And so it was

Stranded by Richard Mohler
Click images for desktop size: “Stranded” by Richard Mohler
It was a good Christmas.
We went out just before midnight. Ben, the little blind dog, my puppy, and me. We walked for about 40 minutes in the nice cold air.
We looked at lights and met two people. Its a pretty small town.
When Worlds Collide One was a gawky teen. He wasn’t dressed warmly enough, but he was dressed well. He looked like he’d just lost his girlfriend. He mumbled a reply to our Merry Christmas and Ben barked at him.
The other fellow we met was in shirt sleeves and hopping in his car. We Merry Christmased him and he looked startled and sort of waved back.
Its not that small a town.
When we got home all the dogs had their doggie style bread pudding. They wanted more.
Opening of presents was exciting for the puppies. Their eyes bugged out of their heads so far they looked more like some amphibian than dogs.
They killed all the toys post haste and clamoured for more treats.
It was good and felt like all Christmases should. Better than many a Christmas I’ve had.
Until my friend’s mother called. Her mother told her that the person who had hurt her most in this world was coming over for Christmas.
In my usual heavy fisted way I thought the only way to handle things was through confrontation.
I don’t always know what’s right for others. Only what’s right for me. And that’s what I would have done. I wouldn’t let people keep wounding me.
Until little Ben started to hack and tremble. I held him for about an hour and willed death away from him. I kept massaging him and heimliching him and just doing whatever I could.
We thought about calling the vet but knew that their solution would be to put him down. He’s blind and has allergies. He looks bad but he still enjoys life. He really does.
It was a hard decision, so it seemed best to just keep ministering to him.
Tiger Or Snake
Click images for desktop size: “Tiger Or Snake” by Evegny
With far less drama he just recovered. Hopped/fell off my lap, as is his custom, and everything was, tense, but fine.
He demanded some treats and went about his live, his nerves less frayed then ours.
We watched “The Bucket List”. It was okay with one superb line, “The last 3 months of his life were the best of mine.” It felt awfully contrived. Two good actors couldn’t quite pull off that stunt; to make it feel natural and flowing.
Then I watched “Body And Soul”, the stunning John Garfield boxing movie. That might seem an off choice for Christmas but I find the movies message of hope, self reliance and love completely apropos.
Finally we watched Judy Holiday’s “Born Yesterday”. She makes me laugh.
Earth vs The Flying Saucers Some where in there I had my traditional Christmas dinner. A 99 cent frozen thing.
It started in Texas when I shared it with my dog Ethel. It was a belak time and that dinner, that I couldn’t afford, seemed magical and wonderful.
After Ethel died it was a way to stay connected to the dog who chose me.
As my puppy and I shared it, it felt different this year.
I still haven’t sorted out the feelings. It reminded me deeply of that wonderful dog, but made me more keenly aware of the dogs here who love me, near as much as I love them.
I have to think about this more.
So Christmas isn’t over yet!
Its felt good and celebatory. Not raucously so. I haven’t been raucously so for a long time.

One thing I did was near completion of transfering the site to Movable Type.
Its nearly completed.
A lot of the chores were difficult. Getting the search function working was the hardest thing.
The most tedious part was correcting the errors caused by the export/import process.
I had to re-read a lot of my life in a very jumbled order.
That was okay.
I saw a lot of things I didn’t like. That’s okay too.

