Sunday, March 30, 2008

Weekend Assignment: Lie to Me

Ok, I've recovered enough from The Shamrock Shuffle to write up my weekend assignment. Karen has cooked up a good one. Go check it out over at Outpost Mavarin.

Weekend Assignment #209: Tell us a story about yourself, something that is plausible but definitely, outrageously false, while containing a kernel of truth. Since we don't want to create any work for, begin your tale with the words, "This is not true," and don't say anything defamatory about any companies, products, celebrities or politicians.

This is not true. My grandparents used to own some cabins on a lake in Northern Michigan. We generally took at least one family vacation out there every year. It was a great place. A nice quiet lake, plenty of fish or frogs to catch, and a lot of places to explore.

Since this was back in the 70's, and in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, me, my brother, and step-brother were allowed to go out and explore on our own. It wasn't a very large place, but to three boys all under the age of 15, it was plenty big.

On one particular day we decided to climb through a large sand pit and then explore the "woods" behind it. I'm not sure what the purpose of the pit was, all I remember about it now was that it was about 10 feet deep and the bottom was covered with rocks. Fairly large rocks.

We started at the bottom, since the road to the cabin led to the lowest point, and we started climbing. I was in the back since I was the youngest. That's how it works, you know. The climb wasn't very steep, but the sand made it hard to gain traction. But, we slowly made our way towards the top. My brother cleared the top first, my step-brother was close behind him and then I reached for the grassy top. But the top gave way. I fell backwards down toward the bottom. I don't remember hitting the bottom. I just was there. Laying on the rocks. I was afraid to move at first, thinking I probably wacked my head on the rocks, but I was fine. No pain.No blood.

I looked to see if anyone was at the top of the hill looking for me. Nobody was there. I thought about calling out, but decided it would be best just to start climbing again. I didn't wan't to be called a baby.

I made it to the top with no problem this time, and started toward the wooded area. There still was no sign of anyone else. I knew I only had to go through about 500 feet of woods to get back to the service road that curved through area. So I headed in. I was a little nervous going in by myself regardless of the short distance I had to cover. My uncle telling me stories of bears in the area certainly didn't help.

After covering only about 50 feet or so I stopped. It was bright daylight out, though diffuse through the trees, but the area ahead seemed very dark. Much darker than it should have been. I stood there for a few minutes deciding what to do. I knew I was just scaring myself. Just being stupid. I should just walk through, be a big boy and catch up with my brothers. I took one more step, and a cold breeze came rushing through the trees. I froze. There was no way I was going ahead. I didn't care what anyone thought. I turned and headed back the way I came.

I climbed back down the sand pit, and walked the long way around the service road to meet up where my brothers would have come out of the woods. As I rounded the last corner I noticed a small crowd had gathered, mostly my family, along with a few other guests that were staying in the cabins. The local fire truck and lone police car where there, too. I started to jog up to them, thinking someone in my family had been hurt. I saw my mom first, she was crying. My heart sunk. I thought something bad happened to my brother or step-brother. Maybe one of the bears got them.

I started sprinting up the street to them, that was when my mom saw me. She yelled something, I couldn't make it out, and ran toward me. At first I stopped running, I wasn't sure what was going on, then I saw my brothers running towards me too. I started crying now. They weren't eaten by bears.

My mom grabbed me and kept saying, "Your okay. Your okay."

All I could say was, "Yes, mom. I only was a little behind them."

Turns out, that's what saved me.

My brothers didn't know I fell in the pit, and they kept going right on into the woods. They were playing S.W.A.T. team and not really paying attention to me. Abouth half way to the road the ground gave way right behind them. A large sink hole, about 20 feet across, 15 feet deep, opened up due to an underground stream leading out to the lake. They didn't know I fell back at the pit and they thought I was right behind them and fell in the sink hole. They freaked and ran to get help.

The reason it looked dark ahead of me was due to the way the trees fell to form a canopy, blocking more sun than the rest of the area. The cold breeze was probably due to the cold water the was running beneath the ground. I think. It makes the most sense. Doesn't it?

I survived!

I finished the race without passing out. And under an hour. Time to eat!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wish me luck

Tomorrow we are running in the Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago. This is the longest race I've ever down. Well, I really shouldn't call it a race since I don't plan on coming anywhere near the lead, but you know what I mean. It's an 8K which isn't all that long, but with the lousy weather we've had around here, I'm not as prepared as I'd like to be. On top of that, the weather is supposed to be rainy and cool. So I expect to be sick next week.

Today I feel like I am walking through a vat of molasses. Not the way you want to feel the day before a race. Maybe, deep down, at a sub-conscious level, my body is telling me to go slow and rest up. Yeah, that sounds right. Now, can I convince my wife that I should just lay on the couch all day? She can too since she is running as well. No, I don't think it will work either. She was nice enough to let me sleep in this morning, but it didn't help me much.

So watch for me on the news. I'll be the guy taken away in a stretcher. Hopefully I'll have enough strength to do the weekend assignment tomorrow. Hmmm. Maybe I should try to get that done tonight.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

My life in six words

This is a first for me. I was tagged by Florinda to do this six word memoir meme. Here is how it works. This was taken from Florinda's site which she got from Madame Meow:

Inspired by a book called Not Quite What I Was Planning, and originally devised by BookBabie, this meme asks you to write a SIX WORD memoir.

I know. Six words? Seriously. No consideration for those among us who suffer from verborrhea, right? But don't let me stop your fun. First off, here are the official instructions:

1. Write your own six-word memoir.
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.
3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere.
4. Tag five more blogs with links.
5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play. (This last step is optional.)

OK. Got all that? First, I'm going say I am not going to tag anybody else. Sorry, but I couldn't think of five to tag anyway. I'm too new to the blog world. Second, this is hard. As you can see by my previous posts, I tend to ramble. Succinct is not in my vocabulary.

Oh, I forgot, If you can't come up with one six-word memoir, six of them is fine. I think I am going that route. The more words, the better. Right?

I'm Too Immature to be Old
Two Kids, a Wife and Happiness
Gray Hair; Too Early for Me
I Can Still Run, Just Slower
True Confessions of a Chocolate Addict
100 Tips From a Procrastination Expert

There you go. That wasn't easy, but I did it. Some are better than others, but doing one is not enough, but six is too many. So, what do you think? I think Jenn will find these to be pretty accurate.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring break, yeah!

Last night was my last working day until spring break is over for the kids. My wife and I split up the time off this year. We are both off together tomorrow, then she goes back to work on Thursday. No going to Daytona Beach for us.

I only took one spring break trip ever. I went with a friend to his sister's house in Albequrque during our senior year in high school. It was a lot of fun; mostly because we were on our own for the first time. No parents, no rules. We were rebels I tell ya.

My favorite memory of the trip was driving up to Colorado to go skiing. This was the first time I ever went skiing in the moutains. Being from Illinois we were lucky to have a hill to sled down. The problem was that I wasn't good skiing on the little hills in Illinois and southern Wisconsin; these were actual mountains. Born from the tectonic movements of the Earth millions of years ago. The place were people tend to ski 40 miles-an-hour into trees. I wasn't ready for it. To make a long story short, I wiped out, fell on my hand, and possibly broke a bone in my hand. I'm not sure since I didn't go to the hospital, but the green and purple hue my hand took on the next day lead me to believe a break may have been possilble. But, I was able to hold a pole the next morning, so we went out again. And I fell again. On my other hand. I gave up after that and hung out at the bottom to wait for everyone else to finish. My thumb still works, so I guess I'm OK.

In college I never had the money to go on a spring break trip. I paid for half of my schooling so I had to work. My favorite job was library security. Yes, you read that right. I didn't get to carry a weapon, but I had a clipboard to write down you ID number if you broke the rules. The best part of that job was that after 10PM my boss left and I was "in charge" until closing time at 2AM. I mostly read books and did homework during that time. Not a bad deal.

Back to my point. Even if I had the money I don't think I would have gone to the spring break hot spots. I've seen it on TV and it's not for me. I'm not saying I didn't drink and go to parties in college, but I don't like big crowds. A big crowd of drunk people is even worse. Maybe it's me now. Maybe I'm too old and my memory is clouded. But, I don't think so. I'm just not a spring break guy. No offense Daytona. It's nothing personal. (People still go there, right?)

Hey M&M's, I'm back!

I gave up M&M's for Lent, though I gave my self a reprieve on my birthday, and now that Lent is over I am free to eat them again. Now, I know that over the last 40-some-odd days the sales department over at the Mars Corporation has wondered what happened to the sales of M&M"s, I'm here to let them know that your numbers will be back to normal soon. I hope I didn't affect bonuses. I'd feel bad about that, but my arteries are happier. My blood no longer comes in a candy shell.

I hope I don't go back to my old ways though. I eat way to many of them. There is something about the combination of the candy shell and the chocolate (with or without peanuts) that is very addicting for me. I proved to myself that I can go for 40 days, but can I keep my consumption down to a healthy level? That remains to be seen. I have to at least finish off the M&M's my wife gave me for Easter. I don't want to hurt her feelings.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I read too many scary books

I read mostly science fiction, suspense, and horror. It's what I started with when I was younger (not the horror), and I just kept with it. I had an active imagination when I was growing up and I think those kind of books tapped into that imagination. I'm no longer afraid to go into my mom's basement, but when you think about it, wouldn't it be cool if there were monsters living down there?

Anyway, to the point of the post. The other day as I was taking my son to school I realized we forgot his lunch. Not a big deal, the school is close, so I told him I'd go get it and drop it off. As I was driving to the school, I happened to notice a black Escalade behind me; those cars (trucks?) are hard to miss. I didn't pay much attention to it though until I noticed it was behind me again on the way back. I noticed the same handicapped decal hanging from the mirror and the guy driving. I thought it was an odd coincidence, but it was on a heavily traveled road, he could have dropped something off up the street. I stopped into Walgreen's on the way home, and as I turned in the lot I saw the car drive passed and continue up the road. I thought it was odd, obviously since I was paying attention to it, but again, busy street. I went into Walgreen's, walked to the back to find the pop I want to get, and turn to leave.  I see a man in the aisle that I swear was in the black Escalade. I'm wasn't positive, but I was pretty sure. I went up to pay and walked outside. The black Escalade was parked right by the door. The same handicapped decal in the windshield. I got in the car and headed home watching the rearview mirror.
The car didn't show up again.

 So, what did I do the that Feds are after me? Did I post some secret information on my blog unknowingly?

Now, I know it was all a coincidence and everything, but really, what are the chances? I told my wife about it when I went home. She thought it was weird too. I told her that if I look out the window and that Escalade is out there I was going to call the cops. It wasn't. I'm safe. For now.  (Start creepy music)

I really should post in the middle of the night...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Weekend Assignment #208 - Spring!

Karen wants us to talk about Spring this week. It isn't easy for us in the Chicago area, actually the Midwest as a whole, this year due to the lack of warmth and abundance of snow.

Meteorologists define spring in the Northern Hemisphere as beginning March 1st; others define it according to the vernal equinox, the return of warm weather, or the appearance of a groundhog's shadow. What does spring mean to you, and what, if anything, do you intend to do about it?

I'm a little torn. I have a degrees in meteorology and psychology (what a combo, huh?). Part of me sees spring as starting on March 1st, it's just easier that way. But, especially around here, it is never warm enough by March 1st to feel like spring. Most of the time it isn't warm enough by the time of the vernal equinox, and don't get me started on the groundhog thing. So, I'd have to say, spring is here when it is nice enough for me to play golf. I don't have to be in shorts, but i don't want to be in a parka either.

I don't have any good plans for the spring. I want to clean up the garage and put some more shelves up. I've been planning to do that since we moved in -- five years ago. It's really been a busy five years, as far as you know.

All I really want is the snow to stop, and the temperatures to get up to, and stay in, the 60's. That's not too much to ask, is it? I want to be able to run outside whenever I have time. I can't stand the treadmill. I don't run on any trails or anything nice to look at, but it is so much better actually getting somewhere when your legs are moving. Running for  40 minutes and not even covering 20 feet is just plain depressing.

What I could do without is the allergies that come with spring. Is there a way to get to warm weather and skip the sneezing? That would make me happy. Sometimes I dread spring because I know what comes along with it. Sometimes it is hard to enjoy the nice weather when you can't breathe.

So, to summarize; golf, warmth, and sneezing. All signs of spring to me.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Bringing home "Quincy"

We disregarded the National Weather Service warnings and drove out to get our new puppy today. I don't have a picture to put up yet; I'm on the midnight shift again. I'll try tomorrow.

The funny thing is the snow was not too bad leading up to our departure time. Then it decided to become a nasty little storm as we left the house. Luckily, we were heading south and the snow changed to rain then to sunny skies where we picked Qunicy up. I think it was a sign.

He was a little nervous in the car at first, but he calmed down and at one point fell asleep on the ride home. I think all dogs like car rides. Am I right?

We tried to put Quincy in an Easter basked outside the front door for the kids to come and see but, unfortnately, he grew more than we expected and he didn't fit. Our son was pretty excited, but our daughter is still unsure. She was OK by the time she went to bed, but before that she was a little afraid of Quincy. He is quite a bit more active than Cosmo was during her liftetime. I think she'll be fine once she gets used to him. Our son asked if Quincy could sleep with him, but we told him Quincy was just a baby and can't stay in his room yet.

The good new is that Quincy likes his cage. He went in there and fell asleep right away. Now, we just need to work on the potty training thing. He had two small accidents all ready. Thanks goodness his bladder is small. It makes the clean up much easier.

I feel bad for my wife this week. I'm on midnights so she is going to be doing most of the work for the next few days. I think she is going to be as tired as me by the end of the week.

Oh yeah, we went with the name Quincy, obviously. It just seemed to fit. We both like it too. My wife actually thought of it. Thanks to everyone who pitched in name ideas.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tomorrow is the big day

Tomorrow we head out to pick up our new puppy. I think the kids are going to go crazy. The grandparents are coming over to watch the kids and we are telling the kids we need to go to a mommy and daddy meeting. Then, when we get home, we are going to pretend that the Easter Bunny left the dog by the front door two days early. There is just one little problem with the plan:

1153 AM CDT THU MAR 20 2008

So much for the first day of Spring! So far the forecast is for the worst of the snow to be along the Wisconsin-Illinois border and we are heading south, so we should be OK. The last thing I want to do is drive 90 minutes each way in a snow storm.

I'm looking forward to the new puppy, but I am afraid of the amount of work it will create. When my wife and I got our first dog we didn't have kids, and the dog was already six months old; much easier to train. Not to say he wasn't a problem, he was, but we had very few accidents in the house. Although one time the valence from the blinds fall off when he was under it and landed on him. He wasn't hurt, but it quite literally scared the crap out of him. It was pretty funny, looking back on it.

Another problem is the middle of the night potty breaks he's going to need. We are nice and used to not having to get up in the middle of the night anymore. Now we have to do it again. Yay! The good thing is that puppies grow out of that stage a lot faster than kids. Right? Tell me I'm right even if I am wrong. Please?

It will be nice to see the puppy grow up along with the kids. Cosmo, our last dog, was six when our son was born, and eight when our daughter was born. He was used to being the only "kid." But, he was good with the kids. He never snapped or snarled at them no matter what they did to him. That is why we are getting another Golden Retriever. They are supposed to be good with kids, and Cosmo lived up to the claim.

So the next time you wake up in the middle of the night think of us, we are probably outside with the puppy.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Who wouldn't want to work on Mythbusters?

I was just watching "Mythbusters". It was a rerun, but new to me, where they blow up a water heater by letting the pressure build up. As I watched I thought, "How fun would it be to work on this show?" Every show has something fun; things blowing up, remote control cars crashing into things, if this show isn't made for guys, I don't know what is.

Other than "Mythbusters," I think "The Office" would be fun to work on, mostly because it seems they have a good time. I'm sure it's a lot more work than it looks.

Anyone else have a TV show you think would be fun?

What Are Your Favorite Snacks: Past and Present?

I got to thinking about snack foods today after getting in trouble for bringing home Hostess Cupcakes. You see, my wife really likes them, as do I, and she didn't want to be tempted to eat them. I can understand that, I am the same when it comes to M&M's. I'm probably worse. It wasn't my fault though, my son wanted them. He begged me to get them when we stopped at the store this afternoon. I asked him whether he liked the cupcakes, or like the fact that the bee from the Bee Movie was on it. He promised he liked them. He didn't. So now the full box calls to us as we watch TV after the kids go to sleep.

Anyway, back to the reason for this post. Growing up, I think we we the sole supporters of the Hostess Snack Cake company. At least the Midwest division. We had them all; Twinkies, Cupcakes, Ho Ho's, Ding Dongs and one of my favorites, Suzy Q's. My mom would keep the Suzy Q's in the freezer so when it was lunch time at school it was the perfect texture. Actually, she did the same thing with the loaf of bread. My peanut butter (chunky version) and jelly sandwiches were perfectly fresh after several hours in my locker. I thought my mom was the smartest person in the world for doing that. Actually the Suzy Q's right out of the freezer were great, too. They were less messy and were like an ice cream sandwich. Now that I think of it, Ding Dongs weren't so bad out of the freezer either.

We were pretty big into the Little Debbie treats also. I remember the brownies and nutty bars being good, but I don't remember much else from that company. When I think about it now, I blame my mother for my current junk food consumption. I never had a chance after growing up with all that stuff!

OK, so we have Suzy Q's from the past, what about the present? Obviously we still buy Hostess things, though not often. We've been buying a lot of the 100 calorie snacks. You know, trying to be smarter. The problem is, if you eat a couple of them it still adds up. But, I guess it is better to eat a couple 100 calorie chocolate pretzels versus a couple cupcakes.

I think I'd be lying if I didn't say M&M's were my favorite snack currently. I like almost all of the varieties. I did get a bag of mint M&M's once during the holidays by accident. Let me tell you, taking in a handful of those when you are expecting regular chocolate is not pleasant. I thought they were poisoned at first. They really need to make the "mint" label bigger on those. I even liked the crispy M&M's. I think I might have been the only person, since they are gone now. I like to eat the almond version and pretend like I'm eating a healthy snack. You know, almonds are good for you.

OK, enough about me. Anyone else have favorite snacks? They can be healthy snacks, you don't have to be like me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

So that was the odor

Most of last night and this morning I kept smelling this electrical, plastic burning smell. I couldn't pinpoint it's origin. Sometimes it seemed to be in the kitchen, other times in the family room. At one point I thought I had it nailed down to the battery charger. But, after being unplugged overnight and the smell lingered, I thought it might be something else.

Then today I was walking from the kitchen into the living room and I noticed the odor was much stronger. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw this:

This is what happens when your utensil holder is too close to the stove. Granted, it is a cheap pair of tongs that came with a catering order, but I should probably move that thing.

Monday, March 17, 2008

It's not my fault!

Great, less than a week after I talk about embarrassing music and this happens:

MADRID, Spain — A former drummer for the
Swedish pop band ABBA was found dead with cuts to his neck in the
garden of his house on the Spanish island of Mallorca. Police said
Monday an autopsy showed it was an accident.

The whole article can be found here. Doesn't sound like a nice way to go.

I feel kind of bad for saying they were embarrassing now.

So long, Olaf.

The Midnight Shift, How Do I Hate Thee?

Let me count the ways:

1. I don't get enough sleep. Let's assume I am starting my week on Monday night at 11PM. Usually I will get up with the kids at 6:30AM that morning to get them off to school. I'll try to nap, I may get in a couple hours, then I have to pick them up, we'll have dinner when my wife comes home, we get them to bed, then I get ready to go to work. I won't get to bed until about 8AM the next morning, so I'm up about 26 hours with a (possible) two hour nap. And I only get about 6 or 7 hours of sleep for the rest of the week so I never catch up.

2. My body clock gets all messed up. Since I don't work the midnight shift often it's hard to get into a rhythm. My body wants to sleep when I'm at work, the drive home is not pretty, and when I go to sleep I wake up a lot to due to the call of nature. By the time the week is up I have gotten into a rhythm, but that means my first day off I am dragging my butt all day long. I get used to sleeping during the daylight; I've turned into a vampire.

3. I'm cranky. Go ask my wife. She'll tell you. It's do to the "fog of midnights", that's what I call it at least.

4. I can't do anything during the day. During the summer I miss out on a lot of great weather. It always seems the nicest days are when I'm on midnights. I haven't missed too much in the way of family events. My wife is good about planning them away from my midnight shifts. She looks out for me.

5. Marching band practice. We live about 500 yards from the high school. During the fall marching band practice starts up. Not good. I don't usually hear it if I'm asleep, but if I wake up for some reason (see number 2) It is hard to go back to sleep with the drums pounding.

So, is there anything good about midnights? The building is empty. It is only our group in the whole building overnight. Very little management, no executives at all, that's nice. It's a lot easier to park close to the building. That's about it. Oh, I can listen to my iPod on the midnight shift. It's too hard during the other shifts; more work and more phone calls.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The New, New, New Newlywed Game

I caught some of "Here Comes the Newlyweds" last night. My wife had it
on, there was nothing else on, it wasn't my fault, I swear! Anyway, I
found a few things Interesting about the show.

First, they are all newlyweds, of course, but they have to live in a
house together with all the other couples. Yeah, that's what you want
to do as newlyweds, live with 14 other people. And, why does every
show have to put all the people in a house together and then vote off
people? It's funny that reality shows now have no originality now.
Wasn't that was the reason they became popular in the first place,
because they were different?

Second, there was an arranged marriage couple on the show. That's all
fine and good, but wouldn't they be at a disadvantage when they have
to guess things about their spouse? Just a thought. I also found it
funny that each couple had some kind of label, the arranged marriage,
love at first sight, forth time around, etc. They all have names,
that's not enough?

Third. In the episode I saw, the husband had to drive a car
blindfolded while the wife told him where to go. They also had to
parallel park blindfolded. I can barely do that with my eyes
uncovered. I mention to my wife how hard I thought that would be, she
said we'd probably get divorced over it. I don't think so. Maybe if we
did the Amazing Race we would. We've talked doing that show before. We
both agreed it would not be a good idea.

Fourth, the host is the spitting image of Bob Eubanks of the original
Newlywed Game. Was that on purpose? I found that quite amusing.

