Sunday, December 30, 2007

2nd Place

Once again, I've been defeated in a Christmas lighting contest. Still winless. It's starting to get frustrating. Best decorated house for years, all the "contests" I've been in, second place every time.

-Apartments at Clemson - Wasn't sleeping with the RA so our building didn't win
-Apartments in Greenville - We weren't the "favorites", probably chewed out the building manager too many times or maybe they figured out I was the one that kept disconnecting the speakers at the poolhouse (that were always left on and loud) every day.
-No official contest in the neighbor this year, and then, it turned into an arms race. That's right, we've been one of the few that actually put anything out the last couple years. In fact, last year, less people than normal put stuff out. But this year, it was on. Neighbors who'd never put anything out suddenly got that Clark Griswald streak in them and went to town. I have to admit, we had some tough competition. I never thought that the competition was in the bag. By sheer number of lights, 1st place easily. By number of extension cords, 1st place. But a couple other houses were more "organized". Judges seem to like it more if all the lights are the same color or if there is a clear theme that is carried out. My theme is "Christmas" and we have gold lights, multi lights, double filament lights, etc.
Oh well, you can't win them all. I'll take the Cubs motto for now, there's always next year. We bought a few more things this year on sale (gotta love the Boxing Day sales). We'll take the loss and learn from it. We aren't going down without a fight.
Next year, we win.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

In this PC world, I'm not afraid to use the words "Merry" or "Christmas" on my blog.

Couple quick hits while I'm blogging:

-December has been busy (as most are), sorry I've been so quiet. New Years Resolution #1 : Blog more. Have to keep my public happy, right?

-Just finished listening to "Promise Me" by Harlen Coben on CD. Books on CD really make the miles fly by while travelling. But anyway, highly recommend listening to or reading this book. It kept us on the edge of our seats for hours.

-I love bowl season.

-I'm loving my new DirectTV install as well. This DVR is amazing. I had wondered how so many people could effectively use DVR when 80% of those same people couldn't set their clock on their VCR. But it's so easy, and takes TV to a new level. Plus, it looks amazing on my new 50" DLP TV.

-Kids these days are brats. I can't stand this "new era" of non-spanking. Everywhere I go lately, kids are running amock and need to be spanked.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Starbucks Guy

Question for all you readers out there: Over the last couple weeks, I've gotten several Starbuck gift cards. And at least twice, it's been said that I "look like a Starbucks guy". So my question is, what makes me look like a Starbucks guy? Jeni said its because I always look tired, I say maybe its because I always look jittery and nervous. Do I always look on edge? Like I've had a little too much coffee? Or maybe I look like one of those metrosexual guys who are sometimes a little too fashionable and well groomed and you always wonder a little about? I certainly hope that's not the reason. Maybe its because I'm a computer guy? Or really intellectual? I'll bet that's it, right?
I have nothing against "Starbucks guys", I guess I'm just a little miffed as to how I came to be known as one. I don't particularly care for coffee, but I do love the smell of it brewing. And I've never been one to turn down a fresh breakfast pastry or cup of hot chocalate, no matter the time of year. I'm just curious as to how I am a Starbucks guy. Thoughts?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ron Cherry

Ron Cherry is the worst ref in the ACC. I swear he thinks we bought a ticket to see him throw a yellow flag. The calls he makes are terrible. Absolutely terrible. Whenever you see him on the sidelines, you know there will be at least 3-4 abysmal calls that will make an impact on the game. I know, I know, if you are better team, you should be able to win without all the calls going you way, there are probably other opportunities you missed. But that doesn't stop the fact that I dread seeing him on the sidelines of our games.
That said, here is a great example of a call he made during the recent NC State/Maryland game last weekend. He called a personal foul for one player "giving him the business". By him, he means the other player. Um, is that in the rule book? I didn't think that it specifically said that you couldn't "give someone the business". Watch it all here:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nooma - Extended

Jeni and I had the chance to see Rob Bell speak on Monday night in Atlanta. It was pretty cool. I mean, we've seen most of the Nooma videos so we know what he looked like. We'd heard his sermons online a lot, so we knew what he sounds like and the way he teaches. And we've read one of his books. But still, to see him in real life was interesting.
I thought it was odd that the whole thing was just like a really long Nooma video. Basically, they dim the lights, play some music, lights come up and he comes out and just jumps right into it. No, "Hi, how are you doing" or anything like that. And at the end, they bring the music up as he is making his final points, he says "God Bless" and that's it. He walks off.
The biggest thing I disagreed with all night was that everyone gave him a standing ovation at the end. I guess I just don't think a preacher should get a standing O, I mean, technically, if his heart is right, that is God speaking through him, right? I just think that many people there were standing to praise Rob and not God.
Maybe that's why there were so many street preachers outside warning of false prophets and how we were told we were all going to Hell because we went to hear Rob speak. How we were biblically illiteric and being led astray. I just wonder if they would being saying the same things if any one was preaching. Anyone other than them that is. I mean, if Billy Graham is talking, do they say the same things?
Anyway, if you get a chance to hear him, I strongly suggest it. His stuff will really make you think. If you know don't who he is, check out the below clip.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Top 10 Signs You Are Stayig in a Cheap Hotel

Time for another edition of Phil T's Top 10...

Top 10 Signs you are staying in the cheapest hotel around....

1. The walls are so thin, not only can you hear the people in the room next to you, you can hear as much as two doors down, the parking lot, and the convience store across the street even when you turn on the air conditioner and the mini fridge in the room.

2. Passports/Birth Certificates are not required to check in, but based on the conversations you hear in the other rooms and the look of the other guests, they probably should be.

3. There is a noodle vending machine, dispensing several different flavors of insta-noodles.

4. There is a night window and when you ring the bell for service, the person who comes out from back looks like they just woke up.

5. Free continental breakfast is really just a loaf of bread, a couple stale bagels, and some watered down orange juice sitting on a counter. If you are one of the first couple people there, you might get some cream cheese and butter.

6. You can check in up until 7 am. Who is checking into a hotel at 6:30 in the morning?

7. There is a no limit as to the number of people you can have in a rooom.

8. Less than 2 blocks down the road is a Thai restaurant, a Korean dentist office & a Mexican grocer ALL on the same corner

9. You wake to hear people speaking a language that you don't understand right outside of your room at 3 in the morning

10. There are no elevators, real keys for the doors, pay phones, a leaf filled pool and a sign on the door emphasizes that you should use the extra lock on the door for your own protection.

4 + 5 = 9

Oh, the sad state of our American education system. At the second concert this weekend, I was standing in the concession line to buy a couple bottled waters. The teenager boy behind me was having trouble with addition, saying outloud to his girl "I'm going to get a jumbo hot dog at $4 and a large soda at $5. So, 4 + 5, that's about $10, right?". He'd already been getting on my nerves with his drivel, I almost turned around and said something after that. Seriously? About 10 dollars? No, its 9 dollars. Exactly. There is no 'about' to it. We are talking about whole numbers here, he has to round whole numbers? Its not like the prices were like 4.23 and 5.34 or something. There where no decimals involved. If you can't add $4 and $5 in your head, then you shouldn't be allowed to carry that much money on you. I guess, its been a couple days, and I still can't figure out what was so hard about 4 + 5 that he had to round up to 10. Oh well, he only had $11 and candy was $2, so his bad math prevented him from getting the candy bar he wanted, I guess our educational system is failing our kids, but at least its failing in a way that prevents rewarding their idiocracy with candy.

Concert Weekend

After a record breaking 15 posts in October, I guess I better get on it if I'm going to match that in November.

This past weekend, Jeni and I hit up concerts two nights in a row. I didn't think Jeni was going to make it home after the second straight night of teeny bopper struggles and loud music. She ached, and my ears just stopped ringing this morning.

Anyway, we saw our favorite live band in Atlanta on Saturday night, MuteMath. Love those guys, they always put on a great show. We are MuteMath groupies now even, as we saw them on the Charlotte and Atlanta tour spots this month. This one was epic though. I don't want to ruin it for you, but what the drummer does during the last song was crazy. Check out the below YouTube video that someone took in the balcony. Jeni and I were on the floor less that 10 feet from all this. It was nuts.

