Friday, April 29, 2005

Hi, I'm still around......alive and kinda kickin'

Hi peeps!!

Well, a quick moment or two before I go catch Harm and Mac FINALLY kiss and get together on JAG (it should have happened a year or two ago, as should have the show's ending), let's review the week that was (and still is), shall we?

Do I even remember Monday? (This is SO not good...)

Well, I definitely DO remember this....

Professional wrestling fans call it a "mark out moment". It's one of those rare, take you by surprise events that only come around once in a blue moon, and you find yourself shouting, exhilarated, and enthralled all at the same time.

The biggest "mark out moment" for me in "24" history was in this episode.

CHLOE PACKIN' HEAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My wife and I immediately went into high-five mode when Chloe aimed and fired, and fired, and fired, and fired, and fired.....

....I never thought I'd say this a year ago, but I LOVE CHLOE!!!

OH, now I remember why I don't remember Monday; I was fighting complete exhaustion (GEE, WHAT ELSE IS NEW???), left work at 4pm to rest, then worked on the computer from home (which has become a tradition, thus, why I'm not blogging as much).

TUESDAY: Day two of fighting exhaustion (when eyeblinks last seven seconds, something's wrong...) I make it through the day, but my wife sends me to bed even before her "NCIS" show is over.

WEDNESDAY: Hey, a good feelin' day today! Worked, and worked, and worked.....but did get home in time to listen to my wife watch her trifecta of "Lost Alias Eyes", while, I, ah, worked from home.

THURSDAY: Very rough day. It begins with a trip to the dentist for the final two of SIX fillings. Yep, six. Some are replacements, others are me continuing to be a bad boy.

Then, off to work....for about two hours. Then I couldn't go another step. I take a sick day, come home and collapse, frustrated and wondering what in the world could be this issue that now lingers into its third year....

....and I'm able to rise from bed about 630pm, slowly revive, and go to the computer around 830pm, to, ah, yep, log in to work computer and go at it again.

TODAY: My son turned 13. A teenager. I can't believe it. I was just holding him in the recovery room on Wednesday April 29, 1992 showing him Orioles highlights on the 6pm news. Then, I remember Los Angeles rioting in the streets later that night, which, of course, had nothing to do with celebrating Robbie's arrival.....

I realized in my stupor yesterday that he'll never be a "kid" again. He's a full-fledged teenager now, so I welcome myself to a bold new age of parenting.

I'm not ready.


So, tomorrow, I head to RIR to help set up our company's big event, The Chili Cook-Off, where my tradition is to help set up, then get out before the brew flows (not my atmosphere). Then, we take Robbie and his best friend out for Robbie's birthday celebration; a little mini golf at Bogey's, a little food, a little present or two at home, and no cake. Robbie doesn't eat cake. Hey, there's $14.95 saved right there!


I really, really wanted to blog about this Wednesday night, but simply didn't have the time......spent the evening on the work computer (have I told you that anytime lately?)

April 27, 2005. I knew it was the 20 year anniversary of a big event; then, shortly before the day came, I realized it was also the 10th anniversary of another memorable event.

April 27, 1985: 20 Years Ago: My Senior Prom.

I promised to do the "gator" under the gazebo in the center of the dance floor, and actually did it (no one who knows me now would believe that). It was a "double date" scenario, with dinner at Darryl's.

(NOTE: I don't know what this means, but the restaurants I took dates to for my junior and senior proms both ended up closing...)

It was a wonderful night, a wonderful date, and it's nice to look back and have great memories of one of those high school events that should come off as "wonderful". And it did.

April 27, 1995: Coming home from Nashville

For years, as a guy in Christian radio, a music director with lots of contacts in Nashville, I wanted to attend Gospel Music Week. The one week of the year when all the radio and print guys and gals, the artists, etc, get together for seminars, concerts, interview opportunities, and what used to be known as the Dove Awards.

I tried for years to get my radio station to pay for a trip; never worked. So, finally, one year, Bonnie gave me cash for Christmas and said, "this year you're going to Nashville".

And we did, in 1994, all three of us.

In 1995, I went solo. To be at the entire week.

But, in retrospect, I think the trip home was a fantastic microcosm of the week, and of where I was in life in April, 1995.

First, home won out over glitz. I gave up my Dove Awards ticket to leave Nashville early (Thursday afternoon instead of Friday morning) so I could wake up Friday morning in my own bed. Being gone since Saturday was plenty, and I didn't see going to the Doves, in the end, being very consequential, so, mid-afternoon, I fired up my Chevy Cavalier for the first time since the previous Saturday, and the drive home began.

When I travel, it's "let's go". Nashville to Glen Allen is a ten-hour trip. The Tennessee/Virginia state border is the halfway point, at Bristol, the city with multiple personalties due to a line.

I get to the halfway point, stop to get the obligatory gas and some fast food, so I can return to the road as quickly as possible. In fact, I think I went a little beyond the halfway point.

BUT....about this time I realize I'm getting really, really, really tired. So, for the next two hours or so, I'm constantly debating whether to make it the rest of the way, or find a hotel, call home, and say "see ya in the AM".

Up I-81 I go, and, as I finally approached the I-64 interchange, I began to believe I'd make it home. In my cassette player I'm listening to the debut release from Sierra (a lady trio a la Point of Grace who were excellent, and I enjoyed getting to interview them...), and their self-titled song comes on.

"Sierra, a higher place."

It plays as I get to the top of Afton Mountain.

At exactly 12 midnight.

A higher place at the darkest hour.

The rest of the way was a breeze.

