Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Birthday K-Man!!

Today was K-Man's 3rd birthday. Three years ago on the 26th, we got an email about Keegan. An email. A freakin' email, people. When does someone learn about such a life-changing thing in an email. Anyway, today was three years on this planet for Keegan. This planet will never be the same.

Jen started a nice tradition last year of a birthday breakfast. We did that again this morning. Kee is very fond of biscuits, so Jen cooked some Pillsbury Grands in the oven for his special day. He loved it. We didn't have any candles, so we used some long matches instead. Three of them planted in a Grand. Pure celebration!

The last three years with Keegan have been beyond life-changing. I thought that I could love him like I do, but it feels different than I thought it would. When he engages me, I see and hear nothing else. Nothing penetrates my hard outer shell like that boy's voice.

Here's a snippet of a recent bed-time "conversation" with mom. We've gotten into a decent routine of reading books and praying and "kisses all together" (which is Jen and I kissing him on each cheek at the same time. The kid comes unglued with glee. Love unfettered.)

(Jen was reading a new book of Five Minute Devotionals that Kerri Barfield recommended. The story involved a penguin and patience.)

Jen: See the penguin there?

K-Man: It's Koko.

It looks like Koko, but it's not Koko.

I want to watch Koko.

No, we can't watch Koko now. Maybe later. See, the penguin is sitting on the egg.

He's poopin'.

No, he's sitting on the egg, like when we have breakfast.

I want egg. I'm hungry.

No, you're not hungry. You can eat tomorrow.

The moral of this story is that stories with morals don't really register with three-year-olds.

But dang, that boy is hilarious.

In case you don't happen to know the story about how we were blessed with Keegan, you can read the two-part story here:

Part one

Part two

Friday, December 5, 2008

R.I.P. Paul Benedict

Before he was Bentley on The Jeffersons, Paul Benedict was the Mad Painter on Sesame Street.

This is one of my favorite Mad Painter shorts that I remember growing up as a kid.

R.I.P. Paul Benedict

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!

There is a scene towards the end of K-Man's currently favorite movie Polar Express where Santa is about to select one kid to receive the first gift of that Christmas. One of the kids (voiced by the same guy who played "Eugene Felnic" in Grease) obnoxiously tries to get Santa to bestow the honor on him with a Horshack-like chorus of "pick me! pick me! pick me!" Of course Santa doesn't pick him. He picks the boy who is quietly taking it all in as he comes to terms with Santa's existence. I much prefer to be that latter boy.

But I am in the midst of doing some networking that requires me to talk about how "great" I am, and I am suffering from some cognitive dissonance about the whole thing. The dissonance comes not from whether I really think I am that good. I do. It comes from a belief that going around telling everyone about how good you are (like a Big 12 South team trying to convince pollsters) is unappealing at best. It feels so fake. Rather than be the annoying guy asking to be picked, I'd prefer to let my work speak for itself and "get picked."

But I'm told it's not as passive a process as that. I need to actively sell what I can do and how I can benefit another organization. That's just sort of how it works. So I guess I have no choice. But to be believable, I need to find some level of congruence on what I believe about myself and the manner in which I convey that to others in this networking process.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Not a morning person?

It's Monday, so I decided we needed more humor. I like getting into the office early, but not because I am a morning person necessarily. Don't judge me because I think this is funny. There's plenty of other stuff you can judge me for.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


In case you didn't notice, I missed a few days this week. OK, every day this week since Monday. My second year of NaBloPoMo is less then a success. I can live with that. This week has been crazy at work. Getting ready to file a brief and getting all the ducks in a row. Long days. No time or energy to write. But you don't want to listen to my excuses.

Despite my less than consistent posting, you guys keep dropping in here. In fact, this week, one of you was the 10,000th viewer of this electronic journal. I'm guessing that at least half of those views are people searching for new photos of K-Man. I don't blame you. Keep coming back because there'll be more of those. And thanks for dropping in.

Speaking of Kee, I think this is going to be a big year for him at Christmas. Not because he's all into the gift-getting. For the last few months, he and Jen have watched Polar Express about once a day. We watched it 1.5 times today. Of course what started the love affair with Polar Express was the train. In fact, it is still commonly referred to around the house as "Train Movie." But in the last few weeks, he's noticing the Christmas things in the movie -- especially the Christmas tree. We don't usually get our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, but this might be the year we do. Just to see Kee's eye light up as we walk through the Christmas tree forest (in the parking lot at White Water.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Blogger ubiquity?

More Monday humor:

21st Century Tribes

I thought Monday should start with a little humor.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Just cheese

Jen and K-Man have been out of town for a while. They will be home tomorrow, and I am looking forward to having them around again. I talked to them on the phone tonight. Kee was jumping on the bed looking at himself in the mirror while he was jumping. He does the same thing in his playroom. We have a mini-trampoline that he got for Christmas last year. He loves to jump on it and look at himself in the mirror. He seems to watch to see how high he's jumping and to see if he's jumping correctly. As long as he's staying on the tramp and not jumping off and crashing into one of the three train sets strewn about the room, I'd say that's "correct" enough.

Thinking about them coming home got me to thinking about a story from a few weeks ago. Keegan has been on a quesadilla kick for the last month or so. Rather than spend money at Moe's or Willy's on his occasionally favorite meal, Jen decided to just make them at home on the pancake griddle. Works like a charm by the way. The problem was that he was just eating tortillas and cheese. Needed some more nutrients. So Jen tried to sneak in some more nutritious substances. First, she tried to add some veggies with the cheese, thinking he wouldn't notice. Wrong. He took a bite and looked more closely at the assortment of quesadilla pieces on his plate and turned to Jen and said "no like." Busted.

Next, she tried to add some chicken. Now, he'll eat chicken from time to time. But apparently, he doesn't like that in his cheese quesadilla either.

Undeterred, Jen got some tofu, which is made from soy. Tofu is the food equivalent of that liquid metal stuff they made those next generation Terminators out of in Terminator 2. It can take whatever form you need it to. It's white, like some of the cheese in the mexican blend of shredded cheese we use for the quesadillas. When placed on a tortilla with shredded cheese and heated on a griddle, it blends fairly well with the melted queso. And it's tasteless, so it absorbs the cheese flavor. This one got by K-man's cheese-dar. Poor kid. Duped by his momma.

A few days later, I was home with Kee while Jen was running errands. It got to be dinner time, so I asked him what he wanted for dinner. This question doesn't yet generate a response containing a choice of entree. It seems to alert him that the parent will then rattle off a selection of options. To which he will respond "no." Or he will repeat the choice that he wants.

So knowing that he's on a quesadilla kick, I throw that one out first -- hoping that I can shorten the exercise of dinner selection. I say "do you want a quesadilla?"

"Quesadilla" he repeats.

"Do you want a quesadilla?"


And as I'm walking from the pantry with the tortillas to the fridge to pull out the shredded cheese, he places his order: "Just cheese."

