I Adore-a Cora – Part 2

So, as you read HERE, the first half of Cora & and her daughter Gwen's visit could have gone any better.  But then, something happened.

Most of the second half DID go better that the first half.


"Wake me, shake me, Monday, Monday!"  Hey!  Hey!  It's Monday, and my house is still filled with females. After our busy day downtown on Sunday, Monday started off a bit low key.  But did it ever pick up steam.

After lounging around all morning and watching Red Dwarf DVD's (Gwen's idea), we returned to Quake where she spent a small fortune (not really) on collectables, and her heart was filled with joy.

From there, we went and had some flaming cheese.

Is that a phoenix in the fire? Mmmmm… Fire + Cheese = GOOD!

After that excitement, we returned home and laid down for a little rest.  It was right about 5:00, so I texted the beautiful blond blogger, Ms. Sassy Britches. She was in Chicago and we were planning to meet up that afternoon for dinner before Cora, Gwen, and I went to see a play. I told her in the text to text me back when she got close.  Instantly, I got a replay that she was about to 100 yards away (91.44 meters for my foreign readers).  She was soon at my doorstep, and I had the pleasure of watching two old friends meet for the first time as she and Cora got together.

We talked for a while, then hit my corner "Irish Pub" (it is Chicago after all) for dinner and more conversation.  Three more charming dinner companions a man could not ask for.

An unaltered picture of Sassy Britches Unfortunately, time kept ticking along and we went our separate ways.  Sassy B. headed off to do the work that she'd been ignoring all day and the three of us headed off to see a sketch comedy performed in a rickety theater above a funeral home.

I'm not sure Cora or Gwen stopped laughing the whole show.  People, seriously, if you are ever in Chicago on a Monday night, I strongly urge you to see Barrel of Monkeys.  And it helps the children.  I know what you're thinking: No, not communist children.  It is a magical place, and you will want to stay there forever. (Note: Yes, only Cora will get those jokes.  What's your point?)


Tuesday, we headed off to another museum, the Field Museum of Natural History (at least Macy's didn't rename THAT, fargin ice holes!) to see dinosaurs and pirates.

And we was a dinosaur ("Sue" the most intact T-Rex fossil ever)

Stay away from Run Around Sue! And the girls even made a little time with a pirate.

And there is even a pretty fair view of the skyline from the front of the building.

Some views don't suck.


This was the day that I think none of us were looking forward to.  My gals were leaving me.  And Chicago even started to cry, as the rains returned to town.  We had brunch at a greasy spoon diner just up the street called Jeri's Grill.  But it too, too soon was time to drive them to the airport.  In route, we swung by Walt Disney's old house on the west side.  It was around this point that Cora and I pretty much stopped caring if Gwen caught us smooching.  Oh, she'd walked in on us a few times thru the week, but when days become hour become minutes, we made the most of them.  At the airport I watched them walk down the long security aisle until I was certain I could see them no longer, and then drove to the cell phone parking lot, and watched my Blackberry until their flight status said, "Departed", and I drove back to my far to quiet, far to lonely condo.

More than one tear was shed.


I woke up to find an email telling me about the unfortunate incident that occurred when they got home.  But that's not my story to tell.  Watch for it over at Cora's.  (Yes, I'm a brat.)

But, I can honestly say, by seeing the looks on Cora & Gwen's faces that week, that it was the best birthday present I could have given Cora.  Special memories with her daughter.


I Adore-a Cora – Part 1

So much to tell.

So little time.

Cora and her daughter, Gwen, visited me for a week.  It was a great time.  I know, normally, I take my time and stretch out the Cora posts, but I will be going out of town over the weekend, and I don't think most of this can wait until next week, so here are some highlights:


Isn't she lovely? Bad Omen: I'm late picking the gals up at the airport.  I had a 4:00 meeting, and their plane landed at 5:00.  They were gracious, and weren't waiting long, but still…

Bad Omen: I pick a place to have dinner when we get home, and the food is a little spicier than Gwen likes.

Good Sign: I recover by walking us home via McDonald's.  Amazing what an order of chicken McNuggets and a couple chocolate chip cookies will do for a mood.  Cora reassured me that solving the problem earned me more points than causing the problem caused.


