Thursday, December 31, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Fifty-Five: The Countdown Begins!


Ten more blog posts, and then this 365, she is a-done for.

This would be a good place to write a look back/look forward type post, but I actually already did that while I was in Oklahoma, and to do it again would seem fairly redundant.

Besides, I'm tired. Because it's New Years, so it's late. And it was a pretty good NYE night, even if NYE morning was fairly hellish.

Hope you all, wherever you are, rang in the New Year in a way that brought a smile to your face. Whether that was sleeping, watching TV, or cleaning out the cheese trays at work, I hope you start 2010 off on a positive note!

Day Three-Hundred Forty-Nine: A Fairly Boring Blog Post

Blog Post for 12-26

It’s not 11:00 yet, and everybody’s gone to bed save for me. Quite the change from last night! (Most likely, the change is because of last night)

I was wrong about Phase 10. The game did eventually end. It was quite the spectator’s treat!

Let’s see…today has not really been what you could call a “good day,” I don’t think, but it definitely hasn’t been a bad one, either. On the whole, I think I’m a bit tired from this particular vacation. From the unexpected travel difficulties to the blizzard to the rearranged schedules due to family members arriving late due to the aforementioned blizzard, things have been exciting, but a little hectic. And even a tad stressful. Enjoyable, but still, I think I’ll be glad to get home to humid, crowded Houston on Monday.

I’m still not sure what the plans are for tomorrow, now that I think about it. Church in Coyle, I’m sure that’s first. After that? Packing? Napping? Yet another 2-hour-away day trip? Couldn’t tell you.

I’m 639 pages into the complete and uncut The Stand. In other words, I’m to the “If-you-were-reading-the-originally-published-The-Stand-you’d-be-done-by-now!” point. I’m curious as to what exactly wasn’t included in the original cut. My guess is a lot of stuff in the first 400 or so pages. (You get to page 383—the beginning of “Book Two”—and you realize that everything so far, all the superflu-related stuff, was actually just setting up the game board for the main thrust of the story. And to this reader, that was pretty awesome) This is a great, creepy, disturbing, exciting story. I hope to get through the last 500 pages before my week of mandatory vacation begins—I have other plans for that stretch of my life.

All right, back to Mother Abigail and the rest of the crew in Boulder. Sleep well.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Fifty-Four: Know Thy Enemy

I forget how "in" to the international ice hockey scene I really am until a day like today. At 11:00 this morning (CST), Canada announced their men's hockey team Olympic roster.

Getzlaf. Iginla. Pronger.

This is a talented bunch, folks. Hockey is essentially Canada's sport. Most of the greatest players ever to play the game have come from north of the border.

Brodeur. Toews. Nash.

Heck, the guys who were left OFF this list would make up a team talented enough to win the Stanley Cup. In a lot of cases, the guys on this roster are the best among the elite.

Crosby. Niedermayer. Luongo.

And even though they don't always win it all, it's usually a safe bet that the Canadian teams are the clear favorite going into almost every single major international tournament at any level.

Bergeron. Weber. Fleury.

Doesn't matter if it's World Juniors...

Keith. Seabrook. Morrow.

...or World Championships...

Thornton. Heatley. Marleau.

...or the Olympics.

Staal. Richards. Perry.

Oh, and have we mentioned that the Games are in Vancouver this year?

Doughty. Boyle.

They are titans. They are prestige. There's not a weak link in the chain. The Russians may be able to match them in skill, but not in goal, on defense, or in experience. The Czechs may come close in international experience, but they don't have the same depth. As for the Americans...well, we don't know yet, because our team will be announced live on TV during the Winter Classic on Friday. My guess, though? We can't match them in star power, we can't match them in depth, and I'd guess we're not going to be able to match them in passion, either.

But oh, how I want to beat this team.

We'll be young. We'll be inexperienced. We'll be in very hostile territory. And we'll be a team made up of guys who are used to losing to the red and white leaf in WJCs, World Championships, and Hockey World Cups.

But we get one game. (Maybe two, depending on how the medal round shakes down) And if there's one thing our squad SHOULD be able to do, it's hit. We can hit them. And if Ryan Miller has one of the best nights of his life in goal...hey, man. Who knows? I mean, Belarus beat Sweden once. Anything can happen.

Plus, we got this kid.

Sunday, February 21st. At 16:40 (I'm assuming that's Pacific time). We will get it on. And may the best team win.

Actually, no, may the Americans win. ;-)

Day Three-Hundred Forty-Eight: Christmas Ramble

Blog post for 12-25

Merry Christmas, blog.

Though you’ll probably be reading this on Tuesday or Wednesday, which will not be Christmas. Nevertheless, I hope you had a good one.

Today was good. The whole family made it in shortly after lunchtime. Gift exchange was chaotic and awesome. Robbie has approximately several billion bulldozer-themed Christmas presents now. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when we get home and Bob the Builder is now fighting for air time against If I Were a Digger.

The window in our bedroom today looked like something from a Christmas card. The sunlight reflecting off of J.D.’s pond, a thick blanket of snow covering the yard, the wooden fence in the background with further snow-covered fields stretching to the horizon. Beautiful.

Actually, a lot of you probably received that picture via text this morning. I’m sure it lost a little something in the translation.

Currently typing this while my wife, her three sisters, and their mother play a rousing game of Phase 10. For those who don’t know, Phase 10 is possibly the longest card game in existence. It’s the Risk of card games. I anticipate this could be going on when we’re trying to load up the car to leave for home on Monday. We’ll have to take breaks between loads in the back of the car so Kim can take her turn.

I don’t know how all these bulldozers and excavators are going to fit into the car, by the way. Part of this is my fault, because I got Kim a huge present this year, and it took up almost half of the space in the trunk. It’ll work out.

Also, a game called Farkle is quite popular around these parties. Has anybody out there ever played Farkle? It’s a dice-rolling game, and Robbie is now addicted to it. As far as I can tell, it’s a game where you roll dice and randomly call out point values, and after every couple of turns you argue about the rules.

Okay, that should be enough random chatter to substantiate blogging for today. Again, Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Fifty-Three: Relationship advice. More like "relationship command". And from a bear.

Okay, so I know I've got friends who are always looking for sound advice on the whole guy/girl "thing."

Well kids, Bruin Hockey Rules is happy to help.

That's some sound advice, bear.

For more pointers, check out the bear's advice on fashion, cell phone etiquette, and holiday gift giving.

Okay, but seriously. Click here for some really uplifting stories from the past 10 years of hockey. Even if you're not a hockey fan, there's some choice stuff in there.


And don't date within the division.

Day Three-Hundred Forty-Seven: Arctic Adventurer

Blog post for 12/24

Bleh. I don’t want to blog tonite.

Oh, please don’t take it personally. It’s just that it’s midnight, and today has been a LONG day, and I know I’ll get very tired soon, and I’m 512 pages into the unabridged The Stand, and the unabridged The Stand has really started to get good, and I’d rather spend my last hour of coherent thought this evening reading instead of writing.

You know, I’ve almost never had the discipline to follow through with any long-term project before this blog. Next year, I’ll see if I can’t use this new-found ability for discipline to do something productive ;-)

Anyway, it’s Christmas Eve (technically Christmas, but I won’t count it until I’ve gone to bed and awaken) but it really, really doesn’t feel like it. You know all those Christmas movies where there’s this big snow storm and not all the family makes it on time to open presents Christmas morning? I’m actually in that story, and it’s kind of strange. See, this morning we wrapped up the Kansas portion of our Christmas holiday. It was really nice; I think everybody had a wonderful time. Our original plan had been to head south to Oklahoma around dinner time, but what was once a 30% chance for snow earlier this week had become a blizzard warning in south central Kansas, so we decided to hit the road right after lunch.

Well, it turns out that we were running away from one winter storm to run directly into the face of another, this one coming up from the south and hitting central Oklahoma with fury. We were informed that Oklahoma City had effectively been shut down, with every highway in the city closed and city officials urging people to stay wherever they were if they were indoors until tomorrow, whether they were at home, in the mall, at church, whatever. (There was also something about a 50-car pileup somewhere on I-40) We weren’t going quite as far as the City (“Ah, The City. My The City!”), but we didn’t know how far these treacherous conditions extended northward. We took I-35 south to Guthrie, and while visibility was not too great due to 20 mph winds (gusting at 60 mph) blowing about a blanket of snow that was simultaneously falling in huge flakes and wisping like a ghost in a fine powder across the road, there wasn’t much in the way of ice on the highway. Not, that is, until we got about 10 miles from our destination, when we saw a northbound van in the ditch, pitched completely on its side about twenty feet from the spot where tire tracks veered from the road into the snow on the ditch. A minute or two later, we found not one, but three errant cars resting comfortably in a ditch, all about fifteen feet from one another. Fortunately, this was two miles before our exit, and boy were we glad to be almost “in the clear.”

The smaller state highway had virtually disappeared underneath white, but I was able to see the edges of the road clear enough to stay on the pavement. Then, as we carefully made the turn from state highway onto gravel road, our luck finally ran out. We hit a snow drift and got stuck. Fortunately, I was manly enough to push the car out of the drift while Kim hit the gas (my back currently hurts, by the way, and I suspect this is the reason why). As I trotted up alongside the vehicle to hop back in, I discovered the road was completely encased in ice as I slid and slammed into the icy pavement. Didn’t hurt too much, though, because of the adrenaline from the snow drift, the drive, and the bitter, freezing wind. I got back in the car and, by the grace of God, we made it up the steep, snowed-over hill despite having virtually no control over the steering. (There was a terribly deep ditch on either side of the road, but the break between road and ditch had completely disappeared under snow drifts) Finally, the driveway to Kim’s grandfather’s house is in sight. We sloooooow down and manage to turn directly into the center of the driveway, and then we hit another drift. A bigger one. And there’s no pushing out of this one, either.

But praise God, we had made it. It’s a bit of hike up the driveway to the house, and the wind was getting stronger and colder each time I had to make the trip, but we made it. We had to bust out the tractor to try to plow enough snow out of the front of the car to get it the rest of the way up the drive, but it didn’t work. There are actually two cars currently stuck in the driveway and a third stuck next door at Kim’s aunt’s house. Two of my sisters-in-law are stuck in Oklahoma City, waiting for the roads to open up again, and my mother-and-father-in-law had to turn back and settle in Stillwater for the night, because the roads were simply impassible without the interstates open.

So, the annual Christmas Eve dinner lost a bit of its luster. We celebrated heartily with everyone who was able to make it, grateful that we’d all managed to get here safely, but of course it wasn’t the same. Tomorrow, this family’s tradition is to travel to a MASSIVE Christmas day celebration of more family members than I can keep track of (I seriously don’t know who all of those people are. Heck, Kim doesn’t know who all of those people are, and she’s been Christmassing with them for over twenty years!), but according to the weather man, we’re not going anywhere.

Anyway, I’ll still enjoy Christmas in whatever form we have it tomorrow. I know there won’t be any rush to get up early this year, and I’ll be glad for that, but missing out on the feast will be a little sad. Hopefully everybody else makes it here by tomorrow evening, and perhaps we’ll celebrate the fact that we can celebrate as a family with a little more meaning than usual. I dunno.

By the way, just for the record, this has been the worst snow storm Oklahoma has had in December in recorded history. And while we haven’t gotten foot upon foot of snow (we topped out at around one foot), I’ve never seen one storm shut down such a large city so completely. It’s eerie. At the same time, I’m glad my Oklahoma family and friends are accounted for, even if we/they can’t all be together as the 24th turns into the 25th.

First the hotel, now a blizzard. Crazy Christmas, no?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Fifty-Two: Checking In

Hey folks.

Just checking in to say we're home and safe. Double-posting should begin tomorrow until we get caught up. The back half of this Christmas vacation was quite the adventure!

Didn't get any work on Far-Sighted done this week. Blame Steve King. Tired now. Currently watching current Aero call-up Clayton Stoner and the Wild play the L.A. Kings. (Thanks, Hockey Night on Y!)

Expect posting about stuff in the days to come. Back to work tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Forty-Six: Got an Opinion?

Growing up in Wellington, I got to read the Wichita Eagle newspaper virtually every day. The Eagle isn't a bad paper; for a city the size of Wichita, it does a decent job of doing what it does. By far, however, the greatest use of column space I've ever seen in any paper is the Eagle's Opinion Line. People get to call in and speak their mind about pretty much anything in 50 words or less. The Eagle's editorial staff does a pretty good job of keeping the replies they post relevant to current events; nevertheless, virtually every single day there is pure comic gold in them thar opinion line comments.

Today's highlights:

"Isn't it interesting to note that the happiest states are the most conservative states and the most unhappy states are the most liberal ones?"
--In response to a recent article about some study that ranked the U.S. states in terms of overall happiness. There were several comments about this.

"I agree that Michelle Obama is always expensively dressed, but to wear a sleeveless dress when there is snow on the ground just doesn't make sense."
--Duly noted.

"If we ever colonize Mars, I would like to volunteer our federal government leaders to be the first people to go live there. On second thought, that's not far enough away."
--You're clever and witty.

"I can't believe all this waste of time in coddling pit-bull owners. Just ban the breed already and get on to more important things!"
--I have no idea what this is in reference to, and I kinda prefer it that way!

"Nowadays, if women want to see if their husbands are cheating, they count their Viagra."
--What is this even supposed to mean??

There's got to be a novel in there somewhere. Or at least a short story.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Forty-Five: Twenty to Go!

Last night's late-night driving adventure didn't exactly go as planned.

We ended up picking Robbie up from day care around 5:30 (about 90 minutes later than I'd hoped) and hitting the road around 6 after picking up some Chick-Fil-A. That already set us for a very late night of traveling, but we had a cooler full of Diet Mtn. Dew, and I was feeling pretty good. Besides, it isn't as though three a.m. is the latest I've ever been up, and we've made this drive in that amount of time once before.

Robbie was really very good up until he went to sleep. I was afraid sitting still for so long wouldn't be too popular with him, but he dropped off around 7:30 or 8:00, like normal, with very little complaining. (Thanks again, Skillet, for giving us a CD that inexplicably always puts our sleepy toddler to sleep) About an hour after he fell asleep, Robbie started to fuss, but Kim was able to calm him down with some gentle lullabying, and we went on for another hour.

Then, 10:00 hit right around the time we made it to the north side of Dallas. He woke again, pitifully crying, "I want to get out! I want to go in my bed! I need my pillow!" Kim looks back, and he's doing everything in his power to stretch his body to its full length. In the past, he'd slept for hours in his car seat with no problem. Now, apparently he's too big/old for such a trick, and he was working himself into quite the fury trying to lie down and get comfortable. We thought maybe he'd cry himself back to sleep, but after half an hour, it was clear that it was getting worse, not better. We were at Denton and still had about five hours of driving left ahead of us, so we made the decision to find a hotel and sleep there for the night and come the rest of the way in the morning.

The first hotel we could find was a Best Western Inn & Suites. Brand new, too. I walked into the lobby and asked what the best rate they had for 2 adults was. The guy behind the desk did some searching on the compy and then came back with, "One-hundred nineteen." This was not pleasing to my ears. However, he did say, "We have a holiday rate right now, though, so I can give it to you for seventy-nine."

Sold, mister.

The room was really, really nice. It was larger than Kim and I's old apartment. There was a lot of room for Robbie to run around in, a full-length mirror for him to play with, a couch to climb on with a chaise lounge (the cushion was the perfect size to make a small bed for Robbie on the floor), and a view of the swimming pool outside the window. (Robbie liked to watch the waterfall) Furthermore, they had free Wi-Fi so we could hook up my laptop and pull up Robbie's favorite youtube videos, and there was a swivel chair that worked as perfect rocking chair to get him to settle back down. We also brought in our bowl of cookies. After all, the previous forty-five minutes had been perfectly traumatic for the kid, so we wanted to make this experience a fun one so that he will recall road trips with fondness and not dread.

We all dropped off to sleep between midnight and one and slept well. I felt really refreshed upon waking this morning. (Wow, so THAT'S what seven hours of sleep feels like!!!) Everything about the hotel was fun, the staff was nice, and even the breakfast was good. We may look into making an overnight hotel stay an annual part of our Christmas road trip.

