On the Third Post of Christmas…

I stumbled across this song a couple of years ago, I think from the USA Today blog Pop Candy. It is by a band out of New Jersey called Spiraling, and their combination of a rock and roll classic with a Christmas classic is amazing. The opening is a little “sweet”, but stick with it – I guarantee it will generate a “NO WAY!!!”  It really works.

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The Summer of Suck Continues….

This summer blew.

It started June 2nd with my youngest getting his tonsils out. Two weeks of miserable hell.

June 13 brought Tropical Storm Alberto to Raleigh and 9 inches of rain, including 3 inches in my family room and playroom.  Over $3000 in repairs later, things are getting back to normal, except for the stain on the carpet running through the playroom from a leaky trashbag that no amount of Resolve can get out.

Shortly after the Great Flood of 2006, our 17 year old washing machine died.  Sears washer and dryer – $1,500.

The wife got a speeding ticket on the way to the beach.

The minivan needed a bunch of repairs.

Two of our bikes were stolen, but at least this one has a slightly happy ending.

A mysterious window break occurred – $190

I got a ticket for expired tag and inspection on September 11, and that car died later that day.  After three weeks in the shop, the technicians threw in the towel.

In what one would think is an upturn, the next day, I bought a car that I’ve had my eye on for months – a four door Jeep Wrangler!  I am now officially the coolest dad ever, and it’s amazing the amount of comments I get.  The only reason I include this silver lining in my depressing cry of help is…..  wait for it….

I got rear ended.  Two weeks old and less than 1000 miles.

Things will get better.  Oh wait, what’s this pain starting in my chest and running down my arm.  It’s probably nothing…..

The Vigilante in the Minivan

Or, How a Suburban Housewife Took The Law Into Her Own Hands And Justice Prevailed (with no assistance from THE MAN)

I’m angry today.

Three weeks ago, while I was helping the homeless at church (how’s this for karma), my bicycle was stolen out of our carport.  I did my citizen’s duty and filed a police report, with no expectation of recovery of the bicycle.  I had my suspicions as to where it was, as there is an apartment community at the other end of our street where the clientele is, well, less advantaged.  The officer I was speaking with indicated that if I was to see the bike, do not attempt to retrieve it, call 911 and an officer would be dispatched.

Flash forward to yesterday, as my wife is leaving to go to my 4 year old son’s birthday party, with 17 screaming fellow 4 year olds anxiously awaiting the jumping fun of Pump It Up.  Down our street come 4 gentlemen (who should have been in school), one of which is riding MY BIKE.  After ignoring my instruction to run the little bastards over in the minivan (fortunately, she’s a tad more levelheaded than I), I called 911 and gave a quick history of the situation.  The dispatcher indicated that the officer would have to meet my wife somewhere, which seemed to ruin the opportunity to return the stolen property.  My wife sat at that intersection while I recruited my sister (who lives in the same neighborhood) to relieve her so that she could track the hoodlums down, because now she’s pissed as well.

The Vigilante in the Minivan finds the boys again, and the one on my bike is hiding behind a car (admission of guilt #1). She drives past, turns around, and drives past them again, much like a lion stalks it’s victim.  The boys make a run for it, and eventually dump the bike in the middle of the street (admission of guilt #2).

We dispatch my sister (the one waiting for the police at the designated intersection) to meet the Vigilante so that she can go to the birthday party, now being late.  My sister calls 911 again to update them of the situation (we’ve moved, the bike is abandoned in the street, please send the car to this street, etc.) and she waits for the officer.

FOR. AN. HOUR. A stinking hour.  Bless her heart, I think she would have stayed there until someone showed up if I hadn’t called and told her to pack the bike up and go home.

My father catches wind of this (we do take care of family) and calls the substation where the car would have been dispatched about 3 and a half hours later and chews out the poor officer that answered the phone, and then the Sergeant in charge gets an earful.  Turns out the call was not dispatched to the substation until 3 hours after the original call.

I understand that there are much bigger crimes than the recovery of a $300 bike, but DAMN.  I followed their procedure, and the police failed me.  These boys know where we live, and we unfortunately expect retribution.  My wife wanted to go for a walk today, and one of the boys she was chasing was coming down the street.  She elected not to go.


