December 2003 Entries

Saturday, 12-6-2003: My brother and I took the kids to the City Museum in Saint Louis for the day. This is a place I visit with the kids probably 3 or 4 times a year. The City Museum is an old shoe factory in downtown Saint Louis which has been converted into a gigantic funhouse for all ages. Even if I didn’t have kids, I would still visit this place. It’s hard to describe but it’s an incredibly cool place. You can spend an entire day there and you still won’t be able to experience the entire place. I probably have a hundred photos of my kids and their friends in various parts of the City Museum. Here’s a few from today.

Me and Payton in the new Enchanted CavesWhere else can you go to PAINT HATS!?!

Wednesday, 12-10-2003: Life is like a mop. Sometimes life gets full of dirt and crud and hairballs and things and you gotta clean it out. You gotta stick it in here and rinse it off and start all over again. And sometimes life sticks to the floor so much that a mop, a mop, it’s not good enough. You gotta get down there with like a toothbrush, you know, and you gotta really scrub ’cause you gotta get it off! But if that doesn’t work, you can’t give up! You gotta stand right up! You gotta run to a window and say, “These floors are dirty as hell, and I’m not gonna take it any more!” -Stanley Spadowski in UHF

Saturday, 12-13-2003: No kids today. I spent pretty much the entire day sitting in front of my computer. I also went through a bunch of my old papers, threw stuff away and scanned some stuff into the computer. I worked on updating and creating websites all day. Tried to make some more pages W3 compatible.

Sunday, 12-14-2003: Picked up the kids from Colleen’s at 8am. When I got back they played in the snow for awhile while I took all of our bikes and toys to the basement. Tricia decided to let me watch Jordyn while she worked for a couple hours today. When she got back, we all went to her family Christmas party in Gillespe. Got home from that around 5pm or so.

Monday, 12-15-2003: I let Emily take my digital camera to school today for show-and-tell. Apparently all kinds of wacky picture-taking ensued throughout the day. Here’s one of my favorites…

emily's class

Monday, 12-15-2003: Took back the video games I rented last week. Stopped by the lawyers office to pick up some papers that I accidentally let him keep. Just kind of hung around the house and played with the kids all evening.

Friday, 12-19-2003: Emily was sick today so Colleen didn’t take either of them to school. She brought them over for me to watch at 10:30am. Since Emily missed her Christmas party, I let them open one present to play with while I worked – the Simpson’s game for Playstation. They played that for most of the day while I worked. At 7:30 we went to Richard and Shirley’s party. I was bored so me and Payton left within about 20 minutes. Emily and Casey came over later.

Saturday, 12-20-2003: Woke up at 9:00 when Payton came up. Emily slept in until 10:00 when I finally woke her up. At 1pm I took the kids (Emily, Payton, Casey and Ryan) to a Christmas party at the Keasler Complex. It was from 1 to 3 so I just killed time while they were there – I went to Ace Hardware to get some electrical stuff and then to Kmart to buy Jordyn a Christmas present. Came back home after that. I finished installing a ceiling light in Tricia’s apartment so it actually works now. Tricia watched the kids for a few minutes while I returned our videos from Wednesday. I picked up Dumb & Dumberer while I was there and we all watched that.

Tuesday, 12-23-2003: Today I was on the phone with Sprint PCS customer service, SEing some info on an account. I identified myself as Charles from the collections department. While she was waiting for her computer to pull up an account for me, she says, “Hey Charles, do you have a direct number to the collections department. We used to transfer to 800-xxx-xxxx (she gave me a number) but it hasn’t been working since last summer so we have to use the regular line to get through.”

Just so I didn’t screw up my SEing attempt, I said, “Yeah, they changed that and I have the number here.” and I prepared to rattle off some random digits. But then I quickly looked on my own Sprint PCS phone in the text messaging. It said “PLEASE CALL 800-427-3632.” This is 1-800-HARD-MEAT (a gay chatline) and I’m assuming Murd0c paged me with that the other night. I decide to give the Sprint lady that and I do.

But this is where it gets good. She’s very grateful for this and says, “You don’t know how much this is going to help us out here! I’m going to send an email to everyone in the department here with this new number right now!” So apparently when customers are talking to Sprint PCS at that call center and they need to be transferred to collections, they’re going to be sent to 800-HARD-MEAT! I rock!

Wednesday, 12-24-2003: It’s 10:15pm and my kids are asleep. I’ve just put out all their Christmas stuff for in the morning. This year they’re getting Crash Nitrokart for Xbox, Simpsons Road Rage for PS2, a big cheap cardboard clubhouse that can be colored, a plastic sled for each of them, lots of Play Dough, a Power Rangers lego set for Payton, a Hillary Duff poster for Emily’s room and a Simpson’s poster for Payton’s room. They also got some junk in their stockings, such as silly putty, Pokeman videos, an Arron Carter CD for Emily, some kids songs CD for Payton and a few packs of Pokemon cards for each of them. Now I just have to hope that they sleep in until at least 7am so I don’t have to get up too early in the morning. Here’s some pictures…

Homemade cookies and milk for santa - click here for a larger picture.It's hard to see, but I left open half of the fireplace door - click here for a larger picture.Another view of the tree - click here for a larger picture.

The Rest of November 2003

Thursday, 11-27-2003: Got up and worked for a few hours, then went to my parents house for Thanksgiving lunch. Colleen has the kids today so they weren’t there. After that I went to Tricia’s parents house and had lunch there. Then me and Tricia went to see the movie Timeline at Eastgate. Went back to her parents to pick up Keirstan and Jordyn, then went home.

