Saturday, December 27, 2003

Ack! Blogger changed their look again when I wasn't paying attention.

Apparently, the rumor of my parents not having internet was a temporary thing that they have sorted out. Which I'm glad of.

Unfortunately, I'm popping in here with some very bad news. Grandma Baker, my last grandparent, passed away on Tuesday morning. Overall her health had stabalized in the last couple months, not that she was as good as she had been a year and a half ago. She was running a slight fever Monday night. The people at the place where she was staying checked on her at 5 AM. When they went back at 7 she was gone.

Needless to say, this has thrown everyone's plans out of whack. I'm now staying up here until the 2nd. Fortunately, Jeff will be home to let my new roommate move in Tuesday. The service is going to be help on Wednesday, New Year's Eve. And this means dealing with family that we have a very hard time getting along with, too.

I'm just glad Grandma became a Christian last month. That's a major bright spot in all of this.

In spite of everything, we managed to have a pretty good Christmas. Finally got to see my uncle and aunt's new house. Man, is it nice! And much closer, too. Been spending lots of time with Mike's girlfriend, which is also fun.

Anyway, that's what's going on in my neck of the woods. Hope you all had a merrier Christmas then me.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Got a call when I got home Friday night from another new seminary student looking for a place to live. We discovered while talking that he's been interning at my parent's church for the last year, so they all know him. Anyway, he plans to move in end of next week, so if all goes well, I should have a full house! I'm trying not to count my chickens before they pay the rent, but I can't help it. I'm too excited.

Meanwhile, Donald was down this weekend and I got to whisk him away to see my condo and then spend a little time with him and his family at his sister and brother-in-laws annual Christmas party. I was having so much fun, I stayed until almost midnight, much longer then I'd planned.

Yesterday I packed between church services. I actually got to attend the Christmas carol sing at church last night, which was as much fun as I'd hoped it would be. Glad I could go this year. Then we had a SNYF at OtherSeth's house.

And Jeff and I got the new to me bunk beds put together last night as well. Man, it really does free up space in the rooms to have bunk beds instead of two twin beds. Which is why I bought them, of course.

Meanwhile, I need to hit the road so I'm at my parents' before our friends come over tonight. It's my only chance to see some of them, so I don't want to miss it.

I've heard rumors that my parents are without internet at the moment, so this may be my only chance to check in for a week or so. Either way, have a very Merry Christmas!

And to all a good night!

Friday, December 19, 2003

I went Wednesday night. To Return of the King, or course. The college bought a bunch of tickets, and a couple of the guys who normally come over that night got tickets, so I went with them. I must say I enjoyed it. I don't think I'm a LOTR fan now, but I certainly enjoyed it more then I did the others, and certainly TTT. I'm glad I've seen the films, but have no desire to watch them again any time in the near future.

Last night, we took the jr. highers Christmas caroling. It was lots of fun, but one of the guys left a cookie we'd gotten from one of the houses in my car, so now I've got a car the smells of cinnemon and needs to be vacummed like crazy.

You'll notice I'm still here. That's the kind of day it's been. We usually get to leave early on the last day before Christmas vacation. Phil asked me to come in early, so I got here at 7:30. We needed to get W-2's run and stuff like that before we left. They didn't need me for anything until 9:30, and we didn't finally get everything done until 2:30. But I had some personal things to finish up before I could leave, and I've just now finished the list. As soon as I post that, that is. So much for my nice relaxing afternoon at home and getting my laundry finished.

Maybe I'll break down and get a haircut on the way home. I'd be fine if it weren't for the waves around my ears. They look so bad. I really didn't want to get one before the new year. Especially because of the money but also because I was hoping Pete would give me one. But I just don't think I can go for a week with my hair like this.

Just proving once again that you never know what you'll get when you read my blog. I might even talk about my nails next time. :) (I do need to trim them....)

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Good morning (barely). Time for this week's Thursday Threesome, brought to us this week by Mel Torme, Robert Wells, and The Back Porch.

Onesome: Chestnuts-- Okay, just which Christmas food won't you touch? I mean, even when Auntie Sarah is serving it up with a big smile!
Peas. Of course, my family usually does broccoli, so I’m really safe.

Twosome: Roasting Then again, which Christmas food are you willing to risk life and limb for, even when Uncle George is between you and the platter?
Stuffing and my family's sweet potatoes and apples. (Yes, we eat the same things for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so if this is sounding familiar….)

Threesome: on an open fire Heh. This line reminds me of a joke! Do you have a favorite bit of holiday humor? How about it?
Ready for a bad pun? Don’t say I didn’t warn you. (I guess there are several versions of this one, but here’s the way I first learned it.)

Back when Russia was the USSR, there was a small local TV station. The town was so small that they hired a non-communist member for the weekend weather. Rudolph, a member of the communist party would give the weather forecast during the week, but Natasha always filled in on Saturday and Sunday. Much to the station owners dismay, Natasha correctly predicted the weather more often then did Rudolph.

One weekend, Natasha predicted snow for Tuesday. But when Rudolph came in on Monday, he said it would rain. When the station manager got up Tuesday morning to a horrid rain storm, he immediately called Natasha and said, “Rudolph the red knows rain, dear.�

That one not bad enough for you? What happens when you take a cat to the beach? It gets Sandy Claws of course.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

I am cautiously optimistic. One of the guys who's been contacting me about my condo told me today he wants to move in. I'll be needing to come back from my parent's in time for New Years so he can move in, so he'd better. :) Still, gives me hope that I might actually get a second roommate. Three would be ideal, but I feel like I'm treading water right now, so this is great.

You know, sometimes I think I should password my blog with some of the stuff I share. :)

This does help me since I was debaiting when I'd come back. Now my mind has been made up. Probably better this way since there's stuff I can do. Now I just need to make sure I have some fun stuff lined up for New Year's Eve and Day.

Meanwhile, I'm finally supposed to get the second set of bunk beds tonight. And pay for them. That's the down side. :)

And, I did what I said I wasn't even going to do next year. I submitted my 200th review for calendar year 2003 today. Unfortunately, review 199 hasn't shown up yet at all, so I don't know if it'll actually look like I wrote that many this year or not. Kinda like last month where I had to resubmit two, making it look like I reviewed 28 items instead of 30. Either way, I'm giving myself the rest of the year off.

Aleta, along with being a nice person, is always good for a quiz or two.

First up, am I as unique as I claim to be?

Need to be unique: 17%
Need to NOT conform: 35%
Willingness to express dissent: 75%
Overall score: 32%

Your scores are percentile between 1 and 100. The higher the number, the more your personality agrees with the associated comment. Your percentile indiciates how you compare against others who have taken this test. Since you have an overall score of 32, this indicates that you have a higher need-for-uniqueness than 31 out of 100 people.

Your results are split into these three catagories:

Need to be unique: You do not feel that you need to be very unique.
Need to NOT conform: You prefer to conform to others' standards, but don't mind acting differently occasionally.
Willingness to express dissent: You speak your mind freely, without giving thought to how others will react.

Guess I'm not unique like everyone else. :) That last one is certainly true. You'll know how I feel about any subject we're discussing. Period. :)

Find Your Warped Personality

this quiz was made by mysti

Considering I was picking random answers since I couldn't come up with one that really fit me, I'm taking this one with a grain of salt. As should all of you. :)

Monday, December 15, 2003

WE CAUGHT SADDAM!!!!!!!! Yeah, like anyone doesn't know that by now. But it's still wonderful news. Sounds like we aren't getting nearly the information I was hoping we'd get out of him, but it's still a major step forward.

Of course, not everyone thinks so. My message board "friend" has insisted in making the point that this won't make anything better in the short run. Heck, I don't think he's even managed to say it was a good thing at all in any way shape or form. Meanwhile, he's posted several screeds against evil Republicans, including one comparing Repubs to Scrooge at the beginning of A Christmas Carol and Dems to the repentant Scrooge. So now I'm a heartless, selfish jerk. Yeah, that really made my day.

As to my weekend, not much new. Watched Haunted Manshion Saturday. Enjoyed it, although it's not for kids and really should have been released in October. Wallace Shawn is in it and he reminds me of his character from Princess Bride so much. And the singing busts were my favorite part. I was laughing so hard at their stuff. And they used the Dapper Dans for that role, the barbershop quartet from Disneyland's Main Street. Glad to see that much loyalty alive and well.

Sunday just hung around the condo after church, watching the news and reading. Jen and two friends showed up to study for a few hours. Although how much studying they truly got done is a mystery to me. Still, I stayed on the couch and got alot of reading done. Watched the Survivor finale as it aired. Surprised by the results, not completely happy, either. Although what got me the most was the fact that no one seemed to have a problem with Jon's lie about his grandmother. I'm still furious over it, and I wasn't the one lied to.

Being Monday, guess it's time for the word association game.

