Saturday, December 30, 2006

20.25 in 2006 (a 101 in 1001 review)

Back in February of 2005, I first posted the 101 in 1001 list. As I often do at the end of each year, I stop to take a bit of stock and see how things are going, either personally or on my 101 list.

Unfortunately, and possibly as a result of Blogger's move to the new design-which I STILL can't transfer over to, thanks very much, I can't access the original list. You can read my original post here if you like and see the periodic updates that I have made to it in the past.

But to see where things stand at the end of 2006, I am going to have to reproduce the entire listing here and place any new updates to it.

So, before we jump back in the car and drive back home to Ohio on Saturday afternoon, let's review.

101 in 1001
1. Reroof house. DONE 5/11/05
2. Replace gutters on house.
3. Visit California. DONE 8/17-24/05
4. Paint guest bedroom. DONE 4/14/05 by T.
5. Lose 5 lbs. Accomplished with laid up in hospital . . . promptly gained it back, so still pending? This is a perpetual, never-ending goal, so I'll never truly complete it--until I'm DEAD!!! Happy New Year!
6. Ride my bike once a week (in good weather, of course).
7. Read one book each year (for pleasure).
8. Fix lawnmower. DONE 5/1/05, but now re-broken (?), Used Shirtless's ancient mower for end of Summer/Fall; will buy new one in Spring?
9. Take kids to July 4th fireworks. DONE 7/2/05
10. Enroll Ariel in piano lessons.
11. Paint Ariel's room. DONE 4/15/05
12. Paint Ruth's room. DONE, but I don't remember what month in 2006. It is a beautiful purple color.
13. Paint our bathroom--apparently Tegan doesn't like that orangy-red color or the rooster wall border. (You just can't understand some people.) DONE in the flurry of 2006 painting that occurred when we did Ruth/Grace's room.
14. Paint deck. (Man, there is a whole lot of painting going on!) NOT DONE but we've since decided to tear down the deck and replace it with a patio. Those plans are pending until Springtime 2007 at the earliest.
15. Plant boxwoods beside deck.
16. Remove tree beside kitchen window. DONE 4/20/05, but the stump keeps producing small branches and leaves.
17. Watch four good foreign films . . . and I am willing to take all suggestions. 10/05--City of God . . . Talk to Her--11/06; does David Lynch films count as foreign?
18. Do some sort of physical activity as a family once a week--swimming, bike riding, walking . . . looks like painting is a strong contender in this category.
19. Join church activity--a new one each year. I started teaching Sunday school 9/05. We are now (as of Fall 2006 the Sunday School coordinators for our church, so we've stepped it up in this category.
20 Call family members at least once a month--not a problem for Tegan, but something that I should be working on. Sadly, I STILL suck at doing this.
21. Have at least three summer cook-outs for my friends. I don't think I pulled this one off then or this summer either. Sorry guys!
22. Frame the family caricatures. DONE 2/22/06
23. Play scrabble once a month with Tegan instead of watching whatever bad movie happens to be on television.
24. Teach Ariel to swim. Made good progress this summer. Not finished yet. Well, as of Summer 2006, we turned it over to Swim Class professionals. I think they are DONE and for those prices, they'd better be.
25. Make decision about having or not having another child. Still uncertain . . .
26. Remove junk from basement utility area--old paint, crappy metal shelving, other odds and ends. I actually kicked some organization butt this summer 2006 and whipped the basement into semi-shape. I'll call it DONE.
27. Purge junk from garage--stray wood, other bits of crud that is just bad looking. Stray wood in the rafters is still there, but I reconfigured shelving and made serious organizational progress here during summer 2006.
28. Replace mulch beside house with rocks--better to avoid water wicking against the foundation.
29. Get rid of ivy beside house. We already killed it off near the swingset. Mostly done!
30. Drink the champagne that we got when we closed on the house--over half a year ago! Don't we have anything worth celebrating?! DONE at some point . . . but I don't remember when. Must have been a helluva party?
31. Teach Ariel to ride her bike. She made progress this summer (2005), but not finished yet! Still not going anywhere fast on this one in 2006.
32. Limit myself to three desserts a week (that is going to be a hard one). HA! Getting nowhere here. Sigh, still a pipe dream.
33. Find a place to hang Ariel's and Ruth's art boards. DONE! 1/4/05
34. Put drawer guides on oldest dresser.
35. Paint dressers.
36. Get new family picture taken. DONE for Church this summer 2006.
37. Take more pictures.
38. Frame more pictures. I put up some good family pics and frames some of my favorites from our trip to San Francisco. 2/22/06
39. Display more pictures. Well, I'm posting some on Flickr; doing much better here in 2006!
