Saturday, July 30, 2005

Fred Isn't Just My Father's Name...

I had a fantastic experience today, courtesy of one of my best friends from High School, (now) Dr. Mark Halstead, who is one of the most creative and "I Get It" sense of humor people in the world.

Mark has been filming a series of informational sports-athletics filler ads for the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, and recently, he asked if I would like to be included.

Are you kidding me? Hell yeah!

So he invited me down to the soon-to-be-rubble Busch Stadium where the filming crew and "extras" were able to get together for a couple of hours and film a series of informational inserts that will run on the declining jumbotron at Busch.

I arrived at the east parking structure which is where I have been parking for Busch Stadium every time we come down this way. Not only did I get a fantastic view as always of the current Busch Stadium, I also got to sneak a peek at the NEW Busch Stadium which will be opening it's doors for next year's baseball season.

Click Here to See a Larger Picture...

The new stadium truly is something to behold, folks. If you've never had the pleasure of seeing a major league baseball stadium being erected, please make sure that you take just a few minutes time to travel downtown and witness something really special. The way that they've formulated the schedule and construction site makes it INCREDIBLY accessible for you to see exactly what is going on at the new Busch and is really a true testimate to what kind of miraculous scheduling and hard work is going on there.

Click Here for More Imagery...

While my parts in the informational videos are miniscule to be sure, the experience was one that I will always remember and one that continues to bring a smile to my face anytime I think of it. Why you ask? It's simple.

When you're standing 3 feet in front of the jerseys of one of the most powerful major league baseball teams in history, it's something to remember.

Click Here to See a Larger Image...

They're all there - Edmonds, Pujols, Suppan, and a personal favorite John "Old School" Mabry is accounted for.

Being down on the field of the scheduled-for-destruction Busch Stadium, playing catch and doing goofy informational skits with Fredbird, the St. Louis Cardinal Mascot, is something to remember.

Getting a picture of Fredbird Gobbling my noggin, is something to remember.

Doing my best Tony LaRussa on the top of the dugout steps, is something to be remembered.

I want thank Mark for providing me with the opportunity of being able to emblazen a piece of St. Louis Cardinal history on me - it is something that I will never forget and will always be appreciative of. Thank you Dr. Halstead!

A Proud Husband Celebrates...

My wife Gloria, has worked very hard, for a very long time.

She has been in a variety of positions at Walmart, and has had a great time over the years.

While I have had my run-ins with the people that really haven't treated her right, I have to say that the majority of people in the Walmart realm dearly love and respect Gloria and even more noteably so as of July 20th, 2005.

The same day as the Moon landing has always been the same day as Gloria's Anniversary at Walmart, which makes this year particularly sweet. Gloria celebrated her 10th Anniversary at Walmart this month and I am so very proud of her.

Gloria often gets Email from her website that always has a very common theme - overcoming adversity and striding forward regardless of what disability she has.

I too share these comments and can tell you that there is NOTHING that Gloria can't do.

Congratulations, Baby, and for those of you that are unfamiliar with Gloria, please take just a moment to visit her website - you will not be disappointed and may just generate an Email to her that will add to the collection of accolades that she has received over the years.

The only thing that shines more than her new, 10th Anniversary Name Tag is her smile and personality and it is contagious.

I love you Sweetie-Pie and you have done a super job!!

Monday, July 25, 2005

I'm Not Too Fonda Her...

I had seen an interview oh - 6 or so months ago when Jane Fonda had released her newest money-collection-pot/book where she not only provided a veiled apology, but used the always sickening "I was young and misunderstood" line of explanation for her Vietnam-era escapade that continues to follow her daily.

"Why bring up Jade Fonda?" you might ask?

Well, it's simple:

Jane has signed on to now support and roll with yet another anti-war effort that I read about today where she will be onboard a bus that "runs on vegetable oil" that will provide something "very exciting."

Maam, if I may say so, I can assure you that while it will something that will undoubtedly elevate your blood pressure, I'm not too sure about the exciting part.

I would advise against visiting mosques, sitting with people in black masks and banners, and bashing the people that allow you to ride the veggie bus and having an "exciting trip" that serve in the armed services.

Friday, July 15, 2005

4th Horseman Alert - A Strange Instance in Oklahoma...

Y'know, I'm not sure if it's because now I'm a parent, or just the fundamental lack of common sense that this story displays, or that this woman is the mother of seven -

Saddle-up, folks, because I can hear the hooves-a-comin'.

"JULY 15--A pregnant Oklahoma woman who split a case of beer with her boyfriend shortly before giving birth last month is facing felony child neglect charges. Melissa Irene Tanner, a 37-year-old mother of seven, had a blood alcohol content nearly four times the state's .08 limit, according to the below probable cause affidavit. Tanner's baby, a girl born June 30, had a Blood Alcohol Content level of .21, nearly three times the Oklahoma limit. Tanner, who first told a nurse that she was unaware of the pregnancy, was arrested and tossed into the Washington County lockup, where she is being held in lieu of $30,000 bail. Tanner, pictured at right in a booking photo, drank a case of beer a week during her pregnancy, and apparently preferred "the cheap stuff," according to the affidavit"

To read more of the unbelievable, click here.

The 80's Come 'Round Again...

