DAMN DIARY, no wait, that is not mine, DAMN DIARY belongs to my buddy - but it is how I feel right now. It has been over a week since I have added anything here. Briefly -- went to Food City 250 and Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway (NASCAR) - then spent the first week of school freakin' sick off my butt! The past 4 days have been a living hell. Full work schedule - then school - while being the sickest I have been in quite sometime. I called in sick about 2 weeks ago with symptoms of what I have / had the past few days. That never materalized, but it came back to haunt the hell out of me. I didn't want to call in sick again so soon, so I have been trying to ride it out. Helluva of a ride. I haven't even felt like looking at a computer, let alone sitting and typing something. I am a little better today and have a lot to catch up on. The NASCAR weekend in Bristol - and my classes are going to be pretty cool this semester. Will fill in on this in a few days...but I know now what my buddy means when he writes - DAMN DIARY!!
Monday, August 19, 2002
Braves Got Clobbered
I am still somewhat wired...so I will post about this weekend...
My friend Larry had an extra ticket to the Atlanta Braves/Colorado Rockies game and asked if I wanted to go.
Actually, we had talked about the possibility of going a few months back but I figured his wife would go. She decided that she didn't want to go see a baseball game so I was able to.
We headed out Saturday morning around 6am. After a leisurely trip down to Marietta - we stop by my step-dad's cousins house where we were going to stay. I had arranged this on Thursday and even though Roger was out of town on business, his wife, Kimberly, welcomed us into her wonderful home. She is such a great lady!
We sit outside for a couple of hours talking and visiting. I was drinking the beer that they had brewed. Roger has a elaborate setup to microbrew his own beer. After he taps the keg it is put in the refrig outside. Then it is drank at whatever pace you feel like going. This brew was "lawn mower" beer. "Only" 5% alcohol ("You can drink this beer and still operate heavy machinery.") as opposed to some of the "non lawn mower" beer that is 10 to 12% alcohol that wasn't ready to tap yet. Still - this beer was awesome!
We head to downtown Atlanta and drive circles around Turner Field, literally as it was just a tad more difficult to find the stadium that we thought it would be. At one point we thought we had ventured a little to far into the wrong part of the town that two white guys in a Miatta should be in. We find the stadium, park, and walk up to the stadium.
After a short wait, we enter the field and walk to another gate - the main one into the actual stadium. The first gate was into the "mall" area of the stadium. We find out seats and they are awesome. 15 rows up - Braves Dugout side. I get to meet Bobby Cox and even got his autograph.
While I sat there watching batting practice, I noticed the the back drop (the net up behind the catcher to protect fans) ended just before where we were sitting. I figured that they would adjust the net as game time approached. This would not be the case. If a batter were to hit the ball just right, I wasn't sure if I could get out of the way in time. We were that close.
First inning starts and Colorado jumps out to a 5 run lead. My immediate thought was Merde!. I am not a huge Braves fan now, but I was growing up and have some sentimental feelings that were resurfacing. (I am a San Francisco Giants fan now because I told my Cousin Sam in California I would pull for them. :) So, anyway, at the bottom of the 1st inning, the Braves have a chance to get some of the runs back. The bases were loaded and Andruw Jones up to bat. Choke - 'nuff said. 5-0 at end of 1st inning.
As the bottom half of the inning played out, it started to rain. Little by little it picked up until when Jones choked, it was a steady to hard rain. The ump called a rain delay and the grounds crew came out and pulled the tarp over the infield. Now Larry and myself didn't come prepared at all, nor did we want to miss the outcome of the bases loaded situation either. By the time the inning had completed and the game put on hold we were drenched. Most of the fans had gotten up and made it to the concourse but we held our vigil in our seats. I turned to Larry and asked what he wanted to do. He chuckled and said that - 1. If we got up now our seats would get wet (so at least our butts would be dry); 2. We were already as wet as we could possibly get; and 3. It couldn't rain any harder that it was right then. He was right about 2 of the 3 things. When he said the bit about how the rain couldn't fall even harder, the bottom fell out.
