Monday, June 30, 2008

What Weekend? I Didn't See No Stink'n Weekend!

Sushi, the Zoo, 2 car repair shops, $100 worth of dry cleaning, 2 movies, 1 book club, 2 softball games, 18 holes of golf, 1 bbq cookout, 90 minutes in church...that was a full weekend.

Claire and I kicked it off by grabbing Sushi on Friday night. It had been over a month since we hit the sushi bar, so we were due...then checked out BJ's with the free trial membership Claire got in the mail...We tried to watch Zach Braff's movie "The Last Kiss", but 30-mins into it we shut it off. It just was not good...and the Wii was calling. I got very tired of getting my butt kicked in a racing game, so I had to call it a night. Losing to your girlfriend over and over is very tiring.

Saturday we dropped off Claire's car at the Honda dealership and headed to the zoo...after an hour of walking around and watching the mating habits of Giraffe's, the dealership called Claire. They wanted $600 to replace the alternator...Pashaw...ain't gonna happen. Put the car back together, we are going somewhere else...picked up her car, dropped it off at another repair shop, and off to my apartment to watch Superman Returns and put together my new desk chair.

I spent the rest of the evening playing softball and watching baseball...while Claire went to a Book Club/Pajama Party...

Sunday morning we met up for church, went golfing with our good friends Mark and Rhonda, grilled steaks for dinner and then proceeded to go through family pictures. By the time we got back to P-Towne it was 11pm and we were wondering what happened to our weekend.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Half Deserted Streets: Testaments - Number Two

I posted a guest blog over at Half Deserted Streets today...Lauren is running a series about break-up' over there, check out my story of love and loss, all in 36-hours...

Half Deserted Streets: Testaments - Number Two

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Dealer

El Rancho Jr. High had a problem and that problem was me.

Apparently, they did not like the little distribution business I had started. 7th and 8th graders were not supposed to buy such a product.

"They are so young" it was said.

"How can they be making such adult choices" it was asked.

Then the focus came back squarely on me..."That little delinquent is providing access to the contraband. What are we going to do about it?"

My supplier did not have as high a mark-up as I did, but she was happy. I made sure to tip her from time to time and to make sure she knew she was appreciated. I had a supplier would purchase the goods, I would split it up into individual servings...Each type would be priced accordingly. I could sell the high-end product at twice the price I could see the generic street product for. I would give discounts to my regular buyers and their buying in bulk.

But when the Jr. High Principle called pops, the distribution quickly came to an end. My parents said "boys will be boys" and dismissed my selling as a rite-of-passage.

El Rancho lost their Blow-Pop supplier that day. Candy being sold at a modest mark-up just was not in the cards for the school. They could not have a 12-year old making $30-$45 a week selling suckers...They had gum in them and gum ended up at the underside of desks...they also were not approved snacks for 7th and 8th graders.

Mom had to stop buying them in bulk from Price Club (now called Costco)...well, not completely...she still had 6 kids at home that loved to eat them!


Thanks mom for getting my little business off the ground and being my "supplier".


Remember this???

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wednesday Odds and Ends

Andre the Giant was a villian in WWF wrestling when I was growing up. Hulk Hogan the hero and his arch rival. But in Princess Bride, Andre was the muscles in a "criminal organization", later turning his life around and becoming a force for good. Andre died a few years ago and for some very strange reason, I was sad about it. I never knew him and never really was a "fan", but it made me sad...I think mostly b/c he seemed like such a cool guy. I was reminded about this last night while I was watching Princess Bride on was/is so good. Rob Reiner says it is his favorite movie...It is definatly one of mine. It is one of the more quoted movies in my little circle of friends.

"No more rhyming I mean it!"

"Anyone want a Peanut?"


How do I know that Yahoo's spam filter may be a bit too tight?

I sent myself an email...from my personal Yahoo that very same personal Yahoo account...and it got caught in the Spam Filter. Amazing.


On Monday, I got some sweet pictures of my good friend's baby...Last summer, I lived next door to him and his wife...our townhouses were close enough that we could literally just talk back and forth without going outside. If their bedroom slider was open, I could hear when they turned on the shower. So, when he sent the pictures over of Ava, this was my response:

"To think, I was less than 50 feet away when she was made."
And he wrote back:
"Heck, you were closer than that. You probably could have watched if you wanted to."