  1. Warning:: Look Out!
  2. Aspirations:: Goals
  3. Starvation:: Hunger
  4. Lid:: Eye
  5. Sketch:: Book
  6. Interrogate:: Question in a police station
  7. Credit:: Card
  8. Scotch:: Tape
  9. Confused:: Dazed and
  10. Paris:: France

Friday, December 12, 2003

My family surprised me and came into town earlier then I'd expected. They made it here about 2PM. So I took off early to spend more time with them. They were impressed by my condo and the recent purchases (or at least that's what they said to my face.) We went out to dinner and then we played Rummikub. Then even got to meet Jeff. They left just after 9 since they were tired for some reason. Something about driving all night the night before. I think it was a lame reason, but that could be just me. :)

Got more done today then the rest of the week, but not quite what it should have been.

I have been tired all week, barely getting up in time to be half an hour late to work. On the theory that I was fighting something, I've been taking it easy and didn't work out on Wednesday. I had planned to work out today, but Pete came by and we were talking at lunch time, so we just headed up to the caf. Plus it was someone's birthday, so I had to have cake this afternoon, too. Tonight is the jr. high Christmas progressive dinner. Anyone wonder why I can never seem to loose weight? Me, too.

Jeff announced last night there is a remote possibility that he'll be leaving earlier if a great career move he heard about comes through. As in 6 weeks from now. Trying not to panic since he doesn't think it would actually happen, but we'll see.

So, can I get those two quizzes done today? Guess so.

First, via Faith:

Your element is Fire. Wild and free. Your emotions
lead you everywhere. You are a very passionate
person, though sometimes forceful and
destructive you have a goal in life, even if
that goal is just to make it another day. Fire
consumes and purifys, it also protects. There
is always caution with fire because once it is
started on something there is no telling how
much it can destroy. Fire people have the same
tendency when mad you could be a candle burning
but if someone tips you over...

What's your element
brought to you by Quizilla

Looks like you were wrong, although I don't think this desccribes me. Except that I get consumed by things I'm interested in very easily.

You are Fresh Mint.
You are caring and friendly. You have a nurturing
personality and always help out a friend in
need. You are fairly outgoing, and always show
a friendly face. You truly care for other
people, and you show it. However, you may
neglect your own responsibilites or become over
involved in your friends' personal affairs.
Most Compatible With: Orange

Which Tic-Tac Flavor Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Aren't these two saying the opposite? :)

Thursday, December 11, 2003

First order of business. The link to the Brain Usage Profile.

And now the Thursday Threesome, brought to us by Nat King Cole and The Back Porch.

Onesome: The-- What is the "bestest" Christmas decoration in your mind? You know, the one that says, "This is Christmas!"
Does a Christmas tree count? That’s what I love the most. And why I was so disappointed I didn’t get one up last year. And why I have plotted my living room to include space for one.

Twosome: Christmas-- What style of Christmas ornaments do you like to see? Are you a glass ball person? ...or how about that bow thing? Maybe Christmas Muppet characters everywhere? Hmm?
My ornaments are souvenirs from vacations. I’ve got ones from all four Trixie camps as well as from family vacations since fourth grade. I’ve got ones I was given by my school teachers, too. Ones with glass balls or something that all matches looks nice, but it’s not nearly as fun as these are to me.

Threesome: Song--...and your favorite Christmas Song? Is there one that just sets the season for you when you hear it? I mean, even when you're in a "Ho-Ho-Humbug" mood?
I used to say it wasn’t Christmas until you’d heard Evie sing “Come on, Ring those Bells.” Not quite as sure now. Still love that song, but I also enjoy so many others it would take forever to list them all. Off the top of my head, there would be Amy Grant’s “Breathe of Heaven” and 4 Him’s “Strange Way to Save the World.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

I have just been so tired recently. It's taken all my will power to climb out of bed in the morning. And I've been in bed early for me, too. Not as early as I should have been. That whole thing where I wake up as soon as I leave work for the day. :)

As a result, I haven't done a whole lot the last couple of days. Really need to change that tomorrow.

I think part of the reason is that the weather has really cooled off. Ok, ok, at least for us. But every time the cold weather really comes for the start of the season I'm just not up to par for a week or so. Guess this is it this time. I wore my coat most of the day and still shivered and my feet are like blocks of ice.

Just got a call from my parents, and they will be here tomorrow night. Again, "on the way back" from Colorado. Mike finished his semester program there today and they are going to drive straight from there to here and figure they'll be here about the time I get off work tomorrow. I'm excited. This will be the first time they will have seen my condo with my stuff in it and they'll get to see my new stuff that I bought with the house warming gift card they gave me. I know they're really going out of their way to do this (although not too far because of the weather), but I'm really excited.

And now, quiz time. Brought to you by just about everyone but me.

Your Brain Usage Profile

Auditory : 70%
Visual : 29%
Left : 62%
Right : 37%

Mark, you are mildly left-hemisphere dominant while showing a slight preference for auditory processing. This overall combination seems to indicate a well-working blend of logic and judgment and organization, with sufficient intuition, perception and creativity to balance that dominance.

You will at times experience conflict between how you feel and what you think which will generally be resolved in favor of what you think. You will find yourself interested in the practical applications of whatever material you have learned or whatever situation you face and will retain the ability to refine whatever knowledge you possess or aspects of whatever position you are in.

By and large, you will orient yourself toward intellectual activities and structure. Though not rigid, you will schedule yourself, plan, and focus on routine and continuity of operations, rather than on changes and disruptions

When changes or disruptions occur, you are likely to consider first how to ensure that such disruptions do The same balance is reflected in your sensory preference. You will tend to be reflective and measured in your interaction style. For the most part, you will be considered objective without being cold and goal-oriented while retaining the capacity to listen to others.

Preferentially you learn by listening and maintaining significant internal dialogues with yourself. Nevertheless, you have sufficient visualization capabilities to benefit from using graphs, charts, doodles, or even body movement to enhance your comprehension and memory.

To the extent that you are even implicitly aware of your hemispheric dominance and sensory style, you will feel most comfortable in those arenas which emphasize verbal skills and logic. Teaching, law, and science are those that stand out among the professions, along with technical sales and management.

And in the stupid Americans department:

You answered 15 questions correctly out of 20.

For an American, your knowledge of the world and its history is surprisingly good. About the same as the average school-age person in any other country. If you are at school, congratulations. If you are an adult, try harder. Read books, visit other countries, and watch less television. Learn to understand the world better and you could become an ambassador for your country, demonstrating that Americans are not all stupid.

I must say, the time limit really made me jumpy. :) Not blaiming it for the ones I missed. I would have missed most of them anyway.

Quizilla seems to be down, so I'll have to do the others later I guess.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Ready for a blow by blow of my weekend? Taken your no doze? Then here goes.

Friday night, I decided to throw caution to the wind - and head out to Best Buy before I went home. Didn't get home until 8 as a result, but I did get a couple of Christmas presents. Half way done with my shopping. Unfortunately, it's the easy half.

When I did get home, I started putting the entertainment center together. Finally finished, around 1:30 AM. I hate putting things like that together. Anyway, waited for Jeff to get home to help me move it into place and get the TV into it. It was about 2:30 by the time we got that done. I was wide awake and Jeff had some laundry to do, so we decided to hit the hot tub for a few minutes (my back was killing me.) Unfortunately, it was more a luke warm tub at best. Crawled into bed and read, so it was almost 4 by the time I turned out the light.

Saturday, woke to the wonderful sounds of Jeff's alarm clock. When he didn't shut it off, I got up to investigate. Turns out he had already left for work. So I turned it off and went back to sleep. Finally dragged myself out of bed with a splitting headache at 10:30. Wasn't feeling up to the trip, so I didn't go to Mysteries to Die For for the book signing. Still got the book, but here in town, thus saving me gas money.

Went home and called my family while I worked on moving the rest of my stuff into my entertainment center, only to discover that my tuner/sound system wouldn't fit where I wanted to put it. The shelves were wide enough, but the opening was a little narrower and there wasn't room to put it in and turn it. So I had to rearrange how I was going to up stuff in there. My sub is now on the floor again. Not my first choice, but it looks so nice in my living room. Spent the rest of the day watching TV.

Sunday, after church, I decorated my Christmas tree. Since I didn't get one last year, it was so nice digging out my ornaments and reliving various family vacations, Trixie camps, and other special things. Now I know I really only had to decorate half my tree, and it's only 6 feet tall, but man is it crowded with ornaments already! Just the way a tree should look. :)

This morning, they finally came and looked at my leak. At first, they could find a thing, even after cutting a hole in my wall. The guy tried to tell me it was the drain, and I couldn't hear the noise myself or convence him otherwise. As soon as he left, I heard it again, and stuck my hand along the pipe in the hole. Sure enough, there it was about two inches above where he had looked. Fortunately, I found him no problem and he came back and put a clamp on it, so it should all be taken care of now. I hope. And now I get to try to get the drywall guy to come and fix my wall. At least this didn't cost me any vacation time since they were gone for the second time by 8:30.

Right now, I need a good night's sleep. Got a bad headache half way through working out in the fitness center at lunch time, so I quit. It's gone now, but I'm tired and out of it. Hopefully, I'll be more with it tomorrow.

