Wednesday, November 23, 2005

One Season Ends, Another Begins

The 2005 Fall soccer season is over. Both kids played in the same tournament this past weekend, at different venues, of course. The little kids did well; out of their 8 games, they won 4, lost 2, tied 2. The big kids had kind of a rough weekend; they started out pretty good, winning their first game 2-1. It was so cold out there, it was unreal; it was 80 two days before, and it was in the 20s the morning we had to be out there at 7:15 - never fails. The reffing was horrible, again; there should have been at least 2 yellow cards and one red card, but the ref called nothing - NOTHING. The red card was after the ref blew the game-ending whistle; Rigo bent over to pick up a ball, and this goofy red-haired kid put his hand flat on Rigo's back and tried to push him to the ground, while the ref stood there and watched it go on. Rigo got up and pushed back, and the goofball backed off. But they were poor sports when we played them during the regular season, too. Then we had 5 hours to kill before warm-up for the second game, which we knew was going to be tough - we were going up against the state champs, a division higher than us, and they have 4 ODP players. And all of our new Athens people know them, so it was even more uncomfortable.

So game time finally comes, and of course, the boys have all been goofing around for a couple of hours, though they claim they aren't tired. The whistle blows, and I bet the other team had their first goal within a minute. We played pretty well the first half, holding them 3-1. Then our trainer, who hasn't been able to get to a game all season until now, talks to them at half time. Whatever he said to them totally whacked them out; they came out totally flat and lifeless. They ended up losing 8-1, they were all hurt, and we had the same ref we had had that morning, and he moseyed through most of the game with his hands in his pockets. It was really sad. Reffing did not help our game at all, but there were a lot of bad mistakes. My kid kept letting the forward get between him and the net - he'd think he was in one place, turn around to get him, and the kid would be off to the goal. At one point, my kid just totally plowed someone over, completely by accident, and he made the mistake of apologizing to him right then - the ref heard him, and blew the whistle; the kid took his free shot, and it went right in. So I think he knows now not to apologize for anything during the game - he can say what he wants when it's over, but during? If he'd not said anything, the ref, who saw it all, wouldn't have called it at all.

The third game went okay; we won it, but only by 1 again, but it was 1-0, and we got extra points for a shut-out; we made it to the finals, against the team that just beat our pants off the day before. Since we had some time again, and it was colder than we all thought it was going to be, I took the big kid and Rigo back to the house, let them eat and chill for awhile, did some housework that I wouldn't have gotten to otherwise, and then went back. When we got there, we found out they were behind by about an hour; great - they got all worn out the day before with all that time to kill. Finally, it was our turn, after the entire park watched the game on the field next to ours, which came down to PKs; it was very exciting to watch the bigger boys do that. We started the game, and I think our boys were pretty pumped up. At least we had a different ref, although from watching the game before ours, no more effective than our Saturday ref. The other team scored first, but then we came back and got our first one a couple of minutes later. And from then on, we dominated the game totally; the final score doesn't show it (2-1 them), but we kicked their asses all over that field. As usual, we had 4-5x more shots on goal, we just couldn't get any to go in. I think if we ever meet them again in regular-season play, we should take them. We know how to mark them now, because, in all reality, they only have 2 good players - one forward, #23, and one mid, #11, who is quite possibly one of the fastest players I've ever seen - he was everywhere. If we had our regular goalie in the net, and our back-up out there on the field where he belongs, we would've done better in both games against them. Hopefully our goalie's eye injury will heal perfectly fine, and it'll all go back together in the spring.

A couple weeks off, and then Indoor starts; both kids are playing (no one is playing basketball this year :{ ), but they are playing in different places. At least those are only 1 practice a week. Actually, that kind of stinks, because I really like having my Tuesdays and Thursdays quiet for a couple of hours each night - it's the only time I get anything done at home. And for the big kid, indoor, school (if he keeps his grades up and is eligible), and outdoor are going to overlap in February. At least it's all one sport, so we don't have to change clothes and shoes 42 times during a day. I think February and March are going to suck. Last year, we had to make special arrangements to have our indoor championship rescheduled, because our first outdoor game was away, of course, and all but 2 of our indoor players were on the outdoor team, too. And when we won, and the boys, specifically Tyler, went to accept their trophies, they were booed. The Mexicans did not like a team with all the gringos on it winning anything, even though we totally kicked everyone's ass, fair and square. Our coach, Ramiro, I think was really upset that his community did that to us, though, in reality, I could see how they wouldn't like us up there, taking the spotlight from them. Hopefully, we'll have a better reception this year. Our team photo is on the door, I guess because our team is a racially-diverse poster child.