After about 20 minutes of this - it slacked off and stopped. The grounds crew comes back out and starts working on the field. They get everything ready but do not pull off the tarp off the infield. The people in front of us come back with their new $7 Braves ponchos and ask if we had stayed there the entire time. We shamefully nod our heads and they say, "Awesome." One of the guys had left is $7 beer in the holder and I joked with him about almost being ready to grab his beer and drink it during the hardest part of the rain. He got a charge out of that and grabbed the now watered down beer. Thing was - I am not sure I was joking....
Then it rained again - this time for about 45 minutes. After it finally cleared up the grounds crew finished preparing the field again and play resumed.
Before long it was 6-0 Colorado - following another homerun. About 3 innings later - it was again bases loaded for Atlanta, 1 out, and Andruw Jones at bat. Choke yet again - strike out. Next up doesn't do much better and they leave 3 on base again. Not much has changed in Atlanta. They used to do this all the time when I kept up with them on a more regular basis.
End of 5th inning comes and we are about miserable now sitting there. 7-0 Colorado. So we decide to leave. One interesting thing about the Rockies was 2 of the starters got their starts in Tennessee. Todd Helton played and graduated from University of Tennessee and Brent Butler started off his minor rookie league in Johnson City playing for the JC Cardinals. I have this knowledge thanks to Larry's passion for Appalachian League baseball.
So we head back to Kimberly's house and finish the game or almost -- check in to see that it is now 11-3 Colorado. I had been up since 4:30 that morning and had had enough. I retired to my bed for the evening.
The next morning - Kimberly fixes us a wonderful breakfast. Eggs, Sausage, and biscuits with OJ and Coffee. After filling ourselves with breakfast, we visit a little more and pack up to leave. Kimberly also gives me some towls that they were no longer using - just figured I might need them. Did I mention how great of a person she is? Just making sure...
We call Randy, my step-dads other cousing in Marietta, and go there to say a quick hello. I had never been to his house and was told that I had to see it. It was unbelievable. It was one of the most awesome places I have ever seen. For me to describe it would be an injustice. I will say this - it was everything that anyone could want. Just fantastic!
Then we head back to Johnson City listening to the NASCAR race. It was annoying having to re-find the race as we kept losing the "local" station on the interstate. Only time I wished we had that new satellite radio. I get annoyed with the over advertising pieces that are everywhere these days for the system, but that is a rant for another day.
Who the hell is that?
Oh yeah, that's me...2 years ago at Halloween in Montreal....
What an idiot....but I got it to work...!
Explanations and Confusions
I was studing my friend's blog over at JADEDJOURNAL and saw that he got a picture to post on his site. His comment system is temporarily offline so I couldn't comment how nice of a pic that was. I then had the idea to view his source code and see if I could figure out how he did it...well... I saw the piece of code I needed and tried it on the previous post. Only thing I got was a blank box with the dreaded red x in it.
So I go back and modify it. Still nothing...
So I go back and delete the code and wrote "that failed" and republish. This time when I view my blog, to make sure it was still jiving the way it should, I see the picture. Then I hit reload and it is gone replaced with the text. This tells me I did something right. I will work on it more. New stuff is fun to figure out.
Caught the baseball game this weekend....will post more in a bit...
This is another Test
Friday, August 16, 2002
The Past Few Days
Let's see. Watched "Lord of the Rings" on DVD, watched all the specials on Disc 2, watched "Dances With Wolves" again on Encore followed by Mannequin.......oh, watched "The Way of the Gun" with Benico del Toro, Juliette Lewis, and Ryan Phillipe on VHS that I had borrowed from my neighbor. Good movie. I had never heard of it before and didn't know a thing about it. Really suprised me quite pleasantly. That is a lot of watching the boob tube. I think I will take in a baseball game this weekend.
ETSU starts a week from Monday. 15 freakin' hours this semester. Shouldn't be too aweful bad. I also will be a TA (Teacher's assistant) through the federal work study program - that will help out somewhat. Basically I will be getting up, going to work, going to school, and going to work at campus. That will me Mon-Thurs - Friday-Sunday I will be doing homework, watching VOL football, and birdwatching.
Tuesday, August 13, 2002
I was reading Stuff Magazine last night and there was a section on mafia hitmen. They countdown the top 20 greatest mob hits - I wanted to post a few of those here. Again, these are from Stuff Magazine.
Warning - these some of these are very graphic and demented - but are suppose to be true. They make the comment that they just don't kill people the way they used to.....Tony Soprano would even cringe at a couple of these...
#16 My Bloody Valentine Victim: The Northsiders February 14, 1929
"Al Capone wanted to do something sweet for rival boss Bugs Moran on Valentine's Day, so his guys dressed as cops and raided Bugs' crew. Thinking this was a routine bust, the seven Northsiders gave no resistance, lined up against the wall and were mowed down by gunfire. Moran, the real target, was not present, so Al was not happy."
#13 For Your Soon-to-Be-Blinded Eyes Only Victim: Victor Reisel April 15, 1956
"You know what is not a good after-work drink? Sulfuric Acid. Acclaimed journalist Victor Reisel discovered this after verbally skewering a local union on the radio for its racketeering practices. On Reisel's way home at 3 A.M., hitman Abraham Tevi threw a cup of sulfuric acid in his face, blinding him."
#12 Danny Boy, Your Severed Arm Is Calling Victim: Danny Greene October 6, 1977
"A good-luck charm will get you only so far, especially if your an Irish racketeer waging a personal war against the Italian mob. Danny Greene had survived seven attempts on his life, perhaps thanks to his lucky Celtic cross. But one day, after leaving his dentist, Greene was dissected by a bomb. His arm landed 100 feet away, and the cross was blasted into the asphalt."
#10 Knick Knack, Paddy Whack, Slice Off Paddy's Bone Victim: Patrick "Paddy" Dugan November 17, 1975
"When Paddy Dugan wasn't killing his best friends in bar fights, he was kidnapping and ransoming fellow members of the Westies. That's why Jimmy Coonan and Eddie Cummiskey (a trained butcher) shot him, cut off his head, then chopped off his penis and testicles and stuck them in a milk carton. They were going to use them as a warning to other misbehaving mobsters, but they flushed them down the toilet instead."
#8 I Get a Kick Out of Killing You Victim: A Horse Early 1924
"Louis 'Two Gun' Alterie was on a big vengence. So when his pal Nails Morton was thrown from his saddle and kicked to death by a horse, someone had to pay. Alterie's boys kidnapped the beast and brought it to him. Two Gun punched the horse in the face, then unloaded both guns into its head."
# 7 Puff, the Assassinated Dragon Victim: Carmine "The Cigar" Galante July 12, 1979
"The Cigar dreamed of being the Capo di Tutti, the boss of all bosses, with all the other crime families following his orders. This might have happened, if the other bosses hadn't decided to off him instead. Three contract killers blasted him with double-barreled shotguns as he dined. Police found Carmine slumped over with one of is ever-present cigars still tightly clenched in his teeth."
#6 You Can't Take It with You - I've Cut it Off Victim: Leo Foreman November 1963
"Mad Sam Destefano killed people the way old people urinate: slowly and painfully. So when Leo, a low level loan collector, got on his bad side, Destefano and three associates repeatedly stabbed and shot him in nonvital places (like his buttocks) to keep him in as much pain as possible. Then came the butcher knives, with which they eventually killed Foreman, but not before they carved off chunks of his arms."?
#4 Careless Whispers, Carefully Inserted Meat Hook Victim: William "Action" Jackson 1961
"The Chicago mob suspected that Action was snitching to the FBI, but they weren't sure. So they did the only logical thing to find out: They took him to a plant and hung him on a meat hook, inserting it into his rectum. Then they bashed out his knees with hammers and electrocuted his genitals with a cattle prod. He was left on the hook for three days until he finally died." --- He hadn't snitched.
#3 You Tear Me Apart Victim: Alberto G. Agueci 1961
"As far as coroners were able to tell, the final moments of Agueci's life went like this: His jaw was smashed, half of his teeth were yanked, his eyes were blinded with a blowtorch, 30 pounds of flesh were cut from his still living body, he was tied up with barbed wire and his genitals were stuffed into his mouth. Why? He had threatened boss Stefano Magaddino."
The rest of the entrys were just ok. The most demented one is the last one. I would like to see the reaction people would have if any of the above described stuff were to be shown on an episode of the Sopranos. It would make the one episode last season that was so violent...tame.
Why did I put this as a blog? Because it is mine - and I can.
Monday, August 12, 2002
I actually got to spend most of the day at home today. Been a while since I have been able to do that. Got a little done around here and then went to the store.
Watched The Last Starfighter today. Haven't seen that movie in years. I remember going to the Cameo, in Bristol, to see it. 1984. That was a good year. It is on again as I am typing this. I remember really digging Catherine Mary Stewart (Maggie) as one of my first actresses I actually went 'wow' about. Come on now, I was in 7th grade. She was right up there with Lori Singer. I didn't see anything she was in again until Weekend At Bernies(.Gwen Saunders ... aka Hot and Cold). Also, this movie was one of the first movies to rely on CGI to make the film work. Compared to today's standards, the effects weren't much but it was computer generated and I still found myself still enjoying it all over again.
I finished the book I was reading, "The Short Forever" by Stuart Woods. If you follow his character, Stone Barrington, you will really like this book. I haven't found a book by Stuart Woods, besides the Stone Barrington novels, that I really like. The ones with him in it are awesome though. This is like the characters 8th book, + or -. I recommend all of them. My next book is "Seven Wild Sister" by Charles de Lint. Short little book (~170 pages) - modern fairy tale set in the mountains of the Appalachians. Charles Vess does some nice illustrations and a wonderful cover.
I am finally getting tired. Tomorrow will be a long day now.
Sunday, August 11, 2002
Lonesome Pine International Raceway / ETSU memory 1991
August 10, 2002
Went with my buddy Larry to the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series Food City 250 at Lonesome Pine International Raceway in Coeburn, Va. Coeburn is about 1.5 hrs north/west of Johnson City. (181/19/23 N to Kingsport, TN / Weber City, VA - stay on main road, now hwy 58, at Exit 2 get hwy 58 alt, Lonesome Pine International Raceway about 5 miles on right).
We actually went the Bristol route on our way up because of an obligation I had to go and take down a tent at my parents house. This was a little more complicated because of more roads to take, but Larry and myself were actually more familiar with this route (we came back the above route, in reverse order). The Bristol route involves Abingdon, VA (where the last weekend of the Highlands Festival was wrapping up) and towards St. Paul and Coeburn. Essentially we drove one big loop.
Spent a nice lunch with mom before we went. Our consolation prize for detouring to take the tent down.
Made it up to LPIR (the above mentioned Lonesome Pine International Speedway) in time to watch qualifying. We asked about going to the pits to see some cars close up and meet some of the drivers. The person we asked worked for a company that was hired by the Speed Channel channel to film the race. It will be televised next Thursday night on the Speed Channel (formally Speedvision). He said he was pretty sure the pits were open to fans so we proceeded in.
Around 5:45 they have an autograph session with the drivers. They place the cars on the track in the order they qualified and the drivers stands out by their cars and signs stuff and greets fans. Most drivers had big cards, with their pics and cars on them, that they were signing and giving away. I got all but 1 autograph. This guy was a rookie and this race was only his second race with his team; hence, nothing to sign. Jamie Skinner (son to NASCAR'S Mike Skinner) was in his second race of the season after being banned for 2 years for supposed drug use/selling. Nothing was proved and charges were eventually dropped, but the series had still imposed the two year penalty. I got to talk to his girlfriend (when I first struck up a conversation I didn't know it was his girlfriend - I was just being my normal, talk to anybody, self) and she told me that they had stayed in Bristol last night. I may have been filmed in line to get a drivers autograph. Look for the big smo in the number 3 hat if they have any prerace show. As my friend from DAMN DIARY would say, I will be shown in all my geeky glory.