But first, this week's word association

  1. Blizzard:: Snow
  2. J:: K
  3. Control:: Order
  4. Blood:: Red
  5. Mysterious:: Code
  6. Annoying:: Younger Siblings
  7. Throat:: Swallow
  8. Condom:: sex (We'll see what kind of hits that gets me.)
  9. Search:: Find
  10. Heartfelt:: Emotions

Friday, December 05, 2003

I did make a serious mistake over Thanksgiving. I stepped on my parent's new scale. The one they think is more accurate then the one they've had for years. And suddenly I weigh 8 more pounds then I thought I did. I'm on a quest to loose weight. Which means I have to start some arobic type excercise in addition to the weight machines I use at lunch time. And I'm trying to cut back on the amount of food I eat, too. Just a little bit at every meal should make a difference, right?

Of course, you can just call me crazy right now about trying to cut down on what I eat and the amount I eat during December. We got our annual box of See's candy in the office today, and I want to dig right in.

Still, I got the middle size at Quizno's last night. Raise an eyebrow of the workers. Man, it's so much smaller!

Actually, this will be good for the budget, too, which is still tight. No more leads on roommates at all. I should be getting the second set of bunk beds next week sometime, however.

Meanwhile, OtherSeth has joined a gym, and is trying to get me to join to. I'd be tempted to since that would provide some accountability for working out and helping me loose weight, but there's that extra monthly expense I just don't want to commit to right now.

Meanwhile, I'm driving to Thousand Oaks tomorrow for another book signing. The book is a paperback, but the part I'm struggling with is the gas to get down there and back.

Finally bought an entertainment center last night. Got the bigger, more expensive one. It's the cherry wood, but the other was just too small.

And the maintenance people are finally going to cut a hole in my wall to fix the leak. Only two weeks after I first found the problem. Not impressed at all. Actually, it'll be longer then that since they won't be by to do anything it until Monday. Earliest they could come by.

I seem to be falling behind on quizes, so here we go to catch up.

Stolen from Susan, Aleta, and several others:

Although would it be evil to admit I thought about putting the most evil answer I could think of down to them all just to fake you out?

Jingle Bells
You are 'Jingle Bells'! Full of enthusiasm and
good cheer, you are excited by the first
appearances of Christmas decorations in shops
and have been heard singing along to the piped
music. Your attitude to Christmas is one of
childlike delight - with a slightly mercenary
streak. You definitely believe in Santa (you
get more presents that way) and will put up
your Christmas tree as early as possible. You
really like carolling, and presents, and mince
pies, and pudding, and will insist on getting
everyone up at dawn to open presents
immediately. So long as the food and presents
are good, you will have a great Christmas.

What Christmas Carol are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Might surprise you, but this really does fit me. I enjoy both sides of Christmas equally. They just didn't really seem to have an option for that. And there's a reason the Phillips, Craige, and Dean Christmas song I like so much is "The Kid in Me." And why my Christmas guides at Amazon are from a "Christmas kid at heart."

And via Faith

You are MARLIN!
What Finding Nemo Character are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

Anyone beside me amazed at how right these are most of the time?

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Look at that, it's already time for The Thursday Threesome again. This week, brought to us by Bing Crosby and The Back Porch.

Onesome: I'm dreaming of a white Christmas- Are you hoping for a white Christmas this year, or are you somewhere you seldom see snow?
I’ve never had a white Christmas. To me, Christmas is cold and rainy, so I’m really dreaming of a wet Christmas. Just doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?

Twosome: With every Christmas card I write- Have you begun the cards? Do you write a personal note in each one, or just sign a generic greeting and your name? Or maybe print out the ol' yearly form letter to let everyone know what's new for you?
The problem with your assumption is that I send Christmas cards period. Every year, I have high hopes, but they never come to be. Too little time and other things I need to be doing.

Threesome: May your days be merry and bright- What do you do for the holidays to ensure they'll be merry?
Spend them with my family. If I didn’t, I know I’d be depressed and sad.

And this week's word association as well.

  1. Scrooge:: Bah. Humbug!
  2. Ribbon:: Bow
  3. Physical:: Running
  4. Income:: Tax
  5. Dream:: Sleep
  6. Notebook:: Computer
  7. Disney:: Animated Classics
  8. Combo:: Fast Food, specifically burgers
  9. Booty:: Pirates
  10. Skin:: Tan

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

I'd say the response was pretty even. Mom was the only one to come to the door when I got home. As she's hugging me, she's commenting on both my hair and my beard at the same time. Says she really likes my new look. Which brings the rest of the family around the corner, and they all say the same thing. Now I don't know what to do. I'll probably do what I've been planning on all along - shave the beard after the first of the year and buzz my head again at some point. Although that might be changed depending on if our guesses are true and Mike is getting married next year....

Speaking of weddings, had lunch with Donald on the way back yesterday. Great time as always. And, he surprised me by asking me to be his best man. Now I need to figure out what that entails in addition to what I already had to do as a groomsman. :) Still, I'm very much honored.

Thanksgiving was good. It was my family and Mike's girlfriend's dad and step-mom (who was my first grade teacher) as well as Grandma. Boy, is grandma going downhill. And the problem is that her pride is still intact, so she doesn't necessarily listen like she should. Still, it was a great day. Got the Christmas tree up Friday, and Mike left Saturday, driving all the way back to Colorado Springs in 22 hours straight! (Much to Mom's dismay, I might add.)

Going to leave you with last week's Thursday Threesome, brought to you today since I was out of town. (Like that's an excuse, I know.) From The Back Porch.

Onesome. Happy. When you think about being happy, what comes to mind? Is there something that always gives you a smile no matter how down you may be?
Caring comments from friends are guarenteed to make me smile. Christmas music usually puts me in a good mood, too. As does Trixie #3.

Twosome. Thanksgiving. In the US, it's Thanksgiving. But we can all be thankful. Tell us, what are YOU thankful for?
As I've been telling everyone when they've asked, this year I'm most thankful for my condo and Grandma's recent salvation.

Threesome. 2003. It's getting close to the end of another year. As you begin to reflect back, pick out a couple of good things that have happened this year. Yeah, we all have the bad, but today, just focus on the good!
See above!

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Well, the two guys who said they were interested in moving in came by last night. I would have sworn they said they'd be by at 7, but they showed up at 8 on the dot. Seemed nice, seemed to like what they saw, but decided they didn't want to move in. So I'm back to only having one roommate. :(

Things went well with the Durons (as I figured they would.) Ordered pizza for dinner, they watched Lilo and Stitch and parts of The Santa Clause. I was in and out of the living room trying to get other things done, like get started on packing.

I sure hope I got everything. I always have this feeling like I've forgotten something. Usually I haven't, but it lingers from the few times that I have. Either way, everything should be in my car, and I will be leaving in 30 minutes to drive to my parents for the weekend. Won't be back until Tuesday. I hate that Sunday after Thanksgiving traffic. Mike will leave to head back for his last couple weeks at Focus Institute on Saturday, so I'll be an only child for a couple days for the first time in 21 years. Should be interesting.

Meanwhile, I can't wait to see which gets the first reaction when I show up, my beard, or my hair. I've been growing a beard for a couple months now, but I haven't had a hair cut of any kind since August. Yes, I have to comb my hair for the first time in 3 and a half years. :) I'll let you know what they say.

They haven't done anything with the leak best I could tell. But I could also hardly hear it last night, and the musty smell seemed much less last night.

Before I leave, I need to go the word association game for the week:

  1. Concert:: music
  2. Sydney:: Bristow (how could I do anything else with how much I talk about Alias. :)
  3. Shower:: clean
  4. Patterns:: sewing
  5. Market:: outdoor place with fresh produce
  6. Chair:: table
  7. London:: England
  8. Reception:: wedding
  9. Republican:: conservative
  10. Cough:: hack

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

So, how did I follow up my stressful weekend? By not going to sleep until after 3 this morning. I was just lying in bed thinking about all the things that have to come together before I can leave tomorrow, and my mind kept racing. And the musty smell from the water is getting stronger in my bedroom all the time.

Am picking up the Duron kids after work today for a couple hours. Their parents both had an all day meeting, so they're coming over to my place for a last few hours. We'll order pizza and I'll let them watch a DVD or something educational like that. :) Meanwhile, I'll be packing since I'm trying to have everything in my car when I get into work tomorrow so I can leave directly from work.

And the two guys will be coming over to look at the condo, too! We'll see how that goes.

Meanwhile, everyone should be gone in time for me to watch 24. :) Guess I'll watch tonight's Angel rerun when I get back Monday night.

And, in other news, I did the unthinkable. I wrote 5 reviews today, bringing my total for November up to 30. Yep, I'll have a review a day for November. If I do this every year and a half or so, I guess my next time will be sometime early 2005.

Monday, November 24, 2003

So Friday, I'm in my bathroom and hear a weird noise. I think nothing of it, but it's still happening a few hours later, so I take a closer listen. Sounds to me like water running in the walls, but just a little bit. I debate about what to do, but then I call the HOA. Naturally, they're closed at 11 at night, and all the answering service wants to do is leave a message for them on Monday. I do get them to have a pumber call me, but since I can't find any water leaking out, they conclude the water must be running in the pipes.