I haven't worked on my cross stitch in weeks; I was going to work on it on my birthday, but I pretty much did nothing but lay around all day, and cook my own dinner, as usual. DH offered to take me out for dinner, after I made a point of reminding him it would be nice if I didn't have to cook, but I didn't figure it was in the budget by then, so never mind. I have been working on beads a lot. I finally got my amber/gold Ornelas done - that set turned out very cool. My HR person here at work wants 5 necklace/earring sets for Christmas presents; I have one complete, one 90% done, and the beads for the other 3 sitting there. Since I have to clear the table for Turkey Dinner tomorrow, it'll be a few days before I get back to them. My co-worker wants a set for a friend, too - I guess I'll cut her a break and just charge her the cost of the supplies. I am still waiting to get my group buy order; our buy lead has been absolutely swamped at work, with some horrible AOL failure that has her working 16 hour days. One of my eBay sellers said they were having all kinds of problems the last couple of weeks - she had no idea if she had rec'd a payment from me, then she had to find the invoice, and then her e-mails to me were missing the attachments - all kinds of fun. Our buy lead wanted to have everything shipped by this week - there have been no updates in over a week, so I have no idea where she stands - some were done/shipped, some were packaged (I was neither of these) and that was 2 weeks ago. I hate not knowing where things are, especially when I'm waiting on stuff needed to complete something. But I also just ordered my boxes, so nothing's moving until those get here, regardless. Thanksgiving being a little earlier this year helps, too - it's a whole week before December starts, so I'll actually be ahead after 4 days off. If only I had some shopping done - I'm usually close to done by now - I haven't done much at all so far. I am absolutely dreading having to go to the mall. And trying to find something for my parents? That's always such a chore.

The new Harry Potter movie is out; hopefully we'll get around to going to the Imax version of it this weekend sometime. Big kid wants to go Thanksgiving night - I don't. Maybe Saturday sometime. Last year, we went to the Gladiators hockey game on turkey night; that was fun, and they have a game then this year, too, but we were just there a couple of weeks ago. Maybe I'll start getting the Christmas crap out early. I'm not really looking forward to putting the tree up Friday; my next tree will definitely be pre-lit, though those totally don't have enough lights on them for me - 1000+ for 7 1/2' tree, people. The lights in the neighborhood dim when I turn my tree on. It's always nice when I'm done, but it's just so much work; it used to be fun, but now it's just work. Maybe I'm just more bah-Humbug than usual.

On the bright side, we are officially out of the old building today, and in the new building when we come back to work on Monday. My new office is so cool; it's twice as big as the one I have now. No windows, but being so low on the payscale here, that's to be expected. Our desks are cool, too - a nice u-shaped workstation with rounded corners; goodbye, government-surplus desk with the sharp corners that I am constantly banging my leg into. I am still wondering if they are going to supply us with stuff to hang our calendars and such up with; 3M has those removable sticky hangers - I'll get a few at Wally World this weekend and try 'em out. I would think, in a brand-damn new building, that they would stipulate that kind of stuff right up front, and supply the appropriate stuff to accommodate us. I just doubt the facilities folks have gotten that far yet - I think the buildings got done too fast for them. Of course, as many people as are involved in this whole process, most of which are from our California office, it's a wonder anything's getting done, besides having our Christmas Party menu changed, for the 3rd year in a row, by someone who won't even be there. For whatever reason, regardless of where we have the party, we must change one item to green beans every year, as per our California HR department. I certainly hope that drops the per-person cost drastically for them, because otherwise, why in the hell do they care what we eat? People just have to meddle, I guess. And where is it written that the poor red-headed step-child division must eat green beans every year? Is that a punishment of some sort? Hey, I didn't work for Scientific Atlanta, ever - I don't deserve to be punished for what they did - working for/with S-A people is usually more than enough punishment - see my boss. Eh, whatever.

Happy Turkey Day - Invite a Native American to dinner, and apologize profusely for what your European ancestors did to them. And enjoy your meal!!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veteran's Day

American Veterans By the Numbers
24.5 million
The number of military veterans in the United States.

1.7 million
The number of veterans who are women.

9.5 million
The number of veterans who are age 65 or older.

