Saturday, December 25, 2010

quick and dirty for the holidays

School's out, I'm on vacation til January, and the family is all in town.  Start the holidays!!!

Joe and Celeste drove up from Kentucky on Tuesday.  Long drive, but safe trip though.  They've done birthdays with his mom's fam, and they're doing Christmas stuff with her mom's fam tomorrow.  They're meeting up with us on the afternoon of Christmas day.  This is their first year trying to balance so many houses, so I'm sure it'll be a challenge.

We have the shared-holiday down to a science though.  Since the actual holiday is always a jumble of super-hectic activity, we just do Christmas early.  Regardless of the date on the calendar, it's good family time without all the time constraints.

Missy and the kids started Friday night by baking and decorating a whole rack of cookies.  These were FoodChannel quality cookies, too.  Win-me-ten-thousand-dollars cookies.

The adventure didn't stop when the cookies were finished.  Sam and her bf got in a car wreck late that night.  They're both OK, he got a couple stitches and they both got a whole rack of bruises, but nothing permanent.  I did have the pleasure of answering that 1am phone call telling me she was in a car wreck.  We spent the whole night in the ER, but sadly I missed watching when they dug this piece of glass out of his face:

Saturday was still fun, but thankfully with a lot less excitement.  We had reallllly tasty dinner down in Alexandria at Columbia Firehouse.  It's a top-notch restaurant built into what used to be a for-real fire station. The original building dates from 1883, and it's still got the classic feel to it.  

After dinner, we went across the river to the National Harbor for a bit.  They've got a lot of holiday stuff to check out:  light shows, giant Christmas trees, dancing fountains... it's all really fun freebie stuff.  Not enough to fill an entire evening, or to do year-after-year, but definitely worth the trip at least once.  (We didn't do the ICE! displays, bc $30 each, times the size of my crew, gets a bit expensive.  Just didn't seem worth the reward.)

Once we finished all the running around, we had a late night gift exchange back at the house.  Everybody in the fam really gets into gift-giving; finding the right present to deliver a big smile.  As a result, I think we all made out like bandits.  :)

Over the coming days, we've got a whole rack of Christmases to celebrate.  We'll be running around the DC area doing the holidays with all the different branches of a big ol' family tree.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

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Bloons, Christmatized.

The best part about the 12 Holes of Christmas (besides the Tiger Woods jokes) is being able to color your balls.

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Pam says have a classy Christmas.

Jess sent in the 1811 version of the Urban Dictionary.  Captain Grose's "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue." I'm happy that sort of buckish language has progressed, bc I'd have a heckuva a time not giggling whenever I mention my twiddle-diddles.

The classic:  Drowning Pool "Bodies (Let the Bodies Hit the Floor)"

The remix:  TouchCat gives us Lolita the Parrot rocking a spot-on cover.

Um, I'm not sure how Gina's doing things in TX, but I'm not up for much of mobile-anything in the back of a white van.

Everything but secks.

Simple and accurate.  Worst part is, I don't even offer one.  Missy has to deal with me in fractions.

I've had this in my inbox for a while, and I'm not sure exactly why I think it's so awesome.  Maybe she reminds me of someone.  Maybe it's just really cool.  Maybe this is how Penthouse Forums appear in my head.  

Closing this week with my all time favorite Christmas image.  To me, nothing says Christmas more than watching the presents open their children by the tree.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

done done done done DONE

I've been gone for a while.  I've been getting whipped by my schoolwork this entire semester.  Whipped hard, too, with no SafeWord to loosen the straps when things got a little out of control.

It was worth it though.  Last weekend, I finished my senior project.  103 pages of tension, sweat, and bloody keyboarding.  Earlier this week, I completed my final final.  Say that with me:  "final final."  No more exams, EVAR!  I am one-hundred-per-cent, now and forever, i's dotted and t's crossed, DONE with my degree requirements.

Once I get my grades back and do all the formalities, I'll have:
(assuming that I passed of course)
  • Diploma in Homeland Security
  • Associate's degree in Computer Information Systems
  • Bachelor's degree in Information Systems, focus on Programming
I feel more smarticles already.

Besides schoolwork, we've had the typical whirlwind of family stuff happening around the house.  I have a few  dozen topics dancing with the sugar plums in my head.  I really need to flush my brain and start over, though.  Kinda like coming back from vacation and deleting the email inbox.  If it's important, it'll come back.

Megan lettered for doing her 3rd season of color guard in the marching band.  She's just now a freshman, so she got credit for the years she was in middle school, but spinning flags w the high school band.  She's kicking tail in her classes too.  Missed straight A's the first semester by one class:  B in violin class.

Sam is home from Radford.  For keepsies.  Before you jump to conclusions, her return is by choice.  She earned solid A's and B's her first semester, but decided to switch schools.  She's already registered for the spring semester at NOVA, and will be transferring to JMU either sophomore or junior year.

Ethan just finished a really cool science project.  He built models of three different bridges, and tested how much they flexed under different weight loads.  His project looked like the projects you see in the movies, 1000x better than anything we ever did in school.

Joe and Celeste are doing their thing down in Kentucky still.  My mom and I took a road trip a while back, checking out their apartment and delivering furniture.  The apartment is super cute in a nice neighborhood, just up the road from where he's working.  They're coming into town for Christmas, so I'm looking forward to getting caught up on all the latest.

