Thursday, January 31, 2008

Don't Lie, You Have One Too.

Who is the voice in your head?

No, I am not talking about your conscience. I am talking about that voice that screems at you to do stuff or not to do stuff. To say something or not to say something. To laugh at you. To make you rethink buying a Labradoodle...not because it wouldn't be a cool dog, but because that voice would ridicule you beyond comfort. "You bought a WHAT? A Labradoodle? Seriously? Turn over your testicles now!"

That voice in my head is my friend KP. KP is my buddy that left San Diego for Nashville...he had no dreams of becoming a country star, was not particularly adept at making moonshine and he did have all his teeth, so it was a curious move. Couple that with his crazy enjoyment of all things Mexican (Happy Cinco de Mayo, bro!) and Nashville was not on the top 10 places for him to live. He ended up there anyway. He is now some sort of land barron and when I went to visit him a few weeks ago I noticed that everyone we passed in the store or restaurant would bow their head, avert their eyes and say "Good afternoon, sir." It was sorta creepy, but it got us free stuff, so I was good with it.

Anyway, back to my this girl (I don't want to say who exactly, but her name might rhyme with *flair*) asked me a question..."Do these jeans make my butt look bunchy?"
I thought to myself, "hmmm, that is a strange question. She did not ask if it made her butt look big...but rather, bunchy."

"Don't do it dude. It is a trap!" Said that voice in my head.

So, I replied very carefully, "That is a dangerous question, XXXXXX." (Name removed for fear of incrimination, but it might rhyme with *hair*)

"No, no...I am not trying to trap you, I really want to know. Does it make my butt look bunchy?" Said the person whose name, may or may not rhyme with *dare*.

This is when I realized that it was KP shouting inside my brain because now I could see him jumping up and down, waving his arms, and shaking his head..."Don't do it...DO NOT DO IT! Whatever you do, don't answer that question."

Thanks KP for being that little voice of reason. You saved me from certain death by a woman's stare...and from 10-14 years of ridicule by making me avoid the Labradoodle!


A quick thanks to Scarlett over at I'm No Belle...she gave me a shout-out yesterday, identifying me as a blog she enjoys reading. She even said that I am a gentleman. How cool is that?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Joys College Roommates

4 guys in a 2 bedroom apartment...all on their own for the very first time. Yes, the first day in we played "Let the Good Times Roll" by The Cars, had a water balloon fight in the house, and ran with scissors.

We also created Room #1, we had Teddy and Room #2, Mongo and Me...

We were friends, mostly, but more importantly, we were also rivals...They were the enemy...people to be toyed with whenever possible. Sure, there were the standard lines of attack...cellophane on the toilet seat, short sheeting the bed, and water bombs from nowhere...but that 900 square foot bachelor pad also had some pretty unique things...

You see, Room #1 was at a slight disadvantage...Skinny Jerry was on their team. He was a nice enough guy, but smarts were not his forte...Dude was a little us the perfect setup for perfect attack #1...

"See ya Jerry," Mongo and I said with flair, "We going to La Jolla for some snorkeling."

"Wait dudes...I heard it is lobster season...just started today or something. You gonna bring any back?"
A sideways glance and we knew it was on..."Of course Jerry. We are off to this secret spot I know. The season starts today and I know we are going to get our limit. It will be Lobster and Beer for everyone tonight!" Off Mongo and I went with a little twinkle in our eye...we knew we had him. We spent a couple hours in the clear water and had a blast, but the evening could not come soon enough.

On the way home we stopped at Sports Authority and picked up a dozen know, the little, lobster looking things, that are about 2-3 inches long...and placed a call to Jerry.

"Hey dude, we got our limit and we are having a feast. Call a couple friends, cause there is no way we are going to be able to eat all of these."

" many did you catch? Can I call Carrie and her brother? What about her mom and dad? Did you get enough for all of them?"
"Sure did, dude. Hit'em all up and let the know the feast will be around 8."

Mongo and I got home, dutifully put the crawfish in the bathtub, and sat down to watch a little football. When Jerry got home a couple of hours later, he was so excited..."Where are they guys?"

"They are in your tub. Gotta keep them fresh otherwise they don't taste as good when you cook 'em up."

He proceeded to go into the bathroom, tear back the shower curtain, and stare...for a good minute or two he was very quiet. Mongo and I did all we could not to laugh. When he was finally done assessing the situation he came out and said, "I thought lobsters were bigger."

"Oh no bro, they come like that...but don't worry, they plump when you cook them."

Yes, he really did believe us...until Carrie showed up, recognized the crawfish and told Jerry the truth. She called her parents and told them to stay home.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Laundry Defense

Does wanting someone else to do my laundry make me a snob?

