Friday, August 29, 2008

I Learn...again

In keeping with my never ending thirst for knowledge, here is another installment of what I have recently learned:

1. Dollar Store dish soap is NOT worth $1. It stinks. Both literally and figuratively.

2. I am super frugal. I knew that I did not like to waste money, but I border on cheap. I won't throw out the stinky soap from the dollar store because I don't want to waste that buck I spent on it.

3. Don't ever show up your girlfriend in an area where she is clearly better than you (baking). There is no good in that.

4. Despite the full 2 weeks of coverage and it being over for some time now, my love of all things Olympics has not diminished since I was a may have even gotten stronger.

5. According to Snapple, a hummingbird's heart beats 1,400 a minute. Much faster than my 65 bpm.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Flowers Abound

Claire and I like to be members of things...we joined the Zoo a while back and earlier this month we joined the Norfolk Botanical Gardens.

I always thought of botanical gardens as sort of a large green house with lots of plants.

The Norfolk Gardens however, are not that...they are frigg'n huge with over 12 miles of trails and crazy plants throughout. There is a river than runs through it, big enough to kayak down.

Claire and I had such a good time checking it out. Here are some shots...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

USS Harry S. Truman

The other day I was sitting on the couch and I was startled by the loud horn that went off outside my, I am used to loud noises outside. I live right on the water, across from a shipyard and the downtown ferry toots its horn (one long, 3 short) every 30 minutes, but this horn shook the windows.

It is the USS Harry S. Truman all of 100 feet from my apartment. How cool is that?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Outer Banks, NC to San Diego

I love that a mild sunburn (think pink skin, not red) can turn into a tan.

I love that 36-hours removed from a full day at the beach means I look like I moved back to Cali.

I love that I at Carolina BBQ from a restaurant named "Pigman".

I love that I tried skim boarding for over 2 hours and never got a ride longer than about 3 seconds...but am not sore.

I love that most of the food I cooked this weekend turned out well.

I love the Orville and Wilbur Wright memorial. North Carolina did a great job!

I love that I am heading to the airport to board a plane destined for San Diego.

I love vacations.

SoCal...for 2 weeks. WooHoo!!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Break Up

Claire broke up with me last night...but I did not know about it.

She called her sister Sarah while I was out coaching volleyball.

She said that she was done with me.

Sarah pooped her pants in sadness.*


What brought this on?

I baked cookies. I wanted some chocolate chip cookies, so I baked. I never bake. I generally dislike baking. Way too much measuring. Cooking is great, baking, not so much.

Apparently Claire really liked the cookies. So she was done with me.


Sarah asked why and Claire told her that I was better at sports, cleaning and cooking. She said I was so much funnier than anyone* and that I clearly was the smarter one*.

The one thing she felt that she had over me was that she was a better baker than me.

Apparently my cookies tasted better, to her, than the cookies she has been baking.

She had enough of me.


We did make up and she took me back.

Sarah changed her pants*.

*All starred items may or may not be a figment of my imagination, so it is safe to consider them completely made up.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

NC Weekend

This past weekend Claire and I drove down to Charlotte, NC to visit our friend Teddy.

It was a great weekend. When we arrived on Friday and had a cool evening catching up and watching the Olympics.

On Saturday, Teddy cooked a rock'n breakfast of pancakes, jalapeno bacon and fresh OJ. After clearing our plates, we headed over to the US National Whitewater Center. It was great! We watched some people shooting the rapids on both kayaks and rafts and rented some kayaks to go out on the river ourselves. We explored tributaries, saw beautiful birds, talked to turtles and even saw boaters set up a volleyball net in the middle of the river and proceed to play.

We ended the day watching Olympics, eating some sweet pizza and hanging out.

On Sunday, Claire and I took off to explore the city and begin the 5 hour trek back to P-Towne. Teddy sent us to a great little restaurant in downtown, 300 East. Claire's breakfast was Banana Hazelnut Bellini's with Frangellico Honey Butter topping. I ate a corn waffle with cream cheese eggs and meaty chili on top. Crazy good.

The one problem that we had at the restaurant was telling the difference between the men's and women's bathrooms...they both had dogs on them. I actually had to ask one of the servers which one was the Men's Room...she said to "check the anatomy"...sure enough, a red rocket was easily visible on the male dog.

We then cruised the town, finding it seemed to have little personality. So, we hit the road with the plan on stopping anywhere that looked interesting. And that is exactly what we did, finding a herd of wild elephants running around.

Claire was frigg'n brave, chasing them down...

The elephants took to Claire really well. They seemed to accept her as one of their own.

We were so excited about the animal siting, we decided to check out the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, NC. What a great place. It reminded me a lot of the Wild Animal Park in San Diego. We spent a few hours there for free since they have reciprocal benefits with the Norfolk Zoo.

While we were there, the zoo even hooked us up with some sweet outfits to work with the rhino's.

They even sent Claire out in the Zoo's chopper to track down the escaped herd of elephants that were running around downtown Asheboro.

After she successfully rounded up the group (she had already developed a good relationship with them) we cruised up to Raleigh, searching for some Carolina BBQ. 1 restaurant was closed and 2 others were out of business, so we ate at the next place we saw, a biker bar. That food turned out great and we headed back.

It was a great weekend. Next stop, the Outer Banks, North Carolina this Friday. WooHoo!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


If you have not seen this video, you really need to watch it.

I have been known to be a little stupid. Going a little too fast on skis, maybe driving a little quicker than I should and generally finding ways to push the limit of my skills/abilities.

But this guy is a moron.

Flat out moron.


I even want to kite is on the list of things to do soon...but doing it in a hurricane/tropical storm?



Pictures and a weekend update will be up on Wednesday.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Reliving History

On Tuesday evening, I was cooking up some hamburger. Tacos were on the menu for me that night.

As I was cooking the meat, warming the tortillas and cutting fresh vegetables, I made a sudden jump and bumped the spatula out of the meat pan. That movement shot out a small handful of meat onto the floor.

Instinctively I yelled "Sammy, c'mere girl".

Sammy was my black lab.

She has not lived with me since April of 2007. 17 months ago.

Funny how those things stick with you.


Claire and I suffered through History of Violence last night. When it came out in the theaters back in "Ought-five", I really wanted to see it, but for one reason or another I did not. So, it came up on my netflix queue and we watched it.

Holy Crap it was bad. The acting...terrible. The editing...awful. The directing...brutal.

The sad part is that it has a great premise, but there nothing redeeming about this film.


You would have thought with Viggo Mortensen coming off of the great role of Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, he could have come up something much stronger.


Yesterday afternoon, I snuck out and saw Tropic Thunder. The first 15 mins I really thought about walking out...the movie settled down after that and did provide some laughs. As usual, Robert Downey, Jr. was great!


Claire and I are heading down to North Carolina this weekend to visit my good buddy Teddy. (If you have not had a chance to get a little nugget of wisdom about Teddy, click that link. One of my favorite stories about him.)

We are going to hang out with him on Friday night, all day Saturday and Saturday night.

On Sunday, we are going to explore Charlotte and make the trek back to P-Towne. Should be a great time!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Get Behind Me Satan!!!

After my post on Wednesday last week, Claire's mom sent me the following joke:

The poor country pastor was livid when he confronted his wife with the receipt for a $250 dress she had bought.

"How could you do this!" he exclaimed.

"I don't know," she wailed, "I was standing in the store looking at the dress. Then I found myself trying it on.It was like the Devil was whispering to me, 'Gee, you look great in that dress. You should buy it.'"

"Well," the pastor persisted, "You know how to deal with him! Just tell him, "Get behind me, Satan!"

"I did," replied his wife, "but then he said 'It looks great from back here, too!'"
Did y'all see Phelps and the rest of the 4x200 free relay team last night? Broke the previous WR by 5 seconds...amazing.
Oh yea, Phelps set an earlier record in the 200 Butterfly with leaky goggles...they were full of water the last 50 meters and he was essentially swimming blind.
He is a a good way.
Women's Volleyball this morning had one of the best matches I have seen in a long time. If you are even a little bit of a Volleyball fan, you need to watch the replay of China v. Cuba...especially the 4th set.
Those women are crazy good!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I am pretty sure that everyone dreams and at one point or another, everyone remembers a dream. I am guessing that most everyone has recurring dreams as well.

My recurring dreams have come in stages. I remember 3, all variations of the same theme.
When I was a kid I would routinely be chased by a Tyrannosaurus Rex around my neighborhood. I would run and make hard cuts around corners, unable to shake the dinosaur. I would finally find a storm drain, climb inside and would not be found by my foe. It came up from time to time, but nothing that ever worried me much. I was a kid and my hiding spot always worked!

By my teen years, I was usually escaping a house that was filled with violent robbers. They would be chasing me, but I could find secret passages and usually get away through a secret room that would have an escape hatch through the roof. Often, this house was the cabin my mom and pops had in Running Springs, CA. It was a huge house with a lot of rooms. When I ended up there in my dreams, my escape usually happened through the basement, under the secret passageway under the spa.

As an adult, the recurring dream has had me chased by spiders or having to fight to save my woman from abduction. The spider dreams suck, mainly because I usually end up jumping up and screaming, which wakes me up. The fighting dreams are interesting because I usually wake up after throwing punches and connecting with pillows or the bed. Full round-house punches.


The point in sharing all of this is to try to figure out what the "happ's is". I had 6 months of night terrors back in 2000. I attributed this to a new habit of drinking a glass of water right before bed and then having a full bladder. The screaming dreams happened 3 or 4 times a week and were very disturbing. When I stopped drinking water right before bed, the dreams stopped.

They have happened from time-to-time since, but without any regularity.

Unfortunately, they seem to have returned. I have had some night terrors with an increasing frequency (2 or 3 a month) since early this year. The most recent one was terrifying. I woke up sweating, screaming and very disturbed. My heart was racing and I could not go back to sleep. It was very different than any other dream that I remember having and it has really shaken me.

Any tips on how to make these things stop? I can handle them if they are spiders or fighting kidnappers, but when they involve tragic happenings to the people I care about most...there is just no good in that.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Is 8 Hours of TV Too Much?

We have decided that pretty much all festivals are the same. Claire and I went to a local "Oceanfest" on Friday night and, while it was a fun little time, it was no different than any of the other 150 festivals we have gone to over the past few months. We often are even seeing the same food vendors and nick-nack sellers.


Anyone watching the Olympics? The volleyball coverage has been great. I am really enjoying that...but were you awake enough last night to watch the 4x100 relay last night?

If you have not seen it yet, I won't spoil it, but I was yelling at the TV at 11:30 last night, pointing, hollering and rooting.

I love the Olympics!


Speaking of the Olympics, if you have not had a chance to check out the opening ceremony's, you need to find video of it...pretty much any of it.

I am not usually one for all the pomp and circumstance that goes on at those things, but this Friday's ceremony was awesome. Simply awesome.


Went to a surprise 40th birthday party for a friend of ours on Saturday night. Claire and I had a very good time celebrating with the birthday boy and 80 of his closest friends.
To say the surprise went off without a hitch would be an understatement. He had no idea that after a day of golf with his buddies, that the dinner and drinks that were to follow were going to include so many of his family and friends. How could he not know it was coming?

For one thing, his birthday is in the middle of November. Having the party a couple of months early usually helps in completing a successful surprise!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fake Bogart

I don't know who this young woman is...I don't know why she thinks she can just use my name for her own purposes...I really don't know why I scanned this picture.

But I will not stand for the unauthorized use of my name in this manner.

That is all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Evil in the Form of a Woman

I had a craving for Steak on Sunday, so after volleyball practice I headed to the local market.

I picked up my steak, a small package of chocolate chip cookies with no nuts and 2 boxes of Smacks (What? They were on sale!) and was walking towards the register.

It was then that it happened.

A young woman, dressed to impress, carrying a package of energy drinks, looked me up and down...I was wearing a very sweaty, bright orange t-shirt, gym shorts and some flip flops. It was clear that I was not "dressed to impress", but looking (and smelling) rather gross.

She walks next to me, puts her hand on my shoulder and says "you are a beautiful man."

Shell shocked, I smile, say thanks and left.


Ladies, when you say something like that to a guy, what is the appropriate response?

A. "Thanks. I know I am beautiful. In fact, I am hot. No, not just sweaty hot, but really hot. Would you like to see me flex my calves?"

B. "Wow, you need to get your eyes checked."

C. "Get behind me Satan."

D. "I will make sure to pass that along to my parents. Clearly their genes matched well."

E. "I know. Claire tells me all the time. You know Claire. My girlfriend."


Maybe I should ask a more pointed question...

"Claire, how would you like me to handle this type of situation in the future?"

Monday, August 4, 2008

Undercooked Lizards and Other Misc. Things


I love them. They are so cute, so cuddly, so squishy.

Watching CBS Sunday morning this week and they did a story on how we view the wee-ones...specifically why we will lie and tell people their babies are cute when they actually look like undercooked lizards.

I have seen some amazingly goofy looking babies. Really, some of them needed to come out way earlier than they did (usually those look like they are really small 80-year olds) and others that seriously needed to cook longer.

Did I tell those parents? Nope. Sure didn't. I said they were "cute" or "great". Why? I don't know. I don't normally lie.

Obviously it is to save some feelings, but is that the right thing?

Isn't self-awareness a good thing?

One thing that Sunday Morning said was that the cuteness of a baby is directly related to those we are related to.


Claire and I got to go see Crosby, Stills and Nash on Friday. It was a great time. Clearly their lifestyles have caught up with their bodies and voices, but they still harmonize decently well and put on a decent show.


Thank you all for the kind words regarding Claire's good friend Sam. The family's website has some pictures of Sam and some very kind words. His wife has asked that in lieu of gifts or flowers, that money be donated to the American Cancer Society. I am thankful that Claire has the opportunity to spend the weekend with Kelly, their 2 kids and their family.


Congratulations to Claire's sister Pamela. She bought her first place and moved in this weekend. From the pictures it looks like a sweet place and she is very excited. Claire's family spent part of the weekend scraping wall paper, moving furniture and bombing the potential for bugs...all sound like wonderful fun, eh!

All kidding aside, WAY TO GO PAMELA!

Friday, August 1, 2008


Last fall, Claire learned that one of her good friends, Sam, was having some medical issues. The problems baffled the doctors and he was bounced around from one specialist to another, from one hospital to another, from one town to another...nobody could figure out what was going wrong. (You can read his story here)

It took 10 months before they could come up with any type of solid diagnosis. It was a very rare form of cancer. By this point, Sam was having issues with his vision, his thought process, and had little to no strength. Sam was very sick.

At the beginning of July, the doctors decided to try radiation to attack the cancer. On July 18, after 1 full week of radiation, things were looking good. To quote the family journal:

"Today ends Sam's first full week of radiation. Everything is going fine, but he is extremely tired. He's put on a few more pounds and is up to 90 pounds now."

Radiation continued last week and there was hope for everyone involved. Unfortunately, by the end of week two, Sam started to get very sick again. On Monday this week, Sam was taken to the ER with respiratory distress. He was admitted with pneumonia. The family journal on Tuesday, July 29th reads:

"After multiple discussions with several of his doctors, I have agreed to honor Sam's wishes. We are currently seeking comfort measures only, and Sam will be moved to Bethany House (a residential hospice facility)in town later today."

Claire got word early this morning that Sam passed away.


Sam and Claire were wonderful friends. He was a huge part of her life for most of college and after he got married to Kelly their friendship continued. Earlier this year, Claire was able to fly down and celebrate Kelly's birthday with her. She also got to spend some time visiting Sam in the hospital. A great time was had by all and Claire returned to Portsmouth very happy after spending the weekend with people that are so very important to her.

When I met Claire, I was told that there were a few friends that I had to meet. By the end of last year I had met each of them, except Sam and Kelly. We were going to fix that. We HAD to fix that.

Unfortunately, I never got that chance to meet Sam and I am very sad for that.


Sam leaves a beautiful wife and two very young children behind. Please keep them in your prayers today.