I Really Want to Hate Clay Aiken…

…for absolutely no reason whatsoever.  I mean, he’s a good old Raleigh boy, much like me.  We share the same favorite restaurant.  We’ve shared the same theatrical stage – oh wait – his was Memorial Auditorium, mine was the church fellowship hall, but I’m not here to debate semantics.  Bottom line is I don’t know the guy, but I was fairly well convinced that he was a one shot, flash in the pan, American Idol almost -winner who desperately needs to get his hair fixed.  Lose. the. Bangs.

Then I listened to his new album.  DAMNIT.  I really wanted to hate this album, just to prove that my theory was correct.  I wanted to be able to say I told you so.  I wanted it to be full of the same forgettable pop drivel that his first album had – which I granted him a pass on because of the American Idol “handling”.

OK, it’s pop love song drivel – at first glance.  10 covers (of “love songs we grew up on”) and 4 new songs.  I’m astonished with what he’s done with the covers.  “Because You Loved Me” – that god awful Celine Dion song, which I’ve heard done well well, by a gospel group – is a subtle treatment of a song done a great disservice by the original artist.  SUBTLE!  Who’d a thunk it.  Amazingly interesting arrangements of old pop love songs.

Clay’ll be around for a while longer.  And I’m glad.

Ruining Future Generations since 1996

One of my prouder parenting moments came as a result of the Steve Irwin tragedy this weekend. My middle son, in an attempt to mirror the dark humor of his father stated “I bet his last words were “Crikey!”. My response – “No son, it was probably “Ouchblubblubblub” – which had both older sons in tears.

I’ve never been so proud.

“Ruining our future since 1996©”

Birth of a Survivor Nation

On the CBS Early Show, it was announced that this coming season of Survivor will initially be divided into four teams:  Team African American, Team Asian American, Team Hispanic, and Team White.

They think this is a good idea?

I’m having a difficult time not examining the various advantages and disadvantages of being on the different teams.  I assure you that Team Hispanic will have the best groomed, landscaped camp, and that any math and photography challenges will be swept by Team Asian American. Team African American will obviously be at a disadvantage for all the swimming challenges, and Burnett & Co. need to be very careful with the food rewards to this team.  Team white will be unwilling to participate in any challenges they deem beneath them, particularly if it involves any sort of hard work.

Seriously though, this is a horrible idea for so many reasons.  Sure, it’s going to generate all sorts of buzz in advance (you know the Blogosphere is going to have a field day with this), but they’ll have to merge the tribes faster than Richard Hatch in the prison shower.  But what happens when one of the teams comes down to the final five?  How does that have any positive spin?

In other Reality TV news, a promo is running for The Amazing Race in which Bilal and Sa’eed are promoting their Islamic roots and how “they’re just Americans, just like everyone else”.  Will they be given a head start because of the airport disadvantage they’ll face?

A Great Funeral and an Amazing Story

This past weekend there was a funeral at our church that I would not have ordinarily attended as I did not know the deceased other than by her name on a prayer concern list, and a nodding acquaintance with her children. I was part of the team that set up the video feed for the overflow crowd.
She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer 9 years ago, and fought a courageous fight, living life a fully as she was able – there were times when her chemo limited that ability, but, as I understand it, she served as an example to those in a similar situation. She spent her last days setting up the caterer for the reception after the funeral.  All this I learned at her funeral – so much more a celebration of a great life than a time of mourning and sorrow.

Our pastor told an amazing story during the funeral: He and his wife enjoy observing people and were doing so 18 years ago in an airport in Israel while on vacation. They noticed an older couple while waiting for a plane, and were amazed at the joy and humor emanating from them, so much so that he commented “I want some of that” in his life. They went so far as to take the couple’s picture, and it was filed away with other vacation photos.

Fast forward 16 years, and the pastor is assigned to a new church, as Methodist pastors are prone to do. Upon meeting Mr. and Mrs. Leach, the pastor swore that he had met them before – only after a review of old photos did he realize that this was the couple from the airport so many years ago.

She will be missed by many, and I’m sorry that I didn’t know her.

Geeks on Parade…

I found this old videotape when our house flooded.  I had a really great group of friends back in High School and college, but we were an odd group – ranging from the Student Body President to the girl who was the last one to figure out her lesbianism.  We used to take an annual beach trip that would inevitable turn into a drunken orgy, just without the sex (or not much of it), which to my mind is the worst sort of drunken orgy.

We’ve gone our separate ways now (except for the wife and I – she’s in there somewhere), and without editing the video is pretty lame, but since it’s on the internets, here goes: