Wednesday, August 31, 2005

My ridiculous gas price story

I'm sure everyone has one or will in the next few days/weeks/months, but here's mine. There are 4 gas stations around Guilford College, and they all usually have prices w/in a few cents. They had been holding steady at $2.46 for over a week. They were up to $2.99 at lunch time and when we came back from soccer practice it was $3.29. That's a $0.83 increase in one day. That's more than a gallon cost less than 10 years ago. Time to buy that electric car conversion kit.

The Sharks

We took Desmond to his first soccer practice tonight. His team is the Sharks. I never played soccer, so I can live vicariously through him but I have no idea what to yell to him on the field (other than gooooaaaalllll). I think maybe I'll just insult the parents of the other team. Better yet, I'll criticize the referees who volunteer their Saturday mornings to help my kid learn. That will teach them.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Durham Bulls Game

About 5 years ago we went to the Durham Bulls game in their new (now 10 years old) stadium. I had been to the old stadium they played in w/ the metal bleachers and authentic old timeĀ® atmosphere, but after seeing the new Durham Bulls Athletic Park I knew the old parks had to go if a team wanted to attract a parent club and draw fans. I liked Greensboro's World War Memorial Stadium, but that day exposed the fatal design flaw in that stadium. The concourse w/ your hot dog and beer vendors has to go around the upper part of the stadium. This accomplishes two things. One, the crowd can sit right on top of the field. Two, their can be modern facilities like locker rooms w/ all the trimmings built underneath the seats. The old WW Memorial Stadium has a concourse that runs right along the playing field. The fans were missing out and the team was suffering in the less than stellar working conditions.

So anyway, the family went to the Bulls game yesterday, and I had to compare the stadium to the new Grasshoppers place. The Bulls stadium is bigger and has a better variety of vendors. They also have section of seats out in right field. I like actual seats in the outfield. Even if a fence blocks what's happening at the closest point to you, it's still a good perspective on most of the action. The major drawback was I paid $5 for a 24 oz Pabst Blue Ribbon. You should get a 6 pack of Pabst for $5 even at a ball game. I was so outraged that I only went back one more time. As for the Hoppers stadium, it's not that much smaller than the Bulls stadium, but it feels a lot cozier. The seats are at a steeper angle, and to get back to complaining about concourses the Bulls vendor concourse feeds to another concourse that separates the $8 tickets from the $7 tickets. Maybe things are a lot better down in the $8 seats, but it felt a lot further away than the Grasshoppers game. I'll have to see how the Greensboro stadium looks in 10 years, but right now it is holding up well against the DBAP.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Tiger Bear Wolf on Stone Lawn

It's just the lawn in front of the Stone Building at UNCG, but I might start calling kick ass rock shows a "stone lawn" from now on. Thank goodness Tiger Bear Wolf is back in town. This is an actual conversation Maria and I had recently while listening to Highway to Hell.

Me: You know who should play this song (Girls got rhythm)? Tiger Bear Wolf.

Maria: All bands should play an AC/DC song.

Me: Yeah, but Tiger Bear Wolf would tear this song up.

Maria: Yeah, he's a good screamer.

A good screamer indeed. They don't seem to play more than 7 songs at a time (Guitar, Input, Winner, Earth, Rats, Light, Tongues), but it's probably b/c after that many songs they need to sip honey lemon tea to keep their throats from jumping out of their chests. They're playing at Local 506 on Monday for free. W/ yet another free show, I'm pretty sure they are socialists. Sweet.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Car Update

Thankfully, I can keep this car website bookmarked b/c my Z24 is back on the road. I let it sit in front of my house for a few days before I went out to start it up. For the first time in my life, I was happy b/c it didn't start. That meant it didn't need a new transmission. My dad gave me the fuel pump diagnosis, so I looked it up in the Chilton manual and saw the first step involved closing off the fuel line. I called AAA to tow it shortly after that. The repairs cost more than the monthly car payment for the van, but there are still 3 years left to pay for the van and the Cavalier will hopefully go another year w/o breaking down.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Izabella's first birthday

Today I.M. Smith turned one year old. To celebrate, the whole family went to the zoo. We went for Desmond's first birthday, so we wanted to treat them equally what w/ that Title IX lawsuit hanging over my head. It should have tired Desmond out, but he was smart enough to ride in the double stroller most of the time and we were dumb enough to bring it. We got to see baboons doing it, and if you thought their butts were red you should see an erect baboon penis. Before they even consummated their love, Maria and I were in awe of the fiery red rod. To actually see the deed, well, I'm just glad my whole family was there to share it. Desmond mentioned the alligators, giraffes, and polar bears as his favorites, but it was Izabella's special day so I'm sure the baboons and their amazing social hierarchy will be her everlasting memory of the day.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Racist Dan

I was standing in the doorway of my garage/back yard the other night when I heard these people walking down the street towards my dead end. It sounded like a dad and his kids, but as they got closer I recognized the no good voices of teenagers and it sounded like they were talking about hot wire vs. cold wire and styles for using hot wire and cold wire. Then when they passed the hedge by my driveway I could see that in addition to being teenagers they were also black. When two of them walked up to my car on the driver's side while the other one went to the passenger's side, I took one step out of the doorway and towards the car. They didn't notice me and walked right on by into the woods and on their way towards the library. I realized they were actually talking about hot water and cold water and not about stealing my car. After my initial relief/embarassment, I cursed myself b/c I would have been better off if they had stolen my car and I collected the insurance money. I guess I'll have to recruit some hispanic kids to do the job.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Family Man

