Friday, October 31, 2008

Family Life

Last Friday as we walked out the door for small group, Matthew kicked Anna, creating a mess. Ceil stayed home with M, and A and I were stressed. Group was 1.5 miles away, and we were late. So it was evident I was stressed when I arrived…everyone was seated, involved in the study (now that I think about it, they must’ve started on time, which is very rare).

Will had a scrimmage Thursday, this time against another team. There are more players than last year, so his PT won’t increase.

Nice win by the Hawks Wednesday night.

Nice play by Utley last night, that clinched the Series for the Phils.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Getting Gary McKee to Laugh

Remember the Gary McKee radio show? My claim to fame…I got McKee to laugh. In the height of Steve Martin’s stand-up popularity there was a look-alike contest at Cumberland Mall. A friend talked me into entering. There was a huge crowd, and over one hundred had entered. One guy looked exactly like him. Had I not gone fourth in the competition, I would’ve just left.

I had baby powder in my hair, and when my head shook, a cloud developed. McKee told me to shake my head again, for the photographers. The first three guys just quoted Martin’s routines, so I knew I had to be different. I said, “If Steve were in the contest, what would he do?” He’d act like he didn’t get it, and act like someone else. So I did Steve Martin doing Andy Kaufman. No one got it…except McKee. That was enough for me. I didn’t wait around for the results.

Busy Tuesday evening…left work at 6 pm. Ceil had a busy day and hadn’t arranged a carpool, so one of would have to take Will to practice while the other picked up Anna at ballet. M still had schoolwork to do. W was outside shooting baskets. Later I called C back…I would take W early, then pick up A. I should’ve had W call teammate Connor at that point.

Got home at 7:15 after stopping at Kroger and Goodwill. Delivered W to the Sandy Springs gym at 7:35, then took 400 south, 285 west, 75 north, and the 120 loop to quickly get to ballet at Eastside by 7:55. But A’s friend had left her books in our van, so her dad had to follow me home. We got there at 8:25.

Then C took A to Sears, looking for warm school clothes to wear. They got back at 9:25.

At 9:45 I went to get W, stopping at a couple of Krogers looking for Halloween candy. As usual, we didn’t get back home until almost 11 pm. My sister doesn’t realize I don’t have time for fantasy sports, much less lots of stuff I’d really like to do (I very rarely enter contests any more, like I used to).

Monday, October 27, 2008


Saw bits of the Invincible movie and liked the football scenes. Nice camera angles you wouldn’t normally get from a football game…almost like a video game. During and after filming there was Uni-Watch chatter about the movie…some guys went as fans/extras, and were popular, because they had haircuts from the era. I liked Dick Vermeil / Greg Kinnear’s while belt. They must have had NFL approval to use the likenesses and unis, unlike our other favorite movie, Gameplan, starring the Rock. Those Eagles unis with all the stripes were among my favorites.

Will was all upset at the umpiring last night, but he didn’t see the play at first Saturday, where the Phils made that good play, but the ump was looking at the feet and listening for the catch…Howard made a barehanded catch.

After battling traffic down to Hampton, it wouldn’t be worth it. I have no desire to go, either. Ceil went to a Charlotte race a long time ago, and enjoyed it. But a pretty big sporting event for Matthew to attend.


Will scored 4 points Saturday scrimmage, making both inside shots. Still has a long way to go on spacing, etc. Grabbed a few rebounds.

Matthew went to the NASCAR race with our neighbor…said it was loud. They didn’t stay long…left at 12:30, returned at 5:30.

Ceil and I went to see Fireproof…very rare we go to a first run movie.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

2008 Living Science Senior Retreat Recap

The following posts recap the Senior Retreat. Perhaps 4000 words were a bit much, but we had a good time.

Thursday: The Drive Down, & a New Kind of Improv Skit

As the B group left the property, a deer crossed the Living Science driveway. We pretty much stayed within communicator contact with the A group, then caught up with them for good as we crossed under I-20 on 285 south. Mr. Cain accidentally led the caravan through a weigh station. I got on the radio and told the ladies in the B2 van that I wouldn’t look at the scales. No one got the joke.

In Columbus Mrs. Smith, driving B3, missed the turn and drove into Fort Benning. The rest of the caravan had a short wait, and Mr. Cain took the opportunity to teach a quick lesson, about a small woodpecker that made his home in the tanks at Ft. Benning. This gave me and my navigator, senior servant leader Jared, fodder to bounce more jokes over the radio. Jared was willing to tell the one-liners I quipped…and several of his own. There were also lessons on the fall line and kaolin mines, and wisecracks about the gnat line.

After unpacking, most of us walked the quarter mile to the Gulf beach for sand sculptures (others were driven!). I helped dispense scalding hot water for the play-dough. Heidi took some hot water in a purple spray bottle. When I returned several minutes later, the bottle was all misshapen from the heat. Heidi swore all was well, not recognizing the damage done. Liar! Meanwhile, the chaperones had fun getting reacquainted. Mrs. Delenick and Johnston where back to being their old selves, and their antics would later show up on stage for all to see.

After a smoked turkey & sweet potato dinner, Mrs. Switzer introduced an activity we’d be doing all week…Who What Where. Groups would draw one card each from three boxes, then act out the who, what, and where of it. Sometimes confusing, interspaced with gaps while the groups prepared their skits, it was still much fun seeing the kids make fools of themselves.

It was during one of the gaps when my mind wondered how to pep up the festivities…the game needed a theme song. Who What Where? Not too different from another goofy game…”Will It Float” from Letterman’s Late Show. In my mind, a theme song was born.

Friday: Rotations, a Cookout, & a Nighttime Crisis

After breakfast we piled in the vans for the short ride up to the north end of the island, to the state park. The island was about a quarter mile wide at this point, and we trekked over to the bay side for group rotations. The four studies included counting mussels, studying butterfly migration, noting wildlife in a box study, and leaf collecting.

Though the day started out cool, the sun came out and made the afternoon hot…88 degrees. My job was to watch out for sharks, as I hung out with each group as they counted mussels in the shallow water. Later I was recruited to help the other men grill burgers and dogs. Only then was a shark spotted.

After lunch we sang happy birthday to several in the group. Michael Woodard’s was that day, and he was the guest of honor. Afterwards Mrs. Taylor hawked the cake, making sure there were no leftovers.

Their studies finished, the groups practiced their Who What Where skits. This made the evening fun time roll by quicker. One of the more memorable skits was Robert, playing Elvis, singing the national anthem at Turner Field.

By the end of the day, there were so many juicy tidbits to remember that I had begun taking notes. But my cabin note taking was interrupted…Micah thought it funny to bolt lock the door. Knowing slugging catcher Andrew had yet to return, I wanted the door unlocked…but the lock was broken. The switch would turn, but the bolt remained locked. We were trapped.

I tried to keep Micah focused on getting ready for bed. He kept wandering back and getting in the way. At one point he raised the blinds on the side window. The blinds promptly broke. The situation was getting worse. Marshal thought it would be a good idea to climb up and out the high window over the front door (later he climbed up over the water heater, to see what was there. His mom later said he’d been a climber since birth).

Worse yet, Michael “discovered” a large knife in his suitcase, “left over from a recent Boy Scout trip.” Right. But Michael and Marshal were able to take the lock apart, using the knife as a screwdriver. After 45 minutes, we were free.

Saturday: The Marine Center

At breakfast the chaperones were told we’d be acting out a Who What Where of our own. I seized the day, saying we’d also provide a skit. What had I gotten myself into? Several adults volunteered, so I began organizing the skit. As the entire group caravanned the hour east to Panasea, my mind raced.

Out of the cars, I remembered to tell Micheal to let me keep his knife. I didn’t wait a Will or Micah to get hold of it and have an accident. To my surprise, he had it on him! I quickly locked it in my van.

As the Marine Center leaders introduced and organized the tour, I was buzzing about, recruiting Kara, Michelle, and Kate to play their moms. They were particularly excited about the cake in the face bit. As groups 5 and 6 toured the facility, I appeared to be taking notes. Mrs. Johnston, glued to her own blackberry, thought it hilarious that I was actually writing the skit.

There were many amazing animals to see…rays, starfish, crabs, octopus, sharks, sea turtles, and much more. Most of the teens weren’t at all squeamish at handling the animals, including the girls. The endangered species gave me more skit fodder.

As the tour wore on, Mr. Roth recruited me to help Mrs. Arps & Martin set up lunch. We drove to a nearby state park, and Mr. Roth and I had a nice visit, discussing football, and of course, the skit. Marc had several great ideas, and I knew he’d be great in the cookout scene.

During lunch many kids and grownups were interested in the Tech / Clemson game. I lunched in the shade with Mrs’s Switzer, Delenick, and Johnston, with the Davis’s nearby, with several other chaperones. We had a great time. Cindy Switzer, the long-time organizer of the Spring Expedition Servant Leader skit, told me “I watched you quietly sit in the back of the last three retreats, wondering what you thought about the goings on!” More than once on the retreat, I told her that she had my dream job. I told her how similar my previous Camp SPdL experiences were.

To my dismay, Mrs. Delenick and Johnston begged out of the skit, opting to have their daughters Christy and Abby play them. The ladies would’ve been hilarious. I’m sure one of the reasons Tammy J loves hanging around Sandy D is because she’s so funny. Christy and Abby were willing participants. While discussing their roles, I also quickly taught them the Who What Where theme song.

On the drive back to the island most of the boys in my van napped. Excited, I was jotting skit notes as I drove. Since Sandy and Tammy weren’t in it, there was extra material about them to use. They were such a hit last year, when their cartwheeling videographer’s assistant antics so easily made skit hilarity.