Sunday, 11-30-2003: My 4-day weekend was fun. On Thursday I spent a few hours eating lunch with my parents, then a few more hours eating another lunch at Tricia’s parents. Then me and Tricia went to see the movie Timeline which was incredible, just as I expected. Me and the kids mostly did a whole lot of nothing on Friday and Saturday. During the 7 or so hours that I didn’t have the kids, I cleaned out my basement. Yesterday I put the Christmas tree and lights up. Then this morning the kids put all the ornaments on the tree. We all went to my friend Amy’s house and I put lights up on her house and we hung out there all afternoon. Then we went to the mall to visit Santa and have a picture taken and Target to buy a few more Christmas ornaments for the year.

Payton hangs up an ornament.They pose for a picture in front of the finished tree. Yep, those are pink PLA pajamas.Emily refuses to smile with Santa. She also rebels by wearing a holloween witch shirt.

Payton’s Amazing New Video Game

PaytonWednesday, 11-26-2003: This morning I woke up at 3:30am to the sound of Payton at the bottom of the stairs yelling, “Are you up HERE??” I reply that I am. He comes up and gets into my bed and starts going on and on about this amazing new video game on Xbox that him and Emily have just been playing. ‘Emily is awake too?’ I ask. He says yep and goes into great detail about this new game they’re playing, how it’s like Fusion Frenzy kind of but you get to be in these cars. He tells me all the characters names and stuff. Then he excuses himself and runs down to the fridge to get a glass of milk. He comes back upstairs and tells me more and more about this game and wants to know if he can go play it some more. I tell him that it’s night time and he should go to sleep and that he can play it when it’s light outside.

He finally goes to sleep. I assume so anyway. He wakes me up again and 6:30am and tells me that it’s starting to get light outside and wants to know if he can go play now. I tell him sure and I sleep for another half hour. When I go down, he’s not happy because he realizes that this amazing new game that him and Emily had been playing doesn’t really exist. He was just having a dream. Poor guy…

Most of November 2003 Entries

Saturday, 11-1-2003: No kids today. Me and Cal worked on Elephant & Bird stuff for most of the day. Filmed all the stuff we needed and we kept ending up running out to stores to find stuff we needed.

Sunday, 11-2-2003: Me, Cal and the kids were sitting around the house bored so we decide to go to downtown St. Louis and do absolutely nothing. We stop by a convenience store to load up on soda and chips, then go to downtown St. Louis. We just kind of walk around downtown aimlessly, doing nothing that interesting. We go to the Arch for awhile and into the museum, then onto the riverboat that I was sending people to during my Dash For Cash prank. I still have the pay phones from that prank programmed into my cell phone, so while the kids run around playing, me and Cal amuse ourselves by calling the pay phone and talking to the bums that keep answering. So anyway, it was a pointless day but we had fun. Here’s a few pictures:

Cal hopes this picture will make him look bigger than the Arch.  It doesn't work.Payton grabs my camera and takes this picture of me and Emily.Cal and Emily (carrying my heavy backpack), walking towards the courthouse.Payton and EmilyEmily and her bunny.Cal and the kids, attempting to commit a terrorist act by toppling the arch over.  They fail.

Monday, 11-3-2003: Cal left today and headed back to Texas. A couple hours after he left, he called me up and told me that a St. Louis cop pulled him over and spent 20 minutes searching his car. The reason for pulling him over, the cop said, was because he was in the left lane while not passing anyone. The cop demanded to know why he was in St. Louis, who he was seeing, where I lived, what he did for a living, etc. He searched the entire car, the trunk, even under the hood, obviously looking for drugs.

A similar thing happened to me back in ’91 when an Arkansas cop pulled me over. His reason was because he thought I might be smoking pot. That’s it. I read this newspaper column a couple years ago about this lady who was taking a cross-country trip to see some relatives. While on the interstate, a car got in front of her and slowed down, forcing her to pass the guy which meant she got in the passing lane and sped a little. Then a cop pulls her over and behind the cop is the car that made her speed. The cop searches her car and interrogates her, then lets her go. This happens to her 3 more times before she reaches her relatives. One of the cops tells her that her car and it’s condition fits the profile of a drug smuggler – it’s a nice car, the back is filled with suitcases with airline tags on them, etc. I’m guessing that was the same deal with Cal – nice car, back filled with clothes and stuff from his trip here.

It all seems kind of pointless. Why don’t they just legalize drugs? I know that’ll probably never happen in my lifetime. But Cal doesn’t do drugs and I don’t do drugs. But I’m 100% sure I could get any kind of drug I want. Anyone can, really. So doesn’t it seem pointless for them to be illegal when anybody who wants them can get them? If they were to legalize drugs tomorrow, I would continue not to use them. It wouldn’t change a thing for me. The government could make a shitload of money collecting taxes on drugs instead of spending a shitload of money busting people who use drugs. In 100 years, I bet we’re going to look back on the whole war on drugs thing and laugh at ourselves for being so stupid. The government should try an experiment – legalize drugs for just one year and see what happens. Then use that data to decide whether or not legalizing them is a good idea or not.

Wednesday, 11-5-2003: After picking the kids up from school, took them to my parents so that I could work for another hour. Stopped by my brother’s to let him use my laptop, then we went back home and Colleen picked up the kids. Me and Tricia watched Misery on TV.