Off to the Museum of Science and Industry to see the Harry Potter Exhibit.  That was a hit with both the ladies.  They had a great time at the museum.  We also got to see some hikers getting mauled by bears,I don't have to outrun the bear, I have to outrun you!and saw Harland Sanders try to entice a young girl with EXTREMELY fresh chicken.Dirty old man picks up young chicks. The night ended with pizza and more chicken fingers.


After a lazy start to the morning, it was off to Lincoln Ave and Quake.  Quake sells collectables.  Cora describes it as "walking into eBay." If you are looking for an action figure, movie promotional item, etc. this little store is the place to go.  Gwen, a huge fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride, found a few things for her collection, and a new favorite store.  Afterwards, we drove out to the suburbs for a quick tour of "Scope's Old Stomping Grounds" and to have dinner with some of my friends out in the 'burbs.  And they have a daughter exactly Gwen's age who also loves to read.  They hit it off like peas in a pod, and my friends, of course, loved Cora.


Sunday was our "downtown" day.  We took the L downtown to see the sights, and boy, did we.

After climbing up (and sliding down) the Picasso statue, We like our art BIG! and doing a little Ferris Bueller at the Flamingo, Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller? and even making our own art at Miller's Pub,Oh, like you don't think that's funny it was time for the gals to cool off in Crown Fountain in Millennium Park.

They walk on water 
We will continue this little story later with a blogger meet-up, a barrel of monkeys, pirates, and dinosaurs.

Stay tuned.


Things I Want Thursday


This is my first pass at "Things I Want Thursday!' "TIWT" is hosted by my good friend Sass at Are You Sassified?  (I would tell you to go over there and grab the button off her side bar, but it looks like she just redesigned her sight, and I don't see it.  Good thing I made the bugger for her then, isn't it, so I had a spare readily available.)

This should be a short list today:

1 – I want today's doctor's appointment to go well.  Just a physical, but I've got a couple of items that are "high" (blood sugar, cholesterol, & blood pressure) and I haven't been as good with my diet recently as I should, so, you know, just hope things aren't worse.

2 – Speaking of health, I wish my friend that I usually call MFF on this page would start bitching about what an ass her ex-husband is again.  Instead, when we talk, it's all about chemo, breast reconstruction, tubes, drains, and her hair falling out.  I want all that so far behind her, so that the biggest issue she's got is that her ex is trying to weasel out of his portion of their daughter's medical bills.

3 – 5:00 – While most of you would agree that they wish it were 5:00, I have a better reason.  Cora & her daughter are due to land @ Midway @ 5:00, and be here for a week.  :-) :-) :-)  Not sure how late I will be picking them up, because I have a 4:00 meeting and It will take me at least 45 minutes from the time I leave the office until I get to the airport, but my love is flying in for a week, and that's really what I want most.

My Favorite Picture, EVER!4 – I want you to listen to Sass.  No, seriously.  Tomorrow morning, go to WDBR.COM between 7am – 9am Central Time, click on "Listen Live" and listen to "Streaming Sass" on Dave & Dina's show.

5 – The final thing I want the Thursday is your patients.  With Cora and her daughter in town, there may not be a whole lot of posts / reading / comments from either of us for the next week.  We'll just be a tad busy making go-go eyes at each other, and making her 12 year old daughter want to vomit.  But think of all the fun posts we'll have after we get back!



Nothing subliminal here, move along.I was tagged with this AWESOME meme by the most AWESOME blogger, CORA.  I need to come up with seven AWESOME things about me, and then tag seven deserving bloggers, so that they can do the same.  As a smart man, I always do try and do what my girlfriend says.

But I need to put that special "Scope Spin" to the whole thing.  That's when I realized that AWESOME was a seven letter word.  And with that thought, I give you:


A – Artistic Eye – I might not have any real artistic ability, but I do have an artistic eye, and try to make things esthetically appealing.  I even correctly tab and align my toss away code at work.  I would have been an architectural engineer, if I hadn't turned to computer science.

W – Wisdom – Data > Information > Knowledge > Wisdom.  I have the ability to manipulate data into information, twist information into knowledge, and glean wisdom from knowledge.  That's my job.

E – Eric – The "Eric" personality is deep, caring, true friend.  Sensitive, quiet, and concerned what other think.  Doesn't mind finishing second.  You get to see him around here some, but he's much more visible in person.