Saturday, I get up and head out to a book signing. Got Rhys Bowen's latest, For the Love of Mike. Then I came back to town and watched Radio. Good movie. My parents were right in recommending it.

Got home, and it sounded like the problem was still going on. But again couldn't find any leaking water.

Sunday, after church, I asked Dave to stop by listen. He heard the noise, but couldn't decide anything either. By this time, I'm smelling a wet, musty smell.

Did little other then church and read on Sunday. Read all of the book. Very good, obviously. And Alias was awesome last night!

This morning, as I'm leaving for work, I spot the neighbor with the garage directly under condo leaving, so I stop him and ask if he has water leaking into his garage. He hadn't noticed anything, but sure enough, he's got a huge water spot and a puddle on the floor. So now I know where the water was going. I've spent most of the day waiting to hear anything about it back from the HOA. I'm just glad it's their problem and not mine.

Meanwhile, I got a call from a couple of guys looking for a place to live. They're going to stop by and take a look sometime this week. May be moving in as early as next week! But I'm trying not to get too excited since it seems like everytime I think someone's moving in, they back out on me at the last minute.

Meanwhile, I am officially insane. In spite of the fact that I said I wouldn't do it and I leave town Wednesday afternoon, I'm going for it. I'm going to try to average a review a day in November. Only need six more. Think I should head over there and make it five.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Been a few days since I posted about life, hasn't it?

Frankly, I haven't had much new going on. The guys didn't come over on Wednesday night because they had too much homework to get done. Put off a wonderful Babylon 5 as a result. They missed a truly horrid Enterprise, too. Which is better for them. I am sure I lost brain cells watching it. Had the entire thing figured out 15 minutes in. And it didn't surprise me once along the way. If you're ever around a TV and this episode is on, run to the other room. It'll be better that way.

Last night, instead of regular Bible study, we had our annual Thanksgiving feast. Everyone is supposed to bring a food to share that starts with the same letter as a first or last name. Instead of my regular Bread and Butter, I decided to bring Marshmellows. You never know for sure what you'll wind up with, but this year we had lots of deserts and lots of chips/salsa/nacho type things. Still, it's always fun.

To counteract my post from Tuesday about celebrities (from the word association), I have stopped watching all the news about Michael Jackson. He makes my skin crawl as it is! I really don't want to see any more news about him. If only that would make it so.

Tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination, as I'm sure you're aware. What I was not aware is that two other famous men also died that day. Guess this supports Trixie's theory about bad luck and threes. Anyway, here's an interesting article on the subject.

And finally, I think I have a few quizzes to catch up on.

Your Trixie Crime by Trishek
Favourite Trixie Character
Your Crime:kidnapping
Caught By:Diana
Prison Sentence:12 years
Created with quill18's MemeGen!

Your soul is bound to the Solitary Rose: The

"When I wake up alone, the shades are still
drawn on the cold window pane so they cast
their lines on my bed and lines on my

The Solitary Rose is associated with loneliness,
melancholy, and patience. It is governed by
the goddess Merope and its sign is The Sword,
or Unrequited Love.

As a Solitary Rose, you may be summed up as a
hopeless romantic. You desire love and have so
much love to give, but thing just never seem to
work out the way you want them to. In life,
you can be very optomistic, even when things
are gray and nothing works out to your

What Rose Is Your Soul Bound To?
brought to you by Quizilla

No surprise there.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Good afternoon. Better late then never with today's Thursday Threesome, brought to you by friendly neighbors and The Back Porch.

Onesome: Holiday Sweets-- What is your favorite holiday sweet? You know, the one you only really can get your hands on once a year?
Pumpkin Pie! Although, since I forgot to mention it last week, I’ll also mention a dish my mom makes for the holidays every years as well. Sweet potatoes, apples, layered with raisins, cinnamon, and a tad of lemon juice. It’s a favorite for the entire family.

Twosome: Recipe-- ...and can you get the recipe for it? ...or is this one of those closely guarded family secrets handed down mother to daughter. ...and hey? What about us guys? How are we ever supposed to figure out how to do this stuff? ...or should we even try ?
I pretty much gave you the recipe already.

Threesome: Exchange-- But if you do have that recipe and you can bear to share, why not stop over at the exchange and drop it off? Barring that: do you routinely exchange sweets at holiday time? Yeah? What kinds?
I don’t, mainly because I’m lazy and never get them made.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

AUGH!!! Just lost my post. What did I say?

Weird day at work, but I did get quite a bit done. Including finding that one problem account is out the same amount this month as last month. Think the problem lies in over zealous write off's last year. We're going to look at it again next week and then talk to Phil.

Meanwhile, my rank just keeps rising at Amazon. 215 today! When I first started reviewing seriously, I was going to be happy to have a four digit rank. Then I wanted top 1000. Now? I'm looking for the top 100. Will take me a while to get there, but I think I can. Especially if jumps like this keep happening.

I can get back into my yahoo mail account after a week! Don't know what the problem was, but it was nice to see the page come up.

And Unconscious Muttering's Word Association

  1. Plan B:: Failure of Plan A
  2. Seattle:: Washington
  3. The lady wore:: Red
  4. Upsetting:: Sad news
  5. Tampon:: Lady
  6. Celebrity:: Too much news (not that I stop watching)
  7. Baja:: Fresh
  8. 64:: 8 squared
  9. RGB:: Red Green Blue
  10. Milkshake::Strawberry

Monday, November 17, 2003

Where to start?

Saturday, I was up and about early and went to see the first showing of Brother Bear. Let's just say that Bambi now has competition as the most sad of the Disney animated movies. And, yet, somehow I enjoyed it. Not something to see when you want to laugh (although the two moose are great). A good movie, but a two sleeve, wish I'd brought Kleenex kinda thing.

Came into the office for a while and worked on listmanias at Amazon then went home and tried to play catch up on my TV viewing. TNT rerunning Angel around their basketball schedule keeps throwing me off. I got only part of the episode Thursday because they started 30 minutes late.

Sunday, went to church in the morning and had a SNYF that night. No worship team practice since we're just having our Thanksgiving feast this Thursday. Talked to my family for almost two hours. Part of it was spent talking to Mike, which was very good. I just love modern technology. I was talking to my brother in Colorado and my parents in Northern CA at the same time. For free thanks to free weekends on celphones.

Still trying to decide what I want to do over Christmas break. I may need to be back to organize and/or do other things for the condo. And I should get in touch with Seth and Kiersten to see if they'll be in town at all or not, cause I'd love to see them, show them the new place, etc.

Have a tentative lead on a new roommate in January. Will post more if it comes together. I think it will, and I'm excited, but I'm just not sure yet.

Friday, November 14, 2003

I have nothing to say today.

I thought I did, but I really can't come up with anything.

My life is rolling along like always. Basically boring, especially after all the events of earlier in the week.

Wednesday night, the guys came over and we enjoyed an exceptional night of Babylon 5. We're just about to break away from earth, and two of them don't even know it. I love it.

Enterprise was also exceptional. What looked to be a pure racial episode turned our expectations on their head half way through and turned out to be very interesting.

Last night things went well during worship, until I stopped concentrating on the last song (the one I didn't know like the back of my hand), and we started to fall about a little. But we survived.

CSI and Without a Trace were both exceptional last night. Best of the season for CSI.

While checking out USA network's official site for Monk today, I discovered they've been reruning season one. As in the season I haven't seen all of yet. At least I found out now.

And Disney has delayed their next wave of Disney's Treasures tins. Disappointed in a way, because I can't wait to see them, but also very happy because 6 months will hopefully be easier on my budget.

Helped Phil and Jason figure out why a schedule was out of balance today by reminding them to check something Jason had mentioned needed to be checked 5 minutes earlier. It really wasn't much, but they're treating me like a hero.

This is a lot for someone who had nothing to say. :)

I do have a new project I need your help on. Amazon also have "Guides" that people can write about just about anything. I got a brilliant idea this morning on my way to work. The idea I had was have famous quotes with the originator properly noted, but have part of each quote be a link to something that Amazon sells. For example:

"To be or not to be." could link to the movie of the same name. Or

"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" could have a link to a product named "What you can do for your country." Ok, so I haven't looked, but I'm sure there's something with that name.

So, what I need are a list of famous quotes you think would work for this. I promise to post the finished results when they're done. And if this goes well, I could do many of them. :)

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Today, being Thursday, brings us the Thursday Threesome, brought to us this week by blenders and The Back Porch.

Onesome: Envision-- How much television do you watch each week? Are you one of those who can call up the nightly program schedules for the major networks (and a cable channel or two) in your head? ...or do you have to search the paper to find out when the Thanksgiving Day parade is? (Hint: It's on a Thursday.)
Well, I can call up the shows I watch for any given night. Not sure I could do the shows around them, however. :)

And, just in case you missed it somehow, I watch a lot of TV each week. Sunday night is Alias. Monday is 7th Heaven and CSI: Miami. Tuesday is I’m With Her and 24. Wednesday is Enterprise and Angel with an episode of Babylon 5 from my DVD’s thrown in for good measure. Thursday is my biggest night. I watch Survivor, CSI, and Without a Trace on CBS plus Friends and What I Like About You. Since I don’t get home until 8:30 most weeks, parts of this get recorded for weekend viewing. Friday brings Reba, Hope and Faith, and Life with Bonnie. Saturday, there’s an hour and a half of shows I must watch on Fox News. And right now I’m watching the Angel reruns on TNT to catch up on the back story I missed.

