Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Dial Up Purgatory

So we get to Mom and Dad's house and their good computer needs tweaking. A lot of tweaking. Enough tweaking that my new best friend, Richard from Dell Computer's help hotline, suggested that we reformat and start again. We started reformatting last night at about 10:00 p.m. It is now 12:46 p.m. and it is 17% complete. Looks like it's going to take a while.

My new best friend Richard was supposed to call me back last night, and he never did. Richard, was it something I said? All that time we spent together on the phone, laughing and sharing about my parents' computer? Richard from Dell, I told you that I was sentenced to AOL dial-up until Mom and Dad's computer was fixed. Don't you care, Richard?

Seriously, though, I want to take a trip down Memory Lane.

Back in 1994, I was just starting seminary, and I had a brand new Macintosh computer with a 1200 baud modem. I upgraded to a 2400 baud, and thought it was going super fast. A few months later, my friend Andy bought a computer that had a 28800 baud. Wow! That was super-fast. He then upgraded to a56k baud. We thought he was flying.

My grandma's computer has, I think, 56k baud. It took me ten minutes to log on, sign in to yahoo, and finally click on an email. I cannot believe how quickly I have gotten used to a speedier internet connection.

Today, I am at the library. The computers are in great demand here. But I would rather wait 15 minutes for high speed internet access than live in dial up purgatory.

Well, my time's up. Getting kicked off. More later.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


I Went Back to Ohio

Chrissy Hynde sings, "I went back to Ohio, and my city was gone."

Chrissy is the lead singer for The Pretenders--she was one of my idols growing up. Ohio girl, moved to London, became a famous rock star. She grew up near Akron. I grew up near Cleveland.

When she returned to Ohio for a visit, she noticed how suburban sprawl was spreading and taking the farmland away. She wrote "My City Was Gone," which is the song Rush Limbaugh uses for his bumper music coming out of the top of the hour break.

Anyway, I'm going back to Ohio, for a week anyway. Thomas and I are flying up, and I am speaking at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church next Sunday. It's the 50th anniversary for this church, my mother church, and they've honored me by asking me to be a part of the celebration. The others who have become ordained have all spoken as well. I'm the only woman, though.

Some things I hope aren't gone when I go back to Ohio? Malley's Chocolates. My High School building. Stadium Mustard. Terminal Tower. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Amish Country (where I had the pleasure of living and working). The people I love. And my mom and dad's cat, Maggie (who used to be MY cat--they kidnapped her from me).

I will enjoy getting out of this 100 degree heat for a week. I'll be back for a week. Then it's off to Georgia and Alabama for a good old southern style General Assembly. Ought to be fun.


The Coolest Thing About The Davinci Code...

was this car.

One week later, and I've allowed the bitter aftertaste of seeing the DaVinci Code to dwell in my mouth. Here are some more thoughts.

Watching this movie was like being in a classroom with 20 people scratching the chalkboard with their fingernails. It got on my nerves.

Tom Hanks is a good actor, and I think he did the best he could with the script he was given. Ron Howard makes nice looking movies, and this movie was nice looking, but that's about it.

One of the problems with the film is that it made such an effort to not offend certain groups that it dulled the storyline down. Instead of the Roman Catholic Church actively supressing the true teaching of Jesus, it was a conspiracy of a few Catholics. "Not all of them are like that, just a few."

Even though it was total bunk, it was more thrilling in the book to make the conspiracy something larger than it was in the movie. Let me be clear, I think Dan Brown's assessment of the history of the church has serious problems. He doesn't know how the canon was developed. He portrayed that terribly in the book. But the dulling down of the conspiracy made the movie worse than it had to be. It was totally unbelievable.

Another problem for me was that in the book there was obvious chemistry between Langdon and Sophie. In the movie, none. Poorly executed.

The bright side was that the kids could see how far fetched and flawed the Davinci Code theories were, mostly because the plot was so ridiculous. That made our post movie discussion much easier.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Just Say No!

I'm still tired from watching this movie. Don't go see it.

It's not the controversial stuff that bothers me. It was just a s-l-o-w movie. Boring. The guy sitting behind me, at 1:30 into this 2:30 film, "Will this movie ever end?" More later

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Thomas the Rodeo Clown

He did it! He was chosen as a rodeo clown. At the end of the parade he was so tired he didn't want to participate in the contest anymore. But his stage mother forced him--after all, I didn't spend all that time on makeup for nothing! When he won, he was happy he did it.

I'll have pictures of him clowning at the rodeo soon.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


The Big Week

Rodeo Week has begun! The big parade kicked it off yesterday afternoon. Our church distributed 1000 bottles of water to the thirsty marchers and viewers. Here are some of the highlights.

These guys are part of the Santa Rosa Palomino Club. They do precision drills on horseback. The horses are gorgeous, and the riding is awesome. The church treasurer, David, is a member of this crew. They are the highlight of the parade, and always perform at the rodeo

The best floats are made by the banks. This year's theme was "Land that I Love." this float depicts a Texas Prarie. The cactuses are playing guitars.

Here are the ranch hands from Waggoner Ranch. We were watching the parade with a friend who works at the ranch. He told us that this fellow told his coworkers he could ride backwards the whole parade. I don't know if he made it.

Here's another cool float from a bank, I think.

It's the Taco Casa car!

The harvesters come to town to harvest wheat. They enter their equipment in the parade. These guys are from Kansas. See the guy on the back, with the ball cap on? Seconds after this picture was taken, the arm on the grain dispenser thingy started moving. He almost fell off. Don't try this at home!

The Santa Rosa Rodeo Parade is not the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. But it's our parade. It's Texan, and sweet, and great fun even in 100 degree heat!

Monday, May 15, 2006


Hmmm...Maybe I'll See R.V. Instead

The Davinci Code was a just O.K. book. Yes, it had plot twists, some interesting characters, and controversial propositions. It was an easy read, but I found it to be a bit tedious after a while. It was fun, but I wouldn't rank it up there as being as fun as Captain Underpants, and it certainly doesn't touch any of the Harry Potter books with a ten-foot pole. Regardless of this, it reads like a book that would make a fun movie--with all the interesting locations, the constant running and mystery solving. In fact, I thought it would make a better film than it did a book!

Well folks, the reviews are starting to come in. It's not pretty. Here's some of what critics viewing the film at Cannes had to say, according to an Associated Press report:

"It's a movie about whether the greatest story ever told is true or not, and it's not the greatest film ever, is it?" Baz Bamigboye, film columnist, London Daily Mail.

"Maybe the next day I'll forget about it." Igor Soukmanov, Unistar Radio

"I kept thinking of the Energizer Bunny, because it kept going and going and going, and not in a good way." James Rocchi, a film critic for CBS 5 television in San Francisco.

Doesn't sound too good.

The kids in the youth group want me to take them to see it on Sunday, so we're going. Maybe it will bore them silly! We are going to have a dinner discussion following--I'm sure they'll have a lot of questions.

I'll let you all know what I think of it after I see it.


I'm in Ravenclaw!

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Take this quiz!


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It was good to see Tony Snow this morning when I turned on the television for the White House briefing. I know this is becoming increasingly unpopular, but I do like W. And it's good to see someone as confident as Tony Snow speaking for the administration. He handled the press corps with charm and wit. I miss listening to him on the radio, but I'm sure glad he's taken the job.


You Can Comandeer My Minivan Anytime!

I admit it. I'm a 24 addict. And I'm creating a 24 addict in my son.

Every Monday, I pick Thomas up from school and the first words out of his lips are: "Are you ready for 24?"

We have a little party every Monday, Thomas and I. I don't know if he understands the show--he asks plenty of questions about the plot. But it's a fun night for us anyway. We pop popcorn and cry out, "Noooooo!" everytime another villian acts against truth, justice, and the American Way.

Why do I like this show so much? Let me count the ways.

1. Jack Bauer. I love that he is always trying to do the right thing, even when it seems impossible for him to accomplish his goals. He always finds a way--always. Just when you think the bad guys are going to win, Jack saves the day. He's a Superman for the new millenium. I love it how he so politely comandeers vehicles. Such a gentleman!

2. Chloe. So smart, so loyal. I'd love to have her computer skills. She seems to have a permanant scowl on her face, and always understands how grave the situation is better than most. Please, 24 Producers and Writers, don't ever get rid of Chloe!

3. The concept. O.K., so it's unlikely that all these things can happen in the course of one 24 hour day. But truth be told, it really says something about what we can accomplish in just one hour's time. I like that. I also like that Fox doesn't air a bunch of reruns between new episodes.

There are many other reasons I like 24 which I can go into some other time. But I commend it to you. If you need to catch up with the plotlines, the dvds are available, or you can catch up by watching four episodes of 24 each Monday and Friday on A&E.


Quick, Call the Louvre!

I learned that you can draw a doodle with a friend over the internet using the Yahoo Messenger. What happens when two grown women are up too late at night and getting a little slap happy? This:

Apologies to my father, who is an artist. You may disown me now.

Just think of the what DaVinci, Michaelangelo, and Van Gogh could have accomplished with Crayola doodle art.

Thanks, Amy! That was a lot of fun.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Wild Pig--It's What's for Dinner!

Mmmm, mmmm good. Yes, I've now eaten wild pig.
At today's Scoutarama, one of the Boy Scouts entered his "Mountain Man Chili" in the chili cookoff. It had deer venison and wild pig sausage as its meaty components. I looked at the ingredients list, and I couldn't resist trying it. A little gamey, but I survived.
However, I don't think I'm going to call the Cracker Barrel (that's a hometown butcher, not the chain) and ask them to prepare the next wild pig I hit on the road--although I understand some people do that with roadkill.

When I lived in Kentucky, there was a warning to not eat the squirrel brains because the squirrels were carrying some kind of disease. I gladly abstained.

It's happening again. The rodeo week is quickly approaching, and I'm really feeling like a Texan.

It started a couple of weeks ago when I went to see Thomas and his whole school perform Texas songs. Every child in second grade dressed as a famous Texan. I was really pulling for Willie Nelson, but Thomas chose George W. Bush. So much for living vicariously through my son. He had a great costume--W. on the ranch. Nice windbreaker with a Presidential seal, cowboy hat, boots, dress pants, dress shirt, tie, and megaphone.

Each child got a chance to say who they were. Thomas was one of several W's in the crowd. There were also three Willie Nelsons. One of Thomas' friends, Max, dressed up as Larry McMurtry. He looked just like McMurtry did at the Oscars, and his parents spray painted a gold Power Ranger action figure to look like an Oscar statuette.

Just before the parade of Texas celebrities, the kids sang Texas songs. Now, the only Ohio song we ever played in band (I was never in the choir) was "Hang On Sloopy", which really isn't about Ohio. So I was blown away by the gusto with which these kids sang about Texas. They wrapped up the set with a rousing reindition of "I've Got Spurs that Jingle, Jangle, Jingle." I began to feel this creeping sense of Texas pride. Oh. My. Were those tears welling up in my eyes? Were they tears of love for this adopted home state? Or was I just watching my son and being the proud mom? Or both?

I think it was both, because this week, everywhere I go, there are cowboys. Cowboys probably in for the rodeo. You can hear their spurs jingle, jangle, jingling all over the place. And I have to pinch myself. I'm really in Texas. Where cowboys live and work. Where I have to dodge tumbleweed on the highway. Where wild pigs and armadillos run free.

I've been here nearly three full years now. I love Ohio. I will always be a Buckeye fan. I will always be a Browns fan. I will always be an Indians fan. I love Lake Erie. I love Cleveland, and rock and roll, blue collar workers, and people with very ethnic names. But this state has really captured me and tugged at my heart, like it has so many others.
Now, who wants some brisket?

Saturday, May 13, 2006


My Son, The Rodeo Clown?

We read in the paper about a contest being held by the Nocona Boot Factory Outlet store for kids to be junior rodeo clowns at this year's rodeo.

What happens is this...Sometime in the middle of the rodeo, the Bull Riders and Rasslers take a break, and it's time for the Mutton Bustin'. Small kids ride the Mutton as the cowboys ride the bull. Whomever stays on the mutton long enough wins.

In addition to having the mutton busters, they also have junior rodeo clowns. Thomas is too big to be a mutton buster, but loves clowning. So I pointed this out to him, and he's really wanting to give it a try. So Wednesday, after the big parade, we're going to the Boot Store with Thomas all decked out in clown gear. Keep your fingers crossed!

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