Thursday, December 27, 2007

AZ Pundit's Official Holiday Bowl Pick

Certainly there is much anticipation of tonight's Holiday Bowl matchup featuring the Longhorns and Sun Devils.

My pick?

Texas Fight, Texas Fight,
And it's goodbye to A&M. (or ASU)
Texas Fight, Texas Fight,
And we'll put over one more win.
Texas Fight, Texas Fight,
For it's Texas that we love best.
Hail, Hail, The gang's all here,
And it's good-bye to all the rest!

And no, I am not cowering to the demands of my immediate and extended family. I just think UT wants it more. Should be a good game.

And to my Sun Devil colleagues, fellow churchgoers, and neighbors who read this blog, sorry. We can still be friends, right??

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

If this isn't irony

As my busy morning routing is somewhat less rushed than usual this a.m., I had time to peruse the newspaper. I came across a wire story about the WGA strike, which has not affected my life in the least (more on that in a future post). Also included was a picture showing the actors from "Reno 911" showing support for the striking writers.

Funny, when you consider "Reno 911" consists almost entirely of improvised dialogue. No need for writers on that set.

Looking for the photo on the net, I came across something better: a video.

By the way, Tom, I do enjoy talk radio. And my Sirius radio. And blogs. And the several hundred channels I get on the satellite dish.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It happens to famous folks, too

In leisurely evening reading, I noticed this article about a certain baseball player-turned broadcaster-turned author and his travails with a busted hot water heater.

I feel better.

And I have to admit I like the tankless heater.


Other stuff: The Arizona Cardinals are still the Cardinals, but at least they're not the Falcons.

I know I'm a layperson when it comes to these mega-dollar contracts, but how is a guy like Petrino just allowed to walk away?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Saturday morning laugh

In the process of doing casual beginning-of-the-weekend web browsing, I came across this. Being the Microsoft hater that I am, I just had to click and read.

Watch the YouTube video and laugh out loud.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Water in the desert

And in our house, no less.

Yesterday, while moonlighting, I notice Geogal called twice. I checked the voice mails. Not good news, but thankfully not tragic stuff.

Apparently the hot water heater decided to call it quits. And start leaking out significant volumes of H2O. In the garage. Into the house.

Geogal discovers this, takes a quick look, then takes action. By the time I am finished working, she has already pulled up the carpeting from the room adjacent to the garage, had the fan blowing on the floor, tried to use our wet/dry vac (to no avail), and enlisted the help of one of our friends from the next street over. So, the hot water is all drained out of the heater (we think) and we are more or less ready to call the plumber and the water extraction professionals.

Then today, the crew arrives and the news gets worse, then better, then worse, then better. The water damage was not as extensive as first thought. However, we now have the drywall and insulation removed from a large section of wall inside the house. Plus, the heater is again full of water (cold water, at least) because the shut-off valve was stripped, therefore the heater leaked water all through the night.

And I don't want to tell you how much a tankless water heater will set us back.

So, in the midst of all the drama, I still find time to keep to my morning routine of exercise at the Y. Afterward, I took advantage of where I was to take a shower. And I likely will do the same tomorrow. You just take certain things for granted until they are suddenly taken from you. I think after this experience I will be thankful for my hot water for many weeks to come.

And having the endless supply of hot water will be nice...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

New entry with pics!

After much procrastination, I completed my latest off-road driving story on my other "fun" blog. Look at it here.

And, to follow-up with my previous entry, congratulations to Hawaii and LSU. Tigers, beat the Buckeyes like a bongo drum!

A Saturday to cheer and to cry


Yes, I parked myself in front of the TV for the better part of yesterday afternoon and evening, watching college students break each others' bodies. (That's Geohouse slang for football, except in the case of the NFL, where it then becomes "Grown men breaking each others' bodies.")

Sure, some contests were boring (such as UCLA-USC). But thanks to having numerous choices due to DirecTV, I watched the Civil War (Oregon-Oregon State)--2 overtimes, then Arizona-Arizona State (still came down to anyone's game in the closing minutes). I just couldn't stay up to watch Hawaii come back and beat Washington.

Now, let's see what happens at 6 p.m. God's time, when the BCS bowl lineups are announced. I'm glad I am not one of the decision-makers in that process. Given this season, I wonder if the "experts" will just toss darts to make the selections.

Whatever. One of the joys of having graduated from a perennially-losing-football-team school is not having to sweat buckets over polls or bowls. I don't really have a favorite team from among the BCS conferences, save perhaps Texas.

But some (metaphorical) tears yesterday. I realize yesterday was truly the last college football Saturday of the season. There's just something about college football that the pros and the other collegiate sports can't offer. Tailgate parties, marching bands, crisp fall temps (everywhere but here in AZ), fresh air, anticipation over the holiday season. And while I have no loyalty whatsoever to The Ohio State University, who else can come close to performing something such as "Script Ohio?"

So, now I can watch the several episodes of "Torchwood" that are on the DVR. And I'm making a pot of elk chile. Sundays do not have to be miserable if one chooses to be constructive.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Post not-exactly-turkey-day musings

No turkey for us yesterday. You see, due to illness we did not visit the in-laws, where the big bird was defrosted and ready for roasting. That freed us at the Geohouse to call an audible. So, we wound up at Monti's La Casa Vieja, where Geogal had fetuccine, I had prime rib, and little Geoana had a burger. Who said you have to stick to the traditional stuff on Thanksgiving?

We ate there two Thanksgivings ago. Maybe we need to start a new family tradition.

Decided to turn on the old idiot box to see what the crowds were like at various shopping centers. I haven't watched local news in some time (I get virtually all of it these days from radio, newspaper, and Internet). It turns out I haven't missed much. Since it was after 7 in the morning, the Big Three network affiliates had already gone to the national shows. Therefore I was left with KTVK and Fox 10. Oh, the humanity!! Anchors stammering through scripts that obviously never saw a proofreader, video for a hard news story consisting of a static camera shot of a computer screen showing the Fox site, and a spastic weather-reader-comedian humiliating a 13-year-old girl who buried her face in her mother's chest (having the good sense to not show her face on television).

I continually read how the Internet is killing print news. If television news continues to take the lowest road possible, the Net might just deal the death blow to the TV variety as well.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Fast thoughts

Yet another reason why I am not a gambling man.

Yesterday I thought to myself: "Oregon will show up to play. There's no way Arizona will beat them two years in a row. Final score--Oregon 28, Arizona 3."

Imagine my shock when I picked up my newspaper in the driveway this morning. What a whiff!

The Dolphins obviously think things cannot get any worse for them.

Dumbest quote of the day, even more outlandish than anything that came from Barry Bonds' attorneys, is courtesy of Miami linebacker Zach Thomas:

"He won't be a cancer in the locker room. He has always had a good work ethic."

Say what?? Hey Thomas, do you not recall what took place in July of 2004, when Williams suddenly announced he was retiring from the game? That his timing could not have been worse for the team? Bailing out just before the beginning of training camp? Leaving at a time when all the talented free agent running backs were already signed by other teams?

What kind of work ethic is that?

I still have a hard time believing next week is Thanksgiving. Where did this year go?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Reflecting in a fast-food joint

About a week ago I had occasion to be in Apache Junction, which some Valley residents might refer to as "dogpatch" or "the town that smells of manure and cigarette smoke." Epithets aside, AJ has its own brand of uniqueness that sets it apart from the other East Valley cities.

But enough about the town. If I'm there around the lunching hour I will stop at the Whataburger at the corner of Apache Trail and Meridian. Years ago, my job used to take me to AJ frequently so I am well familiar with the eating options. So, I decided to again nosh at this Whataburger, even though I haven't eaten there in a good four years. (Plus, Whataburger appeals to my Native Texan blood.)

The burger is just as good as I remember. What I didn't anticipate is that being in this establishment would bring back a flood of memories. I remember distinctly heading in there to eat in the summer of 2002. Geogal and I were preparing to move away from Casa Grande and set up residence in the Valley. The house sale was going well, no snags with the contract. Yet I was very stressed. We still didn't have a mover. Time was getting short. While having my lunch (a Whataburger, probably with bacon), I managed to make a call to a guy with a Valley-based mover, who was agreeable to the job. So, leave Whataburger with a little less stress.

Back to present-day. I have new stressors, big ones. Yet the moving issue has long since been resolved. Maybe there is a lesson here for me. I will always have items (internal and external) that will affect my stress level. However, these things often come and go. Very few stay for the long-term. And chances are high that I will be around to fight another day. Stress can have a positive effect. But I have to remember not to let my stress get the better of me.

And I'm wondering about eating in that same Whataburger a few years down the road. What will today's stressors be then?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The most wonderful time of the week

No, don't start humming the Christmas song with a title similar to today's blog heading. Since Halloween is gone, we'll all soon be bombarded with holiday tunes as it is.

Saturday mornings, especially in the fall, are just grand. I'm always the first one up in the Geohouse. Cool temps, hot coffee, overall quiet. Plus Friday night-Saturday morning sleep is some of the most restful I get all week.

The above tend to congeal into a mental condition that in turn causes me to think reflectively at the very start of the weekend. Today's thoughts? Meaning. Drive. Happiness. All of these were subjects of my musing during the past week.