We saw Fall Out Boy and a host of others on Sunday night, and all I have to say is, if their song is true and it's an arms race and not a scene, then they are winning the arms race.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Satellite Radio

My rental car that I took to Birmingham this week had satellite radio in it. My first real experience with it.
It was ok. I did enjoy the clarity of it and the fact that even though I was in the car for 4 hours and traveled a couple hundred hours, my stations stayed the same the whole time.
What surprised me, was that I ended up changing stations a lot more than I thought I would. Sure, it's commercial free, but all the stations played a lot of crappy songs. And there is no station that plays all current music. The "top 40" station is like, top 40 of all time, and there is just no good transition from Fall Out Boy to Debbie Gibson. Also, its not really commercial free. Yeah, there are no commercials for businesses, but there are plenty of advertisements for the other satellite channels and for the specialty shows that are on them. Maybe I'm just too picky about my music, I just found myself changing channels possibly more than I do with regular radio.
I did enjoy ESPN Radio, but I don't need Sirius for that, it's nationally syndicated most places and I listen on the Internet as well.
I really enjoy listening to comedy while I drive, so I was looking forward to the comedy channels. But alas, it's comedy bits and about the time I get used to one comic, they change right out to another. I guess I don't like my comic to change so often.
All in all, it was ok, and if you were in your car a lot, I could justify the cost. Only being in my car 30 minutes a day, I just don't think its worth it to me.
I do recommend Napster though. Worth every penny if you listen to music much on your computer. I'd go crazy at work most days without it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rental Car Tires

I'm having some bad luck with rental care tires lately. My last rental in Colorado Springs got a flat tire that we had to have repaired. Then today on my way to Birmingham for work, a light in my Dodge Magnum (yep, it's a Hemi) started flashing and beeping on the dashboard. I had to look it up because its a weird looking light. Turns out, it's the tire pressure monitoring light. It detected a tire was low on air. So, I pulled into a gas station with no cash and no change. No cash back. Went to another gas station, and another, and then Wal-Mart. Grrrr. Finally, after getting some cash back from Wal-Mart, I went out to the air thing, and guess what? Out of order. I had to go back to one of the previous gas stations and put air in. However, the car doesn't tell you which tire is low and since I didn't have a tire pressure gauge handy, I had to put air in all the tires. Fun, fun. All in all, that tire pressure light cost me a 30 minute delay trying to find cash back somewhere and a working air compressor. Two straight rentals with tire problems, what are the odds.
On a side note, I got to pick my car yesterday. Dodge Magnum, Chrysler 300, or Toyota Prius. Save the Earth vs. Screw the Environment. Obviously, I chose Screw the Environment, give me the hemi. The 300 was my first choice, but it smelled like smoke inside, so I'm trying out the Magnum. Pretty nice so far, its roomy and has satellite radio (which I'll blog about later) so it was more equipped for the drive

Fall TV Review

I guess I better write this before they all get cancelled. I try not to watch too much TV, but of what I do:

Chuck - Good concept. I like the idea of a computer guy working with spies and federal agents on missions and succeeding, but the "computer in the brain" plot line is a little too unrealistic for me. Plus, the show lacks something. I'm not even sure what, but with every week the jokes get a little worse and the action a little more unbelievable. I guess its meant to be an action and not a comedy, but is too little action and its confusing as to whether its a comedy, action, or drama. Decent show, but could be a lot better.

Journeyman - Well, if "computer in the brain" wasn't unrealistic for you, there's random time travel following people through time and seeing just how powerful Google really is. Oh, the people who could have been saved had Google been around in the 80's. I actually like this show, but I also enjoyed "Quantum Leap" and "Sliders." Has its flaws as well (he'd have been fired, divorced, and committed by now), but worth watching.

The Office - Not a new show, but still the best show on TV. The premier wasn't as good as the rest of the season has been and some of the hour long shows were a bit of a comedy stretch. A little too unbelievable even for Micheal Scott, but still good.

Big Bang Theory - I really like this show. I don't think it'll make it past midseason because the audience has to be pretty small, there just isn't a big demand for nerd humor. Socially inept nerds probably don't make for big time primetime ratings. Worth watching, you can catch up online.

How I Met Your Mother - Seriously, how long is this story? Still no sign of "mother"? And would you really tell your kids these stories?

CSI - Disappointed season so far, I think. Naturally, I'm not going to stop watching just yet, but none of the plotlines this season have kept my attention. The Sarah/Grissom thing isn't as interesting now that its out and its too blatantly obvious that the new girl and Greg are going to get together.

The only show I watch on ABC is Lost, which doesn't return until Febuary 2008 and even only for a partial season. Why? Do they not know what to do next? Talk about losing your audience. No TV show should be able to take almost an entire year off. If there aren't a lot of answers when it does finally return, their viewers will drop off quickly, including me.

Which by the way, get some new shows ABC. Nothing on your network even looks interesting to me.

The Evil HOA

In my "Back to Reality" post, I mentioned that I had a "conversation" with my HOA manager when we got back from vacation. Some of you have heard the full story, but some haven't so here goes.
Jeni's car is, from now on, to be referred to as "Kitt". That's right, the famed car that saved David Hasselhoff on countless occasions now has a Saturn brethren. The reason for this, we got a warning while we were on vacation for parking the car in the grass while we were gone. The thing is, the car was in the driveway when we left and it was in the driveway when we got back. Since Jeni and I have the only keys, the only explanation is that it moved itself while we were gone, Kitt-style.
My contention is that since this probably didn't really happen, the HOA manager should revoke the warning. Correct? Afterall, if I call up and explain politely that we were out of town and that the car was in the driveway the whole time and it is impossible for it to have moved, a sensible person would have negated the warning. Not our HOA. So, I called up there, laid out my case and said "Therefore, I think you need to reverse the warning." 'Sir, I think you don't need to be calling up here telling me what I should or should not do. You have no business telling me how to do my job. What I saw is what I saw, you can not debate that. MY SAY IS FINAL!! YOU HAVE NO RECOURSE!!" This is when I decided logic and reason would not work.
After some debate, I asked her, "So you're telling me, that this car moved into the grass by itself temporarily so that you could give us a warning and then moved itself back?" Her response, "Yes". My response, "Well, that's a miracle". Her response, "Yes, sir, it is." This infuriated me.
In the end, she hung up on me, but not before reminding me that I had no case and that legally, it's my word against hers and that hers is worth more than mine.
First of all, I'm not sure why her word is worth more than mine. Secondly, I don't think its just her word against mine. I have travel receipts that say we were out of state, I have several eye witnesses as to where the car was parked, and the car can be inspected to show that it doesn't have a kitt computer in it.
However, it's just a warning, so there are no charges to dispute in claims court. The thing that makes me mad is that we get one free warning and the next one costs us. So, our freebie is an absurd, fabricated lie that I can't dispute, and if we have guests over or for any reason I have to move the car into the grass or street temporarily and she comes by, she can fine us.
I just don't understand why every dealing with her ends in an argument, even our annual meetings. In any "conversation" with her, she is instantly on the defensive. Has been since about 15 minutes into our first HOA meeting involving her.
Honestly, I can't imagine a worse HOA experience that what we've had and its unbelievable how impolite and spiteful she can be and keep her job.
She so spiteful and malevolent, we can't do anything to her or she'll just start giving us tic tac fines for our mailbox being too faded or confuse one our shrubs for a weed and fine us for having weeds. Realistically, since her word is final and not debatable, she could sabotage our house and then fine us for "changing the appearance".
We gotta move.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Feel like a winner!

Free tacos for everyone! Jeni and I were fortunate. We were switching back and forth from our normal Thursday night TV schedule and game 2 of the World Series Thursday and were lucky enough to see Jacoby Ellsbury steal second and win us and every other US American a free taco from Taco Bell. Taco Bell has been doing stuff like this for a while (at Clemson, we all get free tacos if the team scores 28 pts or more), but this is huge. Just go into any Taco Bell between 2 and 5 pm next Tuesday and get your free taco. I got to say, sitting there, watching Jacoby steal that base, we felt like winners. And you can too, chowing down on your own free taco. I would just like to say, I called it. When Ellsbury got on base, I told Jeni right away, we have a great chance at a taco standing right there on first base and not to change the channel just yet. And sure enough, stolen base.
I'm just glad the Sox are up 2-0. I look for Colorado to bounce back and win Game 3 and possibly Game 5. Red Sox in 6.
Go Sox!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Life of a President

Political musings for a change...
I was following a car in this morning that was covered in politcal bumber stickers and I got to thinking. We can remove the two term limit for a president now. I'm not sure if anyone, Republican, Democrat, any party, could survive more than 2 terms in our current culture. As the end of the 8 years approaching, the media, Internet and opposing party have been working so hard for so long at making the current President look bad, that the American psyche buys into it. Bush wouldn't stand a chance at getting elected a 3rd term, and maybe I'm wrong, but Clinton wouldn't have either. If I remember correctly, we were all ready for a change. And whoever is elected this coming election, if they are re-elected, you watch, about midway through their second term, everyone will be against them and ready for a new president.
In my opinion, FDR was one of the greatest presidents we ever had. It makes me wonder if he would have gotten elected for that 3rd or 4th term in today's society. What if thousands of bloggers, Steven Colbert, SNL, CNN, MSNBC, all who are going to find faults with, point out mistakes, mock, and generally doubt everything about any one elected president? It's got to wear on the person and I know it wears on the public.
I don't want you think I'm some kind of Bush supporter or apologetic, just musing some on the matter.
Nowadays, perception is reality, and with the world getting smaller everyday, I think the media has a big say in altering that perception. FDR wouldn't stand a chance. That Hoover Dam is one penny over budget and CNN would blast him up one side and down the other. Environmentists would be all over him for all the road construction, city rebuilding, etc.
Just something to think about...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What's New?

At work this morning in passing, someone asked me "What's new?" Someone else always asks me "What'd ya know?" I gotta say, there are no good answers to these questions. Those are not the kind of questions you ask someone in passing. Whatever happened to "How's it going?" or "What's up?". Questions that don't really require a detailed answer. Especially "What'd ya know?" Maybe I'm just socially inept and that's why I have no clue how to answer. Wait, I am socially inept. Regardless, I never know how to answer "What'd ya know." What is he looking for? "It's raining out." "The Rockies don't have a chance in the World Series" "Elephants are raiding villages in India looking for beer". "Trying to push applications to 372 blackberries is impossible" There are sooo many answers to the question that I never know how to answer and always end up sounding like an idiot. And to answer "What's new?", I feel like I should start with "Well, how long do you have?" There's always something it seems like, but is it ever anything the person really cares to hear? Also, apparently, I'm not very quick on my feet in these situations because I can't ever think of anything new or anything that I know when asked. That might be getting back to that being socially inept thing. Anyway, just some random thoughts for you while I wait for 33 GB of files to finish transferring.

