Saturday, December 31, 2005

Meme mimicry

Nik started this, David picked it up, Joe contributed, so I guess it's the in thing to do.

Four jobs you've had in your life: 1st job - working at a print shop, 2nd job - swimming pool lifeguard, 3rd job - Radio Shack crap pusher, 4th job - Ad layout for the New Albany Gazette

Four movies you could watch over and over: "Star Wars," "Snatch," Fight Club," Room With a View"

Four places you've lived: Anniston, Ala.; Oxford, Miss.; Pontotoc, Miss., Natchez, Miss.

Four TV shows you love to watch: "My Name Is Earl," "Medium," "The Young Ones," "Pete and Pete"

Four places you've been on vacation: Monticello, Miss.; Washington, DC; Orange Beach, Ala.; Rome, Italy

Four websites you visit daily: ATW, Spatula Forum, CNN, NYT

Four of your favorite foods: Red beans and rice, my grandmother's turkey and dressing, my grandmother's fruitcake, and, currently, Qdoba. I just can't get enough of it for some reason.

Four places you'd rather be: David struggled with this one, and so am I. Right now, at this stage in my life, I'm very happy. But if I had to choose, it would be somewhere with Christina. Somewhere warm like the beach. Or maybe somewhere cold, but festive, like Memphis on New Year's Eve. Then again, Oxford's always a good choice. That's only three. Hmm. How about behind the wheel of my AC Cobra at Barber Racecourse. Yeah.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The POY toy

Time Magazine is currently promoting its upcoming Person of the Year (POY) award. One of their promotions is a chance for you to be POY over Times Square. All you need do is submit a photo of yourself or someone you love (or I guess someone you hate who is wanted by federal authorities). If your photo is selected, Time will email you back with a photo of your picture above Times square.

Christina and I were persons of the year Saturday morning around 12:19 a.m.

I'd love to see others do this too.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Animal control

Our house has an amazing gadget. It's a Domestic Animal Control Device. It works like this. If you want your domesticated animals fully alert and active, you set the guage near 100. If you want them calm and cuddly, set it around 60. The animals just love curling up with us on the couch and, amazingly, each other. They're so cute when they aren't shredding the rug or chasing each other around or chewing on the plants.

As if you needed another reason not to buy a Ford

After a boycott by the American Family Association (yes, based in Tupelo, Mississipp, only 10 miles from my hometown) Ford has agreed to pull almost all its advertising from gay and lesbian-targeted media. Apparently the executives at Ford agree with AFA Head Donald Wildmon and God that gays are an abomination and therefore shouldn't drive Ford branded vehicles. Except Volvo. Volvo (which, if you didn't know, was bought by Ford a few years ago) will continue to target gays and lesbians. I guess it's considered a liberal enough brand that a few gay buyers won't hurt the image.

Has Ford looked at its image lately? Has it looked at its sales numbers lately? Ford is currently planning to shut down as many as 10 plants and get rid of 30,000 workers. If I were in charge of their advertising, I'd be targeting anyone with a driver's license and $150 a month to make a lease payment.

Good luck Ford! I hope there are enough right-wing conservative Christians out there who need new 10 mpg SUVS to keep those remaining factories humming.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Merry happy Kwanhanukamas holiday! And a happy New Festivus

Sometimes, just for fun, I listen to conservative talk radio.

It always, no matter the topic, gets me enraged. Which is great if I'm travelling a long way and get sleepy. Wakes me right up.

But, yesterday, I was on my way to work and listening to a local right-leaning talk radio station. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the show. But they were discussing Christmas. Specifically, Wal-Mart's alleged mandate to its employees not to say "Merry Christmas" to its customers.

According to the show hosts, Wal-Mart was trying to be all-inclusive to its varied customers and their many religions and backgrounds. I can understand why a business would want to do that. And, suprisingly, the show host agreed with me. Why alienate customers? If you're in the money-making business, you don't make money by pissing off your customers.

What surprised me was the host's next statement. He wasn't upset about the ban on "Merry Christmas" (Which, by the way isn't even true. Check out this story.). He was bothered by the fact Wal-Mart's current ad campaign was "Home for the Holidays," instead of "Home for Christmas." He was outraged that a national retail chain would choose to slight the most major of Christian holidays. And I think his views are colored by this Fox News' commentator John Gibson's book, "The War on Christmas."

But wait.

I thought Christians were sick and tired of the commercialization of Christmas. I thought it was about the birth of Jesus.

So now that Wal-Mart has agreed with the Christians and taken Christmas out of its advertising, the Christians feel left out and want back in?

Ok. Now I'm really confused.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Giving Thanks (Getting Seconds and Thirds)

It's over the hills and through the woods, to (Grand)mother's house we go. Christina, Baby T and I are off to Pontotoc for Thanksgiving where we expect to eat much more wonderfully home-cooked food than we deserve.

I hope everyone reading this (and several others, too) have an equally enjoyable Thanksgiving. Looking back on the year, we all have much to be thankful for.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Baby News

We had our latest ultrasound Monday afternoon.

The doctor says everything is right on target. Mom and Baby T are at the exact weight and size they should be.

And, we found out the sex.

But we're not telling. =)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Monday Music II

Yes, I know. I promised weekly music. Well, I lied. Be happy for the music I do provide. =)

I know songwriters are influenced by their backgrounds and their environments. But I think music has a way of carrying all that with it to the listener. Like how the smell of turnip greens cooking reminds me of my grandmother's house. Or how a R.L. Burnside song reminds me somehow of northeast Mississippi. Or how a Charlie Mars song soars to the top of the iPod's most-played list.

I'm sure someone (probably Joe) has heard of Mr. Mars, but he's new to me. I got his song, "Try So Hard" from my favorite source, Filter Magazine.. It actually came off their winter compilation CD and has sat in our iPod for months. For some reason the Pod decided to play it for me the other day and it stuck.

Why did it stick? Well, it's a catchy tune. Kind of Bruce Springsteen meets Goo Goo Dolls. Maybe not Springsteen (odd, just now checked out the ITMS page on Mars and it too compares him with The Boss). But the lyrics are somewhat philosophical with the opening line, "Bless me father I have sinned and I will sin again. For the weight of this unholy ghost I'm living in." And my favorite line is, "I've been thinking you've been thinking you want to hear some truth. The truth is I'm so damn good at lying... here with you."

So, good backup band, well-written lyrics add up to a song good enough to recommend here to my bestest friends. But I figured I should get to know the artist a bit better before I write about him. Googling sends me to his website where his bio states, "Charlie currently lives in Oxford, Mississippi, and motels across America."

And somehow Charlie Mars' song has travelled from Oxford, Miss. to a Los Angeles magazine, to Birmingham, Ala. then through me to Mississippi.

(Editor's note: Christina reminded me Charlie Mars used to play around Jackson all the time while we were there. So maybe it's not such a cosmic connection after all. Oh well. Faulty memory is always providing little surprises like that.)

Hacker Heresy

Ha ha! Roy Moore. done went and got hisself hacked. Just gloating a bit. That's all.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Birthday BS?

I usually find these type things full of BS, but, um, this is pretty close...

Your Birthdate: May 28

You have a Type A personality so big it makes other Type A's shrink away in shame.
You never shy away from adversity - and you love to tackle impossible problems.
Failure is not an option for you, and more than a few people are put off by your ego.
You tend to be controlling, and you hate leaving anything up to chance.

Your strength: Your bold approach to life

Your weakness: You don't accept help

Your power color: Bronze

Your power symbol: Pyramid

Your power month: October

Except the bronze thing. Bronze? Ugh.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Clean Cats

Our cat, Callie, has some issues with hygiene. So we washed her.

Turns out, washing a cat is far easier than drying. We got her out of the washing machine and haven't been able to catch her yet. She's ok, cause we keep seeing soggy little paw prints all over the house. Anyone got tips on how to get a washed cat dry?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Anniversarial Bliss

Yep. One year and a few days and I must say I've never been happier.

Thanks for a great year, Christina. You're a wonderful wife and an absolutely great friend. I look forward to the next 60 years with you.