It's pretty much a waste of an hour, but you can check it out. Let me
know what you think.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Weekend Assignment #207: Too Much News?

For this weekend assignment Karen over at Outpost Mavarin wants to know what our news consumption is like.

Weekend Assignment #207: Are you a news junkie, or not so much? Do you seek out news on tv, radio, in newspapers or online, or are you sick of the endless rehashing of the same issues? I realize it's all a continuum, from "I never watch the news" to "I keep it on all day, and read several newspapers" (or whatever). Maybe you vacillate, depending on what's going on in the world or your own life. What's your current level of interest?

I am far from a news junkie. I read the Chicago Tribune and will get some news off the radio and internet, but that is about it. It's not that I don't know what is going on in the country, or world, I think I get my share.

I don't watch the 24 hour cable news stations much. I think I got burned out on those during 9/11. We were stuck in Las Vegas and all we did was stare at the TV for 24 hours. But that is another story. They are good for checking on a news story real quick if we are watching TV. It is easy to flip over to see who is winning the primary in a particular state. I will say that I am a little tired of the election coverage. I know it is important, I want to know who is winning and what they are planning to do if they win, but I don't need 48 people to tell me why one will, or should, win over the other.

Extra Credit: Is there a particular news story you have been following recently?

No, I'm not following anything right now. I was following the news on the NIU campus shooting since my wife and I went there, but that is about it recently.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Embarrassing music

I've been thinking about some of my music choices over the years, then I saw Wil Wheaton posted about his iTunes list and Florinda at 3 R's posted about 80's music on the "oldies"station, and I figured now is a good a time as any. (That should probably be 2 or 3 sentences, but we'll leave it alone).

Before I go on I'll say one thing; these are embarrassing to me, you might like the songs or albums I list. I expect some people will. Also, I'll admit, when I hear these songs today they bring a smile to my face. It reminds me of a simpler time, when people grew their own food and buffalo roamed through the plains.

I'm not proud of some of my music choices. I think my first album was ABBA's Voulez-Vous, I'm pretty sure I saw a commecial for an ABBA album on TV and I bought that one. Actually, I'm sure my parents bought it for me; I was probably about eight. (I just looked up the date of release. I was ten. That makes it worse!) I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I wanted the album because it had two "girls" in the band. Really, that is the only good excuse I can make at this time.

I know I had some bad 45's, too. I had Hall and Oates' "Private Eyes." The song might be about a stalker, but I'm not positive. Another good one was "Turning Japanese" by the Vapors. I don't think the song title is very politically correct and probably would be changed if it were released today. I had ELO's "All Over the World" that, I believe, had "Xanadu" on the B-side. It was from that great Olivia Newton-John movie by the same name.

Lastly, I had several of the K-Tel Starburst records in the late 70's and early 80's. Nearly every song on those was embarrassing, and I liked them. I remember and Andy Gibb song, "(Love is) Thicker Than Water. " I can still hear that song in my head. Get it out!

My most embarrassing memory? Well that would be roller skating in my friend's basement with the song "Undercover Angel" blasting on the radio. Ugh.

So, what embarrassing music did you own?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Trying to eat better

I'm making Sloppy Joe's with ground turkey. I've heard it's good, but it's not something I'd normally eat. I'm trying to eat a little more healthy. I hope I like it. Wish me luck!

Note: This post came out really messed up for some reason. Should look right now.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Watched Pop Fiction Tonight

My wife and I watch Pop Fiction last night. Neither of us are big "E!" watchers, but we were flipping through the channels and thought it would be interesting. The show takes celebrities and has them fake out the paparazzi. Not a bad idea really. The episode we saw had Paris Hilton driving around with a guy dressed like a shaman and Avril Lavigne going into maternity stores.

Of course, the paparazzi followed them around and stories started popping up the Paris was following a new religion and Avril was pregnant. Obviously not much of a stretch based on what was photographed. They were just trying to show that no fact checking would be done and the story would get out immediately. So, this is the new "Punk'd". Which makes sense since Ashton Kutcher is behind this. Or, at least his production company.

How long until this show gets old? Not very long. I like the idea. I like messing with the paparazzi, but unless they try some really wacky things, it's going to be the same show every time. They need to mix it up. Have Britney go to work at McDonald's, or P Diddy (is that his current name?) having a garage sale to keep his house. Or, how about Kurt Russell getting kicked out of his house and sleeping in a park?Let's just see how much you can get them to believe. You know these guys are going to follow any celebrity anywhere. They have nothing else to do.

