Monday, November 28, 2005

A celebrity in the house

There's a celebrity in my house. No, I'm not talking about the time I was on that episode of Cops. I'm talking about my boy Spartacus.

After I sent the pictures of my new puppy Spartacus, a friend of mine who is a volunteer on the board of directors for the Humane Society of Williamson County asked if she could submit one of the photos to be on their 2006 calendar. And Spartacus made the cut.

The picture of Spartacus appears on July 2006 of the calendar. Unfortunately, the slots for the big pictures were already taken, but he didn't seem to mind. He said he simply wanted to be on a month with at least thirty days so that people would get to enjoy his picture longer. His exact words were, "Anything but February!"

The calendars can be ordered from their website at You can either use Paypal to order it online, or you can download their order form and send that in. Also, the calendars will be sold at any of their offsite adoption days. (See their event calendar for a time and place near you.)

P.S. No, I wasn't really on an episode of Cops. My face would have been pixelated anyway.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

It has to be the coaching

For the past few years, I've coached a boys soccer team with the help of my friend Gary. This was our tenth season to coach, and there have been some good ones and some not-so-good ones. One season, we had five boys on the team who had never played soccer before, out of eight total players. We didn't win a single game that season.

This past season was one of the good ones. The team (pictured here) ended the season in first place of our soccer association, which made us eligible for the CAYSA (Central Austin Youth Soccer Association) Fall Champions Tournament. There were twelve teams from the greater Austin area in our division, divided into three groups of four. The winner of each group plus the runner-up with the most points moved on to the semi-finals.

We finished group play with one win, one loss, and one tie. We didn't get enough points to move on to the semi-finals so our tournament ended after group play. Kudos go to the boys for a job well done.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Inner Don

For Halloween this year, I wanted to choose a costume that spoke of the inner Don: the peacefulness, the thoughtfulness, the joy. A costume that would inspire. A costume that was Don, only moreso. :)

And on the plus side, unlike the pimp costume I wore last year, I didn't have to explain to little kids what I was. Last year, I just told them I was a happy cowboy.

Friday, October 28, 2005

I, Spartacus

After my dog Dylan passed away last month (see Dylan: 1995-2005), several of you inquired as to whether I'd be getting another dog. Since I still had Boo, my cat who doesn't handle change very well, I'd decided that I wasn't going to get another dog. Instead, I would let Boo live out his last few years as the only pet. Well, that was my intention anyway.

Earlier today, a friend who shall remain nameless (her name starts with the letter Sinde) e-mailed me about a couple of abandoned puppies that had been found at her work. If no one stepped up to take them home, the puppies were going to be taken to a shelter. So she asked if I could take one or both of them as a last resort. Actually, she sent me SEVERAL e-mails. Plus, she sent a video to my cell phone showing me how adorable the puppies were. One of her coworkers took one of the dogs, but no one stepped up to take the other one.

So, this evening I picked up my new puppy Spartacus. I was going to name him Peeve, because I always wanted to say I had a pet Peeve, but that seems more like a cat name. So I chose the name Spartacus instead. We took Spartacus to a groomer to get him cleaned up and dipped, and then I brought him home. Here are a few pictures of the new addition:

Friday, October 07, 2005

Maturity is knowing when you can be immature

Where I work, my coworkers and I had offices in two buildings. Our main building had a lot of empty space, so the people on my floor are being moved over to the main building this weekend. At the close of business today, we had to have our offices packed up and ready. I took the day off today (after all, it is my birthday ... hint, hint), so I had to pack my office yesterday.

Some plastic crates were provided by the moving company to be used for packing. They could be stacked together and placed on top of some rollers to make it easy to move them to the other building. However, as shown in the picture linked below, they also made it easy to play:
The people in their offices were surprised to see me go speeding by, but one of my coworkers was able to get a picture with his camera phone. I ran into the wall once or twice, but luckily I only hit my head.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Dylan: 1995-2005


Earlier this week, my dog Dylan was feeling lethargic and not eating, so I took him to the vet. After the initial tests, they had me bring him back in last night so that they could put some fluids in him overnight and run some more tests today. Unfortunately, while at the clinic Dylan passed away this afternoon. Since he was 10 years old, they believe his kidneys just finally gave out.