I miss hanging out with Jeremy.


That reminded me of my very first apartment in college. We had two very, ahem, "active" couples living near above and one beside. The ones above had a squeaky bed and the ones beside us (we shared a balcony) were, well, boisterous.

The best part was the wafting cigarette smoke that would come through the window after they were finished...

I just got shivers...not in a good way.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

An Open Letter To You Sitting in Row 5

Dear Sir/Madam:

While I appreciate you taking time to enjoy your family, making time for your friends, sharing a meal of nachos, popcorn, ju-ju bees and coke, I do not appreciate you doing it all-at-once while in the movie theater.

You see, when the movie starts that usually means that people are trying to pay attention and get as much out of the $20 they just shelled out to enjoy 2-hours with their significant other.

So in the interest in sparing everyone else the pain that is sitting in a theater with you, please let me outline a couple of really good guidelines for you to know:

1. If you walk in to a movie theater after the movie starts, please try to be courteous and quiet. Others are watching and trying to enjoy the movie. Your constant yelling at the kids, talking to each other and complaining about the comfort level of the seats is not really conducive to an enjoyable movie going experience.

2. Please do not answer/talk on your cell phone during a movie. Cell Phones are wonderful devices, but a certain level of decorum is expected. I know that what happened last night on Celebrity Circus was important, but most of the people around you paid $10 to watch Robert Downy, Jr. not listen to you tell us how Antonio Sabato, Jr. did on the high-wire act.

3. Please don't think that anyone who politely asks you to keep it down is wanting to fight. If you are being loud, you might even get shooshed...and if you keep thinking that fighting those people makes sense, I am guessing that someone may take you up on your offer.

4. 3-5 year old kids belong at movies, but maybe not ones that are rated PG-13 or R. Sure, Iron Man was not terribly disturbing, but do we really want our 3 year-olds to see bombs and shrapnel more than they already do? Panda Ninja was playing just across the hall. That might be a better choice.

5. Yelling at your kid when he spills the popcorn bowl that is bigger than him is really unnecessary. How could you not see that coming?

Thank you for your consideration. I am a fairly tolerant person and my patience is higher than most, but selfishness is a very rapid, one-way trip to ninja-town.


Bogart in P-Towne.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Frequent Flyer Miles Rule

Minneapolis, MN
Minetonka, MN
Maple Grove, MN
Saint Paul, MN
Dallas, TX
Newark, NJ
Charleston, SC
Atlanta, GA
Portsmouth, VA

2 Cancelled flights, 3 flight delays, 2 long trips...

I am home. I am alive. I am recouping.


There have been a few questions about what I do...let me explain it this way.

I earn my living by schmoozing and negotiating with mid level bankers across the country. If I am successful in convincing them that my company is good and that my check won't bounce (okay, it really is a wire, but you get the picture), they just might sell me some of their receivables.


I was concerned about going to South Carolina. Not gonna lie, it does not have the best reputation...but Charleston is one of the coolest cities I have ever been. I can't wait to go there again, but probably not during the summer.


I did zero in Atlanta. I arrived Thursday, went to dinner, slept, went to meetings and went back to the airport. Unfortunately, those type of trips do happen more than I like.


On the flight from Charleston to Atlanta, I sat next to a very nice, chatty young lady. I mentioned Claire a number of times during our conversation, but it was not until I told her about moving across the country to chase her down that she suddenly shut up. Yes, it was that abrupt.


No, I am not usually a talker on planes. I usually put on my Bose Headphones and read.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I am so blessed to be able to do what I do for a living...I travel all over the country, staying in beautiful hotels, eating at amazing restaurants, and playing on sweet golf courses.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate the opportunities I have and how much I enjoy what I do. I still can't really figure out how I got into the work I am in, but make no mistake, I am very well aware of how blessed I am to have fallen into it.

But sometimes that travel gets to be too much. Sometimes holding that phone to my ear, talking to Claire in another time zone, gets very old. It is why I chased her across the country, leaving all that I ever knew and everyone I love.