After the second week in a row of losing quarters because a washing machine is out of order; the "ump-teenth" time having to move someone else's "delicates" from a washer to a dryer; and I don't know how many times Claire and/or I have carried my laundry down to the three washers, only to find that someone else is using them; I am now thinking about using a "fluff-n-fold" service.
Now, I have been taking my work clothes to the cleaners for years. I know that I am a perfectionist when it comes to ironing and when I try to iron, it takes me 30-40 mins per shirt because I want it just right. So, to save time and sanity, I allow someone else to press my shirts and slacks. But the thought of someone else cleaning my tighty-whiteys or my stinky socks, gives me pause. Oh yea, and that whole snob thing.


I was accused of picking the Hampton Roads area over San Diego in the comments the other day. Let me say this. It is beautiful here. Sure it is cold, but I love the old buildings, the water, the sweet churches...and I am so lucky to be here with a beautiful woman that is such an amazing companion. But there is no way, on this green earth, that it is better than SD. I can't say much bad about this area...except of course the things that I have complained about here, here, and just ain't no San Diego.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Random Friday Thoughts

The Charger Girls are the crème de la crème of Babeland

That is the headline that greeted me this is like the world is conspiring against me...yes World, I miss San Diego...Yes I miss the succulent avocados, beautiful sun, and clean sand. Sure, I miss my Padres and my Chargers...I miss the weather!!!! And now, you have to go and rub it in my face that apparently I am missing the "crème de la crème of Babeland"...well World, I am having fun in VA...I get to see the "crème de la crème of Babeland" every day at dinner when she sits across from me. So take that.


Do you think Claire would wear one of those Charger Girl outfits? Just wonder'n.


There is a discussion going on in P-Towne that I need an opinion on...

Claire read the post about the garlic oil and did not like it. Not only did she not like it, the fact that it happened bothered her. "That is the kind of thing that can scar someone for life." She even shared it with one of the guys in her office (a buddy of mine) and he totally agreed with her.

I, being a bit of a practical joker, find it immensely funny. I have another, little, practical joke story that makes me laugh every time I tell it, but now out of fear of sounding mean, I don't know if I should share it.


I picked up another reader this week, so the count is now 4...wooohooo...I almost have a quorum or something.


I am on my own this weekend. It is supposed to be frigg'n cold, but the sun will be out, so I got that going for me. Claire has drill and my golf buddies are all busy...I think I am going to try to hit a 10-miler at the beach on Saturday and see Rambo after church on Sunday...does that strike anyone else as weird? Seeing Rambo after church?


One last thing before I assemble my new desk...You need to check out this post. If you don't laugh...maybe even squirt out a little pee...I don't think we can be friends. It is from my second favorite blog in the world...Sorry Scarlett, I found Poop and Boogies first...a nice little sample of his can be found here.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

"Did you just call me a moron?"

So I have this coat...a coat that looks a lot like the one on the left. My grandfather gave it to me a couple of years ago..."Bogart, I am not going out in the rain anytime soon, plus I am in a wheelchair, so maybe you can use it."

It looked like a very nice coat. It fit perfectly. It was warm. It IS a nice coat.

So I took it. It has traveled all over the US with me. Of course, I never had to wear it in San Never Rains in Southern California!

But then I move to VA. I get to wear this coat even more. How happy am I? SOOO HAPPY!

I mean, c'mon, it is my gramps coat. I even found some sermon notes that he left in the pocket from an Easter Sunrise service. How cool is that?! I am happy wearing that coat. I look goooood wearing that coat. Oh yea!

Enter Claire. My beautiful lady love. The girl that gives me pause when I see her each day, no matter what she is wearing. She is smoke'n!

Claire: "What are you wearing?"
Me: "The coat my gramps gave me. Isn't it great?"
Claire: "1987 called...they want their coat back. You look like you are an extra from that movie Wall Street."
Me: "I love my coat. It is a great coat. Are you saying my grandfather did not know how to dress?"
Claire: "Honey, I think my grandma is very stylish, but if I started wearing her clothes, I would look like a moron."
Me: "Did you just call me a moron."
Claire: "I am just saying that if I wore my maw-maw's stuff, I would look like a moron. That's all I'm saying."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"Eh? Can you speak up sonny?"

I was reading this post from Virginia is for Lovers earlier today and was reminded that I am getting old...I had to admit that I could not join her club of "20-Something" bloggers because I had shed that title back in "ought-six".

Couple that realization with the plethora of grey hairs that seem to be making like horny rabbits on my head and I have to begin dealing with the inevitable...Old Age.

I know, I know...I am still a pup, right? I mean, I can only remember 1 president that does not have the name Bush or Clinton, I was not alive while Mao was reigning in China, and while I may own the entire discography of Led Zeppelin, I have only been around for the release of 1 of their studio albums...but nonetheless I can see the coming mountain and it is daunting.

It starts with the gray hair...Claire swears up-and-down that they are simply blond highlights, but I know better...and my beard seemed to get a saltier color every day. Can I blame that on her?