So basically, I have a part time job in TV viewing. If only I could figure out a way to get paid for it. I do comment on some of them over at Snarkfest.

Twosome: whirled-- Oh, my! That holiday stuff is coming up soon! Are you ready for Thanksgiving? ...or are you going to be whirling around at the last minute?
I’m heading up to my parents. Getting ready will involve packing the night before. :) I do have my traditional Monday after day off so I can drive home minus all the traffic. And I do need to find my Patrick Stuart CD’s of A Christmas Carol, which I always listen to on the way home.

Threesome: peas-- Shine on the healthy stuff; we really don't care if you eat your vegetables (okay, the mom's here on the Porch do ): what are you looking forward to eating on Thanksgiving that you just cannot get the rest of the year?
Stuffing and pumpkin pie! My mouth is watering already!

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Last night was fun. Went down to downtown LA to see The Phantom of the Opera. Amoung those attending were Debbie and Josh and Bonnie and Babylon 5 Eric. Ironically enough, I hadn't seen most of them in a while, so I enjoyed seeing and hanging out with them. I also enjoyed the play itself, although I didn't like it as much as others seem to. Part of it was I was sure I knew how it would end, and I didn't want it to end that way at all. And part of it was because I couldn't feel sorry enough for the Phantom. When it comes down to it, he was a horrid person, and no amount of back story can make that right. Still, there is some stunning music, and if I saw it again, I'm sure I'd enjoy it more because I already know what's going to happen.

The bad part was that we went out for drinks afterward, and I didn't get home until 2:30 AM. See, to do something like that, it takes at least an hour of discussion before hand and then wandering around forever lost. :) Enjoyed every minute of it, but I had a hard time getting up this morning. Once I got up and out the door, I've been doing fine. Still, I think I'll probably hit the hay as soon as the guys leave tonight.

And in other news, I DID IT!!!! I wrote my 400th review today. Goal met. I plan to bask in that joy for the rest of the week, letting my reviews just sit while I read and listen and do whatever for fun. Ok, so the next book I read will get reviewed, but I won't be looking to do that until next week sometime. Beside, four reviews is a good number for a week.

Finally, I wanted to do the free association game again this week.

  1. Leapfrog:: Learning pads
  2. Co-workers:: crazy
  3. Mustang:: my college mascott
  4. Wafer:: this
  5. Nicotine:: patch
  6. Fast food:: dinner
  7. Suffocate:: plastic bag
  8. Myth:: legend
  9. Lane:: country road
  10. Unexpected::surprise

Have a good evening.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

I have never been so thrilled to have my schedule thrown off before.

I was watching 7th Heaven last night when my parents called. Since we just talked Sunday, I figured something big was up. Was I ever right. They were calling to tell me that Grandma became a Christian last night. To say we're thrilled is an understatement. They say she seemed to track with them for the whole conversation and everything. It's a miracle!

Of course, there is the part of me that is certainly chastized today as well. I had given up on her after years of prayer. Yes, I was praying, but I'd lost my faith on this. Fortunately, God works in spite of us. But it's a great reminder that God still does the impossible.

In other news, I've found out a friend's getting married in northern CA December 20th. I could go, since that's the start of a two week break I get this year, but I really had planned to be down here for church on the 21st and leave for my parents on the 22nd. Yet I'm feeling guilty for not thinking about going. Why must life get so complicated? And why must people get married during the holidays?

Two reviews to go. And 25 pages to go in the book I plan to write my 400th review on.

Monday, November 10, 2003

My weekend just did not go as planned. At least for Saturday.

Got up and got ready for ultimate frisbee only to find out that they weren't playing because of stupid intermural football. Came over to the college and spent some time on the internet, writing reviews #9 and 10 at Amazon for the week. Yep, I've made my original November goal. Now my goal is to have 400 reviews by the end of the week. To do that, I'll need to finish my current novel by then. 150 pages. Normally I wouldn't be worried, but I don't have tomorrow off and I'm going to see Phantom of the Opera tomorrow night, so I won't have the time tomorrow I'm used to having. Of course, I'm looking forward to seeing it, so that's not the issue.

But I digress.

Thursday night, Kyle, one of my jr. highers, and our drummer for worship time, invited me to his final rollerhocky game of the season. I fully intended to go, but didn't make it because I spent so much time doing other things.

Got home in time for my new roommate to move in, only to find out his situation had changed and he might not be moving in after all. He'll let me know. In case anyone's keeping track, this is the 5th potential roommate to fall through since I started escrow in August. Anyone wonder why I thought this might be a bad idea?

Did make it to the movies Saturday night. Jeff and I went to see Matrix Revolutions. It was ok. I may be the only one, but I rather liked the ending. Either way, the parts that bothered me were from earlier in the film.

Sunday was much better. Church, watched a DVD, stuff like that.

I've been very tired recently. Last night I was about ready to call it a night at 9PM, but I couldn't do that because that's when Alias starts. :) By the time it was over, I was wired and I wound up staying up late talking to Jeff and Jenn. Right now, I feel like it's time to go to bed and sleep for hours. Which could be a big problem tomorrow night at the play. I'll be very upset if I'm too tired to really enjoy it.

Right now? I'm off to write review #397 and possibly 398 as well.

Friday, November 07, 2003

So, Wednesday night, I got home from work to discover we were having a problem with the cable. See if this makes any sense to you.

The cable in the living room was uneffected. The cable in the bedrooms was getting poor reception. However, it was only for the lower channels. The higher the channel, the greater the likelyhood we'd get good reception.

Yeah, makes no sense to me, either.

Today was Jeff's day off, so he was on call all day. A guy from the cable company came out and took a look at it. Apparently, we had a faulty splitter in the living room that was effecting the other cable outlets. But why it would suddenly start after we've been there for 7 weeks is beyond me. Either way, it's been fixed, so that's good.

Last night was interesting at youth group. We had the last ladies home volleyball game going on in the gym, plus parent teacher meetings in the classrooms all happening on campus. Needless to say, it was crowded. And different with no game time. Fortunately, I seemed to be ready for worship time to be first even though I didn't have the overheads ready to go when I showed up at 6:30. It did help that Dave already had the machine set up for me, so all I had to do was get them out and tune my guitar. Still, went well. Then we had a longer time for the lesson and small groups, which also went surprisingly well last night.

I think I want to go to a movie this weekend, but I can't figure out which one to attend. I'm leaning toward Radio because my parents raved about it last weekend when we talked. While I want to see the third Matrix film, I'm going to wait and see if I can see it with anyone else. And I still want to see Brother Bear. Next weekend brings more movies I want to see. I may honestly have to go every weekend until the end of the year to see everything I want to see.

In case you missed it, my reviewing goal for the month of November was 10. As of this moment, I've written 8, all this week. Heck, I've written more then one a day this month so far. Not that I plan to review one a day for the month of November. But this means I only need to write 6 more to hit my year long goal of 400 reviews total! I'm thrilled, needless to say.

Finally, two quizzes. The first, the political philosophy quiz every one else has done.

I am a Centrist.

Centrists favor selective government intervention and emphasize practical solutions to current problems. They tend to keep an open mind on new issues. Many centrists feel that government serves as a check on excessive liberty.

Of course, the chart shows me on the border between centrist and right conservative. Which is where I think I really belong. If they'd had more questions, I probably would have wound up there.

And now, Leslie's new Trixie quiz.

Gatehouse Mystery
The Gatehouse Mystery

Which Trixie Belden Mystery are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Ok, I threw a couple of the questions. And I thought about getting Cobbitt's Island cause I just love both of those books.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

If it's Thursday, but be time to post The Thursday Threesome on my blog. This week, it's brought to us by shameless plugs and The Back Porch. (Or is that shameless plugs about The Back Porch?)

Onesome: Keep- What’s your favorite keepsake? Do you have something that has so much sentiment attached you’ll keep it forever? Tell us!
Definitely. My copy of Sandy Dengler’s Opal Fire. It won an award, and she autographed it “To Mark – Who can write as well as I.” And my copy of her unpublished 5th in a series.

Twosome: The Back Porch- We’re named for Deb’s back porch, a place where people go to relax and wind down. Where’s your relax and unwind spot?
In front of the TV or in the middle of a good book.

Threesome: Donate! Got a cause you donate to regularly?
I donate to my church regularly. And, you might say my job is in part a donation to the college.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

I am just not getting anything done at work these days. I have a productive last couple hours of my day, but that's about it. I really need to get a move on again.

Meanwhile, Marcus should be gone. He was planning to move out in the early afternoon. And I have no leads on new roommates.

Posted my 390th review at Amazon today. Heck, if I review everything on my list this week, I may just about have my November quota finished by the end of the week. :) Which just means I'll have to reach 400 reviews as soon as possible.