Christmas for us is actually starting tomorrow.  Since the kids have so much family, step-family, and extended family, December 25 is insanely busy.  We do our famstuff on a different day, so we can relax a bit and enjoy the time together without dealing with a high-pressure schedule.  We're going to dinner in Alexandria at Columbia Firehouse.  I know it sounds like a bingo hall, but it's actually a really cool restaurant built into the shell of an 1800's firehouse.  After dinner, we're heading down to the National Harbor to check out the lights and shows, before heading home to exchange gifts.

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Balls.  Not like that.  These are balls in a Christmas, as well as a use your brain, kinda way.

This game kick's some Christmas ass!  You'll soooo wind up on the naughty list, though.  Super Santa Kicker!
(Why is Santa so jolly?  'Cuz he knows where all the naughty girls live.)

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Send submissions!!!!

Five ways to let your Facebook password get stolen.  (Side note:  it drives me effing crazy when people say "I was hacked!"  After a decade in IT, I've only seen one instance when the user hadn't done something boneheaded first.)

Gawker's password database was compromised.  Here's a graph of the most common passwords in that data spill.  If your password is on the list, maybe you should be a little more creative...


Dog people are infinitely funnier than cat people.

Dogs don't need people to be funny:  "I made food!  I'm magical!"

Candy is my favorite part of Halloween.

The 1985 John Riggins limited edition Ford F-150.

Only in West Virginia.

CrifDogs NYC!

All I need is the little box of 8 Crayolas.

I just got free of my BlackBerry.  I can vouch for accuracy of the dinosaur picture.
(btw - Verizon, which caught a lot of my venom over the summer, backed off of their stupid "pay extra for nothing" policy.  We renewed the contract and got three new phones, including my Droid X.  I'm still irritated at Verizon, but I LOVE MY DROID.)


Dammitall.  I knew it was them.

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Friday, October 29, 2010


This is just too funny to bury at the end of the Waster.  (via TotalProSports)

Been crazy effing busy for the past couple weeks.  This may be the shortest Waster ever.

I'm working on my senior project for school.  Cool that I'm getting closer to the end.  Sucks that it's whipping my tail.

Work has been nuts, too.  We have a delivery to the gov due on Monday, so everybody has been spinning in circles trying to get things wrapped up on time.

Halloween is here... best holiday EVAR!  We have a small costume party tonight, then a bigger sillier one tomorrow.  I haven't had time to build the anticipation, but now that I'm off work for the weekend, the jitters are rising!

Enjoy the holiday!

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Tetravalanche.  Looks pretty cool, but I just can't quite figure it out.

Jerseylicious.  Not playable, but totally funny.  Thanks, TouchCat!

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xkcd is right on point.  again.

Ranker's 10 hottest girls with bad teeth.

Doggie parkour.

I love me some Jack.

I love me some pirates and Jamaicans, too.

Kat swears this wasn't her.  I'm confirming that denial with her sister.

Put some John Lee Hooker into your head for the weekend.  Boom Boom.

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

up from the hole

I've been stupid busy with school and work this week.  4-day week, but I had 6 days of work to try to squeeze into it.  I'm just scratching out a couple thoughts here during the football games.

I'm doing my 'senior seminar' this semester at school.  It's pissing me off something fierce.  I burned 11 hours on this project yesterday instead of running around in the sunshine.  Something sucks; it may be the professor, may be the curriculum, or it may be me. 

I've spent a few years studying IT stuff; software architecture, programming languages, other geekstuff like that.  The problem I'm having with this class is that the project is decidedly less-than-geeky.  12% of my grade is based on a huge proposal document, intended to sell my project to a business.  It's a heavy dose of creative writing (I'm soooo not an ENG major) paired with a boatload of business writing (again, not a BUS major).  Bleh.

So school jammed my weekend so far.  Not happy.  10 more weeks before I get this class behind me, and I'll be a very happy boy.  Hopefully, the prof will have us getting geeky soon.

I'm taking off work Mon & Tues, and heading down to KY to see Joe & Celeste at their new apartment.  For both of them, it's their first time living on their own.  They've got a lot of learning ahead of 'em.  I've got a truckload of furniture & other stuff to help get 'em started.  I'm pretty excited to see the place and visit with the kids for a bit.

Go check out my buddy Jon's 'Friday for the Foodies'.  He writes for Glide Magazine's HiddenTrack every week.  This edition is all about a top-notch butcher shop near Alexandria.  The shop is called "Let's Meat on the Avenue", and can hook you up with all sorts of fun stuff.  They carry buffalo, true kobe beef, wild boar, and even kangaroo!  I'll be grilling the whole wild kingdom soon.

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Dom is the source of all our shoot-em-up fun.  TropicalDragonSlaughter!

Rescue the miners! (timely, but sucks)
Be a miner! (playable)
Miner 2049er! (old school)
Protect the minors! (best of the lot)

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(Credit to BarstoolSports)

Guys, pay attention.  She will judge you based on your email provider and your ability to drive a stick shift.

I worked software dev w/ Eddi for a while, but back then he didn't have computer skills like this!

Kat's Dueling Banjos redux, with fire.


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Friday, October 8, 2010

selling my soul for my friends

Another post starting without direction... I'll just ramble for a moment until something catches my fancy.  The latest kidstuff:

A while back, I'm pretty sure I shared the info that Joe bailed on college.  He and his gf had been staying down in KY with his grandma (mother's side) for the past few months.  They had a JoP wedding a couple months back, and just this past weekend got their very first apartment together!   I'll be making the drive to KY in a couple of weeks to check it out and deliver some furniture.

We visited Samantha down at Radford last weekend.  She arranged for some beautiful weather, and we had a really nice tour of the place.  It was 'Family Weekend' along with 'Highlander Festival' so most of the buildings were open and showing demonstrations, and all the courtyards were packed with vendors and fairground foods.

Ethan and Megan are midway through their first semester already.  Interims came out, and we have mixed results.  Some really good news, and some not-so-good.  That's all I'm saying at this point. 

Got a couple bits of advertising to squeeze into this action-packed post...

Augur is playing the gazebo stage 3pm, Saturday at SterlingFest.  I've been a fan of these guys for a couple years now; great rockin' music, lots of fun, and they continually support the community.  (Get to SterlingFest early, and you can catch the belly-dancers at 1:15.)

BYRN, roots reggae rock, is one of my new favorites.  Old friends, but hadn't heard them play until recently.  I'm really liking the sound.  They're kicking off a whole Sunday night of music at Jimmy's Old Town for the 10.10.10 Vet Aide event.  Good music, great cause!

One more ad, then I'm done for the week.  This is some good shiznit.  Tasty and uber-healthy.  Dark energy in a bottle!
(imagination credits go to Hell's Newsstand.)

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Tangerines are deadly?  WTF?

Roller coasters, video games, puzzles, and wasting time.  Perfect.

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Huh?  What?  I wasn't listening.

Mustard with attitude.

What?  You didn't hear that?  Lemme drop the F-bomb once again:

High speed, mid-air dolphin collision! Maybe they're not as smart as I think they are...

Who uses phonebooks? Seriously, paper phonebooks are one of the biggest, dumbest waste of resources I know. Please please please use this link to get off of multiple phone book distributions.

Yeah, that's exactly how I'd use my magic powers, too.

A map of high-school sexual relationships.  I think it's legit:  the chains look realistic enough, and I recognize similar patterns from my school.  I've even have names for a few of the dots...

The banjo scene from Deliverance.  Classic.  Bobby was still untainted.

I hadn't laughed at Sarah Palin in a few weeks.  Consider the streak broken.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

put it on hold

I'd planned on using this week's Waster to vent about recent escapades at the courthouse. Nope, still no resolutions...more delays and silliness. My venting is shelved until sometime this winter, then maybe I'll tell you all about it.

So instead of having a topic of discussion here, I'm just rambling. Dunno where the ramble will take me yet. I'm sure it'll be disjointed and boring.

On my mind recently: Verizon Wireless. We have a total of 5 phones, with a bunch of different call/text/data packages. For years and years, I've loved Verizon, and told anyone and everyone how awesome they are. They have a lot of my money already, and I was trying to give them a lot more (1 new droid + 2 new phones + 3x2 year contract extensions). Instead...

Fuck Verizon Wireless.

They've introduced a new contractual requirement for some of their phones: forced data plan purchase on mid-level phones. I'm not talking about smart-phones like droid or crackberry, but the regular call/text/games/music/ringtone type camera phones.

These phones can optionally connect to the web for things like facebook, VCast, or downloading more media files. Optionally is the key word. The phones do not NEED the data connection to operate. We have data comms blocked on all the kids' phones.

Those greedy Verizon bastards don't like the way we use our phones, so they force a data purchase now, even if you don't want/need/use it. If you phone simply HAS THE POTENTIAL to make a data connection, the charge is $10 per phone, per month. Some quick math:

(4 of our phones are not using data)
x($10 each)
$40 per month
x(24 month contract)
$960 !!!

Read that number out loud, slowly ... nine ... hundred ... sixty ... dollars.

Fuck Verizon Wireless.

Seriously, nearly $1000 in forced additional charges, for nothing. Even though we have data comms completely blocked, we're still required to pay up for any phone that we buy with the POTENTIAL to make a connection.

Can you imagine if other companies did this?
Have an HD TV? Oh, you're required to purchase HD cable now.
Drive a GM? We're making you purchase the OnStar service now.
Have a TomTom? You're forced to pay for monthly map updates.
And you have to subscribe to HBO, whether you like vampires or not.

I called my way up the customer support chain to no effect. The phone monkeys only know what they've been told, and they've been told that "These phones need a data connection to operate." Close. More accurately: "These phones need a data connection before Verizon will allow them to operate on their network."

As soon as this contract is over, we're gone. Eat my gummi nads, you greedy Verizon bastards.

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Robichai reminds me a little of the original Pitfall game.

Tron + LineRider + some old-school motorbike game = Neon Rider.

My favorite Mario game EVER!

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A different perspective.
(source, and cited references)

I miss you, Batman, the Animated Series

Butt-lift surgery gone wrong.

Daddy, I want a miniature giraffe, and I want it now!

I'm not scared of a lot of things. Some think I'm brave, some think I'm stupid, some think I'm reckless. I just enjoy the adrenaline jolts. That said, this video literally made my palms sweat and my heart race. Fuuuuuuuuck this tower-climbing job.

