Friday, October 31, 2008

Stonehenge Junior

Our fair city has built a great walking, running, biking and exercise trail system. They are still working on it. The newest section that I use, can take me on a five mile walk. Part of the trail I use, takes me right past the city hall, along a main road. The new fire station is across the street. About a month ago, some landscape material showed up and they began work. At first it looked like just flower beds, new bushes, and maybe some trees were going in. But then the Bob-Cat showed up and they started really letting the dirt fly. And then some underground wiring showed up. And then some more large rocks showed up. The city trail, at major trail heads, has some landscaping, some large rocks with “City Trail” carved in them, sprinkler systems and such. So when the rocks and wires showed up, I just figured they were doing the same. But then they placed the rocks in a semi-circle. Like a tribute to Stonehenge.

Looking at the city web site, it will eventually become a tribute to the city veterans.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A job, but for how much longer.......

Two weeks ago, I returned home from physical therapy and clicked on the noon news. One of the stories involved lay-offs at my current job. I say job, as I am a technical contractor at the present company. I've tried to convert to employee, but that hasn't happened and probably never will. I was interested in the number of lay-offs, but also clued in to that the report was for only a division of the parent company, not all of us. The next day, I read the paper and saw that the number corporate wide, was several thousand, not the hundred reported locally. When I got in that day, I discussed it with my supervisor and he'd heard a 50's something number for our location. He had some names, entire projects in fact. What would they do for support of those business applications? Lay off the on site workers, hire in some on-shore Visa holders and hire the rest off-shore.
A week later some of the teams that I support, got called in and introduced to their replacements. What a way to get laid-off!
They are currently meeting daily and the reports from the existing workers is not good. These new contractors, barely have any skills that are needed to support the business applications. The existing contractors are looking for jobs and will walk out as soon as they find them, not waiting until the drop-dead date, which is about two months away. The long-time employees, are either going to retire, or look for work and start either in two months, or as soon after that as they can.

One employee noted "they will out-source and off-shore us, until the entire technical department is gone". Several thousand workers across the company.

I suspect within a year, my position will be off-shored also.

And now for an uplifting story!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Our daughter's first place at the State Fair of Texas

As was asked for...
This is about the fifth year in a row for her taking a first place.
This work is oil on canvas. The green ribbon is a participants ribbon.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Aftermath of the State Fair of Texas

After the fair, I go down and pick up our daughters winning art work. I had trouble getting into the place. There is light rail construction along the main entrance area and the side entrance was also closed. I had to walk in a bit. It is amazing that the fair closed Sunday. Wednesday, you can start picking up art work. I ran down over lunch on Thursday. These photo's are the main walkway between the animal barns and the art building. The Cotton Bowl is in the back ground. Most of the stages were almost down. Nothing much was left.

What an empty animal barn looks like.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tattoos, bullets, Grillz, pierces, and Cowboy Jerseys

Yes, we finally made it to the Great State Fair of Texas. On the last day of this years fair. The drive in was uneventful, unlike last years, which was a trip. Last year we went on Columbus Day, which was when most of the schools in the Dallas Fort Worth area got out and handed the kids free tickets to the fair. On top of that, the Jonas Brothers were playing a concert. It was an explosion of every 13 year old girl from the surrounding states. Last year, we were in downtown Dallas at 9 AM. About 10:30, we’d moved the three miles and gotten parked.
This year, downtown at 9, parked at 9:30. We got out of the car and our daughter’s friend picked something up off the parking lot and said “what is this?” It looked like a spent bullet to us, but what do we know. Understand, Fair Park, is centered in “the hood”. The next day, wife took the bit of metal into her work, where a coworker who is a gun collector, took one look at it from five feet away and said “That’s a spent 45. The bullet of choice in Fair Park”.

We were standing outside the art building, where our oldest daughter’s first place painting was on display, ten minutes before they opened. We used the time to sit in those chairs with the massagers rubbing our backs. You know the one. It feels like two billiard balls being smashed into your back.

We got to see:
Our daughters painting.
Butter sculptured into King Tut’s tomb.
Shoe art.
Massage chairs.
Wonder towels ( I needed to pee and almost asked him if he’d demo….)
Wood art sculptures
Sewing machines
Sand art
Salt Water taffies being made
Cars, Cars and more cars.
Trucks, trucks and more trucks
An amusing robot by Ford, that took questions. He informed the 75 percent of the audience in Cowboy Football Jerseys, that the Boys were getting kicked around and loosing.
The Women’s building (always good for cooling off)
Clifford the big red dog.
The Daughters of the American Revolution house.
The Killdares, a band we first found at the fair
Cooking with Honey.

Free Ice cream cones.
Fletchers World famous corny dogs (twice)
The kids rode some rides.
The Birds of the Wild show
Sweet Potato Pie
Loaded cinnamon rolls

We also got to see people with pierces in every part of the body viewable while the police were around.

We got to see people with every sort of tattoo. Even some gang tats.

We got to see a few people will Grilz’s that would blind you.

And a literal sea of Dallas Cowboy Jerseys. By 2 PM, it was White and Blue jerseys as far as the eye could see. I think 75 percent of the attendees, were in jerseys.

We didn’t partake of:
The dog show
The pig races
The domino show
Chicken fried Bacon.
Fried banana split
Fried grilled cheese sandwich
Texas Fried Jelly Belly Beans
Deep Fried S’mores
Fried Chocolate Truffles
Fried Pop Rocks Fundae Blast
Fried Dinner Roll
Fried Cake on a Stick
Green Bean Fries
“Jalapeno” Deep Fried Gorditas
Fried Apple iPie
Fried Snowballs
Fried Honey Bun
Deep Fried Apple Bites
Mini Chicken Fried Steak Slider
Dessert Shooters
Ignited Moon Pie­
Beefy Fried Queso Bites
Crispy Fried Cantaloupe Pie

Go to if you don't believe me......

Monday, October 20, 2008

Friday Night High School band shows

I finally got to one of our local high school football games. It was held at the local stadium and there were concerns that it would sell out. We got there a bit early, so we could buy one ticket that we were short, but also so we could sit on the back row. Funny, we don't do that at church. Actually, we have been. That way, I can stand up and not block anyone's view, if my back gets to hurting. I stood for about half the football game.

They open up with the two schools sending out some cheerleaders to “exchange” gifts at center field. What is that all about? Later on, after the half time shows, half the cheer squads from each team, head over to the other side and again “exchange” items. I hate to point out, that I think the opening exchange was a drug exchange. The mid-way exchange, was probably exchanging either more drugs or phone numbers to “hook up later”.

The team had to play one of the powerhouse teams from the area. I expected a blow out. Surprisingly, it was a good game and was tied up with about a minute and a half left. Then, our team had to punt from deep in their own territory and the punt went more up than out. That gave the powerhouse team great field position and they were able to score the winning touch-down.

On to the half time band shows.

The schools no longer play music that is oriented to be played outside. They basically put on a mobile Broadway show. I was happy that they seem to have this show put together. In past years, we have been subjected to watching them march around while a “click track” blast over the Public Address (PA) system. CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK, while they march in step and the audience runs for cover. I could make a fortune selling earplugs next to the concession stand. They have floats with people in them. They have about fifteen people playing marimbas, xylophones and such. None of which can be heard with no microphone or PA system support.

Our school put on a show in tribute to ancient gods. Zeus, Apollo, those folks. Except instead of having people show up in costumes like these gods, they had people in the same costume, but different colors. One guy in a marching costume, but yellow. One, orange, one green. They had all the colors of the rainbow out there at one time or another. Then it got weird. The drill team brought out some big sticks with fake grapes hanging from them. I commented to the wife “A tribute to winos?” Maybe a Tribute to Boone's Farm Wine

Meanwhile, my mind drifted off to the Fruit of the Loom guys.

After they finished the segment of a tribute to Boone’s Farm Wine, they brought out some S shaped phallic symbols and the guys in the colored suits used them to catch and fling different members of the band into different positions. They could have name that "A Tribute to Human Pin-Balls". I lost track of what happened next. But they finished up late and had to push all the orchestral instruments past the football players and hurry up and move off all the Broadway props from the field.

The other schools band, put on a show in tribute to the ancient Inca’s. As the visiting team, they actually put their show on first. I looked up Inca costumes and they didn’t look anything like what the other band used.
Here is what they should have looked like.

And here is what they did look like.

I think there was a general mix-up. Their drill team wore what looked like ancient Greeks outfits. Maybe all those "Gift Exchanges" were actually exchanging band costumes.
Another fine learning possibility, wasted.
They only thing they missed were the Inca Human Sacrifice.

Actually, both schools bands and football teams did well.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 11.5 of Physical Therapy

I've started to lose track of how many PT's I've been in. Today was work, fun, funny, and a pain. I got to start walking uphill, backward, on the treadmill. That is fun. I also got a PT trainee to help me out. She actually tried some of the "Swiss ball" exercises with me.
After about thirty minutes, I got moved over to the table. The torture one. Maybe they all are. Next to me, was this older guy. He's very funny, but was in pain today. He'd done some stretches and gone straight to electro-shock. On the other side of him, was a new guy, also with back issues. The main PT guy was doing a juggling act, trying to keep some of us busy, and take down new information from new guy. It was busy there today, with about six or seven of us. There are usually only about four or five people.
The main PT guy went over to show someone something, and the older guy asked the new guy "how are you?". New guy said "pretty good". Old guy fired right back "well you won't be saying that after they finish with you here". We all started laughing. New guys eye's got big. Main PT guy was even laughing.

So main PT guy mentions that I should attempt "the plank", see the opening photo (not me). I only held it for about 40 seconds and got a sharp pain in my lower back. They had me do about two more stretches, and then I FINALLY got a back massage! Main PT put me on my back and squirted something on me and went to work on my lower back. All while he was instructing other people. I felt a small marble in my back, and by the time he finished, it was GONE!

Next, he hooked up the electrodes and we went from a back massage to electro-shock and ice packs.

I mentioned it to the new guy, that you get electro-shock. He chuckled. Old guy said "yeah, they crank that up till you jump like a frog on a frying pan".

New guys eyes got big.

I hope he goes back. They really have helped.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cannibals in suburbia

I saw a strange site last Friday afternoon. I was heading home from work and had made a few stops on the way home. I wasn’t on my normal route. I was heading down a neighborhood road, but a major one. Four lanes, two in each direction. I’m stopped at a traffic light and a nice black Mercedes-Benz rolls up in the left lane and stops. They are one car ahead of me. With nothing better to do while waiting for the light to change, I glance over at the rear window of the Benz. In large letters it reads:

And a phone number.

Notice that it doesn’t list this as a web site, as in or something. No, just Delicious European. My mind goes into twisted hyper-drive all the way home.

Was this some new fad? Cannibals using only the finest European’s their money could buy, for a dinner party? They have this over in the Pac-Rim.

Was this some Cannibal group meeting notice? For those not local to the Dallas Texas area, there has been a “swingers” club prominent in the news lately. Perhaps some cannibal group has decided to advertise.

Why wasn’t there a Cannibal logo?

Was this selling some actual FOOD from Europe? Sheep brains in plumb sauce? Maybe Cannibals Soup?

Was this some escort service touting European “escorts”?

It's been four days since I spotted the car and the logo. All I've come up with is

"Cannibals in Suburbia", would make a dang fine name for the band I'm in.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Breaking news!

Our local news radio KRLD, just reported that Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, is out for four weeks with a broken pinky...
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has a broken pinkie on his throwing hand and will be out four weeks, a team source told ESPN. Stay with KRLD and for the latest on this developing story.

Right….No mention of this last night in post-game interviews… Take your pick
1) He's out
2) He's not got the team behind him, so they are trying someone else
3) He'll be back when they get to the super bowl….
4) Jessica and he are getting married and he will be "too busy" to show up…..and "too tired" to practice….

5) Sales of Romo team shirts have started to slack off, so Jerry Jones wanted to try and boost sales of the other guys shirts
6) Tony broke it in a heated game of tiddle-winks with his offensive line.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Last nights news story

It must have been a slow news day. OJ was convicted. Everyone's stock is tanked by 25 percent, if you are lucky. There are no hurricanes or bad weather making national news. The political candidates are pointing fingers at each other, refusing to answer any question in less than 2376 words. And our state of Texas has decided to not allow "fish pedicures".

I think they should allow it. With a twist. Use these fish.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

You get what you pay for, I think

Well, yesterday I completed my fifth physical therapy (PT) session. Each one, has been different. Yesterdays was going along smashingly. Some of the exercises and stretches, were now familiar to me. About an hour into it, I knew we were winding down. Then they had one more exercise for me to try. Try being a key word. They had me on my stomach, with my toes pointed straight down into the table. I had my arms on my forearms. They then told me, when I was ready, to push myself up to form a "bridge" on my forearms and toes. Oh, and to hold it for ONE minute! They set the timer when I pushed up. About 30 seconds into it, my back was wavering, my legs were shaking, my toes were screaming. I held it for the full minute and collapsed in agony. The PT guys asked if I'd held it the full minute and they were happy that I had. So happy, they they looked at each other and then said "lets try it again!". Um, guys, all you did was SET THE FREAKING ALARM CLOCK!!! I tried again, but collapsed at 30 seconds. I got a few breaths in and pushed back up for the last 20 seconds. They decided that was sufficient self-inflicted torture. It was their turn. So they got out the ice pack and the electro-shock and proceeded to shock my back and freeze it for the next ten minutes.

Meanwhile, the guy on the next table got his full neck massage. Complete with hot oil and all.
I think he must be paying for the deluxe treatments......

I had a sore back. I still do.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008

This is so me....

And was my maternal grandfather....Who once, I kid you not, fixed a leaking tractor radiator with some softened beeswax, some metal shavings and some corn meal.....

Hey, it saved a trip into town!!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Leather straps and balls.....

They have me going to PT twice a week right now. It HAS helped. The Tuesday visit, was me on a heating pad. Then, a lot of different stretches. It included Bio-Feedback. I was laying on this little balloon, holding this gauge. As I went through each stretch or exercise, I had to flatten my back enough so the gauge read "40". At rest, I had to keep it on "20". The more I did the exercises, the better I got at it. When done, I got 10 minutes of ice-pack and sent on.
Today, was no heating pad (boo). But the main PT guy, did about 10 minutes of stretches on my leg. While he was doing that, I was talking with him about my walking sessions, exercises and stretches. After he finished with the right leg, then he told me to do the same, myself, on the left leg! Guess I should have been paying attention. Then, we moved on to all sorts of different exercises. Some involved balls. Some involved leather straps. Well, not leather, they were like moving trucks tie down straps. I got to push against them.
After it was mostly done, I started getting a cramp in my left hip. He had me lay on my stomach and lift BOTH legs at the same time. It was hard, and I couldn't do that many. But when done, the cramp was almost gone.
Then, he got out the electro-shock gizmo and I got shocked for 10 minutes while freezing the old back again.

Oh, and the bills are rolling in. The MRI was about $4000.00. PT is something like $300 a session.....