It moves on to that little groan that I let out as I climb into and out of bed each day...humpf...I don't know why I groan...I don't really hurt, but it just seems like something us old folks should do.

It continues with those lines in my face when I smile or frown...which I seem to do more and more of each day...the frowning part, not the smiling part. I mean, if I am going to think I am a grumpy old man, I should look the part...right?

The clues continue to get dropped when I realize that I am ruined for days if I don't get at least 6 hours of sleep...and if I stay up much past midnight, look-out cause I know I will pay for that the rest of the week. I get sleepy around 3 in the afternoon, I have a sudden urge to garden, I am worrying that my diet might lead to high cholesterol, and it sometimes takes a second to get a good pee stream going...

Sure, I am younger than many people...even some of my friends. I can still run a marathon (but so can people that were alive the Model T was still on the road), I can't run for President yet, I don't see any folly in jumping from an airplane (although, neither does George Herbert Walker Bush and he is 83), and I still eat just about anything I want without worry of indigestion (but so do these two).

It is just those pesky gray hairs and wrinkle lines by my eyes that give me pause...that and I said "back in ought-six" without even batting an eye.

Thinking Aloud

Kansas Baptist Church Intends to Picket Heath Ledger's Funeral Because He Played Gay Character

Wow...really? I am pretty sure I missed that in the Bible and I can tell you that they don't teach that in Seminary. As a Christian, I gotta say this is the type of thing that really frustrates me.

One quick question for this church's leadership...when exactly did Jesus say that hate was kosher? Just wonder'n.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What is that Smell? Pt. 2

Money was tight. Living in a small 2-bedroom farmhouse was not easy for 4 boys, mom and dad, grandma, and an aunt. At least there was a barn for the boys to sleep in during the summer. To make extra money, the boys found that skunk pelts would sell for a dime a piece. That is big cash! Enough for a large malt, 2 hamburgers, and fries. "If we can only catch 10 or 20 a week, we would be able to start taking some girls out."

So, skunk catching became the goal. Turns out the Rohde boys had a knack for it. Put out some traps, check them in the morning, and walla instant money!!! Sure, it was a bit tricky to make sure those suckers were dead before they sprayed anyone, but we are talking about a whole dime here.

The eldest boy had the farm car to toil around in as needed. Run errands for mom, check on the fence line, pick up skunks. You know, standard stuff...

The youngest of the four, Clarence (my gramps) was asked to go check the traps one afternoon...after taking the car around, he had found 8 or 9 skunks that were trapped. Diligently, he loaded them into the car and drove home, very proud of his "catch". He drove up the drive, parked the car on the side of the house, and went to see what the other boys were up to in the bar. Being a teenager, he promptly forgot about the skunks and spent the rest of the afternoon playing in the barn. Supper time came, the boys all ate, then headed back out to the barn for some more fun, eventually wearing themselves out and falling asleep in the hayloft.

The next morning one of the boy suggested going to check the traps. Clarence got very excited; "I forgot to tell you guys. I checked the traps yesterday and got 8 or 9 more skunks." Then, with a glimmer of hope in his eye, "I wonder how many sister's old Bessy-May has?"

As they headed to the car, the boys turned their noses. You see, when a skunk dies, it often will drop one last bomb. Clearly a couple of the skunks had decided to carpet bomb the wooden floored vehicle just prior to their final demise.

Hours on his hands and knees could not get the smell to go the Hot Nebraska sun beat down on that car, the smell just seemed to get worse and worse. Days, weeks, even months later that smell was pungent and un-ceasing.

Let's just say they never really had much luck finding a buyer for that car. Years later, when I was a teenager, gramps took us to see that old farmhouse. Sure enough, just past the barn, surrounded by weeds and rusted out, sat an old Ford truck with rotted wooden floors. I swear there was still the faint smell of those skunks last gift.


You can read What is that Smell? Pt. 1 here.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Well, it was a tough Sunday...not only were my Chargers beaten in the afternoon, I had to sit and watch Eli Manning smile at the end of the game...that little, San Diego hating, 26th rated, lead the league in interceptions, punk gets to go to the Super Bowl. The only solace I find is that he will get to experience the misery of losing in two weeks.

I was so distraught on Sunday that I started ripping out my beard...since Claire said that patchy facial hair is unattractive, I had to go ahead and shave the rest off. I vow not to regrow the beard until I darn well feel like it.


I don't know what was worse, watching the Bolts inability to punch it into the end zone, or hearing the weak attempt at smack talk Claire's little sister (and Patriot/Tom Brady lover) tried to lay on least her fiance finally helped her out at the end and made me laugh.

Props to Sarah for trying...I guess when you are rooting for the winningest single season team in history, smack talk is not necessary. You just have to show up and point to the scoreboard. Argument over.


There was some good news...I did win a bet. I talked my buddy Neil into giving me 10-points (I know the line was 15, but I felt good about the 10) and the loser had to buy the other a Big Black T-Shirt...I went with this one.

