Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Really, is there anything else to say after that?

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Situation normal

You don't know what you got until it's gone...or until it returns.  That's how the song goes, right?

The last few days I was feeling less than one hundred percent due to...well, let's just say a problem that had me running to the bathroom, so to speak.  (Seriously, am I going there with this post?)  Although it definitely caused discomfort, I felt OK otherwise, which may have made the whole situation worse.  What brought it on all of a sudden?  Why does it not seem to be going away?

I didn't give it much consideration for the first day and a half, but after that I began to wonder what was wrong.  I picked up something from the grocery that I thought might do the trick.  It didn't seem to help.  I went back and asked a pharmacist for a suggestion.  That didn't seem to make a difference at first.  (I believe it has since worked.)  I was getting ready to plan a trip to the doctor's office on Monday morning.

Today, though, everything has seemed OK.  There haven't been any repeats of the distress that began Wednesday night and continued through Saturday.  Whatever it was--a bug, something bad I ate--seems to have gone away.  Phew.

Like I said, this wasn't anything really serious, but it has reminded me of how easy it is to take one's normal status for granted.  I don't necessarily think about or take notice of feeling fine.  It's sort of what I expect.  Then something small but disruptive comes along and makes you appreciate how wonderful it is to feel like you usually do.  Consider me suitably reminded.    


Saturday, October 29, 2011


If you're looking for something scary to watch this Halloween, may I humbly suggest The House of the Devil?  Made in the style of '80s horror films (and set at an indeterminate time in that decade), it's one of the scarier films I've seen in recent years, and it does a bang-up job of utilizing The Fixx song seen in its official video form at the top of this post.  (I would have embedded that scene up top, but out of context I don't know that it sells it much.  Plus, why ruin the fun?)  It should be pretty easy to find for rental or streaming.  Just don't blame me if it freaks you out.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Look, it's baseball

A pretty good World Series concluded this evening, although not with the winning team I adopted and cheered on in person this postseason.  The Texas Rangers will have to wait at least another year to get their first title in franchise history.

Last night's Game 6 was sloppy before transforming into the sort of game destined to become the stuff of legend.  Folks were tripping over themselves this morning to declare it the Best Game Ever.  It was a dramatic game, no doubt, but let's not rush to judgment.

As Octobers go in baseball, this was a terrific one.  The playoffs featured a healthy amount of excitement.  This World Series was probably the best one in awhile. 

A recent tradition at this point in the year is for sports commentators to be poised to point out how baseball's TV ratings aren't as strong as in prior decades and note how this means the game is hurting.  OK, fine, baseball has ceded it's status as America's favorite sport to football, but the number of people watching on broadcast television, say, thirty years ago versus now isn't a worthwhile comparison.  Think of how many other channels and entertainment options are available now.  A hundred or more cable channels, not to mention DVD/Blu-ray, streaming video, and the internet, are there to pull away viewers versus the four broadcast channels that dominated home entertainment back then.  Of course the ratings don't measure up now, and i should care that they don't because why?

Of all the professional sports, baseball is the one that's there almost every day while it's in season for seven months.  It's fitting that as this season ends the weather has just changed to colder temperatures, when it's time to change the type of clothing one wears.  As baseball steps aside for a bit, so too do the warm months.  They'll be back before we know it.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dance, dance, dance

Over the years I've come to realize that I like dance movies.  I'm not sure why.  It's not something I know particularly well or participate in.  I had to learn some dances in a junior high physical education class, and I have reluctantly (and terribly) danced a couple times at weddings.  That's about the extent of it.

I figured that if I enjoy these dance movies, then I ought to check out the real thing.  An excellent opportunity to make good on my intention to see a dance performance presented itself through a production incorporating a band I like a lot (Radiohead) and an absurdly cheap ticket via Groupon.  So I can now say that I have attended my first ballet.

Ballet Maribor's Radio & Juliet tells a spare version of Romeo & Juliet that is scored to slower and more industrial selections from the Radiohead catalog.  I got the gist of the narrative--it's kind of familiar--and found the interaction with the songs to cast the lyrics in a different light from how they were intended.  Could I say if it was good?  I liked what I saw, but I can't speak to the artistic merits.  I'm simply not knowledgeable enough to say one way or the other.

What surprised me?  I didn't expect the dancers to be so quiet in their movements.  It's not as if the music was blaring and thus covering up the sounds from the stage.  I didn't expect the performance to be so short.  (I clocked it at about 55 minutes.)

I wasn't sure what the etiquette is regarding applause after a piece/movement has concluded.  The audience seemed a bit split, as there was crowd silence in the gaps between several routines and scattered shows of appreciation during others.

