Sunday, December 31, 2006


Sparkler, originally uploaded by Eric....

We've just rung in the new year. Hope your weather is a bit more suited to fireworks than it proved to be here in Germany - we were forced to brave a freezing drizzle and high winds. (Happy to be back inside, warm and dry.) May you and yours have a very happy 2007!

Thursday, December 28, 2006


snow day 004, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

We finally had our first day of snow since my arrival. I threw a snowball at David, and he built a tiny snowman. Now it feels a bit more like Christmastime.

Tomorrow night we are planning a bonfire in the firepit behind the house. We'll cook hotdogs and have smores. It has been raining a lot lately, so we're making the most of the predicted clear night.

Fireworks went on sale this morning, and David was there when the doors opened, Christmas money in hand. I might just be in for my loudest New Year's Eve, ever.

Sunday, December 24, 2006



Christmas Lights, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

We lit the last advent candle tonight. In a few hours we'll head to the state church for a song service. Tomorrow morn we'll open gifts. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 22, 2006


My niece attends public school here in Germany. Ellen is pretty level-headed, but like most 15-yr-old girls, she spends her day with schoolmates whose lives are brim-full of drama. Her little brother's English has a few gaps, so yesterday at dinner when I compared Ellen's classroom to a "Soap Opera," I had to define the unfamiliar term for David.

His Dad helped me to explain by offering the example of "Verleibt in Berlin," a cult hit in Germany that boasted 5 million daily TV viewers in 2005. Dan described the plot and cast to me, and I recognized the show as a current cross-over American weekly dramedy called, "Ugly Betty." Curious, I googled it and found out the history of the show.

It originally began in 1999 as a Columbian telanovella titled, "Yo soy Betty, la fea." In addition to Spanish, English, and German versions, there have also been Dutch, Russian, Indian, and Israeli adaptations. Score one for the "small world" concept. I imagine that the writer of "The Devil Wears Prada" also took the idea from some version of the original Columbian hit.

My inner grad student is tempted to write a comparison contrast essay about the different versions of this Cinderella story and the insights they reveal about our changing global cuture. I wonder why lots of the world's population enjoys watching fashionistas make fun of an ugly duckling.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


I've had a bit of jetlag and the weather's been rainy, so sightseeing is getting a slow start. We did drive around to a few of the neighboring villages, and tonight we went to the State Church in Hamburg for a Christmas Concert. I've posted a few pics on flickr, and you can see them by following the link in the photo above.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Empty Seat - lomo, originally uploaded by hangingpixels.

About an hour until my first flight to Houston, and I'm killing time in the airport. Then it's on to Newark and Amsterdam before Germany. Thankfully, the airports have wifi and I've packed some novels, so I shouldn't be too bored on layovers. Check-in was a breeze. It's an uneventful beginning, but I'm not complaining.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


wholesmokedturkey, originally uploaded by Madalin Matica.

Hope you and yours have a beautiful day! Don't eat too much bird!

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Risk and Castle Risk, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

My brother William gave me this game for Christmas my 10th grade year. It's become a family favorite. I've owned a ton of copies of it. I keep picking up extras at thrift shops and then giving them away to friends and family. My favorite memories of the game are late sumer camp nights. The kids and my fellow counselors really got into it.

This Thanksgiving, I'm giving a copy to my nephews, William's sons. I've got a 2nd copy I will put up on eBay. I figure if every other family member has a copy now, there's no reason to keep mine since I only play it with them.

Friday, November 17, 2006


SWEET!, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

Every year around this time I start hauling out the boxes of Christmas decorations. I carefully unpack and inspect each one - admiring its delicate beauty. Recalling all the good memories it inspires.

This year is no exception; boxes and bubble wrap are strewn everywhere. But I'm not decorating. I'm unpacking all of them so I can sell them, things I thought I'd hold onto till the grave.

What a surprise! And another suprise? I'm not sad. Letting them go is a good thing. It might just be the merriest Christmas of them all.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Tree Sweet Tree, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

I visited 2 antiques shoppes today and they have NOTHING on eBay. Poor quality at high prices meant I left empty-handed.

I'm up late posting photos to flickr. Tonight I took about a million shots of my Kenner Tree Tots Family Tree House playset in preparation for listing it on eBay (and also as a nice way to remember it after it's with its new owner). I'm happy with the way they turned out. Hopefully the bidders will be influenced by them to bid higher.

After seeing other cool photos of Kenner toys on flickr (M.A.S.K. and Star Wars action figures, Blythe dolls, etc.), I decided to form a new flickr group for products made by this great company. I mean, they made Play-Doh! They deserve a little special attention.

Friday, November 10, 2006


sandwich., originally uploaded by godownmatthew.

Sweetness! I'd been meaning to check it out, but I didn't expect it to be this good. No, not a giant floating ice cream sandwich! I finally got around to setting up my account and transferring all 400 of my bookmarks over. Editing them and adding tags was a total hassle, but the tool's already proving itself worth the extra effort. If you use Firefox, you've probably at least heard of it. For those of you unfamiliar with what, exaclty, is/does (like I was yesterday), you might want to check it out.

I also got a couple of eBay auctions up. It took forever to get my photography and auction stuff unpacked and set back up - way more time than it took to pack it all away for Pauline's visit. After spending too much time on all of that, I was ready to get out of the house when my brother called from Germany with a list of things he'd like me to bring for his family when I come over in a few weeks.