My parents treated us to a stay in Gatlinburg. I'm a little late in posting, but thought I'd share nonetheless.

I had totally forgotten about it, but Christina had saved the top of our wedding cake and we ate it on our anniversary (which was Oct. 23, btw). I was amazed at how well it kept.

On our way back to Bham, we took several side trips, one of which was to Rock City. A very kitschy, but fun, time. Before that, though we toured the Biltmore in Asheville, NC, which is at the extreme opposite end of kitsch.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Hot stuff in the kitchen

Here's another look at my barefoot and pregnant costume. I just think this is hilarious.

Halloween Hijinks

For the past five years (excluding 2004 because of a little wedding we did instead) Christina and I have thrown a Halloween party. It's a big deal to us and we really enjoy seeing the costumes our creative friends devise.

This year did not disappoint. In attendance, we had Prince, J. Edgar Hoover (in drag no less), a devil in disguise, Alex de Large from Clockwork Orange, a pothead, an iPod commercial dancer, Mr. Clean, Deb and Napoleon from Napoleon Dynamite, and a CIA dolphin that escaped during Hurricane Katrina. Christina and I were barefoot and pregnant. And Enzo was a hotdog.

We're looking forward to next Halloween when we'll have at least one more person than in past years.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


This is just too good not to post. And you can get it here.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Musical Monday

I've been meaning to introduce even more new music here, but I've had so many to sort through lately, it's been tough to decide what deserves attention. And I think I'll try to make this a regular Monday posting. But don't count on it.

This week's song is "Casimir Pulaski Day" by Sufjan Stephens. As usual, it's availalbe for free download at Filter Magazine. See, those 83 songs I downloaded from those guys at Filter have totally taken over the iPod. I play nothing but them now. It's like my own alternative alternative radio station.

Anyway, Sufjan Stevens. "Casimir Pulaski Day." Horns. Banjos. A story about a friend's death. A song named after a holiday for a Polish Revolutionary War hero. It's been a long time since I've allowed myself to like a sad song. Some Tori Amos song off "Little Earthquakes" was probably the last. But this is not Tori. I can't really say what it is. Who else puts banjos and horns behind a ballad about cancer?

He recently did an interview and a song or two on KCRW (a great radio station in Santa Monica, California. It sounds like he's just as good live as recorded.

It's one of my favorites lately and I'll be interested to hear your opinions.


When I first moved to Birmingham from Mississipppi, I knew no one. My girlfriend, Christina, (we weren't even engaged at the time) was still in Jackson. So I was overjoyed when I was invited to go out for sushi with a bunch of News staffers one Thursday night after deadline.

One of those staffers was Vivi Abrams. And she has been one of mine and Christina's good friends ever since. And Thursday night sushi became a weekly tradition.

Today, she pointed her (very) loaded down U-Haul toward Atlanta and drove off. I snapped this as she was pulling away from her house.

Vivi, you'll be missed in Bham. We all hope Atlanta is where you find your future. But we also hope you not only come visit, but that you find a house big enough to let us crash at your place.

Friday, October 07, 2005

That's a wrap!

Those were the words we all longed to hear last night about 6 p.m. in Talladega. After six days of shooting (three for me), the extras were tired, grumpy and ready to go home. But director Adam McKay had another plan. More shooting. So we extras continued to stand around waving our arms and pumping our fists.

Slowly the more tired extras sneaked off back to the holding area for snacks, water and a comfy chair. And that's why I think Wade Kwon (he accompanied me Wed.) and I might actually get on screen in this movie. Or at least a foot or hand or something. The few of us left were looking right in the camera.

I'm looking forward to seeing this film and pointing out how many times certain people show up as different characters in the background. There were so few extras by day three several were being asked to change clothes multiple times to fit different needs in the filming.

This was a very fun experience and I'm glad I did it, but 11 hours of sleep last night were welcome. The next time your area is host to a big production like this, I encourage you to help out at least one day. It's worth the time and sleeplessness.

Here are a few photos. Not only were we in a bad spot for good shots, my camera refused to cooperate. But I got a few..

