August 31, 2008

Where in the U.S. is Contagion now? UPDATED!

I left Tulsa yesterday morning and drove to Oklahoma City to meet up with Rave and Mr. Rave. First we went to the Belle Isle Brewery. They had four beers that they made on tap. They weren't bad, but honestly not overly impressed with the beer. I was more impressed with the quality of company that I had. We talked, shared stories and then Rave told me we were going to go to another brewery they had in town.

We then headed to the Bricktown Brewery. We arrived there after a quick tour of the Bricktown area of OKC. The story was that we were looking for parking spaces, but honestly I think it was because Rave knew I was low on gas and was trying to drain my tank. hehehe, just kidding. She was looking for free parking. There was some kind of event going on so they were making people pay to park.

We went inside and drank some more beer and continued to chat. I really can't tell you much about the beer here. I had drank so many other beers at the first brewery that my taste buds had been tainted. But from what I tried they had a couple of really good ones. We continued to talk for a while and then They had to return home due to Little man's issues.

After leaving them I made my way to Irving, TX... yes Texas... to visit Bloodspite in prison. Okay, he's not really in prison, but it kind of seems that way. They are confined to this campus that looks like a bunch of apartments. They have no personal vehicles and are not allowed to use company vehicles for personal use. Their rooms don't have stoves, microwaves or anything to heat or cook food. If they want a hot meal they have to go to the cafeteria. Unfortunately the cafeteria isn't open on the weekend.

Then there are no restaurants for a mile. If they want to get to a restaurant or store they have to bribe an instructor to take them or pick stuff up for them during the week. On the weekends they can get a taxi voucher, but that's only on Saturday or Sunday. Friday night when the cafeteria closed early they where stranded with no food and no way to get anything.

Then to make things worse they live in a dry county, so they have to travel to get beer. Needless to say Bloodspite and his work companions were more than happy to have me show up with two cases of beer, which just barely fit into the fridge. Now today we plan on drinking beer, talking bullshite and probably drinking more beer.

Bloodspite got a picture of the fridge before we started doing damage to it. Click onto the extended entry if you are truly curious.

Fridge full of beer.JPG

Yep, the entire fridge is full, The door, the crisper, everywhere is filled with beer!

Posted by Contagion at 09:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 29, 2008

One week done

Okay the first week in this trip to OK is done. This time things are going much smoother than the last trip down here. We did have a couple of major set backs, but I've taken care of those. There was a snafu with the plans for the next part of this conversion. Some are saying the next classes are canceled and I won't need to come and others are saying that we still need to be here. We aren't sure yet what is exactly going on. Because of the canceling of the next class I determined that it wasn't cost effective to have my traveling companion for this week to be down here.

She was to learn the product so that in October she could teach and help with the classes. But if they aren't having the classes in October then we don't need her down here learning this. They felt they had enough staff that additional classes wouldn't be needed by then and that they should be able to handle it.

When I told her that I was going recommending she be sent back home. She came unglued and went a wee bit psycho on me. I'm actually a little afraid she might do something stupid. She made accusations that I was stabbing her in the back... (Which I don't understand because this project has nothing to do with her.) Due to us not having any confirmation on what is going on with the next class I determined that I was going to let her stay, but that's only because I don't have any other resources.

Ktreva is going to a Re-enactment this weekend. It's her first without me. Originally she was supposed to work this weekend, so I didn't even try to get out of working this weekend. Then she didn't have to work, but it was too late for me to make plans to come home. Thus I'm down here for the holiday weekend and she is off re-enacting. Yea, I'm a bit jealous.

However, I get to do a little road tripping this weekend. I'm going to Oklahoma City to meet up with Rave of Quid Nunc and then I'm heading to Dallas to hook up with Bloodspite of Techography. So I'm going to have a good long weekend ahead of me. I may not be re-enacting, but at least I'll be busy!

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August 27, 2008

Breckenridge Vanilla Porter

Iím back in the state of Oklahoma, so I was out trying to find an Oklahoma beer. While looking I found a beer that, although isnít from Oklahoma, looks like something different from any beer that Iíve ever had. Tonight Iím reviewing Breckenridge Breweryís Remarkable Vanilla Porter by the Breckenridge Brewery in Denver, CO. Iíd never had a vanilla porter before, so I thought Iíd try one.