The last 2 weeks I have been traveling, yet again. Another trip, another flight, another meal, another hotel.

Then I hear that Michael Buble song, Home. It might have been a little much. I would like to be home in Virginia, having dinner with her right now.


For the record, Flip-Flopping DOES NOT equal changing your position or mind...

Flip-flopping means you change your mind and then change it again...not because you had an epiphany, but because it was convenient for you to do so. It served you in some fashion to keep changing your mind...An example would be you believe something...argue for it...dare I say campaign for it...then you change your mind...maybe it is genuine. Maybe someone showed you the error of your ways. Maybe you saw first hand that your initial beliefs were wrong, so you admit your error and move on...but then you decide to, oh I don't know, run for president...then that thing you now know to be true is no longer politically convenient so you change back. The winds have blown in another direction and you change your mind to appease voters...

That would be flip-flopping...

But if you were against something...let's just say for arguments sake, against a certain Tax Cut...but as you see it working, as you see the benefit, you decide you were wrong. You admit you were wrong. You now see the error in your ways and change. You then campaign on that more correct idea even though it may hurt you in the polls...Sticking to it whether it is politically expedient or not...that is simply growth and evolution of a thinking mind. That is not something to be ashamed of and it certainly IS NOT flip-flopping.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Food and Father's Day

On Friday night last week, we were on Eagle Lake in Maple Grove, MN. My sister's boyfriend made some mean burgers and thought I would mention them to you...I made some killer burgers a couple of month's back (Read about them here), but his was right on par.

In the meat he mixed egg, red/yellow/green diced peppers, red onion, and Gorgonzola cheese. Then he formed the burgers, grilled them to medium, and melted cheese with peppers on top. Served on a toasted/grilled onion bun and they were awesome.

I have challenged him to an Iron Chef cook off...we will see if he has the chutzpah to accept. :-)


Father's day was Sunday. It is a funny holiday for me because in my life I really have 3 different men that would easily be celebrated on that father, my step-dad, and my gramps...all have provided things for me to live up to, look for, and pursue. I also make sure to call my buddies that are fathers and let them know that they are doing a great job...This year I was able to add 2 more calls...both Jeremy and Derek got messages to celebrate their first Father's Day.

But this past Sunday my mind was mostly on my Gramps. It is the first Father's day without him around. He past away last September (Please read what I wrote about him here) and his presence is still so missed. His life was a blessing to so many people, but inside the family he was held in even higher regard than the thousands of people that cried the day he passed away...yes, I said thousands.

There are a million stories I could write about him and it still would not cover his life adequately. I have shared some of his more notorious ones here, here, here, and here.

Thanks for all you were are missed more than you could ever imagine.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Back Home...For A Day

What a great trip to the Great White North...well, I guess this time of year Minnesota should be called the Great Green North. Holy Carp Batman, that was a very green place.

We spent Friday night at with Kalar (my sister's boyfriend) and his family at their house on on their dock. We even took a sunset cruise on their boat around the lake. It was a great night, kicked off with a wonderful meal and capped with a HUGE FRIGG'N bonfire.

Saturday we toured Mall of America. While there, we checked out the aquarium, mini-lego land and amusement park, all of which were located INSIDE the Mall. It is crazy big and it was a lot of fun. Before I left for the airport, we had a wonderful lunch at Napa Valley Grille. Sure, the waiter spilled a glass of Sparkling Wine AND a glass & 1/2 of white wine all over Kalar's lap...but the food was good, they comped the wine and gave Kalar a $25 gift certificate for his sticky lap. They took good care of us.

After arriving back in VA at 1am Sunday morning, I have about 40-hours before jumping a plane again to South Carolina. I will be there Monday night through Thursday morning...then to Atlanta, Georgia for a 30 hour visit...I think I will be home for a short while after that.



A couple of weeks ago I wrote this post, mentioning that I read Whit over at Honea Express. So then late last week, I won a contest at his site. Coincidence? I think so...

Anyway, I am really excited to get all 11 books that will be sent over. Now I don't have to wonder what to read all summer long.