This is Will Ferrell heading to the winner's circle...

This is Sacha Cohen and Andy Richter...

Sacha Cohen...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Movie Magic

Or maybe it should be called Movie Mishmash. After a full day (no, literally a full day from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.) within the hallowed banked walls of Talladega International Speedway working on a big-budget motion picture, I don't see how a watchable product comes out of the cinematic chaos.

We probably spent about 3 hours actually filming and about 12 hours sitting around waiting. So it was sometimes frustrating, but a fun process to watch.

We got to see Will Ferrell fairly close and Michael Clarke Duncan pretty well. Duncan walked past me taking off his shirt after a scene was shot. That man is HUGE. His arms were about as big around as my head. The man looked like a tree trunk with legs.

Anyway, I took a bunch of pictures, but I don't know the legality of posting most of them. So I'll just give a taste. This shot is of Christina and I in front of the Laughing Clown Malt Liquor truck. Will Ferrell's character is a member of the pit crew for this team until the driver quits. Ferrell jumps into the car and becomes a race car driver.

His nemesis is Jean Girard played by Sacha Baron Cohen (of Ali G fame). Girard is a French race car driver sponsored by Perrier. Got pics of his car too, but Cohen wasn't on the set today.


Christina and I begin filming today with Will Ferrell's crew in Talladega on "High, Wide and Handsome."

It's now 4:30 a.m. Tuesday and we have to be in Dega in an hour.

I usually go to bed at this hour.

I'll try to post later tonight when we get home to give details on the day's shoot.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Fast news

I've been reading car magazines (Christina calls it automotive porn) since I was like 12. At one time, I think I subscribed to at least three. I've always been fascinated by them.

But lately I'd been feeling rather jaded toward cars. It seemed like every automotive trick had been played. I was bored with 'em.

Until this week's Autoweek. Oh god. They drive the Bugatti Veyron.

Sure, Volkswagen (they own the Bugatti name) has been crowing about this car for years. Promising 1,000 horsepower. 200+ mph. Cost over $1 million. etc etc. But they had some bugs to work out for the last two years.

Well, according to Autoweek , bugs are gone. Way gone.

Raw numbers?
16 cylinder, 8.0 liter engine
997 Horsepower
0-62 in 2.5 seconds
250 mph top speed
$1.2 million
And it's absolutely gorgeous.

To put that in perspective, the latest Corvette seems like a total econocar. The Vette's 8 cylinder engine has only 400 hp, does 0-62 in 4.3 seconds and has a top speed more like 180 mph. And only cost $45,000. A bargain.

I think I can honestly say that my automotive excitement is back.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Good news travels slowly?

So we are slowly telling friends and family about our soon-to-be delivered package.

Why not shout it from the rooftops? Hmmm. Dunno. We definitely are quite excited and look forward to parenthood. So why not tell everyone we know?

I guess one reason is to surprise folks with the news. Let them discover it themselves.

I sent my friend David a link to this blog with the ultrasound photo. It sat in his email inbox for a couple of days. At my prodding he finally visited and learned our secret.

So then I asked him to post a poll on his blog ( asking what name we should give our baby. The choices were, of course, Apple, Newton, Lisa, Steve and Steve. Several of my college-days friends frequent his blog and I figured it would take only a few hours for the word to spread.

A few hours later, several people had voted. Not one questioned the reason for the poll. And at least three of the blogs' regular posters were at one time journalists. Amazing.

But they did finally figure it out and congratulated us.

Maggie and Baker have been planning a wine and cheese party for months. It was Saturday night. I had to work, but Christina showed up with some nice parmesan and a vintage bottle of sparkling grape juice. And that's when Maggie and Baker found out. Well, found out for sure. They say they've been suspicious for a while. Several other friends got confirmation that night too.

So I guess the only folks left to tell are friend and co-workers and Joey. I sent Joey a link to this blog a week ago. But he's somewhat of an email newbie. Guess I'll have to call.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

News promised, news delivered

Back a few weeks ago I revived my blogging after a year's absence. At that time I promised to have news to share. Well, I indeed have news.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Work: Widescreen version

This is my first effort at panorama photography. I think I still have some to learn about perspective.

