So Much Stuff I Can't Recall

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Halloween Deal of the Season

Halloween is still a month off, but Fred Meyer has a deal that's hard to beat.

Right now there's a promotional where you get a free bag of candy (trick-or-treat size lollipops, Twizzlers, Milk Duds or Whoppers) with the purchase of select MGM horror movie DVDs (Audrey Rose, the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Fog, Teen Wolf 1 & Too (double feature), Silence of the Lambs, and so on).

In and of itself that's not a bad deal. Ten bucks gets you dinner and a movie if you're not too particular about what you eat for dinner.

But, Chris -- I hear you say -- is there any way this deal could be even sweeter?

You betcha. This week Fred's has a "buy one get one free" coupon on all $9.99 MGM DVDs. So that's two movies and two bags of candy for ten bucks.

I got The Amityville Horror and Poltergeist II & III (d/f) along with Milk Duds and Jolly Rancher lollipops.

Check it out.

Mikesell : 1:08 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

New Short Story

I recently sent a new short story in to an online competition sponsored by an acquisitions editor with Bethany House. (I mentioned it over on my other blog, so if it's news to you, check it out over there.)

Others who participated in the contest have begun posting their stories online, so I thought I might as well, as well.



Mikesell : 9:28 PM : 7 snarky remarks

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Soccer It To Me

Phil is participating in a month of soccer through his school. He has four "games" next month (Saturday mornings); last Tuesday and yesterday he had "practice." Motor skill development and sportsmanship seem to be the objectives, rather than intensive clinics like Beckham Bending 101 or Intro to Pele-ontology.

Here are some pix from yesterday's practice:
  1. In his uniform

  2. With his team:  1   2

  3. Having a ball

  4. Nice hands, Buddy
Check back next week for Game Day pictures.

Mikesell : 10:41 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Have a Bodacious Banned Book Week!

Over on her blog, banned book author Lisa Samson has a link to the 100 frequentliest banned books as well as which of those books she's read.

Check it out.

BTW: Here's my list from the Top 100

and a couple close-but-no-cigars:Which banned books have you read? Post a link to your blog in the comments or cut and paste from the list.

Mikesell : 8:41 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, September 26, 2005

Back to Work

I was online this morning reading this article about car salesmen when the temp agency called to ask if I'd be interested in going back to work at the file room of the car dealership where I worked all last week.

Sure, why not.

So I spent the day sorting through boxes of A/P records, finding checks the temp two weeks ago missed. I've resorted to making it a puzzle: part hide'n'seek, part scavenger hunt. It's not Sudoku, but it keeps me off the street (except for the lunch hour when I walked a mile or so to pass the time).

Mikesell : 9:34 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Disappointing Day at Borders

I went to Borders this afternoon to use my 20%-off-a-hardcover-book coupon, but couldn't find anything in the $12-15 ballpark to use it on. They didn't have Landon Snow and the Auctor's Riddle yet. They didn't have Graeme Base's The Water Hole in hardback. Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting was list price at $35. The new book by Umberto Eco, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, was tempting, but still over $20 after the coupon discount.

Phil and I wound up over at Barnes & Noble where he played with the Thomas the Tank Engine playset while I leafed through William Safire's How Not to Write: The Essential Misrules of Grammar; well, not his copy--I'm sure his is stored on a shelf somewhere other than the B&N in Eugene. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable 30 pages or so I made it through before Phil's playtime was up. I think I'll get it at Borders the next time a general-use coupon comes out.

Mikesell : 12:15 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The X-Factor

Well, it's halftime at the big USC-Oregon game. The Ducks are holding on to a squeaker of a 3-point lead as SC came back big time at the end of the second quarter.

I'm going to stop watching now. If tradition holds, the Ducks will win because of this. I'll miss an exciting game, but the team will win because of my sacrifice.

We'll see....

[9pm update: okay, so much for that strategy. Trojans win 45-13.)

Mikesell : 8:00 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, September 23, 2005

A Quarter of the World

Today I had my first visitor from Taiwan. Howdy Taiwan!