What drives me? I wonder. I am not a Type A person. (Sometimes I believe I'm Type B minus.) Achievement has its place, but it is not my ultimate goal. I'm more oriented to my interests and hobbies than my livelihood. And I don't think that's wrong. Please do not misunderstand me, I work hard at my profession. I am constantly reading and attending workshops in order to learn new and different ways in which to ply my trade. I do network. And I am enjoying some of the freedoms that come with being self-employed, even if I am engaging in a little moonlighting for the time being. The outside work is OK and I am always reminding myself that doing the extra work is not a long-term plan.

Happiness? I know enough to know it doesn't come from money. Money can certainly buy fun, for the short-term, but it cannot buy sustained, chronic joy. Vacations and journeys have their place but often I am OK just tending to my own home. My favorite sports teams? Politics? Entertainment? Nope, goose egg on all three. Happiness does not come from outside circumstances. (OK, not my idea. Stephen Covey communicates this in "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," and Rick Warren relates this concept from a Christian perspective in "The Purpose Driven Life," both good reads.) I think my father had it correct when, in a recent phone conversation, he reminded me to take time and do some outdoor grilling and take my truck out to explore Arizona. (This, in a response to how stressed I felt at that time.)

So this morning I am feeling upbeat, optimistic. Now, can I take this attitude and sustain it throughout the weekend, perhaps even (yikes!) the week to come?

Now, moving away from the reflection, here's a short Geofamily reference to a current event. The photo today (from 2005) shows Geoana at the Anchorage zoo, in the background is (or was) their resident elephant. Who was moved to warmer climes this week.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday morning second-guessing

So Joe Girardi will be offered the job of Yankees manager.

Not that it matters greatly to me overall, but I was looking forward to enjoying more "Simpsons"-induced irony.

Remember my list of the top ten episodes? (Of course you do, it's just below this post.) In "Homer At The Bat," toward the end of the episode Mr. Burns throws Don Mattingly off the team due to his sideburns. (Adding to the humor is that Mattingly was not sporting any hair on the sides of his face, nor have sideburns even been in style for over a generation--Beverly Hills 90210 notwithstanding.) As Mattingly walks off the field, he says, sotto voce, "I still like him better than Steinbrenner" (referring to Burns).

Oh, if Don had wound up as the Yankees skipper...

Speaking of baseball, let the pundits start typing and yakking about how the Rockies were overrated, the Red Sox were unbeatable, the series was boring, etc. My take? The same thing that happened to the Diamondbacks in the NLCS took place with the Rockies in the Series. Bats went quiet, pitching wasn't quite good enough, momentum ran out, and the result was a sweep by the opposition. And in my humble opinion, that's what makes the game fun. You just never know...

How is it that USC loses on Saturday but only drops one point in the AP poll?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Top Ten Simpsons episodes

As promised, the top ten Simpsons episodes as decided by yours truly.

My fan credentials? Let's see, I began watching in 1990, shortly after the series' debut. Only recently did I cease watching new episodes (see here for the explanation). I own several of the DVD's, all the way through Season 6. (I plan to own Seven and Eight, but I might stop the DVD purchases after that, as the quality of the series really began to nosedive in Season 9.)

I actually composed this list just prior to the movie's premiere, but never had the time to write the accompanying narrative until recently. Without further ado, here goes:

10) Some Enchanted Evening
I know what you're thinking. A Season One episode in this list? Sure. In my humble opinion, the first season did have some high points even if the animation was a bit rough and the characters were not yet fully developed. This is a well-constructed story that sets the stage for numerous episodes to follow (largely Homer's lack of basic intelligence). And Penny Marshall's voice work as the Babysitter Bandit is classic.

9) The Boy Who Knew Too Much
This is an ep that doesn't seem to get much airing in syndication. Still, the plot starting with Bart ditching school and being chased by Principal Skinner, followed by a courtroom satire, concluding with Bart having a rare case of ethics is a laugher from start to finish. Look for the parody of the Kennedy family, plus a side-splitting reference to "Westworld."

8) Deep Space Homer
Those who know me know I enjoy movies dealing with the space program, such as "The Right Stuff" and "Apollo 13." So this episode was a natural for my list. Hail Ants!

7) Marge Be Not Proud
My favorite of all the Christmas episodes. I'm not a big fan of the "hugs and lessons" shtick but I'll make an exception here. Plus the characterization of Marge in this episode reminds me of my own mother.

6) Lisa's Substitute
Another somewhat sentimental episode. In this one from Season 2, Dustin Hoffman (uncredited) showed celebrities to follow just how a guest voice can add superb dimension to Our Favorite Family.

5) Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming
Kelsey Grammer appears as Sideshow Bob nearly every season, but this jewel from Season 7 is the topper. Too many priceless moments to mention here, from "the esteemed representatives of television" all the way to "the Stingy and Battery Show!"

4) Who Shot Mr. Burns?--Part Two
Part one was good drama (such as it is for an animated comedy program), but this one, the Season 7 opener, has so many references to other cult television creations that it compensates for the anticlimactic ending. "Speedway Squad--in color!"

3) Homer At The Bat
Nine of the best players in Major League Baseball (at the time of this episode's production) as guest voices. How could I leave this one off the list? And a bonus--the closing song: "We're Talking Softball."

2) Marge Versus The Monorail
For many years this was my all-time favorite. A short description won't do this one justice. Just one line, courtesy of Homer: "I call the big one Bitey." Also featuring the voice of Leonard Nimoy, who also appears in....

1) The Springfield Files
This one is just about perfect. A solid storyline, beginning, middle, and end. Guest voices engaging in the right amount of self-parody. "X-Files" parody supreme. Fox-network-bashing supreme. Is Homer right, or is Homer a dope? "Keep watching the skies!"

Others that didn't quite make the Top Ten:

Bart On The Road: "That's it--back to Winnipeg!"

Call Of The Simpsons

You Only Move Twice: Marge--"I think owning the Denver Broncos is pretty good." Homer--"Marge, you just don't understand football."

Trilogy of Error

Girly Edition (Lisa does the best slow-burn ever)

You think I missed one, or you could make a better list in your sleep? Use the comments section and throw down!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dry Well

It sure feels that way today.

And it's not just me. Take a look at the front page of your local newspaper. Not much going on in the news right now. And these things happen from time to time--a phenomenon known as a "slow news cycle."

Plus I don't believe I have anything to add that's of substance. Not much happening at the Geohouse for the time being.

So, to other blogs I go. Checked out Hugh Hewitt's entries over the last few days. This one really caught my eye.

As the regular readers of this site know, I used to work in the broadcast news business. So the Howard Kurtz book and interview piqued my interest. I put the interview from Hewitt's show onto my iPod and an amazing thing happened. It held my interest for the entire length of the Hewitt-Kurtz conversation. There's nothing wrong with my attention span, but I do tend to "zone out" from time to time listening to the same types of podcasts, usually while I am at the gym. Not so this time.

Plus, the Hewitt blog entry also had a link to a Wall Street Journal story about the flop that is Disney's California Adventure. You see, Geogal was born and raised in Orange County, and lived there her whole life until she left for college. As such, I have heard numerous stories of how Disneyland visits were the norm in her family. Along with these stories I also am subject to wailing and gnashing of teeth about how Disneyland is just a shell of its former self. And don't ever get Geogal started about California Adventure. Suffice to say, she did not approve of its creation or construction.

So, I've got to direct her to that article....

Hmmmmm. That turned out to be a longer blog entry than I expected, this being a dry well day and all. I might not be so lucky for the next try, so I will pull out one of my evergreens. Next entry: The Top Ten Simpsons episodes (as determined by yours truly)!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Random stuff

No theme tying all of this together, just musings from a stressed mind:

Latest Netflix choice was "Stagecoach," widely considered to be John Wayne's first successful starring role. Good flick. I watched it Sunday while doing laundry (Geoguy is domesticated!). It triggered long-latent desires to live the life of the Old West cowboy, plus the thought of "when do I next get out of town and take a drive through aforementioned Old West?"

Answer: When you get a couple of new tires and some front-end work done on that truck, Geoguy. Not to mention a free Saturday.

No wonder I have Walter Mitty-esque fantasies of living the cowboy life.

It's amazing to me how the Arizona Cardinals are doing a few things right. Most folks didn't know how much of a coup it was for the team to sign Tim Rattay when Matt Leinart went down. When you see the other injured quarterbacks around the NFL, plus Vinny Testaverde putting on a uniform once again, it makes you wonder just how many teams are sending representatives to Idaho, looking for Jake Plummer.

Is it just me, or does Diana Krall sound like a guy when she sings? Really. Listen to her rendition of "The Look of Love" and tell me I'm wrong. (Or, better yet, go here and listen to the "Cry Me A River" ringtone.)

Another season (or series, as they say across the pond) of Doctor Who is over. Fortunately, I have several episodes of "Torchwood" on the DVR awaiting my viewing. I just watched the first one yesterday. Whoa! Apparently British TV allows for more swearing than here in the U.S. (Just a few profanities and obscenities--we're not talking "Deadwood" here.) Looks to be an interesting series, though. If they manage to keep up the quality established in Doctor Who, then they just hooked another fan in yours truly.

The Diamondbacks? Let's just say Colorado has me worried...

