Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Pass the Turkey
I haven't had the chance to post in a few days because of the recent Thanksgiving holiday. So I'll rewind a bit for review. The Monday before Turkey day, my buddy Dan flew in from L.A. for a visit with family and friends. I picked him up at the airport, like usual. From there, we drove out to the Hooters resteraunt in Lewisiville. He was craving to go since there is not a Hooters near him in L.A. He's a big fan of their greasy chicken wings. I can eat them on occation, but not very often. I took him home around midnight and I was headed home to crash, since it was still a worknight.
Wednesday came and the end of the work week was here! Gotta love a 3 day workweek. I dont know why but that 3 day week felt like a 6 day work week for some reason, I guess because of the anticipation.
Thursday morning it was off to the parents house for the big meal. We had a bit of a light turn out this turkey day. It was just me, my brother Courts and mom & dad. Macey was sick from something so didnt make it there until after the meal. Emily headed down to see her family, but lucky for me she came back the next day. :) Shortly after we finished eating at my families house, I packed up a bunch of leftovers and headed south again to my home. Not a very eventful Thanksgiving Day, but a fun one.
Saturday night my buddy Kirk held a little get to gether at his place out in Allen, TX. Dan and I headed WAY up there to Kirks house for some burgers and poker. Although I have a strong dislike for poker, or card games in general, I was the official "dealer" of the night. It at least kept my interest and kept me being social at the table with everyone. Also in attendance were my buddies Dustin and Robin. I dont get to see these goofballs very often, so its always good for a night of laughs. I dont even know who won the game of poker, but I had a lot of fun just eating and lauging with these guys I hadnt see in so long. Kirk did make the announcement that he and his girfriend Jennifer, who was there helping with things, recently got engaged. Congrats to Kirk!! I hope things go much better for you this time buddy. :)
Sunday was pretty uneventful. Emily and I went out and started our Christmas shopping. Which I actually enjoy because while im out shopping, I keep getting ideas for things I need. haha So far Ive got my dad and brother checked off my present buying list. This is actually the earliest ive ever started shopping. Perhaps I'll actualy get everyone a decent gift this year? lol
Monday, November 22, 2004
He Shoots a Perfect Game!
Yesterday (Sunday), was the seasons first paintball game out in the woods for me and some of my buddies. At first it looked like we werent going to be able to play. It rained all night and was still drizzling outside when morning arrived. But after talking to all the guys, they were gung ho and ready to play. We all arrived at that game field and suited up in our cammo's and gear. This was the first time I was getting to try out my new paintball gun, a Tippman Custom 98. As I took my gun out of my gear back to show Ken, he noticed something I was unaware of. He immediatly says, "Oh, you have a response trigger!". Upon further inspection he was correct. Whoever sold this gun on Ebay didnt know this item had been upgraded or they would of tacked on $80 to the original price! What a response trigger does is pretty much turn the gun from a semi-automatic paintball gun to FULL automatic. :) I was ready to play now.
There were six of us so we divided up into teams of three and headed off to our starting bases. We were playing "elimination", meaning the goal was easy... shoot everyone who's not on your team. It didnt take long for the action to start. We were walking down a trail spread out about 15 feet apart, looking and listening for signs of the other team. All of a sudden, I hear the pop of a paintball gun and the hiss of a paintball narrowly missing me! I hit the groud for cover while Ken and Paul return fire into an area of thick brush near a creek. I dont think they could see who was shooting, but only knew the area it was coming from. I stand back up to see one of their team running back up a creek enbankment. I fire a couple shots but he disapears into the foliage. By this point, Ken and Paul had moved down into the creek to engage our enemy. He quickly turns to me and gives me the hand signal to flank back around the trail and come up from the other side. I hustle down the trail to where to bend sharply left and down into the creek. I stop and wait, watching. Suddenly, I hear a loud snap! Then I see movement. I point my gun and fire off a quick 6 rounds. "Im hit, Im hit!!" someone yells. My first "kill" of the day!! Its Chris, Ken's brother. I got him in the butt of all places and he comes out of the brush rubbing his left butt cheek complaining about it stinging. LOL Well, this is what happens when you're shot running away from the enemy. hehe
The rest of my day continues to go this well. I end up tagging out the other two players (Mark and Todd) in the first round... then killing all 3 players on my own again in the second game of the day we played! I finished our third game with only one kill, but went the full day without being shot. Although I had a few very near misses zing by me. My new gun performed perfectly and I played really well. I look forward to the next time we get to play, which will probably be right after Thanksgiving. I will be ready!
Later that day, after paintball, Emily and I met up with my family at the local Red Lobster for my brothers Birthday dinner. The little guy turned 30! I felt bad for Emily because she doesn't eat sea food, but yet when my family wants to do a "family dinner" they will only eat at Red Lobster. Luckily, they have a chicken and rice dinner that she doesnt mind getting. And lucky for me the rice and chicken does not taste like fish from their kitchen, or she wouldnt be a happy camper! :)
Tonight my buddy Dan fly's in from L.A. I pick him up from the airport around 9pm. Im looking forward to seeing him. I havent seen him in months. It should be fun!
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
There is a term known to the techie world called "Wardriving". You get in your car with a laptop, equiped with some special network scanning software and you drive around neighborhoods searching for "open" home wireless networks. Once you find one you could connect to the network and surf the internet for free, hack another pc on the internet or wreak havoc on the persons pc who owns the wireless network. You see, new wireless routers such as those sold in Best Buy, Circuit City or even Wal-Mart come out of the box, wide open with security turned off! Most non-techies do not know this. They get their new shiny Linksys home wireless router, come home, hook it up and assume thats all there is too it. Wrong.
To prove my point of how common this is, listen to what I did recently. I was sitting on my couch about to watch some Monday Night Football and I decided to get out my laptop. Its handy to surf the net, check stats and stuff while the game is on. My laptop was taking its time finding my own wireless network, so I had it do a Site Search again to find my connection. I quickly found it and began to authenticate thru the WEP security I have setup. All of a sudden, my software detects 3 other wireless networks nearby. They have to be within 100 feet or so to my location or I wouldnt be picking up their signal. Most of them are fairly weak signals, ranging from 5% to 15% strength. Two of them are named "Default", which means they are still on their default settings right out of the box! And one of them has its name changed to "UcMe". So clever, yet it was still unsecured and open for any public connections! So I thought, I wonder just how many are turned on, unprotected in my apartment complex? I threw on some shoes, unplugged my laptop and decided to take a little walk. I went down the stairs and started walking along the row of apartment buildlings. All of a sudden I now have 8 wireless networks showing up and NONE of them are secured! Incredible... just amazing what these people dont know. I selected the wireless network with the strongest signal and clicked "connect". My wireless network card lights flickered and the software on my screen showed it was working on making a connection. Bingo! I connected to this unknown persons wireless network. If I was up to no-good, I could have begun a very destructive hacking lesson. But I walked on to see how long I could hold the signal. About 15 feet later, it dropped and I lost it. As my friend Craig put it, "Would this be Warwalking"? :) I began to get a bit cold from walking around in a t-shirt and shorts so I headed back to watch my game, happy to know I had proved a point to myself. A secure wireless network pays off!!
The Cowgirls were routed by the Eagles 49-21 last night, just as I predicted. Ha! I was loving every second of it, while Brother James was hating every second. I was sure to remind him of the score and the highlight plays everytime something happened. I must have sent 45 text messages to his phone with taunting words. He wasnt a happy camper. Awwww... too bad cowgirls.
Monday, November 15, 2004
Tonight is the game ive been waiting for all Football season. The Philidelphia Eagles vs the Dallas Cowgirls (cowboys). Eagles are 7-1 and the cowgirls are 3-5. My buddy James has bet me a lunch on this game. Despite how bad dallas sucks, he insists they will win by 21 points. The Eagles however have scored easily on every team they have played. Kick off has just finished and the game is on. Its showtime. Go Eagles!! I predict a 24 point victory for Philly.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
The Fat Lady... Has Sung.
Well, sorta. For the first time in my life I attended a real opera. I promised Emily long ago that I would go with her to one and the chance arose when my friend Craig and Becci asked if we'd be interested. It was an interesting experience and a lot of fun. The evening started with Emily and I meeting at Becci's place in downtown Big D. From there we drove over to Fair Park where the opera house is to get out tickets. We were about an hour early but didnt want the even to sell out. Lucky we did. We got the last group of 4 seats together. They were located way up on the balcony, on the far right. But thats ok, we were in! We go upstairs to take our seats and hang out. Ive learned one thing; the average opera fan must be a tiny person! The seats are so close, that our knees hit the back of the seats infront of us. This later lead to many a cramping legs. But we settled in and showtime neared.
At 7:30 the lights went down and the curtains came up. We were there to see "Carmen". An opera which takes place in Spain, but sung in French with English subtitles scrolling on a screen above the stage. Interesting. I soon learned that the opera Carmen lasts 3.5 hours! Luckily, there are 3 interemission breaks. Whew! Surprisingly once I began to watch the story and follow along, the breaks came quickly. I was very impressed by the singers voices and how loud they could sing... and in French to boot! Most all of the performers were american, except one of the female performers who is from Russia. The set design on stage was very well done. Between acts, they would completely redesign the stage to make it appear to be a totally differnt setting. I was impressed. I guess I had expected the set from a junior high play I was in as a kid. Thank goodness I was wrong. haha
Overall the opera was a very enjoyable evening. My girlfriend Emily looked very beautiful, as it was the first time Id ever seen her in a dress. That sight alone was worth getting dressed up in my suit to go to the opera with her. :) Craig and Becci were dressed up very nice also, but Craig always dressed up the exact same for work. So he loses snazzy points. lol I cant say I'll go again soon to the opera, but I could see myself doing one or two a year. Like my mom said, it does me good to take in some culture. Hhhmm.... I supose mom.