I don't get that job anyway. You stand around in Beverly Hills just waiting for a celebrity to come along so you can follow them. I'm sure they can make decent money doing it, but it seems like a waste of energy, or film.

I'm not sure I should talk, though. My wife and I went to Los Angeles a few years ago for a short vacation. We went to Beverly Hills, ate at The Ivy (saw Heidi Fleiss and John de Lancie, from Star Trek, there), and we saw Harrison Ford on Rodeo Drive. But we didn't stalk any of them, or whip out a camera and take 45 pictures. I did take one of John de Lancie; I couldn't help it, he was Q! By the way, if you go to The Ivy, bring a lot of money. I think our lunch bill was over $65 dollars for a sandwich and some pasta. That would probably be $80 now.

OK, I should stop bashing peoples career choices. Anyway. Check the show out once. It's worth a look. See if they steal my ideas.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New and Improved Puppy Picures

My wife told me that the last picure I put up of our new puppy looked sad. She told me the picture made it look like he was in prison. So, here. This is what our new dog will look like when he is out on parole.

I believe he's about 8 weeks old right now. We take him home on Friday, March 21st. It happens to be Good Friday so it is going to be an Easter surprise for the kids. The Easter Bunny is going to be very nice this year!

Here is a picture of our new pup with all his siblings. He's the one in the middle that looks like it's glowing. Maybe that is why we picked him out. Do you see the one I mean?

Now we are working on names. Right now we have Sawyer, Payton, and Quincy. I'm kind of leaning towards Quincy. He doesn't look anything like Jack Klugman, but maybe he will have the determination Quincy had in the show. That would make him easier to train. Oh, and my wife came up with the name Quincy. If you knew me you'd think I came up with it, but I swear I didn't. I do like it though. Now we need to get a another one named Sam to be his assistant.

New Toys

I bought some new toys today. This is my new Garmin GPS trainer. I'm hoping it helps me with pacing. I tend to run too fast, get tired quickly, and want to stop early. This should help keep me on pace. And it's a cool little gadget. I am a big gadget guy.

This in my new driver. Doesn't it look like I can hit really far and straight with it? I hope so. It's last year's model Cleveland Hi Bore XLS. I never buy clubs when they are brand new since they are way too expensive. I had a gift card from last year and one from the company my wife works for as part of the wellness program. I didn't have to use any of my own money. It's like getting it for free. And really, how do you say no to free? You can't.

It's going to be nice tomorrow, so my plan is tolearn how to use the GPS watch tonight and go for a nice run. Unfortunately I have to wait a while to use the golf club. We still have snow here.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I wanted new golf clubs; this is just a start. I need irons as well, but they cost quite a bit more. I'm going to need many more gift cards before I can buy them. So, if anyone has an gift cards for golf stores that you no longer need, send me an e-mail. I can find a good home for them.

Monday, March 10, 2008

What happened to the soap?

When did foam soap take over the world? Is it only in the Chicago area, or nationwide? I first noticed it when the kids were getting older and we bought them some of their own soap and it was foamy. It made sense to me; the kids aren't good at working up a lather. Now it is everywhere.

I'm going to go on record and say I don't like it. I feel the process of working up a lather is a big part of getting your hands clean. With the foamy soap I worry that germs are still lurking in the creases of my hands since I didn't have to work so hard with the soap. Because of this fear, I end up using way too much of the soap. I pump the thing twelve times and end up with a mound in my hand that reminds me of Richard Dreyfuss' mashed potatoes in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. With soap I use the philosophy of WWAMD. What Would Adrian Monk Do? I don't think he'd like foamy soap, therefore I don't like foamy soap.

Now, don't get me wrong. I was all for the transition to liquid soap from bar soap. The soap slop that ended up in the soap dish was gross. Nothing like getting grossed out as you are washing your hands, then you throw the soap bar in the dish so you don't accidentally touch the stuff.

I swear I'm not a germophobe. I just like my hands to be clean. Years of working in restaurants and changing diapers will do that to a person.

Am I the only one?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Weekend Assignment #206: Happy Birthday!

Karen over at Outpost Mavarin is celebrating her birthday on Monday! Happy Birthday Karen! Since she is so nice, she is letting us ask for what we want on our birthday for this weekend assignment.

Weekend Assignment #206: My birthday is coming up on Monday. In the grand tradition of the Beatles and my mom*, I magnanimously declare this to be your birthday, too. So, what would you like for your birthday? (And no, I won't actually be buying it for you. Sorry!)

Hmmm, my birthday was less than two weeks ago, so I'm going to do this a little differently. OK? I'm going to say what I want, but don't necessarily need, nor expect people to buy for me.

