Thursday, December 29, 2005

Meme: Weekend Assignment #92

Thus Sprake Scalzi: Weekend Assignment #92: Resolutions

Tick, tick, tick... time is running out on 2005, and as we look toward 2006, we have a few things we would like to achieve for ourselves in the new year. With that in mind, your (very timely) Weekend Assignment:

Weekend Assignment 92: Do you Have New Year's Resolutions for 2006? If so, share one (or more, if you like).

Extra Credit: How did you do on your resolutions for 2005?

You're up: Think about what resolutions you have for yourself for 2006, write them up in your blog or journal, and then come back here to leave a link. Good luck with you resolutions, whatever they are!

~~%~~

My personal resolution for 2006: I'm going to try to avoid dying this year ... more on that later.

I don't do resolutions very well. Otherwise, it might have been only 3.5 years of smoking, instead of three and a half decades.

On Domestic Tranquility: Like Monsieur Scazi, I desperately need organization. But to set it in type as a resolve? Let me put it this way – I'm already up to my ass in alligators. There's no way I want to be caught French kissing some ol' 25 footer come next New Year's!

On Personal Relationships: I need to start building the bench work for my train layout before the better half takes the Dremel tool in hand and whittles away on me a new one, if you catch my drift – she wants trains to play with!

On Domestic Harmony: The garage, cellar and attic need to be cleaned out, straightened up, and organized. So does every part of the house in between. This is just fact – not something I am proud of. Despite nearly seven years of marriage, SWMBO has failed to tame this old bear with furniture, doilies, or new dishes. I resolve to do better in 2006 in the Domestic Engineering Department.

On Mortality: My health is deteriorating rapidly, my driving is becoming faster and faster in this pell mell, helter skelter world, I haven't anyone available who can go kayaking when I can, so I am forced to go alone or forgo my chief pleasure in life, something I am unwilling to do (before you think me too selfish, I've already given up cigarettes, booze, and skirt chasing. The previously cited activities are all I have left. All are activities or situations fraught with peril and the potential for fatal consequences if mistakes are made. I do know the risks). So, as I indicated when I started this piece, I resolve to try to avoid dying this year. Not for me, but to avoid causing grief for others.

Finally, I resolve to be nicer to others this year. I'll try to use the signal before I cut them off. I'll only give a slowpoke two flashes of my “Halogen High Beams of Death” before passing on the inside of the curve, instead of simply “love tapping” them off the road and out of my way. I'll refrain from going for the extra points at the school crossing, letting the pregnant teacher waddle all the way back to within three feet of the curb instead of jack rabbiting the start after the last munchkin has stepped up to the sidewalk.

When I shoot two-legged reporters, Seventh Day Adventists and other annoyances that wake me from a sound sleep at 11 AM varmints, I resolve to try to go for a clean kill, rather than the messy stomach shot that so often leaves them writhing on the ground in agony for five or six minutes as they bleed out.

I'll try to be kinder and more tolerant of Democrats I may have dealings with; instead of always lighting the fuse to the dynamite without warning, I'll suggest they vacate the premises first.

I resolve to exercise greater restraint with the doctors, nurses and other “good health practitioners” I deal with. They can't help being pussies – it's genetic.

I'll belay that order for a new hood-mounted laser cannon for the Rolling Deathmobile of Doom. After all, the tourists do bring in significant economic benefits along with the total bullshit they serve up.

But, I refuse to be nice to all of the flaming asswipes driving around talking on real or imaginary cell phones. They're dead meat and I'm the cleaver!

Laser Cannon locked and loaded, all pigs ready to fly ... goodbye, 2005. So long and good riddance.

And so it goes...

Over The Hill, I Am...

Older Than Dirt, according to this QUIZ. Like Acidman, I got 25 out of 25. Although, I wasn't too sure about skate keys until I remembered the skates I used the summer I lived with my Grandma in '55.

So how did you do? Hmm?

MEME: Tuesday Two - Episode 11



In between dodging bullets and the slings and arrows inherent to the job of a TV advertising producer, intrepid Patrick has been exposing himself to mayhem on Virginia's roads during the holidays. Stuck in a massive tie-up on I-95, Patrick was heard to sputter...


So last week I let Tuesday go by without even realizing it. This week, I'm making up for it with a double edition of the Tuesday Two.

First, though, it's time to recognize the person who was first to answer last week's special challenge edition. That distinction goes to Hoppers of "Hoppers Happenings." Congratulations!

The rules, for those of you who are visiting for the first time, are simple: I offer you two questions related to a single topic. Choose one question (and only one) and answer it in your blog and leave a link to your post in a comment here. (Or, you can simply choose your question and answer it entirely in a comment here.) Be sure to specify which question you're answering.

THIS WEEK'S FIRST TOPIC: CHRISTMAS AFTERMATH

Question A:
When is the last time you had to return or exchange a Christmas gift at a store, and how much of a hassle was doing it?

or

Question B:
Now that another Christmas is behind us, what holiday song will you be happiest to no longer have to hear for another eleven months?



THIS WEEK'S SECOND TOPIC: MONEY

Question A:
You see your worst enemy drop a $20 bill. Would you tell him or her, or would you quietly pocket the money.

or

Question B:
What is your own definition of being "rich" from a monetary standpoint?

Remember, pick question A or question B (and in this week's case, pick one question each from both topics). Don't answer all four questions!



Well, I'm running behind again, so am going for the fast and not-so-furious answers to be had by choosing “A” both times. In the first instance, I had to return a gift that I discovered was missing a crucial piece, rendering it unsuitable for giving to one of my wife's employees. So on Christmas Eve, about 3:00 PM, after dropping SWMBO off at her job, it was across town and over the river to the distant shopping center I went. The driving was miserable. There was light mist and the roads were getting icy. The store was packed. I stood in line and waited fifteen minutes. Arriving at the cashier I had to say “Whoa” as she attempted to scan the new item. I waved the receipt, showed her the old item and explained the problem. No problem for me – she waved me through. And then promptly put the defective item back on the shelf!

Second question is easy enough. I may hate your guts, but I know how hard it is sometimes to come up with $20. So regardless of the way I felt about them, if there is a direct connection between person A and Bill B, I will tell them they have dropped it.

Have a great week, peoples!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Happy Boxing Day



My mother, bless her sainted soul, was born right here in the good old U.S.A. and then, six months later, was whisked off to Canada with her family at the behest of Mr. Goodyear, my grandfather's employer at the time. There she was raised to adulthood by a French-Canadian nanny in Toronto and London, Ontario and her Irish grandmothers who came to live with them, and she became one mixed up puppy, culturally-speaking. This mismash of cultures she passed on to me.


That explains a lot, doesn't it?

Anyway, that's why I'm wishing you, and you and you and the rest of you in back, a Happy Boxing Day. Because I'm like that, don't you know.

Read all about it here:

Boxing Day

The day after Christmas, the Feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, is better known as Boxing Day. The term may come from the opening of church poor boxes that day; maybe from the earthenware boxes with which boy apprentices collected money at the doors of their masters' clients.

Nowadays, we often see, in certain families, gifts (boxes) given to those who provide services throughout the year.

"Boxing Day" is listed in the Canada Labour Code as a holiday.


Image source: "Elaine's Boxing Day Page"

Sunday Seven - Episode 17

Sunday Seven - Episode 17

By Patrick

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

I hope all of you found that Santa had left just what you wanted under the tree this year. More about that in a moment.

But first, it's time to recognize the first to play last week. Angelia Rian of "A Fallen Angel Under A Dark Moon" was first to answer last week's question! Congratulations!

On to the challenge!

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION:
List up to seven Christmas presents you received this year. If you don't celebrate Christmas or don't exchange gifts for Christmas, then list up to seven gifts you received for your birthday or another special occasion.

Either answer the question in a comment or answer it in your journal and include the link in a comment. (To be considered "first to play," a link must be to the specific entry in which you answered the question.)



  1. A small (1” square) glass paperweight with a pair of lovebirds laser-etched inside.

  2. A gift subscription to Model Railroader magazine.

  3. An antique 35mm range finder camera in need of TLC after going through a fire

    Those were my xmas presents. Mostly, I'd had another year on this ball o' mud when that isn't always a sure thing, so am always glad to have it. Here's hoping you have had a great year and will continue to do so in future.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Seasons Greetings!


"The Yule Log"

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah , Festive Festivus, Kewl Kwanzaa, Yummy Yule ... Peace & Love To You All -- even you religious fanatics!

And So It Goes.


Modern Chocolate Yule Log (Terramisu)

Unconscious Mutterings -- Week 151

Unconscious Mutterings

Free association is described as a "psychonanalytic procedure in which a person is encouraged to give free rein to his or her thoughts and feelings, verbalizing whatever comes into the mind without monitoring its content." Over time, this technique is supposed to help bring forth repressed thoughts and feelings that the person can then work through to gain a better sense of self.

That's an admirable goal, but for the purposes of this excercise, we're just hoping to have a little fun with the technique. Each week I'll post ten words to which you can respond to with the first thing that comes to mind.

"Rules are, there are no rules." There are no right or wrong answers. Don't limit yourself to one word responses; just say everything that pops into your head. AND you don't have to have your words up on Sunday. Take all week if you want! Read the FAQ for more information.

Sunday, December 25, 2005
Week 151

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Virus::HIV
  2. Poop::Shit
  3. Smart::Ass
  4. Agent::provocateur
  5. Wrap::coat
  6. Brass::horns
  7. Waste of time::paperwork
  8. Suspicious::behavior
  9. 360::and run like hell
  10. Dummy::Ventriloquist's
Get your own words and leave a link to your answers here. You'll be glad you did and that disturbing femine itching will clear up faster than you can say "Monistat!"

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Saturday Six - Episode 89

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Patrick blearily rose from his pallet, disentangling sheets, blankets, dogs and the odd (very odd!) remote control for the cable box to make his way to the loo to answer the frantic urgings of his bladder. On his way, he was heard to mutter:


Wil of "The Daily Snooze" asked if he'd missed a note about this week's Tuesday Two being postponed. Until he asked, it had completely slipped my mind, which should give you an idea of the kind of week I've had. But, at least I remembered the Saturday Six!

For those who'd like to join in on the fun, playing is simple: you can either answer the questions in this journal or you can answer them in your own blog and leave a link. It is strongly recommended that you answer the journals in your blog and post the link...since several of the people who are playing have relocated away from AOL, it's important that everyone knows where your new (or temporary) blogging homes are, so if you don't mind, leave a first name and your journal's link, just so we can find you easier!

But before the questions, the tradition of the "Saturday Six" is to recognize the first one to play the week before. Carly, of "Ellipsis...Suddenly Carly" was the first person to play last week, which is especially appropriate since she had the Reader's Choice Question! Congratulations, Carly.

Here are this week's "Saturday Six" questions. Either answer the questions in a comment here, or put the answers in an entry on your journal...but either way, leave a link to your journal so that everyone else can visit! To be counted as "first to play," you must be the first player to either answer the questions in a comment or to provide a complete link to the specific entry in your journal in which you answer the questions. A link to your journal in general cannot count. Enjoy!”

1. Which of the following generally costs you more: a normal trip to your barber/hairstylist, your usual lunch at your favorite restaurant, the most recent amount you paid to fill up your gas tank, or your biggest single contribution to a single charity in 2005?

I haven't seen a barber in almost two years. Back then it was costing $10 a pop. Lunch averages $8 plus tip in these parts. A fill-up yesterday was only $22 and my largest contribution to a single charity this year would go for many times the largest amount cited if sold on the open market.

2. What drink -- alcoholic or not -- do you drink entirely too much of?

Diet Soda. Decaf Diet Coke, to be specific. Although, I do drink a pot of decaf coffee most days, so the answer is a toss-up, actually.


3. Did you receive a Christmas card from anyone you didn't send one to? Did you send them a belated card in return?


I don't send cards, so all the cards received go unrequited. There were about a half dozen this year.


4. Take this quiz (if you haven't already!): What is most important in your life?

Family is most important in your life.


Having a high focus on family indicates that you are a loving and nurturing person. You want to have a nice big family of your own, and you are very close with your siblings and parents.

Life Piechart - QuizGalaxy.com
Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com



5. Before taking the quiz, which of its categories (career, love, money, health, family or fun) would you have said would be your answer?

Money & Work, about dead even.

  1. Do you believe in soul mates? Do you think that there are at least one out there for every person, that there is a single "true" soul mate for every person, or that there aren't soul mates for everyone?

    You have to believe in “souls” to believe in “soul mates” No, I don't believe in soul mates, although I do find that some people fit together more readily than others. In my opinion, it isn't a 1::1 ratio.


    If you have a Reader's Choice question you'd like to see asked (and answered), click the e-mail link on the About Me bar at Patrick's Weekender and send it to him.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Sinners Rejoice Or I'll Smite Thee!

Dax made me do it. Take the Seven Deadly Sins test and see where YOU land on the spectrum, heheheh.

Greed:Medium

Gluttony:Medium

Wrath:Very High

Sloth:Medium

Envy:Medium

Lust:Medium

Pride:Medium



Take the Seven Deadly Sins Quiz

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Bumper Sticker



And a tip of the Fedora to Nanovirus. Keep 'em coming!

Meme: Weekend Assignment #91

Weekend Assignment #91: Holiday Haiku!

Things will get busy
Between now and the weekend
So let's take it easy:

Weekend Assignment:
Write a holiday haiku
On any subject.


Haiku have three lines
And seventeen syllables:
5-7-5. See?

Your extra credit:
Find a little extra time
For greetings in rhyme!



My entry:

Now here comes the Eve

that sorely tries men's souls:

Some assembly required.”



Extra Credit (NOT!):

Freestyle verse has no rhyme nor reason,

save conveying emotion -- the feelings of the season.

So this holiday, be it Hanukkah, Kwanzaa,

Christmas or Yule,

May your dreams all be merry and your wishes come true.



Want to play along?

Just visit Blogmeister Johan Sebastian Scalzi's demesnes and copy the chore.

Then put it on your site and answer once more.

Leave a link in the comments or two or three,

or leave your responses, if no blog hath thee.

Letterman Restrained By Whack Job


In a year-end entertainment news story* that's sure to become a blogging favorite of the critics of judicial excess, a Santa Fe, New Mexico court judge has granted a petition for a TRO filed by a whack job of a woman alleging he sends her "secret messages and codes.." by his facial gestures during his show, Late Show With David Letterman. Way over the freaking judicial top, Santa Fe District Judge Daniel Sanchez.

* Oxymoron Alert!

Photo Slideshow - 2005 in Review

Via The Examining Room of Dr. Charles come this link to the Yahoo! News Year In Review.

Here Comes The Sun...

I let it slip by last night in the rush to start posting old AOL Journal entries (it's bloody time consuming). So a Merry Winter Solstice. May the coming of the sun warm the cockles and ventricles of your heart. May the surcease of the growing darkness signal a turnaround for your S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder). For those who believe in spirits, gods and goddesses, we turn now towards the light - despite the cold in the Northern Hemisphere, Jack Frost may rule the roost, but not too much longer before the warmth of Spring steals Northward every day a little bit farther, to overtake us in a burst of enveloping warmth. Oh yes, there's a mighty winter to be endured now, but someday, in three or four months, you'll wake up one morning and leave your home to discover a new feel to the air outside and you'll know ... Spring is in the air.

So a Merry Winter Solstice. Peace. Shalom. Happy Hanukkah. Feliz Navidad, for you Christians. And for the children all over the world who believe in an odd old elf delivering toys to good girls and boys, Merry Christmas!

Too Funny

Gruntdoc does it again. Get yourself some of that old time christmas spirit with The Twelve Days of STI's (STD's for the Yanks amongst us.).

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Oh Christmas Tree (Or is that a Burning Yule Log?)

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Decorations!

Twas the monday before Christmas (and Hanukkah! And the Winter Solstice!) and all through AOL-J, John Scalzi was saying, "you know, people have too much to do for me to make a complicated Photo Shoot this week." So:

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Show me the decorations!
Yes, time to pimp your seasonal decorating bug, folks. Show us what you got. Take the picture, post it on your Journal/Blog, and then come back to leave a link. Easy!

So I took one of the tree and here it is in all 32" of it's fiber optic, undecorated glory!

I apologize for the blurry picture. Seems my tripod is in the car. Wife had the car. I have palsey and shake. Result=blurry picture in low light and slow speed. While flash might have cured it, that wasn't desireable, either, as then I'd have to do a bunch of photoshopping stuff out and who needs that? I did take a photo of the tree with a flash, but hated it. So I went back and took one of the lighthouse by itself. Just as bad. Handheld days are over for me, I guess.

Monday, December 19, 2005

TAGGED

TAGGED

Shelly tagged me for this meme over on her Cyber Chocolate blog. Hmmm...

Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so (and since I suspect they're supposed to be links, I've restored them):

  1. eddy

  2. sara

  3. kirk

  4. shelly

  5. wil


    Then you get to select five people to pass the love on to so they can do this meme, like so:

  1. Albert's World of Artsy Fun

  2. dating tips for psychopaths II

  3. Infinitepink

  4. GO TO YOUR WOMB!

  5. Lollygaggin

What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was working 16-18 hour days as a Code Enforcement Officer and spending my off-time online in an AOL chat room.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Same thing I do now – not much. I write, I read, I watch TV.

Five snacks you enjoy:
1. Chocolate – M&M's – Yummy! Forbidden!!
2. Pretzels
3. Cheese
4. Corn chips – Fritos! Fritos! Fritos!
5. Herring Bits and Onions in Sour Cream

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:
None. I have a horrible memory for song lyrics. I used to use “crib sheets” when I sang in a folk group. It is embarrassing. Really.

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. Officially retire (instead of this no-man's land I inhabit now).
2. Move to a warmer climate in the winter.
3. Buy or build a home on the Maine coast for summertime use.
4. Give some money to my family.
5. Give some money to people in need.

Five bad habits:
1. Chewing my beard.
2. Substituting food for emotions.
3. Driving aggressively.
4. Impatience.
5. Twiddling my thumbs during boring conversations.

Five things you like doing:
1. Paddling a kayak.
2. Eating.
3. Reading.
4. Sleeping.
5. Watching TV.

Five things you would never wear again:
1. Tails.
2. Gaucho boots.
3. Coat and tie on a daily basis.
4. Tie-dyed t-shirts
5. Speedos.

Five favorite toys:
1. My PC.
2. GPS.
3. Model trains.
4. Boats.
5. Table Saw.

You don't need to be tagged to play along. Just blame it on me...

What's YOUR Porn Star Name?

Blame it on Shelly at Cyber Chocolate...

Your Porn Star Name Is...

Juan Hong Chad

MEME: Sunday Seven -- Episode 16

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This could be a difficult question for you to answer, because most of you probably grab the remote when your favorite program takes a commercial break. But we'll give the topic of television commercials a try anyway. A few years ago, TV Guide compiled a list of the 50 Greatest Television Commercials. There have been plenty of contenders since then, but it's good for idea starters.

But first, it's time to recognize the first to play last week. It was the second week in a row that Jamilyn of "Jamilyn's Quiz Central" was first to answer! Congratulations again, Jamilyn!

On to the challenge!

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION:
What are your all-time favorite television commercials? If "favorite" isn't the right word for you, then what are the seven that tend to stand out the most in your mind? You can use the TV Guide list for some ideas if you're drawing a blank.

Either answer the question in a comment or answer it in your journal and include the link in a comment. (To be considered "first to play," a link must be to the specific entry in which you answered the question.)

Well now, I'm a child of TV as much as the next guy. As far as memorable commercials, I'm generally partial to humor first, grand imagery comes in a distant second place. Boobs will stop me in my tracks (hey, I'm a guy – it's genetic) and food porn – you know, those impossibly beautiful images on the Food Channel or Fine Living – generally gets my attention, too. Off the top of my head, without referring to the list cited above, my favorites include, in no particular order:

  1. Doritos chick in the laundromat

  2. Wendy's “Where's The Beef”

  3. Doublemint chicks in bikinis – circa 1967

  4. Jay Leno as the Fritos Bandito (also liked Pat Morita's version)

  5. Taco Bell's “Yo quiero Taco Bell” chihuahua

  6. Death Takes A Holiday” series of Oldsmobile commercials

  7. The Christmas Kittens” -- Bangor Savings Bank

    Those are mine; what's yours? To play along, get your copy of the question and leave a link to your answers in your blog (or your actual answers if you haven't got a blog) HERE. It's fast, easy, and prevents that crotch itch from festering. What more could you want?

MEME: Monday Madness -- Shrinkage Edition


Otto, the proprietress of Monday Madness, was heard to mutter into her hot chocolate on Sunday, December 18, 2005:

Since I haven't received any emails from my faithful participants, offering questions (hint, hint), I will have to come up with my own...” =)

1. Name 1 toy you owned when you were younger, that meant a lot to you. A Tonka Powered Shovel Crane.
2. Name 2 games you enjoyed playing as a child. Monopoly™ and “War”
3. Name 3 foods you didn't like as a child, but do now. Brussels Sprouts and Artichoke Hearts
4. Name 4 foods you didn't like as a child, and still don't like. This may be impossible. I was a gourmand as a child and now I'm omnivorous. In other words, there wasn't much I wouldn't eat as a kid and there is even less I won't eat now. I never much cared for sheep eyes. Blood pudding put me off as a child but I like it now. The concept of “scrapple” was enough to keep it off my plate for a long time but once I tried it I liked it. I didn't like okra as a child but it turns out that was because my mother didn't know how to prepare it without turning it into a slimy mess. Frankly, I can't even think of one item that I wouldn't at least give a fair try these days. There are things I am not wild about, like raw hot dogs, raw eggs and similar gastronomic fringe elements, but in the main, if it qualifies as food, I'll eat it.

Want to participate? Get your questions at the Monday Madness web site and leave a link (or your answers) in the comments there. Easy. Try it – it's fun. And it cures carbuncles, too!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

And Proud Of It


Thanks to Moxie and Neanderpundit. Arrived at via Acidman.

Meme: Saturday Six -- Episode 88


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By Patrick

Posted on: Sun, Dec 18 2005 10:35 AM

Excuses, excuses. Patrick is full of them this week. If you ask me, he over-indulged with the chick from the property room and a bottle of Dom at the annual station Christmas Party. Here's what HE has to say for himself.


“Sorry I'm a bit late with this, but better late than never!

“For those who'd like to join in on the fun, playing is simple: you can either answer the questions in this journal or you can answer them in your own blog and leave a link. It is strongly recommended that you answer the journals in your blog and post the link...since several of the people who are playing have relocated away from AOL, it's important that everyone knows where your new (or temporary) blogging homes are, so if you don't mind, leave a first name and your journal's link, just so we can find you easier!

“But before the questions, the tradition of the "Saturday Six" is to recognize the first one to play the week before. Judi, of "Talking to Myself" was the first person to play last week. Congratulations, Judi.

“Here are this week's "Saturday Six" questions. Either answer the questions in a comment here, or put the answers in an entry on your journal...but either way, leave a link to your journal so that everyone else can visit! To be counted as "first to play," you must be the first player to either answer the questions in a comment or to provide a complete link to the specific entry in your journal in which you answer the questions. A link to your journal in general cannot count. Enjoy!”

1. How much of your Christmas shopping and holiday card mailing do you have left to accomplish? When do you expect to finish it if you haven't already?


Well, we only send a handful of cards in any given year, so that'll keep until next weekend. As I noted in a meme earlier, the wife and I are eschewing the gift-giving thing this year in favor of getting ourselves a treadmill. So, unless the rules change between now and next Sunday, I'm all done.

2. When giving gifts to co-workers or casual friends, how much importance do you place on the value of the gift you're giving them versus the value of the gift you imagine they're giving you?


None. Unless there is some arbitrary limit, I give something I think they will a) like and b) use. If it doesn't fit those criteria, I don't get it.

3. What are you secretly hoping someone will give you for Christmas that you haven't specifically asked for?


Nothing. I have a published wish list at Amazon that is available to view from the sidebar here. Just books and CD's and an odd tool or camera. Nothing else I want comes to mind.


4. Take this quiz (if you haven't already!): Which Jones Holiday Soda Flavor are you?



You Are Corn on the Cob Soda


Like sucking on a stick of butter

What Jones Holiday Soda Are You?



5. Would you actually try that flavor?

Sure, why not? I like butter. I like corn on the cob. With what they can do in the lab these days with flavors (ever try the flavored water “Golden Peach” at WalMart?), it's gonna be tasty.

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #78 from Carly: If you could step into the life of any fictional Christmas character -- Scrooge, Rudolph, Frost, etc. -- and live that part, which character would you choose and why?

I'd choose the role of Prime Minister as played by Hugh Grant in the story Love Actually. He plays a bumbling, tangle-tongued fellow who has no finesse with women but has the stones and drive to become the PM of Great Britain! A juicy role. And the gal who falls for him isn't half bad, either.

Here's a quote:

Prime Minister: “Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around.”


If you have a Reader's Choice question you'd like to see asked (and answered), click the e-mail link on the About Me bar and send it to me (Patrick).

Humor: The Human Condition

Stolen shamelessly from Christina, who seemed to be embarassed by her mother telling this story:

This Cajun man with a wife and five kids decided one day he had had enough. He threw his small bundle of belongings in his pirogue and began slowly poling down the narrow and shallow bayou. His wife walked along the bank imploring him to stay.

She asked: “What about the kids?”

He replied: “I’m leaving you.”

“How are we going to eat?”

“I’m leaving you.”

“Who is going to take care of us?”

“I’m leaving you.”

Pulling up her skirt, she asked: “Well, who is going to take care of this?”

After looking back at her, he began poling in reverse, shook his head, and sadly stated: “One of these day, I’m gonna leave you.”

Meme: Unconcious Muttering -- Week 150



Unconscious Mutterings

Free association is described as a "psychonanalytic procedure in which a person is encouraged to give free rein to his or her thoughts and feelings, verbalizing whatever comes into the mind without monitoring its content." Over time, this technique is supposed to help bring forth repressed thoughts and feelings that the person can then work through to gain a better sense of self.

That's an admirable goal, but for the purposes of this excercise, we're just hoping to have a little fun with the technique. Each week I'll post ten words to which you can respond to with the first thing that comes to mind.

"Rules are, there are no rules." There are no right or wrong answers. Don't limit yourself to one word responses; just say everything that pops into your head. AND you don't have to have your words up on Sunday. Take all week if you want! Read the FAQ for more information.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Week 150

3 hours, 59 minutes ago

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Replenish:: refill

  2. People:: crowds

  3. Trend:: style

  4. Girlfriends:: memories

  5. Spirit:: joi d' vivre

  6. Banshee:: wailing

  7. Oasis:: water

  8. Thrills:: chills

  9. Fountain:: soda

  10. Boxes:: Boxing Day

So you want to play along, eh Toots? Simple enough. Grab the words here. Leave a link to your answers (or the answers themselves if you haven't got a blog of your own) in the comments at La Luna NiƱa's place. You'll be glad you did (and your cold sore will spontaneously disappear as quickly as it first appeared to blight your countenance).

Meme: Weekend Assignment #90

Weekend Assignment #90: Holiday Memories


John Scalzi urges us all to put our thinking caps on and turn up the “Way Back Machine”


“In all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it's good to take a moment to remember that this time of year is full of wonderful memories. And that brings us to this week's Weekened Assignment:”

Weekend Assignment #90: Share a treasured holiday memory. If it happened during the holiday season (which means, basically, from the the day after Thanksgiving to the end of the Bowl Games), it's eligible.”

“Extra credit:
Fruitcake: Ever, you know, had any?”

As you know, the idea is to write up the Weekend Assignment in your own blog or journal, and then come back here to leave a link in the comments so everyone can click through to visit your site and read your story. It's all about the links, baby! (And the varnish clogging your fuel injectors will automagically dissolve, too!)



The voice on the other end of the phone was young, very young. Definitely not “my” kids.


Merry Christmas, Chief,” s/he said. A ha!, One of my firefighters' kids, I thought to myself.


Why thank you, little one. And who might you be?” I managed to get out without slurring. I was already three sheets to the wind and hellbent on getting very, very drunk. This was my first Christmas without wife and children and I was feeling the pain and hopelessness.


Just someone who wanted you to have a Merry Christmas. Bye Now.” Click. She was gone.


I was pretty sure it was the youngest daughter of my Deputy Chief. She'd always had a thing for following me around when he brought her to the station. Sweet kid.


Twenty years later and I can still hear that little voice in my mind. I still don't know who it was that called that Christmas Eve. I still remember how sad and maudlin I got after we finished that short conversation, before I passed out. But I also remember that it short-circuited a vague plan I had of killing myself that night, after I'd taken enough 'liquid courage' aboard. Just because someone still wished me well, even if my family didn't...



Fruit cake. There's commercial “fruit cake” not worthy of the name with mystery sweet meats of candied, jellied green and blue and purple “fruit,” a handfull of raisins and more chemical preservatives than Carter's has pills in a dough made in July for the Christmas trade and wrapped in cellaphane “for freshness”. Bah, humbug.


Then there's homemade fruitcake, the solid counterpart of the ambrosia of the gods. Best I ever had was by a sweet, “Aunt Jemima” lookalike cook who worked for a friend of my father's down in Georgia. They'd hand pick pecans ever year and send us up a couple of gigantic pecan pies at Thanksgiving and a tin of pecans and another of fruitcake for Christmas. And like all good Southern Fruit Cakes, she was wrapped in a linen tea towel, and soaked in a quart of bourbon. Fine raisins, currants, dates, figs and cherries, dark, blackstrap molasses, grahm and white flour, sweet creamery butter and the finest whiskey that Tennessee had to offer, all inside of a doubled plastic bag packed in a metal tin. Weighed at least five pounds; it was brown gold. And I couldn't ever get enough of it. Now that's good eating.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

They're "MY Special Qualities, not Captain Kirk's"

A Quirky Meme

...for which we blog about our 5 quirky habits, then tag 5 others after putting the instructions here.

I got tagged by Shelly, who was tagged by Kate, who was tagged by Lot, who begat Letty, who bore Samuel... you get the idea. A meme. About quirks. MY quirks. And maybe yours?

  1. I chew my beard, particularly if I am watching TV. Nope, no idea why I do it.

  2. I used to be an OCD “counter” when I was a kid. It was a phase I went through for about a year in fourth or fifth grade. I stopped on my own. It briefly reappeared right after my mother died, but again spontaneously stopped on its own.

  3. I hate to step on the joints in a sidewalk. Just the concrete ones, and just the joints – natural cracks do not phase me in the least. Been that way all my life.

  4. When swimming, I prefer to be under water, rather than swimming on the surface.

  5. I love Charles Dickens' “A Christmas Carol” even though I am not a christian nor do I celebrate the birth of the christ child.

    There, five of my many, many quirks. No sign of William Shatner, either.

    Now it's your turn, Anna. And Vince. Remo. Simon. Pam. And any of you who'd like to play along – feel free to blame it on me.

The War On Solstice

Nanvirus has a wonderful rant on this subject that I wish I'd written. Read it and weep (or laugh).

Too Big For Their Britches...

As I surmised on someone's comment thread the other day, my favorite aggregator and newsreader Bloglines has been slower than molasses running up hill on a sub-zero day in Maine, because they're busting the servers left and right, liberal and conservative, too!

See here - they even admit to their shortcomings! Now THAT is the way to run a railroad ... and relief is on the horizon. Kewl!!

Tuesday Two - Episode 10



Patrick's got himself some Christmas spirit, to wit, he's giving us CHOICES. See?


There's a unique feature of the "Tuesday Two" that appears every tenth edition. From the start, I've pointed out that the rules are you answer only one of the questions, but not both. Now that we've reached the tenth edition, you find out why.

First, though, I want to recognize Yaya1 of "My Thoughts," who was first to answer last week's questions about the Future.

This time, instead of giving you two questions related to a single topic, I'm going to give you two previous editions and you have to choose one of them and answer the question that you dodged the first time around. If you thought you were taking the easy way out, you might find out that the harder question is still one that's waiting for you! (Insert evil laugh here.)

So, go back and visit these two editions. (If you played before, you'll have to remember which question you answered, because the old links won't be there. You're welcome to leave links to your original responses at these entries if you wish.)

Episode 4: PREJUDICE

or

Episode 5 (A Double Topic): SONGS or YOUR WORST ENEMY

Once you've selected your previously-unanswered question, the same procedures apply: either answer it in a comment here, or answer it in your journal and leave a link here.”


Well, going back in the archives, it seems I didn't do the Tuesday Two – Episode 5, so that'll be this week's choice. Not really, as my relationship to music is rarely about identifying myself in the music. No one is out there writing songs about me. Just as well. It's called the “Top 40” not the “Snooze Loozers 10.”

Lots of songs capture a feeling or a mood I resonate to. Sometimes, it's a situational thing. Something going wrong or right in my life and a bit of music corresponds with how I'm feeling. Other times, I swear the music is acting as a trigger for the mood, particularly anger. Maybe I should stop listening to heavy metal. And that bleed-over from the christian rock station that comes in on the phone line just plain pisses me off.

There is not as much music in my life as there once was, even though there are more opportunities for me to listen. But, as I age, I am coming to appreciate silence where once I had to be surrounded by noise. I no longer reflexively turn the radio on when I get into the car. Now, I consciously choose to listen to a special show, say Celtic music or “Hearts of Space” while I wait for my wife's release from the salt mines. While I have ever more opportunities to surround myself with the sounds of angelic voices or satanic minions, what with XM satellite radio available on DirectTV and thousands of “radio” stations available over the Internet, I find myself most often turning to “old” music. That is, my musical companions from twenty thirty, even forty years ago. I derive as much pleasure listening to something sweetly obscure from my collection, such as Richard and Mimi Farina singing a duet in 1965 as I could listening to Coldplay's “Talk” performance at “Austin City Limits” this week.

A long way to say a short thing and not at all what I suspect Patrick was fishing for. And so it goes...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

This Is A Classic

Via Blog Happens:

Now that's a gun cleaning kit!

Interesting way to clean your gun -- stuff it full of sausage meat!

Monday, December 12, 2005

I've been remiss...

or at least amongst the missing. Something about the "holidays" pisses me off no end. I find myself driving aggressively. I am short with clerks (which is really the height of stupidity - I was a clerk in a previous incarnation). I am snippy with my wife.

IT SUCKS.

And, if last year is any indication, my drive to blog drops to nil. No election to be peeved about this year, either. Just the season. Grrrrr...

So, if it appears I'm not here as much -- give that man a star! See you on the flip side. Or whenever I get my mojo working again. In the meantime, have a happy whatever; be it channukah, kwanzaa, solstice, yule or christmas, boxing day, new year or "free beer at the race track" day. What ever hoes your beets.

By the by, as I noted in brief under the Unconcious Mutterings below, the finest, most outrageous mainstream comedian my generation produced died on Saturday from a heart attack at 65. Richard Pryor, may you rest in peace, your "rep" is safe for the future and that is all that truly matters.

MEME: Sunday Seven - Episode 15

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With just a couple of weeks left before Christmas, some radio stations around the country are going to holiday-only programming, meaning their entire playlists consist of nothing but holiday music, no matter what their normal format might be. Recently, ASCAP released a list of the top 25 Christmas songs, according to performance counts. Be thinking about that for a moment.

But first, it's time to recognize the first to play last week. Though Wil of "The Daily Snooze" was first to leave a comment, it was Jamilyn of "Jamilyn's Quiz Central" who was first to leave a link to her specific entry, so she technically is the first to have played. Congratulations, Jamilyn, and be sure to visit both great blogs!

On to the challenge!

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION:
What are your top seven favorite Christmas songs? Use ASCAP's list for an idea starter, but you need not pull your seven only from that list. Even if you don't celebrate Christmas, list up to seven holiday songs you like to hear this time of year.

Either answer the question in a comment or answer it in your journal and include the link in a comment. (To be considered "first to play," a link must be to the specific entry in which you answered the question.)

  1. Little Drummer Boy
  2. Deck The Halls
  3. Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer
  4. Barking Jingle Bells
  5. The Chipmunks' "Christmas Cheer"
  6. Greensleeves (Whose Child Is This )
  7. O Tannenbaum
Ok, now that I've done my list, I'm off to see how it compares to the ASCAP list ... hmmm, just one (numero uno, above). What do you know? I might be a whole lot stranger than the average bear...

Meme: Saturday Six -- Episode 87

Saturday Six - Episode 87

By Patrick

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Patrick was heard to utter the following imprecations:

Welcome!


For those who'd like to join in on the fun, playing is simple: you can either answer the questions in this journal or you can answer them in your own blog and leave a link. It is strongly recommended that you answer the journals in your blog and post the link...since several of the people who are playing have relocated away from AOL, it's important that everyone knows where your new (or temporary) blogging homes are, so if you don't mind, leave a first name and your journal's link, just so we can find you easier!

But before the questions, the tradition of the "Saturday Six" is to recognize the first one to play the week before. Tanya, of "Tanya's Tidbits" was the first person to play last week. Congratulations, Tanya.

Here are this week's "Saturday Six" questions. Either answer the questions in a comment here, or put the answers in an entry on your journal...but either way, leave a link to your journal so that everyone else can visit! To be counted as "first to play," you must be the first player to either answer the questions in a comment or to provide a complete link to the specific entry in your journal in which you answer the questions. A link to your journal in general cannot count. Enjoy!

1. You're producing a school program for the holidays and you learn that there will be major objections if you include in your musical selections the traditional Christmas hymns that reference the "true meaning of Christmas." Assuming that there are secular tunes (like "Frosty the Snowman") already included in the program, what do you do with the hymns? Do you allow them to go as is, do you use the melody and rewrite the words, do you include as many pieces of music from other religions as possible, or do you remove all but the secular songs?

If it's a publicly-funded school, all religious references would be removed. If it's a private school, then I'd let them stay and deal with the negative feedback. Why? Because it is the public funding of religion, in this case christianity, that is forbidden by a strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. I don't think it harmful to have hymns or "christmas" or christian or jewish, or islamic, or buddhist, sufi or Ba'hai or any other religion discussed in an academic comparative religions course. The "founding fathers" didn't provide for promotion of christianity in the schools precisely because they knew the history of the horrendous conflicts the mixing of religion and government could cause.

2. What percentage of your Christmas shopping is done at this point? When do you expect to have it finished if you haven't already finished?

That's difficult to answer. If the wife and I hold to the decision to NOT do presents this year then I am all done. If, as I suspect it will, that decision falls by the wayside in the days leading up to the traditional holiday, then I'm pooched (as in "screwed the pooch").


3. What was your favorite board game to play as a kid? Is it still your favorite now?

Monopoly. I don't know. I haven't played a board game since my kids were young teens. My youngest is now 35 - it's been a while.

4. Take this quiz (if you haven't already!): What famous artist should paint your portrait?
Salvador Dali





Salvador Dali should paint your portrait. You love to think about the world in a different way then everyone else. You are very ambitious, and you like strange things. You are curious about everything and love to learn.


Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com



5. How accurate is this quiz's description of you?

Not very accurate as I am not ambitious. I am curious and I am strange, but I am not of the opinion that my thoughts are different from everyone else's.

6. If you could go back in time and have one more picture taken with a deceased loved one, who would you select and why?

Actually, there are lots of dead folks I'd love to be photographed with. Then I could collect on the Amazing Randi's 1 Million dollar Challenge! Ok, ok. If I had to chose just one, it would be my brother, Rick. There aren't any photos extant of him as an adult with his brothers.

If you have a Reader's Choice question you'd like to see asked (and answered), click the e-mail link on the About Me bar at Patrick's Weekender and send it to me.

Meme: Unconcious Muttering -- Week 149



Unconscious Mutterings

Free association is described as a "psychonanalytic procedure in which a person is encouraged to give free rein to his or her thoughts and feelings, verbalizing whatever comes into the mind without monitoring its content." Over time, this technique is supposed to help bring forth repressed thoughts and feelings that the person can then work through to gain a better sense of self.

That's an admirable goal, but for the purposes of this excercise, we're just hoping to have a little fun with the technique. Each week I'll post ten words to which you can respond to with the first thing that comes to mind.

"Rules are, there are no rules." There are no right or wrong answers. Don't limit yourself to one word responses; just say everything that pops into your head. AND you don't have to have your words up on Sunday. Take all week if you want! Read the FAQ for more information.

Sunday, December 11, 2005
Week 149

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Stalker::hunter
  2. Outrageous::Richard Pryor (RIP)
  3. Carrying::Place (portage)
  4. Spirited::exchange
  5. Oh!::Fuck!!
  6. Grid::Iron
  7. Country::music
  8. Karen::Mavarin
  9. Candles::church altar
  10. Relationship::just friends
Ok, here is how this works. You get the words here. Leave your answers over there, or at least a link in the comments there as to where you put them. In return, you get annual visits from Saint Nicholas, patron saint of cookie thieves and lactose intolerant elves everywhere.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Eye Spy With My One Eye...


Image ©2005 Site Meter, Inc.
MONITOR RESOLUTION of Visitors To The Daily Snooze

Now this interests me. I've been giving thought for awhile to a template change. But I resisted, because more than 50% of the visitors to the Snooze on AOL were using a screen resolution of 800 X 600 or less. Not so over here, it appears. You folks either have better eyesight, newer computers, or the loss of AOL's browser has forced you to recognize there's a whole lot more desktop real estate out there than you ever knew existed. Finally! Glad to see it happen, frankly. Now I can feel free to bump this puppy up in size a bit without fear of alienating the majority of my readers (never a good thing to do when you have so few to start with ;D ).

One lump or two?

I just finished reading an entry by blog buddy nzforme concerning a charitable web site called Donors Choose. It got me reminiscing, fueled by the plight of the third grade teacher and her freezing students ... along with AOL's all day CD Marathon of "Working Class Hero" in honor of the death of John Lennon twenty-five years ago today.

Back in the days when I was in first and second grade, I attended class in a one room stone and mortar schoolhouse which housed two grades. Being Pennsylvania, it had a coal boiler and big old steam radiators that banged and thrashed as they heated up in the morning,letting out the most amazing and terrifying screeches, cracks and bangs as the heat would rise from the bowels of Hell (better known as"the cellar" -- a Stygian swamp of a place that only the teacher and repairmen were allowed into-- it's where she buried the kids that were so bad she had to kill them. Really.)

Now, I remember many the morn, when the bus dropped us off, that walking into the schoolroom was akin to total immersion in the big freezers at the co-op food lockers in town (back in those days, only the richest folks had a separate freezer. You rented space in a big walk-in freezer and would make a trip once or twice a month to pick up food to stash in your icebox at home, usually tied into grocery shopping when you'd also drop off food for storage). There was no helping it. The damned fools at the school board had ordered the teacher to lower the thermostat to 50 degrees every afternoon at 2:00 PM. It wasn't to be raised until a half hourbefore class was to commence to 70 degrees.

Sounds like a nice, conservative method of keeping school heating costs in check, doesn't it? It does not take into consideration the“flywheel effect.” Namely, this was a 200+ year old schoolhouse made of stone and mortar with a plaster coat on the inside. No insulation. Lots and lots of leaky old single pane glass windows. The school was wide open to the harsh winds of winter on the North and West. That building never got warm in winter. By the time you'd start feeling the heat, it was time to turn off the boiler (set the thermostat back) and go home. Complaining didn't do a lick of good. But I'll tell you what did.

Seems a new member was elected to the school board and her daughter attended the second grade at that schoolhouse with me. I think her name was “Connie” and she was a frail, pitiful-looking thing. When she developed pneumonia after being unable to shake a fall cold, suddenly the order regarding turn back of the thermostat was rescinded. And the rest of that year was spent in the relative comfort of 65°F. (the compromise temperature), much warmer than we'd been the year before. And we didn't use any more coal than the prior year! Seems the old boiler didn't have to work as hard maintaining a constant moderate temperature as opposed
to overcoming the set back temperature every morning. Oh, it was chilly on Monday mornings (they turned it back over the weekend) but that was a small price to pay for the relative comfort the rest of the time.

Now, before you go exploding with indignation over the potential faults in my memory of events that occurred when I was 7 years old,the story was retold to me in my teens when on a long trip to Virginia with my mother. And she remembered all of the details,because we had to provide a 100 pound bag of coal each month, just like all the other families at the school (that amounted to a bit over a ton of coal each month – only a portion of what was needed to heat that place!) I only know what was told to me, but I trust the source implicitly. Even if she's not around to confirm the details, it was probably one of the first “grown-up”conversations I ever had with my mother and as such, never to be forgotten.