S – Scope – The "Scope" personality is the cut up, the jokester, the one that loves a horrible pun or play on words.  Scope is also a MONSTER flirt.  He's the guy that comes out to play on-line, here and in Facebook most often.

O – Odd – I was going to go with "Original" but I think "Odd" suits me better.  I've always been a bit, "off the bubble" and have seen things from a different point of view.  My willingness to embrace my "odd" without going completely over to the "eccentric / weirdo" side (the difference between an "eccentric" and a "weirdo" is how much money they have), I think, is why I am where I am today.

M – Monetary Mentality – I'm not overly driven by money.  Sure I like money, but I make about enough, honestly.  I can do what I want, within reason, have a home, and feel fairly secure.  Money is just a tool.  Not an ends.  I'm sure if I were making 50% of what I do, I would sing a different song, but not entirely.  I was unemployed for a year, and still didn't care enough to eBay my comic book collection.

E – Easy Going – For the most part, I'm Mr. Calm and Mellow.  I try not to let things rile me, but look for the logical and practical solution to the problem at hand.  Being the calming influence is a tumultuous situation can be difficult, but I'm not "the Easy E" because I put out on the first date.

Well, that's seven, and now for the tags…  I tag you, and you.  And you, the lurker from that one place.  That's three.  Oh, and you and your blog buddy, you.  Oh, and how could I forget to try to lure the lapsed bloggers of you and you.

(Note, the above aren't actually links.  I'm just funning.  Take the meme if you think you're awesome.)


Like, Totally, Awkward Tuesday

[Editor's Note:  This is my first attempt at Totally Awkward Tuesdays, brought to you by Tova Darling. Please head over to her site to see who else is awkward.  And make sure to check out the hover text on the pictures.]

The time:  July 1987.
The place:  The St. Louis Zoo
The event:  Gifted Camp Field Trip

Who is the yo-yo with the yo-yo?  Scope!The summer of 1987, the summer before my senior year of college, I was a counselor at a camp for gifted kids at my college.  There were 4, 13 day sessions sessions that summer.  (We got off the 24 hours from the Saturday noon when the camp ended to the Sunday noon when the next one started.)  If memory serves me correctly, this was either the second or third session (I'm leaning toward third, not that it matters).  The camp was mostly kids going into 5th, 6th, 7, or 8th grade.

The weekend that we had the kids, we went on a field trip.  With this batch, we went to the St. Louis Zoo, which was about a 1.5 – 2 hour Graphic print and a popped collar?  80's style!drive.  So we loaded the kids up, for a day of fun at the zoo.

(Unfortunately, I had to wear my camp t-stirt, not this beauty. -->)

The day went just fine.  Beautiful July day in St. Louis.  So about 97° and 95% humidity with not a breezy to be found.  After a couple of hours, it was time to start rounding the little hooligans up for the return trip.  Just as we were getting them on the buses and trying to do head counts, etc., it started to rain.  Not a little drizzle. 



That's not the awkward part.

Not pointing any fingers, mind you...So, at the entry of the park, as it's pouring rain, one of the girls drops like a stone, curled up in pain.  We got the other kids on the bus, and just left her to die and be fed to the wolves, followed the ambulance as best as we could to the hospital.

And there we sat.  For an hour and a half.  The other kids were wet, getting hungry, and somewhat freaked out.

Kids – Is she dead?  Me – No, she's not dead..

Kids – How do you know? Me – If she was dead, they would have sent us home by now.

Kids (every 4 minutes) – How is she?  Have you heard anything? 
Me – We're all locked on this bus together.  You'll know when I know something.  (Remember kiddos, this was before cell phones existed in their modern form, and while the buses did have CB's in them, the Rubber Duck hadn't sent us a Breaker 1-9 to let us know the situation.)

Finally, word came out that she was fine.  Everything was fine. Insert your own 'HEAD COUNSELOR' joke here. We were to head back, and the head counselor and her counselor were going to stay back with her, and follow us later.  (Still not sure the logistics of how the got back to Jacksonville, but oh well.)

When the three of them came back later, the head counselor filled us in on the situation.

Was it food poisoning?  No.
Was it appendicitis?  No.

Right there, on the field trip with 80 other kids, she had her first cramp.  Welcome to womanhood!


And when discussing awkward 80's looks, those of you who went to school with me, or are my friends on Facebook may recognize Scott from his days as Max Headroom.


For Sass – A Staple Of The Season

This little post goes out to Sass, and all the mothers (and sure, a father or two), who love their children, dearly, but need them back in school before they lose their EVER LOVING MINDS!

I always enjoyed these commercials, even if I didn't have little ones.  I hope you enjoy them, too.  Wish they would bring them back.

I love the look of marching off to "Death Row" on the kids' faces.

Actually, I think she's right.  The second line of the chorus is:  "School's out forever."  But maybe only if the "school's been blown to pieces."

I like the first kid.  I still remember 6922251*8!

(Sorry Morgan, you're the only one I know still in school!)



We interrupt the story that you are not reading because blogger isn't telling you that I've posted anything on the one FUCKING DAY THAT I REALLY WAS COUNTING ON THE TIMING OF THIS RAT BASTARD DONKEY FISTING APPLICATION TO WORK PROPERLY.

Blogger Hurt My Feelings!Watch, this will post right away, and the crap that I scheduled last night?  Not so much.

Can't help but feeling a bit SHUNNED.  :-(


Despair :-(

I saw this at DESPAIR.COM.  This is just MEAN!





"Pre-You" is one of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs.  Can't find a version on line, but there's a line in it: 

Another page in history / Steppin' stone for you and me / Pre-you

I thought of this a month ago when Gwen wrote THIS story about a second chance airline encounter that she fumbled.  I thought she was telling a story from my own life.  And then I was over at Angela's Archives the other day, and I was reminded of the story again.

[And yes, I've cleared the story with Cora, thanks for askin']

It was about 3.5 years ago now, and a dear old friend of mine of 15 years (often referred to here as MFF) had just moved back home as part of her separation from her soon to be ex husband.  I was flying down Birmingham to see her.  Was this going to be the start or "our time"?    That's what I was thinking when I stepped aboard that Southwest flight.

A Little Tail On The AirplaneSitting next to me was a vision.  A perfect southern belle.  Mid 40's.  Well dressed.  She looked a lot like the afore mentioned Angela.  We talked, and laughed and had a great time on the flight.  She was a divorced single mother heading home from a college scouting exhibition for her son.  But, I was on my way to meet MFF.  It wouldn't be right to ask her for her number.  So, after a long, dramatic  pause, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.

I related the story to MFF.  She asked why I didn't ask the woman for her number.  Okay, so maybe this wasn't going to be the start of a new phase in our relationship after all.

The next day, we were out shopping in a nice new outdoor mall near here place.  It was a beautiful Alabama spring day, and we were in the little pet boutique, looking at things for her tea-cup Yorkie.  And with a jingle jangle of the bells above the door, who walked in, but the woman from the plane.  Despite MFF's prodding, I once again chickened out, and didn't ask for her number.

And MFF still griefs me for it.

But I don't regret it at all.  I learned a valuable lesson about not chickening out, and asking a woman for her phone number when the moment was right.  And, it was just another stepping stone on the path to where I am today.  :-)  So how could I regret it?


Morning Wood – I've Missed Ya

"Morning Wood" is a good sign.As I discussed last week, the previous weekend, I was home for my 25 year high school class reunion.  I slept Saturday night in my parents' house.  They moved off the farm and out of my childhood home about a year and a half ago.  They moved into town, and into my grandparents old house (both grandparents had passed on, that's why the house was open.)  So, there's a room there in the basement that is sort of "my room" since I come home the most often of the kids.  It's got the bedroom set from my childhood room (a nice old queen size bed and tall boy dresser).  So waking up in there can be a little "Twilight Zone"esque first thing in the morning, until I get my bearings.

Sunday morning, I woke up, and was greeted with by the sight of some serious morning wood.  Ah, old friend it's been a while, but there you were, thick tall, tapering from the base, until bulking out at the top.  A nice honey colored glow about ya.  Standing tall and proud.

Impressive, and you weren't even turned on.

You, light up my life...

We are talking the lamp I made in shop class my sophomore year, right?

That was the year that I tried to do the normal stuff for guys in my school.  A semester of small engines split between one quarter of class room and one quarter of shop, and a semester of industrial arts split between a quarter of drafting and a quarter in the shop.  I'm MUCH better in the classroom than I am in the shop. 

While most of the guys in the shop class made their lamps out of glued together bits of pine so soft, you could probably whittle the lamp as fast as you could turn it on a lathe.  Me?  Nope, I did things the HARD way.  We had some wood from an old barn we tore down.  So I used a 3 foot  by 8 inch chunk of old growth oak barn beam.  For those of you unfamiliar with different types of wood, oak is a "H.A.R.D." wood.  (Heavy And Really Dense).

I spent a week "rounding" it down on a table saw.  Okay, I knocked the corners down enough so it would spin on the lathe.  Please note, I should be dead.  An unbalanced chunk of solid oak spinning at 957 RPMs, and a novice trying to turn it down?  Are you serious?  It only flew off the lathe while at speed once.  It may or may not have been related to these stains on the back side of the lamp?

Bartender, a "rusty nail", please.

Anyone?  Cowguy?  Those are rust stains.  Rust?  From what?  Old rust nails that I found "the hard way".  Now-a-days, I'm sure you'd use some kind of metal detector or something when working with reclaimed wood. 


I have no idea what grade I got in the class, but I should have got an A+ for simply not maiming myself or anybody else.

We recently rewired the lamp and it works as good as ever.

This post was inspired by two recent posts by Cowguy.  [THIS one and THAT one].

Speaking of "inspiring,"  this little YouTube nugget inspired me to click "buy it now".


Running Theme?

You know, I didn't realize that the last two posts had a bit of a  theme.  I wrote the one about Rhonda while I was in Seattle visiting Cora, because that story had popped into my head as blog fodder a few times, but I'd never captured it.  Then it sat in "draft" for almost two weeks.

Then, about a week ago, I screenshotted the Hot Topic one while at work, and emailed it off to myself.  I then promptly forgot it.  I remembered it as I was trying to clean out my email.


And Cora, NO IDEAS.  If the situation ever arises, just buy a gun and shoot me like a rational crazy woman, okay?  ;-)

Don't Mess With Texas Women

Note 1:  A Google image search on "crazy woman" would not be safe for work.

Note 2: Check out THIS BLOG by Jared Davis, for an awesome picture entitled "a woman scorned."  I didn't feel right about lifting the image from the artist's blog. But oddly, I had no such issue lifting the picture above from a Texas handgun training site.  Maybe because I also saw the photo below on a self defense blog.

Green with Envy?


Hot Topic Indeed

I was on the Tribune website the other day, when I saw the screen below (flame highlightings added for effect) and just had to laugh.

That's gonna leave a mark...

That'll wake you up in the morning, won't it?

For those of you wanting the rest of the story, there's a video over HERE.

Then the other day, I read about 4 women (wife & 3 scorned lovers) super gluing a guys dick to his chest. [LINK]

What's with the women folk going all Hammurabi on their guys recently?


A Sign That Your Marriage Is In Danger

Back in my college days, there was a classmate I will call "Rhonda".  Only because that is her name.  We weren't really close, but we had a few friends in common.

Years later, I heard this story about an event that occurred just before she got a divorce.

It was Rhonda's husband's birthday, and she threw a party for him and his buddies out by their pool somewhere in the south Pacific.  I think it was Saipan.  They worked for an airline, as I recall.  Late 20's traveling, and living on a tropical island… Some would think that the perfect life.

But there was trouble in paradise.

Drunken-DangerSo, after he and his buddies sucked down a good number of beers, the "entertainment" arrived and Rhonda and one of her girlfriends sat back to watch the show, too.

The exotic dancer / stripper had whipped the boys into a frenzy.  Not hard with a bunch of half drunk ex-frat expats.  But slowly, one by one, the boys stopped cheering and whistling as the truth of the situation dawned on them.  Finally, hubby realized the awful truth…

Have you seen, The Crying Game?  The exotic dancer that his wife got him for his birthday?  The one that he and his manly friends had been just cheering and lusting over? 

Female impersonator.

Surprisingly, the marriage didn't last much longer.  Guess he didn't find it all that amusing, but she laughs her ass off every time she tells it.


I've Got A Plate In My Head

For what?