Elephants electrocuted in drunken rampage

So, I was setting up a server yesterday, and had to open Internet Explorer for the first time and got shoved down my throat because Microsoft thinks we should all get our news from them.
Anyway, I saw the headline above and I had to detour briefly to see what it was about.
Apparently, elephants in India raid villages and one of the things they go after is the rice beer that the village folk brew. They have so many elephants, that's it becoming a problem. Drunken elephants raids that is.
I was thinking, we need to make a mockumentary about this. It can be a movie that follows a band of elephants as they raid villages looking solely for rice beer. I can see it now, the elephants have matching tattoos on their shoulder of an angry elephant or something. I don't even know where the shoulder is on an elephant, but that'd be funny. The attacks could be coordinated, one could stop by the pond on their way in and fill up his trunk with water to spit at people who try and interfere with the raid. Another one just goes around knocking over huts and raising up and stomping to scare away all the villagers, while the others search for the beer. Those things are always pooping though, so someone would have to get pooped on. We could try and make that part comical.
The bad thing is, the movie would probably have to end on a sad note. Let's be honest, there's just not much good that can come of a band of alcoholic elephants on the warpath. Maybe at least we could follow their tusks all the way to eBay and then show someone getting arrested for buying and selling ivory on the Internet, so there is a brief ray of light at the end.
Anyway, enough fooling around, you can read the full article here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Back to Reality

Vacation Over, for schizzle.

-Limp Along (Austin) is back to normal, for those of you wondering. His sneezing fit that he picked up while on the foot medication is pretty much over as well.

-Works sucks. Came back to thousands of emails and hundreds of questions. It never seems to stop. You'd think I was gone for weeks, but it was only 4 days. And I'm overdue on projects I was assigned while on vacation. Yep, I'm late on doing work that I didn't even know I was supposed to be working on. Anyone looking to hire a good IT guy? I'm ready to go back to Colorado.

-After a "conversation" with my HOA today (which I will post about later, I'm still too upset to even think clearly about it), I've decided we can no longer call our house our home. It just doesn't sound right. We clearly have no stake of ownership in it. After the bank, we are like 4th or 5th in line, and I don't even know some of the people in the line. I don't even think its right to put our last name in the title of the place, therefore, it is now the Reedy River Inn and Suites. We basically live in an expensive hotel suite, with no maid and no free continental breakfast. Wireless Internet is free, on a clear night when you can find a neighbor who has an open, unsecure network, or you can pay a premium and get your own connection. You can also pay to get water, cable, electricity. It's basically, hotel a la carte. I better wrap this post up quickly, my car has been parked in the same place for too long, I have to go move it or I'll be in violation. I keep looking for the front desk so I can check out of this place and check into a house not in a subdivision. If you need me, I'll be here, just ringing this little bell for service, going a little crazier every day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Last Vacation Post

I'm currently blogging from high atop a red rock formation in the Garden of the Gods. Its absolutely beautiful. It really goes to show you how modernized even our wilderness is now as I have almost a full signal on my Blackberry. Feels so good being out in Gods creation hiking around.

Monday, October 15, 2007

New Life Church

Gotta give some props to our worship pastor at our home church, Crossroads. We attended New Life Church in Colorado Springs yesterday. The worship pastors there are Jared Anderson and Ross Parsley and Jon Egan. Ross and Jared, in particular, have published tons of praise and worship songs, have recorded albums, and pretty well known in the praise and worship genre. However, they didn't hold a candle to our worship leader, David Walker. David Walker, you rock. Really, seriously, I'd take our worship at Crossroads over those guys any day of the week.
What was impressive about New Life was their audio/video setup. They had a tech booth manned by 6 people running lights, cameras, at least 8 projection screens for series graphics, and 7 video projection screens showing the stage and song lyrics. Plus, they had a sound booth that had another guy. All in all, it was quite the production.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Rocky Mountain High

Jeni and I are 2 full days into our vacation and having a great time. Yesterday, we rode a train up to the top of Pikes Peak. The views were astonishing. Truly spectacular. Of course, it was astonishingly cold at the top as well. About 50 degrees colder (it was 26 degrees) and the thin air made it seem colder to us. Afterwards, we spent the afternoon in the Garden of the Gods. Something about the red rocks just speaks to Jeni. She loves them. We climbed up to the top of one and just sat for a while and took it all in. You can't capture the Rockies in photos, everyone should come out here.
Today, our rental had a flat tire when we went out to it. Instead of just filling it with some air and letting it blow out on me up in the mountains, I took it down the street to Discount Tire Co. They hooked us up and got us back on the road in no time and didn't charge us anything. (Probably helped that I buy all my tires there). I felt much more confident behind the wheel then. We drove up to Denver for a Pumpkin Festival (gotta love the fall festival food) and to see downtown, Coors Field, and Invesco Field. I'm not a Broncos fan, but Invesco is a really neat stadium. Nice design, and tied nicely to the team. Some stadiums are pretty generic, but you can definitely tell that the Broncos play there. We scratched plans to go to Vail and Aspen though as they as expecting a couple feet of snow this weekend and came back to Colorado Springs. There is still plenty more to do here and hotel recommendation if you are ever in the Springs: Travelodge. We checked right back in here. Great rates and nice rooms and free wireless.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

American Gladiators

As some of you may have heard, NBC is going to redo the classic "American Gladiators" show for midseason. Whatever show gets canned, will be replaced by it, my guess right now is "Chuck" or "The Singing Bee".
But that is a different post. What's funny is the casting application for Gladiators. I stumbled across a link to it the other day. It's hilarious. You have to read over it. It asks some classic questions like "How are you competitive in every day life?" Well, I'm glad you asked. Often, when me and another co-worker are both going to the water cooler at the same time, I start running so I get there first, like an impromptu race.
"How would you use the American Gladiators prize money". Let me count the ways. Gym membership, steriods, HGH, protein shakes, and Coke Zero.
There are a ton of questions about who you have lived with, who you are living with, for how long, etc. I guess they are looking for compatibility? That confused me.
Anyway, my favorite question are questions #39 and #40.
39) In the lines below, write a poem or rap. Seriously? How does that qualify you to be on American Gladiators?
40) Draw a picture of yourself in the box below. Yep, that's really a question on the application. I can only imagine some of the pictures they got. I wish they would publish those.

You can see the full application here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

News and Notes

Nebraska State Senator Sues God Over Natural Disasters - That's right, he's protesting frivolous lawsuits by filing ... a frivolous lawsuit. The suit asks for a "permanent injunction ordering Defendant to cease certain harmful activities and the making of terroristic threats." Wow. That's quite the statement there.
The funniest part of the whole thing to me were the specific acts mentioned. They were "fearsome floods, egregious earthquakes, horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornados, pestilential plagues". I think he forgot formidable forest fires, desolate, disastrous droughts, tragic, tumultous tsunamis, and venerable, vile volcanic eruptions. Wait, this is fun. I could do this all day. There's also astonishing, abominable avalanches, loathsome lightning strikes, insipid, incurable, insatiable illnesses, fatal, frightful floods, and severe, shocking snowstorms. And all that's not even mentioning that grievous global warming and our outstandingly high oil consumption, etc. I better quit while I'm ahead, I have stuff to do. I could literally do this for hours. I love alliteration.

How well do you know the United States? Officials have released updated questions that are part of the naturalization test required for immigrants to become citizens. To take part of the quiz, you can go here. There was a lot of history questions, I'm guessing our education system is so bad that most high school seniors probably couldn't pass this. I knew all of them but one, for the life of me, I couldn't remember what Susan B. Anthony did. However, I'm not sure how knowing what she did qualifies me to be an American. It certainly doesn't help me to be prove that I am one. I'd like to see more questions that make sure they know how to pay their taxes, obey the law, and about not sneaking in their relatives. Can we quiz them on that?

The Hallelujah Diet - Here's a story about a pastor that's created a "new" diet. It's the Hallelujah diet. Basically, you are eating what Adam and Eve ate. Fruits, berries, vegatable, and nuts. All raw. Adam and Eve didn't have a stove, so everything they ate was raw. Only 15% of the food in the diet is cooked. Apparantly, the guy is in perfect health (at age 73) and has been cured from colon cancer. Several others who are on the diet have also been cured from diseases. Well, hallelujah. I don't think he's ever had my Grandma's fried chicken. Because it is God ordained. Someone was also acting under God's guidance as they came up with peanut butter, chocolate, and fried apple pies. That's all I'm saying.

Limp Along

I'm sure several of your are worried about Austin, he is doing much better. He had a follow up appointment with the vet yesterday. He's still limping, but the cut on his paw is stabbed over and healing. We just have to keep giving him his medicine and putting ointment on it. Also, it was advised that we have him soak it in epsom salts. I'm not sure its even possible to hold a cats paw in water for any length of time, but we'll see. It beats trying to do what we read online, which was to ice it for 10-15 minutes several times a day. I mean, I would ice a bum ankle myself, but how do you get a cat to let you ice its paw for 10 minutes? I guess if you enjoy getting scratched up.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wednesday Morning Jottings

-Austin is now officially on the DL. We think he'll be able to rejoin the lineup soon, but for now, just has an injured paw and we've scheduled a trip to the vet. He doesn't know that part though, so try to keep that quiet.

-Baxter is back, and he brought friends. Yes, our mouse friend is back once again in the garage and Saturday I saw another one outside. Slightly darker in color, much more rotund than Baxter. Apparantly Baxter is also resilient. He has already eaten an entire container of D-CON mouse poison and chewed all to pieces the sticker and labelling off of the live trap I bought. He's pretty smart for a mouse.

