Christmas Decorating is Becoming a Disaster

By:

The Dude on the Right

Okay, so this, my next Blog, isn’t about a scientific study about unit size,
hopefully for you dudettes, it will be the next, but I just wanted to lament
about my Christmas decorating and how it isn’t going too well so far. 

The Dude’s Original Christmas Tree

My Christmas decorating used to be the easiest thing in the world, usually
taking about 15 minutes. It started probably about six years ago, when I finally
broke down and bought a tree. Now, me, being the generally lazy decorator that I
am, of course bought a tree with lights pre-installed. I had ornaments thanks to
my Mom ordering me Hallmark ornaments for a number of years, and so, I moved one
of my end tables in front of the front room window, assembled the tree, put on
the ornaments, and even bought some Christmas tree skirting. Bamm, that first
time it took me about 60 minutes to go from opening the box to having a lit tree
complete with ornaments.

Christmas came and went that year, and as it went, I was faced with the crappy
task of packing away the ornaments, taking apart the tree, and in all honesty,
this seemed like it would take longer than the assembly. But then a moment of
genius occurred to me. I had a spare bedroom upstairs, the tree wasn’t that
heavy (it’s only a 4 1/2 foot fake tree), so I said to myself, "Self, why don’t
you just carry the tree upstairs, ornaments and all, throw an old bed sheet over
it, and then next year, all you have to do is move the end table, carry the tree
down the stairs, and you’d be done?" And so, for years, that is exactly what I
did. I’d get back from the Old Country after Thanksgiving, move my end table, go
upstairs and remove the bed sheet, carry down my decorated tree, and
"Voilà!" , about 15 minutes
from start to finish, my Christmas decorating was done. I was always so proud of
the time it took me to decorate that whenever I was in a conversation about how
long it would take someone to deck their halls, and had to regale those present
with my genius.

My bare tree this year.

Then, visiting a friend of mine, I was shamed, at least in my head, at the
total lameness of my Christmas decorating. At her house they had this giant
village built, in their basement, that stretched along one wall and halfway
along another, and as proud as I was that my decorating only took 15 minutes, in
my head I decided something more needed to be done. So, after Christmas was
over, I saw an ad that the village houses and props were 75% off, so it started. 
I bought a couple of houses, a lighthouse, and the next year, my decorating
started to get more complicated. This was a few years ago. Then I added a
ski-lift, an old train set, and things got a little worse, although not as bad
as this year. In the previous year I sort of had the train set halfway done as I
didn’t have the width to make the full loop. It looked alright, but the train
didn’t work. So, this year, I calculated all of the space needed, set up the
plywood, and started to get to work. This is where things really started to go
wrong. First mistake, bringing down my ornamented Christmas tree and plopping it
on the plywood first. Yup, there was my tree, standing proud, only now I needed
to install the train track.

Ornaments strewn on the floor.

No biggy, until, well, sprawled along the plywood trying to get the
thumbtacks put in to secure the train track, my svelte body under the tree,
well, wouldn’t you know it, I lifted my back just a little too much, and then
the tree started to tumble, I caught the tree, but not before 90% of the
ornaments decided to vacate their place on the tree and onto the floor.

Great, my decorating is now starting to go horribly wrong, now I’ve got to
re-ornamentate the tree, and the angel on the top of the tree, while taking her
tumble, well she lost her wings.

But that wasn’t all.

Nope, finally settling into the fact my decorating was getting slightly more
entailed than I planned it to be, I continued laying the train track, only to
quickly realize that I didn’t have enough track connectors. So much for getting
my decorating done on that night. So, decorating not finished, I go to bed, wake
up the next day, head to the hobby store, get more track connectors, and I’m
psyched that "Yes, I can finally finish this Christmas decorating crap this
evening, it will be great, the train will work, and it will officialy be the
Holiday Season in the dude-pad." Evening comes, and begin decorating again, and
I thought I would be creative with the train by kinda loopy-looping it rather
than just having a normal oval, except there was one other problem – I
miscalculated the amount of track needed. Yup, there I was, most of the track
tacked down, getting towards at least finishing the train, when, low and behold,
I was one track short. One freakin’ track short.

