Friday, December 30, 2005

"To love and to cherish..."

While discussing the fact that I have a little extra padding around the middle with my wife, she lovingly patted my belly and said "In thickness and in heath..."


We both laughed...

... then I gave her the finger and laughed some more.

Then I told her how much I Iove her, cuz that is just fucking brilliant.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

"You'll shoot your eye out..."

Those words of warning to young Ralphie Parker in "A Christmas Story" flashed through my mind today...

It was the Christmas Eve get-together for my in-laws. I like my in-laws, which is probably weird to begin with, but the other weird thing is that they like me, too. They think I'm this nice, clean-cut, witty guy whose great with kids and a real shark at 42. So basically, they see exactly what I want them to see.

But I digress...

I was playing with the children of my wife's cousin, one of whom had received a Nerf gun that shoot darts with Velcro on the tips. We made up a type of dodge-ball/dart kinda game, and I was teaching them the finer points of dodging...

...when I shot my eye out... sorta...

I had pulled the trigger, but my thumb was blocking the plunger that shot the dart. I was confused, so I turned the gun to look at the barrel. By doing so, I moved my thumb from its inhibitive position, thereby freeing the dart (tipped with Velcro, remember?) to complete its destiny and hit me dead on in the left eye.

"Ow... damn...", I thought. "I just shot my eye out..."

Well, my eye is still there, really, but I lost a nice chunk of eyeball skin to the Velcro. About 1/4 inch square, right above my pupil, still in the brown part of my iris. The bad part is that I shot myself in the eye, but the good part is that I missed the pupil and can still see out of it. But...


Now I have a patch over my eye to keep me from messing with it until it heals. My depth perception is way off, which makes for great fun when reaching for my beer. It takes me two or three tries before I actually grab it, so then I hang onto it for a while... not wanting to go back through the hassle of figuring out where it is, exactly.

The moral of the story is:

Don't freakin aim any freakin gun at your freakin face!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I love Texas weather!

Last Saturday, December 2, it was 89 degrees. It was a beautiful day. My wife and I went to the Dallas Arboretum as part of her "Birthday Weekend O' Fun". I actually worked up a bit of a sweat, hiking around the beautiful botanicals near White Rock Lake.

Today, December 7, 3:20 pm, it's currently 25 degrees, with freezing precip and ice on the roads.

By next weekend, it'll be back in the mid-60's.

Damn, but I love Texas weather.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Movie Review: Serenity

Scott Kurtz has T-shirts for sale that state: "JOSS WHEDON IS MY MASTER NOW"... and for good reason.

I wasn't on board the "Serenity" until recently. I had see half of one episode back in '02 when they first ran. But when I heard that there was a movie coming out and that the series "Firefly" was going to be run on Sci-Fi again, I decided I would check out the series and see if it was worth my time. I mean, the geek world had been all a-buzz about this series for three years... as a geek, I was obligated to at least check it out.

After seeing the first episode (or two episodes: Serenity Parts 1 & 2), I was hooked.

I'm a Texan, so Westerns are just a part of existence around here. This TV show was a Western. Just because it's set 500 years in the future in another solar system on a spaceship doesn't mean that it's not a Western. It's just a Western set 500 years in the future in another solar system on a spaceship. But it's not what it is... it's who is in it...

The characters are real... the dialog is real... and the characters deliver the dialog so as to make it seem real. This is what first draws you in. You hear these people interact, and you decide to give it another five minutes... then there's the gunfight, so you give it another five minutes... then there's more dialog, and you sit down and watch the whole thing.

I'll say this... my wife and I are only half-way through the original series, but we had to go see "Serenity" in a theatre.

Anything below this may be a spoiler... so if you haven't seen the movie... stop now.

So... you're still reading, so maybe you've seen it. If not.. it's your own damned fault.

I laughed. I cried. I nearly pissed myself.

This movie opens with brief description of the universe as it is, and then trouble. "This is your Captain speaking... we may encounter some turbulence and then... explode."