It's hilarious to me that the kid is aware that his mom is trying to sneak in foreign substances into his quesadilla thereby ruining the meal for him. "Yea, she calls it a 'quesadilla,' but I know she's slipping other stuff in there." And apparently, I'm guilty by association. Otherwise, he wouldn't feel the need to clarify his order with me.

So I grabbed the cheese out of the fridge and told him "Just cheese."

"OK." he shot back.

Friday, November 14, 2008

What is holding you back?

What is holding you back?

I was talking to someone today, and this question came up. My problem is that the answer to that question has so many layers. I tend to overanalyze things. The phrase "paralysis by analysis" comes to mind to a certain extent. But that doesn't completely capture it. Some of what holds me back goes back to what I shared on Sunday. I tend to see obstacles and rather than take a shot at something different, I stick with what I know -- warts and all -- because there's a certain comfort in the known.

Now if I was talking to someone else who was thinking about what was holding them back, I would be encouraging them not to let doubts about the unknown prevent them from taking a chance on something that may better suit them. So why can't I give myself the same permission? Or why won't I give myself the same permission?

What holds you back?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Laundry night

This is one of those stream of consciousness posts. Sorry.

I did a couple of loads of laundry tonight. A load of whites and a load of dark clothes. Why do white clothes get so dingy looking? We use bleach, so I don't get it.

There's a metaphor there, but I'm too tired to unwrap that one.

I have a team in a fantasy football league. Had a running back in tonight's Jets-Patriots game. He didn't do squat. Why tonight does Matt Cassell decide to throw for 400+ yards and do the Patriots give up on their running game? Why?!

The Atlanta Hawks are playing some very nice basketball. They are young, but they are playing very well as a team. They actually make me want to watch an NBA game ... and that never happens.

It's still college football season, but the Gators hoops team gets the season started tomorrow night in Gainesville. Tip-off is at 6:00 p.m. EST. ESPNU is providing coverage of that one. Check your local listings.

Speaking of the Gators. The Swamp welcomes back the Head Ball Coach and his South Carolina Gamecocks. The Gators have been on a roll. I expect to see Spurrier drawing up some ball plays from deep in his playbook. But I think the Gators will prevail. One game at a time. I can tell you that the Gators are not looking ahead to next week's game just yet. There will be time to get ready for The Citadel on Monday.

Will the St. Louis Cardinals regret not pulling the trigger on Matt Holliday and letting him get away to Oakland? Holliday would've been nice protection for Pujols.

I have a dentist appointment on Monday.

All right, my consciousness has been reduced to a trickle. And I need to fold the dark load before hitting the hay.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

An end of relativism?

I'm just asking the question. Tell me what you think after reading the article.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans Day

You didn't get mail today because it is Veterans Day -- not because you're unloved. Veterans Day started as a day to celebrate the Armistice signed after World War I. After The Great War needed a number and the Korean Conflict, a man in Kansas thought it was important to recognize all veterans. Congress agreed, and we began to celebrate Veterans Day every year on November 11th (the date of the Armistice signed at the end of the War to End All Wars).

Some wars are easier for people to justify, but every American who served in a war or conflict or police action or whatever deserves our gratitude for their sacrifices and their families' sacrifices. They served so we could enjoy the freedoms we take for granted. So today, I say to all of the veterans who are still with us and the millions who have come and gone, thank you.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I heard a good message this morning at church. David was talking about worry. I think most people worry about something from time to time. Some worry more than others, but we all worry about stuff at some point. I've heard messages about worry and specifically about the passage in Matthew 6:25 that David talked about today. This wasn't one of David's messages that opens a new perspective on the Word for me (but there have been a few of those). But it was a perfect message for where I am at the moment. I don't really want to share all of the details of that just yet, but suffice it to say, I could identify with the other people in the room today who identified themselves as "worriers."

Here's what I heard about worry today (that takes David off the hook if I screw up the paraphrase of his message). The Lord knows that we are prone to worry. But he wants us to know that he wants to take those burdens from us. He provides. He wants to provide. What that provision looks like for me or you or your friend or your co-worker or your classmate or your neighbor is different. But he knows what would work best, and he wants to provide. That doesn't mean we can just sit around and wait for that provision. We have our part to play. We have to work. Or we have to go to school. Or both. Maybe we have to pray. Maybe we need to ask for help. Maybe in verbalizing what it is that is worrying us we are admitting that it is bigger than us, and we need the Lord's help.

So why don't we take advantage of the Lord's desire to help? Well, if you're like me, you probably don't have faith that the Lord really will help you. I'm not saying I don't believe the Lord can help me. I do. I do because I've seen it before. In my own life. So if I've seen it before, why do I continue to doubt that he'd do it again? Why is my faith so ephemeral? (David didn't answer this question today, but it got me asking myself that question.)

I don't know the complete answer to that question, but saying that "I am just human" is a trite cop out. I know that I am way too self-reliant. I spend too much energy thinking about (read: "worry about") all the negative ends that could be reached instead of doing what I can do and trusting that the Lord will provide what I/we need.

David shared a couple of images today. One was God with a closed fist and us prying it open to get him to open his hands to us. That is the picture many of us have about making our requests to God when those things we worry about come to the surface. We think we have to convince God to open up to us. In fact, he's sitting there with his hands open already to give us what we need. If we'll ask. Without the faith that he can and will provide for us, we don't bother. How much faith is enough? A mustard seed's worth. (David's second image)

David actually had mustard seeds for us to hold to get a visual for the passage in Matthew 17:20 where Jesus commented to his disciples that if they had faith the size of a mustard seed, they could move a mountain. I don't know if I have that much faith, but I have enough to loosen my grip on the things that I cling too tightly.

So what I'm trying to do is hold onto a Matthew 6:34 perspective: "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A dog will eat anything

So on Friday, I let our dog Murphy out to do her thing. Usually, that's a short maneuver or two for her, and she's back at the door waiting to be let back into her palatial estate. This time, however, she was gone for about 15 minutes, and when I went outside to check on her, she was nowhere to be seen. I waited a few minutes and went back outside to look for her. As I was walking around the side of the house, I heard her bark. She was walking back towards our house. Our neighbor was walking with her and with his dog. She saw me and started slinking back -- like she knew she had been gone too long and was in trouble.

Later, I put some food in a bowl for Murphy's dinner. But she didn't jump up and scarf it down like she usually does. This should have alerted me that something was awry with her digestive track (foreshadowing).

So after about another 30 minutes of ignoring her food, I heard that sound that no dog owner likes to hear. The sound of stomach muscles churning followed quickly by what sounds like a bucket of water pouring out on the rug. Only what Murphy deposited on the rug was not clear like water. And certainly didn't smell like water.

I turned to see the circle of heinous on the rug -- yes, on the rug. It was a chunky yellowy mess with what could have been a small dead animal carcass or another animal's former food and it smelled like both of those things. God awful.

I put Murphy outside on the porch in case there was more heinous waiting to make an encore. Thankfully, there was none.

Now the clean-up. I grabbed some rags and a garbage bag scooping up handfuls of Murphy's putrid discard. Fighting my gag reflex every bit of the way.

Then I threw cleaner after cleaner at it to kill any germs and -- please God -- to kill the stench!

Vinegar, Fabreze, Lysol, repeat.

I think that rug may be shot. It's going outside because the smell lingers.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Time for a little humor

I thought with the seriousness of yesterday's post, we could use a little levity. I saw this guy the other day on YouTube. Funny stuff. His name is Jeff Caldwell.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I was fine

In case you were in a coma, we elected a new President yesterday. The person I voted for didn't win. But I can appreciate the historical significance of the results. And, I admit, there is a part of me that is proud of this country for arriving at this moment -- even though I do not agree with the winner's philosophies.

And I was fine with where things stood until earlier this evening when I was driving home.

I was listening to NPR. Yes, I sometimes listen to NPR. I also read the New York Times (well, the online version). What better way to know how the other side thinks than to listen to and/or read their main media outlets?

So anyway, I was listening to NPR on the way home. Actually, I was listening to their program called Fresh Air. The host was interviewing Bill Moyers. Now Mr. Moyers was on the staff of Lyndon Johnson from 1963-67, serving as his Press Secretary from 1965-67. Mr. Moyers was serving with LBJ when he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965. These are very important pieces of legislation in American history.

The host wanted to ask Mr. Moyers about his perspective on the election given his proximity to history in 1964 and 1965. In the course of the discussion, Mr. Moyers shared that after LBJ signed these two bills into law, he made the comment that "we just lost the South."

This was an obvious comment about the state of race relations in the South in the middle of the 1960s. We know what that decade looked like. We've seen the black-and-white footage. We've watched Mississippi Burning. Many of us -- if we're honest -- are embarrassed by that part of history. The country's history. The South's history. But that was more than 40 years ago.

The follow-up question from the host was whether he thought, given the election results, the South had moved past that. Past that decade. Past that comment from LBJ. Past those racist beliefs.

I was fine up until this moment.

Then Mr. Moyers gave his opinion.

He said that sadly, he thought the election results showed that the South had not moved past its racism. And he said that was reflected in all the red states on the map throughout the South. Like it was obvious from the mere fact that those states had not voted for Obama.

It's not possible that the majority of the voters in those states had serious concerns about Obama the man? Obama the candidate? Obama the guy who wouldn't be completely forthcoming about what he meant exactly by "change" but resorted to platitudes instead?

For Mr. Moyers to paint with such a broad brush is beyond offensive to me. Not to mention the millions of people -- IN THE SOUTH -- who voted for Obama. Mr. Moyers even commented that only 1 in 6 white Mississippians voted for Obama as evidence that they must have voted on the basis of race.

Worse, the host of Fresh Air just let Mr. Moyers' assumptions about the Southern voters sit out there. She never pushed back on the absurdity of his hypothesis. She never asked him if the fact that 9 out of 10 black voters voted for Obama meant they voted because of race. Or whether that was OK for some reason.

The notion that the South voted as a bloc against Obama because of his race is belied by the millions of Southerners who voted for the man -- not to mention by the results in Virginia and North Carolina.

What this really reveals is the underlying paradigm among the Democrats or liberals or left or whatever label you want to put on it. As long as you agree with their positions, you are enlightened or smart or sophisticated. Dare to question their positions or -- gasp -- oppose them, and you must be a blithering idiot. Oh, and a racist apparently.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's a NyQuil night

A couple of weeks ago, I got a flu shot. I had never gotten a flu shot before, but my firm was offering them for free to all of the employees. So I thought, why not? They say it'll stave off an ailment that hits so many in the winter months. No fever. No aches. No cold sweats. No days of drinking Gatorade by the gallon.

Well, I don't think I have the flu. I sure as heck better not after putting up with that shot to my upper left arm. But I clearly have a cold. And as the day wore on today, it seemed to get worse despite the dosage of generic DayQuil that I took at mid-day.

And now, I think it's going to be a NyQuil night. It'll help me sleep and hopefully, it'll work on my scratchy throat and the annoying crud in my nose.

I guess it could be worse. I could also have the flu.

(NOTE: the Blogger spellchecker is fine with "NyQuil" but disapproves of "DayQuil.")

Monday, November 3, 2008

Goodnight Moon

So we went to the Alliance Theater tonight for the opening night of their production of Goodnight Moon. This is one of K-Man's favorite books. He was on the edge of his seat the whole night. As an added bonus, when we were parking the car, we saw Grammy and Aunt T and a car-load of cousins emptying out.

Keegan loved the scenery, the story, and the songs. He could barely sit still ... and often didn't. More than once, the excitement was so much that he spun around jumping up and down looking at us like "can you believe how incredible this is? That's the great green room down there! That's the old lady whispering hush. Those are the three bears and their chairs! This is totally awesome!!) A couple times, I thought he was going to pogo himself right over the balcony he was so beside himself.

His eyes sparkled. He was mesmerized by it all. And when it was over, we walked up the stairs and out into the hallway where Keegan let out a bellowing "Goodnight Moon!"

It was a good night.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween weekend highlights

The Halloween weekend started with, uh, Halloween (hence the name). Keegan got things started with a party at school where he enjoyed pizza and Capri Sun. In case you're wondering, K-Man went as a penguin.

Then he got ready for the real Halloween festivities in the neighborhood.

Posed for a picture with his Aunt Nicole and Uncle Jonathan.

On Saturday, we had some friends over (all of whom were dog fans) to watch the annual Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville (a/k/a the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party). I expected the game to be a Big 12 shootout with the winner being the last team with the ball. Fortunately, it didn't matter who had the ball at the end of the game ... or all of the fourth quarter for that matter. UF took advantage of some "timely" penalties by Georgia and Matthew Stafford auditioning for the Detroit Lions by throwing 3 interceptions. The final score was 49-10.

By the fourth quarter, John Mark, one of our UGA friends, had capitulated.

And decided to get a new tatoo.

On his forehead. See.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November to remember

Well, my November got off on the right foot today. After a fun night of trick-or-treating last night with K-Man and his penguin costume, we had some friends over today to watch UF dismantle the Georgia Bulldogs and the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, Florida. The final score was 49-10, with Georgia scoring its lone touchdown very late in the 4th on a pass from the back-up QB.

November also means it's National Blog Posting Month. I participated last year, and I've felt the blog hangover all year. But I'm a glutton for punishment, so I am back at it again for 2008. So I will be making an effort to post every day this month. That's at least 30 posts this month. Chances are one or two of them will be worth reading. Maybe, it'll be a November to remember.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Goodnight Moon

Coming to the Alliance Theater in November.

K-Man will be there.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Being in the world ...

Switchfoot participated in the Music Builds Tour with Third Day, Robert Randolph and Jars of Clay for a 23-city coast-to-coast from August to mid-October. In December, they have 9 dates opening for 3 Doors Down -- a band that you will never hear on one of those mind-numbing, sugary-sweet, same-20-songs-in-the-rotation, Christian music radio stations.

