Thursday, June 30, 2005


The following are NOT menu items at your local Starbuck's Coffee:

*Double Frate Latte (What about Srate latte?)
*Chi (Sorry, fresh out of life force here)
*Frape Mocha (We are not Panera)
*That frozen thing (It has a name)
*Caramel Mocha-Cheeto
*Chocolate Latte (That would be a Caffe Mocha)
*Caramel Mach-Chiato
*Vanilla Frappucino (There's Caffe Vanilla, there's Vanilla Bean...)

Size Interlude!
*Extra Large
*The Big One

*Guatemala Cargi Cello (In all fairness, this one was probably due to poor eyesight)
*Thick Dark Chocolate (That has a name too, though we're perpetually "temporarily out")
*Caramel Mach-a-whatever
*French Vanilla [insert drink here] (Seriously, why do so many people ask for it?)
*Strawberry Milkshake (No icecream here!)
*Caramel Matchee-achee (Say it with me now: Mah-key-ah-toe)
*Tazoberry, Irish Cream, Coconut (Dis-con-tin-ued)

Surely there are others...whether or not I'll put them on this list someday, who knows. In conclusion, Okies can't pronounce Italian.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Don't you hate it when you have the urge to write about something, but nothing interesting to write about? I know I do.

Approaching the bridge, my quarry was nearly within my grasp. It was a rise I had crested hundreds of times before, a crossing I had made in all weather, at all times of the day. I pressed forward with confidence, sure in the fact that if I could reach down to the depths of my determination, past the burn in my lungs, focused, the chase would be over as quickly as it began. At the top of the bridge, I stretched my legs as much as they would stretch, gravity pulling me closer to my goal with every bounding step.

Then, suddenly, my concentration was broken. My feet were behind me, not below me. I turned to protect my head and face; the right side of my body took all of the force of my charge. Then my legs were above me, then again behind me. A bite in my shoulder, an ache in my hip told me not to get up quickly. I listened. Even then, the blood left my head, and I stood, hands on hips, in a painful, dizzy daze.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

OMG! My Hip Just Popped Again!

Fuckin' hip. Oh, and btw- I am working on my capitalization, just for those of you who want me to start using capital letters. I went to Jazz in June breifly tonight with my amazing girlfriend. After that, I attended 'game night' with her at a friends house. OMG. Through out the whole thing, all I could think about was how smart and cute, and nice she is. What can I say? I'm a sucker for the beautiful smart ones. She's so sexy too, and she gives amazing backrubs, and neckrubs. She's got a great sense of humor too. The world might not come to an end if she left me, but it would be close. She's just so great I want her to be around all the time, I'm even willing to shave my face for her. Man, is she amazing or what? Well, I've gotta go now, but I just wanted everyone to know how great she is, and how much I enjoy her.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


...Richard's Occasional and Poorly Drawn Random Paint Webcomic! That's right, this is the first (and possibly last) edition of my random commentary put into poor artistic rendition. Halo the other night gave me a little inspiration...let me say that I mean no offence by any of it, of course. I would make fun of you with words anyway, I'm just adding pictures this time. Also, the guy on the left should rightly be Charles, but I don't know him well enough to characturize him in stick figure, so, he's been replaced. Wellll, I s'pose that's about it, so without further ado....

Episode I: It makes no sense if you think about it.

I had a bit too much fun drawing the sword...feel free to be brutal. Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Leggo my heartstrings, Christopher Nolan

I saw the new Batman movie, Batman Begins, last night. Truth be told, I was not expecting very much, considering the last Batman movie, with George Clooney, and the cheesy as hell plot.

Batman Begins is, far and away, the best movie of the Batman series. It is on par with Spiderman in its quality. The story was good; it was well-told, and it was well-acted. I think the casting department deserves a big thanks for putting this stellar cast together. Aside from the relative unknown playing Batman, Christian Bale (who, by the way, did an excellent job) there was Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Katie Holmes, and, my personal favorite, Liam Neeson as a ninja British guy. This movie was everything Batman should be; it was dark, gritty, and rough; it was not silly at all. It didn't quite have the comic book feel of the other Batman movies, or Spiderman, honestly, I think that made it better. Honestly, I think the reason this movie was so good has a lot to do with Christopher Nolan's direction. He proved he still knows how to convey and play with people's emotions, and put out a high quality product, even in the format of a comic book movie. He even gets one of his twists in near the end.

