Monday, January 30, 2012

Keeping Up With the Coleys

Interesting Friday evening. On my way home from work I called Ceil. She said Susan had dropped by for a visit, along with Houston and Haviland. After my ClaIrmont Road focus group ended at five, my route home took me past two Goodwills that I rarely visit. Finally arrived home around 7:30, and got an update from Susan on Bryan’s movie.

You may have seen the Crackerjack trailer I re-posted on Facebook. Foxworthy, the Executive Producer (financial contributor), narrated the short YouTube video. Loved his line “From the people who brought you…nothing you’ve ever seen before.” After watching the trailer, I noticed several other “CJmovie” videos on YouTube, some that show Bryan. Anyone who’s played church softball will be able to identify with this movie…I loved how one team had a cartoon Jesus mascot. From the trailer you can tell that the movie will be nothing like the Fireproof and Courageous movies.

Susan said Bryan grew out his great grey goatee soon after he relocated to Savannah for the shooting, to “channel his inner George Lucas”. He told her he’s not a beard person, and shaved it off as soon as the filming was over. Bryan has been driving Susan crazy at home, re-running ten second bits of the movie, to get the sound or music just right. He submitted Crackerjack for the Sundance Film Festival, but only 150 films were selected from over 11,000 submissions. Bryan hopes to submit it somewhere else, unless he finds a deal to distribute it first. He’s also trying to raise money to re-shoot one key scene.

Anna had been babysitting next door, but after she returned home she played dolls with Haviland. Houston has short hair, and he and Matthew played Legos. Around Christmas they all went down to Disney, Epcot, and Harry Potter World. The Coleys still attend Stonecrest Church, where Bryan still plays Todd in Kidstuf (and in YouTube videos with Houston). Susan said they’re starting a new twelve-week Friday night small group, using Bryan’s movie-watching curriculum. She offered us a place in the group, though I doubt we’ll bite.

After the short chat, I had to leave to take Anna way up to her friend’s house in Milton. She drove, and the fifteen mile trip seemed to take forever, on dark two lane roads the whole way. We took one wrong turn, which made it even longer. Anna is progressing as a driver, but needs lots more practice. Around 8:30 Ceil called to say she was going to Willys with the Coleys. Since I was thirty minutes away, I just went home. Ceil and Matthew didn’t get home until after ten.

Will and Joel went down to a Passion college gathering in Buckhead, attended by over 400 students. He had baseball practice Saturday, and then went to Cartersville.

Saturday Ceil and I cleaned, until it was time for M’s game. He looked good in the navy Nike Hyperdunks that I’d found, though they gave him a blister. Picked up Anna and Brittany, and we redboxed Russell Crowe’s “The Next Three Days”…pretty good.

Sunday I placed some things for sale on Craig’s List, though I’m having more luck on eBay. Passion City Church was good, though I hate the traffic. We also ran by IKEA. Today they’re painting the kitchen, and installing the knobs and lights. Lots of co-workers are on Linked In, so last night I spent time updating my profile.

MLB BP: Top Ten Reasons to Go Early

Most years I do good to make it to five Braves games, so I try to make each Turner Field trip an event. Instead of arriving late to a game that I may have to leave early, I’d much rather go early for batting practice.

Why do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

10. Avoid rush hour traffic. Plus you get the pick of parking spaces.

9. Fun chatting in the dollar ticket line with other true fans. The stories are always interesting, and educational.

8. Ushers don’t run out of the promotional giveaway items. Be sure to bring a bag to carry them home.

7. Its relaxing to sit in outfield stands, watching batting practice, listening to the music. Bring a snack to munch on.

6. The chance to chat with players shagging flies in the outfield. They’re much more cordial before the game, as long as you’re not screaming for them to throw you a ball.

5. The thrill of catching a BP home run. Bringing a glove helps, and there’s something about watching a game with a baseball glove on your hand that just seems right. Better yet, keep score.

4. Plenty of time to sign up as a Designated Driver. The old lady is a big fan, and has been manning the booth for years. Plus you get a free Coke, and a cool bracelet.

3. Take the long way around the stadium to your seats. People-watch, and see what’s going on. Check out the pregame radio show, with Lemke, Mazzone, and Buck. Pound fists with Crazy Darryl.

2. Extra time to spend with your son/daughter/wife/friend. Snack some more, and fill out the lineups on the scorecard.

1. Never miss ceremonial first pitch and national anthem. Often you’ll hear another interesting, heart-wrenching story.

My goal is stick around at least through the seventh-inning stretch, if not the entire game. I would never leave if a pitcher had a no-hitter going. Sticking around after the game can be fun, if there’s a postgame concert, fireworks, or kids run the bases. A postgame swing by the Varsity is always memorable, but these days the Varsity closes at eleven…often putting a damper of a postgame chili dog.

Matthew's Reds Beat Celtics

Matthew played another good, aggressive game, and his Reds beat the Celtics 40-26 this past Saturday. Wearing his new Nikes, Matthew grabbed four rebounds, had an assist, and missed the only shot he took.

The Reds scored the first six points of the game, but were then outscored 8-2 by the Celtics. Then the Reds went on a 12-2 run of their own. Just after halftime the Reds built their lead to fourteen points. The teams swapped baskets the rest of the way.



