Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas!

Everyone has their end of the year, best of this-and-that lists. Every dictionary publisher has their own "word of the year", but I like The New World College Dictionary's "word of the year":

adultescent - a noun describing an adult who is still an adolescent at heart.

Wow. That's a word I've been waiting a long time to learn. That's me! I'm an adultescent, a moniker I wear with pride.

With that, I'm off to eat dinner and open presents with my adolescent children.

Merry Christmas to all! Go easy on the Christmas Cheer, and remember - don't run over the fat guy in the red suit.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Merry Christmas Wishes

I'm home sick, today. Not homesick, but home, sick. Had a bout with dizziness last night that was pretty rough. You know that carnival ride, the Cyclotron, where you stand against the wall and it spins and pins you to the wall? You know how you feel when you get off, kinda wobbly and your head spinning just a bit, making it a little hard to balance for a moment? It was like that, only ALL the time, while I was laying down, sitting, whatever. Its really disconcerting to be laying on the bed, and feeling like you are falling UP off the bed... lol.

Funny now, but not at that moment.

Anyway, some meds, a good night's sleep after they kicked in, and I feel a lot better today. Still spinny but much more manageable. I was thinking I may have an ear infection because it hit so quickly last night, but now I'm thinking I was just dead-dog tired. That tends to bring on the vertigo for me, too. I hit that wall where the body says, that's enough; no more; time to shut down and take a time out. So.... today is my time out.

Christmas is in two days. I got my shopping done yesterday. Money is pretty tight this year, so it's not gonna be a huge Christmas gift-giving season for me, but I bought things for those that matter to me. That's what matters.

I didn't decorate or put up any Christmas decorations this year. The kids are at their mom's this week (just the way the calendar worked out), and the apartment has been too empty. Plus, I've been working a lot of overtime (I'm a wuss and not used to working OT!), so I haven't been here that much. Just seemed no point in festivizing the apartment when there's no one here to enjoy it.

I think I was meant to be born in a different era. This year has just gone way too fast. I don't mean just that time passed quickly, although it did. I remember LAST Christmas like it was yesterday. But, also, too much happened; life was too loud, too frenetic; There's no place to easily get away and find silence and just slow down. As I sit here, quietly writing, there's so much sub-level noise going on: the hum of the refrigerator, the fan of the computer, the ever-present mild rumble of cars passing by on Greenback Lane and in the parking lot, kids playing outside. Things that most of don't notice on a daily basis, but they are there.

I find myself already looking forward to summer, and camping, and the blanket of silence that exists in the high mountains. That's one of the things I look forward to most, the noticeable lack of background noise. I get out of my car when I park at the camp ground, and my ears ring in the silence. True quiet is a wonderful experience. Last summer I made a good start on my camping, and got away for 3 short camping trips. This summer I'm going to shoot for more. I think I need to find someplace to make a short winter getaway, too. But NOT in the snow. I hate snow... lol

Anyway, I ramble.... today's post is brought to you by Post Ramblies, the slightly sweet, nutty cereal made from nuts and fruits. Or is it made FOR nuts and fruits.....

Be sure to visit the Save-Merry-Christmas website and support this local guy's boycott against The Federated department stores. Looney or not, he has a point, one that I tend to agree with. I hope to see the death of Political Correctness in my lifetime, though I'm not holding my breath.

Remember the Reason for the Season, folks. Christmas is nice and lots of fun, and the gift giving and receiving is awesome, but it would not exist without the birth of Jesus. Without his birth, the life he lead (a short 33 or so years), the death he died, the resurrection he experienced, and the hundreds that then saw him alive and believed, there would be no Christmas. Those believers taught others, who spread the Good News, about Jesus and the reconciliation with God, around the world, all the way to our present day. In 2000 years the message has never, ever changed. Society has co-opted the message and, as society is prone to do, twisted it to its own greedy desires (anything for buck, ya know?), but that message of Good News has never, ever changed.

That Good News IS the Reason for the Season, folks.

Enjoy the holidays with your loved ones, and cherish the traditions your families have built. But take a moment, sometime during these holidays, to think about WHY you have this wonderful time of year to enjoy. Where did it come from? What are it's roots? Why is it so enduring and so cherished? The conclusion is inescapable.

Jesus is the Reason for the Season. Without Jesus, there IS no season.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Until Then

This little flash movie is a MUST SEE. It's a classic holiday tear jerker, but what a kind tribute to our soldiers. Agree with Iraq or not, they are Americans doing the job that's asked of them. Take a look, and remember who's over there, and why.

Sunday, December 19, 2004


My brother sent me this link to a flash movie on the ACLU's website. I'm still convinced they are a bunch of paranoid, lunatic, Christian haters, but this does give one pause to consider.


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Time In A Bottle.... or a Coffee Cup

As most of you know, I turned 40 this year. The big Four-Oh. Four decades. My kids would call it "ancient". Back in May I actually did the math on how many days, hours, minutes and seconds that works out to.

I was bored. What can I say? Just know that it's a lot of seconds.

Anyway, these past few months I've been doing some thinking and some soul searching about things I've done in the past, and people I've met and left behind. Many of them deserved to be left behind. Some not. It's those "not" people I've been thinking about.

Long about October I sent out a birthday card to an old friend, one of those "not" people. Actually, she was my highschool sweetheart. This gal and I dated for a solid 3-1/2 years until just after high-school. At one point we'd been very close (no, not THAT close... we were good kids!). But, when she and I broke up... actually, when I broke up with her.... that was kind of the end of that. I didn't look back (despite some very good efforts on her part), for a myriad of reasons I don't want to go into here.

Now, those of you who know me will understand this, but I'll explain to those that don't know me: I'm not looking to get lucky with an old flame. She is happily married to a good man, they have five kids, and run a successful business together. I was curious what had happened in her life over the 20 years that had passed.

Well, I got a card back from her soon after her birthday, with a nice note telling about her family, husband, kids, and business. She doesn't have e-mail, since she doesn't do the internet (go figger!), so I wrote back to her in a letter, telling her about my life, my kids, the nutshell story of my marriage, and such.

Low and behold a few days after I sent that letter off, I got a phone call. We talked for a little while, mainly talking about kids and family. It was remarkable how similar she sounded to her teenage self after 20 years, as I'd found with other people I ran into at my parents church last week. Same voice inflections, same "tone", same laugh.

Since then we've talked maybe three times for a few minutes, mostly trying to set up a morning to meet at a Starbucks and have coffee, and just see how the other is doing. After 2 failed attempts (either one or both of us had to reschedule, and her schedule is insanely busy), we settled on trying this morning.

Well, this morning it worked, and we had coffee. I was a little nervous, but not much. I'm pretty up-front and self-assured, so "nervous" usually isn't my issue. We pulled into the parking lot at the same time, and wound up, just by chance, pulling the cars almost nose-to-nose in the parking spaces. She got out, we said hi, and walked in to get some coffee. I could tell she was really nervous, but she held it together pretty well.

She looked pretty much as I'd remembered, just a bit older, as we all are. Same eyes, same demeanor, only she's a little more outgoing, I think. There was an aura of confidence and competence about her that was more than I recalled from our youth. She is still very pretty, and (if she ever reads this I hope she doesn't get upset) has a strong resemblance to the way her mother looked when I knew her 20 years ago.

We sat down and I showed her some pictures of my kids and my parents. She'd never seen my kids that I know of, and we talked about them for a few minutes. She told me about her kids, about her husband, some of the trips they've taken, their honeymoon. We talked about brothers and sisters, and relatives. We touched on old times a bit, some of the fun stuff, and some of the more painful stuff.

While were talking about old times, she said something that had obviously been on her mind. She told me that, when I broke up with her (we were just 20 years old, such a long time ago, but the memory is so fresh), I hurt her more than I knew. Some months later, I recall being callous and somewhat of a jerk the night I told her I was getting married. I recall her face, and knew at that moment that I'd hurt her. Aside from a few very, very short hellos and a chance meeting on the freeway when my car broke down 10 years later.... we never spoke again. She said it took several years to get over that. That was something I didn't know, but it gave me the chance to say something I'd been wanting to say for years, too:

I'm sorry. I was a boy, not yet a man, and I should have handled it differently. I'm sorry.

It's funny how time heals, and makes things manageable, but I don't think anything ever heals completely. There were no tears (well, almost, but not quite), just the acknowledgment of things past, and a desire to say things never said. Life happens, the events of our lives mold us, and I think it's a mark of maturity to be able to look back and acknowledge them. And that's really what is was: simply an acknowledgement of some events in our lives that helped shape us into who we are now.

We walked out to the parking lot, and talked a few more minutes. I'd told her I'd like to meet her husband and her family some time, and she said she'd run it by him. I mean, I understand I'm not a part of his life, or her kids', and to be honest, I'd be surprised if they know anything about me. I was way before their time.

In fact, in the grand scheme, I'm only a very small part of her life. 3-1/2 years. Not a long time, really, but its amazing how the memories can stay with you for a lifetime.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Closing Night

1 show Friday night, 2 on Saturday, and the closing show tonite. I'm spent! I'm tired, but it's such a good tired. A feeling of accomplishment.