It should be delivered when we meet up at a work convention in February...right Neil?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Go Bolts!!!

Grab your backpack New England it is time to go to school.

Despite Little Sarah (Claire's sister) suddenly finding a love for Tom Brady, I am unabashedly cheering for my Bolts today...C'mon Sarah, there is room on the bandwagon...I mean you have already proven you don't mind jumping on them!!

And for everyone, please make sure you take a second and watch...

And don't forget to root for Brett Favre and the Packers! Not only are they a great team (Shout out to my pops old haunt), but Eli Manning is a punk and I hope he gets an Icicle stuck in his big toe...not enough to injure, just enough to make him not play.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Good Day

It has been so miserable around here the last couple of days...I know that they say that it takes twice as many days to recover from a vacation than the number of days you were on vacation, but c'mon.

It has been cold, windy, rainy and yes, even, SNOWY this week. On top of that, I have been missing my boys and family back home and Claire has had to work late a couple of days.

But today has begun to look up...It helped to talk about a lot of this with the lovely Claire last night...she is always so good at listening, empathising, and offering advice at the appropriate times...While most of my move to P-Towne really has been great, there are days that I really miss SoCal. But today, the sun is shining, allowing me to get a nice run in right before lunch, and thus leading to an unexpectedly cool thing...I got to talk to Sad Dad for 5 mins...he was even laughing and smiling.

Sad Dad (I talked briefly about him here) is an officer in the US Coast Guard...he lives with his daughter and always seems so sad. His wife lives in North Carolina and he is what you call a "Geographical Bachelor". Very rarely have I seen him do anything other than walk up and down the stairs (yes, all 6 flights) with his head down and a sad face on. I have spoken to his daughter a couple of times. She seems nice, but it is evident that she has some emotional and/or mental disabilities. Every morning around 530am, he waits at the curb with her for the bus to pick her up. Most evenings, he is there waiting for her to be dropped off. I have not ever seen anyone else there. Pretty sure he is the main caregiver for her and beyond work, it seems that is all he does. I don't really know much else about him, but the Sad Dad moniker seemed to fit...until today.

As I finished my run, he was walking into the building. He smiled, said hello, and made some comment about the sun being out making it a good day for a run. We chatted...all the way up the elevator (can't believe he did not take the stairs). His 30-Years as an officer in the Coast Guard are up in July, so the forced retirement is near. He plans on moving to his house on the North Carolina coast with his wife (she went to college in San Diego) and learning how to be a husband again. He laughed, he smiled, he was happy...

Hooray for Sad Dad!!!

Two of my sisters got tatoos this week. For one of them it was her third or fourth (I have lost count), for the other it was her first. They got 1948 tatooed on their feet. Why 1948? Well, it was 60-years to the day that my grandparents got married. When I first heard about it, I thought it was a bit silly. 1948? Really? But then their explination made it seem better...They want their marriage to be like Gma/Gpa's. They want to know that it is possible to find someone who loves you and sticks with you through it all. It is our grandparents marriage that they hold up as an example and the tatoo will serve as a reminder that they will not settle, but rather strive to find that one person that you really cannot live without.


I don't know that I will be getting "Inked" anytime soon. Not my bag...but my father has an interesting tatoo...on his left arm he has a full color tatoo of Yosemite Sam...I can't remember exactly why he picked it, but it is there.


Went to see Bucket List with Claire on Tuesday night. It was not bad...certainly not as predictable as I thought it would be, but it is a little bit slow moving...but there were some very tear-jerking, sentimental moments. Is it a great movie? No. Good one for a Saturday afternoon or a rainy matinee? Yup. You can always check it out on Netflix in a couple of months...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

What is that Smell?

The young man was nervous. His parents were proudly sitting in the front row. His cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents were there. There was not an empty seat in the house.

As he stood up, he burped a little...okay, it probably was a Vurp...either way, he was nervous and it showed. He walked to the front of the stage and began to play his heart out. That squeeze box started whining and while it seemed to sound fine, something was clearly wrong.

Rewind 30-minutes. That young man sitting in my grandfather's office.

Grabbing a small handful of the chocolate that sat on the desk, he said "Pastor, I have never really played in public before." Into the mouth went the chocolate.

His face contorted. His eyes bulged. His hands instantly tightened. He did not know what to do.

The chocolate he grabbed was not bad, it was just filled with garlic oil. Seeing nowhere to spit it out, he just swallowed.

You see, if you take candy without asking, you really don't know what you are going to get. Candy coated insects, poop flavored jelly beans, or even chocolate covered garlic oil. Of course, if you asked politely, a fresh box of See's was always kept in the drawer just for sharing.

Fast-forward back to the stage. As you may know, the accordion plays by sucking in air and pushing it through the instrument, flowing over the reads, creating a very unique sound. The problem today was not the young man's playing, but rather the air that was flowing in and out of this particular wind instrument.