Ryan: 16 pts, 3 RB, 6 steals, 6-16, 3-4

Chris: 15 pts, 17 RB, 2 S, 2 A, BLK, 7-14, 1-2

Darryl: 5 pts, 5 RB, 2 steals, 2-9, 1-1

Rolf: 4 points, 7 rebounds, block, 2-7

Sam: 7 rebounds, 3 steals, assist, 0-12

Matthew: 4 rebounds, assist, 0-1

Ethan: 2 rebounds, assist, 0-5

Blondie: 0-2

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Nike Hyperdunk 2010

First Matthew outgrew his Air Jordans. Then he didn't like the grey zip-up Nike running shoes. He was content wearing his grey velour Nike high-tops, with orange laces and swooshes, even though they made him look even skinnier.

Then Friday night I found a great pair of navy 2010 Hyperdunks, size 8-1/2. Matthew readily wore them in his Saturday game, and looked great. He did say he got a blister on his achilles, but hopefully he'll wear these for his last four games.

Friday, January 27, 2012

January 26 Trivia

Team Doorhinges has another strong showing this week, finishing third out of ten teams. We answered 16 of the first 17 questions correctly…though two other teams did at least as well. Joel and Will broke away from Charles’ birthday celebration, but we’ve lost Kevin to soccer. This week he missed no Disney questions.

COLOR: How many colors are in a rainbow? Joel was pretty sure it was SEVEN. Three points.

SPORTS: The world’s largest one day sporting event is held in Indiana. What is it? Hoping it wasn’t the Super Bowl, I said the INDIANAPOLIS 500. Five points.

GEOGRAPHY: The US and Canada share the world’s largest body of fresh water. What is it? I knew: LAKE SUPERIOS. One point.

MOVIES: What world-famous movie was set in Georgia in the 1860’s? My third straight answer: GONE WITH THE WIND. Five points.

NATURE: A RED SNAPPER is what kind of animal? After a discussion, Joel answered a FISH. One point.

GAMES: In Scrabble, how many points are given as a bonus for using all seven letters? Joel jotted down ten…or twenty…or FIFTY. I confirmed the correct answer. Three points.

AMERICA: Erin spoke it like G. W. Bush. Which state capital is nicknamed the “Mile High City? Both Joel and I knew: DENVER. Five points.

FAMOUS PEOPLE: Which actress played a leading role in The Stepmom, Dead Men Walking, and Rocky Horror? Will and Joel looked to me. I didn’t remember the name of the Jennifer Lopez movie where Jane Fonda played the Monster in Law, and had never heard of her being in Rocky Horror. I would never have thought of SUSAN SARANDON. A one point miss.

COFFEE: “Land of a Thousand Hills” is the nickname for what African Country? Joel immediately knew: RWANDA.

HALFTIME: Name the state of these capital cities: Lansing, Helena, Harrisburg, Dover, and Frankfurt. Joel immediately answered: Michigan, Montana, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Kentucky. We were just one point behind three teams with perfect scores: Bama, the Puritans, and My Couch Pulls Out. Will and Joel were beginning to pay more attention to their ongoing paper football game than the trivia. One time I had to remind them to turn in an answer.

LITERATURE: Which American author wrote Tender Is the Night, The Last Tycoon, and The Great Gatsby? Joel knew: F. SCOTT FITZGERALD. Six points.

GEORGIA: In Warm Springs, what US President built the “Little White House”? I knew: FDR. Four points.

SCIENCE: What does an ornithologist study? I knew: BIRDS. Two points.

HISTORY: Who led the Spanish army to victory over the Aztecs? Joel wasn't sure. I doodled “Bolivar” and Joel said no. Next I wrote “CORTEZ” and Joel said yes. Four points.

POETRY (Erin’s favorite category): How many lines are in each verse of a limerick? Joel almost answered four, but at the last second Will talked him into the right answer: FIVE. Two points. I busied myself writing a limerick. Another team turned one in first, using the same first line as me. A third team’s limerick was more like a haiku. Mine garnered scattered chuckles…

There once was a girl named Erin

Whose trivia was far from over-bearin

Some questions are hard…

…one was about the Bard.

By the end of the night I’m usually swearin

I was surprised that neither Erin nor Joel knew Shakespeare’s nickname. Perhaps I should’ve mentioned her red cowboy boots, or turned in the Pelican limerick (a favorite of Joel’s dad)…

An amazing bird is the pelican.

His bill and hold more than his belly can.

Food for a week he can hold in his beak

but I’m damned if I know how the hell he can!

When Erin mentioned a funny answer: “An octopus doesn’t have a heart”, it gave me a chance to add in my joke: “Well, the octopus that just broke up with ME sure didn’t have a heart!” Joel was the only one to laugh. Good kid.

OUTER SPACE: Which planet is closest in size to our moon? We discussed it a little, after making sure Will and Joel knew the question was moon, not earth. We guessed correctly: MERCURY. Six Points. Two teams were still perfect: Bama and My Couch.

ANIMALS: How many hearts does an octopus have? As soon as Erin asked the question, I looked at Joel and blurted out: “You should know…you dissected one!” I thought of another joke, but stayed quiet while the boys thought. Joel thought five, but Will answered THREE. Had Kevin been there, we might’ve felt strongly enough to wager six points. Instead we wagered two. In the end, it didn’t matter.

1990’s: In the TV show “Clarissa Explains It All”, what term of endearment does Clarissa’s dad Michael, an architect, call his daughter? We had no idea. SPORT was the answer. A four point miss. Fortunately, no other team knew, either.