[Boo and Dylan]

Dylan was given to me by my friend Wayne a couple of years ago. He was a good boy (Dylan, not Wayne), he got along well with my cat Boo (eventually), and he was an expert at getting out of the backyard. In fact, on a couple of occasions he got out of a locked house, which worried me, because if he had figured out how to open doors, then I was never going to keep him in the house. Luckily, he had only figured out how to nudge open the windows, push out the screens, and jump into the yard. Still, pretty impressive for a dog.

[Regal Dylan]

One time, Dylan got out of the house while my friend Tom was housesitting. Tom told me that Dylan was a very smart boy, because he just walked out the garage door that Tom had left open. To which I replied, "Well Tom, apparently Dylan doesn't have to be very smart. He just has to be smarter than you." :)

Monday, September 05, 2005

Doctor Improvisation

One of my softball teams had a game tonight. (Yes, on Labor Day.) And since we didn't have a full team show up, we only played 3 outfielders. (Also, we didn't have a second baseman, and a player on the other team played catcher for us. Needless to say, we lost.)

I ended up playing centerfield, which is a lot of room for an old guy like me to cover. Luckily, I make up for it by being really, really slow. One of their players hit a fly ball in between me and the rightfielder, so I took off after it. At the last minute, I dove for it, caught it, landed on my left shoulder, and rolled a couple of times. The crowd went wild! Ok, it was little kids and they were already screaming, but in my version of the story, they were screaming for my incredible catch.

When I got home, I wanted to put an ice pack on my shoulder. I thought it was already in the freezer, but I couldn't find it. I looked in several places it might have been, but my search turned up empty. Sometimes you just have to improvise:

September 10th followup: Since the pain never went away, even with the "frozen vegetable" packs, I went to the clinic today to have the shoulder checked out. And after a quick three hour visit, they told me the shoulder was separated, specifically an Acromio-Clavicular Separation. Some of the ligaments were torn as well, but they should heal just fine with rest. It looks like I'll have to take a few weeks off from softball.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Where is that pesky esophagus?

My older brother Richard went to the hospital a couple of weeks ago because of some stomach pains. The doctors eventually found that he had been bleeding internally and that he had lost a lot of blood. They initially thought he had been bleeding from his esophagus, but they eventually determined it was from his stomach. After a couple of weeks of testing and medicating, Richard is doing fine. He returned home from the hospital yesterday and starts back to work on Monday.

Naturally, there's more to the story. My dad had called me a couple of weeks ago to tell me that Richard was in the hospital. Dad wasn't exactly a scholar in high school, but I'm never really sure when he's yanking my chain or not. When telling me what problems Richard was having, here's how our conversation went.

Dad: They think he's bleeding internally from his esophagus.
Me: Oh.


Dad: Where is the esophagus?
Me: It's his throat.
Dad: Oh.


I thought it was in his ass.

Me: [chuckling] Uh, no, it's at the other end of the digestive tract.

That's my dad! (Although he does sometimes claim otherwise.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Mother of Invention

The world is full of people who can't drive. Typically, those people include everyone in between you and your destination. So how can a person tell when the drivers around them can't drive? Paintball cannons. That's right, paintball cannons.

I think all cars should come equipped with a paintball cannon mounted on the hood or grill. A trigger would be placed on the steering wheel, and the driver would be allowed by law to fire the cannon at any driver who cut them off, changed lanes without signaling, or who drove more than 10 MPH below the speed limit. The worse someone drove, the more times they would be shot by paintballs. Thus, the really bad drivers could be determined by the amount of paintball splotches on their car, and they could be avoided.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Wisdom of Accounting

I love accountants. Not in the romantic sense, unless of course they're beautiful and female. No, I love accountants in the sarcastic sense. Nothing throws off an accountant more than not following a process to the letter.

Last month, I had to go to a work meeting at our Houston location. In my opinion, it just as easily could have been done with a conference call, but hey, they reimburse for the mileage, so I went. A few days after I got back, I filled out the electronic expense report for the mileage reimbursement, had it approved by my manager, and sent it off electronically to the bean counters in accounting. A month later, I received an e-mail from accounting saying they couldn't process my request because I hadn't sent in my receipts. I was confused (how odd), because there were no receipts to send in.

I asked my manager who I needed to contact over there, but instead he explained to me what I had done wrong. When sending in the electronic expense report (you know, so that we can save paper), I had to print out a receipt report which stated that I had no receipts, and then I had to send that to the accounting department in our Houston office. After all, it's not like the accounting department couldn't have printed that report themselves, thus saving the time of waiting for me to send them via "real" mail. No, that would be too easy. And of course, it makes perfect sense to require printed reports for "paperless" processes.

Oh well, I'm sure I'll get another e-mail in a week or so telling me something else I forgot to do. I might get that money in time for my birthday this fall. (Oct. 7th: Shop early, shop often.)

P.S. Wow, I started the birthday reminders early this year.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Give me Kato Kaelin hair

Earlier today, I went to The Color Salon to get my hair cut. Even though it's out of my way, I go there because 1) Lisa, the owner, is a good friend of mine, and 2) since I've done some work on their website, my haircuts are free. A friend who gives me free stuff is my favorite kind of friend. :)

I decided I needed a change in my hair style. Something drastic! Something daring! I told Lisa, "Make me look like Kato Kaelin." I think she did an excellent job. :)

As you might have guessed, I'm wearing a wig in that picture. A woman who makes wigs was in the salon with a set of wigs, and one of them was being cut and styled for another woman who had lost her hair due to chemo treatments. While waiting to get my haircut, she let me play with one of the wigs (because that's what I do).

NOTE: I thought I'd take the opportunity to plug a charity called Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss. Five years ago, when I had Lisa cut off 10.5 inches of my hair (before picture), I donated it to this organization.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Hot air

This weekend, my friend Sinde's sister Renate had one of her baby showers. I was invited to come along and take pictures of the event, and after much arm twisting, I decided to go. (Actually, I heard there was going to be free food.) Unfortunately, they also managed to put me to work. From the looks of it, I think they found a job perfectly suited for all of my hot air:
A couple of quick stories (like you didn't see that coming). Renate isn't a person who likes to cook, unless it comes from a box. Her idea of a gourmet meal is Kraft macaroni and cheese ... not that there's anything wrong with that. The card I got her was a picture of a bun in an oven ... get it? Bun in the oven. On the inside I wrote, "Well, I guess you finally cooked for once." :)

Sinde got her brother-in-law a Diaper Tool Belt, which included things like a diaper, a mask, tongs, rubber gloves, lighted goggles, diaper rash cream, etc. For the card, she came up with a very funny 10-12 line poem that mentioned everything in the tool belt, except for the diaper rash cream, mainly because she couldn't think of a good rhyme for the product name. I was enlisted to help and came up with the following lines (which mention the actual diaper rash product):

We finished our poem,
But in our haste
We couldn't find a rhyme
For Boudreaux's Butt Paste.

Ok, so it's not exactly Shakespeare. Then again, I don't think he ever had to rhyme butt paste either.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Unexplained injuries

This morning, I woke up with an unexplained cut on my forehead. If I were a drinker, I could easily assume that I had injured myself while I was drunk and just not remembered it. However, I'm not a drinker. So how do I explain this cut? Personally, I think my cat Boo was trying to kill me in my sleep again. "Again?" you say. That's right, again.

Several years ago, I was living in an apartment with just Boo and myself. At that time, the headboard on my bed was straight across the top, and it was one of Boo's favorite places to sleep. One night, I was awakened at 3:00AM by a sharp, stabbing pain in my neck. I reached for my neck and felt several cuts and scratches and some fresh blood. Apparently, Boo had fallen off the headboard and landed on my neck with his claws out. But I don't think it was an accident. I think he pretended to fall and was trying to slice through my jugular.

Since then, Boo has been biding his time, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike again. And that opportunity was last night. However, since my dog Dylan was laying on the bed next to me as my protector, Boo's evil plan was thwarted this time. Once again proving that dogs are better than cats. :)

Friday, May 20, 2005

One Day Sale

I just saw a TV commercial for Foley's One Day Sale. At the bottom, the ad stated the sale was on Friday and Saturday. I'm not the greatest mathematician in the world, but isn't that technically a Two Day Sale?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I was a prisoner of inertia

I coach a boys soccer team, something I've done for several years. During practices, we like to work on spacing and passing, and we always end with a little scrimmage. If there's an odd number of kids, I take part in the drills and scrimmages to make sure the groups are even.

If I'm playing in one of the scrimmages, I'll try to keep the score close. If my team is ahead, I won't try to score myself. Instead, I'll pass off to one of the kids to give them a chance to score. If my team is behind, I'll put a little more effort into evening out the score.

In today's practice, we had an odd number of kids, so Coach Don was playing in the scrimmage. The other team was ahead, so I was trying to keep the score close. One of the kids on the other team was dribbling down the field, and I was the only defender between him and the goal. He took a shot at the goal from a distance. As the ball rolled toward the goal, I ran it down and kicked it out. It would have been a stunning play if not for the next part.