Merry Christmas

Louiville KY
Click images for desktop size: “Louisville Kentucky”
This is the one time of the year when you’re allowed to be sappy.
Even the hard guys are allowed to simper in their boiler makers and remember mom and the smell of nutmeg and cinnamon wafting from the kitchen, even if, especially if the kitchen never existed.
The living dead girls have to attitude twice as hard to prove themselves.
Superman Remember Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas Eve. He won his biggest battle by risking serenity to win freedom cause he knew what we all know: You can be broke, abused and downhearted and Christmas isn’t a cure for that, but its the time when miracles might happen. Might happen is enough.
My last story from Christmas past,
One summer I decided to work as a cowboy at a big ranch in Northern Montana, by the Blue Berry Mountains. Only because I always wanted to be a cowboy and just imagining being something was never enough for me.
They invited me back to have Christmas with them. I went.
The snow had drifted about 12 feet in spots. You drove through tunnels of snow. It was spectral. It was beautiful.
Christmas Eve I went with them to a Mennonite service. It was austere and moving in its way.
When we got back to the ranch I decided to take a ride. Everyone seemed to understand that. There was plenty of moonlight and the stars seemed close enough to the ground that you’d have to swat them away from your head like pesky flies.
The horse, a plug nosed roan plowed happily through the snow. It wanted the exercise.
Click images for desktop size: “Christmas Card – 2006”
We were in a paddock about 2 miles from the ranch house, admiring the endless sky, the hard line between heaven and earth and the silvery TV like glimmer of the snow, when I heard a calf bawling.
It was trapped in a gully filled with snow. The mother was bawling back at it but she wasn’t quite foolish enough to go in after it.
I got off the horse with a rope, wondering why the two of them were this far from where the cowboys had spread the hay. I dropped a rope on the calf and it thrashed about and managed to pull me into the little gully along with it.
It felt like I was going to drown in snow.
I struggled a little. Then relaxed humming Silent Night, I started to swim the snow until I got to a purchase and managed to pull myself to firmer snow . . .
DisneyComicI was sweating which meant I was going to get really cold soon. I crawled up the little slick snow hill and trailed the rope to its length. I got the horse over and we managed to pull the calf free.
When I was slipping the rope off its neck the mother cow tried to gore me . . . Last I saw of them was their tails swishing as they jogged away into the darkness.
I got back to the ranch house. The sweat had started to freeze up on me. The Ranch mom had waited up for me, keeping a hot cup of cocoa brewing.
I put the horse in the corral, tended to it, and was relieved and grateful for the warmth inside the house.
I drank the cocoa while she asked me what had happened.
I told her I dug a calf out of a gully, with no more elaboration.
“Silly beasts. Don’t let that keep you from having a Merry Christmas.”
The next day they gave me an expensive Black Stetson hat.
It was a good Christmas.
So I wish the same to all of you, my friends, the curious, the strangers:
Merry Christmas.

Everybody deserves

Merry Christmas
Click images for desktop size: “Merry Christmas”
I know a guy.
He was the sort of guy who shaves everyday with a straight razor.
He told me that, for two years he started each day staring in the mirror, waiting for the soap to soften his beard, He ran a little mantra over and over in his head: “I hate my life and I hate my wife.”
For two years . . .
He called me Christmas Eve 1986. He said he was out getting the final touches for Christmas and he couldn’t face the idea of going home again.
Elvis Presley GI Blues I don’t know why he called me. I listened and said what you’d be expected to say to a crying man on Christmas Eve.
He didn’t go home.
I saw him again.
Boxing Day 1996, in the Cologne Valley. We were at an American Football Tournament.
He recognized me. I wouldn’t have known him. He’d put on 30 pounds and had a scraggly beard.
The wife he left was a blonde with perfectly manufactured breasts and blonde hair that seemed to be made of rayon. She was 28 but to me she looked like she was 42 trying to look 22.
We get a lot like that in LA. I think its the sun and the fear and the worlds most physically attractive flocking in every day.
Anyway, he introduced me to his new wife. She was polynesian and had one of those names out of a boggle box, “Just call me Wren.”
Wren was about 5’2″ and weighed about 200 pounds. She looked solid as a nose tackle. She made me laugh.
This guy didn’t ask me about my life. He still had a lot of the straight razor shaver in him. He told me how happy he was now.
He did look happier.
He said he’d be in touch. But I never heard from him. I didn’t expect to.
We were different people.
All we had left in common between us was a Christmas from a period both if us wanted to forget.

The year before the black Christmas my friend and hair stylist played Power Golf. For the last time my little family had done Christmas morning and they’d gone back to bed. So I did a Christmas Morning Surf Trek. It was a sloppy day. Three foot and choppy, but it still felt good to hit the waves. It made for a cool Yulesville.

Christmas Card
Click images for desktop size: “Christmas Card -2006”
After that I met my buddy at the golf course. We were insane, you see.
Its kind of funny we were even friends. He used to run with the Billionaire Boys Club crowd and I, I was just a surfer. We were friends though.
We were well known for our slogan, “we wish of all of our friends success. (a beat) So they won’t borrow money from us.
Its not as cynical as it first seems, the assumption should be that we’d loan you the money.
Anyway we needed to play golf for business. We liked the game but found it slow so we invented our own rules.
Basically you carried your clubs on your back and ran to the ball after each stroke. There were penalties for being the last to sink your putt.
Harvey Giels (Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas) We made quite a sight I’d guess, on a sunny Christmas day, running all over the green fairways stopping just long enough to smash the ball and then pursuing it again.
That was the day my buddy asked me to be the best man at his wedding.

I gave my puppy a bath today.
She hates baths. She’s always so good but she still lets you know how she feels.
I like that and everything else about her.

This doesn’t have anything to do with the holiday.
I’m very happy with the new host. For one thing everything works. I did discover something alarming.
25,000 times a day various websites (mainly myspace and hi5) were hot linking to the images here. In the 6 days we’ve been on the new site we’ve used nearly 3 gig of bandwidth with a third of that going to people hot linking to here. I had to stop it because some of the sites I found to be alarming and I really don’t want anyone to think I approved.
Some of the sites were just dead.
I put up an error message, if they bother to look, so that when the image comes back as forbidden, they can see instructions on how to put the picture up on there site without forcing me to pay for extra bandwidth.
It seems petty of me but . . .

I have no religion. Celebrating Christmas; this time of year seems made for looking backHenry Koster

Christmas Wish 2003

Click images for desktop size: “Christmas Wish – Christmas Card 2003”
The first Christmas I remember: My mother and me. I woke up and under the tree on the kitchen table were five Mad Magazine paperback books and a magic set that had this horrid orange and blue doll made of hard plastic.
The doll came with a scimitar. Thanks to some whirligig secret gears and meshes you could pass the scimitar through the doll and the doll never fell in two.
A Christmas Carol Its the earliest Christmas I remember.
Its my best Christmas as a child that I remember.
I remember the stages of my life through Christmases. More than birthdays, I remember Christmas.
Some of the memories are movies or TV, some of its family but mostly its the people.
I remember being 7 and the crazy woman who lived in the crazy house with all the garbage n her front lawn. She yelled at us constantly because we were little hoodlums. If a ball went into her backyard it was gone forever. She was always going to call the police on us. I don’t think she ever did.
At Christmas she would dress up and sit on her front porch. By dressing up I mean that most of the time she wore a bath robe, or if out and about slacks and a T-Shirt. She was always alone. But around Christmas she would wear a worn red velvet dress and a green knit shawl, with an enamel broach of a Christmas tree.
She sat on her porch and when she saw us she would call us over. First time I saw her up close I was shocked that she wasn’t 120 years old. She was probably in her late 30’s. Its hard for a kid to judge an adults age and memory is always either too kind or too harsh.
She gave each of the kids a paper plate. Covered in plastic wrap was a hunk of green lime jello. Suspended in the jello were pieces of shredded cabbage and carrot.
I have no idea what the significance of it was, what it had to do with Christmas. Other than the fact that every Christmas Eve she would be out there making us take that lime green jello.
I only ate it once, the first time. It was terrible.
Christ Is Born 2005

Click images for desktop size: “Christ Is Born – Christmas Card 2005”
She used to tell us that Santa came to Southern California on rain drops because there wasn’t any snow.
I think she meant it to be consoling but it confused me then and confused me now.
She last told me that when I was 13 and I didn’t believe in Santa Claus anymore. I didn’t correct her.
Shortly after that Christmas and ambulance came to her house. She never came back and the trash and the garbage in her yard corroded and rusted.
Never thought about her much except for missing her at Christmas.
I’ve had some black Christmases and some of them that could only be happy.
I used to love out annual big Christmas Party. A couple hundred people and all the musicians making music. We taped it all and would play the tapes from last year until someone picked up a guitar and started to make new music this year.
Spaceman Discovers Christmas It was a wonderful fun that just grew and grew. Every year my wife and I were stunned at how each party got bigger and better with no more effort from us. People we didn’t know would show up and play. They’d tell us how they’d been wanting to come for years and were so glad they finally got to be here.
We felt good because we had so many loving friends and we had made them feel like a part of ourselves.
Then there weren’t anymore parties.
There were the Christmases with the dogs.
There was little Ethel, the dog who followed me home from the day labor joint.
I’d gotten a job to start in the New Year and we sat in my crummy one room and ate a 79 cent frozen Turkey dinner and laughed and she did tricks for me she hadn’t done before.
Because of her and because of hope it was one of the best Christmases of my new life.
Then there was the first Christmas with my puppy. Her first Christmas. I didn’t have much for her but her aunt and my friend sent us packages that filled the house with Christmas joy. They sent decorations and presents and our house was filled with as much rapture as a Dickensian Christmas dream.
My little puppy taught me to remember the joy and excitement and the peace that the season brings. Her friends reminded me that innocence, kindness, hope and love will always exist. Even if it comes on a paper plate of lime jello.
This is an unhidden Silly Song Silent Night by Eddie Bond and Dinky Duck. Its pretty stupid which means I like it plenty. It helps if you remember who Dinky Duck is.

They’re up here because they believe Vince Lombardi

A Christmas Carol - 2004

Click images for desktop size: “A Christmas Carol – Christmas Card 2004”
We went for a walk today.
Strike that.
We started out for a walk today when the largest dog managed to escape out the gate.
He refused to come when called so I had to chase him, except I still had my puppy and the little blind dog with me. All 3 of us ran after the big dog. We were game but the little one wore out. I had to scoop him up and carry him.
Bambi 1942 We had a bout a 10 minute chase with a couple of close calls but no damage done except to my temper. Until we got home and I realized that making the little blind boy run, even for only 50 yards was too tough on his cardio. He recovered but it was nerve racking for a while there. None of which improved my temper with the big guy. I got even though. I gave the big guy 5 grams less ice cream then everyone else got tonight!
We all have our own forms of discipline.

One of the purposes for the walk, other than health . . . was to ponder this weeks NFL games in the weekend of the “Silent Night”. Most of the games are, well, dogs! It makes them harder to pick as fewer teams have any reason to try. Its the holidays for them too and no matter how professional an athlete is its unique for a man to go out and want to destroy his brother in this time of peace when there is nothing to be gained for it but some weak pride.
I think they’ll all play to their abilities, for the most part, but there’ll be a fine edge that’s lacking which makes thing unpredictable. Then there’ll be some rookies getting some major game time and they’ll either collapse or explode with heart and enthusiasm. I think that this week is mainly guesswork and tossing a two headed coin.
As usual my picks are in bold.

Pittsburgh at St Louis – This ones already played. The Steelers won. I picked them but it was with no heart. The Steelers are not very good and I’d expect them not to go deep in the playoffs.

Dallas at Carolina – This is good medicine for the Cowboys who are not looking all that dominant at the moment. The Panthers are feeling a bit confident after their upset win last week but they don’t match up well enough against Dallas to have much of a chance. The score is Cowboys up 17-10 as I write this. This says more about the Cowboys in the playoffs then anything else.
Silver Bell 2006

Click images for desktop size: “Silver Bell – Christmas Card 2006”
Cleveland at Cincinnati – My heart ays pick the Bengals. My heart starves a lot. I’d like to see them get it together and stick it to the Browns but its the equation. The Browns are chasing the Steelers for the Division Championship. They’re not used to winning. The Bengals have nothing to win or lose except pride. A lot of their players have enough pride and talent to carry them but the attitude is hard to guess. Remember a few years ago when Chad Johnson scored a TD in week 16? He scored and ran to a pylon where he had a giant Christmas Stocking stashed, he opened it and started throwing gifts to the fans. I liked that a lot. They got to the play offs that year too . . .

Green Bay at Chicago – Last week the Bears were almost as embarrassing as the Vikings. They looked terrible, the Vikings only slightly less terrible. Bret Favre is still Bret Favre and want the home field advantage. He’s been there before and looks like a team of destiny. The Bears look like a team trying to remember how to play the game.
Houston at Indianapolis – This is one of those games where, if your a home town fan you might care. There’s almost nothing of real interest here except wondering how the Colts will handle Mario Williams.

Kansas City at Detroit – There’s a tremendous sadness in this game. Two teams who back in August looked at the world with bright eyes and expectant determination. The Lions looked ready to exorcise their demons. The Chiefs looked like well, they wee hopeful. This is one of the least important games of the weekend and its sad that it should be so.

New York Giants at Buffalo – The Giants look like a team willing to stumble into the playoffs expending minimal effort. The Bills aren’t quite out of it but are playing for something, like a dying city and a teammate who most thought, a few months ago, might be better off dead. The Giants are a slight favorite! Go Bills.

Oakland at Jacksonville – The only question I see here is whether the Jaguars can keep the score down. They have fire in their eyes and are not foolish enough to let that fire get away from them. The Raiders still have those snazzy uniforms.

Pattern Of Presents

Click images for desktop size: “Pattern Of Present ” by Unknown
Philadelphia at New Orleans – This is actually the game of the week. Sort of by default. As in most of the other games are sort of cruddy. Both teams have a little to play for. The Saints aren’t eliminated form the play offs . . . yet. The Eagles want to put together back to back strong games for contract time. I’m taking the Saints because of Dru Brees and home field.

Tampa Bay at San Francisco – At first blush a cruddy game of the week contender. But Frank Gore looked good for the 49ers last week. And, like it or not, the Buc’s are division champions. I don’t think Gore can repeat his performance against this defense, without him the 49er’s don’t have much.

Atlanta at Arizona – Here is the cruddy game of the week . . . well, both teams will show up and they both have well tailored uniforms . . . the Falcons’ gear is a bit prettier in my opinion. The Cardinals stuff seems to actually wrinkle and bunch up a lot . . .
Beatles Come To Town
Baltimore at Seattle – The Ravens beautiful performance against the Patriots was sure a one off. Seattle are trying to figure out how to win with less of a running game than even the Packers! And Hasslebeck is no Bret Favre! Still at home the Seahawks should win.

New York Jets at Tennessee – The Titans are struggling for a play off shot. They deserve it even with some bone head coaching they’ve shown fire and grit. The Jets have shown they are core losers. I’m only glad Eric Maginini doesn’t own Wilson (so he can’t take the ball and run home.)

Miami at New England – Now that the Dolphins actually won a game the glitter is off of this one. The weather will be poor but not so bad that Tom Brady can’t get back to throwing a few TD’s. I don’t see anyone on the Dolphins who can stop him so they must be praying for a freak blizzard.

Denver at San Diego – So the Chargers managed to stick one last week. They have already won my award for most disappointing team this season, even more disappointing than the Bears! (I mean who really thought the Bears would repeat this year with all their off season insane arrogant moves). he Broncos are in a tail spin but might find the weather nice enough to put forth a little effort.

Washington at Minnesota – My runner up game of the week. Two teams who (to the NFC’s embarrassment) are in the wild card chase. The Redskins looked bad last week. The Vikings looked abominable except for Adrian Peterson. I’ll go with a guy who can turn a busted play into a TD any time.

As usual my picks are for entertainment purposes only. Although if you die laughing I will not be held responsible.

And if you hadn’t noticed: Merry Christmas, Seasons Greetings, Happy Kwanzaa. And Peace on Earth, please.

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Santa's Workshop
Click images for desktop size: “Santa’s Workshop – Christmas Card 2005”
And suddenly everything is beginning to look alright.
Its not quite “Twas The Night Before Christmas” but its getting there and it feels enough like it to not matter.
Woody Woodpecker And isn’t that a part, a small part, of Christmas? That the grief and hatred and rage of the world can be overwhelmed?
My friend got her dream job.
Her pay cut will be more than I grossed last year . . . but its still her dream job. Doing something you believe in, using your skills to achieve a dream you’ve had, a dream that’s just not in her world but in all of ours.
Its the sort of dream that I wanted my kids to strive for. And she got it.

The new host is turning out to be pretty impressive. I’m not sure if that’s because the old host was disintegrating so badly that I’ve lost perspective or if Blue Host is really that good.
At dot5 the mysql server was dying so every time you did something that touched it the database would just corrupt all the more. Trust me; a busted database is something you just do not want.
They helped me fix it. I never expected that.
I still can’t run Movable Type 4.1 beta. And you know how it gnaws at me to not be running all the alpha and beta software that I can . . .
It will get fixed and I’ll have it sorted out soon enough. Yup.
Its that kind of day.
Everything seems possible.
Its coming up Christmas.
Napping By The Fire - 2004
Click images for desktop size: “Napping By The Fire – Christmas Card 2004”
There are parts of myself I don’t like.
I am conceited so that might surprise you.
Parts of me I don’t like!
But its so.
During this mini-crisis I was afraid of it.
I’d figure some of you have seen it.
I’m not every in touch with my human side (lets not even waster time talking about feminine side!).
It manifests itself when things get bad. I start to lock down and prepare to do nothing else except endure.
I disconnect from physical and emotional sensations. I go off of pure intellect and rage.
Its my survival mode.
It doesn’t make it pleasant to be around me.
Wizard Of OzI’m into the mode so it doesn’t impact me much at all except for hating the lack of feelings, while thinking this is the only way to make it through.
Through all of this recent spate I’ve noticed that I didn’t fall into that mode automatically. For me that’s a big step; not just waking up and being in that monstrous mode.
And then I never really fell into it. Yeah, I had to fight it some, but not enough to want a cashiers check for.
I think its my puppy. She has demands and some needs. She keeps me sane.
I think its my friends. They need caring for to struggle on too.
Its probably a combination of all of these things and a lot of things I don’t even know exist.

The Pittsburgh – St Louis game is on TV. I picked the Steelers although I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Rams beat them.

If you can hear this

Merry Christmas If you’re reading this it means that you’re at the new hosting site and your name servers have migrated!
I was looking at the old traffic meter I kept and it’s apparent that the old host had been dying for months and months.
Here everything just feels zippy!
I’m glad you found us again . . .
Comic Cavalcade Today was just a day of waiting. Me: I waited for the old Registrar to release the domain name. My friend had a bit more difficult time. She was waiting for her dream job to call.
No real reason to expect them to, except that each of her references would call her after they spoke to her dream job and they indicated they would probably make a job offer today.
No phone call.
She (and I for that matter) would be disappointed but would accept not hearing from them. I still stir up a lot of anger towards her jerk ex-employers. I have nothing but bad feelings towards them and it codifies all the bad I had felt about them previously only in a more grotesque gargantuan form.
There’s still tomorrow.

It was warmer today, which was justification to not finish all the snow shovelling . . . it justified it to me anyway.
My back is feeling about 90% right now but my right shoulder is cramping up.
We went for a walk, the blind puppy, my puppy and I. They rejoiced in the warmer weather and the sight of kids having snow ball fights and sliding around in the slush.
It felt like Christmas was really almost here.

Its time we said goodbye

Wild About Christmas
Click images for desktop size: “Wild About Christmas – Christmas Card 2005”

This will be my last post on Dot5hosting.
I’m not thrilled about that but it was becoming impossible. It took three hours of holding and 9 hours of waiting for “Live Chat” to find out how to transfer my domain . . . and they lied to me the first time . . . Its sorted now.
It Happened One Night I’ll be putting through the name change as soon as I finish here. They say it will take 24-48 hours to “propogate” and then, like magic, you’ll be at the new host.
It should be invisible to everyone out there.
Its 9 bucks a month with the new hosting service until I decide I’m staying with it. I can’t affordd it but the kids reading my puppy’s site are worth more than that.
It will warm me on Christmas, for sure.

If I needed affirmation that it was time to move I got it. The server is down . . . at least it gave me the time to add on this little lobby card . . .

This is fascinating. Tucows, who I always thought of as an online software reseller, are the Registrars of my domain name. They are as bad as dot5hosting! My domain isn’t being released to point to the new server. No reason, just apathy, I guess. It’s not moving . . . Law says they have 7 BUSINESS days to release it . . . it is usually done on an automated system but Tucows likes to hold on to them . . . I can imagine some ugly fiscal reasons for this, but I suspect its really just not caring.

Could you hand me the left handed monkey wrench?

Christmas Advert 1972
Click images for desktop size: “Christmas Advert 1972” by Coca Cola
Just got the new water heater. Two hours (approx) to a hot shower!
No headaches from washing my hair in cold water. I think that’s a pretty good thing.
Bugs Bunny Christmas Yesterday, aside from watching some modestly enjoyable football, I worked on updating the site, prepping for the move to Movable Type.
The hosting service is becoming totally aggravating. I’ve been using them for 2 and a half years. I picked them because Dot5 Hosting was and still is the cheapest hosting service out there. Domain registration and service is about seventy bucks a year!
At first they were adequate. They had fits and outages, but they remained barely adequate.
This year I debated about moving to another service but they were talking about getting new servers in and updating things. Mainly its just such a chore backing up the data bases, reinstalling, downloading the whole site, then reinstalling it, then figuring out why it doesn’t work etc etc.
In the last 7 months the service has been horrendous! Coming from a background of free servers, well it was worse than that. Customer service got moved to India . . . so where I used to be able to call or do an online chat and ask the guy to reboot the server now I have someone giving me answers out of a book until they don’t understand what I’m talking about.
They pass me off to a Senior Tech . . . which means I get an email a couple days later and nothing changes or gets fixed.
I was trying to live with the service. I spent a lot of time converting everything to Movable Type.
Movable Type works by using perl to create an html page. Html pages load faster than php. It puts less strain on the server.
Movable Type normally generates the pages in about .015 seconds per page. I had about 500 pages to generate. On free servers it could take about 10 minutes! On my wonky service it took about 32 hours. And it had to be monitored becasue it would suddenly fail.
Santas Treats - Christmas Card 2005
Click images for desktop size: “Santa’s Treats – Christmas Card 2006”
I’ve decided to change hosting services . . .
This wouldn’t be so bad if I were getting paid for it . . .
I guess you’re worth it.
Sure you are.
The page your looking at is Movable Type. I hope you noticed that it loaded really really fast!
There’s still some glitches and cosmetic things I have to sort out. I’m putting in the links one at a time . . . I know that’s important to a lot of people. I’ll try and get to them . . .
It was my original plan to make the move around Christmas, maybe even on to a new server! But the database for WordPress got corrupted. I had a back up!!! Which is close to miraculous . . . for me anyway.
Hopefully all of this will be invisible to you. It won’t affect my puppy’s blog at all.
Flash Gordon 1938 Her blog is important. A lot of kids sem to love her. They at least write to her.
That’s important to me.

Onto to football. The games were poor but the scores were exciting. I loved seeing Philadelphia rise up angry, and seeing the Redskins make a strong stand behind the old discarded veteran is engaging theater. I went 10-5 and managed to rise up to 1,793. 14 points out of first place with two weeks to go . . . and I’m optimistic . . .

There was an amazing amount of snow yesterday and last night. I am becoming an expert snow shovellor . . . No, really!
I even hurt myself badly today. Just my back killing me. I had to clear the driveway so the hot water heater guys could come in. I was having fun until I hurt myself. I was singing Christmas songs and I’m sure I was being a neighborhood nuisance. Why people don’t want to hear an acapella doo wop version of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer with exertion grunts in rhythm escapes me.
No one complained, if they had I would try and teach them the harmony parts or let them sing lead while I did the harmony.
No one does harmony anymore. Maybe they’ve heard me sing . . .
All else is well.
I think there’s enough hot water for me to take a shower.
Some of you might say I even need one.
That would be unkind.

Sometimes I just don’t get it. And then I do.

Christmas Card 2005
Click images for desktop size: “Christmas Card 2005” by Unknown
It’s colder than I’m used to. I can only think of a few times when I’ve ever been colder.
THose times I was places where it was foolish to expect it to be anything but freezing.
Maybe that’s the way it is here too.
New Adventures Of Batman And Robin A while ago I came back from Europe and went to Texas. Too complicated to explain why Texas. It was he place I thought I had to be.
One of the reasons I was glad to be returning to America was that I had seen the rights of people, of workers and children stomped on. It was a disgrace.
I never figured that the European Employers had either decided to follow the American lead or if the US Government had decided that people were no longer as important as corporations. Workers not as necessary as stock holders . . .
By trusting in people and trusting in the law I got myself into the worst hell of my life.
Where do you go when they tell you that you’re right but no money comes in the window while the landlord pounds on the door?
Its sad because my friend is in the same situation. A wrongful termination by a failing company. They owe her money but they’re not going to pay so that they can save themselves her “golden parachute”, which wasn’t all that golden.
And the strength of it is that they are going to make her go the whole ten yards and sue them. The logic is simple: They’ll either settle before judgement or they’ll be out of business.
Nice guys. Businessmen.
There’s no escaping them.
Merry Xmas.
Tomorrow my puppy goes for her level 2 Obedience certificate. She needs 6 points from her Down Stay.
She doesn’t like to lie down. I realized that she never has and I got her to do it for her Therapy dog training by making it a game. Its compounded now because she views the down command as another word for PLAYTIME!
Its my fault . . . the children always pay for the sins of the father.
Christmas Card 2006
Click images for desktop size: “Christmas Card 2006” by Unknown
Its not terribly important that she pass or get a certificate. Its only important for her self esteem . . . ??? Okay, I’d be proud if she got the Certificate because it comes with a red ribbon she can beat up!

And now . . . THE NFL!
No matter how many water heaters or appliances die around me that no one can afford to replace I always keep my priorities straight.

Last week I was 14-2, which sounds pretty good but actually dumped me all the way down to 2,393rd place! With 3 weeks to go it is daunting, but I’ll have fun anyway. Strangely I’m not mathematically eliminated . . .
As usual my picks are in Bold.