So, in conclusion, see this movie soon, because it's high quality, a good portrayal of Batman, and does not include the Governator trying to turn any major cities into the next ice age.

In other news, while I must admire the effort at background information, I'm afraid the game mentioned was two days ago. Yesterday's game was a victory for my Braves, who snapped a 5 game losing streak with a sound pummelling of the hometown Rangers, complete with a homerun by old man Julio Franco, my favorite non-Chipper Jones player. In my humble opinion, the player to watch in this afternoon's game will be rookie Braves pitcher Kyle Davies, who appears to be the next big thing in Atlanta pitching. Anyway, it should be fun either way. I'm going to go get ready to root root root for the visiting team.

Geeze... post about religion, and everybody freaks out. He he he. It's a good thing I like the attention. And, just for the record... blog is supposed to look like this now...stupid code, making the actual thing not look like the preview. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

He really is a nice guy...

Okay, I know we're not discriminating against eachother or whatever, but you know how it is when you get things on your mind. The recent blog frenzy in which we've been participating has brought me to Lori's blog, where a recent post regarding the existence of God got me thinking (not so much the whole post, just a few choice things). First was this quote:

"LIFE HANDS OUT SHIT AT COMPLETE RANDOM. GET USED TO IT. Random. Random. Random. Random... I'm sick of whiney Christians. It's not God. It's Lady Luck and Y-O-U. Deal with it. "

Amen, says I. It's a crazy world, and sometimes bad things happen to good people. While I agree that "the Lord works in mysterious ways," he doesn't control everything and everyone in the universe at once. Where's that in the Bible, I ask? I've never read that part. Do you feel possessed and puppetted by the Holy Spirit? I know I sure don't. God didn't send the tornados that ravaged Moore; he didn't send the rapists that screwed up the people who call into Loveline; he didn't tell that drunk guy to drive and kill a whole family. Harsh, maybe, but also true. Which brings me to the other quote that got me thinking:

"Here's the way I see it, put plainly and simply...If God's real, he's a total jerk and he doesn't come close to deserving me to fall on my knees and worship him. "

Yeah, I wouldn't worship the sadistic kid-with-a-magnifying-glass God you think of either. Thing is, that's not the God I've come to know over the years. The God I know is not a jerk. The God I know is loving, benevolent, and rich in grace and mercy. It seems to me that the problem is that people don't ever try to get to know him. If you really try to get to know him, I doubt you'd disagree with me. Once you do get to know him, he really is a nice guy. I, for one, am proud to worship him, and feel sorry for Christians who think God is making their life miserable.

Yes, I know, I've taken the quotes out of context, but it was the ideas they express that got me thinking. If you disregard the whole atheist thing, the sentiments are pretty similar, though mine is considerably more optimistic.

Don't blame God for your troubles. Ask him for whatever help he can give, and then press forward as best you can. If success doesn't come at first, get back on the horse. God's still there to give you a hand.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Useful Things

Okay, Mr. and Mrs. Smith: Great action movie. There's not really much to analyze here. Decent story, subtle humor, not-so-subtle was everything an action movie should be. I know most of you have seen it, but if you've not, see it.

We learn some useful info in this movie:
*In car chases, minivans are superior to Beemers with ambitious drivers, mainly because of their high-quality oh-shit handles.
*Home Depot-esque stores are great for gunfights!
*Yes, you really can hide a bomb in a little black dress.
*Grappling hooks from building to building in downtown New York are inconspicuous, and will not be noticed by anyone.

and, most importantly:
*History majors kick ass.

I also learned some useful ways to mess with the appearance of my blog, so don't be too shocked if things start to look better around here. (Thanks Meagan!!)

Storm chasing/tornado photography is ALL about repositioning.

Strawberry Crepes are good....oh wait, I already knew that one.

Still no word on whether or not "Bwoop!" means "Come over here" in Police Siren speak.

Also, Norah Jones is awesome.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Short Post

For Sean and Meagan. Here you go. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

As the voice of Alan Kalter echoed in my head...

As most of you know, I drove to the fabulous state of ARRRRRRR-Kansas this last friday for a weekend with the family. The vacation itself was not very eventful; it was much more relaxing than anything else. The trip up, however, was a bit more...uh, exciting?

First of all, let me say that I love OKC rush hour traffic. I'm sure the city is a bit wimpy if you compare it to DC, LA, NYC, or some other acronym, but it's a pain nonetheless. Elizabeth and I sat in the traffic, never exceeding twenty MPH for about forty five minutes, traveling a grand total of 3 miles. At the end of these three miles, my heart first rose, then plummeted to the depths of some sort of traveler's oblivion. As we accelerated up to 60, I heard the telltale thumpity-thumpity-thumpity of my left-front tire being completely screwed.

Saving it was never really an option. First of all, I didn't have adequate shoulder room to pull over on the highway. I had to drive nearly a quarter mile on the flat to the nearest exit. I pulled off onto the four-lane frontage road, and by the time I made it into the right lane, the wheel was making horrible sounds, and little chunks of rubber were being flung up at the windshield. So, with my car half in the road and traffic hastily detouring around me, I clicked on the flashers and went out to survey the damage.

This tire was in the worst condition that I've ever seen on an actual tire. Did you ever know there was woven material that resembles shag carpet in tires? Yeah, neither did I. The closest comparison I can make is a bit outdated. Remember a few years back when the firestone tires on Ford Explorers were coming apart in traffic? (The Late Show with David Letterman is brought to you by Firestone's Exploding Tires! KABOOM!!!) Well, it looked kinda like those.

If you think sitting in rush hour traffic is fun, I would highly recommend changing a tire on a busy frontage road in the heat of the afternoon. Kids these days don't appreciate high quality fun like that. It's not as though we were helpless out there. Unfortunately, I've had to change tires in a pinch before, so I knew what to do. What made it interesting was the location of the car. There was about a foot of shoulder on the road. The rest of my car was just sitting out in the lane. With the tire on the left side, I had to sit in the road to do the work, and while I managed to confine myself to the space of the right lane, the cars were still closer than I would have liked them. I had Liz stand in the road behind the car to make us more visible. Thank God she was there. The exchange with a woman who stopped to see if we needed any help was somewhat disconcerting:

"Do you need some help?" she said.
"Thanks, we've got it." I replied.
"Oh, I didn't even see you there." she chuckled.

There were five different people that tried to stop and help, which were all either, as my sister put it, "creepy-looking guys", or middle-aged women in vans. Still, it was somewhat encouraging that so many people, in this day and age of "everybody and their dog's a rapist", that so many people should stop and offer to help. It's the kind of thing that makes me smile and be happier about the world we live in.

So, after I got the spare put on, I called my dad about a good place to get a new one, he suggested the Edmond Walmart, and so we were off, 5 miles or so down back roads, and we were there. We had to wait an hour there, but we got a new tire on, and it got us up to ARRRRR-Kansas, however delayed. Of course, it was slightly the wrong size, so we had to get it replaced while we were up there, and my alignment's most likely all out of whack, but I'll get that resolved soon enough. It takes a whole hell of a lot more than a flat tire to get me down, that's for damn sure.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Hope Amidst Tragedy, or Something Like That

Yesterday, I got up early. The brakes on my car have been squeezing for a couple of months now, and I finally went to get them inspected. So, I sat down in the waiting room with Rising Sun (a good book, so far) and got down to what I anticipated being a good hour or two of reading time.

Fifteen minutes later, Rick the repair guy comes in and calls my name, then proceeds to tell me that my brakes are fine. The front brakes have about half a pad left, and the rear look like they've been done recently. So, with my car's clean bill of health, I left quick car and proceeded to drive around for the hell of it, because yesterday morning, the weather was just about perfect, 70's, mostly cloudy, light breeze; let me tell you, it doesn't get much better.

As I drove down the Lindsey extention with my windows down, singing along with the radio, enjoying the day, it dawned on me that for the past ten years or so, I've lived a mere 18 miles from a national monument, and had never been. For a history buff like me, I find that unacceptable. So here's the perfect opportunity: I've got a few free hours, nothing to do, and a lovely day for walking around outside. So, I turned over to the interstate and headed north, toward downtown, and the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

In the past, mostly on trips up to Edmond, I'd seen the sign for it, and thought that I should go sometime, but never actually considered it until yesterday. Really, the more I thought about it, it's the kind of thing I wanted to do alone. I could move at my own pace, be reflective if I wanted, be incredulous if I wanted, or bawl like a little girl if I wanted. Really though, I was less interested in the memorial than I was in seeing the place where it happened, refining my mental pictures of that morning years ago, getting a sense of what it must have been like for the people there.

The drive up was splendid. The interstate was moving pretty fast, and the Buzz played four or five good songs in a row, boy, was I surprised. I no problems getting there, there's clear signage for it downtown. It took me a bit of driving to find a good parking space, but that was the worst of it. I plunked a dollar in the meter, and walked over.

The memorial itself is rather lovely. I walked up from the east, where all you can see of the actual memorial as you approach is the gate to the east of the reflecting pool. Once inside, I was greeted with a peaceful scene, with lots of trees, well-manicured grass, the reflecting pool, and then the things that actually seem monumental: the empty chairs, the gates, and the wall of the platform surrounding the survivor tree. I spent the next hour strolling around the grounds, reading plaques, remembering, and just enjoying a beautiful day in the city.

While it wasn't really a very emotional morning, there were a few things there that made a particular impact on me. The first was the crappy building that would have been across the street at the time of the attack, but now houses the memorial's museum in addition to some other offices. The south wall of the building is dented, with chunks missing here and there, some windows bricked over, and two graffiti. To see some of the damage that the bomb caused still standing in a building today brought a strange sense of the past for me. The graffiti only enhanced that. The first message I saw pre-dated the bombing. It read "Don't enter the alley." There is no alley there; the building on the other side was so damaged it had to be torn down. The other message was painted on the wall by an emotional rescue worker. It read "Team 5, 4-19-95, We search for the truth. We seek justice. The courts require it. The victims cry for it. And God demands it!" These two messages from the past went a long way in helping me realize the depth of the destruction caused that morning.

Another area of impact for me was the fence line. Along the west side of the memorial, two sections of chain link fence that were part of the fence blocking off the lot during the cleanup and demolition of the Murrah Building still stand, complete with the mementos left there over the years by victim's relatives, school children, and tourists. There were things there from at least 15 states, and numerous little trinkets and pictures. What left the deepest impact though, was a picture with a note attached from the family of a New York firefighter who had done rescue work at the bombing and died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. That's more tragedy than any person needs to see in a lifetime.

Something that really amazed me there was the survivor tree. The tree is a large elm that was in the parking lot across 5th from the federal building. There's an aerial photo at the memorial of the area taken the day of the bombing. The parking lot was littered with debris; cars were thrown against the back of the lot, and just standing there was this huge tree, seemingly unaffected by the days events, a tree that I could look over and see as I studied the picture, standing there in much the same fashion, only yesterday, it was surrounded not by destroyed cars and pieces of building, but by families taking pictures, and park rangers talking to tourists. It, like the graffiti and the fence, gave a sense of continuity to the whole thing. It was a reminder of what happened there, not of the tragedy, but that life goes on in the face of tragedy.

Another such reminder, and by far my favorite moment of the morning was when I was coming back up from the fence on the west side of the memorial. As I got up near the reflecting pool, a mother duck with 1, 2, 3, 4... 9 babies in tow waddled into the pool. They didn't get any swimming done, the pool is only two or three inches deep, so they just walked through the pool, paying no attention to the people there. A little kid to my right likened them to Jesus, walking on water. They crossed the pool and went up into the field of empty chairs. The rest of the time I was there, that family of ducks frolicked among the names of the dead. It was a more profound, however unintended, symbol of life going on among horrible tragedy than any memorial designer could have hoped for. In fact, I would be willing to bet that had ducks been suggested, the designer would have been scorned, laughed out of the boardroom, and viewed as a disrespectful idiot.

After about an hour there, the sun came out and it started to get hot outside. I had seen pretty much everything besides the museum, which I was going to skip anyway. I gave the site one last look, then walked back to my car and headed for home. I left the memorial feeling like I accomplished what I came for. It definitely reminded me of the reality of the bombing, something I think a ten year old kid watching the news can't really comprehend fully. I found it quite amusing that I took the most emotional impact not from any of the symbols left there by the hands of men, not by the somewhat morbid empty chairs, not by the 9:01 and 9:03 gates, not by the artwork of young children, but what amounts to two accidents of nature. Things that you can't anticipate, in this case a sturdy tree and a family of ducks going about their business, brought me more emotion as reminders of life than any of the reminders of death that I saw that morning.