Our overall attendance for 4 shows I would put at just about 900 people. Friday night was suprisingly well attended for an opening night. Tonight, the closing show, I'd say we had close to 450 people. The place was packed!

900 people heard the Incredible Moment message. 900 people heard the message that Jesus came as God in the flesh to live amoung men and redeem them.

Went out after the show to Baskin Robins with my friend Lisa and her fiance Patrick. Nice people, they are. Had a good, relaxing visit.

My voice is back to normal. All traces of the cold I had is gone. I feel great, just TIRED. What with working a bit of overtime at work, and not sleeping so great at night, this has just been a long week. I'm looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.

I plan on pulling out my Christmas tree (Yes, CHRISTMAS tree, not a freakin' holiday tree, or yuletide shrub.... it's a CHRISTMAS tree... ), probably tomorrow and doing some decorating around the apartment. I'm looking forward to slowing down a little bit and enjoying the season from here on in.

Christmas always seems to come so quickly, and is gone so fast that I never seem to have time to enjoy it! Well, here's to enjoying!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Musical Tones

Tonight is opening night for the First Baptist Church of Fair Oaks' annual Christmas program. This year we are doing One Incredible Moment, a musical based on Max Lucedo's book of the same name, in which the birth of Jesus is highlighted as mankind's most incredible moment.

Yes, I'm in it! I have a short duet with one of our sopranos (Christie) to open the show. I've been working my tail off, what with overtime at work and nights at church, rehearsing. These shows are always a joy to be involved with, but everyone is always glad when we're done! They are a lot of work!

Shows are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at 7pm, with a matinee showing on Saturday at 3pm. No admission is ever charged, and no offering is taken. Just come and enjoy the show. It runs about 1 hour.

Whether or not you are a believer, sociologically one must admit, Jesus has had arguably the greatest impact on human history that one single man has ever, ever had. His followers and the beliefs they spread has influenced all of western society. The Christian credo of caring for your neighbor has been the basis for benevolence and charity throughout all of western civilization. The core ideas of personal responsibility and personal liberty, upon which the USA was founded, come from Jesus teachings. It can even be argued that the underpinnings of true communism have a basis in the way the early church pooled their resources, and gave to each as they had need, in order to advance the greater good of the Church and it's followers.

It's my opinion that there is no single individual who ever made a greater contribution to human history, or the direction of it's future. His teachings are as poignant and relevant today as they were 2000 years ago.

The pastor at my mom's church the other day said it well: "For those who believe, the most incredible moment in our lives occurred not during out lifetime, but 200o years ago."

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Pearl Harbor Day

Today is Pearl Harbor Day.

It's a day seldom remembered anymore, at least not on the grand scale it once was. I remember, as a little kid back, in the '70's, having entire school days dedicated to Pearl Harbor Day and remembrances of the attack.

Of course, that was only 30 years after the end of WWII, and was not the "distant past" as it is now. (Think about it.... the memories of WWII during the 1970's were just as fresh for THAT generation of veterans, as memories of Vietnam are for today's veterans.) Most of the vets that served in 1941 are either passed on or getting very old. It won't be long before the memory of Pearl Harbor will live on only in textbooks and families directly related to Pearl Harbor survivors. An excellent website for those wanting to learn a little more about what really happened at Pearl Harbor is the National Geographic site devoted to it.

My hat is off today to all who served our nation during WWII, and especially those that endured the early days and the Pearl Harbor attack. They truly were, and will be for a long time, our Greatest Generation.

On to a lighter note:

I know we all get tons of e-mail from friends forwarding things that they just think are the funniest jokes and cutest pictures ever. However, once in a while I get an e-mail that deserves note.

A friend of mine from church sent me the following photo from a 1954 Popular Mechanics magazine:

Makes one realize just how long ago 50 years was, and then makes one wonder about the next 50 years, huh?

I love cats, and she also sent a series of photos under the e-mail heading: Best Positions In Bed.
Misleading, to say the least.

I don't want to hear from closet kitten haters, or even open, committed kitten haters. I love kittens and think they are adorable. If you don't, just pretend you do and enjoy the photos.

After all, Santa is watching.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

100 Years Is A Long Time

I got my car out of the repair shop last week, I think on the 30th. Obviously I haven't posted in a while.

Overall it wasn't too bad. The tension bar that keeps the alternator belt tight, and (get this), the "harmonic-balancer", which is tied into the tension bar, broke. Believe it or not, the Focus has some sort of little widget designed to counter natural engine vibrations so that the car runs quiet and smooth. Pretty cool actually, because before the car broke down, the engine vibes were getting noticeably louder and stronger. While they were down in there I had them replace the timing belt, too, since it was overdue and they had to open up the timing case to get at this harmonic-widget-thing anyway. Total damage: $950. Not SO bad, but dang... bad enough.

Now then, TODAY I spent the morning at my parent's church, New Hope Free Methodist Church at 41st & A Streets in Sacramento. Today they celebrated 100 years of ministry in Sacramento. The church office sent out dozens on invitations to alumni who'd left over the years to come back for a day of celebration, and to visit with old friends. I think there were about 150 people that showed up for church today.

Now, you need to understand, this is a LITTLE church right now. The regular congregation is probably 25-30 right now, maybe 40 on a good Sunday. 150 people today just about 1/2 filled the sanctuary. Lots of old friends with faces older than I remember (just as I'm sure I look to them), and many adults that I last remember seeing as young children. Pastor Patrick asked if I would come back and sing for the service, which I was only too glad to do. God seemed pleased, in His infinite wisdom, to bless be with a cold a few weeks back, and it's STILL hanging on! But that's OK, my voice has rebounded enough that the song went off without a hitch, and I'm told it was very good.

After service we had a catered lunch down in the fellowship hall. I ran into several people I literally have not seen in 20 or more years. A couple of girls (sisters) I went to elementary school with came, with their husbands and children. Talking to them, it was fascinating to see how much people change, and yet how much they stay the same. Both have matured into lovely women. Serious, they looked great. Last time I'd seen them was probably 1983. Both were tall and a bit lanky. They've matured into really pretty women. The change was astounding. But, even more interesting to me was that fact that their mannerisms hadn't changed at all. One still held her head a certain way when she talked, the younger sister still had a distinct smile (she has one of those smiles where one side is higher than the other, almost like a knowing smirk). They both walked the same, held their heads the same, had the same inflections in their voice when they talked, as they did 21 years ago.

Same goes for several other people I ran into. Age changes how we look, but it doesn't seem to do much to change the core of who we are.

Anyway, I had a wonderful time. A few people I was hoping to see didn't make it, and with that I'm a bit disappointed. Some of the older folks in the church have passed on since I was little. But the church goes on, in whatever form, just as it has for 100 years.

I looked at all the little kids today, and was wondering what memories they are going to have of places like that church when they are my age.

Friday, November 26, 2004

So, the battery on my car has slowly been dying. I took the car over to Kragen Auto, and they tested the battery and alternator, and sure enough, it's juts a 4-year old battery starting to wear out. I noticed a ways back when the electronic trip odometer kept resetting to zero on it's own. I figured something was wrong with the electrical system. Then I noticed it was just a little harder to start the car each morning. Took a coupla more cranks to turn over the starter. A coupla days ago the starter began to "click click click" once in a while, like the battery was dead, but it would always turn over at the last second. It's not that I was ignoring the warning signs, I just wanted to put off actually buying a new battery as long as I could.

So today, leaving work, I decide to pop the hood and listen to the engine start, because, not only has the battery been having issues, but the engine has developed a distinct rattle lately. (Yesterday, when I started it up, it squealed and tinkled. Not like a loose belt, but more like loose metal rattling around. Surely, not a good sign.) So I go to start the car and get a series of distinct "click click clicks".

Argh!!! No!!! Not today!!! I begged the car to start, just ONE more time. I'll drive you directly to the battery store, I promise!

I squinted my eyes shut, turned the key, and heard the sweet hum of the engine turning over. SWEET! So I drive straight to Batteries Plus on Greenback and buy a new battery. Fits like a glove, turns over like a champ, runs great.

I'm still hearing that little rattle-attle-attle in the engine, though. I'd decided I was gonna put the car in the shop on Monday, my day off.

Unfortunately the car had ideas of it's own.

As I pull out of the Batteries Plus parking lot, and onto Greenback, I hear the rattle-attle-attle get a little louder. I think.... hmmmmm. As I turned south on Sunrise from Greenback, I hear a muffled "thump", the sound of gravelly stuff going under my tires, and suddenly the steering wheel is very hard to turn. And what's that funny smell? Hmmmm

Of course, the car decided NOW is the right time for whatever it was that gave out to give out. The engine still ran just fine, and the car drove, just minus power steering.

Oh, and minus that pesky rattle. Which leads me to believe the two are somehow related. See? I'm automotive smart like that.