According to my stats log, I've had visitors from 25% of the world's countries (56 out of, let's see ... carry the two ... many, many countries). Granted, the countries represented take up more than 25% of the world's landmass, but I've had vastly less than a quarter of the world's population visiting my blog.

Wonder what the map-of-visiting-countries looks like? Here ya go.

Mikesell : 8:04 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Big Bed Phil

We got the mattress set installed tonight and once Dina took the sheets from the dryer Phil had himself a ginormous, hugemongous full-sized bed. He's about 2 feet above floor-level now, but the mattress has so much real estate he has no excuse for falling out while he sleeps.

Of greater concern is our little monkey jumping on the bed ... a 45 minute trip to town with wee Mr. Head-Trauma is not our idea of a fun road trip.

Mikesell : 10:17 PM : 0 snarky remarks

20% Off Helping A Friend

Author (and f*i*f buddy) R.K. "Randy" Mortenson's first novel, Landon Snow and the Auctor's Riddle*, has just been published in hardcover by Barbour Publishing (though you wouldn't really know it from their website). The webpage says the book will be out in October, but Randy's said he's seen copies at stores already.

Now through Sunday you can save 20% off any hardcover book at Borders. If you've put off buying Jon Stewart's America this long, you can wait a bit longer. Get Randy's book instead.

In the event Borders doesn't have Landon Snow in stock and you use the coupon for something else, let me know in the comments (and if you get Randy's book, let me know that, too).

*be sure to hunt for the hidden links on the left-hand side of the webpage (devote the majority of your attention to lines beginning with the word just; I can say no more -- I've said too much already)

Mikesell : 8:50 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Still Working

Well, I ran out of my main project work at lunchtime today, but the company kept me around in the afternoon to do some general filing. Tomorrow I meet with the CFO and the project leader (who was out today) to find out what's next (if anything).

Phil didn't get his room-cleaning project done, so no big mattress for him yet.

I'll keep you posted on both.

btw, the answer to yesterday's riddle is "a stick"

Mikesell : 9:06 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Joke of the Week*

What's brown and sticky?

*I'm too tired to write a proper blog entry, so you'll have to make do with one of my favorite riddles; if all goes to plan I'll have some pix of Phil's new bed tomorrow.

Mikesell : 12:05 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, September 19, 2005

Popular Picture

I just checked my blog stats and noticed that since yesterday afternoon visitors from Vancouver, B.C.; Plainwell, Mich.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Sesser, Ill.; and Yorba Linda, Calif., have all checked out this picture through Google images: Phil getting off a school bus.

Phil in his Chucks is also popular, with viewers from Troy, Mich.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and an undisclosed location (good evening, Mr. Cheney).

Shark-attack Phil is always popular (current vistors hie from Bristol, England; Boca Raton, Fla.; and Toronto, Ont.).

Mikesell : 9:35 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Ahoy Sailor

I started a new temp job this morning (s'posed to last a week ... we'll see), so I really couldn't celebrate Int'l Talk Like A Pirate Day the way I would at were I at home with Johnny Depp's Little Pirate Film on DVD and a tallboy of grog.


Mikesell : 8:55 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Paging Detecive Vecchio

A running gag on the TV series Due South is that Chicago cop Ray Vecchio's 1971 Buick Rivieras keep blowing up. When Phil and I stopped at WalMart this afternoon I found a nice '71 Riv in the HotWheels section. The car on the show doesn't have the striping on the side, but the green paint job isn't too dissimilar.

While there we also picked up Firestorm and Rocket Box.

Photos, as usual, courtesy Southwest Texas Diecast Collectors.

Mikesell : 9:03 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, September 17, 2005

I'm A Winner!

I don't usually buy things on eBay, mainly because the last minute sniping raises my blood pressure. Still, I had been searching used book and thrift stores for The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes to no avail. And $27-$36 for a second-hand copy through Amazon is a bit steep,

TBiPfLE is one of the books I remember being read to me as a child. Most child-oriented Bibles these days have too-cartoony an illustrative style for my tastes. Even the "New" Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes has taken this route. I have the DK Illustrated Family Bible, which has a lot of good explicative stuff in the margins, but the text is still over Phil's head. TBiPfLE came up as a topic of discussion at a Sunday School teacher's meeting this week; everyone agreed it's a must-have.

