9/30/08 - I'm still alive

We are all actually still alive. I just haven't had much to report. We did get Makenna a high chair yesterday and she seemed to enjoy it. She also slept in her crib all night for the first time.

I've been spending pretty much all my time either at work, working out, playing softball or mowing grass. I've also started a new video game, Saint's Row. Once I figured out how to turn off the audio from the game, it has been an incredible experience. The game play is top notch and the variety of mini-games and missions has kept me excited for the whole thing.

The car is in the shop right now because the driver side window won't roll up. My trimmer is in the shop because it won't start, and I'm hoping the transmission on the truck will stay good for a couple more weeks. I'll probably take it by Higgins Transmission while Cristi and Makenna are out of town visiting her mom in Florida. I actually just thought of that idea, and I think it sounds good. It has been slipping in first gear pretty bad, and it wouldn't hurt to get it checked out before it gets worse.

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9/15/08 - Kansas City...Year 7?

Once again, I made my way to Kansas City for the annual Chiefs-Raiders game in Kansas City. I have the question mark, because I can't remember how many years it has been. This year, it was not Chris and I as it has been, and for very honorable reasons. Instead, it was my dad and two brothers (Greg being the only one not a Raiders fan). We had a really good time, even being trapped in a 2 door Accord for a total of about 14 hours of the 36 hours we were on our trip.

We stayed at the Nelson's house in Olathe and I absolutely love that family. Nicest people I have ever known and they have always been more than happy to open our home for me on the several times I've been in the area.

The game was at noon on Sunday, so we left Saturday afternoon when Phillip got off work at about 2:30. We made it to the Nelson's around 9:30 or so and after talking wtih them and just hanging out a little, we went to sleep. We had planned on leaving for the game around 9:30 in the morning, but I was up and ready at about 8:00. We got off almost right on time and stopped by Quiktrip (or QT for the locals) on the way to the game to get breakfast. I had sampled their version of the McGriddle last time i was in the area, and couldn't wait to get one for myself. The thing is though, they have several breakfast sandwiches and I had to try at least one more. The Biscuit Stuff Gravy and Sausage. I have to say, between the QuikTrip Mcgriddle and the stuffed biscuit...it was probably the best breakfast I've ever had.

I do not believe we have any around the central arkansas area, with the closest actually being in Springfield, MO. I am really upset by this because I was probably eat the breakfast sandwiches multiple times a week. At least once during the week and again on the weekend. That is beside the point though...back to the game.

The downside to the game, and I believe it was the only downside was our seats. I was expecting to be sitting between the 10 yard line and the goalline. A far cry from two years ago where we sat 6 rows up on the 45. Instead, I miscalculated and we were row 25 at the back of the endzone. We could still see plenty, and due to the inredibly horrible teams we were watching, the entire first quarter was played on our end of the field. The weather was GREAT. I believe it was mid to upper 60's with only a light breeze where we were sitting. The weather could not have been perfect for the game, with cloud cover to keep the sun out of our eyes.

As for the game, I was saddened by what the Raiders did. It was very exciting to see that we could put up 300 yards rushing with three backs (I'm hoping that Fargas was only out for the 2nd half and will be back next week against the Bills). Russell was horrible with only 55 yards passing for the game. Of course, Curry decided to drop another ball, but that would have only added 10-15 yards to the total. All the other passes were horrible, missing receivers by as much as 5 yards in any direction including over their head. Our defense showed up, although we were playing against the Chiefs who this year might be last years Miami Dolphins...only without the one win. McFadden, the main reason Greg came on the trip with us didn't dissapoint with 164 yards on 22 carries. He also had a TD that capped off a 95 yard drive in which he accounted for 85 of it. The only thing that we were saddened by is on that same drive he got caught from behind by a linebacker in the open field. That never happened in college...ever. I'm already looking forward to next year...although I'm hoping that we both have better teams because good football is always more fun to watch. By the way...Raiders won 23-8 and puts them 2nd in the division with a 1-1 record. The Cheifs? dead last at 0-2...it was a sweet weekend.

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9/9/08 - I spoke too soon

Last night, I spent several hours splitting fire wood and carrying around large pieces of wood. At one point, I was very thirsty and being the type of person I am, I knew that I still had some pickle juice that I couldn't let go to waste. Although Sunday it tasted horrible, I don't know if I was really that thirsty or if the flavor got better after sitting for a day or so. The point is, it went down really smooth. I would definitely consider drinking it again, although the price is a bit high for me, at a lower cost, I can imagine drinking it on a "fairly" regular basis.

On to Monday Night Football. I wish I had not stayed up to watch the game. The Raiders were pretty bad. Although the offense seemed to be pretty solid, the defense was one of the worst I've ever seen. Penalties, as is a Raider tradition, killed us. Although in the box score it was only around 100 yards of penalties, that does not take into account the yards that got brought back. 20 yards on a punt return, 10 yard run called back on a holding call, 15 yard pass for something stupid, so on and so forth.

McFadden was respectable, although he got introduced to the NFL early in the game when he cut back into 2 waiting Denver linebackers. He got drilled and was a little slow to recover. He also left in the 3rd quarter with what is being reported as a shoulder stinger, so he should be fine for next week. Russell gave me a hope as he was only inches away on two deep passes, and Curry dropped a 3rd pass. If all three of those were completed, you can add another 100 yards to his pass total, and I would like to think a different outcome in the game (maybe losing by only 10 instead of 27). In fact, that seems reasonable. The first drive Russell fumbled on the 12 yard line on 3rd down which even if we lost 10 yards on the play, Janikowski could have booted a field goal to make up 3 points. Let's say that one of the above mentioned dropped passes kept a drive going that led to a TD which would then have put us in a different position at the end of the game when we turned the ball over on downs on the Bronces own 30 yard line or so where they were able to easily score another TD. All of those things taking place, all being very feasible, would have given us another 10 points and taken away 7 from them....we were very close to a 34-24 game...and that looks much better.

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9/8/08 - Food and Drink

Pickle Juice Sport. Yes, that is correct, Pickle Juice Sport is the name of the product that I just had to try this past weekend. I had seen it at the gas station before, but didn't really have a reason to try it out. Yesterday, I had to stop and get gas between mowing yards and figured a quick fluid refresh would be a good idea. I picked up two powerades and a bottle of Pickle Juice Sport and I was out of there.

First of all, when I first saw it, I thought it was a little strange, but didn't think there was any way possible someone could actuall get away with just packaging pickle juice, putting a picture of Jason Witten (Dallas Cowboy's Tight End) on the bottle, adding Sport to the end of the name and getting this stuff into the marketplace. I figured it had to have some sort of "different" flavor, or just a mild hint of the pickle flavor. I was very very wrong. I get more enjoyment drinking straight from the pickle jar than this stuff. I love pickles just as much as the next guy, but my definition of trying to hydrate after sweating off 10 pounds does not include anything to do with pickles.

The makers of this have done something right as their website intro video claims to be making nearly a million dollars every year. They made about a buck fifty off of me, but that will be the last of it.

Now, for food. Last night, I was reintroduced to the beauty of PB&J. For the longest time, I had quit eating peanut butter because of my allergies. Even the smallest bite of the creamy goodness would cause my tongue to break out. Apparently, the shots are working because as Cristi was eating some last night, I took just the smallest bite and it TASTED WONDERFUL!!! My tongue didn't start itching, so I took another bite...and then another...and then a whole spoonful. After that, I realized that I had a huge craving for a PB&J sandwich. This was after eating about half a pound of Top Sirloin I had grilled out. Before I went to sleep, I had four sandwiches. I will probably eat several more this evening when I get home. That is all I have to say about that.

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9/2/08 - Life can be slow at times....

And this is one of those times.

Makenna is growing like crazy. Just a few weeks ago, Cristi and I started putting Makenna in her exersaucer. She wasn't quite tall enough to put her feet on the bottom so we started putting a blanket down so she could stand up on her toes. Within a week, she no longer needed the blanket, and now she is completely standing up with no blanket and pushing herself out of the seat.

She doesn't spend much time on her stomach, so I think she is a little slower than most in regards to starting to crawl and stuff like that. She really doesn't even try to push herself up when she is on her belly.

We started her on solid foods last Wednesday last night when I fed her, she is really starting to figure it out. Although she thought it was hilarious everytime she got a mouth full of food. This of course causes a problem with her ability to keep that food in her mouth...it just has a tendency to fall out. After a few failed attempts, she really started going to the point that she was grabbing my hand and shoving the spoon in her mouth.

I did nothing this weekend worth mentioning. Mowed, laid in the pool, played with Makenna and beat Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. (so I mentioned it anyways). I also did get a few computers fixed and up to a running state. Now only about 8 more to go to get my office cleaned out. I guess cleaning is another thing that I got accomplished this past week. Emptied the guest room, cleaned the bathrooms, did a bit of vaccuuming, I guess it was faily productive.

If anyone has any recommendations on how to convert an .avi file to a format for play on an ipod, I'm all ears. I have made a couple of half-hearted attempts with no positive results so if anyone has a tried and true method...either send me an email (gravytrain6 (at) gmail (dot) com) or just left a comment on this note.

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