vacation image originally uploaded by dougb61.

This afternoon my wife and I are finally going to begin some real vacation. We’ve been wanting it for a while and finally taking it.

We’ll be in Roan Mountain, TN for a week. The hills of Tennessee should be beautiful while we’re there. We should have some crisp and cold weather and we won’t have any technology! That’s something we’re both looking forward to and also curious how long it’ll last! LOL!

So I don’t plan to check email, blog, talk on a phone, or watch TV this week (we do have some DVDs on laptops so…). I hope to just relax, read, pray, think, enjoy the weather, beauty, my wife, and take photos. Maybe I’ll have some good ones to add to the small collection of Roan Mountain photos on Flickr (where I got the photo above).

See you next weekend.

weird resturants

I’ve been to two restaurants in as many days and had bad service. I don’t understand how these establishments would be this bad. Let me call them out:

Arizona Steakhouse in Simpsonville, SC
Food was fine. I got “blackened catfish”. But it wasn’t blackened. It was spicy and red. But it tasted fine so that was okay.

But service was horrible. The waiter didn’t care about us. He wasn’t rude. But he wasn’t ever helpful either. My nieces got ice-cream to split and they didn’t bring spoons. We asked twice to two different people to bring spoons. After several minutes we saw our waiter just hanging out talking to his buddies. So Patricia got up, walked over to him, and asked him for the spoons. He asked “How many do you need?” He had no clue.

in Simpsonville, SC
I’ve never really had good experiences at Applebee’s. I wanted to give them another chance. They are “back on the list”. The floor was filthy and they never swept it up to clean it. In fact, they sat people at the dirty table!

I ordered the “Sizzling Chicken Skillet”. It’s a Weight Watchers dish apparently. It came out warm but not sizzling. When I asked about it he said, “Yeah, that one doesn’t sizzle.” Huh?

Then they never cleared our plates. After bringing me the check, my paying, and him returning it to sign it, they still didn’t clear my empty plate. I had to push everything out of the way in order to sign the check.

What pitiful service I’ve received in these restaurants. I wonder if anyone from these places are listening.

hokies will end up like auburn

Virginia Tech isn’t going to play for a national championship this year. And that’s just too bad.

Of course writing this today I realize things can change, but I doubt it.

CBS SportsLine has a good article explaining how the 2005 Hokies are like the 2004 Auburn Tigers.

And I agree with everything they wrote…even about the hideous uniforms the Hokies wore Thursday night.

Pity. Pity for the BCS. And VT isn’t the only one who might be undefeated and not playing for a title.

We’ll have to see how the next couple of weeks play out. All the Hokies can do is just win and let everything else fall into place. Trouble is I doubt anything (namely USC and Texas) will fall.

the origin of halloween: christian?

I don’t know how you feel about Halloween, but I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it’s a lot of harmless fun for the vast majority of families (at least in the US). On the other hand, many cults and demonic groups have taken full advantage of the day to hold their own satanic rituals.

But could the origin of Halloween be Christian? Even with all the symbols associated with it today?

David reprints a very interesting article about how halloween came about. It’s a long read, but worth it if you’re interested in it all. Here’s the intro:

For nearly a generation Hallowe’en has been a bone of contention among Christians. Some celebrate it blindly, not knowing (or caring) what it may represent. Many believe it is a pagan ritual whose roots are planted in the soil of historical Druidism. Others abstain from Hallowe’en, convinced that those who celebrate it are unknowingly worshipping Satan. More and more Christians are simply ignoring the day or creating alternatives to it.

And if it is Christian, what about the obvious secularization of the holiday today? Here’s a fun explanation of the jack-o-lantern:

According to tradition, the Jack-O-Lantern is the good-natured result of an old Irish-Christian wives-tale about a miser named Stingy Jack who refused his good wife’s exhortation to go to church. Jack instead frequented saloons, were he eventually met and tricked the Devil himself into paying for the drinks. A year later, on the eve of the Hallowed Day, Jack choked to death, eating a turnip. When he arrived at heaven’s gate he was turned away as an unrepentant sinner. At the gates of hell, Satan drove him off by throwing glowing embers of hell-fire at him, still angry over being tricked. Jack was doomed to walk between heaven and hell until the Judgment Day, still carrying his half-eaten turnip, in which burned the glowing embers he had caught. They called it Jack’s-Lantern, and Christians would put them up to mark the locations of their Hallowe’en parties. According to the legend, if Satan saw such a lantern he would turn and walk the other way rather than risk meeting Stingy Jack in such a gathering.

Bottom line for me is it can be a holiday full of fun for families. I wish the church did a better job emphasizing the importance of All Saints Day on November 1 – in essence the Memorial Day for Christians. I also wish the church wasn’t being pushed around by the ungodly.

As for Patricia and I, we don’t really celebrate it. We also don’t have kids. This year we’re taking the easy way out – we’re going on vacation!

Oh, and this year’s top 10 costumes according to AOL (via Marketing Pilgrim) are:

  1. Star Wars Costumes
  2. Pirate Costumes
  3. Tinkerbell Costumes
  4. Fairy Costumes
  5. Wonder Woman Costumes
  6. The Incredibles Costumes
  7. Power Rangers Costumes
  8. Yoda Costumes
  9. Police Costumes
  10. Alice in Wonderland Costumes

No word on why “Yoda Costumes” don’t count as “Star Wars Costumes” unless it’s just on what terms are searched for. Or if Yoda counts more as a Muppet than a Star Wars character!

spam karma 2

I installed a plugin for WordPress called Spam Karma 2. Here’s why I like it. I have not “tightened down my security” on comment spam which SK2 will allow. Right now it’s set to the out of the box settings. Yet it’s still working well for me.

I got this report this morning emailed to me:

There have been 1 comment spams caught since the last digest report 1 day, 11 hours ago.

Spam summary report:

Report on comment number 1 (id=133)
Comment Author: online casino
Comment Type: Comment
Comment Content:
Nice job 🙂 Keep it up buddy! online casino ( http:// URL removed )

Spam Karma 2 Report:
Encrypted Payload: bad_karma -2.5: Encrypted payload valid: IP not matching.
Javascript Payload: bad_karma -10: Fake Javascript Payload.
Overall Karma: -12.5

In the event this had been an actual comment worthy of posting, I could go into the admin settings and approve it. But alas, I don’t know the guy ‘online casino’. Perhaps one day we’ll meet and become friends. But until then, he’s bad spam karma (2!)