Tuesday, May 31, 2005


He never talked about World War 2 beyond saying that he was in training for the invasion of Japan. I don't know if he ever saw combat or was lucky enough to have missed it. While we didn't always get along I miss him and my Mom quite a bit.

Blooming Columbine

Finally got some time to spend in the gardens this weekend. My Columbines made it through the winter and seem to be quite happy.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Beautiful Garden Pics

I love taking pictures of my flowers. Somehow they never turn out like these. Instapundit always seems to have the good stuff.

Carnival of Cordite #15

A special Memorial Day issue.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Memorial Day

A time to cook, garden, and pay respect. We'll be doing all three this weekend. Thing1 discovered steak at college so thats on the menu for Monday. Bought my annuals today for planting. And tomorrow we'll go pay our respects. My dad (USMC 1944 - 1947) is buried in the Veterans section at a local cemetary. We'll be stopping by there and our villages Veterans Memorial to say thanks for everything.

That may sound kind of strange - thanking the dead. It's really not. Americans have become complacent and forgotten the sacrifice of previous generations. I for one will never forget and I'm doing my best to ensure that my kids will never either.

Blackfive has a moving message that all should read. He also has some ways to help out the troops. Excellent work B5!

No more kitchen knives?

If the clueless in the U.K. get their way the plan is to ban long kitchen knives. Apparently there has been a rash of stabbings with this type of knife. To make things better a group of chefs has determined that

They consulted 10 top chefs from around the UK, and found such knives have little practical value in the kitchen. None of the chefs felt such knives were essential, since the point of a short blade was just as useful when a sharp end was needed.

Now as a semi-unfamous untrained chef (I just like to cook) I like using large knives when doing certain kinds of cooking. I've been known to get some of my handmade hunting knives and cook with them just to use them as I don't hunt.

I've never understood how banning anything was a solution. Crime is a social problem. Removal (or at least attempting to) of a inanimate object from society will not alter the criminal behavior.

Kim and Kevin dig deeper.

Don't do that. You'll go blind

Clean up your mind. I was talking about taking Viagra. The other ED products appear to be having similar problems.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Alias Season Finale

My name isn't Michael Vaugn


Both Thing1 and I said (almost in unison) "You suck" to the TV. Now we have to wait till next January to see what happens. Grrrrr.

Chicken 1, Crockpot 0

It's a nice simple meal. Frozen chicken breasts in the bottom of the crockpot. Add low sodium chicken broth and some spices. Cook on low all day long. Add some garlic mashed potatoes and steamed vegtables. A nice filling meal. Till one of the chicken breasts decides it's not going quietly...

Good thing we had a spare crock pot.

Wheres the ANY key?

A keyboard without labels. I really don't look at the keyboard anymore so I think I'd get used to it rather quickly. Some of the people I work with - well it would be fun to watch.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Monday, May 23, 2005

Star Wars Episode Three - Yet Another Review

Thing1 and I went and saw this on Sunday along with a friend of his and her dad at the local megascreenplex as it was showing on their 70 foot screen. We arrived about 40 minutes early and the theatre was about 60% full. It was tough to find 4 seats together. At T-15 I went off for a popcorn refill and noticed the theatre was nearly full. I hadn't been to a movie with this many people at it in a long time.

Back to the movie - it's a good story. Most of the loose ends get tied up and the action is spectacular. Forget the weanies trying to use the movie as a politcal statement about the current President as they are wasting their time. Just enjoy the show.

My rating - 3.5 on a 4 scale.

Carnival of Cordite #14

A first time host!

Great Strides

We've been involved with Great Strides since Thing1 was diagnosed over 13 years ago. Since then we've put a lot of miles in. Thing1 was even the lead walker when he was young. The walk keeps getting bigger and bigger as more people (and companies) get involved.

At first it was me and the wife doing the walks. The kids were just too small and I didn't want to carry them. As Thing1 made it into high school he and I started doing them. It was a good time to talk - walking through Busse Woods. This year Thing1 formed his own team and the four of us walked together. Well sort of. Thing1 and I walk a bit faster so while we did the 6 miles the wife and Thing2 did about 5. We all had a great time and a lot of money was raised.

Will it cure CF? Probably not. Will it help better the quality of life for those with CF and their support teams? No doubt. Thats why I walk every year.

Time to reload

Thing2 came home from Bible Study one morning with a flyer for a Peder Eide concert being held at the Arcada Theater in St. Charles Illinois, not too far from home. Thing2 wanted to go so we got tickets. I've liked his music since I received a CD as a gift from church so it was an evening for me and Thing2 to spend together.

The Arcada is an old small theater. Lots of charm - not much on comfort The wife and I saw the orginal Ghostbusters movie there in 1984. At that time there was a pipe organ played between movies. No organ this time as Peder was there to play!

