Daily thoughts by a guy that doesn't like to think deeply too often!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

What a Day!

I got up early this morning and vowed that today would be the day to finally take care of the flat tire. (In case I forgot to post it here, I had ANOTHER flat tire a couple of weeks ago, on the way home from the Braves game). I've been driving on the donut tire for a couple of weeks. I think you're only supposed to drive on those for about 50 miles max- this one probably has over 1000 miles on it- the spare is on my car more often than it's in the trunk!
Anyway- today was going to be the day to take care of it. So, on the way to Goodyear, I had another blow out. This time it was the donut spare- it had finally been worn so thin that it couldn't take another mile. I pulled over to the emergency lane and called the tow truck. I'm probably the only person I know that has the phone number for a towing company and a tire store on speed dial! Debbie at the towing company told me she'd have someone out to pick me up within 30 minutes. An hour and a half later, the truck arrived. My car was attached to the truck and away we headed towards Midtown. It wasn't until after they dropped me off that I noticed the damage to my front end- a big crack down the front side. I took pictures to document the damage- anticipating a law suit to have my car repaired. But I noticed on the receipt that there was a disclaimer "not responsable for any damage that occurs during towing". Damnit- I guess I have to eat this one, I can't sue them for the damage. I can, however, erase their number from my speed dial list and replace it with another towing company!
While my tire was being repaired/replaced, I walked down to the Home Depot shopping center on Ponce de Leon. I had a fun time browsing in Whole Foods and Borders, and then stopped at a Japanese restaurant for a sushi lunch! I was the only one sitting at the sushi bar and I only ordered a plate of tuna tataki. The sushi chef must've been bored, because as I ate, he continued to make dishes and give them to me for free. On top of the tuna, I got a cucumber/snow crab salad, followed by a cucumber/octopus salad-- yummy! He even threw in a few dragon rolls (eel)! He probably would've fed me all day, but my cell phone rang and I had good news from Goodyear- they were able to repair my tire at no charge. It was just the air stem that had broken and caused the tire to "blow out" suddenly (at about 75 mph on Langford Freeway).
I picked up my car, and should've headed towards home. But I had a thought- I was so close to the Cactus Carwash- why not stop in and have the car cleaned? The interior was so nasty from a year's worth of spilled catering jobs and I'vebeen embarrassed to have anyone see the inside. They had a special on interior cleaning and said it would take about 30 minutes. I should've known better- how could they wash/wax the car and shampoo the seats within 30 minutes, especially on a busy day like today? It actually took 3 hours to complete the job, but it was worth it. My car looks brand new, except for the big crack on the side.

Clean Ride, At Last!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Weekend Funny!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Kitty Carlisle Hart

The quintessential Grande Dame of the American theater, Kitty Carlisle Hart, 96-years-young, with her museum-quality smile and million-dollar legs, is coming to the Woodruff Arts Center’s 14th Street Playhouse in a strictly limited engagement, November 16th through November 19th. You remember Kitty Carlisle Hart: she became a household name during her twenty-year stint as a gracious, witty panelist on television’s “To Tell the Truth.” Kitty is also readily remembered from Broadway’s and Hollywood’s "A Night at the Opera" with the Marx Brothers, the Woody Allen film “Radio Days” and "Six Degrees of Separation."

Kitty Carlisle, a name she picked out of a phone book, is fond of saying, “I am the oldest working girl in show business; I’ve lied about my age so often, I can’t remember.” But she can remember practically everyone who is anyone in the arts, politics and society. She loves to tell backstage stories on Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein, Jimmy Stewart, Lionel Barrymore, Gregory Peck, Judy Garland, James Mason, the Marx Brothers, Woody Allen, Will Smith, Stockard Channing, Stephen Sondheim, and many other celebrities Kitty has known as colleagues and friends.I hope you and your friends will join this witty, “ideal cocktail-party guest” in her live show as she sings, performs and utterly charms as she has recently in New York, Palm Springs, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Kitty holds the house record for attendance at Feinstein's in New York. Her other recent performances have been completely sold out, leaving patrons scrambling for tickets! Her shows are now on sale at the Woodruff Center Box Office, Peachtree at 15th Street, 404-733-5000.Tickets are $35, $50, $75 or $100 (which includes a reception to meet the diva). Discounts are available for groups of ten or more by calling Lee Armstrong at 404-355-1492. Please tell all your friends about this extraordinary event and we'll see you at Kitty’s Party off Peachtree -- 14th St. Playhouse -- MAINSTAGE


I got home early enough to catch an episode of Divorce Court this week. I was shocked to see that Judge Maybelline didn't make it back this season- she's been replaced with a Judge Lynn Toler, Esq. I don't know anything about Ms. Toler, but I don't like her already- just for the fact that she's not Judge Maybelline.

Anyway- the episode I watched was a rivoting one. Here's the case: wife filed for divorce because husband lost her digital camera. She wants a divorce, and a settlement of $295 (the cost of the lost camera). It seems that husband was deployed to Iraq, into active combat. He borrowed his wife's digital camera and took it into war with him. Somehow (I can't imagine how) he lost the camera. Husband fought in the war for 9 months and when he returned without the camera, wife went ballistic and filed for a divorce. That must've been some camera!

I miss you Judge Maybelline- hope you'll return to TV soon and take on some of these challenging cases!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Best of Atlanta, 2006

Creative Loafing's "Best of Atlanta" issue hits the stands tomorrow! A little birdie told me that the Biscuit won two of the Reader's Choice awards: Best Breakfast and Best Biscuit! I can't wait to get the paper tomorrow and see if any of my other favorites won anything!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Ever Had That Feeling....

that something's not right? It's an eerie sense that sends tingles down the back of your neck- nothing is obviously wrong, but you are suddenly tense and don't know why.
It was 4:00am this morning when I sensed it-- the alarm clock had just gone off. Everything in my bedroom seemed normal, yet something was wrong somewhere in the house. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I knew it. My bedroom door was closed, as usual. I stood in front of it for a moment before turning the handle. As the door opened, I expected to see a ghost in the hallway, or a a thief scurrying into the dark corner to hide behind the drapes, but everything seemed normal still. I walked to the kitchen and fumbled to find the light switch. I flicked the switch and nothing happened. Oh God, I thought-- there was a thief inside (or outside) of the house and they had cut the power line- probably the phone line too. I've seen it done in hundreds of movies. They always do that. Then I remembered that the kitchen light had burned out weeks ago, and I hadn't replaced it. No cause for alarm yet. I continued through the kitchen and into the sunroom, still searching for a reason for the uneasy feeling. As I entered the sunroom, I felt I had discovered it: the backdoor was wide open. I turned on the light and was horrified to find a pillow on the floor- with it's stuffing pulled out and scattered about the room. The framed pictures of me with various celebrities layed on the floor, covered with the potting soil from the overturned plants. The folding chairs that had been neatly stacked against the wall when I went to bed last night were now lying on the floor in a pile. The vase on the end table was also toppled and pussywillows (yes, pussywillows, Dottie!), were spilled out among the clutter. I immediately closed and locked the back door. I wonder wether or not I had locked the theif outside, or if he was still in the house- locked in with me. I wondered "What were they looking for? Why did they ransack my sunroom/office? Where are they now? Am I missing anything?". Everything seemed to still be here, just in a messier arrangement.
Just then, I heard my roommate cough on the other side of his closed bedroom door. That's when I got mad- maybe he got really drunk last night and trashed the house in his stupor. Or maybe that wasn't a cough- maybe it was a cry for help being made through a gag. Maybe at that very moment, he was tied up with rope, with a bandana wrapped around his face and in his mouth- a man (or a gang of men) holding a knife to his throat or a gun to his head and warning him "don't make a sound or you'll get it". I've seen this in lots of movies too.
I wasn't brave enough to open his bedroom door. I wanted to eliminate the rest of the house first. I started turning on all of the lights in the house, looking for other signs of a theif, or an actual theif. I went to the bathroom, turned on the light and dramatically pulled the shower curtain open (like they always do in horror movies). Nothing. I walked through every room of the house, and still nothing. I stood in the hallway, contemplating opening my roommates door. Just before I turned the handle I heard a hissing sound behind me. I turned around and saw the culpret- a possum! Better yet- a possum IN MY HOUSE!!!!! Yeah, he was laying on his side with his mouth open- playing that game that possums play-- what's it called? Oh yeah, it was a possum playing possum. If it weren't for the beady eye that was following me around, or the hissing noise escaping through his nasty little, razor-tooth-filled mouth, I would've thought it was dead. Then I realized that I had walked right beside that beast at least 10 times, with my bare legs just inches from it's infection-filled mouth. I went and opened the front door. I propped open the storm door and he had a clean get away, but he didn't move. He just layed there. I started to call him, but I didn't really know the right key phrases to use to call a possum. "Here possum, possum, possum" didn't work. I contemplated just getting dressed and going to work and letting Omega deal with it when he woke up, but then I figured that wouldn't be fair. I went out to the garage and got my shovel. I came back inside, half hoping that the possum had made a break for it while I was away, but there he was. In a quick flash, I had his limp body on the end of my shovel and headed toward the front door. I expected him to jump off the shovel, hiss and bite me the entire time. But I got him outside without incident and gently layed him in the grass in the front yard. I ran into the house, slammed the door. I composed myself, cleaned up the mess and then went back to look- he was gone. Just like Jason in "Friday the 13th", or Freddy Krueger in "Nightmare on Elm Street". You can never turn your back on a villian, even when they appear to be dead. They always get up, disappear and then attack from the shadows. I've seen it too many times in the horror movies.
As I was leaving for work, I realized the reason that the backdoor was open- the weather seal had come loose and prevented the door from closing all the way. The possum probably pushed it open since it wasn't fully latched. He ransacked the sunroom looking for food, and froze in place when he heard me moving about the house. Case closed- no thief, no murderer. Just an overgrown rodent with midnight munchies.

Friday, September 22, 2006

"Hell Yeah!"

I forgot to include my favorite redneck woman in my tribute to White Trash Women! Back again, by popular demand is a picture of Keisha's cousin on her wedding day!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

My Tribute to White Trash Women!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Good Day Atlanta

Once again, I was jipped! Today was probably my 20th close call with being on a TV show in the past year. Usually, the footage that I appear in ends up on the cutting room floor, but I didn't even get that close today!
We arrived at the Fox studio by 7am and got everything set up for Delia's interview for National Breakfast Month. We were featuring our award winning Organic Oatmeal Pancakes (voted best in the nation in a recent AOL poll!). We had everything set up for the cooking demo, Delia and I had already gone through make up by 7:45am. We met the hosts of the show: Mark Hayes and Suchita Vadlamani. What sweet people they were- they couldn't have been nicer. Around 8:10am, the producer came and told us that we would air in 10 minutes. We were getting into place when it was decided that the set looked crowded and it'd probably work better if Delia did the cooking demo with Mark alone. So--- I stood in the shadows of the sidelines, sporting my coolest chef clothes & freshly painted face and watched as Delia did another great interview. I understood- it's a live show and they had to make quick decisions. Besides, I would've probably just been in the way and couldn't add much to the discussion of oatmeal pancakes. Although, I noticed a couple of times when she was asked questions that she didn't know the answers to- I could've helped because I did know all about the AOL poll. I could've offered something in that part of the discussion. But she recovered nicely and the interview went fine.
The strangest thing was that all day people kept asking me what I thought of Tipper Gore. Everyone said that she was interviewed just before Delia. Well, I figured I was crazy and had just blocked it out- or maybe I'd seen Tipper and didn't realize who she was. When I got home from work, I watched the tape and verified that Tipper Gore really was on the same live show that I attended the taping of. I also realized that Suchita was wearing a different outfit during the interview than she was wearing today. They must've filmed that segment at some other time and passed it off as a live interview. The magic of television!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Karaoke King

Last Friday, a bunch of us went to B-52's for their Karaoke night. We used to go often, but I stopped going a while back because I started getting a lot of catering jobs on Saturday mornings, so I couldn't stay out so late. But when I looked at my calendar last week, I realized that the following Saturday was the only week that I could sleep in.

B-52's was the usual madhouse-- there was a large group sitting next to us that were celebrating their friend's 30th birthday. The crowd was very young and very active- they would dance and sing along to every song. I guess that energy (and the liquid encouragement) gave me the guts to sign up for the song that I've always wanted to do, but feared: "Bohemian Rhapsody", by Queen. As I took the stage, I was prepared to flop. But it didn't happen! The crowd was really into it and they helped me along. The people sitting at the bar left their stools and headed towards the dance floor to participate. People were waving their lighters- it was awesome. To quote my friend Rob, I had the attention of everyone in the room!

