serendipitous reflections

Sunday, November 28, 2004

9 Years?? Get out of town

Happy Anniversary!! (11-25)

Honestly I can't believe Dean and I have been married for nine years. Time flies by so fast. Dean and I met in college and were "just friends" for a year, and as fate would have it we fell in love. It didn't happen instantly, but it is a lifelong love. I get to share everyday - good or bad, happy or sad- with my best friend. Who would believe two people would fall in love playing gin, eating Papa John's (student's special - $9.99), and making midnight trips to Kentucky to play the lottery. It sounds corny, but it's very true.

We are still each others best friends and it has been an amazing ride. Some people were betting against us, but that's ok because in the end we know we were meant to be together.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Day-after shopping

Jeni and I went "Day-After Thanksgiving" shopping this morning. Normally we leave the craziness for everyone else, but this year we joined in on the fun. On Thursday night, we formulated our plan, scouting out the deals, an itenerary based on opening times, and a strategy so as not to get distracted. We were watching TV last night, and being a bit of night owls to begin with, noticed we were up past 1:00 and we were to start shopping a 5:00. So we decided just to push through the night and sleep after we shopped. I'll admit I started to hit a wall about 2:30 (I'm 32, not 18), but managed to power through. Our target wakeup call did not come at 4:15 as ordered (Lord Vader, you let me down ... it finally came at 6:20), but we were out and at Kay-Bee Toys by 4:55 a.m. They opened early, and thankfully were only letting five people in at a time. We did not stray from our plan, got exactly what we needed, and we out by 5:10.

Then it was to KMart. Orginially the plan was to drop Jeni at KMart, and for me to go to Best Buy and wait in line. Well, it was cooler outside than expected (come on, it was 5:30 in the morning), so we decided to split up in KMart and be a little faster. Good thing. There was a line at KMart of crazy people standing in the cold to be the first one in. It was really interesting to see when the first person decided to get a cart, then everyone started to load up on carts with some people getting two. But since we only needed a handful of things, we weren't messing with that. We have also learned with a store that size, you don't have to be the first person in line, so we waited in the warm car until about five minutes to 6:00. In and out in less than 20 minutes.

Then we headed to Best Buy. Someone in the KMart line had originally started at Best Buy, but saw that the line at Best Buy was about three times the size of the one at KMart (Best Buy I would estimate had a line of 150+). I feel like I got the last parking space at Best Buy. Unfortunately, they are across the street from Toys R Us so all extra parking was filling quickly too. I gave Jeni a door drop, parked, and found her in the winding, amusement-park style line. If the deal we got wasn't just amazing, we probably wouldn't have even bothered.

A quick swing-through of Old Navy (we have one of the best Old Navy stores I've even seen, believe it or not) and we were out and on the road by 7:30.

Our next stop was Michael's with a 60 percent off coupon that expired at 8 a.m. and a 50 percent off from 8 to 10 a.m. We made it in just before 8 a.m. We split our purchase and managed to use both coupons. Then we were headed back home to sleep. We ate a little leftover cake, watched about the first 15 minutes of last Sunday's Crossing Jordan, and were out like a light. Total expenditure, under $100!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thanksgiving dinner

Jeni fixed an amazing Thanksgiving dinner complete with the moistest turkey I think I've even had, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, fresh cranberry sauce, stuffing with apples in it, deviled eggs and rolls. I made iced tea. I try to do my part.

Grand Theft Auto

We picked up Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas the other day. A little early Christmas/9th anniversary treat for both of us (yes, Jeni likes to drive around and shoot people, too). This game is actually quite amazing. OK, they took the language to probably an unnecessary level of realism. I'm an adult and I don't care if the drop the F-word left and right, but is it really necessary? But I'm not going to harp on that, because plenty of other "against" groups will do that for me. But what is truly great about this game is the extent of it. Grand Theeft Auto III had a good number of roads and towns to explore. Vice City was even more elaborate. Well, San Andreas takes it even further beyond. It even came with a poster-sized map, that has been very handy. Where Rockstar really missed the boat, and a great marketing opportunity, is a "storyline off" toggle where you can make it nothing more than a driving game. Have a car lot, or some cheat to get a car, and let the younger audience just drive. Out friend's nephew (four, maybe five years old now) loves to play GTA3 and just drive around. Of course, he likes the big police car, so he has to commit a crime first. So why not make a PG version where you can take advantage of the great programming and game design?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Wakeup call

Get your wakeup call from Target!

Monday, November 22, 2004

Funny stuff

Our friends Rick and Hannah recommended a funny web site. I like the mock Monopoly cards.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Broken trash can

We have a trash can where you step on the pedal and the lid opens. Since in our apartment, the trash can had to be out in the kitchen, we wanted one the cats wouldn't be able to get in. Well, last night I stepped on the pedal and I heard a click and it just dropped. I lifted the lid and the pedal wouldn't move along with it. I looked (and should have done more analysis) but tried to "pop" it back up in to place. Well, I "popped" it right off. Jeni tried to superglue it back on, but this morning it snapped right back off. So now it's just a lift-top lid, but it's still nice. I guess we can add trash can to our adult Christmas list.

Firefox 1.0

I dowloaded Firefox 1.0 at home yesterday. The only thing from going from 0.8 to 1.0 is I lost an extension and I can't find it for 1.0. I had an extension that remembered all the tabs I had opened so when I relaunched Firefox all the tabs were still there. Now it only has the homepage open. The funny thing is I had this same extension for 0.9 at work, and it kept it so I have it at work, but now can't find it at all. Weird.

Lottery results

Live in Tennessee and looking to see if you won the lottery ... go to tnlotteryresults.com then share with me!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Junk store trifecta

Jeni pulled off the junk store trifecta today. This morning, she swung by Carolina Pottery and this evening we hit Big Lots and Tuesday Mornings. So much junk, so little time.

Google Scholar beta

I saw a blog on Blog Explosion that mentioned the Google Scholar search that is for research articles and such. Great idea, and truly where the internet began. Nice to get away from some of the clutter with a search engine.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Wild Wild Words

Jeni has found a new, frustrating and addictive online game.

Weekly update

I had quite a busy week this week. So much going on busy-wise, bust not really feeling like I did anything.

Jeni and I went to a seminar on Lasik/PRK corrective eye surgery. Jeni is about sick of wearing her glasses and she can't wear contacts, so she'd really like the eye surgery. My prescription is so far off (-9) that I'm not a candidate for Lasik or PRK. They would have to surgically implant a lens onto my eye for about $3000 an eye, so I'm going to stick to my disposable contacts instead.

I had found a free Reach Access flosser ad online somewhere and ordered one. Whay they hey? It came this week. sadly, Jeni and I are actually excited about it. That's life in our thirties, I guess.

We have a new Target store ... it's not a SuperTarget like in Davenport, but it's larger than a standard Target store (expanded grocery section without meat or produce) and we finally got a Panera Bread (in the same parking lot as Target ... talk about your win-win).

I saw fabric gift bags at Earth Fare the other day that have tracking numbers like a Geocaching Travel Bug so you can see where your gift bag has gone. Fun idea. I forget the web address, though.

I heard this mathematician on NPR who had given up math/science to become a professional origami artist. He has a book on origami that is more conceptual than instructional, so you can learn not just how to make something, but how to create your own.

Ok... enough rambling. I downloaded the new Firefox 1.0 at work and have been playing with it. Yes, I download software to my work computer first before bringing into the home.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Sign of the times

Today I heard that the Lionel train company filed for bankruptcy protection and Wrigley bought Lifesavers and Altoids from Kraft for $1.5 billion. Wow!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Josie and the jack

Little kitten or big jack? Posted by Hello

Smallpox research big mistake

NPR reported on Thursday that the WHO will start allowing research on the smallpox virus (WHO allows smallpox research). "Smallpox is known to exist only in laboratory stockpiles, both here and in Russia. Research on the germ has been heavily restricted. But now, the World Health Organization has decided to allow scientists to experiment with the deadly virus. NPR's David Kestenbaum reports."

This is such a mistake. What is happening is that these politicians who decided to allow this research are treating this virus like a computer that they can exchange parts and upgrade, while we all know that the whole is much greater than simply the sum of its parts. Viruses, like humans and all other organisms, adapt to their environment. That is why antibiotics from decades ago have no effect today. As we start toying with a virus that only exists in a laboratory setting, we are toying with disaster. We hold on to stores of smallpox "in case" someone else gets some smallpox, even though the labs are the only known stores of smallpox.

