Friday, December 29, 2006

More "Week of Fun" Updates

See original post for the status of the list. I can't cross off the office painting just yet, but we have the first coat on the wall: Galveston Grey.

Shoe Polish on the Basement Shelf

"Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousand of miles and all the years you have lived."
-Helen Keller (1880 - 1968)

The last two days have been filled with painting and some errands but there were also two trips down memory lane for me. Both memories were triggered by scent, making me wonder and appreciate the link between scent and memory. Both scents took me back to Sunday mornings and getting ready for church with my family.

One of the items that I have in my office is an old bottle of Alexander Julian "Colours" cologne of my father's that he used to liberally apply during his Sunday morning ritual. There are definitely other cologne and aftershave scents that would spark memories just as emotional, like Brut by Faberge, which would creep down the hallway with surprising intensity. To this day, I cannot imagine applying that much aftershave to my face after shaving. Those were different times. This particular bottle of cologne just happens to be the one that I took with me to Louisiana. It was a random item of my father's, salvaged when my mother was selling and packing up the house where we grew up. I don't do this very often, but there have been a few moments (yesterday being one of them) over the last years where I unscrew that cap and let that scent take me back to that Sunday morning church ritual. I most certainly never actually use any of that cologne.

This evening, after making our way back from several stores to return Christmas gifts (don't worry, not yours), I decided my black shoes were looking a little worn and tired. This led to the first time I have polished a pair of shoes in easily about 10 years, probably more. The smell of shoe polish was the second scent that took me back to Sunday mornings. Beyond the application of aftershave and cologne, another part of the church preparation routine was the requirement that we all polish our shoes. In addition to spiffing up our own shoes, it was not unheard of for us to spend some quality time with our father's shoes. I used to hate going to the steps that fed the basement and fetching the shoe polish box from the shelf in that dark hallway. I used to hate the act of polishing shoes even more. But tonight, it was pleasant and reminded me of all of those small fragments that would otherwise remain buried, hidden, and never recalled.

The Pursuit of Happyness

In the quest to use up free movie coupons, we went and watched The Pursuit of Happyness last night. First off, Will Smith does an awesome job in this film. It is pretty amazing to think back to the Fresh Prince and then think about this film and see the progression of this guy's career. If you are thinking of going to see this movie, know that the film is depressing but really good. Don't go in thinking that it is the feel good movie of the year or has more lines of comedy than you would see in the trailer.

Will Smith plays a man who is down and out on his luck, in a rocky marriage and raising a 5 year old boy. The film spans a period where things just keep getting worse for the main character and throughout the entire movie, events (and his own behavior) keep conspiring against him. What's really great about the film is the relationship between the father and the son and how this relationship provides the strength and inspiration for each to get through the really tough times. Smith acts as a narrator throughout the movie, interjecting mini-chapter headings to his life. These are a nice touch to the film and I see him being the potential heir to Morgan Freeman. Will Smith's actual son plays the boy in the film and does a really good job as well.

Overall, the movie was good. I was a little unprepared for how overwhelmingly sad the majority of the movie was. If that had not been the case, I might be saying that it was great.

Best of 2006 Lists

I am not opposed to the end of year list mania that takes over during this time of year. Some people experience list-fatigue or simply just find them annoying to begin with. I always enjoy looking back on a period and reflecting, and the truth is, the New Year is a good time to do so. As a result, there is a chance that I will be passing on some of the more interesting year end lists I find on to you all whenever I happen to find them (see Top 100 Wines). Feel free to add any of yours to the comments. If you happen to be a hater of year end lists, well...I can't help you there.

That said, I thought I would pass this one on that I found via kottke that was pretty interesting. This is the Top 10 Stories You Missed in 2006 as picked by Foreign Policy. Among them, I found #9 pretty interesting. I definitely missed any stories in the news about hallucinations or deaths related to Tamiflu.

Top 100 Wines

Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of the Year...I think I had 2 out of the 100 (maybe). Unfortunately most of these are out of my everyday price range. I may make a special trip to the local wine store and hunt for one of the rieslings on the list whenever I have the next chance to celebrate something. For wine fans out there, don't immediately write off this list as too pricey, there are some wines on here for less than $20.

Marvin Spectrum (or, How I Spent My Christmas Vacation)

So at some point prior to Christmas I made the mistake of trying this game out (Marvin Spectrum). It's simple, you use the arrow keys and 4 letter keys on your keyboard and just jump, duck, and dive around obstacles while catchy techno music plays. Not only is it simple, it's game crack and I have played it a lot the last week. My high score is 135 out of 155. Caution: Highly Addictive (for me at least, my wife likes Speed).

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Crouch Photo in Motion

The other day I posted a picture of Peter Crouch from SI's photos of the year. Turns out the video is even better. Stick around until the 38th, 42nd and 47th seconds in this clip and see the photo in action close up from 3 different angles. This shot is pretty amazing.