You could see it as it hit each row. First it was his parents crinkling their noses...then Cousin Jim looked cross-eyed at his mom. Row two, heard his grandma whisper, in a not so whisper voice, "What is that?"

Row three politely held their hands to their noses...then row four and five...all the way back through that packed church. The pungent smell of garlic permeated that sanctuary.

There was gramps, sitting behind that young boy, with tears running down his face just trying to contain his laughter.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Random Links

My buddy Neil From Boston sent me a link so that I can fulfill all of my Big Black clothing you recall, I am a Rob & Big fan...I just have a very hard time spending $50 on a hoodie...but it is tempting!!


I found this blog that is written by you a nice little peak into his world...

You can thumb through and get a good idea as to what he does in preparation for the big night...You can learn about how many houses he visits...And 100 things you may or may not know about Santa.

Can you tell that I am sad Christmas is done and won't be back for 11 1/2 months?


This is a bit can leave a message for yourself in the future. Hmmm. What would I say? What would you say? What are you going to say? (Hat Tip to Katelin)


As sick and weird as this may sound, male pregnancy is here. ;-)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

60-Years Ago Today

January 15, 1948 in Hot Springs, Arkansas my grandparents were was at her father's home...after the ceremony, they drove to Little Rock, Arkansas for a very quick honeymoon. When they pulled into the city, they were both hungry, so they stopped at a little cafe for a bite to eat.

Gramps had a habit of pulling out his comb anytime he went, in the car, he pulled out his comb, and proceeded to make sure he looked okay...but as he ran the comb through his hair, copious amounts of the rice that the families threw at them fell all over the car.


As they got to the place they were staying that night, my gramps gave my grandma the car keys, his billfold, and told her to go back home. He was about to be very sick and he did not want her seeing him that see, he had contracted malaria during The War, and it was acting up on his wedding day...he had been able to tough it out through the ceremony, but by the early evening, he was getting very, very sick. My grandmother, ever a little defiant, said she knew darn well how to take care of sick people and was not going anywhere. "I am your wife now."


She did not leave his side for almost 60 years...on September 13, 2007, my gramps passed away...I said all I know to say about him in this post last year. One thing that I don't know how to phrase, however, is how their love and marriage has affected me. It was not perfect...they had rocky times and hard roads like all married couples...but my grandfather's last words were asking for her. He was not ready to go until she was holding his hand.

He died not long after she arrived. His laboured breathing and broken body finally found rest...but not until his Ruth was beside him.

Tale of Two Weekends

Claire and I were very busy this weekend, but for very different reasons...

She flew to Orlando and ran a marathon.

I flew to Nashville and played golf.

She spent the weekend in a zone, focused on a 26.2 mile goal, eating chocolate gu, cliff bars, and pasta carbo loads. I spent the weekend macking on Philly Cheese Steaks, TastyKakes, Cream Pie, the World's Best Biscuits and drinking vodka mojito's.

She fought foot blisters, impending rain, crowds of people, and cramping muscles. I battled the urge to nap and watched my Chargers win a HUGE GAME.

But it was not all bad for her.

She had a triumphant finish, hand-in-hand with her sister, conquering 26.2 miles on foot. I had a crushing loss, to an inferior golfer, after he holed in on 18 from off the green.

Her airline upgraded her on every leg of her flight. My airline lost my golf clubs.

She had Bailey's and coffee and read a great book. I flew through storms and crazy weather.

She got to hang out with her sister, laughing and generally having fun. I had to spend time with Kevin and his yappy dogs.

She got 2 dozen roses as she got off the plane. I had to remember where I had parked.

Pretty good weekend for both of us! :-)


Much love to KP and Shannon...I really did have a great time and look forward to cruising down again soon...this time with Claire in tow.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Meme, Tagged? Huh?

So I go out of town for 2 1/2 days and I get tagged twice...what is tagged? I dunno, so I set off to find out...
Turns out it is a way for other bloggers to find out more about you and you about them. 7 things 'bout you to share to the, thanks "Ex" and "WHPH"...

#1. I am a baseball freak...Yes, it is like a disease for undergrad thesis was titled "Offensive Output in Major League Baseball and its Correlation the Economic Cycle of the United States". I read about baseball year round...I go to games...I go to spring training...I have played in baseball (NOT SOFTBALL!!!) leagues for the better part of the last 12 years...I know minor league players and what they are projected to do in the majors. I follow trade rumors and front office moves...and this whole steroid scandal is painful for me. Yes, it does get in the way sometimes...yes, I probably do spend way to much time on it, but it is one of my passions. I love it.

