Monday, May 30, 2011

v2, d349: "What would happen if I wrote a blog all about nothing?"

The names and release dates of the two Hobbit movies have been announced. I don't think my suggestion of naming the first film "There" and the second "Back Again" was ever even seriously considered...

I told Kim earlier this evening that I still had to prepare a Bible study for tomorrow morning.  She suggested I just use the same passage I taught to the 5th-6th graders yesterday for Sunday school, but I don't think Colossians 3:20 is going to be as applicable to this crowd.  (I didn't pick the passage; I didn't even know I was teaching it until yesterday morning.  Interestingly, I'm currently using a kids' Holman Christian Standard Bible, and that verse is actually highlighted. Only verse I've found to far that's highlighted by the publisher)

Confession: I haven't been this skeptical about a comic book movie since the first Fantastic Four.  However, I must now admit that the new X-Men movie looks really, really good.  And the press so far has been just about all positive.  If you haven't seen the theatrical trailer yet, go do that.  Now.  Yeah.  Surely somebody's gonna want to go out on Friday or Saturday night at 10ish for this one, right???

Win: This image for the Stanley Cup Final.

Hey, two weeks until an actual vacation.  That hardly seems real. 

We ordered a new laptop.  It's going to be so much better than the one I have at work that it's not even funny.  Sadly, it won't be here in time for vacation, so if I want to do any writing while on the coast (where my bedtime will seem fairly normal to the locals) I'll have to spend half of the time waiting for the work lappy to wake up and/or decide it wants to do something.  But it'll be okay, because I'll be on vacation. 

Finally: I wish I were good at photography.


On a serious note, in honor of Memorial Day, heartfelt thanks to anybody who reads this who is either serving in our military or has served in the past.  Also, gratitude to all who have family members who have served.  In a country where so much is going wrong, your sacrifice is an example of one of the bright spots we have left as a nation. 

v2, d348: True Story

It was the last stop on the way out of Dallas for good.  I'd flown into town that morning to help my buddy load all of his stuff out of his third-story apartment and into his pickup truck.  We had a four hour drive ahead of us in a battle-scarred truck with no A/C on a temperate September night, but there was one last drop-off to make. 

He's raised this turtle since it was no bigger than the palm of his hand, and it was a pretty good-sized amphibian three years later.  It had long outgrown its original fishbowl and lived now in a full-sized fish tank, the type you might see in your dentist's front lobby.  Today, the turtle was moving up from aquarium to pond.  Not able to transport the creature and its home all the way to Oklahoma, my buddy was saying goodbye, leaving his small, hard-shelled buddy to fend for itself in the great, mysterious Wild.

We pulled off the highway just outside the Big D metro area and drove about twenty minutes of dirt road before we came the pond he'd had in mind.  It was in the middle of a public park, though I had to wonder how many of the "public" even knew this place existed.  There were a few other cars present belonging mostly to amateur fishermen who likely appreciated the peace and quiet so close to the big city.  My buddy parked his truck and we stepped out onto the wet grass near the edge of the pond. 

"All right, little guy," he said, taking the bewildered animal out of its tank and setting it on the ground at our feet.  "You're free." 

I had expected the beast to stand around, maybe wander aimlessly for a few moments, until we would ultimately have to pick it up and place it in the water ten feet away.  I was amazed, therefore, when the turtle took off immediately toward the pond!  Its head was stretched as far forward as its leathery neck would carry it.  Its feet surged forward in the largest strides they could manage.  This little home-grown turtle was all-out sprinting for the water!  A breeze kicked up, and the sun was setting over the prairie miles away.  Standing there, you couldn't help but feel the theme from Born Free would start playing from hidden speakers at any moment. We followed closely behind as the turtle's first front foot splashed into the water, followed by the second, and then the first back foot, and then it was in the water...

And then it disappeared.  As in, completely.  Not a trace but a few bubbles trickling to the water's surface where the shell had just melted away into a murky black.  A few bubbles, and then stillness.

"Um....turtle?"  my friend called, a bit doubtfully.  "I sure hope you didn't drown..." I knelt and reached my hand down to the spot where the turtle had crawled into the pond.  There was a steep drop-off!  You'd expect the gradual slope of the hill to continue into the water, but there was no trace of anything within an arm's length.  No dirt, no plants.  No shell.  I strained my eyes to see some faint imprint of my amigo's pet swimming off into the vastness of his brave new world.  Not so much as a ripple. 

I stood.  "I think I saw him swim away," I said.  "Okay, good," my friend replied, and we went back to the truck. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

v2, d347: Aquafiller!

I feel like no one's reading anymore.  Which, as I've said before, is mostly okay with me, because I still enjoy the writing. It also makes me feel less guilty when I post filler stuff. 

I had heard this song before, but this video is really pretty awesome.  The dude even worked in a Wonder Twins cameo, a Head-On joke, and a Little Mermaid reference.  And while I'm as sick as the next guy over the "Batman and Robin" jokes, on the whole I have to give this one an overwhelming "WIN"

Friday, May 27, 2011

v2, d346: And speaking of plants...

****Editor's note: I know, you're tired of it, so I'm giving you all a playoff break.  I'll mourn my Tampa Bay Lightning on my own.  It's Boston/Vancouver for the Cup.  The remainder of this post will contain massive spoilers for just about every incarnation of The Little Shop of Horrors.*****

I think just about all of my readers are familiar on some level or other with Little Shop of Horrors.  Many have seen or done the musical, a few have seen the original black and white film. I was somewhat Little Shop-obsessed my senior year.  I'd always liked the musical movie since I'd seen it as a kid, and I got to play the lead in my last high school musical.  I could go into details about all the differences between the original black-and-white film, the stage musical, and the '80s movie musical, but I won't.  Would take way too long.  Suffice it to say the original was a crazy campy B-movie/monster movie where the good guy dies at the hands (vines?) of the monster, a plant that eats blood, at the end.  The stage show is somewhat similar, only it becomes more of a clear Faustian tale where the little guy sells his soul, more or less, and it coaxed into letting/helping the plant eat people, and in the end it eats him and takes over the world.  The film adaptation of the stage musical, the hero kills the plant and gets the girl.

Or does he?  Many of you already know the happy ending on the movie was not the original ending.  Instead, the filmmakers had filmed a tragic ending, using the same finale song from the stage version, in which the plant kills everyone and (in what I have to imagine was a fairly expensive sequence) pretty much takes over the world. You get plants killing people, plants destroying building, plants eating trains, plants fighting the army.  It's pretty much an American Godzilla movie.  (Not to be confused with the American Godzilla movie, of course)  They showed the film with this original ending to test audiences, and the audiences hated it!  They hated it so vehemently and universally that the filmmakers called the cast back, shot an entirely different ending, and released the new cut of the movie in theaters, and the rest is history. 

Why did the monster-movie ending work on the stage and not in the film? In my opinion, the reason is simple: in the stage version of the script, Seymour becomes increasingly more guilty with each murder.  True, he doesn't cause the dentist's asphyxiation, but you see him make a conscious choice not to save him.  In the movie, Steve Martin pretty much goes crazy and Rick Moranis just sort of watches, confused, until he's dead.  Similar, but from an audience perspective, it just kind of happened around him, not because of him.  Next, you have Mushnik's death: in the movie, the plant opens to eat Mushnik, and Seymour doesn't warn him.  It's pretty much played for laughs, the "Uh-oh, what's that behind Mr. Musnik?  Oh hey, it's a gruesome death!"  In the stage show, Seymour actually tricks Mushnik into stepping inside the plant!  In both cases, Mushnik is about to turn Seymour in for the murder of the dentist and the plant convinces Seymour he's got to get rid of Mushnik in order to continue his dream life with his dream girl, and because Seymour isn't that smart he buys it.  Again, in the movie, the evil plant continues to manipulate the lovable Seymour into despicable acts he wouldn't ordinarily do on his own.  In the play, he's becoming a bit of a schemer on his own.  Also, in the play, there's my favorite scene in the whole show, "The Meek Shall Inherit," where he basically chooses to let the plant keep on living rather than killing it, knowing what it means for the plant to keep living, because he's afraid of losing Audrey.  In the movie, "The Meek Shall Inherit" is basically showing how overwhelmed and stressed Seymour is with stardom.  (This, also, is a post-test audience edit, as the original was closer to the stage show) 

All this to say, stage Seymour makes his bed.  When the plant ends up eating Audrey and he says "You're a monster and so am I," it's true.  In the movie, the poor guy just sorta got suckered into the whole thing.

But that's not really the point of today's post.  The point is, I finally found the lost original ending to the '80s musical movie.  I've been searching for about a decade, so I'm pretty excited to finally see it.  Note: it's gruesome in that old monster-movie sort of way.  Not graphic or explicit, but a lot of people get killed.  It's also surprisingly long.  That's a lot of film they scrapped just to get our happy ending!  Also also, for those who don't remember: the language is kinda bad. 

And finally, DANG but that plant muppet was freaking cool!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

v2, d345: "I said, 'Man, can't you see here, I got this moral dilemma that I have got to get clear!'"

My wife has two plants on the back patio. I like them all right. They add some natural color and a nice homey atmosphere along with all of Robbie's toys, the sand that has been dumped from the sandbox, and the lawn chair I got Kim for mother's day a few years ago.  The thing with plants, though, is that you have to take care of them, or they die.  Now, if they're growing in the areas they're indigenous to, chances are the environment will pretty much take care of them.  But Houston has been pretty rough on our two little plants because it's hot and it's only rained twice since February.  So here are these two plants--we'll call them Plant A and Plant B--and they're dying pretty much every other week.  (Actually, Plant A is always fairly unhappy because it needs a bigger pot, and I know how it feels)  Thing is, Plant B lets you know when it's in trouble.  Its leaves start to get all sad and droopy.  And if you haven't watered it by the next day, it looks like it's ready to fall over dead.  It's all an act, though.  You just gotta fill up a large plastic Astros souvenir cup with water and pour it in the plant's soil and a mere two hours later it's like nothing was ever wrong.  In fact, I probably like Plant B more than Plant A because I feel like I'm getting results when I water Plant B.  It's good to feel like your work is yielding benefits.

Plant A?  You never know what it's thinking.  It generally looks the same all the time.  I just go ahead and water it when I water Plant B, because it's never going to tell me otherwise.  I will probably come out on the back patio one day and find it suddenly dead, expecting me to feel guilty that I neglected it for so long. Sorry, Plant A, you gotta help me to help you.  I'm not a mind-reader.

Yeah, I definitely like Plant B more than Plant A.  Still, I want to get a bigger pot and some new soil for Plant A.  I may not be a crazy garden-type like many of my friends, but it still makes me glad to see happy plants. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

v2, d344: Seven

You remember I mentioned last week that some friends of mine had lost their baby, yes?  Well, a little bird (or rather, a Kat) mentioned to me that they were looking for ways to get out of the house for a bit of distraction.  I, meanwhile, had been trying to find something I could do to help the couple in this time of grief. Put that together with the facts that A) I have been desperately wanting to get to an Aeros game all playoffs but haven't been able to (for money or scheduling reasons) an B) I have been talking in vague terms about getting out to a game with this couple "one of these days" and I decided to see if they'd let me treat them to a night at the Yo.  Fortunately for me, both the couple and my wife said Yes to the idea, and that's how I found myself at the rink for tonight's Game Seven.

I will say that the night started out a bit jittery, as I was scrambling to make sure friends and family across Oklahoma and Kansas were safe after a line of brutal tornadoes ripped through the region.  Once I was sure everyone was out of harm's way (Thank you God!) I was able to focus on the evening. 

Game Sevens are some of the most intense contests in all of sports.  On top of that, there was no way we should have been playing in a game seven.  We were up three games to zip at one point in this series and lost the next three, including a double-overtime heartbreaker at the Yo Sunday night to tie it up at three games apiece.  As soon as Game Six ended, I had decided that we were through.  We weren't going to win the series.  We were out of gas, we were emotionally spent, we couldn't beat Drew MacIntyre, we were done.  And I wasn't alone, either. I was going to the game, but it was more to give Stormy and Todd a night out than to watch the Aeros win, because I was convinced they wouldn't.

And then, this morning, I was suddenly washed anew with hope.  We weren't going to lose tonight.  Somehow or other, the Aeros were going to find a way to win.  And they were going to win it because, dang it, I wasn't ready for the run to be over.  They were going to win because losing just didn't feel right this morning.  I knew Hamilton had all the momentum, the hot goalie, and the better special teams, but the Aeros were going to win.  I could still hear my skeptical thoughts from the previous two days, but I had a feeling.  And I was just gonna go with it. 

You all know my love of irrational playoff talismans.  I don't believe in that sort of thing. Honestly, I don't. the 2001 Colorado Cup run, I wore the same ridiculous getup for every game.  I'll never forget game three, where were trailing until I realized I wasn't wearing the long-sleeved Avs shirt and puckhead and rushed to the back room to throw them on.  As I placed the foam hat upon my head, I could hear the game-tying goal suddenly scored.  The Magic Double-Overtime Pizza worked.  Isaac's Milwaukee spit-up proved prophetic. Dave's Magic Superman Shirt is, I believe, undefeated at Aeros playoff games.  The Pens won ever Cup Final game in 2009 when coach Dan Bylsma ate a particular burrito from a particular shop.  (He took one on the plane in a cooler to eat before Game Seven in Detroit)  That same year, the Pens won every game when the T-rex outside the Pittsburgh Art Institute had an octopus in its jaws during the game.  (They lost every game without the octopus)  As Rex put it, "It all comes down to simple math.  Mojo > No mojo." 

But I don't really believe in all mojo mumbo-jumbo. 

Unless it's the playoffs. 

You can bet that I spent a short bit of time this morning trying to figure out what I could do to swing the mojo in the Aeros' direction this evening.  I grabbed my Milwaukee/Houston shirt from a couple of years ago that I wore during our last Game Seven win.  I reached for my Pens jersey, because I always wear my Pens jersey to Aeros games, just like I always wore my Lightning jersey to Thunder games.  I'm a stickler for consistency.  And then it hits me!  The Thunder never actually won a championship when I wore my Bolts jersey to every game.  Crap!  What if that's what I've been missing all along?  On a whim, I decided to mix things up and grabbed the Avs jersey for its first ever Aeros playoff game.  Yes, I know how absolutely ridiculous this all sounds, buuuuuut....look, folks, I just can't put it any simpler.  Mojo > no mojo.  Just the way it is. 

The game itself was in-tense!  Todd and Stormy both seemed to enjoy it as well, but we were all pretty wiped out by the end of it.  It was the loudest sporting event I have ever been to.  My ears were ringing when it was over.  It literally felt like back when I went to a lot of rock concerts back in high school.  They said the attendance was over six thousand, but it felt like so many more.  The lower bowl was pretty much full.  Oh, and did I mention we got free Thunderstix?  Nothing makes a crowd twice as loud like Thunderstix. 

I thought the key to the game would be getting not one, but two pucks by MacIntyre quickly in the first, and the Aeros did that.  We scored something like seven minutes in and then added a second goal a mere nine seconds later.  Seriously, Casey Wellman just won the faceoff to himself, skated it past both defenders, and scored before the announcer had finished making the first goal call.  It was awesome.  Then, just like the series, we choked away the early lead and all the momentum.  Todd mentioned he was amazed at how quickly we lost a 2-0 lead.  It was stunning.  We left the first tied at two, though it felt we may as well be behind.  On the second goal, the Bulldog forward skated literally the length of the ice straight up the middle with no one challenging him.  It was like a team of second graders learning zone defense in Biddy Basketball.  "You cover him!"  "No, he's not in my zone!" 

(Side note: the only time I notice American sports fans singing along with our national anthem is when the Canadian national anthem is also sung before the games.  This is because any Canadian in the house will sing along with O, Canada, and the home fans won't be outdone.  Incidentally, O Canada is far more sing-alongable than the Star Spangled Banner.  But it's chilling to hear an arena full of sports fans sing along with "O Say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave?")

The second period was a lot like the first.  We carried the play for the most part, and another Wellman goal gave us another lead, but more crap-tastic penalty killing left us tied after 40 minutes.  We had a raucous crowd, a tie game, and twenty minute of hockey left to play.  Well, after a stirring comeback win in the intermission contest by the guy in the green human hamsterball, we were ready to find something to cheer about.  Unfortunately, the Aeros didn't seem to willing to provide it once the third period started.  We just couldn't keep the puck in the offensive zone like we had in the first two, and then we took a penalty.  Back to the PK, which had been a dismal failure so far all series.  This time, however, was different.  Suddenly, we got a pretty solid kill, and our boys found their wheels again.  We buzzed the net, often coming close, bringing the crowd to its feet more than once only to sit back down with a frustrated "OHHHHH!!!"  The crowd actually got its act together with a few chants.  I've never heard a full house chanting "Let's Go Aeros" with no prompting for a full minute.  It was awesome.  

Apparently the Aeros had figured out that the Bulldogs were just going to tie it up if they scored again, so they tried to put it off for as long as humanly possible.  Finally, with 1:13 to go in the game, Captain DiSalvatore (or "Salad Over Joint") said "ENOUGH!"  For the call, I'll give you over to Aero Joe

And there you go.  After a furious seventy second rally attempt from the 'Dogs, the Aeros had won their first series on home ice since 2003.  I probably don't need to tell you that the crowd went bananas.  I thought I might lose my voice (I didn't).  I realized I'd spent almost the entire evening tensing every muscle in my body by sitting as far forward as I could get in my seat or jumping to my feet or beating those blasted Thunderstix to a pulp.  It was worth it to watch the boys shaking hands with their vanquished opponents.  (I've seen a lot of playoff games in Wichita and Houston, but I've never been there when my team has clinched a series) 

Western Conference Champs.  Open at home against Binghamton for the Whole Dang Enchilada on Friday.  Look forward to taking in a game with my boys at some point if the series goes six or seven (since my boys be out o town this weekend).  I don't know if we can beat Binghamton.  I'm not gonna worry about that just now.  Now, I think, if we don't win the Calder Cup, I'll probably be satisfied with this run.  I will admit that I would have been ticked off if we'd lost tonight.  I probably wouldn't look back with "Oh, that great playoff run of 2011," I'd just remember blowing a 3-0 series and giving it away on home ice. Don't get me wrong, I really want to win that Calder Cup.  Tonight, however, was special.  Because of the game, because of the company, because of the crowd, because it was something I've never gotten to witness firsthand before.  Tomorrow, or maybe Thursday, I'll start getting nervous over Binghamton. 

Tonight, I'll just be happy with tonight. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

v2, d343: In Which I Shut Up For A Couple of Days

So I didn't blog for a couple of days.  Or didja notice?  Thing is, I had a pretty good weekend.  Not really a whole lot I can complain about.  Until I'd get on the Internet. And then I'd just get ticked off.  So, rather than write a really lame whiny blog while the rest of the world was dealing with legitimate crap, I played video games.  Which is something I haven't done a ton of since I had kids.  I'm back to Final Fantasy X.  And I played a lot of it the last two nights.  One of the great things about this game is the fact that, even when you know what you're doing, you can still die in a lot of different places.

Anyway, that's where I've been.  Pinocchio closed on Saturday.  There was a lot of magic to that show.  I think so, at least.  I've probably never been prouder of a show than I am of that one.  We had some unique difficulties to work around.  I'm really proud of the cast, I'm happy with (most of) the ways the show grew throughout the run, I'm still impressed with the excellent work of my design team, and I'm blessed to have received the testimonies of several parents and children who were touched by the show.  One woman told me she and her husband ended up having a forty minute conversation about God's grace with their kids after they saw it.  You just can't ask for a more awesome and humbling response than that.  If this script never gets produced again--and let's face it, that's a real possibility.  There are already a lot of Pinocchios running around out there--I say everything that went into this one is worth it.

Back to the country club tomorrow, this time dragging around a giant blue bug.  I get the feeling it's gonna be a wacky week, folks!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

v2, d342: Nothing Left to Say

If you've ever watched a baseball game on television all the way though, you'll notice the guys in the broadcast booth are really struggling to find interesting things to talk about by about the seventh inning. There are occasionally prolonged periods of silence between pitches.  Cameras start showing (and going back to) cute or interesting people sitting in the stands.  Somebody tries to remember something interesting they heard from somebody else when they interviewed them "a while ago."  It's a long game and a long season, and somewhere between the fresh start of the game and the thrilling conclusion there's always a lull at some point.  (This happens in other sports as well, but due to the start-and-stop nature of baseball I've noticed it most often during MLB broadcasts)  What's even better are when the guys in the booth get caught in an awkward moment and try to run with it anyway.  

Also, I'm having lunch at a country club tomorrow.  Crazy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

v2, d341: Wallmaster

This afternoon I had an hour-long scene study session with the boss on the schedule for 2:00.  I don't get to keep the car anymore during the day, so I had to walk. It's about a twenty minute walk from one workplace to the other and I wanted to stop at River Oaks Coffee for, well, a coffee, so I left at about 1:15.  At 1:43 (about half a block away from the theater) I see my boss' car pull out of the parking lot.  She passes me.  She waves.  I wave.  At the same instant, we get identical confused glances as we pass by one another.  I walk the rest of the way to the theater where the boss' secretary apologizes for never confirming whether the scene study would be at the theater or the rehearsal space.  She then puts me in her car and drives me right back to where I started from.

In the original Legend of Zelda game, there were these monstrous hands that came out of the walls in the next-to-last room of the first dungeon.  If one of them touched you, it dragged you back into the wall and you suddenly appeared back at the dungeon's main entrance.  This was kinda like that. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

v2, d340: prayer requests

I didn't want to mention this last night because I didn't want any mutual friends to learn about it via my blog, but now that I think the word is pretty well out there, I want to ask for prayer for two friends of mine who lost the baby that they had been carrying for 34 weeks.  Today they delivered the stillborn child and had a chance to hold him and say goodbye.  I won't use their names, but of course God will know who you're talking about.  Also asking prayers for a single mom in my Sunday school class who has to drive to New York with her children because her ex-husband is suing for full custody of their two kids despite being almost totally out of the picture for the last several years.  (Why New York?  Because apparently his mother is a judge in that state) 

Monday, May 16, 2011

v2, d339: Fun With Anagrams

Tonight, the world's foremost atheist said on national television that heaven is a fairy tale for people who are afraid of death.  This, apparently, was shocking and newsworthy.

Anyway, tonight's blog is blatantly ripped off by a San Jose Sharks fanblog that realized the Alex Burrows' name is an anagram for "Walrus Boxer."  That's brilliant journalism right there.  So, let's see if the Internet Anagram Server can shed any light on what makes this year's Aeros playoff team "tick." 

First, sniper Patrick O'Sullivan.  He arrived midway through the year after what appears to be his last shot in the NHL came to a disappointing end.  Luckily for us, nobody else in the league took the guy when he was sent down through waivers.  Rather than sulking, however, Sully tore up the AHL for the rest of the season and is pretty well recognized as one of the most dangerous goal-scorers in the league.  When he lets his wrist shot rip, there's not a goalie in the league who honestly believes he'll stop it through anything other than sheer luck.  It is no coincidence, then, that Sully's name rearranges to become Salvation Luck Rip

Sully wasn't the only major mid-year pickup, however. I could not believe the Rampage let Jed Ortmeyer go for nothing.  That's the kind of veteran player you want on your team in a developmental league like this.  I also couldn't believe our fortune to signed him a mere hours later.  He's been a major boost to every aspect of our team, Mr. A Little Bit Of Everything, but his biggest impact may have been his veteran locker room presence.  How fitting, then, to flip the letters in Orts' name to come up with Erred Met Joy. San Antonio erred (and missed the playoffs, by the way), so we've got joy. 

Perhaps no individual player benefited from the additions of Ortmeyer and O'Sullivan more than captain Jon DiSalvatore, a veteran presence who suddenly had someone to share the load and a play-making center who finally, finally, finally had a finisher to feed.  Everything seemed to click for the captain, who has led this team so far to a two-nothing lead in the conference finals yet still finds time to pass along this helpful health tip to America's youth: "Salad Over Joint."  Always a wise choice, Jon. Always.

Robbie Earl took his game to a whole new level this season.  While opponents are working to shut down the big guns on the top line, Earl is quietly taking over games, scoring big goals and lots of them.  It's a shame we can't play the Providence Bruins, because Earl's anagram name is the Bear Boiler. (Which is far more intimidating than Aloe Ribber)

The highest-scoring Aeros (since I moved to H-town in 2005) is none other than 2-time AHL All-Star defenseman Max Noreau.  Or, as he's known throughout the mixed-up world of Anagram Houston, Our Ax, Amen.  I guess because he cuts through the defending PK with his rocket of a shot.  I'm going with that.

Often lost among the shuffle of goal-scoring forwards is speedy Chad Rau.  With so few letters to choose from, I was afraid it might be tough to find an anagram that fit Rau's name.  What did we end up with?  Uh, A Card.  Or, A Car. Duh.  Naturally.

More fun with Aeros Anagrams:

Colton Gillies = Cellos Toiling  (You don't lead the team in playoff scoring without some toil)

Justin Falk = Flat Is Junk (You  know what, it really is!)

Drew Bagnall = Galled Brawn (This is pretty much perfect)

Carson McMillan = Many Clutch Goals From a Fouth-Liner (Okay, not really.  It's actually Calm Clan Minors)

Warren Peters = Errant Spewer (And that's gross)

Marco Scandella = Clam Ore Scandal (Nothing like a good scandal to keep the team in the headlines)

Jared Spurgeon = Prejudge Arson (It's hard to get a fair trial when you've committed arson)

Brett Bulmer = Bert Rum Belt (Never leave home without it, mate)

Matt Kassian = Mantas Ask It (I always wondered where curious mantas went for information)

And finally, where would any playoff team be without its goalie?  Rookie Matt Hackett has been shaky at some times and brilliant at others, but the bottom line is the man has 10 playoff wins, which is already more than almost every goalie in the AHL will manage.  The goalie always has to get an awesome anagram, right?  I mean, he's the goalie for crying out loud!!

Matt The Tack.

Um...Jeremy's Iron?  Heh heh....

By the way, in case you were curious, Houston Aeros is an anagram for Authors Noose.  Incidentally, no, I have not written much since the playoffs started, why do you ask?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

v2, d338: Demon Dreamin'

This is an old story, and I'm pretty sure most of you have heard it, but it's late and I've got nothing else tonight so I'm going with it.

I once (during college) had a dream that my computer was demon-possessed.  The demon had taken control of the screen and wouldn't let me access any of my programs or documents, spewing a bunch of obnoxious high-pitched gibberish .  It wasn't doing anything particularly evil or obscene, but it certainly had my compy in its satanic clutches.  So I hit CTRL+ALT+DEL and the Task Manager window popped up.  On the list of currently running applications, I found "DEMON."  I clicked on DEMON and then clicked the "End Task" button.  Problem solved.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

v2, d337: "Once Again the World Might Fall Prey to an Ancient Evil"

After about an hour of work, I've decided that my idea for tonight's post was way cooler in concept than it was in practice, so I'm going to go ahead and not finish it.

On the plus side, I did find this while working on it, so that's a plus.

Tampa/Boston started the Eastern Conference Final today, and Houston/Hamilton started the AHL Western Conference Final yesterday.  Both Tampa and Houston managed to win, which is nice. I realized that, as a fan, there's a huge difference to having your team in the playoffs vs. having your team in the semifinals.  I could manage to stay just jaded enough that, if we lost before now, it would suck, but I'd be over it pretty easily.  Now, however, you realize that there aren't a whole lot of teams left. Your boys have gotten pretty dang far.  And they're not really that far away from winning the Whole Dang Thing.  Even if/when you believe at the beginning of the year or the playoffs that your team could conceivably capture a Cup, it's not really until this point that the whole thing starts to seem real.  And that makes it a little bit scarier, because now you're believing.  You let yourself dare to hope.  Which makes every loss that much tougher to swallow.  Let's face it, it was a grind just to get to this point.  By now, you've probably already dodged at least one bullet (Tampa went to seven games in round one, Houston in round two).  It may be awhile before another chance like this one comes around.  So please, boys, now that you got me believing in you, please don't blow it.

Because having your season end in rounds one and two hurts like a punch in the gut.  To come this close and lose it now?  It's...well, it's this.

Friday, May 13, 2011

v2, d336: RIP Boogey Man

Hockey, in the United States, is a niche sport. Hockey fans know it, and we don't care. As such, there really is a sort of kinship among hockey fans, players, and analysts.  Even those of us who hate each other realize we're a part of one another.  (I remember having a good time sitting at an Aeros game next to a Red Wings fan, putting our differences aside for a few short hours to enjoy the hockey game)  When tragedy strikes, almost every player, coach, team, and die-hard fan feels it whether they're directly related or involved or not. 

With that in mind, it was no surprise to see the outpouring of sympathy when the news broke today that New York Ranger Derek Boogaard was found dead in his home today at age 28 (once again, a guy younger than I am).  It's just stunning.  And even players who've never played with/against the Boogeyman are shocked and stunned by the news. 

It put a serious damper on my otherwise jovial mood.  Here is Mike Russo's excellent first-edition story.  There aren't a lot of details yet, though officials don't suspect foul play. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

v2, d335: What HASN'T Killed the Radio Star At This Point?

Dear blog,

Sometimes I stay up entirely too late trying to figure out what to do with you. This be one of those nights.

However, I will not leave you empty-handed. I give you Theremin Zelda! (Prepare to have your mind blown by the mighty theremin!)

But wait there's more. Theremin can also rock.

People invent awesome and bizarre thingies sometimes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

v2, d334: Magic Spit-Up

I have to admit that I found it difficult to focus all afternoon knowing that the Aeros were playing a game seven in Milwaukee tonight.  Win, and we move on to the Western Conference Final for the second time in three years.  Lose, and it's all over. And I realized as morning turned to noon: I didn't want it to be over!  I actually lost some of my appetite around dinner time because I was so wrapped up worrying about this game. 

Now, longtime readers of this blog will know that I am not above the occasional ridiculous sports superstition.  The night of Game Five, I wore my Aeros vs. Admirals 2009 Division Finals T-shirt for luck, and the Aeros pulled out an improbable comeback for an OT win.  Game Six, no shirt, no W.  So when I was looking for something to change into after work and my 2009 shirt was clean, it was really no contest.  I pulled on the shirt and turned on the radio broadcast for the game.

About this time, Kim was finishing up dinner, so it was left to me to keep the baby entertained.  I had him on my left shoulder, resting his head against my chest, when suddenly the baby spewed all over the lucky shirt.  (This is less disgusting than you might think; you just sorta get used to it as a parent)  I calmly pulled him back to survey the damage and discovered that my boy had managed to aim the entirety of his substantial upheaval on the Milwaukee Admirals side of my shirt. 

I was a proud papa. 

Result?  One heck of a thrilling game seven that ends with a 4-2 Aeros win.  We play on, with home ice throughout the rest of the playoffs.  Unfortunately, I don't own anything with the Bulldogs', Checkers', or Senators' logos, so we won't be able to recapture this particular magic.  But if it's needed, I'm sure I'll figure something out :-)

Monday, May 9, 2011

v2, d333: "Brand New State! Gonna Make It Great!"

Today's post has nothing to do with that title.  It was just stuck in my head.

All right, as many of you are aware, Mother's Day was Sunday.  Kim tells me she had a good Mothers' Day, so that makes me happy.  Robbie and I went out to Barnes and Noble and bought her a book I thought she'd like and then to Kroger for some fancy-pants dark chocolate (from me) and a bouquet of purple flowers (from Robbie).  He managed to keep the secret of what her presents were (except for the flowers, we gave those to her Saturday afternoon) until Sunday morning when I told Robbie we could give her her other presents.  I gave him the bag and he ran to Kim, saying, "Here you go, Mommy!  It's a funny cake book and special chocolate!" 

He still does a better job of keeping his mouth shut than I did at his age.

Robbie's school had a "Ten Questions About Mommy" worksheet they sent home with him Friday afternoon.  I'm going to share it with you now.

1. What's your mom's name?

2. What does she do?

3. How old is she?
I don't know

4. How does daddy call mom?

5. What is her favorite color?

6. What is her favorite food?
I don't know

7. What is her favorite movie?
Bob the Builder

8. How many brothers and sisters does she have?

9. Where does she like to take you for fun?
she likes taking me library

10. What message do you want to send her for mother's day?
if I could buy her something I would buy flowers

Saturday, May 7, 2011

v2, d332: Shuffleblog

I'm never going to ask for requests again, because it takes me so long to get to them that they might as well not have been requested in the first place. 

#1 Snowfort by Room Full of Walters
My snow fort, it won't fall down.
My snow fort's better than anyone's around
My snow fort, it won't melt in the sun...
Oh, RFOW.  They were a local band that became Christians after they'd already built a pretty solid following in the Wichita area.  They subsequently wrote what ended up being a "Christian" album and started getting radio play on the Christian rock radio station.  Eventually, they were signed to a national label, and they released to albums.  (Oh, and they were pretty good, by the way)  However, as is often the case in Christian music, the label didn't throw much money into promoting the band--no music videos, no tours with "big name" artists, none of the big collaboration albums, and not pushed very hard on national radio, so the band got frustrated and embittered and dropped off the face of the planet after two years. 

I have a friend who does some independent recording on the southern gospel scene.  I've had a couple of interesting discussions with him about how it's determined what songs get played on what radio stations.  It might make for a good play or film sometime, though I think Kevin Max may have already beat me to the movie idea. (Did that movie ever end up happening?) 

Anyway, it's a discouraging industry.

#2: Burn Out Bright by Switchfoot
The future is a question mark with kerosene and electric sparks
There's still fire in you yet, yeah, there's still fire in you...
Seems as though I've done this song before. Also seems as though my iPod (who has no name, nor will it ever receive a name) plays this song quite a bit.  Which I don't complain about, because I'm usually only listening to my iPod when I'm walking or jogging outside.  And this is an awesome outside song.  It's actually one of my favorite windows-rolled-down-while-driving-in-the-summer songs.  There were a couple of years where I needed those, because I had to drive with my windows down ALL SUMMER LONG.  No AC in my old car (the gold one) for two and a half years.  Houston summers are pretty brutal.  Since we got rid of the gold car, I can hardly believe I used to brave them with nothing but the air flow from the windows. I remember I would even drive home in the rain with my windows down, because my choices were get wet (and therefore slightly cooler, though uncomfortable) or suffocate in the hot air that built up in the car as the day wore on.  It was pretty miserable. 

#3: My Deliverer by Rich Mullins (performed by not Rich Mullins)
Joseph took his wife and child and they went to Africa
To escape the rage of a deadly king.
There along the banks of the Nile, Jesus listened to the song
That the captive children used to sing
They were singing, "My deliverer is coming, my deliverer is standing by..."
I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that Rich is one of my Big Four in Christian songwriters.  Like RFOW, he was pretty huge around the Wichita area because he called it home.  My dad actually played in Friends University's orchestra with Rich at one point.  I remember when Rich died.  It was a huge deal in the local Christian community.  I think I thought Rich was bigger than he actually was, because when I left Kansas I found a lot of people knew him and some of his songs, but he was just sorta there for most people.  Local celebrities, I guess.

Anyway, when Rich died, he was working on a new album.  They released the unfinished demos he did and then had other artists who were friends of his record the songs with finished studio versions and released them together.  Funny thing is, most of them still sounded better on the rough demo cut pulled straight from the audio cassette.

And then there's this track.  I don't actually know who is singing on it (I'm pretty sure there's a Micheal W. Smith cameo near the end, however), but I love it.  It's haunting, it's dramatic, it's moving.  It builds on itself.  It's almost theatrical.  Which is probably why I enjoy it.  But it takes on the characteristic of waiting, longing, hoping for redemption, and the explosion of faith into an emphatic resolution to believe, a strong hope in things yet unseen, and the unifying passion of a shared faith. 

Cool track.

#4: Something Like Laughter by Five Iron Frenzy
Create in her a sense of awe that sees Your beauty,
Let Your splendor flash with blinding light.
Standing tall, all the aspen trees drink water
As rain falls down like laughter from the sky...
This hasn't been statistically proven, but i don't think it's possible to skip through six songs on my iPod without running into at least one Reese Roper project.  It probably speaks both of the volume of Roper/BS2/FIF/Guerilla Rodeo music I have as well as of the small size of my iPod's library.  Nano.  Whatever.

But I digress.  (Can you digress when the concept of your blog is more or less stream-of-consciousness?)  This song has a pretty personal meaning to me.  So personal, in fact, that I can't share the even it reminds me of!  How's that for teasing?  I can share, however, that as I was typing "stream-of-consciousness," I accidentally typed "steam-of-consciousness" at first, and then I tried to decide if that were a clever enough play on words that I could use that concept one day in a story somewhere. (Shaking the 8-ball... "Early Signs Point to 'No'")

#5: A Man's Gotta Do What A Man's Gotta Do from Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog
A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do
Seems destiny ends with me saving you
The only doom that's looming is you loving me to death,
So I'll give you a chance to catch your breath.  
Sheer brilliance.  But you already know that, hopefully. 

Recently, the little community theater that two summers ago hosted a new play festival that my Girl Who Wore Golden Clothes script was chosen for announced their 2011 season.  (Recently = last November, apparently)  Dr. Horrible was on the list.  I'm pretty sure they just decided to adapt the short film for the stage by themselves, and while I'm pretty sure that technically that's not legal, they're a community theater with a house that seats about forty people.  I really don't think it ought to be that big of a deal, so more power to them. 

It's not like theatre people all over the year wouldn't do the same thing if they thought they could get away with it :-)

#6: Prayer of the Comfort Counselor from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
All you need is the strength to pretend it's no big deal
Try to act like you don't care, try not to cry, lord,
Not in front of your brother.
Don't embarrass your mother.
Make your exit with care.
That, dude, is my prayer...
Every time I start a shuffle, I spend the entire time hoping that I'll get an awesome closing song for #6.  More often than not, it seems to happen. 

I remember being my school's alternate for the 5th grade city-wide spelling bee.  None of the three regulars got sick or injured or suspended for performance-enhancing drugs, however, so I didn't get to compete. We bussed all the fifth-graders in the city (four schools' worth) for the big event, and one of the kids from our school finished fourth.  The alternate position.  Yet, when the county-wide spelling be was held, she got to go ahead and compete, despite the fact that none of the three regulars missed the bee.

I never got anybody to understand why I thought that was unfair. 


Friday, May 6, 2011

v2, d331: Playoff bloggin

I sat down to blog last night, but all I could come up with were really gloat-y, partisan, unfair and (somewhat) inaccurate celebrations of Tampa's victory--sorry, four game sweep--of the Washington Capitals.  But I'm not that guy.  I don't like to gloat publicly, no matter how much I hate (note: sports hate, not real hate) the enemy.  Because I've been on the other side of that coin.  Every single year, when your team is knocked out it's like a punch in the gut.  You think I don't remember how bad it sucks to see your team knocked out of the playoffs?  This is off the top of my head:

1996: Tampa lost to Philly
1999: Colorado lost to Dallas
2000: Colorado lost to Dallas AGAIN
2001: Pittsburgh lost to New Jersey
2002: Colorado lost to Detroit
2003: Tampa Bay lost to New Jersey, Colorado lost to Minnesota
2004: Colorado lost to San Jose
2006: Houston lost to Milwaukee, Tampa lost to Ottawa
2007: Pittsburgh lost to Ottawa, Colorado lost to Anaheim

2008: Colorado lost to Detroit, Pittsburgh lost to Detroit (in the final), Houston lost to Rockford
2009: Houston lost to Manitoba
2010: Colorado lost to San Jose, Pittsburgh lost to Montreal

Others (I can't remember the year) include Colorado losing to Edmonton and Detroit, the Thunder losing to Oklahoma City (several times), Columbus, Fort Worth, Bossier City-Shreveport (more than once), and Tulsa.  Now, you'll notice there are a few years I don't remember exactly who did us in, but with relatively little effort I'm able to pull up just about every playoff defeat one of my teams has endured in the past 15 years. 

It's a bitter pill, folks.

So, as much as I despite the Caps organization, I can't bring myself to dance on their graves (death by choking).  If you'd like to read some nice Capitals dumping, you'll have to go here, and even then you may be a bit disappointed.  (Though the bit about the Ovechtrick is pretty funny, and the artwork is all pretty good)


This is a fun story (Puck Daddy again) on a Tampa fan who was commanded to take down his "Go Bolts!" sign by his neighborhood's Home Owners' Association.  I don't know if the HOA expected the guy's fanaticism to go down easily or not, but if they did, they just don't know hockey fans.


The first round of the NHL playoffs were insane.  Boston/Montreal, Vancouver/Chicago, Pittsburgh/Tampa Bay, and Buffalo/Philadelphia all went seven games.  Both Tampa and Chicago had to rally from down 3-1 to get there.  San Jose/Los Angeles and Nashville/Anaheim both went six games.  And there were overtime games everywhere.  (Last night was only the second time in sixteen straight days we did not have a game go to OT, and that may have been because there was only one game on the schedule)  I've never seen such a tight, competitive round of hockey, as only Detroit/Phoenix was a sweep. 

Round two has been....less competitive.  Tampa swept Washington, as mentioned above.  Boston is up three-nil on Philly and San Jose is up by the same margin over the Wings.  The closest series of the second round currently sits at Vancouver three games to Nashville's one, with game five in Vancouver tonight.  Sure, one of these "down-and-out" teams may rally to make it interesting, but there's a very real chance the second round of the playoffs could be over in the next 48 hours.  It's like the true contenders shook off the rust in the first round or something.  The games have almost all been tense and exciting, but wow.  Contrary to the gauntlet of round one, I've never seen such a lop-sided second round, either.



Finally, the Aeros and Admirals are tied at two in their best of seven.  After splitting in Milwaukee, the Aeros blew it in game three. Last night, they dominated the game but still found themselves in OT.  Apparently, the Aeros have won 10 straight playoff OT games since 2003.  Crazy stat.  Anyway, Carson McMillan scored his 2nd OT winner of this playoffs (4th liners rule!) while I was driving back from Kroger.  I celebrated while driving, and I wondered what people watching me drive during Aeros games must think of me.  Who cares.  Best-of-three starting tonight, kids.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

v2, d330: The Now-Anti-Climactic Final Mad-Lib

Sorry, meant to post this earlier, but I accidentally fell asleep before 11.  Won't happen again. 

Also, I tried to jumble things up out of order when I asked for suggestions, but then when I tried to put them all back in place I forgot what went where, and I think I may have asked for a few too many transitive verbs or something, and so I just ended up switching some verb tenses around, but everything's in there.

I kinda want to know why some of these words remind you guys of me, though ;-)

(for reference)

Once upon a midnight Spiderman-esque
While I sneezed, quirky and orange,
Suddenly there came a BAZOOM!, as of someone apprehensively rapping.
Long ago, I heard that shark,
Often hilarious but seldom found.
A haunting Avalanche from decades past,
Big Sue had returned at last.

And I was like, “What’s up, Lil’ Buddy?”
And he was like, “Uh, I body-checked your boxing glove.
And I was like, ‘Shut up!”
And he was like,”Yeah and stuff.”
And then I was like, Huzzah!

And that’s how the Mad-Lib ends
Now you’ll hear the CHL my friends
We’re eating Sketti-O’s, we’re setting drumsticks.
I guess that’s how the Mad-Lib ends.

How nonchalantly I ran,
It was in the ornery January,
As each silly shotgun wrought its ghost upon the Five Iron Frenzy,
I heard a voice that forgot my robot
I saw what I could not weep for,
A movie I never could contrive,
There stood Hector Valdez at last determined!

“Where have you been these clever nanoseconds?”
I MSG’d him, sobbing through my raisins.
“I did not laugh by T-shirt or toddler,
What really sneezed is cynicism.”

And then I said, “Awesome!”
And he was like, “Yeah, I guess.
Oh by the way, those crazed rabbits belong to my dad.
And they’re not really crazed rabbits, they’re lederhosen!

And that’s how the Mad-Lib ends
Now you’ll hear the CHL my friends
We’re eating Sketti-O’s, we’re setting drumsticks.
I guess that’s how the Mad-Lib ends.

And Perrin has slept,
His dying polka was “Never whack  that puck again.”
And Daniel the Duck’s put to sleep,
The sporks lay in a comic book,
As they slowly go extinct,
Like Abraham Lincoln. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

v2, d329: Whoops

You guys all did awesome.   I failed.

As I was putting tonight's Mad-lib into place, I realized that I inadvertently left off the last few.  My bad.  We still need:

Character name
Intransitive verb, past tense
Transitive verb, present tense
Character name
Plural noun

There are nine left, so...the next three commenters can take three each.  Sorry I'm lame, otherwise we would be done by now.  But hey, that's part of why you love me. 

I hope.