After the autograph session we headed up to the grandstands to wait on the start of the race. The track at LPIR was a 3/8ths of a mile oval with 18 degrees banking(compared to Bristol's .55 mile and 33 degrees banking). The cars were not as fast as either Winston Cup or Busch series, but still it was a good race for the most part. 6+ caution flags in 250 laps wasn't too shabby.
Made it home around 10:30 and turned on the TV. Found American Pie 2 and I had forgotten how much I liked that movie. Laughed like I was seeing for the first time instead of for the 5th. Then found Apocalypse Now Redux on Sundance. It was almost over and I was kicking myself for watching Pie again when I haven't had the chance to see the Redux version. Hopefully they will rerun it soon.
So here I am again - after 2am getting ready to crash out.
I just had the memory when I was a DJ on the college radion station at ETSU for that brief semester. I would go in to the studio for my 10pm - 1am private shift. The guy who was ending his shift was a black guy and had a R&B songlist. The last thing he did before he signed off was to say goodnight to all the women's dorms in the most sexy voice he could muster....Goodnight Lucille Clement, Goodnight Lunsford,... until he had tucked them all in. He would get up, look at me with my tower of CDs and say it was all mine. I waited until the last (slow R&B) song after he said his good-byes were over and immediatly, without a word, played something like Welcome To The Jungle from GNR, Highway To Hell from ACDC, or Master of Puppets from Metallica a little louder than normal just to wake everybody back up. I knew a few people were listening because I would get requests (which I endorsed greatly) for any song they wanted to hear. This was my private shift and I could play anything I wanted. I even managed to get on Get In The Ring most nights. Ah, those were the days. I am sure it is more political now.
So goodnight all - go put on Nickelbacks latest release. I have it on now and am enjoying the hell out of it.
Yes, phase 1 is complete. I checked most all links on the site and they seem to be working. Now you can view my pictures from my glorious trip to New York City / Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 2000 and even more pictures of my New Orleans adventure in 2001. Both trips were with the Geography department...
Geeze Louise - I just had the weirdest thing happen. As I was typing the above sentence, off of a sudden there was a woosh, slowly through my speakers. I was thinking what the... and as it slowly got louder..I realized that it was the Flash Site over at KORN website. I had started loading it and because I am also downloading the newest live update from Norton, it was taking forever to load. I had forgotten all about it. They have a neat flash site and now I am listening to their guitar and ominous tones over and over while typing...pretty cool. Sorry, I was freaking out a sec...
Anyway, both trips were with the Geography Department at ETSU. I got 3 hours credit for each class and the journals posted there (I am still trying to find the New Orleans journal) were turned into my professor along with the extensive take home tests. Both trips I experimented with new beers and got sloppy a couple of times, but never did any serious damage. Gonna take a break, then work on the Dayton, Ohio and Cranberry Bog in West Virginia pictures.
You've got to love the lawn mower man at an apartment complex. I actually worked with a guy one day, helping him mow and I know they are on a tight schedule. According to this guy, he had way more places than he could really handle. I suppose there is some competition on mowing around town. The day I spend with him clued me in on what a tight schedule most of them are on, but it is not the fault of the tenants that have to live where they mow, or not mow for a month might be more appropriate in my case.
I kid you not, a month went by before the bloke came back to mow. The grass was knee high to me and I am right at six foot tall. So he finally mows - and I am like - about freaking time I almost got lost in the grass last week.
The space in front of my apt is very small. It is like, 15 feet long by 9 feet wide. I also have the distinction of having the most water in front of my building - that little area becomes a small pond in a huge rainstorm like we are prone to have in the summer. My basement is testament to that when it flooded 4 times last year. So with a lot of water, hence the fast growth of the grass.
There was also a plant (glorified weed actually) that was growing the side of the sidewalk and had basically taken over the sidewalk. I have hated that plant since the day I moved in. It is now gone, as is the 3" of grass that was left after the fuc..(trying to keep this PG rated blog) freaking guy finally mowed. I borrowed some tools from work and spent 2-3 hours today outside raking, shoveling, and bagging grass and my nemesis plant.
