopping! 'Tis the season people! Go do it!
Schadenfreude - it's been that kind of month!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Look for the Week

The color scheme around here has obviously changed. The predominantly maroon and silver motif can only mean one thing...the Griz are playing a big game next weekend. That's an understatement. They are playing THE game of the year next weekend. The 110th "Brawl of the Wild". The Grizzly/Bobcat Game. Montana vs. Montana State.

This year, my Griz need all the mojo they can muster. It's not been a great year for them. They are 7-3. They lost games they should have won. They have won many of their games with last-minute drives. Ah, but these are the Griz! The team with the most victories since 2000, at any level! No one in the NCAA, NAIA, high school levels, NFL or CFL has won more games. The Griz seem to go further than anyone expects them to, and this year looks like more of the same.

The Bobcats are 8-2, but are as questionable as the Griz. They have scraped to win games against the worst teams in the Big Sky Conference, but have also beaten the better teams. We'll have to see what happens...

In the meantime, our old friend Peeman has returned, and I'm happy to announce a bet. Gucci Mama happens to have attended Montana State, so we set up this friendly wager. If the Griz win, Gucci will do a Griz themed HNT. I'm hoping she's going to wear something close to this. With arms, of course. For my part, if the Cats win...well, let's just say you all need to be rooting for the Griz. Trust me on that one!
Speaking of bets, I lost one to her Gucciness on Friday night. It happens that our respective high school alma maters played each other in a semi-final game to win a berth in the state championship. Her team won, 24-23, in double OT. So I had to write another guest post for her which is now up. Go check it out. It deftly mixes music, football and breasts!
In other news...I got a very chilling email from a young man, asking how I knew a certain woman. It was his mother, and he had questions. Before some of you get nervous--the woman in question was a friend of mine from high school, who died almost 20 years ago. To see her name in the subject line was more than unnerving! Turns out that he would have been very young (I'm guessing less than 3 years old) when she died, so has limited memories of her, if any. He just wanted to know anything about her, as his family didn't talk much about her as he grew up. I couldn't figure out how he would have gotten my name, or why I would have known her. So I googled her name. Lo and behold, I am the only reference on the internet with her full name. I had used it as part of a meme over five years ago. I wrote back, and gave him some small glimpse of her. Also sent a picture that she was in from a Facebook page from high school. I don't know if I'll hear from him again. I sort of hope I do. I had lost touch with her after running off to college, and have always regretted not contacting her at all during the 80s. Turns out he's got a FB page that came up after I sent the picture. The first thing that struck me in seeing his profile pic is how much he looks like what I remember her looking like. All in all, an unexpected, but nice, surprise for the day.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sometimes the posts aren't all that interesting...

Two odd items in the local news yesterday.

First--A woman was found guilty of embezzling over $1500 from a school's PTA account over this summer. Her name is R****** Oss. No, she's no relation.

Secondly--S2 called me to give me the heads up. The former wife of a good friend of mine from my grad school days apparently has had a bad few days. She had moved to Helena probably 20 years ago. She's been married at least 4 times (red flag here?), but seemed happy the last time I saw her (BIL2's funeral). She apparently stopped by a neighbor's house on Tuesday, lit a cigarette (didn't know her to be a smoker), chit-chatted a bit, then nonchalantly mentioned that she had attacked her husband with a hammer over the past couple of hours and he was dead in the living room. Turns out he wasn't dead, but she's been arrested, is out on bond, and he's in Great Falls, I think, getting all sorts of surgery. Wow.
Tuesday was an unexpectedly satisfying morning for me. I got to chat with TWO former HNTers who have both left the blogging world. Not sure why they both showed up that morning, but what an unexpected treat!
Most of you know Gucci Mama. She was the MG a couple of weeks ago. She and I have hit it off because she's a former Montanan! And she's got a great rack. But I digress. We've got two bets coming up. The first one is this weekend, when her alma mater and mine meet in one of the two semi-final games for the state football championship. It'll be a test run for the big Grizzly/Bobcat game on the 20th. I'll go into details about the second bet next week, but this weekend's loser will have to guest post on the other's site on Monday. So that'll be something to look forward to!
Being the nice guy that I am... Gucci put out a call on Facebook for someone to guest post for her, as her computer went tits up. No one was jumping up to do it, so after negotiating a "fee", I whipped one up for her. Knowing that most of her readers wouldn't have read it, I reposted the "Michelle" post from 2005. If you haven't read that one yourselves, you should go over and check it. It's an eye-opener! And heck, you should just go over and check her site out anyway!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day HNT

Thursday is Veterans Day here in the U.S. Also known as Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, the date falls on November 11th (major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice).

