Falling nuts in Georgia

For the last few weeks, I've felt like I've been in a bad episode of Dora the Explorer. There's one where Dora and Boots have to run through a forest with falling nuts, and that's exactly what is happening now in Georgia.

We have a few oak trees in our yard... actually we have about 50, and every autumn just before turning brilliant fall colors, they torture us by dropping acorns. To those who have never experienced this, if you can imagine the sound of thousands of 1" diameter rocks pelting your roof and aluminum gutters at random intervals day and night for weeks at a time, you've gotten the gist.

Some years the trees produce fewer and other years they produce more acorns. This year is one of the worst I can remember. The picture showing these acorns wasn't staged--it's an accurate reflection of how dense these things are falling and what most of the front and back yard looks like. Of course the basket was staged, but that's what my toddler was using to try and help my wife pick these up so we can avoid having a forest of miniature oak trees sprouting up in the yard.

I think one of my projects for the spring may be to take down a few trees whose branches are now hanging over the house.

Man of class vs. Man of shame

I'm not much of a golfer, but when I lived in Dallas/Fort Worth, I always attended the Byron Nelson Golf Tournament. In fact, I took my wife on our first date to the Byron Nelson Golf Tournament... along with my Dad! We had a great spot just off the green on #17 where we spent most of our time. The highlight was when Tiger Woods birdied the hole and passed within a couple of feet of us on his way to the 18th hole where he won the tournament.

So I was saddened to read that the golf legend, Byron Nelson, for whom the Byron Nelson Championship is named, died yesterday at his home near Fort Worth, Texas, at the well-lived age of 94.

Also on my Yahoo sports page is the story about Dallas/Fort Worth's most shameful athlete--the perennial embarrassment, Terrell Eldorado Owens, who reportedly attempted suicide yesterday. I have compassion on people who show the humility necessary to admit they have problems, but Mr. Owens has never been one to exhibit this. He obviously has some serious issues that need professional help, but don't expect any sympathy from Dorkydad.


Humping the living crap out of a midget

If you've subscribed to my blog via RSS, was it the title of today's blog that caught your attention? I'll explain this title in a minute.

Maybe I'm living under a rock, but I didn't realize until recently that Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, has been blogging since October of last year. Not only are Scott's Dilbert cartoons hilarious, but his blog is too... an example of such is the title of my blog today, taken from his post last Friday about Michael Jackson opening a leprechaun-themed amusement park in Ireland.

And if you're looking for something lighter, I'd steer clear of this: Scott Adams is offering his book, God's Debris, for free in pdf format. The reason?

It’s free because it’s designed to be discussed with people who have also read it. I’m confident that some percentage of the free e-book readers will be inspired to buy a physical book for friends or for their own collection. And if you like it, you might want to try the sequel, The Religion War, available only in hardcover. At the end of the e-book you’ll find some links to Amazon.com for your impulse-buying pleasure.
And a warning from Scott...
Still, God's Debris is emphatically not for everyone. Although there’s no sex or violence, I don’t recommend it for readers under fourteen unless a parent has screened it. And if you don’t like to have your perceptions challenged, this book isn’t for you. However, if you like a good book-induced buzz now and then, I think you’ll agree that the price was right.
Unfortunately, I don't see many of my conservative Christian friends reading this just as they avoided seeing The Da Vinci Code.


Free Domain Registration

I've been kicking around the idea of starting a blog completely devoted to fiscal discipline (i.e., being frugal) and unencumbered by my political and religious diatribes. If I do this, the blog probably won't be hosted through Blogger to allow me to own the domain name. So being the cheap bastard that I am, I did a Google search on "free domain registration", and I wasn't surprised to learn that a company is doing this. I was surprised to find out who: Microsoft!

Microsoft is only offering this promotion while they beta test some Office Live tools, but hey--free is free!


Not a very motivating or productive week

So let me help bring your productivity down as well with a game of Pac-Man! I stumbled upon Bunchball, a very cool site that gives away Flash-embedded code for innumerable games, widgets, photo sharing, chat, and more.


Kangaroos and train rides in the fall

The title sounds like it might be a children's book, but kangaroos and train rides are just two of the many unexpected things you'll discover in the peach state.

Those of you not lucky enough to live in Georgia should spend a vacation here, and I'd suggest fall as the season to visit. Last October we started a family tradition of visiting a "pick your own" pumpkin patch. While there is a pumpkin farm really close by, taking a weekend drive up to the north Georgia (Appalachian) mountains is half the fun (especially with gas prices finally falling!) and it gives you a chance to see fall foliage several weeks earlier than in Atlanta.