Other thoughts? I'm sure I had some. But my brain seems to have shut down. Not that too much is going on.

Picked up Finding Nemo yesterday. Started looking for a tree topper. And realized why it's a good thing I'm not going into stores to brouse while I have no money to spend. If I do that, I'll spend money I really honestly truly don't have right now.

In fact, I'm even not buying a new book that came out this month I really want. I figure I won't read it until Januray at the earliest, so I'll wait until after Christmas. When I hopefully have more roommates. And I can always put it on my Christmas list. But it's the sequel to For Whom the Minivan Rolls, which I loved, so I'll need to get it at some point. Same with getting the Music Man remake when it comes out next week. Guess I'll be learning patience in a hurry.

Finally, a quiz, thanks to Aleta.

Norman Rockwell
Golly Gee!! You are NORMAN ROCKWELL.
You are a painter of simple, everyday happenings.
You tend to avoid the outrageous and stay well
within the guidelines of society. Your friends
count on you for your loyalty and level-

Which famous artist most reflects your personality?
brought to you by Quizilla

Like that's a surprise.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Thought I'd pop in with the free assosication game found here:

  1. Taboo:: Buzzer
  2. Poison:: Murder
  3. 1983:: 3rd Grade
  4. Tim:: Tiny Tim
  5. Groovy:: Vegan
  6. Italy:: Pasta
  7. Think:: Hard
  8. Penthouse:: Disgusting
  9. Shelter:: Storm
  10. Twinkie:: Too Sweet

Tell you anything new about me?

Monday, November 03, 2003

Got some trick or treaters Friday night. Maybe 20 at the most. Which is good since I only had a couple bags of fun bars to give out. Really didn't have a clue how many to expect. Turns out I was fine. Don't know if the rain kept people away or if that's about right.

Jeff and Jenn had carved some pumpkins, and they looked great.

Saturday, I decided I wasn't going to leave the condo. Washed my bedding, got caught up on TV, read quite a bit in The Ironclad Alibi, and watched some DVD's. I had invited the Convention over to catch up on Enterprise. About 45 minutes before they were supposed to come over, I got a call. The only member of the group with a car had dropped out on them. So I left to come pick them up, then when we were done, I took them home again. So much for not leaving the place.

Sunday was more lazing around bookended by church on both ends. Family Fellowship again last night, which was fun.

Rained a little tiny bit this morning, but that's about it. Nothing substantial, but every little bit will help the firefighters. The fire is out here in Santa Clarita, but there are fires still burning in the rest of Southern CA.

Friday, October 31, 2003

It's down right cold out there. We're talking coat weather. Which means I get to wear my new coat. And no comments on it.

Of course, I discovered after Bible study last night that I hadn't cut all the tags off it before I started wearing it. So I went around all day with a tag hanging under my left arm. Oops! Hopefully no one else noticed.

And, in great news, Quizno's has brought back their Chicken Carbinara sandwich. Guess what I'll be having for the next few weeks!

The forcasted rain has so far been on again off again sprinkles. Not sure if that's doing much for the firefighters or not. Although they've cut the number here in town because the fire is under control for the time being. Only 50% contained, but under control. And I'm sure the rain hasn't hurt. Unfortunately, I don't know if the rain is going to the other fires that need to be put out.

Now we get to start worrying about our next natural disasters, mud slides. Because even if we just get one good rain this year, all the newly bare hills will run with mud. Heck, the hill behind Master's will go, and that burned back in July.

Personally, I'm doing better. I've managed to relax on personal stuff with my attention focused on the fires. How long it will last, I have no clue, but I've been feeling better for a few days now.

Definitely won't be on the internet over the weekend. They're working on the network all day tomorrow, and there just isn't really time for me to come in on Sundays anymore. So have a great weekend, don't get too scared tonight, and I'll see you all next month.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Welcome to this week's Thursday Threesome, brought to us this week by infomercals (all I could think of) and The Back Porch.

Onesome: Cheap-- Cheap thrills? Are you and yours doing anything for Halloween? Parties? Trick or treating? Staying home with the lights out and an axe visible in the window?
Staying home, watching my Friday night sit-coms, with It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on DVD during my break. I’ve got some candy for trick or treaters, but I have no clue how many to expect.

Twosome: wax-- Hey, are you a 'candle person'? I mean, is that one of your decorating motifs? ...or does this fall under something like the "No Sharp Objects" rule in your life?
Decorating? Is that when you put something beside furniture up in your home? Personally, I’m not a candle person because of the smells/smoke (allergies) and because they aren’t a guy thing. :)

Threesome: treatment-- Speaking of treatments: do you decorate for Fall? Halloween? Thanksgiving? ...or just pretend that deceased plant in the corner really just lost its leaves for the winter?
Decorating? Is that when you put something beside furniture up in your home? The only thing I decorate for is Christmas. Planning to get a fake Christmas tree this year (once the smoke leaves Wal-Mart), and put up my nativity set and Charlie Brown Christmas set, and the ceramic Christmas tree that Grandma made me a few years ago. Ok, so my Christmas decorations don’t make it beyond the living room yet, but I enjoy doing it every year.

And a fire update. The closest fire stayed under control over night. Last I heard, they were letting it burn in a canyon away from homes hoping it would burn itself out. It’s only 30% contained, however, so anything is still possible.

Meanwhile, the weather that was in the 90’s a week ago is now in the 60’s and it was kinda sorta sprinkling when I came into work. I’m still praying that the scattered showers that they’re predicting will become a full blown rain storm by the end of the day tomorrow and really help put all the fires in Southern CA out.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

What a day it's been. The fire came fairly close to Stevenson Ranch last night, then retreated from homes by this morning. I thought the worst was over for Santa Clarita.

But before lunch time, the wind came up again and the fire came back toward the subdivisions. Meanwhile, the sky was overcast with smoke and the sun was just a little red ball. I spent my lunch hour watching the news and working out in the fitness center. But the firefighters have managed to turn back the fire again with the help of a wind shift in the late afternoon. The sky has even sorta cleared.

The worst part for me will be getting home. They had the freeway through town closed for a couple hours, so the surface streets are a nightmare. It may take me forever and a day to get somewhere that should only take me 20 minutes. And I think I'm going to tell the convention not to come tonight. But if this is the worst that happens to me because of the fires, I'll be very blessed.

I'm praying for rain. We need it anyway, and it would help the firefighters so much. They aren't predicting any for the near future, so you can just call me Elijah.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

As I just posted over at Zap's, things have changed again fire wise. The wind shifted and the fire that's been on the edge of town all along is threatening homes in Stevenson Ranch, the western end of town. They're calling for voluntary evacuations.

Fortunately, this is on the other side of town from my condo. Unfortunately, it's on the same side of town as the college. I don't expect it to be a problem, it's got a lot of town to go through before it gets here, but you never know. Either way, it's scary.

Meanwhile, things haven't gotten better at home. Not only was Jen there so late that they both fell asleep (and they know how I feel about this), but Jeff brought out his bigger fish tank and set it up without asking. Taking more counter top space. And he keeps buying things that they will need when they get married next summer, but we don't necessarily need now. Like dishes. So where are we supposed to keep them until then. Especially if we find more roommates with more dishes. Meanwhile, the kitchen was a disaster already when I left for work this morning. Heck, I could hardly find room to make my lunch last night.

I feel like a snitch, but I called Jen's RD to make sure she knew what was going on. Especially with these fires going on, it's important that if she's not going to be around she is signed out of the dorm. And she's not welcome to sign out to my condo for the night!

The worst part is, I like Jeff. He's a nice guy. So being angry with him all the time isn't what I want. It's just so frustrating that he's not paying any attention to what I ask him to do.

Meanwhile, I did forget something from Sunday. We had a staff meeting after the evening service, and that's when Dave popped on us the idea of doing stuff on Halloween with our small groups as an alternative to trick or treating etc. With 5 days to put something together. And nothing on the calendar or discussed with the kids before hand. Sorry, I'm not putting any time and energy into that when most families would already have plans by now.

Well, they've closed down the 5 and 14 freeways. Unless it's the 14 south, I'm not sure why. It's going to be a nightmare getting home since everyone is going to want to go that way. I wonder how I'll get home, and if it will be in time for 24. A man's got to have his priorities no matter how shallow they are.

Just talked to Jeff, he'll record it for me if I'm not home. I know you were all on the edge of your seats about that. :)

To end on a lighter note, a couple quizzes.

First, via Diann, and in time for the coming weekend:

Driretlan is your Vampire name.
You are a witty Vampire with a certain style that
others are drawn to.
To use your new Vampire name and become a Vampire,
go here:

What is your Vampire name?
brought to you by Quizilla

And, via Stephanie:


Gimli Gloin's son

If I were a character in The Lord of the Rings, I would be Gimli, Dwarf, handy with an axe when orcs are about.

In the movie, I am played by John Rhys-Davies.

Who would you be?
Zovakware Lord of the Rings Test with Perseus Web Survey Software

Monday, October 27, 2003

Would you believe my weekend was even worse? I'm not making any of this up. Names haven't even been changed to protect the innocent, because there were none.