So, anyway.... Suburban Ford opens at 8am, so I'll get my car towed over there and rent another car for a few days while they fix mine. Funny how when I take care of one thing, another crops us to take it's place right away.

I guess the old adage is true: Extra money is what you have right before your car breaks down.

Friday, November 19, 2004

President Clinton Opens Trailer.... er... Library

President Bill Clinton presided over the opening of his Presidential Library yesterday, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Rain pelted the 3 former and 1 current President(s) who attended, along with 30,000 onlookers. By all accounts, the library will be a full, open accounting of the Clinton presidency, and I'm absolutely certain will be fascinating, whether you were a Clinton supporter or not.

But tell me, why does President Clinton's library building resemble a mobile home in a trailer park?

I know I'm not the only one that's noticed. President Clinton says the design of the building, sort of leaning or reaching out to the river, is meant to evoke images of a bridge to the future. Uh huh. Surely, in all the design reviews, at least one staffer HAD to speak up and say, "uhm... guys... you realize this building is starting to look like a mobile home?" Look at this artist rendering of the finished library and grounds, and tell me you don't immediately think "hmm.. looks like a trailer."

I mean, it's in Arkansas for goodness sake! Butt of every mobile home and tornado joke ever told!

Even under construction, someone had to scratch their heads and think, "I just don't know...."

I have to admit, though, it's a much better design than many other proposals. For instance, there was the Clinton Library's Saudi Annex which was proposed and quickly quashed.

A more rural setting with a modest budget was originally proposed.

Plans for a separate gift were dropped early, also.

If I'm ever flying back east, and my plane breaks down and is forced to land in Little Rock for repairs, I do hope to visit the Clinton Presidential Library.

And as a final kick in the pants, visit the Counter-Clinton Library's website for an informative tour of their proposed library. Hillarity abounds. Pun intended.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Keyhole From Google

Oh! There is ONE thing that I've been a little bit excited about.

If you've watched CNN's coverage of the Iraq war at all, you've seen the 3-D maps and computerized fly-overs of Iraqi cities, showing where things are going on. Well, Keyhole is what they use to do them.

If you don't have this yet, get it. It's a free 7-day trial, and it's the coolest satelite photo program I've ever seen. I wouldn't recommend BUYING it because it's about $600 for the professional support version, but 7-day of skipping around the globe for free is kidna cool! Just go to, or follow this link to their page. Keyhole

Yeah, Yeah, I'm Still Here

Sorry about the lack of updates. I just haven't felt like blogging lately.

Got my brother moved to Eureka, just fine. Took us a coupla days to get everything set up there, and moved into his new place, but the trip went off without a hitch. We drove up from Sacramento overnight, driving eight hours in the dark, and took a short nap once we rolled into town. Driving home on Wednesday I got to see the countryside in the daytime. The northern California coast around Eureka is just gorgeous. So green and lush, with towering pine trees and redwoods; fog filled valleys and lush meadows. I loved the area. I think my brother and his family will enjoy it.

Other than that, not a lot going on. I'm kinda bored at work. Oh, heck, let's be honest, I'm bored out of my head at work. I hate going there because there are days it feel like the most repetitious job I can imagine. I'd rather be driving a street-sweeper or a garbage truck. At least then I'd be outside. I'm not made to sit in an office all day.

I guess I'm just kinda depressed and bored right now. There's a couple of really ridiculous things going on in my private life that I really can't discuss in a public forum, and I think they are part of what's got me down. They're not major or actually very important issues in any sense, but they are THERE, ya know? Kinda like "a splinter in your mind", as Morpheus would put it.

Ah well. I've posted. I'm still alive. Thanks to any of you that check in now and again. I'll try to get back into the swing of things.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Smoke 'Em If Ya Got 'Em

The election's done. Bush won. Republicans picked up 4 seats in the U.S. Senate. Proposition 66 failed. I was a happy camper on election day.

Took Emily to vote on Tuesday for her first time ever. I was quite proud of her. She walked through the process by herself, and only voted on 4 issues she was interested in, but hey... she voted! And that, of course, was my passion the entire time leading up to election day. Go Vote. I don't care who you vote for, or how you vote on the issues, just vote! God granted us here in the USA a unique opportunity to have a say in the direction our lives take. A little bit of a chance to form our own destinys. I just don't understand people who waste that chance.

My brother Dave sent me an e-mail, with some quote attributed to Ronald Reagan. I dunno if they're real, they're sure pithy.

"Of the four wars in my lifetime none came about because the U.S.was too strong."
"No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women."

So, happy election day. I'm glad it's over. Now to see how Bush is gonna run his second term. Should be interesting.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Day

It's going to be a long night for those of us who are election-news junkies. I'm nervous. Not just for myself, but for the entire country. That's a lot of nervous tension to have, but I think I can bear it.

My fear is that it's not just going to be a long day, but it's going to be a long WEEK until we find out if Dubya will remain our C-in-C, or if Kerry gets the nod. See, we'll get most of the results tonight, then the lawyers will file their motions for voter dis-en-franchisement...

(a term I've come to LOATH because it mainly means, "My side lost because I'm a idiot and couldn't figure out which end of the pencil to use, or the election worker who had the NERVE to ask me for my ID wouldn't take my matricula consular card as proof of ID and the fact that I can vote, and besides he looked at me disrepectfully, and DANG that electronic voting machine shocked me!, and I just don't understand, do I actually have to touch the touch-screen? Did you see the hands of the person who was in this booth before me? ... and just because I'm on parole doesn't give you the right to treat me like a criminal, and now I want a way to legally whine about it to the courts! and if they're in Ohio, of course, they're gonna whine about "where's that crack-cocaine you promised to gimme if I voted for Kerry?!?")

...then Dubya and Kerry will unleash THEIR lawyers on the unsuspecting poor old retired men and women who were elections supervisors for their little bitty precincts, to force them to recount and recount till it's way past their bed time, and what with Rhenquist sick and off the bench, if ANY of this goes to the Supreme Court again, they may well be deadlocked, 4-4, and then the lower court ruling will stand, meaning the next President could be appointed, not by the Supreme Court, but by the 9th District Court of Appeals!! Dear God!! Talk about a nightmare.

BUT, if Kerry and Dubya tie 269-269 in the electoral college (which could happen if the initiative in Colorado is passed, because they'll dole their electoral college votes out based how many votes the candidates got), all HELL will break lose, because then the election would go to the House of Representives for them to elect the president, a process which I doubt more than 2 out of 10 dunderheads in the electorate even KNOW about, much less understand (and it would of course be unfair because the House is currently under Republican control and they'd re-elect Dubya, which would set off a $HIT storm of protest all around the nation, accusing Dubya of stealing not only ONE, but TWO elections!!)......

And all this counts on the elections going relatively smoothly. Lord help us is a bomb goes off someplace. Or some nutball KKK guys actually DOES try to scare black voters away from the polls in some southern state. Or the parolee doesn't get his crack-cocaine. Then, I say bend over and kiss your butt goodbye, cuz it'll be the end of civilization as we know it.

Or not. McDonalds will be serving Big Macs tomorrow, just like today. The mail will be delivered, albeit with a little less junk mail now that the election is over. I'll still have to go to work, unless of course there's a nuclear apocalypse and I have to start delivering the mail my self, ala The Postman. Dang, I'd still be working though. Oh well....

Oh... here's a rundown on my voting suggestions, just in case you haven't voted yet, and need some guidance:
President: Bush/Cheney
California Senator: Bill Jones (and then laugh because he's a lost cause, but I can't stand Boxer)
US Representative 3rd District: Dan Lungren
State Assembly: Roger Neillo
1A - Yes
59 - No (loyal opposition vote)
60 - Yes
60A - Yes
61 - No
62 - HECK No
63 - NO
64 - Yes (I don't like lawyers, so screw 'em)
65 - Yes
66 - Oh, Hell freakin' NO NO NO NO! Am I clear? NO ON PROPOSITION 66!
67 - No
68 - No - Go Arnold!
69 - Yes - I actually want computer chips implanted in ALL felons, but I'll settle for DNA collection.
70 - No - I trust Arnold on this one. I don't want the Lucky Derby down the street from me to have slots!
71 - NO! NO! NO! I'm sorry about your child that has some disease, but California can't afford to shoulder the cost of the cure all by itself. And I refuse to have my tax dollars fund a select few bio-tech firms, and make them rich. This proposition is a perfect example of "the electorate voting themselves money from the public treasury". NO!!!!
72 - No. Back door union organizing scheme.
Measure A - Yes
Measure K - Yes

Monday, October 25, 2004

Music, Music, and more Music

Took my girls to Arco Arena last night, to see Steven Curtis Chapman's "All Things New Tour", with Chris Tomlin, and Casting Crowns. Fantastic show! Started right on time at 7:30pm, and kept going, with a 20 minute intermission, till 11pm!

SCC has been making music in the Contemporay Christian genre for about 15 years. He has so many hits, Grammys, and Dove awards it's hard for him to play everyone's favorite during his concert, so between sets, while the crew tore down the other band's gear and set up for the next, he and his band would come out on stage and jam through a medly of 10 or 15 songs, hitting the high points of his recording career.