FAMOUS PEOPLE: According to the book “Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness” how many nose jobs did Michael have? I guessed five. It was six. A six point miss. Going into the final question, we were two points behind the two leading teams.

FINAL: Name the five most widely spoken languages…based on how many countries that have declared that language its official language. During our discussion, Joel went with two of my suggestions: Afrikaans and Arabic. He had to leave out French, which worried Will. We got four of five correct, adding twelve points to our total. In order: ENGLISH, FRENCH, ARABIC, SPANISH, and PORTUGESE. Our 72 points placed us third. Bama won again.

Between questions Erin featured music from Georgia artists; James Brown, Otis Redding, Usher, the Black Crowes, Outcast, Elton John, Kanye West, Stevie Wonder, Montreal, John Mayer, the B-52’s, the Allman Brothers, and others. But no REM. Probably before her time.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Contemporary Worship?

Church praise singers often make me feel uncomfortable. It often looks like THEY are uncomfortable, especially when they’re in their 40’s and 50’s, dressed in kakis and singing songs they’re not totally familiar with. If a church is trying to appeal to people in their 20’s and 30’s (and younger), the praise band should be comprised of people in that age group. I always think those praise bands were formed by a church committee.

At Passion Church it seems like song-leader Chris Tomlin is making eye contact with everyone in the room. When the singing begins, at first I might not be completely focused on singing, or the words of the song. Then I look up and Tomlin appears to be looking at me, singing and smiling. And I’m sitting a third of the way back, on the side. After that I’m more focused on the worship.

I'm sure having familiar singers leading worship is a comfort for regular attenders. Some churches focus on visitors, and other churches focus on regular attenders. These days I'm more of a seeker church guy.

Pigs-in-blankets: they had them at the UAB reception Sunday afternoon at “The Club.” They were overcooked: the one I ate was tough. They also had other typical reception food: chicken nuggets, fried cheese balls, little pimento cheese sandwiches, fruit, cookies, and brownies. Coffee and lemonade to drink. I didn’t eat much, but others were loading up their plates.

On the drive home Sunday we listened to the end of the Pats game. Lang found a good article absolving the Ravens kicker from much blame, as the play clock was running down. Later it appeared on Yahoo. Watched the second half of the Giants/Niners. It was a great game. I was thinking it would take something dramatic, like a fumble, to win the game.

Monday Matthew had his first appointment with orthodontist Jerry Capps. Will and Matthew had practice: baseball and basketball. M’s team lost last Saturday. Ceil said Matthew played well…two shots rolled in, then out. M’s 12-14 year-old basketball practice: The star was checking his cell phone DURING the practice. Neither the coach or his dad said anything. Boys were bouncing and spinning balls while the coach was talking, obviously not paying attention. During the scrimmage the better players wouldn’t pass…they were doing things they’d never do in the game…fouling, illegally pressing in the backcourt, stepping out of bounds, etc. Then the coach gave them doughnuts after practice! Everyone took two, leaving none for the coach.

Hopefully in the long run Tech can get players to play hard against all teams, and not just Duke. Some of it is coaching, but you need players who want to play hard. Some college players seem to only play hard when they want. Kind of like on Matthew’s team.

Not much going on. Tuesday night I ran after work, stopped by Kroger, ate hot dogs, baked beans, and slaw. Watched some of Obama’s speech, then watched a good episode of White Collar.

Watched more of the Hawks Tuesday night than I have all year. Teague does seem to be the difference. Saturday Heinrich was swapping tweets with Lang, I noticed.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Jobs Through The Years

2008 - 2012 Sales Team Leader: responsible for one of Ryerson’s largest national accounts, coordinating production and product movement at numerous internal and external fabricators.

2000 - 2007 Ryerson Fabrication Specialist: developed/enhanced Work Order system, trained entire SE Division, monitored sales, troubleshooted problems.

1997 - 1999 TMP Scheduling Manager: supervised scheduling for entire plant, decreased lead times, increased customer satisfaction.

1994 - 1996 TMP Quality Manager/Auditor: first Tull district to achieve ISO 9000 certification, conducted internal audits.

1991 - 1993 AS400 System Trainer: converted Atlanta, Greensboro, and Little Rock processing divisions.

1987 - 1990 Tull Metals Processing Inside Sales (handled Westinghouse, etc)

1983 - 1986 Sepco Inside Sales: handled large contract accounts (DuPont, Georgia Power)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Alabama Birmingham

Good trip to Birmingham, except for the wet ride over and back. Will interviewed for two different Honors Programs at UAB. His first interview wasn’t until 3:20 pm Central Time, so we didn’t leave home until after noon. Will felt one student in the first Experiential Learning interview (his first option, the one Kara is in) asked odd questions. Others he talked to agreed. Will thought the second interview went much better.

After dropping off Will, I stayed parked next to the building and watched the crowd disperse from the basketball game at nearby Bartow Arena, while reading my book and snacking on Cheerios. Later I bought a drink and drove past the baseball field. There were people in the stands, so I checked out the action: a baseball clinic for high-schoolers.