Lights Will Guide You Home

Lights Will Guide You Home (12/2006)

1. Pancho & Lefty ﻼ Delbert McClinton
2. My Ramblin' Heart ﻼ The Redstick Ramblers
3. Skipping Stones ﻼ Amos Lee
4. Fix You ﻼ Coldplay
5. Sunshine (Album Version) ﻼ Matt Costa
6. Nothing Left To Lose ﻼ Mat Kearney
7. God's Gonna Cut You Down ﻼ Johnny Cash
8. Soy Campesino ﻼ Ska Cubano
9. Lived in Bars ﻼ Cat Power
10. Slung-Lo ﻼ Erin McKeown
11. Float On ﻼ Modest Mouse
12. Tiger Fan ﻼ Drew Landry
13. Way Down the Old Plank Road ﻼ The Mammals
14. Bright Smile ﻼ Josh Ritter
15. 9 Crimes ﻼ Damien Rice
16. Sons & Daughters ﻼ The Decemberists
17. Chicago (Acoustic) ﻼ Mat Kearney
18. Around And Around ﻼ Mark Kozelek And Rachel Goswell
19. Decatur, Or, Round Of Applause For Your Stepmother! ﻼ Sufjan Stevens
20. Snow Is Gone ﻼ Josh Ritter
21. Origin Of Species ﻼ Chris Smither
22. That's What I Like About The South ﻼ The Redstick Ramblers

December's Mix was made for Nancy - hope you find something you like on it! Thanks for all of your awesome hospitality during the holidays. This is a mix of some old and new songs that I put together as a Christmas gift for her. For the observant folks out there, I skipped posting November's mix. It was made, just not posted, and consisted of a focus on world music. I might post the cover and track listing later this week while I take a break from the list of fun.

Checking Them Off

List Updates for the 'week of fun' have been made. See original post.

The Good Shepherd

While we were in Arkansas we went and watched The Good Shepherd with Angeline Jolie and Matt Damon. Overall review of this movie: excellent. The suspense builds in this movie as each piece of the puzzle falls into place. The storytelling was well done - a series of flashbacks and mysterious plot hints that traverse WWII and the Cold War, tracing the birth of the CIA through one man's life. Matt Damon does an excellent job in this film and I think that the imagery, color and music really set an excellent backdrop to depicting the shadowy and lonely world inhabited by these characters.

I don't think we have been to a movie theater in over a year. This was a nice way to get back into the swing of seeing a movie every once in a while. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Back In Louisiana

We're back in LA and plan on spending the rest of the week doing house work. Christmas was awesome. Great company, food and family.

On the list for the week:

1. Paint the office
2. Clean the office
3. Receive and assemble new desk for the office
4. Meet with the blind (or window dressing) consultant
5. Clean for the maid company (don't ask)
6. Our first ever visit from a maid company
7. A couple's massage (you can ask but I may not answer)
8. Use up coupons to free movies that expire by the end of the year
9. Join a health club
10. Beginner's yoga for the first time
11. Physical therapy
12. Clean the "shed" in the car port
13. Meet with plumber and let him fix the leak in the guest bath
14. Paint the master bath
15. Lower expectations and make this list shorter

My wife's list may be longer...but I am already intimidated by this one.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Garvan Woodland Gardens

We spent the early evening at Garvan Woodland Gardens to see the holiday light show and visit the Anthony Chapel. The architects of the Anthony Chapel have their roots with Frank Lloyd Wright. The building was really amazing. The walls were actually all glass so you looked out on the gardens while in the chapel. The majority of the rest of the building was all wood beams. The combined total was pretty striking.

Arkansas Sky

This is a photo from Little Rock, Arkansas, where just like every other town in America yesterday the holiday traffic was super enjoyable. It was overcast and a little rainy and this photo was taken as we were driving through town.

Photos of the Year has a cool Photo of the Year gallery up that has some pretty interesting images. The range of sports is pretty amazing in and of itself. I grabbed one of the two soccer images that they had. The other was Jan Koller scoring on Keller in the World Cup and I figure there is no need to relive that one.

This photo is of Peter Crouch, who plays for Liverpool in England. Crouch is a long tall lanky forward who is really fun to watch when he plays. Great in the air and does a great robot celebration when he scores. I don't think England played him nearly enough during the last World Cup. If he is still around in 2008, perhaps they'll rectify that situation.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Special Message

I wanted to take a moment and send out a special Merry Christmas message to a buddy of mine, his whole family, his amazing wife, their beautiful kids, and definitely their son Nathan. Honestly, being able to read that you guys are all together at home is wonderful.

Merry Cajun Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Headed to Arkansas

We're headed to Arkansas for Christmas this afternoon. I'll be around this forum occasionally during the holidays. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bradley Call His Camp Roster

Bradley is all over the news today...calling in his first MNT camp roster. I'm happy to see Jaqua, Conrad, Namoff, Eskandarian made the list. Check out the list from Yanks Abroad. I think it is funny to see some noted as MLS and some as USA. Anyone know why that may be?


Cannon, Joe Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)
Guzan, Brad Chivas USA (MLS)
Perkins, Troy DC United (MLS)
Reis, Matt New England Revolution (MLS)


Albright, Chris Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)
Boswell, Bobby DC United (USA)
Bornstein, Jonathan Chivas USA (USA)
Conrad, Jimmy Kansas City Wizards (MLS)
Namoff, Bryan DC United (USA)
Parkhurst, Michael New England Revolution (USA)
Pearce, Heath FC Nordsjælland (Denmark)
Robinson, Dasan Chicago Fire (USA)
Robinson, Eddie Houston Dynamo (USA)


Beckerman, Kyle Colorado Rapids (MLS)
Carroll, Brian DC United (MLS)
Clark, Ricardo Houston (MLS)
Dempsey, Clint New England Revolution (MLS)
Donovan, Landon Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)
Josh Gros DC United (USA)
Kljestan, Sacha Chivas USA (USA)
Mapp, Justin Chicago Fire (MLS)
Mastroeni, Pablo Colorado Rapids (MLS)
Mullan, Brian Houston Dynamo (USA)
Noonan, Pat New England Revolution (MLS)


Cooper, Kenny FC Dallas (USA)
Eskandarian, Alecko DC United (USA)
Jaqua, Nate Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)
Rolfe, Chris Chicago Fire (MLS)
Twellman, Taylor New England Revolution (MLS)

Tickets! U.S. MNT vs. Mexico, Feb. 7, 2007

It looks like my ticket is going to be for the zone right in front of my wife broke the news to me the other day that she won't be able to get out to AZ for the game. Bummer.