The don't explode, though, as that would make the movie all of five and a half minutes long... which would be a total waste of $6.

The villian(s) in this movie are extremely well done. On one hand, you have the Reavers... psychotic, canibalistic, rapist savages from the very edge of inhabited space. On the other hand, you have "The Operative", a person without identity except that he exists in that moment. He is evil, he is bad, and he knows that there is no place in Heaven for him, so he will do his bad things as well as they can possibly be done... preferably with a Katana. On the gripping hand, you have the Serenity itself, and the luck of it's captain, Malcom Reynolds. Mal doesn't have the best luck, unless you consider walking away from a gunfight with only three bullet wounds good luck, 'cuz you actually walked away....

People die in this movie... some people that I wish would not have... but I understand why they had to. This is the part that is total, 100% spoiler... if you haven't seen the movie, this is your last chance to stop...

"I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar." Sadly, a leaf on the wind would be a dead leaf... Hoban Washburn had his "great ride"... There are legends of bikers who will be chased by cops across three states, only to stop, get off their Harley, say "Good ride!" and drop dead. There are legends of surfers who, upon catching that perfect wave, will stagger into a bit of coral, cut their head open, and die on the beach. Wash had his greatest, most skillful flight - maneuvering through two different enemies - only to crash land the ship he was flying... but no one was hurt. He was a leaf on the wind... I will say that I teared up. What? You have a problem with that? Go rut yourself, you gorram heartless boo hway-hun duh puo-foo.

Serenity is probably the best sci-fi western political drama love story that I have ever seen.

Spaceships. Explosions. Grenades. No breasts (but plenty of sex talk). Kung-Fu. Reaver-Fu. River-Fu. Revenge. Jim-Bob sez check it out.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Lady of White Rock Lake

Here is the story as it was told to me:

The year was 1942. It is night. A couple, driving along the shore of White Rock Lake in Dallas, Texas, come upon a young woman walking on the side of the road. She is dressed as a debutante, with a white gown, white gloves, white heels... and she's soaking wet. They stop and and if she's OK.

She assures them that she's fine. There was an accident and she fell in the lake. She is simply going home, where her parents will take care of her. The couple ask where she lives, and she tells them that she lives in Oak Cliff, some fifteen miles away (Oak Cliff was a very high class subdivision in South Dallas). The couple insist that she cannot walk all that way in the dark, and offer her a ride. She accepts, gets in the back seat, and gives them her address.

As they drive off, the girl describes her accident. It turns out that she and a male suitor were off for a drive around the lake after a debutante's ball. On a particularly sharp turn on E. Lawther, the boy lost control of the car and it went into the lake. The girl says the boy left her there, so she crawled up out of the lake and started walking.

Of course, the couple is appalled by the behaviour of the young man. Who would do such a thing? What is his name? As they pull up in front of the house at the address the girl gave, the couple turn to ask her the name of the boy...

... and she's not there. There is nothing in the back seat except a puddle and a single white glove.

They grab the glove and go up to the door and ring the bell. An older gentleman answers, and his face goes pale at the sight of the glove. The couple asks if he knew the girl that they had just driven to the house. He says that he does know her... he is her father. Every year, on the same night, his daughter is found walking along the side of E. Lawther. Someone always picks her up and brings her home, and she always disappears, leaving a glove behind... and it soon disappears, as well...

"You see, my daughter was drowned nine years ago when the car she was riding in went into the lake..."

Now that you know the legend, let me tell you the story...

Back in 1988, I was out for a drive with some friends. White Rock Lake was a great place to drive around at night, because Lawther was a dark, windy road, and in the fall, the fog would cover the road in such a way as to make you think you were driving into a portal to another world...


As I was the smallest, I was sitting the back of a Honda hatchback, only seeing where we had been, not able to see where we were going. After taking a particularly sharp curve on E. Lawther, one of my buddies announced that he saw a girl walking along the side of the road. I peeked up, trying to see past the heads of my friends in the seats in front of me. All I could make out was a figure in white, the fog around them illuminated so that they appeared to glow...

