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  Random scratch marks in the digital dirt...

October 28, 2003


When I was much younger, I used to look forward to seeing the Sears Wish Book on the table at home. That, and Santa riding on the Norelco cordless razor in the television commercial heralded the beginning of the holiday season. But that was then... I grew up with Sears. My daughter grew up with FAO Schwarz.

I bring this up because today I received the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog in the mail. It's full of the same impractical stuff that the Sears catalog had, only it's geared more toward adult tastes.

The Eyestrain-Reducing Computer Light on page 51 is certainly practical, and beats the hell out of this bare light bulb I've wound up with on my desk. Ah, but this is Christmas, and dreams aren't always practical.

The Bose Wave Clock Radio/CD Player on page 49 would be fun at work, but how long would it last there without getting legs and "walking off" somewhere. I guess that I could lock it up every night. However the Hand-Crank Emergency Radio or the Fail-Safe World Band Radio would probably be better choices since it's always an interesting exercise trying to find an open outlet to plug devices into.

I could certainly use the Stargazer's Identifying Scope, especially since I left my planisphere in the car last summer and the heat sort of warped it a bit (well, a lot).

Ooooh! The Genuine Pay Phone would be fun to spring on my daughter, especially since she's taken a liking to talking all the time to her friends.

Oh, it's much too early to even think about Christmas shopping, though I do have friends who claim that they're already done with it. Where's the challenge, I say. There's nothing like the excitement of waiting until the last possible moment then dashing off to the maul to compete with all of the other men.

However, receiving my Hammacher Schlemmer catalog in the mail was a welcome distraction in an otherwise busy week. There have been many people out on vacation, and the work still needs to get done. The time change didn't help either -- I hate driving home in the dark! So the chance to find a quiet corner in the house and browse the pages of the catalog was therapeutic to some degree. I'll be glad when the marching band season is over, but that will just be replaced with the concert season and all of the contests that go along with that. But being busy is good, and it beats sitting around with nothing to do. I just wish it weren't so tiring!

Oh, if by chance you're thinking about getting me a gift this year, the Aeroboat seems to be a practical gift, and it's a steal at $21,000.00.

Dream on Mark, dream on!

Posted by mjwoods at 10:55 PM

October 15, 2003


Chocolate-covered key lime pie on a stick, fried Milky Ways, fried Oreos, ham corn dog (it just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?), ice cream hot dogs... Yep, it's State Fair of Texas time in Big D!

We got our, ahem, first taste of the fair last Sunday before attending Mamma Mia! at the Fair Park Music Hall. Spandex, glitter and platform shoes tapping out the beat to a bucketful of old ABBA tunes. Who would of thought that you could build a successful musical comedy out of a bunch of songs written by Agnetha, Benny, Björn & Anni-Frid? It was the best musical of the season! I haven't had this much fun with ABBA music since watching Muriel's Wedding back in the 90's. If you get the chance to see the musical, do it!

One of the great things about a subscription to the Dallas Summer Musicals is that there's usually one playing during the State Fair of Texas, which means we get free admission to the fair along with free parking. We'll make our "official" visit on the 13th when Bailey gets the day off from school along with a free ticket, but we always use our musical visit to scope things out. The must-eat item this year is the Cool Dog -- a hot dog made of cake and ice cream. Well, we looked but couldn't find it last Sunday though the girls did sample the deep fried cheese cake. Personally, I'm partial to corny dogs, turkey legs and Belgian waffles, but I did take a bite. It was "different," but I wouldn't spend another 5 coupons to get another.

Along with the culinary weirdness at the fair comes this "little thing" happening out in California. I wonder if I'll wake up tomorrow morning to find Conan the Republican is now the governor of California. I was reading earlier that Larry "The Smut Peddler Who Cares" Flynt voted at the same polling station as the current governor, Gray Davis who was accompanied by the Rev. Je$$ie Jack$on. Ah, only on the Left Coast!

After the events of last week, I can use a little mindless fun... See you at the fair!

Posted by mjwoods at 10:21 PM

October 01, 2003

A Man's Mind

I ran across an interesting article [link] today, attempting to explain the differences between the way men and women think. Armed with this proof, I immediately sent the article to my wife -- "See, there's a reason for why I behave the way I do!"

She immediately fired back a email to me, discounting the research -- "You notice the book was written by a man. I'm not sure how much weight I can place on this."

Some days are like that around here, especially when discussing Mars/Venus issues.

When I total the genders of all of the inhabitants of this household, three humans, two canine, two avian, and one very disinterested feline, I come up with the score:

Females - 4, Males - 4

Parity, of a sort. However, Eddie (the sheltie) isn't quite normal, even in canine terms. Ozzy ( the cockatiel) is content to sit on his perch and bug the hell out of the rest of us when he's not tormenting Fresno (the cat), who really doesn't give a damn about anything except his next meal, his nightly back scratch and how he can gain access to the bird cage to shut up Ozzy. But when I total up the genders of those of us who really count, I come up with the score:

Females - 2, Males - 1

But I'm not even sure if that's the official score, since one of those inhabitants is a teenage girl who probably thinks she should count double.

Witness if you will a dungeon, made out of wood, brick, and Beanie Babies that stretch to infinity. The dungeon has an inmate: Mark J. Woods. For the record, let it be known that Mark J. Woods is a faithful, loving husband and father. Now witness if you will a man's mind shriveling under the pressures of life. Have the bills been paid on time, are the repairs to the castle current, has the trash been placed on the curb in time for pickup, was the subscription to Teen People mailed on time, did he notice the latest modification to his wife's hair style, did he put the seat down on the toilet...

Yes, sometimes life feels a bit like something out of the Twilight Zone.

I'm not sure if I'll ever understand how the female mind works. All of the logical constructs that I use in my career are useless at home, and most of the time I just wing it and hope for the best. I can appreciate the article when it says that all I want to do after a day at work is relax for a while and surf the channels on the TV. It doesn't help to have two birds squawking and two dogs expending all their manic energy in my presence.

So, what am I thinking about most of the time. Well it's not about babes and cars, that's for sure. Probably pretty mundane stuff the majority of the time but I, like my brothers, am capable of "deep thoughts" from time to time -- it's not all about hunting wooly mammoths and discovering fire, or castigating the Star's management for trading Darrian Hatcher. Men and women were just meant to be different.

You could look it up...

Posted by mjwoods at 01:18 PM

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