I've mentioned in prior years that my family does not have much of a military heritage. Dad was in the Navy (but never left Bremerton, WA), my grandfather served between world wars (and I have no idea what branch or anything), and my mother's uncle was a Japanese P.O.W. for a few years, but he was never close to any of us, so we never heard any stories.

So the only thing I can relate to is nothing personal, but local to Helena. It was the formation of the First Special Service Force (FSSF) in 1942, later to be known as "The Devil's Brigade". A joint American-Canadian commando unit, it was based at Fort Harrison, which is just west of town. It was trained to become a small, elite force to fight behind enemy lines under Nordic conditions. Ft. Harrison was chosen due to its flat terrain for airborne training, as well as the winter conditions and nearby mountains available for training purposes. The unit was considered a huge success, and after the war, a second commando unit was formed that eventually became known as the Green Berets. Even the Delta Force (yeah, the Chuck Norris guys) can trace it's lineage to the FSSF. A movie ("The Devil's Brigade") was made based on the formation of the group.

Many members of the Brigade returned to Helena after the war and moved their families here. There is an annual gathering of survivors from both Canada and the US, and some of the biggest civic names in town are former members of the Brigade. A monument/memorial was built in, of all places, Memorial Park.

What's unfortunate is that I'd bet that less than 10% of the residents here could tell you anything about the FSSF, its role in WWII, its post-war legacy, or that the memorial is the reason that the park got its name. Except, surprisingly, the skateboarders in town, who use the benches and railings to practice their tricks. Not that the veterans approve, but most of the kids at least know why the memorial is there in the first place.

So even though I don't have any relatives that I could boast about as being a vet, I've got the home of the Devil's Brigade. If I knew any of them personally, I'd certainly shake their hand and thank them. Those of you with family who are vets, be sure to give them a big honkin' hug!

I know she waits below
Only to rise on command
When she comes for me
She’s got my life in her hands
Lady of the lake

"Lady of the Lake"--Rainbow

Our lovely Lady will be revealed on Thursday afternoon, though you might be able to find her elsewhere if you look hard enough!
If you checked out many of the other HNTs, you'd know that this week's Mystery Guest is Lola! Stop by and check out a couple of more pictures from this series over there, and say hi!

Always some new "faces" over at "...the Other HNT". Be sure to check out your fellow HNTers over there. They'd appreciate some comments! (NSFW, as usual)
I'm going to plug Ashly Star's Toys For Tots project for the next couple of weeks. Click on the link to read about it and/or to donate. It's one of the better things we've done out here. Go click her links and read how last year's project went too!
Back when I started this whole blogging thing, one of the first blogs I considered as a daily required read was "Lightning Bug's Butt". Easily one of the funniest, most sensible, easiest-to-read blogs out there. After awhile, he sort of dropped out of sight, maybe popping in on rare occasion. Imagine my surprise when I saw that he commented on one of my posts last week! I highly urge you to head over there and get a dose of his quirky view of the world!
Don't forget to check out the latest adventure of the OsShirt, and if you're really bored, my previous 270 HNTs, all gathered nicely on one site! Just for you!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Stolen From a FB Friend

Truths for Mature Humans
  1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer's history if you die.
  2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
  3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
  4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.
  5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
  6. Was learning cursive really necessary?
  7. MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
  8. Obituaries would be more interesting if they told you how the person died.
  9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
  10. Bad decisions make good stories.
  11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
  12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue-Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.
  13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.
  14. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means that I will never wash this--ever.
  15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? **** it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?
  16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
  17. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
  18. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
  19. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.
  20. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.
  21. Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.
  22. I would rather try to carry 10 over-loaded plastic bags in each hand than take two trips to bring my groceries in.
  23. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.
  24. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
  25. How many times is it appropriate to say, "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?
  26. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!
  27. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.
  28. Is it just me, or do high school kids get dumber and dumber every year?
  29. There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.
  30. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate bicyclists.
  31. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
  32. Even under ideal conditions, people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell pone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet my *** everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Playground Safety Rules for Kids to Know

Don't Talk to Strangers: This may seem basic, but for a preteen, you can get more specific about suspicious behavior, and you can tell your preteen what to do if they feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Knowing which adults are okay to ask for help (teachers, parents of friends, police) is also important.