Friday, 11-7-2003: Around 3:00pm I took the kids to see the movie Brother Bear which wasn’t too bad of a movie, even if I’m not really into cute Disney animal movies. But I’m pretty sure that I probably enjoyed it more than I would have enjoyed Matrix Revolutions. After the movie, I took them to their mom’s and headed for the St. Louis 2600 meeting. I think it’s been about 5 or 6 months now since I’ve been to a meeting. I’m used to their being 20 or so people there, this time there was only 6. I’m told that’s become fairly common lately. We talk a little about moving the meetings to a new location since everyone, including myself, hates the Galleria mall. So that’ll be nice to get it out of there finally. They’re talking about moving it to some cyber cafe that I’ve never heard of. Around 9:30pm I left and went home. Look who was driving in front of me on the way home:

Friday, 11-7-2003: Had to pick up the kids from their Colleen’s at 7:30am so she could go to work. Emily doesn’t have school today for the teachers meetings. So I kept them home for an hour and then they went to my parents to spend the day. At 3:00pm, I picked them up and we went to the Edwardsville theater to see Brother Bear. Tricia, her mom, Jordyn and Keirstan met us there and we all watched it together. Her mom paid our way since it’s my birthday. Took them straight to Colleen’s after that and drove to St. Louis for the 2600 meeting. Stayed there until about 9:30, then went home.

Saturday, 11-8-2003: Got up at 7am for no good reason. Went shopping for some intercoms at Radio Shack, then Lowes. Finally decided on the Lowes version. Bought the book Timeline while I was at the mall, I’ve been searching for that for a few weeks now. Went to the basement desperate to accomplish something. I ended up installing a door to the laundry room. Then I went and picked up the kids from their mom’s, came back and finished the door stuff. The door is to keep the cats from going in there and pooping on the floor. But THEN I decided to go ahead and move the washer and dryer out of that room and into the “new” laundry room that I built earlier this year. So I did that. I still need to move the pipes for the washer but for now I just punched a hole in the wall and ran the hoses through it. Now I have to figure out what I want to do with the old laundry room. I’m thinking it’ll mostly be a studio for my film projects. Maybe a green and blue room. Braden’s mom came over and picked up Payton around 3:30 to come to her house and play. Then I went and picked him up from her house around 5:30. Got some McDonald’s on the way home for Payton, Emily, Keirstan and Jordyn. Tricia left to take Keirstan back to her dad’s and came back home with a kitten that she’s thinking about keeping.

Sunday, 11-9-2003: Yesterday I picked up the book Timeline by Michael Crichton and I’ve been reading it all day while ignoring my kids. It’s a good book and I can’t wait for the movie to come out. Also today I worked on my hidden bookshelf door so that it’s a little more hidden.

You might notice that my journal suddenly has a lot of archiveishness up there on the top of the page. That’s because I stuck links to my travels, early travels and then made archive pages for all the years that I detailed our local 2600 meetings and put those into the archives. This will fool people into thinking that I’ve been keeping an online journal for years now! I used to maintain a website for the St. Louis 2600 meetings but I took that down when Spuds came back into the scene. So now you can read it all again!

Monday, 11-10-2003: Me and Tricia went to see Elf. Man, that sucked. I can’t believe the imdb community gave that movie a 7.5. I usually trust imdb ratings too. I hate Bob Newhart and he was in this movie a lot. He’s the most boring “comedian” ever. Maybe his stuff was funny in the 60’s but it’s not funny today. Not being able to speak complete sentences just isn’t funny to me. I guess I just don’t get it. But even if Bob wasn’t in this movie, it still would have sucked. Most of the scenes with Will Ferrell doing silly things were hilarious but they didn’t make up for the overall suckiness of the rest of the movie.

Tuesday, 11-11-2003: Yahoo chat log from 15 minutes ago…

Kristine: omg! that picture of you! hehehe
brad_the_carter: yep, and that’s not even the worst one i have
Kristine: how old were you in that picture?
brad_the_carter: I’m not sure. It was either in the early 80’s or late 70’s
brad_the_carter: It’s one of my yearbook pictures.
Kristine: that just kills me! hehe
brad_the_carter: I swear, I could show you even dorkier pictures of me that I’m too embarassed to put on the forums.
Kristine: haha. it’s not that it’s dorky…it’s just really weird to see a young version of you!

Here you go, Kristine:

Friday, 11-14-2003: Worked all day, picked up the kids from school. Got a little work done in my hall with the wall next to the stairs.

Saturday, 11-15-2003: Yesterday me, Emily and Payton went around the block delivering girlscout cookies that she sold a few weeks ago. Payton took about 50 pictures during that walk but I decided only to put up the picture that I took instead. Take THAT, Payton.

I really wanted to take them to see the new Looney Toons movie but I’m broke so we just hung around the house all day instead. I got some work done drywalling around my stairs. Then later in the evening after the kids were gone, I built some shelves under my desk which I’ll turn into cabinets someday soon. I worked on a new section of my homepage today that goes over my complete job history. I started my list of jobs a few years ago and just never got around to completing it. There’s still a lot to do but at least some of it’s up there.

Sunday, 11-16-2003: I woke up around 5:30am today and finally got up at 6:00am and went to Quiktrip to go buy some powdered donuts. I did some video editing for about an hour, got tired and tried to go back to sleep, failed. I hate when I can’t sleep in on my days off. Later I got bored with the computer and went outside and fixed my bike. It’s had a flat tire for about a month and the front brakes don’t work too good. I tried to fix the brakes and made them worse. I decided to kill a few hours biking, so I went to downtown Alton and sat at the park watching some guy fly his kite for about an hour. Then I continued down River Road and ended up at Tricia’s mom’s house. I think the total distance was around 10 miles. Tricia ended up stopping by and she gave me a ride back home. Here’s a few pictures from the trip:

The Clark Bridge and marina.
Some factory next to the Mississippi River.
It's hard to see, but someone actually swam out to this thing so they could graffiti it.
A train under the bluffs as I approach the River Road.
About 5 miles up River Road, I stopped on a bridge and took this picture.
On the way back, we stopped by McDonalds for some happy meals.
This man is digging through the trash.

Monday, 11-17-2003: After school I took the kids to see Loony Toons and I managed to talk Tricia and her kid into going with us. It wasn’t a bad movie but it coulda been better. Next week is Cat in the Hat which I can’t wait for. Then the week after that is Timeline which is another one I’m looking forward to.

Wednesday, 11-19-2003: Went to get my oil changed and to K-mart to buy some baby monitors. Emily called me at 11am and asked if her and Payton could come over and play for a few hours. She’s home sick today. So they came over and played Halo for a few hours, then we went to McDonalds for lunch. Tricia was sick so I picked up Jordyn from daycare. We stopped by Wendy’s, McDonalds and Walgreens on the way home. Was a busy day but I managed to get a lot of work done.

Friday, 11-21-2003: For some unknown reason, today was a half-day and Emily’s school so I picked her up at 11:10am and took them both to my parents house for a few hours so that I could get some more work done. After I picked them up, I did some raking in my yard.

Saturday, 11-22-2003: Went to Target with the kids to buy some Christmas lights and toothbrushes. Then we went to see the new Cat in the Hat movie. Came back home and put up Christmas lights on the bushes outside. Then did a lot of raking and mowing on the yard.

Sunday, 11-23-2003: Me and the kids went to my parents church today. That was boring. Came home after that and did nothing besides play a lot of video games. Jordyn and Ryan were over playing for most of the afternoon. Colleen came to pick up the kids around 4pm.

The Rest of October

Monday, 10-20-2003: Did some updating on my home renovations page tonight. There’s some new stuff on the Misc Projects page and my Office / Room page. Not much else to write about since I didn’t do much. So instead you should read these journals:

Stella’s Terra Join Stella and her journey to a sustainable lifestyle. This is a local friend of mine who writes in her journal just about every day. She’s very into saving all types of resources and her journal is quite inspiring to me, even if I’m not into that kind of thing quite as much as her. There’s lots of good ideas on this page if you want to save on every day expenses.

The Palatable Adventures of Mister Snee This is a journal that I would suggest taking a few days off of work and/or school so you can sit and read it for days at a time. There’s some truly good stuff in Snee’s brilliant daily rants.

Thursday, 10-23-2003: Worked, picked up the kids from school, mowed the lawn.

Friday, 10-24-2003: Me and Tricia had some Wendy’s for supper. Rented Scary Movie 1 & 2 and watched them both. Colleen took Emily to the dentist today so she either missed school or was late getting there. She had 2 cavities.

Saturday, 10-25-2003:
Payton waits for the Holloween parade to begin...
Emily being a witch for the parade.
Today we went to the Wood River Holloween parade. Emily actually got to be in it with her girlscout troop, while me and Payton hung out in downtown Wood River scrounging for the candy that was thrown at us. The kids had fun but the parade sucked. There were hardly any cool floats this year, it was just fire trucks, police cars and regular cars. There were a few miscellaneous creative things, but 97.4% of the parade was pretty lame. Seems like everyone in the parade put very little effort into it. But at least we got a lot of free candy out of it. Alton’s parade next week will be better. The picture to the left is Payton waiting for the parade to begin. You’ll notice that not only was it a sucky parade, it was also pretty damned cold outside. The picture on the right is Emily in her witch costume. (Her arms are still wet from makeup.)

Oh yeah…I missed out on taking a priceless picture. As the parade was just getting started they had motorcycle cops coming through first to clear the road. They were probably going 5 MPH. But the first motorcycle cop was fumbling with his Nextel cellular phone while trying to ride his motorcycle at the same time. I tried to get a picture of it but my digital camera didn’t boot up quickly enough. I could have had a picture of a cop talking on a cell phone while riding a motorcycle! Damn digital, I should go back to 35mm. I could have had a lot of fun with that picture on

Sunday, 10-26-2003: Got bored today so as usual I packed up all my camera stuff and went for a drive. This time I didn’t nearly get arrested. Instead I went to downtown Alton and took a lot of pictures. I ended up attempted to do a panoramic view of downtown from across the Mississippi. Here’s how it looks so far. I know the sky looks horrible because I tried to cut and paste more sky into the blank parts. I did the same thing to the water and it looks sort of okay. This version is 3000 pixels by 250 pixels. The original is something like 9000 x 800. So you don’t see as much detail. Here’s a 1908 panoramic view of Alton to compare it with. It’s a slightly different viewpoint. And here’s a few pictures of Alton that I took last year.

Last night was daylight savings which pissed me off because we gained an hour of sleep but I didn’t have anything to do so I go to sleep in anyway. So it was completely wasted on me. In 6 months when we lose an hour, it’ll probably happen on a morning that I have to get up at 6am for some reason. When I used to work the night shift in convenience stores, if daylight savings happened during your shift, you would get paid for an extra hour or you would lose an hour, depending on what season it was. I always thought that was bullshit. They should pay you for the hours you work, not dock an hour from your pay because you happened to work on daylight savings night. Of course it never bothered me because I just stole an hour of pay from the register to make up for it.

Monday, 10-27-2003: EvilCal arrived at my house from Texas at about 1:00am last night. We did some driving around today after I worked for awhile. We got some more footage filmed for the next Elephant & Bird episode which we hope to finish sometime this week. Here’s a couple of pictures that I took:

The first one was taken at Sears. I was busy changing a laptop display computer to scroll “This computer is $400 cheaper at Best Buy” on the screensaver while EvilCal was standing nearby. An old man walks up to EvilCal and asks him if he works there. EvilCal replies that he does and spends about 5 minutes helping the old man pick out some batteries or tapes or something. EvilCal kept suggesting that the internet would have them cheaper than Sears. I blew his cover by walking over and taking a picture. In the 2nd picture, that’s Tricia and EvilCal ordering some food at Jack in the Box.