Breckenridge Vanilla Porter.jpg

It came in a 12 oz brown bottle. There is an orangish neck label with the name of the brewery on it. The main label is tan/off white with the beerís name taking up the upper half. The bottom half has the breweries logo flanked by two flowers. It has a slight old fashioned look.

It has a dark mahogany coloring to it that matches the woodwork in my hotel room. Light passes through with some difficulty around the edges. When poured into a glass a dense quarter inch thick head formed. It was tan in color and made up of tiny bubbles. It slowly faded to a ring around the edge of the glass. There is some nice lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell is a combination that reminded me of fresh, unprocessed ginger. There was a hint of vanilla, toffee and chocolate malts. The scent was enticing and pleasant. The taste had a nice roasted malt flavor with a touch of vanilla and chocolate to it. There was a touch of biscuity taste to it. As it warms the scents and tastes opens up and are more noticeable.

This is a medium bodied beer. There is a nice creaminess to it that coats the mouth and throat. Itís easy to drink, but itís rather filling.

I was rather surprised by this beer. I figured it would be one of those overly sweet flavored beers, but this really wasnít. I give this a 6.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 26, 2008

Oklahoma Update

Things are going much smoother with project this time. There have been a couple of set backs and hitches that we didn't foresee, but other than that everything seems to be going really smoothly. I don't think I could have asked for this to go any better than how it is going right now.

The other bright side is that the last time I was in Hilton Doubletree in Downtown Tulsa. This time I am in the Hyatt Place suites. Which are really nice. I have a kitchen sink, fridge, work desk, 44 inch plasma TV with HD connections, A sectional couch with a large ottoman and some really nice decorations. This is a really nice hotel. I'm really more comfortable here than at the other hotel.

The Hyatt is a bit further away from the office than the Doubletree, but it's worth it. Especially since there is a ton of places with in walking distance for food, drink and snacks. Since I'm going to be here for five weeks, that's pretty handy.

I'm still looking for anyone down here that wants to get together. I'm working on something with Rave of Quid Nunc for Labor Day Saturday, let me know if you want to join us.

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August 25, 2008

What I learned at the Renn Faire

Did you know that the Elizabethan Era (1558-1603) was apparently overrun with Johnny Dep looking pirates (Golden Age of Piracy 1650s to 1720s), Gypsies and Victorian Era Scotsman? Well apparently it is! Months ago I started planning a little romantic getaway for Ktreva and myself. This was long before this whole Oklahoma project started. On Friday we left work early, made our way to a little romantic hotel getaway in Chicago and spent the days at the Bristol Renn Faire.

For those of you that donít know, Ktreva and I got our re-enacting start in the Renn Faire circuit. We havenít been to the faire in years. So when I started planning the weekend, we decided that we were going to go back to our roots and visit the place that gave us our start. Even though we had long moved on, we still wanted to go. We thought it would be kind of fun revisiting a place that gave us the start in re-enacting, but also the first place we went on our first romantic holiday to.

Due to the number of pictures Iím putting most of this post in the extended entry. Let me warn you know, some of the pictures from the Faire may not be NSFW but they may be hard to explain, and in a couple of cases just disturbing. Click at your own risk.

For those of you that have never been to a Renn Faire, donít knock them until you go. You donít have to dress; lord knows we donít (anymore). You just go to have fun. If you are looking for history and historical accuracy, it can be found. You just need to look for it. Honestly being a history buff that I am, there isnít as much history there as I had hoped, but there was some. Including an actually 1600ís swivel gun off of a ship and the History encampments. However, the guy explaining the history of black powder firearms was stumped by some of my questions. I donít think he was used to someone that actually knows a thing or two about black powder shooting. Although those matchlocks were really cool anyway.

The one thing you will see at any renn faire is the fantasy crowd. The ones that dress up elves, dwarves, goofy barbarians, characters form Dungeons and Dragons, characters from movies and Sci-Fi. Even though there were no Klingons, there was a storm trooper. You will also see the people that think they are dressing historically accurate and they really were not. They have leather doublets with worked in Celtic knot work or fantasy designs. They think itís accurate because they bought it at the Renn Faire. But the costuming is what makes the Renn Faire fun. You have the good, the bad and the laughable.

Good Costume.jpg
The Good. An accurate Elizabethan gown.

historically inaccurate.JPG
The bad. This group of fantasy dragon slayers.