So I headed over to eBay to see if one was available. One was.

I plugged in my high bid early, and the nickel/dime last-minute bidding didn't top it. So, for $9.51 (+s/h) the book is not just a must-have, it's a do-have.

Mikesell : 1:57 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Free Music? Ya Sure You Betcha!

Just saw this on digg.com and thought I'd pass it along.

iTunes is giving away 20 free songs from the "New Sounds of Scandinavia" 5-volume collection. Four songs per album. It's a range of music in an "alternative" vein, but what I've listened to has been listenable.

From the feedback on digg.com, the songs are only available to U.S. buyers (or buyers from the U.S. store; I'm not entirely sure how the licensing restrictions work), so my apologies to the guy from Kuwait who stopped by this morning to see a picture of Phil and the '05 Ford Mustang.

Here are links to the individual albums:
  1. Volume 1
  2. Volume 2
  3. Volume 3
  4. Volume 4
  5. Volume 5
You don't need a iPod to download the music, but -- uff da! -- you must have iTunes.


Mikesell : 1:11 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, September 16, 2005

Those Were The Days

Tonight Dina and Philip were having a conversation about kindergarten and the subject turned to girls. Phil is now in the stage where girls are cootified and icky. Over the summer he envisioned a club for boys where they would gather in his treehouse and devise plans to battle the girls' army of robots. Where he imagined his treehouse or the the girls' robot army would come from, I don't know.

Anyhoo, Dina reminded him that last year in preschool and at church he used to like girls.

His deadpan response? "Those days are over, Mom."

When Phil was born we were advised to cherish his early years because they go so fast. We did -- and they have. Thank goodness the boy keeps us smiling as he zips past the milestones.

Mikesell : 10:54 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A Long Weekend's Worth of Phil Pix

These are the pictures Dina took during her and Phil's Labor Day weekend in Northern California.


At the Big Trees:At some funky tree houses:At Trees of Mystery:Not that we're incredibly visible, but here's a picture of Phil and me at Trees of Mystery when he was two years old.

Mikesell : 11:43 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Oh, Those Wacky Airlines

This December my folks are celebrating their 40th anniversary. All the kids (my brother, two sisters and I) are treating them to a Baja cruise, with us and our families chaperoning.

Of course, that leaves getting to Los Angeles as an adventure of our own.

We've been checking airline fares and been pretty shocked at what it'll cost a family of three to fly from Eugene to L.A. (my brother has a family of five, so I laugh in a southeasterly direction). $300+ per person has been pretty standard. Of course, we can save a bit by flying out of Portland, but with the price of gas that savings has been dwindling.

Just for giggles I checked cheaptickets.com this morning to see how outrageous flights had gotten post-Katrina. Everything was about the same: EUG->LAX=$300. Then I clicked the "search airports within 80 miles" button. Lo and behold, before listing the usual fares it showed EUG->ONT=$150*. Sure it's into Ontario, and yeah, it laysover in Phoenix for an hour. But, c'mon, $75 per person each way? Looks like we're not driving to the Southland after all.

*a hair under $200 when taxes/fees get applied; but it beats the $300-$350 ($350-$400 with add-on expenses) fares that also popped up; the cheapest Portland flight is still in the mid-$200s.

Mikesell : 1:53 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

This Is Too Cool

Do you remember the scene from Mary Poppins where chimney-sweep Bert makes chalk drawings on the sidewalk that come to life? Of course you do.

Here's the next best thing: Sidewalk Chalk Art. No dancing penguins, but there is a friendly seal,

(link courtesy digg.com)

Mikesell : 11:13 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Monday, September 12, 2005

Photos By Phil

Here's a trio of pictures taken by the boy:I'll try and get some photos of-and-not-by Phil posted in the next day or three.

*Polymaths beware!