The sound was great. Well balanced, but not overpowering. Plenty loud for even the very young. Arco is pretty good for concerts.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Movin' On Up

My brother's moving to Eureka, and I'm jealous!

Well, not green-eyed-monster jealous, but I am envious. Jack works for the California Highway Patrol as a dispatcher (just like me, only I'm Sac County), and after 9 years of toiling in Vallejo and Sacramento, got a job out in the country. CHP has a dispatch center in Eureka, and he finally got the slot. I'm gonna help him move in early November, and he should be reporting for duty sometime in the middle of November.

I have to give him, and his fiance, a big thanks for a gift they gave me, though. A CalKing-sized bed! Practically new. Seeing as how I'd been sleeping on a regular twin bed (and those of you who know me will understand, a twin's not really big enough), it's a timely gift, and I thank them very much.

I'm coming up on 15 years in my job. I'm looking forward to the trip to Eureka to look around. After my kids are grown and no longer need dad to be in a particular place for their schooling, etc, I'll be looking around for some place quiet to live, too. I love the coast, and someplace like Eureka might fit the bill.

Never hurts to look, anyway.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

John Stewart & Crossfire

Ok, I know I'm a day or two late on this, but if I didn't see this until today, there's probably still a person or two who hasn't seen it yet. John Stewart (of The Daily Show fame) on CNN's Crossfire, last Friday. It's an absolute hoot! Stewart takes the CNN guys to task for being party-hacks, and oh, MY! are the CNN-ites not happy about it. Score one really big point for Stewart who, I must admit, is funny as heck while, at the same time, very honest in this interview.

I think my favorite exchange is when the CNN guys try to take Stewart to task for not doing hard news when he has important politico's on.

CARLSON (the Crossfire co-host with the bowtie): You had John Kerry on your show and you sniff his throne and you're accusing us of partisan hackery?
STEWART: Absolutely.
CARLSON: You've got to be kidding me. He comes on and you...
STEWART: You're on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls!

There's a million places to search and download the interview, but this is where I saw it. It's as good a place as any.

Now THIS is what I call "Must See TV!".

Monday, October 18, 2004

Freakin' Media!

Every once in a while I read something that just torks me off. In Sunday's (10/17/2004) Sacramento Bee, there was a syndicated article in the Ticket section about Hillary Duff, headlined "Tepid reviews won't push Hillary Duff to change ways". The article discussed Hillary's rise from Disney channel rag-a-muffin to a 17-year old young lady who's becoming a bit of a star in her own right.

Now, I have daughters 13, 16, and 18 years old, so the Lindsey Lohan's and Hillary Duff's of the world are not foreign to me. I see some of their movies, and hear some of their music, in the course of daily life with my daughters. So I read this article about Hillary Duff, and was fairly pleased with it, until I got to the very end, and I read a quote from Rolling Stone deputy editor Joe Levy, where he said,

"If she (Hillary Duff) was reflecting a true 17-year-old, she'd be all raging hormones, conflict with authority and testing every limit that can be found; she would be making the girl version of 'Rebel Without the Cause,'" said Joe Levy, deputy managing editor of Rolling Stone. "But she is stuck in a parent's fantasy of what it is like to be 17, and that's a fantasy that is appropriate for 12- and 14-year-olds." (italics mine)


So it's a parent's fantasy to have a 17-year-old that is a decent kid? If a 17-year-old girl isn't "all raging hormones" and "testing every limit that can be found", they're not a "true" 17-year-old? Where does someone like Joe Levy get his view on life?!?

It's no wonder that American culture is so screwed up, with mixed messages we send our kids. We tell our children, "behave, be good, get good grades, work hard", and yet, if they do all that, people at very influential media outlets like Rolling Stone Magazine tell our kids, you're not real! You're not being true to yourself! You're not being cool, and you're fooling yourself if you think you are normal!

Jeez, I just wanna strangle someone when I read stuff like this. I'm sure its the dad in me that gets upset, but dang! I think we should all be just a little worried when a young lady, such as a Hillary Duff, or whoever comes along next, has some success without having all the accompanying drama and issues that is normal among the Hollywood and Media elite, and then are lampooned for not be "real", "true", or serious people.

I really have no patience for Hollywood people.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Yes, Bush Can '04

Ok, sometimes websites are a little too subtle for their own good. "Yes, Bush Can '04" is a good example. Funny, once you realize it's written by Bush Bashers!

Saturday, October 09, 2004


The mouse problem at work is getting out of hand. Did I mention that I had a mouse jump out of my utility drawer at work?

I usually keep a bag of sunflower seeds, tightly closed and taped up, in my utility drawer at work. The other day I also put a box of Cheez-It's in there, tightly closed with the inner wrapper rolled up right. So, an hour later I come back to put my gear away for the day. When I opened the drawer, out pops a tiny grey mouse. And I mean popped! I must have startled the heck out of him, cuz he jumped a good foot straight in the air, over the side of the drawer, onto the floor, and scurried under a table and behind the chest-of-drawers and was gone in a flash.

Now, I think it was kinda funny, if just a tad gross. Mice don't bother me that much. They are actually cute little critters, when they are cleaned up in a cage. But the sub-floor dwelling, cable chewing, red-eyed sewer mice are a different story. To think it was in my drawer sniffing around.... ARGH!

The best was the reaction of the women in the room. Each one of them reflexively raised their feet off the floor when I mentioned a mouse.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

They Call It Sleep

Well, it's done. Bitsie's gone. It was much harder to deal with than I thought it would be.

Emily and I got down to GDB just fine. We took Bitsie to the grass, and let her go potty before we went into the vet's office, which in retrospect was a very odd thing to do. We were bringing her in to die, and I was worried about her going potty on the grass like she's supposed to.

Bitsie was suprisingly energetic and curious about the grounds at GDB. She sniffed all over, undoubtedly smelling the other dogs that had walked that grass before. It was most ironic that Bitsie seemed more healthy on her last day than she'd been all week. Emily and I both new it was a deceptive display of excitement, probably due to the two steroid pills Emily had given her earlier in the day, and we still had to do what needed to be done. Emily and I walked down the long outdoor hallway to the vet's office. We were both OK until we got into the office.

At that point Emily and I both began to loose composure. The vet, Dr. Williams, was so kind and compassionate about the whole thing. He sat down and quietly explained the procedure. He told us Bitsie would get a simple overdose of the exact same drug used as anesthesia during surgery. It would put her to sleep and simply stop her heart and other organs from functioning. Bitsie was going to fall quietly and quickly asleep before any of her body functions stopped. Dr. Williams assured us she would experience no pain at all.

The nurse took Bitsie out and brought her back with a catheter in her front right leg, for the final injection. As we cried, Emily and I pet Bitsie for a moment, and Emily, the vet and the nurse all fed her some dog treats which she gobbled up. Seems kinda futile to feed a dog right before putting her out, but I guess they do that for humans too. Bitsie was happy, and loving those dog treats.

The nurse had Bitsie lie down on a blanket on the floor, and the vet looked to Emily and I one last time, to verify wether we were ready or not. We nodded through our tears. The vet quickly injected the anesthesia into the catheter, and Emily jumped up to stand next to me as I knelt next to Bitsie with the nurse and vet, petting her back. I just had to pet her while we did this. It didn't seem right to abandon her at this point. Bitsie looked around for just a second as the drug took effect, as if confused. Then, as the vet pet her head, she put her head down, and she rolled over on her side, like she was very tired, and just stopped moving. The vet used his stethoscope to listen to Bitsie chest for a second, and then said simply, "She's gone."

The process was suprisingly simple and quiet. Peaceful, even. There was no wimpering, no struggling, no barking. Just a quick injection, and 15 seconds later, Bitsie was fast asleep. 10 seconds later, without a sound, she was dead. Just like that.

Emily and I cried and hugged each other for a few moments. I asked the vet what happens now, and he said they will have Bitsie's remains cremated. Emily and I nodded. They asked if we wanted to spend some time with Bitsie now that she was gone. Emily answered no, thank you. The vet removed Bitsie's collar and gave it to Emily. Kind of like a keepsake I guess. We thanked the vet and nurse, took a last look at Bitsie, and left.

And that was it. We drove in silence for a while, each with our own thoughts. As we put distance and time between us and the GDB campus, the emotion of the moment began to abate, and we were able to talk about it. By the time we got home, we were both doing OK.

Experiencing this made me realize what a tenuous, slender, gossamer grip we all have life. To watch it slip away without the slightest struggle was just overwhelming. To see how fast it can happen was shocking.

The vet did say one thing, though, that really put this whole experience in perspective: He said we were granting Bitsie a priveledge that we don't even afford human beings. That's the priveledge of dying with dignity; without pain; the priveledge to not suffer needlessly in the face of an incurable illness. To die quietly in the company of loved ones, and to do so painlessly.