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

i'm your aunt flo

I don't know how many times I have to admit to sucking at this 'weekly post' thing. I know it's been at least a month since I logged in here and scratched out anything worth reading. Heck, even this post might not be worth reading... won't know 'til I'm done yammering.

I have many excuses for not writing, but basically excuses are just reasons for failure. Seriously, every Friday for the past too-many-to-count weeks has been whipping my tail. I've got lots & lots of stories in my head, but I won't do any one of them justice. This is definitely the McD of blog posts today... quantity trumps quality today.

Here we go, in no particular order. I can't keep the weekends or events straight in my head, so I won't even attempt to write down the sequence.

Happy (not) 60th birthday to Uncle Kirk! Yasha planned a surprise party for him. To avoid the extra attention of partying on a landmark year, she scheduled it a whole year early. Who has a 59th birthday party with all sorts of family and old friends? KIRK! It was lots of fun chatting with all of his ex-roommates and hearing redacted versions of their stories.

There are a few redacted stories from my trip to OBX, too. James & Affie planned their wedding on Manteo, so a bunch of us guys went down early and rented a beach house for the week. 5 guys, no burgers or fries, just lots of sunshine & partying. It's probably been 10 years since I had that much free time. I did have to teach the young'uns a thing or two... I was down there 4 nights, and they each took a turn trying to keep up.

Having free time in the morning was pretty cool, too. I got out for a swim/bike/run every single day, without having to worry about getting stuff done at the office. Very niiice.

After spending Sunday-Wednesday at the beach house, I drove back to VA on Thursday. Samantha got all of her stuff packed up in the truck, and we set off for Radford Friday morning. Move-in went pretty well, she already knew her roommate, and the weather was beautiful. She's been down there a couple weeks now, and seems to be chugging right along. She told me last night she's got an oh-point-four GPA, which is a good thing, right?

Back home from Radford move-in on Friday night, so Missy, Megan, and I could drive back down to OBX Saturday morning for the wedding. We got into town early, and had enough time to run around a bit. We jumped the dunes at Jockey's Ridge, spent some money at Kitty Hawk Kites, bought some fudge, splashed in the ocean, and saw some guy get rescued by the real-life Baywatch people.

The wedding was really really cool. Services and reception were both at the Manteo Aquarium. They have a park overlooking the sound. The wedding was held on the shore of the park with the sunsetting in the background. Afterwards, we went inside for a few private hours in the aquarium, plus catered dinner. The family's tables were under the curving arch of a million-gallon shark tank. I've been to a lot of weddings, and this was one of the most memorable. Big love to James & Affie!

While running all over the east coast, I got the message the my Uncle Bill had passed up in OH. I made drive up there on Monday morning. Bill was definitely one-of-a-kind. He worked concrete construction for the county 'til he was at least 70. After he retired, he went around town helping all the old people! He took care of their recycling, brought 'em meals & snacks, but mostly shared time and attention with folks. Aunt Nova said it best when we were at the viewing, "I knew Bill had a lot of friends, but this is ridiculous... I didn't know there were this many!"

Labor Day weekend was packed with the traditional celebrations: Buffett all day on Saturday, Block Party on Sunday, and a relaxed neighborhood BBQ on Monday.

I was nervous about Buffett bc of the change from Nissan Pavilion to JiffyLube Live. The venue has a lot of 'official' rules, but they've always looked away when Buffett comes to town. We weren't sure if JiffyLube would be so relaxed. It all worked out well. The show was at 8pm, the lot opened at 6, but by 1pm we were done setting up furniture, doing decorations, and had the grill lit. Other than a slow parking experience, JiffyLube gets 4 stars for the day.

Block Party on Sunday was a mad scramble. I was completely unprepared for the day. Mostly, preparations included telling people to come out and play, then letting it happen. So many people helped with so many aspects of the day, it really did go very well. The over/under on a police presence was 330 in the afternoon; Deputy McGruff and her trainee were there an hour before. You pays your money and you takes your chances. They saw we were all responsible adults, so they let the party roll on.

Big shout outs and lots of love to this year's musical guests: The 300-Proof Band, Byrn, Augur, and The Pocket Band (at least Big-T and Matt). Without these guys, the whole atmosphere would have been so much weaker. There's just something perfect about good grooving live music to make the day sparkle.

Yes, we did break out the wizard sticks again this year. See for yourselves:

Last Sunday morning, I ran my first Olympic-distance triathlon. It was also my first open-water swim and my first 10k run, too. It was cold and rainy all morning, but once I was wet it didn't really matter too much anymore. My target was 3 hours, which I barely missed at 3:04:14. What I learned... Reston's Lake Audubon was dark, dirty, crowded, choppy, and hard to swim in. The rain didn't slow down my bike nearly as much as my fear of the 10k. I didn't want to blow out my legs before the run started. A 10k is a long way to run; not so much meaning I was worn out, but that I just seemed to be running and running and running and the rowers keep on rowing but there's really no way of knowing when the damn run would ever end.

Next tri - this coming Sunday! It's my third time running the Taylor Love race in Worldgate. It's a shorter distance tri, with a pool swim instead of the lake. I'm totally stoked for this race... after surviving the Reston Tri last weekend I'm ready to slam this one. If I stay motivated and write again next Friday, I'll tell ya all about it.