Mikesell : 11:40 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Prelude to a Link

Among the several hats I wear at church, one of the most enjoyable is that of Sound Guy #2. As with driver's privileges, sound guys get to choose the CD that everybody else has to listen to. In this case, the disc that provides ambience while people enter the sanctuary before the church service. Previous selections of mine have run the gamut from 2nd Chapter of Acts to U2. This morning I picked an oldie-moldie from my LP->CD collection: Oden Fong's Come for the Children. Someone asked what the disc was; I told them, but I had to look up the release date (I thought it was 1981, turns out it was '79) -- hooray for wi-fi leaking out of the administrative offices!

In the process of following internet rabbit-trails, I found an exceptionally cool site covering the Jesus Music era: one-way.org. They list the years as 1969-1979; I would've extended it into the mid-80s (1984ish), but then they'd lose the nifty "Decade of Jesus Music" slogan. Some very cool stuff here, including an excellent interview with Señor Fong. The music samples I've listened to have been awfully muddy (intentional use of -ly adverb, they're also muddily awful); if you're not familiar with the music, rest assured it sounded much better than this site makes it seem.

Plan on spending some time (pack a picnic lunch). Enjoy!

Mikesell : 11:11 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Mini Gawp #2

The Oregon Coast is famous for the Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach. It's pretty easy to look at the rock and see how it got its name. Of course--and no disrespect intended--it could've been called Lump Rock and no one would've said: "Hmmm, I don't get it."

It's an impressive chunk of stone, no doubt, but nowhere half as cool as Face Rock on the southern coast. Dina and I stopped in at the state park to stretch our legs back when we used to road trip and were astounded at the sight of the woman's face offshore.

It's best appreciated in person (it was really hard to find a photo online that came close to capturing it properly) and nearly as hypnotic as the Whiskeytown Reservoir glory hole. Not quite, but a close second.

If you're ever in the neighborhood, check it out.

Mikesell : 10:11 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, September 09, 2005

New Phil Video

Here's a little montage I put together from some video clips and photos Dina took last weekend on her and Phil's big adventure. It's about 5MB in size, so if you don't have hi-speed internet access I laugh in your general direction.


Mikesell : 1:13 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Bible Search

I just saw this over at Jordon Cooper's weblog: The ESV Bible Toolbar Plug-In for Firefox (the free internet browser you should be using).

In the past when I've wanted to track down a Bible verse online I've used Gospel Communications Bible Gateway, which was a fairly simple process: click the bookmark from the drop-down menu, choose verse or keyword search and fill in the parameters. This is easier: choose the ESV plug-in from the toolbar drop-down, fill in verse citation or keyword ... and away we go!

Bible Gateway is still a useful tool for searching multiple translations and paraphrases, but this toolbar plug-in is a superquick starting point (it's hosted by gospelcom.net, too).

Check it out.

Mikesell : 10:08 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Good Short Stories

With less than a month left before David Long's short story contest deadline, I thought I'd take a moment to introduce some of the people I expect to see up on the winners' platform. I, myself, need no introduction; but here are some recent short stories that will serve as intros to these talented folks:
I know Linda has entered the contest and Dee is working on an entry. I don't know if Mark and Chris are, but if so, I expect the stories to be top-notch. (Infuze mag's short story archive is filled with great short fiction. Any of the authors found there (including TL Hines and Michael Snyder, who stop by here from time to time) could go home with the big prize.)

Collect 'em all.

Mikesell : 3:28 PM : 3 snarky remarks

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

More Hot Wheels I'll Never See

The latest/greatest from South Texas Diecast Collectors:
And while it may look dorky, who can resist the Ford Anglia, if only to recreate classic moments from the Harry Potter books.

