And in other newz

What a crazy couple of days. I had a song all picked out for my "Music Monday" offering, but it's gone now... completely left my brain. Today has not been much better... so despite my efforts to avoid ramblings... today is going to be a rambler... First i would like to say how good the Panthers' victory over the Arizona Cardinals felt as a fan. The Panthers are only 3-4 so far this season, and they are a far way from being able to work their way into the playoffs, but since that embarrassing beating the Cardinals put on the Panthers in the playoffs last season the Panthers have been playing like dirt. The game on Sunday was not perfect, but it was executed very well. Six turnovers, the special teams played well, and the offense had zero turnovers with over 200 yards on the ground. Next week's games against the '7-0 New Orleans Saints is going to be a huge test. If the Panthers pull off a win next week i will begin to believe that a 9-7 season is possible again. I want the Saints to go 14-2 and on to the Super Bowl if the Panthers aren't going to represent the NFC South. I know i will be accused of being a bandwagon fan, but i had a place in my heart for them when they were the 'Aints. Flair has become an obsession. A thing i can collect without it costing me money or taking up room on a shelf. Last week a friend was sharing pictures of when he was in Iraq and i wanted to honor him so i set out in search of a new piece flair. I found the one on the right here. I like how this picture has the soldier in silhouette with the clouds and sun behind him. The outline is as such that you can tell it is a soldier, but that is it. It is generic enough to represent all of the service men and women who are serving. Not just in Iraq but every where. I added it to my collection, and then sent it to all of my fellow soldiers that i am friends with on facebook. When i was a wee lad back in the 'hood (i.e. the suburbs of Northern Virginia) my mom struggled to keep things afloat and worked two jobs. This left my brother and me all alone. As a result i had little supervision after school and took to wandering the neighborhood, bike riding, etc. One of the neighborhood shops was a little pizza place. It is where i played my first game of pinball. It was on old style deal with mechanical tumblers for the score and only two banks of targets to shoot the ball at, but it captured my attention. The chunk-chink-chunk of the mechanics resetting every game, the sharp crack of the ball jumping and smacking the glass. This was around the time that video arcades started becoming popular. The thing is i did not have the means to get to places like Putt-Putt, so Pinball became my main form of diversion. Later when mom would drag my brother and me to the her favorite watering hole (this became common enough practice i was on a first name basis with pretty much every bartender) i saw my first electronic pinball game. Electric bumpers, digital scoring. The Black Knight and Buck Rogers pinball machines were practically mine whenever i wanted. I got so good that my mom could give me a roll of quarters and i could entertain myself pretty much a whole Saturday. As i got older i found it harder and harder to actually get to where the machines are and picked up my first PC pinball sim. Well, in reality it came with windows, but it whetted my appetite. Eventually i learned about "Pro Pinball". This company made some really good PC pinball sims. My first being "Fantastic Journey" (pictured left). Eventually i picked up all four (The Web typically not bundled with the other three) to play. Recently though... i've not been able to play them at all as Windows seems to have a thing that if you hit a key repeatedly it does something funky and i've tried disabling it... but to no avail. At least not on the old XP version of windows. Maybe i will try and reload them on a Vista machine. If any readers out there can help me i would be grateful. 8)

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