Friday, October 05, 2007

Not getting overconfident, but...'s still gratifying to see the Diamondbacks win games in convincing fashion.

Yes, I'm well aware the NLDS isn't over yet. And now the series is headed to Wrigley Field.

But what a difference one week makes! Last Friday, I was sitting in a barber shop in downtown Chandler, waiting my turn for a haircut. While waiting, I perused a copy of the Arizona Republic. The sports section contained a page listing all of the possible scenarios regarding the National League playoffs. (Remember, the teams in contention at the time included the Mets and Padres.) Yes, there was a small blub which stated the Arizona players might be "going fishing" come Monday. Yes, mathematically they had a chance to not make the playoffs. But by the next morning, the D-Backs were in.

Now let's see if they can close this one out.

Yet regardless of how the Diamondbacks do in this postseason, I consider it all gravy at this point. My only real wish for the end of this MLB season is that the Yankees do not win it all.

Besides, the Colorado Rockies look REALLY, really good. How long can they sustain this momentum?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Living in the real world

Little Geoana is a huge fan of Hannah Montana.

But she probably should not set her sights on going to the "HM" concert, which will hit town on November 9. Why? Because of this.

Geogal and I are just a couple of working stiffs. And we certainly do not feel the need to indulge our child's every whim. Fortunately for us, Geoana has not made any requests or demands to see Hannah Montana in concert--yet. Perhaps this will blow over without incident.

I just think it's early enough that we can tell the little one "no" to certain things. Geogal and I believe in some old-fashioned things, such as delayed gratification and the importance of working hard. Hopefully the two of us will have the fortitude to follow through on our convictions.

After all, Geogal and I still have not seen Steely Dan in concert and we're functioning OK.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saturday musings

Congratulations to the snakes!

And to think I, as most people, was expecting a mediocre team this season. That dreadful year of 2004 is rapidly becoming a distant memory.

Speaking of distant memories in the world of sports, remember when the Cowboys were slaughtered 44-0 by the Chicago Bears in the fall of 1985? I certainly do.

Not that it's an apples-to-apples comparison, but Sunday night's victory by the 'Pokes in Chicago definitely felt good to those of us who remember that low point in Texas history. (Which I always consider, with the benefit of hindsight, to be the beginning of the end of the Tom Landry era.) Not only did the Cowboys win at Soldier Field, in front of a national TV audience, but remember the home team did represent the NFC in last season's Super Bowl.

So it's a victory I can savor for some time.

Back to baseball. I am realistic. The Diamondbacks will not make it to the World Series. However, postseason play is still fun to watch.

One last sports comment--my prediction for Sunday's Cardinals-Steelers matchup: Pittsburgh 35, Arizona 13.

Lately my blogging on this site has been down. Why? I am spending a great deal of time and energy getting my business going (which I have mentioned here before). Part of my efforts involve creating and maintaining the business website. Not to mention I am also writing blog posts for my business. For the casual reader, no, I will not link to either the website or the blog from the Arizona Pundit blog, as I want to keep myself incognito here. Family and friends can get the URL for my business venture via e-mail. Plus it is somewhat therapeutic to maintain a more casual (and sometimes sarcastic) alter ego on this blog, the likes of which I would never do on the professional Internet presence.

Back to work (no more casual Saturdays)!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fall cleaning

I know it traditionally takes place in the spring, but the Geohouse is currently being subject to a good "get-rid-of-the-clutter-and-make-this-house-presentable" exercise.

The linchpin of this effort is not yours truly, but rather, Geogal. You see, she and little Geoana have a new ritual: watching "Clean House" shows we save on the DVR.

And it seems to have an unintended positive consequence. Geogal wants to downsize, clean up, and improve the interior of the house.

More power to her. Blame our current house condition on general malaise, a busy schedule, and lack of company for almost a year.

But now it's looking better, and it seems to be giving us a psychological uplift as well.

Plus, after seeing the "Before" condition of the homes featured on "Clean House," I don't feel quite so negative about my own dwelling. Call it the "At least I'm not that messed-up in the head" effect.

Now, is it time I tackle the garage?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Prepare the crow for my consumption

If you're so inclined, read the comments on my last post. If you're not inclined, just know that geobro-in-law took me to task for being down on the Longhorns.

The lesson learned here is not to write about these games until the score is final. Still, it will be interesting to see how UT will fare against Oklahoma, Nebraska, A&M, and even Oklahoma State. But for tomorrow, they should do nothing less than beat the snot out of Central Florida.

At least Texas has a pride-inducing football program. I saw with some dismay that my alma mater (New Mexico State Cow College) is facing Auburn on the 22nd.

What the fark? I thought they were moving away from these money/prostitution games.

(long sigh)

At least I can enjoy watching the Nebraska/USC game. One of the rare times I will root for Nebraska.

(Speaking of that--Q: What does the "N" on Nebraska's football helmets stand for?
A: Nowledge)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Saturday channel-hopping

Just college gridiron action, of course.

Three observations:

1) I was as surprised as anyone that Oregon put such a walloping on Michigan. Yeesh, the Wolverines must really stink.

But I think the best quote I've seen regarding that game comes from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press:

"I hate to put it this way, but there were Lions games that were less embarrassing than this."

2) Could there be a changing of the guard in Texas? By that, I mean, could the football power be switching from Austin to College Station? While I thought the Aggies had put the game away with about 2 minutes to go in the game, imagine my surprise when I turned the DirecTV tuner to FSN to catch the Longhorns-Horned Frogs game, and instead saw the A&M game in its third overtime. Sure, the Aggies nearly lost the game, but they were able to put it away. That brings me to...

3) My mother will disown me for this (not to mention never again being invited to Geosister and Geobrother-in-law's house again), but I think the Longhorns are overrated this year. Regarding the aforementioned UT-TCU matchup, the 'Horns are down 10-zip going into the locker room. Guess I'll sign off now and see if Colt McCoy and company can pull off an upset in the second half. (See, family members? I haven't dissed the Longhorns completely. At least they're not Michigan.)

Monday, September 03, 2007

Quick sports notes

Just some observations from college football's opening weekend:

Need any more proof that collegiate sports has a high level of psychological importance? Just look at the opening moments of the Virginia Tech/East Carolina game. How many times did the announcers talk about "healing?"

I was unable to catch the Texas/Arkansas State game (just no TV coverage of it out in these parts). But from what I heard, the Longhorns need to get with it, or else. Last year's loss to A&M is still leaving a bad taste in the mouths of the Burnt Orange faithful.

I watched all of the California/Tennessee game. (OK, I admit it. I really wanted to hear the UT band play "Rocky Top.") And the game itself did not disappoint. Either both of those teams are really good, or both of those teams have a porous defense. (I'm guessing the former.)

Lastly, I'm checking the scoreboard on the Sunday sports page, looking for my alma mater. Don't see them in the W or L column. Then I'm thinking to myself, "Why didn't they play?" A few minutes later, I'm looking at the scoreboard on Only then do I notice they actually played last Thursday.

And won.

Not a bad start to tailgating/pigskin time.

August in the rear view

I'm glad that month is over with.

Or am I?

August certainly presented more than its share of difficulties and hard times. High stress was the order of the day in the Geohouse for a majority of the eighth month of 2007.

But wait a minute. The latter part of August also had some high points. Several days away from the house, the jobs, the old grind. Several days of peace and quiet (no little one to shuttle to and from school, feed, etc.) and catching some rays by the poolside certainly had their intended effect.

So I suppose I can say August took away and then gave. Wonder what September has in store?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I'm not a comedian, but....

Actually, I do enjoy good stand-up. Case in point: When Geogal and I drove to Palm Springs a couple of Saturdays ago, the entire four-hour journey consisted of us listening to Blue Collar Comedy, Channel 103 on Sirius Satellite Radio.

We laughed out loud numerous times.

Anyway, why does the National Weather Service feel the need to issue a "heat advisory" for the Arizona desert in late August?

Just wondering.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Return to sanity, return to the keyboard

The computer keyboard, that is.

Today marks the end of vacation time for us. Geogal and I enjoyed sunny Palm Springs while little Geoana had a great visit with her grandparents in the Lone Star State.

Speaking of which, yesterday was one of the longest days the little one and I have spent, due to having an early flight out of Austin. After factoring in the drive time to the airport, we determined we would have to arise out of slumber at 4 a.m.

4 a.m. Texas time. 2 a.m. God's time.

An uneventful flight, no problems with getting the luggage, and driving home in a rainstorm found us back at the Geohouse, where Geogal informed us she had not slept well overnight due to the thunder and lightning.

Needless to say, none of us needed to be rocked to sleep last night.

And we all reposed well. The moods are better today, not a minute too soon. Geoana is performing in a church musical this evening. (I am shooting video of it for posterity. I will provide all of the family members with a DVD copy once it's edited to my liking.)

How was the vacation, you may ask?

Very relaxing. We didn't do anything. (Isn't that the purpose of these times away?)

Now, back to the old grind...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Flying light and eating heavy

And yesterday went off with nary a hitch as well!

Did I forget to mention that this week is an unusual one for me?

It is. Yesterday morning, little Geoana and I boarded a plane for Austin, Texas. We then met my mom and dad, and the little one is now in the throes of enjoying a stay at the grandparent's house.