Play Safely: This rule includes not taking unnecessary chances on Playground equipment or being a show-off.

Set Behavior Expectations: Kids alone can get into arguments with other kids, find trouble or become victims of bullying by older, bigger kids. Give your child tools for how to handle a situation in which he or she is being pushed around, how to avoid peer pressure and how to get away from an argument.
I have been entertained all weekend by the childish playground behavior found on a couple of the blogs out here. Words that come to mind...nonsensical, sad, juvenile, pathetic, unnecessary, divisive, humorous, honesty, bandwagon, misinformation, ignorance, overkill. Anything I've missed? If you don't know what I'm talking about, consider yourself fortunate!
Good Lord, the Cowboys look terrible this season!
I think the last day of mild weather was today. Temps in the upper 60s over the past week, but we have a winter weather advisory for tonight through Tuesday. Depending upon who you listen to, we'll either have 5" of snow by then, or just a snow/rain mix. I'm hoping for the latter. Should be snow in the mountains though. It was a nice run of the nice weather while it lasted!
I finally got caught up on my HNT site, up through September. I'll be updating it in groups of 10. There's currently 270 weeks posted. Not that I'd expect you to go through them all, but it's been an interesting exercise to go back and look at the pictures. Some of them have been really good! And many that really suck, too! Interesting to read the posts that went along with them. It's been a fun project!
Got the latest adventure of the OsShirt posted on the site. Be sure to check out who's been lucky enough to wear it!
Saw my first Christmas commercial. I think. It was for Pampers, with a woman singing "Silent Night" in the background. How disappointing.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Change? HNT

Today was the "Day After". The American voters have spoken. Meh.

I'm not big into politics. To me, common sense should govern us. And there always seems to be a big lack of that. I stayed up to half-heartedly watch the returns, and just couldn't get swept up in the passion. It was funny to bounce between Fox News and MSNBC to see the obvious slants that each network took.

The elections in Montana weren't particularly exciting. We had one House seat up for election...everything else was local or state positions, and four initiatives. Interestingly, Montana was painted red (which looks pretty on the map, since it takes up so much space), but in reality, the GOP only took the House seat (incumbent). Virtually every state elected office is held by Democrats. The two U.S. Senators from MT are Democrats. Locally, they also won every race on my ballot (one or two seats in nearby districts went to the GOP). But the maps painted us red. Oh, well.

As everyone who has analyzed this election will tell you, things will be changing. We'll see. The one thing I learned this morning is that so far, nothing has changed. The sun came up and is shining, the weather is absolutely gorgeous, and things are looking pretty darned good. Let's see the GOP take credit for that!

The Enchantress comes;
Cloaked in the softness of chiffon and shadow.
She floats,
Wanton and sensual,
Maddeningly unobtainable.
Creation as provocation;
Art and ardor as one.
The Enchantress comes....

~~an Anonymous Admirer

This lovely lady will be revealed Thursday afternoon, but let her know if you recognize her ahead of time!
Sometimes it's tough to figure out who the MG is. Unlike today. However, if you missed her, it's Cheeky Minx! Stop by to see some more pictures from this same photoshoot and to say hi!

Lots of things to look at over at "...the Other HNT". As usual. Be sure to check out your fellow HNTers! Also, as usual...NSFW.
If you haven't been by to check out Amorous Rocker recently, you should. Last year, she asked for donations for Toys For Tots, and was overwhelmed by the response she got. She takes the donations and spends a couple of days buying toys, taking pictures of it all, and sending the toys off to TFT (no, not Tits For Troops...). Last year, she started this project fairly late, yet got quite a huge response. This year, things have already started, and she's taking donations! Doesn't have to be huge. A buck. Five bucks. Ten. All done through a PayPal tab at the top of her blog. To read more about her efforts, and what TFT is all about, stop by and check her out. She's keeping her TFT post at the top so you don't have to wade through the rest of her posts. Though you should do that too. There might even be some nekkidness to look forward to in the future!
If you look over at my football teams, you'll see that my beloved Griz lost another game. There is a bit of nervousness in the state now as it's entirely possible that they'll miss the playoffs this year. For the first time in almost 20 years. Breaking a long string of successes as one of the premier teams in the FCS. And even more nerve-wracking is figuring out if they'll be able to win their last game of the season against the Bobcats. The Cats haven't been spectacular, but they've won the close games this season. Add to that--I have a HNT bet with Gucci Mama on that game. No details, but trust me when I say that you really want the Griz to win the game...
Check out the OsShirt site, and my HNT site (where you can find over five years of my HNTs--you sickos!). Both are due to be updated by the weekend, too!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Election Day

...or lose the right to bitch for the next 2 years!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Happy November!