-Our Charlotte office is having problems. Last week, the building flooded. This week, it caught on fire. We are taking bets on what's next, locusts or water turning to blood. My money is on the locusts.

-Jeni and I are currently planning our trip to Colorado Springs, CO that is coming up quickly, anyone have any suggestions of places to eat or things to do?

-I have no idea what I want for my birthday that is quicly approaching as well.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Herm Edwards

Did you hear the quote from Herm Edwards (coach of the Kansas City Chiefs) last week:

"Here's the concern -- in our society now, so many things come up on Web sites and Internet," Edwards said. "First of all, I don't even have the Internet. I wouldn't even know how to use it."
How does he not have the Internet? It's 2007! Doesn't he have a computer in his office with the Internet on it? The Chiefs are a multi-million, possibly billion dollar organization, you mean, they don't have a computer network and computers at all the desks? It just bewilders me that he could not have the Internet. No wonder he sucks as a coach. Where is he getting injury reports, scores, information on other teams? From the paper? From TV? Surely, other coaches are all over and trying to get injury reports and practice reports from other teams, right? I know he's not getting all his information from watching film on players and reading the newspaper everyday, right? Herm, it's 2007, get a computer for crying out loud.
Sure, I wouldn't believe a lot of what you read by all the so called experts, but I'd think there is quite a bit of information out there that Herm and all other NFL coaches could benefit from. Just another example of how expert fantasy football owners should be promoted to coaches.


Well, it has been one heck of a month. I was out of commission for an entire day about a week and a half ago, I got Vertigo so bad I could barely walk. It was certainly not a pleasurably experience. And for an entire week afterwards, I was done for by the time I got home at night and was in bed by 10:30 every night for a week. Of course, that put me way behind at work. That's pretty bad, when you have to work after hours every night just to keep up. Anyway, the drug they gave me for the Vertigo, I thought was a little too conspicuously named. It was called AntiVert. Which sounds like its what you would prescribe for Vertigo, but no other pill I've ever taken has been named with regards to its purpose. Where is AntiFlu or AntiStrep? I haven't seen those on the market anywhere. In fact, I thought one of the requirements of any drug title was to have at least double the amount of consonants as vowels. And it has to end with -ine. Right? For example, Benzistline. I just made that up, but it sounds like something you might be prescribed right? Not AntiVert or NoMorePain. What's next, Cold-B-Gone?
Now, don't get me wrong, AntiVert is a miracle drug. My vertigo was gone in no time. I was even able to go to the Clemson game the next day. To whoever created it, thank you. Awesome drug. Let's just throw some more consonants in that title, and maybe some Latin. I think it makes the doctors feel smarter prescribing it that way.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Picks moved to RedShirt Blog

My weekly picks have been moved to, my other blog. Also, I plan on posting a lot there this season about college football. Check it out.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Phil T's College Football Picks for Week 1

I'm going to try to get Jeni to pick 10 as well so we can see who picks the most right on the season.

VT -27.5 over ECU

Penn State -37 over FAU

Duke +4 over Uconn

West Virginia -23.5 over Western Michigan

Georgia Tech +1 over Notre Dame

Memphis +3 over Mississippi

Wake Forest +5.5 over Boston College

Arizona +3.5 over BYU

Baylor +21 over TCU

Oklahoma State +6.5 over Georgia

That's 10 games for ya, do with them what you want. But I recommend

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Country Club Golf

Had an interesting golf experience last week. Thursday, someone else was paying and we played at a very nice, private country club in Charlotte. I saw an ad posted saying membership was $400/month! The clubhouse was gigantic. The men's locker room was larger than my house, had several plasma TVs going, a wall of cologne's and aftershaves, a staff that included a shoe shine guy and bathroom attendant, and full lockers just like in the movies. The course was in immaculate condition. Drink carts, ranger, the whole deal. Today, I golfed at a small course, only 9 holes, drinks are facuts coming out of the ground, 50% grass, 50% dirt, you get the idea. So, I got the idea for a top 10 list.

Top 10 Ways you know the course you are playing will never host a PGA event:

1. You can pay for your round with a $20 bill and get several dollars change back.

2. You are wearing jeans and a polo shirt and you're the nicest dressed person there.

In fact, the dress code doesn't appear to even require a shirt. Mullets are strongly recommended.

3. Hole diagrams? What are those?

4. Lunch at the turn : corndog, crackers, and root beer - $2.

5. Tee times are not an option, schedule books are for those other guys. Just come whenever you want and tee off.

6. Yard markers? What are you, a pansy? Just hit the ball!

7. It takes a full swing of the putter to make a 15 yard putt because the greens are so slow.

8. You can drive by the course for 2 years and never actually know that its a golf course.

9. They let you walk 18 on the weekend

10. The ranger actually tells you to slow down and have a good time instead of rushing you along.

Also, the ranger isn't really an employee, its just an old guy in a cart who likes to drive around and watch people golf.

Starship Enterprise Putter

So, I had the privilege to play golf on Thursday for work. It was put together by a two companies that we are working with, we currently use them as technology consultants on a couple projects and they have some software they want us to buy as well. So they brought us and a couple others up to Charlotte for a 2 hour technology briefing and demo and then off to the course for a round of golf, on their tab of course. Anyway, we played best ball and my team tied for second with a 69. However, it was a 4 man team (well, 3 men and a woman in the case of my team), but 3 out of 4 of us aren't making an appearance on the PGA Tour anytime soon, if you know what I mean. We all had handicaps above 20. But our A player had a handicap below 5. He made his own clubs. Knew all the golf lingo. And, he had a starship enterprise putter. That's right, pictures are above. That's how you know you are arrived in the golf world. I've seen it all on the golf course now. Seriously folks, it was the starship enterprise. Apparently, from what I hear from him, it has the lowest moment of inertia of any putter. That makes it extremely forgiving. But it's the nerdiest thing you can carry in your bag. It even had the Star Trek emblem and NCC-1701 on the grip! It was a trip, although by hole 4, I was already tired of all the beam me up Scotty jokes.

Tech Support

I'm getting tired of Technical Support not actually wanting to offer me technical support. First, let me note that I am a computer technician, so when I call for tech help, its not because the power is out and I can't get my computer to turn on. Basically, I had a call in with McAfee earlier in the week with their SpamKiller add on for Groupshield and then another call with permissions problems on my Goodlink server. Both techs kept offering me knowledge base articles that they were confident would fix my problem. Now, I'm not against knowledge base articles, I'd be lost without them most of the time, especially the MS ones. But we (my company) pays a lot of money for the "gold" support yearly from these places, I'm not interested in milling through a complicated knowledge base article by myself. We pay for tech support so you can walk us through it. It's bad enough that I had to go to college just to learn Indian so that I can communicate with tech support, I'm sure as heck not going to just have someone give me a useless knowledge base article and say "call if you need help". No, I already called because I needed help. The Goodlink tech must have offered me 3 different articles, and he would have probably offered more if I hadn't told him after the 3rd time that he wasn't getting me off the phone until we solved the issue and he was going to walk me through it whether he liked it or not. Of course, I got that typical, "there's no need to get angry sir" speech. I hope I'm not the only one out there who's gotten that. I would hate to see what some of these companies have listed for me in the databases. It just gripes me, if I wanted to read the manual or a knowledge base article, I would have read the manual, but I didn't, I paid my yearly maintenance contract and I want support. Grrrr.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Pool

Jeni and I just got back from the neighborhood pool. We've lived in this subdivision for just over 2 years now (25 months) and today was our first trip to the pool. I figure, based on the percentage of our homeowners dues that go toward keeping the pool around times 2 years worth of dues, it probably cost us about $100/person in HOA dues to make the trip, especially since we took the shrub lined walkway (landscaping makes up a large percentage of the dues too). However, since its our first trip to the pool in a while, we were also pretty pasty white. Even after I took my white t-shirt off, all the other people at the pool area probably still thought I had it on. I'm also shockingly out of shape. After we got in the water, we decided to swim to the other end. 30 minutes later, I gave up about 3/4 of the way there and walked to the end, out of breath and out of energy. A couple minutes later, determined, I tried to swim back. I almost made it 60% of the way there before deciding that floating back made much more sense, given that proceeding any further and Jeni would be carrying me home. I was exhausted. We floated around a while, and then retreated back to our beach towels. I don't think I could ever be a swimmer. It seems like an awful lot of work to go 100 yards and back. And its dangerous. It's a lot easier to drown that it is to take a walk in the park. All in all, I'm glad to have my feet back on solid ground and be back in front of a computer. Home sweet home. Some people were just not meant to be fish.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Don't grow up to be cowboys

When I was a kid, there was a song I remember, "mamas, don't let your kids grow up to be cowboys" Kenny Rogers, I think? Anyway, I would just like to say, mama's, don't let your kids grow up to be email administrators. Notice the time this was posted, 4:30 am. Yep, had to get up to work on issue at 4:00 am, after having gone to bed at 1 am. Ironically, one of the other guys was already working on the issue when I got up. Still, email is the most important thing in the world to some people and we have to keep it going. Once you learn how it all works, the "magic" is gone and its just annoying. So, kids, don't grow up to be email administrators. Now, back to bed.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Season Tickets

One of the best days of the year happened last night. When we got home, there was a large envelope in the mail from the Clemson Athletic Department. That's right, the season tickets had arrived. It's like Christmas in August. There are few feelings like opening up that envelope and pulling out a sheet of fresh tickets to see your favorite team. The initial seconds are spent looking over the new years ticket designs. Then, the hope of a new season. You haven't lost a single game yet. There's still hope. This could be the year. Even if you know deep down it isn't, the season is still fresh, it's new, everyone still has a chance. You can hear the crowd, smell that distinctive tailgate smell as you walk through the parking lots, you see your star player sprinting to the end zone untouched in your mind's eye. Holding those tickets for the first time, hope springs eternal and the realization hits you that football season is once again at hand. Oh, wonderous day. Go Tigers!!!