After the interviews Will was a little discouraged, and very hungry. We drove in the general direction of the hotel. We headed toward Flip Burger at The Summit, a tony shopping center on a hill. Traffic was jammed with shoppers trying to be cool. I took a turn that inadvertently exited me from the shopping center. We looped around and returned to my first choice: Blackwells, which turned out to be a pub / sportsbar. I had a chicken salad salad, and Will’s pimento-cheese burger looked above average. Afterward we crashed at the hotel. The Courtyard worked out fine, though the bed was too soft (for me) and the lobby coffee was bad (Will).

Sunday morning after stopping by McDonalds we attended the nearby Church at Brook Hills. Will had heard its pastor, David Platt, speak last year at the 2011 Passion Conference. We sat with three of Kara’s friends. Afterward we met Kara and two of the friends for lunch at the UAB dining hall. Not surprisingly, college hasn’t changed Kara. In addition to making straight A’s, she’s active in RUF. She stills doles out the occasional high-five.

Next was the president’s reception for UAB Scholarship Recipients, at “The Club”, a private joint on the mountain overlooking UAB and downtown Birmingham…not far from the Vulcan statue. Unfortunately, the great view was obscured by the overcast conditions. The Club was a pretty big place, and it was filled with students, parents, and faculty. The Honors Program’s Admissions Director knew Will, based on his friendships with Kara and our family friend Jordan Stephenson, who used to work in UAB admissions. We saw a family that had attended the Church at Brook Hills. A different mom asked Will about his homeschool experience: she had heard Will talking before yesterday’s interviews. We had a nice chat with them. The UAB president spoke, then introduced UAB’s first Rhodes Scholar, a young man who also works for Teach for America.

On the way back to Atlanta we stopped at the Nike Outlet, and Will finally cashed in my Coke Rewards certificate for new running shoes. By the time we got back on the interstate it was raining, which made for a fun drive home.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Jan 19th Trivia

Another crowded night at Land of a Thousand Hills Thursday night, with twelve teams competing. I sat next to Joel, and across from Kevin, Will, Michael, and Jon. We answered 13 of the first 14 questions correctly, and tied for the halftime lead. Had I not gotten the one question wrong, we would’ve led by ourselves. In the end, it didn’t matter.

MATH: How many EDGES does a cube have? Joel immediately scribbled an answer and prepared to hand it to Trivia-Master Erin, but Kevin quickly stopped him. After a short discussion, we answered correctly: TWELVE. Five points.

FOOD: Dave Thomas founded what national restaurant chain? WENDYS. Jon asked me how I knew. “I’m old!” Actually, Dave used to star in his own commercials, and I heard him speak at a graduation. Three points.

RADIO: Who retired in 2009 after hosting “American Top Forty” for 39 years? The team looked to me, and I answered Dick Clark. It was CASEY KASEM. My co-workers all knew. At least we only missed out on one point.

GEORGIA: What famous hiking trail has its southern end in Georgia? We all knew: The Appalachian Trail. Five Points.

MOVIES: In the movie “Walk the Line” (one of Erin’s favorites), Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon portrayed what two country music singers? I knew: Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. Three points.

LITERATURE: What two fictional boy detectives lived in the fictional town of Bayport? THE HARDY BOYS. Will, Michael, and Jon knew, having read the series. They submitted their first names, but didn’t receive extra credit. One point.

RECREATION: A swimming pool must have a minimum of how many lanes to be considered Olympic-sized? We guessed correctly: EIGHT. One point.

COMIC STRIPS: The fictional characters Mom, Dad, Peter, Paige, and Jason Fox are featured in what comic strip? Joel knew: FOXTROT. Five points.

AMERICA: Which state has the largest Native American population? Several were suggested, and we went with my vote: OKLAHOMA. Three points.

HALFTIME: Name the state capitals. Joel studied, and didn’t need help: Alaska (Juneau), Arizona (Phoenix), Connecticut (Hartford), Vermont (Montpelier), Wisconsin (Madison). Ten points. It was longtime employee Lizzie’s 21st birthday, so we all joined in to sing.

TELEVISION: What cable channel appropriately has its headquarters in downtown Nashville? Kevin was the first to say: CMT. Four points.

GEOGRAPHY: What US state’s capitol is closest to the equator? Joel started drawing a map of the United States. By then I knew he was off the mark. While writing the Expedition Skit, I researched the Galapagos Islands. This helped me deduce the correct answer: HONOLULU. Six points.

COFFEE: What country is said to be where coffee was discovered? Joel knew: it was ETHIOPIA. Erin said it’s also where humans first lived. Two points.

ART: St. Petersburg Florida has a museum dedicated to what off-the-wall Spanish artist? After licking his chops when the category was announced, noted Facebook artist Michael didn’t know. We guessed Rafael. It was Dali. A two point miss.

HISTORY: At 42, what man became the youngest US President? An interesting question. Last week Erin asked which President was the youngest to die. The question didn’t say “elected” but it didn’t stop me from immediately responding JFK. Erin did require the first and last name, which should’ve been a hint. It was TEDDY ROOSEVELT. Just the day before I checked out a book on him, but it was too late. A six point miss. Bama knew, but they had already faded from the leaders.

POLITICS: According to American criminal law, what is the minimum number of people required to be considered a riot? We said two. It was three. A four point miss, and Joel was reeling.

TOYS: What type of dolls was so popular in 1983 that some sold for over $100.00? Having stood in line for hours to get the original, hand-made “Little People” dolls autographed by their creator, artist Xavier Roberts, I knew: CABBAGE PATCH DOLLS. Four points.

