Tuesday Night Grab Bag O’ Thoughts

1.  This morning me and my brother visited a local area (Plano TexasWalmart, and this particular Walmart was something special. It was brightly lit, sparkling clean, smelled good inside, had fully-stocked aisles of unopened merchandise, had extra wide aisles, and had cheerful and helpful employees working all around. Oh yeah – and the MASSIVE parking lot out front had no active crime scenes. So I guess that not every Walmart is just like the one that’s close to home that I pretty much avoid.

2.  Post Walmart me and my brother drove on over to Sonic, America’s Drive-In for an early Lunch. After a few years of watching the very low-budget yet very amusing commercials on television I finally got to experience the culinary delight (in my brother’s car) that is Sonic. They have an extensive menu (including Breakfast), but I selected something very basic – the Bacon Cheeseburger Toaster Combo (with fries and a Sprite). It’s was a rather delicious 1,045 calories (424 of them fat calories). I wish we had Sonic back home in America’s Riviera. Once upon a time (before Hurricane Andrew) we had two of them in the Homestead area alone. I ate there occasionally back in the day. Nowadays in order to eat at Sonic we (South Floridians) have to go north up to The Palm Beaches or north and west over to Naples. It’s just not right !

3.  39°, 40°, and 44° – Those have been the minimum early-morning temperatures thus far since I’ve been here (Sun., Mon., and Tue.). Right now at 2 PM the actual air temperature is 61°, but we’ve got gusty northwesterly winds so wind chills are way down in the low-50s. Next week when it gets much colder here in North Texas I’ll be back home in South Florida basking in 80° warmth and higher humidity again. Bring it on !

4.  I asked my brother (who is technologically savvy when it comes to modern cell phone devices) what is the difference between ‘3G’ and ‘4G’, and strangely enough he had no clue. This made me wonder if the average consumer knows what exactly a ‘G’ is. One thing is fairly certain though. My antiquated cell phone from the middle ages (2004) is ‘ZeroG’. But it does just what I want it to do – send and receive text and Twitter messages and the occasional call.

5.  This Thanksgiving my family is trying something new and different for our MASSIVE LuDinner meal. We’re going to The HoneyBaked Ham Company to grab a 3-pound boneless ham – sliced and glazed. This will be our first turkey-less Thanksgiving meal that I can ever remember, so perhaps it’ll be the start of a new tradition. My sister-in-law will be making all of the various side dishes that will go along with the tasty ham. I just hope that one of those side dishes is either spinach or collard greens or broccoli. YUM !

Those are my ‘Tuesday Night Grab Bag O’ Thoughts’. Be sure to check back here later this week for my spontaneous ‘Thursday Night Mini Thoughts’.

Tuesday Night Grab Bag O’ Thoughts

1.  I receive a lot of junk mail in my old-fashioned traditional mailbox. I wish there was a way where we could select which specific stores we would like to receive weekly advertisements for, and then only receive junk mail from them. But then I guess that it wouldn’t really be ‘junk’ mail, but rather ‘want’ mail. I receive weekly ads from Winn-Dixie, Sedano’s, and Diaz Supermarket (among others). I don’t shop at any of these fine grocery stores. I do shop at Publix, and I think that I would actually pay a small fee just to receive their weekly ad in the mail.

2.  It’s ‘The Major’s Lunch-A-Thon’. This past Sunday I ate at Longhorn Steakhouse. On Monday I ate at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s. Today I ate at Olive Garden. The tour de force of fine dining establishments in and around Homestead continues on Wednesday and Thursday before I head out-of-town on Friday. Lunch – It does a Chris good !

3.  ‘For Crying Out Loud !’ – Where does that phrase actually come from anyway ?  It’s a phrase that some people utilize in lieu of cussing – particularly when the’re astonished and can’t believe their eyes. I don’t think that I’ve ever uttered that phrase intentionally or otherwise. I suppose it’s a phrase (like many others) that’s probably inherited from generation to generation within the family. Incidentally how can you not ‘believe your eyes’ ?  Have your eyes ever lied to you ?  Well maybe after drinking !

4.  I filled up my car with gas this afternoon on my way home from work. I’ll be doing it again this Friday morning up near Orlando along Florida’s Turnpike. And then I’ll do it again about 5 hours later up in the northwestern panhandle of Florida along I-10. And then I’ll probably do it again another 5 hours after that at my first pit stop on my road trip. The adventure begins in less than 60 hours !

5.  The weather should be nice and seasonal on my way to the Dallas Texas area this Friday and Saturday with temperatures within a rather narrow range on both days – pretty much mid-60s to mid-70s on Friday and low-50s to mid-60s on Saturday – so neither cold nor hot. I should be able to maximize my gas mileage during my trip there by not using the A.C. We’ll see.

Tuesday Night Grab Bag O’ Thoughts

1.  This was originally going to be a quick tweet from me, but then I decided to upgrade it to a full-blown ‘Grab Bag O’ Thought’. This happened on the way home from work this afternoon on Speedway Boulevard (Miami-Dade County’s SW 137TH Avenue in Homestead). One slow-moving vehicle (in this case a ‘soccer-mom minivan’) can disrupt the normal flow of traffic on a single stretch of roadway for miles affecting dozens of motorists. I generally drive on the slow side. Typically out of every 10 vehicles on the road today 8 will pass me at any given time, and I will pass 2 of them. When I make note of a slow-moving vehicle then it must really be a slow-moving vehicle. These drivers are generally oblivious to the rush hour world around them. Just because you’re driving real slow does not necessarily mean that you’re driving real safe. It usually means that you’re being distracted while driving. Oh yeah – get out of the left lane !

2.  Speaking of my car by chance this past Saturday morning I checked out that brand new car wash that recently opened up on Useless-One caddy-corner to The Big Cheese. I was their only customer at the time, and I got my car washed on the outside and cleaned and dressed on the inside. They took their time and did it right. My 6½-year-old car looks nearly sparkling new now on the inside. The ultimate results far exceeded my overall expectations. I plan to be a regular customer of them in the future. After I return home from my upcoming road trip I’ll be going back there for a wash and wax !

3.  It’s Election Day here in Homestead, and I’m so glad that I’ve already voted via absentee ballot. I do it that way in lieu of being insulted at the voting precinct (inside and outside). It’s just so much more civil voting in the privacy of my own living room. On this day we’ve got the incumbant Mayor who’s a loose cannon, says what’s on her mind, and publicly degrades people along the way who she doesn’t agree with. Running against her for the job is a guy with a lot of experience in Homestead politics who’s (allegedly) got a short temper and gets into street fights with citizens (allegedly). I hesitantly voted for one of these candidates – not really for the person but really more as a vote against the other person.

4.  Last Tuesday night in the ‘Grab Bag’ I mentioned the fact that I picked up several of 8 colds in 12 months from November 2007 to November 2008 at Starbucks. Once I stopped going there I stopped getting colds. This past weekend I went back there to pick up a package of VIA Ready Brew (instant coffee). I did so because it’s the most delicious instant coffee that I’ve ever tasted in my entire life. Fast forward to this afternoon, and I believe that I now have my first genuine cold in about a year. In defense of Starbucks though I don’t believe that I picked up this cold from there. I think I got the nasty germs earlier today from either Publix or our base gymnasium. I’ll be able to confirm the mere existence of this cold as soon as later tonight or tomorrow morning – especially if it gets worse.

5.  Get ready for more seasonal (normal) temperatures around these parts of the free nation starting on Thursday and continuing through the weekend. Expect mid-afternoon high temperatures right around the 80°F mark and early-morning low temperatures deep down into the lower-60s with wind chills into the upper-50s. The humidity will be low, and the winds will be brisk and cool. Later in November I’m forecasting a major continental shift in the weather pattern (induced by El Niño) that will surge much colder air deep into Florida.

Be sure to check out my ‘Thursday Night Mini Thoughts’ in a mere 48 hours or less, and until then stay up-to-date with what I’m thinking and doing via my Twitter account.

Tuesday Night Grab Bag O’ Thoughts

It’s the 102ND edition of the weekly ‘Grab Bag’ of my miscellaneous thoughts:

1.  It’s not supposed to be in the lower-80s outside when we wake up early in the morning, and we shouldn’t have heat indices way up into the mid-90s late in the afternoon – during the final week of October !  This is not normal South Florida weather for this time of the year. If you want more normal weather then stick around. I see a very gradual cooling trend beginning this weekend with a noticeable cooldown in about 10 days. How much cooler ?  Stay tuned !