And by 2am, I was on the front porch.

The significance? My first major career transition was underway, but I didn't know it. My time in Nashville wasn't supposed to parlay in a bigger radio job or work at a Christian record company, but did confirm my faith that God had a plan for me, and that, though God hadn't yet revealed it (I'd been searching for at least two years by this point), He had it.

At the fact He had it, whether I "knew" it or not, was the point.

The next Sunday I preached for the first time in 8 years. Within 18 months, I'm a minister, six months after that, Christian radio is done.

I hope not forever, by the way.

The dark hour, but the mountaintop.

That means, no matter the circumstance that surrounds your eyesight, remember who sees far beyond that. I couldn't see the top of Afton Mountain in the dark that night, but I could feel it.

The feeling, by and in faith, was the more important memory, even to this day.

April 27....pretty big day.

Now, to go see the end of JAG....

Sunday, April 24, 2005

And thus ends your weekend....turn back over and go back to sleep.............


Highlights of the weekend:

1) I fell asleep sometime after 1am Saturday morning; woke up to get my medicine, found it hard to sleep (even during the early morning hours) so I took a pill to help me sleep, and sleep I did.

All day.


Missed the draft, the thunderstorm; heck the new Pope could have stopped by and I wouldn't have known.

Finally, around 9pm-ish, I got up to take night medicine, eat a little, and go back to bed after catching up quickly on the draft picks of the day. No depression in this episode. I was absolutely spent after the previous four days.

Gosh, I used to be able to stay up 21 hours a day with little problem. Now I have no problem staying in bed that long......

Today was Youth Sunday at church, which, for me, is the cool Sunday where kids get to do some stuff I usually do and, therefore, thankfully get a bit of a break.

What do I mean? Picture this:

Here's the order of worship and who does what:

Announcements: Me

Praise & Worship: Me and my daughter

Opening Prayer, Lord's Prayer, Gloria Patri: Me

Responsive Reading: Me

Hymn of Praise: Led by me

Special music: I sing in the choir; when the men of the church sing, I'm there, and I do a solo the first Sunday of each month.

Children's Sermon: Me

After meet and greet, we all sit down (except me) to listen to, well, me (prayerfully speaking through the Spirit and not by my pea-brain).

Then, responsive hymn, led by me.

Intercessory prayer time, led by, ah, me.

Tithes and offerings: Ushers can't pick up the plates themselves, I have to go down and give them to them.

Benediction in the closing circle: Usually me, but I can and do hand that off to a few I have confidence in to do it well.

The end...

Except for having to run to the back to shake hands; which is so important to some people in the church; but I see as rather plastic. Point being this.....our church has two ways in and out that are used constantly every week. So, I see the same people most weeks, and lots of parents picking up children after children's church elect to go out the side door, and I really need to be plugging into those families, being they are the future of the church. No, that does NOT mean I push anyone to the side; but the physical make up of the church and the "tradition" of the pastor at the front door after service actually are keeping me from some very important contacts and conversations.

Tradition that doesn't matter versus relationship. I guess Tom Brokaw had this problem when the producer of NBC Nightly News had a brainstorm one day and said, "Tom! You don't have to sit at that desk during the whole show!!!" Imagine the desk purists of network news watchers. They probably haven't watched since.

Then, after church (oh, first)---Robbie got sick shortly into our trip, so I turn around and take him and Mom home, and Rachel and I head back out and still get there with two minutes to spare. :)

Now, after church it's Dad/daughter time. Get gas, buy a snack, drive across town to Lowes for a plant, some potting soil and some pebbles for her science project. Chilly outside in the garden center, so I end up giving up my suitcoat and putting it on her so she'd stop chattering (neither one of us was expecting 48 degrees at 2pm). After much walking and deliberation, she picked her plant. We then discovered their bags of soil and rock were, well, I can't pick 'em up anymore, so, we pay for the flower, and go through the parking lot to the yikky WalMart (hey, it was close) to buy aquarium rocks and a small bag of potting soil.

Done, mission accomplished.

SIDEBAR: The reason why I can't stand that WalMart is the same reason why I can't stand every WalMart I've ever seen except the one in Ashland, Virginia. Too big, too many people walking where I should be able to drive, overall lack of courtesy, and usually, too many lines, not enough lit-up registers, except today, I did walk right up, so kudos to them for that.

Oh, and let's never forget the time I went up to a friendly Wal-Mart employee to ask them where I could find something, and, their answer was, and I quote, "UUUHHHHH???" Yes, they grunted at me.

Now, back to Sunday---

When I was young a fast food stop was the closest experience to heaven, being I lived in the middle of nowhere. My kids don't have a clue. Case in point; it's not good enough to go get fast food, we (being our kids) want to go to our distinctively favorite (and different) locations, so, off to Burger King for Rachel, and across the street to Wendy's for Robbie.

By this time we are past the 3pm hour. It feels like the ride home from church that won't end until it's just time to turn around and go back the next Sunday.

Finally, we're home. Robbie's feeling better (he gets the darndest migraines which make him throw up, and, after awhile, he gets better.....)

Mom takes Rachel to Awanas, I pick her up, we have a discussion of spiritual concepts, and good night to the kids.

And so, here I am, ready to kick again, knowing at 7am tomorrow I have no choice but to "kick it into gear" so family is fed, clothed, etc.

But, having said that.....another 21 hour nap sure has its pull, too.....

Friday, April 22, 2005

Work, work, work, work.....zzzzzzzzzzzz.........

So, the title, in a nutshell, was this week. Well, at least after Monday.

