Friday Free for All: Flat Broke

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welcome to another edition of the friday free for all
Today’s theme: being flat broke!

Found a house that won’t repair itself with its windows cracking
And a roof held together with holes
Just because we’re at the bottom of the ladder we shouldn’t be sadder
Than others like us who have goals for the betterment of life
Glad that you want to be my wife, but honest
I’ve been praying all the week through at home at work and on the bus
I’ve been praying I can keep you and to earn enough for us..
-Earn Enough for Us by XTC

How wonderful crowded dinners at the kitchen table
How beautiful one TV set and no cable
No thrills, no fuss, perfectly us, unglamorous
No diamonds in our bathtub rings
Peanut butter on everything, no thrills, no fuss, unglamorous…
-Unglamorous by Lori McKenna

while we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay
there are frail ones fainting at the door
though their voices are silent their pleading looks will say
oh, hard times come again no more
’tis a song .. a sigh of the weary
hard times… hard times come again no more
many days you have lingered around my cabin door
oh, hard times come again no more..
-Hard Times by Eastmountainsouth

Poor! All my life I’ve always been poor.
I keep asking God what I’m for,
and he tells me “Gee, I’m not sure. sweep that floor, kid.”
Oh, I started life as an orphan, a child of the street here on skid row.
He took me in, gave me shelter, a bed, crust of bread and a job
Treats me like dirt, calls me a slob, Which I am…
-Skid Row/Downtown from the Little Shop of Horrors

The best things in life are free
But you can keep ‘em for the birds and bees
Now give me money.. that’s what I want…
Your lovin’ gives me a thrill
But your lovin’ don’t pay my bills
Now give me money..that’s what I want…
Money don’t get everything, it’s true
What it don’t get, I can’t use
Now give me money..that’s what I want…
-Money by The Beatles

answering service

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if you’re an entrepreneur or a small business owner, you probably know how difficult it is to convey a sense of professionalism to your clients when you’re working out of your home or maybe even out of your suitcase. you’re constantly stretched to the max trying to cover all aspects of the business and when there’s a sudden influx of orders or inquiries, customer service is the always the first to be negatively affected. in order to keep a high level of quality in customer relations plus continue to stay focused on the other important day to day needs of your business, it’s time to bring in a professional telephone answering service. The 1-800-We Answer answering service provides a full array of telecommunication needs including telephone answering, fax, feature-rich voicemail and even inbound/outbound call center services. the professional and always courteous operators will be available 24/7 for your customers so you’ll no longer miss important calls or potential orders. they are flexible enough to adapt to your needs and adjust accordingly as your company and your customer base grows. so stay focused on growing your business and let 1-800-We Answer do the answering for you.

celebreality tidbits

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unreality- yes, i admit at first i was intrigued but now i just can’t stand watching Scott Baio’s Vh1 reality series. the show just feels *so* scripted and the bad acting by all involved just make things oh so much worse!!

oh, and his girlfriend Renee is just plain ugly. sorry. had to say it.

and whatdayaknow, Vh1 just announced that there will be another season of Baio and his pals. and of course there will be more creepy Johnny V. i wonder if ol’ Johnny will do his version of “Fatal Attraction” on Baio next season?

- and what about Mission: Man Band? did i not tell you that the manager from 10th street entertainment was useless? yes, i did. and lookie here, the boys are all upset at her sabotaging their so called careers. but what’s the point of this show anyway? these guys are doomed. no surprise there. i guess we are all supposed to watch as these clueless idiots slide deeper and deeper into the abyss??

- OK and that promo from The Pickup Artist with those six geeks learning to kiss on peaches and then torturing that poor blindfolded woman with a six geek kiss-fest??? that is just plain *nasty*.

oh, why, oh why do i have such a sick fascination with trash TV???

the dinosaurs are coming!

miscellaneous 3 Comments »

man, i was *so* close in buying tickets for the Walking with Dinosaurs: The Live Experience show that’s making its way here in october. the kids would have *loved* it!! but fortunately the wife stopped me in the nick of time and made me come to my senses. tickets for us all to go would have been over $300 and that’s just way over the family budget. i was thinking of treating the kids since they’d be “tracked-out” of school (year-round school calendar) at that time but I realize now that the $300 could be put to better use than seeing animatronic dinosaurs for a couple of hours.

dinosaurs

but man, these are *life-size* mechanical dinosaurs!!! can you imagine the kids’ faces when they first see a gigantic T. Rex right before their very eyes????

i suppose when our budget relaxes a bit the next time ’round, we could take them to see the show. but the website isn’t too forthcoming on what their plans are after the end of the year. hopefully the tour will continue and make its way back next year….

check out some footage of the show on youtube…

RemotePC

internet buzz 1 Comment »

i’m sure most of us have been in situations where you need a certain data file or program that only resides on your office PC but you happened to be a thousand miles from your office. situations like that can become pretty “sticky” especially if it’s your powerpoint presentation and you’re just about to enter the boardroom full of stone-faced executives. no one wants to be in a predicament like that. and there’s a way to prevent something like that from ever happening. RemotePC can provide you secure remote access to your computer from anywhere. all you need is an internet connection and an account with RemotePC. with remote access, you would be able to use your computer’s programs and files just like you would at your office. this great business solution is offered by RemotePC at rates lower than the competition. so be sure to head on over RemotePC.com and sign up for a 30 day free trial.

