Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Baby It's Cold Outside

It's a slow week here for me in the blogger world. I have been at a total loss for inspiration (and remain so this morning). I have been trying to teach myself how to design a website with Microsoft Front Page (much harder than I thought). I am envious of designers of those slick, polished websites who can whip out a great looking and functional site with ease. No one where I work is capable of designing a website and we're not going to pay someone to do it but I keep hearing things like "what is our website address?", "when are we going to get a website?", "why don't we have a website?", or my personal favorites "our website looks like crap" or "our website is broken". The truth of the matter is that I only put up a one page informational paragraph with one poorly done photo on our site to basically just convey the message that "WE ARE HERE!" You see, I am Contract Sales Manager for a distributor of building products such as doors, frames, hardware, bath accessories, and many, many more items. We sell to homeowners, homebuilders, and general contractors. We assist architects with designs and specifications and write hardware specifications as well. All this doesn't really leave time for learning FrontPage or designing slick webs but I am going to do it anyway. I am a glutton for punishment. What can I say?
On a more personal note, the water heater was out this morning. I re-lit it and now sit writing this blog entry while waiting for the water to get hot. Why do these things always happen at this time of year? Seems like bad luck seems to hang out just outside my door. Hope that I can put off calling the plumber of visiting the water heater department at Home Depot until after Christmas!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Happy Holidays

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. My wife and I went to Alabama for our Thanksgiving celebration. It was a time to visit with family, share a great meal, and just enjoy each others' company. We were surrounded by people we love and got spend time with my parents, my three sisters, three brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, children, and grandchildren. Now we're back home and we've broken out the Christmas decorations and will slowly decorate the house over the next few days.
I'm going to try to be a better, more cheerful person this year. I'm going to try to think better of my fellow man. I'm going to try to look for the good in people. To most that know me I am the consummate scrooge always worrying about money and dreading the time of year when society has turned one of the most significant religious celebrations for the Christian faith into a time of wanton greed and commercialism. I'm going to watch one of my favorite movies of all time and try not to let my wife see the tear that I always shed when Clarence gets his wings and I'm going to yearn for those days when I too was an eager child trying to be good so that Santa would surely visit me.
Merry Christmas Bedford Falls!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Photo Friday: YELLOW

Here's a little post Thanksgiving whimsy, my entry for the Photo Friday challenge "Yellow".

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Where In The World??

Okay, as of the time of this posting over 550 people have at least looked at this blog. I know that two of them were my sisters and one was my daughter. Since I apparently post NOTHING worthy of comments from the other 547 views I will not post any commentary today, only the three photos above.
I'll throw in a big thumbs up to the person who guesses the locations of these pictures. The only hints that I have to offer are that two of them are in the same state and the other is within a hundred miles of a famous architects' home.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


I got an e-mail from a dear friend and former co-worker today. She wrote to tell me that she had taken a leave of absence from work to help with claims from the victims of hurricane Wilma in Florida. That got me to thinking of when I was involved with the disaster assistance effort following hurricane Andrew in 1992. The pictures on this post are from that time period in September 1992 and I was stationed in Miami as a Construction Analyst with the Small Business Administration. I spent quite a few months there working 12 to 14 hours a day and 7 days a week. It was hard and tiring work but was personally very rewarding. I met a great many fine people and developed a keen appreciation for the little things in life. It will change you forever to see family after family who have lost virtually everything that they own in one night. I met one father who watched as his wife and two of his three sons drown as their waterfront home was swept away. These experiences affect you and mold you in ways you cannot imagine. I say this to make one simple point. I have a deep appreciation for people who sacrifice their time and money to help disaster victims. It takes people with a strong resolve to help their fellow man by volunteering to work with organizations such the American Red Cross, Carpenters for Christ, The Menonites, and many, many more.

Biding My Time

It's almost time. Time for the release of the Todd Rundgren Liars Live DVD. Release is scheduled for November 29 by Sanctuary Records and I can't wait. This will be Todds first live DVD of recent concert footage in quite a number of years and it promises to be a good one. In my youth I followed Rundgren religiously, attending concerts and collecting every record album that I could get my hands on. I stopped following Todd for a number of years when the responsibilities of adulthood took over but had chance to see this show in May 2004 with my wife Susan, Sister Lisa, and Brother-In-Law Bart. My wife had never seen Todd live before and I know she had a great time. She seemed to particularly rock during the heavy riffs by bassist Kasim Sultan. That show sparked a flame in me and I'm once more a serious TR fan. I highly recommend this DVD for any serious rock music afficionado.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Personal History (abridged)

Well, it's been a lazy, wasted weekend for me. There was so much that I had intended to do but then again, there's that "cold weather" thing again. Yes, I should have done yard work; should have raked leaves; should have straightened up the garage. Instead, I went in to the office for a bit on Sunday but otherwise vegetated. I feel compelled to post something but since I have doubts that anyone other than family members read these blogs then I ramble a bit. So, without further ado.............
Everything you never wanted to know about me in less than two minutes (the early years)!
I was born in 1955 in Leeds, Alabama. I was born in a little building that was called Davis Clinic and at the time of my birth it was in the process of being converted into a dentists' office. I believe that I was the last baby delivered in Davis Clinic.

I had a very happy childhood. When I was about 4 we moved from Alabama to St. Augustine, Florida for a little while. I was too young to remember much about it except that I do barely remember a Hurricane that flooded our yard up to the bottom of porch. That was a lot of water because our house was about 4 feet off the ground.

Later, we moved back to Leeds and then when I was five we moved to Midland City, Alabama for a little over 6 months. My father worked for Hayes Aircraft and they sent him to different places to work on airplanes. After we move back to Alabama again I started the first grade. After I got older I can remember my dad always telling me that I had to study and do well in school. I always thought he was the smartest person that I ever knew because he was so good at math and could always figure out how to make just about anything. One of the things that I remember best when I got to go with my dad to work once. he was on a crew that built the first two stages of the Saturn V rockets that were used by NASA to sent astronauts into space. I got to see the huge rockets and a model of the whole rocket in my dad's office. I believe that he still has blueprints of that rocket to this day.

Other memories I have are going to my grandparents often. I would stay with them for weeks at a time in the summer. My grandfather worked at a sawmill and we would alway play in the big piles of sawdust. Me and my oldest sister would also climb all over the equipment when the mill wasn't running. My grandfather would have been mad if he saw us on that equipment but we were never scared and like to play around all of the big machines that cut the lumber from trees and planed it smooth.

When I was twelve I got disease called Huntington's Chorea which attacks your central nervous system. I could no longer do simple things like tie my own shoes or write clearly. I spent three whole months in the hospital and when I got out my dad bought me a Vox guitar like one that John Lennon used to play. He thought that if I learned to play guitar then I would get the coordination back in my hands. I never did learn to play that guitar but I did eventually take up drums and think that I am decent at it. I was in the marching band in high school and three different little rock bands. I was once the drummer in group rom my church called the New Life Seekers and we toured all over the south one summer. That was a lot of fun and I met a lot of really nice people doing that.

I graduated from Leeds High School in May of 1973 and went to work right away. I left home and went to Atlanta, Georgia where I got a job in factory that made Coca Cola cans. I did this for three months and finally got homesick and moved back to Alabama. I started to work in a factory that made steel doors and frames where I welded door frames and loaded trucks. I really wanted to move up in the company and after 3 years in the factory I started working as a draftsman in the engineering office. I really like this a lot better than the factory work. I really regret not going to college and wish that I had gotten a degree. I missed so many opportunities to advance because I didn't have a degree although I still have to say that I have been lucky because I have always had a good job.

I have lived many in many interesting places such as Miami, Atlanta, San Francisco, Detroit, St. Augustine, and Chattanooga as well as Leeds Alabama and Lexington South Carolina.

I like to read adventure novels and science fiction novels. My favorite authors are Ray Bradbury and Clive Cussler. I also like photography and art. Some of my favorite artists are Victor Vasarely, Salvador Dali, Picasso, Juan Miro, and Brian Halsey.

My family includes my wife Susan, son Michael, and daughter Tiffiny. I have two grandsons Blake and Braxton and one grandaughter, Micah.
My father is LeRoy Howard and my mother is Ola Lynette (Stone) Howard.
My three sisters are Janet , Lisa , and Dana.
My Grandparents were John Washington Howard, Mamie Roxanne Howard, Oliver Stone, and Hattie Mae Stone.

Friday, November 18, 2005


Friday morning has arrived and the Photo Friday challenge is "Imperfection"...I am probably far too hasty in this entry. The subject is from another one of my attempts at being "artsy". These are plaster castings of my own two feet. At the time they were made I was dissapointed that they had visible flaws but I've grown more attached to them now that they've aged, discolored, and taken on the faux antique appearance.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Old Man Winter Returns

It was 51 degrees when I awoke yesterday. It was 30 degrees when I went to bed last night. Winter has returned and my life will change dramatically. You see, I abhor the cold; it holds no thrill for me. Just when I get accustomed to taking long bike rides on the weekends and my two mile walks on weekday mornings then here it comes, chilling my bones and making my arthritis act up. Winter brings on so many changes...I think it's safer to just stay indoors, admire the wifes' salt & pepper shaker collection (hehe), and try to think up interesting conversation bits for my blog. It's pretty much a given that I'll put on another 8 or 10 pounds between now and March. I'll play at jogging on the treadmill in the garage but in reality I won't dedicate myself to it. Pretty pathetic, huh?

Oh well, I'll try to warm up a little and get a bit more creative over the next few days. I have to post a blog entry about my eldest grandson Blake but I have to try to sneak a few up-to-date photos.

Tommorrow is a new day for Photo Friday...maybe they'll post a subject that will get me out of this funk and get the creative processes jump started. Weekend's almost here. Almost time to relax and unwind a bit.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Braxton, Fiction, Salt, Pepper, and Shoes

My wife collects all sorts of knick-knacks such as glass shoes, salt & pepper shakers, costume jewelry, and decorative odds and ends. We've gotten several funny and unique ones on E-Bay. Most are either cute, colorful, or unique and the kids always can't resist playing with them........Oh look! There's Braxton and Thing 2 right in the middle of a bunch of bric-a-brac now. For an 8 year old he's quite a story teller. A couple of years ago he started telling us how he would go on long walks on the mountain or down by the Tennessee River with his "uncle" Jack Daniel. He would describe the most amazing adventures that he and "uncle" Jack had. Someone suggested that it might not be too wise for such a young boy to spend too much time with someone known for making whiskey and before you could say "Big Brother Blake" three times "uncle" Jack went away. It was about that time that he started spending time riding on a big green tractor with his new uncle John Deere. I've never met uncle John but while he was around he and Braxton had several adventures. I've not heard mention of uncle John in a while so I don't press......perhaps he's gone back to where ever those odd uncles come from in the first place.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Harder Than I Imagined

Creating a blog has proven tougher than I had imagined. Trying to think of interesting subject matter and finding or creating interesting items to post has proven difficult. I hope to post some of my photography over the next few weeks and maybe discuss my family a bit (but only the interesting parts, I promise!). My granddaughter Micah is playing in the colorful what-nots above. I'll post my grandsons Blake and Braxton soon. They're 8 and 13. Braxton is the youngest and even though I call him bonehead he is one smart kid. He's quick witted and funny. Blake is the smart but quiet one. He's discovered girls so he doesn't have as much time for us old folks. He's one of those game boy wizards who knows about all the latest video games. I call him when I get stuck in Tomb Raider.

Below are some links to a few of my favorite websites. These are not for everyone but I find them quite interesting with loads of interesting stuff.
Pictures, music, art, and lots of interesting links here

My favorite musician is Todd Rundgren. Following is a link to one of the best Todd Rundgren fan sites with loads of pictures, videos, games, and music.

The following site is a great place to find obscure and out of print music. Don't expect the latest and greatest. This stuff is 60's and 70's disco, spoken word recordings, and foreign language pop music. Lots of interesting listening here

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Happy Birthday Mom

Well, I am a terrible son! My Dad is in the hospital and when I called to check on him tonight my mother asked me if I were going to wish her a Happy Birthday! My own mother and I forgot her birthday. My mom (the one on the right in this photo which was taken before I was born over 50 years ago) is the best mom one could ever hope for. She always makes me feel special and shows love, care, and compassion for most everyone she meets.


This is my first posting for PHOTO FRIDAY. As soon as I saw the subject I immediately thought of this old pair of sneakers. I've had them for several years and always wear them when I mow the lawn. Like an old, old friend they're worn but comfortable.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Ghost Riders In The Sky

I don't know why I like this song so much (especially since it's not jazz, which is my favorite kind of music) but I think it's one of the best versions of one of the best folk/country/country-rock songs ever written. I'm referring to The Outlaws version of Ghost Riders In The Sky
The link below is to a site with almost every version of that song ever recorded available for download. The Lorne Greene and Duane Eddy versions are partularly good also.

Here I Am / Here Am I

Well, here is my first posting and I am at a loss for words. Perhaps I have been premature in creating this blog but am sure that will have a few thoughts later tonight. I really created this blog because I wanted to comment on another blog and could not without first creating my own blog account. Gee, was that a mouth full!?