I'm glad I went and will have to check out another dance performance eventually.  Fine arts! 

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I happened upon this stunning piece of work by accident.  It's near where my brother and sister-in-law go to church in downtown Dallas.  While we waited for her to get their son from the nursery, we wandered down to the Chapel of Thanksgiving in Thanks-Giving Square.

The stained glass spiral, which I recognized from being used in The Tree of Life, is in the ceiling of this building.  The chapel is a small, unassuming room.  Look up

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Flew back from Dallas today. Boy are my arms tired.

Yes, it's an old, predictable joke.  It doesn't ignore the fact that I'm bushed.

See you tomorrow.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Pit stop

On my last full day in Texas for this trip, what else could I do but get some barbecue?  My brother vouched for the excellence of Hard Eight BBQ in Coppell, and he was dead on.  With the way I've eaten down here, it's a good thing I'm leaving on Tuesday.

For the meat you order by the pound.  Be careful.

The chicken poppers--mesquite smoked chicken wrapped with green pepper, onion, and bacon--were unbelievably good.  I may regret having to work off this meal, but it was delicious.
Even the taxidermied animals are excited about the Rangers and their bid to win the World Series.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Game 4

As a lifelong baseball fan, what a thrill it was to be at a World Series game. My team wasn't playing, and the seat, while certainly satisfactory, was not exactly close. It didn't matter. Here I was at one of only six or seven of these games that will be played, and I'm there with one of my brothers and my eleven-month-old nephew. (I know that sounds like a bad idea for the little one to be there. I said as much. Nevertheless, the little guy was really well behaved.)

Although a Dallas Cowboys regular season game was taking place across the parking lot, the ballpark was predictably packed with folks eager to see the Texas Rangers even the series with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Zooey Deschanel was there to sing the National Anthem (and promote her sitcom on the game's network broadcaster).
There were flags, including this big one on the field during pre-game...

...and a former baseball great (Nolan Ryan) and former President (George W. Bush).

The sellout crowd went nuts when Mike Napoli hit a three run home run to put the Rangers ahead 4-0.

All in all, it was a beautiful night in the mid to upper 60s. I'm sure there's more I can say, but it's been plenty of work to get this posted after tonight's game.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Baby, water gardens, birds, tacos

Babies are shameless, especially ones who are related.

The Fort Worth Water Gardens seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen.  Pretty though.

Especially in a secluded spot like this one.

Looking out at downtown Fort Worth, Texas.

I could not believe how loud these birds (grackles?) were, let alone the number of them.

Yeah, I had to eat here. That logo!

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Food and family

I could write up some thoughts about things I observed or pondered today, but this photo pretty much summarizes it all.  This was a travel day--I'm now in between Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas where my brother and sister-in-law live--and it's been marked by the food I've eaten and the company I've kept, namely my nephew.

The last time I saw my nephew was at Christmas, about a month after he was born.  We got along famously, and I showed him off to my parents via Skype.

I've been doing a good job of eating sensibly...but not today.  In addition to some airport barbecue in Memphis, I had my first visit to the fabled In-N-Out Burger.  I enjoyed a double double animal style (but without cheese), fries, and a Neapolitan shake.

It was quite a busy day but a good one.  And just think, I still have a World Series game to attend while I'm down here.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

The night before

The night before leaving for a trip never fails to be far too busy.  While I get ready (and try to get into bed for a good night's rest) for my trip to Texas, let me point you toward a local effort via a knitting clinic to show support for a Girl Scout leader with a form of leukemia.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The right attitude

Not much to say other than this longtime knitter certainly has the right attitude.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Let's hear it for the boys

Here's a nice story about boys at a grade school in London who have taken to knitting.  The most surprising part to me is not that boys have taken to it but that the school's name is Dog Kennel.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Gold star

I had an unexpected twelve-hour work day, so in lieu of writing anything, here's a (relative) oldie but a goodie from one of my all-time favorite bands.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011


"The Duke of Windsor, seriously worried over a virtual British government boycott of his wedding, has resorted to knitting to soothe his jangling nerves, it was understood today.

Such was the news in the May 22, 1937 edition of The Pittsburgh Press.  Somehow this detail didn't make it into The King's Speech.

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Last minute trip

And with this result, it means I'm headed to Dallas next weekend.  Crazy.