A section of track is needed.

I’ve already spent way to much time on this project, I’ve got a tree with
only a few ornaments left on it, I’m sure I need more fake snow, and I need ONE
PIECE OF TRACK THAT I COULD HAVE BOUGHT AT THE HOBBY STORE EARLIER IN THE DAY
BUT NOW THE STORE IS CLOSED.

I thought of just leaving my decorating as is, tree half done, train not
finished, ski-lift still in its box, especially since I rarely entertain, so who
is going to see it anyway, and wouldn’t it be a funnier story if I had people
over with my "not done" decorating, but, after this blog, I’m going back to
work. I decided I will untack some of the train track, remove one piece,
re-assemble the train, so hopefully I can at least get the train going. Then
it’s time to unpack my village, get the skiers skiing and the boat boating, and
I can almost bet you by the end of the night, I will have one last problem, not
enough fake snow.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Thanksgiving, An Apology, and I’m Jealous of Oprah.

By:

The Dude on the Right


Well, Thanksgiving is over, and there is usually at least one story from a
Thanksgiving that is sort of entertaining, and I’m pretty boring at telling
them, but this Podcast has a story about me, my sister, and my under the age of
seventeen year old niece, going to see "Saw
II
."  Also is some talking about staying at the old homestead instead
of a hotel, and my being jealous of Oprah, especially as her "My
Favorite Things
" show came around.

As always, I welcome your comments.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

Download and Listen Here Subscribe Here





I Missed My High School Reunion Again. Damn.

By:

The Dude on the Right

Last weekend was my 20 year high school reunion and I didn’t go, and the more I
think about it, I’m a little bummed I missed it.  The worst part about it,
as things ended up working out, in hindsight, I could have gone.

The first
hindrance in making any plans was that by the time I found out when the reunion
was, I had already put in a request for concert clearance for Bon Jovi. 
Jovi was playing in Chicago last Friday and Saturday, and when I put in the
request, I said either show would be fine.  Not knowing if I would get
clearance for Friday or Saturday, or get clearance at all, I couldn’t make
definite plans.  And in a case of unbelievable coincidences, I missed my 10
year reunion, because of, well, a

Bon Jovi
concert.  Anyway, my plan was that if I got clearance for the
Friday show, or didn’t get clearance at all, I would head back to the homestead
Saturday morning for the reunion on Saturday night, then head back to the Windy
City on Saturday.  As it turned out, I didn’t get clearance at all, so
could have gone, but something else got in the way.

In addition to this web
site, I also do some business consulting, and one of the companies I do work for
was having problems with this GPS unit they recently purchased.  They
wanted to use it to find manholes for a construction job they had, and got the
manhole coordinate files from the General Contractor.  I got it installed,
but something wasn’t right.  When I installed it at their office, I knew
that the manholes were anywhere from 30 to 40 miles away from their office, but
the GPS unit kept saying the manholes were about 500 miles north.  That put
them in Canada.  The G.C. files also contained a "coordinate system" file,
saying the coordinates were in something called a "Stateplane
Illinois East 1201" system, yet every time I entered that into the GPS unit, I
kept getting the same thing, manholes 500 miles away.  Not being a mapping
dude, I tried to do some investigating on the internet, but no matter what I
tried, the result was the same.  Then one of the computer dudes at the GC
said they had problems getting the right distance out of their office, but when
they were actually in the near vicinity of the manholes, it worked fine. 
Well, the company was really jumping to get this thing to work right, so I
agreed to go up to northern Illinois on the Saturday of the reunion, pretty much
cementing my missing the reunion.  The thing is, in my gut, I knew it
wouldn’t make a difference.  I figured something was wrong with either the
coordinate file or the coordinate system they said it was, but I went up to the
north shore of Illinois to do some testing anyway.  Sure enough, I get up
to the North Shore and the manholes are now around 470 miles north of me. 
Yup, according to the GPS, they are still up in Canada.