Friday, August 10, 2007


Barry did it. He hit 756. He's the new home run king. But that's not what this post is about. I've been hearing several reporters and talking heads saying how this is the greatest sports moments of all time. They are saying how this is one of the most hallowed records in American sports. Well, make up your mind. Jeni and I already watched that record be broken, back on July 4th. The Nathans's Hot Dog Eating Contest. I will include a couple quotes from that broadcast. "world wide celebrity acclaim just seconds away", "this would be the greatest moment in the history of American sports if Joey Chestnet can bring the belt home", he may have changed the course of this nation with that, he has righted the course with that victory", "a true American hero". Really? I haven't heard anyone call Barry a true American hero. Has Barry righted the course of history? I don't think so. He's helped us doubt the achievements of our superstar athletes if anything. What Joey Chestnut did was legendary. 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes. It took Barry 22 years to hit 756 home runs. 22 years! You can do a lot of things if you have 22 years to achieve them. I'm starting to believe the announcers, maybe Chestnut does own the greatest moment in the history of American sports. Seriously, what is the competition? The 1980 "Miracle on Ice" gold medal win. Ali vs. Frazier. The shot heard around the world. Jesse Owens winning 4 gold medals in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Super Bowl III. 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes. All those other achievements pale in comparison to 66 hot dogs. Congratulations Barry, you are now the answer to a trivia question, you hold a record that every respectable sports fan knows the answer to. But what Chestnut did -- epic.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Jon McLaughlin and Mat Kearney

Jeni and I won concert tickets to see Jon McLaughlin and Mat Kearney last Friday night. Two guys who can't spell their first name properly, but are immensely talented. The above video is of Jon, Jeni wasn't excited about seeing him in concert, but was very glad she went. He is amazing live. You have to watch the video, the speed of his hands is pretty incredible. During the concert, he easily played every key. Imagine listening to like 45 minutes of the above, its no wonder he was sweating and out of breath the whole time. Mat was good and I recommend you see him as well, but I'd wanted to see him in concert for about 2 years now and he hadn't played near me. When he finally did, I was almost too hyped and it didn't meet my expectations. Plus, I don't think he was happy to be playing Greenville, SC in a wings joint in a 'private' concert for a radio station. It was good, I just think that 2 years of expectations building couldn't have been met by anyone. But watch the above video, particularly after the 3 minute mark until the end, wow.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pigeons on the Pill

My wife pointed this article out to me today, the pigeon population in Hollywood had gotten out of control. In my opinion, that's not the only thing in Hollywood that is out of control, but that is a matter for another post. See article in Yahoo! News:;_ylt=AvWteLdwkhCB.grlna3DUgADW7oF

So, instead of contracting this job out to a couple rednecks with rifles for about 3 weeks, they are going to spend 5 years feeding birds contraceptives to control the population. Does that not seem wrong to anyone else? What we are just putting thousands of pigeons on the pill against their will? Some pigeons may now never fulfill their dream of 2.5 baby pigeons and a cozy nest in the Hollywood suburbs.
Who is going to counsel all the female birds of all the possible side effects? Couldn't dizzy, nauseous, or moody pigeons actually now create a health risk to humans?
What about birth defects? What about male pigeons!?! They are going to be eating this contraceptive food as well, right? Will that turn them gay? Or are they already gay because they are Californian pigeons? If pigeons do form an "alternative lifestyle" race of pigeons, then I think we will have definitive proof that man was not created that way, but environmental changes influenced his persuasion. I know one thing, I feel sorry for those male pigeons. Who knows what will happen to them. We might need to add a couple more food bins to the equation and put bird steroids in those to man up a couple of them.
I'm not sure this is going to work. Won't the pigeons just adapt into a transgender species and continue reproducing.
My favorite line from the article though is is the same as Jeni's: "The poop problem has become unmanageable and this could be the answer." All this, just to solve a poop problem.

Review: Transformers

Work has been a struggle the last 2 weeks leaving me no time for blogging, so this review is about 2 weeks old. Anyway, I was optimistic about this movie, but cautious at the same time. I was worried that my children memories would be ruined by a crappy adaptation. They weren't. If this movie is still playing in a theatre near you, I strongly recommend you go see it. The beginning action scene was difficult to follow, but it gets better. It had a good amount of humor to offset the action and the story line was ok. Toward the end, Jeni felt it was a little 'unbelievable' and contrived with a couple of the sayings that seemed a little too movie like and not what someone would say in real life. But hey, you're watching a movie about giant transforming robots from outer space who bring their civel war to planet Earth, at what point was it believable to begin with. But all in all, well worth your movie dollar. Now I just have to get to work on my M.A.S.K. screen adaptation.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Icon Diversity

I was installing a new piece of software the other day and saw something new. You always see TV commercials and movies where the cast of characters are diversified. Apparently, Hollywood would have us believe that all groups of teenages hanging out has at one member of every race and that the group be split 50/50 girls to guys. But we know better. I've been to the mall. Anyway, I had yet to see diversity displayed on my computer icons. One of the menu screens on the web interface for a new product we are using here at work is to the upper right. Clearly, those little Fisher Price wanna be's are diversified. I got a good chuckle out of the graphic. I just wonder which of those baldies are the girl ones.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Slow week

I feel bad as I've been unable to post much this month, but really, bloggable material wise its been a slow couple weeks. I don't have much to say except, try clicking on my Redshirt Football blog to the right. I'm working on publishing team previews for all the BCS teams by August 1st.

Monday, July 16, 2007

May the Force be with you

This picture cracks me up. Now you know why I'm leary of squirrels while walking through the park.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Creation Museum

Jeni and I went to the Creation Museum this weekend. The Creation Museum is the product of Answers in Genesis, an organization devoted to using science to prove creation over evolution. Unbeknownst to the liberal media, there is a lot of science out there that confirms that the earth is only 6000 years old instead of billions of years old and that it takes a ton of faith to believe both creation and evolution and that the theory of evolution has numerous holes and is very far from fact.
Overall, I enjoyed the Museum. There were a lot of dinosaur displays. However, they were sold out of the planetarium tickets for the day so we didn't get to see that. Plus, there was a record high crowd and we had to wait over an hour to get into the museum and about 45 minutes to get into the theatre. I will definitely be going back. I've heard the planterium is the best thing there so I regret not seeing it. Plus, it was so crowded, I skipped several displays and skimmed others so I don't feel that I got the full experience.
One of my biggest disappointments was that they weren't prepared for a crowd. I don't really blame them for this. It's only 2 months old, I'm confident their logistics will get better. I want to wait several months to go back so that they can get all the initial kinks, logistics and crowd control issues worked out. Also, to another degree, it was almost too family friendly. It seems like they backed off on some of the science parts to make it appeal to a larger audience. Over time, I'd like to see them expand more on some of the science aspects and delve deeper into that. But that's me, and I'm a geek. I'm sure they wouldn't sell as many tickets that way, which is probably why they have a huge creation science bookstore at the end of it. So I guess I don't have many complaints afterall. They still acheive their main purpose well, which is to cast considerable doubt on the theory of evolution and teach people that you can believe in both science and creation. That science and creation don't have to conflict with one another. To me, that is the most important point. As long as they can always get that point across to people, I'll be happy.
Well worth the price of admission and trip to the 'Nati.

Garden Update

Time for a little update on the garden. The herbs are going well, the green beans are coming around now that we've had some rain over the last 2 weeks. The tomatoes could be doing much better. We are getting a couple cucumbers every week, but Jeni claims they are not edible. The sunflowers are doing well and we are gong to have thousands of sunflower seeds.

The biggest news is that we now have some watermelons staring to grow. Right now, they are really little. We call them mini melons. Click here for the pictures.

Book Review : Blindside by Michael Lewis

Jeni and I just got back from a trip to Cincinnati and on the trip we listened to the new Michael Lewis book "Blindside". It's the story of Michael Oher, a freak of nature left tackle. Oher had a rough childhood, growing up in the Memphis ghetto before being taken in by a rich, white family and given a Christian education.
Good book. It started slow and it took Jeni a while to get into it, but when she did, even she thought it was a pretty good book. He makes a lot of good points about racial differences and the different cultures without directly addressing the issue. The book is designed and written more just to get you to think about it and about how a life can be changed just by changing the person's environment.
However, I thought it was a pretty big risk to write a book about someone who really hasn't done much. I mean sure, he's all freshman SEC and it's a great story, but he's still just a college player. I guess even if Michael Oher isn't successful, it's still a success story because a life has been changed. But, worth the read (or listen) nonetheless.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Stoplight Trouble

Jeni and I were running a few minutes behind going to church on Sunday, so we were in a hurry driving there. Nothing too out of the ordinary, especially since we hadn't gotten back from Columbia until 1:30 am the night before and I'd worked another hour and 1/2 after we got home. I am the second car in line at a stoplight and there is no one behind us. It's not a busy intersection, very little traffic. So the light turns green and the big Dodge RAM truck in front of us doesn't go. I give it a few seconds, but I'm in a hurry and its a short green this direction. I'm thinking I'm about quarter way through the green by now. So I do what any red blooded American who's running late would do, I honk my horn. Only this guy was ready. He quickly got out of that truck (in fact, Jeni almost thinks it was too quick and that he was just sitting ready to pick a fight, but I think it just happened fast, like a movie) and started heading our way. He wanted to fight. He was yelling quite a few things that he was going to do to me, but I didn't want any of those things done to me, so I decided that speeding away would be the best idea. I can't put in print any of the things he said, but let's just say that my mother would have covered her ears. He was not happy with me. Now, some of you may call me a coward for glancing in my rearview, shifting into reverse and creating some space, and then driving off. But I assure you, I was late. This was a big guy, it would have taken me 10-15 minutes to take care of him and then I would have been really late to church. So, I just drove around him. Heck, the way I see it, he's just lucky I drove around him and not through him. I'm guessing car beats human in a game of chicken every time.
Surprisingly, he didn't chase after me after he got back in the truck. I thought he would. I think he was drunk and ready for a fight but not for a car chase. Jeni thinks he had a female in the passenger seat settling him down.
At any rate, that is the first time someone ever got out of their car on me. I will probably be more careful in the future as I'd have been really upset if I'd had to fight him. I was tired and irritable from a bunch of work stress.
I kept thinking two things. One, had that been a crowded intersection, I'm not sure what I would have done. The Saturn would not have been able to nudge his truck out of the way. I guess I would have written down his license plate and called the cops. But I would have felt more like a coward if he's standing there beating on the car window. Plus, he looked big enough to shatter a Saturn car window. Secondly, boy am I glad the passenger (if there was one, it happened quickly and neither of us remember) didn't have a gun. Let me tell you , I know that Jeni's Saturn is not outrunning any bullets. And I'm guessing bad guys aren't as bad of shots in real life as they are in the movies. Even if they did miss us and the car took a couple bullets, I'm not sure how'd we'd explain that to the insurance company. They already laughed at us for busting up our garage door, I'm sure they'd get a kick out of bullet holes.
On a lighter note, he was a Notre Dame fan. I'm not saying anything, I'm just saying. I think he was taking that "Fighting Irish" thing a little too seriously. Or, maybe I wasn't taking it seriously enough. He's was probably a Yankees fan too.

Friday, June 29, 2007


I can't wait! The movie is only days away!!!

New Trailer just to get you a little more excited.

Slow connection :

Fast connection:

Plus, I guaranteed I'd get to see it in the theatres last night. Jeni and I were having a discussion about whether or not I needed to go outside in the heat and close her trunk. I assured her that she closed it when we were out there, she thought otherwise. I knew I was right, so agreed to go see a chick flick if I was wrong, but that we had to go see Transformers if I was right. It was a non-issue. I knew I was right before we talked out the door. Autobots and Decepticons, here we come!!

The Steak and Waffle - Life in SC

One of the good things about living in the south is the dual purpose stores. I can remember when I was in college, one of the guys I lived with, we'll call him Brunson for the sake of this post, we used to always joke about two particular stores in Seneca, SC. One was the "Steak and Waffle". What a combo. "Good Morning, would you like to try our Belgian Waffle and Sirloin Steak special". Brunson was particularly fond of "Talk and Tan". Where you could buy a new cell phone, or get a sun tan. I guess the cell phone business was slow so they added a few tanning beds in the back.

Well, I ran across a picture today that reminded me of those. I'm not sure that this picture is in SC, but it could be. I like it. The "Bible and Tire." Instant classic. I can only imagine the July 4th weekend specials now "Buy 4 tires, get a free Bible". Or, "FREE hubcap with purchase of a Bible - ANY version".


As I was driving by the fireworks shack near my house this morning, I couldn't help but think about my experience there last 4th of July. I'm sure you all know how most firework shacks and stores have big signs out front and inside that proclaim "No Smoking". Well, not this one. It's just a small metal building. And as I entered, I didn't even notice the lack of signs. The front desk clerk was smoking a cigarette the whole time. Smoking is bad enough for you as it is, much less smoking in a room full of explosives and fuses. Any health risks associated with smoking just became a little more meaningless. I'd say you are more likely to drop a few burning embers onto a fuse and blow up than to contract lung cancer in this situation. I mean, you have to smoke for years to get lung cancer, and I'm not sure that you could smoke multiple times every day for years in a firework store without some type of 'incident'. That's like walking across the Grand Canyon every day on a tight rope. You would get good at it and soon it would be second nature, but one day, one day you are going to make a mistake. Just one mistake, and kablooie.
I guess they think that if something happens, he'd just run out. I got news for him, I don't think there be time.
Anyway, hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July and remember, nothing says "God Bless America" like shooting stuff into the air and blowing stuff up.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My Bloggable, Loveable Wife

Recently, Jeni has been experiencing some deep sleep. What makes this entertaining for me is when I try to wake her. See, she speaks before she is all the way awake. So I get a little piece of her dream even though she doesn't remember it at all when she gets woken up. Sunday morning was a double whammy. I was already up and working on getting breakfast ready when it was time to wake her up. So I went in and before she told me "another 5 minutes" and hit me on my nose (her symbolic snooze button) she asked me "Did you get your car figured out?". I said, "Huh?". "So you can get everything done, did you get your car figured out?". I said, "Yes". Within a few seconds, she turned over and asked for another 5 minutes. A couple minutes later, I came back in and tried to wake her again. This time she asked me "What about the daises?". Not knowing anything about any daisies, I asked her to clarify. She didn't say anything and just turned back over and said "I think I need to go back to sleep". That was all she said. Of course, when I woke her a third time, she remembered none of this and still claims I'm making it all up. Although, I'm not really that creative.
Later that same day, we were napping. Suddenly, she pushes me away, sits up in the bed and asks me if I'm alone. I was bewildered and didn't answer right away with anything except "What are you talking about?" Seemingly freaked out at this point she said, "You have to tell me, are you alone in here?". I was thinking, no, you're here, the cats are here, it's pretty crowded at the moment. But decided the correct answer would be "Yes, it's just me, I'm alone". She said OK and laid back down and was out. I tried to ask her what was going on but she didn't answer so I didn't wake her. I thought I'd blog about it instead. So if you ever see Jeni sound asleep, approach slowly and be prepared for anything.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bird Smuggling

Whilst coming home from St Thomas last week, I had to go through Customs. The thing I found interesting was that they made quite a big deal about bird smuggling. I was asked about it by a Customs official and there were several posters and notices hanging on the walls warning against it. Apparantly, approximately 25,000 birds are smuggling in every year. My question is, how? that is A LOT of birds.
So, it got me thinking, I would never smuggle a bird, I have no need to. BUT, I was thinking, and I don't have any suitcases capable of smuggling birds. Plus, they search every bag and carry on, so you'd have to have some type of hidden contraption that would keep the bird from showing up on x-rays or from being visible in a search. Plus, you can't carry it on, it'd chirp the whole flight. Surely, that would tip someone off. How do you get the bird to be quiet during security checks? I wouldn't even have the know how. That many birds coming into the US, it has to be through non-commercials flights or something, cause I don't see TSA missing something like that these days.
In discussing this back on the mainland with Jeni though, she suggested that you "trank" (short for tranquilize) the bird and then you could carry it with you, like duct taped to your body or something. Not if you were beside the fat guy I was beside was my initial thought, but then as I pondered it more, I wondered how she knew so much about bird smuggling all the sudden. She even knew the lingo, like "trank" and "concealed bird". So then we had to have a talk about that. Boys and girls, I should warn you, if you are going to get married, always remember to have "the talk" about all your partners priors, bird smuggling expeditions that is. You don't want to get two years in and discover you are married to an international bird smuggler. In my case, Jeni claims she isn't Senorita Pájara or the infamous "Bird Lady", and still claims she has never been to St Thomas, but we don't have any vacation plans there anytime soon.
I still have my doubts about the ability to do it on a commercial flight or why you would even want to (maybe Greenville just doesn't have the bird black market that other cities do), but whatever. I know I wanted to suffocate a couple of birds outside my hotel window for making too much racket at 6 am, but smuggling them was not on my mind.

Fight Fire with Fire

Here are the Townsend Mansion, we are becoming acostome to fighting green bean fires. That's right, we burnt the beans again. We are becoming so good at it, we might even start teaching classes, "What to do if you forget about your green beans boiling 101" or "Cooking for Forgetful People". Yep, that makes 3 times for us burning green beans, not including a small french fry fire that was contained to a couple plates and a coffee table. We are sorely disappointed in ourselves to say the least. The sad part is that it was very sitcom like. We ate green beans for dinner, but had only let them cook about 1 hour, so we were planning on letting them cook another 2-3 hours before putting them away for leftovers. Well, we went outside to work on cleaning up the garage and putting together a work bench, and the next thing you know, "Do you smell something? Somebody is smoking something". After ruling out cigarettes, pot, and cigars, we determined that someone was either smoking or burning something nearby, but couldn't determine what. Moments later, I'm following Jeni into the house and as soon as she opens the door, she turns and give me a look of fear and shock. Suddenly, as we darted through the smoke filled house, we remembered the beans. We were maybe 1-2 minutes away from the fire alarm and a large fire. The green beans resembled charcoals more so than beans and the bottom of the pot was red hot. Luckily, we got it cooled quickly. The only trouble now is the smell. I don't know about you, but the smell of burnt green beans is not what you would call "pleasing". It no longer smells like the bed of roses that it once did. It smells like a mix of Febreze, ashes, rotten green beans, and vanilla scented candles. Mostly ashes and green beans. Good times. I'm looking forward to coming home tomorrow after a long day at work and breathing it the fresh burnt smell.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Avis "We Try Harder?"

I think Avis needs to try even harder. Their slogan is "We Try Harder", but I tend to think that they still don't try nearly hard enough. My last couple experiences with them have been below average. I guess I'm just spoiled by Thrifty (which is what I use when I'm paying) and Triangle Rent-a-car in Greenville. At Triangle, the worst thing I've ever driven is a Ford 500 or maybe a Chrysler Sebring. Both current models. Most of the time, they have you in a Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, or a Dodge Nitro. Thrifty, normally a new Kia or Hyundai, which I can handle that. Triangle, by the way, offers all of those models for less than the price of Avis.

My car from Avis in Miami, a Ford Taurus. They don't even make those anymore. It was like a 2004 model. In St Thomas, I'm in a beat up (seriously) Ford Focus. Which at first I didn't think I'd like it, but I'm kinda glad I'm in a small car now because of the narrow streets. It needs a tuneup pretty bad and a trip to the repair shop for some body damage.

That's just the car. In Miami, I had to pay with two credit cards, stand in the rain for 23 minutes (I timed it) waiting on a shuttle. Seriously, are you trying?
In St Thomas, no shuttle, but none of the rental car places had one, so I guess I can't fault them there except that they say they are trying harder. Being like everyone else is considered just trying. So, walking about 3/4 mile and up a flight of stairs in the sweltering St Thomas heat to my beat up Ford Focus, well, I'm just glad no Avis reps were around when I got there and tried to maneuver my way out of the parking lot through all the returned cars parked sporatically through the parking lot.

Driving in St Thomas

I'm in St Thomas this week for work, let me just say, you don't want to drive here. You don't. They are missing two crucial elements to being able to find your way around on a mysterious island, road signs and lines on the road. There are no street signs. In talking with the people in the office, they think it's funny. It's not. We invented road signs for a reason. They just find places "by feel" and by landmarks. Seriously. "Up and left" were directions to the mountaintop cafe. Really? I couldn't have figured that out on my own.
The other frustrating thing is that nothing is open. Yesterday was ok because the cruise ships were in town so stuff was open. Today, its a ghost town. The 5th restaraunt I went to I ate at. The first 4 were either closed or having a private party. Average opening time, 10 am. Average closing time, 4 pm. Even my bank is open more than that. I went out for lunch today and it was just weird to see so many things closed up just because there weren't any cruise ships in.
I won't even start on the "taxi's" (there are really F350's with bench seats in the bed and a canopy), narrow streets, people parking where ever they feel like it (including on the street) or the fact that they drive on the left and the cars aren't modified to be steered on the right.
If you come to St Thomas, bring money for a "taxi" and be prepared to walk. Oh, and dress cool, it's so hot here, that even I think its hot. Now, that's hot.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

New Feature

To the right, underneath the "other blogs" section, you will notice my newest feature. From time to time, I will update it with what I am currently listening to. Legally, I can't post any entire songs, just clips, but hopefully enough to give you an idea and hopefully introduce you to some new artists.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Miami Spray Paint

One of the new shows on TLC that has all the kids talking is Miami Ink. Well, I was recently in Miami, but instead of getting inked, I got spray painted. Mind you, not on purpose. As with all good stories, it begins with the phrase "It just so happened". It just so happens that I was in Miami on a quick 24 hour trip to install some DR measures and make sure the Miami office was ready for hurricane season. Our Miami office is in a about a 43 story tall building, so there are 15 elevators servicing it. We are on the 20th floor. After fighting with security to be allowed up to the 20th floor (apparently, being on the list means nothing), I was on my way up the elevator. Well, a crew of latinos were painting elevator doors that night. And it just so happened, that out of all the doors they could be painting, that's right, they were painting elevator door #3 on the 20th floor, right as the little bell dings and the door comes open. There I am, not thinking the door would open to a spray paint gun, poised to walk out of the elevator. But to my surprise, I got speckled. Luckily the damage was minimal. My firm issued laptop that I was holding and instinctly used as a shield once I realized what was happening got some speckle on it and my arm was slightly speckled, but it washed right off. The problem was that I was would be the only one of the floor that night that spoke English. After the door opened, the painter and his compadre began pointing and screaming in Spanish. I soon realized that as he pulled the gun away from me, he had gotten quite a bit of spray on the wood panelling between the elevators. But it didn't take but a minute or so for me to suddenly be extremely light hearted. I felt seconds away from passing out. I notice, I'm also the only one not wearing a mask. I head to the office and fiddle with the keys, but the lock is on the floor. Valuable lesson kids: You don't want to be leaning over trying to unlock a door inches from the floor when you are seconds ahead from headed to the floor anyway, unable to breath. Out of breath, light headed, and foggy, I stumbled to the back door and was able to get it.
In the office, the smell was not as bad, but I was as high as a kite within the hour. Jeni called, she thought I had taken something I think. She said I being goofy. Anyway, I performed what server work needed to be done in the office quicky and got out of there to work remotely and do final testing of everything from the hotel where I could breathe. I had to make a return trip in the morning to follow up, luckily, I left Miami on time and down from my contact high. I can only imagine what airport security would have been like had they thought I'd been sniffing paint. It was bad enough as it was as my computer bag got checked/screened for explosive material. At least they found that null modem cable I was missing.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Airports and Flying

I flew to Miami today (for work) and flying back tomorrow. I used to somewhat enjoy flying, as much as one can that is. It beats driving that's for sure. But all that has changed.
Security changes? No.
Terrorist threats? No.
Cramped airplanes? Nope, not that either.
Parking? Long check in lines? None of that.
It's the people. I can't stand people in airports. It's like everyone drops 100 IQ points when they walk in the door. Now, there are some people who get it. But many, no matter who many times they have flown, act they this is a surreal, confusing experience. They don't know how to act in public anymore. They can't control their children. They can't even follow simple signage and instructions.
This is what really gets me. How many hours does the average American spend in front a TV every week? Several, I would guess. Yet, the Departures/Arrivals TV screens, ug. They confuse people. I was at a gate near them today in Atlanta and people would just stand and stare at it. Many asked airport personnel for help reading it. Really? They are alphabetical!
The security checkpoint, oh now that is confusing to these folks. It bewilders the crap out of people. I'm not sure why either. They are millions of signs. They are tons of news reports and articles on it. There is a list of things they want you to put on the conveyor belt. You put those things in a bin and put it through. Simple. What part of "Put your belt on the conveyor belt" don't you understand. Yes, ma'am, you have to take the belt off to put it on the conveyor. The lady in front of me today took 3 tries to get through the metal detector. She knows she's going through a metal detector, right? It detects metal. You can't trick it. And after the first failure, why didn't she wisen up and remove all her metal instead of just some? Oh, the second time, it'll never figure out I still have metal. And then she wondered why they gave her a hard time. Cause you aren't smart enough to figure out to surrender any metal you have on you BEFORE you go through the metal detector!
And keep your kids from yelling and talking loud on the plane. It's a small enough space. Others can hear your uncontrolled kid. Shut them up. There's a 100 people on the plane, at least 97 of them don't care what your kid is talking about today.
And keep them from kicking the back of my seat. I can feel that.
So, please, if you do go to the airport to fly somewhere, security allows you to bring your brain along. Pay attention, follow the signs, and you'll be fine. Act like you've been in public before. Act like you've seen a sign before and can comprehend it.
On the bright side, I found out today that if you are too fat for your seat belt to close around you, they can give a seat belt extension. And, if you want to feel skinny, just be the only one in your row that doesn't need one.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

9 Years Ago

A long, long time 9 years ago, in a galaxy state far, far away, I graduated high school. This was on my mind this weekend as Jeni and I are in Indiana for my step sisters high school graduation. A couple thoughts from the graduation last night:

-Does anyone ever remember anything from their valedictorians speech? Heck, I can't even remember who gave ours, much less anything that was said. I would like to meet the person who claims, "My life was going nowhere, until I heard my valedictorians speech, it inspired me and changed my life".

-The song the band played in the middle of the ceremony, "Pirates of the Caribbean". This class loves Johnny Depp. Jeni suggested that the next speaker swing in on a rope. I expected graduates to start swashbuckling at any moment, for some entertainment.

9 years ago. Wow, seems like just the other day and so, so, so long ago at the same time.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Our Garden

Our garden is finally all planted. This year, we put landscape timbers all the way around it, two high. Amazingly, we bought this timbers dirt cheap at the end of the season last year and just guessed at how many we would need and had only 3 feet leftover when we were finished. Had we measured it all out, we would have had more waste than that.

So, good news for me, I have something else to weed eat around! Most of the other planters are completed too, we had a productive weekend.

Official garden inventory:

3 tomato plants (2 Big Boy, 1 Rutgers - in honor of Sean)
3 cucumber plants
2 dill plants
1 Sage
2 Chives
1 rosemary
1 oregano
1 parsley
1 Greek basil
3 rows (20 ' long each) of Top Crop Bush green beans
3 hills of watermelon seeds
18 landscape timbers
countless hours and blood, sweat and tears. And more sweat to come.

See pictures of them prior to them dying, click here. Enjoy.