After the delicious brisket dinner, I opted to not have a huge role in the chaperone Who What Where…Tarzan in a mall, during a dance recital. I donned the ever popular toy body armor and carried the duct taped gun used in every skit…then slouched in a chair. I was the mall security guard. As the other chaps got ready, I took the opportunity to quiet the crowd and introduce the Who What Where theme song. Abby and Christy hopped up to help. They had even added some extra dance moves and such.

The chap ladies were funny shopping in the mall, and Mrs. Zech in her “No MSG!” role. Then Mr. Cain was a great Tarzan, only to be topped by Mr. Roth and Mr. Hall, dancing in the recital.

Then the kids joined their groups, and the encouraging letters from parents were distributed. Ceil had written a letter for Will in advance. I had always done this on previous trips. Before that Saturday supper, I had taken a break from my skit writing to pen a quick letter to Will. My timing couldn’t have been better. It turned out that I was seated behind Will, but he found me a came over and gave me a hug. A couple of other kids hugged their parent, but many did not.

We watched an amazing video during the evening service…”A Case For a Creator”, the story of a reporter’s scientific search for evidence that the Earth and the Universe were created by an intelligent, supreme being. The kids all watched with great interest and took notes, except during the small musical interludes, when one row of boys “head-banged” to the music…much to Mr. D’s chagrin.

Sunday: More Rotations

Before and during breakfast I continued to work on the skit, distributing copies of the script to cast members as they were completed. The Paraguay team performed the Redeemer skit for the group, then afterwards for the FBC service.

The day’s first group rotation was kayaking in the muddy marsh. DJ and I pushed out and later pulled in the kayaks. On shore I had the chance to get better acquainted with Mrs. Smith, Dr. Howell, Carrisa, and Lisa. Caleb was the only kayaker to topple. Luckily the water was only two feet deep.

Before lunch, I parked my muddy shoes on the boardwalk. Later I crept through the crowd of lunching students to get them. After successfully navigating through several kids without stepping on their plates, I encountered Abby. Her cup of water was too tempting, so I “accidentally” kicked it over. Abby’s reaction made me laugh all the harder.

As lunch wound down I joined Mr. Roth, seated on the small picnic table where the tomato soup was served. Shortly after I sat down our weight made the table topple. Mr. Roth was able to catch himself, but the only picture in my mind as I fell backward was the large pot, full of tomato soup, spilling all over me. Somehow I thrust my feet back on the ground, taking my weight off the seat. The soup was saved, but I fell backwards onto the ground…to everyone’s delight. DJ helped me up, saying I made the ESPN Top Ten Plays of the Day.

The second rotation was Mr. Cain’s water studies. As he explained what was to be done, I snuck over to talk to Mrs. Switzer, my new buddy. But Mr. Cain sent for me. It was nice to be needed! Blind without my glasses, I helped Jordan, Julie, Lisa, Michael, DJ, Carissa, and others study salinity levels.

The next rotation was sand studies, which gave me time to write more skit scripts. Not knowing how to add in the nervous Mrs. Shetler and the crazy Mrs. Cocks, I put them together. Mrs. Switzer kept asking me when we would practice. Since I had little undistributed material to show her, she couldn’t help much. Kate was rightfully wary of saying anything mean, and I agreed that she shouldn’t, that they were free to change any of the lines.

The final, unusual rotation was a sports activity. The kids first picked ultimate, and with most all the scripts completed, I was the only chaperone to join in the game. Later we played football. Will finally got to quarterback. He faked short to Robert, who promptly ran past David Norman deep. But Will’s bomb was thrown right at me. I actually had time to think “Now don’t drop this!” before I made the interception. Later Robert wouldn’t let Will QB any more, since his old man picked him off.

Kara joined in the football game, though I kept telling her she needed to rehearse the skit. Every time a cast member walked past the game, I would drop out to discuss the skit. Dinner was spaghetti & meatballs. Michelle was offered a hot shower at the chaperones’ beach house, so Mrs. Switzer recruited Hannah. Outside the dining hall the skit was slapped together, with some invaluable last-minute editing and direction from Mrs. Switzer.

The ocean breeze had died down, and the island mosquitoes were out in force. I donned a sportcoat over my LS tee, channeling Donald Trump to introduce the Apprentice skit. I pointed out that kids would play their parents. After a less than rousing rendition of the Who What Where theme song, out came Kara and Kate to start the skit.

I didn’t get to see much of the skit, as I was buzzing around making sure it came off. At one point Abby glared over at me with her ”do something!” look, which almost cracked me up. I made my way around the outside of the dining hall with Kyle, to make sure he made his entrance at the right time. From there I was able to watch the rest of the skit. Only when Todd posted the nine minute video on Facebook did I really get a good look.

After the skit Pierce leaned over to his big sister Hannah, loudly whispering that she did a great job in the skit “playing mom.” Several of us chaperones cracked up, knowing Hannah had actually played Mrs. Taylor.