I thought that was a good was of looking at it. We needed to do this, there is no doubt or other argument. It just doesn't make it any easier.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Very Sad

I'm driving Emily to San Rafel today. We're taking Bitsie, the 9yr old yellow lab, back to Guide Dogs for the Blind, to be put down. As I noted back on August 18th, Bitsie has cancer. The doc gave her about a month back then. She made it about 6 weeks with some fair quality of life.

But today is the day.

She's a tired dog. She has difficulty standing. She no longer wants to each much (which for her is very unusual). She's lost a lot of weight. She's not in great pain now, but will be very soon. It's awfully hard to make this decision, but it has to be made. To delay much would be cruel.

I've never had to do this before. I've gotten rid of animals; given them away, taken them to the SPCA, etc. But never to put one to sleep. We have such nice phrases for it: put to sleep; put down; put out of their misery; euthenasia. It doesn't make it feel any nicer.

My x-wife had to take her cat just yesterday to the vet to be put to sleep. I don't think she's ever done it before, either.

Anyway... I'm off to do the dad thing, and help my daughter with this the best I can.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Beer Goggles

So it's October already. Dang! I kid you not, Christmas 2003 seems like it was, literally, just a few months ago. Summer's freakin' GONE! I'm dying here, folks.....

I had all my girls with me this week. I really enjoyed it, even if they all didn't. There were high points and low points for all of us. Bottom line for me is, I love having my girls with me. I would have them full time if for whatever unforseeable reason their mom didn't want to have them around (which I don't see happening, she's a pretty good mom; but you know, in my fantasy realm, things happen).

I love having them here, because life is so full when they are. Monday I had my friend Lisa and her family over for dinner (Camie and Lindsey talked and visited with Lisa's kids while she and I visited. See, family stuff like this is cool). Tuesday, Emily and I went to the movies (and it was GOOD... Aisha, fine, don't call me... I see how you Wednesday the kids and I went to church. Thursday, Lindsey and I watched the presidential debate. A great, full week.

But tonight is Friday. Sigh. I took Lindsey and Camie back to their mom's house. Emily is out with her boyfriend, and she'll head back to her mom's later, too. I stopped by the liquor store and bought a couple of beers that I'm gonna sip tonight, while I watch Stargate SG-1 reruns. Life without my children just isn't the same.

I know that some day, in the not too distant future, they are ALL going to be grown up. They're gonna have husbands and children of their own, and be far to busy to stop by dad's house every day, or even every week. I understand that. But at that point, it's different. That's the way things OUGHT to be. When my kids are young (13, 16, and 18), that's not the way it's supposed to be.

Divorce sucks.

Don't get me wrong, I'm NOT whining about my marital status, or the fact that I'm not married to my kid's mom anymore. There was enough wrong with that relationship that I'm not mourning it's passing. Staying in it any longer would have been insane.

But it's clear to me now that a family is a unit, and when the unit breaks, no matter how well we do AFTER it breaks, the bottom line is.... it's still broken. For the girls, for me, for their mom... all the way around. Even the very BEST we can do as a broken unit, is less than the ideal of an intact, loving unit.

Ah well... that's my philosophy lesson for today. Perhaps it's the beer talking. More likely, it's the beer that's making me willing to write this down. At any rate, I'm looking forward to seeing my girls again. I love them all so very much.

Monday, September 27, 2004


So I finished the WMD class. I have to admit, I actually had a good time. Nothing in the simulations actually pertained to my job in particular, but I found the concepts involved in Incident Command involving a large response pretty interesting. Seeing how law enforcement would coordinate with all the other emergency responders was a lot of fun. Plus, I got to be the Incident Commander. I was somewhat dismayed that the experienced police and sheriff sergeants and policy planners on my team didn't have any better ideas than I did. On the other hand, I held my own with all these people just fine, which made me feel pretty good.

A history teacher at San Juan High School died this past week. Todd Morrison Harris. Emily was in his history class for 2 years, and Lindsey was in his class last year. He truly was one of those great teachers that only come along every so often. I often called him a liberal-whacko when my kids and I talked about him. But he was the teacher whose class everyone looked forward to attending. He made history come alive. He challenged the kids to think, and to expore. So many kids were touched by his advice and guidance. I took Lindsey to his memorial yesterday. SRO at the chapel, and the comments could have gone on for hours. I was more a celebration of the man he was, than a mourning of his passing.

I asked Lindsey, as we waited in the parkinglot for cars to move so I could get back to work, what did she think? She'd never been to a funeral or memorial before. She said, it made her think how important it was to share Jesus with her friends, because you just never know when you won't be able to anymore. Not what I expected her to say, but I think she got it right.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

WMD & Taxes

Day one at WMD class. It is a complete waste of time for me, because not one iota of this particular class applies to my profession. However, I'm getting paid 20 hours of overtime for it, and I have to admit I find the subject matter interesting, even if it doesn't really apply to me. Not a total loss for me, by any means.

Factoid for all of you Kerry supporters who think the rich don't pay their way:

The wealthiest 1 percent, in 2001, earned
15 percent of the income and paid 34 percent of all individual income taxes.
By comparison, the bottom 50 percent of all taxpayers
14 percent of all income and paid just 5 percent of all individual income taxes.

Now, I'm not rich. I'm not in either the top 1 percent, or the bottom 50 percent. So why am I carrying water for that top 1 percent? Because one day, I hope to be a part of that 1 percent, and I don't want anyone coming to me and saying I don't deserve what I earn.

Oh, today's the last day of summer! I am SO looking forward to fall and winter. Apple Hill is open, and I think I need to make a day trip very soon.

Monday, September 20, 2004


I'm still alive, just haven't had much to say this past week.

I'm going to Weapons of Mass Destruction course for my work tomorrow. Maybe I'll have something cheeky to say about that when I'm done.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Doctors Vs. Guns

Ok, one more e-mail from by brother. I love this one.

The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000.
Accidental deaths caused by physicians per year are 120,000.
Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171 ( U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services)

Now think about this:Guns:
The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000.
The number of accidental gun deaths per year (all age groups) is 1,500.
The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is 0.000188.

Statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.

Remember, "Guns don't kill people, doctors do".


Please alert your friends to this alarming threat.
We must ban doctors before this gets completely out of hand!!!!!

(Out of concern for the public at large, I withheld the statistics on lawyers for fear the shock
would cause people to panic and seek medical attention.)

Monday, September 13, 2004

It's All bout the Spin.

My brother David is an avid follower of internet news. He also forwards tons of e-mail. Most of its interesting, some of it leaning a little to the right even for my taste.

I thought this was worth posting though. As with all e-mail claims, I try to do a little research to see if the author is accurate, and for the most part, this thing seems to be sincere. The "actual casualty figures" are from, which cites the U.S. Department of Defense and Veteran's Administration for the figures.

****************** e-mail start
There were 39 combat related killings in Iraq during the month of January, 2004..... In the fair city of Detroit there were 35 murders in the month of January. That's just one American city, about as deadly to American's as the entire war torn country of Iraq.

When some claim President Bush shouldn't have started this war, state the following:

-led us into World War II.
-Germany never attacked us: Japan did.
-from 1941-1945, 450,000 lives were lost, an average of 112,500 per year.
(Actual casualty figures:
Combat: 291,557
Non-combat (theater): - not listed
Non-combat (non-theater): 113,842
Total: 291,557 war theater caualties - still almost 75 ,000 deaths each year)

-finished WWII and started a new war in Korea
-North Korea never attacked us.
-From 1950-1953, 55,000 lives were lost, an average of 18,334 per year.
(Actual casualty figures:
Combat: 33,741
Non-combat (theater): 2,827
Non-combat (nontheater):17,730
Total: 37,568 war theater casualties- still over 9,000 deaths each year.)

John F. Kennedy...
-got the USA into the Vietnam conflict in 1962.
-Vietnam never attacked us.

-turned Vietnam into a quagmire.
-Vietnam never attacked us.
-From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost, an average of 5,800 per year.
(Actual casualty figures:
Non-combat (theater) 10,789
Non-combat (non-theater) 32,000

Total: 58,199 war theater casualties- 5,800 a year is just about right )

-went to war in Bosnia without UN or French consent.
-Bosnia never attacked us.
-He was offered Osama bin Laden's head on a platter three times by Sudan and did nothing.
-Osama has attacked us on multiple occasions.

In the two years since terrorists attacked us,

President Bush has...
-liberated two countries,
-crushed the Taliban,
-crippled al-Qaida,
-put nuclear inspectors in Libya, Iran and North Korea without firing a shot
-and captured a terrorist (Hussein) who slaughtered 300,000 of his own people.
(In fairness, I have to list Iraq War totals:
March 20, 2003–Aug. 2, 2004:
Combat: 677;
Non-combat (theater): 235;
Total: 912 war theater casualties- about 700 deaths each year)

The Democrats are complaining about how long the war is taking, but...
- It took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno to take the Branch Davidian compound. That was a 51 day operation.
- We've been looking for evidence of chemical weapons in Iraq for less time than it took Hillary Clinton to find her Rose Law Firm billing records.
- It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division and the Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard than it took Ted Kennedy to call the police after his Oldsmobile sank at Chappaquiddick, drowning Mary Jo.
- It took less time to take Iraq than it took to count the votes in Florida!!!!

