Monday, July 31, 2006
La Leche League
Don't know why that last post double posted, and I don't know where I was going with it. But I saw a lady breast-feeding in a restaurant the other day. She had a large blanket covering the upper half of her body. Weirdo, I thought, and then realized that maybe there was a hungry baby under there. I think the solution is: Moms) Try and be discrete. Cover yourself and then whip out the boob and then let the kid latch on. Everyone else) You were a baby too once, and hopefully you were breastfed. Let these poor mothers feed their baby in peace. No dirty looks, no comments, just register it and go about your day. Unless there is a boob exposed for longer than 3 seconds, don't say anything. And if there is exposed boobage, offer a handkerchief or other small piece of fabric. Or enjoy the show.
We had an autocross on Saturday and we made the news! Not for a 15 car crash either. Fox News was in town for a ladies football clinic and the camera guy saw us and thought it was news worthy (and I guess it is on a slow news Saturday in the Upstate). But the story opened with a shot of a car on course, then to another car getting ready to go and then it cut to a shot of 3 cars and mine is in the center! Focus is a celebrity! I really couldn't believe it and Protege's car was right next to mine and after the 3 car shot they went to a close-up of the front of his car. It was great and of course I Tivoed it. Hopefully we can figure out a way to get it off of there and on to the internet for everyone to see.
Also got my tux finalized. It's this one
and we're going with an apple tie, no vest. Gold trim on the buttons and cufflinks and squarish shoes. So if you're one of my groomsmen or my father or future father in law, please go to the nearest After Hours tux place and get fitted, give them my last name, when the wedding is (Nov. 4) and the home store (Haywood Mall, Greenville, SC) and give them a $20 deposit. The total is $104 plus tax. It wasn't my favorite but it's going to be the easiest with it being a national chain and all. So everyone can pick up their tux in their respective hometown and then we can all return them in Orlando. Nice and easy.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Apparently this image
on the cover of "Babytalk Magazine" sparked some controversy. Just a few choice quotes and my comments before we dive into the issue:
One mother who didn't like the cover explains she was concerned about her 13-year-old son seeing it. "I shredded it," said Gayle Ash, of Belton, Texas, in a telephone interview. "A breast is a breast -- it's a sexual thing. He didn't need to see that."
That's good. Don't distinguish between porn and breast-feeding, that's a great lesson for kids. And the same Texan said
"I'm totally supportive of it -- I just don't like the flashing," she said. "I don't want my son or husband to accidentally see a breast they didn't want to see."
For the record, all men all the time want to see breasts, I'm even going to put gay men in this category because they get to see them less than most men and I think they're intrigued by them. And you don't want your husband to see your breast? WTF mate? I assume he saw them at least twice before or did you copulate through a hole in a sheet?
Babytalk editor Susan Kane says the mixed response to the cover clearly echoes the larger debate over breast-feeding in public. "There's a huge Puritanical streak in Americans," she said, "and there's a squeamishness about seeing a body part -- even part of a body part."
"It's not like women are whipping them out with tassels on them," she added. "Mostly, they are trying to be discreet."
Hehehe, tassels. I'm sure someone is already marketing absorbent tassels as we speak.
"Gross, I am sick of seeing a baby attached to a boob," wrote Lauren, a mother of a 4-month-old.
Harsh. Good luck kid.
Gotta jet, but we'll finish this later.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Slurm: It's Highly Addictive!
We hung out with Little Brother last night, watching TV, playing some video games, a very low-key night. And we're taking him out to lunch today for his last "soul food" meal. There is a lunch buffet in Central, the Central Station Cafe, and they serve lunch all week and brunch on Sunday. It's $6 and that includes a drink. Can't beat that with a stick. At the beginning they have a salad bar, then the mixed salads and cottage cheese. Then some traditional sides: collared greens, green beans, broccoli casserole, mac & cheese (J's favorite, she is constantly on the look-out for it), potatoes of some sort. Then the meats, usually fried chicken, meat loaf, occasionally chicken & dumplin's (No g's in the south ala banana puddin') and on Fridays it's seafood day which means fried catfish and fried shrimp and hush puppies. For a while there we somehow only ate there on Fridays and I got kind of tired of it, so we switched days. We don't really eat there alot, but since it's so delicious and so inexpensive, it is one of our favorite lunch destinations. That and they have the same ladies working there ever since I starting eating there, some 5 years ago.
Which brings me to what has been eating at me recently. I need to get off my ass. ESC is freakin' out trying to write her dissertation and the grad students who graduated before me had a tough time too. Which is why I need to start writing now. RIGHT now. It helps get all your thoughts together and see if there are any holes that need to be addressed. And this August will start my 6th year of grad school. That's a long time. Not the longest, but it's getting there. I did switch groups after my first year, so this will only be my 5th year in the group but it's still time to get out. So with your help and help from J, we can do this!