What about me? I boarded a return flight a few hours after arriving in The Lone Star State and was back in Phoenix before suppertime.

And today, considering the weather concerns from Tropical Storm Erin, I'm glad yesterday was the cheap airfare day. Going today would have been horrid for all involved.

The only thing that went awry yesterday was being unable to visit with my folks over the noon meal. We intended to patronize one of the restaurants at the Austin airport. However, it turned out just about all of the eateries were inside the terminal (that is, beyond the security check). So, we finally decided to have Grandma and Grandpa take the little one, visit a fast food place, then head home, while I would have a little time to myself before again taking flight. My only hope was to find some true “Texas” food.

I didn't have to look far.

Strolling among the eateries, I noticed one called “The Salt Lick.” Eureka! BBQ!!!

You see, I was secretly hoping to enjoy the slow-smoked meat for which Texas is known worldwide. And The Salt Lick did not disappoint. In fact, the platter I purchased was so loaded with vittles I wondered if I would even finish it.

I did. (But I sure didn't have to eat again for many hours.)

After eating, I walked around the terminal for a while. Then I saw it.

Harlon's Barbecue.

Not one, but two BBQ joints in the airport. And Harlon's actually had two eateries in the terminal. I had to laugh out loud. Here I was, hoping to find one place with BBQ, and this airport has two.

Only in Texas.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

An antidote for worry

The people who follow the 12 Steps have a saying. The axiom is so old and so popular that even many people who never darkened the doorstep of an AA meeting know it: "One day at a time."

Meaning: Don't dwell on the future, on what may happen days, weeks, or years down the road. Just take care of today's stuff today.

Some folks have even taken the slogan one step further. Such as "one hour at a time," or "one minute at a time." Whatever it takes.

I think I said the "one minute at a time" to myself numerous times yesterday. It was a packed day and filled with tasks that were outside my normal routine. Take the car to the body shop, secure a rental car, take little Geoana to grandma's house, participate in a professional function, retrieve Geoana, work out at the gym much later than usual (meaning more crowded), then prepare the evening meal.

And guess what? It all went off without a hitch. I need to take yesterday and file it in the "make sure you remember this" part of my mind for use in the future. To be sure, you the reader might not think that what I just listed entailed any type of stressful day, but remember you were not in my shoes! Plus, I have a strong sense God is using my experiences to break me of my worry habit.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Moving along and improving

Just a quick look over the posts of the past week or so could lead one to assume I am in need of antidepressants.

Not so. While I do have occasional bouts of melancholia (probably due to my Irish heritage), I am usually not dysphoric. I must thank my older sister and mother-in-law for their kind words of sympathy in regard to my friend's death (see previous post).

Plus, the past couple of days seem to have been just what the doctor ordered. First, Friday evening I enjoyed fellowship with other guys from my church. We spent a few hours eating salty and overall unhealthy food and watching Looney Tunes DVD's. That evening, one of my friends there, Jim W., asked if I wanted to go with him on Saturday to Northern Arizona. Evidently he needed to reconnoiter an area where he secured a deer hunting permit. He presented this to me in the context of: "You have that truck. Have you even taken it on a serious off-road excursion?"

How could I say no?

We had a great four-wheel-drive trip yesterday. I took some photos, and I will post those with some narrative detail in a future blog entry.

Needless to say, my mood is better. And not a minute too soon. This week will be unusual and therefore stressful. Yet it could also be enjoyable as well.

For those who think I do a little too much whining and self-pity in this blog, remember what a blog is. In its most simple definition, it is an online journal. And many times I find the written word to be helpful in processing my own internal junk.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A new phase of life (and not one I want)

I'm hurting.

A week ago a colleague and good friend died. Yesterday afternoon I attended her memorial service. No doubt she was loved by a great many people.

If you're wondering about the particulars, her name was Sherry. She had two children and five grandchildren. She was diagnosed with lung cancer in early July. In my conversations with her since that time, Sherry was determined she would beat the illness despite the grim prognosis by the medical professionals.

And within the span of two days last week I received word that she was back in the hospital, not doing well. The next news was of her death.

“How old?” you wonder. Only 60.

To me, that's just not very old.

And during the last few days I also have come to the realization that I am entering a new phase of my life. One that I didn't expect.

I am now reaching an age and a point in my life where people close to me will die. With regularity.

Before now, I always equated death of contemporaries and friends to be the realm of my parents. And 20 to 25 years ago, the latest news of family friends who passed away was delivered by grandparents.

But this situation is different. Sherry and I worked in the same department. We fought the same professional battles. And while there was a difference in our ages (I will turn 42 this fall), at work we were equals in many ways.

Sigh. And so it begins.

As noted above, I wasn't expecting this to hit me so hard, particularly right now. But as I get older, I have to face the inevitable. I will be saying many more goodbyes in the coming years. And a lot of them are going to hurt, just as this one does.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Random stuff

Sometimes there are just things that pop into my head, things that I know I should note on this blog. Not big things, just paltry and humorous tidbits.

So, nobody asked me, but....

There is again a lot of excitement surrounding the Cardinals this upcoming season. Yet I predict another 5-11 or 6-10 season. Still, things could be worse. At least the local team is not the Browns. With each passing day I am laughing more and more over the Brady Quinn holdout...

Yes, there are a lot of foreclosures occurring around the Valley right now. And you know what? In almost every case, the foreclosure was an example of a person or persons who could not afford a house and had no business purchasing one. And shame on the lenders who worked up all of those sub-prime deals. Just another symbol of today's "Buy it now (why wait?) and buy it on credit" philosophy...

I am willing to trade some bright sunny days when the temps are hovering around 110 degrees for a number of days where the thermometer may not even get over 100 but the humidity will remind me of Houston. Increased cloud cover doesn't hurt, either. Course, a steady month or six weeks of sticky, gray days may well have me longing for the scorching sunny days...

Remember the saying on that famous "Murphy's Law" poster of yesteryear? "Anything you try to fix will take longer and cost more than you thought." The same holds true for starting a business...

Last but not least: I hope the "Doctor Who" scripts begin to improve.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


I don't need to restate the facts involving yesterday's tragedy in Phoenix.

And I don't even need to provide hyperlinks this morning. All of the national (and even some international) media are covering the story.

For me, perhaps the most upsetting was seeing the video from ABC 15's chopper. Now, as all of us watch the video, we are aware we are hearing from the pilot the last moments of his life. And his last words apparently being "Oh, geez."

In an instant his life, together with three others, ended.

I won't waste space here waxing about the brevity of our earthly lives. Yet in the context of my entry from a few days ago, my professional risk now seems more agreeable to me. Why spend most of my days in jobs I dislike for one reason or another when I have the ability and the means to strike out on my own?

Whatever happens, I will have no regrets. Plus, given the stark reminder from yesterday, I am well aware I have no idea how much time I have left. Maybe I won't see the end of this day, or of this year. Or, I might be around for the next forty years. So for now I will close out this entry and life my life today.

Friday, July 27, 2007


In the "did I just hear what I think I heard?" category, I was listening to Sirius NFL radio yesterday afternoon and they aired Billy Martin giving Michael Vick's prepared statement to the public. As I was behind the wheel, I was not paying full attention to the audio, but the phrase "spring training" came from the mouth of Mr. Martin, Esq.


Later on the NFL Network's Total Access program, they showed the text of the statement with the phrase "training camp" in brackets.


This morning, a quick Technorati search shows I indeed heard correctly. I think this guy is right on. As Vick has played football since the age of 8 or 9, there's just no way he would ever use the term "spring training. Just goes to show that a law degree and knowing one's way around a courtroom is no assurance of total accuracy. You would think Vick would have at least one lawyer on his team who is familiar with the NFL.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Catching up on some stuff

It's been a busy, and somewhat unusual, July. The biggest reason for this has to do with my decision to plunge into the Great American Dream.

That's right. I'm starting my own business.

Since I want to maintain my anonymity as it pertains to this blog, I will not go into any details about what I do for a living or what business I will be creating. And those details should not matter anyway as any new business endeavor has elements of risk, excitement, fear, and courage. Come to think of it, those descriptors could apply to any area of life that is new and worth having.

Let's just say I am now working harder now than I ever have before in my life. But I'm certain the end result will be worth all the sweat.


I took a break from my entrepreneur-oriented activities late last week and joined my daughter, her teachers, her classmates, and other parents in the Friday summer swimming time. What a blast! The school goes over to a nearby junior high, which has its own pool. With three diving boards, one of which is a high dive.

Little Geoana asked me to jump off the high dive. And I did.

This was not an act of courage, dear reader. You see, I grew up jumping off the high dive at the community pool just down the street from my house in Houston. And this high dive at the junior high was about the same height as the one from my childhood. However I haven't jumped off a high dive since moving away from Houston in my teenage years.

Turns out the experience of jumping from the high dive is really no different all these years later.

But in the eyes of my six-year-old daughter, the act of jumping off a high dive that to her must look higher than a five-story building, made me cool. For perhaps the first time since she developed her little attitude (all of you who are parents know whereof I speak), she
was very impressed with me.

Now the swimming was fun, but her awe made the effort even more worth it.