It started with me thinking, "Huh, I wonder if my brother might be able to scrounge up tickets to a World Series game down there and if flights are reasonable."  Both rhetorical questions could be answered in the affirmative, although the latter took a little bit more looking--and buying blindly from Hotwire--since the airline I was going to fly on doubled their round trip rates between Tuesday and tonight.  Raised costs in the intervening days had been my big concern, but I wasn't going to book until the game was a certainty.  Even when the Rangers led by a likely insurmountable number of runs, I avoided booking.  Ultimately I paid less than I expected, although I'm getting back a bit later than I had hoped.

It'll be fun to go to the game and see my nephew, who will have nearly doubled his age since I saw him last.  I expect it will also be nice simply to get away for a few days too.  What a year of unexpected activities and travels. 

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday night video

Crashing into the end of the work week and too fried to write.  Enjoy a new song from Wilco.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Five years

Five years ago I had my first crash course in how to knit.  Has it really been that many years?

Admittedly, my knitting has fallen off this past year, and I'm not nearly as fanatical as I was in the first year or two.  Chalk that up to the enthusiasm of the newly converted and a real need to knit to keep me calm from the drama of stress where I was living and at work.  It was inevitable that I wouldn't be cranking out scarves at the rate I was then.  (I also had a deadline to meet.)

Looking back, the biggest question for me is where did I find the time?  (That's a recurring question for me these days.)  OK, so I wasn't sleeping as much then, and I knit a lot more while watching television.  Blame the HDTV for some of my productivity drop-off.

I'm glad to have learned how to knit, and I really need to get back to doing more.  Now would be as good of a time as any, wouldn't it?


Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Seven of the last eight nights I've not been home for the majority of the evening.  Some of it's been for pleasure, some of it's been for work.  All of it points back to my feeling that there aren't enough hours in the day.

So, beginning with Saturday, I think I need to vow to be at home at night for a week straight and heed these two words: slow down.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Making the unlikely likely

I'm not sure what it is about this year, but if there's a recurring theme, it is that the unlikely has become likely.  To be sure, none of these things are necessarily unusual.  I suppose I just didn't foresee them happening even if I made explicit plans at some point in the process.

For instance, until this year I hadn't been to New York City and didn't exactly see it as somewhere I'd be going anytime soon.  Driving there, not to mention the cost, intimidated me.  Having a brother who was conveniently (and temporarily) located in that area for a spell made it feasible.  I had a great time, figured out how to "do" NYC, and went back a second time this year.

For awhile I'd also wanted to go to the Toronto International Film Festival but thought the price was probably too steep.  When the circumstances around a closer fest led me to cut back on how much of it I attended, I started thinking about how to divert some of what I would have spent toward going to the big international event.  Looking ahead allowed me to determine if it was doable and find someone to split the costs.  And so I went to TIFF and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Today I thought about the possibility of going to a World Series game in Texas.  My Dallas-Fort Worth-dwelling brother and sister-in-law went to one last year.  At least before tonight's game the Rangers were looking like good bets to advance to this fall's World Series, so I shot my brother an e-mail to see if he might have access to tickets.  If the Rangers host games, two of the three are during the weekend, so I could make a quick trip down there, see a game, and be back at work with missing little or no time.  Some reasonably priced flights are out there.  So, if the Rangers make it to the World Series, there's a good chance I may go to a game.  (I might even drive, if that's what it takes.)

As a lifelong baseball fan, the idea of going to a World Series game is pretty exciting even if I'd have no vested interest in who's playing.  (I will certainly be a good citizen and root for the home team if I end up there.)  I would have thought attending one of these was unlikely, yet there I was today working out a plan that should click.

The lesson in all this, if there is one other than "plan", is that I am in charge of making the unlikely likely, at least to a certain degree.  (Obviously there are things that are out of everyone's control.)  I'll be the first to admit that it is easier for me to sit back, let things happen as they do, and wait for something to occur, even if the results (or lack of them) aren't always what I might prefer.  In the things I've listed above there was no real risk in deciding to put plans in motion to achieve them, yet it took a smidgen of initiative to make them possible.  The challenge, I suppose, is applying that in other scenarios.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Insert punchline

Since I saw this sign I've been trying to come up with the perfect joke about Schrödinger's cat, but with so many options, I've not been able to settle on any.

For what it's worth, I'm not laughing at the misfortune of those who have lost the cat.  But the uncertainty about the whereabouts of a cat with that name, which is why it amuses me, is almost too good to be true.

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Sunday, October 09, 2011


I had a good run of blogging here every day for about four and a half years, but with how busy or tired I've been this fall, it's time to acknowledge that I've slipped too far behind on empty days.  Yes, I have entries in mind for the dry spell early last week.  Yes, I could go back and fill in yesterday's blank spot and the couple I have in September after returning from Toronto.  But I think it's best to consider that streak finished and move on.  I'm too far behind now to try and plug the holes.