Anyway, we're here safely. Apparently we're doing presents tomorrow and then dinner on Thursday before heading down to Oklahoma for Kim's family's Christmas on Christmas day. Hoping we don't get struck by the nasty ice storm that may be headed our way and striking Wellington on Thursday.

What I've learned? Hey, it's Christmas. Just go with it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Forty-Four: On the road again. Again.

Just a quick note today to say that we're headed up to Kansas as soon as everybody gets home from work today. I'd appreciate prayers this evening, as it's going to be a long night of driving, and I'm not really well-rested.

Regular blogging will probably continue through Thursday (Christmas Eve), and then I'll double-post until we catch up after I get back, as usual.

I dunno if I'll get any further on Far-Sighted this week or not. I'm thinking probably. I'm looking forward to getting past the "sitting around and talking" portion of the story. ;-)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Forty-Three: A Lesson Learned

Short Robbie story for ya.

Saturday, Kim and Robbie went to the store. On their way out to the car, Kim gave Robbie a folded-up dollar bill and instructed him to go put it in the red bucket of the Salvation Army bell-ringer. The ringer tried to initiate conversation with my son, but he made sure nothing distracted him from the solemn task at hand. He placed the bill in the x-shaped hole atop the bucket and walked back to Kim.

"Do you know why we put the money in the bucket?" she asked Robbie. Naturally, he didn't, other than that his mommy told him to. "We give money to help all the people who don't have blankets or homes or warm clothes, and to help boys and girls who don't have any clothes or any toys."

At this point, Robbie emitted a great gasp and his eyes grew large. "No dump trucks and no excavators??" He couldn't believe the misfortune of those children!

And thus, Robbie's first lesson in holiday giving was effectively learned.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Forty-Two: Disjointed

Bah. My mind is pretty much fried. It's been a really long week. Not just for me, either, because the "long" part of my week pretty much ended Thursday, but a lot of my close friends have had a really rough go of it this week, and pretty much everybody is discouraged around the workplace right now, and that has far more of a wearing-down effect on me than the words and issues that assailed me personally.

Here's hoping a huge dose of holiday cheer is on the way for us all!

Anyway, my focus is scrambled due to the aforementioned wearing quality of the week AND the fact that I'm awfully sleepy. Nothing I write at this point will be coherent/any good. So, in honor of major brain gaffes, here are some of the most embarrassing moments in hockey from the last ten years, via Puck Daddy.

I actually remember when most of these happened.

Enjoy the blooper reel, kids.
First up: overpaid goalie!

Second: Quite possibly the lamest hockey fight in history.

Third: Here's a good idea: how about you hang over the glass and taunt one of the more renowned tough guys in the league? Let us know how that works out for ya, fella.

Fourth: The most famous Olympic hockey shot in Belarusian history. (This was a Miracle on Ice-caliber upset, just not as dramatic because Belarus went on to do squat after this game was over)

And finally: I just...I can't...there isn't...*sigh* There are no words, and "Epic Fail" just doesn't seem to cover it this time. At least his team won the game in OT.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Forty-One: Tidings of Comfort and Joy

And now, a holiday classic.

The year was 2006. (Er, I think) The New York Islanders held a special promotion where fans dressed as Santa Claus would get in to their game against the hated New York Rangers for free. Further, all the Santas in the house would get the opportunity to step out onto the ice during the intermission. Why? Eh, why not? How cool is it to step on an NHL ice rink on game night?

So, hundreds of Santas showed up on the Island to enjoy one of sports' roughest rivalries. At the Santa-themed intermission, everything was going well. The sea of red on the ice brought a sense of the joyful Christmas spirit that momentarily distracted the folks in the stands from the harsh realities that A) it was winter in upstate New York, and B) they were New York Islander fans. Then, one Santa reached for his jacket and tore if off to reveal...

A Rangers jersey.

What happened next? Well, anybody who understands the Rangers/Islanders rivalry can probably guess.

But for those who can't, we have Youtube!!

Truth be told, it could have been a LOT uglier. Nevertheless, the Santa Brawl on Long Island is destined to become a holiday classic for years to come.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Forty: Freaky

Three-hundred forty? It feels like I must have missed fifteen days in there somewhere.

Anyway, part three of Far-Sighted is up here.

As for the title: apparently, for the last two weeks our box office has had DAILY struggles trying to accommodate this woman who bought out a full house of 149 for this morning's show, then took reservations and money from her group for 180 people, and then asked us if we could just add an extra show an hour and a half early, so we did, but then there was some question about how many would come to each show, and whether they could evenly divide the group, and what time the show stared, and finally yesterday she called to say she had no idea how many people would be coming today.

So predictably, today was a bit rocky at the children's theater.

At the end of the day, one of our box office employees was ranting with our stage manager about the day's goings on in the presence of the mainstage stage manager and myself. Toward the end of the rant, the box office staffer spouts out the contact's name in frustration.

That name sounds familiar...

The MSSM exclaims that she went to high school with that woman's daughter! Uncanny! Then I ask what the daughter's name was, and yeah. I went to college with the same girl. (We compared notes, and yeah, it's the same one)

Double freaky.

She's a super-nice girl, just for the record.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Thirty-Nine: Gnite

Ah, 1:30 a.m. You and I are becoming old friends.

No real blogging. No secret story blogging, either. Tiiiiired. Made it through three meetings w/ the boss in three days. I deserve a medal. Or a pizza.

I'm just as happy with either, really.