What it shows is my office from my Comfortmatic Office Chair©. My wife normally sits behind me and Echeevo on the other side. Dunno where they were at the time photos were taken.

If anyone has tips on how to improve this, I'd appreciate them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Very cool

I am a lover of retro design. Whether it be the real thing (my unnatural love for the 1956 Chevy Nomad) or for new-retro design (like my 2002 PT Cruiser) chrome-laden aerodynamic rocket-age inspired products from our past are just cool.
My dad has owned a 50s era General Motors refrigerator for years. It resides in the garage and holds drinks of all sorts (including my beer when I visit) and has run flawlessly since its resurrection about 12 years ago. I have to admit coveting that fridge from time to time.
If I had the room for another chiller, I might just write him check for it. But I imagine it's not all that efficient or environmentally friendly (much like automobiles of the same age).
So maybe this is for me.
For $3,000 I can have the retro-designed fridge I covet with the modern guts my practical side needs. It's available from Big Chill in 10 colors including Pink Lemonade, Orange (yes, just orange) and Beach Blue. My favs are Black and Cherry Red.

New Music

An earlier post mentioned my mining of several new songs from Filter Magazine. I promised more on that topic, so here goes.
One of the songs offered for download there is "What I Say and What I Mean" by The Like. The first time I heard the song offered at Filter I instantly though of Berlin's, "The Metro." All minor chords and female vocals.
Give it a listen, see what you think. If you like The Like, they are scheduled to play B&A Warehouse in Bham Oct. 13. It's a Thursday night, so I just might be able to go.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Talking to God

de Cheevo tonight asked me to re-burn a CD for her. I mixed up a batch of our favorite odd songs and gave it to her a couple of weeks ago. Apparently she liked it and after losing it wants a replacement. I have a feeling it's for a particular Bright Eyes song, though. And I can't blame her, really. It's a wittily written anti-Bush song that I too call a favorite.

We got it free from iTunes (go Steve!), and so can you. It's still a freebie. Just follow this link:

Friday, September 02, 2005

I got the blues

Mississippi bluesman R.L. Burnside died yesterday, Sept. 1. He was 78. I am ashamed to say I know little about him other than his music was the basic, primal voice of a poor, rural Mississippi that captured the ears of many in the last few years, including mine.

I urge you to check out for his music. That label is out of Oxford, Miss. and is doing its best to round up the last of the Mississippi bluesmen for posterity. They caught R.L. just in time and have several of his albums, including, "Ass Pocket of Whiskey." Also, iTunes has 150 of his songs for sale, just do a search for Burnside.

Our iPod is full of his music, including titles like, "My Name is Robert Too" featuring Kid Rock, "Shake 'em On Down" and one of my favorites, "Stole My Check" where he repeats the line, "That lazy motherfucker stole my check. And I want it back."

One of R.L.'s albums was called, "Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down." I hope you made it R.L.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Music stash

Just a quickie. I "discovered" this huge cache of free, uncommercialized music for download.

I grabbed about 85 songs off it and most are quite good.

I'll go into depth later about some of my favorites, but check it out for yourself first. I gotta get some sleep before 7 a.m. rolls around.

Friday, August 26, 2005

soundboard de cheevo

So, uh, hi. Remember me? Abnormal Aspirations, cars, rants, etc? Yeah, me. Um. Hi. Sorry I didn't call. Or write. Or, uh, well, anyway. How ya been?

You see, uh, I've been busy. With, uh, stuff. Yeah, stuff.

1. Got married

2. Bought a house

3. Bought a lawnmower

4. Bought a washer and dryer worth more than my first car (not saying much, actually)

So if that doesn't launch me into adulthood I don't know what will.

But this entry is meant to remedy a festering situation brought to my attention by my friend echeevo. That situation would be the lack of blog entries since September, 2004. Ouch.

But, hey, I think I have a few good excuses (see list, above).

So while there is still an absence of good blogging here, go check out echeevo's site. She'll keep ya entertained.

And I promise news soon. ;)