To bee or not to bee

Albert Einstein once predicted that when bees disappear, humans will only be a few years behind. It makes sense when you think about it. Bees pollinate about 130,000 types of vegetation. Without vegetation, animals have nothing to eat, which in turns leads us to having nothing to eat.
Why do I bring this up? Because I just read an article about bees. Did you know bee population is at an all time low? There's this thing called Colony Collapse Disorder than is killing off a massive amount of bees. The drop in bee population hasn't been this bad since 1896 when they started keeping track. Why we were keeping track of bee population in 1896? Previous documented population drops have been large, but none as global the most recent decline over the last 7-10 years. Anyway, you are probably wondering to yourself right now, why am I reading about bees and is Phil off his rocker again? Why is he writing about bees?!?
Two things I found interesting about this.
The first is that the cause is unknown. But, some scientists are hoping that instead of some other factors, that the cause is a disease. Why? Because researchers at Vita (world's leading bee health company [yes, you read that right, bee health companies exist]) are confident that if its a disease they can cure it. Seriously? Maybe we need to get these guys researching cancer. What makes them so confident that just because its a disease that we can cure it? I'm just as nervous its a disease we can't cure as anything else. We can't cure all human diseases, what makes us thing we can cure all bee diseases?

The second is that one possible cause is cell phone radiation. There is big push in our culture right now to be 'green'. But right now, it isn't really costing us anything to do so. What if we all had to give up cell phones to save bees? Would we? How would we explain that one to future generations? "Oh, we used to be able to call anyone anywhere, but the bees couldn't handle it. They got all stressed out about it." The cell phone industry is large, and I'm sure billions would be invested in changing the technology, but what if it wasn't quick enough and we had to give up cell phones for 3 years? 2 years? Could we even make it a year? I don't think it will come to that, but it makes me curious to wonder if we as a society would make that change to save ourselves and I wonder if there would be resistance. And how much resistance. It would literally involve a massive shift in the way our society worked.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Movie Idea

I heard a good movie idea the other day, I thought I would share. I can't take credit this, its Adam Carolla's idea just with my slight modifications. I hope you find it as hilarious as I did.

The name of the movie is Pedof Isle. The year is 2027. June 2027. We all know pedophiles are an issue in our society now, feeding off new technologies like, the Internet. But by 2027, we've shipped them all off to an island off the coast of the Pacific. I don't know where we'll find this island, just that we'll find one. Maybe Lost will be done by then and we can use that island.

So, there's this plane full of boy scouts on its way to Australia for a scouting expedition. But the side story is that there's this older kid that's coming along, an Eagle Scout because his dad is the troop leader. But he resents his Eagle Scouting days and hates the scouts now, he's in this goth phrase and doesn't want to go, but his dad makes him. One last scouting expedition for the road. So, he's riding along not paying attention, has headphones on, hating every minute of the trip. Just then, the plane crashes on Pedof Isle.
The dad dies, but before he dies, as he's trapped under the wreckage he delivers a monologe (there's always time for one last speech, even dying under smeltering plane wreckage) to his son that 'this is his troop now!' and how he has to lead them to safety. As he dies, he opens his hand and in it, there's a bloody merit badge for leadership, the one badge the Eagle Scout son never got.
So, the son, the reluctant leader, starts leading the boy scouts to the top of the mountain out of harms way from all the pedophiles that are now starting to surround the plane wreckage having not seen a boy in years. Along the way, they must use all their scouting skills like tying knots, pitching tents, making fire, etc. The Boy Scouts of America need to have this movie made to save their organization. It could be the epic turning point.
Meanwhile, the government has disavowed all knowledge of Pedof Isle, so the search for this boy scouts is top secret. Ever notice how the government always disavows all knowledge of stuff like this in the movies? One Navy Seal with a checkered past knows about Pedof Isle and when he volunteers for the mission, he's denied, they say, "There's no such island, it doesn't exist." But despite the reject, he forms a rag tag team of ex-military friends and they head off to Pedof Isle under the cover of darkness. You know they are guaranteed success because they are a rag tag team, whenever you need something done, rag tag is the way to go. It's the only way you can be sure there will be a happy ending.
I won't give away the ending, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mashed Potatoes?!?

Jeni and I have been practically bent over in stomach pain for almost 24 hours now. It has been a sad state of affairs in the Townsend Mansion lately. We both have felt like we were just punched in the stomach since about 2 hours after dinner last night.
We can't really even figure out what went wrong. Only thing we had was ranch crusted chicken and mashed potatoes. The chicken didn't sit out long, the ranch dressing didn't sit out long, and the corn flakes were a bit old, but I don't think corn flakes can do this to someone. Jeni thinks its because she thought about having ice cream and her stomach rebelled at the very thought of it. My guess is that we were out of milk and I had to improvise on the mashed potatoes. I substituted heavy whipping cream and watered it down a bit (at the advice of Jeni, mind you, I would not have come up with this on my own). In hindsight, I'm thinking each of us having ~1/4 cup of cooked cream was not the best thing we could do for ourselves.
I write this to warn all of you. Heavy whipping cream is NOT a substitute for milk. I won't be trying that one again, that is for sure. Trust me on this one, I haven't felt this bad since the last time I was quoted as saying "3 weeks isn't that far past the expiration date, is it?"

Monday, May 14, 2007

Homeless and Less Fortunate

Tonight at the gas station, I was pumping some gas when some guy comes out of the store and gives me his story about how he's out of gas and miles from home and needs a few dollars to get home. Well, I'm feeling generous and give him a $5 bill from my wallet.

Now, I don't relay this story to make myself look good. In fact, it's quite the opposite. As he came back out and starting pumping some gas and I pulled away, I guess I felt good in one regard that hopefully I was able to help him out. But in a larger sense I felt bad for two reasons. The first is that I could have done more. I could have filled up his tank. Secondly, I kept thinking about all the people I hadn't helped. Why him? Why today? I feel like part of the reason I helped him was because this is the South and I feel like I can trust people more here. The biggest thing I dislike about travelling for work (aside from being away from home and the "Table for 1" embarassment) is that most of our offices are in large cities and I know I'm going to be constantly asked for money. Sometimes, just walking 1-2 blocks from hotel to office, I'm asked for money 3-4 times. And you know what? I never give. And I feel horrible about it. Seriously. It makes me feel sick to turn down so many people, so frequently. I feel like I'm a generous person, a good person, and a Christ follower. And Christ commanded us to give to the poor, he goes so far as to say in Matthew 25 that to not feed the hungry, to not give the thirsty drink, etc is to do the same to Him. Which is one of the reasons why I end up feeling horrible by the time I get to the office. Now, I try to justify to myself that this is a different ballgame. In the inner city, people are just trying to take advantage of me. In downtown LA, I was trying to walk 4 blocks to get breakfast and after just 1 block, I'd told two people 'no' and now I had a guy walking beside me pressuring me to give him money. I felt I was 1/2 block away from having an LA mugging story to tell, so I darted in a cafe just to get away from him as he stood at the door yelling at me. I think "surely that's not what Jesus meant" and then hold that guys forceful begging and attitude against all of them. Heck, I even looked around before leaving the cafe that day to try and minimize the number of times I'd have to say 'no' before I got back to my hotel. Isn't that horrible? So, I don't tell you that story to make myself look good, but to hopefully get you thinking. It got me thinking anyway.
Why is it that we give to some and not to others?
Are we called to help out all of them the best that we can? Even when we feel threatened?
What holds us back? Greed? Feeling of unsafety?
Am I the only one that feels bad about this? Should I feel bad about this?
Just a couple hypothetical questions to ponder.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

God Bless America? Hasn't He already?

In thinking a lot about greed lately, I was re-listening to a sermon by Rob Bell that is simply amazing. His previous series had discussed helping the oppressed and less forunate and then in this series called "Calling all Peacemakers", he explored that much more. This sermon even led to a Nooma video called "Rich" about greed in America. You can listen to it here:

Some interesting stats he mentions:

12% of the world's population uses 85% of its water.
40% of the world lacks basic sanitation facilitation (which contributes to disease and all kinds of other factors)
1 billion people in the world are without safe drinking water, but Americans consume 26 billion liters of bottled water per year

The US spends more on trash bags annually than nearly half the world does on all goods combined.
The US GDP is 21.4% of world capital, but its population is only between 5 and 6%.
Average wood consumption per day worldwide is 4 lbs, average US consumption 14 lbs/day. (Wood consumption includes all paper products).
Every 16 seconds someone dies of hunger, 2/3rds of Americans are considered overweight.

8% of people in the World own a car, 33% of American families own 3 cars.
Only 1% of the world owns a computer.
The US accounts for 25% of global oil consumption.
We use 20 million barrels of day of oil and have 5-6% of world population, China is in 2nd in terms of millions of barrels per day with 5.6 million, but has almost 20% of world population.
In 2001, 22 million people died of preventable diseases, meaning diseases that you or I could go to the doctor or ER and be cured of.

The US holds 42.8% of weapons worldwide and in 2002, the US spent more on defense than the next 18 biggest spenders combined.

1 out of 4 children worldwide have to go to work everyday instead of school, but 85% of Americans are high school graduates.
1% of the world has a college education, but close to 30% of Americans have a bachelors degree.

Average new home square footage:
US 2349 sq ft
Japan 1000 sq ft
Ireland 930 sq ft
UK 815 sq ft

Could you even sell a 815 sq ft home in the US? 700? 500?
80% of the world lives in what is considered substandard housing. Meaning it lacks running water, electricity, sanitation, etc.

There's more, but these were most interesting to me.