Even if my back did end up getting very sunburned. (Note for the future--have Geoana put the sunscreen on my back--she's up for the task!)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

It coulda' been worse

I am by no means a grillmaster. But I do take pride in my creations that come forth from the combination of flame and gridiron.

And for today, the Fourth of July, custom almost demands that I cook something outside. This morning Geogal told me salmon was her meal of choice for today, so to defrost status the fish went.

Zero hour. Fish is ready. Cedar plank is very wet. Time to go live.

Start propane grill.

See grill go cool within a minute or two. Diagnosis: empty propane cylinder. No backup.

Plan B: Light charcoal grill.

Learn the hard way that Kingsford Match Light Charcoal will not exactly light easily if it's somewhat old. No lighter fluid on hand, either.

Try to coax fire from a pseudo-chimney setup of newspaper, cardboard, and dead leaves and twigs from the yard. No go.

Almost admit defeat. Go inside and set oven to 375.

Last ditch effort: Cover most of charcoal grill with lid, hoping that heat (from the few briquettes that lit) will make the difference.

A few minutes later--success! Glowing coals. Turn off oven.

The salmon ended up cooking well and tasting pretty good. Nice smoky flavor, for which I was hoping.

Yet, I can look at this with humor. Especially since we had no company for this meal. My wife and daughter tend to be very forgiving.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

July rolls around

It's going to be an interesting month for me. Staking out new territory. I will share more details in the near future.

But for right now, it's hot and lazy around here. So much so, that today I am entertaining thoughts about jumping the fence of the house across the street. It's empty. The new owners do not appear to have taken possession just yet. It has a swimming pool, albeit a very shallow one. I can see me and Geogal taking a cue from a "King of the Hill" episode and sneaking over for a swim.

But, the monsoon will begin soon. And NFL teams will head to camp around month's end. And maybe I will figure out a remedy for the Sunday afternoon blues.

Hello, Mister Homer..

Just too funny to not include in my blog.

I guess this week I'll need to darken the doorstep of a 7-Eleven, although they are actually not ubiquitous around here (Circle K has a much larger presence in Arizona).

And, I likely will not go see the movie. Rather, I'll just wait for the DVD.


Regarding my question from Friday, the iPhone does have a camera. 2 megapixels. Gotta be better than what I have now. I still won't be getting one anytime soon. One article I read stated it will cost the user about $1,000 per year to own and operate. Of course, they might have been referring to just the first year, including the $500 or $600 that you plunked down to take possession...

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Having a laugh

Some of my readers may be wondering, will Geoguy be getting an iPhone? After all, anyone who reads this site knows of my affinity for Macs and other Apple products.

My answer, in short, is no.

Two reasons:

1) I can't afford it.
2) My current cell phone works just fine.

While on the subject of my current cell phone, I visited Chandler Fashion Center in the late afternoon yesterday to take a look at the line for the Apple Store. Just for kicks and giggles, you understand.

Longer than I expected. Way longer. All the way back to Pottery Barn.

Took out my cell phone (an LG model I've had since 2004) and snapped a photo of the end of the line. I meant to show the length of the people in queue, but my phone's camera is of minimal quality, as you can plainly see. Still, not a bad pic.

Hmmm, does the iPhone have a built-in camera? What's the quality? Me thinks I'll surf on over to Apple's web site for the specs.....

Friday, June 08, 2007

Hog Heaven

Just this morning I was at the gym, whiling away the time on the eliptical while my iPod pumped a recent Dave Ramsey podcast into my eardrums. One of the e-mail questions he fielded during that hour had to do with how he and his wife ate during the time they were serious about getting out of debt. I won't go into detail about Ramsey's answer, suffice to say he does not care for tunafish even to this day. He did stress the importance of eating at home as much as possible, making the point that in most restaurant settings, 80% of your dollar goes to entertainment while the other 20% goes to the actual food cost.

In most restaurant settings. Not all.

Tonight, we in the Geohouse decided to eat out. BBQ. A place called Waldo's, which opened a location closer to us (cut about 8 miles off the trip to the original location).

Even though I heard what Ramsey said, this eating establishment was one of the exceptions. I don't think I could ever make ribs that good, even if I had the best equipment. Money well spent.

And we paid cash! (See, we do heed Ramsey's advice.)

Little Geoana did well with the wait. Makes me remember a trip in my much younger days, to a fine restaurant called Hausner's. If I recall correctly, it was in Baltimore. Hmmm, let's see.

It was in Baltimore. But it exists no longer. (Look at the entry about a third of the way down the page.) I recall the wait for the table was a long one to my six or seven-year-old mind. Yet the burger and fries I ended up consuming was worth the wait. It had to be burger and fries. I ate little else at the time.

And what did Geoana eat at the BBQ joint? Burger and fries.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Somebody get this guy a map!

Yet another bizzare NCAA-to-pro-back-to-NCAA coaching game of musical chairs, except this time the ball is orange and perfectly round.

Yet I have to laugh when I read his quote: "My heart is in Florida."

Couldn't he have said the same thing if he ended up in Orlando? Which, last time I looked, was also in the Sunshine State.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Notes from the North

If one were to ask me to name my favorite spot in Arizona, I'd be hard pressed for a quick answer.

However I should say that Flagstaff would count as one of the top five, easily.

Geogal suggested we go there this weekend, so here I am, typing this blog entry from our room at the Little America Hotel. Drove up from Chandler this morning. Walked a two-mile trail out behind the hotel this afternoon. Then Geogal continued her immense wisdom by suggesting I go four-wheeling while she and Geoana make use of the hotel's swimming pool.

Didn't have to ask me twice!

Thought I would post only one of my pics from today's drive to whet your appetite. I'll soon post a narrative on my Apple-hosted blog.

Monday, May 28, 2007

An exciting weekend for sports?

Not in the Geohouse. Here is today's poll from

Which Memorial Day weekend sporting event are you most excited about?

-Nextel Cup series at Charlotte

-Indianapolis 500

-NBA conference finals

-UFC: Liddell vs. Jackson

-Stanley Cup finals, Game 1

Too bad I can't vote "None of the above."

Hey, training camp for the NFL can't be too far off, can it? Or the time of the season when baseball really gets exciting. Patience, patience.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Music to my ears

I read this with some interest.

Makes good sense for Amazon to try this. Since there are three iPods (one Nano and 2 Shuffles--a first and second generation) in the Geohouse, iTunes is the music provider by default. Yet to have to buy the music exclusively from iTunes is sometimes limiting. Since I lean toward tunes that are older and sometimes obscure, not every song I desire is available through iTunes.

Now, if Amazon will offer music I can buy, download, and play on my iPod, they'll get my business. (Not exclusively, mind you. iTunes will still be my music store of choice. But having more than one choice, plus some competition is definitely helpful.)

And the argument about file sharing? Steve Jobs addressed that one in this posting. Good point. I buy my CD's legally, and they are not protected.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. It looks like the large music companies will have to defer to the changing times.

In the meantime, I plan to spend some time this weekend using my USB turntable to digitize some tunes from my vinyl collection. No copy protection there, either.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I've come to the conclusion...

...that I am, in fact, not a redneck.

Given that I was born (and lived some of my formative years) in Texas, and exhibit a "glorious lack of sophistication," (Jeff Foxworthy's definition of redneck), I vacillated between whether I was one or not. Sometimes I took one position or the other, depending on how I would benefit.

But this week, I am convinced I do not fall on the redneck side of the line.

The defining moment? When I saw Dale Earnhardt, Jr's news conference a few days ago (the one where he announced he is leaving DEI.) My reaction: Who cares??

Actually, nothing about NASCAR interests me. I've never watched one of their races, I don't follow the standings, and I could only name a few drivers off the top of my head.

That seals the deal. I remain more comfortable in jeans than wearing a tie, I enjoy outdoor activities, I drive a pickup, I continue to consume beer, and I am often caught listening to country music.

But I am not a redneck.

I'll settle for being a good ol' boy.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


...before I dash off to attend to other (more pressing) things of the day.

Last night, Geogal and I had an amusing exchange. 7 p.m. was fast approaching and she turned the channel to Fox. I commented: "I don't even know who was voted off last week."

Her answer surprised me: "Sanjaya."

I still can't believe I didn't hear about that through some means. I never thought I was that cut off from the mass media (although in the realm of celebrities and entertainment that might not be such a bad thing).

I was halfway expecting to see headlines proclaiming: Our Long National Nightmare is Over.

One can even place blame on Messers. Jackson, Abdul, and Cowell for choosing that bizarre character to make the cut of 24. But remember, even the best of professionals can still get it wrong every now and then.


Good news: The Diamondbacks managed to score some runs in last night's game. Five, to be exact. I think that's more than they got collectively during that entire series with San Francisco.

Bad news: The opponent scored even more runs.

I'm not wailing and moaning. It's still early in the season and I have confidence this team will do OK. Not great, but certainly OK. No cellar-dwellers here.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunday thinking

So much, so much, so much.....

So much about which to muse, so little time to sit down and type. What do I share in this forum? What do I keep to myself?

I'll figure that one out as I go along.


Part of me is enjoying the relaxed pace of a Sunday, while Geogal and Geoana watch “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,” the TV series, not the movie (which we have already seen).

