Saturday, December 30, 2006

Dear 2006

This is it. Today is your last day and tomorrow we start the whole process all over again with your successor, 2007.

I lost some very good friends, 2006. I didn't get a chance to say farewell. Some were due to job issues and I hope our paths will cross again. For another I had the honor to serve as a pallbearer at her funeral. Regardless, I never had the chance to say farewell to any of them.

There were other pitfalls as well. From a personal standpoint I hit some of the lowest points of my 39 years. I got my priorities screwed up: I devoted way too much time to worrying about things over which I had no control; and I didn't worry about some things that I should have. I let myself go both emotionally, spiritually, and physically and probably spent too much time worrying about my own backside.

On a positive note, when you're in the valleys of life you tend to get a better appreciation of mountain tops. This last Fall, I decided that I'd had enough of Top 40 and spent an entire week listening to, and discovering Country music. Yes, I'm tuned to the newer guys like Rascal Flatts and Tim McGraw; but found a certain refuge in some of this stuff. I was songs like Mountains by Lone Star and Kenny Chesney's You Had Me From Hello that gave me perspective on what was important in life.

In all honesty 2006, you weren't a complete bummer. I did successfully fulfill my residency requirement for my degree and in the process made some new friends over the Communications department at UNT. The classes weren't easy, but I learned much and view them all as time well spent. I also completed one of the goals I set for myself as I complete my degree. I was able to spend some good times with my wife, and thanks to her found a few more haunts down around Austin and San Antonio. We celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary, and we had some good times in the process. I was able to spend some time with my father, brother, and nephews this Summer and I walked my first 5k on Thanksgiving day.

As a closer to today's missive, here are the lyrics to another song that got to me this year. My wife made me a mix CD this last Summer and this song had me listen to it about a dozen times. It's on the Cars Motion Picture Soundtrack and I recommend an iTunes download if you are so inclined.

Brad Paisley
Find Yourself

When you find yourself
In some far off place,
And it causes you
To rethink some things.
You start to sense
That slowly you’re becoming someone else
And then you find yourself.

When you make new friends
In a brand new town,
And you start to think
About settling down,
The things that would have been lost on you
Are now clear as a bell.
And you find yourself
That’s when you find yourself.

Well you go through life
So sure of where you’re heading,
And you wind up lost
And it’s the best thing that could happen.
‘Cause sometimes when you lose your way
It’s really just as well.
‘Cause you find yourself;
That when you find yourself.

When you meet the one
You’ve been waiting for,
And she’s everything
That you want and more,
You look at her
And you finally start
To live for someone else.
And then you find yourself;
That’s when you find yourself.

We go though life
So sure of where we’re heading,
And then we wind up lost
And it’s the best thing that could happen.
Sometimes when you lose your way
It’s really just as well.
Because you find yourself;
Yeah that’s when you find yourself.

Here's to 2007!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas To All!

Hey folks, just a quick Merry Christmas to you. 2006 has been a heck of a year (and more on that later), but to all who are out there here is to 2007!

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Wii Problem

Check this out, especially Ensign Eddie. Make sure the cats are nowhere near when you play this thing.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Hanging out with 30,000 of my closest friends.

Thanksgiving was a good one today. I was up until about 1AM baking an apple pie that I wanted to try out. I learned one lesson, cast iron skillets make decent pie tins in a pinch, and having to end up with a deep dish pie is definitely a bonus.

Over the last few years, my wife has rediscovered one of her old college passions: running. She did a triathlon last year and has done the occasional 5k in the area. This year, she got me to enter the Turkey Trot with her. Thankfully, I was able to walk the 3 miles as I blew out my ankle last week and it's still not recovered. We arrived around 8am and hung around taking in the sights.
Around 9 am, we got in line and waited for the start. The announcer cracked some jokes, then came the count down. Due to the sheer number of participants, it was a few minutes before we could get a pace going.

Once we got going, it was fun to actually walk
down the middle of a street and not have to
worry about being hit by anything.

I was shocked at how far three miles can really be. The route took us through Deep Ellum, and back around to City Hall. Thankfully, the finish line was dead ahead.