"That's the Lady of White Rock!", I screamed. "Don't stop! Punch it! Let's get the fuck outta here!"

Ray stomped on the gas, and the girl (I could see that it was a girl in a white dress) threw out her arm as if reaching for the car. Tiny drops of water hit the side windows as we sped by her.

Looking out the rear window, I could see her... she hadn't moved, hadn't screamed, and hadn't stopped glowing. She just stood there, reaching out... until she faded away in the fog.

I still wonder from time to time, if we, on that night, were supposed to be the ride that actually got her home... where she could rest...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Screaming Bridge

There's a haunted place in Arlington - the city where I grew up - that is still haunting people to this day...

Screaming Bridge.

Here is the story as it was told to me...

The year is 1961. The month is February. Six young women ages 16 - 17, all students at Arlington High (Arlington's only high school at the time) piled into one of their parents' car and went to a drive-in movie (Butterfield 8). Afterwards, they drove out on Greenbelt to bounce over the dirt road.

Greenbelt (Arlington-Bedford) Road was a little-used dirt road at the time. There were wooden bridges that sloped upward on the north and south sides of the railroad tracks. In December of the previous year, some pranksters had set fire to the bridge on the south side of the tracks.

It has been assumed that the same pranksters (young men from Arlington High School) thought it would be funny to remove the barricades that had been placed in front of the burned-out bridge.

A young man and his girlfriend drove northward up Greenbelt, stopping at the foot of the burned out bridge. The young man had passed the girl's car, which was stopped on the side of the road, facing north, about a quarter mile south of the railroad. He decided to go back and warn the people in the car that the bridge was out and the barricades were down. When he approached the girls' car, the driver apparently got spooked and drove off at high speed, sailing straight off the burned out bridge, landing upside-down in the creek bed.

The story goes that if you hang out near the spot that the accident happened, at midnight (the time that the accident was supposed to have happened), you will hear girls screaming. There is no bridge there now, but the screams still echo...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

New Orleans Aquarium of the Americas

This is sad. My wife and I visited the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans in 2002.

New Orleans' aquarium mostly killed off

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- The world-renowned New Orleans Aquarium of the Americas has lost almost all of its fish after Hurricane Katrina knocked out the facility's electrical power.

The conservation Web site said before the Aug. 29 storm, the aquarium had 10,000 fish representing more than 530 species. However, the American Zoo and Aquarium Association Web site reported some animals did survive.

"The sea otters, penguins, leafy and weedy sea dragons, birds (macaws and raptors), and the white alligator are fine," the association said. "Midas, the infamous 250-pound sea turtle, survived and has been coaxed into the holding area in the Gulf of Mexico Exhibit."

New Orleans' other animal centers fared better, with only a pair of river otters reported dead at the Audubon Zoo and a whooping crane lost at the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species, CNN reported.

Meanwhile, the 211-member American Zoo and Aquarium Association began a fund-raising relief initiative, headed by the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Galaxy Drive-In (

My wife and I went to the Drive-In last Saturday.

That's right. A real Drive-In theater. The Galaxy Drive-In is located on I-45 in Garret (about 40 miles South of Dallas).

For the unbelievable price of $6 per person, you get a double-feature. They usually do a great job of grouping the movies appropriately (two kids flicks, two action flicks, etc.)

We drove in, paid, and found our way around to Screen 1 to see "The Island" and "The War of the Worlds". As we parked, I noticed that the pole mounted speakers were not brand new. They seemed to be real, old fashioned Drive-In type speakers, probably 70's or 80's era. The sound was actually pretty good, too. I knew this because the speakers were blaring tapes of the Wolfman Jack show! I mean, c'mon! I'm at the Drive-In, listening to Wolfman Jack? I felt like I had driven through a time portal...