Monday: The Trip Home

On the one morning we had to pack and clean the cabin, I woke up extra late. After getting things moving, I walked down the dirt road to retrieve my van. Mr. & Mrs. D passed by in their pickup, stopping long enough to compliment me on coming out of my quiet shell, saying how they enjoyed the skit. As we finished cleaning the cabin, on a whim I neatly folded under the corners of the rolls of TP. We tried one last time to fix the broken blinds, without success.

Sitting with several female chaperones during the hot egg & cheese casserole & hashbowns breakfast, one squealed that there was a roach that needed to be killed. DJ walked past, so the job was left to me. I smashed the roach, garnering applause. As I used more hand sanitizer, Sandy lamented that killing roaches at home was one of the things she had taken for granted before her husband died.

As the student groups had their last devotions, Mrs. D nominated me to escort Mrs. Switzer and Cocks on an inspection of the boy’s cabins. I pointed out the broken blinds, but the ladies were delighted with the folded TP rolls.

Senior Robert was sad, as his last ever LS Retreat was coming to an end. As I moved the van into position, the always reserved DJ jumped into my window to give me a big bear hug. Members of the chuck team let me know they noticed I had “ordered” two lunch sandwiches for the ride home.

I was given the football player van…plus Micah, who for the most part stayed quiet in the back seat. Young Robert Baca, looking like the boy from “Sleepless in Seattle”, thoroughly enjoyed hanging with the older jocks…Robert, Alec, and Austin. They slept the first half of the trip, then swapped football stories the rest of the way. I identified with Alec, whose appearance on the field was of importance. Robert is a kicker like I was.

Mr. Cain finagled a bathroom break at Providence Canyon. Though a few miles off the main road, it was a treat for those of us who’d never been. The kids enjoyed the few extra minutes to socialize. Us drivers fought fatigue with increased radio chatter. Many one-liners were swapped jokes, though I got in my share.

Later Mr. Cain organized the dinner stop at Stevie B’s, quite a contrast to the healthy fare we’d dined on the previous five days. After we exited 575 for the final leg of the trip, even these cool guys in my van couldn’t hold in their excitement…rolling down the windows and exclaiming their pleasure at breathing in the cool, smoke-filled Georgia autumn air.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Facebook Frenzy

Lots of action on Facebook these days with Will’s friends, as excitement from the retreat continues. It coincides with several friends from the 80’s and early 90’s tracking me down on Facebook…Chad, JaDon & Tracy, Elizabeth, Pam (or was it Pat?). Interesting, as the LS retreats are markedly similar to the old camps we all used to attend.

Caught much of the first two Series games.

Will had another practice last night, and got more PT, as teammates DJ, Joel, Connor, David, Holt, and Jonathan are on the second retreat. Jonathan finished the speed-skating season ranked 6th in the world, as a 15 year-old competing against 17 year-olds.

Anything going on this weekend? We have small group tonight, and Will has a scrimmage Saturday.

Busy at work, training a new temp, who sits right next to me at my desk all day…frustrating. I get half as much done…this after being out 3 days. My boss constantly hits me up for projects, without thought as to how impossible the deadlines are. After working a few 65 hour weeks, I’m trying to cut back to 55 or less.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mr. Cain, Doc Howell, Sandy, and Tammy chat at the first weather stop, while the B group leader (me) finally scans the directions.

The Apprentice: Chuck Team Edition (A Skit)

Scene One: Post Expedition

Mrs. Arps: Another fine Chuck Team job, Mrs. Martin.
Mrs. Martin: You too, Mrs. Arps. We really have this down to a science (giggles).
PA: It is a lot of work.
TM: We’re not getting any younger!
PA: We have all this information in our heads…we need to get organized!
TM: What we need is an apprentice. Someone who is organized.
PA: But at least half as health conscious as we are.
TM: How about Lynn Taylor?
PA: Have you seen her Carpool Schedule?
TM: It’s 30 megabytes!
PA: She’d have to pass a trial period…the Senior Retreat!
TM: She can’t come in thinking she’ll change everything.
PA: Kids love coldcuts!
TM: She doesn’t have all the T-shirts we have. That will really reduce our wardrobe.
PA: Can she lead? Those men can hardly cook burgers themselves.
TM: Meat Eaters!

Scene Two: Meal Prep

Mrs. Johnston: There you are, Sandy! I hate it when we’re apart. What was it…five minutes? Wait! Why are you crying?
Mrs. Delenick: I missed you! Where were you? I thought I had lost you forever! I was picturing retreats without you. What would I do?
TJ: You! What about me? I could’ve drowned! Hey! Why are YOU crying?
SD: This is a far cry from the life we hoped to lead…limousines, evening gowns…
TJ: We were Videographer’s Assistants on last year’s Senior Retreat!
SD: So why are YOU crying?
TJ: I’m chopping onions! Now get to it…according to Mrs. Taylor’s instructions, we have three minutes to finish the onions, then eight minutes for the sweet potatoes. What a slavedriver! At least it’s healthy!
SD: Too healthy for me! My system is rejecting all this health food. I need chocolate!
TM & PA enter.
TM: Mrs. Johnston! Why are your hands all muddy?
TJ: We’ve been turning cartwheels!
PA: Why aren’t Mrs. Delenick’s hands muddy?
TJ: She moves her hands so much when she talks…all the mud flew off them!
Mrs. Taylor enters: Look at this! I just reconfigured the hand Sanitizer pump. It will release a half ounce LESS each time. The jug will last 30% longer! Even Cassie can do it!
(PA & TM exchange glances)