#2. I don't like reality TV, however Rob and Big have sucked me in. For the past couple of years, my "Little Brother" would say things like "Do Work" and would call me "Son"...besides trying to figure out why this punk, 8 years my junior, was calling me son, this do work thing kept cracking me up. Then, one day he mentions Rob and Big...more specifically their purchase of a mini horse...I had to see this. Since then, I have watched every episode and most of them more than once. "Do Work" is pretty standard lexicon for me now and I have converted at least 5 or 6 people into fans. Sure, these guys are punks and most of their stunts are set up, but the interaction between the two absolutely crack me up and I can't get enough.

#3. I got a BA in History without reading one, single book. That is right...I never, not once, read a book in college. Sure, I skimmed or highlighted or reviewed, but I never sat down and read a book...assigned or otherwise. Looking back on it makes me a bit embarrassed, both for me and for my institution of higher learning. I did fine in school and graduated in 4 years, despite changing schools 3 times and two different majors. Yes, I have read books since...actually have become something of an avid reader. I even went back and read most of the books I was assigned back then, but until I was 25 years old, books were not for me. That of course leads me to...

#4. I love Harry Potter. It certainly was not love at first sight though...I was leaving for a week-long business trip and had nothing to watch on plane. I had finished all my magazines and newspapers and really did not know what I was going to do for 5 hours. My friend suggested Harry Potter...I laughed but said okay. I finished the book, but did not find it all that great. The very next week, I was in the same predicament. Nothing to read/watch and another 5 hour flight. I grabbed book 2 and got sucked in. Then book 3 was amazing, book 4 was sick, and I had to wait for book 5 to get published. Utter agony. Then it came out. I hated it. Actually thought I must have missed something so I read it again. Still sucked. Book 6 redeemed the series for me and book 7 was a bit hokey, but fun...I have read them all multiple times and have seen all the movies. I can also say, that thanks to HP, I love to read. It juiced me up to go read all the books I missed in college, to grab books for most trips, and to open up to many different cool things...books that I have loved include Einstein's Dreams, Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith, and Moneyball.

#5. I wish I could be a rock star. Either a drummer or a singer, preferably Don Henley. Yes, probably more than being a Major League Baseball third basemen. I don't know is not like I long for the Rocker lifestyle or anything like that...I just wish I had that talent. Maybe it is because I have been reasonably decent at sports most of my life and can't seem to really sing a lick. Sure, I can keep a beat and probably could play drums for church with some practice, but to be able to be a rock star??? Wow-wee that would be soooo very cool.

#6. I am a romantic. I know, I is sick when a guy 6'5 and weighing in at a 1/8 of a ton (no really, I am not fat...just big boned), gets all sappy and lovey-dovey, but that is who I am. I enjoy many chick-flicks, love to send flowers or ice cream...I live to give little gifts, just because, I send love notes and I typically remember birthday's, anniversary's, and other important dates. It always makes me happy to have a candle lit dinner...I like to cuddle...I guess I am chickish in many ways...a very large chick, but chickish nonetheless. Nah, let's stick to romantic. That sounds so much better.

#7. Homemade Chocolate Chip cookies make me happier than just about anything...No nuts please. Seriously...there are few other things in this world that make me happier. I love, plain old cookies...Nestle Toll house recipe is great. Of course, putting any kind of nuts in the cookie will ruin it. No, I don't want to pick through them, I just don't want them in there bastardizing my treat. I don't need fancy. Chocolate Chunk does nothing for me and designer ones never seem to be better...just give me a couple of the warm Chocolate Chip, homemade cookies and I will be yours forever. happy? 7 things you probably don't know about I guess I am supposed to tag some people...I will tag Stacey and she will do it...I will tag Chris and I think he might...beyond that, I don't know many other bloggers. The other blogs I read with any regularity have already been tagged, so it seems rather weird to tag them again...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hell Hath Frozen Over

Naomi Campbell interviews Hugo Chavez (Hat tip to Ex-Everything)

HUH? Seriously? I don't even know what to say about this.

I am sitting here, jaw agape...

I mean, seriously? Naomi Campbell? Maybe Twiggy can arrange a meeting with Putin...or Kathy Ireland can have a "60 Minutes" style sit down with Kim Jong-Il in Pyongyang...or Sheryl Teague can schedule time with Raul Castro.

Maybe I should be happy about this...maybe the world might start seeing what a joke Hugo Chavez is.


Sorry, I should not digress into world politics on this is supposed to be about my life in P-Towne. So, I digress...I went to Costco earlier this week to get fruit. What is the world coming to when the best place to get fruit is at Costco?

No, I did not buy 47 apples, 2 crates of oranges, or 5 lbs of kiwi's...I did, however, take down a nice pineapple and some sugar snap peas...that I have to return because they are least the pineapple is good!

This is a very stark difference to the Cali style I am accustomed to...there, Von's or Henry's would supply fresh, supple fruit all the, I have to go to Costco.

I am like a fish out of water.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I Live Dangerously

So in the apartment building Claire and I both live in, many unique personalities reside in other apartments…Of course our friends Baron and Maria live two doors down from Claire and they are great, but we also have others you don't forget...We have Nurse Roberts-stein (Scrubs fans may know her…except Claire’s neighbor is Jewish rather than Christian, hence the “stein”), Opera Guy (let’s just say he does not only sing in the shower), Creepy Porn Addict Who Likes Claire, Curiously Tall White FloJo, Suspicious Missing Husband Lady from Maryland (We have since met her husband, but we thought she was crazy, so the name stays), Fifth Floor People (they are mysterious and weird...some of the other building inhabitants say that the 5th Floorers don't really exist), the 2nd Floor Drunks, Sad Dad, and, our personal favorite, The Russian Mafia. Yes, we are pretty well convinced that the Russian Mafia has taken up residence in a small, unfurnished apartment in P-Towne. Let's examine the facts...they are Russian; they don't have any furniture in their apartment (they have been there longer than her); and their neighbors swear they heard the faint spits of silenced gunfire one night. No, we have never really seen any bodies, but bleach smells are not uncommon on their floor.

Maybe we should not talk about it. They probably monitor the Internet, but sometimes you just have to take chances.


We have also thought that the apartment might be a Russian Brothel...I mean there are a lot of large, ugly men in suits coming in and out at all hours of the night, but we only ever see one girl...nah, I am sticking with the mafia story.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Taking it to the Next Level

This weekend, Claire and I entered a new phase in our relationship...before I tell you about the specifics, it is important to know a little background info...

Claire's ex-husband shares the same first name as I do. We went to the same Junior High. He went to the high school in Southern California that ALL 5 of my siblings went to. He played football with one of my best friends. His parents still live 3 miles from mine. I never knew him, but a lot of my friends did. The coincidence is even stranger when you keep in mind that he met Claire at Auburn Alabama. They lived in the South and East their entire marriage. She has NEVER lived in California. I have never lived anywhere but California.

Now that you have the background information, I want to get back to the new phase we entered this weekend...On Saturday, I met her ex. It was not accidental, it was on purpose. No, I did not hire a hit, I did not go to beat him up...and no, I did not go to show him my mad muscles and ninja skills...Claire and I drove to his house to get a dining room table for her apartment...he is moving, not taking it with him, and it fits in her we went and got it.

He was nice enough, maybe even a little chatty (which I understand is very strange)...he even offered me a beer (I politely declined. I mean, it is not like he had Lambic or a Radler!). I was not uncomfortable, he is part of her past and while I may not be a fan of how he treated her, she is the woman I love, partly because of her experiences with him.

It did get a bit weird however, when we briefly discussed mutual acquaintances in SoCal...

HIM: "Do you remember so-and-so?"
Me: "Yup. We were good friends"
HIM: "He was a dork. Do you remember so-and-so 2?"
Me: "We used to hang out. He was a lot of fun."
HIM: "He was a loser. Do you remember female so-and-so?"
Me: "Ha...I dated her."
HIM: "Holy crap, so did I."

Uncomfortable laughter ensued...we quickly ended the visit after that....I politely asked him not to ever introduce me to his new fiance...apparently we have the same taste in women.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

What Do They Call Danishes in Denmark?

Stepped off the plane on Thursday night in Norfolk from a 7 day journey to the land of the Danish...What a trip!!!

I really enjoyed Denmark. This was my second trip there and I have two GREAT friends that live there. That last little fact makes it oh, so much easier to really get into the place...riding the railway, finding "little holes in the wall", even the cool corner bar...all of it is much more comfortable when you have a tour guide that knows the place and really knows you...As both Jeff and Dorthe do...

Jet lag was a bit of an issue, but mainly because we did not sleep much on this trip...we were up fairly early every day, eating the best pastries ever (Seriously, they don't call a Danish a Danish is a weird is that? Crazy Danes! :-)), and staying up late laughing and reminiscing with our friends. We basically went everywhere we could walk, usually on our feet for 10 hours a day hoofing it around town.

We saw castles, the Crown Jewels, and one really HUGE Great Dane...funny that we saw the Great Dane in Sweden, no? We ate Shwarma and I even found a real beer that I drank...3 whole bottles on this trip. I know, I am really getting all growed up now ain't I mommy?

We had some very good food and met some crazy fun people. We spent NYE in a story book cabin in a forest in Southern Sweden. It was a sweet place with stone walls, wood floors, and a kitchen made to entertain! Jeff/Dorthe's friends that we hung out with were so much fun! We shot off fireworks like they were going out of style...meaning Jeff and I blew stuff up while most of the others stayed on the patio and watched. They cooked 3 legs of lamb, this crazy good mushroom cream sauce, and this ice cream cookie toffee dessert thing that was better than any mud pie I ever had in the states...We tried Aquavit (3 different kinds...liked 1 of them, could deal with another, but the third was awful. Bloody awful. It tasted like dill and rubbing alcohol that had been set on fire), Glogg, fried dough balls, homemade bread, street vendor bacon wrapped sausage, and good/bad Danish candy...I learned that pear juice, sold regularly in Sweden and Denmark, tastes remarkably like Apple Juice in the states...I learned that the Danes own a boat and piano made entirely of ivory...I learned that porn comes on at 1230 every night on a public access television station...I learned that bathrooms, showers, fridges, and stoves in Denmark/Sweden would never be big enough for American tastes.

