Monday, October 29, 2007

Champaign, Il...

Jeannie made out a list of things she wanted do during the fall season. One of the things on her list was to go to a pumpkin patch.

We found one in Champaign and drove down there to see it. My family live an hour away from it so they drove over and met up with us.

The place we went to was the Curtis Orchard and Pumpkin Patch.

Jeannie had waaayyyy too much fun.

She got to pick apples for the first time in her life... She got to stand next to a Shetland Pony for the first time in her life...
She got to see baby goats... She got to pose like the American Gothic painting with my brother Jacob...She got to stick her head in the cut out with my mom, dad and Jacob...
She got to stand in a pumpkin patch... and, she got to stick a hayseed in her mouth with my dad. It was a pretty fun day!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Winfield, Kansas...

We arrived in Wichita late Thursday night and stayed at the Wichita Hyatt since there was only one hotel in Winfield.

We got up early on Friday morning and drove to Winfield early in the morning. We had no idea if we were in the right location for our meeting until we found these license plates.

After the meeting we drove back to Wichita to catch a flight back home. As we drove back, I learned something new. You know how Illinois is the "Land of Lincoln" and Missouri is the "Show Me State"? Well, I discovered that Kansas is the "Sunflower State".
There were acres and acres of Sunflowers everywhere.

Monday, October 22, 2007


I drink a lot of soda.

A lot.

A LOT!!!

There's no time during my waking hours that I don't have a Diet Pepsi, Diet Dr. Pepper or Diet Vanilla Coke near me and ready to drink.

From what I understand, that's not good. I've read a couple magazine and newspaper articles recently that really stressed the negative attributes of carbonated colas.

To my surprise, these articles criticized regular sodas and diet sodas. Regular sodas (or pops or whatever you call them) will cause you to gain weight because of the astronomically high levels of sugar included in each drink.

That's not surprising.

Here's what surprised me.

Diet sodas will not cause you to gain weight, but the chemicals and ingredients included in their sugar substitutes will hinder any type of weight loss.

Obviously you can drink Diet Coke and still lose weight, but by doing that, you're making it more difficult.

There are other negatives to drinking carbonated colas, but that one really stood out to me.

So, no more soda for me for awhile. I just drink way, waaay to much of it. Eventually I'll let myself drink a diet soda again, but I'm going to cut it off completely for the next 30 days.

I'll let you know how it's going.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Sports Action Team is motoring along. This week we'll finish editing our 10th episode.

Which means I only have 5 more left to work on.

For those people who have HDNET, you have been able to see the first 7 episodes already. Everyone else has only seen the first 4. It's a weird situation where the NBC and syndicated channels are seeing 4 new episodes, then 3 reruns, then 4 new, then the reruns, etc...

The episode that I just finished working on, #9, is one of my favorites and people aren't going to be seeing it on NBC until January. Strange.


Molly's birthday was last week. She had a bunch of people celebrate with her by eating at Joey's Brickhouse. It was fun.


This week for my "corporate job", we traveled to Bay City, Michigan. Carla was supposed to do the trip, but at the last minute Carla was shipped out to Missolou, Montana. So Jeannie stepped in and did the job with myself and proud new papa Tim Mason.

It was Jeannie's first "corporate event" and she was able to experience the joys of corporate travel. We were delayed for 2 hours flying to Michigan and delayed another 3 1/2 hours flying back.

During one of the delays she found the massage chair. She sat in it for 15 minutes. Employees kept coming up to her and asking if they could help her, but she was lost in a massage chair coma. When I finally managed to get her out of the chair an employee rushed over and asked how she liked it.

She stuck her finger in the air and declared, "I'll take it."

His face danced with glee as he asked her where she would like it shipped. Thinking he was continuing the joke, Jeannie chuckled and walked out of the store. The poor salesman stood their motionless, confused as to what had just happened.

Our flight arrived so late that when we arrived in Bay City nothing was open. We dined at the fabulous 7-11 that was located next door to the hotel. The next day after our presentation, we ventured away from the hotel and found.....

The Texan.
A couple months ago my TIVO taped "Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares" off of the BBC America channel. It's from the same guy who is on "Hell's Kitchen". I don't like Hell's kitchen, but Kitchen Nightmares is an amazing show. Jeannie and I are totally hooked. They have an American version on FOX this year, but it's not as good as the British one.

What does Kitchen Nightmares have to do with The Texan?

Well, quite frankly, once you watch Kitchen Nightmares, it's difficult to eat at a restaurant like The Texan.

As I ate my meal and craned my neck to look into the kitchen, I wanted to burst in through the doors and yell, "Shut it down. Shut it down. This kitchen is closed."

It was not a good (or safe) meal.


Go Bears! Please beat the Eagles!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Del's animated head...

John Ostrander who wrote "Wasteland" with Del Close has written a comic book featuring Del's skull.

You can see it here:

It's a fun read.

Good to see Del's still getting work.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


Well, that sucked, didn't it.

I'm, of course, talking about the Cubs embarrassing display in the playoffs.

Congratulations Alfonso Soriano, Dereck Lee and Aramis Ramirez.

You've really showed you deserve all that money. I'm amazed Aramis that you managed to go through the entire series without getting a single hit.

Between the Cubs and the Bears, we're having ourselves quite a year in Chicago, aren't we.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007



I'm a ball of nerves right now.

The Cubs first playoff game begins in 2 hours and I'm a ball of nerves.

I've read hundreds of articles about the playoffs and they're all scaring me.


Because most of the sports reporters and baseball experts are picking the Cubs to win!

Not just tonight....

Not just the first round of the playoff's...