I showed up for paintball about 9. Just couldn't get up, something about not wanting to go, I think. I played the first round, was the first one hit, so I played ref the next two. We're ready to leave when I discover that my car has been the only one hit by paintballs. (OtherSeth claims that the two highschoolers from our church hanging around were about to hit his car when he left.) So Dave offers to help me wash my car at his place for free with the outdoor hose he has.

I'm following him back to civilization (we really were in the sticks) when he desides to take his 4x through the wash. Even though mine's only two wheel drive, I decided to follow. About half way across, I get stuck. Since I don't know what to do, I try going back and forth a few times, only making it worse. He comes back to help me. We try digging and boards, but it doesn't work. So he risks getting stuck himself to help me. Trying to find a place on the front of the car to hook onto, we decide to try the bar running just under the car. We attach the strap, Dave drives away, and the bar comes off. Turns out it wasn't attached to anything substantial, and it tore through my plastic splash guard.

So Dave comes around the back and pulls me out backwards. Hauls me over to the rocky part of the bed, we disconnect, and decide to meet up on the pavement. I get forward two feet, and get stuck again. So back out Dave comes, hooks up to the frame in front this time (which wasn't easy), and he pulls me to the pavement. Yep, took three tries to get my unstuck twice.

Get back to Dave's and wash the car, only to find that something in the paintballs reacted with the plastic and rubber on my car, leaving a residue that makes it look like paint peeling off the car. Needless to say, I'm not happy about that. We think we can reattach the bar and leave the splash guard like it is, but we need a little help, like someone in our church who is stronger and has the equipement needed.

So I didn't get home until 4 PM, instead of 11 AM.

Sunday was fine, nothing new. Well, a new Alias, and those are always enjoyable.

Yes, I have gone back to those boards today. (BAD MARK!!!) The liberal jerk on the one has topped himself. He is such an arrogant jerk who is absolutely right and if you don't believe exactly as he does you don't know anything and can't possibly be smart at all. Then he wonders why people don't want to have debates with him.

It's been a long few days. I need a break and a chance to get away by myself and think through everything going through my head. Right now, I want to withdraw from other people (even though I know I'll find the story about getting stuck funny in a couple months.) It really hurts that I'm the only one that got hit by the paintballs, especially since I often feel like the kids don't really like me on staff. I'm trying not to let them know because I know it'll just encourage them, but it's so hard.

And part of me is watching this amazed it's been so long since I've felt this way. It used to be much more frequent, and I think it says alot about how my life has improved that it's not nearly as frequent or long or intense as it used to be.

Meanwhile, if you've been hearing about the fires, there is one on the west side of town, but it doesn't seem to be coming this way. In fact, the wind is blowing the smoke out of town, too. Sure hope they can take advantage of the lessened wind (boy was it bad all weekend) and get these fires contained tonight.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Frustration is my middle name today.

I loose Marcus in a week. No replacement roommate in the future that I can find. Fortunately I have Jeff. Sorta.

See, when we first moved in, I announced the #1 rule of the condo was going to be "CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF." Yet I am constantly harping on Jeff to clean up. Like the dishes piled in the sink all week. I hate it, but I hate having the stuff there even more. I mean, I've been walking down to the bathroom for the last two days to fill the water pitcher, it was that bad. Am I really asking too much when I ask that, once you're done eating, you clean the dishes you used to make the meal?

I have decided what I really want is to live alone. I'm tired of trying to deal with other people. And, frankly, I think I'm too independent and too much of a control freak to ever think about getting married. Yep, I'm going to stay single.

Of course, I have to have roommates right now to make ends meet. I should never have placed myself in this position. What was I thinking? I need a new job, something that actually pays me more what I'm worth. Something I can live on. It's just killing me that I can't make Trixie camp this year.

Meanwhile, I've had it with the two thorn in my side boards. I've spent the last 24 hours being attacked by three different people on one because of my conservative views. When I finally snapped, the only reply I got was "I'm trying to have a productive debate with you." It's taken all my will power to not respond with "To have a productive debate, you must respect the person you are debating." and then go on to list all the times he has treated me like a piece of junk. He thinks all conservatives are evil, and Christian conservatives are doubly so. No, he won't say it outright, but you can tell that's what he thinks by the way he says what he says.

Meanwhile, on the other board, a newbie started a thread asking for Christian fiction recommendations. One person responded with "Try the New Testament." When a couple of us got upset, two others didn't see what the problem was. When I explained that this is non-fiction, one said back "It never crossed my mind that anyone would consider it non-fiction." And people call Christians ignorant and close-minded! And come one, how hard is it to not open a thread you aren't interested in and can't contribute to? Makes logical sense to me. Meanwhile, the jerk who said he was leaving a month ago is already back making more trouble.

Civility is dead.

To top is off, my accounting program kept shutting down on my at work today. Didn't loose any information, but it sure is frustrating.

Not that my weekend will get any better. Ultimate isn't an option tomorrow. We've got a paintball "war" with the jr. high from 8:30 - 10:30. Can I just tell you how much I don't want to go? Yes, there is the part that is afraid after all the fush I've made over the years that I might like it. But most of it is knowing I won't. I hate people shooting things at me. I flinch over rubber bands, for Pete's sake! Yes, we're only using sling shots, but it's still not going to be my idea of fun.

Jeff did just stop by to tell me he's going to be out of town this weekend. Marcus, too. So I'll have the entire condo to myself. Maybe that will help me recover after all. While doing loads of laundry and watching the stuff I have on tape and trying to get through my book.

No rest of the wicked, eh?

To close on a lighter note, a new quiz found via Aleta. Once again, we aren't the same, although my day might have had something to do with it.

Marvin K. Mooney
Which Dr. Seuss character are you?

brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Time for this week's Thursday Threesome, brought to us this week by your local grocer and The Back Porch.

Onesome: Breakfast- It's the most important meal of the day. Do you eat it every day? What's your favorite breakfast?
I eat something first thing every morning. Most mornings, it’s a banana and a cereal bar with a glass of juice. Saturdays, I eat in the caf and get French toast and tatter tots and eggs. My favorite breakfast would be anything any form of maple syrup holders. And you’ve got to use the real syrup, too.

Twosome: Lunch- Where's your favorite place to go out for lunch? Or do you brown bag it?
Usually brown bag it. Cheaper that way. But I have been eating in the caf occasionally since I can’t run home at lunch time any more.

Threesome: and Dinner- Do you cook at home or prefer to grab burgers on the way home from work? What's your favorite meal?
My idea of cooking at home is microwaving a TV dinner. As you know, I normally eat dinner in the caf right after work, but when it’s closed, I usually grab something on the way home. Not burgers, but sub sandwiches or Baja Fresh. Maybe Taco Bell. Something like that. Favorite meal? I love Pizza. And Quizno's. And burgers, just not the fast food greasy kind. Mexican, Italian. Basically, if it's not good for you, I like it. Although I'm not a big fan of oriental food.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Finished my book last night with time to spare. Well, enough time to start my next one. And reviewing it gave me my 280th review at Amazon. Only 20 more to go! That's 10 a month if I don't review a thing the rest of this month. Which makes me happy since November and December can get busy and leave less time for reviewing. Or two a week if you prefer.

I didn't mention a couple things I saw Saturday that, to quote Calvin, "I didn't know exist but I just have to have." Now, keeping in mind that I have six or seven different versions of Monopoly, including the Disney version available in stores, I saw the Disney parks edition, only available in Disney parks. And it comes in a collectible tin. Sitting right next to it was the Haunted Mansion version of Clue. It took all my will power to look at them, set them back on the shelf, and walk away. I don't think Angelique knows how much I struggled. :) But I just can't afford $40 each right now. Plus sales tax. But, from the little I saw of the boxes, they looked wonderful. And no, I don't remember what the Boardway spot was. :)

Monday, October 20, 2003

Either that was the world's wimpiest cold or it was really allergies. I felt find all day Saturday, and still feel fine now. I'm leaning toward allergies because it's been so dry around here. It may be in the 90's during the day still, but it's certainly fall.

Had a blast at Disneyland as always. Met Angelique, and we hit everything we could think of in a full day event. With Splash, Big Thunder, and Space Mountains all closed and Pirates closed all morning, we had to fight bigger crowds then expected all day. But we still got in everything we wanted, and the longest wait we had as for Peter Pan's Flight. Why it's everyone's favorite is beyond me.

Yesterday was talking to family day and church. And wouldn't you know it, the week that Kyle can't make it, I decide to do "Awesome God," one of his favorites. Maybe next time.

We had a SNYF afterwards at the restaurants nearby. And sang out in the courtyard. Fortunately, the lights in the parking lot put out a lot more light then I thought they would.

Today has been an exercise in frustrations, followed by all the problems being solved in the last few minutes of work. Now, if I can find the $50 I'm missing from the bank rec for a week ago, I'll be happy. That's on my to do list tomorrow.