Thursday, 10-30-2003: Got the kids to school, then worked for awhile in the morning. After that me and Cal did some more work on E&B #2. Later in the evening we took the kids (along with Casey, a neighbor kid) trick or treating for about an hour and then to East Alton’s Holloween parade. Earlier in the week we got the bright idea of printing up a ton of flyers promoting PLA and to hand out at the parades. So far I’ve printed 1,100 of them. I wasn’t able to participate in handing them out since I was with the kids, but Cal went a little nuts, jumping around, handing papers to people and screaming things like, “Do you like paper? Would you like a paper?? Screw this candy they’re throwing, take a paper instead!” The response was pretty good, a lot of people seemed to be pretty excited about taking our papers. Cal walked about 1/4 of the parade and gave the flyers to everyone. Tomorrow we’ll probably both do the Alton parade since I don’t have the kids. Hold your mouse over the pictures for descriptions, click on the pictures for bigger pictures.

Here's what the flyers looked like - click the picture to see them betterA neighbor took a picture of all of us as we left for trick-or-treatingCal pumps up the crowd into accepting flyers.Payton, Emily and Superman.

Friday, 10-31-2003: Around 6:00pm, Cal and I packed my backpack full of cameras, flyers and costumes and headed towards downtown Alton. Tricia called and told me how bad the traffic was so I managed to avoid it all by taking a huge loop around the city and approaching downtown through a bunch of residential areas. We parked a few blocks away from Broadway (the parade route) and walked towards the crowds. We asked a food vendor where the parade would start and she told us it started by the police station which was about a mile or 2 down the street. Fuck. We’re an hour early so we start hiking towards the police station.

Slightly over an hour later, we’re in front of Fast Eddie’s (next to the police station) and waiting for the parade to start. When it finally starts, we put on our costumes and make our way towards the parade. We’re immediately nervous about the number of cops there are patroling along with the parade. So we decide to wait for a few minutes, hoping the cop action will die down a little as the parade progresses. It doesn’t. We finally decide to give up because we don’t want to get arrested. Minutes later, Cal changes his mind, grabs a stack of flyers and runs at the crowd screaming WHO WANTS SOME OF MY PAPERS?!? to everyone as I run along the sidewalk with a video camera, taping it all.

Cal attempts to give a policeman one of our flyers

In the end, Cal papers pretty much the entire length of the parade, getting the crowds really excited about taking the flyers. We got about 40 minutes of video during the whole thing which we’ve already started editing and I’ll probably post on here once it’s finished. The cops didn’t seem to care about Cal at all. In fact, you can see in that last picture Cal is right next to a cop and he’s screaming his head off. In the video, you see Cal yell to that cop “DO YOU WANT A PA–” and then he realizes it’s a cop and turns away to keep offering them to the crowd. We also managed to get a downtown coffee shop to take our remaining flyers and put them on the newsrack for people to take. So it ended up being quite a productive and fun evening.

My Haunted House

Sunday, 10-19-2003: I wonder if my house might be haunted. Not that I’ve seen any ghosts or anything. But back in 1998 or so, Colleen was putting Emily to bed. She said good night to Emily and then they both hear a male voice repeat, “good night.” Colleen tells me about it and I tell her it was probably one of Emily’s toys or somebody outside. She says nope, the sound was from inside the room and there was no way it was a toy. Emily heard it too. I think Emily was about 2 years old at the time. So then a few months ago, Emily is in her room playing by herself. She comes out and tells me that somebody in her room just said, “Achoo!” I tell her that it was probably one of her toys talking. She says that she doesn’t have any toys that would say that and it sounded like a man. I tell her that maybe it was somebody outside talking really loud. Nope, she says, it came from inside her room. So I tell her that maybe her room is haunted and I tell her the “good night” story that happened years before.

When she told me about the “Achoo” thing, it reminded me of this time I was carrying some stuff out of the basement. The outside entrance to the basement is right next to her window. As I’m going down those steps I hear a male voice say something. I couldn’t make it out but it sounded like it was right next to me. But nobody’s there so I don’t think anything of it. I figure it’s somebody walking down the road talking too loud. But maybe it was that same male voice we always seem to hear around here. Then I remember this girl I dated last year. We were sitting on my couch watching a movie and out of nowhere she’s like, “You know, I think your house has ghosts in it.” I ask her why she thinks that. She says that she keeps getting chills and she’s pretty good at feeling ghostly presences or something like that. I tell her that I’m doing a lot of construction upstairs and there are walls torn apart going to the attic and she’s just feeling the cold air coming from outside. She tells me that it’s not just cold air, I’ve definitely got ghosts. “Wow, you’re a real fucking moron, aren’t you?” I say to her. No wait, that’s what I was thinking. I think I let her tell me some ghost stories so I would believe her. That was our last date. A few months later I got all the attic walls finished and our “ghostly chills” mysteriously went away.

But anyway, those are my ghost stories. This house was built in the 1940’s and none of the neighbors have told me about any gruesome murders happening here. I’ve opened up many of the walls and floors and haven’t found any skeletons yet. I read this book a long time ago that was about debunking unexplained phenomena. It talked about this old “haunted” bar. After it was closed and everybody had gone home, the employees could still sometimes hear a room full of people talking and they could hear a clock ticking. They later found out that decades ago, there was a big clock in the room. So they figure it’s ghosts, of course. Then these researchers come in and figure out that the old stone walls have this magnetic material in them and that when they apply a lot of voltage to the walls, they’re actually playing back sounds from the room that were recorded decades ago onto the walls. Kind of bizzare. So maybe that’s the logical explanation to the mysterious voice in my daughter’s room. I should buy a bulk eraser and erase her walls. That should take care of the problem.

So today was typical. I hung around the house with the kids all day. Took them shopping at Lowe’s for some door locks, then to Target for Payton’s holloween costume (he’s Spiderman this year) and then to the park for a few hours where they ran wild while I read the Sunday paper.

Some October 2003 Entries

Monday, 10-6-2003: Worked all day, no kids. Tricia came over around 6pm and we hung out for awhile, then went to Piasa Pantry to buy lotto tickets and food. The first lotto tickets I’ve ever actually purchased! Came back home to eat and watch Galaxy Quest.

Tuesday, 10-7-2003: Worked, picked up the kids from school. At 5pm, we all went and picked up Tricia and Jordyn and went to eat at the Fin Inn.

Wednesday, 10-8-2003: Worked, picked up the kids, Colleen picked them up from here at 5:30pm. Tricia came over for awhile. We went to Target to try and find some new sandals for me but they didn’t have any. Bought the animated Clerks DVD instead. After she left I cleaned up the apartment next door a little. Got all the pieces of wall picked up and put out in the trash.

Thursday, 10-9-2003: Lately I’ve been promoting sections of on TotalFark. I stick a link on there it doesn’t get listed for regular visitors but it does for the TotalFark visitors. Farkers rarely make any comments about the link but I usually end up with over 100 hits from it each time I do that. So I do it again today, only I link the Farkers to a CGI script on Unexpectedly, Fark approves this link without me noticing and all hell breaks loose. EvilCal calls me up, just a little ticked off about it because it’s crashing the Cal server since so many people are running the CGI all at once. It wouldn’t have been a problem if Fark would have ignored me like they usually do. Whoops.

So my week’s been fairly normal. I’ve worked, I’ve ate things and I’ve hung out with the kids a lot. That’s about it. I’ve been working on RijilV’s old apartment next door, fixing the walls and electrical stuff so I can move new tenants in since I’m poor and need the rental money. My original plan with that place was to turn his apartment into 2 or 3 more bedrooms and get a few room mates. Either that or start up the PLA Motel. I could rent out each room for $75 per week. But for now I’ll just stick with the renting out the whole thing for $350 per month. At least I’ll maintain my privacy this way. I found a cool quote on the other day:

“I did go to school – my kind of school. When I was a kid I went out… and you meet people. You talk to them. Anybody says something that makes sense, it stays with you, rubs off on you. That kind of school.” – George Burns

George Burnes dropped out of school in the 4th grade. It makes a lot of sense, I don’t remember learning anything useful in school since about the 6th grade or so. Junior High and High School was a huge joke. To me anyway, I’m sure plenty of people actually get something out of it all but not me. I look back on high school as 4 years completely wasted. Maybe I’ll be able to give my kids other options when they’re ready for high school. If they want other options. I feel like I’ve learned a whole lot more since dropping out of high school and experiencing life than I ever did in school. If I could do it all over again, I would have dropped out of school 2 years sooner. Then again, I’m an idiot. But a happy idiot. I’ll stop trying to make sense now, it’s just not working.

Friday, 10-10-2003: Tricia came over in the evening and we watched Falling Down.

Saturday, 10-11-2003: Called Bonnie around 9:30am and asked if she wanted me to keep Christian for the day. She brings him over immediately and I keep him all day and for the night. We don’t really do anything interesting all day, we just kind of hang around the house. Tricia and Jordyn came over in the afternoon for a few hours. Me and Tricia did a little work on patching walls in the apartment.

Sunday, 10-12-2003: I decided to keep Christian (a 2-year-old) for the weekend. It was fun, all except for the sleeping part. He’s not a good sleeper and then he gets up at 5:00am for the day. On a Sunday. So we get up and I half-sleep on the couch while he runs around the house and watches TV, occasionally getting up to give him some sort of food that will keep him quiet. The first thing he did when we got downstairs was go to the door and say, “Let’s go outside!” I had to open the blinds and show him that it’s still dark out. Quite a change from the way I woke up exactly one week ago. So I’ve been a zombie today. Just kind of sat around as every kid in the neighborhood ran through my house all day. Christian is gone, tomorrow I sleep in.

Monday, 10-13-2003: Had a boring average day. The kids stayed home from school for some holiday that I don’t know or care about. Apparently some guy did something years and years ago that I’m supposed to care about. But I don’t. It’s annoying how many Mondays we get off for holidays. Can’t they just combine all the holidays into one single Monday per year? The most annoying one is the holiday for that polish guy. I can’t spell or pronounce his name and I don’t know what he did but I wish he hadn’t done it because it’s just another Monday where everything is closed for no good reason.

Tonight, after I got the kids in bed, I started going through sections of and updating random things that I thought should be updated. I did some work on the Red Boxing for Dummies page and added a section on things to do with your useless red box. Then I did something I hadn’t ever planned on – I released my book project on the web. I’ve been wanting to write a book for a couple of decades now and occasionally I’ll be bored enough to actually work on it. I realize that I’m a terrible writer and even if I get a book published, very few people will read it. But it’s just something I’ve always wanted to do. So here’s the first couple of chapters. In a few days I’ll probably wish I hadn’t stuck it on the web and I’ll take it down. But it’s there for now. I’m hoping that having the story online will motivate me to put a little more effort into finishing it.

Other blogs let their users rant about what music they’re currently listening to but my pretend blog here doesn’t have little “now playing” icons. I’m not listening to anything right now. It’s completely quiet in here except for the rain pounding on my air conditioner. But I’ve had a song stuck in my head for days now – Stacey’s Mom by Fountains of Wayne. For some reason, I love that song. It sounds so 80’s and the video is equally corny, but it’s a great song. To me, anyway. Everyone else I know can’t stand it or has never heard of it. Go to Kazaa and download it. And watch the video too, you get to see Stacey’s mom poledance in the living room.