I was walking through the breakroom at my workplace recently and saw a newspaper touting the "DURAN! DURAN!" Tour here in St. Louis and was instantly transported to a like-time back in 1982 when "Duran Duran" started their world tour.

My friend Matt and I attended the Duran Duran Concert back in '82 at the Rosemont Horizon and it truly was a show to remember.

Funny how Duran Duran has some almost completely full circle in 25 years.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

4th Horseman Alert - A Heads Up for Everyone...

ALBANY, N.H. - A 45-year-old man was arrested after a teenage girl found him staring at her from below an outhouse seat, police said. Police said they pulled Gary Moody, from Gardiner, Maine, from the waste tank under a log cabin outhouse on Monday.

When the police find out about this the shit's REALLY going to hit the fan...

The Genius of "Translucent" Products...

This last Saturday, I was lucky enough to attend a sneak-preview of the "FANTASTIC FOUR" movie, starring a cast of people that really pulled off their roles. It was a solid movie that adds to this season's listing of solid offerings. Look for a review of that soon.

"What the hell brought that up, Mike", you wonder?

I was just strolling through Walmart last nite waiting for the wife to get done with work and saw yet another piece of "genius" on the form of the newest "Invisible Girl" toy.

Now naturally, you think to yourself, "ah ha, a hot little plastic Jessica Alba doll for Mike" and no - that's not it. It's not only a hot little Jessica Alba doll/action figure, but she's got "28 points of articulation." (Mike drools like Homer) Oh, my, Jessica Alba and 28 points of articulation...

Not only that, but she is "translucent" meaning that she has no color at all so that you can see the plastic molding, but there is no color at all in the toy.

This reminded me of a long time ago when I was talking through a Radio Shack back in the 1980's and they had a phone, that was 'clear'. That's right, you could actually see the wires, diodes and "crap" inside the phone and I thought to myself:

"What kind of dumbass thing is that? Some guy forgets to add the color to the plastic and instead of getting bitched at, he's a revolutionary in the art of marketing and product enhancement?"

And it's true: Just this year, you've seen not only this "translucent Invisible Girl" action figure but over the years you've seen HUNDREDS of items that simply have no color in them at all. The companies that come out with products like these have to be laughing their asses off all the way to the bank.

Isn't that crazy?

Now excuse me while I go polish my "Holographic Yoda" action figure for the 3rd time today...

Two Hands on Deck -
The Wilkerson Deck Gets Done

For the last several months, I have been weighing having a service come out and strip and finish our deck against doing it myself. After getting several bids (two of which were outstanding, the other was apparently for the goald-leaf deck that every homeowner wants but clearly I don't have), I decided that I would spend the money I would spend on having someone do it on acquiring the materials, tools and effort myself.

For once, I am thouroughly pleased with that decision, :)

Often times I tell other people to just "get the professionals that know what they're doing - it's so much easier and think of the time you'll save." I could totally see the benefits of having a service step in and get it done in probably less time, but there's something to be said for the personal satisfaction of completing something yourself, and honestly: most of the other "home care needs" are probably beyond me, where this one wasn't. It also allows me to acquire tools that I had not yet justified to complete the job that could be used on a variety of other things in the years to come and so: I took the plunge.

Over a series of weeks, I've acquired a Husky Power Washer (1750psi $129.00 less a Walmart Discount of 10%), aBlack & Decker Orbital Sander ($28.95 less a Walmart Discount of 10%) with some outstanding "Sandblaster" paper, two cans of MAN-O-WAR Cedar-color Deck and Fence Stain ($14.95x2 less a Walmart Discount of 10%) which is the same brand used for our fence, but a different color I think -- and a rubber malette ($1.98 less a Walmart Discount of 10%) with which to put some eeking-out planks and railings.

So for just under $180, I'm into being ready to get to work on the deck. Now to find the ULTIMATE resource: Time.

Thanks to the sultry-days of July, the Huly 4th weekend offered me a series of irritating brown-outs in our neighborhood that allowed me to get the initiative to get outside and get the deck done.

The process went really well: I believe that the previous owner actually painted the deck, because each of the nails that was holding the deck together were covered with something thicker than just a normal stain. The task was solid, but I was ready with just about everything in hand. I started sanding the deck with the sander I had at 10am on Saturday which I finished up just before 5pm. I also was able to get the power washer over every inch of the deck to get "the crap" off every single strut, brace, and railing so that the stain would take well, and last a good long time. I was also told that leaving the deck wet and sanded would let the pores of the wood breathe, so me laying off the deck until the next morning worked out perfectly.

I got up at 7am on Sunday with plans to get out at 12 to do family things and surprisingly, I finished staining at 10:30am, which also included a new two-sided lattice that I plan to use to spruce up the look of the deck in general, and to close-off an area on the north side of the deck that is currently wide open. Mission accomplished and though 10 hours of my "precious time" was taken, it is now 10 hours that I get to claim as my own when showing off my newly stained deck.

If you have the opportunity, and a deck as small as mine is (it's 12'x12.5 feet along with that new piece of lattice that adds 2x 8'x4' of work to the deck), I totally recommend giving it a shot yourself. It's something you really do get real pride from and makes for an extra special story for everyone.

Be sure to check out the pictures of the before, sanded, and after (coming soon!) pictures that are online.