It's November! I'm guessing that I'll see the first Christmas commercial on TV within the next week. The Christmas tunes will start before Thanksgiving. Since there's all this early seasonal stuff, I might as well tell you that December will find three HNT themes, as we've done in the past. Veterans will remember what those are; newbies will be able to read about them in about two weeks or so. The idea with them is to take the pressure off during the holiday season. Most of you have appreciated that in the past. And it's sorta fun, too!
As anticipated, I didn't have a single trick or treater knock on my door. Which is the norm anymore. I do miss the old days, before razors and pins were found in apples (who gave out apples?), or weirdo middle-aged single men answered the door, or it wasn't safe to go out after dark. Instead I watched football and "The Walking Dead" on AMC. That should be an interesting series!
I actually got a lot of stuff done over the weekend. I fought with my router for most of it. It seems to intermittently turn off with no warning. Then comes back on with no coaxing on my part. I've done the recycle the power thing and the reinstall the driver/software/set-up thing. It's still hit or miss. Anyone with any great ideas?
Spent far too many hours individually cutting and pasting the names/URLs from my former blogroll. finally went tits up. Or, as they say, will go offline as of Nov. 1st. For what was a great service, they really dropped the ball as far as customer service is concerned. According to their support forum, they don't have a list of emails of their customers so that they could let us all know that they were shutting down. Bullshit--it takes an email to log in! They didn't even plan to put up a "WE'RE CLOSING!" page until someone took them to task about it. Anyhoo...I had to cut/paste over 400 different links. By hand. Individually. They didn't even offer any sort of export function. Disappointment and frustration is about all I feel for them anymore. I could say that you get what you paid for, since the basic service was free, but I was a paying customer (well, used to be. they haven't had paid accts for over a year). Is it too much to ask for some consideration??
The big sex list came out last week. My disdain for that list has been documented on here before, but I had to check it out to see if it lived up (down...) to my expectations, or if it had improved at all. Well, my expectations were completely met, with a bonus. Blogs were rated higher than they should have been, others were rated lower than deserved. Many blogs listed that haven't had a regular upkeep in months, or posts that only occured once/twice a month. Many notable omissions from the list as well. And the coup d'grace...the #1 blog was exposed as a fake. None of my opinions have to do with the fact that I didn't make the top 100 (I WAS nominated!). More because it reeks more of a junior high popularity contest. And equally as clique-ish. Those of you on the list--congrats. I do wish I could be more enthusiastic about it...
I've been listening to a lot of Pandora when I'm at work. Mostly jazz, some classical. But for the past few weeks I typed in "Western Swing". This is the old country stuff. Bob Wills. Lots of steel guitar. The roots of rock and roll in its infancy. I love this stuff! Maybe it's because I can appreciate it on a musical level. Maybe because Pandora will occasionally throw in some jazz guitar, thanks to Chet Atkins. Or maybe because it's of lyrics like this: "With calves like that, you gotta be a cowgirl..." That's quality, right there, folks!
Speaking of music...wouldn't it be wonderful if our own lives came with a soundtrack? Can you imagine how many bad/stupid decisions we'd avoid if we heard the music? Or the times we'd avoid walking down a dark street if we heard that dissonant music crescendoing? Or how our pratfall wouldn't hurt as much if we heard a little slide whistle, bongos and xylophone at the same time?
Remember the high school girl in the pictures for my Band Geek HNT a few posts below? The day after I posted it, I got a wild hair and tried to find her on Facebook. Well, guess what?? Yep! I found her! I sent her a message (because I was 95% sure it was her, but that 5% is always sticky...), hoping that she's still at least remember me! After all, we dated in 1972 (38 years ago--and that's not dog years!). It's been over 35 years since we had any contact at all! The good news--it was her, and she remembered me! Our time wasn't a figment of my imagination! We sent some info back and forth to get reacquainted. Hopefully we'll keep in touch now on FB. Gotta love technology!