My time was around 90 minutes. I know it's pitiful, but with a bum ankle and not really trying to set any land speed records, I'm happy.

Overall, this looks to be a new family tradition. It was crowded, a little hot, and crowded; but it was something that I would definitely do again.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Casino Royale

Wow! It's the night before Thanksgiving and wife, myself, and some friends went to see it. Yes, I was a big Pierce Brosnan fan, and Connery will always be sacred, but Daniel Craig is not just another pretty face ( I mean that both theatrically and cosmetically: this guy will not win any contests). What he does bring is a grittiness that the franchise has long needed. I didn't know it, but I was getting tired of the cliche'd lines, the over the top villains, and the too clean getaways. Casino Royale basically erases the past and starts over, but with much better results than the previous Superman franchise (so I gather). We are given a flawed, but likeable, hero and we get to see what makes him the way he is. The Bond girls (at least one in this case) are fleshed out (theatrically, not cosmetically), and the end result is a movie that leaves you panting, and applauding.

It also has a cool theme song: You Know My Name by Chris Cornell.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006 | The Office Space Thriller

Just installed IE 7. Nothing has blown up, but the day isn't over yet. It does have a cool feature that I decided to give a test run.
Check out this revised trailer for Office Space. The Office Space Thriller

Friday, November 03, 2006

An idea for a new law

If you vote early, you will be free from the barrage of campaign ads that always happen this time of year. I know it's a pipe dream, but I'm getting a headache.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


No, it's not a new form of microscopic poetry, it's a rather interesting concept that Ensign Eddie (see his blog link to your right) has stumbled upon. It's interesting, novel (both the adjective and the noun), and if I had the time I would do it. Imagine cranking out your great American novel in a month? Imagine a support group to help you do it. The next James Ellroy or James Michener might be lurking within you, or it may very well be James Garner, but you won't know until you give it a whirl. Being in grad school means I'll crank out almost this much in term papers over the next month, so I can't do it.

What's your excuse? ;-)


Monday, October 23, 2006

Fair well

Last night the Texas State Fair came to a close. Although I wasn't there to see it out, I did get my requisite corny dog and I did get a walk through the creative arts exhibit.

I'm not sure why the Fair has always grabbed me. A friend said recently that the state fair was everything he liked about Texas all in one place, and I think I agree with him: cars, gadget demonstrations, animals, mechanical contraptions, farm machinery, agriculture, and people having a good time. I didn't get to try the latest fried concoctions, but that's why God makes next year.

BTW, Heroes is getting really good.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

To forgive

I realize this is the third post in almost as many days, but I was perusing the news today and found this article on CNN's website regarding the recent shooting.

We often view the Amish and other similar communities as being backwards due to their refusal to keep step with current society. We view the plain clothes, the horse drawn buggies, and their old country demeanor as oddities, but the end of this article (Reaching Out)caught me off guard, although it should not have. I think they've retained something that modern society lost a long time ago: the ability to see the big picture. No press conferences, no lawsuits, no political grandstanding; just common compassion for your fellow man.

They will be in my prayers.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Okay, it's bad enough that Mrs. Geek stuck the entire first Season DVDs of Prison Break in front of me one weekend when I was feeling especially competitive and thought I could knock out the complete season in one weekend (I did). It's also really bad that I actually liked the series and have begun recording it. It's even worse that I'm taking classes right now, and combine that with the fact that I have little time for much else in my schedule, I decided against my better judgement to watch the first episode of Heroes that my wife recorded last week. If you're not familiar, it's a very X-men esque show where normal people start developing abnormal powers. One man can slow down and speed up time; a high school cheerleader has amazing regenerative powers; a housewife apparently has a very violent alter ego; an artist can see the future; and yes, one man can fly. Subsequent episodes will reveal more characters, and yes, there already is a bad guy.

The show is not completely family friendly so be warned if you have impressionable kids. I am hooked nonetheless. Now what do I do? Maybe that time shifting guy can help me out.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

One of the best burgers in town . . .