Hi, Mom. I'm not ignoring your email request for the other blog, I just haven't logged on to that one since I got it. I'll take care of it Thursday. Promise!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Thirty-Eight: Trash and Treasure

Today, I was told my script that is currently running (and packing in houses) at our children's theatre was trash, but marketable trash, so it was still useful.

Tonight, I went to Robbie's day school (Day school at night? Preposterous!) for the school-wide Christmas play. You had about 15 two-year-olds in angel costumes, about 15 three-year-olds in all black with stars on sticks, and all of the older children playing Mary, Joseph, shepherds, wise men, a four-headed donkey, cows, chickens, sheep,, I'm not really sure what the last little girl was. Cute. That's it, she was supposed to embody "cute".

The program started with a very long procession (dang it! Procession! I was looking for that word the other night and couldn't think of it!) of stars, followed by a very long procession of angels. We were afraid Robbie would see us and immediately want to sit with us. However, as he walked by our seat, he was looking in the other direction, so it was all good. In fact, I was really proud of the way he behaved all night. The stars sat in the choir loft on the stage while the angels sat in the first two rows of pews for the whole program, except during songs, when they'd stand and sing however many of the words they knew. Several children spent the entire program crying that they wanted their mommy or wrestling with their teachers to get their halos off of their heads, but Robbie sat quietly watching when he wasn't singing, he stood when he was told, he sang when he felt like it, and he jumped up and down to the music when the music warranted it, whether the kids around him were doing so or not.

I was a proud papa.

The program was appropriately titled "A Starry, Noisy Night" or something like that. Imagine all those young children in one space with all their parents and younger siblings and cousins sitting there watching. There was not a silent moment from the time I walked into the sanctuary until I got in my car to pick up dinner and come home. The narrator (God bless her), one of the teachers, kept pressing right on with her dialogue no matter what was happening on stage. The scene changes consisted of two teachers picking up a new backdrop and holding it up for the duration of the scene, and then switching to a different drop between songs. Every older child had a speaking part, and they all spoke their individual line as loudly as possible. I could actually hear every single one, which impressed me. My favorite was "HUSH! YOU'LL WAKE THE BABY!!!" Though the child with the line "REMEMBER THE BABY JESUS, AND THAT HE BRINGS PEACE AND JOY TO ALL THE WORLD. (Turns to her teacher holding the microphone) That's all," was also a highlight.

Also, Mary kept trying to toss her head scarf back out of her way, and it kept hitting Joseph in the face. Also also, Joseph was determined to make sure Mary's arm was through his as they left at the end of the play, even though she kept tearing her hand away from his. Also also also, the four children playing the donkey were held together by a rope around their shoulders to keep them from getting too far away from each other. It looked like four kids on a single leash. Also...

There are tons of alsos about this performance. And I leaned over to Kim afterward and said, "We've got about sixteen years of these left." Christmas plays, church programs, choir concerts, band concerts, sporting events, spelling bees, school plays, whatever. Lots of places to go, lots of things to see. Hundreds of quiet evenings at home that we'll never have.

And I smiled more than just a bit at the thought.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Thirty-Seven: Lamentations 3: 22-23

No update on the new story today. Need some good thinking time.

Today was actually really rough. All of it work-related in some form or other, so don't worry, everything important is still good. And really, I doubt anything significant is going to change. Nevertheless, today was bad, and tomorrow will likely be worse. And then things should start looking up again.

So chin up, WBW. God is so good, and my life is very, very rich. His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Thirty-Six: Unsettling Grace

Part two of Far-Sighted is here. Bang-o!

Today, Kim and I got a gift from our church. Two gifts, actually. Two very significant gifts. I won't go into more detail than that, but believe me when I say they were significant and nothing that we had ever, so far as I can remember, asked for.

Both our minds were blown. The outpouring of generosity was appreciated, obviously, but wow. It was nothing we were expecting. It wasn't even something we were in dire need of (though, believe me, we can find immediate use for the gift). As far as I'm concerned, it wasn't at all the kind of gesture that I'd think a church would be expected to provide.

It was just pure, honest generosity. Completely unexpected, completely uncalled for. And it took a good half an hour for me to wrap my mind around it.

True grace. Amazing. I vaguely remember the first time I started to grasp the utter unexpected unfairness in Christ's sacrifice for my sin, personally. When you grow up in the church surrounded by pictures of Jesus on a cross, it can be difficult to picture Him as anything other than the willing sacrifice. Which, of course, He is, but as it becomes sort of an expected characteristic of Jesus (Oh, yeah, that's Jesus. He dies and comes back to life to save me) it tends to lose the reverent awe and dumbfoundedness that ought to attend the magnitude of the sacrifice. (The Word become flesh??? God sent His Son for MAN??? The Creator laying down His life for the creation??? While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us???)

Grace, in its truest form, is a bit unsettling. And sometimes we need the reminder.

Show grace to somebody really undeserving this week. God does it daily for me.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Thirty-Five: Off we go!

First of all, part one of the new story is over here. It's not really "going anywhere" just yet, but then again it's 1:30 in the morning, and it's gone about as far as it can go for the night ;-) Remember, if you want to read, I either need your google/gmail/blogger email address, or another email address you'd like to have the invitation sent to.

Second, what do you get when you cross Bat Boy: The Musical with The Lion King (and it's sequels)? The answer is actually fairly awesome. This vid is definitely worth checking out, whether you are either a BB or LK fan or not.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Thirty-Four: Pre-empted

Sorry, gang.

Blogging and story-writing have been preempted by the impending thunderstorm of doom. Bad for compy. Compy is going to go to sleep.

I'ma go read The Stand.

617 is apparently a prime number.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Thirty-Three: ...or maybe tomorrow

Tonite is not good, folks.

It's not bad, mind you, but it's not a good nite to be writing. This full week of 3-to-5 hrs of sleep/night plus full (and then some) days at work has taken a toll, and tomorrow I have to be at work at 6 a.m. This just don't be the night for startin' a new story, arr.

I did, however, figure out how it's going to work: see, apparently blogger won't let you do private posts in a public blog, nor public posts in a private blog. You gots to keep private things private and public things public, and ne'er shall the two mix. (Psh. Old-fashioned fuddy-duddies...) I can, however start a private blog, and link to that one from this one. So that's what I'll do. And you'll have to log on to read that blog, and the only way it'll let you do that is if you have a google or blogger account.


If you already have one o them, you can just let me know what the email attached to it is, and then I can invite you to partake in the private blog. Otherwise, just send me whatever email you've got, and I'll invite you, and I think you'll still have to sign up for a google account.

I know, I know, it's probably not worth the effort, but still. There it is.

I will probably still be posting filler stuff on here while I'm writing over there. Shouldn't be a terribly long story.

But I've been wrong before.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Thirty-Two: Lull-A-Bye

When I first started this blog, I never promised that I would always be entertaining all the time. Or even interesting, for that matter. This thing was an experiment and an exercise for me, and any who wanted to join on the journey were more than welcome to.

That said, I still hate it when the blog gets into lulls. It's happened more than once, and were this thing to continue beyond 365, I'm sure it'll lull again. Can't be helped. And, ultimately, really not that big a deal.

Still, the content lately has generally been less-than-inspired, and the commenting has come to a dead halt. And while I've never really got a lot of comments, nor do I do this because I want lots of comments, I still hate to think that I'm now boring you all on a daily basis.

Truth is, it feels a little like I'm running out of steam on the blog. Three-hundred thirty-two days is a lot. Also, my creative energy has been picking up on several other projects lately, and that is stealing some of my WBW thunder. (And given the choice, I'd rather write interesting plays and stories over an interesting daily blogging exercise) Further, I'd hate to see the last month of this journey, well, suck. I feel like we've had some very cool moments and series over the past almost-a-year, and while I have no grand plans for how to wrap this puppy up, I do want to make sure I do at least one more cool thing before I go.

So, here's the plan:

Starting tomorrow, I'm going to start writing a story I've had in my head in some form or other for just about four years. I'm going to figure out exactly how this thingy works, and I'm going to "lock" those posts. The only way to read them will be with a password. This is A) to protect my work, just in case it ends up being any good, and B) to keep it just between all of us. So far as I'm aware, all of my WBW readers are people I know and am friends with in real life. For awhile I think I had some Internet-only friends reading, but I think they disappeared a lull or two ago, so I think this should be pretty easy to keep amongst ourselves. Oh, and there's a C), too. C), I want to thank those of you who've been keeping up with me, encouraging me, and either dropping comments or sending emails or starting conversations based on things I've written on here. Because you all have made this so much cooler than it would have been if it had been left entirely up to me to keep it going on my own.

So there you have it. Starting tomorrow, a new story, written in daily installments, nothing like the story about the guy who loved bananas, as a thank you/Christmas present from WBW to all of you. They will be password protected, so if you want the password all you have to do is drop me an email, a text, a Facebook message, a call, or an old-fashioned face-to-face conversation.

****EDIT: And I know this sounds all, "Yes, you must come to me and BEG to my FACE" haughty, but I promise it's not. This is totally just an effort to protect my own work and to keep it all "in the family." It's like we're all in on a secret together, and isn't that fun?****END EDIT

Hopefully this will end up being cool and not lame.

I think I said something along those lines three-hundred thirty-two days ago...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Thirty-One: Brendan Witt

Brendan Witt has had a pretty long, successful career as a tough-as-nails, gritty, shut-down type NHL defenseman. Not really one of my favorite players, but always good at what he does, even now into his 30s with the Islanders. When you think Brendan Witt, you generally think, "tough."

Today, however, the man raised the bar for NHL tough guys everywhere.

While walking to a Starbucks in Philly before practice this morning, Witt was struck by a car that made an illegal left turn. He tried to jump and hit the car's hood, sliding across the front of the car before being tossed to the pavement.

Naturally, a crowd gathered. Witt stood up, dusted himself up, and noticed the horrified onlookers. The following is a direct quote from this article on

"'I'm okay,' Witt told the crowd as he dusted himself off, according to Newsday. 'I've got to go play some hockey. I'm a hockey player. I'm okay. No big deal.'"

One eye witness explained that it was "like seeing Clint Eastwood, but in hockey."

Witt played in tonight's game vs. the Flyers. Noted hockey blog Puck Daddy wondered today whether or not this was an attempt by the hockey gods in Philadelphia to try to shake the Flyers out of their funk. (I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have suggested this had Witt actually been hurt, by the way) Now obviously, I don't believe in the existence of hockey gods.

If they did exist, however, this is exactly the sort of thing that Philadelphia Flyer hockey gods would do.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Thirty: GAH!!

I almost signed off to go to sleep! I've been working on Tuesday morning's Bible study for just a little over an hour, and I was getting really into the study (and really wishing I was fluent in Hebrew), and finally came to a "I need to sleep so I can speak coherently tomorrow" point, and at the last second I remembered I hadn't blogged yet.

Thirty-five more days, by the way.

What will I do with this blog after that?

Maybe I'll bring back Random Nintendo Game of the Week now that my compy with Console Classix is up and kicking again.

Day Three-Hundred Twenty-Nine: Goalie Love

Since we here at WBW have posted highlight videos on several goals, fights, and hits this season, we thought it would be appropriate to give some love for any outstanding goaltending displays that, like the Stamkos goal, the Clutterbuck goal, or the Scott/Parros fight, simply go above and beyond the realm of believable into the realm of "freaking awesome."

With that in mind, Miikka Kiprusoff of the Flames, ladies and gentlemen:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Twenty-Eight: Awkward Nun Moment

Today, we did a performance of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe for the CHRISTUS Foundation for Health Care's annual children's Christmas event. This is the third year in a row we've performed for this group (the last two years were two of my scripts, Why the Bells Chimed and Do You Hear What I Hear?) Every year, the event is held in the same place: the Villa de Matel convent, home of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. The Sisters are a group of predominantly Irish nuns who, 43 years ago, felt a call to come to Galveston (and eventually to Houston) and plant a convent as a mission outreach to the locals. Pretty cool.

These nuns are super-sweet and super-friendly, and every time a few of them catch our performance they always thank us for coming and tell us how wonderful we were, etc. Today, during the performance, I noticed a very high concentration of nuns just off to the right of the playing space, smiling with their hands folded in front of them and thoroughly enjoying the show. Cool, I think. After awhile, though, I guess they got tired of standing off to the side and decided to step into the audience and personally greet their guests. Now, the audience was sitting in round tables that filled the room pretty much completely, and all the commotion of little kids (and babies, in some instances) sitting around tables was making it tough to hear the show in the first place. Add to that half a dozen or so nuns striking up conversation with the parents and, well...I was actually having trouble hearing Leah at times. Plus, the sweet Sisters decided to start at the FRONT and work their way back, so they suddenly came to the table that was front and center and stood by it for about five minutes, talking to the adults seated there.

Any wonder most of the kids left their tables and just sat on the floor directly in front of us?

But whatever, right? This is always a quirky booking with lots of distractions, and I warned the team of that going in. We kept going, and eventually the nuns got through everybody and there was no further nunterruption. (Cool moment, by the way: the only moment in the entire performance where the place fully quieted down was the scene where Aslan dies for Edmund. You could briefly hear a pin drop. Only not, because the floor was carpeted. But you know what I mean)

Then, after the show, we exit the playing space, like always, and then jog back out for our curtain call, like always. We bow, and as soon as we straighten up and prepare to acknowledge Hatcher, our sound tech extraordinaire/professional echo voiceover, there is a sister standing a foot and a half from us with a camera pointed at our face. She's standing right on the playing space, and people are still applauding and cheering, and there's just this flash. She was saying something, but she was speaking in that sweet, soft-spoken manner I usually hear from most of the Sisters I've spoken with, so I couldn't hear a danged word of it. I did read the word "wonderful" on her lips before she snapped another picture. By the time she was done, applause was kind of waning, and the curtain call had already been longer than usual, even if we had only actually bowed once, so rather than take our usual course of action (acknowledge the sound guy, then bow again, then leave) and drag the audience through that painfully awkward time where they're ready to be done clapping, but the actors are still bowing (see my post on The Nutcracker a couple of days back), I turned to leave. At that point, I saw Leah giving Hatcher a half-hearted acknowledgment, then we went backstage.

But it got better, because immediately after our show, there was a trained dog demonstration, so we had to strike immediately. So we go back behind our backdrop and then immediately reappear and move the entire thing offstage and down the hallway before we can collapse it, past the audience, past the buffet, past the face-painting clown (another annual staple of this shindig) and against the wall back by our green room (where Santa was changing, naturally).

Really, nothing bad happened. But when a nun materializes in front of you mid-bow, and then you find yourself striking past a buffet so some dogs and jump some fences and you run into a half-dressed Santa, you hit this moment where you start to wonder if what you're currently experiencing is actually happening, or whether you ate some bad meat or something and are actually asleep, dreaming the improbable dream.

I'm so glad I don't have a boring job.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Twenty-Seven: Playing in the Snow

Snowstorms in Houston (using "snowstorm" as an extremely relative term to denote "any amount of snow greater than flurries") typically generate hours of great excitement while they are happening, but then they end, and the sun comes out, and it's all slush within an hour.

Today, we were supposed to get some flurries late in the afternoon and legitimate snow as the sun went away. Instead, the flurries came at about nine this morning, and the flakes started falling around eleven. At that point, we had about four or five hours of real, honest snowfall, just like mama used to make.* Fortunately, I got to spend a good fifteen or twenty minutes with the crazies playing around in the parking lot by the theater around eleven-thirty (they were actually out there for close to forty-five minutes, but I was stuck in a meeting watching through the window for the first half hour). You know the crazies. The ones who completely forsake age and maturity and jump up and down in one place, catching snowflakes on their tongues, trying to scoop enough snow off of the back of a car to make a snowball, building miniature snowmen on coworkers' cars. You know. The crazies.

I love the crazies.

Anyway, the snow was beautiful. Bee-yutiful. And I thought maybe, because it had started earlier than expected, we were going to have a good shot at getting it to stick around overnight, so that I might get to see snow on the grounds of the lovely convent we're performing at tomorrow morning.

Instead, the early snow just meant the "snowstorm" had moved in sooner than expected and left sooner than expected, so that by brillig, it wasn't snowing any more, the sun was starting to come out, and the patches of snow on the grass were already fading.

When I got home, Robbie and I went out for a walk. There were such tiny patches of snow left on the ground that most people wouldn't even bother with them. Robbie, however, picked up those toddler-sized fingerfulls of snow and delightedly pitched them into the puddles left by what had been inch-or-so piles of the white stuff a few hours before. "Splash!" he declared each time his small packet of ice made ripples in the water, and his face would light up with his two-point-five-year-old grin as he giggled, then went back to pick up more tiny bits of snow until his fingers were getting numb.

My son's first impression of "playing with snow" is not quite the activity I grew up with. However, for him, those tiny patches of icy slush held all the awe and wonder that a toboggan ride down the hill behind the old KFC once held for me.

Now, I'm sure that his "awe and wonder" standards will likely be ramped up someday soon, but for now, today was still magic. I won't forget the first time Robbie and I "played in the snow" together.

*Mama never actually made snow fall from the sky.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Twenty-Six: Chance of Snow

Apparently, we went from "40 % chance of light snow/rain mix" to "70% chance of 1-5" of snow". When did that happen??

Tomorrow is packed just about to capacity (though the fact that our finance director is out with H1N1 clears one meeting off the schedule) including a trip home at 5 to come back to work at 7. Last time it snowed (not 3-5") here, people didn't know how to handle it. I hope I can make it home and back tomorrow. Actually, I hope our ushers can make it to the theater tomorrow, or else I may get pulled in for extra duty. Meh...

Perhaps I'd better take an extra meal with me tomorrow night, just in case? (Or some ice skates, and I can just skate on down to Whataburger in case of winter storm)

Anyway, please be careful out there, everybody.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Twenty-Five: "Beware the Jabberwock, my son!"

Every time I hear Jabberwocky recited or read, the opening line, "'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe," is read ominously, as though there is some hidden terror lurking behind these nonsensical words. Really, though, "brillig" basically means "about 4 p.m.", and the scene described is one of funny-looking animals spinning around in circles and digging holes near a sundial.

Ooh. Spooky.

Also interesting: the first stanza (repeated at the end of the poem) really has nothing to do with the story. (Which makes sense, since it/they were written at a different time, but there you have it). You've got weird animals doing weird things at tea time, and then there's this story about hunting the Jabberwock. It would be like me writing a blog post that says, "It was raining outside, and a zebra had escaped from the zoo. Penguins prefer cold weather. Meanwhile, I stayed at a creepy hotel and killed a minotaur last weekend..."

Further: why does the poem describe a young male, possibly a boy, as the slayer of the Jabberwock, while the official Sir John Tenniel illustration shows a character who looks distinctly female fighting the monster? (This has puzzled me since my boyhood)

I love this poem, by the way. See for yourself!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day Three-Hundred Twenty-Four: "No, But I Did Stay at a Holiday Inn Last Night..."

Last Friday, as I mentioned earlier, Kim and I went out and had a nice date and stayed in my parents' hotel room while they stayed at our place and watched Robbie. The hotel was a Holiday Inn and was, for the most part, very nice. Successful navigation of the hotel's interior hallways, however, proved...difficult.

We were staying in the south tower on the second floor. Our room was right by the elevator, which was nice and easy to find. We entered from the South Tower parking garage, not the front entrance. Shortly after we arrived, I decided to go in search of a vending machine for some late-night snacking. Unfortunately, the vending machine on our hall had no snacks, only drinks, and no good drinks at that, so I decided to go downstairs and check out what they had there and, if snackage was still a no-go, head toward the front lobby, where there would certainly be something good to eat.

I followed the signs to the door that said "Stairs to all other levels." That seemed like a promising place to start. I enter the door and go down a flight of stairs, then another, then, oddly, a third, and finally a fourth. The further down I went, the narrower the stairways became, and the dimmer the light, and the dirtier the floor. By the time I had reached the door on the bottom level, I was feeling a tad claustrophobic and there was a half-dead light flickering overhead. I opened the door and stepped outside. Literally outside. I had reached the end of the hotel and was standing just a foot from the driveway as the door slammed shut behind me with no means of opening again.


However, I could easily walk from this sudden exit to the front door, and it was a nice night, and I really had no choice anyway, so I walked to the entrance. I found the snack counter and bought some goodies for Kim and I and then headed down the hall back toward our tower. My first thought was to take the elevator this time, but I realized my problem earlier had been that the second floor of the tower didn't connect with the second floor of the main building, so instead I went in search of the hallway that connected the two buildings. I knew there was one, I had just walked along the outside of it to get here.

I followed the hall to a dead end and then hooked right--as I'd looked out a window, I'd seen what appeared to be a connector tunnel this direction. I came to a door, and though it didn't seem to be facing the right direction, I couldn't see any other way to get to what must have been the hallway I needed, so I went through it.

Do you remember that scene from the Heroes season one finale where Micah is trying to escape from Candice, and he leaves the room while she's in the shower and runs down the hallway and then opens a door and finds himself right back in the first room he tried to escape from? That was kind of how I felt when I found myself outside of a door that slammed and locked behind me and I stood on the driveway again.

Whatever. I walked back around the front of the building and through the parking garage entrance (the automatic gate decided it wanted to come down on me, but I was too fast and too clever for it), entered a side door, and took the elevator back up to the room.

Here's the thing: for the most part, I was following the signs that said I could get where I wanted to go. The arrow pointed vaguely in the direction I went to get back to the south tower, and I ended up outside again. I almost wished I'd run into some people who were lost in a cave the next day who needed some advice. I'd offer some, of course, and they'd ask, "Oh, are you a spelunker?" And I'd be able to say, "No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night."

Those commercials suddenly make so much more sense now.