Sunday, October 31, 2004

I never said law students were smart.

I should preface this story with a little known tidbit about myself; Whenever I'm alone I have a tendency to run 3rd party commentary about everything I do. Some people call this talking to themselves, but mine is more like play by play action. I don't know why I do this, but I've done it since I was about 8. I'll catch myself chiding myself for stepping in a hole crossing the street, or for dropping something in a store. All while calling myself by my name. It was really bad when I lived by myself for 2 years, and I'm certain my neighbors thought I had a roommate for all the talking I did. Part of the reason I got a cat was so that I could pretend I was addressing him, though I'm not sure that talking to a cat is much above talking to no one in particular on the sanity scale.

The other day, I'm checking out of a Wal-mart up near Indy, and because it was late, the cashiers had all apparently went on an extended break. I found myself in front of one of those self-scanning registers. This normally doesn't pose a problem for me since (1) the Jesus Town actually has them in our Kroger, and (2) I used to be a cashier for said Kroger back before the age of the U-Scan.

But that night, it was a bit different because I was buying a CD. I knew that it might be difficult because of the security strip in it, but I went ahead and started my order anyway. I saved the CD for last, and when I scanned it, a message appeared on the touch screen computer telling me to "touch the barcode of the CD to the star before bagging." This message was accompanied by CD shaped box on the screen with a big star in the center. At this point, I was talking out loud asking myself "what the heck will touching this cd to the computer screen do?" And I stared for a little while, and then did what any idiot would do, and held the CD up to the screen. Now the difficult part was that there were 2 barcodes on the CD. So I kept flipping it over each way, and pressing it against the perfectly CD shaped box on the screen while nothing happened.

The talking to myself continued as I still was waiting for the star to go away or something. It finally did disappear and gave me my total, and by this point, I was telling myself how suspicious this machine was. Then I start looking around the scanner, on the sides, next to the bagging area, and elsewhere, and finally find the remnants of a star sticker on the back of the register. The tip of 1 point remained where numerous customers had outwitted the literal message on the screen and desensitized their materials by pulling them across that sensor.

Now I'd like to think I provided some much needed entertainment for the security staff that late in the evening. The entire time I was shopping in the store, I kept hearing someone calling a manager back to the video security area. By the time I left, I was certain they were doing so to show him tapes of morons like me who can't figure out the self-scanners. If they have accompanying audio, I'm sure they're in for a treat. The only thing that would have completed my humiliation would be to have had Chuck with me so that he could have laughed his ass off at me, and then brought it up in conversation every chance he could for the next 6 months.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Planning Ahead

I was listening to Jesus Radio tonight, and the family segment was on the topic of phone calls during dinner. Long story short, the lady said that eating dinner as a family around the table is the most important time of day. As such, any interuptions take away from the family time. She described how annoying it is for the phone to ring while eating. Then she suggested that you never answer the phone during dinner, except if you were expecting an emergency phone call.

So let this be your warning. If you're planning on having an emergency during dinner time, I now require 24 hour notice of said emergency so I know whether I can pick up the phone or not.

And on this topic, I'd be remiss not to point out that growing up, we only ate about 1 meal as a family a month. And I think we all turned out decidedly functional. Actually, I think dinner time is a bad idea because all the togetherness just provides more opportunity for the kids to bicker with one another or gripe about the food. So save yourselves the trouble and saddle up with a microwave meal in front of the TV and keep the dining table for more important matters (such as clothing and book storage like I do.)

Monday, October 25, 2004

"Kill the Old People, it's Good for our Country"

Driving in to school today, I heard the most offensive political ad I've ever heard. It was for a guy who was running for state senate, and I wish I could remember his name so I could mock him. At first I thought I'd misheard part of the ad, but then it went on to the point that there was no mistaking what he said.

He said that this country is in a health care crisis, and the elderly are to blame. Quoting some statistic about 80% of prescription drugs are for people over 60, he then said that we need to quit wasting funds on older people and spend them on enhancing the lives of younger people. I don't remember the exact wording of the ad, except for his tagline which was; "I believe in young, healthy lives, not prolonged deaths."

Wow. So I guess it would be safe to assume that this dude would be for elimination of people who don't meet his quality of life standard. I hope he realizes that one day he's going to be older and he better not expect the "younger" generation to help him out.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

The All American Game

I've caught the last 3 games in each series leading up to the World Series, and am by chance watching the 1st of this series now. I'm not much of a baseball fan, and don't understand it quite as much as other sports. It's the one sport my dad doesn't care for so I never grew up with a game on in the background. I could hold my own in a game of hockey, football, or basketball, but I'm still learning in baseball.