Not just the National League Pennant...

They're picking the Cubs to win the World Series.

That's not good!

The Cubs are not front runners.

They're not the darlings of the media.

They're the underdogs.

You can't say the Cubs are going to win. You'll jinx it.

You have to hope the Cubs win. You have to wish for the Cubs to win. You have to beg, plead and fight for the Cubs to win. You have to pray, and pray hard, for the Cubs to win.

You cannot,
I repeat,

If you start doing that, you'll doom us all.

I'm not being pessimistic. I'm being realistic.

As a long suffering, die hard, Cub fan. I have learned the hard way that you cannot believe the Cubs are going to win until the last out is recorded.

Even if the Cubs are leading by 9 runs in the bottom of the 9th with two outs, I won't expect the Cubs to win until that last out is recorded.

Especially in the playoffs.

Here's why:

With all that said, I will be kneeling beside the TV in perpetual prayer this evening at 9pm. Hoping and wishing for the Cubs to win.

Go Cubs.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Moving sucks...

The move started several weeks ago.

Over the years I've moved many, many people and the thing that drives me the most crazy is when people aren't prepared for their move. I hate when I walk into the house or apartment and see that nothing is packed. The mover actually expects us to individually move each of their items one by one. To them it makes sense for us to carry a back massager in one hand and a roll of tape in the other.

So, I began packing everything up and putting it all in boxes a few weeks ago.

By Friday night, everything was packed and all I needed to do was paint the apartment. I had 2 people who were going to help me paint all the walls, but...both of them bailed.

So, I set about painting the apartment on my own while I listened to the Cubs game on the radio. I was motoring along until...

The Cubs Clinched the National League Central Division!!!

I had a lot of painting left to do, but I took a short break to walk over to the ballpark to celebrate with the rest of the Cubs fans. I ran into Cesar Jamie who is my equal when it comes to Cubs obsession. I was glad to see him on such a happy Cubs evening.I even stopped and bought a hat. Wow, I look really crazy in this picture. I must have caught Cubs Fever.

I happily strolled home and returned to painting the living room. I finished the living room at 2:00am. There were 2 more rooms left to paint, but I was too bushed to finish.

On Saturday I woke up early and went over to the new apartment to wait for my new bed and new TV to be delivered and for the ComCast installer to hook up the cable.

The TV and bed came fine.

ComCast did not.

Apparently, my new apartment is the only one in the building that isn't "cable ready". Of course.

ComCast sympathized with me and offered to come back and install the cable wires into my apartment at my earliest convenience. Unfortunately, my earliest convenience can't come until after October 22 because that is the soonest they can make a return trip. If that doesn't work, they'll be able to come back on November 2nd.

I laughed, handed the Comcast installer my cable boxes and canceled my service immediately. On the other end of the phone I could hear the operator yelling at the serviceman that under no circumstances could he allow me to cancel my service.

"Okay," he said. He lowered the phone, put his hand over the receiver and said to me, "She wants to know if you'd like to reconsider."

I laughed and shook my head. The installer put the phone back up to his ear and told the operator, "He said 'no'".

After that fiasco, I returned to the old apartment and was surprised to see that Jeannie had managed to corral 7 of her friends to assist in the move.

I on the other hand had 0 friends show up. Zilch. Nada. Zero. Even the ones who I've helped move 2 and 3 different times didn't show up.

As Elaine Benes said on Seinfeld, "Eh. I've really got to get some new friends. The ones I have suck as people."

They all had excuses and they planned them out well. 3 of them sent me text messages or voice mails several hours before the move began.

Here are those messages:

"My boss is making me drive him to Arlington Heights. It shouldn't be a problem though. What time should I be at your place?"

"My jerk manager just surprised me and told me that I may have to work a double shift today. Don't worry. Several people owe me favors so I'm positive that I won't have to do the double. Remind me again, what time is the big move?"

"My gout is killing my right fool. I'll be there after my noon improv class. 3:15-ish?"

As soon as I got their messages, I rolled my eyes and shook my head. They were firing warning shots across the bow announcing that they were going to bail.

At the time the moving was supposed to start, more messages followed:

"Man, I'm sorry. I'm stuck in Cubs traffic on the way back from Arlington Heights. I don't think I'm going to be able to get there for another couple of hours." (Bear in mind the Cubs game was in Cincinnati)

"Ugh. No one will work for me. I'm going to have work the double shift after all. My manager is a jerk. I'm sorry, dude."

"My class just ended. I can barely walk because of my gout. I'm not going to make it. I'm soooo sorry."


On the bright side, the folks Jeannie invited were great. We worked hard and got everything moved in under 2 hours.

They were great. I bought drinks and pizza for everyone and we ate and drank it in the new apartment.If my friends had showed up, they would have been dead weight. They would have been the type of people who make one trip up and down the stairs and start asking for water. While everyone else was moving boxes and furniture, my friends would have been the ones concentrating on the blankets and picture frames.

After the move was over, Jeannie and I went back to the old apartment and set out to finish painting and thoroughly cleaning all the rooms so that I get my full security deposit back.

While the move was fairly painless, the cleaning and painting was awful!! We didn't finish until 4am.


I stumbled back to the new apartment, navigated my way through the boxes and dropped down on to my new bed and fell asleep. Hard!

The next day I was so tired, I couldn't do anything but sit in my chair and watch football. I was so tired I couldn't even turn the channel during the Bears debacle.

I just sat there and wondered, how many years is it going to take me to unpack all these boxes.

And then the thought crossed my mind that if I just kept everything in the boxes, it sure would make my next move a lot easier.