Richard Tocci

Richard Tocci
Just when you thought it was safe, I show up...


The contents of this blog are my own comments and opinions and do not reflect those of my family, friends, colleagues, clients, employers, or anyone else I may know. Additionally, their comments and opinions are not a reflection of me or this blog. Any links contained in posts are maintained by third parties and are not under the control of this blog, and as such, this blog is not responsible for their content. All links are provided "as is" with no explicit or implicit warranty of any kind.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009


I felt really stupid for Christmas this year.

I didn't wish for it to happen -- it just sort of happened. My stocking didn't have a Stupid Feeling coupon, and I avoided yet another year of coal.

Santa Claus delivered a few gifts for the boys under my tree, as he did last year, and they really enjoyed their stuff. Hayden got a set of big block Legos and a shape toy. You know the one, where you put the block into the slot that matches the shape. He also got 4 Matchbox cars and a couple of coloring books. Alex got a set of Legos for a 5 year old, a Nerf All-Terrain Football, 4 Matchbox cars, and a few coloring books. Both boys were extremely happy with their gifts.

I got the puzzle for Hayden because I was not sure if he had yet hit that milestone where he matched up shapes. His momma had not told me if he had hit this milestone yet, so I was completely in the dark on if this was something he could do.

So I sat with him on the floor and handed him the shapes, and he went right to the box and shoved them into the right spots. I mean, it was not even like he had to try -- he just did it. I applauded him and he was very happy, but it made me feel like an ass. I felt bad because I clearly underestimated his ability.

He's been doing quite well. He understands language very well and follows direction as well as any 3 year old. He gets into mischief at a rate I would say is consistent with a 3 year old. He even interacts with his older brother in a way that appears normal. I mean, what brother doesn't smack his brother in the head when toys are taken from him?

But I underestimated his cognitive and intellectual abilities, and that makes me sad and angry at the same time. I feel like I should have judged him better than that. But I fear I will overestimate another time and feel just as idiotic.

I'm not sure there's anything I can actually do about it. I've been through this before with Amanda and her dyslexia, but it was at a much older age and I could talk with her about it. Hayden doesn't know that he's any different from other kids, so it doesn't bother him.

I am very proud of him, though, and he smiled a lot when he did the puzzle correctly and he knew he was doing it right. His sense of accomplishment is all I can ask for and expect, I suppose.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009

Alex and Hayden spent the night on Christmas night after spending the day at Grandma's and Grandpa's. They both made out like bandits, of course, and when they arrived at my house, they found out Santa made an extra visit. Alex is happy with his Matchbox cars, his Legos, and his Nerf football. Sometime today, we'll head to the park and play catch.

It's hard to believe another year has evaporated in front of my eyes, and what an eventful year it has been. New job, Alex in kindergarten, old job closing down the College Station site -- all of this in 12 short months. I think I'll get rest sometime in January. I hope...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Car Talk

Conversation with Alex today walking home from the park:

Alex: "Dad, what makes a car go fast?"

Dad: "Well, for one thing, the engine. The more powerful the engine, the faster the car can go."

Alex: "No, that's not right."

Dad (confused): "Really? You sure?"

Alex: "Yes, I'm sure. That's not what the car told me."

Dad (now wondering if that sandwich I gave him for lunch was tainted): "The car told you?"

Alex: "Yes, the car told me it was the car seats and the chairs in the car that make it go faster."

I will enroll Alex in an automotive course when he turns 13 so this condition does not become permanent.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Time for Wii

Conversation with Alex late yesterday afternoon while picking him up for the weekend.

Alex: "Dad, I missed you very much."

Dad: "I missed you, too, Alex."

Alex: "Can I play the Wii when I get to your house?"

Alex smirked. He was trying to manipulate me into playing the Wii. OK, let's see where this goes.

Dad: "We'll see if we have time later."

Alex: "Oh, we have time. My watch says...". He lifted his right wrist as if to look at his watch - the watch that doesn't exist - and said "Yep, it says Wii Time is at 5."

Dad: (impressed at the acting ability) "Well, in that case, you're late. It's 5:30 according to my phone clock."

He's getting better, I'll give him that.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Conversation with Alex in the car this evening.

Dad: "Alex. Guess what?"

Alex: "What?"

Dad: "I love you."

Alex: "Well, I don't love you."

Dad: "Yes, you do. It think you're just trying to make me cry."

Alex: "No, I don't love you!"

Dad pretends to cry, including sniffles, moaning, and fake hiccups.

Alex: "Oh, stop crying. I really do love you. Heheheheheheheheee..."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sore Loser

Alexander is a sore loser.

There, I said it. It's done. I'm not ashamed to say that about my son. And in some ways, I am proud to say it. He takes losing about as well as I do...and that, for those that know me, know I absolutely HATE to lose...anything.

That's not to say I won't take a loss gracefully. In my 30s, I learned that losing meant I learned something about myself. In my 20s, I knew that, but I let the hatred of losing burn inside of me, and that led to disaster...many, many times.

Alex learned something that, I think, he obtained genetically from his mother and from me. He learned how to trash talk.

Trash talk, of course, is the art of verbal retaliation. It's designed to make yourself feel better, and intimidate your opponent. It's either subtle, or blunt. Take a guess which side Alex learned.

Let's backup a few days. I bought a Nintendo Wii this weekend. I'd been kicking around the idea for a while, because Alex can play games with me. For a 5 year old, a Wii offers methods of play that allow him interact more and concentrate less on button patterns. Also, he's familiar with the Wii -- his grandparents and his mother both have one.

I also bought the new game Wii Sports Resort, the third title in the Nintendo Wii sports games series. This game includes archery, table tennis, air sports, and the most popular sport at my house -- Swordplay.

There are three levels of play in Swordplay. First, you dual against another opponent (Wii or another person), the objective being to knock your opponent off the platform and into the ocean below, while a crowd of people cheer you on. Or, in some cases, laugh at you. The second level is unlocked after your first win, which is Speed Slice. In Speed Slice, you slice objects in half using a specific direction. When the object lands in front of you, an arrow denotes the direction of the slice. Do this before your opponent, and in the correct direction, and you win that round. The first to win 10 rounds wins. The third level is you against...well, a lot of Mii's. You wipe out as many Mii's as you can, up to all of them, before your three hearts are dispatched by a direct hit from another sword.

(Sidebar: A Mii is a character for the Wii. You create one for yourself, and other people that play on your console create one. It's tied to statistics about the Resort games, and other purely Nintendo created games. Each Nintendo created game comes with a bunch of these)

Level 1 is easy enough to play, and I got to pro level in about 2 hours time. Alex learned very quickly, but he could not learn to block. Blocking in this game requires you hold the B button, which is the forefinger\trigger button on the Wii remote. Learn to use this button properly, and it gets you further than simply hacking and slashing.

OK, so to the sore loser bit. Alex and I dualed, and we Speed Sliced. I beat him several times. OK, I beat him a lot, but I also let him win several times. I can't help it, I play to win. See where he gets it? A couple of times, he got a few good moves in and beat me fairly, without me letting him win. But mostly, he lost, and he hated it. The first time, he tossed the controller on the floor and stomped off to the couch. I scolded him for throwing around a controller, especially with Hayden crawling around the floor or sitting near us to watch. When he won, though, it was happy dances and happy trash talk. When he lost, though, it was fists balled up, and proclaiming what I call Alex's Declaration: "Oooo, this makes me VERY unhappy!".

So, after losing a few rounds, he calmed down, looked me straight in the eye, and said "You see this controller? THIS one is for winning. Yours? Losing."

Wow...strong words for a 5 year old, but impressive. He has drive and spirit. I love it...

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Not Too Cool For School

Today I am taking Alex to school for the first time. By "first time" I mean that I am taking him to the door whereas his mother has done this task since he started school in August. At 6:00 in the morning, the boy is still a motormouth. Good lord, didn't he get the memo that before 7AM, the only acceptable form of communication are hand gestures and grunting noises?

Everyone that knows me knows one thing - I am NOT a morning person. By morning I mean anything before 8. But those that know me also know I take school VERY seriously. So the need to get to school overrides my natural pre-8AM pissiness - if that's even a word.

Alex's momma had a baby last night, so my boys are with me, and that's the reason I am running Alex to school. I got a wake up call from her new man, but I was already on the road. I likely amazed him and Alex's momma. Hell, I amazed myself, and Alex too. The look on his face this morning said "What, you're up NOW!?" I had time for Grumpybear to go away before Alex realized it.

The hardest thing, though, was letting him run off into school when they opened the doors. Alex was all ready to go, but I wasn't even close to ready. I haven't had to do this in 14 years, when Amanda was in kindergarten. Oh, how soon we forget the pains of separation...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sign of the Times

Today, Vertafore announced to their employees the closing of the College Station site. This is the site I worked at for over 12 years before my recent departure to Corptax.

The signs of closure were evident going back weeks. Today, of course, more information comes out from different sources, and it now appears to have been in planning stages for months. This is not surprising. The decision to close a site is a long process. Logistics and planning are crucial to the success of a site closing, especially if that site also hosts a data center serving thousands of customers.

The problem is that employees may not be as forgiving about the reasons for closing. The overall point of the closure was to centralize support to fewer locations. Additionally, the Vertafore Data Center is to be moved to a third party location in Dallas. The data center move was announced in the trades via a press release. I find it interesting that the press release mentions the data center move, but not the employee job losses -- but then, that wasn't the point of the press release, was it?

Most employees have about 2 months to either relocate, if offered the option or if they ask, or take severance. Others have more time because they are part of the data center transition, scheduled to complete by May 2010. Many of those people are my friends, and have been for over 10 years. They are strong people, and good people, and deserve better than what they are getting. While that does nothing to save their jobs, it's happened too many times over the years to forgive, I think, and the inevitable has finally come to fruition.

One thing I heard today was that management made a "very difficult decision" in closing the site. I don't think it was that difficult. The College Station site has been the target of closure for years, with one instance called off when executives were in the DFW airport awaiting a flight to College Station to close the site and lay off employees in a moments notice. But the decision to close the site is one of pure financial need. Relocating the data center to a third party saves money on costs of maintaining the physical site (AC, power backup generators, UPS units), so in the middle and long term, the decision should be good financially. So to patronize the support staff with stories of how difficult the decision is, frankly, insulting. There are a lot of smart, hard working people in the College Station office, and they are smarter than that to believe it was a difficult business decision. A difficult personal decision? Yes, I believe the majority of those involved in the decision are personally hurt to do this work. Like The Don said, "It's not's only business". But there's no sense in repeating how difficult it is over and over in meetings. Please, just tell the people how long they have and let them get it over with.

One amazing thing to note -- there are easily 10 people at that site that have worked there over 20 years. One in particular just hit 39 years. She began working there when I was 2 months old. She went 27 years before taking a sick day. I wonder if she's getting what she clearly deserves after service of that caliber.

One thing I've always said is that it's not the crisis, but how you stand up to and work through that crisis, that defines you. I have no doubt my friends will prevail, overcome, and excel in their future.

So on a lighter note, maybe this video needs to be revised:

...or click here.

To my friends in College Station -- I told you I would miss you when I left, and I do miss you. I still talk to you when time permits. You hold a dear part of my heart. You were with me during 2 marriages, 2 divorces, and 4 children. You've seen me grow and change, as I have you, and I have no doubt you will overcome this setback in your lives. I want to see you at Fox and Hound this Friday night, if we can get enough together. You know where to find me.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Hayden is Moving Along

Tonight I saw Hayden crawl properly for the first time. He's always been able to crawl -- an Army style crawl, using his arms only. But tonight he got up on his hands and knees and crawled across my floor.

I was very excited at this milestone. Maybe this weekend he'll do it again for me and I'll video it and post it. I hope so, because it was great to see. He's been doing this at his momma's house for the last week or so, so he's had plenty of practice.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I wish this was a little clearer -- I'm sure if I searched I could find it.

Remember when Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift, and Beyonce gave up her time on stage so Taylor could finish her speech? I thought that was a decent thing to do.

Well, turns out Beyonce is more than that. Check this out:

If you can't see the embedded video, click here.

The rest of Hollywood needs to take a lesson from this woman.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More Snuggie Madness, and Google Ads

Now, you can look like a tool, and support your favorite collegiate team at the same time. It's the Collegiate Snuggie!

Since my post on Alex's peeing in a cup, ads have arrived on my blog site about potty training. Yeah, you MIGHT be a little late on that, sparky...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

More Conversations with Alex

Conversation with Alex in the car the other evening:

Alex and Dad singing. Hayden singing along as well as he can.

"It's take a're really dirty and your feet smell bad!..."

Alex makes a sniffle sound and says "Pee-YEW!" Hayden cracks up laughing.

Dad: "My feet don't smell bad."

Alex(voice tone very matter-of-fact): "Yes, they do. I smelled them. They stink. They're disgusting."

Dad laughs so hard he cries. Luckily, he has not reached the highway.

Dad: "Alex, you are the funniest kid I know."

Alex (sighs): "Yeah, I know. I'm special..."

Reflections on September 11

Eight years ago I walked into work as I had the previous four and a half years, and was interrupted during my morning routine of sitting down, booting up, reading email, and getting my first mug of coffee by Mark Heslip. He said "Hey, did you hear? An airplane crashed into the World Trade Center."

And that was the beginning of the most incredible, horrible day of my life.

Eight years later, I am sure to watch a show about the time line, or if a station plays recorded, uninterrupted coverage I'll watch that, and I'll remember the fear I felt that day. I'll remember how, later that day, I watched neighbors bring ammunition and guns into their houses, and thinking at the time that anarchy might break out at a moments notice if anything happened in Texas.

I like those emails that go around from time to time that talk about how college kids are so young, and to prove it, the email lists items, events, or technologies that these children only know from pawnshops, history books, old magazines, or junk in the basement. So, on that concept, I'd like to put a few things into perspective:

  • Fliss, my second ex-wife, was not my wife at the time. We were dating, and she was on vacation in England, visiting her family and friends.
  • Alex was not born yet.
  • Chris, a 21 year old college junior now, was 13 and in 8th grade.
  • Amanda was 11 years old and she was living with me at the time.
  • Blu-ray DVD were still under development.
  • Windows XP had not officially shipped to consumers.

When I commemorate September 11, I always use a phrase like "We must never forget". I believe that today as strongly as I did last year, and the year before, and all the way back to 2002 on the first anniversary. I wonder if I would have been as brave as some of the people caught in this tragedy, and I'm thankful I didn't have to find out.

While remaining vigilante to threats against this country, we must also remember to remain civil to those that share national heritage with those that attacked us, because many people from the Middle East have relocated to The United States to start over and give their families better lives. That's not to say that wrong doers should not be caught and punished, but blind discrimination for no reason is wrong.

I also believe that, in order to prevent future attacks, a variety of methods can be used on different people that would have pertinent information. This includes torture. If we catch one bad guy, and we get information from that one bad guy that saves the lives of hundreds or thousands of American citizens, and torture was used, then so be it. I am not so naive as to think that these methods are not used when the CIA is told not to use them -- they are used. My father told me not to use his drill when I was a kid, but when he wasn't around, I used it.

We need to remember those lives lost on September 11, 2001, we need to remember the lessons learned, and we need to remember to remain vigilante.

One last thing. I have a lot of friends in the military, and know a few kids that plan to go into the military. They sacrifice their lives and their families sacrifice so these soldiers can serve their country. Stay safe.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Parent's View

I was recently involved in a discussion about the, at the time, upcoming Obama speech to school children. The discussion started with a reference to a New York Times article outlining the controversy.

I believe the core problem with this entire "controversy" is the inability of a group of people to understand that parent's have the right to review and object to material presented to their children. Additionally, if a parent objects to a presentation, they can remove their child from that presentation, and schools have to oblige.

I don't care about the content of the material. That had nothing to do with my argument. It's the right of the parent I was arguing. I'm not even saying the parents are correct in their views. That's entirely immaterial. If a parent does not want to have their child hear something, then it's my view that the parent should be allowed to act as they see fit, unless the action is an abusive action.

That's not to say that a parent should take their kid out of school 3 days a week because of a class lesson. That's ridiculous. This was a one-time event, and the parents, in my view, had the right to exclude their children.

It's also not wise to question or demean those parents, or attack their level of education, because, in my view, education takes on many forms, and not just the form of a formal classroom setting or a piece of paper framed in wood with a pretty golden seal, signed by someone who you may not even know, or does not even know you.

I would really like to know how many of the people with whom I had this discussion have children. I know one of them does not, and I felt that, perhaps, that may have factored into their argument.

I would love to place the the entire conversation in this blog, and if I find an easy way to do it, I might. But I was asked, at one point, if I was afraid to tell my son, Alex, if we had a President, or a President of color. Not only was this insulting to me, but it was childish, and frankly ignorant of the person that asked the question. It also amazed me how many of these people were quick to question my personal values because I disagreed with them. OK, it didn't surprise me, but it still proves, to a degree, that people are very intolerant of other people's opposing views.

I have to give them credit, however -- they felt very strongly about their view, regardless of how flawed I felt it was, and regardless of how many points I expressed trying to disprove or counter their arguments.

Oh, and here's another thing -- no one had yet seen the contents of the speech. I didn't, they didn't, no one did. In fact, after the speech was posted on the White House web site, I posted a link to it and stated it was a good speech, and mentioned a few points I really liked. The one person that could have said something said nothing at all.

I can't wait till the next discussion...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Slap Jack...uh, Roger

A Facebook friend posted an article about a guy that slapped another woman's child because the kid would not stop crying.

You can read the article and get as pissed off as you want to. In fact, I encourage you to get as pissed off as I did. If any complete stranger lays one hand on my kid, for any reason, that person will suffer a fate worse than death. In face, I'm pretty sure the person will wish for death by the time I get done with him.

I don't need to say any more about this, do I?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

In A Cup

Today, Alex did something I've never seen any child do in my entire life.

Today, before heading out to run a quick shop for basics, Alex announced, as he always does, that he needed to go potty. I informed him, as I usually do, that he doesn't need to ask or announce this, but just go.

So, off he went into his bathroom, and I heard him pee. But, it sounded different.

Then, I didn't hear a flush. I didn't hear any water of any kind, other than that of the tinkle of him peeing. Curious, and scared, I went to his bathroom and asked him, through the door, "Is everything alright?" He says, "Yes, Daddy", and then opens the door, and I see why nothing made sense.

On the closed toilet lid was a cup. The same cup I use to rinse his hair, and to bathe he and Hayden. In the cup was where he decided to pee. He picked it up and proudly handed it to me, smiled, jacked up his drawers, and said "Now, I have to wash my hands."

I was dumbfounded, and then I started to smile, and then I laughed. He laughed with me. I had to stop and let him know this was not OK in the least, and that I never wanted to see this again. Unless, of course, if he's taking a physical for sports, and then, well, I still don't care to see it. But it's good to know that, when the time comes, he'll be ahead of everyone else, and won't have a problem peeing in a cup.

I thought about keeping it and testing it for drugs, just to make sure the boy was clean. Why else would he do this?

I talked to his mother later in the day. She and her new man are expecting a baby, and it turns out that Alex walked in on her peeing in a cup as part of her daily pregnancy routine. I told her the story, she cracked up, and I understood everything.

Moral? No, sorry, I don't have one...just keep the bathroom door locked if you need to pee in a cup...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Random Crap

I haven't posted in a while, so I'll just go over a few things that have been on my mind at various times.

What's the point in wearing those shorts that go down about to about mid calf, or in some cases, damn near to your ankles without tapering? Do you want shorts or not? Make a decision, and quit looking stupid.

College kids are back in town this week, and I love them, but please, for the love of God, go over your Right of Way rules, please. I will hit you because, as Kathy Bates said "Face it, honey. I'm older, and I have more insurance." Or I'll just flip you The Bird, and if you come after me, I'll pretend you're from my area of the world (East Coast, baby) and just attempt to run you over.

You ever buy a snack and say "Wow, these used to be bigger." Were they really bigger, or did you just get bigger and in perspective, they seemed to get smaller? Either way, I'd bet they are still no better for you now than they were back then. Or are you like me, and can actually now eat about ten of those snacks now, and one just seems to damn insignificant?

Connery, Craig, Brosnan, Moore, George Lazenby, Dalton. Period. End of discussion. No, Moore sucks as Bond overall, sorry. He was just not that good a Bond to me. Judi Dench is the best M, Q needs to come back, and the chair thing was just so wrong.

How did Padme Amidala NOT know she was having twins? Wasn't the medical technology superior, and she didn't have an ob-gyn appointment, not even once?

One skill my children will learn is swimming. They will not wait till they are 24 years old before they learn. And they'll learn how to drag someone else with them, because one day, that might be necessary.

Jim Johnson is dead, Vick is an Eagle, and the Eagles drafted offense. If Jaworski comes in as a motivational speaker, I quit. OK, no, not really, but damn, could it get any weirder?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Job, New Directions

I haven't talked about Vertafore lately because, well, I just haven't felt like it. But I figured now is as good a time as any to talk about Vertafore and some recent changes in my life.

First, the big news -- after nearly 13 years, I resigned from Vertafore to take a position at another company. Looking back at my time there, I learned a lot, and I hope I taught as much to many different people. The decision to leave Vertafore was not easy, and not without reservations. I mean, it is rare for an IT professional to stay with a company more than 5 years, let alone nearly 13 years. But there were many advantages to my departure. But in case any of my former coworkers don't know, I will miss seeing you all on a daily basis, and will keep in touch as much as possible. Lunch is always a great way to catch up on life, and the occasional night out is also helpful!

Next, I resigned Vertafore to work for a company called Corptax. Corptax creates software that is used to compile and file tax returns. It is used by mostly large corporations that have entire departments dedicated to taxes. Many corporate names you hear in the news daily are customers of mine now. My new position is as a Technical Support Analyst. This involves, among other tasks, working with customers on installing, configuring, and troubleshooting the software. It's a job I did for a long time at Vertafore, so the general tasks are familiar. Learning new software is the key, and that's coming along relatively smoothly. It's a lot to learn so quickly, but I found my brain still works pretty well, so everything should go well.

Finally, the reasons for leaving. I don't have a good, solid, concrete reason for leaving Vertafore. I think it was the right opportunity at the right time. Perhaps many smaller factors, together, facilitated my departure. One deciding factor was the ability to work remotely, from my home, instead of commuting to an office every day. I have a laptop and a second monitor to get a full desktop affect, and an IP phone so that customers and coworkers can call me as if they are calling a desk at the office. The part I must be careful of is handling tasks as home, such as the dogs or the dishwasher. But so far, its worked out well.

My old job provided me with a lot of learning and opportunities, so I don't have bad things to say about them. Perhaps the recent economic turns played a factor in my leaving. There were things at Vertafore that were worse than others, just like any job. But the one thing I will always cherish is the comradeship of my coworkers. My former coworkers saw me through 2 marriages, 2 divorces, 2 new children, and 2 children that have grown to adulthood. It truly was like having an extended family.

So, one door closes, and another opens. Life goes on. Need to remember to turn down the TV tomorrow before making my calls...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

As Seen On TV!

So I'm watching TV tonight and a commercial comes on for the Neckline Slimmer.

What's that? You've never heard of the Neckline Slimmer? What is the Neckline Slimmer, you ask?

Well, let me show you the Neckline Slimmer. It's a device designed to help you get rid of your drooping jowls. You place it under your chin and press down on it, working out those hard to reach jowls in just 2 minutes a day.

I thought I saw everything. Once again, I was wrong.

This is the latest in a line of products shown on Saturday and late night cable television. Like the Snuggie. You know what the Snuggie is; it's the reverse robe that makes you look like a cult member, especially if worn outdoors:

Yes, an embedded video -- from the Snuggie web site.

(UPDATE: The Snuggie Web Site removed the code for the embedded video, so I found the original on YouTube )

Tonight, there was a new commercial with new, fashion Snuggies, in zebra and leopard prints. Good grief...

I really like this parody of the Snuggie commercial:

But someone had to come up with these ideas. Someone had to market these ideas into products that would sell to a public that will buy them. And someone is also on vacation in Maui on the profits of these products.

I have a weekend scheduled in August to brainstorm products that will become as an As Seen On TV product...

Friday, July 3, 2009

Tribute to John Williams

If you don't LOVE this, then you are not in touch with your Geek Side:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

So, You Think You're a Tenor...

I really love and hate reality competition shows like "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance". On one hand, it's great to see people that would not ordinarily have a chance to shine in the vocal or performance spotlight become superstars. But I think it can become overdone, and in some cases, one particular piece of music becomes worn out. So, to that end, I'll present the case for "So You Think You're a Tenor".

In the last few years, the show "Britain's Got Talent", and it's American step brother, "America's Got Talent", have showcased a number of talented and incredible performers, especially in the vocal arena. This last year, Susan Boyle was the latest vocalist to achieve worldwide acclaim by blowing away the likes of Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan with incredible voices despite rather regular, humdrum appearances.

The current trend seems to be those that think they can sing "Nessum Dorma" from Pucini's opera "Turandot". The song is, by ear, a beautiful song, the music well constructed in a way hardly done anymore. While one Brit pulled it off, and made my skin breakout in goosebumps, no one in my mind can come close to Luciano Pavarotti:

OK, maybe Pavarotti, Domingo, and Carreras all together:

This American tried, did OK in my opinion, but did not have the crisp voice that makes the song:

So, you think you can do it like Pavarotti? I don't think so...

Brief aside -- if you read the description of the song, it's actually quite morbid, as most operas were in those days, I think. The story goes that Princess Turandot needs to guess the name of the Calaf, else have to marry him in the morning. The song title means "No One Shall Sleep" because the Princess, being the cold hearted bitch she was, told all her servants to stay up all night and find his name, or else they would all die.

I think, after time, "Nessum Dorma" will be overdone and boring, but Luciano is, by far, the king of this aria. Hands down.

Further on the "...Got Talent" show, this performance was more impressive to me. Natalie from London, a mere 10 years old, doing Alicia Keys, was great. and more inspiring than any of them. And there are other examples of this type of performance all over YouTube.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Passing of Legends and How The World Reacts

This week has been a very busy week for The Grim Reaper, taking three celebrities.

Ed McMahon was the first to go, the famous sidekick of Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. Farrah Fawcett died this morning of cancer. Michael Jackson died this evening of apparent cardiac arrest.

There are plenty of articles out there covering the deaths and life stories of these celebrities. Jackson was clearly the most popular of the three, attaining international stardom and a nearly religious-like following among his fans. But I'm more interested in the other events not popularly reported on by the mainstream media.

First, there's Internet traffic. Internet traffic reported a huge spike in usage when Jackson's death was reported. Since he was such an international star, this is not surprising, but to see a graph jump like this after one man's death, and to remain constant, is truly amazing. I'd like to see the graph on Internet traffic for September 11, 2001, and see how that compares. But I'm sure the statistics are quite different, since a lot of Internet traffic passed through the Twin Towers, especially traffic in NYC and surrounding areas.

Second, eBay went nuts. A report on Fox News during Greta's late coverage stated informally that Jackson items for sale rose from 3000 at the time of his death, to 12000 at the time of the report. And so the vultures begin to circle. Every Thiller album is now worth ten times what it was this morning. Any autograph is priceless. Pictures are worth a small fortune. And let's not forget the frauds -- there will be so many "genuine" Jackson items flooding the market it will be sickening and sad.

Finally, the speed in which the news spread. Specifically, when Jackson died, the speed by which the news hit was like nothing I'd ever seen. I received a phone call 5 minutes after the news hit. Before that, Facebook friends and Twitter contacts went nuts. There is no such thing as slow news anymore, and this event proves that.

I'll watch the TV, cable news, and read tons of reports and see tons of pictures, but I'll be more interested in the behind-the-scenes events.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Couple of Geeky Videos

This is an odd, twisted, geek sort of way...

Office Space gone crazy:

The Great Office War - Watch more Other Funny Stuff

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cat Flushing a Toilet

Nathan Bell (Facebook link, must log into Facebook to view) cannot stop singing this song...and neither will YOU!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Paris in a Hurry

When you need to see Paris, France, in a hurry...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


My son was destined to be my son. Why?

My mascot - Rising Sun Tiger
His Mascot - A&M Consolidated Tiger

My graduation colors: Maroon and White
His colors: Maroon and White

My talent at 18: Music
His talent at 18: Music

We were both born to be Tigers...

And now, for all you Tiger fans (Rising Sun Tigers and A&M Consolidated Tigers):

Jensen Ackles has The Eye Of The Tiger

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Conversation in the car with Alex the other day, while taking him to Tao Kwon Do:

Alex: "Dad! Dad! I have something to tell you!"

Dad: "Yes, Alex, what is it?"

Alex: "Dad! Tomatoes make my poop turn red!"


Alex: "It's like magic, Dad!"

Dad: "Yes, son, it's like magic. Don't eat beets."

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Next Netflix Choice

Is someone trying to regain their "Electric Youth"?

Read the article about this very real movie here.

Well, people have to make a living, even in Hollywood...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Heels on a Plane

Now that I'm back from vacation, rested, and well into work again, I have a complaint.

While waiting for planes at different terminals in 3 different airports, I watch people. It's fun, humorous, and allows me to write about something when I get a chance.

When I travel, whether for business or pleasure, I like to be comfortable, but I also want to get through security as quickly as possible. So for my vacation, I took a cue from my friend Chris Wendel. He travels in Crocs. They are easy to wear, easy to take off, and are very comfortable. They are also light weight. Airport security is much easier with these shoes on.

So why, in the name of Orville and Wilbur, do women insist upon wearing the following:

High Heels
High Heeled Boots

What the HELL are they thinking? How on earth is that comfortable, or easy on security?

And how do I know you're heels won't cause a puncture in the hull and cause decompression?

If the plane does fall apart, I would rather die being hit by a piece of the plane, rather than your stinking shoe, embedded in my forehead.

I would rather be burned by flaming jet fuel than having a 4 inch heel through my eyeball.

I have nothing against heels. They suit the outfits they accompany. But please, not on an airplane, please!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

For the Love of Vulcan

Coming to you live, from New Castle, Delaware...

Richard Tocci -- THE VULCAN!

Create Your Own

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Seriously, don't even think about it...

This is a picture of a guy I went to school with named Mike Markland. Mike is in the US Army and is stationed in Iraq. I saw this picture today and wanted to share it:

Mike Markland in Iraq

There are only two things to note in this picture:

1. He's holding food in his left hand.
2. He's got a gun in his right hand.

The expression on his face? He's had that expression for over 20 years that I recall. I don't think you want to mess with his lunch right now...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hayden Took His First Steps

Well, in front of me, anyway, and with help.

I put him up on his feet last night and held his hands, and he took 5 steps to me. He knew exactly what to do, and he was so happy when he did it.

My youngest is growing up...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hip Hop Senior Choir

One of my friends on Facebook, who is also a former employee of Vertafore, posted this today. It's one of funniest things I've ever seen.

"...Ridin' Dirty.."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Captain Phillips Rescued

This is one story with a happy ending. A pirate attack on the Maersk-Alabama has ended with the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips and the elimination of the pirates that took him. The Navy did get the captain of the pirate ship and have him in custody.

Online articles can be found on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, Reuters, and AP.

I heard someone say they had a coordinated attack ready from 25-30 meters, and took out the three pirates holding Phillips, one of which was holding an AK-47 to his back. One of the news reports on TV said it was a difficult shot. 25 or 30 meters, even with the ocean moving? I don't think so -- that's like shooting fish in a barrel for these guys.

But I'm glad he's safe and sound, and congrats to the Navy for getting him out.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Once again, there are stories about parents killing off their families and then committing suicide so they can't get caught by the police for their crime.

I don't want to talk about parents killing their families right now. It depresses me. It makes me feel angry and depressed all at once, and it will just put me in a foul mood.

But I want to combat it in a way I think is more intelligent, so I want to share something with you. I watched Geraldo At Large the other night, and he said something I think is great. I can't find a video, but the line went something like this:

If you are contemplating a murder\suicide, the suicide first.

And that's all I have to say about that...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Press Any Key To Continue -- Except Q...

I worked Friday night and all day Saturday to do software upgrades for one of the products I support working for Vertafore, called AMS 360. At the same time, a couple of other engineers performed upgrades on the Sagitta product. While I got to go home and return the next day after a few hours sleep, Tim and Tim, the Sagitta application engineers, stayed all night working on the Sagitta upgrades. They got to go home after nearly 16 hours total work, with only about an hour break.

Sagitta upgrades, as it turns out, are more tedious than the upgrades I did. Tim and Tim had to wait for a prompt to appear and "press any key to continue".

Now, in my opinion, when working on a mass upgrade affecting multiple databases, mundane tasks like pressing keys on a keyboard should not be necessary. In fact, it's stupid. But that's another story.

The odd part was that at some point, the Tims were asked to "Press any key to continue". So, by chance, Tim#2 pressed the "Q" key.

Evidently, "Any Key" does not mean "Q". Because hitting "Q" will "Quit" the process and kick you back about three steps.

Why would you place the message "Press ANY KEY to continue" in a software upgrade, and NOT realize it MIGHT kill the upgrade, to the point where you have to nearly start ALL OVER AGAIN? That's insane!

Software developers, in general, are not a user friendly bunch. But this is beyond that -- it's piss poor programming. How hard is it to make the software respond only to one key.

Sorry to all you decent developers out there, but I've run into too much piss poor code to let it slide. Keep up the diligence -- someone will learn from you...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Time for Change

No, this is not an Obama rant. I simply changed the name of the blog a little bit to "Knight Time".

Same blog, different name...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hayden's Good News

I had the kids again last night, and when I picked them up at their mother's house, Fliss talked to me about Hayden's recent visit from the physical therapist from the State of Texas. Hayden still needs a few things to get his physical skills advanced. He's getting up on his knees now, trying to crawl, but he uses the back of his hands, like a gorilla, to push himself up. When he attempts to go forward, he rolls forward and goes back to crawling using the Army Crawl technique he's mastered the last few months. So to fix this, he'll need hand and wrist braces and hand wraps to flatten his hands.

While this was progress, I was more interested in her comments about his mental progress. While the therapist talked with Fliss, she put Hayden down to watch television. He sat and watched an entire 30 minute cartoon show. I've seen him do this, but never thought much about it. He and Alex watch TV together while at my house often, so it was no surprise to me.

What did surprise me was that this is not a 2 year old skill. Watching television for extended periods of time is an advanced skill -- 2-year-olds do not hold typically their attention for that long. The therapist also noted that Hayden laughed at the parts of the show that were funny and did not at the parts that were not. This is another skill that 2-year-olds don't have. These skills are done by older children.

I was not surprised, but was very happy to hear this news. It simply reinforced my beliefs that Hayden will turn out just fine in the long run. We'll just have to be patient, and let him develop on his own.

Monday, March 2, 2009

I'm Ready For My Close-Up, Mr. Deville...

So today, Vertafore sent a film crew to the Data Center in College Station to film us doing over everyday work. The AMS User's Group will show the film at the annual conference in Washington DC later this month.

All day I avoided the camera. I worked at my desk, left my desk when I saw the cameraman coming, and stayed away as long as I could. Until the end of the day.

I was asked to "run into" one of my colleagues and make something up. At first I came up with a billing issue but that turned out to be too negative and we shook our heads negatively. That was bad, apparently, so I came up with a backup that would arrive at a customer's site ahead of schedule, which was positive and our heads nodded positively.

So that was my Hollywood moment. Thrills!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Revenge of the Sith

Recently I got into a conversation on Facebook about certain sci-fi and fantasy movies. The subject moved from Indiana Jones to Star Wars.

(Just to clarify things, the Crystal Skull, while entertaining, seemed a bit of a departure from the previous three movies -- The MacGuffin was a little too odd for my taste, the action was a bit sub-par and a little unbelievable, but I enjoyed the movie anyway)

In 1999 when Episode 1 was released, I felt it laid a great framework for the remaining parts of the so-called Prequels. The opening scene displayed Jedi powers not seen in such detail -- Jedi Speed, uses of a lightsaber such as deflecting energy beams and cutting through blast doors, and the fear of some of the invading forces that a pair of Jedi were even on board, displayed the true nature of the Jedi we had never seen before. It also helped that actors like Liam Neison and Ewan MacGregor played the title roles, and played them very well.

But as the Prequel Trilogy pregressed to the 2nd episode, I felt the choice of Hayden Christensen was not a good idea as Anakin Skywalker. Later, I decided it was a good choice, because he played the whiny father of Luke Skywalker well enough to be believable. By the time Revenge of the Sith came out, I was happy to see the Trilogies bridged, but at the same time, I found myself wanting more.

Revenge of the Sith was NOT enough for me. Scenes were deleted that led to the Rebellion and Yoda's landing on Daghoba, and I think they should have been included. While the scenes kept in the final movie were packed with action, I wanted more -- LOTS more. Here is a list of items I really needed to see done better than they were:

  • The battle between Yoda and the Emperor -- if Yoda and the Emperor were so powerful, why didn't they flat out destroy the Senate? That room should have been torn to pieces after that battle, with Yoda escaping, as he did, but barely, and nearly costing him his life. I mean, come on, I wanted to see all of those Senate flying pods flung all over the place, with Yoda Force-throwing others and then POW! -- midair destruction. Force lightning flying every time the Emperor had a free hand. The lightsaber fight was quite good, and that saved that scene, but I wanted to see Clash of the Titans, I wanted Neo and Smith, I wanted Frank Miller's Batman vs. Superman from "The Dark Knight Returns", but in the Star Wars Universe.
  • The battle between the Emperor and Mace Windu -- Mace Windu, apart from Yoda, was the most skilled lightsaber duelist in the galaxy. He was fighting the Dark Lord of the Sith, and I felt like it went too slowly. From what I've read, Ian McDiarmid wound up wanting to do some of the fight scenes himself, but it needed to be more fast paced, more brutal, and I was jipped of that.
  • The Cutdown of Anakin Skywalker -- "Don't do it -- I have the high ground"...what the hell kind of line was that? Why didn't Anakin just go after him, in anger, on the ground, and then Obi-Wan Kenobi could just cut him down right there, not in the air, and then let him burn. I liked the emotion Ewan showed in that scene, but it was almost too little, too late.
  • The Dialog -- couldn't SOMEone edit the damn script after Lucas wrote it, and made the dialog a little better?
  • Yoda communing with Qui-Gon Jinn -- At the end of Episode I, Qui-Gon Jinn, the maverick Jedi Master to Obi-Wan Kenobi, was killed by Darth Maul, the apprentice to the Sith Lord. Qui-Gon is mentioned briefly in Episode II, and then at the very end of Episode III by Yoda when he tells Kenobi he has more training for him to do. There was a short scene in Episode II where Yoda was meditating, and one can clearly hear Qui-Gon's voice. This should have been expanded, even if only for a few minutes per movie. I would have tied to two Trilogies together better.
Now, this is just my opinion on the subject, and I was not entirely disappointed. I still love Star Wars -- I just think it could have been done a little better than it was.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Marriage Ends, and The Road Ahead...

Well, today, it happened. Finally. After a year of being separated, it finally happened. My marriage to Felicity Young is now officially, legally, over. It happened between 8:30 and 12 noon today, based on the decree we both signed off on a couple of weeks ago.

I'm not happy about the divorce. Don't get me wrong -- I'm glad it's done and over with, I'm glad this day is here. But the divorce represents a failure, and I do not like failure, so therefore, I am not happy.

It's true -- I hate failure. Failure means I didn't learn what I needed to learn about marriage to keep it going and make it work. In this case, however, I don't think that would have mattered. Fliss told me several times it was not all my fault. Her feelings on marriage had a lot to do with its failure.

In the long run, I believe this was the best decision. Good decisions are not always the ones that make us feel better in the end. The marriage would have ended anyway, I believe. I think I saw this one ending before Fliss ever asked for the divorce. But I tried to keep it going, and that didn't help matters any.

I am happy it ended now because Alex and Hayden will adjust to mother and father living apart. Alex knew something was going on a while ago. He knows Mom and Dad live in different places, and while he did not fully understand why, he's adjusted to it pretty well. He's figured out a few things, and tries to play off that as much as he can -- he's tried the "I want to go to (Parent's Title here)'s house now!" and that just does not work. He knows that, but he tries anyway. Hayden, on the other hand, is too young for this to matter and will adjust to it better than Alex.

What's next? Not marriage, I'll tell you that. I am NOT looking for someone to settle down with. I'm just not that interested in that right now. My tax bracket changes now, too. Anyone have any ideas how to save $250 a month on paying a single man's tax rate? I have a few ideas but will welcome any and all suggestions!

A female friend of mine joked with me recently when I told her that I signed my divorce papers. She said "Oh, really? So...uh...How YOU doin'?" While I laughed at this, I realized that, in some respects, some women would see me as "new meat" and might even be after me now that I am newly single and unmarried. Let's be honest, I hold certain qualities a woman looks for in a man -- I am good with children, I have a steady job with a fair income (less take home now that I'm divorced and paying the single tax rate, thanks mainly to Texas state mandated child support formulas -- anyone in Maryland that complains about the support YOU pay should drop me a line, and I'll tell you how much I pay, and then you can shut the hell up!), and I have a decent sense of humor. While I know these are positive features, I am not delusional -- I am not the handsomest man on the planet, and I won't likely be dating a Playboy model in the near future, but it is true that men, like women, are put up on meat block to be surveyed, not always at their own request, and almost certainly not always fairly. It's unfair, but it's reality, and I'll deal with it as best I can.

Additionally, I am NOT going to sire more children. I'm done. No Mas. In fact, to nearly guarantee this, I plan to have The Surgery. Yes, that's right...Snip Snip. Like my friend Steve Vyhlidal used to say when playing dominoes, I'll be Shootin' Blanks. Seriously, I'm pushing 40 and the last thing I want is more children. I am VERY happy with the 4 children I have now. My immediate family is complete. I'm finished. No Mo' Kids! Did you hear that in the back row -- The Richard Tocci Jr. Baby Factory is now CLOSED!

What does that do for possible dating prospects? Don't care -- I'll be dating, not looking to settle down. If you look at me and say "Wow, I wouldn't mind being with him and having a few kids", I'll be moving on. In case you didn't hear me:

No More Kids!

The biggest problem I had writing this blog entry was coming up with a title. I considered "Freedom", "Another One Bites The Dust", and "The End" but they all seemed too crude and inconsiderate. I can't bring myself to be too mean -- I did get two wonderful children from this marriage, so regardless of it all, I have them, and they have me, and that's better than anything else in the world.

And now, this chapter ends, and the next one begins...

Monday, February 9, 2009

My Mother was Right...Sort Of...

My mother had this theory when I was young. It was an odd theory then, and still is, but I've been forced to look back at it several times in the last weeks. I hate to admit my parents were right in ANY way, just as my children, I'm sure, hate to admit when I'm right, so I take no pleasure in this.

I'll see if I can put the theory into the proper form:

The behavior of a child is directly proportional to the need and/or inability of the child to perform solid excretion.

Yes, that's right. My mother said that behavior problems were caused by the child needing to take a poop.

I am NOT making this up! She told me once that I was misbehaving (and I'm not sure that I was, honestly), and that I needed to go to the bathroom, to "go take a shit". Seriously -- she made me go into the bathroom, and sit down, until I...well, you can guess. You can also guess I didn't...well, you know...and went on to do something more productive that afternoon -- like go down the street and look at porn magazines at my friend's house.

Fast forward 20-some-odd years. Hayden spent the weekend with me and had a hard time eating on Friday night. He basically puked up what he ate before he got to me. By Saturday, his diaper had nothing but pee in it.

So I called the ex and asked if Hayden had been having some trouble eating lately. Yes, he had some trouble for the past few days. He was also irritable and was not happy most of the day Friday.