SPORTS: The largest football stadium in the US seats 109,998. What state is it in? I didn’t hear Kevin mention Tennessee, and I knew two stadiums had gone back and forth for the most. We went with my answer: MICHIGAN. Six points.

ACRONYMS: What does EPCOT stand for? Another Disney question that Kevin didn’t know. Only one team did. Erin read all the amusing answers, saving mine for last: Erin Plays Crazy Old Tunes. Actually, it’s the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. A two point miss. Going into the final question, our 58 second-place points put us seven behind the leaders, the Hustlers.

FINAL: Name the four largest world religions, with a bonus for putting them in order. After a discussion, Joel submitted the right answer: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. The Hustlers also got it right, so we finished in second.

What I Do (at Work)

As the leader of my customer’s sales pod, my job is to ensure parts flow smoothly through all the levels of the material chain: from the mill to the customer’s production line. My customer is one of my company's largest accounts. I direct two co-workers, and work with several others to facilitate the process. What follows are the details of what I do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

Requisition raw material master coils from Nucor Charleston & Decatur. A once or twice a month chore, where I determine need based on current inventory and customer forecast. There are 18 different master coil variations that make over 250 different parts: different thicknesses, chemistries, and widths. At the beginning of February I will order coils to arrive in March. As needed, I also order five or so smaller-use sizes from other vendors.

Maintain a buffer stock of finished parts at our partner fabricators. About once a week I compile an inventory for each of the seven main vendors who fabricate parts, and more than five smaller vendors. When needed, I direct fabricators to ship parts to painters. Often these smaller partner vendors are great at making a part, but not so great at coordinating customer orders. That’s our job.

When the supply of a part falls under a designated minimum level, I initiate an internal production work order to cut the specific raw material to make more. Several parts can be cut at the same time, from the same master coil. The trick is to only cut needed sizes. These orders usually take about a week to cut, package, and ship. Other material involves two or more production processes, and require more advance planning. Some coils are stored and processed off-site; these must be handled separately, and require more hands-on attention. These work orders are also used as a vendor purchase order and a way to receive finished parts.

My company stores about a week’s worth of each part in our customer’s Augusta plant, handing over needed parts one container at a time. Our workers there are on the go all day, and they call on me and my group to trouble-shoot any problems they have. They attend plant meetings, and are the first to learn about production changes. We relay this information to our partner fabricators.

Every day my team member advises each partner vendor which replenishment parts need to deliver to our Augusta storage area. I review each day’s releases to make sure no part level has dropped dangerously low, perhaps due to a customer surge in production. In some cases it is necessary to coordinate an immediate same-day delivery. Based on various logistics, some hot-shot shipments are easier than others. Each hot shipment requires numerous phone calls to the customer, our workers, the vendor, and the freight carrier…all along the way.

I also communicate with the customer regarding forecasts, new parts, problems, and other matters. Some issues are relayed to our fabricators, and others involve my coworkers in quality, sales, purchasing, accounting, credit, or pricing. At month end I compile the total shipments and issue a steel surcharge invoice. Since this surcharge is over a hundred thousand dollars (and audited by the customer), this is a task I do not delegate.

Management expects overall inventory levels to remain low: this too is my responsibility. Since I took over these duties, I have been able to cut overall inventory in half: a drop of over three million dollars. Aged, slow-moving inventory is also tracked: these levels have also dropped, even though the customer requires us to stock slow-moving parts.

Most prices stay in effect the entire year. Some change quarterly, and others are priced by order. I am involved in the quarterly and annual pricing meetings, and when prices change it is my responsibility to make sure all current orders invoice correctly. I also make sure each part is costed correctly. If a cost is too low, large dollar variances are created. These variances show up in the pile of open work in process orders. I must make sure older work order dollars are balanced and closed out…another monthly task.

My previous position was to train and maintain the entire Southeast on these work orders. In addition to Georgia, our Atlanta office is now responsible for Florida and Tennessee. I still try to keep an eye on the various work order accounts. There are advantages to this, as sometimes favorable cost variances can be found and used for the betterment of the organization. Knowing this, my boss sends special projects my way, saying they need to be “weaseled”. Likewise, I am the Southeast’s go-to guy for work order questions and problem-solving.

When the Chattanooga contract accounts were recently transferred down to my fellow Atlanta contract sales group members, the number of training and logistical questions I’ve received increased. Fortunately a great deal of these came during my customer’s holiday shutdown, so I had the time. As usual, there’s never enough time to get everything done.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Selling on eBay: Finally

My goal this year is to start selling off stuff that I buy at thrift stores. Last week I sold a Tim Tebow Florida jersey, and this week I sold a Eli Manning Giants jersey. I have a Peyton Manning 2009 Pro Bowl jersey up for sale right now. I need to sell ten items per month. I’ll try to sell whatever sport is in season. This way I can continue trolling thrift stores.

Tuesday night after baseball practice Will spoke at the Living Science parents meeting. Normally they don’t ask alumni to speak, but I suppose they needed a shot in the arm. I took Anna to Target. While we were out, we gassed up the van, and stopped by Kroger for PB&J.

Things got crazy at work around four Wednesday, but I eventually got everything straightened out. Booked a room at the Courtyard in Birmingham for Saturday night. Stopped by the library, Kroger, Sears, and the Dollar Store on the way home. I read, while everyone watched American Idol and Toddlers & Tiaras.

