Monday, June 30, 2008

Not nearly as glamorous as a spy...

Most of you have been wondering why I've been so quiet today. Well almost everyone that reads this knows I work in Exports (and will soon be juggling CET with that). Long story short, a company here in Atlanta with whom we booked a shipment to our clients in Australia have f'ed up, and we have them, in writing, being told it is THEIR responsibility. We now have a shipment that was supposed to ship 6/22 sitting at the docks in Savannah with a freight company that won't listen to us and are saying, "not our fault. We just make the arrangements." So I am playing phone tag among the IMDG, Port of Savannah, Steamship Line, Freight Co, Logistics Co, and our client.

Random Gaming Tidbits.

"Raining Blood" by Slayer on GH III still kicks my ass.

I got some Halo 3 play time (beginning of the game) with Palmer on Saturday. Am just unlocking achievements now.

Bioshock is a stressful and eerie game - haha - though I did not dream of Big Daddies or Little Sisters last night.

I got a perfect score (100% notes played) on Sunshine of your Love by Cream and Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar.

I closed out GH III.......on easy.

(though not console related) The haunted dart boards are still in full force at The Harp, but Palmer invented "Triple Cricket" - throwing all three darts at once...and did very well.

Cheered Keith on in TF2. Had some good team members (Elizabex) and some crappy team members (everyone on Saturday night).
---------------------------------
New gaming goals:

1) Attempt to complete BioShock

2) Unlock following achievements in GH III:

* Who Needs the Power
200k on Cult of Personality without Star Power

* Too Many to Count
Hit 250,000 notes in Career

* Never Gonna Spend It All
Earn $350,000 in career lifetime earnings

* Gold Streaker
Earn a 500 note streak in Career or Quick Play

* Axe Grinder
Earn 5 stars on all songs on the Easy difficulty

* Ready to Rock
Complete the tutorial (easy enough)

3) Unlock more achievements in BioShock (haha - that's funny - is there an achievement for "are they coming in here?") and Halo 3

4) Pursue Half-Life (?)

Silver Comet Trail: Part II: Floyd Rd. to Carter Rd.



Biking started off with a short ride on Friday night. Keith and I went over to see Bobby at work and took a short Greenway bike (4 miles). The skies were getting rough, and finishing in the parking lot we started from, there was a rumble of thunder and some lightning.

Well on Sunday, we completed yet another leg of the Silver Comet Trail yesterday. Keith, Bobby, and I did the stretch from Floyd Rd. to Carter Rd. (8.8 miles round trip). Actually, we were all shocked about how fast our pace was heading to and coming from. At about 3 miles in, I heard Bobby call out, "did we really just go 3 miles already?" After doing some math, we realized we had.

I don't know how long it took us to bike that distance, but it seemed like it was MAYBE an hour to do so! We could have all kept on going, but there were impending rain clouds in the sky, and getting caught on a nice lightning rod of a bicycle wasn't really on our schedule for the day.

The pace to was quicker as it was a slow down hill (that went unnoticed until the pace from). The pace from was a good clip. I was actually moving along at a great pace, zoned in, and I hear "SHELBY! WAIT!" so I pull over to the side - immediately my body gets off track/off zone, and here comes Bobby and then Keith. Bobby told me his quad was killing him, but then just wanted to mess with me for being so far ahead. Thanks, Bobby - I won't stop next time - haha.

The last mile or so back, I had a surging pain race through my shoulder joint and wrist. I had to slow down and ride with my left hand holding onto the right strap of my backpack. I still don't know what caused it, but my shoulder had hurt the previous night, too.

The Silver Comet Depot bike shop on Floyd Rd. is great, too :) It is like a candy store for bikers. Keith picked out a seat he wanted, I saw a seat I wanted, Bobby got some gloves, and I had to pry myself away from making a mental wish list which included a flat black hybrid.

It was a great ride. Sorry, there aren't any pictures this time of this trip, but we'll have some next time.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I'm Nobody, Who are You?

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us — don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

- E. Dickinson

Feel Good Post of the Day :)

http://videos.modbee.com/vmix_hosted_apps/p/media?id=1907390

What makes this catcher different? :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

PSA: Before Getting a Dog

I have been contacted three times already this week from rescues asking for help. Each time, the reason as to why the dog has been turned into rescue or a shelter were ridiculous ones. Jugs and I were talking, and I said, "I wish there were counselors at no-kill animal shelters that could help interview people for the right dogs for their lifestyles." Here is a short list of things to consider before getting a dog:

1. Type of dog: This is the first item that needs to be addressed. Do your research into the breed of dog you're thinking about getting. If you rent, does your landlord allow that breed/size of dog? How large does it get when it is fully mature? Does it shed? What is the breed known for? Working, herding, companion? What is the breed's known temperament, and what is the breed's known health issues.

2. Cost of dog: While some people get "free" puppies or low cost dogs, the same things must occur. Your dogs must be vaccinated (at least a Rabies/Distemper as is required by law). Think about the size of the dog you want AND how much food/water it eats and drinks. Think about all of the supplies involved with having a dog and any special needs that are required or may arise. Don't forget, if you rent, you may be required to pay a pet deposit or pet rent.

3. A lifelong friend: Dogs are not items to be discarded like trash or turned into the shelter for "being too expensive to feed" or "too big." They are not meant to be chained or kept outside away from their family 24/7. Dogs are pack animals and need to be with their pack. Have you ever gone outside to a kennel or a dog chained? It is more than happy to see people (or aggressive). You think, "man that dog is hyper!" I bet you that dog wouldn't be hyper if it was with its family.

88 Tofu House - Doraville, GA

The 88 Tofu House

I would not call the 88 Tofu House a restaurant that everyone is sure to love. It's located in Doraville, GA and is a 24/7 diner-type Korean restaurant.

Pros:

1. Location - conveniently located off Buford Hwy off 285
2. Price - You can get a filling meal for $6-$10 and an over-filling meal for about $12.
3. Amount - You get A LOT of food for your money. Besides your entrée, which is mainly soups and noodle soups, you get side dishes including Kim chi, potatoes in a sweet glaze, a sprout salad, and some other veggies dishes with chili paste and two fried fish. Side dishes are all you can eat.
4. Temperature - When you get your food...it's HOT. I don't mean, "hey that's kinda warm," but if you don't watch out, you will cause yourself permanent damage.

Cons:

1. If you aren't open to trying new, unknown foods, this probably isn't the place for you.
2. Their mushrooms in the mushroom tofu soup were a little rubbery, but, because I couldn't place the type of mushroom, it may be a characteristic of the type rather than the soup itself.
3. Unless you get your soups/noodle dishes seasoned "medium spicy," there isn't a whole lot of flavor in them.


I have read reviews online of the 88 Tofu House, and the most common "con" is "rude service." The service is NOT rude. This is not an Americanized chain restaurant. I laughed when I read, "and they don't speak English." It's a Korean restaurant. C'mon, really? I liked the service. Keep in mind, there are generally only one or two waitresses who do everything from drinks to appetizers to meals, to refills, etc.

All in all, if you're looking for a warm and filling (and cheap) meal 24/7, the 88 Tofu House is for you. I had been there several times before and surprised Keith with taking him there last night :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Yummy...brown, murky, water...with a side of mercury, please

You know how people say not to swim in the Chattahoochee south of Atlanta?

Less than a mile from my work is the reason why.

On either shore of the Chattahoochee River we have disgusting pollution and just "blagh-ness."

Side 1: Plant Atkinson:

The beautiful Atlanta skyline.....and Plant Atkinson's smoke stack blocking the view...

If you go onto the Georgia Power website, it says Plant Atkinson was opened in 1930 (thereabouts) and hailed as the first steam power plant. Woo hoo! Doesn't that sound clean and hydro-friendly? Au contraire. In 2005, there was a news release that Atlanta will demolish Plant Atkinson in the Fall of 2005. Every morning, I see the smoke stacks rising above the river, the plant in full operation and fully intact. "The plant was designed to burn coal" is what you find on other websites.

Let's assess a coal-burning plant:
1) Creates more smog and soot - coal-burning plants are the United States' main source of air pollution
2) Emits mercury pollution (hey, look! Atkinson is ON the river!)
3) Think about the amount of coal required to power such a plant that helps power Atlanta!

Needless to say, Plant Atkinson is not at all environmentally-friendly and is one of the causes of Chattahoochee toxicity.

Side 2: City of Atlanta Incincerator: Opposite of Plant Atkinson is one of the City of Atlanta's incinerators. In other words...burning garbage. When you drive past, you see the matching dilapidated building perched on the shores of the Chattahoochee like a lame eldery vulture hovering over death. You see streams and run-off areas that flow right into the river...and trash bags - intact and torn scattering this route down to the city. With a good rain (or any liquids in the bags), the liquids and garbage flow right into the Chattahoochee River to mix and mingle with any Plant Atkinson run-off.

So before you look at the brown and murky Chattahoochee on a hot summer's day SOUTH of the perimeter, you might want to think twice. What are you swimming in?
I wish I had a toothbrush.

Leet.

I 4m w0|\|d3ri|\|g |-|0w m4|\|y 0f u (4|\| r34d 7|-|i5?

Leg 2: Silver Comet Trail: Floyd Road to Carter Road



Because we turned around at Hicks Road, and there isn't an entry point with parking at Hicks Road, the next leg of the SCT will be from the Floyd Road depot to the next stopping point. It is either Floyd Road (less than 1/2 mile from Hicks Road turn around) or Concord Road (1 mile + to the Hicks turnaround).