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Hezbollah and you!
I kind of want to discuss this with our Isreali faculty member but I'm scared and don't really know enough about the situation to have an intelligent conversation. I figure my responses would mostly be "Really? I didn't know that."
Little Brother came into town this morning at 8:15ish. I was in the shower so I missed his call, but he went downtown and remembered how to get to my house, so I called him back and he was in my parking lot. But he parked in our "neighbor's" parking lot, the one who tows us, so I moved his (my grandmother's old) car ('93 Buick Century) over to our lot. As I'm hopping out I hear Crazy pipe up and ask who owns the black car. "It's a Focus and don't you forget it biatch!" I think, but it's too early for all that, so I answer "it's mine". He needs to do some strut work on his Taurus and wants a level surface. Sure I'll move it, "You sir are a gentleman and a scholar," was his response. I'm surprised he didn't have a beer.
So after playing valet, and getting shitty tips mind you, I finally hop into my 3rd car of the morning and come to work.
Little Brother dropped Dad off this morning at ATL (the actual airport, not downtown somewhere) and then headed up here. They left B'ham at 3 am and my dad drove to the airport and then LB drove up here. Unfortunately, he's only staying until tomorrow. He's a busy man who is leaving for freakin' Africa on Tues. and he'll be gone at least 2 years. I'm fairly certain that will be the longest time for me to go without seeing him. My parents don't live in this country and I still see them at least once a year, sometimes twice. So I'm gonna miss him and really hope he stays in contact, either email or maybe he could start a blog? It's easier than email, IMHO. So Little Brother, I command you to start a blog and update at least twice a week.
J stayed up all night last night. She finally came to bed around 6 or so, but not because she was sleepy or she missed me, but because the internet went out. She was up all night working on her new myspace page and hopefully her blog too. Nope, no new posts and I'm linked under "My Baby!". Not sure how I feel about that. She did add a few links though, all cute or cat related. And PostSecret is in there too.
We also went pseudo-car shopping, but I'll get into that later.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Road to Nowhere
Dad and I set off from the house very early on Sat. morning. I think it was Saturday, maybe I skipped school on Friday. No clue, maybe Dad remembers. He's actually in country this week helping my brother get ready for his continent switch. My father is a Level 99 Master Packer. If you have a bunch of stuff that you can't get to fit into your suitcase, my dad can do it in 20 minutes flat with room to spare. I wonder if he's any good at Tetris?
So we're up before sunrise and make our way down to the bus station. We have to take a bus to get to the train. We are standing there holding our bags when a bus needs to park where another bus is unloading its baggage. So people start grabbing bags and making room. Next thing you know some lady is yelling that she can't find her bag. Sorry lady, it happens just that fast. Good luck and hope your passport was on you and not in that bag. So we hop on the bus and head off towards the train station.
We arrive at the train station and sit down. The train is not the nicest but there aren't any holes so I think we're okay. It was a long train ride, 6 hours I believe, which doesn't seem long but look how far we actually travelled(click on the word "Alajuela" and that'll bring up a map with Puntarenas and San Jose). My favorite part of the trip was the half hour wait somewhere for some reason and also going over rivers. The bridges didn't have any rails so if you looked down (most of the windows were wide open) it looked like the train was floating.
Finally arriving at our destination we hop in a taxi. My dad knew the hotel we were staying at as it was near Iguana Rock, which is a rock where iguanas hang out. We get to the hotel and grab some dinner. Since I was 10, we played some cards and hung out at the hotel. Early next morning we walked across the street and played in the ocean for a bit. We also took some fruit with us so we could feed the iguanas. I need to ask Dad if he has any photos from that trip.
It was alot of fun and I really miss being Dad's "adventure buddy". I think my brother was too young and Mom had no desire to be adventurous in a foreign country so it was just Dad and I. Hopefully we'll be able to take a family adventure in the near future. Albeit with a slightly larger family this time.
Friday, July 21, 2006
I really want a Lotus Elise
I was thinking about past relationships last night. I think I have told you before that my magic number is 3. Oh yeah, I'm a stud. And I've only had 3 serious girlfriends, including the current one that will endure the ages.
But my first taught me so many lessons about life and love and skanks. Her name was Michelle. We met through church, but rest assured she didn't take it too seriously, not that I did either but that's beside the point. She was 1 grade lower than I, blah blah blah. It was barely a relationship since I lived here during the school year and came back during the summers to live with my grandparents. But it lasted 2 whole summers I think. We went on choir tour together (I'll explain that later) and made out on the bus and sat together and, I supposed, enjoyed each other's company.
What my friends failed to inform me of was that she got around. All the way around. I was a bit perplexed as to why they told me this after the relationship dissolved and they said that I had to make my own decisions. Fine but next time TELL ME! So I'm dating this girl of ill repute, who never did make any sexual advances towards me or none that I can remember, and I don't even know. It's almost as if she acted nice around me cuz she knew I was sheltered and innocent, which, if true, was very noble.
Ready for it? About 3 months after we broke up, come to find out that her mom actually bet her daughter that she couldn't sleep with me. I'm real torn up not marrying into that family. When I found out, I was a)shocked that a mom would do that and b)shocked out how little she did to win this bet. I think she might have won the bet (maybe) on our very last date. My parents were out of town and my brother (Moses' brother's name as well as ESC's) and I were home alone. He was out and about so I had the house to myself, but when we came back from dinner, I saw my grandfather's minivan sitting in the driveway. WTF? So I go in and see what the devil is going on. Apparently they didn't trust us enough to let a 18 and 16 yr. old stay home by themselves. So there is my grandpa making a sandwich and watching some news channel. I go back out and tell what's her face that my grandpa is home and that I'll talk to her later. That was the second to last time I talked to her. I ran into her again at the Christmas Eve service 3 years later.
I believe white trash would be a good description of her and her family.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Pimps and gangstas make the universe turn
I played soccer with a few guys yesterday. They play on Wed. and Sat. It was hot at 6:30 when we started playing but cooled down immensely once the sun dipped below the horizon. 3 of us are chemistry grad students and one of the guys also works in my lab. He's played most of his life and was almost recruited for the national team training camp. So he's pretty good. No Ronaldhino or Zidane, but he's got some tricks. I literally lost 2 pounds of water. But it's such great exercise and it's so much fun.
Oh, I wanted to share this also. So we have a new student in lab. She has a name and is from a US territory. There aren't many, so odds are you picked the right one. But she has a blog also. I generally just type in the first letter of an url I visit often and it will pop up in the address bar. Most of my daily blogs start with an s, Sloth's, E-Lo's, Rob's, mine. But I saw one address that I didn't recognize, it was a spaces.msn site and it had (let's avoid searches and I'll describe it to you) a common stringed instrument beginning with V
and the second part of it is a common among tweens and teens females used to describe each other and starts with a c
so I clicked on that link and up pops her picture. She is from a bilingual territory, so her blog is half English, half Spanish, but this is going to be an interesting experiment. I obviously haven't told her that I know she has one, for fear that she would censor herself, so let's see what happens shall we? Also is this wrong? Should I tell her? I guess I see how it could be wrong, but I don't like looking over there. Here is a link to her site my co-worker. Hopefully she doesn't track this back to me. But if she does, I suppose we can talk about blogging?
I'll continue ATL: The Weekend later. Episodes to come: Dinner at the Factory of Cheesecakes, Clubbin', Breakfast, GA Aquarium.
And before I forget remember Brandon from yesterday? He saw the post and liked it and I'm now getting some free NAPA stuff. Yippee! My wardrobe (read t-shirt collection) has slowly been adding automotive themed shirts in the past year. I need to check the ratio and make up for my lousy "this post is worthless without pics" post from a few weeks ago.
And we had the internet installed at our house yesterday! Woohoo! Now we just need a wireless router and we're in business. We went with cable modem since we give enough money to Bellsouth as it is. My neighbors have the same thing as us and they hooked up the cable to a TV (even though it was supposed to be internet only) and they had "free" cable. So I need to see if we can do that. Or at the very least threaten to leave DirecTV and see if they'll hook us up with something. And by something I mean a discounted rate or free TV for 3-24 months.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Few quick links
This one is for my J. How intelligent are cats?
I haven't read through this site, but I'll give it a look later.
Top 10 unintentionally worst URLs
A few you have to read slowly or through a couple times. Great list. Awful addresses.
Really Bad Tattoos and just a taste for our blogosphere's own Clay Aiken freak, Princess of Power:
The horror! And is he wearing an ascot?
Really Bad Tattoos Part Deux
Really Bad Tattoos Part Drei
Really Bad Tattoos Part Cuatro
It's worth looking through them all. Parts 2 and 4 contain genitalia, so no kiddies, not that the genitalia is very recognizeable.
And how Kevin Smith, aka Silent Bob, really feels about Joel Siegel.
All links stolen from our friend Cynical Chris over at Cynical-C.com. Thanks Chris!
