Changeup, Chapter 4

"Don't back off the grounders, Son."

Joe's dad tossed him another dribbler.

Joe knelt, then flinched. The ball bounced lazily under his legs. Joe felt his face flush with embarrassment.

He chased the ball and angrily chucked it back to his dad.

"No worries, Son. Try again. It's just a grounder. Charge it, snag it and pass it on. Get your knee down; all the way to the ground if you need to. Glove in the dirt, free hand over the top. You can do it!"

This one had some pep, but so did Joe. He ran towards it, he momentum making his knee slide a bit as it touched the grass. The ball stuck firmly in the webbing of his glove as his free hand trapped it in the pocket. Gracefully, he rose and returned the ball to his dad in one fluid motion.

"PERFECT!" crowed his dad. "That's all there is to it, Joe."

Bored yet? Try reading it again with a British accent...

Deep Thoughts From the Basement, Also Known As the Server Room / Extra Storage Hidey-Hole

If you're a manager and you're having trouble figuring out how to delegate, just have someone else do it.

Lesson learned: thinking that working 10 days straight gives you the right to leave early ensures the server going bleh and you coming back.

I'm out of sorts. I used to have a lot, but I used them up last week.

You would think Toys R Us would be a happy place for kids, but all I usually hear are hollering and screams of anguish.

When signing up for insurance plans at work, do you ever get overwhelmed and just choose the middle option? Oh, me neither then.

Dentist: You have nice teeth.
Me: Thank you. *Awkward silence*
Me: You have nice gloves.

I'm thankful to my wife for always giving me my haircuts. Just think of all the money she's saved me over the ears.

Halfway through filling out an online form at work, I saw a link to change my name. You know, in case I started as Ricky and finished as Tawanda McPhee.

Is it a problem if when you sneeze, your left arm goes numb?

What do you look for in a robot?

Good Gravy Roller Coasters

What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

What do you wish you were doing for Thanksgiving?

Does it involve roller coasters?

What's your favorite thing to eat on Thanksgiving?


Correct, cranberries. Good job.


Tip of the Mornin' to Ya!

New Dad Tip: The outfit you put your son in yesterday that your wife applauded you for will get you chastised today. Especially if it still has food on it and you're headed to church.

First Time Parents Tip: You'll watch movies differently after you have kids. My wife and I watch The Lord of the Rings every year. We're watching them again now to get ready for The Hobbit. Usually we would watch the first three films on three consecutive nights. This time around, we've spread 3 viewings over a week...and we're still on the first half of the first movie. We just play it until one of us falls asleep. That's usually 30 minutes in.

Movie Tip: I'm anxious to go see Lincoln. Rob Shepherd's dad plays Lincoln's doctor at the end (I won't spoil it by telling you he dies. Lincoln, not Rob's dad.). To get ready, I watched Evan Almighty again. Those two stories don't appear to be related, but they both have Rob's dad in them, so they must be. Plus, they both take place in Washington, D.C.

Give me a tip!

Changeup, Chapter 3

Joe thought a bit about the lottery on the ride home.  He could do whatever he wanted with that much money.  He could get married.  He could retire.  He could be someone!

But beneath the grandiose and selfish thoughts was a little nagging doubt.  He knew money wouldn't fix his life or make him happy.  He'd never been a greedy man, and he didn't intend to start.  He was mature enough to understand these things, but the little doubt wasn't pestering him about greed.  It was informing him he had no plan.  Even if he won, he didn't have a plan.

This had been Joe's problem his whole life.  He didn't know what he wanted or where he was going.  He wanted to succeed, but didn't know at what.  He wanted to provide for someone, but hadn't found who.  So even if he won, it wouldn't matter.  Not until he figured a few things out.

It was all useless pondering, of course.  He knew that.  He'd never been lucky before, and that wouldn't change now.

He was abruptly jerked out of his daydream by the sight of a car pulled off the shoulder of the highway with its emergency lights flashing.  An old man was struggling to pull the spare tire out of the trunk of his old green Nissan Sentra.

Joe immediately put his flashers on and pulled to a stop behind the man.  He cut his engine and stepped out of his truck.

"Let me get that for you, Sir."  Joe easily pulled the tire from the trunk with a single large hand.

"Thanks, son", sighed the man.  "Ain't as easy as it used to be."

"Where you headed?", Joe asked as he carried the tire around the side of the Sentra.  He leaned the tire against the passenger door and squatted down to remove the flat.

"Daughter's house.  In town a ways.  She dotes on me now her ma's gone."

"I'm sorry to hear that."

"Don't be.  Hurts more to watch 'em suffer than to let 'em go."

Joe didn't respond.  What was there to say?  He fought with the lug nuts on the flat.  He threw his weight on the tire iron, and the bolt finally gave.  It cost him the skin on his right knuckles, but it gave.  He winced, but moved on to the next bolt.

"You look like a catcher down there."

Joe chuckled.  "Guess I do.  Played catcher for fifteen years."

"That's a thankless position.  How'd you end up getting stuck there?  You must have quite the arm."

"Nope, just the only one who wasn't afraid of the ball.  Never did understand why all the other guys was so scared of it.  They put so much gear on you, you almost can't get hurt if you try."

"Now you're selling yourself short, son.  Takes more'n not being afraid to play catcher.  You gotta see the whole field and call the plays a'fore they happen.  Ever'one credits the pitcher, but he takes his lead from the catcher.  Folks forget that."

Joe nodded silently.  The man knew his stuff.

He finished tightening the bolts on the spare, then grabbed the car jack in one hand, and the flat tire in the other.  He placed each carefully in the back and closed the trunk.

Joe wiped his hands on his already dirty jeans and offered one to the man.

"You're all set, Sir."

"Thank you kindly, son."  The man grabbed Joe's hand and shook it vigorously.  "How much do I owe you?"

"Not a thing!"

"Well, your folks did all right.  What's your name, son?"

"Joe.  Yours?"

"Jim.  Pleased to meet you.  If I can't give you nothin' for your trouble, then I can treat you to a ball game and a hot dog, can't I?  The locals are playin' the Tigers tomorrow."

Joe hesitated.  He hadn't been to a game in a while.

"Don't let me down, Joe."

"All right Jim, you got yourself a deal.  Meet you tomorrow at the ticket counter.  Thanks!"

Each man headed off to his own destination with a casual wave.

Joe was in a much more pleasant mood on the way home.  He always looked forward to the games.

He parked the truck out front and let himself in to the old house he was renting.  He tossed his keys on the counter.  Sure would be nice to have a garage.  Someday, someday.

He pulled his frozen pizza from the microwave and carried it into the living room, holding a beer in his free hand.  He set them down on the coffee table, pulled the tab on the beer, and leaned back with a long sigh.

He flipped through the channels, shooting down five of the six options he had.  Finally - a ball game!

He watched the Rangers chase the Yankees for a bit.  The announcers were analyzing the latest trade and mega contracts.  Joe mumbled a bit at them.  He couldn't keep up with who was on what team anymore, and some of these men made more money than some countries.

He watched in amazement as the latest star watched three strikes sail past him.  The bat never left his shoulder.  On the third called strike, the man became enraged at the injustice of it all.  He tossed his bat and started in on the umpire.  The ump, used to this sort of abuse, stood his ground.  The player started kicking up dirt and foaming at the mouth.  The ump tossed him out, to great cheers from the crowd.

Joe flipped the channel, disgusted.

The lotto drawing came on, and little numbered ping pong balls began dropping down the chutes.  Joe, with only a passing casual interest, fished his ticket out of his pocket.

A moment later, those little ping pong balls held his interest fully.

What happens next?

Shocksocute #5

We have an accountant here from India.  I've worked with him for a couple years now.  Not only has his English improved dramatically since he started, but I've gotten much better at understanding him.  This doesn't mean we never have a communications gap, though.

The other day, he was telling me about the elections going on in his hometown.  Some records had been 'destroyed', and he was crying foul.  He feared election corruption by one of the political parties.

Him: Can a fire be started with electricity malfunction?

:  Sure.

: One of the states in India just had a fire and lost all their electronic records.  I think it was started on purpose, but they'll just claim it was a shocksocute.

:  Electrocute?

: Shocksocute.

:  Electric shock?

:  No, shocksocute.

:  Shocksocute?  It was pretty?

:  No!  What is word for not long?

:  Short?

:  Yes!  It was a shortsocute.

:  Little AND pretty?

:  Like the store.  Socute City.

:  ...?....OH!  Circuit City?

:  Yes!  They will say the fire was started by a shocksocute.

:  Short circuits will do that.

:  But, I know that is not what event happened.  The story will be a pure crap.

:  Hold on, I need to clean up this coffee dripping out my nose...

Tell me about a funny communications gap you've experienced. Do it now.

Hi, I'm Al

In my grandmother's eyes, I'm Al Gore.

She's never understood technology, and never wanted to.

When I was in high school I told her about a web page I was designing for a statewide competition. She wasn't interested, and I asked why.

"I don't want to know how a light bulb works, I just want to flip the switch and have it work", my grandmother said to me.

I showed her my web page anyway.

"You made that?"


"Huh." Then she hollered at my grandpa. "RAY! Come see the Internet that Ricky made!"

Flash forward a few years, and now she has her own computer. It's a non-portable laptop, or lapdesktop for short.

We were visiting a few weeks ago, and she asked me to look at the lapdesktop to see if I could fix it. She refused to elaborate, thinking she had explained the problem quite thoroughly.

The only thing she uses on the lapdesktop is her email. I clicked around on her email, and sure enough, everything worked fine. I asked her to show me what was wrong.

"There's no room."

"No room? For what? What do you mean?"

"For new emails. The screen is full."

Further explanations proved fruitless, so I ended up deleting everything in her inbox.

So go ahead, send her an email - she's got room now.

What are you the resident expert on in your family?

Changeup, Chapter 2

"Catch the ball, son."

His dad rolled the soft, squeaky blue ball towards him. Giggling, Joe snatched the ball in both hands and held it above his head.

"Good job, Joe!"  His dad smiled proudly at him.  "Now throw it back to Daddy!"

Joe tossed the ball in the air with excited laughter. It bounced off his head and rolled away.

His mom walked into the room at that moment and picked up the ball as it rolled toward her feet.  "Time for dinner, boys."

His dad looked up at her from his perch on the living room floor.  "Just give us five minutes more, Hon."

She raised an eyebrow at Joe's father.  "You're just as much a kid as Joe is," she admonished him.

"Thanks, Hon!"

Click here for Chapter 1. Click here for Google. Click here for fun.

It's My Party, And I'll Cry If I Want To, But Probably Not, So Call Me Maybe

It's my one-year anniversary at work today.

I celebrated by remoting in this morning from home to do some maintenance on the database server.

And killed it.

And drove like a maniac to the office.

And expanded my vocabulary with raised volume.

While all my coworkers decided to get in early.

And sit around doing nothing because the database server was down.

All was back to normal before 8.


How do you celebrate anniversaries? How do you kill servers?