At the end of the article, one sensible person states: The only way to be safe is to eradicate all known stores of smallpox and make possession of smallpox a crime against humanity.

We need to quit flirting with disaster and leave nature alone.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

School zone

I pass through three school zones on my way to work every day. There is one particular school zone that is hairy for me. I merge from one road to another as I enter the school zone, and since I am checking my blind spot as I do this, I usually miss the sign over the road denoting my entry into the school zone. To make it worse, there is a bridge before the sign, so while I sit at the stop light I do not see the sign either. Every once in a while, a police officer will sit in the middle lane running radar. While I believe it is important to patrol and protect our schools, at this particular location I have never seen a child walking along the road, nor have I seen a crossing guard for children, so it is silly to have such a lowered speed limit.

But last week I saw an elderly lady in a late-80s station wagon pulled over getting a ticket. This woman on a fixed income does not deserve a ticket for this violation. Unless she was doing 55+ in what is regularly a 40 (25 in school zone), she should have gotten a warning (and I would hope the officer would have enough soul to give her one). It just disturbs me.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Good deed or sucker

I stopped to get some dinner on the way home. Where I was picking up dinner is a popular district in town, and I had to park a block away and walk through a gas station lot on my way to get Jimmy John's. On my way there, I noticed two girls pumping gas (they are doing all kinds of construction, and I was wondering how a car actually got into the gas station). After getting my sandwiches, I returned the same way, and was surprised to see these same two girls sitting outside the gas station, obviously distraught. It turns out they only had a check, and the gas station does not accept checks (although this apparently is not marked), so I charged their gas, and took the check from the girl. I can't imagine that a young college-age girl would go to all that effort to scam me out of $15, so I have to trust I did a good deed.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Playstation controller

I implemented Doug's philosophy of broken hardware -- if it doesn't work, you might as well take it apart -- and combined it with the time-tested "blow in it and it will start working" philosophy that began with the original Nintendo, and managed to get the Playstation 2 controller working again. Let the games begin!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Wet floor

After a very disappointing meal from Wendy's last night in which Jeni had to throw her rubber chicken away, along with the twice fried french fries, we called the manager and he said we could get a fixed order. So today for lunch I went back to Wendy's to pick up her food. Because of the complication of the order, I went inside. As I walk in, there is an employee mopping the carpet, with a wet floor cone marking the spot. Just sounds like a "What's wrong with this picture?" cover from Highlights.


The University of South Carolina radio station (WUSC) is doing an 80s weekend fund drive, playing only 80s music. Some is random college rock, and some is the 80s one-hit classics. Either way, it's great fun music.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Election results

The results of this current election have left me very frustrated and discouraged as a citizen. None of the candidates in key situations that I supported won, while has me and my concerns feeling very invalidated because I know that my vision of America does not fit with any of the current administrations.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Well, we showed up and did our part. Jeni and I stood in line for three hours to vote! Needless to say, I was late to work. Despite our efforts, it appears that SC will continue to support Bush. As I watch projected results, I am reminded of four years ago, and hope that the west coast does not lose faith and continues to show support for Kerry.

Monday, November 01, 2004


Our friend Chris came to visit. It was great to see him and catch up. We went to the UT/South Carolina football game Saturday. Even though UT was kicking butt midway through the game, I was disappointed to see the "South Carolina faithful" leaving in droves. Their team was playing hard. It's a shame to see the fans not supporting them, even in a losing effort. I've been through those same spells as a Saints fan and watching UT struggle with Florida and Alabama, and I understand how frystrating it is, but you have to stick by your team and find the small victories within the losses.

Chris stayed through the weekend, then had a bit of a booty call and left for home before his whirlwind tour of America continued. He was in Boston for the end of the World Series (even though the Red Sox won it in St. Louis, he wanted to be in the city when they won), then drove from Boston to New York to Knoxville to Columbia from Thursday to Saturday morning. Left here Monday to go back to Knoxville before heading up to Michigan for a Michigan State football game. If I was Coming back from Iraq, I guess I'd do the same thing ... soak it all in.

Frantic Fish

Jeni has found this new game that has her addicted. It's called Frantic Fish and is on Gamesville. It is basically a variation of Bingo, but it teases you just enough that you have to keep playing on the off chance that you might actually win one.