Name Dropping with Bob Bradley

USA Today has an interview posted with Bob Bradley. The majority of the interview consists of some very safe comments regarding his interim status, his relationship with Bruce and whether or not he will pick his son for the national team. However, he drops some names when asked about goal scorers and I like the names he is dropping.

"There are players when you look at MLS who have made their mark scoring goals — Taylor Twellman, Ante Razov. The most impressive about Josy Altidore was that in the latter part of the season for the Red Bulls is that he scored goals for his team. You want to look at which players now can score goals at the next level. Not all great goal-scorers in the domestic leagues around the world are great goal-scorers internationally. There's not an automatic transition. Another player in our league who has scored goals, and great goals at sometimes, is Alecko Eskandarian (D.C. United)."

We need new blood on this team and it appears that in addition to retirement, maybe Bob will bring in some changes. Granted, he also mentioned Ching (I took that name out) but I am not sold on him at the moment.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Full Wallbanger Commercial

For those of you who don't watch Fox Soccer Channel, here is the Wallbanger commercial that is quite possibly my favorite 60 seconds of TV to imitate at the moment. I love the accent. For those of you with Fox Soccer Channel, this version is actually extended and has never before seen footage...or at least footage that I have never seen in the states.

"Your heart beats for the game...Stick the action where you want."

(Try to leave you dirty mind comments at home...)

Cream of Broccoli Soup

This quote is courtesy of my wife, who is a big Peter King fan (MMQB on I like Peter King as well, but I really need to be in the mood to read his entire editorial. However, it is always a safe bet to skip to the latter half for the 'Ten Things I Think I Think' piece. This gem was in today's article.

"I could listen to Morgan Freeman read a list of ingredients for cream of broccoli soup and be captivated."

I still hate penguins...but I have yet to see March of Penguins, which is what inspired this nugget of wisdom which I agree with whole heartedly. I wonder if Morgan could make me like them?

Manchester United vs. West Ham

For those soccer fans out there who missed the Manchester United vs. West Ham game yesterday, you should definitely look for the re-run on Fox Soccer Channel this week. What an awesome game. Even if you know the result it doesn't matter. Back and forth action the whole time.

Plus, you get to watch Spector shut down Ronaldo. Well, ok...he didn't exactly shut him down totally but he did a pretty good job. I don't think I've ever seen anyone completely shut down that whining pretty boy and his endless bag of step over tricks.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Origin of Time's Person of the Year

So in response to a recent comment on how the Time Person of the Year award is a lame practice, I went and checked out the history of the award. Assuming Wikipedia is correct on this, it appears that the origin of the custom does nothing to strengthen its case for relevance.

"The tradition of selecting a Man of the Year began in 1927, when Time editors contemplated what they could write about during a slow news week. Primarily, they sought to remedy an editorial embarrassment from earlier that year when the magazine did not put aviator Charles Lindbergh on its cover following his historic trans-Atlantic flight. At the end of the year, they came up with the idea of a cover story about Charles Lindbergh being the 'Man of the Year.'"

Saturday, December 16, 2006


In 2005 Time picked Bill Gates for Person of the year. In a complete 360 for 2006, they have Also in the running was Kim Jong-il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In light of the other options, I think I am ok with this unconventional decision...

"'For seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, Time's Person of the Year for 2006 is you,' the magazine's Lev Grossman wrote."

Friday, December 15, 2006

USA vs. Mexico - It's On.

It's official. US Soccer posted the notice that tickets for the USA vs. Mexico game on February 7th go on sale on December 19th. The game will be aired on ESPN2. If I am lucky, I am headed out west to see Bob and his boys in person.

Comment Follow-Up: Manual Focus

Following up on a comment exchange this morning in the 300mm post, I am adding a photo I took with some of the manual settings on the Canon. This was a shot with no flash, 300mm lens and some manual focus settings. I am not a photography guru at all so if there are other relvant spec's (I did not adjust the aperture or shutter speed on this), I am in the dark.

Carlee really liked this one.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


For the second night in row the fog is as thick as pea soup outside. I decided to break out the the new camera and give it a spin. These are two shots of the street light through some live oak branches in our front yard.

Didier Yves Drogba Tébily

The NYT interviewed Didier Drogba recently and it is an interesting read. I love watching him play and cannot imagine how intimidating it would be to line up opposite from him. Some of his statements that I felt gave me some insight into his character follow.

On his ego:
"I’m not this kind of person to say I am the best. It is not for me to say. It is for the journalists and the fans of football. The game is a collective sport, not an individual sport. Look at a sport like tennis: it is easier to say that the best is Roger Federer. But in football, a striker cannot score alone. You need balls to come to you to perform. You can be the best striker, but if they don’t give you the ball it is difficult to perform."

On leaving Chelsea:
"But you always are thinking about fitting in with the best club and for me that club was Chelsea and with Jose [Manager Jose Mourinho]. He always has given me confidence and that is very important to me. Leave Chelsea? There’s just no point."

On American Soccer:
"What I really like about the States is that it is a very different culture. Who knows, maybe after my career I will go there to try something. In terms of football, I think it has improved a lot since the first time I was there four years ago. I like this team D.C. United. They are good and strong. And that young boy [Freddy] Adu is very good."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Fruit of the Sea

"Anyway, like I was sayin', shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that's about it."
- Bubba in Forrest Gump

We made shrimp scampi for dinner tonight. The particular recipe we make is out of this world. It includes one stick of butter, white wine, olive oil, Italian bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, angel hair pasta, red pepper and Tabasco. Of course, it also includes shrimp.