You can't always get what you want
For those who have never been, you walk in and see utter chaos off to your left. Cashiers, tons of people, some shouting, then you look back to the right and see an escalator and some signs. So you hop on and whisked off to the 2nd floor which is home to the showrooms. Pretty much everything you see in these lifesize dioramas is available for purchase. Shelves, rugs, sofas, even the little plastic plants, but not here. They provide little notepads and golf pencils so that you can write down where to find all the stuff that you can't live without. There is just one walkway that passes through the entire store. There are aisles but not yet. And there are also secret passageways to get to other parts of the store quicker but you need a keen eye to spot those. Once you're through the showrooms the magical walkway leads you to the down escalator, you get on and arrive in the "bed, bath and beyond" section of the store. Potholders, trivets, maybe some spoons, I don't really know, we were trying to hurry through so we could get back and go to dinner. Once you've conquered that section, the store opens up into a gigantic warehouse. Not Raiders of the Lost Ark big, but definitely Lowe's height if not sheer size. Here is where you pick up the coffe table/shelves/chairs/furniture that you saw upstairs and just have to have. I would HIGHLY recommend actually writing down where the items are located. There are a couple computer monitors with searchable inventories to help you find what you saw, but the lines for these are crazy and pointless in my book.
Then you make your way to the checkout, which we didn't do because the coffee table we picked out wouldn't even begin to fit in our rental Stratus, but I think we're going back Sun. with Focus, who even though small in stature, can swallow up a shocking amount of goods. I love my hatchback.
Caveat emptor is the advice I would give an Ikea newbie. The prices are amazing and will completely spoil you. We saw a stainless steel shelf at Lowe's yesterday for $45, which would've cost maybe $12 at Ikea. But these Swedish items are not going to last forever, so treat them nice and they should last at least a few years. Also keep your wits. It's very easy to walk in, grab a bag/cart and start buying everything in sight. Yes that is the cutest lamp I've ever seen, but we don't need it. No I don't think we should redo our apartment just because that shelf is $4. Remain calm and stick to your list, or a 5 item maximum limit. You can easily get carried away. But damn, all the stuff is cool and so cheap!
I'll continue ATL: The Weekend later.
Before I leave, Brandon at M80 and M80 Teams contacted me via email yesterday. He found my Raisin toast sittin' on 22s post and though that I would make a good person to help promote NAPA auto parts 40th anniversary extravaganza. Basically they're giving stuff away to promote NAPA stores. Race tickets, grills (not the kind for your teeth, thank you pop culture), hats, aprons, cups, etc...
I think my favorite part of the email was:
Since you mentioned Motor Trend, I thought that you might be interested in posting
the press release or post a review of the FANNIVERSARY on your blog? You seem
like a reputable influencer, so I think you'd be a big help to us.
Hahahaha! I'm reputable! I think that means that my blog is at least 2 yrs. old.
Since I'm lazy I'll just link to 2 other guys who posted about the prizes and the press release.
Slobokan's blog post
Neeraj Tikku's blog post from his unofficial F1 blog
Interesting side note, Neeraj has an open invitation for anyone with a wordpress blog to send him an email and tell him that they want to post on his blog, but I only know 4 people with wordpress blogs and I don't think any of them watch or care about F1.
Brandon, I just wanted to level with you. The only reason I did this is that you seem like an OK fellow who is just trying to do his job and market. I respect that so I threw this up here and I might even put that flashing .gif up on my sidebar for a bit. But I don't shop at NAPA normally. They're on my list of places to go for car parts, but the store in Clemson closes at 6 pm, while the Advanced Auto Parts stays open till 9 pm, even on Sunday, so I usually go there before NAPA. But NAPA does have a much better tool and hardware selection, if I needed or could afford those tools. The one in Easley is actually really nice, but the one here is in need of a makeover.
Done. I even gave you some prime sidebar space. You owe me.
Monday, July 17, 2006
We stayed at Springhill Suites in Buckhead. Nice and they had a killer breakfast bar. Waffles, egg discs, sausage patties, bagels, muffins, donuts, cereal and fruit! And they serve it from 7-11, which is incredible for a sleeper like myself. I've never heard of breakfast at a hotel staying open past 9:30, so bravo Springhill.
Then we piled in the car to hit Six Flags. We were there early and there were hardly any lines. Goliath was amazing. It's their newest coaster and while it doesn't have loops or massive 90 degree drops, it was one of the best coasters I've been on in a while. It had several drops but the cool part was right after the drop was another small hill and another drop, so you get the positive G's in the valley and the negative G's at the peaks. Awesome and I really felt like I was floating over the peaks. My head started to hurt after Ninja, then Great American Scream Machine. I probably shouldn't have gone on Superman, but I'd never done it before and I had to go. So I told my belly to shut up and this would be the last. Superman was also very cool. You hop into the seat and then the harness bar comes down and locks you into place while another harness locks in your legs. Then you're flipped so that you are facing the ground, aka "flying" like Superman. But it was very smooth and lots of fun. The first time it swooped out over the crowd and there is nothing below you, I definitely got the panic "what if" scenarios but they were quickly replaced by "this is great" thoughts.