Our Commander-In-Chief is doing a GREAT JOB!
The Military morale is high!
The biased media hopes we are too ignorant to realize the facts.

(If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English, thank a soldier.)

Food for thought.
It's all about the spin, baby.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Must.... Restraint....Fists....Of.....Death

Boys. Teenage boys to be specific. It's amazing any of them survive to adulthood. Myself being one, I know whereof I speak.

Camie asked if she and her friend Jamie could have a couple of boys from school come visit at my apartment for a few hours this evening.

That in and of itself should be enough to send me over the egde, and it nearly was. Now, I believe I am in full control of my faculties. I don't suffer from alzheimer's, I'm not senile, or drunk. And yet, I still said "yes".

God, help me. Please. And if not ME, help these little boys.

They were normal boys, as boys go. A bit gangly. One was a ruddy red-head loudmouth, about 13; the other a bit taller, longish hair, skater-looking boy, probably 14. (God, was I this awkward at that age? Probably... but I know I was a damn site better behaved.)

For instance: both of these boys live about 2 or 3 miles from me. Both of them arrived on foot, with no parents ever checking with me to see if it was OK if they come over, or even to see if they arrived alive, or anything. I've never even spoken to their parents! What parents let their 13 & 14 year old sons wander the town at 6 or 7pm without even knowing where the hell they are?!?

They were noisy, rude, and just... what's the word... not respectful or civlilized. I don't mean "civilized" as in unable to flush a toilet or brush their teeth, but uncivilized in the things that boys used to be taught.

Like when you go to someone's home, especially someone who's parents you've never met, you always act on your best behavior. These kids were anything BUT on their best behavior. They weren't wild monkeys, but they had no problem being loud, jumping around the room, wandering through the kitchen, plopping down on the couch, etc....

Now, I know it's within my power and purview to stop their behavior immediately in my home. I have no problem with that. But, being the first time I'd met them, I wanted to see how they behaved "au natural", if you will. I could put on a big gruff the very first time I met them, and they'd behave just great from the start, but I wanted to get a feel for who they are naturally.

I must say, I'm not impressed.

Parenting. It's all about parenting, or the lack of it. I'm not a perfect parent, and this evening brought to my attention a few deficiencies in my own daughter that I will need to correct, but at least my eyes are open. Some parents just don't see, or worse, don't think it's a problem. Every time I hear a parent say "boys will be boys" to excuse bad behavior, I feel like punching them.

Anyway, I'd much rather have the boys come to my place to visit Camie, because inevitably, she will have boyfriends, and I'd be just as comfortable keeping things in sight here, where I can throttle them if I need to, than out of sight at the boy's house.

Have I even mentioned I'm really glad I had girls instead of boys?

Saturday, September 11, 2004

CBS & Dan Rather are SUCH Liars

DEFEATJOHNJOHN.COM is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone that can produce an IMB Selectric Composer (or any typewriter) from the early 1970's era that can reproduce the documents that CBS News claims are from President Bush's Texas Air National Guard days. Read the article at their website.

If you're still not convinced the CBS documents are frauds, look at this .gif image of a brand-new MS Word version of the memo, overlaid on the CBS version.

The similarity is uncanny. Far too close to be anything but a complete MS Word fraud.

September 11 - Lindsey's Birthday

Today is September 11, 2004. The third anniversary of perhaps the most infamous day in our nation's history. It is also my daughter Lindsey's 16th birthday.

I remember waking up about 7am on September 11, 2001. My radio alarm clock was set to KFBK news in Sacramento, and Peter Jennings was on ABC radio talking about something. I didn't listen closely, but I remember thinking, "what's Peter Jennings doing on the radio?"

I got up, walked out to the living room, where Lindsey was watching TV. She'd been up a bit earlier, getting ready for school. I looked at the screen, and saw some building on fire. I figured it was an old documentary or something, so I didn't think much of it.

I went to make coffee, and Lindsey asked me something about what was on TV. Since I hadn't watched yet, I came over to see what the documentary was about. It's then I realized whatever it was, it was live.

Dang, lots of smoke pouring out of that building.

Oh, wait, it's two buildings.

Holy smokes, those are the World Trade Towers in New York.

Soon Cameron and Emily came out to the living room, and we all watched for a few minutes. The TV news began replaying video of the planes hitting the buildings, and before long, the full impact of what we were seeing finally hit us.

It was horrible.

I remember Lindsey standing in front of the TV, saying, "That kinda ruins by birthday."

She's was right, of course. It kinda put a pall over the whole birthday thing.

Knowing that every September 11th for years to come will be overshadowed by the memorial events, we told her she could pick any other day of the year, and we'd celebrate her birthday that day. She's never really picked a particular day, and we usually wind up celebrating the birthday based more on paychecks and availability of funds than the calendar. Tonight I'll take her to dinner where ever she wants, and we'll have the birthday "celebration" thing in a week or two.

September 11 will, for me, always be my daughter's birthday first.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Spreading The Gospel is Hate Crime?

Ok... lemme get out my soap-box and jump on it. Grrrmmph... Ok... now I'm up on my box, lemme get started.

Reference a story on KCRA TV news, and the KCRA Channel website, entitled Fliers On UOP Campus Called Discriminatory.

STOCKTON, Calif. -- Gay students at the University of the Pacific are mobilizing in response to defaced fliers that school officials call an act of discrimination.

The controversy started when a campus group made up of primarily homosexual, transgender and bisexual students posted fliers around campus. Fifty of those fliers were covered by another flier that featured a skull face and the message "Satan: the god of this world."

Every student KCRA 3 spoke with was outraged that the pamphlet could be littering their campus.

There was no specific working that targeted homosexuals, nor was there a local group claiming responsibility. But there was an address from the Fellowship Tract League in Ohio.

This isn't the first attack on Pride Alliance. Two years ago, the group's rainbow flag was stolen during gay pride week. It was found in a plastic bag soaked with urine. Despite the two incidents, students from the Pride Alliance say the fliers won't intimidate them. (emphasis all mine)

What a bunch of biased reporting and blatant anti-Christian slant. Infuriating to me.

The main complaint seems to be simply the cover art and the title. Quote the story, it "featured a skull face and the message "Satan: the god of this world."
Everyone has a knee-jerk reaction to anything having to do with Satan, especially if they think it's directed at them, so this part of the report is downright inflammatory. The cover art IS startling, as is intended. It's an eye-catcher, just like the Pride Alliance poster.

The problem with the reporting is in both how the tract is described, and how it isn't.

The story says the tract is an "attack".

The fact is, just as the story says, there was "no particular wording that targeted homosexuals". How can this be an attack when the "attack" doesn't even attack you? It's not a neo-nazi pamphlet, it's a gospel tract. How do you feel "attacked" by a gospel tract? Offended? Disgusted? Disagree? Fine. But attacked?

Grow up people.

Channel 3 completely ignores the fact that the "flyer" is a Christian tract. It has an admittedly startling, eye-catching cover, but stating that Satan is "the god of this world" is basic Christian doctrine. No mystery or surprise here. Certainly nothing hateful. Certainly not an attack. It's simply an effort to spread The Gospel, something that's been ongoing for nearly 2000 years.

To call this "discrimination", "litter", or an "attack", without exploring the other side of the issue, goes to the basic bias the reporter has against Christianity; an absolute shame when it comes to fair reporting. To report that the Pride-Alliance students were offended by the tract, and disagreed with it, would have been fair reporting; just not very compelling. It's not a crime to be offended. To report that someone feels attacked is much more compelling, and holds the attention of many more viewers.

A more balanced reporting of the event would have gone something like:

"The controversy started when a campus group made up of primarily homosexual, transgender and bisexual students posted fliers around campus. Fifty of those had Christian gospel tracts tacked to them, that featured the Grim Reaper and the message "Satan: the god of this world."

More truthful, but less compelling. Students being "intimidated" by Christian tracts just doesn't sound newsworthy.

I think the Pride-Alliance students simply don't like what the Christian message says, and they found a willing outlet in the media. They don't like hearing from anyone who says their lifestyle is sinful, and they don't want Christians to even be allowed to state as much. They want complete freedom to do as they want without anyone passing judgment because, they feel, to judge is to attack.

The Bible talks clearly about the gay & lesbian lifestyle (read Romans 1 some time), and to talk about what the Bible says is simply FREE SPEECH, not hate speech. In fact Christians are commanded by Jesus himself to speak boldly what they claim as truth: all people are sinners (including gays & lesbians, trangenders, etc, as well as every other living soul on earth), and Jesus died to bring each person who will accept it, eternal life. To define Christian evangelizing as hate speech is just plain wrong. You might think it personally annoying or irritating, but it's not hate speech.