. . . at least according to D Magazine. I was talking to my brother and he told me that D Magazine had rated a small place in Oak Cliff as the best cheeseburger in town. A friend of mine found the name, and off I was on my quest. Wingfield's Breakfast and Burgers is just what the name says it is: Eggs, a breakfast meat, and toast all wrapped together. They also do burgers, and any place that exists has humbly as Wingfeild's has got to know burgers. I phoned in my order: burger, cheeseburger, onion rings and french fries, was given a number and was told it would be about 20 minutes. I found the place easily enough and was fortunate to find a parking space right in front. I walk and and discover that the place has no dining room, which would explain the parking situation, and that I was not the only one waiting for dinner. When you walk in, there is a counter about waist high and enough space for maybe 5-6 hungry souls to stand (not sit) about anxiously waiting for their number to be called. An old air conditioner in on one end of the room (our end, thankfully) tried in vain to keep up with the heat and humidity coming from the kitchen. When your number is called, you pay and leave. Simple.

Wingfield's menu is pretty straighforward: burgers and cheesburgers available in a single, double, or triple configurations and available with and without cheese and bacon. Fries and onion rings are also available and are quite good. I looked as far back into the kitchen as my vantage point would allow, and saw a griddle covered with burger patties and workers busily assembling said burgers to send out to a grateful world. After a few minutes, my number was called, I got what I came for, and headed home.

When I got to the house, I opened the bag and was greeted by a burger that would qualify as a double in most restaurants. I was also unfortunately greeted by a bottom bun that was soggy almost to the point of collapse. I shuffled some things around, armed myself with a bottle of ketchup, and dug in (cheeseburger and fries were for the wife). Lettuce, dill pickles, mayo, and mustard instantly greeted me followed by the star of the show, the patty that was cooked almost well done. Wingfield's deals in speed, so I took it as it came and I was not disappointed. The onion rings had a strange aftertaste to them; not bad, just strange. Overall, it's one of the better burgers I've had.

If you're ever in South Dallas, look them up and make sure you call ahead as the line can be quite long, so I've heard. You can google their number.


Monday, August 21, 2006

What do you get . . .

when you add a new bluetooth dongle, a laptop, a bluetooth cell phone (a cheapie Sony Ericksson ZR20a), and some spare time? I found out I've got a multifunction presentation remote and a really cool way to get all those pictures off my cell phone finally?

I think I just geeked.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Farewell Summer 2006

Summer high points were our trip to Austin and San Antonio. Alamo Draughthouse, The Salt Lick and the S.A. Zoo were wonderful as were the fish and chips at the Mad Dog Pub on the Riverwalk. I would also count my short trip to the Johnson Space Center and Kemah Boardwalk in there as well.

Low points were wife being gone for three weeks and some other things that won't bear being mentioned in this forum.

Fall can go either way. I'm pulling another nine hours worth of coursework, but Fall also has the State Fair, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the start of the Christmas season.

Here's hoping.


Monday, August 14, 2006

Checking In

Yes, I'm still here. I took a few weeks off to get caught up on stuff at work and things are really hopping right now. Give me another week or two and I'll be back.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Summer is almost over

I figure it's time to veer away from the Ken Lay post. I apoligize for being a tad morose on it, but it was something I needed to get out of my system. It's also time to start wrapping up Summer and saying our farewells.

Summer started out with a lot of promise. In my near 40 years of existance, I've learned much from Summers, especially when one needs a break. This one started out with my film class I teach in late May. Like I said earlier, it's a good way to walk off the Spring semester. June found my wife and I spending a wonderful three days in central Texas. Mangia Pizza, The Salt Lick, the Alamo Drafthouse, the Congress Avenue Bridge, Mi Tierra, The San Antonio Zoo, and the Mad Dog were places for good food and good times with my wife. Late evenings were spent sitting out on the balcony of our hotel room while my wife tried to get to sleep. Good times.

The following three weeks saw me playing bachelor while my wife and other family went overseas to a wedding. My Dad, Brother, nephews, and myslef spent a fun two days down near Houston. The Kemah Boardwalk, Landry's Seafood, the Ferry ride, and a day spent at the Johnson Space Center. It's the first trip I've been on with them and it went way too fast.

I missed my wife, and was darn glad to be there at the airport when she got back.

July got busier as I started teaching another class, and now August harkens the start of yet another semester.

Here's hoping.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Ken Lay Dies

For those of you who know me might think this is a weird topic on which to post, and you are correct. I did not know Kenneth Lay personally, I did not lose any money when Enron imploded, and thankfully no one that I know was caught up in that catastrophe. However when I saw the headline, I was struck. Admittedly it’s something on which I had to burn a few brain cells the last few days.

Here was a man who embodied the American dream. He started out humbly and with hard work he rose through the ranks. He found something about which he was passionate, and followed it. He did all that God really asks of us.

Where it went wrong, no one but God and Kenneth Lay know. The jury found him guilty and I by default ascribe to that conclusion. The sad part of this story abides in the fact that somewhere along the journey he lost focus, he got his priorities screwed up and like someone in a position of extraordinary responsibility his mistakes had disastrous consequences for those around him.

I will admit that I’m still processing this. Again, Ken Lay is not a role model for me. I’m not rich and really have no desire to become rich. I’ve seen the problems that money can cause, and have discovered that life is a lot simpler without having to watch your back. Lay’s problems are not over as I’m sure the civil lawsuits will be years in the settling. I feel sorry for his friends and family. Once again his mistakes will affect others, in this case those he loves, for years to come.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Elvis has left the building

That's one of the more creative ways I can think of to say that Summer is officially over. I realize we just got through the fourth of July and here I am wanting to get out the sweaters and mittens, but it's not that really. One of the nice things about working in academia is the seasonality of it. In an earlier post, I talked about how the last two weeks in May were a nice time to walk off the Spring semester and get ready for Summer. June came and went, and in that time I was able to celebrate my 5th wedding anniversary and send my wife to England. I got to play bachelor, and realize how much I missed my wife. July is now here, and with it come my teaching duties in addition to all the other stuff that I can't keep putting off.

SMy wife is back home now, and she's finally adjusting to being 6 hours behind GMT. She's safe thankfully, and when I left this morning she was sitting in bed watching Smallville. Life is slowly returning to normal.

July 4th was good. Decided I wasn't going to just sit around the house, so I took the dogs for a walk and ran some errands. Spent the evening watching Stephen Spielberg's 1941.

This isn't the state of California, it's a state of insanity.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Trip Update

My previous post made it sound like I was in a pretty dire straights. I must admit being married for five years has changed me in a way that I found rather surprising. My wife is due back this Saturday and I'm finding myself all a-twitter over the prospect.

The trip is going well thusfar. They're on the last leg and are currently touring Paris (France, not Texas). They head back to London Thursday and fly out of London Saturday morning, stop in Atlanta, then head home.

I'll post once she arrives and I've had time to assimilate all that has transpired. I realize three weeks is a relatively short time to many, but I'm realizing the subtleties that define a house versus a home.

Yes guys, I'm whipped. Deal with it.

But then if you saw my wife, you'd do the same thing.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

LIfe as a Bachelor

It's been six days since Mrs. Geek and the girls left and I'm feeling a little lonely. I'm a little surprised at how many of my old habits are attempting to creep back into existence. Her cell phone is working, and everytime I hear Crazy Train I leap for the phone.

They seem to be having a good time. Lots of stories and pictures will come home with them, but I can tell it's going to be a long two weeks.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006


They left yesterday and arrvied in London in fine fashion. Oddly enough, I can SMS message my wife with no problem, a pretty fantastic feat considering that travel time is almost instantaneous. When I try to call her directly though, it's another matter. Here's hoping the cell phone company gets it figured out.

The Mavs faltered a little last night. It was a good game nonetheless. Shaq made his two free throws, Dirk missed on of his. Now that the initial shock is over, the remaining games should be a ride.

Only two more games is all we need!

Monday, June 12, 2006

And There She Goes . . .

Tomorrow Mrs. Geek, my mom, my mother in law, and my sister in law head off for a three week jaunt in the United Kingdom. They're actually going to Scotland for a close friend's wedding and are going to take in Paris, London, Warrick, and who knows what else while they're over there the remainder of the month. It also entails me playing bachelor for a month. I'm under threats to keep the house clean, and to text my wife's cell phone with the results of the NBA playoffs. She's packend no less than three times, and now a fourth time is in order as there is an apparent heatwave underway across the pond.

My wife is no stranger to England as she spent eight weeks over there when she was in college. She will be driving over there for the first time, so here's hoping.

I'll post trip updates as they become available.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Day 4

We slept in this morning (again) and I must admit, the hotel has one of the better beds we've slept in in quite awhile. After Amy's work out, the usual packing, and dummy check we checked out and headed home. The drive went well, and we got home in fine fashion. Breafast tacos for Amy and and some Hostess Apple Pies for me. Lunch was kolaches in West.

Overall, the trip was a wonderful diversion from the usual, and a wonderful gift from my wife. Am I lucky? Yes!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Day 3

This morning started out like the other mornings: me intending on getting up early and deciding that 8am was early enough. Amy went for her workout and I got ready and tidied up the room a bit (just a bit). Amy came back, got ready, and we headed out for the San Antonion Zoo.

The SA Zoo was nice. Not as immense as the Ft. Worth Zoo but well laid out and populated with the usual assortment of monkeys, birds, and grade school kids. We left around 11 and headed into town for lunch at Mi Tierra. The place was crowded and after a 20 minute wait, our table was ready. The last time I was here I tried cabrito, very tasty but a little more than I wanted this time. I settled for a beef enchilada dinner and Amy had something similar. We went to the Mexican Market Place, then to the Panaderia (bakery) loaded up, and headed home. Amy went up for another workout and I played lazy (I think you see a recurring theme here).

Around 6 we decided to head out for dinner on our last night. Since Barbecue, Burgers, and Mexican had already been done, I thought seafood was in order and Amy agreed. Joe's Crab Shack was just a short stroll away and we arrived, put our names on the list, and decided that a 45 min wait was a little more than we wanted. A further stroll down the River Walk showed us the Mad Dog Pub. 5 minutes later we were seated and ordered: Fish and Chips being the item recommended to us by the waitress. When our food arrived we were happy to find out that she was correct. The rest of the meal was spent people watching on the River Walk: something both fun and enlightening.

Back to the hotel and Batman is running on the telvision, thanks to Amy's Ipod.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Day 2

This morning started off pretty well, actually the entire day was a good one. We left around 10 and headed out to do some sight seeing. I was introduced to the Congress Avenue bridge and the few thousand bats that live under it. It was an interesting experience as it's one of the largest bat colonies in the area and is comprised of Mexican Free Tailed bats. You could hear them screeching at one another and the smell of guano was present, but not overwhelming. A short drive away was a statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Very inspiring piece of artwork.

We headed out to Driftwood, Texas. Just 10 miles from nowhere, it's a small town that is home to the Salt Lick. It's a working ranch that specializes in doing some of the best BBQ I've ever tasted. You seat yourself an the menu is pretty straighforward: no fench fries, no onion rings, no burgers. Just your choice of any or all of the best pork ribs, brisket, and sausage drenched in a homemade sauce that bears more a resemblance to brown gravy than bbq sauce, but the similarity ends there. Where other places try to overwhelm the taste of the meat and sauce with copious amounts of smoke, the Salt Lick lets the meat take the forefront and their homebrew of a sauce is the perfect backup. Combine that with potato salad, cole slaw, pinto beans, and a plate full of raw onion and homemade dill pickles and you've got one of the better meals I've had in awhile. And yes, there was white bread for soaking up every last drop of that wonderful sauce.

Next up was a stop in San Marcos and a driving tour of the former Southwest Texas State University, now titled Texas State University, San Marcos. A beautiful campus and definitely time well spent. This was followed by a short stop at a local outlet mall and San Antonio was in our sights. This was yet another test of my GPS, and it did the trick, thankfully. Unfortunatley it doesn't show you the front entrance which we had a little trouble finding. We parked, and got checked in.