For those with whom mono sound is simply not an option, the Drive-In also plays the movie over a low-freq stereo FM broadcast. Between the pole-speakers and the cars around us playing their radios loud, we had no problems hearing.

We set up some chairs in front of the car, turned up the pole speaker, and enjoyed a coupla great movies. Sitting under the stars, flickers of lighting 50 miles south, a gentle breeze keeping us cool and the mosquitos away... I can say that I will definitely be enjoying the Galaxy Drive-In Theater again soon...

Unless they play "The Shining"... then I'm gettin in a damn closet and hoping that Bill Paxton doesnt' fuckin come to town!

Thursday, July 14, 2005



See, two weeks ago (31 June 2005) I tripped and slammed the big toe of my left foot into my deck almost as hard as I possibly could have.

Result: I broke the end of the bone of my big toe off. I broke it so bad that the orthopedic physician said "Wayull, now... that thar's a break, idnit?"

Lemme back up a little... we were washing the dogs in the yard (as is normal for us during the summer months - cools them and us off), and I was going into the house to grab the other bottle of shampoo. I tripped. When you trip, you immediately throw the unhindered foot forward to catch yourself (try it... you'll see). When I tried to throw my left foot forward, my big toe met the top edge of the deck.


I fell down.


I crawled three feet to just inside the sliding glass door, closed it with my right foot, and let out a primal scream that caused nieghbors to look up from their yardwork. That's right, I was inside my house - a full two acres from my nearest neighbor - and they still heard me.

The wife comes in trying to figure out what the hell I did this time, as it is normal for me to fall down. This time, though, she could see that all the color had drained from my face and I was very near passing out. She consoled me and asked if it was broken (she's smart). I said "I'm not sure yet, it hurts to bad to tell." (I'm not smart)

After a couple of minutes of going "Ergh... cchhsssssshhhhhhh... ergh... cchhsssssshhhhhhh..." I went back out and finished washing the dogs. The rest of the day was spent in a chair on the back deck with my foot propped up and a beer in my hand. I drank myself numb and decided that if it still hurt as bad the next day, then it was probably broken.

Sunday - the next day - I decided it was broken.


"Oh my GOD!" kinda pain.

Anyhow, as the doc I usually see is 40 miles from home, but only 10 miles from my work, I decided that I would go in on Monday... I drank myself numb again.

Monday: I go see the doc. I get X-Rays. The doc says, "You need to go see and orthopedic physician right now," writes a scrip for Ultracet and T3 (Tylenol with Codine), and sends me off with a list of orthopedic docs to contact.

I search the list for a name and location I like, and call. Nope, can't see me for a week. Try again... Nope, we don't look at toes (wtf?) Try again... Dr. Wong will see me today. Alright! Nothin' beats a little asian doctor when it comes to bones, right?

We (the wife is driving as I am now on hard core pain killers) get to Dr. Wong's office and are led to an exam room. After getting my history, the nurse says that the Dr. will be right in. Not even two minutes go by before this little asian guy walks in and says "Wayull, how y'all doon?"

This moment is so surreal that I immediately decide this guy is my orthopedic physician forever more...

He looks at everything, says that the x-rays show the bones to be in alignment, and it's a clean break. I tell him that I don't want any hardware in my toe that I was not born with. He tells me that as long as I wear "the boot" and stay off of it and let the Good Lord and my body heal it, then I won't need a screw. Then, an assistant brings in "the boot".

This thing is 5 pounds, goes almost up to me knee, and is padded (in Texas, that means 'insulated') That means that it's awkward, heavy, and freakin' hot all at the same time!

So I have to wear the boot for maybe two months while my big toe (which you cannot balance without, FYI) heals.

Oh, and we're getting afternoon thunderstorms now... It's usually hot and dry this time of year, but Dennis is making sure that inclement weather sticks around. The reason this is a bad thing is that I know about 20 minutes before it's gonna rain cuz my toe freakin' HURTS!