Tuesday, 10-14-2003: Got up, took the kids to school, worked a bunch, then quit and worked on the apartment next door all evening. It’s almost done, just a little painting to do. I locked myself out of the house today when I left to go to Lowes and realized I forgot my keys. I spent about 10 minutes walking around the house, looking to see if any windows were unlocked so that I could climb in. None of them were. I used to keep a spare key hidden in the back but I stopped doing that. Finally I remembered leaving an upstairs window unlocked from the night before. So I drug out a ladder and climbed in. Some neighbors were watching me, they probably thought it was weird to see a guy wearing an FBI jacket climbing into a 2nd story window. But I got in and got my keys. Boy howdy, was that exciting for me.

Wednesday, 10-15-2003: So today…I was woke up at 9:00am by the doorbell. That sucked because I was sleeping fairly good. Hmmm. I did some other stuff throughout the day. I think my day was probably exactly like yesterday except I didn’t get locked out of the house. And I went to the grocery store and bought some STAX!

I got on Kazaa earlier today to download the new Black Eyed Peas song after I heard it on the radio. A few minutes later I’m listening to the mp3. But about 10 seconds into it, I hear this horrid noise throughout the rest of the song. Dammit, it’s the record companies releasing fakes again. No big deal, I can respect that. So I download it again from a different person. Same thing. So I download yet another copy. This one loops the “where is the love” chorus over and over and over. Okay, this is war. I click on about 100 different copies of that same song. About 15 minutes later after I’ve got most of them, I start sampling them all. They’re all fakes. Then after listening to about 50 of them, I finally find a real one. So all that sucked, but it sure beat going out and paying $12.99 for a CD of one good song.

Later in the day I went through the exact same thing with a new Obie Trice song. The only difference is that after downloading 20 or 30 different copies of the song, I still didn’t find a real version of that. Reminds me of last summer when The Eminem Show was released. I spent a lot of time downloading all the tracks from the CD, finding out they were fakes, then downloading new ones that said “REAL VERSION!” on them, finding out they were fakes, etc. I finally gave up on it. Last week (like 4 months later) I tried again and successfully downloaded the entire Eminem Show CD. It’s a pain in the ass. But I think that’s a very cool way for the record companies to combat illegal file sharing. It makes so much more sense than going around, filing pointless lawsuits against 12-year-olds. The thing is, if they would just set up a web site where I could download the entire Eminem CD for $5.00, I would most likely do that rather than waste my time listening to fake tracks. The RIAA needs to give up on stopping mp3s. It’s never gonna happen. It’d be like them trying to stop me from copying songs off the radio onto cassette tapes back in the 80’s. Impossible. I haven’t bought a CD since 2001, thanks to my cable modem and file sharing. Screw you, RIAA. And screw you too, Artists, I’m too lazy and broke to buy music.

Saturday, 10-18-2003: I spent the entire day cleaning my house. I completely emptied out my daughter’s room (like all the furniture and everything), shampooed the carpet, put in a ceiling light for her and made it work with a real light switch in the wall so we can stop using this x10 nonsense in there, then put everything back in her room. I also moved my old entertainment center down from upstairs and gave her my old big TV to stick in it. So anyway, it’s probably cleaner in there than it’s been in the past 5 years or so. Then I did the exact same thing in my son’s room, minus the electrical work. All of that took pretty much all day. The old bookshelf that I ripped out of the wall to get to RijilV’s apartment a few months ago (detailed here) – I made that about 16 inches shorter and installed it into a different wall opening, then got all my books organized onto it. (here’s pictures) Between all that, I cooked 3 meals today for me and the kids, and baked a few sheets of cookies. I think I went for about 14 hours without sitting. I ache. But I’ll sleep good tonight.

Waffle House

Sunday, 10-5-2003, 11:30am: Last night I slept better than I have all year. I’ve always had this mild insomnia thing that keeps me up a lot all night. Last night I slept heavily for 7 hours straight. I got up at 6am, then went back to sleep for another 5 hours. I think I’m feeling like Peter Gibbons in Office Space after sleeping in until 3pm.

The pay phone I was filming.
6:01pm: So here’s what I did today. Shortly after I wrote the paragraph above, I packed all my camera gear into a bag, got in the car and started driving. I didn’t have a plan, I just wanted to get out of the house. I end up about 30 miles away in Glen Carbon, IL at their Wal-Mart shopping center. I decide to try pulling the “Dash for Cash” prank that I’ve been wanting to do for awhile. So I find a great parking spot in front of Wal-Mart, directly across from a couple of pay phones. I climb into my back seat and get my camera set up on the tripod, pointed at the pay phones. My back windows are tinted pretty good so I’m sure that the victims won’t see me if they happen to look at my car.

The way this prank works is I call up the phone and when a person answers, I say something like, “This is Corey from Z107.7, are you ready to play the Dash for Cash?? …. Okay then, this is how it works. When I say GO, you have 45 seconds to make it to Petsmart where you’ll win $107.70 CASH!” The whole point is to make them run really fast from the pay phone. It would be much better if I had a 2nd camera guy inside Petsmart, filming them asking for money. But I don’t.

Anyway, it’s all going pretty good. I talk to a few people on the phone who just hang up on me. I’m there for maybe 20 minutes. Then a Glen Carbon policeman shows up. He knocks on my window and wants to know what I’m doing. “I’m uhh, just filming that pay phone over there…,” I tell him. “Why are you filming a pay phone?” I explain the prank to him and he asks for my driver’s license which I give to him. He walks back to his car while I put away my stuff and jump into the front seat. Now another cop shows up and asks me to get out of the car. This one is grouchy. I explain once again what I’m doing. He tells me that they’ve had several complaint calls against me which seems a little bizzare to me since I hadn’t even been successful at the prank yet. So we stand there for awhile as they lecture me.