Looks like I’m taking Will to Birmingham this weekend. He has interviews and a reception at UAB. There’s some church he wants to go to…he heard the pastor speak last summer.

Have you seen the new Braves jersey? I heard it first from Lang. It’s similar to the 1966 jersey, the Braves first year in Atlanta. No tomahawk, with just black trim down the front and around the shoulders. Cream colored, though they’ll wear them with white pants L. Names similar to the current white jersey. Instead they should go without names, or wear the huge red names they sported earlier in the 60’s.

Unfortunately, the Braves will continue to wear the red jersey on Sunday. They’ll also wear navy on the road, randomly alternating with the grey jersey. Kevin was not aware, since I had yet to blog about it!

…I hate those nosebleed seats at Phillips.

…At the library I picked up “Playing for Pizza” by Grisham, and a book on Teddy Roosevelt.

…An older baseball fan/writer named Dan Schlossberg friended me on Facebook. Lives in New York.

Jan 5th Trivia

January 5th Trivia, with Will, Joel, Kevin, and Matthew...

LITERATURE: In the original Brothers Grimm, whose tongue was cut off? We didn’t know. ARIEL.

GEORGIA…gave the world three famous soul singers: James Brown, Little Richard, and someone sitting on the dock of the bay. Being from Macon, I knew it was Otis Redding. Five points.

LANGUAGES: What name meaning “perfect place” actually means “no place” in Greek? Joel knew: Utopia. Three points.

MYTHOLOGY: What did the Romans call the Greek god Odysseus? No idea (Ulysses).

ANIMALS: What type of bird is capable of diving 900 feet under water? An emperor penguin. Five points.

GRAMMAR: What is the word for a string of words that sound alike? Joel knew: ALLITERATION. Three points.

MEDICINE: Among Americans, what is the most common blood type? Kevin & Joel thought AB Negative, but it was O Positive. A three point miss.

CURRENT EVENTS: Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was the governor of what state? I knew: Massachusetts. Five points.

HISTORY: What 1863 battle saw 50,000 men die in three days? GETTYSBURG. One point.

HALFTIME: Name the capitals. Iraq (Bagdad), Canada (Ottawa), Costa Rica (San Jose), Scotland (Edinborough), Haiti (Port ou Prince). Thanks to Kevin, we got them all. We finished the half in 5th place (out of eleven teams), just three points behind the leaders: Rumbleroars Army.

GEOMETRY: What is a polygon with four unequal sides called? Kevin thought rumbas, but it was a quadrilateral. A six point miss.

RADIO: In 1993 which country created the first gay radio station? I guessed Sweden, but it was Melbourne Australia. A two point miss, but no one got the question right.

1990’s: What 1991 movie did brad Pitt appear in for only 14 minutes? We didn’t know. THEMLA & LOUISE. A four point miss.

DISNEY: How many of the seven dwarfs had beards? I should’ve taken over and answered six, but Joel answered four. Kevin should’ve known! A four point miss, for the fourth straight incorrect answer.

MOVIES: What children’s book did Forrest Gump keep in his suitcase? I knew: CURIOUS GEORGE. Six points.

FOOD: What ingredient is mixed with white sugar to make brown sugar? Many joked dirt. Joel correctly guessed: MOLASSES. Most got it right. Two points for us.

SPORTS: What college football team won four of the first five Fiesta Bowls? Many incorrectly guessed the University of Arizona. I was the only one to know the right answer: Arizona State. Joel cheered loudly. Four points.

RELIGION: What holy place are followers of Islam duty bound to visit at least once in their lives? MECCA. Six points.

COFFEE: Which has a higher caffeine content: Arabica or Robusta? Joel correctly answered Robusta. it’s because it grows at a higher altitude, where the bugs can’t attack…so it can grow longer. Two points. We had 52 points going into the final question, in fourth place…seven points behind the leading Family Feuders.

FINAL: Name the five most commonly used letters in the English language. because of family Feud, Joel answered R,S, T, L, and E. We got T and E, and missed on A, I, and O. Vowels are the most common, since there is only five of them, and they’re in every word. Most did well, but no one got them all.

We finished tied for sixth...kinda disappointing. The nice older lady (my age) won: team Family Feud.

This was the week a cool guy was seated at the next table: long dark hair, stubble, black shirt…and brown shoes. it confirmed my co-worker Dan’s fashion choice, which had been ridiculed by Thomas.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

More Braves Uni-Tweaks

I’ve got to look up the emails of Frank Wren and others in the Braves brain-trust, and offer small / minor / “needed” uniform revisions. Here’s my list:

1. Cream-colored pants to match the new jersey.

2. No names on the new cream jerseys…

…or use the early-60’s huge red letters.

3. Add the smaller front numbers on every color jersey.

4. Striped stirrups (with every uniform)

5. Only wear the navy jersey once per road series (at most).

6. Wear “Braves” on the road, instead of “Atlanta

7. Retire the Sunday tomahawk caps.

8. Retire the red jerseys.

The navy jersey isn’t that bad, but the grey looks better.

The solid navy road caps are great.

Numbers on the front, and huge names on back, are baseball traditions, and Braves traditions.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Know how people say they don’t go to church because it’s full of hypocrites?

Sunday Louie said that whenever he hears that he immediately THINKS: “Well, you must not go to the grocery store, either”.