Tonight, I hope to finish my book, The Magician's Nephew. I must admit, the Chronicles of Narnia move a little slower on rereading then I'd like, especially when you remember the basic storyline. But I'm glad I've been rereading them this year.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Before I moved, I got my vehicle renewal notice from the DMV. Not wanting to loose it in the move, I sent it in right away. Six weeks early. Middle of September. When I got my bank statement, I noticed the check cleared on the 29th of Sept.

Wednesday, I got something from DMV. I was excited, figuring it was my new sticker. Wrong! They've gotten my change of address, but this was a new notice to renew my vehicle. Processed on the 11th of Oct.

Meanwhile, I have a similar situation with the phone company, telling me that I owe them money when I think they owe me money. All this from my old phone number.

Isn't moving fun?

Last night, they were planning to clean the carpets in the church gym, where we normally meet for the games and worship part of Bible study. They were supposed to start cleaning around 7, but showed up at 6:30 instead. So we moved up worship, which we weren't at all prepared for. The Powerpoint slides had gotten lost, so a couple guys worked like crazy retyping them while I tried to get everything else organized. Then, as all five songs are in, Jon tells us to cut back on the worship time, say only do 3 songs. I felt badly that all the work on the last two was wasted, but that's what we did.

The cold I've been pretending wasn't coming on has finally decided to hit me today. Just before Disneyland. :( But at least I get to go to Disneyland tomorrow.

Probably didn't help that I stayed up later then I intended to last night. I blaim Donald because I talked to him for over an hour! (Never mind that fact that I enjoyed every minute of it. I still get to blaim him.)

And, in honor of talking to Donald last night and him visiting my blog for the first time in months today, I have to pass along a bad pun he sent me today. Bad joke buzzer ready?

There were three Indian squaws. One slept on a deer skin. One slept on an elk skin and the third slept on a hippopotamus skin. All three became pregnant and the first two each had a baby boy. The one who slept on the hippopotamus skin had twin boys. This goes to prove that the squaw of the hippopotamus is equal to the sons of the squaws of the other two hides.

Bad, isn't it?

Well, Phil has said we can go early if we want, so I think I will. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Welcome to this week's edition of the Thursday Threesome, brought to us this week by plugs and The Back Porch.

Onesome: MT-- So, are you running Moveable Type? ...and have you had to deal with comment spam?
Look at my address again. I’ll give you one guess. :) And if you are interested in the plugs to stop this on your blog, TBP did have some links. I just cut that part out.

Twosome: Black-- Hey, can you do "basic black"? ...or does your wardrobe consist of everything but black? Inquiring minds want a look into that closet!
My closet consists of a little bit of everything, including black.

Threesome: List-- Are you a "List Person", one of those people who cannot make it through the day with out a to-do list? ...or maybe "listfull', with yellow sticky notes all about you? ...or are you "listless" and wandering about randomly getting things accomplished?
I’m listless. And there are days my productivity shows this. I’m sure if I made lists I’d get things done better. However, I’d have to be organized enough to make those lists.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

In case you haven't heard, all the workers in Albertson's, Vons, and Ralph's, the three largest grocery chains in Southern CA are on strike right now. Naturally, this makes life interesting, especially since there are very few alternatives if you want to avoid the nasty business of the picket lines.

Being the rebel I am, I will now be shopping at Albertson's for sure until this is over. Here's what I found out.

I knew it was over medical plans. At least at Albertson's, the employees are now being expected to pay part of the premium costs. $5 per person with a $15 max per family. And for this, they're giving up a week of pay to start with? Makes no sense to me, and that's a token amount, anyway. So I'm rather mad at the workers on strike and feel that they are totally wrong in this case.

Neither side plans to give in any time soon, so it could be a long drawn out thing. We'll just have to see what happened.

Meanwhile, we have a server crash over at snarkfest, so I now need to try to remember what I said about Alias yesterday.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Maybe I should post something today. What do you think?

Well, the roommate lead fell through. No leads as of yet. Still hoping.

Saturday, I did nothing. Productive that is. Played ultimate frisbee in the morning. Went back to the condo and caught up on my videos. Swam for a little while. Exciting stuff like that.

Sunday, however, I went down to Santa Monica. It was just too nice to stay inside yet again. So Jeff and I took off right after church. Spent a couple hours on the beach. Slight breeze but very nice day. Read, dozed, swam. Unfortunately, not nearly long enough. But fun for what it was. Got back just in time for worship team practice.

I can tell fall is coming, however. Even though it's still pleasantly warm out, the air had a bit of a nip to it when I left for work this morning. And it smells of fall outside.

Which is probably for the best. I have a Christmas CD in my car right now. Kinda hard to listen to that and be thinking "It's October" when it feels so much warmer then that. Of course, I often pull out a Christmas CD or two during the summer, so it's not completely foreign.

Hoping to finish Evan Can Wait tonight. He may be able to wait, but I certainly can't. :) First Rhys Bowen book I've read in months, and I'm really enjoying it.

I guess that's about all the news here. Which works out well. It's just about dinner time.

Friday, October 10, 2003

"God is in Control...." - Twila Paris.

So, I'm over in the fitness center for a very late lunch this afternoon with Don, co-worker who's kids have been through jr. high group at church. He's one of the friends that helped me move. Anyway, he was asking me if I had any leads on a new roommate yet, and I told him no. One of the basketball players had just come in, and mentioned an assistant coach is looking for a place to live. So left him a message, and we'll see what happens.

Things went well leading worship last night. The biggest problem was with the first song, which Jared started about half speed. Other then that, we had a little communication problems about which songs he was or wasn't starting, but it all worked out well. We all seemed to be staying together, etc. Probably the best we've had for weeks.

I was so tired last night. Barely made it through Without a Trace. And I'm not sure why. Meanwhile, I'm really struggling with going to Bible study tonight. I should, but it just doesn't seem like that much fun. Especially when Jeff wants to play The Stock Market Game. Maybe if I could talk him into a few Christmas CD's....

Meanwhile, I'm down to 25 reviews to go this year at Amazon. I will make it. I will make it....

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Welcome to this week's episode of the Thursday Threesome. This week, it's brought to us by kids everywhere and The Back Porch.

Onesome: Saturday- Is Saturday a day to relax, maybe do something fun, or is it a day spent on the run, chauffeuring kids to activities, yourself to the gym and getting the errands done before it's back to work on Monday? Do you need a day off to rest from your day off? Tell us about your day!
Most Saturdays are spent doing whatever I want to do, be it the beach or a book signing or relaxing in front of the TV and catching up on my shows. Sunday, however, is not usually relaxing and I could use it in my weekend first. :)

Twosome: Morning- What's different about your weekend morning routine than the other days of the week?
Sunday, the only difference is I sleep later because I need to be a church later and it’s so much closer then work. (Now, anyway.) Saturdays, I sleep in, eat breakfast, shower whenever I’m finally going to leave to go somewhere. Or, if I’m playing ultimate Frisbee that morning, I get out of bed and head out to play, grab a meal in the caf and then shower once I’ve finally gotten home.

Threesome: Cartoons- Do you have a favourite one? Do you still watch it and/ or other cartoons?
About the only cartoon I ever watched faithfully was Darkwing Duck, which was when I was in high school and college. I’d still watch it if I could. Of course, if we're talking about animated movies and not Tv cartoon shows, I have all the Disney classics on video, working on getting them all on DVD, and still love many of them.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

You've gotta love marketing departments.

I got in today's mail at work a piece of junk mail. It was addressed to Mark Baker Accountant. Ok, so these people know who I am. That's a good start. But inside were fliers for classes in electronics and A/C repair. To help me in my career. Um....

I'm only going to have Marcus as a roommate for the rest of the month. He found out yesterday that his contract wasn't going to be renewed. So this means I need two roommates instead of one. At least I still have Jeff. Until May or June.

Meanwhile, looks like my prediction was wrong. The election was so much a landslide that the Democrats know they can't really challenge it and gain any ground. I'm happy that Davis is gone. Just hope that Arnold really does know what he's doing. He's been so vague for so long it's hard to tell for sure.

Of course, this whole election thing has gotten me back into political discussions. Including one with a guy who won't come out and say it, but sure seems to believe that Christians have no place in the political life of this country. Seperation of church and state, you know. Hate to break it to him, but I'm just as much a citizen as he is and will be exercising my rights just as he would.

At least this time he's being civil about it and not name calling like he was Friday. Still makes me mad when I post something and he ignors it and goes about with his own diatribe against me and what I believe.

I am being so tempted to join the novel writers next month. Even though I know that I will never finish. And my goal of 400 reviews at Amazon has been there so long I will not sacrifice that after working months to make it happen. Frankly, all the ideas I have would require at least a month of research before I could even think of writing a credible first draft. Of course, if my ideas didn't reach for the moon....

And, finally, a quiz stolen from Stephanie

When Doves Cry
"When Doves Cry" (by Prince)
How could you just leave me standing,
Alone in a world so cold?
Maybe you're just too demanding.
Maybe I'm just like my father--too bold.
Maybe you're just like my mother.
She's never satisfied.
Why do we scream at each other?
This is what it sounds like,
When doves cry.

Which 80's Song Fits You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Never heard of it. Not that I expected to. :)