Then a person in our group wanted to do Thunder River. Ugh, fine but since you can see the line at the entrance to the ride, that's not a good sign. So an hour into the wait and we start seeing some ominous black clouds roll in. Yep it started drizzling and yes they closed the ride. Guess what? It's time to leave. At least the wait was under trees and shade. So we jet right as the skys open up. Get back to the hotel, shower, relax a bit, then make our way to Ikea!
And I'll be back shortly to continue the story.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Garage bands for $400, Alex
J and I watch Jeopardy every day. If you take out the outro to commercials, the commercials, and the contestant intros, it makes a full Jeopardy episode about 20 minutes long. For example, do you know the name of Beethoven's only opera? Yeah, I didn't either, but now if it ever comes up, I know the answer to be Fidelio.
Smoove D sent me an email yesterday so it looks like I'll get to meet my first real life blogger. I'm holding my expectations low so that I'm either satisfied or pleasantly surprised. That's generally how I go into situations, expect the worst and it can only get better. It's worked out ok so far and does seem too simple but I digress.
Happy 2nd Birthday Blog! It was on July 10th and I missed it, but no better time than the present to make up for that. Well according to my first post ever my blog's actual birthday is July 13th, so I only missed by a day. That should be easy to remember because it is exactly one month before J's birthday, Aug. 13th.
My high school garage band has gotten some blog time before, but not nearly enough. But before we get into that, I'm starting to have mixed feelings about people finding this blog. I do like the idea of an old classmate or bandmate searching for something from their past and happening upon this site, then they email me and we catch up on old times. I do NOT like the idea of a potential employer finding this site and not hiring me, or an evil-doer finding this site and somehow blackmailing me, or an internet stalker stalking me. But those are the risks we take right? And I guess I could always take this site down. But until that day comes...
DoorKnob Bob, or Door Knob Bob, was the name of my(our) band. It has been mentioned before but never in depth. Read the other post for band member names. Our "single" that would've been released and rocketed us to super-stardom was "Sputnik". Yes, the Russian satellite. But Derek and I were just screwing around at Zach's house while he was downstairs or something and we came up with it. D was playing some power chords and I just started singing. Don't know where Sputnik came from but that's what my muse wanted to hear a song about, so I obliged her. And now for the first time ever, the lyrics to Sputnik:
He's Sputnik! He flies through the air!
He's Sputnik! He's got yellow hair!
He's Sputnik! He's mighty and green!
He's Sputnik! He ruptured my spleen!
He's Sputnik! He lives in a box.
He's Sputnik! He likes to throw rocks.
He's Sputnik! He flies through the air!
He's Sputnik! He crashed over there!
Thank you! Thank you! I know nothing about music but it's roughly 12 beats with 2 beats inbetween Sputnik and He. I think Zach could actually read music, for the rest of us, tabs were our friends. That's a bass tab and this is how to read a guitar tab.
Some other songs performed by DoorKnob Bob:
Portable Rage - written by me
Glycerine - written by Bush and Gavin Rossdale
Zombie - written by the Cranberries
Popular - written by Nada Surf
I really can't remember any of the others. We also threw in a couple of the better grungy Christian songs, and that is why J makes fun of me by saying I was in a Christian rock band, but don't believe her.
One of my favorite stories from my "band days" is one Sat. morning/afternoon (around noon) we were practicing at my house on our back room/porch. The works, bass amps, guitar amps (that go up to 11, of course), drums, mics and we're "rockin' out" and having a good time when we hear someone at the gate. So my mom goes to see who it is and it's a neighbor. The neighbor directly next to us whose bathroom window actually faces where we're practicing. D'oh! But my mom, being so cool, just says "Oh I'm sorry, it's past noon and we're going to let them practice." Neighborlady protests and says that her husband was up late for "work". Right. My mom then brings up the point that their dog barks constantly at all hours of the night and she feels no sympathy. They had a cute boxer puppy that they kept outside and didn't train at all. I think my dad gave it more attention than anyone in their family. And it did bark until 2 or 3 am on weekdays, so we weren't going to stop playing at noon on a Saturday. Neighborlady goes back inside and that was about the only issue we had while practicing. Which I think means we weren't loud enough.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Nobody wants to be a junkie when they grow up
J and I played soccer last night. It was a great time, except for the fact that we don't have our soccer cleat (or boot) calluses anymore. J was the only girl and she did her gender proud. She didn't get burned too many times (once or twice), made some great passes, even had a few shots on goal and next time she'll make one. Needless to say I was very proud of her. They play every Wed. and Sat. at 6:30 so I'm going to try my best and make it every time.
We saw a bumper sticker on campus the other day that said roughly, "There are stupid people in this world because it is illegal for me to kill them." I told J that she needed that bumper sticker. It would go right next to her "Jesus, save me from your followers" sticker.