The Watermark Hotel is a nice place. We're overlooking the River Walk and after a little shopping we popped into Johnny Rockets for a burger. Tomorrow is the Zoo and Mi Tierra for lunch. Dinner is still up in the air, but will be someplace close by more than likely.


MMMMMMM . . . .

The Salt Lick
More to come!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

5th Aniversary: Day One

Sorry for the dearth in postings lately (especially to edieray).

Summer has started and Mrs. Geek and I arrived in Austin, TX today for a short, but much needed, vacation. We’re celebrating five years this Friday and we came back to where it all started, or at least Amy’s half did.

When we first started dating, it was a long distance relationship. She lived in Austin and I in the Dallas area (DeSoto to be exact). We try to hit Austin every few years to retrace some old steps and take in the general vibe of the city. Austin has a very unique feel to it, and as some would say the waters here are good.

We left this morning and thankfully had no real timeline set. After a few last minute errands, we were on the road and immediately immersed ourselves in a game of 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon. I decided to get esoteric on it and started throwing out some older silver and silent screen movie stars. In case you’re wondering, we did go from Buster Keaton to Kevin Bacon in six steps or less. No real luck with Barbara Stanwyck, but I’ll fire up IMDB for that one.

We arrived at the Econo Lodge in Austin a little after 3PM. Its humble and in a somewhat twitchy part of town, but our ultimate destination is San Antonio where we’ll take in the River Walk and some wonderful Mexican food. I figured we could add to our fun by heading down a day early, ergo the layover in Austin. A few things worth noting:

The place we’re staying in now is off the beaten path, nice, and very cheap. I’ve got free Internet and was stunned that the front desk actually knew what a WEP key was. Internet is one thing that I found striking here: Mangia Pizza AND the movie theatre we went to tonight had Internet as I discovered on my PDA. Very cool.

This trip was also my first real foray into using GPS technology for navigation. A few months back I purchased a used Ipaq from a friend and a Bluetooth GPS receiver off of Ebay. Some software and some twiddling later (thanks to Steve for the twiddling), and I now have every man’s dream: something that tells him where to go that does not possess two X chromosomes. It’s still a little buggy sometimes, but here’s hoping my luck with it continues.

We had some wonderful pizza at Mangia Pizza, then to the hotel, then to 6th street for a short shopping trip, then to the Alamo theatre which is one of those places that shows movies and serves food. We saw X-Men (stay through the credits, trust me on this one), and headed back to the hotel. Yes, there are movie establishments like this in the Dallas area, but the ones in Dallas do not show X-Men cartoons and homemade movies beforehand, and do NOT make threats of bodily harm to those who make too much noise in the theatre. This place did. Only in Austin.

I’ll try and check back in tomorrow with yet another update.


Friday, May 19, 2006

It’s over.

It’s over.

42 miles each way, three classes, five papers, three commencements, two days, two weeks, nine hours and one trustee meeting.

It is finished. Summer has begun!

One thing I’ve learned after seventeen years in academia is that there are a few days out of the year that feel dramatically different. The Friday afternoon after the final Spring commencement service is one of those days. As I left the Gym after striking the sound system, I marveled at how empty the campus had suddenly become. The bustling of the crowd just a few minutes before had given way to an almost deafening silence as if people had finally decided to move on to the next stage in their lives.

Invariably, the next two weeks following commencement are a bit of a lead into Summer; almost like a warm up. No summer classes per se, but lots of Mini term classes that provide a good way to walk off the Spring term. It’s also the week I teach my film class, so a majority of the time in the evenings is spent watching films. Very fun.

On a more reflective note I can honestly say that this semester has been one of the more difficult of my life. I got nine hours knocked out, but I lost a few friends along the way. Amy W. (a friend of mine) passed away suddenly, and some other friends of mine had their lives irretrievably changed because of work issues. I will miss all of them. All this and teaching while working almost full time was a challenge that I could not have met had Amy (my wife) not been there for me. You are my wife and I love you. You were the encouragement I needed, the kick in the pants I deserved, and the shoulder to cry on when things got hard.