Chances are the next turn around spot will be Carter Road. Floyd Road is at the 4.2 mile marker of the trail, and Carter Road is at the 8.6 mile marker. That would make a round trip of 8.8 miles as opposed to our 9.02 venture last weekend. Still...it's close enough. The next portion is Power Springs Road at the 9.5 mile marker so we'll see.

My "sit bones" (aka ischial tuberosities) are still saying, "either bike more or get a different seat because we can't take this." Apparently, when you're starting with "real" biking, you're only supposed to go 1-2 miles to start with and build up while your body gets adjusted and in shape for biking. But, I'm not one to follow directions all that well, so 6 and 9.02 miles, respectively, seemed like a good start. As far as bike seats are concerned, regardless of what it feels like, you're supposed to ride in it for at least 2 months while your body gets acclimated to biking. If you still have problems, then it's time to change seats.
FYI: Gel seats and "extra padding" actually do more harm than good.
I don't know if we'll bike this weekend or not, but you know they'll be pictures.

Code Red: Atlanta

No, it does not mean that it's the Army's inability to control and weed out a zombie population; however, Atlanta has been under Code Red status for the past two days. The only other city in the nation to be under Code Red is a city in Northern Cali.

Have you noticed being outside lately a heaviness on your chest? A stuffiness? The inability to do physical things like normal?

"Code Red" is a smog alert in which the air quality is deemed to be unhealthy for everyone (not just the elderly, the children, or those with breathing/heart issues). People are urged not to go outside unless they absolutely have to.

Awful Dreams.

You know, sometime in Monday afternoon, I had a chat with Jugs and came to the realization a lot of things about myself and my life. Nothing bad or life-changing, but it's always good to get someone else's standpoint on things in general. I had things all settled out. By "settled out" I mean not letting some things bother me like they have been, trying to "breathe" more, and stepping back for an overall assessment of things rather than have one thorn pop up and ruin everything. The thorns that pop up will only ruin everything if I let it. So I'm not.

Yeah, that probably sounded like a bunch of B.S. mumbo jumbo, but it makes sense to me.

However, after all of this, I prayed on Monday night asking God not for help, but just a little guidance and support in this new venture.

In the middle of the night, I woke up drenched in sweat, crying, and a sick feeling in my stomach from whatever my dream was. There has only been one other time in my life when I have had such a dream (nightmare). It was when I had a dream that my brother and I were out somewhere. I think I was a kid, and he was an adult (funny since we're a year and a half apart). A group of guys had him on the ground kicking him and beating him, and I saw them doing so and just stood there, paralyzed, not being able to do anything. I was crying in my dream, and when I woke up, I was actually crying. This dream was different. I can't remember it at all, but I wish I could so I would know what had such a profound effect on me.

I eventually fell back asleep, but it wasn't sound sleep. Apparently it wasn't just a rough night for me that night either.

Last night, I had a similar dream. This time, I woke up crying. I didn't have the same sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, but I can't remember that dream either. I eventually fell back asleep, but it still puzzled me.

Apparently, I'm not the only one having these dreams as I heard from a schoolfriend of mine that she has been having similar dreams.

We shall see.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A little FYI....

....as I learned this at, now, 1405 today, if you're trying to do business with any company in Québec...they have a holiday today, and everything is closed (St. Jean Baptiste Day). Gotta love random national holidays :)

Disappointing.

Man Buys Wife "New Body" When She Complains about What She Looks Like

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article1325795.ece

A husband in the U.K. bought his wife a unique birthday gift. He bought mother of two, extensive plastic surgery - getting liposuction and a boob job.

------------------
I don't condone nor agree with this. "Changing the way you look" when you're unhappy with yourself isn't just a snap of the fingers, you're changed, you're happy. It doesn't change the mindset or the confidence you have in yourself. It only caters to your (and apparently your significant other's) vanity. What happens if she gains the fat back, or when her boobs sag (yes, implants still sag)? Or what happens when she's 50 and realizes she doesn't want fake boobs? She will, once again, be unhappy with how she looks.

Timeline of your life.

First and foremost, if you're not in the mood to read something thought-provoking with a hint of philosophy and a dash of a little bit about myself, then move on from this post.

Listening to the radio this morning, one of the personalities is sky diving. Before their dive, last night, they all got together and wrote things in their lives that they would leave on the plane...figuratively and literally. One of the things was "timeline of my life." She said, "I'm leaving behind the disappointment at the extreme expectations I have in the timeline of my life." It made me think. She said, "I think every woman and almost everyone can relate to this."

I thought I would define "Timeline of my life" and then skim the surface a little. "Timeline of my life" are the expectations - whether realistic or not - that you put and schedule your life around. Ex: By this time, I will this. By this time, I will do this, etc. So "Timeline of your life" could be "by this time, I will have children" or "by this time, I will be working here and doing this." "Timeline of my life" is different than mere goals. "Timeline of my life" tend to be the idealistic ventures that you place as hurdles in your life as opposed to goals that are attainable and don't have to be scheduled and completed by a certain date...just as long as you complete them...you're happy.

I thought about the "Timeline of my life" that I originally had in place. I'm not one to give up. I have a great amount of determination and tenacity. However, I came to the realization that I could not live my life by a timeline. I'm twenty-six now. Step one: When I was sixteen, I thought that by twenty-six I would be happy married and ready to go. Obviously, that is not the case. Step two: I thought by the time I was thirty, I would try to have children, but would not move onto step two in my timeline until step one was complete and that Step one A was complete which would be not only married but settled and have everything prepared to even consider having children: jobs that we both had for an extended period of time, insurance, savings, a home, etc.

Then I started looking and thought, do I want to live my life through steps? Through a checklist of "To Do"? Everything scheduled. What happens when you miss a certain timeline "must be completed by this date"? What happens to my timeline then? Whoops - game over - missed your chance - sorry.

That's not something I want. I've since moved off "Timeline of my life" and focused more on hopes, goals, and dreams - all of which are a reality. By moving away from the timeline, and by leaving behind the "steps" in my timeline that were accomplished...and then dashed upon the rocks...I decided goals and living my life was more appropriate.

So now I find myself where I am today. I'm not choosing dates and living off a rigid timeline schedule of events.

Job for an extended period of time - check.

Insurance - health, dental, vision, etc. - check.

Savings - check.

A home - TBD - i.e. currently rent - eventually will own - won't own on my own - (had to lol at the last part - using "own" to its full potential)

Married - TBD at a later date

Children - TBD at a later date

Because of this, I also look at what I have now and am grateful. I think when you have a "Timeline of your life," you tend to have blinders and only look at what's on your timeline instead of all that is around you now.

I have a wonderful group of friends that I have said several times are my second family. They are true friends. They are not people you like one day and can't stand the next. They are people that you welcome them calling you whenever they need you in an emergency no matter what time or circumstance. They are the people whose shoulders you cry on, and they are the people you lend your ear to. I love my group of friends as they have been there through good times and bad times, deaths, illnesses, joy, happiness, giddiness, and any other human emotion you can think of.

Sometimes you have to look outside of the blinders and beyond the here and now in order to fully appreciate your life and forget about your Timeline.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pictures are Up :)

Silver Comet Trail - 6/22/08

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=129735&l=85b78&id=665195340

Striking out with the ladies and need a date?



http://gear.ign.com/articles/881/881336p1.html

"The girlish characteristics of E.M.A. extend well beyond her plastic cleavage, as the highly interactive bot can literally talk the talk and walk the walk. Singing, dancing, and greeting owners are all within E.M.A.'s repertoire, and uniquely designed leg joints allow her to walk with swaying hips..."

I wonder if she sounds like our favorite Japanese self-defense/language/exercise models?

Shakespeare Tavern : Atlanta, GA

Location: Directly across from Emory Crawford Long Hospital - Peachtree St., Atlanta, Ga (499 Peachtree St)
http://www.shakespearetavern.com/

If you like Shakespeare (and sometimes plays, in general), then this is the place for you. A hidden gem on Peachtree Street is the Shakespeare Tavern. When walking into the "theatre" area, you are confronted with a feel as if you are at one of Shakespeare's original plays.

There is a cafeteria-type food line where you purchase your food, and they serve a wide variety of alcoholic beverages, too. You eat and watch the play. It is a great experience.

There are student discounts available as well, and the actors are more than welcome to talk with you after the show as well.

A little inspiration...

Below are some random Bible verses from a Bible Study group I have online. I will comment on each of the below and what they mean to me:

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17

-- This quote is strong. He who believes in Christ is new. It only goes to show God's unbiased forgiveness towards his people. "Wash away the old," "cleanse your sins away," and other statements have been the shortened form of this. What God sees when you believe in Him is who you are...and you are not who He had seen. --

The LORD is my light and my salvation -- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life -- of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

-- "With God, all things are possible" is another wording for this phrase. The Lord is there. He will be your light, your salvation, your guide through good times and bad. Above all else, God is a constant in your life regardless of what life throws at you. --

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
1 Thessalonians 5:15

-- "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and "treat others as you would be treated" are the alternate forms of this verse. If someone does you wrong, don't give them "payback" in return. Treat them, regardless, of how you would want to be treated. This verse ties into my belief of unless you know someone and every single little aspect of that person then you have no right to judge them or wrong them. I use the following example:

I was at Kinko's with someone I had dated. A woman walks in with, obviously, a wig on. Albeit, it was wacky beyond belief, but there was a reason for it. She wore a Cancer 3-day walk shirt and donned in Breast Cancer attire. The guy I was dating said, "Look at that psycho bitch and her hair - give me a break - she looks like a f'ing bird." I was so mad at that comment. I knew why she was wearing a wig - plain as day. I thought, if something happened to you, say a surgery, and you couldn't run fast. Would you want someone saying behind your back, "look at that loser and how slow he is!" No. You would not. So why would you say something like that about someone without knowing anything about them?

I don't judge; it's not my place. If I don't know everything about someone, how can I do so anyways?

Atlanta Ribs - Smyrna, GA



What I had: BBQ ribs (1/2 slab), french fries, cole slaw, sweet tea

What Jugs had: BBQ sandwich on a kaiser roll, french fries, and sweet tea

We both want to take a nap now. We didn't know what to expect, but it's right around the corner from work so why not? It is the best "home" BBQ ever. Rather than flaunting the "We have a $3000 smoker - look what we can do." It's more of "hey...this is pork..it tastes like pork not salty smoke, the meat falls off the bones, and our sauce rocks. By the way, while you're at it, our fries will rock your world."

We got there at noon, ate, and were gone by 12:30. The French fries were crisp and HOT. They were the best French fries (American) that I have ever had. The ribs were just as above, and were more like "let's go to your house for a BBQ" rather than "let's get ribs at this restaurant."

The prices were great, too. About $20 for both of our meals, and neither I nor Jugs could finish our entire plates. The service is outstanding, and it's clean with a great atmosphere.

We will be going there again :)

6.0 + 9.02 = 15.02 Part 2

I should have noted that there are photos of biking that will be posted once I get home to my card reader and when Keith finds his cable, or I am kind enough to bring my card reader over (which I am - lol).

Keith's recap was more...general. This one, though not meant to be, should be "amusing," to say the least.

Sunday started with getting up at 9:30-ish and getting things ready for our departure to the SCT. Keith and I went out and loaded our bikes and were jazzed up to ride the SCT. I made the realization that my factory bike seat would have to be changed. So I meet Bobby, and we load Bobby's bike into the truck, and our merry band of bikers were on our way.

After a brief pre-bike stop to Atlanta Bread Company in Smyrna, we drove over to the Silver Comet Connector. 0.7 miles to the Silver Comet Trailhead at Mavell Road. We prepare all of our gear, and, once again, look like we're some hard-core weekend warrior bicycle riders not to be messed with when, at least in my mind, I'm thinking, don't fall, don't get caught up on the bike, etc.

So we start our voyage. Of course, Keith and Bobby start out WAY ahead of me including down the steep hill - which is fine. I thought to myself, I will enjoy my ride, but as they started pulling away near Mavell Road, that mindset turned to "oh shit," and I started pedalling like I was in the last leg of Tour de France. I see the signs "congested area," but what the Hell and book it past Mavell Road - a determined bicyclist, I am sure is what they thought, but it was more, "hey guys, wait up!"

SCT was more congested than the GreenWay, of course. The SCT is about 60 miles or so and in a great location. There are barely any roads you cross, and when you do, they're mainly two lane roads.

All three of us took turns leading, and at the beginning of the trail, Keith helped Bobby re-do his gears on his bike. Mounted, away we go again. I decide to follow Bobby. Bobby....me.....Keith. As I'm following Bobby, I have a steady rhythm going watching his feet and keeping up with him, pedal for pedal. We get further, and notice...."where's Keith?" I say to Bobby, "So I vote for turning around at whatever 5 miles is." Bobby said, "I'm ready to turn around now," and, for a brief moment, I thought, "Me, too." Keith caught up with us, and we got up to a point right before Hicks Road.

I made the suggestion, "Let's go up to the traffic light and then use that as our turn around point" to which we all agreed so off we went. We pedalled the last bit and stopped for water and a break. After some break and cool down time, we head back...Keith....me.....Bobby. I yell to Keith, "My ass hurts" to which I received a solidarity fist in the air.

It wasn't long before the yam, aka Keith's orange backpack became a blur, and I could no longer see him. "Shit," I thought which was replaced by, "He rocks." So it was Bobby and I who, jokingly, was content at staring at my ass while we headed back. We did well until we had to break our stride to avoid people walking or biking. Then it was slow down, and then rebuild our momentum and pace again. Almost to a good breaking point, I say to Bobby, "I have got to stop - this seat sucks!" so we pulled over for a little bit, I walk with my bike, and I say to Bobby, "I'm telling Keith that I fell, you had to help me, and we needed the first aid kit, but he was nowhere around!" I didn't say that though :) Here Bobby and I go again, and, in the distance, I finally see Keith pulled over looking around the corner of a tree limb for us. We all pull over, drink some more water, and finish our last leg. We're trucking it. We're trying our damnest to finish the trip.

We get to the base of the ginormous hill we zipped down, and I said, "welp, I'm walking it," to which we all did. By the time I got to the top of the hill and the truck, I could feel my heart pounding in my ears and the trademark vomit knot just waiting to make it's grand debut.

We all survived. Here is where we biked:




We went back to the apartment, showered, and headed to The Harp for some food and darts. Ah I love The Harp more and more. Even the sandwiches are good! We play some darts, and I notice my arms are jelly. They revolt against me playing darts. They want no part in it.

We ended the day with bidding Bobby adieu and finish up the day with relaxation, painting, and Guitar Hero III :) It was a great day and an even better weekend.

What do 6.0 and 9.02 have in common? PART ONE

It has been at least ten years since I have extensively ridden a bicycle. Remember the days as kids, "be right there!" We would all just hop on our bikes and go...and ride for an extended period of time? Lay our bikes down on some kid's front yard and go play [video games] with him/her? We rode whatever bikes we had wherever - road or dirt. Hills - no problem - small incline - whatever.

Let's fast forward to present:

"Just hop on our bikes and go" has been replaced by - helmet, biking gloves, proper attire, a pack, did I bring enough water? Should I pack some Cliff Bars? Let's not forget the sunscreen or my ID. Do we have the first aid kit? Do we have some tissues, paper towels, and towels in general? Check, check, check...a mental checklist. That's even before getting the bikes loaded to GO biking.

"Ride for an extended period of time" = 1. the amount of time it takes to bike to the point of just before your legs turning to jelly and wanting to hwarf the bagel you had prior to biking. 2. the amount of time it takes all persons involved in biking excursion to agree upon the turn around point before heading back.

"Lay our bikes down on some kid's front yard" = I think I was the only one that laid my bike down on the grass (albeit gently) this weekend.

"And go play video games" = when returned to the apartment, showered, fed, and returned back to the apartment.

"whatever bikes wherever" = actually going to a bike department and checking out tires, frames, and more to decide what type of riding, where, and for how long. Opting for a new "hybrid" bike - a mountain bike type frame with road bike tires.

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The First Ride: The Greenway.

A trail around Alpharetta that is the standard greenway formula - paved "two lane" trail only open to non-motorized vehicles. This would be our first test. Well...my first test. Keith has been riding :) Now I wouldn't say I was scared. I was more anxious and worried that I was going to fall or that something was going to happen leaving me thrown over the handlebars and having to hobble back to the truck. Not the case.

Even better...I found myself tensed up beyond belief and holding my breath. By the time we hit mile marker 3, I was light-headed and caught my breath back from holding my breath. My lofty goals of "yeah - let's do the whole thing" smacked me in the face. Instead I said, "so let's turn around here, and then maybe later on we can do Riverside." Back we head to the truck.

I was all about to just give up when I heard Keith, the last 100 yards or so say, "We're on the stretch now!" and biked to the truck. My gingerly patience getting my bike gloves off turned into "get the hell off my hand!" by the time I hit the other one. I was shaking. I was hot, and I was thirsty, and here was my knight handing me a dampened towel for me.

When reality came back into play, we loaded the bikes back up, and I called my mother to tell her we had done 6 miles. My mother said, "oh well don't bike tomorrow -give yourselves a rest." Ha - I think not. My over-eager confidence came back into play.

"Tomorrow, we're doing the Silver Comet."

Friday, June 20, 2008

Funny things said in the office: (Read from bottom to top)

From: JUGS
Sent: Friday, June 20, 2008 11:08 AM
To: ME
Subject: RE:

Most of the time however, if his one leg has developed uncanny strength over time, he could probably muster a good swift paddle in any direction he wishes.

Ducks are strong willed.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: ME
Sent: Friday, June 20, 2008 11:04 AM
To: JUGS
Subject: RE:


Does a one-legged duck swim in a circle?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: JUGS
Sent: Friday, June 20, 2008 11:03 AM
To: ME


Does abc have sweet tea?

Mem-reez - to Lesley and JJ

Remember this night?

A-T-L-A-N-T-A Woo Whee!
Jul. 28th, 2006 | 11:58 am

For those of you that know that 90's song I'm referencing in my title - congrats.

Last weekend I went up to visit JJ and Lesley in Atlanta. I got there around 8pm or so - made great time :) JJ, in case you didn't know, is Jen N., but her nickname is JJ due to "Jennifer Jeter," and if you don't know what "Jeter" is a reference to...just stop communicating with me altogether.

We got "gussied up" (sorta) and headed out to eat first. Had a great meal, had a waitress that couldn't speak/understand English: an Eastern European in a Tex-Mex restaurant - there's one for the recordbooks. All three of us slurped down jumbo watermelon margaritas. I'd advise AGAINST watermelon margaritas - they are not sweet.

JJ was already tired - lol - and the three of us went down to Buckhead/Atlanta. We walked aimlessly around. I think we went to Fado's first...PACKED. I saw a sign "live music" so I'm thinking - Hell yah - Irish Drinking Songs! And was faced with Phil Collins songs :( We made our way through the snobbish crowd (not a "real" Irish pub crowd), and we ended up on the patio. I convinced Lesley to try Cider...which she did not like (Strongbow is a rather dry cider), and JJ got a Rum Punch...at an Irish pub. Well...with the live music selection, that drink wasn't too outta place. So one and a quarter ciders down, one megarita...and I'm still 100% sober - WTF? lol

We leave Fado's and start walking towards MoonDogs...didn't make it there as we saw the NYY replay on the tv outside of Loco's...and MoonDogs was PACKED. So we opted for COLD A/C on a HOT Summer's night and went to Loco's. JJ scarfed down a Diet Coke and cheese fries - (blagh!), and we attempted to avoid the whiney drama in the ladies room.

We ended up leaving and heading back to the apts around midnight I guess. Lesley passed out - not literally - and JJ and I hit the apartment pool. We had a small audience outside on their balconies watching - why? I don't know. I checked a couple of times to make sure my boobs hadn't popped out of my tank top or something.

(Doing backflips in a swimming pool after drinking even a minute amount can be fun. I do NOT condone pools/drunk/horseplay. The whirling sensation is great - it was merely the alcohol burning off my system; I was NOT intoxicated)

The next day, JJ and I met up with Lesley, and we went to Fellini's for pizza - MMMMMM- Calzones and a 7' tall Drag Queen - whatta combo!

JJ and I went to the Bodies exhibit at the Civic Center; it was really neat. It made me want to re-pursue my medical degree as I had planned a decade ago. The obnoxious medical students and such were annoying; I, too, could have used Latissmus dorsi, Abdominis recti, Zygomaticus, and Orbicularis orus correctly...but I have respect for other people in the "gallery." What dorks.

JJ and I hit Perimeter and Ikea. I LOOOOVE Ikea now - gee, thanks.

I headed back home in the evening, and arrived back in Hell...I mean South Georgia around 11pm or so I guess.

Looking forward to heading to the ATL again!

Now that Portal has been beat...

Now that Portal has been beat, I thought I would recap. Warning, may contain spoilers.

The first handful of levels were puzzling, but nearly as difficult as not having a spot to shoot a "Portal Hole" and, instead, having to dodge missile-shooting bots in order to continue. Towards the middle of the game, you start realizing Portal is fun - except for laser-scoping gun-bots (like that?) However, you'll find yourself taking childlike delight in knocking them over and listening to them as they "die."

Here are a few of my most common phrases I said (aloud)...when playing Portal:

"Aw, s*it."
"F*ck!"
"Ha HA! I fell in the acid stuff again!"
"Whoops - that wasn't good."
"That's right I'm gonna burn your ass."
*maniacal laughter* "Yay - push you over!"
*maniacal laughter* "Ha ha - throw you over the edge!"
"Whoops - I got squished."
"Well that sounded gross."
"Welp, missed that jump."
"Where's the cake?"
"GLaDos is....the Evil Cake Bitch."
"Run! Run! Run! Hurry - ahhhhh!"
"I don't know where to go."
"C'mon, Companion Cube..dammit! Go through the door! Awww, s*it, I dropped you."

All in all, I give Portal 4 stars out of 4 stars. (The credits were the best part)

What happens when you beat Portal?

** If you have not beat the game, the below song contains spoilers **

GLaDos serenades you :)



Lyrics:

This was a triumph!
I'm making a note here:
"HUGE SUCCESS!!"

It's hard to overstate
my satisfaction.

Aperture Science;
We do what we must,
because we can.

For the good of all of us.
Except the ones who are dead.

But there's no sense crying
over every mistake.
You just keep on trying
till you run out of cake.
And the science gets done,
and you make a neat gun
for the people who are
still alive.

I'm not even angry...
I'm being so sincere right now -
Even though you broke my heart,
and killed me.

And tore me to pieces.
And threw every piece into a fire.
As they burned it hurt because
I was so happy for you!

Now, these points of data
make a beautiful line.
And we're out of BETA.
We're releasing on time!
So I'm GLaD, I got burned -
Think of all the things we learned -
for the people who are
still alive.

(Go ahead and leave me...)
(I think I'd prefer to stay inside...)
(Maybe you'll find someone else
to help you?)
Maybe Black Mesa?
That was a joke! HAHA!! FAT CHANCE!!

Anyway this cake is great!
It's so delicious and moist!

Look at me; still talking
when there's science to do!
When I look out there,
it makes me glad I'm not you.

I've experiments to run.
There is research to be done,
on the people who are
still alive.
And believe me I am
still alive.
I'm doing science and I'm
still alive.
I feel fantastic and I'm
still alive.
While you're dying I'll be
still alive.
And when you're dead I will be
still alive.

Still alive.

Still alive.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Yay for Sunday!

Funny things said around the office today.

V: He has the hearing like an eagle. Wait...eagles don't have ears.
Me: Yes they do! There aren't a bunch of deaf eagles flying around.
V: Not ones that stick out.


Jugs:
And one day we will have to try Atlanta Ribs.
Me: Yeah, I don't know anything about them.
Jugs: That's why we have to try them.
Me: I do know the bike shop over there is good.
Jugs: Well then we'll buy a bike afterwards.
Me: And that V. doesn't like Firehouse Subs.
Jugs: What?! V's a communist! Firehouse Subs are awesome!

Me: "Eagles don't have ears."
V: Girl Scouts don't have beards? What?

Chocolate Gravy...for Biscuits and Gravy :)

1 c. sugar
2 T. cocoa
2 T. flour
2 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
1 t. butter

Sift sugar, flour, and cocoa together in saucepan, add milk. On medium heat stir until gravy thickens to desired consistency. Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla. Great over hot biscuits for chocolate lovers' breakfast.

From Craigslist.

On a more serious note- can you shake a zombie baby to death?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reply to: XXXXXXXXXX
Date: 2008-06-19, 11:44AM EDT


Or do you have still have to kill it with a headshot/decapitation? Post answers/explanations on this board please.

Pregnancy Boom at Gloucester High

*shakes head* I have nothing to say.


READ THE FULL STORY HERE

As summer vacation begins, 17 girls at Gloucester High School are expecting babies—more than four times the number of pregnancies the 1,200-student school had last year. Some adults dismissed the statistic as a blip. Others blamed hit movies like Juno and Knocked Up for glamorizing young unwed mothers.

But principal Joseph Sullivan knows at least part of the reason there's been such a spike in teen pregnancies in this Massachusetts fishing town. School officials started looking into the matter as early as October after an unusual number of girls began filing into the school clinic to find out if they were pregnant.

By May, several students had returned multiple times to get pregnancy tests, and on hearing the results, "some girls seemed more upset when they weren't pregnant than when they were," Sullivan says. All it took was a few simple questions before nearly half the expecting students, none older than 16, confessed to making a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. Then the story got worse. "We found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy," the principal says, shaking his head...

...The girls who made the pregnancy pact—some of whom, according to Sullivan, reacted to the news that they were expecting with high fives and plans for baby showers—declined to be interviewed. So did their parents. But Amanda Ireland, who graduated from Gloucester High on June 8, thinks she knows why these girls wanted to get pregnant. Ireland, 18, gave birth her freshman year and says some of her now pregnant schoolmates regularly approached her in the hall, remarking how lucky she was to have a baby. "They're so excited to finally have someone to love them unconditionally," Ireland says. "I try to explain it's hard to feel loved when an infant is screaming to be fed at 3 a.m."

Random Stories.

Randomness.

1st: Getting Back in Shape: Okay so those of you that know me know that I'm a freak when it comes to sports or outdoor activities. One look at me, and you'd think, "I think I'll pick her last for my kickball team," but au contraire, you'd be making a mistake. I went walking and jogging with my brother's fiancée the other night. We just went around the neighborhood twice. She said, "we have to go this way so we can tackle the 'big hill.'" Now, I don't like it when people say, "the big hill," and approaching it, I was thinking, "Oh dear Lord" as we gingerly half jogged/ half walked down it, leaned back as not to fall forward. (Yes, they could have graded this hill a little easier!) We turn around in the lower cul-de-sac, and I decide to sprint/jog up it. Now K. is about 6 feet tall and has an athletic swimmer's build. I'm 5'6" and have a curvy, Janeane Garafalo build. I turn the curve and off I go...half sprint/jog/hike up this massive hill. I get to the top and slow my jog, and I notice some things: 1) Holy crap, I'm not out of breath. 2) I made it without thinking twice about how sucky it was 3) Where's K.?

K. was almost to the top, half jogging/half walking, and I could hear her do her breathing. It was then I realized that I have, indeed, been getting into shape.

2nd: Playing in the Mountains: February 29, 2000 - yes, I said the 29th, it was leap year. Becca (girl from college) and I decide to Polar Bear it in North Georgia. We don bathing suits with shorts and sleeveless shirts over top, a tube, a float raft, and her in the same attire. We stop by Subway and buy two 12" rolls for $0.25/ea (a trick we learned when you are running on a LOW budget. See, I think it's funny when people have $$$ to their name and complain about having "no money." Until you are at the point where you literally have pennies to your name, I don't want to hear it. I learned about Ramen noodles, peanut butter, bread, jelly, and cheap meat in college). We head up to Dick's Creek/Water's Creek. We park the car, suck it up, strip out of our jackets and pants we wore up there, grabbed out raft/tube, and headed straight for the Water's Creek waterfall (now private property). We did an intial jump, and it stole our breath. This could be the dumbest thing I've ever done (no that was saved for the Spring). We tried floating, but floating over rocks on cheap pool floats don't work. It got to the point where Becca ended up getting stuck standing on a rock in the middle of the river. I swam out and tested surrounding rocks and guided her back to shore. We stripped naked, put our jackets and pants on and dried off with the heat blaring. Yes, I have a photo of me somewhere, a candid shot, Subway bread in my mouth, wrapped in my jacket and towel in her car. I did something similar to that in January 2004.


3rd: Hurling Myself Off of Rocks:
Spring, 2000 - We head back to Dick's Creek. This time, we went up past Water's Creek to Dick's Creek, and we saw people hurling themselves off a rock outcropping, nearly missing the rocks below and plunging into the base of a waterfall. AWESOME. We go to where they're jumping, and immediately, I no longer want to go. The rock outcropping they were hurling themselves off of....let me try to explain it. The rock outcropping is approximately 20 feet from the water's surface. However, the last point you can throw yourself off of is 3 feet back FROM the edge of the rock outcropping and is about 6" higher. In a sense, you half jog/walk towards the edge and jump OUT 3 feet to get DOWN to the water's surface. Anything past that 3 ft. marker has too steep a slope and is slippery and dangerous. I know, I almost slid off of it when I caught my foot on a root:




The first time I did it, I was freaking out, especially when I grabbed onto a tree and scrambled back up the mud to the cliff while onlookers that had jumped just sat there and watched. I was sure I was going to fall to my death as I hadn't gone OUT from the rock. If I had let go, I would have fallen on the lower outcrop below. I got back up top and said, "I'm getting down!" so I did. I jogged, I jumped out and WOOSH! The water stole my breath. The cold waterfall water surrounded me as I went under about 11 feet, touched the sandy bottom and kicked off coming back to the surface. My friends cheered as did the onlookers.

My friend, Erin, decided she wanted to do it. We got back up there, and me thinking that I wouldn't be as nervous said, "let me show you how it's done," but...I was wholly nervous! When I jumped this time, I knew what to expect, and her boyfriend took a photo of me jumping off the rock outcropping. Erin went next and vowed not to do it again. It's a dangerous rock outcropping as I saw someone slip and smack their tailbone on the rocks below. His friends jumped in, pulled him out, and he was vomiting on the rocks from it all.

That's about it for random stories today.

Silver Comet Trail.



This ^^^ is the Silver Comet Trail here in Georgia. It is a paved trail extending from about Smyrna, GA over to the Alabama/Georgia line. Actually, the connector starts in Smyrna. This weekend, we will be biking a portion of the trail starting at the easiest access point (Concord Rd.) and continuing however long we want (or can tolerate), turning around, and coming back.

THEN, we are marking what depot we stop at and picking up from there on the next leg. I will, of course, post pictures.

100 Blog Topics I Hope You Write: # 59

Continuing on with my Chris Brogan topic of 100 Blog Topics I Hope You Write...

# 59. Twitter is Too Simple- Twitter is Just Right

I had heard friends talking about "twitter" and "tweeter." So I did a little exploring. From what I gather, twitter is merely a non-branded "update" that you use to update friends and family about what you're doing. Think "status update" from MySpace or "what are you doing?" from Facebook, but not used on any particular application.

I have a slight problem with this. It's not that it's too simple, and it's not that it's just right. More and more we move away from being a physically social society and move towards being almost wholly technical. While this may be convenient and efficient, it ruins the whole aspect of personality. We have smarthomes, we have smartphones. We have cars that talk to us. We talk to cars. We have voice recognition on anything under the sun. Now we have a way of keeping friends and family informed on any aspect of our lives (or as many times as we want to hop online and update) over the internet.

What happened to a phone call? Let's take talking to people, and trace it on back:

45,000 - 10,000 years ago: Cro Magnon Man

1000+ AD - smoke signals used as a form of communication

Late 1700s - telegraph invented and used as means of communication by deciphering morse code.

Mid 1800s - many ideas of a "telephone" arise but no funds to patent idea

1875 - Bell patents "Transmitters and Receivers for Electric Telegraphs."

1876 - First clear transmission of a voice using liquid transmitter when Bell spoke into his device, " Mr Watson, come here. I want to see you."

Early 20th century - "real" telephones introduced.

April 1973 - first public call made on a cellular phone.

1989 - first "text message" sent via a beeper using numbers read upside down as letters.

1993 - first SMS messaging sent to wish "Merry Christmas."

1995 - Customers send average 0.4 messages per month using SMS.

2000 - number of messages per customer per month averages around 35.

2004 - Text messaging confirmed to being addictive by the study of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium.

Present - study at the Queensland University of Australia has found that text messaging is the most addictive digital service on mobile or internet, and is equivalent in addictiveness to cigarette smoking.

So here we are. We go from speaking to one another to punching out morse messages to one another....to phoning one another...to using a cell phone to talk to one another.....to text messaging instead of calling. Now, instead of doing any of those things, we're merely taking the anonymous and impersonal approach of telling anyone who cares what we're currently doing by posting it online.

While it seems like a good idea, I find it impersonal if used as your sole means of communicating with persons you know as to what's up in your life.

Are you familiar with the Parade Kid?

Two of my coworkers approached me as soon as I got into work this morning. "Are you familiar with the parade kid of Douglasville?" So I followed their instructions and went to YouTube where I found.....The Parade Kid:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

41 Secrets Your Doctors Wouldn't Share

Shocking Stats

60% of doctors don't follow hand-washing guidelines.
Source: CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

96% of doctors agree they should report impaired or incompetent colleagues or those who make serious mistakes, but ...

46% of them admit to having turned a blind eye at least once.
Source: Annals of Internal Medicine

94% of doctors have accepted some kind of freebie from a drug company.
Source: New England Journal of Medicine

44% of doctors admit they're overweight.
Source: Nutrition & Food Science; Minnesota Medicine

58% would give adolescents contraceptives without parental consent.
Source: New England Journal of Medicine

Anatomy of a Doctor's Bill

Just how much of the $100 your doctor charges for taking 30 minutes to investigate your stomach pain goes into his pocket? After paying the bills, he gets less than half. The breakdown, according to Robert Lowes, senior editor at Medical Economics:

$3.50 for malpractice insurance

$3.50 for equipment, repairs, and maintenance

$6 for supplies, including gowns, tongue depressors, and copy paper

$7 for rent and utilities

$11 for office expenses, such as telephones, accounting fees, advertising, medical journals, licenses, and taxes

$28 for secretary, office manager, and medical assistant salaries and benefits

$41 Amount that goes into the doctor's paycheck

Over the course of a year, that adds up to $155,000, the annual salary of the average family physician. That number rose just 3.3% between 2002 and 2006, while expenses increased nearly 25% over the same period.

Weather Report: Saturday, June 21st

How excited am I thus far?

HIGH: 80°
LOW : 64°

Flogging Molly: Tobacco



I love this song for the jam-out session with traditional Celtic strings blended with rock music towards the end.

Lyrics:

All to hell we must sail
For the shores of sweet Barbados
Where the sugar cane grows taller
Than the God we once believed in
Till the butcher and his crown
Raped the land we used to sleep in
Now tomorrow chimes of ghostly crimes
That haunt Tobacco Island

'Twas 1659 forgotten now for sure
They dragged us from our homeland
With the musket and their gun
Cromwell and his roundheads
Battered all we knew
Shackled hopes of freedom
We're now but stolen goods
Darkens the horizon
Blackened from the sun
This rotten cage of Bridgetown
Is where I now belong

All to hell we must sail
For the shores of sweet Barbados
Where the sugar cane grows taller
Than the God we once believed in
Till the butcher and his crown
Raped the land we used to sleep in
Now tomorrow chimes of ghostly crimes
That haunt Tobacco Island

Red leg down a peg
Blistered burns the soul
The floggings they're a plenty
But reasons there are none
Our backs belong to landlords
Where branded is there name
Paid for with ten shillings
Cheap labor never breaks
The silver moon is shinin'
Cools the copper blood
Where the livin' meet the dead
And together dance as one

All to hell we must sail
For the shores of sweet Barbados
Where the sugar cane grows taller
Than the God we once believed in
Till the butcher and his crown
Raped the land we used to sleep in
Now tomorrow chimes of ghostly crimes
That haunt Tobacco Island

Agony, will you cleanse this misery?
For it's never again I'll breathe
The air of home
From this sandy edge
The rolling sea breaks my revenge
With each whisper a thousand waves I hear roar
I'm coming home

Dark is the horizon
Blackened by the sun
This rotten cage of Bridgetown
Is where I now belong

All to hell we must sail
For the shores of sweet Barbados
Where the sugar cane grows taller
Than the God we once believed in
Till the butcher and his crown
Raped the land we used to sleep in
Now tomorrow chimes of ghostly crimes
That haunt Tobacco Island

Flogging Molly: Within a Mile of Home



** Love the strings **

Dust falls on the empty halls of my old school
Where the memories fade like the casualty, a forgotten fool
Now wide-eyed has become the blind of spoken rule
As equal only deep is now the word
The lesson's not the answer you once heard

"Don't turn your back on me, don't ever let me down"
She said, "I picked you up each time before you hit the ground
Your selfish face is now erased when someone mentions you
And the darkness that you left is overstepped aside
Will disappear in clouds, the sun arrives
Within a mile of home, within a mile of home"

Oh worry, oh my worry has it been that long?
The whistle keeps on blowing but the chills all gone
His empty frame cannot explain, there's nothing left inside
So sing to me a song from yesterday
When laughter filled the tears that we now make

"Don't turn your back on me, don't ever let me down"
She said, "I picked you up each time before you hit the ground
Your selfish face is now erased when someone mentions you
If only you had seen what I now see
And turned the corner where you would of been
Within a mile of home, within a mile of home"

So sing to me, sing me a song, a song from yesterday
And when the laughter turned these tears before the promises, then they'll slip away
Don't turn your back on me, dont't turn your back on me, don't ever let me down
Don't turn your back on me, dont't turn your back on me, don't ever let me down
We are within a mile, we are within a mile, within a mile of home
We are within a mile, we are within a mile, within a mile of home
We are within a mile, we are within a mile, within a mile of home
We are within a mile, we are within a mile, within a mile of home

Factory Girls: Flogging Molly



No underlying meaning behind why I posted this song on here other than I like it.