40. Plan Spiderman 3 event . . . if I plan it now, it will be really good when the movie is ready!
41. Take Ariel to a baseball game in Cincinnati.
42. Get promoted (Burb and Tegan). Yes for Burb in October 2006, sadly not yet for Tegan/Lynda.
43. Develop new record storage system for home files, and get rid of the beat up filing cabinet we are using now. We've reorganized furniture during Thanksgiving 2006. Does that count?
44. Develop some better organizational system for the main floor play room. Done sometime in late May or early June. Further done by moving it all down to the basement at Thanksgiving 2006.
45. Play golf 4 times a year or hit golf balls more often at a driving range. Actually played in November, 2005.
46. Cook a French meal.
47. Eat at the "Refectory."
48. Visit a new state--not counting California, since we are going there on an anniversary trip in a few months. We went to Arizona during the Summer of 2006, so DONE.
49. Sell the Escort.
50. Teach Ruth to swim.
51. Teach Ariel how to tie her shoes. She can do this now, but I forget when I happened . . .
52. Go camping.
53. Buy a desk for Ariel's room.
54. Write an update letter to Dr. Hew Joiner and let him know how we are doing.
55. Buy some new luggage to replace the enormous black thing we call the BFL. (That stands for Big F*%@$ Luggage--an adaptation from the monogram on the second-hand suitcase. That thing is just TOO big.) DONE! 1/8/05
56. Go to UK basketball game in Lexington sometime.
57. Buy a nice cast iron skillet.
58. Use aforementioned cast iron skillet to cook steak once a month.
59. Get a new grill for outdoor cooking. DONE Father's Day 2006.
60. Get rid of old toys in basement and clean up the toy clutter. Started on 1/4/05. Probably as DONE as it'll ever be until kids move out of house.
61. Remove wood by backyard fence.
62. Buy and install shelves for bedrooms and den to display pictures (see # 39).
63. Purchase some Keen sandals to replace the ones that I currently have. (My mom swears by these sandals.) DONE on 5/1/05.
64. Set up a new savings account.
65. Alert Social Security Administration of new address . . . something we should have done before now, I am sure. Not a problem . . . as of the weekend of 5/1/05
66. Get trapped in an elevator during a power outage. Seriously! I really want this to happen to me sometime.
67. Get rid of weird spasmodic cough. It seems to be slowly going away (1/22/05)
68. Begin reading The Chronicles of Narnia to Ariel. Started 1/9/05, but never finished and now the movies are passing me.
69. Get my new pajama pants hemmed before I trip on the hem and fall down the stairs . . . for the SECOND time--that's right, I did it a few Saturday's ago and nearly DIED!! DONE! (thanks Tegan!) 1/17/05
70. Get iPod! DONE in mid-June 2005. Can I get a new one now in 2007?
71. Get a new CPU instead of getting a new laptop. Also DONE in mid-June 2005 but we ended up getting the iBook. In Fall 2006 we replaced the old desktop PC completely.
72. Transfer all programs and files from old CPU to newer one--conditional on accomplishing #71 of course. Also DONE in mid-June 2005.
73. Get a faster Internet connection--this dialup is just too slow, and since we aren't getting a new laptop, we can probably afford it. DONE 6/18/05.
74. Do taxes for 2004. DONE 4/10/05
75. Do taxes for 2005. DONE, before April 15, 2006, of course.
76. Do taxes for 2006.
77. Finish this LIST!!!! DONE 2/2/05
78. Build snowman with Ariel and Ruth. DONE 1/29/05
79. Paint a mural on the stairwell going down into the basement.
80. Repair driveway.
81. Fix sidewalk.
82. Get faucet in guest half-bath repaired. DONE 1/17/05
83. Get water heater repaired. DONE 1/17/05
84. Get my project at work completed . . . PLEASE! I am ready to move on to something new. Yeah, I got moved on to something else all right! Can you say "King Copyright" 2007? But now, as of 12/06 that is also done and I am onto the 2008 work.
85. Eat more soup.
86. Eat less chocolate.
87. Seriously, finish this list already! Again, DONE 2/2/05
88. Do something nice for Tegan on Valentine's day (and again, I am open to suggestions). I am sure whatever I did was nice, but I'll be switched if I can recall what it was.
89. Use the movie tickets. Used them 7/1/06 on Tegan's birthday. We left work early and both saw Batman Begins.
90. Fix TP hanger in kid's bathroom. DONE (thanks to T's dad) 4/13/05
91. Put good shelving in garage to better organize in there. Well, I made better use of the existing shelving during the summer of 2006, so I'll call that one DONE and done frugally at that.
92. Do more dusting and vacuuming around the house.
93. Clean the bathrooms more. (Which is violating a marital agreement that we set up a long time ago. But, I was young a foolish then. I am a better person now.)
94. Visit the Used Kids CD store.
95. Give
96. Up
97. With
98. This
99. List and
100. Move
101. ON! Sadly caved in and posted on 2/2/05