The laughable. Iím not sure what this guy is supposed to be, but itís not good.

Along with the costumes you have the gypsy crowd. It seems like one out of three women there thought they were a gypsy or a belly dancer. Most of them achieved this goal by wearing chainmail bikinis. Now Chainmail bikinis can be a wonderful thing, they can also be scary. This past weekend there werenít any really horrible chainmail violations, but there were a couple that really stood out. Let me give you an example.

Good Chainmail.JPG
What chainmail bikinis should look like.

Chainmail violation.JPG
A Chainmail violation!

Then there were the performers, the people that put on shows to entertain the crowd. Some of them were funny, some of them were amazing and others were just entertaining. There were actors, musicians, street performers, swordsmen and jousters. I could do a whole post on the performers, but Iím just going to touch on some of the favorites we had this weekend.

Fire Whip.JPG
The Fire Whip Show. This guy holds the world record for most whip cracks in a minute and cracking the longest whip. He was really amazing to watch. Heíd swing the whips so fast you couldnít see them, but you could hear the cracks.

MooNie the Magnificent. This guy does a hilarious juggling, rope walking, and comedy show. I hadnít laughed that hard in years.

Various Street musicians. This lady is playing a spinet, a small harpsichord. There were many others, including a guy playing a hurdy gurdy and our friend Jesse Linda, AKA Jock Stewart roaming around playing at various stages.

Autumn fairie.JPG
There was also the Fantastikals. A group that portrays mythical creatures such as trolls, fairies and other fae folk. Above is the Autumn Fairie.

There were also all kinds of services there. Such things as tarot reading, fortunes told, games, food, shops, face painting, henna tattoos and hair braiding. The second day of the show Ktreva decided to get her hair braided by the Twisted Sisters Hair Braiding.

Ktrevaís Braided Hair

We had a great time. Itís hard to believe that we hadnít been there in so many years. When it was over Ktreva and I talked and tried to figure out why we quit going. It was because of the direction we went in our re-enacting. We focused so much on early American that we gave up on the Renn Faire. So weíve decided that we are going to take the next couple of years off of early American and go back to Renn Faire re-enacting. Of course we are going to stick with the historical accurate part of it, but itíll still be Renn Faire.

Just kidding, it was fun to visit and weíll probably start attending again as general public, but not as participants.

Posted by Contagion at 09:54 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 20, 2008


Tonight is a beer I brought back from Wilís Beer, Burgers, Blue Grass and Butt Juice party on the Fourth of July. I canít remember who supplied the beer; I just know that it survived the trip home. Tonight Iím reviewing Wernesgruner by Wernesgruener Brauerei in Germany.


It comes in the standard 12 oz brown bottle. The label is a golden color and is set at an angle. There is the company logo off centered at the top. The neck as a gold foil label on it also with the name of the beer.

There is a pale yellow color to it. Itís clear with no cloudiness to it at all. The carbonation bubbles that float gently to the top can clearly be seen. The stark white head is thick and made up of tiny bubbles. After a while the head fades to just a film on the top of the glass. There is no lacing on the glass at all.

To the nose it has a slight aroma of spicy hops and sweet grass. There is also a touch of grass that can be detected. As the beer warms up you get a more noticeable and enticing aroma. On the tongue it is slightly sweet. A combination of that starts with mild malts is followed by spicy hops. Like most pilsners the flavor is mild and unobtrusive. Just like the scent as the beer warms it tends to open up the flavors making them more noticeable.

This is a light bodied beer with a mild carbonation to it. Itís very easy to drink. This is a good anytime beer or something that you could eat with a meal. The flavor would enhance the flavors of the food without being completely overpowered by the flavor of the meal.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. The only thing that I truly remember about it is that whoever brought it picked it up at an Aldi store. Where itís not a great beer, itís not one that I would pass on if offered one. Iíd give it 6 out of 10.

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August 19, 2008

Making plans!

Alright I'm getting ready to head back to Okla-frackin-homa. This time I'm going to go down there better prepared. First off most of the problems that gave me issues at work I've already taken care of, they won't plague me again. Secondly, I'm going to make some plans to take care of number 1... me... while I'm away.

I'm going to be down there Labor Day weekend and the weekend after. So any of my readers and fellow bloggers that live with in two hours of Tulsa and want to get together, leave a comment. I've got a company car and I should be able to make my way to you.

If you live further out but want to meet half way, again let me know. I'm willing to drive. If you are a long hall driver and passing through the area... give me as much notice as possible and I'll free things up.

I figure I might as well get out and meet some of you good people out there instead of sitting in a hotel room sirfing the net for pr0n.

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August 18, 2008

Galesburg fun.

This last weekend was just about perfect. I was able to completely kick back, relax and let the stress of everything going on just wash off me.

We got out there Thursday night and set us up for three days of fun. Most of my re-enacting friends were there and it was great seeing them again. Hell, even Graumagus crawled out of the woodwork to make the event, that means he made it to two this year, thus tying his record for the last 4 years.

Some friends of ours had a wedding out at the event. They had a bachelorette party for the bride. Thankfully Wes brought his eldest daughter along. I ended up paying her to babysit Clone until he went to bed. That way I could do some damage to the three cases of beer I brought. Which ended up in some pole dancing for the ladies. Not by me... but by a lot of the other guys out there. Yea... the other guys.

Saturday was the wedding. That night a lot of people from the camp sat around and listened to various people play music or sing songs. We had everything from Blue Grass and Celtic to some modern music. Folks, there is nothing like sitting around on a cool August evening with most of your closest and dearest friends and listening to great music. I can't think of anything else that could have made that evening better.

Sunday was kind of a downer. I hated having to separate from my friends, nah not my friends... from my family. These people are more like brothers and sisters to me than just friends. Even if they do some things that are a little fishy.

Pictures and more stories will be coming when I get more time.

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August 13, 2008

Millstream Hefe Weissen

Ktreva stopped by the Millstream Brewing Company in Amana, IA (One of my favorites) on her way back from Kansas. While there she noticed they had a new beer, Hefe Weissen, so she picked up a six pack for me to review. Thatís my wife for you, always thinking of me and beer!

Millstream Hefe Weissen.JPG

We have our standard 12 oz brown bottle. The label has a checker pattern background with a shield style logo on it. The name of the brewery is across the top and the name of the beer in a banner across the bottom. In the middle of the shield is picture of a mill.

There is a nice golden honey color to it. It is cloudy, light passes through it easily enough, you just canít see through it clearly. When poured there is a good half inch white head that rapidly dissipates to a thin head and then to nothing.

The smell is a very discernable combination of banana and cloves like most hefe weissens. There are some other subtle scents to it, but I wasnít able to accurately identify any of them. However the combination is reminiscent of pear. The taste is a pleasant mix of banana and cloves. Itís not overpowering like Iíve tasted in other hefe weissens. This is a very pleasant combination that is pleasing to the tongue.

It is a light bodied beer that slips past the tongue, there is no mouth coating at all. It is very easily drunk. This is a perfect hot summer day beer. Itís easy to drink and palatable.

This really is a nice beer to drink. Itís got a good flavor, nice scent and not heavy at all. There isnít a high Alcohol content, so you can spend a long time drinking it without it going to your head. I was really pleased with this beer and it is one of the better Hefe Weissens Iíve had in a while. I give it 5.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 09:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 12, 2008

What a stupid arguement.

On the ride home tonight Ktreva and I were going over our plans for the week and the needs of the boys before school starts. Then all of a sudden Ktreva says rather upset like, "Why do you do that?" I had no idea what she was talking about. So I ask, "What do you mean?" She gets even more upset and says, "You did it again!" I'm still confused... I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, but I really want to figure it out so that I can stop doing it. Thus I ask "What am I doing?" That is when she goes off and says, "You always ask me questions! You answer my questions with questions!"

Okay, I can understand that. But usually it's because I'm trying to figure out what she is asking me or what information she is looking for. Most of the time I'm trying to get clarification on the question, not avoiding it. This arguement turned into a full meltdown and I was confused because I was trying not to ask questions and she is getting madder because I just don't understand... but I can't ask questions to help myself to understand.

The boys are in the van and just watching in amazement as we argue over the whole thing. Finally Boopie speaks up and says, "Mom and Dad, this is the stupidest argument I've ever heard!" Now he's right, because the whole time I'm trying not to laugh at the utter stupidity of the whole thing, Ktreva is getting more agitated, but even she is laughing at the whole thing.

Personally I think she was just picking a fight because she missed fighting with me while I was away.