Mr. Cain enters.
DC: Mrs. Martin, there you are! I’m having that problem with my laptop again. I need your help!
TM: Mr. Cain, what is it with you? Can’t you ever think for yourself? Laptops, butterflies, Italian scientists, water studies, Creation vs. Evolution…what is next?
DC: You’re right, Mrs. Martin. I just couldn’t pull all this off without your help! Now what’s wrong with my laptop?
TM: Your battery is dead!

Scene Three: Women Drivers

Mrs. Shetler: Those girls in my car drove me crazy! They wanted to roll the windows down! I was afraid they were going to fall out!
Mrs. Cocks: Come on! We were just riding the 50 yards down to The Point.
ES: Still! They didn’t have their seat belts buckled! Did you see that car yesterday? The girls had their legs sticking out the windows! On the highway!
CC: Oh! That was MY car! Did my legs look OK?
ES: Well, that’s nothing compared to what I heard. A chaperone down at the house didn’t wait to change into her swimsuit. She walked right out into the ocean…fully clothed! What kind of parents are they picking to be chaperones?
CC: What’s the big deal? The water felt great!

Scene Four: The Big Time.

SD: You don’t think we’re embarrassing our daughters, do you?
TJ: What? Just because our shoes match…
SD: …we eat the same crackers…
TJ: …and finish each other’s sentences…
SD: Hush! There’s Mr. Murphy!
TJ: I bet he’s writing another skit about us.
SD: Maybe this one will be made into a movie!
TJ: Wouldn’t THAT be something!
SD: We could be like Mrs. Switzer!
TJ: She’s become a big star ever since Fox picked up her hit game show…
SD: …Who What Where!
TJ: That game was pretty dull until they came up with that peppy theme song.
SD: Speaking of Mrs. Switzer, has anyone seen her?
CC enters; The last time I saw her, she stole my root beer, drank it…and burped!

Scene Five: Planning the Cookout

LT: How will we work dessert?
TM: We’ll have a big birthday cake after the cookout.
LT: What about dessert tonight?
PA: We can set out leftover cake!
LT: Are you sure? What if there’s not enough? Kids love cake!
TM: Of course I’m sure!
PA: Remember, we’ve been doing this for a while!
TM: We were the ones who served Brisket made from soybeans and Tofu!

Scene Six: At the Grill

Mr. Roth: This cookout timetable is great! 11:45 light the charcoal…11:55 put on the burgers…noon, flip the burgers…
Mr. Hall: Not only Bubba burgers, but Boca burgers, Turkey burgers…I think those are Ostrich burgers!
Mr. Phearson: The Marine Center trip was certainly educational.
MR: Interesting that is was the only trip Mrs. Arps and Martin went on.
TH: Last night’s Sea Turtle Soup sure tasted fresh.
PP: The turtle shell bowls were a nice touch. Where did it come from?
MR: Perhaps the same place as the Sea Lettuce Salad.
TH: No one ate the Sea Sponges. They might’ve moved faster had they been moved closer to the fresh fruit!
PP: Tomorrow I hear we’re having Sting Ray sandwiches…
MR: At least they have built-in toothpicks!
PA: Someone throw this empty aquarium in the bay! Quick!
TH: Where’s Mr. Murphy?
Krypto enters: You wouldn’t believe what happened! We were trapped in our cabin! But I saved the day…with Michael and Marshal’s help. It only took 45 minutes to get us out.
MR: 45 minutes?
K (motioning to his gear): I didn’t have this! Or this! Or this! Anyway, now I’m off to keep the rotations safe from sharks!

Scene Seven: Let Them Eat Cake

LT: Happy Birthday Michael! Come up here! Everyone! Let’s sing!
(Crowd sings happy birthday song…all the while LT directs and increases tempo).
LT: Faster! Faster!
PA: Mrs. Taylor sure is upsetting the apple cart!
TM: She’s trying to change everything!
PA: We have too many cooks in the kitchen!
TM: Literally!
PA: Who needs chicken fajitas, veggie burgers and dogs, BBQ brisket…
TM: …tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, oven-baked turkey…
PA: On a retreat!
TM: Who’s ever heard of that?
PA: What will we do with all these leftover cold cuts?
LT: Cake! Who wants more cake? Only 27 pieces left! Mrs. Arps, I don’t think we’ll have much left over. These kids are cake crazy! DJ is on his 6th piece. Lisa had eight!
TM: She’s out of control!
PA: She must be stopped!
LT (holding up one last piece of cake): Ladies, this is all the cake that’s left. What should we do with it?
TM: I’ll tell you what we’ll do with it!
(TM & PA take the shaving-crème covered cake and shove it into LT’s face).
(LT rubs her finger down her cheek and tastes the crème).
LT: Mmm! My favorite!