2.  I tend to accumulate a lot of loose change in one of the small compartments of my car. Sometimes it gets totally out-of-hand where if I were a real annnoying person I could actually buy an entire fast food meal for over $5 in all loose change – but I would never do that. What I try to do is to pick out about $0.75 or so in quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies so that I can use it for exact change whenever I walk in to a fast food joint or store. Whenever I do that it always seems like the total cost of my bill is so many dollars and 98 cents, so I end up using no change at all. When I don’t prepare in advance with loose change I end up getting a bill for something like so many dollars and 2 cents – or 14 cents – or 26 cents – or whatever so that I end up getting another pound of loose change. Make cents sense ?

3.  For a whole year from November of 2007 through November of 2008 I suffered through 8 colds. It’s been nearly an entire year since then, and I can only remember one minor cold over the past 12 months – and even that one cold may not have actually been a real cold. There have been sick people and their nasty germs all around me everywhere I go, and yet I’ve miraculously stayed on the healthy side. I know though that it’s only a matter of time before the germs gather strength and invade my body like there’s no tomorrow – when I least suspect it no doubt.

4.  One of the places that I now avoid as much as I can is Starbucks. It’s where I picked up at least several of those 8 colds from 2007 into 2008. Once I stopped going there (both locations – Homestead and Florida City) – the colds stopped. Nevertheless I have a dilemma to deal with now. Yesterday morning I tried this for the first time ever, and it was outrageously scrumptious. It was perhaps the most delicious instant coffee that I’ve ever tasted in my entire life. I want more now !  I may eventually find myself at a nearby Starbucks purchasing some more of them, or I may even buy some online.

5.  4 years ago this week we were dealing with the aftermath of the surprisingly devastating Hurricane Wilma. It was the most destructive hurricane to affect South Florida since Hurricane Andrew 13 years earlier. Water, power, and telephone service (mostly cell) was out in some areas in a wide swath of South Florida for up to a month, and traffic jams lined up at the rare gas stations and grocery stores that were actually open for business. Due to a blatant lack of preparation on my part I waited in line for gas for about 8 hours on one of those early days of the aftermath !  It seems like it’s been more than only four years since that chaos.

Be sure to check out my ‘Thursday Night Mini Thoughts’ later this week !

Tuesday Night Grab Bag O’ Thoughts

1.  Let’s kick-off this week’s edition of the ‘Grab Bag’ with some ‘Breaking News’. This just in to ‘The Major’s Life Blog’ satellite news desk. It appears that I’ll be going on a business trip in about 4 weeks from now. It’ll be my first business trip since the start of March of 2007 when I drove nearly 1,600 miles to and from north of Atlanta Georgia. This time around I’ll be visiting New England for the very first time in my entire life – specifically the Springfield Massachusetts area. It should be nice up there during the middle week of October !

2.  I’m not driving to and from Massachusetts, but I will be driving to and from the Dallas Texas area in just about 8 weeks for the Thanksgiving holiday week. That’s a little over 1,400 miles one way, or 2,800 miles round trip. That’s a lot of driving for me considering the fact that I’m averaging a little over 7,500 miles of driving per year over the past couple of years. Over the course of 6 years and 3 months I’ve put just a little over 60,300 miles on my car.

3.  Can you believe it ?  The Autumnal Equinox is just minutes away. The southward Sun crosses over the Equator at 5:18 PM EDT this afternoon. It continues its southward trek until the 21ST of December as our days continue to get shorter and our nights continue to get longer. Tomorrow – Wednesday September 23RD – is the first full day of Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere, and the first full day of Spring down under. Incidentally I’ve got new regular blog readers checking in from South America, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Welcome aboard !

4.  This past Sunday afternoon I indulged in the mother of all MASSIVE meals over at Downtown Homestead‘s very own Mamma Mia Pizza. I enjoyed an ENORMOUS plate of traditional spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs were GINORMOUS and plentiful. Just because there’s new competition in the city (The Olive Garden / The Big Cheese) it does not mean that Mamma Mia has disappeared or is inferior in any way. Mamma Mia is still there. It needs your business to stay alive. The food is still scrumptious. Check them out again !

5.  My pathetic Washington Redskins barely scraped up a squeaker of a win against the lowly St. Louis Rams this past Sunday afternoon in their home opener. I’m glad that I didn’t see it. This upcoming Sunday afternoon my Redskins take on the lowly Detroit Lions, and La$ Vega$ has them as a 6 to 6.5 point favourite in a low-scoring game. I’ve been calling for the promotion of veteran Todd Collins from backup to starting quarterback since last season, and I’m still calling for the move. Offensive yards does not win games. Points wins games. Let’s do something !