Posted by Contagion at 07:55 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 11, 2008

Back to the norm.

Things almost seem like normal. I'm back in Rockford, at least for the next two weeks. I'm trying to reacclimate to life here in Rockford. The high yesterday was lower then the low most of last week in Tulsa. That and trying to get used to doing things I didn't have to do while living out of a hotel. Simple things like picking up after myself, the cleaning staff took care of that. There was no cooking as we were eating out all the time. I didn't have to do things like grocery shop or just simple housework/maintenance. Now I do... and is it ever nice.

Clone has been attached to my hip since I've been back. Just about every night he doesn't want to go to bed. The last time I left for Tulsa, I had to leave the house at 4:30 AM. I had said goodbye to him the night before and told him that I wouldn't be there in the morning because I had to go to Tulsa. Now he's afraid I'm not going to be here in the morning when he wakes up. He's asked me 3 of the last four nights "Dad, are you going to be here tomorrow?" Poor guy.

Ktreva is having to get used to my snoring again. She says she can't sleep well when I'm not home, but then again she can't sleep at all when I am home. I think she's torn between having me home and getting some sleep. (grin)

I was able to get together with some friends Saturday. We sat around the backyard drinking beer, eating burgers and me telling them the stories of Oklahoma. It was good to be able to have male conversations with friends again. It was also good to sit down and drink a case of beer with friends.

Today I had to go to the office for the first time in three weeks. When I arrived this morning I was hit with all the bad news and little surprises they were keeping from me. Yea, that was pleasant. That's okay, I turned it around on them and told my peers and management that even though I'm in the office, they might as well pretend I'm not, since I'm leaving in two weeks. That went over not so well, but I wasn't caring very much.

All that aside, it's good to be home.

Now I'm getting busy preparing for the Galesburg Heritage festival. We're heading down Thursday night, I took Friday off. I figured work owed me.

Posted by Contagion at 07:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 09, 2008

The Fresh Prince of Gotham

There are a ton of Dark Knight parodies out there, but this one is actually funny.

More videos from the "Contagious" channel at

The Fresh Prince meets the Joker..

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Here's a fun little time waster. I found this game when I was down in Tulsa. Thankfully I did it saved me from going too batty and it took my mind off of work. It's a tower defense style game that each level can be played numerous times to get a "perfect" score.

So if you want to try to kill some time and/or you just want a distraction try Gem Craft.

Posted by Contagion at 10:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kilt, or Male Unbifurcated Garment.

When I was in Tulsa I had one of the people in class tell me about this. Then Employee-M, who's husband is a mail carrier said she had heard about this as well. Finally Ktreva sent me a news link, Wash. letter carrier going full kilt ahead.

I say it's about damn time! Let the kilt rule the mail carrier world as well!

Postal Kilt.jpg

"Unbifurcated Garments are far more comfortable and suitable to male anatomy than trousers or shorts because they don't confine the legs or cramp the male genitals the way that trousers or shorts do," he wrote. "Please open your hearts ó and inseams ó for an option in mail carrier comfort!"

I don't think this was going to catch on, or that the Postal Service and their union is going to allow this. Especially with the way the article reads.

On a side note, just looking at the picture I can identify the manufacturer as the Utilikilt Company. Is that weird?

Posted by Contagion at 10:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

That's why they are limber!

I always wondered how Zombies were able to stay so limber even with the onset of rigor mortis. Apparently they do yoga!

Posted by Contagion at 09:55 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 07, 2008

Favre, Thompson and McCarthy.

Iíve been waiting to comment on this until it played out, and now it has. Brett Favre has been traded to the NY Jets. Iím so pissed off on so many different levels that itís hard to explain. First off, if you want to know the truth I blame Favre, McCarthy and Thompson for the whole deal. Actually I think at least 40-50% of the blame lies solely on Favreís shoulders. For those of you Favre fans that are about to lay into me, let me start off by saying two things. The man acted like a giant primadonna with his retirement thing for the last couple of years and the Packers gave him plenty of a chance to come back. He just waited until they had moved on before changing his mind.

When he retired, I believe that he truly wanted to retire. That he was done with football as a player. I figured heíd be around doing promotions and commentary, but he wouldnít don pads and a helmet again. His retirement speech was too full of emotion for it to just be an act. He had been contemplating retirement for years and at the time he made the decision he truly did what he thought was best for him and his family. I respected him for that, Iíd miss him, but I respected him.

Now we can look at the infamous timeline. Some say the timeline is full of crap, others believe it. Personally I think there is a lot of truth. Rumors of him coming out of retirement were squashed by Brett himself when he stated, ďitís all rumorĒ. He denied he was coming out of retirement in early June. Then in July he announces he is going to come out of retirementÖ right before training camps. By this time all of the plans had been set. The Packers couldnít sit around waiting and hoping for Brett to decide if he was going to actually come out of retirement. So they moved on. They drafted based on him not being back, did free agency that way, etc. They planned to move on. It takes a pretty big megalomaniac to figure that an entire team is going to put their future on hold to wait on what he might do.

Then he talks about how he was disrespected. How about the disrespect and hurt he did to not only the team but also the fans? He wasÖ is a hero and Lambeau Legend to most Packer fans and even some football fans. For him to sit here and play his game isnít fair to them either. I guess he doesnít owe us anything, I mean he did give us 16 years of joy and memories. He does have to look out for him and his family.

As for McCarthy and Thompson, those two could have handled this so much better. I mean címon, this is Brett Favre. He is the man, the myth, the legend and face of the Packers. If he wants to come back, give the guy a shot. I agree in not just releasing him, which would have been stupid. You canít risk a divisional rival to pick him up. But honestly, if you donít think he can do it, then open up the starting QB position to a competition. Maybe Favre has decreasing skills, but maybe heís still better than Rodgers. We wouldnít know until you put them into a fair and equal competition. If Favre wonít put his skills to the test against Rodgers, than let him ride bench. If he does and wins, heís your man. It doesnít take Rocket Surgery to figure that bit out.

As for the Minnesota Viking tampering charges, Goodall says it didnít happen. I think there wasnít enough evidence to prove it. There had to be some catalyst for Favre getting out. I mean he obviously wanted out of Green Bay; the Vikes gave him a place. He decided to come out of retirement. There was the comment that he would like to play against Green Bay twiceÖ howís that for loyalty? Anyway, thatís water under the bridge and Iím not dwelling on it.

To say that I feel hurt, betrayed and am saddened by the outcome is an understatement. I never thought I would see Favre play in a uniform other than a Packerís uniform. Now that it is going to happen, itís like being betrayed by your best friend. Some people say this isnít going to hurt his legacy, but I think it will. At least in this fanís eyes itís tarnished. I still have respect and brotherly love for him, Iím just hurt.

Oh, and to all the Packer fans booing Rodgers, take a note. This wasnít his decision. Heís just a pawn in the show. Grow up and give the guy a break. Destroying his confidence now is not going to help the team any.

Posted by Contagion at 07:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

It's that time again!

Folks itís that time of year again for the Fourth annual Miasmatic Review Pro Football Pickíems and Salary Cap Football league. If you are interested in playing and didnít get an invite already, leave a comment and Iíll send you one. Maybe you donít want to play, but you know someone that would, let them know. Iíll be more then happy to let anyone play. The more the merrier. The Salary Cap isn't open yet, once it is I'll make sure you get an invite.

Itís completely free, you donít have to pay for anything and if you take first place, you get a prize of nominal value for the team of your choice. But the big thing is that itís for fun and bragging rights.

Don't forget, you have to pick each week for your favorite team in order to win the prize!

Posted by Contagion at 06:42 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 06, 2008

Not tonight, I have a headache.

I tried to get a new oklahoma beer for tonight, but I couldn't find any other than the two that I always reviewed. I went to three different places I could find, and none of them had anything new. After getting that frustrated, I just decided not to do one tonight. Sorry, I promise you one or two next week.

Posted by Contagion at 08:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 05, 2008

You want how much?

Tonight Employee-M told me that for dinner she wanted steak. Now you have to understand she is a health food nut. She doesnít eat red meat, or ďunhealthyĒ food. In fact when we first came down here I told her one of my goals was to get her to eat a steak. I know you find this hard to believe, but I kept up at it long enough to start to annoy here. So when she said that I actually stopped the car dead in the middle of the street, blocking traffic, to ask her who the hell she was and if she was feeling okay.

