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!