Let's review, shall we?

1) Saturday April 16th: GOING HOME....

Longdale Elementary School never felt so good. After having to leave there following seven wonderful years, being rezoned to another school, the Withams returned to Longdale to serve as simple volunteers. Well, I volunteered. Robbie and Rachel played and played and spent my $$$ at Longdale PTO's annual Spring Fling.

They set it up somewhat differently than what our board did last year, and I was VERY impressed. It was much more efficient, streamlined, and even added a craft show without taking up much additional space. Extremely orderly, lots of high schoolers for volunteers. And to think, 18 months ago I was scared to death as to who would step up and take over the PTO leadership knowing most of the leadership at the time would probably be rezoned.

Of course, all of that wonderful leadership experience has been kicked to the curb, but that's another story for another day (you know, the one God hasn't given me permission to tell yet.)

I spent my four hours selling tickets for all the outdoor activities, hugging old teachers and friends, and hangin' out with Robbie's 3rd grade teacher, my ticket-selling partner, Mrs. Whitehead.

From the second I walked into the building, it was like time stood still. What a great feeling, and how thankful I am that they would let me come to lend a hand and provide me with a cherished, much needed volunteer experience.

Well done, Longdale. Well done!

PS---I was so busy with the ticket sales and other things, I FORGOT TO TAKE PICTURES. Sorry....

2) Sunday April 17th: IF YOU PRINT IT, THEY'LL ASK, "WHAT'S THIS??"
After we finished the letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor in early Revelation, I thought it practical to halt in our study for a few moments and hand out to the congregation Sunday a synopsis of Christianity's takes on Revelation over the past 1900 plus years. That way, they (if they took the time to actually look at it) could better understand different interpretations throughout church history, especially in light of the Futurist belief's popularity today.

I did politely ask them, though, that, if they had no intention of reading it, just take it home to throw it away, don't leave it on the pew. Nothing like being subtle while using a sledgehammer.

Then, we began Revelation 4, are barely through two verses, and return there this Sunday.

Then, it was nap time, take Rachel to Awanas, watch my son mow grass (Praise God!!) and go get Rachel.

3) Monday April 18th: ANOTHER HILL?? BUT THIS IS FLATLAND!!!

I wake up, thanks to sitting on the front porch watching grass being mowed (and mowing some myself in the backyard), with the obligatory sinus headache. It came and went all day long. I also had a little stomach buggy, so I missed the appointment with Dr. Buxton (Robbie made his) and slept in 'til noon.

Then, it was off, on this my day with the kids on their day off, to eat and to end up at Maymont Park. The exhibit building was closed to the public on Monday (rats!) but it gave us extra time to comb the park, meeting animals, and, along the way, lots and lots of HILLS.

Needless to say, by Wednesday, I was reminded of just how many hills I climbed.

My favorite part of the visit? Easy---watching and listening to a small waterfall in a babbling brook. Nature's "White Noise", I call it. I must have a fan on at night to produce what I term "white noise" (don't ask me, I heard it from somewhere else at some point and it stuck), otherwise, I can't sleep. Complete silence at sleepy-time unglues me. So, listening to the water trickle gave me a sense of peace and serenity that escapes me, oh, most all the time right now.

Quick aside: lunch was at TGI Fridays: we're being seated, and I notice something familiar on TV. Is it?? YES!! IT'S CURLING!!!! Bonnie got the hostess to move us to a table where I could watch the end of the Women's World Curling Championships (Sweden beat the US for the gold medal). Yes, Curling. I love it. So do at least, four or five other people, I'm sure.....

Oh, and then there's "24". Midnight to 1am was not the most riveting hour of the series, but it does set up the return of President Palmer (woo hoo!), further separates Jack and Audrey, and positions Jack to a place where he may not be able to serve CTU or the Defense Department once the clock returns to 7am. And I never thought I'd meet an egotistical Barney Fife, but I did. The temporary President.


Now beginning the painful longsuffering of a four-day workweek (you know, you work yourself to death beforehand in order to take the vacation day, only to come back to a pile of crap loaded on your desk during your short ill-advised absence), I seek to center myself back into continuity reality, when, a phone call comes in advising us of white smoke.

Knowing this had nothing to do with a fire procedure in the building, I immediately enforce the one exception to the "No TV On Before 530pm in the Office" rule: when there's breaking news, turn it on.

Well, if they didn't ring those darn bells and New Pope-Mania arrived. It was rather interesting to watch the crowds, especially those running down the street trying to get to the Square in time for the appearance of Pope 265.

And, as we in the office patiently waited, and I privately wondered if the Cardinals had the guts to do what they should have done and elect a Pope from outside Europe, preferably from Latin America or Africa.......the power dies.

What? Perfectly sunny day! Must be momentary. Then the moment passed...

Okay, I thought, a car accident into a light pole, maybe. Getting closer...

Turns out someone drove a station vehicle (one of those trailers stations use to do remotes so they look cool) into the back parking lot, with the mast still up. A mast is basically an antenna used to send a signal back to the station during a remote broadcast. They are to be taken down before leaving the scene. Well, I have no idea what happened (so therefore refuse to speculate on any details, because I know the guy driving it became overwhelmed with guilt, as I would have....), but the mast hit, then drug, then snapped two power lines right outside our office window.

We see them dangling. It's gonna be more than a moment.

Meanwhile the radio on-air studios kick into a generator. My office doesn't. So I do what I can without my computer, and then come to a screeching halt. I run move my car out of the back parking lot in case they close off the lot to repair the lines. And, I sneak a peek in the WRVA newsroom to the TV, where, there, I see the safe choice before me.

Pope Benedict XVI.

Didn't have the guts. Oh, well.

Getting hotter in the building, precious time passing.....

Finally, after spending about an hour in our room watching Va Power at work, we see the switches coming on a little after 3pm, some 2 hours, 40 minutes after the unfortunate incident (praise God no one was hurt when the mast hit the power lines; it could have been much worse).

So, we're all playing catch up; my friend Kim worse than others, as she's working ahead so she can go get wisdom teeth cut out the next morning. Yippie!!

The day does end, I wish Kim the best, and come just fire up my computer, dial in to my station computer, and work some more. Which leads us to....

5) Wednesday April 20th: OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND SAY "CHA-CHING!"

More catching up at work, but first, one of two consecutive routine interrupters this week. I have an 11:15am dentist appointment to have, oh, 287 fillings done. No, actually four. There was an emergency, so I had to wait a little extra, but, no problem. The doc and his assistant were awesome. The only worry I had was, of course, getting back to the mountain of paper at work.

I painfully, and with a numb lip area, return to work, and plow through the day until I stop to come home; run to Ukrop's, get here, and.....dial in to my work computer and work three more hours while the missus watches "Lost", "Alias" and "Eyes". I lost my alias eyes in sixth grade...thinking it was just part of the maturing process....but anyway....

6) Thursday April 21st: WORK, PRAY, WORK, COLLAPSE......

Back to work in the AM after the wonderful daily routine of taking Rachel, then Robbie to school. I work 'til nearly 11, then take off and go to Prince George for our church's first ever "Senior Luncheon". An event designed for, but not limited to, those 55 and older to have fellowship, share information, and enjoy a special guest. My job? I prayed. It was nice to do nothing when Sunday morning I'm usually doing about everything.

Our first series speaker was Rev. Andrew White, pastor of both Union Branch Baptist in Prince George, and Zion Baptist in Petersburg. At 73, he's been in ministry 51 years, the past 42 of them at these churches. He was wonderful, and I really enjoyed talking to him during lunch.

Then, once complete, a quick check of the sanctuary with the new sound system in mind, and off to get gas, a Pepsi, and it's back to Richmond.

Nearly there, I see it's 2pm on the van clock and think, well, I've got about nine hours ahead of me.

Close. It was ten.

By the time I came to a stopping point (notice I don't use the word finish) in my work, it was just after midnight. Welcome to Friday.

7) Friday April 22nd: SURVIVE AND RELIVE.....

Work? Survived. Kept plugging until the work through Monday was done. The rest of it? Heck yeah, I brought it home with me tonight so I can know the drill.

OH--FORGOT---Kim's surgery went great and she was home before noon Wednesday. She called in to check on things Thursday, but not today (not surprised, second day after surgery is usually the yicky day)

Relive? Oh, I'll tell you!

10 years ago today, Saturday April 22, 1995, I took off, by myself for Gospel Music Week in Nashville, Tennessee.

Having been to GMA the year before on a "vacation of sorts" with Bonnie and young, young Robbie, and having gone to Nashville on vacation in '93, I felt very familiar with the area. It was hard to leave Bonnie and Robbie, especially since it was just 3 days after the horrible Oklahoma City bombing and I'm on the way to a high-rise hotel in a prominent downtown area, but off I went, excited about the prospects of the week.

I spent the 10 hour drive listening to music, but mostly, finding stations where I could listen to the NFL Draft. Yes, I said, listen to the NFL draft. I know, some of you think, "sounds like listening to golf." Hey, to each his own! :)

Ki-Jana Carter to Cincinnati. I listened on the newly formed Carolina Panthers radio network as they discussed the franchise's first ever draft pick, Kerry Collins. By the time I was just outside Nashville, Kordell Stewart had gone to Pittsburgh.

I get to the hotel, and into the room I shared with a radio personality from a sister station in Baton Rouge (he's now on morning drive in Houston!). I call home to inform the troops of my arrival. Then I cry.

I missed them. Might have been the only time I cried in 1995. If so, I cried more yesterday than I did all of that year.

That was a magical week. I met many, many wonderful Christian artists, got to interview lots of them, enjoy great music, have my aircheck critiqued by Dan O'Day (and watch him critique about 15 others), and see my record company "phone-buddies" in person. I had a Dove award ticket, but, just didn't want to stay one more night. By Thursday, I was ready for home. So, if I recall it correctly, somehow I found out Rebecca St. James' family needed extra Dove tickets, so I left mine for them at the front desk, left Nashville late in the afternoon (oh, I did cry more than once in '95; I cried as I drove away from the city) and made it to Glen Allen about 2am.

To be awakened around midday the next day by my almost three year old son pouncing on me was a terrific and wonderful moment.


And, so that brings me to the present. I'm so ready for night-night; Bonnie is out on the town with her best friend Stephanie, so I'm kinda waiting up for her, thinking it somewhat rude for her to come home to three sleeping Withams and a territorial cat.

But I may not last much longer......

LISTENING TO: Caedmon's Call first CD (1997); Phil Collins, especially his beautiful live version of "Separate Lives" with a female of which I do not know her name (talk about making you cry!), mixed in with some "Steve McQueen" from Sheryl Crow, Rebecca St. James, and some Hotel California cuts from the Eagles.

No, I haven't gotten around to Hooked on Phonics.

Well, it's now the last week of Robbie's "pre-teen" years. He's using acne pads, and we discovered peach fuzz over the weekend. Guess I'd better take a deep breath and get ready, there's no stopping it now.


Yes, I'm Still Alive......

What a week. Just got home from work (note the time)

Busy, we'll find some time to catch up with Spring Fling, "24" at midnight, and other goodies soon.




Friday, April 15, 2005

One of Them Weeks.....

Some weeks go by fast, some painfully slow. Some are boring, most are normal, and a few stand out.

Like this one.

We began Monday bemoaning the fact that people more interested in politics than in children got their way and formed a PTA at our elementary school, going against the will of the majority of people who wanted otherwise. Don't even get me started. One day, though, I will. God hasn't given me clearance yet. :)

Tuesday I felt horrid, it ended up causing a problem at work, but that set the wheels in motion for some nerve-wracking, frightening, wonderful, and beautifully peaceful moments in the three days since.

I learned an old lesson and a new one this week.

OLD: Stop, for heaven's sake, stop jumping to conclusions which are fueled by your own fears.

NEW: The number of friends is not most important, but the quality of the ones you have certainly is. The ones I have are wonderful.

I felt good today; physically and mentally. I cried most of the way home tonight. Three reasons:

1) Tears of grief: I don't go a day without thinking about Mama.

2) Tears of relief: I left my desk for a three-day weekend CLEAN. Expect hell to be frozen over by late Sunday.

3) Tears of joy: I have an incredible wife, two fantastic kids, and a dear, wonderful friend who puts up with me and I'll never know why! :)

And now, we go night-night anticipating Spring Fling at our old school tomorrow. Can't wait to show ya pictures. :)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

A quick hello and quicker update.....

Very, very busy with work the past couple of days, so to surmise:

--Our school officially has a PTA. It's so heartwarming and stirring, I can barely stand it. *tongue now loosened from cheek*.......

--We're going home Saturday. Our former school, before being ruthlessly rezoned, Longdale Elementary, is holding their annual Spring Fling. I am very proud to say I am volunteering, helping at the ticket booth. Pretty sad when someone has to go back to a previous school for his children to find one interested in his volunteering. I'll have more on this subject over the weekend, with pics and everything!

--We're heading to Williamsburg Sunday, for the heck of it, I guess. Actually because we honestly can't afford a trip to the Beach for our annual overnighter (they blew the budget in the Mountains!!) hee..hee...

--I'm off work Monday, so I'll be voraciously working like a dog tonight and tomorrow to leave them in good shape for Monday.

--And finally, WELCOME BACK BASEBALL!!!! The last time they swung for the fences at RFK, I was four years old, listening to Washington Senators baseball on the radio in my brother's upper bunk, while I slept in the lower one.

That's been a LONG time ago. :)

Monday, April 11, 2005


Too bad golfers don't have that title to play for over the next 95 years.

Thanks, Michelle Malkin, for the heads up to this one, and congrats to Jaffe Juice for the great moment.

We're Live Again with "24"!!!

Here we go, kids!

A President in doubt, a stealth fighter loose, and Habib is everywhere!

It's 11pm. Here we go.

11pm: They're still alive; but fading fast.

1103pm: 5500 feet.

1104pm: It's down.

1105pm: Jack pulls strings with his knowledge at DC.

1105pm: Barney Fife gets the news.

1105pm: Maybe he's not so Barney. That other guy smelt to high heaven.

1108pm: Dad wants Jack to recover the football. The nuclear football.

1108pm: The ending of Jack and Audrey continues. Audrey doesn't have "the gift".

1109pm: Dotting couple looking to copulate are about to be interrupted.

1110pm: They should've stayed in the tent to do their intended purpose.

1111pm: "Hey, Ellie, this doesn't say "US Air!""

1112pm: Triple X (whoever he is) can't protect the President! He's already down!!!

1112pm: Sorry, I'm getting my fantasy Hollywood stories mixed up.

1113pm: Oh, dear, those lovey dovey Wal-Mart smile people. I bet they make those smile stickers during a weekend in a tent in the desert.

1116pm: Old man gotta fess up to his mating with Michelle. She still loves Antonio?

1117pm: Rescue's there, according to Chloe. Who's alive? Well, the Prez is. But his son is not. That sucks.

1118pm: Ut oh, maybe he is Barney. C'mon dude, 25th Amendment time! Oh, they didn't tell you about that at the convention???

1118pm: Do NOT trust baldy!!

1119pm: Meanwhile, back on Lovers Lane.....oh c'mon, this guy doesn't know what it is! He's too stressed about work, for heaven's sake.

1120pm: Good call, Jack. Good call. Oh, now Jack talks to Jason. (Good news, Jason is married to the woman in the desert.)

1121pm: Ut oh. Headlights. Ooops.

1121pm: Well, I guess Habib Marwan isn't in the alleys anymore.

1122pm: Jack Bauer presents, "Saving America with a Compass". After all, what good is a nation without a good sense of direction?

1123pm: Oh, great. The nuclear hopes of the world are with a stressed guy trying to do it in the desert with his wife.

1124pm: Yep, Marwan's not in the alley anymore.

1125pm: Jack's number doesn't have "555" in it? What?? Maybe it's his REAL number?
Let's try it! Just kidding.

1127pm: Marwan trying to intercept the football. Sorry, couldn't resist.

NOTE: For heaven's sakes, GET THE SIMPLE LIFE OFF THE AIR!!!

Oh, my local Fox affiliate is now conducting their weekly stupidity test. Plenty of dead air. Get me back to "24" late and you're doomed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We're at the bottom of the hour.

Jack is in flight.
Marwan is on ground.
The prez is critical.
Michelle sure looks pretty when she's stressed.

They're late!!!!! Unacceptable!!!!!!

1131pm: Schematics downloaded; where do we go from here??

1132pm: If I'm a terrorist this close to the nuclear football, don't I RUN INTO THE BUILDING TO FIND THEM???!!!????

1133pm: Shots are fired. The couple looks like a PTO twosome at a PTA lynching.

1134pm: Finally, a terrorist who runs. I was beginning to think they really didn't care that much....

1134pm: Jack's here. Jack says hold on, gotta order pizza. Nope, talk to Audrey.

1135pm: Jack says open the case. Take the playbook. Split up with your wife. He won't, but Jack knows better. Understand? Got it? She gets it. Lord, Jason's REALLY stressed now.

1136pm: No, but one last kiss before we put the free world in both our hands! How romantic!

NOTE: Amityville Horror?? Again? Can't they think something original?? Is Margot Kidder in this one?

FightFraud dot org. Would anyone have a site called "support fraud dot org"??

OH, MAN!! I LOVE CINGULAR!!! STAR WARS BABY!! Chewbacca in the studio; can't wait for his greatest hits CD.

This is an American Idol Alert. Stay indoors. Move away from the windows.

1141pm: The shooting continues. No word on the Prez' condition; we're too busy seeing Jack pinned down. He'll get 'em. Just wait.

1142pm: A quick greeting of "hey" before shooting the enemy always adds a classy touch.

1143pm: Breaking news---Marwan can run, too!! Oh, and they think they've got it.

1145pm: Oh, great. Way to go lady.

1145pm: Hurry Jack!!

1146pm: Promise of a terrorist. Yeah, right.

1149pm: Jack keeps suddenly unhappy couple eligible for children; and he doesn't have possession of the football. Use your three timeouts, and force Marwan to punt. Besides, he'll play prevent defense.

MOVIE: Kingdom of Heaven. Great. Let's remind ourselves of poor moments in Christianity decision-making.

WAIT: There's a new most popular bra! But I was too busy typing to see it! Oh, well, if it's that popular, one should be coming home soon.

NEWS PROMO: "Rain hits the area". Dear Lord, like we've never had precipitation.

1153pm: Helicopter 1, Jeep 0.

1154pm: INTERCEPTED!! Bauer's at the, ah, high plain.....

1154pm: Oh, crap. They took excerpts.

1155pm: Fife? Not Fife? Fife? Baldy, he's still bad.

1157pm: Watch for a gun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1159pm: Ummmm, thought ol' Mike was in on it. Jack calls Mike, and Fife suddenly looks like Fife again. week??

Watch the preview! I am!!

FIRST: What do you get when you mix two 70s hits, "Kung Fu Fighting" and "The Hustle"? A new movie!! "Kung Fu Hustle"? Starring Van McCoy and the David Carradine Symphony....


"Make a sound, and I'll blow your head off all over the windshield."

That's all I needed to hear. We'll be fine next hour.


Good night!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Here's my personal security force! I can't believe he's going to be a teenager in less than three weeks..... Posted by Hello

And the bruise is exposed.....

....well, this morning I, ah, had no choice but to say goodbye to the patch. No, not a nicotine patch, the eye patch (see about 4 posts below).

Bonnie wasn't well, so I was pushed into driving duty to church. I used sunglasses, and squinted. Got to church, returned to the patch, and, afterwards, returned to the sunglasses to drive home.

Ever had a trip that felt like it took FOREVER??? Driving home from church today fit that category. Stop to get gas (that's a depressing experience!), then get across town, run to the radio station to dub a spot in that will be on the air in 15 minutes. Then, Robbie asks for Wendy's, Rachel wants McDonalds, and I'm a sucker for my kids. Off to the ATM, but not before pulling into the wrong parking lot for no apparent reason.

Then at Wendy's I forget to order Rachel's Chicken Nuggets, so, after going thru the drive-thru, I send Robbie in to buy them, and he comes out....with 5 nuggets. In their container. No bag. Didn't realize Wendy's had a bag shortage.....

Off to McDonalds, but first, to get into and out of the Wendy's near the station, you literally having to drive through a strip mall's parking lot. Long story, bottom line, it adds TIME.

Through McDonalds, and, finally, next stop home...until of course I see the railroad track lights flash, and, well, you know what's next.

It took just at two hours to get home. Felt like five.

Took Rachel to Awana, ran to work to clear up some stuff, picked her up with my embarrassing shiner, and came home.

Thus ends the day.

Saturday, by the way, didn't exist. I never got out of bed. I slept all day long. Bonnie made me get up about 11:30 to take my night medicine, and that was it. That hasn't happened in quite awhile, but I just couldn't muster the strength, both physically and mentally, to put in a day. So, we've obviously got some issues remaining on the depression front.....

Bonnie? Feeling better tonight. Rachel? Stuffy nose is much better. Robbie? Counting down the days to teenager status. Katie Pickles? Asleep, as usual. Oh, and we're now at 2 crabs and 4 fish in Rachel's aquarium. If a fish dies, we get a replacement at the store if we bring "it" back. But the crabs eat 'em up before we can perform the recover mission. Well, at least they're fat and happy.

I'm fat, and unhappy about it. :(

And, in closing, I'm really happy to be back in the world of peripheral vision. It's highly underrated, and taken way too much for granted.


Friday, April 08, 2005

GAS ATTACK: Overhead on the radio today.....

"I saw a guy holding a sign on the street saying: Need Job, Have a Wife and Two Cars To Feed."

Best price around here is $2.12.

What about your town?

Giddy up! Robbie and Rachel at the Ranch, Spring Break 2005. Next stop, Churchill Downs!!! Posted by Hello

Half an outlook is better than none at all....

Talking with Rachel in the van tonight in the Ukrop's parking lot waiting on Mom and Robbie to buy something, she made me again realize just how blessed I am that Monday morning's calamity will go down in Witham history as a strange, bizarre, and funny, albeit temporarily painful, series of events.

Who knows? A half-inch one way or the other, and, well, who knows. Praise God for watching over me, even when I'm trying to get away from the roosters.

So, this week has been interesting regarding how I (no pun intended) saw things. By the end of the day, all I wanted to do was go home and rest my good eye. By late this afternoon, it looked like some keys were trying to "jump out" of my keyboard at the office. Kinda weird; then again, I'll go long periods of time working, almost forgetting Mr. Pirate Patch is there.

The ER Doc said 5 to 6 days; I'm always on the conservative side. 6 days will be Sunday morning, so the hope is to take it off Sunday night, so Monday won't be too stressful (I'm expecting lots of weakness in an eye that took a week off, plus the cut on the eyelid will come up close to the top of the socket, so some pain is possible, I guess).

Plus, I need to watch Desperate Housewives with two eyes....hee hee...

By the way, one of my all-time crushes joins the cast Sunday night: the lovely Lesley Anne Warren! I've had a crush on her since, gosh, 12? I always thought she was beautiful (and a great actress, too!)

Other musings, news, and notes:

---I did not see the Pope's funeral this morning (in fact, the first words I heard on TV after it woke me up and I got my wits together was "and that concludes the funeral".) I would like to have seen it, if for no other reason, to take in the scope and magnitude of it. I'm sure it was no less than astounding. I grieve for my Catholic brethren, especially for my Catholic friends. I'll be interested to see how they follow the process of selecting the next Pope.

Speaking of which, I had no idea such controversy surrounding the death of John Paul I in 1978. One of those events where the truth will not be known, until we're home.

---Baseball season has started, and frankly, I could care less.

---I miss college basketball. Period. Now my "off-season" begins, longer this year thanks to no Stanley Cup Playoffs. My juices flow again in late July when NFL camps open and fantasy teams are drafted. Until then, I stay inside with air conditioning.

---Google's new map system is both amazing and scary. Haven't tried it? Go here.

---And, hopefully my crew is back from their two-day whirlwind conference in making better commercials in NYC. They stayed in Times Square; that caused me to fight back jealousy pangs! I've been to NYC, but I don't think I made it to the Square. I did get to the observation deck of the Empire State Building, however.

Oh, heck, why not; now that I'm just rambling:


New York
Cincinnati (well, their airport across the Kentucky border...)
Washington, DC
Virginia Beach/Norfolk
Los Angeles
San Diego
Charleston, West Va.
Kansas City
St. Louis


Philadelphia (close, but not yet)
Green Bay
Oklahoma City
San Antonio


1) Nashville: Cleanest downtown I've ever seen, and plenty of music nightlife, being the home of country music and contemporary Christian music.

2) Minneapolis: Absolutely hoppin'. Music, outdoor events, food, easy to get to one place and another (I walked from my hotel to the Metrodome to see a Twins game on a Sunday afternoon); plus, the buildings are all "skywalk" connected, for those, ah, less than comfortable winter days they tend to have there. ADDED PLUS: Quick bus ride to Mall of America!

3) Boston: Faneuil Hall. Enough said.

4) New York: the parts I took in were cool, and that was back before Guliani cleaned up the joint!!!

Oh, and as for foreign places, only the following interest me:

1) Witham, England: the community from whence my family came.

2) Sydney, Australia

3) Jerusalem

...and that's about it.

Unless of course, you think Alaska and Hawaii are foreign lands....:)

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

First of a series of pictures from Mom, Robbie and Rachel's trip to the mountains last week on Spring Break. Here are two of the scariest creatures ever seen 'round them parts:  Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Hey, the next time you think about going one-on-one with your might want to think again. Remember what Mom always said, "You'll poke your eye out!!" Posted by Hello

An Eye for an Eye, A Nightstand for a Nightstand, A Rooster for a Rooster.....

So, there really is a reason why I haven't been able to blog for a day or so.....

First, let's review some details of life as we know it:

FINAL FOUR: Congrats to UNC (had to root for the ACC!!), but I'm not a UNC fan; only rooted for the region. I picked Illinois to win it all, so that would have been okay, too. Two thoughts: Sean May is a force, and Augustine is a walking foul, if you believed last night's officiating crew.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: As a media wonk, this is the kind of story that has me on the TV for hours. No, NOT for watching someone die; just for the development of the story, especially with its foundation in religion (that doesn't happen often, unless the letters "PTL" are involved). I actually watched more Pope coverage Saturday night than the Final Four. I mourn for my Catholic friends who lose an important figure and do stand impressed by his deft politicism.

At the same time, if he did say that conversion was not necessary for salvation, we have discovered one more step to that one-world religion that'll pop up in the last days. Sorry, folks; if he believed that, that's scary.

24 (10pm--11pm):

1) Paul will probably be paralyzed at the end of the show (duh!); so Audrey doesn't walk. She's with him (but I still think she's bad, but time's beginning to run out)

2) That darn CD-ROM of the boring hourly reports, for Edgar's sake, better suddenly disppear between two other CD jewels, say, the best of New Edition, and the 3rd Boston album. It won't be pretty if (when) that piece of evidence rears its ugly head.

3) How can you not love Chloe?

4) Does Secretary Heller get back in the game next hour w/the President likely scattered over Southern California?

5) Sorry, but, did you really think that President could fight terror? And his vice president looks like the scared nerd who works in the corner cubicle in the I.T. department who wears a bow tie. WE'RE DONE FOR!!!!!!!

6) The "faux Agent Drake" deftly played by former Days of Our Lives Billie! One episode gig, though, gets the obligatory "shot to death" send-off.

7) Nice piece of driving into the building! When that happens around here at a McDonalds, people sue when their coffee falls in their lap, the police arrest the drunken driver, and some wacko groups applauds all the Big Mac Special Sauce wasted when it fell on the floor. Then again, did they scrape it up and....oh, never mind.

8) Admit it; we didn't quite expect the ending. So, is he dead? Is the veep actually going to have to take the oath? Is it too soon to find land in, say, ah, oh shoot, there's no other country worth living in, even if we're under President Floyd the Barber.

9) MICHELLE: I thought you had better taste. He's so Joe Normal Middle-Age bleh! You should've come seen me!

And now, it's 11pm.....and we'll see how former President Palmer winds his way into things by 1am.



So, lately, I've developed a penchant for doing things in dreams I've never done; like scream out loud, flail arms and hit certain wife in head, etc.

Monday morning changed everything.

Here's the setup: I'm dreaming about lying in a living room (not ours, but someone's) and there are animals all around; pet animals. The kids went to Natural Bridge Zoo while on vacation w/Mom last week and had to show me ALL the pictures when they returned, so there's the subconscious reasoning for that part.

Bonnie walks in behind me, carrying a new pet; a little yellow chickie (no, not a Easter Peep). The pet rooster gets excited, the chickie is happy to meet the rooster, and they begin a moment of playful "chase each other" around the living room. Eventually the chickie goes somewhere and the rooster stops in between my legs. I was not pleased.

I was attacked/pecked by a rooster when young, so I wasn't likin' my current state. So, I called Bonnie. "Honey, come get the rooster!". I asked her three times. She never came to get the rooster. So, how do I escape the rooster before he, well, attacks? Well, here's my plan:

1) Turn over
2) At the same time place my hands on the floor to use them to push up. That way once my right leg passes over the rooster it is one act and up on our feet to walk away.

Well, I did step one.

Really, I did step one.

I MEAN IT. I did step one.

Only, in the bed, when I flipped to my left to push myself up.....

My head landed on the sleep apnea machine, its humidifier, and the nightstand itself. My head pops it all real good, and I wake up on the floor next to the bed.

The missus (who never retrieved the rooster, I might add) awakes and discovers....blood!!! Yeah!! Great job Rob! I have two gashes; one right beside my left eye, and one on my left eyelid.

So, the compress applied, I lay back down; Bonnie gets the kids ready, we get 'em to school and head to Patient First.

The Doc there won't touch me; doesn't feel qualified. Go to ER, he says.

"Oh great", I exclaim with the excitement of Ben Stein.

Next stop, Henrico Doctors Hospital, compress still on head, hoping no one will recognize me from that horrible B-Film, "I Impaled Myself On A Nightstand Scurrying From A Farm Animal".....

We sit. We sit. We sit some more.

Finally, it's back we go. This doctor doesn't exactly inspire confidence with the following two statements:

1) They (Patient First) didn't refer you to an opthamologist?

2) I've done a few of these...ah...I've done lots of these, and....

Okay. Now what do we do? I got it! Denture adhesive!!!

No, it's actually something like "Dura-Bond", or "Glue for Guys with Nightstand Problems" or "This'll Pass As Caulk". Anyway, he used it to avoid the stitches in the ol' eyelid, which, from what I understand, is only surpassed on the glee scale by having to live with James Carville. (Right Mary??)

So, the eyelid cut is smooth, making it eligible for Dura-Bond Tax Credits. Some glue there, and a realization that the side gash will just have to heal itself, and we're on the way out of HDH. Minus $150, that is. Crap, it only cost us $100 in 1992 to get Robbie out of hoc, I mean, out of Bonnie's womb.

So, glue on, eye closed, gauze on, eye patch on, and I look like the 1970's Pittsburgh Pirate emblem.

I walk into work, and the place was already abuzz. Thanks to Bonnie. Remember, they had a huge laugh last June about how graceful I was (NOT!) in busting my shoulder to pieces, so, I knew this story would make quick headlines. Bonnie didn't explain it well in her voice mail to Rodney, so he told everyone it "had something to do with Rob running from a chicken or something...".

Gina couldn't control herself. Sharing THIS story 12 to 15 times is, well, a humbling experience itself. But, you know me, nothing can be cut and dried. It's gotta be cut, rooster, nightstand, bleed, ER, adhesive, and dry.

So, the patch stays on 'til the weekend; I hope to have it off in time for next Monday morning. No driving (obviously, no depth perception), and of course this happens the week half my staff departs for New York (tomorrow PM).

Timing could've been worse, though. It could've happened last week when I was home alone.

On a totally SERIOUS note: I know how close I was to really hurting my eye, and I am very, very thankful to God that, in spite of the craziness that surrounded this story, He saw beyond it and protected my eye and my sight.

So, last night, with patch and sleep apnea mask on, I put a pillow between me and the nightstand, and a comforter overtop the pillow, and create a "sleep crater" of sorts.

Hey; a guy's gotta protect himself.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a rooster to kill.

Bonnie, don't get the rooster. I'LL TAKE CARE OF IT.....HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!