Monday, December 26, 2005

The Year In Review...

Every year, almost without fail, I include in our Christmas cards a little letter of what has gone on during the year in our family. This year I didn't. Like I told my wife, I didn't want to depress anyone!

This was a year of very big changes.

My wife turned 40 in January. She wasn't looking forward to it and forbade we to give her a suprise party. (She gave me one on my 30th...she's getting one on her 50th!). I spent 2 weeks in Boise, ID at USFS meetings. It was then, as I look back now, that I realized I wouldn't last at the Forest Service much longer. Grown people, some with a little power, some with a lot, fighting and whining like 3rd graders arguing who gets to pitch first in kick-ball.

My wife's father passed away in March. It was tough on her even though she didn't have that close of a relationship with him over the last 20 years. Her sister flat out hated her dad and her brother worshipped the ground he walked on. The stress of her father passing away took the life of her paternal grandmother about 2 months later. My wife was become very emotional and depressed. Add to that, I was getting some strange signals at work and I was becoming moody as well.

In June, I ran into no little difficulty with the USFS. I had to work on my day off so it was an overtime day. I got back 30 minutes late from a flight and came in a few minutes early the next day to take another flight to pick up the Regional Forester. I had asked a couple of other pilots if they would take it but both turned me down. One of them has a bad habit of whining about not getting enough flight time then when offered a flight, turns it down because he has something better to do. Go figure. Needless to say, I only got about 9 hours of duty rest instead of 10.

I took the second flight, no problem. I was rested, the flight went well. All was good. I thought I'd do the government a favor and not charge them for the extra hour so on my official government time sheet I put down I got off at 11:00p and came on at 9:00a. It also made the paperwork look good.

According to the USFS, this is fraud. Yes I know. Fraud in their favor. Fraud that save them and the US taxpayer a few bucks. Fraud that carries with it punishment up to and including termination. To compound matters, two weeks later I had a hot start on our leased aircraft. Long day, confused on abnormal start procedures and I caused 60-thousand dollars worth of damage to the engine. Now the USFS was very unhappy with me.

Long story short, the powers that be made a list of all the things I had done wrong in June and charged me with them. We (my Union Rep and I) explained my side of the story, and rebutted the charge of lying during an official investigation. (I was asked on the phone what time I had returned from my late flight and I said around 11. I honestly didn't remember and hadn't written it down. When I was told dispatch said I got back at 11:45 I knew it wasn't that late. I said 11:30 at the latest. They considered that "lying during an official investigation". It's on my permanent government record.) I offered to resign if they'd clear my record. They not only said no but hell no. So on October 1, 2005, almost 5 years from the time I started, I left a good paying gov't job.

From around the first of July through November I wound up in a therapists office. Since June I have had 3 anxiety/panic attacks. Never had one of those before. Between July and November I admitted I had and worked through having ADHD. Add to this I turned 40 in July and for some reason this bothered me more than I thought it would. Maybe it had to do with who I was and where I was at in life not matching up with what I thought I should be and where I ought to be.

We also changed churches and the kids school. I had, for some time, grown uncomfortable with the direction our church was going. The leadership was not dealing with some serious issues in the church. My wife and I were sensing it was time to leave. I was running sound and loved working with the worship team. Great group of people, great musicians, great fun. But it was the only thing I was there for. My personal growth was moving in a different direction. The seeker-sensitive/wishy-washy way of bending to every whim just didn't jive with me anymore.

Unfortunately I did some confessional blogging about it and the pastoral staff and board found out, read it and then confronted me with it. I never mentioned anyone by name nor the name of the church but still, I was accused of poking my finger in God's eye. Now it's true, I have railed at God in the past, shaken my fist at him and, like Lt. Dan in "Forrest Gump", challenged God to come get me. (Personal note: Don't try this at home kids....God has a tendency to take you up on your challenges...you've been warned!)

Needless to say...it was ugly. Feelings got hurt but the leaders still didn't see what many were telling them. We are now in a church that my wife truly enjoys, I'm learning a lot, my daughter loves (her best friend is there and she's learning a lot). My son misses the social aspect and on Wednesday nights, he's elsewhere. This won't last long. My belief, the family stays together and worships at the same church. He's not gonna like that.

The kids were moved out of their school to a charter school that is a lot tougher. My daughter blossomed. She really loves school. My son, who still maintains staright A's, hates it because he can't coast through school anymore. But he's becoming much smarter. Probably going to be much smarter than I am. They are studying stuff I didn't get until college.

My wife was not only dealing with mourning her father, her turning 40, her husband falling apart, her oldest son turning 13, new church, new school...

This was not a good year for her!

So...two deaths, three milestone birthdays, family members mentally falling apart, income cut in half, new church, new school...a stressful year.

And yet in all of this God never let us down. I know that sounds like a cliche' but it is true. I have grown, personally, in the last six months. My kids have too. My wife as well. All of our bills are paid, no one got deathly ill, we even managed to take a quick vacation to Disneyland on Thanksgiving break. I'm working. She's working. The dogs are okay and the house doesn't need any major repairs this year. (Last year we racked up over 20-thousand dollars in home improvements/repairs. God was good and supplied the money.)

What will 2006 bring? Hell if I know. I'm not a prophet endowed with foresight. Unlike Isaiah, I cannot predict what will happen 600 years into the future. I do know this, one does not "arrive" in this life. One does not get to a point where it is all settled. There will always be change, always be growth, always be challenges. Never will you be "set". I first figured this out about 5 years ago. It's taken me this long to accept it.

I have to let go and not worry so much about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Kind of hard for someone who has control issues, who's ADD has forced him into a routine just to manage on a day-to-day basis. The future is scary as it is without having to worry about it. This is hard for me. Pray I learn to deal with it !

Happy New Year!

Eric

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Not Much...

...going on.

Feeling a bit bummed...must be the rain.

Oh well...life goes on...Christmas is 5 days away so if I don't see ya by then...

Merry Christmas one and all!

Eric

Sunday, December 11, 2005

My Son Turns Thirteen Today...

...he is officially a teenager.

His mother doesn't like to be reminded.

I wrote him a letter explaining why I'm proud of him. I give him a nickels worth of free advice about life at 13; you know...girls, parents, school, etc. I think I'll write another one when he's 16 and again at 18 and 21. Those are the milestone ages. I wanted to tell him the things that no one told me that I wish I knew at 13, 16, 18 and 21. My parents weren't the touchy-feely type.

And while I'm a little uncomfortable talking I am pretty good at writing. So I wrote. Maybe I should have sat him down but my mind wanders some and writing it down and letting him read it is better.

Happy Birthday Matthew!


Eric

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Movies...

I like movies. Wish I could afford to see all the ones I want on the big screen but I can't so I have to pick and choose.

This week...I'm chosing Narnia on Sunday and Aeon Flux on Monday.

I'll review them on Wed or Thurs...

BTW...Narnia books are not CHRISTIAN books. They are allegory. They are fantasy. They are Lewis' imagination gone wild.

Deal with it.

Eric

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I Knew This Would Happen...

...someday.

(Pilot/aviation geek stuff ahead!)

I have never had to do a missed approach for real (only in training) and the other night I almost broke that 20 year record. ATC dumped me on to the approach at 6000 feet...4000 higher than I needed to be. And 7 miles closer than I needed to be. I lucked out...the ceiling came up and I made it in.

BUT...I did have to do something I have never had to do for real (only done it in training). I had to use an emergency gear extension procedure on the C-421 on Friday at Portland. Damn thing froze in the wheel well and, after cycling the gear three times, I committed to nearly staying in Portland until Monday. I pulled the emergency gear handle, rammed hundreds of psi of nitrogen through the system, and slammed the nose gear down.

To take off again, the plane has to be jacked up, the circuit breaker reset, the nitro bottle refilled and the gear inspected. No one could do it on Friday...but Monday was just fine! Yeah.

So, my 2:50 flight out of PDX to RDD left at 4:30. I read nearly half of my 400 page book.

Spent my last 6 bucks on lunch. (Half a pastrami on light rye and a Mr. Pibb!)

What pisses me off the most is this happened once before in this airplane to another pilot and, even after the shop trouble-shot it and made some repairs...it happened again. Now I'll probably have to airline it up to PDX on Monday and pick up the plane and fly it home. Oh well...at least I'm getting paid!

Eric

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Disney and Thanksgiving...

...or How I Sprained My Ankle...

...or How My 40-Year-Old Body Doesn't Respond When My Mind Thinks It's 19...

The drive this time wasn't so bad. Not a lot of traffic and the kids entertain themselves pretty well now with books and music. If the wife has a CD on they (or I) don't want to listen to, they drag out the CD players and earbuds...I drag out the MP3 player and the earbuds. Everyone is happy.

I introduced my children to some classic Bill Cosby routines, namely the album, "Wonderfulness" which includes "The Chicken Heart That Ate New York". This is from the 60's and early in his career. Riotous stuff! The boy loved it!

Dinner at my Mother-in-law's is always interesting. She's getting on and basically wants everyone to drop what they are doing and spend time with her. She uses guilt and subtle hints. We were cramming two 9-hour drives with two Thanksgivings, one in the high desert and one in the low desert including 3 days at Disneyland. We just didn't have the time and my wife and kids refuse to stay at her house for more than a day. She smokes.

My sister joined us for Disneyland on Monday. We had a good time. My wife and daughter didn't want to ride Indiana Jones so my sister, son and I did. As we were leaving the ride, going down the stairs, I decided to pass my son by sliding down the rail.

Dumb.

My mind thought my body was 19 and hopped on the rail. My body decided we were moving way too fast for 40 and elected to get off the rail. I rolled my left ankle, spraining it really good. The same one I nearly destroyed five years ago and has always been weak.

That was at 6:30 pm. I left the park at 9:30 pm after hobbling around for 3 more hours. The wife had to go to the hotel and get the van to pick me up then off to Walgreens for first aid. My ankle was about the size of a large, red apple. But I iced it up, wrapped it up and swallowed a bunch of ibuprofen. I had paid for three days I was going to use my three days!!

It's still ugly and bruised but I managed one more day at Disneyland and one day at California Adventure. We had a good time. Check out California Soaring if you go. It's like being on a hand-glider over all the landmark places in Cali. You can smell the pine in the forest, the salt over the coast, and the sweet smell of oranges over the groves. When we zoomed over L.A. they should have pumped in the acrid smell of SMOG!! After that, head over to California Screamin' roller coaster. Fun ride!

Thursday at my parents house in Indio. My brother and his new (pregnant) wife were there so it was good to have everyone around. Played golf with my brother and dad on Friday. Took my son. It was his first time playing. I haven't played in about 6 years. Didn't do too bad despite the lapse of time and the bad ankle. Still have a nasty slice though.

Drove home Saturday and beat most of the traffic. Every once in a while I think it would be nice to move back to So. Cal to be closer to family. Then I spend a week down there and realize I have it pretty good in Redding. Nicer. Mountains are prettier. Freeways don't get clogged for hours on end. CHP officers don't get shot pulling over random vehicles. You can see the mountains! And it doesn't take you an hour and a half to drive 50 miles!

We'll stay here. :)

Eric

Saturday, November 26, 2005

I'm Back...

....I'll post my adventures with Family and Friends and my support of that evil empire known as DisneyCorp later...

For now...it's good to be home!

Eric

Friday, November 18, 2005

Going...

...out of town...visit relatives...do Thanksgiving with extended family...hit Disneyland...

Have a good holiday ya'll!

Eric

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Fall...

...has fallen in my yard! While raking leaves is not my favorite yard choir, this time of year is one of the most beautiful around this area. I had the opportunity to fly to the coast this morning and, surprise!, no fog! The colors were magnificent! Then I flew north to Yreka right passed Mt. Shasta but like a dork, I left my camera in the back of the plane so no cool pics.

But I did get these this afternoon of the tree in my front yard..







Enjoy!

Eric

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Governator...

...was in town today. He was dedicating the only State Veteran's Cemetary in California. He landed at the airport but all I got was a picture of his black SUV leaving.

Bummer.

Well it's happened...I knew it would...my new flying job has me working this weekend. But I'm getting a salary, it doesn't interfere with Kung Fu and it will probably cancel. And I won't have to fly for the next two weekends because I'll be on vacation.

Disneyland here I come!

Eric

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Okay....Someone Stole My Idea...

I always said that if I couldn't save the plane, after trying everything within my power, I would aim for the nearest Wal-Mart. I figure it's my civic/social duty to raise the IQ of any town with a Wal-Mart by at least 50 points by crashing into one!

Now this guy goes off an does it!



Here's the story at Foxnews...

FoxNews Story

Eric

Friday, November 04, 2005

I Thought I Should Post...

...in case anyone is reading! Haha!

Rain has hit the Northstate. Finally. It is cool and crisp outside. Just the way I like it. The flannel sheets are out and the wife is wearing soft sweatshirts and sweaters! I don't have to mow my lawn again until March or April and that nasty sprinkler problem can be shelved until spring as well! There is snow on the mountains which makes a beautiful sunset or sunrise all that more exquisite.

Of course, if I had a motorcycle, my riding days would be few and far between. But, alas...no wheels. :(

Flew on Tuesday. Will fly again on Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday will be a late night over to Reno...no...I don't get to go to the casinos...I get to hang out at the airport for 5 hours. But...it's like riding a bike, I haven't flown since June but it felt good to get behind the stick again. I even remembered how to fly the Cessna 340. It's been 5 years since I've been in one!

I'm hoping the turbo props come soon. Looking forward to getting some more King Air time.

Have a good weekend....

Eric

Monday, October 31, 2005

Off The Airwaves...

...and into the airways.

Yeah...I'm out of radio...again.

Had a meeting this morning where I was told my salary requirements just weren't in the budget. I knew this was coming when I told them what I needed, minimum, to work there full time. So...today was my last day on the air. I go in tomorrow to turn in my key and get the new Interim News Director up to speed.

Where am I going?

Back to aviation. Fly airplanes for a living. My old boss, when he found out I was available, wanted me back and was able to pay my minimum salary requirements. I start on Wednesday.

Finally...I get to sleep in again!! No more of this 4 am crap!

I feel a lot better. I actually looked forward to Fridays on Tuesdays. I've never had a job where I couldn't wait until Friday.

I'll also have to find another creative outlet. Might pick up my novel and try to finish it. Or maybe sell some photos I've taken. Anyone know how to do that???

Eric

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Buchner's Blog...

You'll find a new link on the sidebar. One of the girls that was in my High School Sunday School class has turned 25 and is living as a missionary in Japan. Her name now is Kari Burrell but when I knew her she was Kari Buchner. So I always refer to her as "BUCHNER!" I know...I'm weird!

Anyways...check out here blog. Her website is at Buchner's Homepage

Eric

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

It's.....

And now for something completely different.

Title: Bring Out Your Dead
From: Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Transcribed By: Malcolm Dickinson ( CLARINET@YALEVM.BITNET )


A cart passes through the muddy road through a village.
A baby cries. People wrestle in the mud. A woman beats a cat.

The cart-master chants wearily as they trudge along:

Bring out your dead!
Bring out your dead!
Bring out your dead! etc. while beating occasionally on a large
triangle with a wooden spoon.

As each person comes forward with his or her dead relative, they throw them on
the cart. He holds out his hand and they pay.

Bring out your dead!

A man comes out with a dead-looking old man in a nightshirst slung over his
shoulder. He starts to put the old man on the cart.

Man: Here's one-
Cart-master: Ninepence.
Old Man: (feebly) I'm not dead!
Cart-master: (suprised) What?
Man: Nothing! Here's your ninepence....
Old Man: I'm not dead!
Cart-master: 'Ere! 'E says 'e's not dead!
Man: Yes he is.
Old Man: I'm not!
Cart-master: 'E isn't?
Man: Well... he will be soon-- he's very ill...
Old Man: I'm getting better!
Man: No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment.
Cart-master: I can't take 'im like that! It's against regulations!
Old Man: I don't want to go on the cart....
Man: Oh, don't be such a baby.
Cart-master: I can't take 'im....
Old Man: I feel fine!
Man: Well, do us a favor...
Cart-master: I can't!
Man: Can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won't be long...
Cart-master: No, gotta get to Robinson's, they lost nine today.
Man: Well, when's your next round?
Cart-master: Thursday.
Old Man: I think I'll go for a walk....
Man: You're not fooling anyone, you know--
(to Cart-master) Look, isn't there something you can do...?

(they both look around)

Old Man: I feel happy! I feel happy!

(the Cart-master deals the old man a swift blow to the head with his wooden
spoon. The old man goes limp.)

Man: (throwing the old man onto the cart) Ah. thanks very much.
Cart-master: Not at all. See you on Thursday!
Man: Right! All right....

King Arthur and his trusty servant, Patsy, "ride" through the town and past
the men.

Man: 'Oo's that then?
Cart-master: I don't know. Must be a king.
Man: Why
Cart-master: 'E 'asn't got shit all over 'im.




(You can find this and more here...http://www.intriguing.com/mp/holygrail.asp)

Eric

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Testing...

...one, two, three...

Is this thing on??

Hmmm...tried to post a couple of entries and Blogger just got caught up in a causality loop...neither posting nor shutting down.

Just a picture to prove that I am a close personal friend of "Weird Al" Yankovic...



And a link for the "Lost Rhapsody" video!

Lost Rhapsody

Eric

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Real Rain Man....

I had the opportunity to meet the "real rain man", Kim Peek. Peek is the one Hollywood modeled for the Dustin Hoffman/Tom Cruise movie, "RAIN MAN".

Peek is incredible.

Just some of the things I learned today....

When he reads, his left eye reads the left page and his right eye reads the right page....at the same time!! And with 95+% comprehesion.

NASA says his brain is smarter than their computers and made him an honorary astronaut.

His father said that at age 7, Kim had four retired teachers as tutors. Taking "classes" at 45 minutes at a time, two or three times a day, he finished high school but the time he was 14.

When on of our reporters gave his birthdate, Kim told him what day it was, what day his next birthday would be and what day his birthday would be in 2020!

Listening to him I was struck how similar he was to ADHD people. His mind would jump ahead and answer the question before someone finished asking it. He would hear a word and his mind would immediately jump off the topic of conversation and he'd go on about whatever he was distracted by. Socially, he fits in about as well as the rest of us ADDer's, sometimes blurting out things, laughing at something he thought was funny (I got it...the host of the talk show didn't!!), and putting things together that most people wouldn't understand the connection (again...I caught it but our host and some of the callers were astounded....)

That's Kim Peek on the right. He was being followed around by a Japanese news crew for the Japanese equivalent of the "TODAY" show...




Eric

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I'm Being Dissed....

...by a 16-yead-old, emancipated girl.

She's smart, quick, has picked up on radio really fast...and she has an attitude towards me that is unfounded.