So, based on my calculations, I've accomplished several more items on this list in 2006 (20.25, I think if I am adding it all up correctly) and have made surprising progress in getting these done by the ending 1001 days. Who'd have thought, huh?

We'll see how things turn out at the end of 2007. I'll probably be sitting on a golden throne while orbiting the earth by then, but maybe my accomplishments will be a bit more modest.

Here's hoping your 2006 was as memorable as mine and 2007 turns out to be wicked awesome!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Happy Christmas? Well, that depends . . .

Actually, I've had a good Christmas so far, which I'll get to at the end.

Christmas Day at Cherry Log was nice and relaxing. I got the Beck CD that I wanted and even was able to design my own album art via the multitude of stickers that came along with the CD case. You know, for a wacked out Scientologist, Beck is pretty okay. :)

Sarah and Grace were thrilled with the multitude of pencils, notebooks, makeup and other accoutrements that they can now put in the new little purses they have received.

We drove to do Tifton Monday morning and spent the next day in Valdosta visiting with Lynda's brother and his son. The girls have had lots of fun playing with their cousins from all sides of the family, have enjoyed showing off their fun new toys and have enjoyed playing with the toys of everyone else. (But really, what kid isn't going to have fun when they get a new Christmas with a new set of family every second or third day?)

My family all managed to get together at Mom and Dad's house over the last few days. We opened all of our presents last night and opened our stockings as well, which is usually where you find some chocolates, some fruit, and assorted nuts. But, as I was beginning to open my stocking last night, I saw my brother Muleskinner get the attention of my other brother, MSquared. He pointed me out silently, and then I saw that others were also beginning to look my way.

I wondered if my hair was sticking up or if I had something hanging out of my nose. I even asked "What?!" but no one would say anything, so I went about pulling the packages out of my stocking.

As expected, I found some assorted chocolates and another small wrapped bag (similar to everyone else's). But I thought everyone was still staring at me and I was missing something.

I soon found out when I opened my wrapped bag. Inside I found that thing that everyone warns you might come your way at Christmas, but you never REALLY expect to get it . . .


I got COAL in my stocking!!!

Never did I ever expect this to happen, but it did and everyone seemed to be in on the joke but me, which explains why everyone was laughing and pointing and waiting to see my reaction.

Apparently, it was Dad's idea and he admitted that it wasn't actual coal but was instead charcoal. But the effect, you have to admit, was pretty damaging no matter what. It's a good thing I am pretty secure in myself and in my own inherent goodness to not let this most crippling of Christmas experiences crush my own sense of self or anything like that.

And you have to admit, it was a pretty good joke. Do you know anyone that has ever actually received coal in their stocking at Christmas?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Clutter and Care

As you might have guessed from my description of our station wagon's contents as we traveled down from Ohio to our Georgia families, I have a bit of an issue with clutter.

I admit that I am not perfect, though in my mind, I should be living in a glass and steel Miles van der Rohe house deep in the woods, surrounded by industrial, modern sparseness.

So, while drinking hot tea, standing at Nana's dining room table, the title of a magazine article in AARP: The Magazine caught my eye--"Conquer Clutter: How to Dig Out Once and for All."

(You should read the entire article here, especially at this time of year, when we are guaranteed to acquire more clutter and more gifts that will surely end up in a garage, basement, or closet soon.)

One of the more eloquent passages is reproduced below:

"In Dante's Inferno, there is a circle of Hell reserved for two warring armies, the Hoarders and the Wasters, who spend eternity rolling enormous boulders at each other on a desolate sun-baked plain. The boulders are actually diamonds and represent the possessions they had such unhealthy relationships with during their lives. 'Why do you hoard?' the Wasters shout. 'Why do you waste?' the Hoarders scream back. This represents, endlessly, joint punishment for their respective sins.

The contemporary earthly equivalent of this infernal battlefield is the self-storage facility, the charmless metal sheds that sprout alongside interstates and in industrial parks across the country. All but unknown before 1970, such facilities now number 45,000 nationwide, representing slightly less than 2 billion square feet of rentable space filled with the excess material burden of Americans whose caches have outgrown their houses and garages. (This despite the fact that a quarter of homeowners with two-car garages use them exclusively for storage and park in the driveway.) The rise of the self-storage industry in the past decades has been accompanied, counterintuitively, by the supersizing of the American home, which has swelled about 60 percent since 1970, from an average of 1,500 square feet to about 2,400 square feet today. So voracious is our appetite for acquiring stuff--and so great our attachment to it once acquired--that we are willing to rent space to hold it, miles away from these homes, even though the investment in monthly upkeep is typically greater than the worth of the contents themselves."

Have a Merry Christmas, yes, but consider this (as I am going to do this year). For every new shirt, book, toy, or other item that you acquire from family and friends, take an older one and donate it to a charity, church, or volunteer organization of your choice. We are all lucky enough to be blessed with many things. Let's take advantage of our largesse and try to help others also.

The Georgia Christmas has begun!

We drove out of the building yesterday afternoon and headed down South into the rainy December night yesterday to kick off our holiday travel extravaganza.

Our car laden with people, suitcases, Christmas gifts, potato chips, chocolate chip cookies, apples, trail mix, juice boxes, a computer (with cigarette lighter AC adapter!), DVDs, an iPod loaded with seasonal (and not so seasonal) tunes, pillows, two different weights of coats (cause you just never know), and other things I'm probably trying to block out of my memory . . . we hit the road.

Driving at night can be tiring, but the girls are more inclined to sleep the hours away, it lends a certain giddy thrill to the tedium of the Interstate experience, and it doesn't make you give up an entire day of vacation.

We pulled into Cherry Log, Georgia (near Ellijay!) about 1:20 am to be greeted by bleary-eyed Nana and Papa. We unloaded, pajamaed-up, and piled back into beds. Hello Georgia!

Today is the first day of the rest of our vacation.

I'll keep you posted as all the thrilling events unfold!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Icecapades

I think it was a week ago . I know it was a Thursday night. Lynda and I headed to the beautiful downtown urban cityscape to engage in a wintertime ritual . . . ice skating under the shadow of skyscrapers.

The occasion was a Christmas party hosted by Jack Thunder and Cordelia. They are hip urbanites that live in the outskirts of the downtown area, unlike Lynda and I—godless, soulless suburbanites that we are.

So, we got our next door neighbors to babysit the girls and we headed to the ice-skating rink. It wasn't exactly skating in New York City at Rockefeller Center, but it's as close as I've ever been.

Did I mention that I've never ice-skated before? Truth be told, I've never done any skating of any kind (ice- or water-). Since I grew up in the 1970s, I've certainly roller-skated as a child, but I wasn't any good at all. Tifton had it's own roller skating rink (the Roller Drome!) but I was one of the lame-o kids that was only comfortable skating on the carpeted area by the entrance and around the cinder block wall that separated the skate counter/snack area/video games from the concrete oval that was the epicenter of my childhood shame.