Cast & Notes

Mrs. Arps…..daughter Kara
Mrs. Martin…daughter Kate
Mrs. Taylor…Hannah (daughter Michelle opted to take a shower!)
Mrs. Deleneck…daughter Christy
Mrs. Johnston…daughter Abby
Mrs. Shetler…daughter Jordan
Mrs. Cocks…son Michael
Mr. Cain…himself
Mr. Roth…himself
Mr. Hall…himself
Mr. Phearson…himself
Mr. Murphy / Krypto…Kyle
Michael W…himself

Though Abby gave me credit for the entire skit, it certainly was not a solo effort. Like last year, most everything was based on actual events and conversations. Mr. Roth had many hilarious comments…I knew if I threw him up there, he would be gold (and embarrass his daughter). Same with Mr. Cain. Mrs. Shetler wanted in, but I thought her daughter could play her better.

I wanted Sandy and Tammy to play themselves, but daughters Christy and Abby did a great job. Cindy was going to play herself, but there was so much dirt on her that I had to recruit her son to play her.

For some strange reason, Living Science chaperones refer to each other by last name...Mr. Roth, Mrs. Johnston. Perhaps because our leaders, Mr. & Mrs. D, always do the same.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Issac, Lisa, Micah (breaking rules), Charissa, breakthrough actress Jordan, Julie, Mrs. D, Tammy (hiding), Michael, his mom Lynn view the sharks.

Butterfly migration count rotation. Michael, the young ninja girl, breakthrough actress Jordan, and Miss Cain stand still while counting, allowing all kinds of creatures crawl over and bite them. It turned out to be much worse duty than watching for sharks.

Key photo: Trapped in our cabin. I'm taking decisive action to get us out, as Michael and Marshal stand by helplessly.

That's NOT a large knife that Michael is using as a screwdriver.

Robert studies the South Georgia cotton fields.

In Quincy, slugging catcher Andrew photographs my navigator Jared, as the young pirate Matthew looks on.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Retreat Photos Stolen From Kevin

View from the van. It was a short hike around the dunes. In one of two state parks.

This was my view, looking out over the water...for sharks!

A tiny picture! So small I can't make out who they are. Box studies, butterfly and mollusk counts...88 degrees on October 17th!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Senior Retreat

Thursday AM Will and I leave on his science trip. We return late Monday.

Last year was so good, I don’t see how this year could be better, but many of the adults are the same. Joel Norman and speed skater Jonathan aren’t going until next week (the school is randomly divided into 2 separate retreats). This spring Will might get to help lead Anna’s retreat…then he will go both weeks, though Anna and Ceil will only go one week. Matthew and I may sit that one out, due to cost. Slugging catcher Andrew is the only 10th grader that gets to stay these 2 weeks, as he is the drummer for the band.

Will is a big Ray’s fan. Not much cell reception on this retreat, but I’m interested in the outcome of the GT/Clemson game.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Will Nesbit Lay an Egg at Clemson?

Tech squeaked by GWebb because...
1. They were playing a third string QB who admittedly couldn't run the option.
2. Were looking forward to Clemson.
3. GT would've had a shutout after the GW kicker missed a FG, but the refs gave GW a first down because a GT defender fell after jumping to block the kick. GW scored on the next play.
Hopefully Clemson won't be fired up, and come out in all orange. Nesbitt will lay an egg on the big stage...hopefully the defense will be strong. GT could very well lose this game. (written before Tommy Bowden stepped down).

Gerald Perry

Thursday night I couldn’t sleep. Friday my co-worker friend Brad and I completed physical inventory. About 3:30 I was suddenly exhausted, from lack of sleep. Momentum took me till after 6 pm. Will’s basketball in Sandy Springs was getting over at 8:30, so I didn’t make the long drive to small group. At practice defender Will trailed the point guard on a breakaway, who bounced the ball off the backboard for the trailing offensive player…who dunked, for the second time that practice.

The dunker showed up a few times last year, but wasn’t in good shape. The dunker’s dad came later to pick him up, though I didn’t recognize him. The dad was talking to Connor’s dad…they live close to each other, a few doors down from Abby. It was former Brave Gerald Perry, whose Cubs were just bounced from the playoffs.

Will & I watched a lot of the Friday TP/BoSox game, but I was dozing on the couch. Saturday I cleaned upstairs until 12:45, & more downstairs. Will’s practice was from 4 – 6, so I missed most of the UGA/Tennessee game. Saw bits of the Florida game and TB game, but was too tired to stay up.

The opening NP song was a rap/hip hop song that I guess had to do with the sermon title “Illusions”. Do you like Jeff Henderson? He may have played small college basketball…I know he played HS. Candy sang. Ceil took A & M to Johnson Ferry…Anna met her pen pal from China, who was visiting with a missionary family. She had never been to a church before.