So Saturday morning I feed him his Pediasure and Cheerios and then for lunch he had refried beans and carrots with applesauce. A few hours later, after much straining, he passed what I can only describe as a very healthy bowl movement. It was easy to see the problem -- the first half of it was like concrete, the latter half more along the lines of normal excretion.

So my mother was right...sort of. Yeah, he was not happy, but he was not "misbehaving", and he was not happy because he needed to go potty VERY badly.

Note to self -- give ex a copy of Hayden's Daddy Time Menu and he'll be right as regular in no time.

And people wondered why I never brought a girlfriend home to meet my parents...

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Self Examination

One thing that Facebook has done recently is forced me to look into myself, and allowed me to look into others. I don't think 20 years ago I would have been so honest about myself.

The newest thing to go around Facebook is the 17 or 25 Random Facts about Me. It started off at 17, then went to 25. It will go up to 35, then 50, then up to 100, until some joker is going to start a "172 Random Things About Me" and I'll have to start saying things like "There is a bug on my wall right now, and I want to smash it, but it's not bothering anyone" or I'll just have to start making things up:

I am the cloned bastard child of Beethoven, Albert Einstein, Queen Victoria I, Marie Antoinette, Ronald Reagan, and Pee Wee Herman, and my second maternal grandmother twice removed is Lucille Ball.

...which explains everything, right?

I wrote a 17 list on this blog and added to it last night to create a 25 list. Actually, I took a few things out, added a few things, and then posted it.

I find there to be several common themes:

1. We have relatives that have died, and we wish we could see them just one more time.
2. We know who our friends are, and we know why.
3. We all have a sense of humor.
4. We all love our children, dearly, completely, without question, which is the way it should be.
5. Our role models are quality, wholesome, decent people.

The rest of the facts are truly random, but quite interesting. I hope to read more soon.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hayden's Lullaby

January 18th was Hayden's 2nd birthday. I took Alex and Hayden out to eat with friends, and then spent some time at home with them.

A friend of mine on Facebook told me recently that she always remembered I had a song in my head. I would tap it out on the desk, or a book, or I'd be humming something. She imagined I had the tunes fully written in my head.

Well, she was right, most of the time. Some of those tunes I did keep and write down.

When Hayden was born, I held him in my arms as he slept. I formed a melody in my head, and as soon as I put him down into his bed at the hospital, I wrote the melody on the whiteboard in my wife's room. I had to draw the staves, but I got it all down, took a picture on my mother-in-law's camera, and saved it for later.

I did get around to making the melody. I harmonized it as a wind quartet.

UPDATE: I finally finished the full orchestration:

Saturday, January 17, 2009


This stems from yet another annoying shopping moment. I'll keep this brief, as it's pretty simple.

Express Checkout Lanes. They are X amount of items or less. Could be 10, could be 20, depends on the store.

Count the items in your basket or buggy or in your arms. If they are more than the Express Checkout limit, go to another non-Express Checkout Lane!

Please, for the love of God, count your items, before I direct you myself the next time I'm behind you in line with my 5 items, 2 kids, and no patience.

This public service announcement brought to you by All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pennies to Dollars

So I was at WalMart in Bryan last night after going to the gym with my friend Jeff. I picked up a few essentials (Cheerios, Shiner Bock, tuna, and salmon) and made my way to the checkouts. I had less than 20 items, so I went to the Express Checkout lane.

In front of us, already in line, was a woman riding one of those battery powered buggies. In her cart was 5 items -- a Dyson vacuum cleaner that retails for about $350, and 4 Hannah Montana clearance Christmas tree ornaments that sold for about $1 each. When Jeff and I arrived in line, the woman was debating the price of an item.

Not the $350 Dyson, mind you -- she was debating the price of the ornament. She argued the price was supposed to be 50 cents. We stood in line behind her for about 2 minutes, listening to her arguments and pleas as to why she was being overcharged for the items.

Why do people do this? Why are people dollar fooling and penny wise? Why did she argue 25 cents off when she already dropped $350 plus 8+ percent sales tax on her vacuum cleaner? Was it THAT important that she save $1 on her total purchase?

I'm not knocking Dyson vacuums at all -- they are great vacuums, do a fine job, and are worth the money, hands down. The logic this woman employed, however, made me want to go up to her, plop down $2.16 for her ornaments, and tell her "Please, it's on me. I'm getting old standing here waiting for you to get that $1 back!"

I truly have no patience for people like that...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

17 Random Things

I did this for Facebook today, and I thought it would be appropriate for this site. My Facebook Notes will contain a duplicate now (I post all of my blogs here on Facebook as notes, anyway, but as most chain letters go, I had to "tag" 16 of my friends)

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 17 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 16 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you.

1. When I am uncomfortable in my sleep, I dream of large and dangerous looking bugs.
2. I have 2 very cute little boys, who will grow up one day and will join their older siblings and kick my ass.
3. I hate drama -- at work, at home, anywhere.
4. I have a cleft left ear.
5. Hayden has a cleft left ear.
6. I have no patience.
7. I will confront anyone about anything, and I won't feel bad about it until after I've made my point.
8. I used to run a mile in 5 and a half minutes.
9. I have written music in my dreams.
10. I am over double my heaviest weight in high school.
11. I absolutely hate being alone.
12. I love driving 100 miles an hour.
13. I need about 25 million dollars to take care of certain things in my life and my family's lives.
14. If I had the means, I'd become a vigilante.
15. I'd would do nearly anything to see my grandfathers again.
16. I do not want to die...
17. ...but hurt or threaten my children, and I'd die to protect or avenge them. Knock me down, and I'll get up and take another beating. I would not care how much pain I would endure, I would take it all, and then some, to make sure my children live. Period.

Friday, January 2, 2009

No Ticket

I love this scene:

For those of you that cannot see the embedded video, click here.


Happy New Year!

Though I had the boys for the evening and today, I still participated in festivities at Jeff's house. He had a few friends over -- well, it turned out to be about 20 guests, but it was all in great fun. We watched the ball drop "live" made our phone calls, but at 12:15AM I had to get home. There was no way Hayden could sleep in the middle of all that activity, and Alex got VERY cranky. I took my cigar (which I have yet to smoke) and went home. The good thing was the kids slept 8 hours, and they spent a very active day today.

I'm not sure about this year. The divorce is not yet final, we have to file income taxes, and who knows what else will happen. I just hope this year is better than last year.