I'll still operate with the goal of blogging every day.  I like the idea of writing something each day even if the difficulty of doing so caught up with me.  There's no doubt I've been somewhat stuck for awhile when it comes to writing here, especially since my knitting has ground to a halt.  There's also no doubt that finding time for everything I want to do has been a challenge.

With the old streak officially ended, consider this a reboot.  Sometimes that's needed to get things working properly again.

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Friday, October 07, 2011

Blind luck

A new pro hockey season is here, and excitement is in the air around the local team.  They made some major moves in the off-season and should be better.   They lost 3-2 tonight, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself this evening anyway.

The picture at the top of the post shows where my seat was.  I joked how I was on the glass, just not the one anyone would think of.  Incredibly, though, someone wanted my seat and was willing to trade tickets.  When I found out where his was, I quickly agreed to a swap.  Where did I move to?

I went from eight rows in the upper bowl to six rows from the ice.  The trader had two friends sitting directly behind me and wanted to be near them.  That's also the only explanation why anyone would trade a ticket that cost more than double for mine.

I've sat in the lower bowl for a hockey game on three occasions.  One was lucking out and finding a scalper looking to dump a ticket close to the game and when demand was low.  Another time the franchise did an upgrade for one game of my partial season ticket package.  They're nice spots to watch the game, although they do have their drawbacks--and no, I'm not referring to the higher prices.  From this corner I couldn't see the flow of play develop as well, especially if it on the near side at the other end.  Still, the trade off is getting a much better sense of the game's speed and power.  Plus, with this being a sold out opening night, the crowd was really into it, which made for a fun environment down there.

As if being close wasn't enough, during a break the promotions team threw pizza boxes into the seating and one happened to land in my lap.  So I won a free large pizza too.  (If you've ever been curious what is inside the boxes, a coupon the size of a business card is taped inside.)

Sure, I would have been happy to stay in my original seat and leave with nothing more than the team winning, but this sort of thing doesn't happen often.  For one evening I gladly accepted the trade-off.

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

Temporary hiatus

With four days of no activity here, you might be wondering what's up.  Honestly, it's nothing more than being busy and tired.  (I went to bed at 10:30 p.m. Monday, if that tells you anything.)  Finding the time or energy has been a challenge.

The thing is, I have entries in mind for the currently empty days this week.  Hopefully this weekend I can go back and fill those gaps and render this one moot.  It seems silly--just move on, right?--but I do feel like I've neglected this space.

I may need to make a change, such as writing earlier in the night.  Thinking about blogging after 10 or 11 p.m. isn't cutting it right now.

Anyway, if you were wondering why I'd suddenly turned silent, that's what's up.

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Saturday, October 01, 2011


-Something I brought back with me from Canada: squeezing fresh lime in a Pepsi.  One of the places I ate at in Toronto provided a lime wedge when I ordered a Pepsi.  It seemed like a weird combination, but it is a nice complement to the soda.  I did see Pepsi Lime as a bottled product that could be purchased up north, but best as I can tell, it's only available (maybe) in its diet version in the U.S.

-Seeing that my preferred pre-packaged salad was on sale, I bought a couple containers of it.  At checkout the product ran up as $5.99.  The tag read $2.88.  I don't necessarily keep a close eye on the prices that are rung up, but the large difference here caught my attention.  I went back and looked, and sure enough, the scanned price was wrong.  The clerk adjusted the price without any trouble, but I was really surprised that the price was that far off.  The regular price is 41 cents more, so it wasn't like the sale price hadn't made it into the system.  The price was completely wrong.  Guess I better keep closer watch on what price things scan at.

-Speaking of unexpected prices, I headed to the campus area to see a couple movies in the late morning and early afternoon.  The theater isn't terribly close to Ohio Stadium.  I wouldn't consider the parking garage for it a logical place to park if going to the college football game, yet four and a half hours before kickoff this garage wanted $20 upfront.  (Ordinarily it's $1 per hour, with the theater validating for $1 for three hours.)  I explained that I was there to see a movie but was told that didn't matter.  I had to pay for parking and would get a coupon for a "free" movie ticket and popcorn.  (A drink might have been in the mix too, but that didn't matter.)  Outrageous.  Never mind that I have a pass that already means I'm not paying for a ticket.  Even without it I wouldn't have been spending $20 there, nor would I have wanted the forced purchase of concessions.

-I hope it warms up a little bit.  So far we've skipped right on by the slightly cooler fall weather.

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