Not that there'll be any of these left when I get to the store....

previous installments: here, here and here

Mikesell : 10:58 AM : 0 snarky remarks

The Pick-Up

As I mentioned yesterday, today Phil had his first bus ride to school (his first ride home is commemorated here). We got out to the edge of the road about a minute before the bus came along (on its trip back to the school; it came along much, much earlier to begin picking up kids at the far end of its route). Time enough for a couple pictures:Separation anxiety was nothing like I had expected, mainly because the boy decided to pick a fight about wearing sandals (his idea) rather than shoes (mine). You can tell by the photos who won. His "I hate school" rebellion was cut short, also. By the time we got out to the big rock, he was fine with his shoes, fine with school; we were fine with each other. Still, three hours apart will likely do both of us plenty of good.

Mikesell : 10:06 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Let the Book Learnin' Begin

Dina and I dropped Phil off at kindergarten this morning.

Here's how that looked:We found out today that the school got a grant to feed breakfast to all the students in their classrooms when school begins. That shaves a half hour off the at-home morning routine. Plus, more strawberry Eggo Minis for me.

Mikesell : 11:16 AM : 3 snarky remarks

Monday, September 05, 2005

A Family Again

Dina and Phil got home about 8:30 this evening. When we find the USB cable to connect up the digital camera I'll put up some pix from their big adventure.

In the meanwhile, here are a couple leftovers from the summer:Hope you had a pleasant Labor Day.

Mikesell : 11:37 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Here's a Tip

Tip of the Day: Don't eat 2/3rds of the big hoagie from Safeway before removing yourself deep within the mountain to spend the afternoon writing.

I lasted about three hours before I had to call it quits.

I did get quite a bit of work done on one chapter (the one that's been giving me problems; due to the new timeline it pulls stuff from four first-draft chapters plus adds a character to the mix). On the way home from church today I had a brainstorm re: a problem with a short story I'm writing.

I also disassembled the boy's child's bed and reassembled parts of it into a full-size bed. Unfortunately it's a double and we bought a twin mattress set for it. Looks like I'm off to the half-off sale at Value Village tomorrow.

A productive weekend after all.

Mikesell : 9:50 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Happy Anniversary to Me

Today is Dina's and my 17th annivesary. I could complain about her having gone back to California to see her parents, but as far as I know grouse isn't in season and I've never cared for gamebirds much anyway. Plus I don't want to be pessimistic whiny guy; so let's put a positive spin on things.

For our anniversary this year, Dina gave me a day to work on my novel without distractions. (Three or four, actually, but there's housework to be done as well.) So today I'm going to remove myself to an undisclosed location, deep within the mountain, and see if I can polish up three or four chapters.

If you're reading this on the free wi-fi in the lobby of the Garberville Best Western: Happy Anniversary, Dina. L2LUB! I love you best. And always. -- Pinky

Mikesell : 11:03 AM : 5 snarky remarks

Friday, September 02, 2005

Labor Day Present

Labor Day isn't typically a gift-exchange holiday (I come from a non-union family so maybe there's something about it I don't know). Nevertheless, Borders has a 30% off coupon good through Monday I thought I'd pass along to you.

If you use it, leave a comment detailing your purchase.

If you have a present you'd like to give me, thank you in advance.

Mikesell : 9:58 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Only 2.5 Months Behind The Times

Dina and Phil took off for Redwood Country this morning to spend the weekend with Grammy and Poppa. I stayed home in case temp work was available. It wasn't today, so I stopped by the local cineplex to take in a show.

Batman Begins opened June 15th and was still playing at the pricey theaters. It must be good. The first matinee was only $4.25, which left me enough for large popcorn and soda (only 25 cents more than medium) and a couple contraband candies from Target (hey, I splurged on the soda, okay?).

Excellent, excellent movie.

Is anyone more avuncular than Morgan Freeman? I don't think so. Plus, it was nice to see Liam Neeson get in touch with his inner Sith Lord.

As much as it pains me to say it (and it doesn't really), Best Batman Movie Ever (and I loved Michael Keaton in the cowl & cape).

If you haven't seen it yet, it may not be too late to catch it in a theater. It's definitely a "preserve the boy's cinematic heritage" DVD keeper. (No, hon', the DVD's not for me ... it's for the boy -- the boy, the boy, the boy -- honest!)

Check it out.

Mikesell : 11:34 PM : 0 snarky remarks