Tuesday Night Grab Bag O’ Thoughts

It’s the continuing saga that is my weekly ‘Grab Bag O’ Thoughts’:

1.  Today was an unusually peaceful and quiet day at work. It nearly got boring for me at times. I could have taken a short nap. No not really, but I was actually hoping for some excitement or controversy during the course of the work day today. I got just a little bit of that, but I could have handled even more.

2.  After work this afternoon I ventured over to Homestead‘s fresh new Bed Bath & Beyond for the first time ever. It’s one of my favourite stores in the entire world. Once upon a time no weekend visit to The Shops At Sunset Place in South Miami was complete without a well-orchestrated stop at the Bed Bath & Beyond at Dadeland Station in Downtown Kendall. I could have spent a hundred or so dollars at that joint this afternoon, but I spent a tiny fraction of that instead on a few key items. I may have to return back to the scene of the crime in a few days to take another round-robin tour. YOU KNOW IT !

3.  My nearly year-long search for a new Family Practice Doctor here in the local Homestead area is winding down, and I think that I’ve finally got one selected. My next step is to actually schedule a complete physical with the M.D. (Medical Dude). I hope to do that before the close of this week. My new Doctor will tell me if Lipitor is right for me. I’ve been without it for nearly a year now, and I’m still alive !

4.  I’ve recently discovered JCTV on my AT&T U-verse. It’s just like MTV from about 15 to 20 years ago with lots of music videos shown through the day and into the night and a few shows programmed around the hour-long video blocks. The ‘JC’ in JCTV stands for Jesus Christ, and it’s all about Him. They too (like The Call on the radio) gear all of their content and programming towards the teen and young adult crowd as if there just aren’t any older adults that are closer to my age that need to be rescued and saved by God and ministered to. I knew my blog had a real purpose. This is the purpose driven blog.

5.  This blog will record its remarkable 200,000TH hit (since its inception in 2007) this Thursday night. Thank You everyone for continuing to support this blog by checking it out, reading it, commenting on it, discussing it, and telling all of your friends about it. I do it all for you. It’s a sincere pleasure to be able to share my new Life with each and every one of you. I thank you for sharing your Life with me.

Tuesday Night Grab Bag O’ Thoughts

1.  I hosted some out-of-town visitors today at work. They are essentially my counterparts at a higher Headquarters level. It was a lot of fun hanging out with them and discussing how we do business here at Homestead (ARB). We also went out to Lunch at Homestead‘s very own LongHorn SteakHouse. YUM !

2.  Just as I predicted would happen once the Olive Garden next door opened for business there were not too many people eating Lunch at the LongHorn. Customer service was immediate, friendly, and professional. The food was scrumptiously delicious. I enjoyed the Parmesan Crusted Chicken with seasoned french fries and brandied cinnamon apples. It was a MASSIVE Lunch for my MASSIVE appetite !

3.  Meanwhile over at the Olive Garden the parking lot was jammed and crammed to capacity. That joint was totally jumpin’ – no doubt about it. I’ll wait until after the excitement dies down a bit to check it out for myself. The Greater Homestead area is starting to turn in to a little Italian mecca here in America’s Riviera with the Capri and Nazbar (down the road in Florida City), Mamma Mia, Olive Garden, and (soon) The Big Cheese on U.S. 1. It just so happens that Italian food is my favourite type of food, so I say to BRING IT ON !

4.  It’s the 7TH day of July, so you just know what that means !  No ?  Well it may not mean anything special for you, but for me it means that I am now a mere two months away from my next Carnival cruise vacation getaway. I set sail on the 7TH day of September (Labour Day Monday) on my 10TH anniversary Carnival cruise on the same exact cruise ship that I was on for my very first Carnival cruise during the Labour Day Weekend of 1999. GOOD TIMES !

5.  The 11TH season of “Big Brother” on CBS-TV begins this Thursday night at 8 PM EDT. It will air on Thursday nights, Sunday nights, and Tuesday nights through the middle of September. I don’t believe that I have missed a single episode of the series since it premiered 9 years ago in July 2000, and I don’t plan to miss any of the 30 or so episodes that will begin in just 48 hours. My Summer is just not complete until “Big Brother” is occupying the digital airwaves.

And that’s how I rock and roll on this Tuesday night. Thank You for caring !