She said she was fine, she just decided she wanted a steak, fillet mignon to be exact. So we find this local steak joint that was recommended for great steaks. When we arrived, the sign on the side of the building said ďPrime SteakhouseĒ and ďWine BarĒ. At first I thought, this is not the kind of place weíre looking for. Then I see a group of people walk in wearing shorts and T-shirts so I thought it couldnít be that bad.

We walk in and the first thing I know I hear the hostess say that there is a dress code to the group in front of us. GREAT! They didnít seem to have a problem with how we were dressed. We were seated; our waitress came up and showed us the menus. Yes, menus. One for wine and one for food. The one for the wine was three times as thick as the food menu. She took our drink order and left to fill it. We all took a look at the food menu and then looked at each other simultaneously. Emp-P and Employee-M have this wide eyed shocked look on their faces. The cheapest thing on the menu was a chicken breast, for $32.99. The average price on the menu was $49.00.

That didnít include sides!

The cheapest side dish was a baked potato for $9.50. For a baked potato! Iím sitting there trying to figure out how Iím going to justify this on my expense report. I figured that maybe my staff was really excited about eating a really nice restaurant. No, they were shocked at the price. They werenít comfortable eating there, so I made the decision to leave. When our waitress came back with our drinks I apologized to her and explained we were on a corporate expense and that was not the kind of restaurant we thought it was going to be. We offered to pay for our drinks, but she told us it was fine. I left her a five dollar tip for being nice, but tore out of there.

We ended up going to a Lone Star for steaks, and laughed about the whole thing, but damn. Iím just happy I didnít have to explain that one on an expense report!

Posted by Contagion at 08:04 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Now that's embarassing

Have you ever eaten something that at the time was really good and tasted great, but turned on you? Like two hours later when you're in a meeting and all of a sudden you can feel a rapid expansion of you colon. Like a pump was hooked up to your backside filling up your intestines. You sit there sure that if you moved you are going to empty your entire digestive tract into your pants. Yet the pain and discomfort keep growing exponentially with each agonizing second.

After a quick deliberation you decide that it's better to risk the movement to the bathroom to empty thine self in an attempt not to unload in your trousers than to wait and do it anyway. So you excuse yourself and start your slow deliberate walk to the bathroom when all of a sudden a loud, reverberating, thundering sound that lasts for about 2 minutes emits from you.

Everyone in the room turns and looks and all you can say is, "Excuse me, I really shouldn't have had that bean and chili burrito on a whole wheat tortilla on lunch." People are gagging and wiping tears from their eyes. The whole time you're thinking to yourself... Thank god it was only a fart.

I was so embarrassed for that lady.

Posted by Contagion at 07:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 04, 2008

Tulsa, the weather and crap

After my overly morose and really depressing posts of yesterday Iíve drank my way out of my funk. A case of beer just doesnít last as long as it once did!

When I walked out of the hotel this morning it was already a baumy 92 degreesÖ at 7:45AM! The high today reached a heat index of 110, the low tonight is 79. Thatís not a low, thatís a farooking high! While it was so hot they had various heat index warnings issued for the area, back home was gettingÖ is gettingÖ pelted by storms. My support was supposed to fly in and be here by 10:00AM, basically leaving me on my own with the trainees for about 2 hours.

Well those storms really screwed up those plans. They were scheduled to depart at 8:00 AM. They couldnít board the plane until 8:45. Even after boarding they were not allowed to take off. The plane was taxied all over the airport to different run ways only to be reassigned to others as the weather broke. Employee-M called me on her cell phone at 9:15 AM to tell me that they were trapped on the runway. Finally the plane was able to take off, at 10:15!

Since they had been on the plane so long, Employee-M had to use the restroom. When she got went in, the toilet was full. Not the unflushed kind of full, but as the tank is full and there is no room left in the tank for you to flush anything more into. She called it to the attention of the flight attendant. Apparently they were not planning on a lot of people using the toilet, so the tank wasnít emptied between flights. Well an hour and a half on the runway would fill most tanks on a commuter toilet. The flight attendant had to get onto the intercom and let all the passengers know that the toilet was full. They still had an hour and half flight ahead of them. From the way my staff reported, the smell was horrible and permeated the entire cabin.

They finally got to Tulsa at 12:15PM. Then it was back to class. Fortunately the class seems to be doing really well with the materials and was not much of a trouble at all for me by myself. When they were finally in the classroom with me, I was able to sit down and get caught up on some of the other work I needed to get done. There is a better than good chance that I can actually make up a lot of time this week.