I have that affect on some women. They just instantly hate me as soon as they see me. What's up with that? I've got 20-some-odd years on her and about 15 years more experience in radio than she does and she looks at me like I don't know my head from a hole in the ground. Yes...I'm rusty. I've been away from radio for over 7 years. But I've probably forgotten more than she knows!

If I ask her to do something in my role as Interim News Director, I get the blank stare. You know the one; like a cow at a passing car? As if she's trying to make up her mind whether it's beneath her to take an order from me. Honey...If I swing this as a full-time gig you've got two options...comply or bail. Resistance is futile. I can be a royal pain in the arse if needs be.

My goal, if I take the full-time job, is what's best for the station. And if you can't follow directions then there's the door. Don't let it hit you in the rear on the way out. And if she thinks she can do it better...more power to her.

Okay...I'm done grousing...I'll go to work with a smile on my face and do my job. The rest of them can deal with it!

Eric

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Way Cool!

Cool weather pics from this place...

Extreme Instability

This guy is a storm chaser and you may have heard that some of his pictures of tornados in Kansas were passed off by television media as pics from Hurricane Katrina...

What a bunch of dopes. Like you can get away with that in this day and age of instant internet searches. There's always someone out there who has nothing better to do than show how lazy some reporters can be...

Isn't this how Drudge started???

Eric

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

So....Tired....Must....Sleep

Dang...this new job is killing me. Up at 3 am...work until 9 am...try to nap. Ugh.

Good news is on Monday... I'll get to sleep in until 4 am! Joy.

Also, met an author who is willing to take a look at the first chapter of my "Great American Novel". He's published four books and is working on his fifth.

Cool.

(He also works for our local Congressman...I now know people who know people!)

Eric

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Yesterday...I Had Coffee...

...one of those frou-frou, crapaccino, mocha-latte, whip-creamed, espresso shot elixirs that millions of people become cranky when they are deprived of it.

I shouldna never drank the whole thing.

I like caffeine...don't get me wrong. Being ADHD, a small amount of caffeine as found in tea or say, a Mt. Dew or Dr. Pepper, takes the edge off. A "Tidal Wave" from "West Coast Coffee" on Churn Creek Road in Redding, has me rambling on, talking to people I don't know and asking the little Chinese waitress how you say "thank you" in Chinese. (It's pronounce 'do-che' in case you're wondering.) My hands were even shaking somewhat.

I crashed hard around 2pm. My wife had to wake me at 3:30 so I could go back to work. I was still going a mile-a-minute at 9:30 and didn't fall asleep until 11:00. But I was wide awake at 6 in the A.M. ready to take on the world. Now it's 2:30 on a Saturday and I think the buzz is wearing off.

I shouldna never drank the whole thing.

I guess my system wasn't used to such a strong snort o' the espresso!

Maybe I'll try another "Tidal Wave" sometime in the future...when I really have to stay awake!

Eric

Friday, October 07, 2005

My Good Deed for the Day...

We got a fax this morning about a 14-year-old girl who apparently didn't show up from school yesterday. CHP had their helicopter out 3 times last night searching the surrounding area. (Her school is in a rural area.) We ran the story between 6 and 8 this morning.

After we got off the air, some boy called the station saying he knew where the girl was but wouldn't give his name, only a number. I called the number but got an answering machine. The message was garbled and I couldn't make out the family's name but left a message to call me at the station. Then I called the County Sheriff's office to get an update. They said they thought it was a case of a runaway and were waiting to see if she would show up at school. I mentioned the message we got and passed on the phone number.

I heard nothing for 2 hours so I went home and took a nap. One of my reporters called me and said, based on my tip, they cops were able to locate the girl...and yes...she was a runaway.

So...good deed for the day...I feel good... :)


Also...I drank coffee today. Frou-frou coffee called a Tidal Wave. I don't drink coffee as a rule; never liked the taste but tried this one anyways as it was a freebie from a local coffee house. It was pretty good. So I drank it. All of it.

I have cut caffeine pretty much out of my diet. I was a die-hard Mt. Dew man for many years. Nowadays I prefer my caffeine in the form of tea...black or green. Not as much as coffee of the Dew but enough to keep me going in the early morning hours whence I arise. I drank the coffee at 7am....by 10am I was talking very fast. And I couldn't fall asleep while taking my nap. I just dozed. Now I'm wide awake and it's 11:30 am.

When I crash...it's gonna be ugly!

Eric

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Calvin and Hobbes....





(The above picture is of Eric and Bart reading Spidey comics...you guess who's who!)



Probably the greatest comic ever written is now out in a 3-volume set. Yeah...it's a hundred bucks but it's Calvin and Hobbes! I mean, c'mon...it's Calving and Hobbes!!!



I want this for Christmas....you can get it for me here ------->



Calvin and Hobbes



I'm trying to establish myself as the leader in the newsroom. I'm basically the "Acting" News/Program Director but really need managment to make the announcement. I took the initiative and assigned some stories today...we'll see how it goes...



My friend George "Thunder" Tharalson and his lovely wife, Julie, should be popping out Baby Thunder sometime today. Julie was induced this morning so we should have a bouncing baby Tharalson soon...



It's Wednesday...Hump Day. Can I start my weekend now???



Eric

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Sweet Serenity

Oh. Wow.

Damn! Great movie! Most TV-to-Film movies stink but Wheddon hit one out of the ballpark with Serenity. Sharp writing. Smart writing. Great cinematography/EFX. Good story line. Humor and drama, both excellent in their timing and delivery.

Spoilers!!!
















Totally bummed Wash and Book got whacked. Damn...I liked Wash and Book! Also, When Kayli and the Doc started sharing their innermost feelings, thinking they were going to die, I rolled my eyes thinking why did Wheddon put that in there? It is so contrived and is standard Lifetime Movie of the Week schlock. Of course Kayli saves the scene with her, "This is about sex, right?" and "The hell with this! I'm gonna live!"

I was tempted to go back and see it again today but I'll just wait until it comes out on DVD. Even though Firefly's been off the air for a few years, the actors picked up their characters very well. Here's to a sequel!!

Eric

Monday, September 26, 2005

Would You Believe???

(I loved this show as a kid....Farewell Maxwell Smart)

Actor Don Adams Dies at 82

Monday, September 26, 2005

LOS ANGELES — Don Adams (search), the wry-voiced comedian who starred as the fumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart in the 1960s television spoof of James Bond movies, "Get Smart," has died. He was 82.

Adams died of a lung infection late Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (search), his friend and former agent Bruce Tufeld said Monday, adding the actor broke his hip a year ago and had been in ill health since.

As the inept Agent 86 of the super-secret federal agency C.O.N.T.R.O.L., Adams captured TV viewers with his antics in combatting the evil agents of C.H.A.O.S. When his explanations failed to convince the villains or his boss, he tried another tack: "Would you believe ... ?" It became a national catchphrase.

Smart was also prone to spilling things on the desk or person of his boss — the chief (actor Edward Platt). Smart's apologetic "Sorry about that, chief" also entered the American lexicon. The spy gadgets, which aped those of the Bond movies, were a popular feature, especially the pre-cell-phone telephone in a shoe.

Smart's beautiful partner, Agent 99, played by Barbara Felden (search), was as brainy as he was dense, and a plot romance led to marriage and the birth of twins later in the series.

Adams, who had been under contract to NBC, was lukewarm about doing a spy spoof. When he learned that Mel Brooks (search) and Buck Henry had written the pilot script, he accepted immediately. "Get Smart" debuted on NBC in September 1965 and scored No. 12 among the season's most-watched series and No. 22 in its second season.

"Get Smart" twice won the Emmy (search) for best comedy series with three Emmys for Adams as comedy actor.

CBS picked up the show but the ratings fell off as the jokes seemed repetitive, and it was canceled after four seasons. The show lived on in syndication and a cartoon series. In 1995 Fox network revived the series with Smart as chief and 99 as a congresswoman. It lasted seven episodes.

Adams never had another showcase to display his comic talent.

"It was a special show that became a cult classic of sorts, and I made a lot of money for it," he remarked of "Get Smart" in a 1995 interview. "But it also hindered me career-wise because I was typed. The character was so strong, particularly because of that distinctive voice, that nobody could picture me in any other type of role."

He was born Donald James Yarmy in New York City on April 13, 1926, Tufeld said, although some sources say 1923 or 1927. The actor's father was a Hungarian Jew who ran a few small restaurants in the Bronx.

In a 1959 interview Adams said he never cared about being funny as a kid: "Sometimes I wonder how I got into comedy at all. I did movie star impressions as a kid in high school. Somehow they just got out of hand."

In 1941, he dropped out of school to join the Marines, lying about his age. In Guadalcanal (search) he survived the deadly blackwater fever and was returned to the States to become a drill instructor, acquiring the clipped delivery that served him well as a comedian.

After the war he worked in New York as a commercial artist by day, doing standup comedy in clubs at night, taking the surname of his first wife, Adelaide Adams. His following grew, and soon he was appearing on the Ed Sullivan (search) and late night TV shows. Bill Dana, who had helped him develop comedy routines, cast him as his sidekick on Dana's Jose Jiminez show. That led to the NBC contract and "Get Smart."

Adams, who married and divorced three times and had seven children, served as the voice for the popular cartoon series, "Inspector Gadget." In 1980, he appeared as Maxwell Smart in a feature movie, "The Nude Bomb," about a madman whose bomb destroyed people's clothing.

Tufeld said funeral arrangements were incomplete.


Don Adams Dies...FoxNews story

Eric

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hooollly Coooww....

Be careful what you pray for, God just might answer and answer in a big way.

I leave the employ of the Federal Government effective midnight October 1. I was concerned because, basically, I didn't have a job after that. I had a former employer who is willing to put me back to work (and I may take him up on it) and I was waiting for a repsonse from the radio station.

So I prayed this morning that God would handle all of this. I wouldn't be nervous or scared but that He would provide as He always has done.

I get a phone call from the radio station. They want to offer me a job. It's part-time at first with the implication that, after 30 days, it could turn into full-time. It's an exciting offer and the opportunities are there to help mold the station into something better. That's enticing. But it was part-time. So I talked with my old boss and he said whatever I wanted to do was fine, he'd get me spooled up in a day or two and let me keep my hand in aviation.

So I accepted the part-time offer with the caveat that I would expect a full-time offer in a couple of months or I would have to look elsewhere to support my family. I get home and I have a message from a charter outfit in Van Nuys that flys Citation's and Lear Jets. The guy calls back and basically offers me a job as a PIC in a Citation at $42,000/year. Cost of living aside, that's not a bad starting wage. The potential, based on performance is for up to $60,000 a year flying Lear Jets. Every pilots dream!!

So now, I've prayed, God answered and I'm confused. Where do I go?? Do I run with the radio gig? Do I head back to aviation locally with enough pay to cover the bills and that's all and a 24/7/365 on call schedule? Or do I move my family to So. Cal and stretch our budget to maximum??

He not opened a door. He opened three.

Monty Hall: "All right Mr. Lancaster....here's your chance. You can trade what's inside that box that you haven't opened for what's behind Curtain Number One, or Curtain Number Two or Curtain Number Three? Which is is gonna be??"

Crowd Chanting: "DOOR #3...DOOR #1....KEEP THE BOX....DOOR #2....STAY...SPIN THE WHEEL!!!"

Monty Hall: "All right Mr. Lancaster...you've heard the in-studio audience and have had time to think. What's it going to be????"

Me: "Uhhh.............."


Yeah...that' s how if feels right about now.

I think I'll continue with the plan I started out with at lunch. Take the radio station's offer but have Redding Aero as a back up if nothing pans out in two months. Then??? Only God knows. I'll ask Him, see if He answers like He did this morning.

Eric

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Booze and The Bible...

This is one issue I have dealt with over and over again since I was a child. You see, I grew up a conservative, fundamental Baptist and one of the things conservy/fundy Baptist don't do is drink alcohol. (We don't dance or chew or go with girls who do but that's an issue for another day!) And yet I saw my parents drink and when you're a kid, what your parents do is okay.

It was years later that I saw what alcoholism can do to a person and a family. Fortunately for my family, my Dad stopped drinking. And for many years, my sister and I didn't drink and my brother drank but not around Dad. Now, older and a bit more mature, my sister and I imbibe in the occasional adult beverage. For me, personally, the limit is one.

Why one? Because, as I explained to one of my co-workers a couple of years ago when she tried to convince me to have another beer as the beer was free until 7 p.m., if I have two, I'll have three. And if I have three, I'll have six. And if I have six, I'll have...you get the picture. I know my limitations and I respect them. I don't drink to get drunk as I did in my early 20's. I drink now for the experience of a well-crafted brew.

But others have broached the subject much better than I. Here a two links to active articles on the web regarding Christians and drinking. The last link is to The Wittenburg Door's website where you can back-order The Alcohol Issue. One of the best, straight forward takes on alcohol to come along at the time. I used it as fodder for a couple of Sunday School lesson with the high schoolers I was teaching years ago. They got it.

Here are the links and cool picture!

Dr. Bacchus on Alcohol

Free Beer! WWJD?

The Door's Alcohol Issue



I'll leave you with some quotes from the "FREE BEER" website...

"If a man knows that he has a weak head and that he cannot carry 3 glasses of wine without being overcome, and then drinks indiscreetly, is he not a hog?" - John Calvin


"Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women?" - Martin Luther


"People who drink light 'beer' don't like the taste of beer; they just like to pee a lot."
Capital Brewery, Middleton, WI


(That last one had me rolling on the floor laughing me arse off!!)

Eric

Sunday, September 18, 2005

What A Waste...

This morning our pastor continued his study in 1st. Timothy. We landed in Chapter 6, verses 1 and 2. The issue is slaves and most pastors, at least as long as I've been going to church, have tied this to modern day employment. My pastor was no exception. Only this time, it hit very close to home and made me face something I had already known.

Why I lost my job.


Our text:

1 Timothy 6:1-2

Let all who are under a yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved.

The more the pastor got into this the more convicted I became. Basically, we are to work as to the Lord. No problem, I usually am a good employee. I do my job well, get my assignments done on time and with a high level of competence. So far, so good.

Just like it says in Colossians 3:17...
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

But then he started asking if we'd ever bad-mouthed our employers? Had a bad attitude against managment? Uh...yeah. I have. Not so much my immediate supervisors but definitely against the corporation or agency I worked for.

Then he got the part in 1 Timothy that talked about "so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled."

Urp.

When the doors closed to any youth ministry opportunities I got mad at God for I thought that's where He wanted me. Instead I got my old job back and was promoted to Chief Pilot. Two years later, I went to work for the Forest Service and everyone was telling me how blessed I was that God smile on me and gave me a good job. I agreed but deep down inside I truly wondered if this was were I was supposed to be. But godly people whose opinion I respected and trusted seemed to think otherwise. I accepted their opinion and jumped into the job whole-heartedly.

And while I was a good employee...I wasn't a good example of a Christian employee. I tweaked Paul's admonition to be "all things to all men" to excuse laughing and and telling crude jokes, using language I knew wasn't appropriate for the situation (ie: cussing), and, when in conversation, not speaking out my views based on my faith. I couched them in "nice" terms but not convicting terms. My rationale? I had to work with these people for the next 20 years and didn't want to be known as the Bible thumper or "don't say that around Eric, we might offend God". I'd been through that crap in school and really didn't want to go there.

(In all honesty, I'm a little more eloquent and not as brusk as I was in the past.)

Regardless of my excuses, bottom line was I wasn't living my faith. I was one thing at church or around Christians and another at work. The very thing I told myself, way back in High School, that I never wanted to be. When I was suspended, the implications of what I had become hit me like a two-by-four across the head.

My heart broke in shame.

In the three months of my suspension God has dealt with me, opening up my eyes to my hypocrisy and sometimes the shame is overwhelming. I could blame it on the ADHD but that wouldn't be totally correct. Yes, the ADHD has it's affect but I knew, consciously knew, what I was doing. And yet, like Paul said, "I do the things I do not want to do and I don't do the things I wish to do." I think Paul was speaking not only of himself but of man throughout history. Our intentions may be good and honorable but who was it that said "the road to hell is paved with good intentions"?

So here I am. One month from being unemployed...again. A job opportunity hanging in the wind. A choice to make whether to fly for a living or talk for a living. Regardless of which direction I go, I still have a decision to make. Follow Paul's directions to Timothy in regards to being a Christian and an employee or try to justify being quiet about my faith and hoping my life will show who I am? But if my life isn't showing who I really am, how will anyone know to ask why I am different? (Just for the record, I'm not one to go about bashing people at work over the head with my Bible. To me, taking work time to witness steals from my employer and makes a bad impression on my employer about who and what a Christian is supposed to be. There are opportunities outside of work to relate the gospel to my fellow co-workers...someday I should try it!)

40-years-old and still a work in progress...when am I supposed to work on life's issues and resolve them? A counselor friend of mine told my mother that "...if life's issues were not worked on by the time one is 40, God will cause it to happen."

I think I write Greg and ask him what he meant...

Eric

Friday, September 16, 2005

When Environmentalists Go Too Far...

...or...Who Died and made you GOD!

Survival of the Species?

Friday, September 16, 2005

SEATTLE — The federal government has given a California group permission to kill one species of owl in an attempt to save the Northern Spotted Owl (search) from extinction, but the process has left some people in the timber industry shaking their heads.

The government recently gave the California Academy of Sciences (search) permission to kill 20 Barred Owls (search) in an effort to learn why they are thriving in the same forests where Spotted Owls continue to decline.

The Barred Owl is larger, stronger and eats more types of prey than the Spotted Owl, and some scientists believe that they are wiping out the weaker Spotted Owl.

"Whether we'll be able to save the spotted owl in the long term, I don't know,” said Jack Dunbacher from the California Academy of Sciences. “We always hope that what we learn will be able to preserve as much bio-diversity as possible for as long as possible."

But critics call favoring one species over another “playing God,” instead of letting nature run its course, and argue that scientists should have factored in the so-called "enemy owl" before leaving the timber industry nearly extinct.

"You can't turn nature into a museum,” said Ron Arnold (search), author of “Ecology Wars: Environmentalism As If People Mattered,” and other books critical of environmentalists. “Even if you try to play God, it never works."

Among environmentalists, the Spotted Owl achieved a revered status as a symbol of the victory of nature over industry.

But to many who lost their logging jobs during the timber wars of the 1980s and 1990s, seeing the Spotted Owl lose out to another owl species bolsters their argument that the timber industry was not the "owl killer" it was portrayed as being.

"There's a great deal of bitterness and resentment and it's time to get that industry back on its feet to take those restrictions off and go do a responsible job of creating homes with the timber that's standing there,” said Arnold.

Forest managers say that just because the Spotted Owl may face extinction by natural selection, preserving its home is still a priority.

"If you believe in wildlife management, from time to time humans do intervene to favor one species over another," said Lenny Young of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.


So, to save a weaker species of owl, we have to kill a dominant, thriving species. I'll bet if you ask most environmentalists whether they follow the dictum of "survival of the fittest" or any other Darwinian mindset, they'd say yes. So what's up with this story?? Why is the spotted owl more important to nature than the barred owl?

I think the environmentalists got themselves in a bind when they used the spotted owl to attack the timber industry and now they have to do whatever they can to keep the species around, even if it means killing off another species. They just couldn't admit that the spotted owl was on the decline to begin with and that nature is adaptive. (Spotted owls were sighted living in the K-Mart sign in Arcata, Ca....like I said, adaptive.)

Who needs satire when you can just read the news?

Eric

Thursday, September 15, 2005

I Think That Just About Sums It Up...


I stole this from Takk over at the HLBB...

Eric

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Interview Went...

...well. So well, they asked me to sit in and host this afternoon's talk show. No job offer tendered but then again, it is a trial. They need to hear me and see how I am on the air. The best part about it is this...the FCC inspector is roaming around the station...wonderful!!!

Still don't know if this is where I get off the train. I just received two confirmations via email from a couple of resume's I put out. One at Air Cargo Carriers (they fly the Shorts aircraft I fly at the USFS) and Samaritan's Purse.

The bottom line as to where I go may be money. I hate that thought but I have a mortgage and a wife and two kids to support so no matter how much I love radio, the pay has got to be there. And it doesn't even have to be what I made with the gov't. We're frugal and have always known we can live on less than what we brought in.

Before we've given of our time and money, for the last five years, we've been able to give more money than time as our schedules changed. We've given out our abundance and out of our poverty.

So there you have it...like I said, I think the interview went well. I expressed my ideas, they seemed to like them. Who knows... (I'm really hoping for a direct sign from God about this...you know...like a finger writing on the wall??? Wait a minute...bad idea...the finger spelled out bad news for Balshazar during his feast. How about a little burning bush...yeah...that would be nice...!)

Eric

Monday, September 12, 2005

Get A Haircut...

...and get a real job!!

I was walking through the hangar today at work, wondering when I would receive a call about any of the resume's I had put out over the last couple of weeks. I was beginning to worry, though I needn't have, as time was running out. I basically have two more weeks of active duty here at the Forest Service. Then I become gainfully unemployed!!

One of the resume's I put out was for a Program Director/Talk Show Host position at a radio station I used to work at. (Scroll down for the story.) Neither my wife nor I figured I would get a call back as I really don't have the years of experience needed to be a Program Director. But surprise, surprise, surprise...I got a call from the Station Director at Regent here in Redding and I have an interview tomorrow, Wednesday, to discuss what I have to offer, what they have to offer, etc, etc.

I'm scared. I'm excited. I'm nervous. Not good things for the ADHDer! But it is an answer to prayer, sort of. I've been wondering what to do when I grow up!! I'm 40. Do I continue to pursue aviation? Do I pursue radio? Do I head back to college and swap horses in mid-stream? What??

I'll find out more tomorrow...

Eric

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Light at the End of the Tunnel...

...is not the headlamp from an oncoming train!

This is the deal. After meeting with the Union Rep, my options were limited. I could let the USFS fire me, then take them to Merit Service Protection Board (a judge) and argue that the punishment was too harsh. Of course that would be in about 6 to 7 months and there is no guarantee the judge would see things my way.

Or Plan B...I quit.

So...I am quitting. But resigning from the USFS (or any Gov't agency for that matter) isn't as simple as saying "I quit...give me my last paycheck." Oh no...it takes a couple of months.

Here's what we (meaning me and the Union Reps) are offering the USFS. I resign, they expunge my record of any wrong-doing and they keep me on the payroll (It's called LWOP...Leave With Out Pay) until October 29. This allows me to get my five years as a Federal Employee and qualify to receive an annuity when I'm 65.

Here's hoping management goes for it...

Eric

Friday, September 02, 2005

15 Days...

That's what I have. 15 days to make either a written or oral rebuttal to the recommendation.

What recommendation?

The one that states "that (my) removal is necessary to promote the efficiency of the service."

In other words, I'm being fired. It was easier when my boss just said, "You're fired! Pick up your check!" No, the government, which does everything exceeding slow save for knee-jerk reactions to criticism, takes its own sweet time. I've been on flight suspension for 10 weeks. Now I have 15 days to rebut and will be terminated, barring a successful rebuttal, on Oct. 2, 2005. I can quit before hand and all of this goes away. Any future employer asking the USFS about me will get the standard reply. He worked here from Oct 2000 to Oct 2005. He left of his own free will.

I think this is probably the biggest screw up of my entire life. This takes the cake. The brass ring of screw ups. No, no one died or was injured (just my ego and self esteem). But I put my foot in it big time. I've let down my co-workers, my boss and the agency. I've wasted taxpayers money (sorry...please don't ask for a refund) on my training which I only got to use for 1 1/2 years. I caused 100,000 dollars worth of damage to an airplane because I got scared and panicked.

So....I feel sick. I have a meeting with the Union Rep on Thursday. At that time we'll discuss my options and develop a strategy. My first instinct was to just bail. Quit. Why would I want to stay with this hanging over my head? Management and Safety will never trust me again. My name and reputation are sullied. The FS never forgets a sin. If anyone has a good reason why I should stay (short of supporting my family), I'd really like to know. Seriously. I can get another job but I'll never have another job with the pay and retirement security I have with this one.

Somebody shoot me...

Eric

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hmmm.....

In 1997, after being fired from my flying job, I jumped back into radio, my second home. I went to work for a NewsTalk station in Redding, KQMS, KQMS/Redding Radio as a board operator. I worked my way up from weekends to being a reporter to the evening then the morning news anchor slot.

I loved it.

What I really wanted to do was be a talkshow host. I wanted the 1-hour morning slot or the 2-hour afternoon drive. Heck...I'd have even taken one of the Saturday morning slots. I was engineering all of them anyways.

What I found out was that I wasn't ready for it. My wife says I had become arrogant and frankly, she didn't like me all that much in the two years I was working at the radio station.

But now...I see an opening I've been wishing for for a long time...read on!

Talk-show host Roberts says KQMS booted him
By Marc Beauchamp, Record Searchlight
August 31, 2005

Radio talk-show host Ray Roberts, a fixture of KQMS for the past seven years, was fired late Monday afternoon, the veteran broadcaster said Tuesday.

Roberts, 69, was co-host of "In Conversation" from 3:15 to 5 p.m. weekday afternoons. The show will continue with co-host Steve Gibson and Jim Bremer, who will temporarily replace Roberts, General Manager Lisa Geraci said.

The abrupt departure of Roberts, who also served as the station's program manager, doesn't presage a format change for KQMS, Geraci said. "It's a business decision," she said. "Radio is constantly evolving."

KQMS is one of six radio properties Regent Broadcasting of Redding owns.

"I was blindsided completely," said Roberts, a native of Memphis, Tenn., who has been in radio since the mid-'50s. "It floored me ... there was no warning, no argument, nothing." On Tuesday afternoon, the station's Web site still featured a photo gallery of Roberts' summer vacation to the Oregon coast.

Asked about his plans, Roberts said, "I love Redding. I'm not going anywhere."

Reporter Marc Beauchamp can be reached at 225-8221 or at mbeauchamp@redding.com.

Copyright 2005, Redding. All Rights Reserved.


Ray Roberts. My wife calls him "marble mouth". He's hearing impaired, wears hearing aids and has a tendency to talk fast and mumble. He's also from Memphis so throw in a southern dialect and you have one very interesting character. I've enjoyed him on the radio, he is opinionated, but at his age, he's allowed to be. Now it's time for new blood.

And I think I might throw my hat into the ring.

We'll see...

Eric

Sunday, August 28, 2005

In A Little While...

This phrase is repeated time and again in the Epistles when the writer is talking about trials, temptations and tribulations. Peter says it. Paul refers to it. James talks about it. Jesus tells of of it and the writer of Hebrews tells us all about the saints of old who dealt with it.

Bad news for those of you who think this life is supposed to be a bowl of cherries.

It ain't.

And despite what Norman Vincent Peale, Robert Schuller and Joel Osteen say, this life can suck and suck big time. You WILL experience hard times. Even people who seem to have soloed under a lucky star have hard times. They must just hide it better than most.

Especially for Christians. It's almost a sin to admit your are going through a hard time. It's almost a sin to admit you're struggling with your faith. And if you do admit it, you must put up a good front, wear your troubles like a badge of honor showing how much more spiritual you are than the next guy.

But you will experience trials. Jesus told me. Paul reaffirmed it. (Not only in words but by experience!) Peter and James told us what it will gain us. And for three weeks straight, all the sermons at church have been about trials, tribulations and our response to them. What it should be and what it usually is.

A couple of thoughts have come to mind regarding this issue.

1. I'm a putz. I'm worried that it's been nearly 3 months since my suspension and the gov't hasn't decided my fate. My future is in limbo and I'm dealing with personal issues that I have ignored and hoped they'd go away. It is a trial for sure but I'm reminded there are those who's trials are a hell of a lot worse than mine.

What about the guy who's got a wife and two kids and cancer? What about the woman who gives up everything to care for her senile parents? What about the mother of a soldier who gave the ultimate sacrifice in war?

I'm a schmuck whining about my problems. Not that my problems aren't real or aren't causing problems, it's about perspective.

In a little while they will be gone.

2. I've noticed that I have become more cynical after each trial. Less trusting of my fellow man. Less trusting of God. Yes...at times, I don't trust God. I get mad at Him. I scream and yell and cuss Him out. I tell Him he has no idea what He's putting me throught, again, and that I've had it.

Like I said, I'm such a schmuck.

God is slowly grinding away all of the crap that evangelical Christianity has shoved down my throat for the last 40 years. Real Live Preacher tells his story and I find I'm sympathetic to it. It rings true to me. Follow this link... RLP's Story

Bono echoes some of this in the song "In A Little While" from the album, "All That You Can't Leave Behind". He's talking about a girl but the first two verses, at least through my ADHD filter, follow what Peter was talking about in 1 Peter 1:3-8...

In a little while
Surely you'll be mine
In a little while...I'll be there
In a little while
This hurt will hurt no more
I'll be home, love

When the night takes a deep breath
And the daylight has no air
If I crawl, if I come crawling home
Will you be there?

In a little while
I won't be blown by every breeze
Friday night running to Sunday on my knees....

Slow down my beating heart
A man dreams one day to fly
A man takes a rocket ship into the skies
He lives on a star that's dying in the night
And follows in the trail, the scatter of light
Turn it on, turn it one, you turn me on

Slow down by beating heart...



In a little while I'll be out of this trial and not long after this one is over, another will come down the pike. Whether it's punishment for disobedience or a building of character I don't know and I've given up caring. It's a fact of life and I'll just accept it when it comes. Some day, my best life now will be beyond night...

Eric

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Back To School...

My kids started school yesterday (Monday). We moved them out of the local K-8 school to University Prepatory School, a local charter school. (It's for smart kids!) Looking at the requirements for the various classes I was seeing stuff that I had done in college. Mind you, college for me was in 1983-85 but still...having a sixth grader do mean, median and mode computations and figuring probabilities is...well...hard! I was telling my wife I might have to go back to school with these kids just so I can help them with their homework!

The school actually offers classes throughout the year for parents who have been away from school for a while so they can help their kids with homework. I might have to visit the math classes...the language art/social studies and science classes I seem to remember.

I asked my 7th grade son how school was and he said "fine". I asked him if he had met anyone he knew and he said no. I then asked him if there were any hot girls and he grinned saying, "YEAH!" (I did that just to bug his mother!) He also informed us that the guys were "nerds". I went with him on the first day and sat with him until they dismissed them to their various counselors and he's right. Most of the guys are nerds and the girls are hotties. They didn't make girls like that when I was in Jr. High, I'll tell you that for nothing!

I think the learning curve is going to be steep for both kids but I'm confident that they'll be better for it by the end of the year. Whereas they kind of breezed through Public School...this may be a bit of a challenge for both of them...it certainly will be for their parents.

Eric

Friday, August 19, 2005

A Reason Is Not An Excuse...

....but it is an explanation.

ADDers can seem rude or ignorant, lazy, or rowdy. Often it’s assumed that a person with ADD is hiding some deep rebellion, and his lateness or lack of discipline is a passive-aggressive way of taking revenge. But people with ADD are as frustrated with their problems as those around them. -T.A. Whiteman


This was quoted over at the ADDForum I'm frequenting these days. Now if I could just give this to my employers/friends and have them understand, things might be different.

Eric

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Took A Test...

....not what I expected....

Eric, your career personality type is ISFP

That means that based on the standard measure of personality traits, you are well-balanced and place equal importance on work as on your personal life. You are dedicated to maintaining a level of culture in your life and therefore won't sacrifice interesting work for high pay.

With your high energy and chameleon-like adaptabilities, you seek work that is fast-paced and ever-changing. Working directly with people, especially in a capacity that benefits them, provides you with that outlet.

You prefer to live in the moment and appreciate what life and work offer now. The future is unknowable and does not draw you in like the present. Part of your easy-going outlook towards the future has to do with knowing that you can adapt to whatever comes your way.

The reason employers and recruiters might be on the lookout for you is that only about 5% of the U.S. population shares the unique characteristics of your personality type. Research shows that businesses succeed when employers create a good balance of personality types in the office. And since only 5% of the U.S. population shares your type, that means employers are looking for you.
Introversion
Sensitive
Feeling
Perceiving


But what I find I really am, based on the descriptions at Myers & Briggs I’m more…

Extroversion
Intuition
Feeling
Perceiving


Go figure…

Eric

Found A Cool Quote...

It's like as if around age 6, everyone else on earth got a lesson in life that I must have been absent for.


Holy Cow.

I have found a place that has been an oasis for me. It's full of people who are JUST LIKE ME!!!

ADD FORUMS

What a relief to find others who are going through the same things I am. Finally, someone, besides my counselor, who really understands what it's like being inside my head!

Eric

Monday, August 15, 2005

Alpha, Beta, Theta...

No...I'm not learning the Greek alphabet. Those are brain wave patterns.

Found out today that some of us ADHDer's have a problem shifting into Beta mode. Let me explain.

No.

Let me sum up.

Alpha waves - think of it as being in Drive on your car. (This is how it was explained to me...made perfect sense.)

Beta waves - think of it as being LOW or First gear. You need it when you need to buckle down and concentrate.

Theta waves - good old cruise control.

AHDHer's have a hard time getting into Beta mode. We live in the Alpha/Theta range. But when we do get into Beta, sometimes we become hyper-sensitive, ignoring time. Of course sometimes when we're concentrating really hard, even the slightest distraction can yank us out of Beta.

Clear? I thought not.

While medication is out for me (would kill my career as a pilot), there is a bio-feedback method of training the brain. Rewarding you with a "beep" everytime you get your brain into Beta. Think Schick-Schadel Stop Smoking Clinics from the 70's. They wire you up and zap you everytime you took a puff from the old cancer stick. Some people continued smoking just to get the jolt...at least...that's the Urban Legend.

I don't know where all this will lead. A lot of what has been suggested by the counselor I've been doing. Retraining myself to exist within society's box. And yet, every few years or so, I explode out of the box and it gets messy. Time to teach an old dog new tricks.


I hope that I'll hear from the USFS what they plan on doing to me. The waiting is driving me nuts. I've finished two books and practically surfed the entire internet (not really....just feels like it!).


I've also completed my application to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in their On-Line Degree Completion program. We'll see what I have to do to finish the old Bachelor's Degree. Then I'll decide what's next...maybe a career change. Maybe not.

Eric

Sunday, August 14, 2005

What? Me Lie....

(This is in a response to a comment posted over at The Door Magazine Chat Closet...>http://www.b2g3.com/boards/board.cgi?user=jrutledge)


Conspiracy theories aside, I still have problems with using the words, "another man's lies" when I comes to George W. Bush and his Administration.

Regardless of how we got into the current war we are involved in, the terroists attacks on American's and American Embassies in the 90's and coming to ultimate affront known as 9/11, we live in a different world.

We are no longer the sleeping giant who was awoken. We weren't slumber as a nation. I think we were emasculated by bowing to much of what can be called out and out hatred of the American way of life. People who succeed, whether on the backs of others or through diligent work, are often seen in a negative light. I think this has to do with people wanting a hand out, not a hand up.

I certainly see that in my life. There are days when I despise my wealthy friends their wealth. Most of them earned it. I rail at God for not granting me the opportunities to succeed knowing full well that I have squandered many such opportunities though fear.

But in our country, our soldiers volunteer. No one puts a gun to their head and makes them sign. In High School, I took the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). I got the 2nd highest score in the nation. (I cheated...kept working after "time" was called on each segment of the test.) The "reward" for my cheating? I was contacted by recruiters for a month. The Army and Navy were incredibly insistent. Calling on me a couple times a week. If I wasn't so caught up in teenage rebellion against authority, I might have succumbed to the high pressure sales job. (In hindsight, I kind of wished I'd gone the military route, might have made a dent in my ADD and made me a different man.)

I can understand a parents anguish when their child dies in a war that isn't as defined as, say, WWII. It's my opinion that longing for a "clean" war like WWII is useless. We may never have a war like that ever again. The world climate is changing. The gloves are off and rules don't matter. Honor on the battlefield is a notion forgotten.

It also galls me that people on both sides of the issue will use a parents grief to further a political agenda instead of helping to ease the parents pain. Instead of trying to bring closure, comfort and acceptance, they are wrangled into so kind of pseudo-political, "I-feel-your-pain", protest. What a waste of compassion. What a diservice those people do.

War is hell. It will never be clean, pretty or sanitary. Even smart bombs leave death and destruction behind. There will always be one group of people who hate another group and will convince themselves that violence is the only solution. Just ask Hamas. They claim the withdrawl of Israeli's from the Gaza strip was brought about not by negotiation but by the violence of terrorism.

Maybe it's true. I doubt it. But even though, they are not happy with any concession. They will only be happy with a Palestinian Nation. And not just a Palestinian Nation but the caveat of "..with Jerusalem as its Capital" serves only to stir the already roiling pot.

Do I think our young men and women are giving up their lives for a lie? No. Do I think the Bush Administration made decisions based on weak information? Sure. Do I think there is a bit of tit-for-tat in the invasion of Iraq? Sure. Was it the deciding factor? No. Was our invasion of Afghanistan justified? Hell yes.

Are there easy answers for grieveing families? No. Will there ever be? I don't know. Only time and history will tell.

My two cents. Take it for what it's worth.

Eric

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Many Years Ago...

....I wanted to be a teacher. A history teacher. A seventh grade history teacher, specifically.

Why 7th grade? World History...The Renaissance...Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations. The story of the world from Day One to now has always fascinated me. Especially the past.

I had the privilege of visiting many places by the time I was 16. I lived in England and Saudi Arabia. Visited Scotland, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Switzerland (twice), and Greece. (My siblings added Singapore, Thailand, Kenya and Hong Kong to the list.) I thoroughly enjoyed each trip. I saw the Parthenon, the Coliseum, the canals in Amsterdam, Loch Ness and Inverness, the Alps, and the Greek Isles.

So, at age 40, I'm thinking about making a drastic career change. I'm researching colleges (online and local) where I can finish my Bachelors and exploring the process of being credentialed in California. When I see the words "student teacher" as part of the process I chuckle. Most student teachers are in their early 20's. I'll be in my early 40's!

But I've taught in the past. Sunday School and flying. While they might not be on the same level as Middle School History, both imparted knowledge. And I think I'm fairly good at it. I know I could be better with training.

My wife is behind my idea. Initially. I don't think she has thought through the whole idea. She did bring up costs but I do qualify for many scholarships and student loans. I have yet to research grants but know there's money out there for education. It's simply a matter of finding it.

Why did I abandon the path towards educator? I sucked at college. I wasn't ready. Didn't have the maturity to knuckle down and do the work. I know I can do better this time around. It will be harder. Working full-time, wife and kids, denying those things I've let myself enjoy like going to movies, eating out, vacations; all of that will vie for my attention.


(In my research for scholarships I discovered that with my varied work background, combined with my wife's, my kids will have many more opportunities to fund their education than simply out of my pocket! This is good news!)


A lot of this hinges on the USFS's decision whether I'm getting a slap on the wrist or terminated. The next week or so should tell...

Eric

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

A Good Haircut...

...is a thing of beauty!

Many years ago I was flying freight and sleeping in the back of an airplane 5 nights a week. My long(ish) hair was usually a disaster in the morning and I grew tired of messing with it. I asked the gal who was cutting my hair at the time to take it really short...she balked. He boss, a 70 year old hispanic gentleman, came to my rescue. He gave me a flat top.

For about 7 years, that was my hairstyle of choice. Much to my wife's chagrin. She missed running her fingers through my long, blonde hair. So, when I started work at the Forest Service and became too busy or on the road to get my monthly hair cut, I grew it out. In that time I found only two gals who could cut my hair the way I wanted it. "A Number 3 along the sides, short on the top, then blend it."

Simple.

The first gal, Nicki, is a friend of my wifes. She is just getting back into the hair styling business and was using my kids and I as guinea pigs. She did a great job. Took her time. Worked at it.

The next gal was at a salon in Mesa, Arizona. I asked for the same thing and, taking her time, she gave me a great haircut.

(I did, momentarily, go back to a flat top last May. While in Santa Barbara I needed a haircut. So I took some time off and ran down the street. There was a "super cuts" type place and a local joint. The local joint was run by a family of Mexican's...dad, uncle and son. I asked the son if he could do a flat top. "Not a Marine Corp job, just straight up the sides and flat on top."

20 minutes later, I walked out with a dandy flat top.

So, after nearly 5 years, I went back to Louie. He had some time and proceeded to give a flat top. We chatted about this, that and the other as we had in the past and it was like I'd just seen him last month. We talked about "bad haircuts". He said there is no such thing as a bad haircut because most people these days want their hair to look like that. He related a story where one of his collegues said the client wanted a specific hair style. He said, "Louie...I don't know how to do that!" Louie replied, "Just give him a bad haircut." The other barber said he didn't know how to give a bad hair cut. Louie told him, "Sure you do...just do it like you did when you first started!"

The client was happy. Go figure.

My joke, when the stylist has been nervous about the haircut she just gave me, is to tell them, "You know the difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut?"

"What?"

"2 Weeks."

That, and as a male, I can get a flat top or a buzz and start all over!

Now I'm "mostly bald" as I told my wife last night when she commented that I was bald. There is a difference. All bald means there's only one thing to do...go through his pockets and look for loose change!!!



On the other front...had my big meeting with management at Sacramento. One vote, from the Safety Officer, to recommend termination. Management side of the house hasn't decided. The Union Rep says I have good legs to stand on but, without saying so, he made it sound like a 50-50 chance of me keeping my job.

I really want to keep my job. For many reasons. Not just pay but stability for my wife and kids. She finally feels, after 40 years, that she's finally found a home with friends, co-workers...the whole nine yards. My kids have known no other place as home as Redding. I never had that stability growing up and neither did she. I, being ADD, don't mind the moving, the adventure of something new. I like that.

She doesn't. It scares her, stresses her out. I chose to ignore this thinking she would adapt as she always has done in the past. She has chosen not to adapt anymore. This is home. I really need to keep my job. Or find one that allows me to stay in Redding.

Eric

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Birthdays...

I had my 40th. last week. My brother turned 34 yesterday. And Jadon (Jadon's Blog) had a link to a place that told you what your birthdate meant. Mine...eeriely accurate...









Your Birthdate: July 22

While sometimes employing unorthodox approaches, you are capable of handling large scale undertakings.

You assume great responsibility and work long and hard toward completion.

Often, especially in the early part of life, there is rigidity or stubbornness, and a tendency to repress feelings.



Idealistic, you work for the greater good with a good deal of inner strength and charisma.

An extremely capable organizer, but likely to paint with broad strokes rather than detail.

You are very aware and intuitive.

You are subject to a good deal of nervous tension.




Hmmm....

Eric

Friday, July 29, 2005

Flotsam...

Went to the coast this week with the wife and kids. My sister went along as well. We rented a cottage on the California coast about a 1/4 mile south of the Oregon border at a place called White Rocks Resort. (http://www.whiterockresort.com) Had great weather Mon, Tues and most of Wed. Fog rolled out when we arrived in Eureka on Mon. and rolled back in after lunch on Wed. We left Thurs.

My sister is blonde. Smart but sometimes she has blonde moments. Like when she was cooking a frozen apple pie. The oven is small and she cooked it for the pre-requisite 55 minutes. It was still cold in the middle so she put it back in for another 15 minutes. Still cold but warming she put it back in again. When she took it out it still wasn't quite done so she said, "It must that altitude thing."

Huh?

I said, "Yeah...100 feet above sea level. That altitude thing!"

We had a big laugh. The kids didn't get it but it was a hoot. Typical Suzanne line!

(BTW...she's single, employed, owns her own home and looking for a man...)


It was nice to get away but the elephant in the room was my job situation. It was hard to enjoy the beauty of where we were when in the back of my mind I was feeling guilty for having fun. When I returned, I found an e-mail requesting my presence with the Regional Aviation Officer at HQ in Sacramento. My stomach sank. I feel sick.

This mess is of my own making. My first instinct was to cut and run. Quit before they could fire me. Find another job somewhere else and, once again, try to start over. How many times I've done this I can count on the fingers of one hand. This will make five. But there is a voice that is telling me to stick this one out. Go through the painful reconstruction of rebuilding confidences and trust. "That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger." How many times have I said that in Kung Fu? Not only to myself but to others.

Some say if I can attain a black belt in Kung Fu in 5 years then I should be able to confront this. Difference is, in Kung Fu, I won't lose my job. In Kung Fu, I won't put my family at risk. In Kung Fu, the worst thing that can happen is that I won't get promoted. In Kung Fu, I can take my anger and frustrations out on "BOB", the punching dummy!

My wife had been great through all of this. She constantly reminds me that we'll be okay. We won't starve or be abandoned or our children won't be out begging. That God will take care of us as He always has; despite me and my actions and attitudes. I'm saddened that I'm putting her through all of this again. She freaked the first time I lost my job and we had thousands of dollars of debt including a mortgage and two car payments. This time, she seems to be taking it in stride. I think she see's it as just a mistake that anyone could make and that my employer will be lenient.

She doesn't know the US Federal Government. Lenient isn't in their vocabulary. The Peter Principle is alive and well, thank you very much, in the halls of most Government agencies. The disconnnect between those at the top and those in the field is startling. I guees I thought I could deal with it. I guess it bugs me more than I thought.

I guess my arrogance and pride were writing checks my body couldn't cash.


I am questioning everything these days. At 40, where do I go from here? Stay in the same job? Being ADHD doesn't help. Statistics show that most ADHD people change jobs every 5 years or so. That's me. Once the challenge is gone and the sameness sets in, I grow bored and seek to liven things up. Great at parties, not so great at work. I wonder what my perfect job would look like? I don't think it exists. One of the reasons I took this job was that it would provide a good life for my wife and kids. It would mean their life wouldn't be full of stress, moving from school to school, job to job, city to city the way my wife and I were raised.

I loved my childhood because it appealed to my ADD. My wife, on the other hand, isn't ADD and perfers stability. That's what I was trying to give her and the kids. But now I see other jobs. Other things I'd like to do. I look at the experience I've gained in all my previous jobs as building blocks to go onto the next thing. And yet I, too, feel the need to have stability. It has become more attractive as my wanderlust urges me on. They are in conflict with one another.

I jokingly say I should really be independently wealthy. That way I can go and do all those things I want to do and try without the worry of having to pay the bills!

So, next Tuesday I'll find out my fate. Save a beer for me, I think I might need one!

Eric

P.S. Happy Birthday Kurt!

Friday, July 22, 2005

My Wife's Not Handling It Very Well...

...My 12 1/2 year old son has a girlfriend and my wife is freaking out.

Maybe girlfriend is too strong of a word. Hailey, the girl in question, asked my son if he wanted to go out. My wife said, "Out to where??" until it dawned on her what my son was actually telling her. Hailey asked Matt on Sunday but Matt waited until Tuesday to share with his parents what was going on.

He's new at this. Not really sure. My wife, bless her heart, tried to convince him he's too young and they should just be friends. Matt didn't know how to take that. All his friends are "going out" but they revolve through boyfriend/girlfriend faster than I change my underwear. I tried to tell the wife last night that they will probably break up once Kids Unlimited is over. (Kids Unlimited - Dance/Drama production involving about 200+ kids from Redding...go here: Kids Unlimited )

But Matt really wants to experience the whole ball of wax. My wife thinks he's gonna get his feelings hurt....Well DUH! That's what happens and she can't prevent or protect him from all hurts. This is something he's gonna have to figure out on his own. (With a little help from Dad of course!) Matt gave Hailey a yellow rose last night after Opening Night. Hailey was a bit embarrassed as both my wife and I saw him do it as well as her Mom and Dad. He wants to do other romantic type things but really has no clue.

Enter Dad, much to Mom's chagrin. (She thinks Dad's a horn-dog and will pass this on to his son. He tells her that it's inherent in every boy to be something of a horn-dog!) It's going to be up to me to guide the boy along this path. Teach him to be respectful and try to blunt some of the rough edges that we men carry because we are men!

Of course my wife says that I will react different when my daughter wants to have a boyfriend. She said I freaked when, 4 years ago at the age of 6, my daughter wore fingernail polish. At 6, that is a problem. At 10, not so much a problem. Of course I told Heather that all of her dates had to pick her up at the martial arts studio on either Tues. or Thurs. night when I'm there, fully decked out in my black gi, tossing some poor, hapless white belt around. Just so's they understand I can remove their hands should they venture into an area that is out of bounds.

Now where did I put that "8 Rules For Dating My Daughter" by Bruce Cameron???



BTW...I'm 40 today.

Eric

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

120 Grit...

Found this today at Crosswalk.com...Another peek into my mind...

Sandpaper people desperately need someone who will look beyond their abrasive behavior to recognize their worth. Sandpaper people have allowed someone or something to assign an identity to them that is false. As a result, they live a life they were never intended to live, bound to an unhealthy self-image, having no concept of who they really are or what they can become.

Desperate to fit in, they try on different identities like trying on new clothes, wondering why none of them fit. Sandpaper people fail to understand that their identity was established before the world began, in the heart and mind of God.



The funny thing is...I know this. And yet...why do I have a hard time believing it sometimes...

Eric

Monday, July 18, 2005

Outside The Box...

...is where I have been. As told to me today by my counselor/therapist. Yes...I'm seeing a counselor, deal with it.

His opinion (and I have to agree) is that ADHD people, such as myself, are outside of society's box. Which is why we give little kids Ritalin so they will act "normal" and not distract those inside the box anymore. And, we are ADHD for a reason. Not through some chemical imbalance or that fact that our mother smoked Camel's when she was pregnant. No, we are different because God don't make mistakes. If we (ADHDer's) are a mistake or a disorderly, deficient people, then God goofed when He made us. And as I just said, God don't make mistakes.

I take comfort in this. I truly do. It means I'm special, different, able to see all sides at the same time because God wired my brain different so that what's going on over there may be just as fascinating as what I am doing here. ("If Eric would just settle down he'd get more accomplished!") It means that my intelligence is above standard. It means I may or may not have trouble in social settings. (I do.) It means that I get bored easily. (I do.)

It also bugs the crap out of me. After nearly 40 years of being "special", "different", "outside the box", I sometimes long for the normality of everyday, boring life. Get up, eat, go to work, do my job, come home, kiss the wife and kids, play with the dogs, eat, watch a little TV, go to bed and get up and do it again. After nearly 40 years I grow tired of the stares, the looks, the whisper's behind my back, the misunderstandings, the embarrasment, the sometimes overwhelming fear that I am going to screw up...again.

Some days I want to be dull, boring, pedantic, and witless. But that's not me. I'll never be dull, boring, pedantic and witless save for a lobotomy. (And that would severly cut into my paycheck and sex life!)

"You must use your powers for good!"

Yes, I know...

I also have issues with pride and patience. I think I am more patient now than I have ever been in my past. I try to look at waiting as "good"; as a building up of my character. But I have to ask, "When will my character be finished?" Many have told me I am a good man, a man of character. I think I believe them a little more now. (I have been called a "character"...different kind of character...)

I have to force myself to be patient. When the kids are being loud and unruly, when the dogs bark for no reason, when the gov't delays and delays with decisions, when the dishes don't get done. I have to force myself to be patient. No one is perfect and the world doesn't operate on my timetable or by my sensibilities. (Although they should!...nah...)

But I think the issue is more pride and fear. We didn't get to talk too much about my fears but I intend to bring that up in our next session. For now...I have to think through my thoughts on my pride and patience. A co-worker said I strutted around the building, acting all big-like because I'm this Leadplane Pilot and Smokejumper Captain. I didn't see it. Maybe it was there and I chose to ignore it. Maybe I wasn't aware of it all. I look back over the last 5 years and think, yeah...I've got a cool job. A rare job. Few people in the world get to do what I do. And I took pride in that. Most likely it went to my head. My wife says it's been an issue for a while now. So yeah, I guess Billy was right. Gee...I wish people would tell me these things which seem obvious to them but I am oblivious to at times.

So if you are the praying type, I could use some humble pie. Oh wait a minute...I just got a whole big freakin' plate full of humble pie at work. Okay...I could use some prayer on dealing with my pride issues and how they are affecting me at work, home and play. And recognizing the patience aspect and how it is a character builder. Yeah...character builder.

Eric

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Where I Stand...


...on this issue...




Eric

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Priceless...

Found this at the Highlander Bulletin Board as posted by Lloyd the First...too damn funny!

On my way home from work, I stopped at Taco Bell for a quick bite to eat. In my billfold are a $50 bill and a $2 bill. I figure that with a $2 bill, I can get something to eat and not have to worry about anyone getting irritated at me for trying to break a $50 bill.

Me: "Hi, I'd like one seven-layer burrito please, to go."

Server: "That'll be $1.04. Eat in?"

Me: "No, it's to go."

At this point, I open my billfold and hand him the $2 bill. He looks at it kind of funny.

Server: "Uh, hang on a sec, I'll be right back."

He goes to talk to his manager, who is still within my earshot. The following conversation occurs between the two of them:

Server: "Hey, you ever see a $2 bill?"

Manager: "No. A what?"

Server: "A $2 bill. This guy just gave it to me."

Manager: "Ask for something else. There's no such thing as a $2 bill."

Server: "Yeah, thought so."

He comes back to me and says, "We don't take these. Do you have anything else?"

Me: "Just this fifty. You don't take $2 bills? Why?"

Server: "I don't know."

Me: "See here where it says legal tender?"

Server: "Yeah."

Me: "So, why won't you take it?"

Server: "Well, hang on a sec."

He goes back to his manager, who has been watching me like I'm a shoplifter, and says to him, "He says I have to take it."

Manager: "Doesn't he have anything else?"

Server: "Yeah, a fifty. I'll get it and you can open the safe and get change."

Manager: "I'm not opening the safe with him in here."

Server: "What should I do?"

Manager: "Tell him to come back later when he has real money."

Server: "I can't tell him that! You tell him."

Manager: "Just tell him."

Server: "No way! This is weird. I'm going in back."

The manager approaches me and says, "I'm sorry, but we don't take big bills this time of night."

Me: "It's only seven o'clock! Well then, here's a two dollar bill."

Manager: "We don't take those, either."

Me: "Why not?"

Manager: "I think you know why."

Me: "No really ... tell me why."

Manager: "Please leave before I call mall security."

Me: "Excuse me?"

Manager: "Please leave before I call mall security."

Me: "What on earth for?"

Manager: "Please, sir."

Me: "Uh, go ahead, call them."

Manager: "Would you please just leave?"

Me: "No."

Manager: "Fine -- have it your way then."

Me: "Hey, that's Burger King, isn't it?"

At this point, he backs away from me and calls mall security on the phone around the corner. I have two people staring at me from the dining area, and I begin laughing out loud, just for effect. A few minutes later this 45-year-oldish guy comes in.

Guard: "Yeah, Mike, what's up?"

Manager (whispering): "This guy is trying to give me some (pause) funny money."

Guard: "No kidding! What?"

Manager: "Get this .... A two dollar bill."

Guard (incredulous): "Why would a guy fake a two dollar bill?"

Manager: "I don't know. He's kinda weird. He says the only other thing he has is a fifty."

Guard: "Oh, so the fifty's fake!"

Manager: "No, the two dollar bill is."

Guard: "Why would he fake a two dollar bill?"

Manager: "I don't know! Can you talk to him, and get him out of here?"

Guard: "Yeah."

Security Guard walks over to me and...... Guard: "Mike here tells me you have some fake bills you're trying to use."

Me: "Uh, no."

Guard: "Lemme see 'em."

Me: "Why?"

Guard: "Do you want me to get the cops in here?"

At this point I am ready to say, "Sure, please!" but I want to eat, so I say, "I'm just trying to buy a burrito and pay for it with this two dollar bill."

I put the bill up near his face, and he flinches like I'm taking a swing at him. He takes the bill, turns it over a few times in his hands, and says, "Hey, Mike, what's wrong with this bill?"

Manager: "It's fake."

Guard: "It doesn't look fake to me."

Manager: "But it's a two dollar bill."

Guard: "Yeah?"

Manager: "Well, there's no such thing, is there?"

The security guard and I both look at him like he's an idiot and it dawns on the guy that he has no clue. So, it turns out that my burrito was free, and he threw in a small drink and some of those cinnamon thingies, too. Made me want to get a whole stack of two dollar bills just to see what happens when I try to buy stuff. If I got the right group of people, I could probably end up in jail.

Like I said...Priceless...

Eric ;)