Of course, last Sunday I relaxed by watching my latest Netflix offering, Bullitt, with Steve McQueen. A manly man's movie. And yes, after watching the movie beginning to end, I used the DVD's menu to watch the car chase sequence again.


Phoenix Suns? NBA? Who cares? We tend to only watch college basketball in our house.


Work life? Nothing noteworthy. Except that I plan to engage in the Great American Dream in a few months. I'll keep you posted.


Regarding the tragedy in Virginia? I read this piece, with which I wholeheartedly agree. And shame on the broadcast media for repeated airings of that sicko's video he sent to NBC. My understanding is that the news outlets are now being taken to task by various factions. Good. Yes, I believe in freedom of the press. However I strongly assert a free press also must be responsible as well.


That's it for now. More entries are forthcoming, of course. Now that April is slowly leaving us, I will plan some off-road and out-of-town ventures which may become featured in my companion blog.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Imus, Idol, and ideas

Clear the cobwebs off the computer--time to blog again.

I had genuine aspirations to do an entry earlier this week, but work demanded more of my time then anticipated.

I've been following the Imus controversy with some interest. Not a lot, but some.

So now he no longer has a radio show. So what? I was always under the impression his listenership was never all that big. And I haven't listened to him since the days I lived in Tucson. You see, radio there was so piss poor (still is) that his show was about the only thing worth listening to in the a.m. After moving to the Valley, I noticed he wasn't even on a station here for several years, and the station that was carrying his program locally, KXAM, is one of the bottom feeders on the AM dial, which is adding insult to injury.

Do I even care about American Idol anymore? Not for this season. After Sundance and Chris got voted off, I lost all interest. As for you, Sanjaya--two words: Justin Guarini!

I actually am quite busy these days, earning a living and such. Yet I am in the midst of developing and implementing one of my most ambitious endeavors ever. More about that later.....

Saturday, March 31, 2007

The details, per popular demand

It's good to be reminded.

Geosister sent me an e-mail requesting I go into more detail about this entry. Here goes:

During my visit to Las Vegas, I suffered my worst bout of depression in years. Not only that, but come on? Being in a fun city, surrounded by numerous attractions not available in any other U.S. city?

Didn't matter. We got there Sunday late morning after a pleasant drive. I got to fulfill my desire to watch the tourney selection in the sportsbook (already shared that with you). And as eager as I was to visit Vegas, bear in mind that I don't gamble. (I have no major moral or religious objections to it. Gambling just does not appeal to me.) But the next morning, while out on a drive to obtain certain food items and other supplies, I felt sad.

More than the blues. Really down.

This mood persisted for the remainder of our stay. And it lasted until about Wednesday of the following week.

What happened?

Hard to say. Depression is one of those conditions that can have numerous and varied causes. I do keep in mind that it seems to run in my family. In my case, though, there may have been other factors. I'll share them here.

1) Isolation. Geogal was there for a conference (she has about three of these per year, and sometimes I will tag along. There were even occasions in the past where all three of us would travel, and Geoana and I would take in the sights while Geogal sat in meetings. This time Geoana stayed in Arizona with one of her friends, as Las Vegas is not known for being the most child-friendly city. I am an introvert and certainly derive strength from my times alone, but I am learning that I still need connection with other people on a regular basis. So, for most of the days there, I was disconnected from others. Sure, there are plenty of people moving about in these Strip resorts, but it's different from actual fellowship with friends or colleagues. And I'm sure I was missing my daughter.

2) Exercise. (The lack thereof.) I belong to a gym, and my routine nowadays is to drop off Geoana at school, then bust a sweat either doing cardio or weights. And yes, Caesars Palace did have exercise facilities, but with a charge of $20 per day. I did a considerable amount of walking during my visit, but that just isn't the same as aerobic exercise.

3) Disturbed sleep. Happened two out of our four nights there. I already described being awakened by the firework festivities followed by the Stardust implosion. Our last night in Vegas found us at the Mirage (the conference was over and we elected to go for a less expensive room). Advice to the Vegas visitor: don't get a third-story room at a resort. About 3 in the morning, we were awakened by the thump, thump, thump of loud music. Turned out it was coming from one of the lounges. The hotel manager got an earful from Geogal when we checked out. I learned that disturbing my sleep is one of the best ways to effect my mood--this being one of the many lessons learned from the time Geoana was born. That was the last time I suffered from depression of the level I am describing. Not only did I have no clue how to be a father or how to care for a newborn, but was dealing with a very dysphoric mental condition combined with Geogal having postpartum depression. After our sleep pattern was somewhat restored, the depression abated.

4) Spend spend spend. (And be gouged.) I'm trying not to be such a cheapskate, but yeesh! Stay at one of the top Vegas resorts, and it seems EVERYTHING costs extra. Want internet in your room? 10 dollars a day. Want a USA Today? 75 cents. Want to work out? I already mentioned that one. Want a cold nonalcoholic drink by the pool? 12 bucks. Tip not included. I could go on, but you get the idea. Maybe, just maybe my internal calculator added to my despondent mood. Particularly when I think about our road trip last October, when we stayed in medium-level hotels and got used to things such as free in-room wi-fi and a friggin' USA Today being provided at no charge.

5) Unmet expectations. I think this happens to anyone who travels to a particular destination, has a very enjoyable time, but on the subsequent jaunt things just are not the same, in the negative way. Both Geogal and I have been to Vegas previously so perhaps our mental expectations were just not met. I was looking forward to the trip, but as we were leaving for home on Wednesday, Geogal said she didn't feel any compelling need to ever visit Sin City again. I agreed.

Who knows? It may have been a combination of all the above items. Needless to say, Geogal's next business trip is to Colorado Springs in June.

I'm staying home.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Blurred insights

Geogal comes to me, shows me an article in one of the community-based weekly newspapers in southern Chandler. "Look at this," she said as she turned to one of the stories.

It featured my blog, along with some of the photos I used.

"Wow," I replied. "I didn't know anyone beyond family and assorted friends were regular readers of this stuff I just type every few days."

Then suddenly I am no longer sitting at my kitchen table. I am laying face-down on my bed.

The clock reads 3:30 (a.m.).

Just what that dream meant, I do not know. For the record I don't know what the vast majority of my early-morning dreams are supposed to mean. I am aware that our dream life helps us maintain our sanity so judging by the off-the-scale weird factor of a few of my own dreams, I am very likely the most sane, lucid person you may ever meet.

And to have wide readership of this blog? No thanks. I am a private person by nature, and I enjoy the intimacy I have with the visitors to this site. In some upcoming posts I will share more about what was so troubling for me last week, and the insights I gained from the experience.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Hook 'Em!

The game went about the way I expected it to. Actually, back up a bit. The final score was about what I expected. I'm glad the Aggies hung in there most of the game, and made it a contest.

But if they had to lose, well, no one better to take the "W" than the University of Texas.

As I alluded in an earlier entry, I watched the selection show from the sportsbook of Caesars Palace. I'm sure my expression was priceless when I learned who NMSU's opponent would be.

I'll be cheering for the 'Horns on Sunday.

And, since you asked, how was Las Vegas? Not that great, sad to say.

I won't go into much detail, but it was not the best out-of-town trip I had. And no, I didn't lose vast sums at the tables, nor do I have big guys with Italian surnames chasing me. No, I didn't get sick. No, I didn't get sunburned by the pool. No, Geogal and I did not have any conflicts during the trip. I just got broadsided by my own mind and body chemistry, something I never saw coming.

To quote Forrest Gump: "That's all I have to say about that."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Just another night in Sin City

I had a fleeting thought of attaching an image of the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada” sign, but the only way I could do so would be to violate someone else's copyright, so I won't proceed.

You can imagine it, though. I'm sure you've seen it.

There is nothing like waking up in the middle of the night (actually, make that having noise wake you up in the middle of the night), and realizing you are hearing the sounds of the Stardust Resort hotel implosion. I didn't even know it was scheduled to go down until Geogal clued me in yesterday.

Sure enough, about 2:30 this morning, pop, pop, pop. (Many more pops followed.) Unbeknownst to me, there was a fireworks display before the actual implosion.

There is a YouTube video of it here.

And no, we didn't see it. While our Caesar's Palace room window does face the general direction of the Stardust, not only were Geogal and I not about to get out of our warm comfortable bed, but our north-facing window view was blocked by both the Mirage and Treasure Island hotels.

Only in Vegas.


After spending a couple of days soaking in the culture of man-made Las Vegas, I will reward myself this afternoon with a visit to the God-made mountainous area west of here.

I think I need it.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Congratulations, NMSU Aggies!

Their ticket is punched.

Outstanding job kudos go to Reggie Theus and all of the Aggie basketball players.

See you at the big dance.

Madness in full gear (maybe)

Go Aggies!

So far, the high point of this Saturday for me was to inform Geogal that Nevada lost last night.

As we will be traveling to Las Vegas tomorrow, I plan to watch the NCAA Tournament Selection Show from the Caesar's Palace sportsbook. Although I am looking forward to the atmosphere I must acknowledge there will be no suspense for me. If NMSU wins tonight, they're in. If they lose, hello NIT. I won't hold out for an at-large berth.

I am not a college basketball historian. Yet I doubt Cinderella has ever been a small school in the southwest United States. Maybe the time is right.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Quiet weekend

Brain is still in slow mode. I can almost hear the message that is being fired from many neurons in the organ between my ears: "He worked hard for the last few weeks, give him the rest he needs."

Tomorrow, I am returning to familiar digs, doing a job I enjoy and at which I am somewhat good. So this Sunday is less stressful than the last several.

I do hope I can muster the needed mental and physical energy for the next couple of months. March features a sojourn to Las Vegas (starting a week from today!) and April contains two birthdays in the Geohouse, plus a third birthday in the extended family. April may or may not contain a visit from said family as well. Everyone reading this blog knows that even if family visits are congenial there is still a concurrent level of stress for everyone involved.

But there's always May.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Slow time

Seems it's that way for everybody in general. Not that there's any real problem or lack thereof. Even those who work in the media can tell you that not every day is loaded with significant events. And for the sports fan, well, this is the down time between the end of the NFL season, MLB just starting spring training, and March Madness still a couple of weeks (at least) away.

Speaking of the NCAA tournament, my beloved Aggies lost last Saturday. So, there goes any hope of an at-large berth. And the chance of them getting the automatic bid by winning the WAC tournament is rather small. Unless Nevada gets too overconfident and is eliminated in one of the early games. Hey, they are playing the tourney in Las Cruces. So...who knows?

Friday, February 23, 2007

I wonder if the Florida Bar is taking notice?

I thought his behavior was a little odd when I saw the news clips.

Yeesh, what some people won't do when the cameras are on. Is conducting oneself like a professional a lost art?


Not much else to write about this week. My short-term assignment takes a lot out of me (suffice to say, it's not Whopper-flopping). Thus, my thinking-turning-to-writing tank is running somewhat low right now. Perhaps an extended drive outside of my area code will help.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Where do I start?

Chargers coach? Reaction to my Mac blog site? A rant about the decrease of quality in regard to my favorite animated programs?

Nope. Have to start with this.

My take: If it actually happens, it's win-win. The consumer gets more bandwidth, more choices, and can take advantage of XM's superior network of terrestrial repeaters. Combine the talent both of these services offer and create a channel for virtually every genre of music, and the service might just sell itself. Not to mention the appeal of the subscriber being able to listen to MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL games, plus Nascar and the like.

The only losers in this deal might be Opie and Anthony. Get Howard and there's no need to have any of his wannabees in the lineup.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I might have been quiet over the last few days...

...but I wasn't sleeping. Look here. Then click on "First Dirt Trip." It's better than it sounds.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Maybe this Phillips will have more success in the Lone Star State

I'm not as pessimistic as Gene Wojciechowski, writing for Perhaps this is because I spent some of my drive-around-and-get-things-done time this afternoon listening to the guys on Sirius NFL Radio breaking down Mr. Jones' choice. Yes, time to fall back on the old adage of "time will tell."

Hopefully I'll never become like Hank Hill and talk to my Tom Landry commemorative plate when things get bad. (Truth be told, I don't even own any Cowboys merchandise beyond a T-shirt.)


My postings are down a bit over the last week or so, due to me working a short-term assignment in the real world, subsequently taking me out of the house during the day and away from my beloved Macbook. Although the past few days showed me a higher stress level than I prefer, I am trying to remember what my dad told me just after I started working my first "real" job as a teenager: "It's all worth it when the paycheck comes in."
Maybe that still holds true.

Or I can just hang in there and remember how the difficult times build character. And remember that next month Geogal and I will get away to fabulous Las Vegas for a few days.

We all need to look ahead to something. And maybe this Saturday I will finally get the opportunity to take my truck (I guess I need to name it) on one of the numerous dirt roads in the vicinity. My plans for last weekend had to be scuttled at the last minute. If I do go, I'll take the camera and share the view with all of you.

Monday, February 05, 2007

You know....

You know your life is becoming trite when you have blogging dreams while asleep.

You know you are under a lot of stress when you ruminate about not having new blog entries for almost a week.

You know you need to switch your blog hosting site when it takes forever to log on, even with a broadband connection. Even if you just want to dash off a few lines of text.

And...congratulations to the Colts, Dungy, Manning, and the rest. Sometimes nice guys can and do finish first.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Vista schmista

My how the times have changed.

Remember 1995? August of that year, to be exact. Microsoft released Windows 95 to extreme fanfare, enlisting the services of Jay Leno and the cast of "Friends," commenting on the exquisite concept of right-clicking.

Now the world is on the verge of another high-level OS release from the Seattle-based-people-who-rule-computerdom. Except this time there is not quite the same level of hoopla and, it seems, less excitement from the consumers. Oh sure, we will see some video of customers running into a store come midnight, but overall the buying public just appears, well, blase to the anticipation of upgrading.

Why? Some good reasons are listed here, but I also think some computer veterans are no longer lured by Microsoft's promises of The Next Big Operating System being "all that." Too many bad experiences with 95, 98, ME, 2000, and XP. And missing the holiday season didn't help.

I think another reason that February of 2007 will in no way resemble August of 1995 for Microsoft is that most buzz these days comes from hardware, not an operating system. If you doubt this, just go to CNET and check out the subjects for most of their articles. (Hint: HDTV, Blu-ray, MP3 players, and the iPhone.)

For the Geohouse, the introduction of Vista will go unnoticed. Most of you know I tap-tap my blog entries using a Macbook. I also use it for my photos, web browsing, e-mail, iTunes, recording and managing music using my cool Christmas gift from Geogal (a USB turntable). Why did I purchase a Macbook last fall? Many reasons, but one of the biggest was my overall disgust over how fat and sloppy Windows-based PC's had become.

I can still recall the words of Geogal when I brought home the Macbook: "Now we live in a divided house." By that, she was referring to our desktop PC, a Dell unit running XP. She has since become a believer in the Mac and in OS X. Now, when it is time to replace the desktop, we will buy an iMac.

That's what we think of Windows. So enjoy this OS release, Microsoft. It might be the last one of this magnitude you will ever enjoy.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Evening snark

As Geogal was out most of yesterday evening, I set the TiVo to record "American Idol." Just got done watching it. New York City. The usual assortment of weirdos and those obviously under the influence. Geogal remarked how watching this episode seemed more painful than usual. I agree. While we watch the early editions of each season mainly to make fun of the "singers," is AI approaching jumping-the-shark territory when the producers focus too much on the post-audition meltdowns?

And are you, dear reader, in fact making fun of me for writing about the episode over 24 hours after it aired? Be more current, you say?

Hey, at least I got this to the Internet before Television Without Pity posts their summary. (Wait a moment. Does that site still exist?)

...a few minutes elapse...

Yep, still there. They have a "recaplet," keeping the sarcasm short and to the point.

Plus, their writer echoed what Geogal said about Carole Bayer Sager resembling Joan Collins.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

How a TV series lost a fan

Average morning, flip through the newspaper. Came upon this piece, courtesy of the wire service. I can’t resist sharing my own thoughts about My Once Favorite Animated Sitcom.

First, my Simpsons fan credentials: I began watching the show in early 1990, while still in college. I remained an avid viewer until the end of last season. I own several seasons worth of DVD’s (one though three, then five and six–I do plan to add season four at some point, plus I will likely own seven and eight). My wife enjoys the series, although not to the extent of yours truly. Several Simpsons-esque expressions are now common in our household: “A little from column A, a little from column B;” “I spent last night in a ditch;” and “You promised to limit your servings of pork to six times per week.” I am a frequent visitor to The Simpsons Archive, and I own CDs of "Songs in the Key of Springfield" and "The Simpsons Sing the Blues."

I am (or at least, was) a big fan of the show.

But not presently. I was having lunch with a friend the other day (he is almost as big a fan as I am) and he asked me if I was looking forward to the Simpsons movie. I think my answer surprised him, as I said no. I pointed out how the writing has deteriorated over the past several seasons, and added I am no longer watching the new episodes on Sunday nights, given my disappointment over last season’s offerings. He listened, then offered his slight agreement. And after reading the aforementioned article, I am even less inclined to plunk down my green at the box office to see the flick. Apparently there are MANY creative people working on this movie which doesn’t give me great confidence in the final product. Just watch the 1967 James Bond parody “Casino Royale,” for a movie where there were too many cooks in the kitchen.

And James L. Brooks is either hopelessly optimistic or self-deluded when he said: “I think the last couple of years...have been among our best.”


Maybe just the reverse, Jimmy Boy. Although I cannot blame Brooks specifically for the series’ decline, he is culpable if he keeps it on its present course.

Why the decrease in quality? There likely are many reasons but I can enumerate a few right here.

1) Age. Time is taking its toll on the Simpsons universe. Face it, a series that exists purely for entertainment purposes just cannot remain consistently good for 17-18 years. In this respect, being an animated series is now working against the creative heads. Yes, the kids won’t ever grow up (as child actors in a live-action series do), but this has the reverse effect of the story-idea factory straining for every possible, but-not-necessarily-plausible plot. How else do you explain how the early seasons featuring stories that could easily have been developed on a live-action show, with the later seasons highlighting plots and storylines that are more outlandish and fantasy-inspired? Plus, many of its early fans have now moved on to other interests, including becoming middle-aged adults (yes, I am referring to myself) and I’m not sure if the series is attracting any new, younger viewers.

2) Recycling of plots. The Simpsons is not the only series guilty of this (“Frasier” was notorious for reusing some storylines in its later seasons), but do we really need to see another episode where Our Favorite Family sees itself in the future? (“Lisa’s Wedding” was the first future-oriented episode, and it was a gutbuster. All of the others fall well short in comparison.) I also am disappointed that the writers are falling back on the “let’s tell well-known stories from the public domain, and have three different stories in the three acts we are allotted” formula. And even though Sideshow Bob is one of my favorite characters, his shtick is wearing thin (see Point #1).

3) Topicality. The earlier seasons hold up well in reruns or DVD viewing. Now that the writers and producers aim more toward poking fun at current events (with inconsistent results), I cannot see most fans of the series laughing at jokes about the Iraq war when they watch the episode in, let’s say, 2021. Come on, there is a reason once-popular shows such as “Laugh-In” or “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” are not being rerun on TV Land or FX.

4) Lack of interest from Hollywood. Remember seasons two through six? Many of the biggest names in the entertainment industry wanted (and got) guest appearances on the show. And what other program featured guest appearances from all three (at the time) of the living members of the Beatles? And I have a feeling that had Lennon not been assassinated, he likely would have been a guest voice as well. But note the names listed in the article. Of those, only Natalie Portman could truly be considered A-list. And when James L. Brooks and Matt Groening appear as guest voices, you know the well has just about run dry.

I’ll leave it at that. And sometime in the near future, I will fire up the DVD player and laugh loudly at a Simpsons episode that aired when the series was still good. Will I even watch the movie when it comes out on DVD? I’ll answer that question later this year.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Yep, sometimes the NFL is interesting beyond the games

Remember my earlier post about putting a bag over my head, as I am a Cowboys fan? I just cut me some eyeholes when I heard about this.

Already talk radio is buzzing about the replacement. Names such as Dan Reeves and Wade Phillips are being kicked (no pun intended) around. I personally would not want to see either failed Denver Broncos coach on the sidelines in Texas Stadium. Norv Turner might be a good choice.

Of course, whoever is hired will be going into the job with the knowledge of having to deal with the biggest discipline problem in the NFL. (I am referring to Terrell Owens, not Jerry Jones.)

I take solace in knowing the situation could still be worse. At least I am not an Oakland Raiders fan, nor am I a follower of the Mug Shot Team.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Brevity of Tuesday?

Not much to write about over the last few days. Or is there?

Cold snap is hitting us in Arizona just as it is in the rest of the country. We just don't get the ice storms although it seems some residents of the Valley of the Sun awoke on Sunday to frozen and/or burst pipes. Not at the Geohouse, though. You have to love the newer housing developments. What they lack in character they make up for in modern amenities. And Geogal is right. Since the time we bought this house, numerous retailers (both chain and locally-owned) opened up shop in our little area. At present, we really don't have to leave our own ZIP Code for any shopping.

Last night Geogal and I watched G4's first showing of Star Trek--The Next Generation, 2.0. If you've never seen it and are a Trekkie, you really must check it out.

While watching the aforementioned program, Geogal commented: "It's cold outside and I'm watching Star Trek--TNG. I feel like I'm back in college." Yes, except we live in a nice house versus crummy apartments; drive two nice late-model vehicles rather than the tempermental gas guzzlers of our youth; and have money in the bank account rather than having to make the small paycheck stretch beyond human comprehension.

Whenever I feel depressed or sorry for myself, I need to remember to step back and look at the bigger picture.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

New (used) wheels

What was occupying my time and energy over the last couple of days?

A vehicle change. Geogal and I spent the last several months looking to replace our aging Oldsmobile with a newer, more reliable vehicle. Plus, following a picnic jaunt to Roosevelt Lake in the late summer of 2005, I was desiring a vehicle that I could take off the road.

Finally found the truck that meets our needs (and our price range). A 2004 Toyota Tacoma crew cab, with four-wheel-drive.

No, the world did not stop turning. (However, I am no longer watching new episodes of The Simpsons, as the show’s quality has deteriorated significantly over the last several seasons. That subject will be reserved for a future blog entry.) Why am I referring to buying a Toyota as something that people thought would never occur?

A little backstory: In 1985, I was REALLY wanting a pickup. But, I wanted it to be an American pickup. A full-size truck. At the time, I was really enamored with the Ford trucks. (I still think the Fords from 1980 to 1986 were great-looking. Shame they don’t make ‘em anymore.) Yet it seemed that everyone who knew I was looking would ask the same question: “Are you going to get one of those little Japanese jobs?”

I bristled at the question. I was a patriotic American. I still am.

Take the following into account: These Toyota Tacomas are built in Fremont, California, and now, San Antonio, Texas. I bought this truck used, meaning none of my money went to Japan. I wanted a reliable vehicle, and Toyota Tacomas have a tremendous reputation for being reliable and long-lasting. I remain a proud American and will continue to own numerous American-made products. Yet, GM, Ford, and Chrysler trucks just don’t seem to hold up as well as the years go by. I have owned vehicles from all three of the Big Three. Now I am ready to try something new.

Plus, you cannot deny this is one cool-looking truck!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Plodding along

I don’t know if some of you were wanting to send me antidepressants after reading my last entry, but I assure you I just needed to vent a bit that day. It helped.

I’m not suffering from dysphoria currently, just quite tired. I spent some of today in a car dealership, working on one of my 2007 goals. So far all the ducks seem to be in a row. I’ll write more about that as the information develops. Lets just say that even if you are not financing a vehicle, the stay inside the dealership can become lengthy (apparently doc preparation does take some time). I don’t particularly care for being inside dealerships for any length of time (I really am becoming my father), but with my increase in years also comes an increase in tolerance for nonpleasant situations. Gotta keep my focus on the end goal.

However, once I got home I experienced a feeling of extreme fatigue, the likes of which I haven’t felt for some time. Mentally exhausted, plus not having eaten for several hours took their toll. But this evening, after some downtime and watching the penultimate college football game this season, I feel better. Old Geoguy will be sleeping well tonight!

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Maybe I am more susceptible to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) than I realize. So it must be a type of blessing that I live in the Arizona desert. Despite my recurring desire for occasional changes in weather conditions, I noticed over the past two weeks that my dysphoria seemed tied to cloudy, rainy conditions.

But sometimes the weather can produce beauty, even in the setting of suburbia. Hence the picture for today. Sunshine through the gray.

I need to learn from this observation. I don’t know if my sour mood stems from stress over Geogal’s medical condition, the rise and fall of the holidays, my ongoing existential crisis, the humdrum routine of the Geofamily life, but there must be a solution somewhere. Perhaps I need to shake up the normal pattern of my (and our) life, but not disrupt it too much. After all, some segments of our life are very healthy and supportive. Gotta make sure the cure isn’t worse than the illness.

Maybe I need to work this into a New Year’s goal. (See entry from earlier this week.)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The sports world is a weird one

You've gotta feel for the fans of the Miami Dolphins. First the Ricky Williams debacle, now this.

What a liar Saban turned out to be.


On the subject of football, the gods of that world must be getting their share of laughter from messing with the state of Arizona. I can almost hear the conversation: "Let's saddle this state with the worst-ever NFL franchise, tempt them with occasional, but not sustainable, bouts of greatness from the Sun Devil and Wildcat gridiron squads, then let the bowl games they host in late 2006-early 2007 be among the most memorable in history."

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

For 2007...

It’s nice to return to routine. By that, I mean Geogal returning to work, taking down the Christmas tree (which has the resultant effect of furniture placement back as it should be), and being able to do the weekly Target shopping without having to endure lines 8 people deep at checkout.

I am no Grinch, but the holiday season can get a little wearing after a few weeks.

Did I make any New Years resolutions? No. I am, however, setting some goals for 2007. I have increased confidence as both Geogal and I decided to join a gym at the beginning of 2006. We stuck with it. Speaking only for me, I have since lost about 20-25 pounds, am back to wearing 32-inch jeans/slacks (for the first time since my college years), and am enjoying seeing my more-toned body in the mirror.

Knowing I could achieve all of this gives me impetus for more goals. So far, Geogal and I are committing to visiting Las Cruces this fall to attend NMSU’s homecoming game. I will return to work, in some capacity, doing what I enjoy. I will replace my aging Oldsmobile with a four-wheel-drive pickup. So there you have it (so far). Small, medium, and large goals.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Football Watch-And-Wait

It's just after 8 in the morning here and I'm wondering how much time will elapse before we hear the news of Dennis Green's firing.


The New York Post has this analysis of the NFL Network's calling of actual games. (Hat tip to the Jock Report.) Yes, Bryant Gumbel should be anywhere but in the broadcast booth. Keep Cris Collinsworth. Better luck next year. However, fate was a factor in the vapid level of most of the NFL Network games this season. Many of their contests were just boring, or didn't matter much in the playoff picture. Hey, it happened to Monday Night Football in years past.


Overheard on last night's NBC coverage of the Packers-Bears game: "If Brett Favre has tears in his eyes, he's retiring. If his eyes are dry, he's staying." How about this-- what if Favre hasn't yet decided?


I'm making a paper bag to put over my head this playoff season, as I am a fan of the Dallas Cowboys. Did any other NFL team go from the talk of the league to a laughingstock so quickly?