There are several pumpkin patches in north Georgia, but the one with the best reputation, and deservedly so, is Burt's Farm (see some great photos here) in Dawsonville. After taking the kids on a hayride, you can pick your own pumpkin, and then torture yourself fighting the urge to buy a pumpkin pie on your way out of their store.

As if Burt's Farm wasn't enough to put Dawsonville on the map, this small Georgia town is also home to the largest collection of kangaroos outside of the Austrailian Outback! The Kangaroo Conservation Center not only has over 200 kangaroos on its 87-acre wildlife sanctuary, but wallabies, kookaburras, and bettongs as well. We haven't yet visited the kangaroos, but I'm sure as my daughters get older we will.

Just an hour north is the main event of a memorable fall day--a 26-mile ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. The train leaves Blue Ridge, GA, and travels north to the shared downtown of both McCaysville, GA, and Copperhill, TN. We've got our tickets for the 10:00am train on Saturday, October 28, and I can't wait!


Keith Olbermann echoes my sentiments

Keith Olbermann echoes my sentiments on 9/11.


Why I think my west coast friends are crazy

Forbes has a new article out addressing the shift in real estate from a seller's market to a buyer's market. I didn't find the article that revealing, but it did point me to empirical proof that Atlanta offers terrific real estate value relative to the rest of the country.

With the nation sitting at a median housing price of $225,000, metro Atlanta has a median price of just $172,722 which is 23% less than the national average.

The title of today's post not only applies to many cities on the west coast, but Boston, Washington D.C., and Miami as well.

For my friends out west, the graph of San Diego reflects the norm in most west coast markets where the median price of a single family home is two to three times the national average, which is incomprehensible to me. While I think the views can be spectacular, perhaps I'm myopic, but I don't see the appeal of paying a 100-200% premium for the privilege of living there.


10k Test this Morning

We'll see if I'm up to the challenge. In less than an hour, I'll be running the U.S. 10k Classic race.

I thought it would be wise to rent a ChampionChip for this race to accurately time my results. Unfortunately, I neglected to anticipate how attractive a small, black, plastic device would be to a 2 1/2 year old, and its whereabouts are currently unknown. My wife and I did a frantic search last night to no avail, so I'm now on the hook for the $30 purchase price, get blacklisted from area races for up to 12 months, and risk not getting a t-shirt, or racing hat.

While I haven't been as disciplined as I would have liked, I should finish this race in ~ 45 minutes, despite the nature of the course--very hilly.


Two Milestones

Starting something and "sticking with it" isn't a trait people with ADHD are known for so I'm both surprised and pleased that I've now been blogging for over a year, the first milestone (and my first blog posting remains one of the most frequently-viewed pages).

The second milestone is one to really celebrate. The punchlist from my project house only has two items left: a second coat of paint on the garage doors & replacing two rails on the deck, which will take about an hour to complete. As a result, my family finally gets me back on the weekends. Today we had breakfast together and then went to the park to play T-ball and swing. In celebration of this momentous occasion, my wife and daughters presented me with two iTunes-created CDs, the first entitled, "Thank God It's Over".

Here is the playlist:

  1. Burning Down the House / Talking Heads
  2. Paint It Black /U2
  3. Crumblin' Down / John Cougar Mellencamp
  4. Sledgehammer / Peter Gabriel
  5. You Wreck Me / Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  6. Finest Worksong / R.E.M.
  7. Hammer and a Nail / Indigo Girls
  8. Digging in the Dirt / Peter Gabriel
  9. Building a Mystery / Sarah McLachlan
  10. Fix You / Coldplay
  11. Wonderwall / Oasis
  12. Over My Head / The Fray
  13. My Own Two Hands / Ben Harper & Jack Johnson
  14. Who Needs Sleep? / Barenaked Ladies
  15. Room Without a View / The Smithereens
  16. In Your Room / The Bangles


Insane Week

It's only Thursday, and yet I've already had an exceptionally busy week complete with my daughter's first Atlanta Braves baseball game, another trip out to the smartest city in the U.S., lunch with the smartest guy I know, my first red-eye flight in years, a job interview (which was not related to the aforementioned lunch... half-way through my interview I realized, "No way would I ever want to work for this person!"), a trip to the Atlanta Toolbank (my favorite 501c3 in Atlanta), and a crummy Falcons preseason game where the first-string players didn't even play!