I just think that is cool.

Friday, October 17, 2008

6 quirky things

I have been tagged by h to share 6 quirky things about myself. The hard part is limiting the list to 6 because I have a long list of hang-ups, um, quirks. See how many you can find that fall into the Freudian column of "anal-retentive."

So without further ado:

1) I always blow my nose after I take a shower. First thing. Something about the heat of the shower just loosens up the nasal contents. And post-shower, they must be eliminated. If I reach for the shaving cream or razor before blowing my nose, this alarm goes off in my head telling me that things are amiss.

2) I don't use dressing on salads. Waiters always do a doubletake when I say "no dressing." You have no idea how many waiters or fellow patrons have recoiled and blurted "No dressing?" like I was choosing not to breathe.

3) The clock in my car is set 10 minutes fast. My alarm clock beside the bed and my watch are set 5 minutes fast. I hate being late. This helps prevent that. The clock in Jen's car is not set ahead. Oh, I'm not going there ....

4) When I get a new CD, I have to open it up as soon as I get in the car and listen to it. For the younger crowd that only downloads music, let me explain. See CDs are these things that were like records .... Wait, um, records were these things that you played on a record player with a needle .... Oh, nevermind.

5) I hate it when papers are stapled and the pages are not flush together in the corner where the staple is. When the pages are all messed up or fanned out and then stapled, it just looks like you don't care. People should care about how pages are stapled together. As an attorney, I deal with a lot of paper and a lot of stapled sets of paper. A while ago, my assistant copied some documents and put them in an envelope to send to a court and to opposing counsel. At the last minute, the client wanted to change something so we decided to wait a day to send the documents, so we held back the copies that had been made. I took the envelopes from my assistant to avoid inadvertent mailing (shut up, I confessed my anal-retentivism above. It could happen. Why not prevent it if you have the chance?) So the next day, on a lark, I opened the envelopes just to see what she was planning to send. The stapling was atrocious. (Yes, stapling can be atrocious people.) Fanned pages just stapled. FANNED! Then I flip over the document to see that the copies had come out of the copier that way (you can tell this because the staples from the copier close differently then that double-humpbacked way they do on your traditional Swingline model.) So, I'd identified a lack of attention to detail but maybe not a stapling deficiency on the part of my assistant. The documents in the court's copy were the same way. Not acceptable. You think I'm anal-retentive. You don't want to cross a judicial version of anal-retentive. Trust me. So I walk over to my assistant and show her one of the copies with the crazy stapling. You know what she says? "Yea, I saw that."

Don't tell me that! You saw that these things were coming out of the copier all cock-eyed, but you just threw them in the envelope anyway? At least fake ignorance. So I nicely tell her that we cannot send out copies that look like this even if they come off the copier like that. This sends an impression of me, the other attorney on the case, and the firm in general. No can do. (I didn't actually say "no can do" -- THAT would sound so condescending.)

6) For all my anal-retentiveness, I keep a messy office. At work and at home. I just pile things up and work on what's at the top. When things from the bottom or middle of the pile require attention, they get moved to the top. See, look for yourself:

So those are 6 of many quirks. Now, I get the opportunity to pick others to provide 6 quirks about themselves. I tag Randel, Caroline, John Mark, Sean, and Matt.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

VP Debate Humor

As a warm-up to tonight's VP debate, a little humor . . .

Monday, September 29, 2008

Where did September go?

Seems like I just wrote about the start of the college football season, and now we're 4 games into the season already. Tough week for my Gators and all the dog fans in the area. The Gators fumbled away a chance to stay in the top 5. Instead, another loss to a mid-table team from the SEC West. At least we never fell behind 31-0 during the game. Ouch. Credit to the dog fans for not racing out of Sanford Stadium at half time -- like the Volunteer fans did in Knoxville the week before.

We took Keegan to the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History on Saturday. The kid is obsessed with trains at the moment -- especially Thomas the Train. We wound our way through the museum waiting to get to the ultimate prize -- The General. Fully restored and resting in its own room in the museum. Trains are large pieces of machinery when viewed outside. When resting in a building, their size is enhanced by the surrounding walls. It sure freaked out K-Man when he turned the corner to see the imposing General staring back at him. Never felt the kid squeeze my hand so hard as we slowly walked around the train. Eventually, he got comfortable with the size of the train and realized that it wasn't going to take off through the building. He even asked to see it again before we left the museum store. The morning was topped off with several passes through the Thomas the Train jump ride set up outside the museum. The train stamp on his hand was a bonus.

Yesterday, Keegan and I endured Jen singing "Hail to the Redskins" from about 4:00 to 7:30 as she watched her beloved Skins get a win on the road in Dallas against their biggest rival. Jen was teaching Kee to yell "Go Redskins" and I was teaching him to yell "No Singing!!" every time Jen started with the fight song. (Not quite as annoying as "Rocky Top" ... but close.)

I have declared the official start to fall. Fall officially begins when I grow the goatee back. Shaved the goatee in last night.

Friday, August 29, 2008

College Football Is Finally Here!!!

The 2008 season officially kicked off on Thursday night, but the season really launches in earnest on Saturday. Saturdays in the fall are college football. Many things to look forward to. First, of course, are my Gators. The Gators feature the reigning Heisman Trophy winner -- and apparently off-season circumcisor -- in Tim Tebow. Tebow is the first sophomore ever to win the award that goes to the best player in Division I. Tebow is also the first college quarterback to rush for 20 TDs and throw for 20 TDs. The thing about that stat is that it really understates Tebow's year, because Tebow really is the first QB to rush for 20 TDs and throw for 30 TDs. I do not expect Tebow to have the same statistical success this season. Mainly because I think the team has better RBs behind him this year who will take some of those carries and TDs from him. Look for RB Emmanuel Moody -- the Texas high school prospect and transfer from USC -- to leave his mark this season. (By the way, Moody wants to be a pastor too. Tebow and Moody would make a heckuva flag football tandem for Campus Crusade, no?)

The real key to UF's season is improved play on defense. Based on preseason -- which means virtually nothing -- the UF secondary has been making plays instead of trying not to make mistakes. The result has been much improved play in scrimmages. Hopefully that translates on the field when the games count. I think the D-line will be improved too. Another season older. And bigger. And stronger. Some new ideas from a new D-line coach may help inject some life as well. So Tebow's stats are down, but the Gators win 10 or 11 in the regular season.

I have several UGA fans who read and/or stalk this blog, so I would be remiss if I didn't say something about their beloved pups. First, thank you for taking the #1 preseason spot -- and the pressure that comes with it. Next, I'm still not convinced that Stafford is the guy. Yes, he played very well in Jax last year. But Moreno controlled that game as much as anyone. He needs to improve his completion percentage and lower the INTs to take that team where the voters think it should be at the end of the season. I'm also not listening to the ... stuff ... about the tough schedule either. In 2006, the Gators ran a similar gauntlet of teams on the way to the SEC title and BCS championship. If you win 'em, you'll deserve the title. If not, well then I suspect you'll whine about the really hard schedule and all its unfairness. Woe is you.

Can't talk about the start of the season without acknowledging the strong possibility that Ohio State will end up in the BCS game for the third season in a row. They return almost the whole team from last year and have more than 40 fourth- and fifth-year players. That's a lot of leadership. (Or a lot of guys who know how to choke away title games -- depending on your point of view.) But let's face it, OSU has one tough game at USC that they could win if for no other reason than USC's starting QB is in his first year as the guy and is returning from a knee injury in preseason practice. Plus this may be the first year in this run of Pete Carroll teams where the offensive stars are not there. The stars on that team are on defense. OSU has guys on both sides of the ball. OSU's RB, Wells, is probably better than Knowshon Moreno because he's got one more year of experience and is bigger than Knowshon. Wells could pass 2000 yards this season if he stays healthy. After USC, I guess OSU has "tough" games with Wisconsin and Illinois. Some would argue Michigan too (well, Brent Musburger would), but this is a year when Michigan should not be an issue because RichRod is completely revamping how the Wolverines play offense.

There are many more things to touch on. Can Bo Pellini bring back the Black Shirts in Lincoln? Can Paul Johnson win in the ACC with that triple-read Wing-T offense of his? How will Tommy Bowden find a way to squander Clemson's chance to win the ACC this year? Will ESPN ever put us out of our misery and retire Lou Holtz? PLEASE!!! Feel free to discuss these or raise a few more in the comments.

(I am watching the SMU game as I type this. Really enjoying June Jones getting waxed by the Owls of Rice. Too bad he won't be on the visiting sideline tomorrow in the Swamp when Hawaii faces the Gators. Really wish he could see UF's "system quarterback" shred his alma mater.)

Monday, August 11, 2008


I am switching up the playlist on the blog for a while. This is a collection of songs that I have labeled "Nourish." I've had this list for a while but decided the time was right to add it. Given some of my experiences in Scotland and some other things I/we are praying about, this list is resonating with me right now. I figured why not share it with the handful of people who visit the site? Be nourished.

(Photo: sunset over Paisley, Scotland)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Funny moment in Scotland

The day after we arrived in Scotland, we took a trip to Edinburgh. Saw a good deal of the Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile. However, a couple of our team members (Austin and Marni) came over late and missed the Edinburgh day. After they arrived, we were focused on camp preparations and then camp itself. The Saturday after camp was scheduled as a much-needed day of rest with no responsibilities. However, Austin and Marni were wanting to get some sightseeing in before boarding the plane back for the States (they had to leave early too). They asked me if I wanted to join them in Edinburgh for the day on Saturday since I had already been there and could serve a pseudo-guide (talk about the blind leading the blind, but I agreed).

Austin and Marni were going to hitch a ride with Tom and Leigh Ann Fraley who were driving over to the Edinburgh area to look for a place to live (Tom was the camp speaker). All 5 of us were dropped off at the Glasgow airport on Saturday morning so Tom could pick up his rental car. He rented a Vauxhall, but the one they set aside for him had a flat, so he got upgraded to a Saab. After a couple of circles around several airport roundabouts, we managed to find the M8 to Edinburgh and off we went in our blue Saab. (Let me say, I wasn't driving the car, but it could go! And it was a much smoother drive than the van ride we took the previous week over the same stretch of Scottish highway.) We made it from Glasgow to the Edinburgh city centre (that's the Scottish spelling by the way) in about an hour and 15 minutes. (Like I said, the Saab could go, and Fraley was not afraid of testing it's ability to transport us quickly -- while always observing the posted speed limits of course.)

So then we walked around Edinburgh checking out the usual sites. We got rained on. Marni and Austin tested the fried Mars bar at a fish-n-chips shop on the Royal Mile. We purchased some souvenirs. Ate lunch at a pub that turned out to have a rather Bennigan-ized menu, although over there the bacon cheeseburger comes with what Americans might refer to as Canadian bacon. Much different experience that. And then it was time to meet the Fraleys to head back to the camp outside Paisley for dinner. When we neared Paisley, we called the camp to see where everyone was. A group of people had gone to ASDA to buy some food items to take home as souvenirs.

(Aside: ASDA traces its history to the 1920s from two separate enterprises: a family-owned butcher shop and a cooperative of sorts of dairy farmers. Today, however, ASDA is part of the Wal-Mart family, and it looks very much like a mini-Wal-Mart Supercenter inside with a green color scheme instead of the Wal-Mart blue. The running joke in Scotland is that "ASDA" stands for "Americans Stealing Dollars Abroad." Regardless, ASDA had a great selection of biscuits (cookies), crisps (potato chips), shortbread fingers and tea that made great gifts for people.)

So we stopped at ASDA to pick up some more souvenirs. After finishing there, we decided to drive back to the camp. But we really didn't know the way, and we didn't have a Paisley map to guide us. So Fraley and I winged it. We'd driven from the camp into Paisley several times over the week; we figured we could feel our way back. So on we went. We took a couple of turns that looked familiar. We knew that the camp was up on the hills above Paisley towards the east. So we took a right on a road that sorta looked familiar and appeared to take us in that general direction. After driving a little while though, it was clear that this was not the road we wanted.

I saw a fish-n-chips shop and told Fraley to let me out. I'd go in and ask directions back to the camp. I jumped out and ran in. There was a tall, thin older gentleman at the counter waiting for his order and a couple working behind the counter frying away; looked like a father and daughter. I waited at the counter for a spell waiting for the owner to look up from his fryer. He did, and I asked him if he could tell me how to get back to the Lapwing Lodge scout camp just outside Paisley. He'd never heard of it. No problem. The older gentleman said "where?" I repeated the Lapwing Lodge scout camp. "Oh! You're miles away!!" he belted in a classic Scottish drawl. But then he proceeded to give me what seemed like simple directions back to the where we needed to be. All the while, I had his comment repeating in my head (You're miles away!! You're miles away!! You're miles away!!) while trying to retain the directions he'd given.

So I exited the establishment and looked for Fraley's blue car (with You're miles away!! banging away in my brain along with the directions.). Where's the blue car? There's the blue car. So I jog across the street up to the passenger door of the blue car and jump in yelling "You're miles away!!" as I sit down.

Then a woman says to me: "You're in the wrong car!!!"

And I look up flashing to the woman; then to the back seat where 2 other ladies are seated; and then to the blue Saab in front of this blue car where Austin and Marni are plastered to the rear window laughing about as hard as anyone can without pulling their diaphragm. I blurt out, "I am SO sorry!" and jump up out of the car walking to the blue Saab that is now rocking (literally) because of the 4 adults inside it laughing hysterically.

I get in and wait while the 4 of them regain their composure. Fraley shares that he saw me cross the street and wondered "What is Bill doing getting in that car?" Then it dawned on me that I was fairly lucky. Thankfully, I did not jump into the car of some 300-pound guy who punched me in the face BEFORE telling me I was in the wrong car. And it was also to my advantage that none of the women in the car were armed with mace because that would've really put a damper on an otherwise fine day.

Eventually, things returned to normal, and we drove back towards Paisley. But in all the commotion, we were unable to take advantage of the directions I'd received. We had to call Lance to get additional directions. We made it home for dinner though, and we shared our adventure with everyone else. Who, as you can imagine, laughed heartily.

Glad I could oblige.

Monday, July 28, 2008

My Personal Scotland

I've been back since Wednesday afternoon but haven't really had time to sit down and let you know how my time in Scotland went. In sum, in was a good trip. (Ask Jen what I mean generally when I say something is "good.")

Scotland has a long tradition of revival and awakenings. In my own life, I've had revival moments where my walk with the Lord seemed perfectly in step. Over the last few decades, Scotland has not enjoyed that and many are praying for another revival or awakening (or a series of them) to overrun the nation. And for the last several years, my own walk with the Lord has been in need of an awakening -- a return to right relationship with God.

Over my 2 weeks in Scotland, I had the privilege of working with a group from my church on a mission trip to Scotland to present a youth camp for about 37 students from all over Scotland. In trying to show these kids what a relationship with the Lord is about and all that it entails, the Lord has spoken to me anew. I've been reminded what my first priority should be -- and why. The Lord says I am the way, the truth and the life. He said He came so that we may have life and have it abundantly or life to the fullest.

That abundant life has been missing from my daily life for quite a while. In fact, I often wondered if I'd ever experience it again. Over the last 2 weeks, the Lord showed me there is no need to wonder. He is available. He is present. He is waiting to hear from me regularly. He wants me to learn His voice. And I want and need all of that as well.

Now I've known those things for going on 22 years. But the workaday world -- with its stresses and responsibilities and distractions -- piled layers upon layers on my heart that made it easier and easier to forget the importance and power that comes with a life in tune with the Lord's desires for me.

We shared with the students on this trip that the Lord has a plan for their lives. That He loves them. That He pursues them. That they are special in His eyes. And the more I shared that with the students, the more the Lord said the same things to me. And that felt so good. As it washed over my spirit.

Many students in Scotland struggle with feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. In fact, Scotland as a whole struggles with these strongholds. Over the last 5+ years, I've been in my personal Scotland -- thinking I could never overcome the struggles in my life and wondering where the way out is -- if there even was one. Over this time in Scotland though, the Lord showed me that my situation is not hopeless, and I am not worthless. And my heart is awakening at the reality of that.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Scotland Bound

I know it's been a while since I posted, and now I'm posting from the Newark airport to tell you that I am going out of town and that it may be a while before I can post again. I am headed over to Scotland on a mission trip with my church. We will be putting on a summer camp for about 40 middle- and high-school age kids for a church that we have developed a relationship with. Pray that I have the energy to keep up with the youngsters on our team and at the camp. I can remember being that age, but it feels like a really long time ago.

I will try to get on here -- wireless connection permitting -- to post some updates about my perspective of the trip. However, if you want to catch up with how the team is doing, you can go the Scotland Team blog throughout the next 2 weeks to see how we are getting along.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Day of Days

64 years ago today thousands of U.S. soldiers descended on Normandy and the surrounding beaches in the name of freedom. We should always remember those soldiers -- today especially.

Here is a glimpse of what those first moments were like for a group from Easy Company in the 101st Airborne Division. These guys trained in Toccoa, Georgia before leaving for England.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Celebrating 15 years . . . in Los Angeles

Jen and I were married fifteen years ago this month. To celebrate, I thought it was important to do something special. I mean, she's special. She's even more special for putting up with me for the past fifteen years through two graduate programs -- in completely different fields -- and the debt that comes with such (perhaps ill-guided) decisions. So in December, I contacted Jen's college roommate about the idea of using this occasion to surprise Jen with a trip to L.A. to visit her since they hadn't seen each other since the move to L.A. about a year ago.

First, I had to secure the services of someone to watch Keegan. No offense to the little guy, but mom and dad need some mom and dad time if you know what I mean. And K-Man doesn't fit that plan. So I clandestinely contacted Jen's parents about watching Kee. They agreed. Then I had to pick a date. I tried to get it planned around our anniversary date, but my sister had the audacity to schedule her nuptials for the weekend that fit that. No problem. I'm flexible. I found another weekend that fit. And made sure that worked for our friends in sunny Californ-I-A. It did. Plan moves forward.

On Valentine's Day, I told Jen that I had a trip planned for our anniversary. I told her I'd reserved a place at Amelia Island. (Why Amelia Island? Because I knew there was no way that I could pack secretly for Jen. So I told her a beach location that she could pack clothes that worked for L.A. too.) I also told her that she couldn't go online to search out stuff to do and start researching the area; I would plan everything for us. She agreed. I told her that her parents had agreed to watch K-Man while we were gone too.

Then we just had to wait 3 freaking long months. In that time, we had a family emergency with Jen's grandmother and there was a question of whether our babysitting arrangements would hold. But they did.

Finally, the day arrived. We left for the airport yesterday morning. We got in line at the check-in kiosk at the airport. I upgraded us to first class (because I knew how long the flight was going to be and the option was there). Jen didn't notice the kiosk screen's indication of the arrival site of our flight. Then we got in line to check our bags. The guy took the printed tags and wrapped them around our bags. Jen noticed the "LAX" on the tags and said "those say LAX on them."

"I know," I replied.


We walked on to security. I handed Jen her boarding pass -- which prominently displays "Los Angeles, CA" on it. But we passed through security without any cavity checks and without Jen bothering to read her boarding pass.

On the train, I tell Jen that I upgraded to first class. Jen says "I wish the flight was 5 hours long to enjoy that."

"I bet you do."

We get to the gate. Still Jen is oblivious. I make a point of looking at the gate board and saying, "looks like we're supposed to leave at 9:25." "OK" Jen says without looking up to see where this 9:25 flight is going.

As we are sitting waiting for the flight, Jen says "so are we flying into Jacksonville?"

(I realize this probably is going to be my only chance to finally spring this surprise on her.)

"No" and I hand her the boarding pass . . . again.

After a few seconds, it registers what she's reading.

And all of the effort to get to that look on her face was worth all the wait.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

As promised, here are the song stylings of K-Man! This will make your heart smile.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Catching up with K-Man

Keegan is growing like a weed. He no longer resembles the baby he once was. His legs seem to get longer and leaner every day. We walked up to the Jonquil Festival today with Kee in the stroller, and his legs were practically hanging off the front. Thursday night Kee's school had an art show, and we were treated to Kee's interpretation of a pig and a pumpkin. Clearly, he is not wedded to the realism of Winslow Homer. But his enthusiasm comes through nonetheless.

K-man's athletic interests continue. He bounces from the basketball hoop to the tee-ball set and back again. Jen's parents were in town this week and picked up a small soccer ball for him too, so we'll be able to work on some kicking too.

Keegan has also treated us with a tune. His song of choice? Row, Row, Row Your Boat. It's priceless. (We'll have to get video of that to share.)

We do have video of Keegan at the keyboard. He enjoys when Jen plays ragtime pieces, but he also gets on the keys and works on his finger technique all the time. See for yourself.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Do you ever wonder why you remember some things -- even the most seemingly insignificant tedium -- and fail to recall details of the more momentous occasions? Perhaps the seemingly insignificant is really the momentous.

My earliest memories date back to living in married housing at UF when my Dad was finishing his undergrad and graduate degrees (right across the street from the law school I would attend some 23 years later -- cue the theme from The Twilight Zone). My first memory is looking at myself in the mirror in my room at our UF apartment and realizing that was "me" in the reflection. Could that be more narcissistic?

I can also remember one of the first days I wore underpants. (This one is pretty significant.) I recall getting some instructions before I went out to play -- something along the lines of "if you have to go to the bathroom, come home and go and then you can go back outside." Later, I was playing at the playground with a bunch of other kids. I could sense the need to excuse myself and take care of my business the way "big boys" do, but come on people, I was playing at the playground, and I was two and a half (or 3 - I don't actually recall). So as you may imagine, after it was too late, I realized that there were a few extra ounces in my shorts. Off I ran, turd in tow! I was beside myself with terror. Afraid what my mom was going to do to me for soiling my shorts after her very clear and reasonable directions. Why didn't I just go home when I felt the first sphincter twitch? When I reached the apartment, I am sure I was a weeping mess with a fecal jiggle in my pants. Despite my worst fears, my mom showed me mercy and simply cleaned me up, gave me some new briefs and sent me back out there. (I have no doubt that this episode is the seed of my anal retentive personality. Shut up.) Jen can attest that my response to that situation is typical of my response to mercy even now. I don't appreciate the mercy; I much prefer to beat myself up for doing whatever I did to get myself in the situation from which mercy rescued me. (How warped is that?)

Another memory of mine is from playing little league when I was 8. It's sort of two memories really. I can only recall one at-bat from all of the games that I played that season. It was a double that I hit to right-centerfield. What I remember is how true I hit the ball. I caught it right in the sweet spot. The bat was a wood bat my Dad bought for me at Sears. At the time, Sears sold bats marketed by Ted Williams (then, his head was still attached). This was a 26-inch model that was painted kelly green. I remember that we won the game, but the score evades me. And I recall that I was awarded the game ball that day. The other part of my memories of that first little league season is stealing the sign that the coach of the Dodgers team was using to tell his kids to steal. As a catcher, that came in handy. (NOTE to any would-be coaches reading this. When an 8-year-old can steal your sign, you need to put more effort in disguising your intentions.) He did the same thing every time, he took his hat off and wiped his forehead. If I didn't have an 8-year-old arm with the accompanying accuracy (or lack thereof), my discovery would have been much more helpful.

These memories say something about who I am. If you can figure that out, please let me know, so I can benefit from your insight!

Monday, March 17, 2008


Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.

He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Isaiah 53

If you ever wonder if you are worthy of God's love, know that he did this while we were/are all yet sinners. That is love. You are loved. May that revelation be real for you this week -- of all weeks.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Handling telemarketers

Telemarketers are annoying. Thank the Lord for caller ID. But what is the best way to handle them? Many of you may recall the bit that Seinfeld has about telemarketers. It showed up in one of the earlier episodes of his show. Here's the clip.

But yesterday, we found a good second option. It requires a 2-year-old whose language skills are good but not great and who hasn't mastered volume control -- even within the same word. And a parent in the background spoon-feeding words the kid knows. Here's how our call went yesterday.

Jen noticed the "out of area" notice on the caller ID -- dead giveaway for the telemarketer. So she handed the phone to Keegan after pressing the "talk" button.

Jen: Say hello.

K-man: Hello HEY!!

[Brief silence]

Jen: Say marshmallow.

K-Man: Marce-YALLOW!

[another beat]

K-Man: Bye-BYE!

It's been a while since we laughed that hard! Can't wait to spring him on some more unsuspecting souls. If they want to try and out-flank the Do Not Call registry, we'll be ready for them.

Friday, February 29, 2008


If you've ever had the responsibility of introducing someone at an event or a speaking engagement, you know that it is not the easiest thing to do. Now, I wouldn't want the responsibility for this introduction, but I wouldn't mind being in the audience when it happens.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Step Brothers

I know that Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly have been in about 8 movies together, but it worked for Lewis and Martin, right? (Although with these 2, it's more like Lewis and Lewis.) On the heels of Ferrell's round-the-clock promotion of Semi-Pro, we already have a preview of his next movie co-starring -- who else? -- John C. Reilly. The two have become Step Brothers.

For a 2-and-a-half-minute comedic break: Step Brothers

Saturday, February 23, 2008

K-Man heads to spring training

Well, it's February. For many, the month of February sets off an internal alarm clock. It's the start of another baseball season. I think Keegan's alarm went off this afternoon. He grabbed his bat and one of the balls we have for his tee-ball set and asked me: "Ball?" Who can resist that invitation? Have you seen those dark brown eyes?

I grabbed some video of the work-out. My first video actually. We've been without a digital camera for about a year. And as I am want to do, I went to BestBuy the other night and replaced the lost camera. (Jen's in Cozumel. Seemed like a fair trade-off.) I like it so far. Feel free to give me some tips on posting videos to YouTube. Not sure I like the quality of the upload. It looked better on the computer before I uploaded it.

And now ... Keegan at the bat:

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I've been tagged by h. and tasked with telling you ten random things about me. So here goes.

1) I skipped second grade.

2) But I failed calculus in high school. Not like just barely failed. I got a 47 in fall semester calc. Those concepts just didn't register with me at all . . . not ever really studying for the class didn't help either.

3) In fifth grade, I was offered the chance to audition for The Atlanta Boy Choir. I didn't go. I played baseball instead. (Not sure I chose wisely there.)

4) My senior year of high school, I had a problem with No Doz. One really shouldn't take 6 of those things before a first-period physics class. (That might also explain my inability to focus in Ms. Cole's calculus class.)

5) For my first semester of my freshman year at UF, I lived in a dorm (Murphree Hall) that was not air-conditioned. The school offered this option at a lower cost for people who wanted to reduce their expenses. I think I just signed up for housing late. I was in a triple. We had a system of box fans in the windows to try and deal with the heat. Two fans blew air out of the room and two drew air in. [The electrical system in that old dorm couldn't handle everyone having window AC units, so no one was allowed to.] August and September were brutal months in that room. I showered at least twice a day just to try and cool off (not because I was OCD). But it was right next to the north end zone of The Swamp, so it was very convenient to roll out of bed and into the stadium on game days to watch Emmitt during his sophomore year. Second semester, I moved over to the old Hume Hall which had AC.

6) Grammar-related pet peeves:

(a) "Irregardless" is not a word.

(b) There is no need for the word "prideful." The noun is "pride." To be full of pride is to be "proud."

(c) At least 90% of the time, you do not need to use "or not" when you use the word "whether." The "whether" alone is sufficient. Trust me.

7) I've only broken one bone on my body. The pinky toe on my right foot. When I was 17 or 18, I woke up one morning and stepped out of bed. In my post-slumber stupor, I did not appreciate that my foot was asleep. I put my weight on it, and the toe went right while the rest of my body fell in a heap. Luckily, my foot was asleep, so I didn't really feel the pain of the break. No real need to go to the doctor to confirm that break though. The 90-degree angle the toe was making with the neighboring toe was all the evidence I needed. I just taped the toe to the adjacent ring-finger toe and went about my day. Along with some Advil for pain management.

8) If I could do anything, I would coach soccer full-time. If I had to do something else in order to coach soccer, I would try to teach -- preferably on a college campus. This law firm life doesn't allow the freedom necessary to coach.

9) I like to cuss. And I cuss a lot when I play sports (or watch sports for that matter). I blame it on my Irish blood. Jen just says I'm a freak.

10) I get annoyed by all the talk about closing off our borders and stemming the tide of immigrants (even the "illegal" ones). And not just because my son is Hispanic. This is a country founded by immigrants. There was only one "native" people group here when the pilgrims discovered the "new world" in their brass-buckled clogs. If we took some time to get to know these immigrants, we'd see that most of them are here because they believe in the same American Dream that the rest of us do. Many of them are making far greater sacrifices to realize it too. Frankly, I'm not sure what everyone is so afraid of.

I tag STK, JM and Anita. Tell us some random tidbits about yourselves. Give us a glimpse into who you are.

And keep voting for Modern Skirts (see below). Yesterday afternoon, the band had taken over the top spot, but this morning, they had slipped back to #2 again. Vote HERE. And vote as often as you like/can.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Help Modern Skirts!

My brother-in-law manages this Athens band. If you and I have had a conversation about music in the last 3 years, you have likely heard me recommend Modern Skirts to you. They are in the studio working on CD #2 at the moment, but they are trying to get a song from their first CD (Catalogue of Generous Men) some airplay on MTVU, which is an MTV network that actually shows music videos -- current ones! I have no idea where one can watch MTVU, but I think it's offered to many U-niversity and college students who live in residence halls and dorms and other university housing structures. The network has a show called The Freshman. If the Skirts song is picked, it gets added to the regular rotation. That would be a huge kick in the pants for the band. (A good kick in the pants.)

If you've ever dialed up iTunes after watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy to locate that song playing over the obligatory montage in the last 10 minutes of every episode, you know first-hand the power of the exposure a band can get by having one of their songs playing on a network. Here's your chance to help out a band that is very good. And I can attest that they are not only very good on CD (like Snow Patrol) but also very good live (not like Snow Patrol).

Watch the video of their song Pasadena, which is my favorite off the Catalogue CD.

Then vote for the song HERE. If you need more encouragement to pick Modern Skirts, three of the students on The Freshman show picked the Skirts song after listening to all 5 candidates.

VOTE NOW! And vote often! You can vote as many times as your finger will click the mouse! Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on Friday night (Feb. 22nd).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

New License Plate!!

After months of waiting, I was treated this week to a welcome envelope from the state Motor Vehicles Division [how often does one say that?] . A perfect birthday present if I do say so myself. The greatest thing about this plate is not that I get to demonstrate my collegiate loyalty, but all of the opportunities to annoy all of the dog fans in the city as we all sit in traffic for hours each week.

The other interesting thing about the fact that these plates are available is the response from various members of the Legislature -- all up in arms about the fact that a UGA plate isn't available in Florida. Threatening to eliminate the UF plate unless there is reciprocity in the Sunshine State. The interesting thing about that is that the Auburn alumni have had an AU plate for more than a year, and there was no similar uproar. Shows you who the bigger rival is.

So anyway, get used to seeing these plates around town -- those of you who live in the state. For those of you out-of-towners, feel free to print this page so you don't feel left out.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Don't Smell Like a Turtle Cage!

OK, this isn't exactly the most thought-provoking return to the blogosphere ever undertaken by a dormant blogger, but at this point, I am jumping on the chance.

We all perspire. Even women. Some more than others. I'm not advocating this particular product, but I think what Jackie Moon has to say is worth listening to -- especially if you're a Ron Burgundy fan or just believe that most songs need more cow bell.

Old Spice Pro Strength

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New Year's Fortnight

I have resisted the trite New Year's resolution post. There's a part of me that hates going along with what is expected. I also think I'm still recovering from November's post-a-day marathon. Then December was a month-long workday. After working long hours day after day, it's hard to muster any energy to write something remotely coherent. As January opened, my December hangover lingered. I am just now wiping away the cobwebs and ready to start writing again.

But what am I going to write?

Rather than look forward, I am going to pause to look back. Not that I can do anything about what happened in 2007, but I think there are some lessons to learn in the review.

In the fall of 2007, I took part in a men's group at church. I plan to continue the second half of that course this spring. What I learned by participating was not really anything new. It was a reminder that men need to be with other men for accountability. A reminder that I am flawed. (Jen will be surprised to read that I am flawed. She thinks I'm perfect in every way.) And encouragement that my crazy background is matched by a lot of the backgrounds of other men -- many of whom I would never think shared life experiences with me. In 2008, I want to be even more transparent -- and I think I was fairly transparent in the small group I am in. I also want to be more intentional about acting on some of the things I learn/realize/experience in this group. That's not the easiest thing for me. I am cognitive. I enjoy the mental exercise. Which also means I can overthink things into inaction. I don't want to do that with this group. If that's all I do, I will have wasted this opportunity.

In 2007, I did a decent job of making time for Jen and Keegan. But as you might assume, "decent" signals much room for improvement. I need to be more intentional about being present when I have time with Jen and K-Man. I can't waste those opportunities.

In 2007, I was unsuccessful in reaching some goals at work. I am an attorney, and I work in a firm. What that means, is that my life is ruled by the billable hour. The firm places expectations for billable hours on attorneys like me. We have to bill a minimum of hours each year. We are encouraged to bill more than the minimum by the firm's bonus structure. When 2007 started, I set some goals for myself in terms of billable hours. I did not meet those goals. (I hate even admitting that!) But what did I learn from 2007? That sometimes, I need to worry about me and my family more than I worry about what is best for my reputation. Huh? Suffice it to say that I left some money on the table in 2007. Money that my family could have used in any number of ways. So for 2008, I intend to do what I have to do to ensure I am in a position to earn what I can for the family. Now that doesn't mean that I need to work more hours necessarily. What it means is that I need to make every opportunity I have count. If my workload slips, I need to secure more work. I don't want to waste this opportunity.

2007 was a good year. Here's to a solid 2008. Here's to a 2008 that balances life and family and friends and faith and work. In the first fortnight of the year, things seem to be on course.