John Spinks and the Outfield

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i wasn’t really aware of this until recently but apparently the main songwriter and guitarist of The Outfield, John Spinks, has been battling a rare liver cancer for the last year or so. fortunately, according to a recent interview, he has made a full recovery! whew! that’s great news. can’t wait to hear some new material from the group soon!

No surrender, even if it’s over, no surrender
Stop pretending you never cared for me ‘cos I remember
Words that we shared a promise to keep
If they meant nothing to you
Well they still mean a whole lot to me

And if you tell me to just walk away
And forget you forever then all I would say is no surrender

Even if you leave me, no surrender
Stop pretending you never said those things
‘Cos I remember, I remember
One small mistake turned into a crime
Oh but if I take the blame
You can go but I won’t say goodbye..

-No Surrender by The Outfield

a lovely villa in florida

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we just had a pleasant conversation with our next door neighbor. she’s probably one of the most down to earth, unassuming person you’d ever meet. the kids get excited every time she comes over because of her habit of bringing along her homemade cookies and brownies. well, with her own kids all grown and out of the house, she has now decided to sell her house and downsize to something smaller. we were a bit sadden to learn about her decision to move but we totally understand her point of view. it’s all part of the cycle of life, i guess. why keep a 4 bedroom house when you don’t really need all that space, right? since her husband dislikes cold winters, they are planning on heading south. In fact they will be taking a trip next week to check out some villas to buy in Florida. i guess it’s a no-brainer type decision for them since one of their sons currently live down there. they seem to be looking forward to the move and are busy getting their house ready to be put on the market. we are definitely going to miss them but hope they find a beautiful place down in always sunny florida.

soccer saturday

kidbits 1 Comment »

kids-soccer-25aug07
man it was scorching hot today! i felt a bit bad for all the kids out under the hot sun battling it out for a win today. unfortunately both my 6 year old’s team *and* my 10 year old’s lost today. ouch. they are now 0 - 2 so far for the season. oh well. it’s still not too late to turn it around, kids!! go get ‘em next saturday!

Feast One Hundred & Fifty Seven

it's all about me!! 2 Comments »

Friday’s Feast: One Hundred & Fifty Seven
friday feast
Appetizer
Say there’s a book written about your life. Who would you want to narrate the audio version?
James Earl Jones, of course. the man could probably read the phone book and still make it sound dramatic and absolutely captivating.

Soup
Take the letters from your favorite kind of nut and write a sentence. (Example: Perhaps every avenue needs understanding today.)
Cars are so hot even wet. huh?

Salad
If you could go back in time and spend one week in another decade, which decade would you choose?
how about the 60’s during the summer of love in Haight-Ashbury? it was all about peace, love and understanding, man! can you dig that, man?

Main Course
Name a song that brings back memories for you.
Extreme’s Rest in Peace still reminds me of the early nineties when i was a part of a short-lived all-asian cover band. we played rock covers by groups like the beatles, black crowes, spin doctors and Extreme. Ken “Dr. Ken” Jeong sang, Jackson Kim was on bass, Samson on lead guitar and I did my best Ringo Starr impersonation. we rehearsed in my parents garage and played one gig at a local bar and then broke up.

..whenever i get some extra time, i might just dig up the ol’ video of the gig and upload it on youtube. heh. on second thought, maybe not…

Dessert
Do you prefer to wash your hands in cold water or warm water?
warm water. it has been proven that warm (hot) water is more effective in cleaning hands than cold.

The Else

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man, how do they do it? what is their source of inspiration? I’m always amazed with musician/songwriters like John Linnell and John Flansburgh of They Might be Giants, who consistently write and record albums year after year. I mean, everyone’s got an album’s worth of material within them somewhere, right? it’s just a matter of tapping into your creative side and find a way to get the songs out. Even *I* recorded about an EPs worth of original material onto my four-track recorder back in the early nineties. but once you’re past your initial run of songs, the true test comes when you have to go beyond that and continue to write songs without somehow plagiarizing yourself. you need to constantly find new and fresh ideas and link them with interesting musical hooks that’ll keep the listening audience coming back for more.

after their successful involvement with Disney and their Here Come the ABCs album, I was surprised to find these guys back with a non-childrens album titled The Else. The album is chock full of hooks, quirky humor and imaginative lyrics. again i ask, how *do* they comes up with this stuff? they simply have to be musical geniuses!!

With the Dark is probably my favorite off the album. but other highlights include- The Mesopotamians, Careful What You Pack, Bee of the Bird of the Moth and The Shadow Government.

and parents with little ones, rejoice! They Might Be Giants WILL be releasing a follow-up to Here Come the ABCs in october called Here Come The 123s!!

Flansburgh and Linnell MUST be the hardest working singer-songwriters in the business! do they even take vacation?