3 things I learned about the game this week:
1. The American League pitchers don't bat. Still haven't figured out if this is just a rule when they play other AL teams, or if it's the case all the time. If so, when AL plays an NL team, do the NL pitchers not bat, or do both bat?
2. A batter can run for a base if the catcher drops the third strike. Now, not certain if this is always the case, or only when 1st is free. It would seem logical only if the base was free, otherwise the fielding team would have a force out throw at second. But I'm not sure.
3. The GM for the Cardinals bears an uncanny resemblence to Pete Rose.

I've heard quite a bit of flak about the last one. It's usually divided along gender lines with women agreeing with me, and men telling me that I'm nuts. That could be because the only men I've asked were my dad (who lived in Cinci and was a Pete Rose fan even though he didn't watch the game much) and my brother-in-law (who is a diehard Cardinals fan). Maybe I should ask someone more objective.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


So I've never been one to be a baby person. But when you have a baby as cute as her, I can't help but want to be over to see her and hold her all the time. She rarely, if ever cries, and doesn't take a pacifier. She's just content to sit and stare at the world around her. Who could blame her when my family is so crazy I'm certain we're constant entertainment at all times. But I just wanted to say that if I'm not posting much this week, it's because I'm on break and driving the sis and baby all over town. Someone's gotta do it.

Eventful times.

So I've been a little lax on posting lately. What with the perfect baby and the perfect wedding over the weekend, there was little time for anything else. In fact, I'm only here for a few minutes before I go back to see my favorite niece.

And speaking of which, we were there visiting on Sunday when the most exciting thing in town happened. A man had overdosed on his medications and the sheriffs were chasing him through the woods behind my sister's house. We knew this because my brother in law has an emergency services radio since he's a fire fighter and we were following the play by play. (He was actually supposed to be out there helping, but my sister called him when he left to go help and expressed a few choice words about how he needed to get back to the house immediately.) But anyway, they had the helicopter out spotlighting the area, and when they came on to say they had him in the light, I looked out the patio doors and the helicopter was practically in my sister's back yard. Exciting stuff to watch from your house I must say.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Making her debut.

My niece was born yesterday (October 12) at 4:23 in the afternoon. She had quite an eventful day, but I won't get into those details yet. Her name is J and she weighed 5 lbs 7 oz. And no that's not a typo. She was a week overdue and yet she's the size of a preemie. Apparently there was something wrong with her placenta, but everything is ok. I might be a bit biased but I think she's the cutest baby there right now.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Hog Wild

The title of this post corresponds to the day at church we had yesterday. We had celebration that included hay rides, carnival games, and ham and beans. And of course, the kiss a pig contest, and the catch a pig contest. Both of which probably violated some PETA regulations.

It was cute to watch the kids chase a pig around the arena. The preschool and elementary kids had a pig that was about the size of Babe, and they got progressively older as the competitors got older. And they had "greased" them down with soap, so it was added fun.

Then they had a competition to raise money to see who should kiss a pig. Going into the night, my dad (church administrator) was leading the competition. But the choir director got a late surge and then ended up "winning". So she had to kiss it. And then they still allowed people to donate money and designate for someone to kiss it, so my dad ended up having to follow suit. But again, it was a baby one, with a feather collar on, so it wasn't like it had just come from the trough.

But I must say, this all was a bit crazy even for the Jesus Town. At one point, I turn to my sister and we just look around us at the getup in church parking lot and wonder what it must have been like to grow up somewhere where pig chasing wasn't even a possible occurrence.

That's some Smarts.

One of my high school friend's sister's wedding announcement appeared in the paper the other day. She's marrying a guy who has a PhD in aeronautics and time space continuum, or something of the like, and he is an advanced astrophysicist with NASA. I guess I didn't realize that people like that actually existed.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

The Grizzly Part II

[ UPDATE: The story has now made it to CNN, MSNBC and the like. I'm not understanding the hype, but my cousin's name doesn't appear very often, which will likely preclude the book deal as my dad likes to joke. Though his name is omitted out of the fact that his legal matters aren't completely taken care of just yet.]

I visited my cousin tonight and got to see pictures of the bear that was killed. I also got clarification of the situation. We told him what we had heard and he gave us what really happened. Even the newspaper stories are getting it wrong. He's a bit reluctant to talk about it because he's still in a bit of emotional shock, and he also doesn't find it appropriate to discuss until he's been fully cleared by the U.S. District Attorney. This may change since the feds gave him permission, and he and the hunter that was injured have been contacted by CNN, the Today Show, and Good Morning America.

My cousin didn't see the bear when it was attacking his friend. They were flushing out elk, and he heard a shot. The other guy had shot at the bear, but missed. The bear pinned him to the ground and bit off most of the guy's lower face. He ended up falling into a space between two logs, played dead, and the bear left. My cousin, who was 100 yards away started to hear the rustling and thought it was an elk. When it came through the brush, it was at full gallop toward him and at a distance of 12 feet. The rest is all details he explained to the investigating officers, who said they were 99.9% sure he did the best thing to avoid being the next victim.

He had to wait with them while they did the "autopsy" and followed all the federally required standards. Which, I was surprised to learn, included cutting off it's paws and head, and then skinning it too see for sure how many times it was shot. The bear was over 6 feet from nose to tail and it's back paws were 10 inches across. The feds said it was the largest a grizzly bear can grow in North America.

We'll see if they get a national TV debut, though it's unlikely at the point because my cousin refuses to talk about it. He's still in too much shock and too worried about the friend who has to undergo extensive plastic surgery. But for now, newspapers and radio shows such as Paul Harvey have been reporting it. Quite a day for an average guy from the Jesus Town.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


It's the Day Before Due Date Day. Or at least according to my sister's calculations. Her doc would say it's the Day Before a Week till Due Date Day. I prefer to call it the Day Before Heidi Loses Her Mind and Drags Her Sister to the Hospital to Get it Over with Already So She Can Stop Hearing About it Day.

Patience is not my greatest quality.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Speelling Bea

This past Sunday, my family participated in a Walk for ALS. Some of you may remember that my uncle passed away from this disease in March. We have participated in this walk since my uncle was diagnosed 2 years ago, and this was our 3rd walk.

Well we wore our group shirts that we made for our first walk. The shirt had big red letters that spelled out our team name. Our team name was "Crusin' with Hughes" and we consisted of my family (3 teachers), my uncle's coworkers (teachers) and my aunt's coworkers (teachers). For those of you English speakers, read our team name again.

That's right kiddies. I spent 3 years walking around with 3 inch block letters that misspelled the word 'cruising'. And to top it off, we only found out about it after a 7 year old walked by me and I overheard her tell her mom that our team didn't know how to spell our own team name. I looked at my dad's shirt, and realized she was right, and then proceeded to blame each and every one of the teachers on our team for not catching it.

I'm a law student. I'm not expected to know how to spell.

Tales of my Family

I promise the following story is true, to the best of my knowledge. It's as it was told to me by my mother, who heard it from my aunt, who heard it from my other aunt, who was told by her son, my cousin.

My cousin and some of his acquaintances went out west last weekend to go hunting. I'm not sure what they were hunting for, but that's pretty much irrelevant. At some point on Sunday, they decided to split up from each other for a while. My cousin was waiting for whatever prey he was hunting, and heard bloodcurling screams coming from near him.

So the cousin runs to where he hears the screaming and finds his friend, being mauled by an 8 foot grizzly bear. (He found out later that by this point, the friend had used MACE on the bear, and when that didn't stop him from attacking, he shot the bear twice.) At the point my cousin arrives, the friend is being mauled, so he somehow gets the bear's attention (this part wasn't clarified to me) and the bear turns on him. The cousin ends up shooting the bear twice more, and finally brings him down at about 6 feet from him.

The friend ended up being helicoptered out and underwent 5 hours of surgery to stabilize him. The cousin told his mom that he was so scared, he actually crapped himself. The friend is stable now, but from what I understand, his face is completely messed up.

So I'm sure by now, some of you have figured out the end of the story. (At least those of you with pessimistic legal minds.) My cousin is was detained because he killed a grizzly bear, and it's illegal in all states. He's being "investigated" for the murder of an endangered species. The police apparently insisted that he should have first used his MACE before shooting. Which would be a logical question except for the fact that (1)everyone knows that for MACE to be effective, the bear would have had to be on top of him by that point to get the MACE in its eyes. And (2) when he found the bear, it was mauling his person on the ground.

They took him back out to the scene, and made him recreate the whole incident, at which point, they finally realized that he wasn't making it up. I'm no police officer, but I think that the friend being in critical condition in a nearby hospital and my cousin's crap stained pants would be enough to tell me that this was a justified killing.

As it stands now, the case is pending and my cousin's gun was confiscated. They did a bear autopsy and found that the bear was tagged and being followed by the government. Apparently the bear had been taken 200 miles away from that spot in May because it was attacking animals on local farms, and had made the trek back in the past months.