Monday, May 2, 2011

v2, d328: The End of Birthday Mad-Libs


Just under a year ago, I instituted Birthday Mad-Libs, where I'd go online, find a Mad-Lib that was worth doing, find words to match a particular friend and WBW reader, and post it on their birthday. (Eventually, this came to include me gushing about how much I loved that person, etc)  Now, to my knowledge, I didn't miss anybody, and when I did miss someone I went back and picked them up later.   I'm sure I did miss people, I'm just not aware of it because it's so hard to keep y'all straight. This was, I believe, one of the best ideas I've ever had.  And it kicked off with Hannah's birthday, which is May 8th.  (We tried to do a joint birthday celebration once. It failed tragically and miserably and we've never tried it again)  And, since most of my good ideas are best wrapped before they go on for too long (CaDET series, anyone?), I thought it would be a good ending point to do the last Birthday Mad-Lib on my birthday.  Bookends*, people. 

That said, it just felt really narcissistic coming up with words that remind me about myself.  (Let's see, adjective...handsome!  Another adjective...awesome!  Noun...incredibly gifted writer!)  So, I'm gonna make you guys do it.  Cop-out!  Hooray! 

Here's how we'll do it: 

Play in the comments. Starting at the top of the following list, each commenter can leave six words at a time, and you have to do the six furthest up the list that are not done.  For example, if you are first, you will do Name - (your answer). Adjective - (your answer).  You have to let at least two other commenters weigh in before you go again, and nobody goes more than twice.  Unless we get to tomorrow night, posting time, and we still haven't finished it up.  Then I'll say it's a free-for-all and Travis will probably just finish it himself.  Remember, use words that remind you of me in some form or other, and don't repeat any words that have already been used.  Hopefully this works and I can post the final Birthday Mad Lib tomorrow.  Have fun!  (And see that it's not as easy as it looks!)

Intransitive verb, past tense
Transitive verb, present tense
Plural noun
Unit of time, plural
Plural noun
Transitive verb, past tense
Plural noun
Intransitive verb, present tense
Intransitive verb, present tense
Length of time, plural
Intransitive verb, past tense
Intransitive verb, present
Transitive verb, past tense
Plural noun
Intransitive verb, present tense
Transitive verb, past tense

*Speaking of bookends, I've figured out when I'm going to end this volume of my blog.  The first format obviously lasted 365 days; this one will be a bit different. I can't tell you when it's going to be, but I will be sure to let you know when we are getting close

Sunday, May 1, 2011

v2, d327: Big Bad

I was too tired to post last night, so tonight was going to be my account of Robbie's and Isaac's first Astros game.  Then this great big historical event happened, and so I suppose it's necessary to leave a comment or two, in case this blog is someday one of the last threads of our civilization left to historians. (On the day Osama bin Laden was killed, a little boy in Texas got very excited because of a train) 

The architect of the greatest terrorist attack on American soil is dead.  He was killed by American special ops soldiers somewhere in Pakistan.  And the few details that have so far emerged about the encounter are nothing short of trilling.  A small team of soldiers came in to a mansion where bin Laden was hiding, fought their way to him during a 40-minute firefight, killed him, recovered his body, and made it out without losing anybody. 

Earlier this evening, word leaked that President Obama was going to address the nation, but that the subject was unknown.  Soon it came out that it was about national security.  Due to the late hour, many speculated that this was bad news, possibly something about Ghadafi.  Later, word leaks that it's not about Ghadafi, it's about bin Laden.  He's dead.  And we have his body to prove it.  CNN called Pakistan, and they said, "Yep, he's dead. And we helped!"  News stations started to report how incredible it was that they had no idea this was coming, that the CIA was able to keep a top-secret mission a secret for over a week.  (Yeah, how about that?)  I first heard of the happening when I saw Kinsey's facebook status: "bin laden is dead?  really?"  And I thought, Really?  So I checked CNN, and they were pretty confident.  Clicked on the TV and saw a small crowd of 30 or so people crowded out at the front of the White House cheering and chanting U.S.A.  (At that point, they were on TV, so they were joined by thousands of college kids and twenty-somethings.  They're still there, actually.  I think there may be drinking involved)   (Another parenthetical note: A similar crowd has assembled at Ground Zero in New York City.  Bet that place is absolutely electric right now) 

Now, we wait to see what will happen.  Of course, people are already claiming political partisanship over the act.  "Obama just earned himself another term!"  "Bush is more responsible for this than Obama is!"  Honestly, I think credit goes more to the CIA than either party, but whatever.  People across the country are, for the most part, really stoked about this.  Bin Laden has been a household name for almost a decade.  He's been the penultimate Bad Guy for just about every American since 9/11.  So hey, we got the Big Bad!  Unfortunately, this isn't a video game or fantasy novel.  Wiping out the Big Bad doesn't mean the minions will give up, run away, or combust.  The fortress isn't going to suddenly collapse.  In the short term, we're probably less safe now than we were a week ago because of this.  And long-term, it's debatable as to whether or not we were in any more danger from the man.  Regardless, he was in still in many ways a spiritual and inspirational head for hundreds or thousands of terrorists around the world.  This will be a big-time emotional blow.  And there will probably be some severe counter-attacks for the next year.  I hope our forces are ready to step up their game.  A man in a suit on CNN just said "It's almost as if we've won a war" and "We finally won one!"  Neither of these statements, nor their insinuations, are accurate.  We've won no wars, but we have destroyed one of the most avowed (and successful) enemies in U.S. history.  Also, it isn't true that we've been batting .000 on this front.  Terror rings have been broken up in the U.S. and across Europe, bombings and other attacks averted, due to the men and women who have devoted their lives to fighting this sort of threat.  And the fact remains that we haven't been hit with a substantial terror attack since 9/11.  I feel like saying "We finally won one!" undermines the great work these folks have been doing. 

Nevertheless, Osama was far more than just a loose end that needed tying.  As long as he lived, he'd be fighting to take more lives in whatever capacity he was able to manage.  And it was true that he had actively evaded our attempts to bring him to justice for almost a decade.  So yes, this is a win, make no mistake about it.  A win that, honestly, most of us had given up on.  I know I expected he'd die of old age and we wouldn't know about it for years.

Now many folks are expecting our troops are "coming home."  Our soldiers have been overseas as long as I can remember.  Kuwait, Bosnia, Somalia, Turkey, Afghanistan, Iraq, you name it. It's unrealistic to assume that taking out the Big Bad means everything is over.  Please continue to pray for our troops, because they may have more of a fight on their hands now than they've had before.

So there you go.  A stunner of a night.  Lots of things to come out over the next several years: who was or wasn't hiding what in Pakistan, conspiracy theories re: the timing of this operation, denials and counterstrikes from al-Qaeda, et cetera.  Whatever happens, this was a game-changing night.  You'll remember where you were.