I may have a way to get some free plants from work (we occasionally have to remove some plants during construction) and hopefully will plant some better ones. And if I don't, then I have it looking better now than it has in months - like 14.
The reason I am ranting about this is because I live in an APARTMENT. I shouldn't have to do this kind of stuff, though I did enjoy it. Nice day to work outside and sport my new hair cut - or lack there of hair and I had them shave it all the way down as far as the close clippers would take it. I like it too - probably will keep it this way for a while.
It is and isn't a big change. It is a big change in the fact that I have always had some hair .. and it isn't because I didn't have all that much hair to begin with to take off.
Side note - I should have the New Orleans Trip pics finished by tomorrow. All the pictures are finished and just have to label the pics and connect all the links. Then sometime soon I will start on the newer pics. There are not as many of them, but there are a few.
Wednesday, August 07, 2002
If You See Two Counters On Your Screen When You View This Page...
The link below is from my roomate - it is the web site he runs at work. This site is a good way to keep updated on the work being done in Johnson City as well. He was helping me figure out some stuff and used this as our (crash) test dummy (which it promptly crashed my blog earlier today). We figured it all out and I have fixed most other links. What we were doing was ...(techno babble, techno babble techno babble)... and now there are a few new play pretties on the site.
The post above this one was a test as well -- but I will leave it too because it is a great news site.
For those keeping track of blogger time - this post should say 7:55:55PM.
Whew! This companion site is quite an undertaking. It is not that hard to do, but it is tedious as hell. I have the French District pictures up now (St. Louis Cathedral, Carriage ride through the French Quarter, Voodoo Museum, and Places and Faces). I stil l have to label some of the pics but you can at least see them now. Took some time, but what with 99 degree heat outside in the shade, I am most certainly not going outdoors.
Today has been ok - We took care of the outdoor work this morning before the heat built up and the afternoon was office work in the cool AC. Not bad at all.
I am suddenly reminded I need to do another back journal before too long. I have the last day in Dayton to finish up and this weekend to write about. Needless to say the trip to Knox-vegas was loads of fun. Did I just say 'load'? I need to go home. I think I will...
Saturday, August 03, 2002
While checking to make sure the links work at theCompanion Site, I noticed some of the pictures don't want to come in. If anyone gets this same error - (instead of showing a picture, it will show a white box with an red x in the upper left corner) - try right-clicking where the picture should be and left-click on the option "show picture." This usually works for PCs - if you are using a MAC - try the equivalent fix. I just don't know what it is.
Friday, August 02, 2002
Some more New Orleans Pics and Ozzfest Second Stage Bands at Blue Cats
Part of the New Orleans pictures are up at the companion site. The link to the right will take you there. I have the Garden District pictures up with two subdivision - Lafayette Cemetery and St Charles Trolly. The New Orleans pics are slowly getting posted and will work on them more when I have more time.
I am heading to Knox-Vegas tonight. Going to Blue Cats to see Apex Theory with Lost Prophets and 3rd Strike. They are playing on the second stage at this year's Ozzfest tour. The bands are playing at Blue Cats during a small break from the Ozzfest tour.
Took half of a day Wednesday and all of Thursday off to attend my Step-Dad's Grandmother's wake and funeral. The wake was in Independence, VA and the graveside service was in Galax, Va.
Minnie "Naugy" Sexton was a wonderful lady. The first time I met her was at her home in Galax. She welcomed me in and instantly treated me like part of the family. She lived at her home in Galax, by herself, until she was in her late 80's. This would be amazing in any city, but she lived outside of Galax, in the middle of nowhere. She loved it there and resisted until the last moment to move in with her daughter in Bristol. This occured when her body started failing and it was impossible for her take care of herself. She never had a bad word toward anyone and lived her life to the fullest. Her christianity never waivered and always held strong to her beliefs. She would make some of the best peanut-butter cookies that anyone ever tasted. I would request them at Christmas time and she would never fail to make sure I got them.
Another one of the greats has left us. I will miss her, but it is comforting to know she is now reunited with her husband and the rest of her family that went before her. They are all in the presence of the Good Father.