Yes, we saw all the touristy stuff (except for that silly mermaid...saw it before and it is not worth the drive)...but as always seems to be the case, Claire and I can't wait to share more about the other obtuse things we the random Giant Lamp on the streets of Malmo, the Pizza/Shwarma restaurants that line the streets, and just generally walking around the city with our friends...

It is good to be home, but we can't wait to do another trip...maybe we will meet Jeff and Dorthe in Berlin or Istanbul or Majorca...who knows...I do know one thing though, it is figg'n cold in Northern Europe during the winter!

Friday, January 4, 2008


As you know, there are a couple of blogs I read fairly regularly...not many, but a couple. There is one, however, that I check just about every day and have spent hours reading through the archives and sharing much of them with Claire because I find him so entertaining...William is the one I am referring to when I say "When I Grow Up I Want to Blog Like Him"...

Anyway, his post today was about the death of his father this week...if you scroll through over the past month, you will also see that his father-in-law also passed away just weeks ago.

William is a very good writer (despite what Time Magazine said) and someone who, much like the TV characters in the shows I watch every week, has become someone I look forward to getting a peek into his life. My condolences to him and his family...

Jet Lag...

Got home...

Am tired...

Not feeling loquacious...

Will post later...

Till then enjoy a pic or two from our trip...

Much love and Happy New Year...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Lucky in USA

"Sorry to bother you, but any chance you have some Ketchup?"

These, apparently are words that Danes don't like...

You know the Danes...the people from Denmark...the ones that speak flawless English, have a very educated society, and love America...famous Danes you may know include Hans Christian Andersen, Pianist Victor Borge, and philosopher Søren Aabye Kierkegaard...

So, my buddy Jeff, my beautiful Lady Friend Claire, and I were eating in this cool little cafe in Copenhagen last Friday. Nice lighting, hip crowd, and sweet locale all told us that this was going to be a good lunch...the food did not disappoint, but the service, well, let's just say in the US someone might have gotten fired...or punched in the nose.
There was a little inattentiveness, that happens...some sighing when we placed our order, understandable since Claire and I were sharing a meal and only wanted water...even some eye rolling when I changed my mind and asked for a Coke...but, when we asked for Ketchup, we apparently had crossed the line.

"Sorry to bother you, but any chance you have some Ketchup?"
A know the strong exhale through the nose.
The eye roll...parents of teenagers know this one well.
The head shake...side-to-side in disbelief.
The stomping off...much like a 4 year old told that she can't have cookies
All of those things happened...but the Ketchup did not appear.
Some eating continued. I finished my coke, Jeff finished his beer, the sunset...then the waiter ketchup.
Tried to get his attention, but to no avail. Clearly he is ignoring us. He passed by with someone else's order, then walked right by, back to the kitchen.
2 minutes later he comes back...not with a nice little ramekin full of ketchup...not a table size glass or plastic bottle...not even the squeeze bottle most of us have at, he comes with the kitchen bottle. The one that has been in the kitchen for months. Big as a house plant, 2/3rds used, with ketchup remnants all over the cap.
Does he set it down on the table? Nope. He slams it with authority. Enough to jump a fork off the table and make little children in the street cry.
Dude had some tude and I did not know what to do. When you are in a foreign country, you hesitate to use American discussion techniques. What if it is uncouth to complain? I don't want to offend people, especially since Jeff lives in that city... We can't just take away his tip, that is built into the price of the food and tacked on your bill with the 25% sales tax.
Let's just say that if this happened at my local Bennigan's or Appleby's, there would be some strong words for the waiter and his boss...probably would have gotten the bill taken care of...instead, we sheepishly paid the bill (we were overcharged by 20kr, but did not want to cause any more of scene), and walked still bugs me...I hate the fact I could not really say anything and, as Jeff pointed out, even if we did, nothing would come of it. There is no punishment, it is very hard to be fired, and the servers don't care because they are getting paid $18 per hour regardless of the service.
Denmark is a great country and one that I highly recommend new travelers head to (I will write more about this later), so please don't let this one little episode deter anyone. Okay, there were other service related episodes, but I generally think that Americans are used to things that other countries are not...for example, in the US, we are often hurried through dinner and given the check before we are Europe, meals can take hours and the waiter will only bring the check when you ask. There are times for both, but without knowing that, Americans can seem rude and demanding, while the European counterparts can seem slow and inattentive...little cultural differences...