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Archive for September, 2002

Dear Diary: Entry I

The last time we were at my parents’ house, I cleaned out my old closet. I found a lot of old high school and college projects. Most of which are inconsequential.

I did, however, find a wealth of old puppy love letters, random diary entries and the like. I think I’m going to start posting them here for the sake of posterity – and for my own amusement. I will try not to transpose my handwritings. I might have to do a little editing [for content only]

The weekend of the 14-17

Fair holidays. Thursday morning I wake up, no school. I eat, embark northward towards the humble town of Bellville for the 66th annual Austin County fair parade. I park on a street by the police station. Then I walk back towards the square. I laid low & dipped into the alley that leads to the Tap Room. I sat in front of the Tap Room after talking to Lanessa for a while. Then I went to the bank in Sealy, cashed coins & went to houston. Went to Service World , took in stereo, looked for Mitsubishi place for a bra, went & ate at Memorial City. Went shopping around. Went to Soundwaves, bought Pearl Jam ‘Go’ single and Cypress Hill. Talked to Sadof [popular Houston DJ at the time] about Golden Palimino etc. Went to talk to Dad at the office, wasn’t there, I went home. Ate, sped to JW’s to meet Kristin & Stacy. They weren’t there so I decided to take those old beta tapes to the thrift shop. Then drove back to JW’s & they were there. We stayed there for a while, then went to the fair. Stayed, moseying about, we talked to Ash and Chris. I was pissed because I wanted them to leave. I don’t know why. Maybe it was just Stacy. Sometimes I just hate being around Kristin’s friends. But anyway. I took them to Tom’s and of course, my car ran out of gas. Lost my keys, left ’em at Quick Stop. All that — hooplah. So finally that was done. I got gas in my car and drove it back to Tom’s with Kristin. We stayed there for about an hour & a half. Kristin and I would go into the back room [no, not what you’re thinking] just to get away from everyone. 12 o’clock, they left. 12:15, I left.

Friday, I can’t seem to remember what I did. Slept late… oh yeah, band practice at Ash’s. I was supposed to meet Kristin and Stacy at my house at four. No show. I went to work [I was a short order cook at the Tap Room], Kristin was there, alone. I was pissed because she was late but happy because Stacy wasn’t with her. I worked, she went to my house. I called her, told her to meet me at 9:30. She did, we went

[That’s all that was written in that ‘diary entry’. I’ll never know how the story ended…]

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Apartment complex party, Elise’s job, dove hunting

I’m really tired. I don’t even want to think about how much time I spent on HH today. I did a ton of custom coding for their submission form. My eyeballs hurt.

Elise and I went to apartment complex social this evening. We ate brisket, sausage, beans and coleslaw. Can’t beat a free dinner. We’re also receiving three months of free digital cable. We won a door prize, an ivy. Free food, free cable, free plant. Not too bad.

Oh yeah, and we received a letter from our friends at the Internal Revenue Service today. They screwed up. They’re sending us $43.00.

It was confirmed that Elise has a perfect attendance record at work. This is apparently rare at Sallie Mae. She has also received 100% on all of her quality control reviews. She received 100% on all of her training tests. It was announced today that Sallie Mae will be accepting applications and resumes for full-time employment. Maybe she will get that pencil sharpener.

All in all, not a bad Thursday. Watch… something horrible will probably happen soon.

El and I are going to my parents’ house tomorrow. Dad and I are going white-tail dove hunting in deep south Texas on Saturday and Sunday. I don’t know where the place is – somewhere near Laredo.

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Elise’s Job?, Haggard and Halloo Online

Elise said they laid off approximately seven people who were working under contract with Spherion for Sallie Mae.

She said that most of the people who were given the axe had multiple occurrences, meaning they were slackers. Apparently the world of private loan origination is seeing a lull as students have already received their loans.

I really hope Elise doesn’t call me this week to give me any bad news from the workplace. That would put a nice dent and a good second paint coat keying in our financial goals. If it happens, it happens. She can find something to keep money coming in. If anything, I could tend bar at night at some local joint.

In other news, I’m pretty much done with the Haggard and Halloo.

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Spanking

Elise and I just finished watching the season premiere of Yes, Dear. The overall theme was corporal punishment for lying.

After the show was over, I went into the kitchen to finish cleaning the mess I made while making a veggie pizza. Elise walked into the kitchen laughing.

“What’s so funny?!” I asked.

“Remember that time when we had a spanking contest to figure out who would be the one to spank our children?” She asked.

I had completely forgotten about that. Elise and I decided a long time ago that we will spank our children if the incriminating offense is severe enough to warrant such punishment. We both experienced it and agree that spanking is an acceptable form of punishment. That’s our opinion – like it or lump it. We’re not planning on being abusive, but if our children do really stupid stuff like what I did, they’ll get a spanking, just like I did. I don’t know about that whole ‘time out’ thing.

Anyway – I started laughing when I was reminded of our spanking contest. I don’t know how it all came about, but we decided to spank each other on the hind side to determine who spanks more effectively. It was always assumed by the both of us that I would be the strong arm of the law when it came to child rearing, but we went ahead and had a contest anyway.

I won. Of course, the competition was fierce. I am completely confident in Elise’s spanking abilities in my absence. This contest didn’t go without any temporary physical discomfort. My posture was noticeably better due to the involuntary cheek clenching that ensued shortly after my spanking. On my spank delivery, I busted a blood vessel in my right ring finger which caused it to double in size just below the first knuckle. Elise had a long lasting, skinny-fingered handprint on her gluteus maximus after my deliverance.

Our contest was all in fun. We laughed and made fun of ourselves throughout our pre-parenthood boot camp. We’re dorks. I love my dorky wife though and I know she will be a wonderful mother.

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Our First Anniversary

We went to The Range Restaurant in Salado last night for our first anniversary dinner. We both feel like we paid too much for filler.

The Range is a restaurant that was built inside an old country home. It has a romantic atmosphere, nice silverware, decent wines. It’s a nice restaurant. I didn’t like the umber Pepto color of the walls. I felt like I was sitting inside of a human internal organ.

Elise had the Robert Mondavi Chardonnay. I had the Mondavi Coastal Cabernet Sauvignon.

My lovely wife decided on her dinner after our waiter tossed his list of evening specials on our table. I was borderline appalled. He literally walked up to our table and tossed a little beige index card between us. On it was the list of specials written by hand.

Elise asked about the crab stuffed portabella mushroom entree. Our waiter stated that the Chef had just created that item and it looked really good. Okay, if you’re a Chef, you let your staff taste your food so they know what to recommend and are able to answer questions.

El had the special: Crab stuffed portabella mushroom with pasta and a mushroom cream sauce. She received a large plate full of large pasta tubes with a humble crab stuffed portabella mushroom cap in the center. The proportions were way off for this expensive entree. The sauce was okay. The crab was okay. The pasta was aplenty. I might have been okay with paying a fourth of the price for her dinner. We both agreed that I could easily come up with something much more flavorful and proportional.

I had the pork tenderloin with ‘home fries’. I felt like I got somewhat of a better deal on my dinner. The pork was tender and juicy. The caramelized apple jus was good as well. What I didn’t like was the pound of French fries that monopolized my plate. When I read ‘home fries’, I expected fire roasted potato wedges or something of that sort. This time, I can honestly relate this experience to McDonald’s. My French fries tasted and looked like the tried and true cholesterol sticks from Micky D’s – only mine were more thin in structure. I was tempted to ask for a bottle of ketchup. I didn’t. Instead, I ate my French fries with a fork so I could trick myself into thinking that I was eating something fancy.

Our waiter didn’t provide us with much availability. I could hear a football game on the television at the bar. I’m sure he was over there tending to whichever two teams were playing. I recall him coming to our table only once to check on us. My ideal waiter makes an occasional satisfaction inquiry, checks drinks, replaces bread, etc. I explained to Elise that my ideal waiter should not be intrusive or bothersome. He or she should verbally check on a table a couple times throughout the meal and ‘make rounds’ – walk within arms reach or earshot in case a patron needs anything. Our waiter dropped off our food and later brought us our bill. He did take our picture outside of the restaurant after we told him that it was our anniversary.

I think we’ll chalk this up to experience. We won’t be going back to The Range. We could have paid a fraction of the price at the grocery store and I could have created a better meal. Elise and I were wondering if perhaps The Range doesn’t have the necessary volume to lower their prices. In our opinions, it’s definitely not the quality of the food that warrants such high prices.

Aside from the taste bud let down, we had a really nice time. El and I enjoyed each others company. As usual, Elise dominated the conversation. I answered when prompted. Typical us. The funniest part of the evening was me listening to my inner voice. I sat directly across the table from Elise, I heard everything that she was talking about but I kept thinking to myself: “Man… she is unbelievably gorgeous.” And no, I didn’t have my whiskey goggles on – I was nursing a single glass of wine. I sat there across from my wife and reveled in how beautiful she is. She’s the most beautiful person in the world to me. I’m extremely lucky to have her. Next time I see Steve and Joanne, I need to give them both a high five and say “Good job!”

We came home after dinner. We drank the champagne that Bob and Evelyn gave us for our wedding. We ate a piece of our wedding cake. After having heard otherwise, we were surprised with how good our cake tasted after being in a cryogenic state for 365 days. I think wrapping it in Saran Wrap, tin foil, Saran Wrap, Saran Wrap, tin foil, Saran Wrap and tin foil helped preserve it. It wasn’t quite as moist, but it was still really good.

We poured a couple more glasses of champagne and Elise sat me down so I could open my present. She bought me A Clockwork Orange on DVD. I’ve been wanting that movie on DVD forever. It’s definitely in my top 5 list of favorite movies. She also gave me a little book that she wrote. It’s a little personal chapbook, bound by wire with a brown cover, black pages and silver handwritten text. On the cover is a collaged silver and white, three tiered wedding cake with white flowers. In it she wrote beautiful things about me and how happy she is. I’m not going to explain in detail because it’s personal and it’s mine.

Before I could even turn the first page, I started crying. I hopped up and went to the bathroom to get some tissue to dry my eyes. I semi-jokingly told Elise to never tell anyone about that. What she wrote for me was extremely meaningful and it brought me to tears. It takes a lot to make me cry – Elise did it though. I don’t know how to explain it, but what she wrote means so much to me. It’s good to know that I’m appreciated.

I then gave Elise her present. We decided that we weren’t going to get each other anything for our anniversary. We always say that and never do it. I decided that I would be a little more practical this time. I bought her a gift certificate to a certain well-known lingerie store. She’s been saying for a while now that she needs/wants new underwear. I figured the gift certificate would be practical and a little elegant. I also got her a card and wrote her a little heartfelt poem. I also had roses sent to her at work on Friday.

All in all – we had a very nice first anniversary. I’m the luckiest guy in the world.

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Tablerock Fantasy Faire, Motoproject, Our first anniversary

Yesterday Elise and I woke early to do our planned running around. We didn’t get out of the apartment until 10 a.m. Elise said that we could have left earlier had I let her sleep longer. I guess that means she gets ready slower when it’s against her will…

Our first stop was at the 2002 Tablerock Fantasy Faire in Salado. Elise and I have never experienced a festival or faire that is Renaissance in nature. I have to hand it to the vendors, players and enthusiasts – they have quite an imagination. This particular faire was relatively small. We took a walk through the fair grounds, sat and listened to Medieval war poetry by Sholo the Nubian, Warrior Racantoure and spoke with a sword vendor who looked exactly like Mulder.

After being mocked for being outsiders and due to the fact that there wasn’t a single vendor selling turkey legs, we decided to leave.

We stopped in Round Rock to eat at Rudy’s. Man, I love that place. A year ago to the day we were eating Rudy’s BBQ at our rehearsal dinner.

We drove to Austin to pick up more wedding photos at Holland Photo. We stayed in the store to look at all of our new prints. One roll was developed improperly. This particular roll was shot on 400 ASA film and was to be push processed to 3200. Don’t ask me what that means. I asked Elise to explain this processing technique. She told me. I heard her. I tried really hard to understand. It didn’t work. The prints from this one roll of film were really washed out. You can barely tell what you’re looking at in the photos.

We took the roll back to the counter and told one of the employees that one of our rolls of film wasn’t processed correctly. We were told that he couldn’t do anything but we could come back at 4 p.m. to talk to a manager.

We killed some time by driving over to St. Ed’s to scope out the new eye sore called the Academic Building. Despite the fact that this building is butt ugly, it’s good to know that the campus is being brought into the 21st century. St. Ed’s has all kinds of buildings in the infantile stages of construction. I just wish that my [parents’] money could have allowed for me to utilize some of the upcoming facilities.

We took pictures of ourselves in front of the Main Building and by the little staircase waterfall behind the Main Building.

Then we went back to Holland Photo to discuss our picture problem with the manager. Without getting into great detail, we were basically told that we were wrong. Holland Photo sends black and white negatives to another company, across the street, to be developed. We were told that this company would inform Holland Photo if there was a screw up. There was no screw up notification. That is what was offered to us.

Anyway, among the six rolls that were developed, one of them contained black and white shots that Elise took when we were in Austin for the Republic of Texas Rally & Races. My Photoshopping doesn’t do the prints justice. They are all really awesome images.

Elise created a triptych of one patriotic-themed custom bike. I really like how the sequence turned out. I like to look at the series as a contemporary tribute to Captain America’s motorcycle.

Some of Elise’s Motoproject photos can be seen here. I really want to get them enlarged, framed and hang them in my office once we get a house.

In other news… today is our anniversary. We slept in this morning. Elise went to church and I’ve been goofing on the computer. I don’t know what we’ll do tonight to celebrate our first year. I think we’ll probably just go grab a nice dinner and just take it easy.

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Beau

Here is a story [verbatim] that I wrote about my dog, Beau in the eighth grade. Beau was the best dog in the whole world – I miss him.

It was a t-shirt kind of day when I let my dogs out to play and run around.

It was about an hour after I let them out. My old, small Beagle Tinker returned shortly after I called for them. When she returned, I decided to run around. I came back, and my young, black Labrador came back. I knew my golden Labrador would return with Lady, my black dog, but he didn’t. I knew something was going on. I crossed the barbed wire fence slowly over the top slightly cutting my leg. I got onto the other peoples property and walked at least for a 4th of a mile and started getting mad at my dog. Usually he comes when I call, and he always obeys me. He is my most loyal friend. Finally I say him running in my direction, I was walking furiously along the truck cleared path with trees covering the top. He was running toward me, and I was strutting toward him ready to beat him..but I got to looking around and noticed how much fun it would be to go searching through the woods with my dog Beau, who was still running toward me. So a smile came to my face as I walked toward him. I crossed a puddle carefully, and while I was standing in the middle of the mud, I say Beau collapse before my eyes. His chest as sinking in fast, and he was breathing abnormally fast. His tongue was hanging out more than usual with dirt and leaves on it. I screamed and cussed, I couldn’t to loud because I was crying so much: I knew he was going to die. I was fixing to run back for help. Beau tried to get up to follow me, he was dragging his back legs and fell to his side in pain. Not knowing, I pumped his stomach thinking he was choking. I tried to rip down a vine out of a tree: it wouldn’t come down. I reached under him carefully, begging him not to die. I lifted him with a violent yell and started walking quickly with him in my arms. I crossed the puddle to fast, slipped and almost fell. I started walking faster.

Even though my adrenaline was going so much I had to stop many times and let Beau down so we both could rest, and I could regain my strength. Beau’s breathing slowed down a little, but I knew I still had to hurry.

Finally, after about a half a mile of walking, I saw my Beagle Tinker, pined in the barn looking at me with Beau in my arms. Tinker knew something was wrong. I sat Beau down beside the barn next to our house.

I ran to the house almost hurdling our wooden fence. I opened the door, caught, and screamed “Mom, Dad, something’s wrong with Beau!” I slammed the door fast hearing “David, Hurry!” which was my Mother telling my Dad.

My parents came sprinting out’ I was kneeling next to Beau telling him to keep fighting. My parents came to where I was, and my Mom cried mournfully “oh God he’s dying.” My Dad said he was going to get the truck so I dragged Beau away from its path. My Mother got in the truck in the middle, and I sat next to the window with Beau’s head in my lap. We drove about ten miles to the vet and we rushed Beau in. They gave him shots to help him stabilize.

Beau’s temperature was 105 degrees so they put him in a bathtub and began to cool him down. The veterinarian let him sit in the tub and gave him a few more shots. Beau started shivering so we helped put him on a counter and wrapped him in towels to get him at normal temperature.

The vet and my parents were talking, I said to Beau, “You’re going to be all right”. I stepped back almost falling over because of dizziness and exhaustion, I rested against a counter for a while.

My Dad came over and said, “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

May 1990 By Josh Janicek

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Whitney’s video

It’s early Saturday morning. Elise is in the shower. We’re going to go to the Rennaisance festival in Salado today.

I was going through some old emails… here’s some Valentine’s Day videos that I shot for my friend Whitney.

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Paint it Black

“I see a red door and I want it painted black,
No colors anymore I want them to turn black.
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes,
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes.”
– Rolling Stones

Your humble narrator gets back scratches tonight. After grabbing a couple burgers for dinner tonight, El and I stopped to fill up the Trooper with a little petro. While yours truly was pumping, Elise quietly chimes “I see a mirror and I want it painted black…”

My head tilts and I ask politely “What tune do you have there?”

“Paint it Black”

“… It’s red door. ‘I see a red door and I want it painted black’…” I retort.

“No it’s not… It’s mirror. ‘I see a mirror and I want it painted black.’ Wanna bet? Back scratches?” She rebuttals.

“Okay.” Said me. I grinned on the inside.

We got home. I honestly forgot about the bet as I had scooped up a recent copy of the Thrifty Nickel and had begun reading. Elise slipped into the office to do something on her computer. She came into the living room shortly after and announced “My life has just been completely changed… I honestly thought it was ‘I see a mirror and I want it painted black.'”

That’s okay though – I was always the guy who thought AC/DC was singing “Thirty three and the Thunder Chief

I get back scratches tonight. Goodnight.

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More blood, Applebee’s, De La Hoya, Elise and Me

Luckily the workday named Friday was sucked into the violent black hole of weekend haste, making it fly by. I recruited my friend, Luciana to donate blood early in the afternoon. I walked to the Blood Bank with her and acted as coach. I neglected to tell her about the finger stick that checks for iron levels in the blood. She was mad at me. I stood there as the phlebotomist told her that her veins were really thin and that they might not be able to hit one on the first try. She glared at me again. Hey, it’s not my fault that she was constructed with narrow plumbing!

Luciana was nervous as they swabbed her arm with iodine. I talked to her about her and her husband’s upcoming weekend trip to Austin to keep her mind off of the needle that was about to jab her. Pop! Needle went in, she squinted her eyes and the blood went racing through the tube and into the bag. All went well – they were able to draw blood on the first try.

After they drew a pint, Luciana decided to watch as the needle was extracted. Again, for whatever reason, I was in trouble. I guess I was supposed to tell her that they used a 16-gauge needle to draw blood. Her eyes were the size of dinner plates when she saw the needle. She started pivoting her ankles and said “Eeeewww!” I laughed and told her that the hard part was over.

Luciana, David and I went to Applebee’s for lunch after the bloodletting. I don’t know why I let myself eat at Applebee’s. I hate that place. The funny thing was, it was my recommendation. The three of us “new kids” have lunch together once a week or so. Usually we get into either David or Luciana’s car and start driving before we decide where we’re going. There have been a few times when we spent half of our lunch hour driving around trying to figure out where we want to go. This time I just spoke up and said “Applebee’s”. I’m retarded.

David had the Chicken Fried Steak. Luciana had the half order Oriental Chicken Salad. I had the Garlic-Crusted Shrimp Caesar Salad. David’s lunch looked good. Luciana received a small plate of soggy chow mien noodles. I got the big platter of iceberg lettuce, sour mayonnaise and frozen, prepackaged seafood byproduct. I didn’t taste any garlic. It was pretty gross. My ‘shrimp’ tasted like it was dredged in the same batter that David’s CFS came from. I was hungry though, so I ate most of it.

The rest of the day flew by.

Elise and I got home around the same time. I ate a leftover chicken fried steak, inspired by David’s lunch, that I had made on Thursday. I can guarantee my CFS is better than Applebee’s. El ate leftover tacos. We ran to our local video store and rented Blade II. I really liked that movie. Cool makeup and special effects sequences. The DVD came with a separate ‘making of’ disk that was just as good as the movie. Reaper vampires rule.

I woke up early on Saturday and gave the trusty Shadow a thorough cleaning. I probably spent half an hour on the back wheel alone. After having been rained on all the way to Austin last weekend, I had accumulated quite a bit of road sludge and chain slingings. I rode over to the video store to return Blade II and to Supercuts to get my ears lowered.

It was getting hot outside when I got home, so I laid in bed, tried to nap and watch Jaws. I couldn’t fall asleep so I got up and set up our Intranet home page. An Intranet home page is pretty pointless when you have a network neighborhood icon on your desktop. Oh well… I just wanted to test out Windows 98SE Personal Website Server. That killed a good hour. While doing my preliminary research, I thumbed through my file cabinet in search of my router’s documentation. I found a ‘web guide’ for my old US Robotics 56.6k modem. I read up on all of the new and improved features for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 2.0. Wow! This browser supported tables and frames. It’s funny to see how browsers have evolved.

Elise and I left Temple around 5 p.m. for Sallie Mae’s employee picnic at Reunion Ranch, just south of Georgetown. We arrived just in time to grab a couple free beers and our fajita dinners. I opted for the beef fajitas. The meat was from either a shoulder or leg roast. I’m used to fajitas from a skirt steak. Dinner was much like any other banquet-type fare – bland to ensure satisfaction majora.

We stayed long enough to see if we won anything in the raffle. No winnings for the Janicek’s. El and I both pointed out that we’ve never won anything. Wait… I take that back. I think I won concert tickets one time from a radio station. If I remember correctly, it wasn’t a big event – perhaps some local band that played when we were living in Austin. Then again, I could just be trying to convince myself that I’ve won something before.

Sallie Mae gave away some nice prizes: PS2’s, Xbox’s, DVD players, stereos, TV’s, camcorders, cash. I kept thinking eBay, should we have won. Well, Elise would have won, so the prize’s fate would have been up to her. We didn’t stay long enough to see what the grand prize was.

I met a couple people that Elise works with. There was one girl and her husband that Elise really wanted me to meet. We never found them. We did chat with a girl with whom El works with and her family of four. The father/husband was wearing some really weird, brown contact lenses. I guess that’s a good way to make sure someone looks you in the eyes when you’re talking to them. I always thought it would be cool to get solid white contact lenses – you know, so it would look like you had ping pong balls for glazzies.

We left Reunion Ranch just shy of 9 p.m. and headed to Austin. We had to swing by Texture to pick up your humble narrator’s debit card. We left it there last Saturday night while out with Philip. Luckily we arrived early enough to beat the soon-so-be intoxicated masses on 6th Street. Texture doesn’t open until 10 p.m. Luckily I tried the door and it opened. I found the manager and got my debit card back.

We then headed to Tommy’s to watch the Oscar De La Hoya vs. Fernando Vargas fight on the 47″ wide screen. Tommy’s new TV is great and all, but after 26.8 years of watching television in a 4:3 aspect ratio, everyone looked really short. I guess when the 16:9 aspect ratio becomes mainstay, it’ll be easier to adjust.

This was a great fight. I’m not that much of a boxing fan, mainly because I’m partial to the martial arts. Just think of the havoc if these brutes used their legs. Anyway, I guess that’s why boxing and martial arts exist separate from one another.

I was going for De La Hoya. I didn’t voice my vote because, well, I usually don’t if nobody asks. Nobody asked so I smiled when De La Hoya pummeled Vargas in the 12th round. They both beat the crap out of each other. I don’t remember what weight class Vargas and De La Hoya are in, but I like watching the smaller guys fight because they don’t hug each other after each punch thrown. They bounced around and traded licks for the full 12 rounds. I also wanted De La Hoya to win because he’s always stood out to me as the ‘good guy’, plus, Fernando Vargas has really bad hair. Vargas was cocky throughout the whole fight. De La Hoya let loose in the 12th, nailed Vargas into the corner and the referee stopped the fight. It was exhilarating, for lack of a better word.

We left Tommy’s in the wee hours of the morning to head back to bustling Temple. In the car, Elise asked me what the date was. I told her “September 15th”. She asked if I knew what today was. I engaged myself in a frantic inner monologue, queried my random access cranial database and came up with nothing. I knew it wasn’t our anniversary – that’s on the 22nd. I was ready to get myself into trouble for not remembering some significant relationship milestone. I was reminded that on September 15th, four years ago, Elise and I had our first date.

Girls remember that sort of thing. The only reason I [should have] remembered that date is because we tried to have our wedding on that very date. It was also our boyfriend-girlfriend anniversary. We couldn’t have our wedding on September 15th because someone else had already reserved our [El’s] church. So, we opted for the following Saturday.

I first met Elise in 1997 in the Saint Edward’s photo lab. I was but a Photo II student, trying to break free of my Computer Science major that I was doing extremely poorly in. Elise was a photo lab monitor. I fell in love with her when I first laid eyes on her. I don’t remember exactly what she was wearing that day – all I remember is that she had a bandana in her hair and my mind was set on finding a way to flirt and eventually ask her out.

I rearranged my lab schedule so I could be sure to be doing my photo work during the hours in which Elise was lab monitor. I was never the outgoing, “hey, give me your phone number” type guy. Like clockwork, there was a reciprocating element of flirting that ensued. The indirect flirting began by telling jokes in the company of my classmates in the gang room while developing pictures. Eventually Elise and I started talking more one on one as the semester progressed. I never asked her out. I thought she was too cute to not be one of the most popular girls on campus. I was intimidated by my thoughts that she already had a boyfriend, or had dates lined up for the rest of her college tenure.

Yours truly was, at the time, stuck in a dead-end relationship. Elise was very much desired but I guess I settled for the comfort and past I had with dead-end friend. I guess I was afraid to take the risk and just ask Elise out on a date. I’ve never really dated before – you know, played the field. It seems like I always just had a girlfriend.

On the ride back from Tommy’s house on Sunday morning, I told Elise that I owe a lot to a girl named Traysie. Around the time that I first me Elise, I went out on a ‘double date’ with some college friends and dead-end friend. Brent and I were big into playing pool at the time. He and I put our quarters up on a table at Fat Tuesday’s, a 6th Street bar that we frequented. We were waiting on two girls of the same age to finish their game. The two girls decided that Brent and I had to play them for the table.

Well, Brent and I won the game – and to make a long story short, I won the girl. The two girls we played pool with were Traysie and Darian. I flirted with Traysie and she flirted back. I was doing this in the company of dead-end friend. Even as tears were shed before leaving the bar, I slipped Traysie my phone number with the old handshake trick.

Traysie called me the next day. She and Darian were from Dallas and in town for the weekend. Brent and I went and had dinner with them at Carlos and Charlie’s on the lake. Because of my failure to ask Elise out and the realization that I was in a bad relationship, I finally decided to take the risk with Traysie. That ‘date’ finally started the end of my sentence with dead-end friend.

Traysie and I didn’t last very long. A few months maybe. I forgot how that one ended – I don’t really care to remember. She was really annoying. Despite that, she was the reason I finally broke all ties with dead-end friend.

For the first time, ever since the hair on my legs started getting longer and darker and my voice started cracking, I was a bachelor. My parents were nice enough to let me live in a one-bedroom apartment. I was truly a bachelor. I was happy. I met a lot of the friends that I still have to this day. We did stupid bachelor things and I enjoyed the time being a single man and hanging out with other guys.

I started working hard at the country club, made some decent money, figured out what I wanted to do in school and my grades started to improve. I was genuinely happy.

The Fall semester started. Elise Boeckman and I were in the same Digital Imaging class. Whoa boy! I was happy being single, but Elise was the girl of my dreams. I couldn’t believe we were in the same class together!

El and I recently discussed fate, soul mates and being in the right place at the right time. I think that what I’m about to tell you is a combination of all three. I soon found out that Elise was the new person who moved into the apartment right below me.

At the time, I wasn’t 100% sure that she was the one who did, in fact, move in to apartment #410. Not wanting to pass up this opportunity, I did an email directory search on the St. Edward’s mail server. I emailed Elise to remind her of who I was and to ask if she lived in the Bristol Square apartments.

A few days later, I received a response. It was her. She lived below me. For yours truly, life was taking a turn for the better.

On the same day that I received Elise’s email response, James and I were going to Radio Shack for a little cell phone service. Elise was coming home from a day at school. We passed in the parking lot. I introduced James and Elise. Without hesitation, I asked Elise if she would like to accompany me to the Tavern for drinks with some of my coworkers later that evening. She said yes.

The rest, as they say, is history. Elise showed up at the Tavern and came upstairs to find me and my coworkers. I immediately forfeited my game of pool and spent the remaining hours sitting on a bar stool in front of the Spy Hunter arcade game next to the girl of my dreams. We talked about everything that night. For some reason, I knew that when she showed up, I wasn’t going to ever let her go.

That was September 15th. We’ve been together ever since – me and the girl of my dreams. Even though we lay side by side every night, I still dream about her. Every morning I look at her and try to fathom what I did to deserve a lifetime with such a wonderful person. I have to do this carefully though, I wouldn’t want to wake her with one of my eye boogers falling and hitting her on the forehead.

Elise recently told me that I was a good provider, that she would follow me anywhere and that she just wants me to be happy. All of this was really hard to swallow. It’s a quite a reality check to hear that from the one you love – it’s also very flattering. Everything that I do, I do with El in mind. I love her so much that I don’t want her to have to ever endure any pain or worry. I know that’s impossible, but that’s one of my “no matter whats”. I want Elise to be the happiest person in the world, no matter what. She’s too beautiful to not be.

Four years with Elise have flown by and there are only days until our first wedding anniversary. I’m happy. I’ve never been more happy.

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Discover 2GO

This is terrific! This is what everyone needs! It’s quick. It’s compact. It’s for the intelligent consumer who’s on the go! Introducing the new Discover 2GO Card. Look at all of its awesome features: the Key Chain Option, Protective Case and Removable Clip. Notice they don’t show you the flip side of this convenient purchasing power tool? That’s because the people at Discover want to hide the little red stress button. The button that, once pressed, immediately destroys your financial independence and well-being.

I’ve seen the television commercials for this new card a couple times now. Everyone is smiling – of course they are – Discover wants you to think that their credit card will give you freedom and happiness.

The man at the counter at the retailer is smiling because he has a cool new 2GO card. Meanwhile, his little boy is waiting in the car in the parking lot, unbeknownst that he won’t be able to get braces or go to the college of his choice.

Uggghhhh! Why don’t they just make credit cards that come in your choice of grape, watermelon, cherry and lime flavors and hand them out to sixth graders? Hell, while we’re at it, why don’t they just go ahead and lace the ‘Protective Case’ with skin-permeable crack-cocaine?

Want to be a true American? You can opt for a regular Discover Platinum card with an American flag on it. Be a patriot, put yourself in unmanageable debt by financing your lunch, your gasoline, your clothes. Pay off one of your other credit cards with a variable interest rate and annual ‘exclusive’ membership fees.

One of my best friends was burned by the smiling people at Discover. He got a Discover card in his early 20’s. He couldn’t make the monthly minimum amount due. He had to dodge phone calls from creditors and started throwing all of his mail away without reading it. He eventually needed a vehicle. Some shark was able to get my friend a loan. I think this used truck had a sticker price of six or seven thousand dollars. Had it not been repossessed, I think it would have cost him nearly twenty thousand dollars with late fees and sky high interest rates.

That’s obviously bad money management on the part of my friend, but Discover was kind enough to step up in the beginning and show him the way to financial misery. Now he’s married, has two kids and another on the way. I really hope things work out.

I’d like to go back to school and get a degree in finance and become a teacher. I would love to teach high school kids about credit and money. That would be a awesome job.

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Gave blood today

Ouch — My arm really hurts. I donated blood this afternoon and for some reason, my right arm is really sore. If I donate one more time, I get a paid day off.

I learned how they determine your red blood percentage. That was pretty cool. The phlebotomist pricked my finger and sucked the blood into that little tube. While she was taking my blood pressure, she put my little tube into a centrifuge where the blood cells and plasma were separated. She pulled the tube from the centrifuge and showed me how my blood was separated. Pretty cool. Then she measured my blood cell to plasma ratio. I scored a 44%. You have to have at least 38% to donate.

While pumping my body wine into a bag , Mindi came and talked to me. I noticed a girl in a chair next to me. She was laying next to all kinds of cool machines. I asked Mindi what was going on over there. She told me that that girl was donating platelets – then she looked at me and did the ol’ forefinger, middle finger and thumb hand motion. You know – the one that indicates cash money. “So you stick me, give me a Little Debbie, some colored sugar water and send me on my way while this chick is sitting over there getting paid?!?!”

Mindi told me if I donate one more time, she’ll move me over to platelet donation and I can milk the cash cow too. Betty, the lady who always takes my blood, frowned and said: “Then we’ll be losing one of our regular donors!” I guess platelets go somewhere else… I don’t know. Mindi, after you read this, why don’t you comment and explain. I’ll probably just stick to plain old whole blood donations if that’s what’s needed.

I don’t need any sort of cash incentive to help out. I’d rather help out by donating what they need the most. Besides, having a friend in the Blood Center has its rewards. Right as I walk into their office, I get pinned with ribbons and buttons and stickers. I get a donor t-shirt thrown over my shoulder and get to keep the little squishy thing they give me to squeeze while I donate. I left today and looked like a kindergartener on his way home from school – strutting through the hospital, adorned with my hero sticker on my shirt, pin on my lapel, donor shirt in one hand, squishy squeezy thing in the other hand, Kool Aid mustache and Moon Pie stuck to my face. All I needed was a finger painting and a mobile made out of popsicle sticks and elbow macaroni.

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Outback, Toy Joy, Katz’s, Wood’s, Harley

Elise and I had a really great time this past weekend. It started out with Elise driving me to Killeen on Friday evening to see where she works. We then drove up and down the main highway trying to find a place to have our Friday night date. We settled on the Outback Steakhouse. El had the grilled barbeque chicken and ribs. I had the rack of lamb. El had a beer, I drank a couple pansy drinks with a straw.

We went home and Elise watched me play Time Crisis 2 on the PS2. I borrowed that game, plus a couple others from our next door neighbors to whom we finally introduced ourselves. We went to bed pretty early. Saturday was a big day.

We got up at 7 a.m. on Saturday, showered, etc. and headed to Austin. I had an appointment to have the trusty Shadow checked out at 10 a.m. It rained. For 60 + miles, your humble narrator got dumped on and sprayed by 18-wheelers. Oh well. People always ask: “What happens when it’s cold and rainy?” I get cold and wet.

We dropped the bike off and looked around the new showroom at Wood’s Fun Center. Nothing fancy, just a bigger showroom. I did sit on a Honda RC51… nice!

After leaving Wood’s, we cruised over to Holland Photo to get some more of our wedding pictures developed. Yeppers… it’s been almost a year and we still have 15 + rolls of film to have developed.

Lunchtime! We headed over to Katz’s Deli for sandwiches. Elise had the corned beef and pastrami. I had the Reuben. We always do this: we both order an entree and then realize that we ordered too much. Eventually we’ll learn… order one meal and save some money.

Then we went window shopping. We went to Toy Joy on the Drag, then to a consignment shop where I was completely outnumbered by braless, patchouli wearing women. Ugghhh. Toy Joy was awesome. They had every knick-knack and tiddlywink you could imagine.

After all of our running around, it was time to pick up the Shadow. Then it was off to Philip’s. After watching a little MTV2 and engaging chit-chat, we decided we wanted frozen daiquiris. We went to the liquor store and to HEB to purchase an ice-crushing blender.

We went back to Philip’s apartment and made the heat quenching refreshments. We sat on the patio and shot the breeze for a couple hours. Philip had to run to a friend’s house and Elise decided she wanted to go back to HEB to get something for dinner. I stayed at Philip’s and racked my brain trying to figure out his remote controls to the TV, DVD player and the stereo.

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