Sorry.  Went out "for one" last night, and didn't get a chance to work on anything too profound besides a hangover.

Enjoy some funny plates, and I'll "ZULTR 4" more fun and games.  "OYE"


25 Year THS Class Of 84 Reunion & Friends

Saturday was my 25 year high school reunion.  We have our reunions the same weekend as the town's summer festival, so that:

1 – It's easy to remember:  Old Settler's Days
2 – There's a chance that people may be coming back anyway.

I debated driving the 3.5 hours or so Friday night after work, but since my parents weren't home, and my sister's house is a little torn up, there was no great place to stay, and no compelling reason to get there, so I opted to sleep in my own bed, and head out in the morning.

I hit town around noon, and there was a light rain.  Not really encouraging people to come to the festival.  There had been a little Facebook chatter about us having a float again this year in the parade, but I wandered around town, and didn't see that getting done, so I found my sister, and niece and talked to them each about the news (my sister and her husband are now empty nesters, sort of, and are buying a foreclosed house on the edge of town, and my niece is buying there old house.)

The parade kicked off at 2:00, and I ran into a few classmates.

Not a real elk

(Not a classmate)

Yes, it's a JOHN, DEERE.

(Still not a classmates – But Jim McM. was in brother's class)

Malia & Mel

(Classmates: Malia & Mel)

After the parade, we split for a while, but agreed to meet for dinner before heading out to the party.  Okay, maybe calling La Gondola "dinner" may be stretching it, but what ever.

After a trip for "supplies" we headed out to the Indian Creek Vineyard outside of Toulon for the actual.  What, you don't think of Central Illinois as "wine country"?  There was a band playing (more on them in a bit) and all kinds of old friends and acquaintances from not just the class of 84, but a good number from the class of '83 and a few from '85 as well.  Since we had 47 people in out class, and we were a single elementary / middle school / junior high / high school system, I went to school with some of these folks for 11-13 years.

Marj holding court.

The winery is actually a nice, beautiful, slice of the rolling hills of Central Illinois.  It was a gorgeous evening (note the full moon) filled with wine, beer, and good conversation.

Laurie, Marj, Kelly, Jeanine, Jill, and Tina   25% or the Class

Finally, the band was done playing, the old coots gathered for a class picture, and it was time to scatter until 2014.  Okay, since most of the class lives within 50 miles of the school, maybe "scatter" isn't the right word.

But what about the band?  Ah, for the low, low cover of $5, we got to listen to a great 70's and 80's rock cover band, Motorbiscuit.

The band was pretty good.  The lead guitarist (high school senior) and the keyboard player (high school freshman) are children of  Jeanine (84) and Greg (83).  Here they are, wrapping up a little 'Freebird'.  Sorry I didn't roll tape sooner.


Class Reunions – The Key To Happiness

I attended my 25 year class reunion this weekend and will write a more detailed post later.  I had a great time, and was very literally, the last one to leave the winery where we held the party.  I was chatting with the winery owner as he was closing things down for the night, and I headed for my car.

As I got there, in the dark barnyard, I reached into my front right pocket for my keys. -- Strike 1!

Front left pocket?  -- Strike 2!

Shirt pocket? -- Strike 3!

PANIC I had been to the car to put away some wine that I bought.  Nope, not in the door locks.  Not on the ground that I could tell.  CRAP!  It's after midnight, and the spares for this are 165 miles away.  I catch that owner before he makes it back to the house and we look a while (5 minutes) before he heads off to get a flash light.

I keep trying to search, but there are few lights, and the grass is long and wet with dew, so everything glistens.  I double check my front pockets again.  Nope, same stuff as before, but no keys.

He got the flash light, and we searched by the car.  We searched where I stood and talked.  We searched by where the band was.  We searched the path that I carried the tables us after the band was done.  We searched the bar area.


So, I went through my pockets again…

Right front – Key to mom's house, camera, loose change.
Left front – Blackberry
Shirt pocket – Empty
Right rear – Wallet
Left rear – Car keys.

What kind of mindless simpleton puts their car keys in their back pocket?  I guess that would be me.


Messin' With Texas

Sometimes a man's got to do, what a man's got to do…

So, I ask you, how in the name of Sam Houston, is there not a city named, 'Vor, TX'?

Or was there?

Auntie Em, Auntie Em!