Categotry Archives: What the heck was THAT?


An Interview With Myself on the Occasion of My FIVE HUNDREDTH POST


Categories: fun, What the heck was THAT?

Last summer, I interviewed myself on the occasion of my two hundredth blog post, and it was so popular (especially with me) that I simply had to invite myself back to celebrate post 500. Here is the conversation I had with myself…

Q: Good to have you back, Jeff. Congratulations on 500 posts!
A: Good to be back, Jeff. How have you been?

Q: I’ll ask the questions, okay?
A: Fine. Shoot.

Q: Can you believe you have written 500 posts in a year and a half?
A: Nope.


The One Thing I’ll Miss Most About Tulsa


Categories: random stuff, What the heck was THAT?

I gotta be honest–despite all I’ve learned in my ten years in Tulsa, and despite the friendships I’ve had, and the wonderful sense of community with house church…there are a lot of things about Tulsa that I won’t miss.

But here’s one thing they have here that they don’t have in Denver, and something I’ll definitely miss:

QuikTrip is without a doubt the best convenience store ever. The folks who invented it and designed it are geniuses.


A (Sort of) Funny Thing Happened While Trying to Get Ready for My Trip


Categories: random stuff, What the heck was THAT?

So the morning before we are supposed to leave for Denver, I get in the car to go run errands. And the car struggles a little bit to start.

I thought, That’s odd; normally this starts right up.

I turned it off and tried again. Same thing–it started, but coughed and sputtered.

Uh, oh. Better have the battery tested, just to be sure. I’d hate to have it fail on the road.

I’d already spent about $500 last week at the dealer for tires and maintenance work; it took them three days (when it shouldn’t have) and I had to borrow a PT Cruiser from them. So I didn’t want to go back there.

So I took it to a mechanic shop that a friend had recommended, told them about the sluggish starter, and asked them to test the battery.

Sure, no problem, the guy said. So I stepped into the waiting room and, um, waited.

A few minutes later, I looked up and out the window into the service bay, to see why it seemed to be taking so long to test the battery. And there are about five mechanics gathered around my car…looking and digging around in the trunk!

Several startling thoughts crossed my mind at once:
  • What are they doing with the trunk open?
  • Why do they need the trunk open to test the battery?
  • Why are there so many mechanics gathered around my car?
It was just a little unnerving. Plus, I had groceries sitting in the trunk. Nothing incriminating or anything…but would YOU want five greasy mechanics digging through your groceries?

So the guy I’d talked to came back into the shop. So I asked him: “Can you tell me why you have my trunk open?”

He said, “We’re looking for the battery.”

Several thoughts crossed my mind at once:
  • Why are they looking for the battery in my TRUNK?
  • Wouldn’t the battery be in another part of the car? Like the front, maybe? Under the hood, where the battery always is?
  • Why does it take five mechanics to locate a car battery?
  • And why can’t these FIVE MECHANICS find the battery?
  • This can’t be good.
For a brief moment, it was like living in an episode of “Home Improvement.” You know, where some interesting problem with a car draws a bunch of greasy, grunting guys around–none of whom really seems to know what they are doing–to be the first to solve the problem.

Turns out they had located the connection points under the hood (separate from the battery itself) and sure enough, the battery was failing. They just couldn’t figure out where the actual battery was!

Finally, one guy figured it out. You could sort of see it buried under a bunch of other stuff in the engine…sitting in the wheel well on the driver’s side.

That’s right…in my car, for some reason, you have to take off the front wheel and pry off the inside cover, to change the battery.

It’s a conspiracy, I tell you.

Anyway, the battery is replaced now. I feel kinda bad saying this, but I didn’t really trust those guys to do it. Plus I just don’t think you should have to pay labor charges to change a battery, even if the car is purposely designed that way. But…knowing how me and cars don’t always get along, I didn’t trust myself to do it, either.

So I thanked the keystone mechanics, went to an auto parts store, bought a battery, and bartered with a trusted friend to change it for me.


Marketing Slogans Doomed to Fail


Categories: fun, What the heck was THAT?

Okay, readers, this is totally random…but time for a little game. Let’s use our imagination…(put on your widdle pwetend hats…)

Let’s pretend we have this mediocre product to sell–say, a brand of sugar-free gum. Our gum came in 4th place in national taste tests.

We’ll call it–Smackers.

Smackers® Sugar-Free Gum.

Now…we’re the advertising crew. And our job is to come up with a slogan for Smackers® Sugar-Free Gum. But the fact is, we suck just as bad as the gum does. So we come up with all these slogans that are doomed to fail.

That’s the game, folks. Come up with a slogan that will make people run away from Smackers® Sugar-Free Gum.

This could be fun.

Think about it…what slogan could you create that would get you fired from the Smackers® contract?

Here are a few examples I have come up with for your amazement amusement:
  • Smackers Gum–We’re Number Four!
  • Smackers Gum–Hey, It’s Better than Cud…
  • Smackers Gum–Recommended by 15% of All Dentists Nationwide
  • Smackers Gum–Not Legally Liable If You End Up Getting Cavities
  • Smackers Gum–The Momentary Flavor Will Leave You Asking for More
Get the idea? 🙂

Only rule: Keep it out of the gutter. This is a PG blog.

Winner gets a lifetime supply of Smackers® Sugar-Free Gum.*

*Lifetime supply conditional upon the existence of Smackers® Sugar-Free Gum on the day this blog was posted (which it isn’t). Manufacturers may cancel or revoke lifetime supply privileges at any time. Family, friends, and blog readers not eligible for prize. Read official rules for details.**

**Official Rules: There aren’t any. Wake up. There is no such thing as Smackers® Sugar-Free Gum. You are only doing this for fun, you dork.


I Dig My Kid’s Music (or, Dude, Satellite Radio Rocks)


Categories: music, random stuff, What the heck was THAT?

So this week, I took my car into the dealer for some maintenance work. Due to delays, they ended up keeping it three days. So they gave me a loaner car.

The loaner was a white Chrysler PT cruiser. I think PT crusiers sort of look like small, old-timey gangster cars. But when a PT cruiser is white, it looks more like a small, old-timey ambulance.


This PT cruiser was equipped with satellite radio. It was the first time I’d ever had satellite radio in a car. It wasn’t until I got to listening to that satellite radio that I realized just how crappy our local radio stations are.




Categories: fun, random stuff, What the heck was THAT?

Here’s a little puzzle for you to solve. (Yes, it’s THAT kind of a post.)

Can you guess why the number fifty is significant to me today?

A little help narrowing it down:

  • It’s not the number of posts I’ve written (shoot, I’m almost to ten times that many)
  • Today is not my birthday (not that old)
  • Nor my anniversary (puh-leaze)

So…any guesses?

(Immediate family, church family and mother of the blogger are not eligible for the prize–if there was one, that is. So don’t give it away.)

I’ll update later today with the answer….



And This Time, He Brought the Fam Along


Categories: random stuff, What the heck was THAT?

Remember this guy?

Remember how he built a nest in my chimney and shacked up with some girl red-winged blackbird and had kids a couple of months ago?

And remember how he wouldn’t let me mow my lawn without chewing me out and flying around my head?

Well…apparently, he and his wife really love each other…because they’re at it again.

Only this time it’s worse.

Actually, he’s never really left me alone when I mow the backyard. He just lightened up. He’d jaw at me for awhile and then go find something else to do…then come back and jaw at me some more. At least I had a break.

But a few days ago, when I mowed the lawn…for some reason he was determined to make me go away. I don’t know if they’ve had some scares up there in chimney-land, but this time I appear to be more of a threat. He never took a break. He flew closer than ever (without actually making contact). He was more bold.

You try mowing your lawn with that going on. Distracting and infuriating. I couldn’t reach his kids even if I wanted to. I decided to try to get him to back off.

So one time when he was hovering overhead…I threw a tennis ball into the air.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to hit him, nor did I intend to. I just hoped to at least create a larger perimeter so I could have a little peace.

At first, it worked. He flew away, suddenly, startled that I’d actually reacted. He continued to jaw, but at a distance.

But apparently, (duh) he interpreted that as more of a threat. The perimeter didn’t last long.

He came back. And this time he brought the relatives.

The next time he came swarming around…his mate came along. So now I had two of them jawing and swirling overhead.

But that’s not all….you’ll think I’m lying…

Within seconds, there were four other birds, of some entirely different species, circling overhead right along with the red-winged blackbirds. Six in all.

I dunno…maybe these other birds were just curious to see what all the noise was about. Or maybe this was a gang from another neighborhood, come to join the rumble. They weren’t really acting aggressively like the others…just flying around overhead, like, “Yeah, you better listen to our cousins the red-wings, or else.”

It was freaky. Images of Hitchcock movies come to mind.

Maybe I need a raincoat when I mow the lawn.

So…I guess I’ve started a feud. Now when I come out back, I can’t even get two steps away from the covered patio before two very loud, obnoxious birds start demanding what the crap I am doing in my own backyard.

I’m going to barbecue later today on the patio. I wonder how that’s going to go. Maybe I should bring some extra spatulas to throw.

No, never mind…I already tried that tactic, didn’t I?

Stupid red-winged blackbirds.


My (Sort of) Brand-New Dinosaur


Categories: tecknical stuff, What the heck was THAT?

Some of my readers might remember me talking about the dinosaur laptop I have used in blogging, and how the laptop seemed to be possessed by a phantom that would make the screen get snowy at times, and make a set of keys stop responding for no reason. I learned to placate the phantom by giving it a “massage”–i.e., tapping the bottom of the laptop to get the keys to work again.

As it turns out, appeasing a codependent computer-phantom only enables it, and soon it requires more than just a massage. Before long, I had to do more than tap the bottom. I had to spank it.

Keep your mind where it belongs…

I inherited the laptop from The Wild One when she got a Macbook. She was ready to put the old laptop out to pasture because it was running so slowly, but I figured if I could get an already-paid-for laptop to keep working, I could have my own laptop, too. And I did! I reformatted the hard drive and kept it from having too many programs on it, and it worked well for blogging. I kept that baby running for nearly 2 more years.

But then came the phantom that would not be appeased.

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