That's right! I did my first Christmas shopping of the Season today. I found several of the things on his list, and I should be done after just one more trip into town. Since I'm not bringing home a regular paycheck these days, I normally stay out of stores, so the only drag about the day's outing was seeing things that I wanted for myself and having to muster the self-discipline needed to not buy them. Hooray for character development. Big whomping yay!

Tomorrow should make up for it, since I'll get to spend a little dough on myself. My friends Stephen and Samantha are going to be in town for the night, so the three of us are going to Outback. I used to go to the one on the Coast regularly before the storm took it out. None of us have been to one since before Katrina, so it's kind of a big deal for us to go. I can't wait to have one of their baked sweet potatoes. I can almost taste it.

This week has been an island of old friendship in the ocean of solitude known as 2006. On Sunday night, I saw my old friends Mike and Madeline. I'd been thinking about them all day, so when they walked through the church door, I was shocked. Then on Monday night I saw my friends Alice, Sean, Kevin, and Emily at Joe Muggs when I stopped in for a coffee. They all will be in town for extended holiday visits with their parents, so I'll be able to see them again before I leave for overseas. Being around old friends made me realize what a recluse I'm becoming. I'm glad I'll be around Dan's family for the holidays. I need to make a New Year's resolution to not be such a hermit in 2007.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


German Christmas Market, originally uploaded by Alexander Yates.

The countdown continues: 40 days until I leave for Germany.


I started back at the gym today after a 2 month hiatus. It was around 3 o'clock, and I was the only one there besides the gym owner. I popped in my ear buds and jogged along to Taylor Hicks. Every time I use the iPod, I think of the Sony Walkman. Do you remember those? This Japanese craze hit the US consumer market in 1980. By 1981, there were a couple dozen knock-offs, but none carried the "coolness" factor of the Walkman. They were the iPod of their day. Oh, how I wanted one! But the over $100 price, considered affordable by Yuppies, was way out of my elementary-school sized budget. It would be almost 10 years before I FINALLY got one, and by that time CD's were becoming popular, so they were no big deal. I wonder how many little kids are longing for an iPod. I guess one day they'll look back and laugh about thinking, "I'll just die if I don't get one for Christmas."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

OCT 31

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, originally uploaded by Neato Coolville.

No trick-or-treaters came by tonight. I was a little surprised, since the house is in town. Maybe word got around that we didn't have any good candy. My experience with the whole trick-or-treating thing is limited. Growing up in the country, I think maybe we got a couple of kids one year, and that was it. I only went trick-or-treating once; I was Humpty Dumpty at age 4. My parents would have let me if I'd wanted to, but I wasn't into it. It just never has been my thing. I'm much more a Christmas kind of guy.

That said, I have to say that I love those little corn candies. You know, the white, orange, and yellow ones? Maybe tomorrow I'll go buy a bag half price.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

MEDIA REFORM CONFERENCE and Free Press are sponsoring a Media Reform conference Jan. 12-14 in Memphis to jump start the issue of Net Neutrality before the new Congress convenes. Thought you might want to check it out.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


E.L.F. Scott (sepia), originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

This old portrait of my great-great grandmother, and a few others like it, used to hang in my grandmother's attic. The life-size oddities frightened a generation of grandchildren, not only because of their stiff expressions and odd fashions.

It's their eyes! I don't know why, but their eyes seem to follow you no matter where you are in the room. My mom says they did the same thing when they hung in her grandmother's living room. She and her brother Bob used to lie on their stomachs and slide on the wooden floor while their ancestors eyes followed them.

My nieces and nephews don't like them at all - declaring them creepy. But I think they are cool, in a Ripley's kind of way. I was pretty sad when they were destroyed in a house fire a few years back. I'm thinking of framing life-size duplicates made from the scans I have of them. It just doesn't seem like home without my dead ancestors hanging around staring at me.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Weihnachtsmarkt, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

This morning I booked my flight through ORBITZ. I leave December 13th and return January 13th.

So, the countdown begins: 54 days until I leave for Germany.


Hope you caught journalist Bill Moyers on PBS last night. He produced a documentary called, "The Net at Risk." Following the broadcast, hosted a live Internet debate between Free Press Policy Director Ben Scott and the phone industry's Mike McCurry.

Even if you missed it, please check out Moyers' essay "Against An Imperial Internet." Try to imagine an internet that is exclusively programmed by companies in the same way that TV and radio are programmed. If we don't speak up to congress, that could be the new face of the Internet in the 21st Century.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Kiawah Island, 1979, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

In '79, my parents and I visited the resort community at Kiawah. Dad was in business meetings during the day, so Mom and I had time to ourselves. She was a shutterbug back then.

I have three distinct memories about the trip: (1) I thought we were in a foreign country (2) We saw a "haunted house" on a walking tour of what I thought was the Rain Forest (3) We had a jeep ride on the beach.

Those are some of my earliest memories.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Dad, Mom, Pat 1979, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

I'm posting a lot of old photos to flickr today, so if you need a laugh, check them out.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Dumpr offers a new tool that lets you place any flickr photo into a museum setting. I tried it out on 3 of my photos. What do you think?

Dumpr Museumr

dumpr museumr

Dumpr Museumr

Friday, October 13, 2006


Peanut Butter Cookie Cupcakes, originally uploaded by buzzville.