One cool thing about living where we do is that we are close to a good source of shrimp. Right now we actually have 20 pounds of shrimp frozen in our freezer. Yes, 20 lbs. It cost $50 or $2.50 a pound. That beats any grocery store price I have ever seen and it came right off the shrimp boat (via a friend of ours) in Delcambre, Louisiana.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ötzi's Arrows

In 1991 on the border between Austria and Italy, a frozen mummy was found and was named Ötzi. Some people refer to him with the familiar form of his name, Frozen Fritz. Ötzi, according to Wikipedia, is Europe's oldest natural human mummy. A couple of interesting facts about our friend Frozen Fritz:
  • He had 57 tattoos.
  • His shoes were so cool that they have been replicated using boiled liver and pig brains and have been bought by a Czech footwear company for modern day production.
  • He made arrows with a plant named viburnum. Viburnum happens to be the same plant in our backyard (it constitutes 50% of the hedge bordering one corner) that I recently killed by trimming it right before the December frost.
Looks like Ötzi and the viburnum are not well equipped for the winter. Lesson learned. Click here for a picture of Ötzi (I thought it looked a little weird to post directly).

Tree Ornaments

We decorated our Christmas tree this weekend and I am getting into the Christmas spirit these days. I can tell because I am really motivated to not work. Here are a few pictures I took of some of my more favorite ornaments (although it is tough to pick favorites). Clicking on each image takes you to a high res version. Happy holidays.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Pick Your Wallbanger

"The biggest thing to ever hit your wall!"

Repetition works if it is with an English accent. If I had $150 bucks to burn would I have a Ballack or a Terry on my wall? Not sure yet. The Wallbanger phenomena gets bigger and bigger. Not satisfied with the current selection of possible EPL Wallbangers? You can go vote and get your team on the product list by emailing the company at Start the spam now for your life size Pele in a Cosmos uniform. If you are really vested with me, email Fatheads too (

Wallbangers has already built up a list of possible selections that are next in line. So go here and make sure the US Women's National Team becomes the next Wallbanger hit. That's right, the women's team is on the list and the US MNT is not. Good times.

Catch up on Wallbangers here and here.

Like Most Americans...

" 'Like most Americans, this administration wants to succeed in Iraq,' the president said after 90 minutes of discussions and a briefing from Baghdad. 'We understand success in Iraq will help protect the United States in the long run.' "

This was a quote in a CNN article today. I know I shouldn't be picky when it comes to word choices and turns of phrases used by the President, but I couldn't help notice this one. "Like most Americans..." I just find that wording a little odd.

I would assume that all sane Americans want to see this crises end. Thus, I read this phrase as a subtle indication that if you don't agree with the President's definition of success, that you really just want Iraq to be a failure. It is a lot like the maneuvering that led to the rather annoying sentiment of: If you don't support the war, you don't support the troops.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


This past weekend I was at a Christmas party and had a very casual and everyday exchange with someone who knows enough about me to know when I go on vacation, but probably does not know enough about me to know what I do for a living. A casual acquaintance, a casual encounter. We had a basic conversational exchange that probably made no major impression on either of us at the time. However, upon reflection, I think the exchange was really interesting and shows some subtle differences on world views.

We were talking about the chance Carlee and I had to go to the World Cup this past summer in Germany. Here is the two sentence exchange that I consider thought provoking.

Him: You guys were really blessed to go to those games in Germany.
Me: Yea, we were really lucky to get tickets.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Lawn Ornaments

We bought a new digital SLR camera today, Canon's Rebel XTi and it is a pretty intense camera which will probably be keeping me plenty busy. After reading the instructions and setting up the basics, I took it on a trial run. This is a photo of two lawn ornaments in our backyard. Clicking on the image will get you to the full size shot.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I Stand Corrected - New Pearl Jam

I stand corrected. In new Pearl Jam news, go here and check out this tune (again courtesy of I AM FUEL, YOU ARE FRIENDS). This is a cover of a Israel Kamakawiwo'ole tune called Hawai'i 78. Drums, Piano, very little guitar, and Eddie doing his thing. It's the best "new" Pearl Jam I have heard in years. Iz plays a great cover of Somewhere Over the Rainbow that is up there on the mix Carlee and I made for our wedding. Song snippet follows.

How would he feel
would his smiles be content
rather then cry
cry for the gods, cry for the people
cry for the lands that were taken away
and in it you'll find Hawaii

It's Official: Bob has Two Jobs

So US Soccer made the formal announcement today, Bob Bradley is the new MNT coach. It is in an interim capacity. I could find no mention on the US Soccer website for how long "interim" means. Here is the part of the press release that I found really interesting:

"U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati has named Bob Bradley as Interim Head Coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team and Head Coach of the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team."

So he is coaching 2 teams? Maybe I don't understand the structure and make up of the Olympic program vs. the official MNT program. Is it normal to have one coach do both jobs? At first, I thought this was a really stupid move. Then I wondered if it provides an umbrella under which he can manage all potential talent. In the end, my gut reaction is that it doesn't seem to make sense to me. How can he coach both teams?

Pickled Christmas

If this referenced Steck's Delicatessen Pickles, it would be perfect.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Crying Wolff

So Josh Wolff just signed with the German club 1860 Munich. He is the second American on the team (Gregg Berhalter is the other). Well, the Germans must not be watching the same Josh Wolff that I see all the time. The guy certainly has a knack for creating and getting involved in dangerous situations, but (IMHO) he also has a knack for not being able to finish. He is the ultimate fan tease.