2.3 million
The number of black veterans. Additionally, 1.1 million veterans are Hispanic; 276,000 are Asian; 185,000 are American Indian or Alaska native; and 25,000 are native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander. (The numbers for blacks, Asians, American Indians, and Alaska natives and native Hawaiians and other Pacific islanders cover only those reporting a single race.)

8.2 million
Number of Vietnam-era veterans. More than 30% of all veterans served in Vietnam, the largest share of any period of service. The next largest share of wartime veterans, 3.9 million or fewer than 20%, served during World War II.

Percentage of Persian Gulf War veterans who are women. In contrast, women account for 5% of World War II vets, 3% of Vietnam vets, and 2% of Korean War vets.

Number of veterans who served during both the Vietnam era and in the Gulf War.

In addition,

383,000 veterans served during both the Korean War and the Vietnam conflict.

107,000 served during three periods: World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam conflict.

376,000 served in World War II and the Korean War.

Number of states with 1 million or more veterans. These states are California (2.3 million), Florida (1.8 million), Texas (1.7 million), New York (1.2 million), Pennsylvania (1.1 million), and Ohio (1.1 million).

$22.4 billion
Aggregate amount of money received annually by the 2.6 million veterans receiving compensation for service-connected disabilities.

$59.6 billion
Total amount of federal government spending for veterans benefits programs in fiscal year 2004.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Armistice Day Becomes Veterans Day
World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.

In 1968, new legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.

Tomb of the Unknowns
Official, national ceremonies for Veterans Day center around the Tomb of the Unknowns.

To honor these men, symbolic of all Americans who gave their lives in all wars, an Army honor guard, the 3d U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard), keeps day and night vigil.

At 11 a.m. on November 11, a combined color guard representing all military services executes "Present Arms" at the tomb. The nation's tribute to its war dead is symbolized by the laying of a presidential wreath and the playing of "Taps."

Unknown Soldier Identified
On Memorial Day (which honors U.S. service people who died in action) in 1958, two more unidentified American war dead, one from World War II and the other from the Korean War, were buried next the unknown soldier of World War I.

A law was passed in 1973 providing interment of an unknown American from the Vietnam War, but because of the improved technology to identify the dead, it was not until 1984 that an unidentified soldier was buried in the tomb.

In 1998, however, the Vietnam soldier was identified through DNA tests as Michael Blassie, a 24-year-old Air Force pilot who was shot down in May of 1972 near the Cambodian border. His body was disinterred and reburied by his family in St. Louis, Missouri.

Information Please® Database, © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Busy, busy, busy

Well, busy at home, anyway. I go to work to get a break, it seems. My co-worker is back from her surgery; she's still complaining about her back, but differently now. God, whatever. I know, I'll probably end up with some ailment 10x worse, in retaliation for me being tired of hearing about it all the time, but damn; it's all we've talked about for 5 years. That, divorces, and stupid kids. It's a little bit of broken-record syndrome, I think.

Soccer updates: Little kid's season is pretty evenly spread between wins, ties, and losses. It's been pretty good, considering they mix up the two teams each week to get the line-ups. They are done with regular season, and only have the end-of-season tournament, weekend after next. The big kid has one game left, and then the same tournament as the little kid, though I am sure they will be at different venues - that's how my luck runs.

Big kid played the rich folks last weekend; we figured we'd have that one in the bag, and we did, but it took getting to the second half to get us there. We won that one, too, 5-1. It was crappy park - I was surprised. Million-dollar homes all around, and here we were, playing in this little strip of dirt along the road. And porta-potties. It was kinda nasty.

Anyone watching Survivor: Guatemala? Does anyone else think Bobby John is dumber than a bag of hammers? I hope Steph makes it to the final this time - she has the worst luck. She has my luck. Oh, speaking of luck, mine was okay today; my favorite (favorite = the least sucky) radio station here in town has, on their website, ways to get points, which you can then turn around and use to enter sweepstakes for stuff. Well, I entered this morning for 4 tickets to a Gwinnett Gladiators game, and I won them!!! The only down side is, I have to go to the station to get them, tomorrow, Friday, the worst day to try to go anywhere in this stupid town. The game is tomorrow night, so I have to go tomorrow. I made up an hour and half tonight, so I will disappear from work around 10:00 to run down there. I need a little adventure, I guess. And a Friday-night hockey game will be worth it.

I spilled Mountain Dew all over my keyboard couple of weeks ago - I yell at the boys all the time for having food and stuff around theirs, and they are on their second keyboard - and there I go and spill, too. Though, in my defense, I rarely drink pop out of a glass, and I did knock it over, but I almost caught it 3 times before I finally spilled it for good. Now my T and S stick, though I keep cleaning the areas with alcohol. I guess I'm going to have to bust out and get new one. Damn it. I replace one or two more things on this computer, and it'll be all new again.

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day - Happy Veteran's Day to my fellow Veterans. We get breakfast at work, and someone among us will have to get up and speak. It's nice. I wish all companies in this country recognized their vets; it's a national holiday, after all. I would still rather have a day off, but food is good, too. And the big 3-8 is Sunday. All I can say is, I had better not have a bunch of laundry to do. I know I'll end up cooking my own birthday dinner, just like I have to cook my Mother's Day meal, too. That might be about all I can do though. I have reading, stitching, and/or beading to do, and there's no reason I shouldn't be allowed to spend the entire day on that. Speaking of beading, I finished a really cool multi-strand necklace in my amber Ornela seed beads. I've had to re-do the earrings a few times to get them the way I want them - one is done now, and I need to get the other one finished. I made them to go with my leopard-print shirt. Somebody at work the other day (maybe Rob? I don't remember now) said something shitty about women who wear leopard-print anything; I love that shirt - am I missing something? Is it possible that I pull it off better than others?

WOOHOO!! In the typing of this, dumbass Bobby Jon jut got voted out. The IQ on the show jut went up by 100 point, at least. Gotta go, time for CSI. You know, the one with Warrick Brown, aka Gary Dourdan. He hasn't had his shirt off for several seasons - I think he's due.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

At last! I have my hour back!

I hate Daylight Savings Time; I was born during standard time, and I would prefer we kept it all year, and here they've gone and shortened it beginning in 2007. I mean, it's a nice idea, but does it really save energy anymore? I don't really care what time it gets dark at night - I have the same stuff to do each day regardless of the daylight. Time is time, and people can manipulate it all they want, but in the end, it doesn't really matter, does it?

Halloween is over for another year; it was kind of anti-climactic this year, for some reason. The big kid didn't dress up this year, and the little kid went Trick-or-Treating, but it just didn't seem to have the same impact this year. Maybe being on Monday made it weird this year. We got the outside lights plugged in that one day, and now it's time to take them down. I'll try to get them down and have them down for a couple of weeks before we get the Christmas stuff out. Man, Turkey Day is only 3 weeks from tomorrow. DH's family really wants us to come up there; I've told them I'm supposed to work that weekend, moving the computers to the new building and getting some very valuable OT, but I'm not sure I really care about it now. I kinda want to go up North for the weekend, but it's always such a hassle - 4 days of living in the car, arguing over who goes where when and for how long. I'm just not up for that kind of crap right now - there's plenty of stuff to argue about at home, no road trip required. I could use the money, if I stayed here and worked (not Friday - that's tree day). Eh, we'll see.

Speaking of road trips, we had a game in Savannah this past weekend, so we made a weekend out of it. We left Friday at noon (got the boys out of school early, including our soccer son, Rigo), and got down there in less than 5 hours, including 2 stops. The weather was great. The game was Saturday, and I had heard from a few people to expect the reffing to be bad, and that the park was in a bad area, to not keep anything valuable in the car. We got to the park, and everyone who was supposed to be there was there, and the one we knew wasn't coming was there, too! I guess they felt guilty. It was good to have him there - he's our best new player, and we would have missed him if he hadn't been there. So the game started, and right away, we knew the ref was going to be bad. By the end of the first half, we were down 2-0, and we had had at least 2 huge fouls IN THE BOX that were totally blatant and totally not called. The ref was chatting to the home parents, in the course of the game, and we were getting the shit knocked out of us. We came out for the second half, and really started playing well. We came back to tie it up, but the better we played, the meaner they got, and it was really getting out of hand. The Savannah goalie, on a couple of the goal kicks, took damn near a full minute to put the ball back into play (DH says the rule is 7 seconds); he was out there, moseying around inside his box, ball in hand, acting like he had all day, and you knew he was killing time intentionally. And the ref is down there joking and smiling with the parents, acting like, "You think that pissed them off, wait, watch this!" and one of our kids got a full forearm in the upper chest, in the box - no call. I saw two hands flat on my son's back and he went flying - no call. Of course, we're all jumping out of our seats and hollering, and their parents are being all stupid saying "What, you guys going to argue with everything?" Uh, yes, you stupid git, when somebody is getting hurt for absolutely no reason other than out of just pure meanness - that's not what this game is about. We scored 3 goals pretty much back to back, and that gave us a lead of 2, and it got really bad. DH and the ref got into it at one point, and DH said "Don't worry, we'll discuss it after the game". The ref ended up letting the game run about 10 minutes extra, I assume trying to let the home team catch up, which they would never have been able to do at that point - we were too hot by then. We (us and their parents, too) were wondering when he was going to call it, when one of the parents hollered out to the field "Hey, Carl, how much time you got left?"; Carl took a few seconds to try to figure it out, and he yelled back, to his buddy, obviously, that there were about 4 minutes left. Whatever; it didn't help. We won 5-3, they actually had a yellow card, but we had 2 bloody lips/noses, one almost broken leg, and the ref left so damn fast we didn't even see him leave. He called it pretty fair the last couple of minutes - I guess after he confronted DH, he decided he'd better get his act together, because we were on to him.

You know, when you are competing at this level, you expect some level of professionalism from the refs. This whole situation was totally uncalled for. It was the U-19 Savannah team that started all the crap up at our soccer complex a few weeks before that; the team had trashed the bench area, and the parents had trashed the stadium, and when someone asked them to pick up their mess, it turned into a big confrontation that ended up involving several cops. One of our people was in the act of calling 911 when one of the Savannah people threw water on them, and shorted out the phone. How stupid is all of this? And people wonder why soccer parents have such a bad rep - when people have to play dirty, at this age group, instead of playing the game, or have to be shitty afterwards because they are such poor sports, well, it's not really any wonder, is it? It makes me sad to be a part of it. In my personal opinion, I don't think the Savannah teams should be allowed to compete with us next year, after these two incidents (and probably more that we don't know about); they do not possess the proper attitude to be representative of the state and its youth athletics at this level. I am going to write a letter to someone at GYSA about that ref; as a paying parent, I expect, and believe I am in a position to demand, some unbiased (as much as it can ever be) reffing. That's what they'll get when they come up to our park - it's what I expect when I go to theirs. Otherwise, we'd stay home and play Rec ball, wouldn't we? Bastards.

Christmas is getting close - I am not ready. I am usually damn close to being done shopping by this time, and I really haven't even begun. I got the boys' lay-away at Wally World just last week, but haven't done anything else at all, except the 2 bead gifts I am making when my big order arrives. As usual, I have no idea what to get either of my parents. I have the gift for my Friend's mom almost done - I was working on it last night when I was rudely interrupted by people coming home from practice and expecting food. I'd like to get that finished up tonight - I'm not going to ship it for a few weeks, still, as I need to order my boxes still, and it's too far out yet (and I have to make another thing to go with it). My HR person here at work may order a few things, too; if so, I hope she has an idea of what she would like in the next couple of weeks, in case I need to order anything - time grows short. One of the girls that works with DH wanted to know about my stuff, too - I think it was a bit more pricey than she was expecting, though I was willing to offer discounts. Oh well - maybe next year. Actually, since I'm not really ready for business yet, I guess maybe less would be better. We'll call it practice for next year, I hope....

I would really like to get back to my cross stitching - I haven't touched the pumpkins since before we went to Savannah. I want to get those done, and get back on the castle. January and February are the two months that I really make a lot of progress - soccer is still going on (indoor), but no traveling, and the weather's not good enough to have me doing other things, so if I can get back to the castle by then, I expect to get a lot done, if not completely finished. At least it should be done by the time the boys are out of school, unless the beads really take off and consume a lot more time than I'm foreseeing.

I just ripped through King's DT VI - Susannah's Song. I really really like those books, and there's only one more, then I'm out. I still haven't seen VII in trade paperback yet - I have all of them in that format, so I've been waiting to get that one. I'm reading it as soon as I can get it. I checked Amazon a while back, and I think it's supposed to come out this month; I hope so. Diana Gabaldon's Breath of Snow & Ashes is out in hardback; I also have all of those in trade paperback, so I'll have to wait a year before I pick that one up. AT least I have a little breather, to catch up on the Nat'l Geographics from last year that I never got to; I am in the middle of November '04 now, should finish it tonight, then move to December '04. It was actually nice not renewing that this year, though I do really miss it. But they sent me a $15/year offer, and I couldn't resist at that price; I assume that'll pick up in January again. I wish I could pick up Archaeology and Smithsonian again, but that's just too much, especially when I have so many books I want to read, I have to maintain a spreadsheet listing them. Yes, I am AR. So?