There is some nasty wildfire down in North Carolina that has been burning since last week. That fire did bring me a smile last week though...As I left for the airport at 5am last Tuesday, I got a smell of burning brush. As silly as it is, that aroma reminded me of home.

How sick is that? A brush fire making me nostalgic for SoCal.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Something I hope I never lose the fascination with...Lightning. It reminds me of the time I spent in Nebraska as a kid. I love how it looks streaking across the sky. The power is awesome.

In SoCal, lightning storms are very rare. In VA they happen more, but up here in Minnesota, it apparently happens all the time.

So very cool.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Oooh Yea, Dont-cha know....

Flew up to the land of 10,000 lakes yesterday and I am enjoying the beautiful scenery while visiting my one of my little sisters. She moved up here back in January to chase down a boy. Is there a trend in my family?

She has a great apartment right across the street from a lake. Her man lives just on the other side of the water. It is a pretty nice setup. Claire is going to join us on Thursday night and we are going to hang out in the Twin Cities for the weekend. Should be great!

But I do have one HUGE complaint. My little sister owns a flat screen TV. I am a bit miffed since it seems that I am the only one in the world that does not have one. I need a flat screen so I can properly enjoy the Wii. Maybe I can convince Claire to buy me one for her birthday. Yea, that's the ticket.


Speaking of birthdays, a big, fat HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Claire's youngest sister know, the one who just got married. She is turning an age today...not gonna share that one. You think I am crazy? No way, she scares me.


Seems that there is a lot of consternation regarding the lack of video evidence of me doing the worm. I never knew that people were so interested in that dance move. Sure, I am particularly adept at it, but that is the kind of video that can kill political careers.


I felt like I was back in college this morning...waking up at a friend's house, trying to be quiet so as to not wake anyone else up, going through cabinets looking for breakfast, finding fruity pebbles...etc.
Man I love me some Fruity Pebbles. They rock.

Monday, June 9, 2008

May I Be Excused, My Brain Hurts.

Last week I wrote about the things I learned during our trip to New Orleans and I don't want to keep kicking the same/similar subject everyday, but it really is true that you learn new things everyday. For example:

Friday night I learned that Fire Flies really do exist. Not only do they exist, but they are phenomenal little bugs. No, they are not like the mechanical ones at Disneyland, constantly glowing and staying on, but they their little flashy butts are sooooo cool. (I don't ever want to say that line again. EVER.)

Saturday I learned that fritters made from Conch Meat and being sold 5-for-$1 are not only the best deal at a festival, but they are also pretty darn good. I figured out that if you puree fresh Kiwi with a little bit of Mango juice it makes a pretty mean smoothie...Also, Wii Ping-Pong is fun, but Cow racing may be the best game ever.

Sunday I learned that the character Magda from Something About Mary really does exist. Claire and I saw her at the beach yesterday. Holy Carp batman. She had the little dog, the yellow hair, and the crazy leather skin. I have NEVER seen anything like it.

Finally, I also learned that it is 10-15 degrees warmer in VA this month than normal. No wonder my skin melted off yesterday.


I bought my Wii yesterday. (THANKS MOM + POPS) I am so excited to play Tennis, Ping Pong, Cow Racing, Fishing, etc. Claire and I tried to buy the Wii fit yesterday (I can't wait to ski on it and Claire is super excited about the Yoga possibilities), but they sold out before the store even opened. We showed up at 11am and the line out the door was just silly. We were lucky to get the Wii, but the blue shirt people just laughed at us when we asked about getting the fit.

It will happen, just not this week.


Finally, despite all of your requests, there is no known video of me doing the worm, the helicopter, or most anything else that may be remotely damaging to my future political career.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Wedding

Claire and I boarded a plane to New Orleans about 10 days ago to visit her family and help prepare for her youngest sister's wedding. It was a great week that had us going nonstop just about every day. Neither Claire, nor I have quite recovered from the constant running we did, but boy was it worth it.