As things worked out,
on Monday I got a hold of the engineers who supplied the original coordinate
file, and low and behold, the coordinate system was in something called "UTM
NAD83 ZONE 16," or something like that, and the coordinates were in meters, not
feet, like the G.C. supplied file said they were.  I popped that into the
GPS unit, and yup, everything was right with the world, or at least the manholes
were right where they were supposed to be.

My problem, still to this day, is
that at times I don’t listen to myself.  Everything told me not to waste my
time heading to northern Illinois last Saturday, it wouldn’t make a difference,
and it didn’t.  No Bon Jovi clearance, the GPS unit still wouldn’t work
right, and in the end I could have gone to my reunion.  I will give the
folks that organized the reunion credit, though, because they put it together
even though my

high school closed down
, and they posted some pictures from the shindig, but
I have to say, that for the most part, after checking out the photos, I’m having
a hard time recognizing most of them.  Me, I look in the mirror and I don’t
look like I’ve aged a day after high school.  Well, alright, maybe a year
or two.  The hair is the same, I’ve still got the svelte body I had back
then, and figure I would have walked in the door with everyone saying something
like "Dude, you look exactly the same as I remember you!  What’s your
secret?" to which I would reply back "Who are you?"  All I know is I hope
Bon Jovi won’t be in Chicago the same day as my 25th year reunion because that
started the entire process of missing my reunions ten years ago.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

The World Series and Why Can’t They Just Get the Anthem Folks to Sing

By:

The Dude on the Right


This is my last

podcast
, at least for this year until next year when it’s the Chicago Cubs’
turn (yea, right, like that’s gonna happen), on the super-duper, most-fabulous,
unbelievable, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, World Series that just went
down between the Chicago White Sox and the Houston Astros.  It was a great
series, except for the singing, and maybe it’s just my opinion, but I don’t
think that the Major League Baseballs, the NBA’s, the NFL’s, or even the hockey
folks, understand that we don’t really need to have someone famous singing the
National Anthem, just someone who can sing it well, or at least just enjoying it
(like a kids choir), at least at the playoff/finals time.  Most singers
can’t sing the Anthem, and we are constantly reminded of this, during these
championship games, so why can’t the league folks just grab the people who can
do a great job, and plug them in.  My favorite is the dude who does the
Cubs’ games,

Wayne Messmer
.  For baseball all I ask is a couple of things: 
Drop the singing of "America the Beautiful" at the

7th Inning Stretch
and go back to either "Take
Me Out to the Ballgame
" or a local favorite for the team, like the Houston
fans singing "Deep in the Heart of Texas."  Let the famous person butcher
these songs, at least we can have a laugh, as we, in Chicago, always laugh at
Mike Ditka singing at the Cubs game.  This is almost turning into a blog
rather than a podcast, but click on the podcast link and listen to it, because
my favorite World Series audio is from a news broadcast after game 4.  As
much as I make fun, I’d probably be doing the same, but it’s pretty funny, at
least for me.

As always, I welcome your comments.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

Download and Listen Here Subscribe Here





All Real Postings Begin Again Tomorrow – The Partying is Coming to an End.

By:

The Dude on the Right

Well, the celebrating is over!  The Chicago White Sox have won the World
Series in one of the best World Series I have seen in a while.  Alright,
maybe it wasn’t the best, but with a team to cheer on, there was a vested
interest in the games.  That and the fact that my sister and her family
won’t be able to taunt me because their Astros, well, lost.  They could
have won, won any of the games, but they didn’t.  So I’ll just let this one
last thing fly: "Na
na na na.  Na, na, na, na.  Hey, hey, hey.  Goodbye.
"

So,
now, with baseball over in Chicago, there is only one thing to ask: 
Are you
ready for some football?
  Yup, all focus now turns to the Chicago
Bears, who tonight sit alone, atop the mighty NFC North Division, with the
phenomenal record of 4-3. 