Peder combines rock, pop, and ministry into a moving, uplifting experience. The words just get to your heart and soul. Life hasn't been quite the way it should be for me lately. Peder helped me get some things back in perspective. Thing2 enjoyed the show as well. She's still struggling with her faith a bit like a lot of teens do and Peder seemed to help her as much as he did me.

An evening with Peder is a evening well spent.

Bedroom Renovation - Day 35

Carpeting is in. Since I was nice enough to remove all the old tack strips the installers had to install new ones. Hammer drills resonated throughout the house for an hour or so. Luckily I wasn't there. :-)

After the carpet was installed we moved some furniture back in to free up space in the rest of the house. The room looks great!

The wife is happy so therefore the project was worth it. The whole room, including carpeting and blinds, was less that two grand. Not bad in my mind. The wife has also decided that this is the end of indoor projects for awhile so I get to work on the garage.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Bedroom Renovation - Day 34

Almost there.

Trim - done. New windows shades - up. New outlets and faceplates - done. New wire shelves in the closet - done. Shoe rack - repaired, stained, and reinstalled.

Looking in to the right from the entrance

Looking at the closet from the wall pictured above

Carpeting comes tomorrow. And not a moment to soon. Thing1 came home today. His room is quite the mess.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Can't be too rich or too thin

My wife has said that on a number of occassions. I guess it's all in the way one looks at things. It material possessions are your thing then I guess you can never be too rich. While I like my toys I don't obsess on them or let the pursuit of them control my life. As for being too thin - well, there is no chance of that for me!

Thing2 is a bright attractive 13 year old girl. A few pounds overweight but neither her doctor or her parents are worried as she's starting to understand how to eat better. She is also exercising more. She came home one day from school in tears as some other girls called her fat. She wanted to stop eating till she was skinny. Paris Hilton skinny. Skin and bones. Arg! I realize that some people are that way naturally but not everyone is.

So we talked. I hope she realizes that healthy and fit do NOT equal skinny for most people. We were all blessed with a body that is uniquely ours and we need to treat it properly and not try to make it something it's not. I think it may be sinking in. Time will tell.

It doesn't help that the media is constantly showing us these hyper-thin women. From the Olson twins to Paris to Teri Hatcher - skin and bones is in. Ms. Hatcher used to be - well beautiful (thinking back to Lois and Clark). Now shes just another skinny woman. Two of Thing2s favorite actresses are Hillary Duff and Lindsey Lohan. Miss Duff has come right out and said she'll never be skinny. She likes chocolate too much. Miss Lohan used to look like a normal young lady. Now, sadly, as Thing1 pointed out today she is just another stick figure. "Compared to a lot of actresses my age, I'm actually overweight" is what she tells Teen Vogue. To quote Thing1; "SHE'S A BLOODY TWIG!"

What a shame. Hopefully girls (and their parents) will wake up and see that this isn't healthy.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Carnival of Cordite - #13

Ready for reading at Gullyborg

For more about the Carnival - see the home page

Speaking of cordite - I need to get to the range

Bedroom Renovation - Day 30

Almost done. Finished the trim work. Crown molding, baseboard, inside and outside corners - all done. Touching up paint and it looks pretty good.

Time for the closet. Ripped out the existing closet unit, carpeting, and removed the shoe rack. Took it to the garage to make some changes and stain it. Then I removed the outside wall, insulated it, put up new drywall, tape and mud. Once it was dry I primed that wall and roughed up the paneling so it would take paint. Gave the ceiling a coat of paint. Once the primer was dry I gave all the walls a coat. The closet looks pretty good too. Need to touch up a few spots.

Tomorrow new wire shelves/closet rods go up and old trim gets reused in the closet. Getting very close to the end...

And not a moment too soon. My wife says I have ADSD - Attention Deficit Slob Disorder. The mess around the house is getting to her (she is a neat freak) where I just see it as part of the project.

This is my least favorite part of any home project. The cranky wife. Just a few more days...

Friday, May 13, 2005

Luke, I have a


Be sure to read the comments

Thursday, May 12, 2005


I know Thing1 rolls his eyes at me whenever I use this term but this is pretty cool.

I wonder if Dr. Rice would consider invitations to go shooting?

Bedroom Renovation - Day 24

Finished trimming out the windows and the doors. Looks like a room. Crown moulding is stained and sealed. That goes up tonight (and probably tomorrow night). The wife is emptying out the walk-in closet tomorrow so I can fix a drywall problem, paint, and redo the shelving. Almost done.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Spray and Pray

I think thats what they called jungle warfare during Viet Nam. It seems that the LA County Sheriffs are still practing the 'art'.

120 rounds fired. One sheriff wounded and the unarmed suspect wounded. I have no problem with shooting an unarmed suspect if they are using something else for a weapon, say a car, but 120 rounds? I saw the raw video and they weren't that far away. And shooting each other? I hope that there is more to this story as it looks like a huge screwup right now.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Someone for everyone

I've always believed that. I'm probably proof of it as I am not the easiest person to get along with. The wife would testify to that. Anytime.

Further proof of this is the marriage of Kenny Chesney and Rene Zellwigger. I wish them nothing but the best and hope that they have a long happy marriage.

Bedroom Renovation - Day 22

Carpet man stopped by to measure. Two weeks from today we'll have new carpeting. To celebrate I removed the old carpeting, pad, and tack strips. The room has taken on a Post Modern Reconstruction look. Nice walls and trim but the floor is crap. Put a coat of polyurethane on the window trim and stained some spacers.

Tomorrow I finish trimming out the windows and doors and stain the crown moulding (assuming I buy it tomorrow as still havn't decided what I want to do there)

Extreme Makeover

Iraqi style. The last one is gets my vote for 'most improved'

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy Mothers Day!

After doing the windows trim we took a ride down to see Thing1 at school and go out to eat. A nice quiet day. Made the wife happy as there was no arguing.

Lunch was at Uno's. Nothing fancy but there aren't alot of resturants by Thing1's school. The service was excellent as was the food. The staff did get a little carried away with the 'Happy Mothers Day' as we left but Mom's are special. They deserve it.

Crossroads - Pat Benatar and Martina McBride

Nothing much on tv so I flipped on CMT for the wife. And what do I find. A pair of beautiful women with awesome voices. It was interesting to hear them sing eact others songs. Martina has some songs that only a real powerful voice can sing. And Pat sang them.

Neil Geraldo still rocks!

Bedroom Renovation - Day 21

Pulled back the carpeting to put in new baseboard. Found out that the way the slab was poured was kind of interesting. It appears that the footers and perimeter walls were poured, exterior walls put up and then the floor poured - up to the height of the sill plate. I have never seen a slab poured like that. Found some cracks so I caulked them with some concrete patch and silicone. I had to remove some tack strips as well. As soon as I pulled back the carpeting the tack strip came with so I decided to remove them all.

Baseboards are installed. The three windows are trimmed out. Still need to decide on what the crown moulding will look like.

Carpet man comes tomorrow

Friday, May 06, 2005

Carnival of Cordite #11

It's back!

Everything from Wilson to advice on dating. Go read.

A visit to the dentist

I've been seeing the same dentist since I was 5. Except for a year when we went to one of those mall dentists to save money. That ended up costing more as insurance covered less. My dentist is getting kind of old and close to retirement. He recently joined a practice with a younger dentist but he just wasn't our kind of guy. So the wife spent time looking for a new dentist.

This guy has all the cool toys: high resolution camera for inspecting teeth, digital x-rays, computerized records, etc. Very cool. The only paper in the office was the statement I received when I left. It was interesting to see my teeth as he was looking at them and having explain what was wrong and what was right. I have one little cavity to get filled. He uses air abrasion to clean things up so it should be painless. We'll see...

Bedroom Renovation - Day 19

Beadboard is up with two coats and looks great. One wall of paneling up. Nice contrast between the paint and the paneling. Spent yesterday evening at the Home Depot picking up molding and then staining it. Tonight I finish the paneling. Tomorrow the trim work begins. Need to get the baseboards down as the carpeting people come on Monday to measure.

13 days left...

Monday, May 02, 2005


I've liked this show since Episode 1 of Season 1. This year has been iffy but Chloe came through last week. Nothing like a women with a AR-15!

Bedroom Renovation - Day 16

To borrow a line from Neo - Paint. We have lots of Paint. Ceiling has a second coat. My nice new wall has it's first coat and looks pretty good. The bead board looks good with a coat of paint on it. A second coat on the walls tomorrow and it should look great.

At work today I was talking with a coworker who is also doing some painting at home. Well - her husband is doing some painting. We got into the whole flat vs satin debate. I'm all for flat on ceilings but walls need to be satin. Flat with kids (or pets) is just too much work to keep clean. Her husband likes flat cause it hids defects. Me - I'd rather fix the defects. My friend wants satin or semi-gloss for her master bath to make it easier to keep it clean with a 5 year old in the house.

After the paint comes paneling. And then moulding. Trimming out the windows. And carpeting. And new doors. In the next 10 days. Nothing like a little pressure.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Carnival of Cordite - #10

After a week off due to technical difficulties it's back. Go and read.

Bedroom Renovation - Day 15

Ahh - drywall is such fun stuff. Got one wall looking great. Took the wall paper off the opposite wall to prep it for paint and found a door that wasn't supposed to be there. And a painted layer of wallpaper under the wallpaper. The wife decided that it was better to put up some beadboard and paint that. Another trip to Menards.

The 3 Day Blinds guy stopped by to measure. Since I didn't have the window trim up yet I had to promise to use 2.25 inch trim so that the blinds would fit right. Later in the day the Wife stopped by the store to finalize the order and they will be ready in 1 - 2 weeks. I wonder what happened to 3 Days?

Put the beadboard paneling up. Smooth install but a bit messy. Got the ceiling painted and the new drywall primed. It's beginning to look like a room.