You can read the story over at Yanks Abroad. Let's hope Klinsmann has a better player filter before he picks his first roster.

I Am Looking For...

Search terms that have brought people to this blog in the last 6 weeks include following list below.

Looks like the US v Mexico game is almost as hot as Wallbangers or Castro. The castro/adidas story is funny. I posted about Castro signing a deal with Adidas and this Spanish website ended up linking a post back to me - click here to translate this for me. I can't really tell what they are saying.

portastatic be still please yousendit
the poor don't get shit on
city of falling angels
benjamin moore dry sage
castro adidas
jack kerouac
Astakos sacked
guard your honour let your reputation fall where it will and outlive the bastards
the highwaymen
mexico vs usa february 2007
us vs mexico february
mexico vs usa february 2007
usa vs. mexico february 2007 glendale
greg laswell
danny malone
you are the rake
weslaco life
krewe of xanadu
daschund animated gif
epl life size wall decals
giant soccer wall crests
wall banger fox channel
morningwood mercury commercial

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

When You Are in a Wall

So I was watching the MLS a while back and Eric Wynalda was criticizing the guys in the wall on a free kick for not jumping. I never jump. I was taught to never jump. I was confused that Wynalda would declare that jumping was a must.

Tonight, watching Barcelona defend the Champions League, I think I was proven right. See picture below. Who should I trust, Ronaldinho (as he passes the ball under the wall to score today)? Or Wynalda (as he adds his tired, superior comments to a broadcast)?

Klinsmann Hired!

We have a new US Men's Soccer National Team Coach. Assuming we can trust, it is a done deal. Go check it out.

Don't Tread on Me.

Xmas Jam

The only kind of Pearl Jam I like these days is the old kind. If you are of the same mind set, go check out this post on I AM FUEL, YOU ARE FRIENDS and download all of their xmas singles. Nice.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Fat Head Wallbangers

I am watching Monday Night Football and the Fathead commercial hits. Did you see it? It is a total rip off of Wallbangers! Without the British accent and with a crappy name! The website for Fatheads may have more variety though. For my loyal readers:
  • Retired: There's a Vader Fathead. Don't let your son see this website.
  • Sineddie: The Dallas Cheerleaders are on here. Buy one.
Note that Fatheads are $35 more expensive then Wallbangers. Now, if I was an true American advertiser, I would combine the Dallas cheerleaders with Wallbangers and pull a major entrepreneurial coup.

Driving with Morningwood

Speaking of advertising, I couldn't help but notice the new Mercury commercial on TV the other day. Not because I like Mercury cars but because of the song that is playing in the background. The name of the song is Nth Degree by a band named Morningwood. The song is really good actually and you can listen to it here on their MySpace page. I almost put it on my monthly mix in August but thought it had some baggage associated with me a prude.

The commercial subtly omits the chorus segment that includes the female lead singer spelling out the word: "M-o-r-n-i-n-g-w-o-o-d". Towards the end of the song, this spelling is followed by the phrase "and harder!" The middle of the song rocks - she whispers the spelling over and over and then starts screaming it. Of course, you might get some weird looks as you cruise down the road in your pimped out Mercury screaming Morningwood out the window.

I actually really like this song and maybe Mercury will convince me to throw it on a mix. Next time you see the Mercury commercial, listen for the chorus. Good times.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Successful Advertising

50% of my time watching television is watching Fox Soccer Channel - mostly English Premier League games. This channel must have an interesting demographic and limited advertisers. The commercials in between games and at halftime (no commercials during the game) are pretty cheesy and repeat over and over. The three best right now are:
  • Wallbangers: Giant life size stickers of EPL soccer players or team crests that you can put on you wall. Sweet. The commercial announcer has this great British accent. You can normally find me walking around the house shouting "Wallbangers!" for about half the day.
  • Chaser: This commercial shows two 35-40 year olds talking about hangovers. One took chaser and feels great after their night of ninge drinking. The other failed to take Chaser. This one might be better if it was done with a British accent. Right now, I just fast forward through it. Now Wallbangers on the other hand...I rewind that one and watch it just for fun.
  • Footability: Two college soccer players made a soccer training video, a "..MUST HAVE technical footwork system.". Why is there some part of me that wants to see this thing? Don't know. But it is clearly not aimed at a 31 year old who is well past his prime...
If I keep watching EPL, I just might have to start binge drinking while I stare at the giant picture of Rooney on my wall. The next morning, I will be able to go out and train because I took Chaser.

***Update: One wallbanger of your favorite player costs $115. Go get yours now. ***

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

If Christmas Offends You...

I had let this go for a while...but I need to bring it up now. I was locked out of my hotel room tonight, key wouldn't work. While I am in the hotel lobby waiting for assistance, the TV was on the Greg Beck show. Never seen it? Consider yourself lucky. It is the perfect piece of news-making muck throwing uninformed television that passes for "news" these days. Every channel has it from Fox to CNN, from conservative to liberal. So I am sitting there ringing the counter bell and the guest on the GB show says:

If Christmas offends you, just go join Al-Qaeda.

Nice. Now, to be clear, Christmas does not offend me. It's presence in Wal-Mart does not offend me. I celebrate Christmas. I am a religious person (albeit non-traditional in my beliefs). On the flip side though, if it offends you, I don't care. I certainly won't say that this qualifies you to be a terrorist though. Pretty big jump. Talk of Christmas being offensive is as offensive as penguins.