I followed that song up with my old standby, "Boot Scootin' Boogie". Not to brag, but it was the best version I've ever done of that song. The rednecks that were playing pool dropped their cue sticks and came out to sing along. I know I'm not the best singer, but I picked two really good songs that the crowd got into. I expected a disaster, but what I got was applause! A hunky blonde couple stopped by my table on the way out to say "You Rock!". How cool is that?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Welcome to my Playground!

Today's journey found me once again in my childhood stomping grounds again. This time I visited my former church. Back then it was known as "Covenant Lutheran Church", or as we sometimes called it "The Convenient Lutheran Church". The building is very old and very small. There was no air conditioning and the maximum capacity was probably about 50 people. It is rumored that this church appeared in the background during some scenes of "Gone With The Wind". See that funny little window over the front door? That's actually where the church bell was located and a rope hung down into the nave. When church was over, the kids were allowed (even encouraged) to yank that rope and ring the bell for as long and as loudly as we wanted. We usually didn't waste a lot of time ringing the bell, because we were rushing down to the kitchen in the basement where we were allowed to eat the left over communion bread. I've never been a big bread eater, but this bread was incredible. It was freshly baked each week by Frita Schwartz, and anything that was leftover was fair game. We'd usually grab a hand full of bread and then head out back to the cemetary. The cemetary was our playground and we had a ball there! We were probably the most disrespectful children in the world- the dead that were buried there probably hate us til this day! We weren't real concerned about the proper cemetary etiquite- we stepped on graves, etc. There was one family plot (pictured here) that had 4 tall markers. We would climb on top of them and hop from one to the next.

But, in the process we got some education from our graveyard playtime. We read the markers and felt sad when we saw the baby graves. We knew where all of the children in the cemetary were located. In fact, I could still find all of their markers today, 30 years later! We had glaring examples of the injustices of slavery -- the slaves had their own section in the cemetary- no engraved headstones, no markers, no nothing. If they were lucky, they got a large rock placed on their grave- just to symbolize that a body was there, but not really anyone worth mentioning or remembering. Even as a child I recognized how unfair this was.

There was one section of the cemetary that housed the remains of the Crockett family- all relatives of the infamous Davy Crockett. There was a wrought iron fence around this section, and it was probably the most prestigious family plot located there. Today, only a few sections of the fence remain, and the markers are so timeworn that you can barely read the name Crockett on any of them. But I remember them well.

Below are a few random shots that I took around the cemetary. It's in pretty bad shape- tall grass & weeds everywhere, fallen markers, litter, etc. But as I walked through the cemetary today, I wasn't really focusing on those aspects. I was remembering the good times that I had there. I could see myself, my brothers and our friends, running through the graveyard- playing tag and hide-and-go-seek, in our little polyester 70's-style suits.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Bud Lite in a Fluted Glass

I guess by now that it's pretty obvious that I grew up in a rural area of Georgia! No one I knew had any interest in R&B music-- my friends and I were all fans of Casey Kasem's "America's Top 40". My parents loved classical music. R&B was pretty much unheard of in my neck of the woods. The first time I ever heard an Eartha Kitt song, it was being performed by my college drag queen friend, Jackie Delorean. She wasn't on stage doing this performance either-- we were sitting in her trailer home and she was wearing a silk Japanese robe- no make up, no wig. Just a heavy set, bald man holding a cigarette in one hand and a champagne glass full of Bud Lite in the other. Yet, the performance touched me and I wanted to know more about this "Eartha Kitt". Although she was a true female, every song that I heard her sing seemed to have been written by (or for) a drag queen! Maybe that was just my impression since the only reference I had to her songs was from drag queens. But to this day, whenever I hear ANY Eartha Kitt song, I always think "I'm going to do that number in the next show!".

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Billie Holiday

I remember the first time that I heard "Ain't Nobody's Business". It wasn't being sung by Billie Holiday at the time- it was performed by the late Nell Carter on her show "Gimme a Break!". I loved the song and started researching it- I found out that it was originally sung by Billie Holiday, so I went to the store to buy it. The only Billie Holiday album (yes, album) at the time was a "best of...", 2 record set. I bought it and ended up loving EVERY song on it!

