Standings

This is a test to see if I’ve managed to figure out how to post documents from Word and Excel on a WordPress blog.

CSL standings

CSLstandings

Hmm, I was hoping to actually display those pages as opposed to creating hyperlinks.  Now, the only way I’ve been able view them is to right click and open them in a new window.  At least it works that way on my computer, but then, I have the documents saved to my hard drive.

Will some lucky reader try the links above and advise if they can access the documents?  Thanks in advance.

UPDATE:  Interesting.  Once I actually published the post, those hyperlinks turned into sweet little document-like looking things.  Again, they work when I click them, do they work for you?

I’ve installed another WordPress plugin, let’s see how (if) it works.

Leader Board

SIDL_TShirt_3

 

On this day in history

me

Ah, another birthday.  No great insights or wisdom to impart upon turning 58.  Although it can truthfully be said that I am less of a man than I used to be.

I’d say the worst thing about getting older is an acute awareness of the inescapable reality that the number of remaining birthdays is growing smaller.  Of course, that’s always been the case.  But now I recognize that my best case scenario is probably twenty or so more to go.  If I’m lucky.  Nevertheless, having a birthday sure as hell beats the alternative and by the time I finish this post I will have banished thoughts of mortality from my feeble brain.

On tap: Jee Yeun is taking me to her favorite place for breakfast–Waffle House.  And of course later I’ll be eating the traditional seaweed soup.  Tonight I’ll be heading downtown to scope out some darts venues and throw a few games.  I’d call that a good day!

What’s a birthday without a birthday song?  Here’s mine courtesy of Bob Dylan:

Crimson flames tied through my ears
Rollin’ high and mighty traps
Pounced with fire on flaming roads
Using ideas as my maps
“We’ll meet on edges, soon,” said I
Proud ‘neath heated brow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.

Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth
“Rip down all hate,” I screamed
Lies that life is black and white
Spoke from my skull. I dreamed
Romantic facts of musketeers
Foundationed deep, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.

Girls’ faces formed the forward path
From phony jealousy
To memorizing politics
Of ancient history
Flung down by corpse evangelists
Unthought of, though, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.

A self-ordained professor’s tongue
Too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school
“Equality,” I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.

In a soldier’s stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach [no offense to Kevin Kim intended]
Fearing not that I’d become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
My pathway led by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.

Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.

What goes around comes around

First place gets the money, second place gets a "nice try".  I like this photo because it's a little ambiguous about which is which...

First place gets the money, second place gets a “nice try”. I like this photo because it’s a little ambiguous about which is which…

The Columbia Area Darts Association (CADA) hosted it’s first ever qualifying event yesterday.  We had six players vying for paid entry ($110!) to the ADO Regional Cricket Qualifier next month in Charleston, SC.  It was a round robin format, with each player playing the other players 3 legs of Cricket.  Winner of the most legs on the day takes home the prize money.

I had a good day of darts, going 2-1, 3-0, 2-1, 2-1 and 1-2.  Well, the 1-2 at the end stung a little, but it was one of those situations where I threw well but my opponent threw better.  Nothing to be done about that.  Anyway, I’m the one in the photo above giving the money away.

After the darts were done, a group of us went out to try Columbia’s newest Korean restaurant–The Korea Garden.

Jee Yeun is the expert and she declared the food at Korean Garden to be excellent.  I  enjoyed the galbi and "ding dong" jiggae very much as well...

Jee Yeun is the expert and she declared the food at Korea Garden to be excellent. I enjoyed the galbi and “ding dong” jiggae very much as well…

And finally, this morning’s weigh-in finds me at 232.5, down 2.5 pounds from last week.  It is good to be going in the right direction again.  Girth remains stubbornly unchanged at 44″.  If you are keeping score at home, I’ve lost 46 pounds since February.

Onward and downward!

Leggo my logo!

Fans of LTG will recall that I’ve been working hard to bring the sport of darts back to Columbia in a big way.  Well, truth be told even a small revitalization will be a helluva lot more than we have.  With either of those ends in minds, we recently founded the Columbia Area Darts Association, or as the lazy amongst us affectionately call it, CADA.

Knowing that taking care of the important details is the first step on the road to success, I undertook the effort of having a logo designed.  Lacking any relevant and necessary skills to complete such a project, I did the next best thing:  I asked for bids at a website called DesignQuote.net.

Most of the bids were ridiculously expensive, but two came back with quotes that were comparatively reasonable.  Unable to decide who to pick, I set them both to work.  A little design competition if you will. Now, I already had a concept in mind.  Back in those heady days of the 1980s when darts actually existed in Columbia the organization used this:

Old school graphic design.  Ugly, but functional I suppose

Old school graphic design. Ugly, but functional I suppose

I actually think it’s pretty damn awful.  Still, Columbia is a fine city and all, but when it comes to recognizable landmarks, it’s tough to beat the State House.  I just needed to pretty it up some. Here’s what I sent my designers as a starting point:

Hey, don't laugh!  I told you I had absolutely zero talent as an artist...

Hey, don’t laugh! I told you I had absolutely zero talent as an artist…

What the State House actually looks like:

Right smack dab in the middle of Downtown Columbia

Right smack dab in the middle of Downtown Columbia

So, the first designer offered me this:

Well, I guess you could say it is what I asked for, but it really wasn't what I wanted.  Know what I mean?

Well, I guess you could say it is what I asked for, but it really wasn’t what I wanted. Know what I mean?

With the State House in silhouette, it could be any damn building.  It was just not the “distinctively Columbia” look I was going for.

So, designer number 2 came up with this rendition:

Ah, my vision becomes reality at last!

Ah, my vision becomes reality at last!

Alright, that’s more like it, don’t you think?  Not perfect, but as we used to say in the Federal government, “it satisfices”.

Hey, speaking of logos, did I mention that CADA is now officially a member of the American Darts Organization (ADO).  Well, we are.  That’s the big time, baby!

We've only just begun, but we are on our way!

We’ve only just begun, but we are on our way!

 

What passes for excitement in my neighborhood

Pat, the elderly widow next door, called me yesterday morning.  She’s been spending the summer with her kids in Cape Cod.  Anyway, she reported that a woman down the street had observed a U-Haul truck in her driveway.  She told me that she had no idea who had parked it there and asked if I would investigate.  I had to admit it sounded pretty suspicious.

This is one of those times I wish I had a handgun readily available.  I briefly considered taking my single shot .22 caliber rifle out of the closet, but figured that was likely to cause me more trouble than it would help should a gun battle break out.  So, I walked over and peaked in the windows of the house, but saw nothing unusual taking place.  I checked the back gate and it was also secure.  Then I did a walk around the truck and observed the back door was padlocked.  I looked in the driver’s side window and saw a stack of mail on the passenger seat.  I moved over to the passenger side for a closer look and sure enough the mail was addressed to my neighbor.  It seemed like an awful big truck for a mail heist.

I went back inside my house, retrieved my phone , and called Pat to report my findings.  She asked that I keep an eye out and call the police if I spotted anyone.  With her still on the phone I walked back outside just as a car was pulling up in front of her house.  A young man got out of the passenger seat and I asked him what was up.  He told me he was Pat’s grandson and he had rented the truck to move some patio furniture.  I put him on the phone with Pat and heard him say “hi Nana, I’m picking up the patio stuff.”  They talked a couple of more minutes and he gave me back my phone.  Satisfied that nothing untoward was taking place I left him to his business.

In other news, the scale was not kind to me this week.  While disappointed, I’m not particularly surprised.  I had company during the week which put me off my exercise routine, and I did drink a couple of smoothies.  Net result was a one pound gain which puts me back to 235.  I do believe these next 20 pounds are going to be a bitch.  My body seems to think my current weight is most excellent and it reminded me that I am after all back in my 38″ waist jeans.  I responded “fuck that, we are going DOWN!”

Onward and downward!

A day in the life

Oh boy.  It’s a sedate, if not serene, lifestyle I’m living in retirement.  At least as far as the USA iteration goes.  Hold on to your hats, here’s how my Friday went down.