Lyrics:

Build a bridge or maybe two
Together held with footsteps she outgew
But now she sits alone, everyone's long gone
She dances in a photograph
When it was good to joke and have a laugh
But that was yesterday, if only today
Now the walls are crawling faces that still breathe
But before she nods her head what's left but sleep

She hears a chorus of factory girls
Singin' in the streets
Drinkin' their coca-colas
After washing your filthy sheets

Chasin' down the avaenue
After a childhood that she never knew
Choking on woodbine
Cigarettes just kill the time
Now the walls are crawling faces that still breathe
But before she nods her head what's left of sleep

She hears a chrous of factory girls
Singin's aoin and all
Empty are their pockets
But their voices are filled with song

Come day go day
Wish in my heart it was Sunday
Drinking buttermilk all the week
And whisky on a Sunday

Come day go day
Wish in my heart it was Sunday
Drinking buttermilk all the week
And whisky on a Sunday

Now the walls are crawling faces that still breathe
But before she nods her head whats's left of sleep

She hears a chorus of factory girls
Singin' in the streets
Drinkin' their coca-colas
After washing your filthy sheets

She hears a chorus of factory girls
Singin's aoin and all
Empty are their pockets
But their voices are filled with song

Stayed Richard and his court of Kings
He stole my heart and many other things
But me I took his crown
Wish he was here to steal it now

100 Blog Topics I Hope You Write: # 4

Continuing on from yesterday with Chris Brogan's 100 Blog Topics (www.chrisbrogan.com), here is my newest post:

# 4. A Community I Love

This was a more difficult topic for me to address than almost any other topic. I gather that Chris meant "online community" or community in general. I can't decide what community I "love." The English major came through with me, and I thought of the most obscure linking between what I am about to write and the topic at hand. As long as I have "evidence" to support my statement, I'll be okay. Most of you know why I love the people where I lived in South Georgia between 10-17 years of age so I chose a new one...

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND (SCOTLAND IN GENERAL)

Photos: http://good-times.webshots.com/album/236200964CLYHEH

I first went to Scotland in December 2004 so that is the time I will write about here. We (Krissy and I) were a little more than completely stoked about going to Scotland. We flew in through Amsterdam and landed in the small Edinburgh airport after a shuttle from Holland to Scotland. That, right there, was funny to me. Our taxi driver was not only friendly but informative, explaining to us that Edinburgh is divided by the castle in the middle of the main city. (The suburbs of Edinburgh are much like Atlanta - where there is a "Buckhead" in Atlanta, GA, but the town of "Buckhead" is not the same place). One one side of the castle and the gardens is "New Edinburgh." Buildings ranging from 1700 to present. On the opposite side of the castle is "Old Edinburgh" dating 1700 to 0 (see "Picts" - aka "tribal Scotland.") We stayed in "New Edinburgh" a block away from the castle off George Street (behind the "main drag" of Princes Street).

When we were on our flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam, we accosted two Scotsmen waiting for the restroom near our seats and asked them, "if there were places to visit in Scotland in one week that weren't touristy and couldn't be missed, what would they be?" They gave us a list of places, "William Wallace Monument in Stirling," "Urquhart Castle on the Loch," as well as "Standing Order" and "Espionage" (two pubs/bars). The night we arrived in Scotland, we went touring to the pubs. We started to walk into "Standing Order," but never made it inside.

As we were walking inside, three guys came walking out of the bar. When we said "thanks" (for them holding the door open), we were stopped immediately and asked "where ya frum? Canada?" We replied, "The States," and it was downhill from there. No, we never made it into "Standing Order" that night. Instead, we followed our new friends (two Scottish Army soldiers and their DD) around Edinburgh. I learned the difference between "green" and "orange," and I learned about Parliament, etc. In the middle of that was listening to the Scots sing American songs in karaoke at the "American Pub" - "The Filling Station." I walked into a private house by accident...turned around quickly. We compared tattoos, and it was a great night all around. Krissy was being fought over by the two soldiers, and I talked current events and Scottish facts with the DD.

The reason why I love Scotland, in general, not just Edinburgh, is everyone is friendly and helpful. Yes, we were two American college girls, but we were opting against tourist stuff and opting for things like small towns, local restaurants, local memorials, etc. as opposed to the "Ten pounds gives you a haunted tour!" type of stuff. We went to Stirling and Inverness. We stopped along small towns on the way up to Inverness and then Drumnadrochit.

It was 2am one night in Old Edinburgh, and we were walking towards Grassmarket (Diagon Alley from Harry Potter was based off of Grassmarket). People were still alive and kickin' - eating fish n' chips walking down the street in a euphoric alcohol bliss. "Good Evening!" a man called out. I can't remember why we shook hands, but it was just a "hey how's it going?" type of thing. He grabbed Krissy's hands, "Warm hands......cold heart." He grabbed my hands and smiled, "Cooooool hands.....warm heart" bid us good night, and continued on his way, picking up where he left off with fish n' chips. At 3am, we were still walking around Old Edinburgh...so were others. Yes, let me repeat that. It was 3am. Two girls walking alone, and we felt completely safe. Come to find out, that's just how it is in Scotland and in Edinburgh. Of course, we weren't drunk or drinking so that helped, too.

Heading up to Inverness and Drumnadrochit, we stopped at a small town with a local bakery. The local baker was MORE than happy to see us, smiled, and chatted a bit while we got hot chocolate (real hot chocolate) and a pastry for breakfast. We opted against meat and kidney pies...and haggis, for that matter.

One of the final nights we were there, Krissy and I walked around "New Edinburgh" - past an old cemetery behind the castle, past left over pict carvings in stone marking the entry into "Old Edinburgh." Once you go to Scotland, it pulls at you to go back. All of the above reasons and millions more are what makes "Scotland...a community I love."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

FYI: Spanish Mastiff

This is a Spanish Mastiff :)

100 Blog Topics I Hope You Write: # 83.

Chris Brogan wrote a blog entitled 100 things I hope you write:
http://www.chrisbrogan.com/100-blog-topics-i-hope-you-write/

So I am choosing a number each day on the topics I can write about...or for those of you that know me - each blog post will have a new topic (possibly several posts a day).

#83. Letting Go.

Not knowing Chris personally, I read through some of the blog posts including the list of 100 things. I've realized that the phrase, "Letting Go" has multiple connotations...some of which I will address here as well as give you a little insight into who I am.

When someone says, "letting go" or "just let go," I have an image in my head. It's of someone in a climbing harness on the edge of a cliff, and someone below them saying, "just let go." The climber is safe in their harness, but they can't get out of their head that here they are, hanging on a cliff, scared to "let go."

I compare this to my first rappelling experience at North Georgia. I had no need of "having" to rappel, but I wanted to rappel. After all, this was a military school, and we had a small rappelling wall right there on campus (Mountain Order of Colombo - promotes interest in military mountaineering and small unit infantry tactics). My first rappelling experience wasn't at that rappelling wall - it was on "The 9's." Now let me tell you about "The 9's." Already, my NGC fellows are smiling. "The 9s" are located right after Hwy 9 and Hwy 19/60 split. One portion goes around the mountain towards Blairsville, and the other portion goes around the other side of the mountain (much more mountainous and curvy road) towards Suches.

"The 9s" are, of course, located on the Highway 9 branch heading towards Suches past Trahlyta's Grave (pile of stones said to mark the grave of Trahlyta, a Cherokee princess who knew the location of hidden "youth" springs - custom among Cherokee and whites to lay a rock on the gravesite for good tidings and luck). I digress. As you head on Hwy 9 north, you come to a jagged rockface slathered with grafitti, some small springs popping up over the rocks, and there is "The 9s." We climbed to the top, cabled in, and here I go, I can't let go.

My fingers are turning white gripping the rope and then the edge of the rock. It takes awhile for me to breathe, take a deep breath, and release as my feet push off in my first rappelling jump.

That release. That deep breath. The release of that breath while letting go was one of the best feelings. I was letting go, but I knew I would not fall. That mindset can be applied figuratively as well as literally. Letting go but not falling.

Why is it hard to "let go"? I mean this subject of "it" in the sense of relaxation or stress or frustrations, etc. Why is it that we find ourselves saying things like, "I really need a break" or "a rest would be nice" or "it'd be nice to have a little help," but we don't do anything about it. We don't change, and we can't seem to "let go" of what we need a break or a rest from. Why is this so difficult?

Is it because of the familiarity we have with whatever it is we need to "let go"? Is it because we're comfortable with this "it" that we need to "let go"? Are we afraid of what might happen if we do let go? Yes, yes, and yes, or at least those are my opinions. We gain this familiarity and comfort level with whatever it is. We worry about what it would be like to "let go," and it scares us - similar to the initial push off a rock face when rappelling. The "it" can be positive or negative. Hypothetically speaking of relationships "it" can be your heart, your guard, your ability and want to love this person...but worried about the consequences. The "it" in the negative sense can be a relationship you were in that didn't work, but you can't let go of "it."

"Letting go" doesn't mean running willy nilly with no control over anything you do or say. It means little things.

1. Take some time to reflect about something that has frustrated you or bothered you.

2. Don't dig yourself deeper. Don't make yourself even more upset or annoyed. Don't make false judgments.

3. Just think about WHY that frustrates you.

4. WHY does it bother you, and what you can do to "let go" of it? The more you hang onto whatever it is, the worse you will feel, and the harder it becomes to "let go."

Luke 1:13 says, "Fear not, Zachary, for your prayer is heard."

Isaiah 43:1a-3b says, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name. You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."

I don't know about you, but those passages right there seem to be God's way of saying, "No matter what, I got your back." I don't think there's any better wingman you'd want than God. So reflect. Relax. Breathe, and let go. He's got your back no matter what.

Monday, June 16, 2008

May Elephant Orphan Update

From the David Sheldrick Foundation:

Nursery:- The 27th May, 2008 saw the arrival of 3 week old Kimana orphaned at the Kimana Springs at the foothills of Kilimanjaro, where the Masai landowners have leased out land to immigrant agriculturalists who are now planting crops. Consequently the Springs which have long been a traditional watering place for all wildlife, is now a hot-bed of human/wildlife conflict and baby “Kimana” is obviously a victim of this. He arrived in reasonable condition, so could not have been without his mother for long, and being so young has been spared the usual emotional trauma, too young to fully understand events. So far, he is doing well, sharing a stable with Shimba.

It has been Kenia who has given us cause for concern this month, who remains lethargic and obviously grief-stricken at the sudden loss of her mother and elephant family. She and Siria have formed a bond of friendship, empathizing with each other about a common predicament. We welcomed Sandy Griffiths to the Nairobi Nursery at the beginning of the month who specializes in the use of the Bach Flower Remedies and who spent l0 days here instructing our Keepers in the use of these subtle natural essences that are emotional aids. These have definitely helped Kenia enormously and we shall certainly be using them extensively in the future. Many kind folk have donated them to us for the elephants, and we thank all who have done so wholeheartedly. We are also very grateful to Sandy for traveling to Kenya at her own expense, and for so patiently and lovingly treating the Nursery elephants and teaching our Keepers.

Yet again, the lions have been a factor this month, hunting the warthogs that habitually hang around the compound where they feel safer, and also around the elephants, for the same reason. One skinny old lioness positioned herself for many hours at our entrance gate, hungrily eyeing some warthogs within the fenced compound who were oblivious to her presence. Whilst she ambushed the Gate no-one could pass on foot in or out, until she finally gave up the vigil, strolled nonchalantly past Maxwell’s Stockade within full view of everyone, and disappeared into the bush below the mudbath. Yet again most of the prey species have moved out of the un-fenced boundary of the Park onto the Kitengela dispersal plains where the grass has been burnt by Masai tribesmen following the rains.

Ithumba Elephants:- Our Ithumba elephants continue with the routine they have established for themselves to suit the special circumstances in which they find themselves in Northern Tsavo where the wild elephants view all humans as anathema! The older orphans regularly separate from the youngsters in order to travel further afield unencumbered by the presence of the human Keepers. Three known contacts are recorded in the May Diary – on the 11th with 2 large bulls were feeding in thick bush abutting the Imenti waterhole where the orphans gathered to bathe. On this occasion Kora plucked up enough courage to investigate, but soon came flying back. On the 23rd the youngsters encountered a large wild bull prompting a rapid retreat back to the Stockades, with the bull in pursuit, the Keepers taking a different route home. However, the wild bull heard a passing vehicle, and in turn retreated back under cover. And on the 29th Yatta and the older elephants heard a wild herd breaking branches as they fed some way off, and went in search of them, again leaving the youngsters. When Yatta’s group returned to the Night Stockades, a large wild bull turned up a short while later, rumbled a greeting, and helped himself to a drink from the Stockade trough.

The dry season is beginning to take hold again in Tsavo, the vegetation drying rapidly. June, July and August are the coolest months of the year, when 3 of our Nursery elephants will be moved to join the Ithumba Unit, namely famous Makena, Lenana and Chyulu bring the number of orphans in the Ithumba unit to 30.

Voi Orphans:- Emily and her group were absent for the first half of the month, but Natumi’s group paid a visit to the Voi Stockades on the 3rd May, when they entertained the Keepers with their old Stockade games. They appeared again, but only briefly on the 4th and 6th. On the 12th they were spotted feeding East of Mazinga Hill with a wild bull recruited into their unit and on the l7th they returned to the Stockades with another wild bull recruit, who was uneasy around the Keepers but settled down when he observed that the orphans were unconcerned.

Emily’s group was observed on the 14th at a waterhole with a wild herd approaching, whom Emily went to welcome and who then mingled comfortably with all the orphans, Natumi’s group having been with that of Emily on this occasion. On the l8th the two orphaned groups were again together and had the friendly wild boy still in tow and on the 21st Laikipia tried to block the approach of a wild herd probably because at the onset of the dry season water was becoming a scarce commodity. However, one wild bull insisted on joining the orphans and paid a great deal of attention to Loisaba.

All the Voi orphans continue to thrive, remaining as one large affiliated family, which separates into two on occasions, the break-away unit led by Natumi and a lot of comings and goings of the younger elephants between the two Matriarchal units. On many occasions the two groups are together forming one large herd which intermingles happily and comfortably with their wild peers. We are truly proud of this successful reintegration of 36 elephants originating from different populations who have grown up as one large orphaned FAMILY.

Snippets of a Child - Part Quatre: Ethan

Ethan - walks into the room and drops something.

E: "Aw shoot."
Looks at coworker panicked.
E: "I can say 'shoot," right?"
Coworker: "Yes, you can say 'shoot.'"
E: "Can I say 'aw shoot'?"
Coworker: "Yes"
E: "But 'fuck' is bad, right?"

Fortune Cookie Irony.

"Your love life will be happy and harmonious."

Somebody's Watching Me - Rockwell f/Michael Jackson

Oh, Jugs, true in so many instances.

Gaming Review


1) Guitar Hero III - It's safe to say that while I may have the drums and singing down pat in Rock Band, I suck at Guitar Hero III. After knowing how to play the guitar, my fingers fumble looking for notes that aren't there. It was quite humorous, I'm sure of it. I cuss during some gaming, and I find myself laughing uncontrollably at how bad I suck at GH-III. I managed to get through a Dropkick Murphys song, Pat Benatar, Disturbed, and some others, but GH-III will require MUCH more play time to even begin to fit in the groove.


2) Halo 3: Slayer - Most anyone that has played Halo with me knows...this is not my favorite. I seem to recall "someone's" blog post from way back when about "understanding when I get annoyed playing with pre-teens on Live." Yeah...I can see how that would happen. My new slayer comparison - 25-13 (I think...right?). I was not the 25'er, but I did manage to have a few good moments, "where are you? how did you get up there?"


3) Portal - ah, Portal. When I first started playing, I was confused but easily fell into the swing of it all. Now I find myself in the final areas of the last Testchamber. I follow the sign for cake! (the cake is a lie, the cake is a lie, the cake is a lie, the cake is a lie....) Hey there is no cake only a maniacal Glados who still says things like, "remember that time I told you there was cake, and then you went through the fire?" almost reminicing how "fun" that was. Let's see, I've launched myself through the air, giggled when I knocked over laser-scoping gun-bots, found myself saying stuff like, "oh well...crap...I fell in the acid again" and found myself thinking about alternate physics "if I put a blue portal there, and an orange portal here, and then run and jump here, fall, and shoot, I'll be over there on that side from that blue portal." Right - doesn't make sense? it will. I message my Portal Pal and tell him where I am in Portal. He "lol" at me and informs me that "sometimes you can come from the floor." Okay - lots of help that does though I have two new tactics to try when I play next...without getting crushed by giant piston like steel tubes.


4) Bioshock - I am set to play Bioshock. I can't comment on it and am trying to look at some screenshots or just a basic, "this is what it is" without cheating and looking for the player's guide. (I've been successful in NOT doing that for any game I've ever played though really wanted one for Portal last night!)

And that's my gaming review.

Long-promised Chimney Rock Pictures

Sorry...it's only taken almost a year to get them up:

http://good-times.webshots.com/album/563815370OKseni

301, 501, Cricket...Oh My!

Because Wade and Neil would find great humor in this dart adventure, I went to The Harp. A friend of mine, Deaglan's, friends Ray and Mary own it. He had told me awhile back that I would like it, and it's one of his favorite hang outs. Taking a chance on a Saturday night, we said, "hmm...let's try it," and went. Like a homing beacon, my eyes were drawn to my immediate left of two bristle dartboards hanging on the wall. Because the main portion of The Harp was the smoking section, we ventured towards "the light" in the other room.

1st of all, the Snakebite (lager and dry cider) was well done. Not too much cider, which seems to always be the problem elsewhere. I ordered Beef n' Guinness Pie (similar to a Shepherd's Pie). 1st thing: HOT food. Not just oh..it's warm, but HOLY CRAP THAT'S HOT! That'd be a plus...if it was cold outside. 2nd thing: Homemade food. Eating my B&GP, I pulled out a bay leaf. 3rd thing: Steel Tip Darts...two boards...two chalkboards...proper distances.

I hadn't picked up a dart in, what? three years or so since my last time playing with the Toad Liquors or at Shooter's (over off I-20 in Lithonia - since been bought out). My first couple of throws were less than stellar including a wonky dart with a crappy flight hitting the floor a couple of times. I got into the swing of things. FYI: Throwing darts in spiked heels...kind of difficult...not recommended.

The Harp had something that many "Irish Pubs" did not - common camaraderie among its customers. There was a birthday party there for a fifty year old who professed "Car Bombs later" in her conversation. There was "Jack," a seeming regular who played a game of pool with our waiter who had ended his night. These are things you know makes a good place. When a waiter hangs around where he works just because he likes the place. I was told by Deaglan that there is another location in Duluth as well.


FYI:

The Harp
1425 Market Blvd
Ste 1330
Roswell, GA 30076
(770) 645-0118

Friday, June 13, 2008

Wienerschnitzel, Schlichter, Hassenpfeffer, pferd, whatever.

Telephone conversation:

Me: [calling a dealer in Alabama] Hey, may I please speak to Brian?
Receptionist: Shaw, hold on just a men-it, hunny.
Brian: This is Brian.
Me: Hey Brian. Rusty was over here and wanted us to send you guys some stuff to the service manager.
Brian: [thick Alabama accent] Well I guess he means "Bin."
Me: All right.
Brian: Now...I don't know how to say his last name, but I can spell it for ya, he's German.
Me: *giggle* all right.
Brian: S-C-H-L-I-C-H-T-E-R....hassenpfeffer, wienerschnitzel, whatever. I can't pronounce it.
Me: Schlichter? (think Shlicktur)
Brian: Hey that's pretty good. When I pronounce it, it comes out...not right....crude...and wrong. I can't help it, it's my Alabama upbringing. I forget the the "lich" in the middle.
Me: Do you "forget" or do you "conveniently forget"?
Brian: Depends on my mood.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Glasgow Celtic: Artur Boruc

If you come visit, you'll notice an autographed photo of Glasgow Celtic (F.C.) goalie in my room. Besides being my favorite player, he's also an amazing man:

April 2007 -

CELTIC star Artur Boruc was hailed a hero last night after rescuing a pregnant Pole from racist thugs.

The brave goalie saved Magda Kucko, 27, who is due to give birth within days, after she was attacked by three louts ("thugs") and their vicious Doberman dogs.

Last night, she said: "Artur is a very brave man, a hero. I cannot bear to think what might have happened if he had not been there for us. We will never forget his courage."

The thugs taunted Magda with vile racist abuse before assaulting her as she walked through a Glasgow park with her sister and brother-in-law.

By chance, Artur was nearby. He angrily confronted the gang - one woman and two men who threatened to release two snarling Doberman dogs - in Elder Park, Govan.

Magda's terrified brother-in-law Janusz Lizok, 39, had his ear bitten by one of the men, who then punched him to the ground.

And Magda fell after being struck on the back of her head by a beer can thrown by the female thug, who kicked her in the back.

Her sister Halina, 39, was punched in the face.

But 6ft 4in Artur, rushed to the group's aid after hearing desperate Magda's cries for help during the attack in Govan.

He had been visiting his cousin - a neighbour of the family - and managed to free Janusz, 39, before angrily confronting his attackers, who fled.

The big-hearted star insisted on driving Magda, whose baby is due on Wednesday, to hospital in his car. Last night modest Artur, 27, played down his courage claiming: "I am not a hero. I just did what any ordinary person would have done."

Shocked Magda, who is still too afraid to leave her house, said: "I had no idea who he was.

"My husband Woitek told me later he was a famous footballer but I am very grateful to him.

"I know my husband wants to say a big thank you to Artur."

The attack happened as Magda, whose sister and brother-in-law were visiting Scotland for the first time, walked through the park near her home last Sunday at around 3pm.

She said: "We were walking from the underground to meet my husband, who was with our 18-month-old daughter Maya.

"We could hear the group singing songs. They had beer cans and were obviously drunk, so we avoided eye contact.

"But they ran after us. They must have heard us speaking Polish because they shouted, 'Why don't you go home', and, 'Stop stealing our jobs.' They jumped on my brother-in-law and started to beat him up.

One of them bit him on his ear. I tried to call the police and the girl attacked me. She hit me on the head with a beer can. I was stunned and fell to the ground. She knew I was pregnant, because at first she had shouted to the men to leave me alone. I think she was on drugs, because she was smiling the whole time. My sister came over to try and help me and the girl punched her.

I don't even remember shouting for help as I was in shock and couldn't see out of one eye but Artur Boruc came rushing over. He took off his watch and gave it to me as if he was going to launch in and fight the men. He managed to get my brother-in-law away from them, split them up and then calmed down the situation. The gang had two scary-looking Doberman dogs with them and threatened to release them."

At this point, Magda's horrified husband, construction worker Woitek, 26, arrived. He said: "I've been in Scotland since January 2006 and have never come across anything like this before.

"Magda was in shock and Artur insisted on taking us to hospital to have her checked out.

"He contacted us later to check she was OK. It's good to know there are people like him around." A traumatised Magda, originally from Ketrzyn, near Gdansk, was kept in overnight at Glasgow's Southern General Hospital by medics worried about her high blood pressure.

She has now been given a clean bill of health - and the couple have pledged not to let the experience put them off Scotland. Magda, who has a degree in child psychology, said: "We think the Scots are a great people, and they have been so friendly to us. I hope the police catch the people who did it as until they do I won't feel very safe."

Police confirmed they are still investigating the incident in Govan, which has a growing Polish community. Glasgow's Polish community leader Aleksandr Alfer, 66, said: "This is a rare incident. Scottish people have been nothing but welcoming to Polish people."

Boruc has been a sensation for Celtic since his arrival from Legia Warsaw in July 2006.

A Celtic spokesman said: "Artur did what he felt was the right thing to do and we are pleased he was able to help."

Unicorns are real.

"Single-horned deer spotted in Italy."

ROME (AP) -- A deer with a single horn in the center of its head -- much like the fabled, mythical unicorn -- has been spotted in a nature preserve in Italy, park officials said Wednesday.

"This is fantasy becoming reality," Gilberto Tozzi, director of the Center of Natural Sciences in Prato, told The Associated Press. "The unicorn has always been a mythological animal."

The 1-year-old Roe Deer ? nicknamed "Unicorn" ? was born in captivity in the research center's park in the Tuscan town of Prato, near Florence, Tozzi said.

He is believed to have been born with a genetic flaw; his twin has two horns.

When your mind goes into overdrive...


First of all, because I forgot to mention, Richard Blais did not win Top Chef, but the other chef I liked, Stephanie, did.


There are many things I put a lot of thought into. While others may not think they're important, somewhere in the depths of my mind they are important to me. Permis-moi to elaborate a little. That does not mean I "worry" about things that others think aren't important. "Worrying" is different than "thinking" due to its negative connotation.

Last night I attempted nearly 24 hours of my life into a 45-minute conversation. Oh I can almost guarantee that was disasterous with discussions about IBM PS/1, Dot Matrix printers, my uncanny ability to remember minute details, AOL and their "free 10 hours" when they first came out, my first online chat (about the Yankees), how I must have had a bad dream or a good dream the night before, etc. Can you see how my mind works? Probably not - but, in some form or another, all of that ties together.

So here we have today. The first part of my day here at work was 'Hands-On' with me being queen of a torque wrench. "Jugs" was so not allowed to play with the wrench after nearly taking off our toes with the end we were using. Okay, well, that lasted for two hours. Then what?

It's 2:17, and I can only think of two productive things I've done. I'm trying to find stuff to do, but it's not working. Leaving my mind to its own devices is incredibly dangerous. So I start drawing a paintbrush drawing to send off as another comic. Okay - I guess that makes 2-1/2 productive things accomplished.

But uh oh, what do we have here? An afternoon of self-reflection. Well I remember what happened the last time I did that.

This past Monday afternoon. I decide to go for an extended hike. I pack water. I pack my camera, my cell phone, and my pack with a small hand towel and sunscreen. What I didn't pack was my self-confidence, was my internal strength, and was my ability to completely clear my head and just go. I forgot to pack those. So halfway up one trail, my mind has already started working. It's officially in overdrive. I lose my concentration and my focus to continue hiking the triple starred, highlighted in red, marked "extremely strenuous" mountain trail, and am forced to turn around for the lack of wanting to slip, lose footing, and end up in an awful predicament. I get down to the trailhead again and decide to take a more leisurely stroll marked "somewhat strenuous." I have taken out my water bottle and sipped, and then I get a gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach as I think about some things. I suddenly feel nauseated and can't tell if it's from that feeling or from early onset of heat complications. I am forced, again to turn around, this time, my mirrored lenses of my sunglasses hide my tear-flooded eyes as I hike back down the second trail and call it a wash for the day.

I smile as a slender and athletic mother walks up to me donned in an external frame backpack/child carrier with her small child on her back, and her senior citizen Jack Russell by her side. "Excuse me, can you help me for a second?"

"Sure."
"Can you get the plastic bowl out of my backpack for me for my dog?"
"This part here?"
"Yeah, thanks."
The child looks at me and smiles.
"I don't think that water fountain works though," I inform her looking at her dog.
"Are you serious?"
"Yeah, but I have some bottled water he can have."
"Are you sure?"
"I'm done."
"Oh that'd be wonderful."
She holds the little blue bowl as I pour in cool filtered water for the eleven year old Jack Russell Terrier still alive and kicking it strong.
For some reason, the pit in my stomach started to wear off slightly as I walked away and heard a "THANK YOU SO MUCH!" called out to me. I couldn't turn around, I was still crying. I just shouted back, "YOU'RE WELCOME!" and waved my hand in the air.

I don't have a stressful job or a stressful life. I've always sort of been a rock, but even rocks get cracks and crumble or erode away I suppose. It's good to have other rocks.

This is my day of self-reflection.