Who says that watching sitcoms can't be educational? If it weren't for "Gimme a Break", I might have never heard of Billie Holiday!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bonds of the Heart

This is a picture I took of Steve last weekend. For those of you that don't know, Steve is my soulmate. Actually he's more than that- he is my other half. He completes me. We haven't been a couple for over a decade. But...

Steve suprised me this weekend and showed up at my house on the day that would've been our 20th anniversary. I hadn't forgotten the date- I just didn't acknowledge it verbally to anyone else. I can't believe that he remembered it, too. Love ya Steve!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Liberty Cries (9/11/01)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Family History

In 1885, my great-grandmother (Arrie Irene Laird) was 15 years old, and living in Atlanta, GA. She walked to school with her next door neighbor each day. One day, on the way home from school, the girls noticed a new business that had opened up along their path-- a tattoo parlor! Now, Arrie was brought up in a Southern Baptist home and she followed all of the rules that her parents and preacher had mapped out for a proper young lady. Yet, she was intrigued by the tattoo parlor. Every day, she and her friend would walk past the parlor and gaze in the window-- dreaming of taking a walk on the wild side for once in her life. It was a fantasy and she certainly never intended on making it a reality. But, one day little Arrie and her friend were gazing into the shop window when the proprietor came out and spoke to them. They liked the man, and he invited them to come inside to look around the tattoo parlor. I can picture the girls looking both ways before entering- verifying that no one was watching them enter Satan's den! They only stayed for about an hour, but they had a nice tour of the facilities and a great conversation with the shop owner. They also left the shop with souveniers- they had each purchased a tattoo! Arrie's inkjob was a big "A" on her forearm (the "A" stood for her first initial; no relation to the "A" in The Scarlet Letter). Upon leaving the tattoo parlor, Arrie had a sudden realization of what she had done and felt shame. Of course, she didn't ever tell her parents about the inkjob- she started wearing blouses with puffy sleeves, buttoned at the wrist. For the rest of her life, no one but the man that she would later marry ever saw her naked arms until she was a senior citizen. She was in the hospital and she was wearing a sleeveless nightgown. My mother was just a child, but she was the first one to notice the huge "A" on her grandmother's arm. Of course, she asked about it and Big Mother (as she was known at the time) related the story of the exciting day that she had spent in the tattoo parlor with her friend in 1885.
This story came to mind today as I was sitting in the chair of the local tattoo parlor, receiving my own souveneir! The first two tattoos that I had done were small and took about 10 minutes each. I graduated to a larger tattoo today, and it took 2 hours to complete. It wasn't agonizing, but it wasn't pleasant by any stretch of the imagination. I can relate the feeling of getting a tattoo to that of getting a small electrical shock for minutes (or hours) at a time. You don't feel the needle going in and out- you just feel a very sharp vibration and at some points some accute pain. At times there were tears in my eyes, but I kept up a strong facade and no one in the tattoo parlor seemed to know that I was experiencing the least bit of pain. It's a good thing that the the arm of the chair didn't have a voice- I was squeezing that thing the entire time! It's all over and done with now, and I finally have the one piece of body art that I always wanted. (For some reason, I am not able to post a picture of the new tattoo... but, you can see it by clicking on "Brian's Photo Site in the links section of this Blog.)

...and then there were two

I've been too devastated to post the results of last week's episode of Big Brother 7 All-Stars until now. It seems that the unthinkable happened: Janelle was evicted! It all came down to a trivia game about past seasons-- Janelle's forte. They have a similar contest every week, and Janelle ALWAYS wins it. This week, she was up against Mike Boogie (the worst player when it comes to BB history). I was shocked when it was announced that Janelle lost to Mike, and thus she was evicted and sent to the sequestered jury house.

That leaves just Mike and Erika for the final show. The Jury, made up of evicted houseguest, will convene Tuesday night and decide which of these two deserves to win. The winner walks away with $500,000. Second place takes home $50,000. I really don't want Mike to win, although he did play the game very well all season. Erika only really started playing when she found herself in the final four last week. I guess I don't have a huge opinion on who I would like to win- all of my favorites have been evicted and we are left scraping the bottom of the barrel to determine the winner of the All-Star game.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Quit This Bitch!

Oh my God-- this is hysterical! Click on the title of this Blog above ("Quit This Bitch!) and listen to the audio clip. In this clip, you'll hear DJ Inetta the Mood Setta, a radio DJ from Alabama quit her job-- live and on the air. Wouldn't you love to be able to quit your job and say all of the things you've been holding back? Inetta did it! Her last line on air was "I Quit This Bitch!". That was three days ago-- now the guy that hosts the website that I linked to has a whole gallery of items that can be purchased, bearing her trademark line. Everything from T-shirts to thongs! Check it out- I'm sure you'll get a kick out of it!

... and then there were three

Big Brother is coming to a rapid conclusion. It will all be over next Tuesday, 9/12. Last Tuesday's show had it narrowed down to 4 contestants. Janelle was the only one allowed to cast a vote and she suprisingly evicted her boyfriend Dr. Will (Finally! She should've done this weeks ago!). That leaves three people in the house- Janelle, Erika and Mike ("Boogie"). Erika and Janelle have been arch rivals all Summer, but now at the end they have joined forces at last. If my dreams come true, Boogie will be evicted tonight and the girls will enjoy 5 peaceful days together before the jury (evicted houseguests) get to vote for the winner next Tuesday.

"Stop Doing This to Me, Daddy!"

I picked out our costumes for next month's dog/owner look-a-like contest . I got King a Bumblebee costume and for myself a matching yellow and black striped Polo. Unfortunately the body part of King's outfit didn't fit (too small), but at least the head piece fit, although the costume isn't complete without the body part. I guess it's back to the drawing board- luckily King doesn't mind trying on clothes.

Labor Day Cook Out

When my Aunt Jane called and invited me down to her house for a Labor Day cookout, my first thought was "Why does she have to plan a cookout every time I get a weekday off?". I probably get about 3 weekdays off a year (excluding vacation), and she always invites the family to her house for a cookout on those 3 days. Damn her! OK, I realize that it's time to adjust my thinking a little bit. I forget what a blessing it is to live so near my family and be able to share holidays with them. My Aunt is in her late 70's, my Uncle is in his mid 80's (though you'd never guess their age by looking at them). The fact is that in all probability, they won't be around too many more years, so I need to learn to appreciate what I've got while I have it. While I complain about having to sacrafice a day off to spend time with my family, I also realize that 90% of my friends have no family members living within several hundred miles, so an impromptu cookout is out of the question. I've got it pretty good, and I need to remind myself of this fact more often.
Pictured are: Mom & Joel, Martha & Mary Catherine, Chuck (Mary C's partner) & Uncle Hub.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Fun Run 2006!

I just got home from Raving Brand's Fun Run 2006! It was the 2 day event that I told y'all about a few weeks ago. We had a great time on Lake Lanier, and I met a lot of great contacts with the "higher ups", including the owners of Raving Brands. I introduced myself to the CFO of RB and told him that I was the Operations Manger of the Biscuit. He said "You also are in charge of the catering, too. Right?". Man, this guy has either done his homework, or someone along the way has put a bug in his ear about the catering business, and he has a great memory. Either way, I was impressed! (The picture is one of me with Colleen. She's from RB's corporate office and she is in charge of Human Resources and Payroll.)

Today we had a scavenger hunt on the lake. We were divided into 10 teams and had to learn to navigate the lake and answer questions about things that we passed at certain mile markers. It took about 4 hours, and we didn't have any problems answering the questions-- most of my team had cell phones with internet access and we just googled all of the answers and enjoyed a nice leisurely day on the lake. The other teams were beating themselves over the head to find the answers and many of them came back with lots of wrong guesses. My team ended up in 2nd place (out of 10), and for that we each won a travel coffee mug. We only missed 1st place by 2 points! (BTW- no one ever said that cell phones weren't allowed!)

Here are pictures of Delia Champion (Founder of the Biscuit) looking ultra-butch in her team's camoflouge costume, and John Amend, FB's CFO.

Monday, September 04, 2006

'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin

SYDNEY, Australia (CNN) -- Steve Irwin, the TV presenter known as the "Crocodile Hunter," has died after being stung by a stingray in a marine accident off Australia's north coast.

Media reports say Irwin was diving in waters off Port Douglas, north of Cairns, when the incident happened on Monday morning.

Irwin, 44 was killed by a stingray barb that went through his chest, according to Cairns police sources. Irwin was filming an underwater documentary at the time.

Ambulance officers confirmed they attended a reef fatality Monday morning off Port Douglas, according to Australian media.

Queensland Police Services also confirmed Irwin's death and said his family had been notified. Irwin was director of the Australian Zoo in Queensland.

He is survived by his American-born wife Terri and their two children, Bindi Sue, born 1998, and Robert (Bob), born December 2003.

"The world has lost a great wildlife icon, a passionate conservationist and one of the proudest dads on the planet," his friend and producer John Stainton told reporters in Cairns, according to The Associated Press. "He died doing what he loved best and left this world in a happy and peaceful state of mind. He would have said, 'Crocs Rule!' "

Australia Prime Minister John Howard said he was "shocked and distressed at Steve Irwin's sudden, untimely and freakish death," according to the AP.

Irwin became a popular figure on Australian and international television through Irwin's close handling of wildlife, most notably the capture and relocation of crocodiles.

Irwin's enthusiastic approach to nature conservation and the environment won him a global following. He was known for his exuberance and use of the catch phrase "Crikey!"

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Velveteen Rabbit

From Margery William's children's book, The Velveteen Rabbit:

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit."Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

Friday, September 01, 2006

Childhood Memories

This morning, I had a chance to visit the neighborhood that I grew up in. I took the camera with me in hopes of snapping a picture of the sidewalk near my house. I remember being about 6 years old and my brother and I noticed that some guys were pouring new concrete for sidewalks. After the guys left, Joel and I grabbed a twig and ran over to the new sidewalk and wrote our names in the semi-dry concrete. I was hoping that our names would be etched in that sidewalk for all of eternity. I discovered today that there is no such thing as everlasting sidewalk etches. The sidewalk still existed, but our names were no longer visable.

From there, I drove to the house that my grandparent's use to own. I was shocked! It's in the middle of a run down area, but there it was looking just as it did when I was a kid. No disappointments at all. Mommo and Granddaddy would be proud, I think.

Then I drove over to my old school. It's not the same building that I remember. It used to be a huge building- it seems to have shrunk, though. How does that happen? I guess when we are little, everything seems so huge. When we grow up, we see things from a different perspective.

The biggest shock came when I next visited my childhood home. I remember growing up in a beautiful, Spanish style home. The lawn was perfectly manicured; we had a big cactus garden along the curb, huge flowering bushes lining the front of the house, and flourishing plants filled the courtyard in the front (my Dad was an incredible gardener, and landscaping was his hobby- he would roll over in his grave if he saw the yard looking this way). What a sight this was-- not at all how I remembered it. The houses on the cul-de-sca seem to have grown closer together too. There were no kids playing in the neighborhood- no life energy at all. How could this have happened? I used to look out my bedroom window (the double window to the right of the front door) and see all of my childhood friends playing kickball in the street. Now it just seems depressing- devoid of life, and landscaping. I'm also a little puzzled by the fact that there is no chimney on the house. We definately had a fireplace. I wish I would've had the guts to knock on the door and ask if I could come inside and take pictures. Can you imagine how the floodgates of memories would've opened up if I could step foot inside that house? I'm sure that memory and time would have distorted every image that I ever had, but what I would give to see the bedroom that I grew up in, the basement where Daddy taught pottery classes, or the den where Santa Clause used to leave my presents once a year.

They say that you can't go back. Maybe I shouldn't have. But it's nice to have roots. It's nice to be able to remember (and visit) where you came from once every few decades. And although this picture doesn't show it, I see my life here-- if you look closely you can see an 8 year old Brian walking on top of the courtyard wall for the first time-- a little Brian running out to the mailbox to get the mail- a little Brian walking on stilts or hopping on a Pogo stick in the driveway. You have to look very closely and use my mind's eye-- but it's there. I see it!
(FYI~ for some reason, the pictures that I planned on posting aren't uploading. I'll try to update this blog later, or post a follow-up with actual pictures of my house and my grade school- til then, use your imagination!)