Fixed and added some new links yesterday. They are both blogs from some friends in the 'Ham. You can read through the entirety of both of them in about 20 minutes. Stal hasn't updated his since Sept. '05 and Tom was June 6, but once you guys post something new, I'll move the link to the active blog link section. Deal?
The Clemson Graduate Student Organization is taking a trip to Atlanta this weekend. We're going to the aquarium and Six Flags. It should be a very fun time. Hopefully we'll also have some time to head over to Ikea for some, to quote Futurama, "some affordable Swedish crap", but we'll be looking for a coffee table and maybe some end tables. Depending on where the Farmer's Market is, I would like to swing by there also. ESC raves about it and who doesn't like fresh produce?
Tomorrow I'll be printing out directions to all these places. And our hotel is fairly centrally located, I think. It's in Buckhead right next to 85/75, so I think that's OK. At least it's ITP (Inside The Perimeter). Currently I have no idea what our schedule is like but I think it's 6Flags on Sat. (we'll get there wicked early, ride some rides, maybe a $14 churro, and then leave earlyish maybe 1 or 2, we'll see) the rest of the day might involve Swedes and Farmers, we're all eating at some upscale Japanese place with a supposedly great sushi bar, then Sunday will entail sleeping in and then hitting the GA Aquarium around noon. And we're getting into town around 8:30-9 pm on Friday night. We might hang out in the hotel room or wander to a local bar. The only ATL folks I know are ESC, Smoove D, and Tricia, oh and I think Ruthie is back down there. And I know one "real" person there also. We were roomies for 2 years in college. I'll give him a call.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Abuse of equipment
J mentioned a great story to me that I hadn't told you guys, but I forgot what it was. Hopefully it comes back to me shortly.
Not sure if this is the one or not, but it's a good one. It's one of my few near death (or perceived near death) experiences. It all began one fateful day after school on a Friday. 11th or 12th grade is the time frame, so we're looking at '96-'97. It was a camping trip organized by YoungLife, a protestant based youth group that, in the DR at least, planned really cool camping/rock climbing/outdoor trips. But the plan is to hike up above this 150 foot waterfall and camp upstream a little bit. It's a very touristy spot with a big basin for swimming below the waterfall, but that is not our destination. We forge onward, climbing, sweating our way past another 20 foot waterfall and finally arrive at what is barely a trickle of a waterfall with a very nice rocky beachy area near the bottom of it. So we set up camp, take our shoes off, dangle our toes in the water, standard camping activities. Can't remember any particular events before we went to sleep but I'm sure there was something Bible-related.
Everyone curls up into their sleeping bag and drifts off to battle dragons or be ravaged by Amazonian beauties. These dreams didn't last long though. I awoke to my friend screaming "EVERYONE GET UP! THE WATER IS RISING!" Huh? Wha? Dude, stfu and go back to sleep. So I roll over and then realize that I am about 3 inches from where the water rose to. Crap. So I get up and make sure all my crap is safe and dry and then remember that I left my shoes near the water, or about 6 inches underwater now. Great so I hop into the freezing water but luckily was able to locate my shoes and one of my socks. No biggie, at least I found my shoes. This was about 2 or 3 am so I go back to sleep. Wake up the next day and we realize that the trickle of a waterfall is dam controlled and someone opened the damn dam up in the night. Dirty pool old man.
Everyone arises from their slumber and wants breakfast. Luckily the fire is already poppin' and a'cracklin' so we're all good there. This was also the first time that I was introduced to Sock Coffee. It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like but please do make sure the sock is clean. The recipe goes like this:
Take one large pot, add water enough for everyone to have at least one cup
Add coffee grounds to the clean sock, make a knot in the top of the sock
Drop sock into water, put pot on fire
Wait until water boils
Drink in the socky goodness
I didn't have a coffee mug so I cut off the top of a water bottle and used the bottom half as a mug. So very cool. The coffee was so hot that it actually deformed the plastic and made it spongy and soft. It went from cylindrical with ridges to a blob/tear drop shape. Delicious coffee especially when you're cold and in the mountains.
This is wearing on a bit, but now comes the good stuff. Our plan for Sat. involves rappelling down the huge waterfall that we hiked past, which is awesome and much faster than hiking down. But first we have to rappel down the 20' that precedes the big one. The little one is about 100-150 feet upstream. So I go down and reach the bottom of the little waterfall. I'm feeling great and confident so I sit on this rock that lines the small pool under the little waterfall. It's very slippery but I don't mind, apparently I'm invincible. But the next person comes down and splashes into the water. They either kicked me or their wave pushes me over the rock. Oh shit, I'm screaming in my head as I look to where I'm headed. My life doesn't flash or anything but I do feel certain that this is my time to die. So I try and relax and keep my feet in front of me and my head elevated to avoid concussing myself on a rock. But I live! I made it! I somehow slid down a rock and avoided slamming into the rock wall that borders my slippery rock. Then I look up and realize that I'm at least 10 feet below the banks (all rock) and there are no handholds or anything. Great, so I survived that and will now go over the big waterfall. But a friend (Derek) had rappelled down before me and he ran down river to see if I was OK. I was and then he pointed out a place that I could get out a little further down. Phew! So I'm a tad shaken up. I'm ok and then he asks if I would do it again. Apparently they thought I did it on purpose. Well, I guess I would. So then a few other brave souls take their chance on the Suislide. I came up with the name and it still holds a special place in my heart.
One of the adults on the trip gave it a shot and hit his head a bit at the end (you had to stay right) so that ended the Suislide tale, but we still got to rappel next to the big waterfall. It was amazing sliding down a rope next to this huge natural beast. Once down, we found a small edge and climbed up there and were able to jump into the waterfall and swim around some. Then it was time to pack up and leave. I can't remember what happened to our packs as we rappelled but I think they lowered them down before we started.
Amazing trip and if you are ever in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic, I would highly recommend a trip to go check it out. Just watch out for slippery rocks.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
More than meets the eye
HOWEVER, they showed the teaser trailer for the Transformers movie. I can't remember his name (I think it's Robert) but the guy that runs UltimateInsult.net covered this last week but for those of you that missed it, I'll recap. So they're making a Transformers movie. Great 80's cartoon. Loved it and a HUGE toy franchise.
July 4th, 2007…Time to find those hand-me-downs and dress like it’s 1986! The first official Transformers trailer is here. We all know what to expect with Michael Bay directing, but the writers’ former works don’t give me much confidence either: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and John Rogers. Yeah, I’ll see it regardless! Here is the related post from last year.
But for the people who don't have the time to click on those links. I'll recap. Essentially the writers haven't written much. One guy helped with the screenplay for MI:3 (definitely a good thing, I hear) and he also wrote for Alias and Xena, yeah the Warrior Princess. That was Alex, who also worked on the Hercules TV show. Roberto has the same line-up. The scary(er) one is John, who helped write Catwoman, The Core and some barely known TV shows. Yikes. The Core? Not that true science makes or breaks a movie, but it was voted by the Intuitor as the worst movie physics ever.
And we all know Michael Bay's history. Now that I look at his IMDB page they're not terrible movies but none that I would call "good". Some are mildly entertaining and watchable, especially for a TBS rerun, but not good by any means. I guess The Rock would be my "favorite" or "least awful" Michael Bay movie and that's cuz I like Sean Connery, Nick Cage, and Ed Harris. And Ferrari chase scenes. And Alcatraz movies.
My mom really liked Pearl Harbor.
Right now I'm taking a Bible Quiz linked by self-proclaimed atheist CyniChris at Cynical-C.com, who got a 25 out of 50. Damn, 15 out of 50. But the scale I'm on is "10 - 19: Did you get your bible knowledge from Sunday School?" so that's a big yes to that one. We mostly studied stories and parables. Not so much Old Testament Law, which is very interesting to say the least. It's the real "fire and brimstone" stuff out of the Bible. But oddly enough, it doesn't get much discussion. Maybe because the punishment is usually a public stoning.
Friday, July 07, 2006
First Amendment indeed
We grilled chicken kabobs for the 4th. Very good and not overdone. I bought a charcoal grill off a neighbor last year or so and it is great. I have yet to overcook anything. Of course, if you want something well done, it can do it; it's gonna take a while though. J also made S'mores bars that were rich and delicious. Friends brought over their own meat and drinks and pasta salad to share. After the masses gorged themselves and night was upon us, it was time for the festivities to begin!
We started with a box thing that shot balls, whistled and showered sparks. Very nice. We also had one of those things that you nail to something and it spins and makes sparks. Cool, but not $15 purchase price cool. It was a good experience and will hopefully help stretch our firework dollar next year. I finally realized that I like small things that you can throw or things that spin and fly up in the air. We also had some parachute guys that were very cool. They were shot out of a tube and then as they gracefully float back to earth, they emit sparks. I was able to catch all but one paratrooper; the other got lost in the trees. Good times.
Clemson's autocross was cancelled this weekend. Boo. I was itching for a local one after last weekend. But at least that frees up my Sunday. We still need to register and I need to start looking for tuxes.
We're in the market for a DVD recorder. Essentially we have some stuff on Tivo that we want to keep, but need the space on the hard drive. I have just started researching it, but hopefully there is an easy way to transfer those shows onto DVDs.
I played a pick-up game of soccer Wed. evening. It was alot of fun and I scored 4 goals! I guess I still have it. Unfortunately I ate a large Mexican meal roughly 2.5 hours beforehand so needless to say, I got to see that meal in reverse. But I did feel better afterwards. I might also need to look into those sweat-wicking-away shirts. My cotton t-shirt wasn't keeping me cool in the lovely SC evening humidity.
Plans for this weekend:
Put up new kitchen shelf that we got at Lowe's last night
Move bedroom furniture around so J can paint (tame teal from Sherwin Williams, I suck at painting by the way, seriously)
Fix the leg of J's dresser and start sanding the bedroom furniture so that we can spray paint it white
Probably go to Greenville for tux shopping and register for wedding presents
Come into work tomorrow, so I'll see ya then
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Did anyone see where that finger went?
More details will follow. I skipped work yesterday so gotta ketchup.
Update: Been a while since a quiz
|You Are 52% Cynical|
Yes, you are cynical, but more than anything, you're a realist.
You see what's screwed up in the world, but you also take time to remember what's right.
Monday, July 03, 2006
She's free as a bird now
Sorry to anyone offended by that boob shot up there but if it makes you feel any better they're not real. (If it didn't pop up for someone, I think you can right-click and select "View Image" and then you can see it. I think.)
So this weekend was HOT! And I know cuz I was outside in it from 7 am Sat. until I got into Focus to drive home at 5 pm on Sun. Luckily we did have the righteous Clemson Chemistry EZ-Up and an additional blue tarp for some extra shadiness, so there was shade but that didn't change the fact that it was 94ish and humid on both days.
But this was essentially a regional level event for the SCCA. There were representatives from at least 8 states who had made their way down to the GCFG (Gwinnett County FairGrounds) for the Doublecross Challenge. (for a description of what that is scroll down a post or three) As soon as we showed up, I knew we were in trouble. Corvettes, S2000s, lightweight Civics, Camaros, STIs and they all were on fancy pants race rubber and were all built to the limit of their respective classes. So we hadn't spent as much money on our cars as these folks, or hadn't bought a Civic just so we could be competitive, but it's all in the name of fun and seat time, so we were ready. We is the usual suspects of myself and Focus, Protege in his Turboed Protege and Subaru in his WRX. They broke the classes up a bit differently than normal. I race in FSP (F Street Prepared) with the SCCA, and they lumped all the Street Prepared classes together and then our times were compared to the fastest person in that big group. Unfortunately our group leader was a Subaru STI on gigantic 315 (11.8 inches wide) sticky sticky tires. And also I was reading through my GrassRoots Motorsport this morning and that car was featured and placed 7th and 8th in the nation last year. Great. So he set a time that was way too fast for little Focus to catch and screwed up everyone's times. The times were not used as slowest or fastest but as a speed index against other classes. So when I raced a Street Tire class, they would have a half second head start against my Street Prepared car.
But it was a great weekend. We finally got the chance to see some nationally ranked drivers (aside from the handful we have at Clemson) and nationally ranked cars and see how we stacked up against them. Hopefully they'll have results up soon so I can check how it all panned out. I did lose both of my elimination races but it was still a total of 10 runs including practice and qualifying, so it wasn't a total wash. Protege also lost both of his elimiations but that is mostly because he is in the Street Modified class which is essentially unlimited and has some crazy fast cars, at least on a national level. But Subaru lost his first, and then won his next two races! It was very exciting. He did end up losing to a VW GTI at the end though, but he was a Clemson graduate, so we at least kept it in the family.
I lost to a Civic and an Integra; both real big surprises. I'm honestly getting sick of losing to Civics but I can't afford to go pick one up and who wants to drive a Honda anyway? You know I'm just kidding, mostly jealous actually. Maybe Ford should think about stealing a few Japanese engineers to come design their next car. Hondas are so well balanced and neutral and lightweight that they really are that tough to beat.
We shared some of our shade with a few folks from the East TN region SCCA who came down from Knoxville and one of their competitors only had one arm (left arm). Seriously. A friend was telling us that he drives with his knee while he reaches over and SHIFTS! And he was pretty fast too! I was very impressed and it's nice to know that even if I lose an arm, I can still compete. Very nice guy too.
We did run across a few shade squatters. The Knoxville folks were polite and asked if they could share our tent (EZ-Up), and with the tarp extension, there was plenty of space, so no big deal. But I was coming back from a run and walk under the tent and see some chick sitting in my chair. "Weird" but I didn't feel like sitting down so I let it slide. Then noticed another one in Protege's chair. WTF? Who are these people? Oh snap, they're tent squatters! So I let them enjoy the precious shade a little longer and then they saw our other friends walking over and they made a hasty retreat. Apparently they had been kicked out of our tent before and recognized Protege's girlfriend and split. Very odd but understandable.
We're having people over to our place for fireworks and dessert and we'll probably grill also tomorrow. What are you doing to celebrate our kicking the redcoats asses?
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