For the Love of Money

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DLee - Song of the Day
Money money money, money
Some people really need it (Oh, well)
Some people got to have it (in vain)
Listen here y’all, do things, do things, do bad things with it
So you will do things, do things, do good things with it
Talk about cash money, no help at all

For the love of money people will steal from their mother
For the love of money people will rob their own brother
For the love of money people can’t even walk the street
Because they never know who in the world they gotta beat
For that lean, mean, mean green

For the love of money people will lie, Lord, they will cheat
For the love of money people don’t care who they hurt or beat
For the love of money a woman will sell her precious body
For a small piece of paper it carries a lot of weight
Call it lean, mean, mean green

Almighty dollar!

I know money is the root of all evil, do funny things to some people
Give me a nickel, brother can you spare a dime
Money can drive some people out of their minds
Got to have it, I really need it
How many things have I heard you say
Some people really need it
How many things have I heard you say
Got to have it, I really need it
How many things have I heard you say
Lay down, lay down, a woman will lay down
For the love of money, all for the love of money
Don’t let, don’t let, don’t let money rule you
For the love of money, money can change people sometimes
Don’t let, don’t let, don’t let money fool you
Money can fool people sometimes…

written by K. Gamble/L. Huff/A. Jackson

For the Love of Money performed by Utopia

God Made You Special

movies and TV 6 Comments »

as your neighborhood Big Idea Ambassador, i’m here to let you guys know about the new VeggieTales DVD release called God Made You Special! it’s a collection of 4 great stories that focuses on how God has made each and every one of us special.

what’s included on the DVD?
the classic VeggieTales story Dave and the Giant Pickle- where a little shepherd boy learns that little guys CAN do BIG things too.
In The Gourds Must be Crazy - we learn to appreciate the differences in others.
A Snoodle’s Tale is about a Snoodle that realizes God’s view of him is the only thing that should matter.
and in an all new story called Bob’s Vacation, the veggies learn how special they really are.
a total of 70 minutes of veggie fun plus another 2 hours of extras too.

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online directions

internet buzz 1 Comment »

we’ve all become accustomed to getting our driving directions and maps online. it’s quick and easy and convenient. no more searching around the house for a misplaced map or calling your friends on the phone for directions to their place. it’s now all done with a click of a mouse. but have ever you thought about how good or accurate those online directions are? and how up to date are they? do they take into consideration any new construction or major traffic tie-ups? well publicroutes.com take these things into consideration when providing you directions to your destination. whether you need a map of Minneapolis Minnesota or directions to a relative’s house in D.C., Public Routes can get you there with the best route possible. the site will also list out alternative methods of transportation including bus routes, subway info, walking times, whatever is most appropriate to get to your destination. to top it all off, the site also provides real-time traffic information to help you make it to your destination in the best time possible.

the time is NOW

it's all about me!!, ramblings 4 Comments »

as i make my way upstairs to my room, i first check in on my oldest who’s deep in the midst of slumber in his room down the hall. i kneel down next to his bed. lit only by a dim night-light located out in the hallway, his body lies twisted, with one of his arms awkwardly positioned behind his back and his blanket all rolled up and wrapped around his two skinny legs. i reposition his pillow, gently straighten him up and cover him back up with his blanket. i stroke his hair, touch his soft cheeks and let out a heavy sigh. what i’ve long feared unfortunately has come true.

i’ve become MY father.

it is indeed an age old cliche that continues to cycle through generation after generation. memories of my childhood come flooding into mind like bits of glass cutting away at me.

painful, hurtful, lonely memories.

the ones you tend to bury deep inside you in order to pretend that you had a normal, positive relationship with your parents.

what have i done? what have i become? how can i break the cycle?

that remote, emotionally-absent, quick-to-judge, quick-to-anger, non-verbal father figure has seeped its way into our very household. something that, in my younger days, i vowed never to let happen.

i’d hate to know what my oldest thinks of his old man. does he know through it all that he is loved? unconditionally? does he automatically get overwhelmed by fear whenever he makes a mistake or says the wrong thing in front of me? does he know he’s special even though the kid gets shortchanged at every turn here at home. the two younger ones demand so much of our attention and our time. he should understand that. but he’s still young and it seems that he “acts out” to gain back our attention. *I* should understand that. but most of the time, i give in. i give in to anger. the disappointment. the hurt.

i need to change my ways before it’s too late. he’s already ten now. he’s going to carry these days with him for the rest of his life.

i just plain expect too much from the boy. for him to be a good example for his brothers. for him to be mature and not regress and act like a silly three year old in front of his little brothers. to be a model student. to be confident and talented. to be athletic and well mannered. to be giving, courteous and unselfish. how in the world should i expect all of that from him when his very own father is exemplary of absolutely none of those things.

i need to stop being a selfish grump and start taking ownership of these boys. and this family. to invest the time and effort. to connect, emotionally. to lead the family in a positive, stimulating way and to not give in to the negative. the anger. for anger leads to hate. and hate leads to suffering as an old jedi master once said.

i’ve been telling myself this for as long as i’ve been a parent. when will these words start to take root? how do i stop myself from gravitating toward my old, cynical, selfish, short-fused, non-productive ways? what will it take? for the time is now. the time is now.

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