Posted by Contagion at 07:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 03, 2008

A perfect way to sum up this trip.

On my way back to the hotel from the restaurant tonight, I saw a bunch of squad cars with their emergency lights on along the side of the highway. When I got near there was yellow tape on the hillside by the cars. As I looked over I could see a uniformed man taking pictures of a body laying on the ground.

Yea, that about sums up this trip... a dead body on the side of the road.

Posted by Contagion at 03:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

How much more?

An empty beer glass sits on a table. There is a slight residue of the amber liquid it held just moments before in the bottom of it. I sit there staring into the bottom of the glass contemplating the events of the last two weeks. What protective shell Iíve built up in preparation for this event quickly crumbles around me. Itís time for me to leave the restaurant before I make a mistake.

Just this morning I was at my mother-in-lawís house lying in a bed with my wife. It had been a rough night for me. I couldnít sleep, even though I was tired. I kept thinking of what has happened.

On Saturday the entire family went to Ktrevaís grandfatherís memorial. This was for a man that I liked and respected. He had promised to tell me more stories the next time we saw each other, that time never came. It was unavoidable. Distance, time and health prevented us from getting together again before his passing. Justifying it all I want doesnít make it feel any better. He enjoyed telling me those stories and I loved to listen to them. We bonded over those stories and I feel I robbed him of something there at the end. Truth or not be damned, thatís how I felt.

Thursday I found out that I will be able to return home on August 8th for two weeks. When I return they will be buying me a one way ticket. Not because this is a permanent transfer, but because they arenít sure how long they are going to need me and I really canít come home on the weekends, Iíd have to fly home on Saturday afternoon only to fly back Sunday Afternoon. Itís just not feasible. Since we donít know what is going to happen we donít want to buy a round trip ticket only to cancel my coming home at the end of the week. The tickets are non-refundable. So if I am able to come home for a weekend, they will buy me a round trip ticket from Tulsa to Chicago. At the end of the project they will be me a one way ticket back to Chicago.

Monday night Clone lost his first tooth. I wasnít there for this first milestone in his life. No, I was working when I received the call. The closest I got was to talk to him on the phone and see a picture of a smiling five year old proud of his first lost tooth.

So as I lay in the bed last night, thinking of how my project isnít going well and everything that has happened and what Iíve given up for this, the stress gnawed at me. My stomach problems flared up and I was coughing up and puking stomach acid all night. I wasnít even able to enjoy the simple pleasure of being able to sleep in a bed with my wife. Listening to her breath, feeling the warmth of her body laying next to mine, gazing upon her in all of her beauty and peace as she slept.

Then I left my family. They drove back to Rockford, while I returned to Tulsa. I followed behind them as long as our routes traveled the same path. Watching over them, escorting them, protecting them in what meager manner I was able. Waving at them goodbye knowing that I head back, alone, to someplace where I canít be with them. Returning to a city where I am by myself.

I sat alone in the hotel room alone for a while, smiling in remembrance of my family and what short time I had to spend with them, Less than 40 hours. After a few short minutes it dawns on me that I am, yet again completely alone. No family, no friends, nobody. So went someplace familiar in hopes of trying to take my mind off of things. I drive to Hooters. There I sat down and ordered beer and wings.

All seemed betterÖ for a few short minutes.

Something just didnít seem right. I was there alone. None of the people I usually go to Hooterís with were there. No friends, no family, nobody. I sat there in a restaurant full of people, yet I was alone. Sure there were other people there, but they werenít there with me. They were there with their friends and their families. As I finished that glass of beer it dawned on me. I had prepared for everything except this. I was bored. I was alone. Most importantly, I was depressed.

While Iím down here I have no one. Iíve been working from 6:00AM to as late as 11:30 at night. Yes, most of the time after 6:00PM Iím in the hotel room, but thatís all Iíve been doing. I canít go out for stress release, because there is no one to go with. I canít go with the people that came down with me, for they are my employees. They directly report to me. I canít go out with the local staff because either Iím training them or they are in positions below me. The company discourages fraternization outside of the workplace in this situation. Plus they are all female and Iím not about to put myself into a situation that could kill my career.

So I sat there, looking into the empty beer glass, and all I could think of was, ďWhatís next?Ē

Posted by Contagion at 03:40 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack