Monday, July 31, 2006


Hearty congratulations to Jeff and Hillary. (They got engaged on Friday.)

Hooray for Neighbors

I think I've mentioned before how in the first 30 minutes of living here we met as many neighbors as we met in 2-1/2 years of living in Monrovia. And then in a day we had surpassed that. Even recently we met another neighbor. It's a pretty friendly place. Even if the neighborhood association sends you letters saying you have too many weeds in your front yard. Anyhow, here's what happened yesterday...

I was working in the yard yesterday and just when I was about to give up for the day on this stump that I planned to work on for the next few years, my neighbor hopped into my yard (his yard is about a foot higher) and looked at what I was doing. Then he left and returned with a pickaxe and helped me for awhile. Then he left for awhile and I kept working. Then he came back with a reciprocating saw and then left again coming back with another extension cord (he didn't like mine) and then worked some more. Then he left again and came back with a giant nearly-20-pound pole, like a giant prybar, I've also heard it called a "persuader bar." I was pretty sure before the day was up that I was gonna get hit by that.

So we kept working and we got to where the entire thing was rocking so he was sticking the prybar under it and pushing and pulling. I was working the other side with a shovel. And then his wife came over (who speaks no English) and then conversed back and forth for a few seconds and she grabbed the pickaxe and started pulling. He traded me the shovel for the prybar which was a little concerning. And I got an amazing grab on the bar and started pulling and had to step over the root and keep pulling. He dropped the shovel and joined me in pulling. It got much looser and then physics took over, the bar sprung free and smashed into the side of my head with the weight of at least 300 pounds of pressure being applied to it by the two of us. Fortunately it hit my ear and that cushioned it. I got a small scrape on the top part of my ear and a nice black and blue goose-egg on my head behind. It hurt like crazy but I never got woozy or any headache, which is really weird. So now it's hard to talk on the phone or listen to headphones or wear glasses, but thankfully still no headaches or anything.

And the frigging stump is out. He left later and left his tools in my yard. I used the reciprocating saw until I couldn't stand anymore and then knelt there in the grass hacking at the thing until the blade was twisted beyond use and then I drove to two stores to by a replacement and then came back and cleaned the tools and took them back. I raked everything off the grass but now I need to fill in the hole and move all the roots and Lori's got a nice new place to plant. It's nice having it done. Neighbors can be kinda cool.

Attention, Baptists!

Or at least specifically the ones at the church we're now attending... Baptists in the U.S. are American Protestants(tm, c and r). As such, we only clap on beats one and three. There is no gray area, no wiggle room and it is not open for discussion. That is all.


I just don't get it when you say 'hi' to someone and they make no response whatsoever, as if you'd said nothing. Rather annoying. Fine, be a turd. This is what I get for trying to be more extroverted and social.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Never Enough Time

It's been so hot here. We've had to sleep with the windows (and blinds) open, upwards of four or more fans on to move air around. Add that to the not-enough-sleep I normally get (or don't get) and I find that I keep sleeping in and keep getting up late and eventually I'm not getting down here to ride the exercise bike early enough, so then everything is rushed. It's going to only get worse when the school year is back in session and the route I take -- literally only one of two ways to get from the houses in this community to the businesses in this community -- only starts sucking more thanks to the heavily used school crosswalk. They really need to build a bridge. I'm sure they'll just continue to have the crossing guards out there because in the short-term, that's cheaper to be sure.

Monday, July 24, 2006

What Shamu Taught Me About Marriage

NYTIMES.COM -- Thanks to Allison for this very funny (and profound) article on how we can improve our marriages (and work life and parenting and on and on) by applying techniques honed by animal trainers. More...

Friday, July 21, 2006

There Will Always Be One

If you lost your house in Hurricane Katrina, why would you, the next year, move to/vacation in Lebanon?

(You're not a repeat victim. It's your fault!)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Extreme Diet Coke & Mentos Experiments

What can you do with 523 mentos and 101 2-liters of Diet Coke? Recreate the Bellagio, of course.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I have a bad taste in my mouth. It was a bit of pastry. Tasted good at the time. But now it's unpleasant. I think it was too much sweetness and I've been trying to decrease my intake of sweets as I try to lose weight. But it just feels heavy and I feel bummed that I gave in. Losing weight is tough and not at all fun.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Roll On

I've seen this before on the news and they even have one of them sitting here in the office for awhile. An engineer, several decades earlier on a trip to Morocco, saw a woman crawling along the ground because she was unable to use her legs. The image haunted him until one day he was inspired to try to invent a wheelchair. He found that most people in developing nations couldn't afford wheelchairs and often relied on donated (often used) wheelchairs from wealthier countries, and that the estimates were that less than 100,000 wheelchairs had ever been given away and that there was a need for more than 100,000,000. (For the remainder, they either have to scoot along the ground or rely on family to carry them places.)

He set about to build a new wheelchair. While it wouldn't be approved by the FDA in this country, it's really good at solving a need, inexpensively, using mass-produced items in a kit that's also inexpensive to ship. Pretty cool. Click here to learn more.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Genius of Marc Shaiman

One of the tracks from the soundtrack for "The American President" just
played on Launchcast. I am a fan of the movie and enjoyed West Wing for a
number of years (but not to the end). I have to say what a genius Marc
Shaiman is. The music is really good, really inspiring. It feels so
infused with history, builds so well and just feels really good. Even
makes me a little sad that The West Wing is off the air, even though I
couldn't stick with it until the end. Makes me yearn to make another trip
to D.C.

Monday, July 10, 2006

This Is Just Wrong

Ok, they're amusing themselves way too much. I'm a little afraid.

I Made Page 2 Again!

MSNBC.COM -- Once again, I wrote well enough to end up on page 2 of 2 page reader submission article. Woo hoo! More...

Dumbest Song

This has gotta be the dumbest song I've heard in a long time. And I'm still not convinced that it wasn't Bill Cosby singing.
I come over early in the morning
I’m like a heat wave, without warning
And when I touch you my heart begins to flutter
Cos you're smooth and creamy like peanut butter

Girl I wanna lay you down
(I said) girl I wanna lay you down

Take it away Zach

I'm gonna flood you, like a love river
Awe baby the post man, is about to deliver
Cook you up some dinner, a little pasta
Listen to some music, a little rasta

I said girl I wanna lay you down, oooohhh
I said girl I wanna lay you down,

(Don't you know I need your love!)

So turn out the lights, bring out the candles,
wrap your arms around my love handles,
they say the passion may not always endure,
but this feeling that i have for you is burning up my world

Aweee, I said girl I wanna lay you down
(I said) girl I wanna lay you down
Girl I wanna lay you down
Girl I wanna lay you down
Girl I wanna lay you down
Girl I wanna lay you down
Girl I wanna lay you down

Your moms must be proud

The U.S. military is convening the military equivalent of a Grand Jury to
find out if there is enough evidence to try four men with rape and murder
and a fifth of failing to report it, among other things. The men are
accused of drinking alcohol, abandoning their posts, changing clothes to
avoid detection and then raping a 14-year-old girl, murdering her, then
setting her body on fire to destroy evidence. And then murdering two other
adults and the girl's 5-year-old sister. Hey, thanks for making America
look great. Thank God this country takes things seriously and is trying
these guys instead of sweeping it under the rug and calling it the cost of
war. Eye for an eye, I'd like to kill these guys myself. While I can't
really understand any of their actions, what kind of ****ing ***nut kills a
5-year-old? What the ****? If I weren't posting this via e-mail from my
workplace, I would be posting that word, regardless of whether or not I
thought my parents look at my blog. I don't think they should be tried. I
think they should be put in stocks in a central place in Iraq and the
Iraqis should be given lots of push-pins to jab them until they die from
the blood loss.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Faith Like a Child

What if a baby said they didn't believe in life after birth? They've never
been outside the womb, so why believe that such a thing exists? For that
matter, who's to say that there is anything else? Maybe even mom and dad
don't exist.