Like a professional wrestler thrown against the ropes who can't keep himself from bouncing back, I was now a prisoner of inertia. After kicking the ball out, my momentum continued to propel me forward. And due to the muddy conditions, I was unable to change my direction. Which was unfortunate, because I then found myself propelled into the goalpost.

The sight of the coach sliding into the post elicited some laughs from the kids, which was not unexpected. After all, they are 8 and 9 years old. I'm just thankful that I didn't hit the post with my head. I would've hated to have dented the post.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Do I have to play?

Several years ago, Chris, my Little Brother from when I was a Big Brother in BB/BS (, and I would play laser tag occasionally. There's a couple of places to play laser tag in Austin, but Chris and I liked Blazer Tag (formerly Blazer Laser) in south Austin. It was an old movie theater, so the place was HUGE! And since it had tall ceilings, the room had ramps and platforms that went up 3 levels high. The ramp walls were about waist high on an adult, and the platforms usually had taller walls to hide behind.

One of the things that Blazer Tag does is team scores. When you sign in, you give them a code name and they put you on a team: red, green, or yellow. The pack you wear will have lights on it that are your team colors. During the game, you're trying to shoot as many of the other team's players to get a high score, and your score counts towards your team score. If your team watches each other's back, then you stand a good chance of winning the team portion.

Now the bad part: when a bunch of kids were there for a birthday party, they would all want to be on the same team. So when other people signed in with small groups, they were put on the other teams to even them out. If there was a big group of little kids who all wanted to be on the same team, and some older kids signed up 2 or 3 at a time later, then the other teams would have an advantage because they had fewer little kids. NOTE: Little kids were at a disadvantage because they couldn't see over some of the walls that bigger kids (and adults) could see over. Plus, younger kids don't think three-dimensionally, so they usually just look straight ahead. If they were on a level below you, you could usually shoot them from above, and they would never know who shot them because they never looked up.

So one time Chris and I sign up. When the time for our game was called, we went into the briefing room where they explain the rules and wait for the previous game to finish. We sat down and a little girl (about 8) asked me what team I was on. I told her I was on the red team, and she started crying. I looked to her friend for an explanation, and the friend said that in the previous game, a "big kid" on another team had followed "crying girl" around and kept shooting her over and over. And she was crying because I was on a different team and she thought I was going to do the same thing. I assured "crying girl" that I don't do that because 1) I'm not that mean, and 2) I'm lazy. Once I get in my favorite spot, I rarely move the rest of the game. I let the enemy come to me. :)

The marshall explained the rules, and at the end she asked the players if we had any questions. The sad little girl raised her hand, and doing that sniffling thing you do when you can't stop crying, she asked, "Do we have to play?" The marshall was confused but answered, "Uh, no." And the little girl left.

A few minutes later, there's a knock at the door, and the little girl's mom comes in to chew out the marshall for letting the big kids pick on her daughter. The whole time she's doing this, she keeps looking over at me giving me the evil eye. And I wasn't even the big kid in question. Heck, I hadn't even played a game yet.

So after the lecture, the mom storms out with her daughter and the game continues. I don't remember if my team won, but at least nobody else cried. Well, other than me. :)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I'm pretty sure I know how to work a door

I'm pretty sure I know how to work a door. Or at least I thought I did. This afternoon, we had an All Hands meeting at work. It was in a different building from where I sit, so I decided to dial in because I wanted to work during the meeting. The rest of the people on my floor went to the meeting, but I decided to close my door just in case the noise disturbed anyone who might be around.

During the call, I heard my name paged over the intercom. Since the door was closed, I couldn't hear the number I was supposed to dial. I went to open the door and found out that I was locked in my office. Something was wrong with the door handle on the inside of my door, and it wouldn't open. I tried pulling on the door, kicking it (because that should help), yelling for help, etc. Nothing worked.

I had to disconnect from the All Hands meeting so that I could call someone to come let me out. I started with people on my floor, but they were all at the meeting. So I tried the woman in charge of facilities, but she didn't answer. So I then called the front desk, who said they'd send someone over. Within a few minutes, someone came over and let me out of my office. But in order to prove to him that I wasn't an idiot (at least in this case), I demonstrated the problem for him. In fact, I had him lock himself in my office (with me outside) just to prove it wasn't just me.

According to facilities, the building has settled over time and my door latch got stuck. They hope to fix it in the morning. I should be safe as long as I don't shut myself inside again until it's fixed.