After church Sunday all three kids had homework to do…I was proofreading papers with Will. Saw only the end of the Falcons game as well…very nice. After the Bears scored with only seconds remaining I was ready to turn it off and go back to work.

We only went to Burt’s Farm once for the hayride, long ago when Will was small…Anna may have been tiny.

King of the Vents

Monday morning I remembered that I pecked out a quick vent for the AJC GT vent section, since the main vent was a complaint about GT not being ranked. I checked to see if it was published, and discovered it was the top rated GT vent, with double the points of it’s closest competitor.

Nice DP last night by Utley, though I’m rooting against the Phils, though I love their alt unis, and am glad they wear them so much.

Spent all day Monday training the boss’s new pet temp. This week I’ll have to let the other, 6 month temp go, who isn’t very efficient. The hire from accounting has a bad attitude. Another team member is in poor health and was out yesterday tending to his wife, who just had her third auto accident in the last 5 years. A third has green belt training today and is off tomorrow. Things are never normal.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Hawks: Hopefully Law can step up this year, since it sure looks like Speedy gets hurt often.

Those new red Thrashers jerseys don’t even look like hockey sweaters, with the numbers on the front. Other teams are getting new alternates, thanks to Reebok, but I haven’t bothered to look at them.

Last night I discovered Caroline, a girl I went to college with, has kids in the same ECPC youth group as Will and Anna. I see her around East Cobb about once or twice a year, and saw her last night when picking up the kids. Several years ago she had actually taken Will or Anna home, and she figured out it was my family, noticing the resemblance the kids have to me. I may have told that story in the past.

I hope Tech doesn’t mess around and lose this Gardner Webb game.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Tuesday we went to my in-law’s favorite place…O’Charleys. Next month for Ceil’s birthday we’ll probably hit a few of our favorite places.

Speaking of food, it sounds like we’ll be eating good on Will’s retreat…homemade BBQ, chicken fajitas, pizza, tomato soup and grilled cheese, and a hamburger/hot dog cookout. Lots of breakfast choices as well. Mr. Cain worked at Starbucks for fun, and he brings an elaborate setup for all the coffee drinkers. I’m set, because there’s always plenty of soft drinks and snacks. I’ll be gaining weight!

I haven’t watched much playoff baseball so far. Caught the end of the Rays win Monday. I’m interested in the ex-Braves, and other players I know.

A Story That Never Gets Old

My 9th grade football team was very good…undefeated. My first year as a kicker. Georgia Military in Milledgeville sent over their B team to play us in Macon, and we beat them 66 – 0.

A few weeks later we bussed over to Milledgeville for a rematch. They had cheerleaders and a guy who did pushups every time the opponent scored, one for every total point. He quit before the end of the first quarter. The halftime score was 66 – 0, and the final score was 96 – 0. I liked the game because the stadium wall was just beyond the goalposts, so every time I kicked an extra point the ball sailed out of the stadium.

In the mid-70’s Tech had a linebacker named Steve Putnal. His brother Rex was a wide receiver for Georgia. Their kid brother Stan was even more talented, and played on that 9th grade team. He was a small, lightning-fast receiver with great hands. He was also a great artist, and that’s what he’s doing today.

I was reminded of this because of this note from Reid: I heard today on the radio the story of how Tech beat Cumberland 222-0. Cumberland had beaten Tech in basketball BAD, and Tech wanted revenge. The year before the football game, Cumberland discontinued their football program. The next year, Tech informed Cumberland that if they broke the contract, it would cost them $5,000, which was huge in that day. So, Cumberland gathered up a bunch of Frat members and pickups, and came to Atlanta for the game. Also, Tech never threw a single pass during the game.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Ranking the MLB Playoff Teams

Here’s my ranking of the playoff teams, based solely on my personal preference, from favorite to least desirable…

1. Cubs…Soriano, Marquis, ex-Brave infielder, ex-ND receiver/reliever, Lou, the scene at Wrigley, Derrick Lee.

2. Rays…the manager, the way they compare to the 91 Braves.

3. Dodgers…Torre, Manny, Nomar, Maddux.

4. Red Sox…Kotsay, Jason Bay, Wakefield, Francona, so many players I’m familiar with.

5. White Sox…Griffey, Dye, Guillen, Thome.

6. Brewers…the sausage races, Sabathia, Felder, Gwynn

7. Angels…Guerrero, the manager, Tex

8. Phillies…Howard, that speedy little guy, Utley. I don’t like Jimmy Rollins

I’m listening to Barry Levinson’s first novel, “66”, which seems to be similar to his movie “Diner”…which I’ve never seen, but now I want to see all the more. The book is hilarious. Next in line is “Charlie Wilson’s War”

Monday, October 06, 2008

Of Matthew and Baseball

I can't figure out Matthew. He seems to want nothing to do with baseball, mostly because that's Will's sport. I'm ok with that. He went to a Braves game just to hang out with Will's friends, but wanted to go to Tooner Field and the Coke bottle, so we did.