The truth of the matter is, KCRA didn't report on the content of the tract. They didn't try to find anyone who supported the Christian view, and they didn't try at all to be balanced or truthful.

For an outlet such as KCRA (Where The News Comes First- Ha!) to show such blatant bias is just sickening. They should be downright ashamed of this terrible piece of reporting.

(Disclaimer: I am not anti-homosexual, or a gay-basher. Gay-bashing and -baiting sickens me. It is clear, though, that many people use "Christianity" as a rod to do just that: brow-beat people, tell them that God hates them because they are evil, etc. As a result, many have a negative view of Christians, and what Christianity is about. This is sad. It is very wrong when "Christian" people use the Bible as a hammer, and ought to be decried every time it happens.

Jesus taught his followers to love all people, and treat each person decently, with respect for them as individuals. The Gospels are replete with examples of Jesus talking to people of all standings, and treating each with great dignity. This is the whole reason He was crucified: so that each person, no matter who they are, would have the chance for Life, if they so chose.

Jesus also taught that He is The Way, They Truth, and The Life, and that no person comes to the Father, except through Jesus. To not speak the truth as The Bible states it, to me, is even more sickening. Jesus never shirked from the truth, or watered it down, or made it politically acceptable.

He told it as it is, and let people make their choice.)

Ok, lemme step down off my soap-box now. My feet are getting tired..... ;-)

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

DVD Madness

I've become a DVD junkie. Kinda. I love Hollywood and Blockbuster video when they have their used DVD sales. See, I'm so bad at taking rentals back, I'd rather just buy the movie and keep it, than rent it, forget about it, and owes huge late fees.

So, in the last month I've bought:

Starsky & Hutch
(If you truly have nothing better to do, check out the Starsky & Hutch pinball game. Uh huh... pinball game.
Along Came Polly
Butterfly Effect (awesome! You must watch the director's cut, too. Trust me!)
The Whole Ten Yards
Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen
Runaway Jury
and the quirkiest choice I've made this month, I'm with Lucy, which was Camie's choice, and
wound up being really cute.

(Monica Potter stared, so it could have been crap, I'd have still watched it.)

I need to buy a bookcase to store my DVDs. The entertainment center I have is starting to get a bit crowded.

Lastly, I don't know who this guy is....

but I'm not going to vote for him specifically because these huge yellow signs occupy every bare fence and field. I'll be curious to see how soon AFTER the election he takes them down.

Monday, September 06, 2004

San Francisco

Took a drive to San Francisco today. Being Labor Day, most people had left the city for the weekend. Traffic was great and parking was plentiful, and free! So I packed my camera and went off in search of some photos.

I drove into the city from the north, down Hwy101 from Sausalito. I've never come this way before, so it was exciting to see the top of the Golden Gate Bridge tower suddenly come over the top of the hill. I stopped at the recreation area at the headlands, and hiked the short hike to Battery Spencer for some photos.

This spot, and this particular view of the Golden Gate, has been featured in countless movies and photographs, and now I see why. It's an awe inspiring view. If you ever get to San Franciso, you must cross the Golden Gate and take a stop here. If you can't, check out this page at for a good idea of what it's like.

I left the Golden Gate and wandered around the Presidio a bit, watching kite-flyers and just generally taking in the nice day. There were lots of picnicers and joggers and boaters.

Then I headed downtown, through Chinatown, and the financial district, where I wandered around until about dark.

I'm fascinated by San Francisco's skyline.

It's growing and changing constantly, but I'm drawn to it's main feature: The TransAmerica Pyramid. This building is huge! 853 feet tall, it's the 4th tallest building west of the Mississippi.

I felt like a little ant standing next to it. Very impressive.

Check out some more of my photos of this trip at my PhotoBucket page.

Friday, September 03, 2004


Busy week, so let's recap.

Tuesday: went down to the Union Gospel Mission, as I stated in the previous entry. What a blessing. This is my 3rd or 4th time going with our team, and the folks down remember us, and gave us a nice welcome. I sang my songs, Troy preached his message, and we had about 4 people come forward for counseling or prayer. Each person saved/touched/helped makes it worth it.

Wednesday: Down to dad's for breakfast. I mentioned earlier about 'saying the things I want to say' to him, and this week was no different. He's so appreciative of the breakfast trips, and the talks we have. He and I really have a kindred spirit. I'm more like my dad than I realize. Wednesday night church and choir practice. We starting on our Christmas program, which will be performed sometime in early December.

Thursday: Work, etc. Went over to my brother's house and visited with him and his fiance for a bit. He just switched to dayshift today, after many years of working graves (just like I did), and he was feeling celebratory. For several reason, really, but more on that later.

Lindsey had dress-rehearsal last night for the church's youth musical. Performances are Fri/Sat/Sun. She's understandably nervous. She has a nice solo toward the end of the show, and I've helped her practice a few times at home. She is so talented, and has such a big, lovely voice, but she doesn't think so. I'm looking forward to the show, because it will do so much to help boost her confidence.

I'm at work now, bored out of my skull. Looking forward to the play tonight. If I think of something actually exciting, I'll post it.

Monday, August 30, 2004

As I've said here, I'm a horrible procrastinator.

Tomorrow night, Tuesday, I'm going with some men from my church, again, to the Union Gospel Mission in downtown Sacramento to present the evening service. There's 3 or 4 of us that have kind of become a team that goes every 3 months or so. I do "special music" as they call it. My friend Troy D. preaches, and he usually has a song in mind he'd really like me to sing before preaches, to kind of set the mood.

Well, I've known about this for a couple of weeks now, and I've known he wanted If We Are The Body by Casting Crowns. It's a song I know well, since I have their CD and play it all the time. But the background track is a separate CD I have to go buy at a local Christian bookstore. I waited until today, and was kind of nervous because the first two stores I went to didn't have it. I finally found several copies at Bereans Christian Bookstore over on Alta Arden. I think they will be my first stop from now on. They have tons and tons of music.

So Troy calls me last night and asks if I can have another song prepped, because he's not sure how long he's gonna preach. He wants me to be able to fill a couple minutes if he goes short. The Union Gospel staff likes the service to be about an hour. I told him no problem, which it really isn't because I have a whole box of songs I can pick from and prep quickly. But while I was at the bookstore I found a song I'd been wanting to sing for a long time. Strong Enough by Stacie Orrico. Yeah, yeah, it's a chick singing on the CD, but the song is just right for a place like the Union Gospel Mission.

Will my weakness for an hour
Make me suffer for a lifetime
Is there anyway to be made whole again
If I'm healed, renewed, and find forgiveness
Find the strength I've never had
Will my scars ruin all God's plans

He took my life into his hands
And turned it all around
In my most desperate circumstances
It's there I finally found

That He is strong enough
That He is pure enough
To break me, pour me out, and start again
That He is brave enough
To take this chance on me
Thank You for the chance to start again

The lyrics are right on the mark for the folks down at the Mission. Most of them are alcoholics or drug abusers, and most of them are trying to change their lives for the better. Christ offers them that chance, and this song just goes to the heart of the issue.

Christ is strong enough, pure enough, and brave enough to take a chance on each and every one of us. We might not be alcoholics or drug addicts, or homeless, but we've all sinned. All of us have things in our lives we wish we'd never done. Things for which we wish we could find forgiveness. That's' what this song is about, and what Christ is ALL about.

I really thank God for guiding me to the song, and for finding it at this moment. I pray it will be useful to someone in the service tomorrow night.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Clean Your Glasses, Folks

So, my daughter Camie and I were at Wal-Mart yesterday, getting some school supplies, when we decide to stop at McDonald's inside the Wal-Mart for some iced-tea. While we're in line, Camie says she wants a Hot-Wheel car. I didn't realize she was talking about the Hot-Wheels that come with the Happy Meal, so I'm telling her, "why do you want a Hot-Wheel?"

She says, "cuz they're cool."

I say, "Whatever, you don't need a Hot-Wheel. How much do they cost, anyway?"

She says, "I don't know! pleeeeeease can I have a Hot-Wheel."

I tell her, "we'll see." I was thinking we'll check the toy section later, and see what Hot-Wheels are all about.

So, there's this lady in line at McD's, in front of us, and she orders a Happy Meal, and turns to me and says, "she can have the Hot-Wheel from my Happy Meal."

At this point I realize McD's has Hot-Wheels, and that is what Camie was begging me about. Well, I blush and say thank you, how kind of you, you really didn't need to, etc. This lady is just as sweet as a glass of punch. We got to talking, and she told me about how her kids are off in college now, about how she can't wait to buy things for grandkids some day, and that she doesn't often buy toys anymore, so Camie can have her Hot-Wheel. Camie and I both tell her thank you very much, etc, etc. We talked a moment longer, and I told her about my kids; that Emily is 18 now and graduated from High School, I had another one in High School, and how my youngest daughter, Camie right here, was just starting 8th grade.

It's at THIS point that things became awkward. When I mentioned that Camie was in 8th grade, the lady looked at me for a moment, then to Camie, then back to me, and very sheepishly (with a crimson glow rising in her cheeks) says....

"......Oh, she's your daughter?"

I blinked.

The lady says, "the way you were talking, I though you were married. My husband and I go on about stuff like this all the time when we're shopping!"

At this point Camie blushes quite nicely with a look of utter horror on her face. If you can imagine pride and repugnance being cast from the same expression, you'd have a good idea of the face she made. It was hilarious. Pride at the lady thinking she was even old enough to be married, and utter, complete revulsion at the fact this lady thought she was married to ME!

In the end we all had a good laugh. It was just awkward for a moment, and the kind lady apologized and went her way. Camie and I chuckled about it quite a bit as we walked toward the shoe section.

But I ask you... although Camie is growing into quite a cute young lady, does this young lady

look anywhere near old enough to be married to this old fart?

I rest my case.

In the lady's defense, she did have rather thick glasses. They may have been coated with some sort of grime. And she had lots of tattoos, and we all know how THOSE people are. (J.K!!!) ;-)

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Why Boys Need Dads

My daughter Camie is in 8th grade, and takes the bus to junior high school. There's a boy in the same grade that lives next door to us, and also takes the bus, so naturally my daughter winds up walking home with him on occasion. He's a nice enough boy, usually. He's not the type to shoot BB's at cats, or cut off rats heads, but like most teenage boys, he's a bit awkward. He has some serious issues with "verbal brakes" and is sometimes very crude in his speech. He has had, off and on, a reputation as quite the little perv, and as a result, doesn't seem to be able to connect with the female population at school. Young girls don't often respond well to being called a hoe, nor do they respond well to wolf-whistles and cat-calls from other than their boyfriend of the moment.

Well, this is a new school year, and right now, being the first week of school, this young man is behaving pretty well, so Camie, being Camie, forgives and forgets (she's been on the receiving end of several of his crude attempts to gain attention) and is more than willing to be nice to him, because she's just like that. Not girlfriend nice, just friendly, social-norm nice.

So, today the boy asks Camie, "How can I get a girlfriend? I don't know what to do to make girls like me." Camie says "Try being nice, not a perv. Try to be charming." Good advice, right?

The boy says, "I wear Dickies, and I sag. What more charming do they want?" Sigh. Good advice, clearly not understood.

Boys today seem to be missing the concept of kindness and compassion, and.... well.... charm.

Charm has nothing to do with how you look, but how you act. Charm is getting up and grabbing a straw for the girl who forgot to grab one in the lunch line. Charm is offering a pencil if someone forgot their own. Charm is telling a girl, "You look nice today", even if they really don't. Charm is being kind for it's own sake, not expecting anything in return. Kindness with an agenda is manipulation. Kindness for it's own sake is charming.

But boys today just don't understand that. They see feelings and compassion as failings and weakness. I wish they understood that it's not. It's actually strength in it's best form.

Think about it. Remember Happy Days, the TV show? Fonzi was the toughest tough on the block. But he was never mean to anyone. The best episodes I can remember usually were when Fonzi, the toughest guy on the block, did something very kind for someone much weaker. And he didn't do it with an agenda, he did it because, in the end, it made him feel good about himself, and because it helped his friends. We liked Fonzi because he was charming. He was strong, but kind and compassionate. We liked Richie Cunningham for the same reasons. He was kind and compassionate, and developed a strength of his own as the series wound on. Granted, this is a TV show, but the concept remains valid. Good TV characters reflect the values we cherish.

I hope the neighbor boy can learn to be charming some day. Clothing is NOT the key. How he acts is.

Although, in Fonzi's case, the leather jacket didn't hurt.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Big (oh)Brother

Paid Comcast yesterday with a hot check. Payday is tomorrow, so it should be all good. I read an article recently, explaining how the "float time" (the time it takes to process a check) very soon will be one day, or even less. No more check kiting. Has to do with a new federal law called "Check 21". It authorizes banks and institutions to accept a "substitute check" that will be submitted electronically by the banks to the check processing centers. Your original paper check will be destroyed, and you won't get it back. The new law goes into effect on October 28th, 2004. It's going to revolutionize how banking is done, and outside of running into it on the business page of the Sacramento Bee, I'd never even heard of this law. Its amazing how quiet such a huge change can be kept. Dang Feds, always mucking things up......

I'm in the market for a 12'x12' cabin in the deep woods. And an old manual typewriter. And lots of paper. And stamps. And gunpowder. And, uhm..... C4. Anyone selling?

Dang dishwasher isn't working right. Well, it actually started acting up about 2 months ago, I'm just such a procrastinator that I only yesterday called the manager to have the maintenance guy come look at it. Now I gotta clean up the apartment so I don't look like a slob when the guy comes in to check. Why can't they just fix it with mental telepathy and leave me alone? Is that too much to ask?

I think my cabin should be a little bigger, maybe 14'x14'. Need space for my gun cabinet.

Kids are off to school, and the apartment is really quiet. Lindsey left her alarm clock radio on, which would be annoying, save for the fact that it's playing classical music, which I like. But that leaves me confused. Why is my daughter's radio playing classical music?

I'm checking her room for space-alien bean-pods now.

And if you don't understand that reference, put down your beer because you're probably not old enough to drink. And if you are old enough to drink, and STILL don't understand the alien-bean-pod reference....well.... you need to get out more. Or maybe stay in and watch TV more?

I just don't know. But I decided my cabin will to be at least 16'X16', because wherever I wind up, I taking a freakin' queen-sized bed with me. Sleepin' on this twin-sized bed is for the birds....

Monday, August 23, 2004

Comcast Conundrum

Yeah, yeah, Troy, my e-mail doesn't work cuz I didn't pay the cable bill! LOL It'll get paid Thursday after payday. The suprising thing, though, is that although they blocked my e-mail, they didn't turn off the cable (internet or TV). Very odd... usually the way I know I didn't pay the cable bill is, when I get on the computer, web-pages won't load up. But everthing is working fine right now. Just keep yer fingers crossed that it works fine till Thursday.

Until then, e-mail me @ In fact, I just might start using that more, because yahoo won't turn it off for failure to pay!


So I'm up at 5:30 this morning, to make sure my kids wake up for the first day of school. That's right, August 23rd, and school is starting again. When I was little I remember dreading Labor Day, because school usually started the Tuesday after that. What's up with starting 2 weeks before labor day!?! Anyway... Kids get up and get dressed in their new school clothes, and I realize just how much they are growing up. Emily is already 18 and working, Lindsey is a Junior this year and turns 16 in a few weeks, and Camie is going into 8th grade. No wonder my hair is getting grey. LOL

I'm cooking bacon. I've had it in the 'fridge for a while, but the package says sell by August 28th. I think I'm safe, but I've had it in the fridge for a least 6-8 weeks. Hmmmm .... let ya know if I get sick.

Anyone know what E-coli looks like?

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Whine and Wine

I think I'm bi-polar. Well, ok... not really bi-polar, but I've been having some pretty massive mood swings lately. I don't usually show it on the outside, but on the inside, I've been going from feeling pleasantly happy to suddenly quite depressed. I think it has something to do with feeling tired from not getting enough sleep during the week, and horrible nutrition. I get irritable during the work week, which is pretty normal for a tired dad. I just don't want to be that way. I need to start getting to bed at about 9pm every work night, but that's so early!!!! Cheese with my whine, please....

Speaking of wine, I bought a nice bottle of Beringer's White Zinfandel the other day. There IS a difference between the better stuff (Beringer's) and the uber-cheap stuff. Beringer' is probably the best of the store wines. Sometimes I just need to sit down and have a glass. Helps the digestion, you know.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Children.... Argh!

Why do kids hate to do homework? I don't remember hating to DO homework, just remember not having much. Argh.... school starts Monday and I can already tell this year is going to be a battle with Lindsey. I don't want it to be a battle, but I need to figure out what motivates her. She is the most enigmatic teenager I've ever met. Not a bad teenager: in fact, she is a an absolute joy to have around. She's intelligent, well spoken, crazy cute (yeah, yeah, I'm her dad, but I know cute when I see it), and so well behaved.

She just hates school work. Sees no point in it. Thinks it's all stupid. I remember that those were revolutionary, world-shaking concepts when I had them back in high school, too. I was certain no one else had looked at life and schoolwork quite the same way I had. I was on the cutting edge of new thinking.

Sigh... I'm sure about every kid has come to the conclusion that school work has no application in real life, therefore it's stupid to do it. She'll get over it, I'm sure, but I can't just look the other way while she figures things out. That's part of my job, to help her figure things out. Hopefully, she'll let me do that, and not be resentful. I love her so much. I want what every parent wants for their kid: be happy and successful.

I was looking at the KCRA TV website today, and came across this story about a drunken bear.

I thought it was pretty funny.

Also, if you take a visit to the KCRA website, take a look at Deidre Fitzpatrick's daily journal from the 2004 Olympics in Athens. I know she's got an entire TV station to promote her, but she's actually pretty interesting and has some neat behind-the-scene insights.