I first heard of Greg Beck because of the clip I pasted below. This is seriously funny yet disturbing at the same time. You have to watch this. It will blow your mind. It is the clip I let go of and decided to not go find and post. However, when you lock me out of my hotel room and subject me to ignorant drivel, I need to vent. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I Think I Hate Penguins

Somewhere along the way in the last year, penguins became the new in thing. Multiple movies: documentary and cartoon. Dancing penguins singing annoying songs. As I was flying up to Virginia this week, penguins were on about 33% of the airport "billboards" that line the hallways and gates in the airports I traveled through. Maybe I am just tired and needed a week at home after Thanksgiving. Or maybe I hate penguins. Either way, it needs to stop.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Mexican Pilgrims?

We were at a going away party for our friend last night and I asked a really dumb question. It was one of those moments that as soon as the words escape, you regret them. I was talking to a friend from Mexico about his Thanksgiving and asked:

So, do they celebrate Thanksgiving in Mexico?

I had my first Turducken (a combination of turkey, duck, and chicken plus some stuffing) at that party. It did not inspire me to have it a second time. However, I had some of the best gumbo I have ever had. I asked what kind of gumbo it was and the response was:

It's 'what you got' gumbo.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Where The Streets Have No Names

We're headed out west for a few days to Arizona. I hear they don't have internet or phone lines out there. They also do something weird with their clocks and time zones. Anyway. I may be taking a few days off because I'll be too busy missing electricity. Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Weslaco, TX

Weslaco, TX

There is that momentary pause when
a day hits with the repeating town you never heard of.

'The meaning of life is Weslaco,' she says,
sipping a Barq's
in an insulated glass.
If not the name, the repetition.

If not the coordinates, the speaker.

There is a momentary message in that silence,

that Jungian hint of madness, when she asks what
she wants,
a puppeteer
pulling love's arm strings and implicit ok's.

There is that float on current, it's too late acceptance.

You're here and it's half over in that

Texas town you never heard of.

It's just tide, message or pause.

'It's just Weslaco' you assure her.

An Inconvenient Truth

I watched An Inconvenient Truth the other day and found the movie fascinating. I definitely recommend it, even if you are not a fan of Al Gore. Of course, you will have to get past listening to Al for 90 minutes or so, but his message is compelling.

The film presents an excellent perspective on climate change and is a call to action for each of us to get involved in what is, at its core, an ethical issue. If you think climate change and global warming is a myth, you should watch this movie. Not because I think it will be a mechanism to change your mind, but just because it will probably introduce you to some perspectives and science that you will need if you are attempting to make an informed decision on the matter.

An immediate result of watching the film for me, was that I have become much more interested in becoming better informed about climate change. Thus, I am starting to try to identify reliable resources to facilitate that. One of the random items I found when doing some online research was NASA's satellite tracking utility for earth observing satellites (J-Track). A screen shot of this utility is below. I came across this item after checking out the Earth Observing System homepage of the Goddard Space Flight Center.

The EOS, "includes a series of satellites, a science component, and a data system supporting a coordinated series of polar-orbiting and low inclination satellites for long-term global observations of the land surface, biosphere, solid Earth, atmosphere, and oceans." Cool stuff.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Period of Consequences

"The era of procrastination, of half measures,
of soothing and baffling expedience of delays, is coming to a close.
In its place we are entering a period of consequences."

Drink Your Blood

I didn't intend this particular mix to really have too much of an October theme when I put it together. However, when I started to arrange the songs, I noticed that it really did have a Halloween vibe at points. That's why I picked the Edvard Munch painting "Vampire" for the cover. Drop a note in the comments, email me, or call if you want a copy.

Shut Your Eyes ×× Snow Patrol
Oh My ×× Office
Diggin a Grave ×× Micah P Hinson
Sailboat Mind ×× Tom Langford
The Crane Wife 3 ×× The Decemberists
New Shoes ×× Paolo Nutini
Blah Blah Blah ×× Say Hi To Your Mom
Le Disko ×× Shiny Toy Guns
Collarbone ×× Fujiya & Miyagi
Did I Step On Your Trumpet ×× Danielson
You Are Free ×× Joseph Arthur
I Am Not Alive ×× Danny Malone
Deportee ×× Ox
Somerville ×× Pernice Brothers
Winterlight ×× Roman Candle
Open Your Eyes ×× Snow Patrol
Gold Heart Mountain Top Queen Directory ××...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
Sing, Theresa Says ×× Greg Laswell
The Orchids ×× Califone
How We Operate ×× Gomez

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I Know Famous People

Another update on the Festival of Trees event. Here is a movie published on our local newspaper's site where Carlee is interviewed.

Hey "Retired": Two of your children make guests appearances!

Festival of Trees Recap

The gala night for Festival of Trees was an overwhelming success. Tons of people, intimate atmosphere, excellent food, and fun live/silent bidding on auction items. The big item of the night was a painting by local artist Carl Groh, whose work can be seen in the National Portrait Gallery as well as the Smithsonian. He is also featured in the private collections of both Georgetown and Fordham Universities. The painting was really impressive in person and the image below does not do it justice. The painting sold for $20,000. I was out bid after $6K and knew I had no chance. However, making that one bid was pretty fun. I had my < 1 minute of fame as the mystery bidder dressed in all black in the back of the room.

Update: Here is a short on-line article about the event in our local newspaper.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Kicking off the Christmas Season

Normally, this would be a sarcastic posting about something trite, like say, the appearance of Christmas paraphernalia in stores already. However, this is actually a more serious post. Today is the kick-off for the Christmas season in Lafayette with Acadiana Youth's Festival of Trees event. This event consumes my wife's time for about 50% of the year (or more) - she fills up the rest of her time with Weboggle. It is the biggest and most complex fund raiser for the agency.

Acadiana Youth is a non-profit that provides a safe haven for abused and troubled children. They have separate shelters targeting specific needs for these children in our area. The Festival of Trees is a really special event - one of the central concepts is the donation of a lot of Christmas Trees by local artists and business that decorate the trees with special themes. For example, there is a LSU Tigers tree and a UL Rajun Cajun tree. There are trees specific to pets, colors, cartoon characters (Charlie Brown), and of course, my possible favorite, the tree decorated by a kindergarten class. There is something about homemade children ornaments that I really like. It must remind me of my youth.

The event has two famility nights where kids get to participate in all sorts of fun activities, including getting your picture with Santa. Tonight is the gala event, which includes free food from the best local restaurants and a silent and live auction. I love the silent auction. I get to bid on all sorts of wacky stuff that probably becomes your Christmas present. Last year I got a gift certificate to a local biker shop. Going there to find something to buy was a very interesting experience to say the least.

Go to this website to learn more about the event and Acadiana Youth.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Let me count the ways...

Why I love the show:

1. Barking at a bathroom scale
2. Talking to your boxer briefs
3. "Moving clock hands in real time" competition
4. World record time for touching every part of your body
5. Phone Dancing
6. Seeing (1-5) in about 3 minutes or less.

"...the word poetry certainly comes to mind..."

US vs Denmark

US vs. Denmark is scheduled for Jan 20th in Carson, CA. Hmm...Who can I visit out there?

Along with this game announcement in my inbox, the email stated that this game will be "the Debut of New Head Coach of the MNT." I wonder who it will be? Over at the Washington Post, they believe it is Klinsmann:

"For all my soccer-luvin' peeps out there. Some well connected people tell me Klinsi has essentially agreed to the US job financially, but it's being held up 'cause he does not want to take over full-time until Jan. 2008. On the surface, no big deal, since WC qualifying will not really be underway yet, but the USSF is making a bold step by going to the Copa America this summer - as well as the Gold Cup - so would want Klinsi to start sooner. Klinsi would be around, but Sigi Schmidt would coach the team full-time in 2007. Anyway, that's just what I've heard ..."

The text above is quoted from the end of the post found at this link. It is brought to via du Nord - a quality soccer blog.

The Tell-Tale Heart

Even though this topic just makes my stomach turn, I need to express my disbelief in public. OJ Simpson defies my understanding. In a recent interview, he discussed how he would have killed his wife if indeed he was the one who did it. This just has to be the sign of someone who wants to come out and confess.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

In a Fortune Cookie

I drove my wife to Baton Rouge for class today. We ended up having dinner at P.F. Chang's which is always a guaranteed meal in my book. Normally, the drivel in the fortune cookie is something you throw out..but for some reason this stuck with me. A nugget of wisdom from a mass produced artifact?

"It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end."

If you are a betting man or woman and want to play the lottery. Try these.

4 16 26 32 35 Powerball # = 2

Monday, November 13, 2006


I just upgraded to the new blogger so you may see some small (or big) changes in the all depends on how much free time and insomnia mix and mingle. This is just fair warning. Feedback or suggestions for improvement are of course, always welcome.

Barista Banter

Barista: Hey, what are you guys up to tonight?
Me: Well, I am trying to figure out how to make that caramel flavor in your hot apple cider drink last longer.
Barista: We could put more on top.
Me: That's the problem, it is only on top.
Barista: Let's put it on the bottom. Next time you order it, ask for an "grande upside down on top hot apple cider."

It worked pretty good. The caramel lasted longer. New drink invented.

Treating the Symptoms

Even when CNN tries to tell a news story, I think the fail. Is it news worthy any more when the latest al Qaeda leader is captured somewhere? And this was one that was previously captured, escaped, and was now recaptured. Is it a sign that I have a short attention span that I feel that this just isn't important anymore? Or is it simply that the capture and detainment of these figures really seems to have no impact on any matters that I am ever made aware of? I wonder when I will read the news story about public opinion in the Arab world shifting in our favor? I would be willing to bet that CNN would not put it on one of their breaking news headlines despite the fact that it would probably be the first step to a real solution.

Bluerunners and The Blue Moon Saloon

Since I'm talking local music and wedding memories, here is a great video for you of a band from Lafayette called The Bluerunners. I've caught these guys at the Blue Moon Saloon multiple times and it's always a blast. The Blue Moon happens to the bar that Carlee and I headed out to after we got married and after the wedding reception closed shop. That was a great night.

This video is courtesy of Almena Films, which has a bunch of cool videos online - and a couple more from the Blue Moon.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Blackpot Festival

Well, the birthday weekend is over and it had its peaks and valleys. I had two awesome dinners. One at a friend's house (wild pig with a balsamic glaze) and one at a great area restaurant courtesy of Carlee's mom. Thanks to both hosts! Another highlight was the couple of hours I spent at the Blackpot Festival. This was the first year of the festival which celebrated roots music in Louisiana as well as traditional black pot cooking. I had some kick ass Gumbo aux herbes and and my first ever (and probably last ever) taste of cracklin.

The band line up included Feufollet, Corey Ledet & Cedric Watson, Racines (Steve Riley, Kevin Wimmer & Mitch Reed), Pine Leaf Boys, The Figs, Drew Landry, Louisiana Purchase Bluegrass Band, Jay Ungar & Molly Mason, Ann Savoy & Her Sleepless Knights, Bonsoir Catin (I missed them...which is too bad because this is our friend's new band. You first read about her here.), and the Red Stick Ramblers (highly recommended). Check out information on all of these great bands here.

I ended up just catching Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, who happen to be the musicians who wrote the first song I ever danced to with my wife, The Lover's Waltz. It was really special to see it played by the original musicians. If you have ever seen the Ken Burn's Civil War series, you may have heard their song Ashokan Farewell - another song that was played at our wedding.

All in all, it was a great weekend. I ended up missing the MLS final though...our DVR mysteriously deleted the recording when we paused it and made dinner this evening. Cox is going to get an earful tomorrow from this grumpy old man.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Thirty One

"Boys will be boys, and so will a lot of middle-aged men."
- Kin Hubbard

Thirty One
  • The atomic number of gallium
  • The code for international direct-dial phone calls to the Netherlands
  • A type of card game
  • The number of flavors of Baskin Robbins ice cream
  • Turkish slang for masturbation
  • My age as of today.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Selective Energy

I'm thinking of starting to sell my crap on eBay. Hmmm... I wonder if I'll have enough time or energy to really do that? I have a tough time making the bed.

USA vs Mexico - February 2007,

Mark your calendars for February. It appears that USA v Mexico is going to be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ . The US Soccer website hasn't posted this information so it may not be 100% yet.

I'm ready for 2010 South Africa myself...but I'll settle for Arizona at the moment.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cure For Pain

Find yourself with a little angst over election results? This is guaranteed to make you laugh.

Best quote:

"The Democrats have only been in power for a few minutes and they've already got us stuck in this un-winnable war."

Rutgers Wins!

That was a great ending to a game.

In the "Wish I Was There" Category

Due to the recent pressure I have been receiving to acknowledge my Jersey roots, I am watching the Rutgers v Louisville game. The stadium is rocking and it is 25-22 Louisville in the 4th quarter. Wish I was there. Go Knights.

I Am Not a Soap Opera Star

First, to be perfectly clear, I do not watch Soap Operas. My wife does. She Tivos Days of Our Lives and watches it at night. Well, last night they introduced a new character that had her exclaim: "This is one of the funniest things I have ever seen!" Here is the description of the character.
  • Tall and skinny
  • Wears glasses
  • Went to RPI
  • Was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at RPI
  • Kind of a geek
  • Dances by himself on a regular basis
  • Has a blog
Yea. I am not kidding. In case you don't know the details, I was a Pike at RPI as well. While there (I am ok with admitting this), I danced by myself at some fraternity parties. I wasn't sober, but I did it.

So yes. Someone I know could be on the writing staff at Days of Our Lives.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"Next Blog" Finds?

Do I have time for this? Not sure. But I tried tonight and clicked through 5 or so "Next Blogs" on the Blogger bar you see at the top of this site. I thought this one spoke for itself. It is from Macau.

Am I the only one who has ever clicked that Next Blog button?

Reflecting on Voting

I was reading a news article online about the political shake up that is going on and it was the first time I read the phrase: "a lame-duck president." Interesting.

I don't often speak about my political views in this forum but I do have a personal observation about the last day or so. I pride myself on being an independent and I think that people who vote strictly on party lines are usually not providing democracy with the respect it deserves.

However, I also pride myself on being honest. I spent yesterday morning researching the candidates (as well as all of the other issues on the ballot) in my election. In addition to my research, there was another factor that weighed on my choice before I went out to vote. I really did feel that my vote was one way to send a message to the Republican party. That emotion was one I could not stop myself from having. It weighed into my choice. It was a "party line" way of thinking but I am not ashamed of it in this particular case.

Michael Oher & The Blind Side (part 2)

Ok. So I finished The Blind Side this morning with my cup of coffee. The book just gets better after I last touched base with you on it. Let me reiterate, this book is much more than a book about football. For anyone who enjoys reading true stories about success and inspiration, you will enjoy this. If you enjoy thinking about things like nature vs. nurture, this is a great case study. And of course, if you have an interest in football, you won't be let down. So...what happens to Michael? Don't worry, I won't ruin the ending for you. But if you like, you can find out for yourself by following the links below:
The blurry picture in this post is Michael in high school. I would not want to be that quarterback.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I Can't Spell

So I consider myself a bad speller. I actually may not be all that bad. Maybe I just have expectations that are a little too high. I definitely have my problem words though. Some are more "usage" than spelling. The top 3 that come to mind are:

1. definitely
2. succeed
3. then or than?

In fact, every time I post here, I paste the text into MS Word and check my spelling. Not anymore though. This past weekend, in between games of weboggle, I upgraded to Firefox 2.0. It has a built in web form spell checker. Sweet. Too bad it can't fix my grammar then/than I would be all set.

Get Out the Vote

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis

I've read a couple books by Michael Lewis (The New New Thing and Moneyball) and they were both really interesting. I picked up his latest book The Blind Side recently and it is one that I will recommend to anyone (football fan or not). The Blind Side tells the story of Michael Oher, a boy in Memphis who is adopted by a wealthy white family. Michael is no ordinary kid. He turns into a 300 lb high school football player with the agility of a ballerina. His grade school aptitude tests show him scoring in the lowest percentile of skill sets for all things except one: "Protective Instinct." Naturally, he becomes the best left tackle in the country within one year of being discovered. Michael takes his high school team to a state championship and goes on to be recruited by the top college teams in the country...

...that's as far as I have gotten. Sorry. So I have no idea if this kid become a college football star, a NFL rookie of the year, or fades into oblivion. It is a true story and you better not ruin the ending for me.

I never thought I would be interested in a football book. However, this book combines a unique human interest story about different worlds colliding, with some incredible sports writing. The writing is smooth and Lewis builds suspense and plot like a great fiction writer. He introduces each character in Michael's life and paints them really well. At the same time, he blends in great football anecdotes and teaches you a little bit about the game. So far, this is a great book all around. Highly recommended.