It was pretty quiet when he said it, and I was the first to laugh…kind of loud. He went on to list several places frequented by hypocrites: offices, gyms, even bathrooms. “In bathrooms there are two manufacturers: Koehler or American Standard. Two companies. Who made them? Hypocrites. Who are on the board of directors? What are you going to do?

Earlier Louie had read the dictionary definition of a hypocrite: “a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.” At some point, EVERYONE acts in contradiction to their beliefs. Obviously, everyone is a hypocrite.

Louie usually SAYS “I agree…you’re absolutely right. And I’m one of them.”

I do understand where people are coming from when they give the hypocrite line. Many churches, and church people, aren’t much fun to be around. As Louie later said (and I agree), we are thankful to attend a rowdy church. Where you might hear someone accidentally cuss…someone who’s recently come into grace. Where a homeless person worships next to a CEO.

The grocery store line just caught me as funny.

Will's Essay

My enthusiasm for leadership and service sets me apart. A unique contributing factor is that I have never attended a traditional five day-a-week school. Home schooling has provided me with a well-rounded education that encourages leadership and service in my daily activities. It is this symbiotic relationship between home schooling and my leadership and service experiences that have stimulated my high school career, and is what sets me apart in this program.

My elementary years were enriched by a plethora of educational experiences, such as visits to museums, historical and recreational sites, and participation in art, science, and historical activities. These all proved beneficial and memorable, as I was able to see and experience the places I was studying, and actively engage in the learning process.

When I reached middle-school age my parents enrolled me in a non-traditional, once-a-week educational program that continued the emphasis on experiential learning, called Living Science. As its name suggests, the goal was to bring science to life. This was accomplished via labs and research that inspired students to learn about science by doing, and not merely memorizing.

Living Science took annual science trips to Jekyll Island, Georgia. As a sixth grader I recall being amazed at what I was able to see and grasp, through the studies and research we conducted. We collected water and soil samples, studied specimens in and around the ocean, and recorded indigenous birds and trees. Over the course of several years, we were able to do comparison studies using the data we had collected. We learned scientific method and procedures, and we created reports and graphs based on the data.

At an early age I developed enthusiasm for learning and sharing my knowledge. I was lead to serve on the Servant Leader Team in 10th grade, to plan and implement the same week-long science trips that had such an impact on my life. Very few sophomores are chosen as Team Leaders. My responsibilities included managing each of the three annual science trips, teaching the students, and overseeing enrichment activities. Serving three years on the team was a huge responsibility that proved extremely beneficial. This developed my leadership ability and basic understanding of scientific research. As a result, I now aspire to apply these lessons to pursue an undergraduate degree in biology, attend medical school, and strive to become a general surgeon.

In addition to leadership within academic programs, I have also had the opportunity to lead and serve through several extracurricular activities. At Camp Highland in Ellijay I was the summer’s youngest counselor. For four years I led small groups at church, as well as other independent middle-school groups. The varsity baseball team named me team captain both my junior and senior seasons.

My diverse leadership experiences, passion for service, and hands-on education have uniquely prepared me for the challenges of college, and a career in medicine. This is what sets me apart from other applicants.

Matthew Scores! Reds Win

Matthew banked in a shot to score his first basket of the season, and his Red team won easily Saturday.

Though he missed two shots in the first quarter and one earlier in the second period, when Ryan tossed him the ball, you could hear several people encourage him to shoot. Matthew tossed his shot high, and the ball hit off the backboard on the way down…and right into the basket. A big smile spread across his face.

Matthew played his best game, making a pest of himself on defense, and repeatedly handled the ball on offense. Several times he brought the ball up court, and got more comfortable shooting the ball. While his coach said Matthew had “4-1/2” rebounds, I only counted one. Coach might’ve been including Matthew’s three steals.

Though I found a pair of adidas Samba indoor soccer shoes that fit, Matthew chose to wear his grey velour Nike high-tops, with orange swooshes and shoestrings. Now they’re his lucky shoes, so he’ll have to wear them every week.

Ryan took the inbounds pass to start the game, and immediately hit a three-pointer. Little did we know, but the Reds would never trail. On the next possession Ethan hit a shot. After the Blacks scored to make the score 5-2, they would not score again until the fourth quarter. The poor Black team couldn’t make a shot, and it seemed like everything Matthew’s Red team put went in. The Blacks had ten players, so their best players only played half the game. They did not score in the second or third quarters.

The Reds scored 21 in the first quarter, seven in the second, eleven in the third, and eight in the fourth quarter, to win 47 - 6. When everyone on the team can score, it makes playing defense tougher for the other team. Six of the Reds’ eight players scored, and Tristan and Rolf took several shots.

Ryan…20 points, 6 RB, 8 steals, 2 assists, 2 blocks

Chris…8 points, 20 rebounds, 3 steals, assist

Darryl…8 points, 5 RB, 2 steals (two 3-pointers)

Ethan…4 points, 3 rebounds, steal, assist

Matthew…2 points, rebound, 3 steals

Sam…2 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals

Tristan…9 rebounds, 2 steals, assist

Rolf…2 rebounds

After making his first shot, Ethan was encouraged to continue shooting, often from the same spot. He’d take the ball and dribble to his right, and shoot near the baseline. On the other side of the basket, Tristan gathered several rebounds off Ethan’s misses, but couldn’t convert them into baskets. We just need the other players to position themselves for rebounds as well. Chris scored at least three times off rebounds, and Darryl once. When he has the ball, Rolf seems only interested in shooting.