The night before the opera, we caught the new movie "The Incredibles". I'll have to admit, normally I hate those Disney, Pixar... whatever, animated movies. You know, the ones that try to appeal to kids but still squize in some adult humor to keep us awake. But this one was actually very entertaining and hilarious. I caught myself laughing outloud many times during the movie. I was surprised at a couple things. First, the movie was a tad over 2 hours long... with previews. That might wear a little kid out. Secondly, the bad guys in the movie actually get killed. Normally they try to protect children from seeing anything about death in a kids movie, but im glad they didnt try to spare us this time. Anyhow, good movie, 2 thumbs up from Thorpeland!
Last Saturday, before the opera I went on a really fun hike. My brother Courts and I drove up to Lake Texoma and hiked a couple miles of the Cross Timbers Trail. This is a winding trail that follows a ridge running along the lake. It goes thru a series of gorges and hills and was a lot of fun. I hope to go back one weekend and hike the trail further. In total it stretches along 28 miles of the lakes shoreline. I doubt I'll do all that. I got to take some good photos and do some cool exploring. I hope to get some of the pics up on my site or in the blog soon.
Now on to more recent events. All this week ive been driving down to Dallas each morning to attend a class for work. To be more specific, im being "officially" trained in "Novell Desktop Management with Zenworks 4". Yes I know... after merely reading the title you are bursting with excitement. Well its a fairly interesting class. Ive learned a lot and im looking forward to getting back to work next week with my new knowledge. Its kinda cool that my work will send me to these training classes. Normally I couldnt afford to go to them, as this one im in this week cost $6500!
Last Tuesday my Division A soccer team did it again, pulling off a last minute win! This time, I got the assist on the winning goal which was really cool. One of my teamates comes dribbling down the center of the field with me on his right. As the defender comes at him, he dishes it off to me, but another defender was waiting for that pass. He stretches to reach ahead of me and barely tips it away towards the wall. But he trips over my outstretched leg. The referee doesnt blow the whistle though because the ball is headed straight back to their keeper at the side of their penalty box. I charge forward to challange him and I guess he panics. He freezes and the ball bounces off the wall and back to me. I pull the ball back, spin around and knock it to the center hoping my teamate stuck around. I look up and there he is!! The hits him right in stride as he calmly traps the ball with his left foot and flicks it with his right over a diving goal keeper. GOAL!! We hold them off for the last 45 seconds to win, giving us a 5-1 record and a 5-4 win.
This coming weekend is looking like it will be fun. Emily and I are going to catch the movie "Saw" friday night and Saturday my buddy James is coming into town. That night he and I are going to my buddy Eric's ice hockey game and Im going to take some action pictures. Im looking forward to that! Then, Sunday, after having the summer off... PAINTBALL is back! Time to dawn the camo's, assult gear and have some war in the woods. Should be fun!
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
In a last second grasp, my tuesday night A Division team pulled off an incredible victory over our dreaded IMEG opponents. Normally by the end of the first half we are losing by a couple goals but we fought hard and things were all tied up 3-3 at the mid-point. The first half was an exciting one! Although I didnt get a goal, I had a big part in our 2nd and 3rd tallies. The first of the two goals came late in the first half. IMEG fouls one of our guys right outside the red line on their end of the field, about 12 yards from the goal. They set up a defensive wall to stop the shot but its only 2 of their players in it. Their goal keeper can still see the shot easily to stop it. I take off running in front of him, hoping to screen his view of the play. It worked perfectly! Right as I get infront of him, he reaches out with both arms to shove me out of the way. I look up to see the ball in mid-air on its way to an open net! Goal!!!
On the second goal, IMEG's best player had the ball in their end of the field and was looking to pass it out. Cody, on my team, pressured him so he cut the ball back to dribble away from him. He didnt realize I had snuck up on his blind side and saw him about to turn around towards me. I quickly got a foot in and stole the ball deep in the left corner of their end of the field. I look up to see Cody, now completely unmarked, calling for the ball again. I drop a pass back to him and he easily blasts it home for a goal!
In the second half, they came out attacking. Within a few minutes they got a goal making it 4-3. We began to worry. This is normally when the flood gates open and they score a flurry of goals on us. But we hung in there and fought back. Sahal broke down the right flank and found Rocky on the back post of the goal for an easy pass shot in and a goal! Tied again, 4-4! The game battled back and forth for the rest of the half, until the last minute of the game. They threw everything they had at us. Forwards attacked and so did their defenders. Even their goal keeper had come up to half field to be open for a pass back. We had everyone back defending, blocking shot after shot. Suddenly, with FIVE SECONDS left, Cody steals the ball at the top of our goalbox. He spins around and quickly lobs a deep shot downfield. The IMEG goalie can only watch as the ball sails over his head at midfield. Luckily, the ball lands just inside their red line, avoiding a 3 line fould and the end of the game. The ball bounces over the red line, 3 seconds... bounces again... 2 seconds... starts to roll to a stop.... 1 second.... and slowly crosses the goal line. BUZZZZZZ!!! END OF THE GAME!! GOAL! Our bench clears as we rushed onto the field to pile on Cody. IMEG, disgusted, could barley come out to say good game. Most didnt even leave the bench. This is our first victory over this team in almost 2 years. They have been undefeated in 5 seasons. We know now, we will meet them in the championship game at the end of the season. Im sure they will want revenge badly. We will be ready.