“Where do you live?”


“Then why are you in Glen Carbon?”

“Because I had nothing better to do today.”

“Do you live alone?”

“No, I live with my 2 kids.”

This really seems to shock him. “You’ve got 2 kids and you’re doing stuff like this??”

“I didn’t realize that filming a public phone was breaking any kind of laws.”

“Well it’s a little immature for somebody that has kids.”

“You’re right.”

I wasn’t being as sarcastic as that sounds. The 1st officer came back from running my drivers license and I heard the dispatcher saying something about petty larceny to him. They told me to leave and if they caught me doing it again they would arrest me for being a public nuisance. So I leave. When I first pulled into the parking space, there was this old lady sitting in the passenger seat of a van in a handicap spot. She saw me pull up, climb in my back seat and set up the camera on the tripod. So my guess is that she thought I was some kind of terrorist and called the cops on me after she left. Her window was down so she may have heard the phone ringing. Maybe she saw the movie Phone Booth and thought I was going to sniper whoever answered it.

Arch View Cafe sign
Next I head for downtown Saint Louis to try the same prank. I find some pay phones along the river in front of the Arch and make sure they accept incoming calls. I pick a spot on a hillside under a tree and set up my camera again. This time it goes much better. I get 2 different people on tape running away from the phone and onto a riverboat called the Arch View Cafe, asking them for their money. There was a 3rd person I got but I screwed up the tape on that one by not hitting the record button. It was a slow day for tourism so I’m thinking I’ll return next Saturday to get more footage since the spot I found to record from is perfect. The spot I’m in allows me to film the people running up on the deck and wandering around, looking for someone to give them money.

Future Amazing Race people
During the time I was filming this time, I was approached by 2 girls and a guy who told me they were making a video to send in to some reality show called The Amazing Race. They wanted to film themselves walking up to me, introducing themselves and asking me why I thought they should be on the TV show. My reply was something like, “Because I’ve heard about you 2 and apparently you’re able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound!” So we filmed a few takes of that and they seemed pretty happy with it. They sat around with me for a few minutes hoping to see my pay phone prank happen but we couldn’t get anyone to answer so they got bored and left.

After I got the 2nd person to run to the Arch View Cafe, I walked over there to get a drink for myself and the concession people were laughing about the people coming up there and asking about the radio station contest. She commented to her co-worker that she would never be dumb enough to fall for a trick like that. I thought about telling her that I was responsible but decided against it in case she decided to be the 2nd person that day to call the cops on me. And I guess if these girls make it onto The Amazing Race, I might be on the show too, telling them how cool they are. Yay.

My perfect spot for filming pay phone victimsThe pay phones with the Arch View Cafe in the backgroundThe pay phones with some other riverboat in the background

Missionary Video Fun

Saturday, 10-4-2003: Someone buy my cat before I kill it. It’s been a good weekend so far. Yesterday I planned to go to 2600 since I hadn’t been there in about 4 months. But at the last minute I decided to see School of Rock with Tricia which was a great movie. The weather is finally nice again. Today me and the kids bought some cool little airplanes at Target and took them to the park to fly them around. Then we walked around the neighborhood selling girlscout cookies and went home to fly airplanes for a few more hours. This evening I went to Taco Bell with Tricia, Jordyn and Keirstan which Liife decided to document a portion of. Now I’m back home wishing my hand would stop bleeding. Stupid cat.

Oh yeah, yesterday a couple of missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came to my door. I got some video of me attempting to pretend to be old and confused with them. It didn’t go very well but at least I tried. These are the first religious people to come to my door while I was home all summer. Last summer I would get several per week that I would be rude to. Back in April I hook up a couple VCRs and an intercom so I can screw with them and they stop coming. I think all the local churches blacklisted me. At this rate I’ll never get my new reality series off the ground.


By this time, I’d given up on the whole idea of videotaping the fun so I didn’t even have blank tapes in either of the VCRs. At first I thought they were cops but then noticed that they were too young. By the time I got tapes into the VCRs and was ready to talk to them, they were already walking away. Luckily, they were still eager to talk to me and came back when they heard me. Look how friendly the guy is below, waving at the camera and everything!


By the time I get everything all hooked up and I’m talking to them, I have no idea what to say to them. So I pretend to be an old man who’s “old and confused.” I ask if they’re selling girlscout cookies and the little smartass says, “And they’re made out of real girlscouts!” They quickly decide that “somebody is joking with us” and they leave. Before they leave, one of them pulls out a notepad and takes some notes. By enlarging and enhancing the image, I’m able to see what it is he’s writing. I’ve included this enhanced image below…


As they leave, I scream “Get off my property” and “That’s right, just keep walking!” to them. Unfortunately, there are 2 problems with this video clip. Well, 3 problems if you count that it’s not very funny. But one problem is that I had the volume up on the wrong TV monitor up here, resulting in feedback. Another problem is that I was talking way too close to the microphone. But it’s still a somewhat amsuing clip. So click on the picture below of them leaving to watch the full clip. It’s in Windows Media format and it’s about 2.5 megs. (Note from the future: I updated this to a YouTube link.)

click here to watch the video clip

Planes, kids, Taco Bell

Saturday, 10-4-2003: Me and the kids went to Target and bought some toy airplanes to fly around. Went to the park to fly them, then home, walked around the block to sell Emily’s girlscout cookies. Colleen picked them up at 6:30pm. I went to Tricia’s to hang out with her, Jordyn and Keirstan for awhile. We all went to Taco Bell to eat, then I went home.

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