The day started with me going to bed at 1:00 a.m.  Sometime during the night a heavy rain began to fall and continued throughout the day.  I was awakened around 6:30 by a persistent chirping.  I looked at the bedside clock and it was dark, so I realized the power had gone out at some point.  I couldn’t get back to sleep because of the chirps emitting from somewhere in the house every minute or so.  After 15 minutes the cobwebs in my brain had cleared out enough for me to grasp that the incessant noise was coming from my security system.  When the power goes out it chirps out its warning for as long as the back-up battery lasts.  Duh.  Rolled out of bed and reset the alarm, and then returned to my peaceful slumber.

I re-awoke at 9:00 and turned on the coffer maker/grinder.  Damn thing sounds like a jet taking off.  Fortunately our house guest Corine, who is visiting from Maryland, was already up and preparing for her long drive home.  My only real complaint about my ATT Uverse internet service is that every time there is a power interruption my personal wireless network disappears.  And sure enough, it was gone again.  My efforts to restore it were fruitless so I called the tech support folks.  And spent an hour and fifteen minutes on the phone trying to get the network back up.  We eventually managed to get my computer back on line, but the other devices (Jee Yeun’s laptop, Corine’s Ipad, and my Roku) would not connect.  I had an appointment to get to, so the tech promised to call me back at 1:00.  He didn’t.

I needed to get Jee Yeun to her physical therapy appointment, so we said our goodbyes to Corine and headed up the highway in the pouring rain.  I snoozed in the car while Jee Yeun had her shoulder worked on.  On the way home we stopped at Walgreen’s for a carton of smokes.

Back at the house, we did a reboot of Jee Yeun’s computer and this time it connected to our wireless network.  Hooray!  I had a chef salad for lunch and did a little internet surfing.  I put out some feelers for a graphic designer to come up with an appropriate logo for the newly formed Columbia Area Darts Association.  The bids are coming in at around $250.  Since I’m paying for this work out of pocket I’m hoping to get someone for closer to $150.  I mean, I have the vision, I just need someone with the skills to implement it.  We’ll see.

One of my favorite retirement perks is the ability to take a nap anytime the mood strikes me.  It did, so I did.  I woke up refreshed an hour later and knocked out a few games of Words with Friends.  My brother in California is the only person who still wants to play me these days .  I do fairly well at the game I suppose (it’s like Scrabble, only easier), but my bro still beats me the majority of the time.  Guess that’s why he still plays me.

Jee Yeun offered to make me a smoothie and I didn’t refuse.  Not especially in keeping with my low carbohydrate regimen, but I had it in lieu of dinner.  Besides, man does not live by not eating bread alone.  To coin a phrase.

Next up was a brisk walk for an hour (3.5 miles) on the treadmill..  Then an hour and half of darts practice.  Another round of Words with Friends, some television (Orange is the New Black) on Netflix, a shower, and this blog post.

And there you have it.  Hey you, wake up!  This is my life we’re talking about here!

I’m a lefty

Or to put it more precisely, I’m left handed.  I only mention this because as you are undoubtedly aware, today is International Left-Handed Day.  Sometimes being left handed is a bit of a pain the ass:

Writing on these puppies was always a challenge in school...

Writing on these puppies was always a challenge in school…

But on the other hand (heh), us lefties are always in our right mind.  It’s a scientific fact.

Oddly enough, I throw right handed.  The only explanation I have for this oddity is that my older brother is right handed.  And I got his hand-me-downs.  Including his baseball glove.  So I just learned to throw right handed and that’s what comes naturally to me now.

It’s kinda funny sometimes.  After I throw my darts from the right, I write my score with the left.  Folks who notice that anomaly are usually quite amused.

Regular readers know that my political orientation also leans to the right, but that’s a post for another day…

 

 

 

Coming up short

Ha, I’m practically famous, in an anonymous kind of way.

I emailed a link from a 1953 issue of LIFE magazine to one of my favorite bloggers, Althouse.  She thinks men in shorts look ridiculous and often mentions that fact on her blog.  The LIFE magazine article documents shorts for men as a new fashion trend in New York City.  LIFE cautions they should be worn properly with knee socks, but sniffs they are still more “appropriate for the country”.

Anyway, it made me smile to see my email generated a blog post from Althouse.  Cheers!

Have I been eating in my sleep?

Saturday was an extraordinary day in its ordinariness.  Which is to say I didn’t do anything particularly interesting or outside my normal routine.  I did my usual internet surfing, walked the treadmill for a hour, a couple of hours of darts practice, and I mowed the front lawn.  Really, the only thing unusual about the day was that despite being active (for me), I never got hungry.  From the time I awoke until late in the evening all I consumed was my morning coffee, a few diet cokes, and water.

I weigh myself every Sunday.  I try to avoid daily or mid-week weigh-ins because I don’t want to get discouraged if I find myself gaining weight despite my best efforts to maintain self-discipline.  But I made an exception Saturday night because I knew my belly had been empty all day and I had been relatively active for calorie burning purposes.  And sure enough, my scale told me I was down to 231.5, a nice 3.5 drop from the previous week.

I had a chef salad, watched some TV, snacked on celery and peanut butter, and had a taste of sugar-free banana pudding.   Went to bed, woke up refreshed, and stepped on the scale for my “official” Sunday weigh-in.  234 pounds!  How in the hell did I gain 2.5 pounds overnight?

Frustrating and disappointing to be sure.  Ah well, nothing to be done but to keep after it.

Onward and downward!

I’m number 12,296,726!

Yesterday I was waiting in the car while Jee Yeun had her physical therapy session.  I was fooling around with the smartphone and when I tried to do a Google search for LTG, this website popped up.

Imagine my surprise and delight at discovering that out of 30 million domains, mccrarey.com is sitting pretty at 12,296,726!  That’s practically the big time.  Even better, according to webstatsdomain.net LTG is worth an astonishing $1364.00!  Not bad for just under nine years of work.

I should have left well enough alone I suppose.  Instead I went and checked out johnmccrarey.com.  That was my original domain, but through some miscommunication with my host the registration expired and some spammer puke in Poland purchased my name. My former domain, which only publishes spam (currently an ad for payday loans) is ranked 2,630,595 and is valued at $2820.00.

It’s all good, a deflated ego never killed anyone.

I shall be released

An argument could be made that the USA is increasingly becoming a police state.  Now, I’m not saying that life here is anything like being in prison.  But in order to leave the country with my wife, I have to complete USCIS Form Number I-131, Request for Advance Parole.  If the all mighty and powerful bureaucratic machine deems us worthy, dispensation in the form of early release from the confines of U.S. borders could be ours!

After perusing 8 pages of governmentese instructions for said from I-131 (the form itself is only 5 pages long) I came to the conclusion that our situation does not precisely fit one of the categories for for which “parole” will be considered.  I could perhaps make a compelling case for parole given Jee Yeun’s need to deal with real estate issues, but seeing as how there is a 3-6 month timeline for processing the I-131 (which means I could potentially have the green card before a parole is approved), I’ve reached the logical decision that it’s not worth the time and effort to even apply.

I guess there’s nothing to be done now except to accept that I won’t be returning to Korea anytime soon.  Fuck parole, I’ll serve my time like a fine and proud American.  And hopefully early next year I shall be released.

Good news, bad news

Finally.  The long awaited letter from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) arrived in today’s mail.  The subject of the letter is “Notice of Potential Interview Waiver Case”.  The letter explains that USCIS has determined that an interview may be unnecessary to complete the permanent residency application.  I took that as a hopeful sign that things might be moving forward more expeditiously henceforth.

Ah, but no so fast!  After all, this is the U.S. government we are talking about here.  The letter goes on to state that “Due to workload factors not related to your case, USCIS anticipates a delay in completing your case.”  How long a delay?  Six fucking months from the date of the letter (August 2).  So, that puts us into February.  What a cluster fuck.

So, I guess it’s move on to plan B.  Jee Yeun has to go back to Korea prior to the expiration of her lease in December.  She needs to kick a non-paying tenant out of the apartment she owns, and she needs to move from the apartment she is currently renting (well, it’s a key money lease, but you get my meaning).  As I mentioned in a previous post, Jee Yeun is technically not allowed to leave the country while her green card application is pending.  However, I can file another form with USCIS asking for a waiver of that provision.

I’m reluctant to take that step because the USCIS website warns that such a course of action “may” delay approval of the permanent residency application.  So, it appears I’m screwed either way.  Well, nothing much to be done about it at this point.  I reckon I’ll have to ask for the waiver and take my chances.  What bullshit this is.

In the letter carrier’s mixed bag today I also received my brand spanking new set of Black Widow fixed point tungsten darts.  Sweet.  Looks like I’m going to have plenty of time to break them in here in South Carolina.

Ready to put the bite on my opponents!

Ready to put the bite on my opponents!

Missing Korea

I miss the sights and smells of Korea, like this steaming pot of bundaegi (silk worms).  Granted, I don't miss the taste of that particular delicacy but I'm ready for most other culinary delights you can find on the street.

I miss the sights and smells of Korea, like this steaming pot of bundaegi (silk worms). Granted, I don’t miss the taste of that particular delicacy but I’m ready for most other culinary delights you can find on the street.

Well, I’ve been back in the USA for six months now.  I had fully expected to have returned for my semi-annual stint in Korea this month.  Even had a doctor’s appointment scheduled (which Jee Yeun cancelled last night).  So much for optimism, right?  It ain’t happening and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.

The hardest part is not being able to make a plan.  Other than cashing my check for $1070.00 and taking Jee Yeun’s fingerprints, the folks at the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) have made no discernible progress in processing Jee Yeun’s permanent residence application (green card).  Under the “rules”, Jee Yeun is not permitted to leave the country while her application is pending.  So we are stuck here for god knows how long.

It’s my own damn fault really.  Like a chump I made the mistake of following the rules.  Wasted 18 months going the fiancee visa route rather than getting married while Jee Yeun was here on a tourist visa.  I foolishly believed that doing the right thing was not only the right thing to do, but that it would ultimately expedite the permanent residency process.  Four months later and not a peep from USCIS.  In fact, the website where I’m supposed to be able to track “progress” of the application has not changed since acknowledging receipt back in April.  The spouses of friends who took the illegal approach had their green cards in hand within six months.  Fuck me.

Which is not to say we haven’t been making the best of things during our U.S. sojourn.  We’ve traveled a lot to exotic locales (Augusta, Virginia Beach, Las Vegas, DC, Maryland, Orlando, Winston-Salem, Charlotte, and Nashville).  We’ve had some quality time with the kids and grandkids which has been fun.  Also caught up on most of my favorite TV shows, so there’s that.  And truth be told, our American life is actually quite comfortable and stress free.

I’ve been keeping pretty busy with my darts “career” which helps fill the hours.  In fact, after months of complaining about Columbia being virtually a darts desert, I got off my lazy ass and did something about it.  The Columbia Area Darts Association (CADA) has now been established, and our application for sanctioning with the American Darts Organization is pending.  The first order of business for CADA was the formation of the Columbia Singles League, which provides me the opportunity to play darts every Sunday without driving over an hour to Aiken.  Hey, a selfish motivation is still motivation, right?

When I do get back to Korea, I will be in a somewhat diminished capacity.  Regular reader(s) know I’ve been faithfully (for the most part) adhering to the low carbohydrate lifestyle since my return to the states, and I’m now within 20 pounds of attaining my weight loss goal.  So there’s that.

I just want the best of both worlds I suppose.  And the calendar says it’s time to move on to that other one for a few months.  Hopefully, within a very few months.

 

This will make you flip your lid

A big BROWN bag full of racism!

A big BROWN bag full of racism!

Fresh off the trial of that “white Hispanic” (with the black grandfather) George Zimmerman, the PC police now advise us that bringing a brown bag lunch to work is racially insensitive.  The folks at Legal Insurrection have all the details here, but the gist of the problem is apparently this:

For a lot of, particularly, African American community members,” he said, “the phrase ‘brown bag’ does bring up associations with the past when a brown bag was actually used, I understand, to determine if people’s skin color was light enough to allow admission to an event or to come into a party that was being held in a private home.”

Now granted, that’s a pretty uncool thing to do.  What kind of racist bastard would even think up such an outrage?