Saw this photo on flickr and can't wait to try the recipe. I'll let you know how they turn out.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


A while back, I posted the NBC/WB pilot of a failed TV show ironically called "Nobody's Watching." Well, Derrik and Will have launched a website and a viral video campaign to resurrect the show (and their acting careers). Here's an example of the stuff they are posting to YouTube (for an extra dose of fun, read all the comments on their videos - it's amazing how few people commenting realize Will and Derrik are paid actors:

They might just have the formula for success, if they can follow in the footsteps of Luke Barats and Joe Bareta. Remember them? I've been following their YouTube Vidoes and post them here occasionally. I was surprised to see Joe this week on late night cable TV as a spokesman on a technical college ad (not too great an ad since I can’t recall the name of the college). The ad left me wondering what else was new in the fellows' quest for stardom, so I checked out their MySpace and found out that they have sealed a deal with a network - NBC Universal Television Studio - at the end of a bidding war that included MTV and HBO! Here is one of their new videos they've put on YouTube:

Speaking of Youtube, I guess you've heard about the whole "GooTube" Google $1.65B acquisition thing? Will Google ruin YouTube by plastering it with ads and making it all google-fied? What do you think?


Clearly Coke, originally uploaded by koduckgirl.

I'm posting a lazy-man's blog today: just copying and pasting an email forward that my brother Dan passed my way, but it's worth thinking about -

WATER: Drink Life!
1. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. (Likely applies to half of the world population).
2. In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger.
3. Even MILD dehydration will slow down one's metabolism as much as 3%.
4. One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a U-Washington study.
5. Lack of water, the number 1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
6. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
7. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the compute screen or on a printed page.
8. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, ;lus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.

Have a COKE and a Smile (aka "I Love Liquid Candy")?
1. In many states (in the USA) the highway patrol carries two gallons of Coke in the trunk to remove blood from the highway after a car accident
2. You can put a T-bone steak in a bowl of Coke and it will be gone in two days.
3. To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet bowl and let the "Real Thing" sit for one hour, then flush clean. Citric acid in the Coke removes stains from vitreous china.
4. To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers: Rub the bumper with a rumpled-up piece of aluminum foil dipped in Coca-Cola.
5. To clean corrosion from car battery terminals: Pour a can of Coke over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.
6. To loosen a rusted bolt: Apply a cloth soaked in Coke to the rusted bold for several minutes.
7. To remove grease from clothes: Empty a can of Coke into load of greasy clothes, add detergent, and run through a regular cycle. The Coke will help loosen grease stains. It will also clean road haze from your windshield.
8. The active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid. Its Ph is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about 4 days. Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from bones and is a major contributor to the rising increase in osteoporosis.
9. To carry Coke syrup (the concentrate) the commercial truck must use the hazardous material place cards reserved for highly corrosive materials.
10. The distributors of Coke have been using it to clean the engines of their trucks for about 20 years!

Interested? Then check out the "Unauthorized history of Coca-Cola" and "Sugar Wars."


Danni won on Blingo, and since she signed up through my link, I won, too! For prizes, Blingo gave us each a choice between a Fandango movie ticket for one adult admission, or an iTunes gift certificate for $10. I chose the iTunes certificate and downloaded episodes of "Lost" and "The Office."

I would have chosen the movie ticket, but there's nothing out in theatres I want to see. I caught "School for Scoundrels" and it was a bomb. It was such a yawn I won't even bother to elaborate on its many fatal flaws. Jon Heder needs a new agent.

So, hey- If you'd like to sign up for Blingo and win cool prizes, too, then click this blue box.


napoleondynamite, originally uploaded by Hot Rod Homepage.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Uncle Robert, Jr. High, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

My Uncle Robert passed away on September 21st, just a couple weeks after his birthday on the 3rd. I've been slow to blog lately, but I wanted to make a note somewhere about this photo I found while cleaning out his house. It's the only time I've ever seen him smiling. It was great to find it - comforting to see him happy and in love.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


who's your idol, originally uploaded by vacationtime.

I'm headed to the airport to greet Pauline's plane! I'm so excited she's coming today! This will be her 2nd trip to my home state. I can't believe it's been almost a year since we met on eHarmony. (No, we aren't on an ad...yet).

Don't want to be late...

Monday, September 04, 2006


Sister and Brother, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

I picked this one up at an antique's store today. Styles sure have changed a lot this century, haven't they? I wonder what their lives were like.


Been keeping up with HGTV's Design Star this season? I've caught a couple episodes. My niece asked me to help rally votes for her friend Alice; they are from the same hometown. It's down to the final two: Alice Fakier and David Bromstad. Not familiar with the show? You might want to watch Alice's bio video.

My niece was able to watch episode 4 of the show (Designers' Challenge: $10,000 Kitchen Makeover) sitting on the couch next to Alice and Alice's mom at Alice's mom's house. Even though Alice knew the outcome (of course), she wouldn't tell her mom how that episode turned out. She just sat on the sofa and let the drama play out without giving away any backstage secrets. Talk about being sworn to secrecy! That would be so hard not to tell your mom all about it.

You can vote online or via your cell phone (text B to 44881) - voting up to once per day until noon on Wednesday. Remember, your vote decides who gets the title and their own design show!

Thursday, August 24, 2006


I love you Mr. Starbucks, originally uploaded by Rude Lovers©.

I happened to catch a rerun of Battlestar Galactica, and I was surprised by how familiar the show seemed. I thought I'd never seen it before, but I must have caught an episode or two as a kid. I'm normally pretty good at remembering TV shows, so it felt kind of eerie seeing one that I'd forgotten. Has that ever happened to you? It's kind of like remembering a dream.

When I saw Lorne Green, I knew his character's name was Ben. (Oddly, he played a guy named Ben on Bonanza, too.) I recognized Dirk Benedict the minute he came on screen, but I didn't remember his character's name. When I heard it, I laughed out loud. Can you believe he was called Lieutenant Starbuck? I wonder if that's where Starbucks Coffee got its name. Maybe the founder was a big sci-fi fan.

Speaking of Starbucks, Pauline sent me one of their gift cards in a greeting card today. ¡Muy romántico! (THANK YOU, PAULINE! I love it!)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


1974, originally uploaded by reddirtrose.

She asked me, "Do you think we'll always be hippies?" Pauline and I were talking about forsaking the trappings of the American dream to pursue dreams of our own. Do the two have to be mutually exclusive? Can you be artistic and live in the suburbs? Are we really hippies, anyway? Will we end up living in a tent out in the woods, spending our days painting and writing books? I don't know if I could get used to the red bugs and mosquitoes.

Soon after our conversation, I ran across this flickr photo from my birth year. Look at them. They seem to be the definitive hippie family. I wonder if they are still hippies. I wonder if their dreams came true.

Being a dreamer, I often encounter people who want to help me out by dashing my dreams to bits. They see my dreamy nature as a sign of immaturity and want me to join them in reality - that place where all your dreams are dead and you've settled for becoming somebody you never wanted to be.

That's the thing about the American dream. There's no place for individuality in it. There's no place for my dreams in it. It's a picture in the Sears catalogue - one size fits all.

I'm not sure the answer is being a hippie, but I'm not interested in being a yuppie, either. I tried that. I listened to everyone who convinced me that hard work would pay off. And after working myself to a point of mental, emotional, and financial exhaustion, that tent in the woods is looking mighty comfy right about now - even with the bugs.

Christianity has to tie into this discussion somewhere. But I'm confused about how. I'm not asking for advice; I'm just trying to be honest about where I am. I know that I'm tired of letting other Christians tell me what to do and who to be. I want Jesus to do that for a change.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I've come face to face with a personal weakness - one I've been trying to ignore. It's not like I don't try to keep physically fit, but I've been neglecting strength training in favor of cardio. I just prefer running, and I don't like to think about my weak arms - much less work them out.

Now, after this weekend, I think it's time to add some weight training to my routine. Why the change of heart? Ryan and I worked on his shed. Katrina knocked it down, so he's starting from scratch. We concentrated on jobs requiring an extra set of hands - framing and surfacing the roof (remember it's August in Mississippi). After two days of heavy lifting, my arm muscles are complaining a lot. Looks like Ryan's shed isn't the only thing that could use a little work.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Mom, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

She's camera shy, so I was happy that I managed to get this snapshot of my mom today on her way to church. Isn't she cute?


Here's my Dad in his truck. I took this one yesterday out at the farm.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Friday, August 18, 2006


my photo on np, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

One of my Taylor Hicks photos has been published on Now Public. (Sogan: "YOU are the news.") I was pretty excited when Lisa, the manager of NP's Contributor Relations, emailed a request to use my photo she found on flickr. The photo is now a part of one of their top articles of the day, so it's featured on their main page and is getting a lot of hits. Woo hoo! Have you heard of the site? I hadn't, but I like the concept behind it. It's a non-commercial, public news service that uses stories and footage from non-news sources.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


I'm uploading photos of my junk onto flickr so I can eBay it all and liquidate these assets, if you will. Other flickrites have been admiring all my chotschkies. One lady commented that my house must be filled with collectibles. And I thought, "Yes. Unfortunately for the person who has to dust them, that's true." But I won't have that problem much longer. My clutteritis is going into remission.

If you are a clutter-bug or a pack-rat, then you'll love Kaboodle's new My Collectibles. Even if you are a neat-freak, you'll get a laugh from some of the strange collections people have uploaded. Check it out.


My mom and I acted out a scene today that beautifully illustrates the generation gap. Yep, it's alive and well, folks. Imagine my 71-year-old mother chasing her 31-year-old son around the house with a pair of scissors. No, she wasn't trying to hurt me. Her intentions were good.

Was she trying to cut my hair? Kill an angry attacking bug? Nope. She was trying to cut the fringe from my blue jeans. She caught sight of it dragging the floor and tried to snip it off before I noticed. When I saw what she was doing and resisted, she started after me. (Call the mom police - she ran with scissors!)

When I finally got her to stop chasing me, I tried to explain that I wanted the fringe. In fact, I had paid extra to buy jeans that were already comfortably worn. "If you cut it off," I explained, "you'll be cutting $20 off the value of these pants." Of course, my analogy was too much for her midcentury mindset. "How old are you?!" she quipped, implying, I guess, that I have the fashion-sense of a teenager.

My answer: too old to have my mother dictate what I wear.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Today's an anniversary of sorts. I've been buying and selling on eBay for five years, five months, and five days. This morning, I was surprised while completing a Paypal transaction, when I glanced up and saw the trio of fives. The number five represents grace. Selling online requires a lot of it, so I guess that's an appropriate coincidence.

Speaking of cool online stuff: Kate responded to my mini-survey about search engines. Today, she sent me a link so I could sign up with Blingo. It's a Google-powered search engine that gives users the chance to win prizes! Kate's already won all this stuff:

- Kate won a $100 VISA GIFT CARD (5/16/06)
- Kate and her friend Beth each won A $200 VISA GIFT CARD (4/12/06)
- Kate and her friend Jennee each won an iTunes gift certificate (3/28/06)

So, I'm signing up under Kate's account as her Blingo Buddy, and every time I win a prize, she wins the same prize. Cool, eh?

Wanna' be my Blingo Buddy? (Here's when I shamelessly remind you of the prizes.) PRIZES! PRIZES! PRIZES! Go get 'em!

Click the blue button:


Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I was feeling blah about changing my diet, but I just read two AP articles that strengthened my resolve. You might want to check them out, too. The first one is about giving up soft drinks. The second covers the difference between good and bad fats - and how the bad ones will MESS YOU UP. So here's the remix: bring on the carrots!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


If mamma aint happy..., originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

Here's another installment in my wacky adventure called "moving back in with my elderly parents." Fleas invaded the house and the a/c was off all day long. So it was pretty much a day spent in h***.

On the flip side, I did get a lot of eBay photos taken. This is one of them.

Monday, August 07, 2006


I have weened my TV habit down to regularly watching only one program. Kyle XY somehow weasled its way into my "Best of the Worst" slot. It beat out shows like.... Well, there was no competition this season, since Lost is on hiatus and Taylor's fling on AI is done. The real selling point for Kyle is availability. I can download episodes on iTunes if I happen to miss one of its two weekly broadcasts.

So, each Monday night I find myself on the couch spacing out to ABC Family. Side note: I don't want to live with the guilt of recommending trash TV to anyone, so I won't recommend the show. In fact, I advise you not watch TV at all. Spend all your free time reading blogs. They're better for you.

Anyway, I was watching the show, and I realized that the main character is a mixture of two familiar characters: (1) teen Superman and (2) Mr. Data from Star Trek, the Next Generation. Kyle XY is Super Data XY!

Kyle is a genious with amnesia. He doesn't know his own name or birthday. And we find out as he tries to adjust to life with a new foster family, despite his seemingly supernatural intellect, he doesn't understand the rules that make the world go round. It's that amalgam of super-human ability and child-like naiveté that is Kyle's defining quality. And it's the key to the show's appeal.

I guess I identify with Kyle for a couple of reasons. First, Kyle is a symbol for our international politics. Just like Kyle, America recognizes her unique abilities. She knows she is special and has superior power. But, just like Kyle, she is not as as experienced as her peers. She constantly finds herself making embarrassingly bad decisions, despite her promising qualities.

And I can identify with Kyle personally, too. I can easily imagine myself in his place. I'll bet a lot of people can. Just like Kyle, we are mysteries to ourselves.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Well, you know I've been thinking about dancing while running on the treadmill. But I'm not quite this dextrous on the thing. I've never heard of this group before, but I give OK Go kudos for this publicity stunt - posting the video to youtube is a great idea!

Speaking of videos, now that I'm on Firefox rather than IE, I can download clips like this one, instead of just watching them on youtube. Woo hoo! I'm loving Mozilla more each day.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


globe, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

This week I'm finally getting some more auctions up on old eBay. I'm selling stuff like this globe. (Wanna' buy it?) It's taking me a little too much effort to get back into the swing of this - lots of time taking photos, writing descriptions. But it will all be worth it when the bags of cash money dolla' start rolling in. (Just keep tellin' yourself that, I tell myself.)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


The Cubes - Bob, originally uploaded by thepretenda.

I've seen these cubicle toys around on flickr and was wondering who made them. I finally found a link.


I'm ready to end this, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

Today I looked at my lunch plate and thought, "Hey, this couldn't be more unappetizing." I'm happy about shedding a few pounds, but I just wasn't in the mood for carrots and a pita today. Blah.

Monday, July 31, 2006


645 photos 26,645 views 2, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

When I first joined flickr, I never expected this many people to view my photos - 26, 645 views! WOW! I'm not sure what to make of it...

Sunday, July 30, 2006


In my ongoing quest to become more web-savy and computer literate, I'm changing web browsers. I've just axed Internet Explorer and installed Firefox. (It's free!) I'm already happy with the change. The "tabs" feature alone made it worthwhile. What a time saver! And I've heard that besides being easier to use, Firefox also promises to be the more secure choice.

I'm also installing Greasemonkey. It's a free Firefox extension which lets you add user scripts to tweak the websites you frequent. I want to iron out some hassles I've experienced with flickr, like my long list of alphabetical groups with no way to reorganize them. I'm sure I'll find some other useful scripts to try out. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

I'm curious. Which browser are you using? IE? Netscape? Safari? Firefox?

On a similar subject. what's your favorite search engine? Metaeureka? MSNsearch? Alta Vista? Yahoo? Google? With so many choices, it would be nice to hear your opinion.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


I run at the gym six days a week. This week I've increased my distance. Every day I've been reminded that running is mostly a mental battle. But I've had a game plan.

Every time I'm tempted to slack off and quit early, I make myself start thinking about taking dance lessons with Pauline. It's something we've been planning lately, and the thought of it helps motivate and sustain my workouts. I mean, who wants to be a wimp out on the dance floor? Another mile? Bring it on!

Thursday, July 27, 2006


My Cookbook Collection 016, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

I'm busy photographing every cookbook I own - about 50 in all. Then I'll get rid of them. They take up some hefty shelf space, and I only use a handful of them. How did I ever end up with so many of them? Do things seem to magically populate your home, too?


Living in rural Mississippi, I was surprised when a RadioShack opened up in my small town. I prefer to buy most of my electronics online, but today I needed something for the computer, and I didn’t want to wait. So, I decided to give the new store a try.

When I stepped through the door, I noticed something, or more like, a lack of something. Where was the stock? The store was bare – only a couple of racks and shelves with a few stereos and a remote controlled toys. One look around, and I wasn’t even sure if the place had batteries, much less what I needed. Realizing I was probably in trouble, I asked the guy at the counter.

"Nope," he said. "Don’t have it. Got a nice goat, though." (OK, maybe he didn’t say goat, but he might as well have.)

"No. Thanks anyway," I turned on my heels for the door.

"Have a nice day!"

"You bet."

Total wash out. My first clue should have been the hay bales at the entrance. I guess that’s what I deserve for getting my hopes up. I won’t even bother checking out the new (limited menu) mini-McDonalds that just opened up in the gas station. I’ll bet they don’t even have milkshakes.

I’m glad to see my hometown growing, but something isn’t always better than nothing. Take the once locally-owned grocery store, recently bought out by a chain. (For anger management reasons, I won’t even mention the video rental place.) The grocery does good business dealing a few necessities: milk, bread, eggs, cigarettes, and diapers. But the rest of the stuff, while technically "in stock," has been sitting on the shelf or in the freezer a long time. If you buy anything there, you’d better check the expiration first. The town’s just too small to turn over stock fast enough to keep up with the dates.

I can understand why corporations think they can open up miniature chain stores in small towns like mine. The main reason must be high gas prices. It used to be no big deal for small-town shoppers to drive thirty miles to the city when gas was only a buck-a-gallon. But now, it’s like, "Hmmm…I wish the store were closer, or that I could have that delivered!" So, I get the point of these smurf-stores, but they are a strange kind of growth. They somehow make the town seem even smaller and less convenient.

When I think about it, I have to trick myself into thinking of my stay here as an adventure. I imagine myself living in the Wild West. Inconvenience goes with the territory. So what if Frontier Bandits held up the Stagecoach? Who cares that my USB cable, the one that should have been on aisle two of the General Store, is out with the tumbleweeds, lost someplace on the prairie? After all, that’s just the way life goes when you’re a Bold Pioneer, like myself.

I can live without milkshakes, after all. Eventually, though, I’ll have to change my tune from, "Don’t Fence Me In" to Lisa’s lines from the "Green Acres" theme song. There’s just too much city in my blood to make this return to the country a permanent move.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


iBlog, originally uploaded by stublog.

That is the question.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


blown out, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

Since growing the beard, I'm feeling like I'm all hair - the rest of me just blends into the background. I'm thinking of going all out hippie - letting it all grow until I can't stand it anymore. I can see that homeless/Jesus look working for me.


Ever heard of Scotia, California? It's a company town that looks like a movie set because everything in its 500 acres is owned and controlled by Pacific Lumber. It's old (founded 1863) and quaint. All 275 cottages are painted in the same pale colors. The town has a single restaurant - located in the ground floor of the only hotel (built in the '20's). There's an elementary school, a firehouse, a few shops, and two churches - all owned by the company. There's even a baseball diamond, a community center, and a museum. The company provides all security, maintenance, and utilities for the town, even passing out free firewood in the winter. The unemployment and crime rates are virtually zero. That should be no surprise, since only employees and their families live there, and everyone in town knows one another.

Can you imagine what life might be like in a place like that? But the setting changes as soon as you leave Scotia. Across the river is the town of Rio Dell (population 3,174). How does it compare to its idyllic neighbor? Cross the narrow green bridge that joins the two communities, and it's like you are stepping from the beauty of the 19th Century back into the problems of the 21st. Lining Main Street is a clutter of cheap restaurants and ramshackle gas stations - no matching color schemes here. Rio Dell's economy is depressed. Some residents are unemployed. Others are even homeless. And the crime rate? The local police answer about 3,200 calls a year.

Can't you just see the kinds of characters who might live in towns like these? My mind started racing when I first read about them in the New York Times. Why are they making the news? Pacific Lumber has decided to sell Scotia's homes to its residents and is pushing a deal to turn all municipal responsibility over to (you guessed it) neighboring Rio Dell. Imagine how much life will change for the residents of the two towns as their worlds collide. It would make a great story, don't you think?

Speaking of settings, I've also been thinking about writing a story set during the weeks surrounding Hurricane Katrina. I've got an idea for the narrator, too. Imagine a small child who loses his home in the storm and is sent to live with relatives in the East. His siblings are split up and sent to various states to live with friends and family. His mother goes West to work and support all of them, while his father stays in a tent down South to battle the beurocrats and try to salvage what he can of their possessions and old life. I'd tell the story primarily from the youngest child's POV, mixing in letters and phone calls from the rest of the family. I keep thinking about his story. It's fictional, but it hits close to home. I know people who are still living in tents or who had to abandon their homes and start over in strange new places. I feel the story growing inside me, and I think I'll be able to tell it eventually. Similarly, I'm finding myself connecting with the towns of Scotia and Rio Dell. It's only a matter of time before I put words on paper. This is a first step, right? It's been a long time since I've written fiction, but I'm excited that I've finally got some ideas buzzing around again.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


I was just checking out the page of recently updated blogs here at Blogger, and I noticed that most of the blogs are bogus - random junk with a lot of ad links. Why doesn't blogger nix all the spam blogs? How do you cut through through the dross to find the silver lining here?


Last Tuesday, I accompanied my nieces on a field trip to the McWayne center. While we were there, I noticed that a couple of the six-year-olds were fighting. You'll want to know a little of the conflict's background to really appreciate the story. The little girl is the teacher's child. That morning, while her mother wasn't looking, the girl hit the little boy and pushed him out of line. Then she tattled on him to her mother (the teacher) for being out of line, and the teacher scolded him. By lunch, he'd had plenty of time to brood. He sat down across from her and began his revenge:

He: "I'm gonna' kill you as soon as you're away from your mom."

She: "I'll just stay by my mommy, then."

He: "Well, you're a big chicken!"

She: "I am not"

He: "Oh, yes you are. Look at yourself! You're growing a beak!

She: "Shut up!"

He: "Oh, I'm eating chicken nuggets. Sorry about eating your relatives!"

Brings back memories of childhood, doesn't it? Oh, to be young and in love.


This morning I cancelled my credit card. I've had it for eleven years, and now I don't. This month I also gave up my cell phone. As you can imagine, I feel strange. It's more than that; I feel un-American.


Turns out eBay is not just a great place to buy and sell grilled cheese sandwiches resembling the Virgin Mother. It's also the perfect place for non-native speakers to learn and practice English. I take the following as a lesson in why nobody should trust Babel Fish. My sister ran across it on another buyer's feedback profile.

I wonder what the buyer thought when he read this comment from a seller: "put your mother's fart,the item is same to the picture, your eye is blind!" I dare you to read it aloud without laughing.


This week, I got emails from two of my married friends. Both of the guys are setting up spaces at home that are entirely their own. Jack is converting his shed/workshop, adding all the ammenities of the main house (minus a bed). And Kevin is reworking his upstairs spare room/home office into his very own, "Fortress of Solitude."

As it turns out, Jack and Kevin are following a new cultural trend. Today's MSN home page features a link to this article about "Manspaces." And, come to think of it, this topic reminds me of a rerun of "Yes, Dear" called "Space Jam." In the episode, Kim wants to clean out the garage by throwing away all of Greg's college memorobilia. He lies to Kim about donating the junk to the thrift store and actually rents a storage unit for it. When he gets there and starts unpaking his stuff, he finds two other husbands, a record collector and a star wars junkie, using their units as hiding places from their wives. At the end of the episode, Kim confronts Greg about lying to her and convinces him to move his junk back into the garage. Of course, the episode wasn't funny, but it does tie in nicely with this blog (also unfunny and pointless).

You know how I tend to end my blogs with a question? Well, I don't really want to know how you feel about manspaces. So I'll ask you this instead: How do you feel about monorails? Are they just a passing fancy, or are they really the world's most modern transportation system?

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Running Late, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

I was thinking today about how many clocks I own. I lost count at 20. How about you?

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Old School School Boxes, originally uploaded by Neato Coolville.

I check out Todd Franklin's flickr stream or his blog about once a week. He's an artist who frequently puts up nostalgic pics. Yesterday, I was surprised to find this photo in with his other posts for the week - two schoolboxes that he had in the 70's. What's the big deal? I had the same boxes! Nothing like mass production to make it seem like a small world, after all.

Kirk Demarais also blogged about his school supply box this week. He makes a good point: because I used it every day, the pictures on my schoolbox probably got deeply embedded in my psyche.

I picked up this box in a local thrift shop because I remembered using it in grade school. It's dated 1979.

School Supply Box

Do you remember your favorite supply box? What did it look like? Do you still have it stashed away somewhere? Maybe your mom or dad rescued it to store odds-n-ends and stuck it in the top of a closet or on a garage shelf. Or is it a lost treasure?


I just finished reading an article at Free Press that I think you should explore. Here's a summary:

Turn on the radio today in any U.S. town, and you'll hear the same Paris Hilton song played over and over. When was the last time you heard local talent played on the radio? (And I'm not talking about on your college station.) Do you ever wonder why your hometown station plays the same repitition of songs by big name commerical talents (using the term loosely)? Wouldn't you like to hear something new? And how do those famous few top the playlists all over America?

Ever hear of the term "payola?" The labels are paying off the giant conglomerates who control the airwaves. That's right: the big name labels pay Big Radio to feature their mainstream acts, blanketing the airwaves with their "stars" and leaving the indies out in the cold. But the airwaves are public property, and payola is supposed to be illegal.

The FCC has already fined Sony BMG and Warner Music Group $15 million + for payola abuses. These fines are too small to really make a difference, but the FCC won't impose heavier fines or take away their licenses unless you and I do something to force the FCC to hold the conglomerates accountable.

Please visit Free Press to find out ways you can fight back against big media (unless you secretly like "Stars are Blind.") While you are at Free Press, please check out their discussions of Net Neutrality, "corporate-sponsored" news, and the AT&T merger.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


anything goes, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

A year ago, I was rehearsing for my upcoming role in Center Stage's production of Cole Porter's "Anything Goes." I ran across the photos online today and posted some of them to my flickr account. A lot of screwy stuff has happened to me in the last year. I'm glad to remember some of the good times. I'm looking forward to performing again, someday.


...geriatric. Call it the curse of Taylor Hicks, and maybe I have been listening to too much of his music. What else can explain all of this gray hair I've been finding around my ears and in my beard? This morning I even found a gray chest hair! BLAH! I'm feeling old. What's good for warding off geriatric depression? Can you really find the fountain of youth in a box of "Just for Men?"

Along this same theme, happy 49th birthday to my brothers, Dan & Steve!


twins times two, 1958, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

This photo is my favorite of the twins - who turn 49 this month. They've changed a little since Mom snapped it.


Here are four clips that inspire me to start saving my pennies for a video camera. The first video was made by a couple of guys, Ryan Wieber and Michael Scott. To download it, check out their page. The footage was shot over three weekends. The editing took four months. Neither had any formal training beforehand. They shot with a Canon GL-1 camcorder and used Adobe After Effects to add the glowing effects.

The next two Kablamo vids I'm posting tonight are fan remakes of my favorite SNL digital short, "Lazy Sunday." The first was done by a couple of guys named Bryant Fisher and Max Sitinikov. The next was done by two eleven-year-olds, Luke Brightfield and James Gillespie, with help from one of their dads.

If you are offended by dumb things, don't watch this last one:


DSC_1125, originally uploaded by kylemac.

Pauline has been telling me about this guy who is trading a paperclip for a house. Today, Terry emailed me the link.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Ben emailed me the address for Vimm's Lair. When you visit Vimm's page, just follow the link on the left sidebar to the "Emulation Lair." According to Vimm: "Emulators are software which allow one system to simulate the functions of another. Many people have written freeware emulators which allow your PC to emulate many different video game consoles. While emulators aren't perfect and can never replace the real thing, they can often perform most of the functions of the system they're emulating. Here you can download emulators for systems represented in The Vault. While there are dozens of emulators available, these are the best!"

Friday, July 07, 2006


pirate boy, originally uploaded by krissie p.

I talked to a theatre employee about the new "Pirates" movie coming out today. She previewed it on Tuesday and loved it. Ben and I will see it tonight.

Here's a survey to gauge how excited you are about the newest Depp flick:

__ I'm with you - I'll be there opening night.

__ I might see it with the kids sometime.

__ I'll rent it.

__ I'm avoiding it like the Black Death.

__ What Pirates movie?


I'm visiting my brother Steve's family for the holiday/his birthday (Happy #49, Chief!) and my nephew, Ben, and I have been discussing growing up playing video games. He's a member of the Nintendo Generation, while I'm an Atari guy. If you are ever in the mood for old skool gaming nostalgia, you should check out what's available online. Ben's downloaded all the classic Nintendo games, along with covers of the theme songs done by a band called the Minibosses (other bands cover the songs, too).

The timing was perfect when I checked my inbox and found this Mario video. Thanks to Terry for sending me the youtube link.

Of all the 1st generation games, Super Breakout is still my favorite. Which of the old games tops your list?

Monday, July 03, 2006


Marzipan stollen, originally uploaded by schönwandt.

Last night, I dreamed of marzipan stollen, so I awoke craving it. I wish I had brought some back from Germany and stashed it in the freezer.

Ever had a strange food craving that you couldn't satisfy? What's a good substitute for stollen?

Sunday, July 02, 2006


I've been bouncing ideas around with friends for some future youtube sketches or short podcast bits. I'm jotting them down here before they go to mental la la land.

(1) an ad for Emo Elmo - complete with black eyeliner, safety pins in his lip, and depressing sentiments. Who wouldn't rush out and buy one?

(2) little kids prank calling 911 - admit it; you did it, too. How mad was your mom?

(3) oh man, this one is gone already, and I knew it when I started typing this list...Does that ever happen to you?

On Friday, I got an unexpected invitation from Ryan to drive up to Oxford for Ole Miss' Shakespeare Festival. I enjoyed the plays and meeting his friends from the theater department there. We saw Rowan Oak and walked around the Square.

My mom's family is from Oxford, so while we walked around town, I started reading the dates on the buildings and thought about my great-grandparents and grandparents walking those same sidewalks seeing the same sights. There is a DVD store that has a display of antique TV's in the window. As I stood looking at them, I remembered that my mom first saw a TV in an Oxford Square storefront window. There I stood over 50 years later looking at a similar set. I liked experiencing that feeling of history.

We stayed at Ryan's college roommate's century-old farmhouse in Water Valley (about 20 minutes away). My dad's family lived in that town for many years; his grandfather ran the railroad there. So this weekend turned out to be a bit of a homecoming for me.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Declan Galbraith is a British phenom. Here's his wiki article. What a voice!

Here's Part 2 of that interview. These are 2 longer clips of his songs:


Birthday Cake, originally uploaded by catsper.


I Know it's not quite July, but I had a strange craving for holiday songs today.