Izabella is asleep, and Desmond is spending the night at his grandparents house. Unable to cope w/ a Friday night w/o kids, Maria lined up a babysitting gig for me. I'm currently watching someone else's kid while forcing him to watch NASCAR talk shows on Speed channel and listen to Tiger Bear Wolf. I was told I could discipline him however I chose. He should grow up to be an upstanding citizens after a couple more Fridays w/ me.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Beware Cascade

I loaded the dishwasher today and started to lift the door before I closed the detergent dish. There was some Cascade dripping down the machine. I scooped it up and thought I wiped most of it off on the dish towel. I noticed some white paintlike droppings on my yellow shirt, and then my dark green shorts have a big white stain on the leg. It's not the kind of stain that looks like it will come out. It looks like it's been bleached. I got Tilex on a pair of similarly colored pants a few years ago and it left a cool looking orange stain. With this stain, I'm happy it's August and I need to paint parts of the house.

Need new car

The transmission in my car has failed me. The question is do I spend the $1500-$2000 it would cost to replace it (not to mention the other $500 it needs in maintenance) or do I bite the bullet and buy a new (used) car? Toyota Corolla, I'm looking at you.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

New cooking method

I decided to go to the Fresh Market today to buy corn on the cob, bananas, and apples. Their produce isn't any more expensive than Harris Teeter and I was at HT yesterday and didn't feel like going 2 days in a row. When I got there I realized that I also needed charcoal and was kind of dreading buying something other than meat or produce at the Fresh Market ($$$!). However, they had their own store brand of charcoal. It wasn't my usual Matchlight, but I didn't have much of a choice if I wanted to get home w/o making another stop. It was only $5 for a pretty big bag, and I have a bottle of zippo lighter fluid for charcoal that needs lighter fluid (and I guess a zippo if I ever had one and used it). The bag was pretty light and when I started dumping it into the grill, little pieces of black wood came tumbling out instead of the customary briquets. There was one piece that lit up pretty easily and that got the whole grill going. I don't know that the food tasted any better, but it was pretty cool to see little white ashes fly up when I opened the lid. Since I pretty much just use the grill to cook in the summer, I'll see if I still like it by the end of the week. That charcoal w/ the lighter fluid already added is pretty convenient, and I don't want to burn off any straggling hairs by getting to close to the inferno that is lighter fluid. Still, I have to eat, and charred animal flesh remains my preferred choice for dinner, so I guess I'll see how this stuff does.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Ready for some football

I seriously set my alarm for 5am on Saturday morning, so I could get up and watch the Colts/Falcons game live from Japan. I admit I turned the alarm off before I went to bed on Friday night, but when the cats got me up around 5 I turned the tv on and watched a couple of plays before going back to sleep. Tonight's Monday Night Football is more my speed, but I couldn't resist that first taste of preseason NFL even if it meant I was up before the cats went outside to kill birds.

Before the first Panthers snap, I was already confronted w/ a family/football dilemma. I had an invite today to go see the Panthers/Cowboys game, but it's on Christmas Eve so I had to decline. I don't think any kid would buy the excuse that Santa was too hungover from going to the game w/ Uncle William to wrap presents. Well, not my kids anyway.

And to scoop this guy, here's a link about the Rolling Stones season long partnership w/ MNF. I heard John Madden gets hemodialysis regularly and that prevents him from flying. Also, I'm pretty sure when the cops busted Al Michaels for dope back in the 60's, they burst in on him while he was eating a Mars bar from Marianne Faithful's p****. That's just what I heard.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Grasshoppers game

We went to the last of the Grasshoppers kids club games today. Maria got home from working a festival w/ Jillian at some point last night. I bought a ticket earlier this week b/c there was some Christian rock concert after the game and I was afraid I would be stranded w/ Desmond's kids club ticket and not another ticket for me or Maria to get in. I pictured dropping him off w/ the Piedmont Baptist Coalition looking after him, but even though no judge in this state would convict me of child neglect for that I still felt like I had to be there w/ him. The whole family went, but we didn't get there until the 5th inning. It worked out ok b/c usually we are there for 4 or 5 innings so all we did was shift those innings to the end of the game. The most notable thing that happened was the lady selling Natty Green's pale ale recognized me from previous visits. I'm pretty sure it was Izabella in the Baby Bjorn that tipped her memory, but it made me want to tip her anyway.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

What $20 olive oil tastes like

Pretty much like $5 olive oil, but I was lured in by the opening of the new Giacomo's on New Garden Rd (and can you believe the porn industry hadn't taken the web address They import it from some family member in Italy, so I lived in NJ long enough to know that's good. A couple people I know swear they have the best sandwiches in town, but I didn't go down to the High Point Rd store too often b/c I don't like choosing a parking spot based on the fact that it has less broken glass than the spot next to it. W/ football season starting soon it would probably be a good idea to have a 3 lb sopressata around the house for general gnawing. I'm glad I can get such necessities close by now.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

New Dryer

I finally moved our broken dryer out to take a look at what was wrong. I was recently convinced that our electric dryer was actually a gas dryer b/c when it was on there was a glow in the back panel that looked like a gas flame. It broke shortly thereafter. And that glow? It left a crisp black burnt spot on the metal back of the dryer. I'm pretty sure that means go and get a new dryer. I think I'm going to Lowe's to get one of these two dryers. They were cheaper than similar models at Sears and Home Depot. My only concern is the Lowe's models say "power cord and venting sold separately." The venting I already have, but a power cord? That seems like a pretty essential piece of the dryer. I hope they don't try to tell me my previous dryer only lasted 30 years b/c I needed to get the undercoating done at purchase time.