First, I would like a nice telescope. I like Mead LX90GPS. I have an older Mead 4 inch reflector telescope, but since I'm a guy, I want a bigger and better one. I haven't used the old telescope for a while, but I'd like to start again when the kids get older. This one here has the computer controls and GPS. This thing can align itself, for me that is the best selling point. I have tried to do that with my old telescope, but I can't seem to figure it out. I even wrote an article about telescope alignment in college and I still can't do it. I think the kids, especially my son, would like it when he gets a bit older. I'd like to learn to take pictures with it as well. I really enjoy the Astronomy Picture of the Day and I'd like to try my hand at it. I know they won't be anything like the pictures from that site, but I'd still like to try.

Second, would be a new set of golf clubs. I got my old set about 7 years ago, and I know that if i had a new set I'd probably be good enough to play on the PGA Tour. (ha!) Seriously, they are getting a little worn out. Seven years is about 80 in golf years, it's very much like dog years.

Extra Credit: Do you ever tell anyone what present(s) you want in real life?

I'll admit it. I'm not very good at this.  I don't know  why. I guess I feel like since I'm an adult I shouldn't be asking for things anymore. I feel guilty about it. I'll ask for clothes, but not things that I really want. My wife is usually the person who will pass on to my family what I want or need. She's good at figuring that out.

Let's also say Happy Birthday to Florinda and Laura. Seems like everyone's birthday is in March!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Friday, March 7, 2008

I'm Such a Good Dad

Let me set the scene for you. As you know from the posts below, my son and I have been sick. (We are feeling better, thanks!) So, a few days ago my daughter came down from her nap and sat with us on the couch. She had a runny nose and a little cough, no big deal. She turned to me and asked, "Daddy, I'm not going to throw up?" Our kids are obsessed with throwing up. My son will ask nearly every night before bed. They both were sick a few months ago and they can stop worrying about it.

I turned to my daughter and said, "No, honey. You just have a runny nose and a cough."


(10 seconds elapse)

(cough, cough, raaaaaaaalph!)

Daughter throws up all over the place. As I'm grabbing her and running to the bathroom I realize she is never going to believe me again.

Guess what we spent the next two days doing?

"Are you watching me not throw up?" Yeah, my wife and I heard that at least 500 times over the next two days. I told her she wouldn't, but do you really think she's going to believe me now?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Weekend Assignment #205: Those "Other" Pets

I'm feeling a little better, so let's get to Karen's weekend assignment.

Weekend Assignment #205: As of 2007 Americans owned over 72 million dogs, and over 81 million cats. They also owned horses, birds, fish, turtles, ferrets, lizards and other critters. (Real statistics can be found here.) My question is this: what pets have you had, other than a dog or cat? Is there some kind of pet (allergies and zoning ordinances permitting) that you'd like to have?

Growing up I was told we couldn't have a dog or cat because I was allergic to them. It made sense to me at the time. I had bad hay fever (still do) and other allergies, so I never questioned it. But, one year we went to my step-mom's brother's house and I spent the whole time playing with their dog and never sneezed. I didn't take my medicine the whole time. So, obviously my mom was not telling the truth, but I never said anything about it until I moved out.

Instead we had fish. Actually my brother had fish: I got to look at them and feed them. We had the typical fresh water fish; angelfish, tetras, etc. They weren't very exciting, but they are good for kids to learn to care for an animal.

One day my brother decided to upgrade. I think he was tired of his basic fish and wanted something different. He bought a piranha. To a teenage boy, there is no better fish. It swims around with its Bruce Springsteen under bite, knowing nobody is going to mess with it. My brother would always let my friend and I know when he was going to feed the piranha. We'd sit on the edge of his bed, watch him dump the goldfish in the tank, and cheer on the piranha every time it caught one. It was great! I'm not sure what happened to that fish.

My brother also had a ferret for a short time. He never told my mom about it. I think he bought it with a friend and they kept it for three days before bringing it back. I think one of them was scratched or bitten.

We finally did get a cat when my brother brought one home from vacation. He didn't tell anyone he was bringing it home. Notice a pattern?

Extra Credit: Are you more of a cat person, or more of a dog person, both or neither?

I'm more a dog person than a cat person. We ended up having two cats over a period of years when I was living at home, but dogs are more friendly. Cats can be very stand off-ish or just plain mean. Actually, next week my wife and I are going to pick out which dog we want from a litter. We are going to surprise the kids for Easter. Our golden retriever died last September, and they have been asking about a puppy since then.