Kyle Orton
is the man, or at least the first quarterback in a long time to
play seven consecutive games, and that gives me hope, especially since he seems
to get a little smarter with each game.

Anyway, enough about sports, what
about this place.  Well, this week I’ve got a lot planned to finish. 
There will be a movie review of "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang", a podcast on some last
thoughts about the World Series, a DVD review of "Kicking & Screaming," and
maybe also "Batman Begins," a written CD review of

Bon Jovi’s "Have a Nice Day,"
hopefully a CD review of the latest CD from 
"Story of the Year," and a movie review of either "Saw 2" or "The Weatherman,"
leading up to, hopefully, covering Bon Jovi at the United Center next weekend. 
And if that’s not enough, I came up with an idea for a new web site this
weekend, so even though you may not see it directly, I’ve got to put some
initial work into it.

So I’m off to get my audio clips ready for my podcast,
have some CD listening to do, and some writing to be posted later.  And if
you say, "But Dude, I’m tired of coming back here day after day only to find
nothing new," well, if you’ve got a

Yahoo!
,

Newsgator
,

MSN
, or an RSS
news reader
, you can always subscribe and get What’s New? when it’s new.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

All Real Postings Have Been Delayed Until the End of The World Series.

By:

The Dude on the Right

First, I have to admit, I did fall asleep and missed the ending of Game 3 of the
World Series last night.  I was tired to begin with, the game was all over
the place, and Aaron
Neville’s
version of "God Bless America" just put me to sleep.  So,
yea, I missed everything from the 7th inning slumber until my body woke up
somewhere around 3AM, the TV still on, and me wondering what happened.

In any
case, as much as I would like to see the White Sox win the World Series in
Chicago on Saturday night, the person in me who wants to get back into a normal
groove sort of just hopes the Sox sweep the Astros tonight, and I won’t even
taunt my sister
and her family
much if that happens.  Also, from the way things have
been going, it seems God is on the White Sox’ side, and definitely not on my
side to win the lottery.

I will say this, no matter what anyone says, and with
some respect for the Astros, it’s been a hell of a World Series so far, but it
just seems the White Sox have been able to capitalize on nearly every break they
have gotten, whether a mistake by the other team, or a wacky call.  The
Astros, last night, had a home run that wasn’t a home run, but nobody made that
big deal about it, and who would have thought that Oswalt would give up five
runs in an inning, but for me, with everything that has happened for the White
Sox so far in the post-season, it seems that God and his cronies of Baseball
Gods want the White Sox to win the World Series.   Either that, or
they are in the midst of the cruelest joke He and his He’s could pull – let the
White Sox win the first three games, then shift every break to the Astros for
four games and let the Sox go down in history as the first team in Major League
Baseball to lose a World Series after winning the first three games of a seven
game series.  Two groups of people would love that:  Cubs’ fans, and
Astros’ fans.  And to top all of that, they would also probably not have me
win the Mega Millions which is now up to $147 million.

And I guess lastly, I’m
hoping the White Sox win the World Series tonight, simply so that no one in
America will have to suffer with the choice of singers Fox is pulling out to
sing our "National
Anthem
" and "God
Bless America
."  Most every ballpark or city would have their go-to
guy, or gal, to sing these songs, and they are fantastic at it.  In
Chicago, most no one does it better than

Wayne Messmer
, and I’d like to also think that Houston has one of their own. 
Both the "Anthem" and "God Bless" don’t really need to be sung by someone
famous, just someone who does a fabulous job.  The TV folks still haven’t
figured that out.  If I can get the gumption, I just might also try a
podcast about this singing stuff, but I suppose we’ll just have to see if I can
get back in my groove.

I’ve got to go now, Game 4 is starting, I want to get
this posted tonight, and if He and his He’s want this series to continue, I
guess, in continuing with my prayers for this World Series time,  I now
pray "Go ahead, but if that’s your will, at least let the Astros win two and get
it back to Chicago and let the Sox win there, or at least let me win the lottery
on Friday night.  $147 million would surely drown my sorrows if you really
want the Sox to go down in history in the wrong way."

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

A Prayer to God About The White Sox…

By:

The Dude on the Right


I’m still having problems with getting the iTunes music sounding good enough to
make into a CD review podcast, so

this podcast
is simply about the World Series.  I started the word of
wars between myself and my sister’s family, but they are doing their best to
combat it.  Really, the only thing that will decide this is the end results
of the World Series, so this podcast has some religion in it, namely a prayer
for the White Sox to win, or at minimum, that I win the Mega Millions jackpot
this weekend so I can buy off my relatives in Houston town.  I have to say,
in all honesty, I praying for the latter.

As always, I welcome your comments.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

Download and Listen Here Subscribe Here





A World Series Gauntlet Has Been Thrown Down.

By:

The Dude on the Right

I suppose I threw down the gauntlet, with this line in my last,
“if it’s a White Sox/Astros’ World Series, it’s going to be a
fight for pride between myself and my
sister’s family.”; I have no concerns, I have the utmost faith in my
White Sox,

they’ve always been my team, sort of
;-)"  Thinking back on it, I
really shouldn’t have encompassed all of the family into the "loser" category,
just my sister.  It’s always her I have had the beef with, but I suppose,
as a family, I would hope they would also rally around her like they have when I
grouped them in as a bunch.  So, I’ve got the entire family blasting me,
and I suppose it is fair, except I still contend the SAT’s were tougher back in
my day.  Ahh, togetherness!  But, it is a White Sox/Astros’ World
Series, and as much trust that I have in my White Sox, I really have to hope and
pray that The Wizards of Oz show that a
Wild Card team doesn’t
belong in the World Series.  Why?  Because if the White Sox don’t win,
I will never hear the end of it, and that is now my fault.

In any case,
tonight I posted my podcast prayer to God, to please help the White Sox win the
World Series.  I know he listens a lot to many of the singers out there, so
I really hope he has the time for me, and if he doesn’t have the two to three
hours to devote to the World Series games each night, I’m just hoping he has a
few seconds so that my Mega Millions numbers pop up in those little tubes. 
If that were to happen, my sister, and her family, could taunt me all they want,
but I wouldn’t recommend it if, I mean when, I’m 100+ million dollars richer.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

I Am Sorry

By:

The Dude on the Right

Okay, I apologize for my latest lack of not getting anything posted, but I have
a lot of excuses, so let’s get to them.

First off, I went back to Ohio to
visit my parents.  I could lie and say that I forgot the charger for my
laptop, but the truth is that I didn’t even take the laptop out of its case. 
I just thought it probably felt so cozy and warm in its snug case that it really
didn’t want to be disturbed, let alone have me pounding away on its keyboard. 
Sure, I could have probably used Mom’s computer to type up some movie previews
and my KMFDM review, but Mom really wanted to play Solitaire, so I was stuck
watching sports, which gets me up to…

Second, there were just too many
sports things going on while I was back in the old country.  Now that I’ve
jumped aboard the White Sox
bandwagon, the

ALCS
playoffs seemed that much more important to me.  With that,
baseball filled my evenings and college football filled my afternoon. 

Ohio State
didn’t seem to be doing that well against

Michigan State
, so I headed out to see my Dad at the hospital (he’s got some
wacky infection, it’s a long story, I’m not going to get into it), and then I
ended up back home to find the Buckeye’s taking charge of their game.  Then
came one of the most exciting college football games I have ever seen, namely
the Notre Dame/USC
game.  Un-fucking-believable!  Notre Dame controlled the clock yet USC
seemed to score most times they had the football.  On one of the Irish’s
last drives, I told Mom that they better get a touchdown because USC could
probably come back.  Sure enough, there was USC, a couple of seconds left,
threatening to down the ball to set up the field goal to set up overtime and
low-and-behold, it’s a touchdown and the Notre Dame fans are decimated.

Third,
after the six hour drive back to the dude-pad from Ohio, the only thing left to
do was, well, watch the White Sox win the American League Championship Series,
in another fabulous game where

Ozzie Guillen
let another one of his pitchers throw nine innings, something
totally unheard in today’s baseball.  Tomorrow’s challenge – scoring World
Series’ tickets.  My dream
World Series
has lately been an Indians/Cubs series, but I have to admit that I have loved
watching the version of baseball the White Sox have played this year.  It’s
been exciting, it’s been suspenseful, but mostly it’s just been fun.  The
problem now is if it’s a White Sox/Astros’ World Series, it’s going to be a
fight for pride between myself and my
sister’s family.  I have no concerns, I have the utmost faith in my
White Sox,

they’ve always been my team, sort of
😉

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

I’ve Finally Switched Sides – Chicago is My Kinda Town.

By:

The Dude on the Right

I was going to see the movie "Waiting" today, at least to add another movie
review for the weekend, but alas, the football game between the Chicago Bears
and Cleveland Browns started, and since I did see "Two For the Money" on
Saturday, I didn’t feel that guilty.  But as I camped out on my couch,
listening to the radio feed from
WBBM and watching the TV
feed on FOX (the FOX announcers were, well, not that great, and the

Chicago radio crew
is great), it is now official:  I’ve lived in
Chicago long enough to switch my allegiance from my old home teams, those being
based in Cleveland, to my new home teams, those being based in Chicago, although
there is a slight baseball wrinkle, and that came up during the end of the
baseball season when the Tribe was playing the White Sox.  There I was, on
my couch, cheering on the Bears and pissed that the Browns trounced all over
them.  So, and I somewhat apologize to anyone I know back in Ohio (sorry
Mom), but, for football, I’m a Bears fan first and a Browns fan second. 
I’ll cheer on the Browns with all of my heart, unless they are playing the
Bears, and I found that out today.

Now, here comes the baseball wrinkle. I’ve turned into a Cubs fan, which in inherently wrong, since I "grew up" in
Chicago on the south side, across an expressway from the old

Comiskey Park
.  But, the first game I remember going to in Chicago was
a Cubs game, during Rush Week at
Theta Xi.  I guess
that is where I started my liking the Cubs, but in those early years, I’m pretty
sure I caught more beer-an-inning White Sox games than Cubs games.  And
things were pretty simple, for the most part, because in my dreams, I would be a
Cubs fan and an Indians fan, and only have to worry about things if they both
ended up in the World Series.  Then this year came, the Cubs were sucking
as usual, the Indians weren’t doing much at first, and the White Sox were just
unbelievable.  I found it odd, but I started cheering on the White Sox, and
not caring about the Cubs and Indians.   Then the end of the season
came, the Indians were unbelievable, the White Sox were average, and I have to
say, I was cheering on the Indians.  It is here that I decided my baseball
allegiance now goes something like this:  Chicago Cubs first; Cleveland
Indians second; and Chicago White Sox third.  I suppose this allegiance
will never be tested because during the regular season, if the Cubs play the
Indians, I’ll cheer them both on, but if, by some twist of impossible fate, the
Cubs and Indians end up in the World Series, I’ll finally have to make a choice.

I know what you are saying, "What about basketball?"  That, again, won’t be
answered until a playoff series because, well, I’ve grown to like the Bulls,
especially during the Michael Jordan era  (although I was cheering on the
Cavs until Jordan would, inevitably, crush their hopes like a bug).  And
last year, I was really pulling for the Bulls, but I’ve also become a fan of

LeBron
, so that is at least keeping my interest in the Cavs on a higher
level (they better never trade him, or it’s over for me).

I have to say, it was almost weird cheering on the Bears, hoping somehow that Kyle Orton would
pull out some dream ending to the game, but I’ve been living in the Chicago area
some 19 years now, more years than I can remember living in the Lorain, Ohio
area, so I guess it shouldn’t be that weird.  I just so much wish that the
Bears could have won.  Maybe next time.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!