In a 2006 book, Audrey Elisa Kerr, a professor of African-American literature at Southern Connecticut State University, documents reports throughout the 20th century of the use of paper bags by African-American fraternities, sororities, churches and social clubs to determine whether a potential member was light-skinned enough to be socially acceptable.

Oh my, racist black folk discriminating against other people of color!  Who knew?

The Legal Insurrection boys (oops!, I mean privileged white lawyers)  also discuss the recent incidences of reporters who have gone where no one should dare tread when discussing Asians.

We also addressed the idiom Chink in the Armor after a sportscaster was suspended and a copywriter (who happened to be married to an Asian woman) was fired for using the phrase in connection with discussing basketball player Jeremy Lin’s on-court weaknesses.

 

Now “chink in the armor” is back in the news because a CNBC reporter used the phrase in assessing whether Wendi Deng, the Chinese wife of Rubert Murdoch, could overcome trust agreements as part of their divorce. The phrase was not used to refer to Ms. Deng, but to legal arguments Deng’s lawyer would use to allow her to access the Trusts which contained most of Murdock’s vast fortune.

 

“What do you think the chink in the armor here might be, that’s what [the lawyer] is so good at, is finding a chink in the prenupts and all these trusts.”

I do not want to be niggardly in expressing my outrage at the blatant racism that flows so glibly from the lips of those who find racism in common terms of speech.  Perhaps you are thinking, “that’s mighty white of you, John.”  But really, what’s next?  Can a black person still order some crackers with his soup?

Is it racist to say that?  Hell, I don't know.  Flip a coin.  Or maybe you better not.

Is it racist to say that? Hell, I don’t know. Flip a coin. Or maybe you better not.

I’m reminded of some mandatory diversity training I attended back in my Postal Service days.  The instructor in all seriousness told us that we should not call a flip chart a flip chart because the word “flip” is offensive to Filipinos.  Lord knows I respect and  admire the wonderful people of the Philippines.  But it’s all about context, right?  Who in their right mind would be offended about a flip chart?  Or a coin flip.  This PC madness is really beginning to flip me out.

Maybe if we are all racist in what we say and do, none of us are racist.  Or maybe not.  America scares me lately.  I hope to get back to Korea in the fall.  I love those mornings when there is a little nip in the air.

Don't flip me the bird you racist bastard!

Don’t flip me the bird you racist bastard!

 

 

 

Coming up short

Long story short: I didn’t qualify for the 501 Nationals yesterday.  I lost because I couldn’t beat players I should have owned.  Conversely, I beat the guys who should have owned me.  Just one of those days.

On the other hand, a darter I hadn’t seen in over a year came up to me and said “I almost didn’t recognize you.  How much weight have you lost?”  Well friends, the answer to that is 43.5 pounds.  This week finds me at 235 and I’m pleased to be moving in the right direction again, dropping 3 pounds (after last week’s gain of 1.5).  I’m working harder and it’s coming off slower.  I believe my body thinks where I’m at is just about right.  I disagree though.  I want to lose 20 more pounds before I go into my maintenance routine.

Onward and downward!

 

 

 

Ridin’ that train

I took this photo on the day of my last commute home before moving to Korea.  I don't miss it one bit!

I took this photo on the day of my last commute home before moving to Korea. I don’t miss it one bit!

Back in the day I used to ride the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) to and from Stafford, VA and D.C.  The train ride took a bit more than an hour, and it was 30 minutes from my house to the station at Quantico.  As bad as that commute was, it sure as hell beat driving I-95 during rush hour twice a day.

Just reminding myself about the good parts of being retired.  As opposed to Grateful Dead.

Widowed

I’ve forgotten a lot about darts it seems. Had to retire my old fixed point Black Widows as the barrel grip had worn smooth. I bought some new barrels from Jokerman with a very nice raised grip, but I wasn’t happy about how thick they are (on those rare occasions when I throw a tight group). So, I was looking at some options at Horizondarts.com and Jee Yeun said “what’s wrong with these?” and produced a set of movable point Black Widows I had put away when I switched to fixed points. They seem to be flying as well as anything else I’ve thrown, so we are going to take a drive out to Aiken tomorrow and see what happens…