"People think they invented this stuff -- I take it personally. I took beatings so you could dye your hair blue. Whatever. The 17-year-old kids have every right to do what I did, but tell them what they're doing is nothing new." Mike Ness (Social Distortion)

Friday, April 27, 2007


Outbound Conference Call

One of the best ways to reach your family members and friends all over the country thins holiday season is to make an outbound conference call. Making an outbound conference call is a lot cheaper and less time consuming than calling each person one by one. Note that if you belong to a big family and you have lots of friends all over the country, it could take you forever to get to the bottom of list so it is better to call them together through an outbound conference call.

The good thing about doing an outbound conference call to specific group of family members and friends is that your family members and friends could also greet each other during the call. Having some people converged on the phone or online could be a lot of fun so try to set for an outbound conference call as soon as you can. Do not leave your outbound conference call at the last minute because you may not get through easily anymore. Note that the holiday season creates very heavy traffic online and on the phones so be sure to set your outbound conference call well ahead of time before the rush hour sets in.

Placing Your Outbound Conference Call

Placing your outbound continental conference call is very easy. If you are already a member of an online conference call company, you can just log in and make that call. However, if you are not yet a member of any online conference call companies, you can go online and search for a good conference call company. Choose one of those reputable communications company so that you will not have much trouble getting a good connection.

The fees for conference call vary depending on the company. There are companies that will charge minimal fees while there are those who will offer you their services for free. However, if you want to get a fast connection, you better go for those companies that ask for minimal fees. Note that those companies that are offering their services for free would be too crowded this Holiday season that you may not really get through at all.

Now, before you make your outbound conference call, be sure to inform your friends and family members in advance that you will be calling a thins certain time and date so that they will be around when you do make the call. Note that everyone will be very busy over the holidays that if you really want to talk to some people online, you better tell them well in advance about your call.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007



Desperate for something to put on here today, I'm stealing Brittney's idea and compiling a list of my own. With the exception of six weeks in Europe and juants here and there elsewhere, I've lived my entire life in the mid-west/mid-south/texas*.

So here we go. 10 things I love and hate about the South.

1). The Food: I try to eat fairly healthy nowadays, and I very rarely eat red meat at all anymore, but there's something very healing about a meal comprised of solely fried or drenched in butter ingredients. Slap me up some fried chicken, fried okra, mashed potatoes, jalepeno cornbread, and some fresh iced tea and I can be a happy camper. Toss in a bowl of red bean and rice or gumbo, some of the best Mexican food $2.50 can buy and fresh vegetables from local farms and you're hard up to go hungry around here.

2). The latinos: Since the border between the States and Mexico is pretty much the Red River (and moving north) nowadays, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the immigrant and first-generation latinos. But once you step back to enjoy the music, the culture and heritage, the language, and (oh yes) the food, you'll find a fascinating landscape of interesting items to satiate your diversity itch.

3) Farmer Bob and Farmer Jim: I volley back and forth on this one quite a bit, but there's definitely something very intriguing about the classic good old boy hard-working honest farmer stereotype. I'm probably the polar opposite of this class of people, but that's allright, I get along with them just fine, so long as we don't discuss politics. The best part about this is that they aren't even really farmers anymore. With the plight of the traditional family farm and ranch being overrun by giant corporations, they've had to learn to diversify, and diversify they have. One of the greatest examples of the good old boy was my barber back in Tulsa. Yup, a hair-stylist.

4) The music: There's something holistically cleansing about a great blues quartet live, or a gospel choir. The evolution of Southern music from slave-songs to campfire tunes in the Old West to Mississippi Delta blues to rockabilly and classic country to modern day incarnations like psychobilly has left some great music in the wake.

5) The storms: My dad's favorite pasttime is to sit on the back porch with the AM Radio on the weather station, a beer in hand, and watching a massive storm roll in. I've never seen thunderstorms hit with the frequency and intensity as they do where the Gulf Stream hits the Pacific Stream and high-pressure systems hit low-pressure systems and nature roars out an unmerciful downpour of noise on all below. Absolutely fascinating.

6: The Stars: No, not the hockey team (although I do like them well enough). But even living in the middle of a city with more than 2 million people in a metroplex with over 4 million, I can drive for about twenty to thirty minutes on a clear night and see damn near every star in the sky. I used to do this all the time when I was at Baylor, since I could find a field where I couldn't see any lights in about 10 minutes. Very relaxing.

7) The Nature: Trees, animals, campgrounds, rivers, lakes, hiking, all within a less than three hour drive pretty much no matter where you are.

8) Families: Coming from an extremely small family that wasn't very spread out, it was easy for us to get together for various functions. But there's something absolutely amazing about the family reunions of 150+ people that get together every year to catch up on life and spend time together, reliving traditions and passing on stories and advice.

9) The Laid-back pace of life: Again, something that I just notice as for the most part I'm a pretty quick paced guy. But even in the big city, it's rare to find someone rushing about trying to get stuff done for no reason other than that's the thing to do. Most people will take time out to genuinely inquire about your life, and they all have great memories.

10) The manners: This goes along pretty well with number nine, but people in this area are just more polite. You get many more thank-yous and please-s and Ma'am-s and sir-s than other places I've been. And it's not just people working the check-out register or the waiter at Chili's. It's a widespread, even level-playing field.

10 Things I Hate About the South.

1) The Conservatism - Not a shocker, but it gets really old and grating. Racism for the most part has been taken out of the public eye, and glaring examples are few and far between, but being a liberal in the South means, for the most part, that your vote will never count. Frustrating.

2) The trucks - Everywhere, it's duallies and Escalades and F350 Deisels and hopped up Yukons, sitting in three parking spaces marked "Compact Cars Only" and swerving at 90 miles an hour up I-35. Hate it.

3) The Dallas Fucking Cowboys - ...And football in general. The fervor around here, even during poor seasons is nauseating. And it's only going to get worse as Jerry Jones begins to grease up the fans and politicians so he can get public funding for a new stadium.

4) Big hair, big tits, and jeans with no back pockets - Enough said.

5) Drawls - I love accents of all kinds except for the one that I hear the most. There are people in my building that made Jim Varney sound like Tony Blair.

6) Suburban Sprawl - Yeah, it's all over, but I'd wager that some of the suburbs here in Dallas can compete with the biggest and best of them as far as chain restaurant after chain restaurant and households where keeping up appearances is priority number one. And suburban rebels? Forget about it. There's a reason that Plano became the heroin capital of the states in the late 90's.

7) Dashboard Patriotism - It's been hashed over and over again (here and everywhere else). It's not getting any better.

8) The Rednecks - The good old boys' dopplegangers, the rednecks can be some of the most infuriating people in the world. Loud, brash, irreverent, rude, and violent, they don't necessarily have to live in a trailer and unironically wear a trucker hat. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be the most close-minded people you'll ever meet.

9) The near lack of culture - Most every city, even the large ones, will have only one major museum, one natural history museum, one zoo, and, if you're lucky, only one modern museum. A couple of token art-house/ independent movie theaters, and some very small play houses and that's about your options. It's really bad for the high school kids, because little diversion leads to lots of mischeif.

10) The distance between cities and the lack of alternative ways to get there - I got spoiled big time by the trains in Europe and I'm really pining for a similar system here. Please. Soon.

*I get the feeling though that everthing that's not bordering the Pacific Ocean or that wasn't affected by the blackout, plus the D.C. area, is considered 'the South' to most everyone that does live in those areas.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Political Pictures?

Subhankar Banerjee is a nature photographer. He had gone up to the notorious A.N.W.R. and taken some pictures. Then, the Smithsonian offered him a major exhibition in its grand rotunda. However, the exhibit was shortly relocated to an out-of-the-way gallery and the captions, which had already been approved, were stripped from the photos.

The rationale, according to Smithsonian staffer Lawrence Small, was that the captions "Contained statements that might have been constued as advocacy for a particular position on ANWR". Yeah, captions like "Muskox herd on foothills along the Hulahula River; Romanzof Mountains in the background" and "Polar bear approaches whale bones from the previous years' hunt on frozen Bernard Harbor in early June".

Anyways, the photographs are gorgeous, and you can find them here in a slide-show format on the Sierra Club website. Banerjee's personal site can be found here and it includes many more beautiful pictures.

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