One new toy to tell ya about before I finish scrambling this mess. Twitter's FastFollow lets you follow my ramblings, without having to register an account. Text "follow pj_haas" to 40404, and you'll have direct access to the inner workings of my brain.

Have a great weekend, and I hope to be here with you next week!

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Game credit to Dom, again. I'm starting to think I should just give him an admin password to the Waster. Spin the Circle.

Hue Shift ... takes a minute to understand the functions, then it gets good.

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Manage your own data, issue 1
QuickenOnline data was destroyed on 29 August. No workaround. Everyone was effed.

Manage your own data, issue 2
Napster DRM data destroyed on 1 Sept 2010 - All wma files purchased thru Napster are no longer supported. They have DRM encoding, which proves your Napster account paid for the music. Napster no longer supports DRM, so there's no proof of ownership. (Note: does NOT affect mp3s purchased after 2008.)
"Napster, a part of BestBuy"... just great.

Manage your own data, issue 3
If you use Bloglines as your RSS reader, get off now. Bloglines is shutting down on 1 October. Your config and all backed up links will be gone. At least their website provides directions to export your settings to another RSS reader.

It's football season!

I really hate the music industry. Thanks for calling them out, Rolling Stone.

Amurricans are stupid. Really really stupid.

List of the bazillion records held by Jerry Rice.

Fingerprints? What?

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Friday, August 6, 2010


December 1984 - I was 14 years old, and nervous as hell, sitting in the breakroom of the McDonald's on Elden Street. Me & a couple other teenage boneheads were there for our first-day paperwork & orientation. That's where I met my friend, Brad.

The Herndon McD employed a lot of teenagers, but at 14 we were two of the youngest. The managers abused the crap out of the lot of us, but we were too young, dumb, & inexperienced to know any better. We spent 20-25 hours every weekend cracking eggs & flipping burgers. (Guys worked in the kitchen, girls worked the counter & drive thru. We had to try really hard to flirt bc the girls were kept 10' away at all times.)

Like every restaurant, there was a bunch of turnover. For whatever reason, Brad & I never left. A year later, we'd trained a lot of the staff (older teens, adults on work-release, immigrants, etc.) We were only 15, but we ran that effing kitchen on the weekends.

We started hanging out with a third guy, Gerald, who followed the same progression on the night shift. He was maybe 1/2 year older, but a grade ahead in school.

When we finally got old enough to drive, we bought way too many cars, mostly Mustangs. Gerald had a '68 Fastback 302 and a '69 Grande 351. I had a '71 & '73 Grandes, both 302s, and a '73 Thunderbird (with a 460ci Police Interceptor!) Brad had a '65 Coupe 6-cyl and a '73 Grande 351. He also had the coolest ride of all: 1956 DeSoto with a push-button transmission on the dash.

Gerald was 17 when his parents were getting ready to move. He was trying to finish his senior year in Herndon. Brad's mom's basement was set up like a private apt: bedroom, bath, living room, private entrance, closed door to the rest of the house. Brad already lived down there. Gerald moved in when his parents left. I wound up there a short while later after some typical teenage stress at home.

The bedroom had a queen-size waterbed + a lazy-boy. We took turns sleeping in the chair.

So we're too young, we're out on our own, we have too much money, too many cars, lots of freedom at work, and a constant rotation of fresh cashiers to chase after. Life, as we knew it, was pretty damn good. :)

Obviously, not all of the stories from that era can or will be made public. Here are a couple quick-hitters...

Rafi & Safi, the Afghani brothers, worked at McD in the morning & 7-11 in the evening. They were happy to give us suitcases of beer from the cooler. When they weren't working, we just stole it from Dave's back porch.

Brad was the first person I ever saw puke thru his nose. We were bonging beers in Paul's kitchen out of a stupid-large funnel. He did 3 cans in one shot. Straight down the funnel to his belly, straight back up thru his nose into the kitchen sink. If I hadn't seen it, I never would have believed it was possible.

There was a cute little runaway chick living with us for a while. The cops came to the house looking for her. We knew she was upstairs, the cops searched, but never found her. She was hiding under the fiberglass insulation in the attic. Balls.

Driving to King's Dominion, in the rain, somewhere on I-95 southbound. Brad's in the lead, driving a rack of people in his mom's wood-paneled station wagon. I'm right behind with just as many in the thunderbird. Rounding a curve at about 90mph, the rear of the station wagon breaks loose. He's sliding sideways down the interstate; I'm face-to-face with the peeling vinyl wood of the passenger door. A couple of fishtails later, he got it back under control. The weather cleared, and we had a great day at the park.

Waiting for Pink Floyd tickets to go on sale at Fair Oaks Mall. We camped in the parking lot for three straight days, and we weren't even the first people there. We were #3, 4, and 5 in line. It was a hella good party with lots of fun people. We didn't want to hold cash in that situation, so on TicketMorning, I had to make a run to the bank. Stupid move. I was beyond tired. I crashed in super-slo-mo; I saw it happening but my reactions had taken a nap (like I should have done).

I smashed my head into the glass, my face into the steering wheel, and my car all to hell. I regained conscious thought standing in the middle of the road talking to the paramedic. My mouth was full of gravel, so I spit it into my hand. The rocks were my teeth. I threw 'em somewhere on Rt 50.