Last night on America's Home Makeover, a kid's room was done with all this Cincinnati Reds stuff, including what looked like a bunch of historical caps. There was a framed jersey of the kid's favorite player, Bronson Arroyo, he of the fancy leg kick. There was a personalized Reds jersey for the kid, who later got to throw out the first pitch at a game. And Bronson himself made an full uniform! But he didn't hang around long...he came in, said his hellos, and then left. It could've been a rerun on TVLand...the kids love it, and I had just returned from work.

Matthew was watching it, and said he wanted a room like that...except for the Braves. His and Will's room isn't too far off (though this weekend I returned the red Francoeur jersey to the closet. Halfway through the year I realized it was in the closet, instead of "on display" outside the closet door. Figuring that was why Frenchy was having such a poor year, I brought it out. Did you read the similar back page article in SI?). Perhaps next season I'll display Matthew's little Chipper jersey.

Also a good SI article on the Rays manager.

I'm forwarding Reid's story below about Mazzone...he hates Cox.

Heard Mazzony tell a story about how he and Cox were together in the dugout. Smoltz was pitching in the 9th with a 5 to 3 lead with 2 men on. Cox asked Leo what he would do and Leo replied "leave him in". After several times of asking the same question, Cox strides out to the mound to take Smoltz out. Leo pulled his hat off, and started scratching his head. Cox came back mad but didn't say anything. After the game Cox called Leo into his office and closed the door. Cox said "don't you ever pull your hat off and scratch your head while I'm pulling a pitcher". Leo tried to explain that it was not intential and that his head really did itch. He said Cox never bought it, and he never did it again.

Fun Facts Week Three

"Abracadabra" is Latin for "I hope this works"

It takes a giraffe a half an hour to clear its throat.

It has been scientifically proven that the most effort any human can give is 107%

The first batch of
Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup was just "Mm Mm Okay"

Before taking over "The Price Is Right," Drew Carey was neutered.

Ben Franklin's first bifocals had eyes painted on the outside of the lenses to improve his poker game.

If Sharon Stone married Oliver Stone, she'd be known as Sharon Stone.

When JC Penney died, he left his wife penniless (true!).

Despite countless renditions of the song, Dionne Warwick still does not know the way to
San Jose.

That's not dancing. Those aren't stars.

Herschel and Chloe

Two channel surfing observations…

…Herschel was on the Crystal Cathedral.

…Chloe from “24” had a small nerd role on “Dude, Where’s My Car”

Saturday I was looking forward to the GT game, but it wasn’t on. I’ve been reading most of what the AJC writes about GT…I haven’t been like this in many years.

Considering we can fit both cars in our garage, we still have a lot of junk in ours. I need to rent a saw to finish the playhouse…nobody I know has one to borrow.

We cleaned this weekend, as Ceil’s parents were coming. I was stressed out, because the kids need to help Ceil a lot more than they do…considering all the extracurriculars they’re involved in. Anna had ballet, so Ceil was gone most of the day. My feet got cold, so by Saturday afternoon I was sneezing so bad that I couldn’t do much. Will had basketball practice Saturday night.

Sunday morning my back was hurting, so I stayed home…I worked on physical inventory. I helped clean from noon to three, then went into the office until after 8 pm.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Who Am I?

Basketball center...College All America...Injury Prone...Drafted # 1 overall by Portland Trail Blazers...Long Abe Lincoln beard...Missed entire NBA season...Musically inclined.

Who am I?

Is Greg Oden the black Bill Walton?

Endless Meetings

Wednesday there was a 5 pm meeting with a vendor, that I would add little to. I chose just before that to go over to our processing center, where I took my time and got a lot done. When I returned the meeting was in full swing…the vendor was delivering bad news. Luckily I was never called into the meeting, and nothing was said. Usually my boss works later than me, but that night he was atypically discouraged, and left after the meeting.

All the undone, bad stuff about the account is finally coming out, which is good, though it’s causing longer hours and discouragement in the leadership team. Thursday my boss rushed out to drag Darryl and me into the meeting. Had I not had my laptop there to work on stuff, I would’ve been frustrated and bored. We were “let go” at 7:30, and everyone rushed out. I worked another hour, though I was worn out.

Friday we have a 2 pm meeting with two VP’s, so I’m sure we’ll be in meetings all day getting ready. A co-worker has done a great job. He’s been here 2 years, and has been trained enough to understand everything. He’s probably frustrated and ready to move on, which is bad. I’m just getting to the point where I’m on top of A/R, though I’m always busy when the lady in Credit calls, and vice versa.

Will had his first basketball practice Thursday night…says there are a few new players, which they need. It was good to see some of the other dads again.

Saturday is Six Flags for Matthew, Anna, and me. The in-laws may be coming soon, and the house is a mess. And I need to come in to the office as well, or this inventory will never get done.