This Summer is for us. Amy and I are heading down South to celebrate our 5th (whooda thought?), and I’ve got plenty of projects to work on this Summer with which to relax, reflect, and purge my system for Fall, when I finish out my final nine hours of my residency.

Here’s hoping.


Monday, April 24, 2006

A Good Thing

Hey folks, I hope things are going well for you. Paper 1 is done and papers 2-4 are working.

Dr. Jim Denison is Pastor of Teaching at Park Cities Baptist Church. In my line of work I've had the privelege of hearing him preach on numerous occasions and he grabs me like few others have. He is genuine, he is intelligent, and he is extraordinarily down to earth. I am also honored to say that he is friend of mine.

He has a broacast on KRLD 1080 AM called God Issues that runs mornings at 7:50 am. He also has a companion web site that follows the broadcasts and is well worth checking out.

He's currently doing a series on The DaVinci Code.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I'm not dead yet . . .

But three major papers in three weeks is gonna put me in my place, ergo I may not post again until Mid May.

Here's hoping . . .

Friday, March 31, 2006

A word from the wise

Steve is a good friend of mine who I've known around 20 years. It's not often he issues some advice like this, but when he does I take it to heart since he's one of my go-to people when my computer problems start getting serious.

Spyware is a serious problem, and just this morning I was fighting it trying to get some stuff done. Here's an email he sent out today that I really liked.

Give me a day or two and I'll try and link everything up. For now you can Google these titles and find them.

I can't tell you how many people I've had to help with their spyware infested computers at home. This problem eclipses all other problems. In the course of helping these folks I've built up a check list that seems to work and doesn't cost anything. I thought I'd share it...

1. Use Mozilla Firefox instead of Internet Explorer. Use Internet Explorer only when necessary. The latest version of Firefox works on 99% of sites and is much much less prone to Spyware. Firefox is also a fantastic browser when you spruce it up with Extensions. Extensions is a whole other list that I won't get into here but trust me, you can turn Firefox into something that makes Internet Explorer look pathetic. P.S. Firefox won PC Magazine's product of the year for 2005.

2. Use Mozilla Thunderbird instead of Outlook Express for your email needs. Thunderbird protects you from ActiveX attacks that happen in Outlook Express and you can block images by default and handle junk mail. Thunderbird does everything that Outlook Express does and more.

3. Patch your Windows to the latest patch level. Most problems with Spyware are related to Internet Explorer, but not all. Patching is always a good idea.

4. Use antivirus software that also blocks Spyware. Two products that are free are AVAST and AVG. Avast is my favorite.

5. Scan your PC with several free anti-spyware tools (don't use just one). I use Ad-Aware, Spybot Search & Destroy, SpywareBlaster and Windows Defender (beta product from Microsoft). Here are some details on the products:
a) Ad-Aware - the personal version is free. It's great for cleaning up spyware but it doesn't protect you from getting them.
b) Spybot Search & Destroy - free for personal use. This cleans spyware and also protects you if you use "Immunizations" (which protect you from some websites).
c) SpywareBlaster - the free version requires you to download updates manually but it helps with spyware removal and protects you actively.
d) Windows Defender (beta) - This Microsoft product will be part of the upcoming Windows Vista. It's purpose is to scan for and actively protect you from spyware.

6. Hide your Internet Explorer and Outlook Express icons so you (or anyone else) are tempted to click on them (after replacing them with Firefox and Thunderbird).

7. Teach your whole family (and anyone else using your computer) to "just so no" when they get prompted on various websites to install any software. Kids love to visit sites like "Playstation codes and cheats" that are riddled with spyware. This is especially true with boys. I thank God I had a daughter. :)

8. Make friends with a good computer geek and buy him/her lunch. I personally like Herrera's, Empress Cafe and Ton's Mongolian Grill. :)

Hope this helps. I also hope that the next version of Windows is a lot less vulnerable to spyware.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

It's Raining It's Pouring . . .