The rehearsal dinner was great. We went to this new restaurant called Chef Ed's and they had us all set up in the back room. Problem was the back room was hotter than Tommy Lasorda after a Dodger loss, so we all picked up tables, chairs and place settings and went outside. How cool is that? The waitress was shocked, but it worked out well, sitting out on the back porch on a warm Louisiana night. The food was amazing and it was a good time. If you are ever in South Louisiana, make sure to grab a meal there.
That night I was kicked out of Claire's parents home and sent to stay with the groom. Something about a bunch of girls running around the house on Saturday in various states of undress...whatever. Jerks.

Actually it worked out well. Kyle and I get along very well and we had an enjoyable night and morning, hanging with his brothers and father...YEAH BUDDY!

The wedding was beautiful. The church looked great and I don't think it had ever had so many people in it!

The reception turned out EXACTLY as they wanted it with plenty of food and drink...and some weird fascination with line dancing...

Despite my best efforts, the Dance Competition I was challenged to and wrote about back in March never happened. The challenger chickened out the minute he saw my helicopter and worm...he would not even step one foot on the floor. I am therefore the Southwest Louisiana May 31st Dance Champ. I should get a trophy or something.
As I mentioned last week, we got to see the Blue Dog exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art. But we also had an amazing time doing things like eating meals at her grandfather's house, opening presents, enjoying her mother's cooking, eating cookies, eating out...are you noticing a theme here? Yes, I really did throw on 5lbs during the time we were down there.

Anyway, here are a few photos of Claire and me...
I can't wait until our next trip. We ALWAYS have so much fun down there. I really enjoy all of her family and they seem to enjoy my weird brand of sarcasm.
Congratulations to Sarah and Kyle...Thank you for letting me be a part of the fun week and wonderful day! I hope God continues to bless you as you embark on this next stage of your journey...and other miscellaneous words of encouragement and love...

Thanks Pamela for donating your room to me for the week. I hope you know how much I appreciated it!

And if any of you are still reading at this point, make sure to click on this little story about a bar fight Pamela might have been a party to...she rocks!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Happy Birthday

She pulled a knife on me once...
Was my diving partner when we were the "Thompson Twins"...
Has 2 beautiful babies...
Encouraged my niece to call me "Yo-Yo". It has stuck.
Got very good at the "Name that band" game I made her play.
Is the "loud one" in the family...
Is a great mother...
Actively pursues her faith in a way that makes me a little jealous...
Found a great husband...
Has a soft heart...
Has done an amazing job of working hard to keep the entire family involved in her life...
Put up with my constant tormenting and teasing...
She is joining the ranks of 30-something's today and I want to


Hester Prinn...I hope your birthday is a great one. You are a wonderful woman, mother and wife. I appreciate the trail you have blazed for all the siblings and have set a pretty high standard for being a parent that we all hope to live up too. I love you.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I Learn...

Back from the 9 day trip to South Louisiana. Pictures, a recap, and other assorted fine-ness to come later this week...for know I thought I would share things I learned while down there...

1. I don't know anything about heat...sure, I have been in the desert at 117 degrees and complained, but that really has nothing on 90-and-90 in New Orleans. Wowee.

2. Claire's youngest sister Sarah looked like a princess during her wedding.

3. I am at least 10-strokes better at golf than Claire's dad...I say "at least" because I was playing with clubs that were 1 1/2 inches too short, on a course that I had never played, and in weather my linebacker body was not made for and I still managed a 10-stroke win.

4. I enjoy golfing with Claire's dad and there are not many people I say that about.

5. When sitting around with the guys and nobody has said anything for a min or so, "Yeah, buddy" is an acceptable silence breaker. No, not in response to anything, just a random "yeah, buddy" while staring off into space is okay.

6. Claire's grandfather can cook some mean bbq sausage.

7. The worm should not be attempted by anyone over 30. Sure, it was my signature move on the dance floor back in the 90's, but that ground is not so soft anymore.

8. Southern Hospitality is a real thing.

9. I rock at Wii bowling, but am terrible at Wii boxing.

10. Grooms at Southern Weddings get their own cake. How cool is that? I think, if I get married, I will have a grooms cake made out of homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies (with no nuts!!!).

and finally,

11. There is a lot of pressure when you catch the garter at a wedding...especially when you combine that with the girlfriend pulling the ring out of the cake.