So, I couldn't skate well and I truly lived in mortal fear of the Hokey Pokey, that awful event that ended each roller skating party. All of the kids skated out into the center of the rink to "stick their left foot in and shake it all about" to the strains of that haunting song (hum a few bars in your head now). For someone who couldn't balance well and certainly wasn't able to skate away from the wall, heading out into the middle of the rink to purposefully shake on one foot or another was like asking a blind person to pilot the Space Shuttle.

So, anyway, given all of that, it was a courageous thing for me to lace up ice skates and give December ice-skating a try. I actually thought things were going well when I found that I could stand up on the skates inside the skate house and that I could even walk around on them on the carpet (naturally!). But when I actually stepped out onto the ice, it became clear that I wouldn't be going far beyond arm's reach of the wall that night.

I tried to propel myself like I was walking, but that doesn't work for me (or possibly anyone). I was told to push out to the side to move myself forward, but that didn't work because I couldn't get any traction on my right foot and it would simply slip away from me. So, that didn't really work all that well.

Lynda showed surprising skill and was able to skate around unassisted, but I held onto the wall and pulled my way around the rink while Christmas tunes blared from speakers set up outside the rink. Everyone else was pretty good as skating and while they occasionally took pity on me and stopped to say hello, they joined the crowds circling the oval in the clear December air.

I won't/can't complain, because it was a beautiful clear night with a satisfying chill in the air but no snow or rain or anything. The skyscrapers were lit and it felt like Christmas. I'm glad I went and I'm glad Lynda and I could spend time with Jack and Cordelia, Shirtless and EC and Raisinette.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Harry Potter & the DH

The news hit this morning and I heard about it when I logged onto my computer here at work.

J.K. Rowling has officially chosen the title of the final Harry Potter book.

I won't divulge it here, but the initials are teased in my blog post.

You can search Google, Yahoo, or any number of news sites (or probably watch your news this evening) to find out.

If you want to have fun finding out, go to Rowling's official website ( and once you get to her desk, click on the rubber eraser on the desktop. It will transport you to the secret door that is almost always locked with a Do Not Disturb sign on the knob.

If you follow these instructions, you can navigate the secret steps to unlock the door and have your chance to discover the title.

Anyway, I, like you am perplexed by the title and wonder how Harry ending the Designated Hitter rule in the American League will defeat Voldemort. But I guess we'll have to read the book to find out THAT answer.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Finally . . . YOU Grew a Bit

"The conflict in Iraq only got bloodier and more entrenched. A vicious skirmish erupted between Israel and Lebanon. A war dragged on in Sudan. A tin-pot dictator in North Korea got the Bomb, and the President of Iran wants to go nuclear too. Meanwhile nobody fixed global warming, and Sony didn't make enough PlayStation3s."

So says TIME Magazine. Lots of Intriguing and Important stuff happened this past twelve months, huh? And yet, TIME, in all of it's infinite wisdom, chose YOU to be Person of the Year for 2006.

History will look back and say:

"TIME's Person of the Year thing always was a bit of a gimmick, but the choice for 2006 was a clear sign that the editors at TIME were clearly getting ready to give up on the whole process. I mean, come on . . . all of those people that we mentioned at the beginning of Burb's blog post will be much more influential down the course of history than the flash-in-the-pan technology that is MySpace, blogging, FaceBook, and all the other social-networking items that made the TIME people cop out and select YOU as Person of the Year in 2006."

Hey, thanks for reading my blog History. I appreciate your comments. You should look into getting a new font, however. You're never going to get past your dusty, boring image if you don't find a better way to market yourself. I'm just saying you should think about it, okay?

ANYWAY . . .

While trying to further describe my feelings of disappointment regarding TIME's Person of the Year choice, I also thought it was funny that on the same webpage touting YOU as so important, you (or should I say "one" so we won't confuse you with YOU--Person of the Year) can also see pictures of people that might really have had a significant impact on the year that is now ending. (You can judge for yourself by clicking on this link and checking out the Gallery of Less Important People.)

I feel that there is more to be said on this topic, but I just can't get my brain to say it. I guess that it is odd that I am against this choice, since I do or am familiar with many of the YOU-things that made YOU so important this year. I am a blogger (though not at all famous or even slightly influential). I know what YouTube is about and have even wasted precious bandwidth with my own video offerings. I frequently listen to a variety of podcasts, though I have the good sense not to try and create any of my own.

So, you would think that I am the perfect guy to stand up and applaud this decision. But, it just seems wrong--for all the reasons listed in the quote at the top of this post . . . and the TIME people are the ones that WROTE that! Wouldn't you have liked to be in the meetings where the editors struggled to come up with a good definitive choice for 2006, struggled and struggled and struggled and then finally with sweaty brows and fear shining behind their eyes just gave up and went with YOU.

(Actually, I am a bit surprised they didn't go with iYOU, because everything is better with i iin ifront iof iit.)

And if you think the TIME brass had trouble swallowing this choice, I can't imagine what the good people at Chrysler think right now.

What's next year's choice going to be? ME . . . WE . . . TREE . . . GRASS . . . WICKER. Only time (and the smart guys at FameTracker or maybe The Onion) can tell. While you wait, go over to Who in the What Now? and play word association games.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I am Jack's Angry Half?

Why is Jack Shephard so angry?

Why is the resident doctor on LOSTaway Island so full of rage? We know that Jack never passes up a chance to yell at people--deserved or not--but maybe he is angry that recent spoiler news for an upcoming February episode of LOST will show his relationship with actress Bai Ling. Speculation is that she will be involved in the tattoos that Dr. Jack has on his shoulder.

Yeah. Thanks LOST producers.

We don't want to know where the island is,
how the passengers survived the crash,
who the Others are,
what the DHARMA initiative is,
who Ben is,
why all the passengers know each other,
what the smoke monster is,
why everyone keeps seeing visions of the dead,
visions of horses,
religious visions,
mysterious dreams,
why Locke can walk,
why Locke once lost the ability to walk,
why Locke was able to walk again later,
what the whispers are,
how the Black Rock was shipwrecked in the middle of the island,
what happened to the electric cable on the beach,
what happened to Rousseau,
who Alex is,
why the Others wanted "Good People,"
what the Numbers mean,
what happened when the Hatch imploded,
why Desmond is now clairvoyant,
if Michael and Walt got away from the island,
if Walt was superpowered,
if Claire's baby is evil,
whether Kate and Sawyer escaped from the cages,
if Jack let Ben die on the operating table,
what the 4-toed foot statue meant,
whether Penelope was really looking for Desmond,
who the Portuguese radio operators were at the end of season 2,
whether the Portuguese radio guy really was Matthew Fox,
who is Jacob,
and what about Jacob's mysterious list,
or why were all those notebooks from the ? station being dumped in the middle of a field.

Yep, I'm really glad that we're FINALLY gonna get the lowdown on Jack's tattoos.

(I hope the tattoos at least caused the plane to crash.)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I'mmmmm Movin' Out

People "of a certain age" might recognize that reference to a Billy Joel song. I grew up in a room next to my brothers, one of which (MSquared) was a Billy Joel fan.

So, um . . . yeah, Billy Joel reference.

Okay. What I meant to say is that the aforementioned Billy Joel song was in reference to the fact that things at work are changing. The division that lived on the fourth floor of our building moved out a month or so ago, and so the rest of us left on the three other floors are now in the process of moving around, moving up, moving down.

My department is moving up to the fourth floor later this week. Tomorrow and Tuesday we are all packing up our cubicles and getting ready for the movers to take all of our stuff upstairs to our newly assigned locations. We have been ordered to vacate the building on Wednesday at lunchtime.

So, I don't know if I'm going to get a lot of meaningful work done this week and I have to admit that I haven't worked very hard this weekend as a result. I'll pay for it later, I am sure.

But, in honor of my (now) old cubicle and to help me remember where all of my stuff is located once it is unpacked, I took my camera to work on Friday and took some photos of my desk. (I'll admit right now that I stole this idea from Omar G., TWOP recapper extraordinaire. You can see his own desk here. It was from his pictures that I realized I could add notes to my pictures, which is the humorous reason to even go through this exercise.)

Anyway, enough pointless rambling. If you are interested in delving even further into the tedium that is my life, delve away--here, here, here, and here.

(Come to think of it, I could have referenced "The Jefferson's" theme song.)