I cannot believe the amount of rain that has fallen in the last 24 hours. I love rainy mornings, especially ones that I can sleep a little late on, but this has got to be some kind of record. Spring Break is slowly slipping away and I look at my to do list realizing that my plans and reality didn't quite jibe, once again.

So the post isn't a total loss, and to recall drier times, here is a picture of Spooky, one of our cats. She was a stray that followed my wife home one day and stayed. She's fun, a jumper, and has a stuffed frog fixation that we haven't quite figured out yet.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

It's done

Amy's funeral was today. I got through it without losing it, but when setting up for the event yesterday, it felt wrong. I've done hundreds of these events in my 16 years of working there, but this is the first time that it felt completely wrong, like a bad dream.

Last week things were fine. I was getting ready for (and looking forward to) Spring Break. Last Thursday I was prepping for class. Today I was mourning a friend who hadn't even turned 30. Last Thursday I was business as usual. Today I was trying recall the last time I'd seen her. What was the last thing I said to her? Amy was such a normal part of life around there that when she left us, it was as if the sun wasn't going to come up ever again. When working on my class today I still had to fight the urge to pick up the phone and call her for some help.

I know that with time all wounds will heal, but this one may take awhile. Tonight my wife and I sat out on the deck while I cooked burgers on the grill and we talked. Life was slowly returning to normal. I'm lucky to have my wife. She knows me better than I know myself most times, and she's good therapy. She's also one of a kind.

To quote one of my favorite comedians:

I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again!

I realize that someone may have said it before Jerry Lewis, but I'll let the attribution and the sentiment stand. Amy, you were one of a kind, and I'm a better person for having known you.

And to my wife, thanks for getting me through this. You were there when I needed you, and I'm lucky to have you in my life. I love you

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Amy Walker: I’ll miss you

I realize this is an odd post, since I've been out for the last month, but I felt the need to do something constructive tonight.

I found out a few hours ago that a close friend of mine passed away suddenly. The actual cause of death is still to be determined, but I’ll miss her nonetheless. She died way too young, and had a lot ahead of her.

I'd appreciate it if all of you would keep her family in your prayers.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

I got tagged

Not sure if I"m doing this correctly, and if I'm not expect this to disappear pretty quickly. My close friend edieray tagged me and I thought I'd give this modern version of a slambook a try (remember those?).

Here goes!

Four jobs I've had:

  1. AV Tech at a local college
  2. Adjunct Prof at the same local college
  3. Mailroom Worker for the Women's Missionary Union
  4. Warehouse worker at the now defunct Best Products (it's where I got to know Ensign Eddie)
Four places I've lived:

  1. Dallas
  2. Duncanville
  3. DeSoto
  4. Arlington
Four websites I visit daily:

  1. Internet Movie Database
  2. CNN
  3. FoxNews
  4. The Smoking Gun

Four television shows I love to watch:

  1. Good Eats
  2. Iron Chef
  3. MASH
  4. MythBusters

Four of my favorite foods:

  1. Mexican Cokes
  2. Sauteed Onions
  3. Steak
  4. Meatloaf

Four albums I can't live without (at least for the moment):

  1. Genesis - We Can't Dance
  2. The Producers -OST
  3. Linus and Lucy - The Music of Vince Guaraldi
  4. Blue Collar Comedy Tour
Four DVD's I can't live without:
  1. From the Earth to the Moon
  2. Love Actually
  3. Jackass
  4. Blackadder

Four places I'd rather be:

  1. Disney World
  2. Disney Cruise
  3. On my deck
  4. Clarksville, TX

Four people I am tagging to do this meme are:

  • Gotta work on this since everyone I know has already done this.



Friday, January 20, 2006

Checking in . . .

Okay, I took off the week following Christmas and haven't really had much to say since then. I still won't forget the song, or the timing of it: one of those magical moments where God kinda says Hey, I'm here! Remember me?

I hope that your 2006 will be a darn sight better than 2k5 was. Mine has started off with me tacking my residency at UNT which involves two semesters of 9 hours each. It'll be busy, but I'll learn a lot.

Whoever you are, I wish you well.