After spending 3 days with the same group of people, everyone was pretty tight. Somebody spotted my car all smashed up, and reported it to Brad & Gerald. They bailed out of their place in line to track me down. After an ambulance ride, a face full of stitches, and a hospital call to my mom, I found them back in Herndon. I tried to smile at their concern, but my face wasn't working right.

(We eventually got tix to the show later, at a much higher price.)

Brad & I double-dated with sisters, except we were each with the sister that the other wanted to hook up with. I think he succeeded later; I got close but didn't seal the deal.

Brad & I, two high-schoolers, crashing in Gerald's college dorm for the weekend.

Trick-or-treating the Herndon cops, drunk out of my skull, dressed as Father Guido Sarducci.

So why the random babbling about all the memories? Brad's 16yo son, Zach, passed away a couple weeks ago in a car crash. I can't even pretend to understand the feeling.

Brad and I had fallen out of touch. Too many miles between, too much work, too many distractions, not enough effort. The first time we'd talked in ~5 years was at Zach's services.

Friendships try to fade away. Don't let it happen. Continue to share the good times and everyday life. Otherwise, tragedies will be the only reason you get back together.

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Dom's saving my a$$ once again. You all know that I've been slacking with the game shares lately. Here are a couple quick-hitters that are totally worth it... Snake Game - It's a snake game. Eat mice, grow bigger. Don't bite yourself.

Drench - Change all the blocks to the same color in the least number of clicks. Easy, huh?

Adverputt - More challenging than the other games, but still rather brainless fun. You should be good at it.

And a little tasteless entertainment from the movie trailer first. Finish throwing up. Now enjoy the game.

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Say hello to my little dancing disney friend...

What kinna engine you got in there? A diesel?

Emily sent me this old vid a while back, but it's still right on point.

Eddi's dad was a bit crazy in his youth. I heard rumors about getting plastered and breaking into the zoo to chase the animals. He caught one of the peacocks and did very unnatural things to the poor bird. Eddi's wondering if this is his sister...

If you haven't seen this vid yet, get out of your cave.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

didja miss me?

Yes, it's been a long while since I've written. No no no no, stop sniffling now. It's not you, it's me. I stopped writing to everyone, not just you.

I sincerely apologize to those of you who live for my once-weekly updates. I laugh at you a little bit, too, bc I really don't feel as if my writing is anything special. It's actually not much more than a translation of some of the incessant chatter bouncing between the insides of my skull.

Where have I been these past few weeks? Nunya. Nunya Bidniss.

Seriously, lemme do a quick recap to get you all up to speed.

FOUR Fridays ago, we bounced up to Ohio for a family wedding. My cuz Dana got hitched. It was a beautiful ceremony (with all the required Catholic aerobics) and a great party afterwards. It also just happened to be Ohio Bike Week. :) Pics here.

THREE Fridays ago, Samantha graduated high school. I'm not sure why, but the school decided to do the ceremony in the football stadium, instead of at the Patriot Center. Mother Nature decided to make it about 140 degrees and 140% humidity that afternoon. Once the sun went down, it turned out to be a really nice event. Sam's on her way to Radford in the fall, and totally stoked about it. She's already got her roommate (another girl from her HS) and I've already sent money.

I'm really proud of my baby girl.

TWO Fridays ago, I hit the road with a couple friends from my office. We bike together during the week, and have done a few triathlons together. This time we were on the way to a much much MUCH bigger race: The Gran Fondo Fab Fifty. We camped Friday night near Deep Creek, before hitting the race Saturday morning. My pics here.

The Fondo is a road-bike race, starting at the top of Wisp Ski Resort, and running up down and around all the mountains at Deep Creek. It is by far the most challenging ride I've ever done. Taller, steeper, farther, and faster than ever before. I had to resist making SteveAustin sound effects. The killer? The last two miles of the course are spent riding back to the top of Wisp Mountain.

Fondo Stats
  • Linear distance: 50.76 miles
  • Total climb: 5,800'
  • Elapsed time: 4:01:23
  • Best part: INSANE TOP SPEEDS!!!!

After the race completed Saturday, me & the guys high-tailed it back to NoVA to celebrate Seth & Susan's wedding. It was a blast - hanging out with old friends and meeting a lot of new ones. Of course, smashing the glass and dancing the Hora were included. Tony spotted the chairs on the dance floor first, but we may have tied in the sprint to grab a leg. I guarantee that if the chandelier was a tiny bit lower, we would have had an incident.

ONE Friday ago was the holiday weekend, which also coincided with Samantha's 18th birthday. I left work early, and left all of you in the lurch. Sorry again. I didn't want to distract anyone, and extend your workday any longer than it needed to be.

Anyway, thru the weekend we spent a lot of time with fam & friends & neighbors. Multiple BBQs, multiple fireworks displays, and way too much food. Sam wanted to get some top-shelf steaks to celebrate her birthday dinner. Ray's the Steaks in Arlington was perfect. I'd been to Ray's HellBurger before, and the Steaks had an equally impressive reputation, and they didn't disappoint. Capital Grille quality at Outback prices, and zero pretentiousness. Do it.

Sam made her own birthday cake:

This weekend is looking to be another good celebration of summertime. One housewarming, one (dual) birthday party, and a BBQ with some old friends. Screw Michelob. Weekends were made for grillin'!

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Finally. A TRUE time waster! This one is so easy, but so addictive at the same time. Two button controls: left arrow, right arrow. Rotate.

Six Degrees of Black Sabbath. Pick two musicians, and see how they're connected. Just like the Kevin Bacon game, without the Bacon.

TheSmokingGun has a contest, built from the game Clue: identify which criminal used which weapon when they were arrested for assault. Hurry, though, the contest ends at 6pm EDT!

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Boston's Barstool Sports has the best salute to the 4th of July and the good ol' US of A. I wish I could come up with stuff like this.

My kind of party.

Not-so-much my kind of Capt. America burrito party.

I kissed a lot of girls these past couple weeks. Or imagined so, at least.

Child stars and how they've (not?) changed.

Lots of reasons for non-soccer fans to watch the World Cup (for real).

One more reason to cheer for soccer:

I'll fess to it though, here's the real reason why I've been watching the World Cup.

Cool optical illusion in real-life:

Now I understand!

Final thought ... your weekend may start when this cycle completes...

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

bike season! wabbit season!

It's full-on bike season now. I have the W&OD trail to myself most days thru the winter, but once the warm weather comes around I have to learn to share again.

Sharing the trail isn't all bad. Things are more interesting with more activity around. Dog walkers, joggers, stroller moms. I enjoy seeing chubbies out there, who have been hibernating on the sofa thru the cold months, and are trying to get things turned around. And I looooooove ponytail season!

Of course, there's a whole collection of idiots out there, too. Here's how to NOT piss me off:

On the trail and on the streets...
  • Don't stop in the middle of the trail.
  • Pushing a stroller does not excuse you from common sense.
  • If it's dark, carry a friggin' light. Your momma lied; you're not that bright.
  • And your little dog needs a light, too.
  • Clean up after that mongrel.
  • A 30' leash is invisible to everyone who's not holding it.
  • Matching bike jerseys with your friends looks dumb.
  • Empty gelpacks go back in your pocket.
  • Riding on the sidewalk is dangerous and illegal.
  • Your head may be hard, but it's not harder than asphalt. Wear a brain bucket.
  • Pull the pretty little white cords out of your ears. Zone out somewhere that you don't share.
  • Keep right except to pass, and don't crowd the centerline, either. Your 15mph plus my 35mph generates a closing speed of 50mph. Think about it for a sec. Zippy reaction time, and that sht would hurt.
  • Road signs are for everyone (including you).
  • Cars are bigger than you.
  • Cars are bigger than me, too. I don't want to be on the streets with drivers that you've pissed off.
  • Do not not NOT thank that friendly soccermom in the grey minivan when she waves you across the road in conflict with the road signs. The 'nice' drivers need to be trained to be 'safe' drivers instead. (see below)

Now for the drivers in the 4-wheeled road cages...
  • PAY ATTENTION, DAMMIT! (funny how that rule keeps coming back)
  • PAY ATTENTION, DAMMIT! (oh, did I say that twice?) When my strobe lights, day-glo colors, reflective material, and hand signals aren't enough, I think maybe you're not doing your part.
  • Relax. There is plenty of room for a bike and your car in that lane.
  • Don't crowd the shoulder.
  • Don't go 8' into the other lane to avoid a bicycle. *Crestview Rd, 2009. AssClown in a Miata switches to the left lane to pass a 17" wide bike. Oncoming Z3 switches to his left lane to avoid the Miadiot, each passing the other on the wrong side of the road. I had to wash my shorts after that one.
  • Your car has turn signals for a reason.
  • Pedestrians & bicyclists in a crosswalk have the right-away. Pedestrians and bicyclists not in the crosswalk yet, do not have the right-away.
  • It's a moving violation, and points on my driver's license if I'm older than 16 and riding on the sidewalk. Quit asking.
  • Don't be nice. Instead, be smart and safe. Smart and safe are wayyyyy more important that being nice. Don't effing wave me across Whiele Ave like you have any control over the drivers in the other 5 lanes. I appreciate the offer, but until your telekinetic skills improve, a 16.67% chance of survival is not a gamble I'm taking.

Other than the assclowns, summertime bike season is going great. A couple of us took a 1/2 day vacation this week to go out for a big ride. Drove out to BFE, to the base of Mt. Weather, then did the ride up & over the top of Blueridge Mountain Rd. Uphill sucks; downhill = 45mph and big stupid grins! Check out the ride details here: Garmin link.

I've got a bigger mountain ride in the works. June 26 (relax, I'll be back in time for the wedding that night) there's a 50mile road race out at Deep Creek Lake, that courses down, around, and back up Wisp Mountain. The race is longer and higher than any I've done before, so it's a little intimidating, but I'm feeling ready for it.

I've got two triathlons scheduled for September, the Reston Tri and the Taylor Love sprint. I'm still looking for another one to do over the summer, but a lot of our time is already scheduled w/ famstuff.

Speaking of famstuff, Samantha is only an RCH away from being done with high school. As a senior with excellent grades, she gets to bail on the last week or so of classes, and all final exams. She's only got like 8 days of class remaining, then she's done done done. She's got a summer job already lined up to fill the time before she goes away to Radford.

Megan's done with middle school this year, too. Next year, everyone is in high school or college. It's a lot easier to deal w/ HS teachers; they just seem to have a different attitude toward the job and the students. Almost like they're there to get the job done and not do so much babysitting. The kids need to step things up and take care of their own business.

I just registered for my second-to-last semester at Strayer. Summer school has the same awful feeling now that it did when we were in high school. The possibility of summer school was the worst possible thought as the rest of the class was getting excited over playing kickball all day and flashlight tag all night. So even though taking class all summer brings me closer to the end, I'd really rather sit on the back deck, sipping a beer in the sunshine.

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I'm calling this a game. Figure it out.

A week of celebration! Bill found the 30th anniversary update of Missle Command!

Google posted their coolest doodle ever. It celebrated the 30th anniversary of Japanese Pac-Man, and was playable right from the home page. Find backup copies of the game here or here.

Celebrating Dom's dumbest submission EVER. TimeSnail.

But he also sent Celebrity Kung-Fu, which makes up for it a bit.

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Big big BIG love to Joe for finding the exact pic I was looking for, the pic of the RatPack sharing a bottle of Jack. It's available framed from No price listed...and I haven't had the nads to call and ask yet.

The Rat Pack's 10 rules of style. Jack Daniels, always Jack Daniels.

Facebook has been screwing up all over the place recently. FB apps have access to all your data; click here to learn how to clean up that mess. Then click here to scan your current privacy settings, and lock 'em down. Even has an option to lock things down automatically.

Seth sent yet another reason to be happy about not smoking any more. This stuff is harsh.

Josh has great gift ideas, just in time for Father's Day! (btw, that sh!t is real.)

Yash is rockin' out, Rube Goldberg style:

The Playmate of the Year gets a free car each year. Here's the full collection, from 1964 right up to 2010.

I didn't get it, until Amanda splained it to me...

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

clearing my plate

Things have been pretty busy in Wasterland over the past few months. As a result, I've been slacking pretty bad on getting this thing posted on any sort of a regular schedule. I'm sorry for sucking.

I realized today, that writing is more difficult when I do it less often. When I do a weekly post, there's generally been one main activity to write about. It's pretty easy to select the subject matter when the choice is limited to one. Plus, it's totally fresh in my mind so I don't have to fictionalize my memories.

Last time I scribbled anything was right after the cruise, which was a full month ago. I've got a skull full of a month's worth of topics trying to get out, but no gentle and orderly way to release the jam.

So I'll just ramble on, in no particular order.

All the young'uns skipped school and spent the day with me on Take Your Kid and Make Them Work Day. Sam, Ethan, and Megan, plus Sam's bf helped me around the office for a few hours. They really did earn their lunch, too. They cleaned my whiteboards (and drew new pics), hung some corkboards, did some software installs, and helped with a bunch of inventory tasks. Then we took a walk up to Moe's for lunch.

btw - Moe's in Herndon has $2 beers all day every day. Welcome to Moe's!

I scraped all the Christopher Newport University stickers off the truck last weekend. When Joe first dropped out, I held on to the hope that he'd have a revelation. He'd get his act together and go back to school. My "CNU Dad" stickers would be legit again. Now he's been out for nearly a year, got married, and moved out of state, so I've accepted the fact that it'll probably be a long while before he focuses on education again.

A good friend of mine just recently started working with University of Phoenix (not in AZ, right here in NoVA) He's the guy that can help you get back on track with your own derailed education. They cater to working adults who have to balance jobs and schoolwork, so they really do understand your situation. Touch base w/ Brandon here:

Sam applied early-admission to both Radford and Longwood. She got accepted to both, so the admissions process ended rather quickly. She decided on Radford, did the dorm paperwork, and already had me sign the first check. I've got a lot of space on the truck windows to put up new stickers.

My school has been a struggle this semester. I've been putting off my final ENG class, "Writing for the Business Professional" for a long time, and finally had to hunker down and do it. It's kicking my tail. I can take a full load of senior tech classes without any troubles, but this stupid sophomore-level writing class just isn't what I'm cut out for. Midterms were this week, so I'll be done with ENG in 6 more weeks.

Work sucks. Way too busy, being pulled in way too many directions. It's still better than not working, but some of these sunshiney spring days makes me wonder how true that is.

I've already registered for two triathlons this year, and I'm looking into a third. Plus there's an open-water swim coming up at the end of the month that I might go after, too. My workouts have started to extend recently, and I'm just feeling good. It's pretty rewarding being 40 years old and feeling better now than I have in a long long time.

Besides, biking makes me smile.

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I seriously have dozens of submissions for the Waster sitting in my inbox. I've only got a few items here. Keep sending stuff, I promise it's not going into a black hole.

Geek out with this space/gravity/orbiting java app. Play with the presets for a bit before trying to monkey with the custom settings.

Bill had a slow week a while back. He must have sent 1/2 dozen games. The first to share: Starmaggedon!

Graphics suck. Music awful. Gameplay meh. But tossing a fat kid with a catapult overrides all the fails of this game.

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VA State Attorney Ken Cuccinelli is a moron and a prude.

Drunk-ass Jerry Jones talking smack about Bill Parcells and Tim Tebow.

Dan Snyder, defending his Redskins and yammering about the other sports teams he wants to buy.

I'm the other one. Plus, I can ride my bike with no handlebars.

Congrats from the Simpsons -> SouthPark.

Some old Sublime (like there's any legitimate new?) I love the double-hedgehog-cameo by Ron Jeremy.

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