After the game Chris’s mom organized a post-game pizza trip to Frankies, a local Italian place at the corner of Roswell and Old Canton. The six scorers went. Matthew and Ethan didn’t touch the big Italian pizza ordered for the boys, leaving more for big Chris. Instead they gobbled up my small pepperoni (kinda why I ordered it). The boys had a swell time, playing with the unwanted onions from the Italian pie.

Ceil missed all the excitement…she and Anna went antiquing south of town. Will ran to the game, them ran home afterward.

Matthew's Jan 7th Game

Matthew waited until it was time to go to his basketball game before telling us his shoes were too small. He’s grown a lot in the last month, but hadn’t mentioned his shoes before, during, or after his Monday practice. At first he tried to wear the white Air Jordans, but at the last minute decided to wear Will’s old silver Nike running shoes.

The bigger shoes didn’t help, as Matthew played listlessly. His coach has him chasing whatever opponent has the ball, which is good training for Matthew. He took two shots, but missed both.

After taking an early 4-2 lead, the rival Green team scored twelve points, taking a lead they would never relinquish. Matthew’s Red team answered with an eight point second-quarter run. This cut the lead to four points, but that was as close as the Reds would come the rest of the way. In the second half both teams swapped baskets. Green scored the last two baskets, to beat Red by a 30-20 score.

Ryan…12 points, 5 rebounds, 8 steals

Chris…10 points, 13 rebounds, 2 steals

Blondie…2 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals

Sam…2 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, assist

Darryl…2 points, 3 rebounds, steal

Rolf…2 points, 3 rebounds, block

Ethan…2 points, 2 rebounds, assist

Matthew…rebound, steal, assist

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Will accepts his student of the week award from 680 the Fan's Chuck Oliver, the King of College Football.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Will on the mound during his October 29th six inning, 13 strikeout performance.

In the top of the fourth, Will delivers to former teammate Ryan Tumucci. RT faced Will two times in the game, and struck out both times.

Will about to turn on a third-inning Ryan Tumucci pitch. The second-baseman was unable to handle the hard-hit grounder, and Nathan Shetler scored from third.

Matthew, Daniel, Nathan, John, and another friend ready to embark on another year of trick-or-treating. Matthew rocks the adidas Sambas.

Anna with BFF's Brittany and Emily.

Matthew and Anna pose with Rebekah and Jonathan, at Passion Youth.

Land of a Thousand Hills

The Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee House is on the right after you cross the river and climb the hill into Roswell, right next to the little Baptist Church. They have coffee and now offer sandwiches, but most people only drink coffee or cocoa. It’s mainly a younger crowd…Becky and I are two of the older ones. The “Alabama” team is also part of the old crowd. Starts at 7:30, and usually lasts 1-1/2 or two hours.

Their trivia night crowd appears to have grown over the last month or two, with 40-50 people cramming into the little house. Every week the question categories remain similar: one question each on coffee, history, sports, Georgia, the 1990’s, science, state or national capitols, food, etc.

All the anti-Alabama (Auburn) fans like Chad were rooting hard for LSU Monday night. Did you see Auburn coach Gene Chizik sporting the yellow tie and hanky? I don’t know that OK State or Stanford could’ve scored many points off of either Bama or LSU. LSU’s defense only gave up 21 because their offense was so ineffective, continually having to punt the ball back to Bama. After holding the Tide to so many field goal attempts, the finally gave up that fourth quarter touchdown.

Even the AJC has jumped on the GSU bandwagon…I’ve never seen so much coverage.

Chuck Oliver: Be Real!

I love to listen to Chuck Oliver on the radio. He sounds like he’s just sitting on the sofa talking with the guys. But when he walked into the room for the “ceremony” he seemed to turn into “personality” mode, like he had to really make the scene. He could probably be a lot more real.

There was a Collins Hill football player there accepting his award as well. Chuck walked in and after a little chit chat, recited all the particulars of both boys from memory, adding interesting tidbits about each…how Collins Hill plays in the most competitive region in the state, and how East Cobb is the most competitive place to play baseball. Chuck remembered most of Will’s facts correctly. He must have some mind.

Rented Larry Crowne Wednesday night, starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. Pretty good movie, but for most of the movie Roberts and her movie husband weren’t very likeable characters. Hanks was too nerdy at the beginning, and too cool at the end…too much of a transformation. Moneyball will be next.

The new cabinets, doors, and drawers look good. Ceil has to decide what color to paint them. We added a little desk area with extra cabinets above, making to easier to sit at the desktop computer. Before it was on a piece of furniture, with nowhere to put your legs. Thursday the new countertops and sink arrived. Ceil loves them, but the desktop was sized wrong. Friday the new disposal and faucet were installed. Lighting is next. Insurance denied the water damage claim, so I’m having to appeal.

I’ll have to add Unforgiven to my reading list. About a year ago Louis Zamperini spoke at North Point. Actually, after former Buckhead Church pastor Jeff Henderson told his story, he had Zamperini amble out to read the letter he wrote, forgiving his Japanese captors. Over 90, Louis wore a burgundy USC cap (he’s in the USC athletic hall of fame). After the service he walked out to the hallway, right past me, where he was mobbed by well-wishers.

Right now I’m listening to Zell Miller’s book: A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat…written while he was serving in the Senate.

Seemed like before Christmas Andy also mentioned the equipment.