Le Samourai Denver at Houston – I picked Houston as there defense has been coming on stronger and stronger while their running game has reached its peak, which os good – not great. The Bears proved last year that a good defense and good running game can take you places. Denver is falling apart. They should win one or maybe two games but they’re done this year.

Cincinnati at San Francisco – The Bengals are a much better team than their record shows. If they had a line backer survive the first month of the season or anything resembling a defense they’d be contenders. The 49er’s remain suspect. But, as I write this they trail the Bengals by 3, 10-7! So who knows. Nah. They’ll lose. Frank Gore is not good enough to carry this team.

Arizona at New Orleans – Two teams playing out the string when all they really want to do is go home and dream of next year. I give the nod to the Saints because Drew Brees is playing for more than a contract. He’s got a chip on his shoulder and the talent to make doubters pay.

Atlanta at Tampa Bay – What else bad could happen to the Falcons. I feel for them and know what they’re going through. Not enough to pick them but . . . other teams have had sudden coaching teams and come out and played inspired football . . . just not often against a decent team that is trying to lock down a play off spot. It would be beautiful if it happened though. Just beautiful.
Christmas Card 2004
Click images for desktop size: “Christmas Card 2004” by Unknown

Baltimore at Miami – I’m telling you the Dolphins are the most feared team in football right now. No one wants to be the guys they beat. The Dolphins are even bringing in the 35th Anniversary team – the perfect team – to help rally them. Still, the Ravens have been snake bit the last two weeks. They should get better here. And if the Dolphins lose and the Patriots win (they should) history will be made next week when a 14-0 team meets an 0-14 team. The universe needs that sort of balance.

Buffalo at Cleveland – The Game Of The Week by far! I’m taking The Browns because of home field advantage, mostly. But its a game on the cusp, I think. And I’ll get it on TV . . . which is something good.

Green Bay at St Louis – The Rams aren’t as bad as their record but the Packers and Favre have the look of a team wanting to make history. I want them to make history!

Osmosis Jones Jacksonville at Pittsburgh – I’m surprised the Steelers are so heavily favored here. I guess the logic is home field advantage and their recent 1-3 spat will send them on the field angry. My instincts are that the Jaguars could make this a rout but will get dizzy and let the Steelers keep it close. My runner-up game of the week. I won’t get this on TV . . .

New York Jets at New England – I see football as sport and art. There’s not much difference to me between ballet and a wide receiver, between a boxer and a down line man, between a back and an opera star. Except nobody belittles you if you say you don’t like football. The Patriots are looking like magic. Billichik has the whole Spy-Gate fiasco to fire up his team. Pity the Jets.

Seattle at Carolina – The Seahawks are working hard to make people believe they belong in the play offs. The Panthers don’t have enough talent to convince them other wise.

Tennessee at Kansas City – I almost feel sorry for the Chiefs. If Vince Young would stop worrying about stats and just play his game this could be a rout. Their defense is better with Haynesworth even at 50% and their running game is a wonderful thing. The Chiefs are just looking to avoid the off season cull,

Indianapolis at Oakland – Since the Raiders have already conceded the game when they guaranteed time for rookie Jackson at QB how could anyone pick them. Peyton Manning has a rep as a great guy but do you notice the blood in his eye at game time?

Detroit at San Diego – I feel sorry for the Lions. They worked so hard all season and especially last week. I hope they all get a chance to return as a team and try again next year, avoiding the pot holes. The Chargers are a disappointment, especially Philip Rivers and even Tomlinson has not looked good. Without Shawn Merriman as creaky defense got worse but they should still have enough to squeak by the disappointed Lions.

Philadelphia at Dallas – Boring game of the week. There’s no magic left in the Eagles. They may get crazy and shock the Cowboys but not in Dallas.

Nell McAndrew
Click images for desktop size: “Nell McAndrew”
Chicago at Minnesota – The Bears are going with Kyle Orton . . . Adrian Peterson is healthy. I’m looking forward to the Vikings making the playoffs. Aside from the Cowboys and Packers the pool is so weak they could get deep into it.

Washington at New York Giants – This is my cruddy game of the week. Both teams confuse and confound me but not in any pleasant way. Neither of them are playing good football. I’m taking the Giants because they always seem to play just well enough to save Tom Coughlin’s job.

As usual using these picks for any reason than to admire my insanity is just plain silly!