Friday, May 30, 2008

Weekend Assignment #218: Fun, Fun, Fun

Since I missed out on the last Weekend Assignment, I thought I should get an early start on this one. For this Weekend Assignment Karen wants to know what we do for fun.

Weekend Assignment #218: What do you do to have fun? Since you're reading this blog, let's assume that one of your leisure activities is blogging and reading blogs; we don't need to rehash that one, nor the subject of books, which we covered just recently. What else do you do for fun? Are you a runner, a hiker, a birdwatcher, a surfer? Or do you prefer to lie on a beach? Is cooking a joy rather than a chore? What do you enjoy doing, when you're not doing the usual stuff?

I have a few things that I like to do. I like to play golf. I'm not great at it, but I usually have a good time. I like getting outside and trying to get that stupid ball in the stupid hole. No, I never get irritated while I play it, why do you ask? I really do enjoy it though, it's one sport that you can play even if you aren't all that good at it. For the most part, you are playing against the course, not other people. Plus, you get to see nature, get a tan, and get drinks from someone who drives out to you in a cart loaded with food and drink. It's like having a butler following you around. Did I mention it's a sport?

I do some running, too. I run 5K's once-in-awhile, and I'm planning on running a 9.5 mile race in early fall. That is going to be tough. Part of it I do for fun and part I do to try to get into, and stay, in shape. I would say the races are fun, but sometimes the training runs can be a drag; mostly because I'd rather play golf, or sleep.

I don't get to do it much anymore, but I do like video games. I have a Playstation 2 that I like to play when I can. I mostly play the war games or some of the sport games. I can play a mean round of golf on the Playstation! I don't get to play much, but my son and I will play Lego Star Wars. He isn't that great at it so I have to take control of his character sometimes. We play to win, you know. Now that the fall TV season is over I will probably play some more at night.

Extra Credit: What fun thing (no restrictions) do you plan to do next?

I don't really have anything planned. My wife is going out of town next week so  I am going to rent some "guy" movies, but that really isn't fun. I'll try to think of something to do.

There you have it. What do you like to do?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Almost June

It's not June for two more days but I thought I'd share this song by one of my favorite bands. It's a little mellow, but it's a good song. If you like it, go check out Spock's Beard. They have cool name, too.

June - Spocks Beard

Strange ride home.

I had a very interesting ride as I was getting the kids from school. I picked up my son first and went to the store to buy him a new shirt for Hawaiian shirt day. While waiting at a stop light two people walked in front of the car as the crossed the street heading towards a hotel. At first I thought one of the was a 'lady of the evening'. She had a tight dress on, and some very out of control, yet in control, hair. As she got closer to the car I changed my mind. She was not a lady of the evening. She was not a lady. The hotel they were heading to is a good hotel so my hope was that he/she is in some show. I really hope so. Really.

As we were driving back to the house I noticed a convertible Camaro up ahead that had some things sticking out of the back seat. I realized they were bags of mulch. They were packed so high that if the guy took off too fast the car behind would have a free bag of mulch on their hood. When I got closer to the car I noticed there were bags in the front passenger seat, too. These bags were also stacked way too high. Basically this guy was encased in a cocoon of mulch bags. His field of vision was limited to the car in front of him and anything on his left side. At the same time, he was probably well protected in the even of a crash. Though he might have a few slivers afterward. I was surprised when I saw a police car drove right passed him; I thought he might tell him to move things around or something.

Now I ask you this, if this is the car you have with you do you buy 25 bags of mulch, or do you make a few trips? Or, you can be like me and do neither and your yard looks like crap.

Quick question

As I was driving home from dropping the kids off at school I noticed all the garbage cans lining the street. Obviously none were going to be picked up today because of Memorial day on Monday, so this week garbage will be picked up on Friday. That got me thinking, when there is a holiday where no garbage is picked up, how do they catch up the following week? Do they work a double shift? An extra day on the weekend? I'd rather work my regular shift on a holiday and not have to work a double later. I work holidays all the time, though. Other people may hove other opinions.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Way behind

I'm way behind in posting this week. The holiday and work messed me up. I haven't done Karen's weekend assignment, and I haven't done Ten on Tuesday. But, to day is Wednesday, I'm going to do my usual random post.

A few days ago I was trying to get on to Technorati, at least I think that is what I was trying to get on to, and en error message came up saying it was 'borked' right now and to come back later. I like that word, bork. It makes me think of the Swedish Chef from the muppets, which reminds me of a good story.

When I went back to college I had to take a physics class, actually I had to take two, but this story is about a certain one. It was one of those large classes with 200 people in it and there was a separate lab day that was cut to about 30. On the first day in lab we got paired up with partners based on where we were sitting. The group of four for the fist day was me, two other guys, and a girl who happened to be from Sweden. She was really nice and was a very good lab partner to have; she was very smart. So, we are all talking a little and asking her about Sweden and one guy is obviously trying to hit on her. What does he ask her? Yep, he asked her what she thought of the Swedish Chef from the Muppets. She totally shot him down by saying that she didn't know the chef was supposed to be Swedish since he made no sense. I laughed to myself because I know the guy thought he had a good line. I don't think she ever talked to him again since we were all changed around the next week.

This is for Jenn; she wanted me to post about this. My brother is very handy. He can fix nearly anything, and helps me out quite a bit. He and his wife have a big closet that they were fixing up; organizers, a hardwood floor, crown molding. Yeah, I said crown molding. Yes, in their closet. We all gave him crap for that. They said there is a crack in the wall near the ceiling that they have tried to patch a few times, but it keeps coming back. My response? It's a closet. Who is going to see it? There closet looks nicer than my living room now.

You know what commercials bother me the most? The commercials on the radio where they pretend they are a radio show interviewing someone who is selling something. Sometimes they will pretend it is a radio show and they are doing a live read, when it is really a guy doing a commercial. They do the same thing on TV. I have a guy in mind who does it all the time, but I don't want to name names. He is always in trouble with the FTC because of his shady practices. You know who I mean. The products are usually lame, or their claims are highly suspect. That is why they can't get any real radio personalities to interview them.

That is all for now. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

the name game

When did Ricky Schroeder go back to using Ricky? I know he was Ricky when he was a kid, then he was Rick in NYPD Blue, now he is Ricky again. Maybe, like all of us, he's starting to feel old.

Pink clouds

More pink clouds
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
The picture doesn't do them justice, but the clouds were very pink the other night. For some reason it made me think of the marshmallows in Lucky Charms cereal. But, there are no pink clouds in the cereal. Maybe cotton candy?

Another good thing to come out of the space program

Some people wonder why we, as in humans, keep sending people into space. They wonder what we get out of it. This is a perfect example of why we go. Sure, this is from Japan, but it is because of the world-wide space program that Japan is able to do this. We need to be able to produce food in space; and we will definitely need beer in space. (Thanks to Dave Barry's blog for pointing this out).

Monday, May 26, 2008

Where did the weekend go?

This weekend went by fast! I was off on Saturday, but I spent a good portion of that day nursing a bad headache. Probably one of the worst I've had. The worst headache was  hangover related from my bachelor party. The funny part is I was supposed to drive Jenn back home the next day so she could to work on Monday. I couldn't do it. I was pretty much glued to the floor at my mom's house. I ended up there because I slept at my friends house next door, and my mom's house was the farthest I could go. So Jenn, being the trooper that she is, walked across the street (she was staying at our townhouse) to Kohl's and bought an outfit for work the following day. She was working in the city at the time, so I just dropped her off at the train station.

Anyway, back to this headache, Jenn ran out to Walgreen's to pick up a few things and she thought of me and bought me a Dr. Pepper, in case the headache was caffeine related, and some M&M's. She knows how to take care of me. I really wasn't back to normal until bedtime. Normal for me at least...

Yesterday I had to work. I was supposed to cut the grass after I got home, and my wife was going to run. We did neither. I said to my wife, "I feel like some potato salad." She did too, so we ended up having brats, hot dogs, potato salad, cole slaw, and cheddar mac salad. Then, after the kids went to bed, we had some Ben & Jerry's ice cream. We know how to live it up on the holidays. Oh, and Jenn said that after yesterday we are going to start eating better. Good thing I didn't finish off all my ice cream.

Today I am working as well. I don't like working on holidays, but as I mentioned before, it is nice not having the people in charge running around. The traffic is a lot better, too. I don't have much to worry about on a normal day, but it's like driving through a ghost town on a holiday morning. It's been busier at work than I would like. I wanted to finish a book that I have, but I'm too busy. Well, I guess I could skip writing here, but I can't go three days without posting. Blogger will start sending me nasty notes or something.

I have to get ready to leave now. I'm sure this was an exciting post to read.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I'm busy so I'm stealing...

I've had a busy day at work and I won't have much time so I'm borrowing a post that Florinda put up yesterday. I don't think she will mind.

Via The DEBlog, it's the TV's Top 50 Meme.
British media site Empire Magazine has revealed its list of the “50 Greatest TV Shows” ever. Below is the list and here are the rules.
1. Bold the shows of which you’ve watched every episode

2. Italicize the shows of which you’ve seen at least one episode
2a. Star * the shows you consider “the best”
3. Post your answers

I should mention this list comes from the UK. There are a few shows that are not from this side of the Atlantic.

50. Quantum Leap I watched a lot of these when it started. I probably saw most of them
49. Prison Break This show started so well, then became unwatchable, in my opinion
48. Veronica Mars
47. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - I found it hard to stay awake watching this.
46. Sex & the City - I kind of hope this movie tanks. Is that mean?
45. Farscape
44. Cracker Must be a British show
43. Star Trek I watched most of these. Heck, one of my favorite bands is Spock's Beard.
42. Only Fools and Horses
41. Band of Brothers
40. Life on Mars I've heard this was good. They are doing an American version next year
39. Monty Python's Flying Circus -- Spam?!
38. Curb Your Enthusiasm - The one reason I sometimes think of ordering HBO
37. Star Trek: The Next Generation - This probably should be bold, but I'm sure I missed a few.
36. Father Ted -- What about Father Murphy?
35. Alias - I tried watching a couple of episodes, but you really need to start from the beginning
34. Frasier
33. CSI: Las Vegas - I lost interest around season 4 or 5
32. Babylon 5
31. Deadwood
30. Dexter
29. ER
28. Fawlty Towers - Pretty hard not to see all of these. My wife bought me a book with the screen plays a long time ago.
27. Six Feet Under
26. Red Dwarf
25. Futurama* - Only 25! I demand a recount!
24. Twin Peaks
23. The Office UK
22. The Shield
21. Angel
20. Blackadder - I want to check this show out.
19. Scrubs - With all the shuffling of the schedule I have missed a few.
18. Arrested Development* - Great show! Never should have been cancelled
17. South Park
16. Doctor Who
15. Heroes - I lost all interest after season one. It made me sleepy, too.
14. Firefly
13. Battlestar Galactica* - I plan my schedule around this show.
12. Family Guy
11. Seinfeld*
10. Spaced - I've heard this show is good. I need to check it out.
09. The X-Files - I would bold and put an asterisk if they stopped when David Duchovny left
08. The Wire
07. Friends* - It lost some steam in the end, but I still like watching it.
06. 24 - Ugh. When his daughter was chased by a cougar I lost all faith in the show.
05. Lost* - It's messed up, but I like it.
04. The West Wing - I want to know how those people talked so fast all the time.
03. The Sopranos - I don't like mob shows. I don't know why.
02. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
01. The Simpsons - It's a good show, but it has gone on too long.

So, what do you think. Hey, where is M*A*S*H?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thoughts on a Thursday

I know you were all disappointed about me not posting a 'Random Wednesday' post yesterday, so I'm going to make up for it today. You're welcome. Besides, I had a few things that I wanted to write here and I knew I'd forget them by next week.

I was driving down the street recently and noticed a hubcap was resting on the telephone pole. It was placed there with some care. Who does that? I know that hubcaps are a little more rare on cars theses days so you don't see this as often, but I always wondered who put the hubcaps there. Could it be the street sweeper driver? I doubt it. That thing only goes 5 miles an hour; if the driver ever wants to finish and get home he can't stop and pick up everything. What about the people doing community service work? I guess that is possible, though I'm thinking these guys are hungover and just want to go home. They would probably just throw it away. So I'm stumped. If you ever saw anyone do that let me know.  I also wonder if people have ever driven by one of these hubcaps and realized it was theirs and grabbed it?

Speaking of cars, why do car dealers have the worst commercials ever? I'm not talking the manufacturers that are on national TV, I'm talking about the local car dealers. They have the worst jingles, they look scared or stupid when they talk, or they drag their family out to wave at the camera while the voiceover is talking. Maybe it is only the Chicago area, but I doubt it. I realize their budgets are small, that is why the commercials are only on cable channels, but they could be better I think.

I found a new exercise to do; I chase my dog. See, he no longer likes to retrieve a toy and bring it back. Why should he? He's only a Golden Retriever. Anyway, he has this new thing where I throw a ball and he watches it land, then looks at me. He waits for me to go after it so he can beat me there then taunt me. Sometimes he'll just run from from me, sometimes he'll run a short distance then lay down with the ball beside him. If I come after him he grabs it and runs away. I feel like Rocky in the second movie when he is chasing the rooster around. (That was Rocky II, right?) I'm going to catch him one day. When I do am going to throw my hands in the are and sing "Gonna Fly Now."

Do you see that little button to the right about the Book Binge? Yeah, I probably shouldn't have signed up for it this month. We are at the 22nd and I'll probably only have two books read unless something dramatic happens. Two books does not a binge make. At least in my opinion.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Like Father, like daughter

The budding artist
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
My daughter gave this picture she drew at school the other day. She says it's a picture of a snowstorm. It's nice to see she has some of the same interests that I have. She also asked when she could play golf with me. She knows how to get on daddy's good side. I think she's setting me up for a car in about twelve years.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Feed me...

Feed me...
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
Yes, Quincy can reach the table now. He is looking for scraps which, as you can see, are still on the table. (sigh). It's not going to get any easier around here, is it?

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Movies You're Excited to see.

We have to pick ten movies we're excited to see this summer. I probably won't get to see ten this summer, I hope at least one or two, but here are the movies I'm looking forward to, but may end up renting.

Go see what everyone else picked for their ten on Tuesday.

1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I have to see it. I saw the other three when they came out, why not keep going? I just hope it is good.

2. Wall-E. A Pixar movie about a robot that is cleaning up the Earth and goes into space? It must be good. Luckily the kids want to see it.

3. X-Files: I want to Believe. I want to believe that it is going to be a good movie. Are the Lone Gunmen going to be in it?

4. Tropic Thunder. It might be really bad, but maybe they can pull it off. Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., and Ben Stiller are all in the movie. Oh boy, I just saw Mickey Rooney has at least a cameo. Lord help us.
5. Star Wars: The Clone Wars. It's an animated movie, not written or directed by George Lucas.

6. The Ruins. It came out in April and I didn't get to see it, so I plan on renting it. The movie is based on a book by Scott Smith. I wanted to see how they pull it off. The book is very good.

7. The Mist. I had high hopes for this Stephen Kind adaptation since Frank Darabont was directing. I haven't heard many good things, nothing horrible either.

8. Cloverfield. I wanted to see this movie when I heard about it. Again, I haven't heard much good about it, but it is a monster movie. I plan on renting it in a couple of weeks. I hope the shaky-cam doesn't make me nauseous.

9. Juno. All I've heard were good things about this movie; I hope my expectations aren't too high.

10. I am Legend. I'm sure I will be disappointed in the ending, but I read the story after I heard this was coming out. Now I have to see it.

There you have it. Less than half are out on DVD all ready; that's not too bad.

Monday, May 19, 2008

We are all different. Aren't we?

I played golf this weekend with my father-in-law; it wasn't pretty, but it was my first time out for the year. Since there was only two of us, we were paired up with two other guys. They were nice guys, played about as well as us, but one guy reminded me of a guy I work with. They didn't look the same, the golfer was taller, but their mannerisms and voice were nearly identical. If I couldn't see the guy I was golfing with, and just heard his voice, I would think I was talking to my co-worker.

At work now, there is a guy that reminds me of a guy I worked with at my previous job, and he reminded me of someone I worked with at my first job out of college. These guys were more similar looking, but again, same mannerisms and very similar voice.

This happens all the time. Now the question is, are there that many people that are similar, or is it me categorizing these people as being the same? We've all done this, when you move from a new job you start associating your new co-workers with your old ones. I'm not the only one, right? Maybe we do it just to make us comfortable in new situations. Or, maybe I'm crazy. That is always possible.

On a lighter note, my dog keeps eating used kleenex out of the garbage. It is truly disgusting.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Weekend Assignment #216: Fire!

Time for the weekend assignment. This week Karen wants us to release our inner pyromaniac and talk about fire. (insert Beavis and Butthead voice); Fire! heh, heh.

Weekend Assignment #216: Tell us a story or anecdote that involves fire in some way. It can be a forest fire, a house fire, a campfire, logs in the fireplace, or even a lit match, a tale of comfort or destruction. Whatever comes to mind, if it's interesting and fire plays a role, we want to read about it!

When I first read the assignment on Friday I drew a blank. I didn't think I'd be able to come up with anything. Well, now I have two stories; it takes a little while for my brain to warm up.

My mom is a long time smoker. I mean long. Like 50+ years. When you smoke that long the odds are something is going to get burned eventually. It could be your kids, yes it hurts when you walk into a burning cigarette, you car seats, bead sheets; I think you get the picture. One night some time in the mid-80's (I think) my mom and I were watching TV. I use to sit on the couch that allowed my to lay down and face the TV, this put the kitchen and garbage area behind me. As we were watching the show (probably something like Dallas or Knots Landing, I didn't have a show choice) I heard this noise behind me. It sounded like the cat was ripping some paper or something. I ignored it at first, I'm sure I was engrossed in the show, but eventually I looked to see what the cat was eating, just in case it was my homework. Instead, I saw flames coming out of the garbage can. It wasn't a raging fire by any means, but It was going pretty good.

I told my mom the garbage was on fire, we both ran over there, and I think she grabbed a pan of water to put it out. Luckily that area was brick so nothing else caught on fire and it was easy to clean. We put the garbage outside on the patio since it stunk, and went back to the TV. It was a good thing we were both awake.

The other fire story I have is quite different. This was the early 90's, after I was out of college, but still living at home. It was winter time and we were going through a very cold streak. I think the wind chills were 30 below zero or more. It was a windy day that day and the power went out in the early evening. That meant no heat. We were fortunate to have a gas fireplace in the family room so we cranked it up and stayed in that room. I remember reading by the fire, feeling like Abe Lincoln.

We ended up sleeping in family room since the power never came back. I stayed on the floor close to it, while my mom slept on the couch. Just for fun, and because I am a geek, I brought a thermometer into the room to see how cold it would get. By the time we woke up in the morning, the family room was about 50 degrees, the other half of the house was about 40 degrees. Let me tell you, it is not fun taking a shower in 40 degree weather. Sure that water was warm, since it was gas heat, but coming out of the shower was a shock. Oh, the power did come back on -- after I finished my shower.

Extra Credit: Is the area where you live subject to dangerous wildfires?

No, we don't get wildfires in the Chicago area. Not much wilderness to burn.

Go check out Karen's site to see what other tales of fire people are sharing.

Friday, May 16, 2008

It's "lightning' not 'lightening'

I don't know why it bothers me so much, but I really hate when people write 'lightening' when they mean 'lightning'. Maybe it is because I studied meteorology in college, I can't be sure. I know I make mistakes spelling. I try to do my best to catch them all, but usually I am writing something quickly and I don't have time for a close inspection. Anyway, I really don't like it when I find it, in what is supposed to be, a professional article. For example:

Beginning last year, American barred mechanics from doing more than minimal checks for lightening strikes unless pilots of incoming traffic officially stated the plane may have been struck, the newspaper said. (By Christopher Hinton, MarketWatch).

At least it was correct in the title, which is usually not written by the same person.

OK, back to the grind.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fun on Google

I didn't know what to post about tonight, so I was playing around and went to Google Trends to see what the kids are looking up.

Number three on the list is 2007. So a lot of people are looking up last year? It ended less than six months ago, what could everybody forget all ready? Number 16 is the 2007 Cricket World Cup. Maybe a lot of people were too lazy to type all that in and figured Google would know what they were really looking for. Or, maybe they were too drunk to type in anything more than numbers. Tough call.

Tanya Harding is number twenty-one. Way to bring yourself back into the news! It seems she has a book out, but I don't care enough to put the effort into clicking on the link. If you really want to know you can google it. You may just bring her up to the top twenty!

Twenty-five is 'zxbfwwr'. More drunk people. I didn't think you could type gibberish when you were drunk. I think I have been proven wrong.

Anna Nicole Smith just jumped from number 26 to number ten in the time I've been writing. Her mom is suing TMZ and Howard K Stern for tarnishing her image. Let that sink in for a minute. I don't think I need to say anything else, do I?

For some reason James Van Praagh is number 15. I guess he's making the rounds on TV trying to make people believe he is talking to dead people. I'm not a big fan. Can you tell?

That's about a ll the fun stuff in Google today. I might try to fit this in as a regular feature. Wouldn't that be exciting?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It's OK to believe

According to the Vatican, it is OK to believe in aliens. Fox Mulder will be happy to hear that. (found on Dave Barry's blog)

A few quotes I like:

"How can we rule out that life may have developed elsewhere?" Funes said. "Just as we consider earthly creatures as 'a brother,' and 'sister,' why should we not talk about an 'extraterrestrial brother'? It would still be part of creation."

The Bible "is not a science book," Funes said, adding that he believes the Big Bang theory is the most "reasonable" explanation for the creation of the universe. The theory says the universe began billions of years ago in the explosion of a single, super-dense point that contained all matter.

But he said he continues to believe that "God is the creator of the universe and that we are not the result of chance."

I am not going to go off on some religious rant here, but I am glad to see that the Director of the Vatican Observatory, Rev. Funes, doesn't think that The Bible is a science book. I hope everyone listens to him. I'm tired of hearing about dinosaurs roaming the earth 6,000 years ago.

I wonder, why did they come out with this now? Do they know something? Should we expect aliens to be landing in Vatican City soon?

This story made me think of the Space Pope from Futurama. I don't know why.

It's Wednesday.

Let's here it! "Yay for the middle of the week!" That didn't sound very cheery. Anyway, it is random Wednesday time.

Let's talk TV. The networks are starting to announce which shows are coming back next year. According to Jim is coming back; I know you are all excited. It's one of those shows where you are flipping the channels and say, "That's still on?" I'm going to go out on a limb and say it is coming back due to a lack of pilots because of the writer's strike. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

Eli Stone is also coming back. That was one show that I would never have tried out if my wife didn't make me watch it. It's a very interesting show and I'm glad to see ABC bringing back a show that is a little different.

I can't believe Oprah's Big Give isn't coming back. It was all her idea not to bring it back. She said so herself. Don't let anyone else tell you different!

On to new toys. I can't post a picture of it here, but I think this is cool! It's an R2D2 ice bucket. Big deal you say? OK, what if I tell you that it comes with an ice cube tray in the form of Han Solo frozen in carbonite? Yeah, I thought you might change your mind. If I had a bachelor pad I'd definitely have one of these. Of course, if I had one I would probably never get a date.

We went to my sister-in-law's and boyfriend's condo in the city on Mother's Day. They have a really cool place. To start, the elevator opens right into their living area; no hallway to go through. I felt like I was going up to then penthouse suite. All their appliances seem like they are from the future. The one thing I found cool was their toilet. I know it's weird, but listen. The bowl itself is attached to the wall, there is no tank, and to flush you push a small metal panel in the wall. Very Jetsons. All they need now is a small treadmill that hangs off the balcony for a dog to run on.

Yesterday was the second day in a row that I was supposed to cut the grass but didn't.  I had a good reason yesterday, by the time my wife came home from work we were getting rain and thunder. I really have to do it today since tomorrow is garbage day. I don't want to because I end up spending hours sneezing after I am done. The joys of homeownership.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ten on Tuesday: Ten things I'm good at

This week for Ten on Tuesday, we have to list ten things that I am good at. I think I can do that; but they may not be things one would want to brag about.

1. I'm pretty good at making people believe things that aren't true. I can usually keep someone going for a little while. I guess I have an honest face. Not really a skill that gets you anywhere.

2. I'm good at finding things to do instead of what really needs to be done. I could win a prize for that.

3. Memorizing things. Numbers, things for work, etc.  But, I do have trouble remembering what I need once I get to the store.

4. I'm good at finding the right size container that something will fit in just by looking at it. Another great skill.

5. I'm good at hooking up A/V equipment. I'm on call with all my family members when they get new stuff.

6. I used to be good at buying music I liked without ever having heard the band before. I could tell by the album art, band name, and song titles if it was something I would like. It didn't work 100% of the time, but mostly. Now you can listen to samples  online, so I am out of practice.

7. I'm good at flipping through the channels on cable without hitting any of the lame, unwatched channels. My wife may disagree.

8. I'm good at becoming obsessed with things. Like blogging, gadgets, etc. Just ask my wife.

9. I'm good at listening.  At least I think so.  What did you say? I wasn't paying attention.

10. I'm good at making one small list take a whole day to write.

What are you good at?

By the way, I am really bad at funerals. I never know what to say and I always feel like I say the wrong thing. So far nobody has gotten mad at me, so I must be doing OK.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Weekend Assignment # 215: Everyone's a critic

For this week's assignment we have to review a movie. One that is neither our favorite, nor something we completely hate. I thought this would be hard for me. I only own movies on DVD that I really like, and I didn't I'd have a chance to see something else. I got lucky, though. I took the kids to my mom's house after schooll; they went into my old bedroom to watch TV, and my mom fell asleep on the couch. So, I flipped through the channels and came across Red Planet. Sometime things work out.

Go to Karen's site and see what other people reviewed.

Weekend Assignment #215: Review a film. Any film. Got something interesting to say about Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery (1903)? I'd love to read it. Metropolis (1927)? Why not? A Night in Casablanca (1946)? Fine. The Seventh Seal (1957)? Er, okay! Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)? You'll get away with it. Speed Racer (2008)? Go for it. From Hollywood to Ballywood to Hong Kong, from Kubrick to Kurasawa, it's all on the W.A. marquee. But there's one catch: the film should not be on your personal list of favorites; nor should it be a film you despise.

A team of scientists are heading to Mars because Earth is dying. It stars Val Kilmer, Carrie-Ann Moss, Tom Sizemore, and Benjiman Bratt. There are a few more people on the ship, but they are not very important.

As the ship is entering orbit around Mars, a solar flare hits them and fries up most of the ships systems. You would think they would plan for such a thing. So, they have to send the the lander down to the surface a little earlier than planned, and leave Commander Bowman (Moss) behinds in the main ship.

The landing does not go well. They have to jettison the landing gear since they are off target and will land in some rocky terrain. They have a back-up plan. The lander has air bags that surround the entire ship. The land hard and end up bouncing down a very deep crevass. One of the guys is hurt bad. He is left behind to die while they head for a shelter that was sent out years ahead of them. I should also mention that algae, and other oxygen-producing life was sent out ahead, too. There is no sign of it though.

They walk to the shelter and find it in ruins. It was supposed to survive and F-5 tornado; they determine it wasn't a dust storm that knocked it out. Bratt's character goes over to look at the view, since they won't be able to leave, and is accidentally pushed off the cliff by Pettengill, played by Simon Baker. The remaining three, Burchenal (Sizemore), Gallagher (Kilmer), and Pettengill are running out of oxygen, until Gallagher takes off his helmet and discovers they can breathe. Somehow there is oxygen, but no algae.

As they camp for the night the robot that was on board the lander, but jettisoned with the landing gear, finds them and ends up going into military mode and beating up one of the guys. I'm not sure why a robot on a science mission would need a fighting mode, they must have needed an extra sub-plot.

The robot lets them get away, to hunt them later, and they set off to find a possible landing sight from an old rover to get it's radio so they can communicate with Bowman. They find it and get in touch with her and she tells them of an old Russian lander that should be 100 kilometers away. They still have no water at this point; I'm not sure how they can do it. The plan is to get to it and launch that up to the ship orbiting the planet. Easier said than done.

On the way to the ship a huge ice storm comes, they take shelter, Pettengill runs off with the radio and is taken out by the robot, and they find bugs. Weird little bugs that ate the algae and produce oxygen. Unfortunately for Burchenal, they also like people as food. He ends up torching himself, and a lot of the bugs so Gallagher can get away.

Finally, Gallagher makes it to the ship, but finds out the battery is dead. So close! He gives up and Bowman is about to leave until the robot shows up. He wastes the robot, takes it's battery and launches up to the ship. And runs out of oxygen.

Bowman isn't going to give up, so she goes EVA to bring the Russian craft into their ship and manages to revive him. They head back to Earth with a sample of the bugs, hoping they are the key to saving Earth. Phew.

It wasn't a great movie, but it had some interesting parts. I found it funny that they were bashing Russian technology when everything they brought had failed. If you like space mission movies it is worth checking out.

Extra Credit: Is there a film due out this summer that you plan to go see? If so, what is it?

I want to see the new Indiana Jones movie, and maybe the X-Files movie. We'll see what I actually get to see.

My daughter put me to sleep

I was relaxing in the recliner while my daughter was 'reading' to her babies. It was a quite calming, even though she reads very loud and is always telling one of the kids to sit down and pay attention. So, I drifted off. The next thing I know, it is very quiet. I open my eyes and my daughter is standing in front of me.

"Why are your eyes closed," she asked me.

I lied and said I was just resting my eyes. I told her to keep reading -- I wasn't ready to get up yet.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you mom's out there. I'd specifically address my mom but she doesn't own a computer.

My mom was always good to me. She always remembered to cut my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches diagonally. She always had, and still has, candy on hand. She always ironed my clothes; even my jeans and undershirts for some reason. Even now she won't let any of us pay for lunch or dinner without a fight. She let me take her car to college, and let me keep it after college. She even let me trade it in when I bought my first car--a whole 100 dollars. Hey, it paid for the floor mats.

I'm sure you moms have done, or will do, the same for your kids. Take the day off and relax; you deserve it.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A good thing about the new Speed Racer movie

Now that the Speed Racer movie is out it is easy to find Speed Racer merchandise. I found this site the other day at work. It has all kinds of cool Speed Racer gear from the original show, the new movie, and even the new animated show that is on now.

All I really care about is stuff from the original show, though. I loved that show as a kid. I remember I had to be home by four in order to see it on our UHF channel. Yes, I'm talking before we had cable TV. This was back in the mid-70's I think. I watched it all the time. Back then I didn't think that they were slightly weird with all their "oh's" and "ah's," I just liked the Mach 5. What kind of boy wouldn't like a car that is incredibly fast and had saw blades that come out of the front? Sure, the jacks were cool, it could make the car jump, but these saw blades we so sharp they could cut giant trees down while the car traveled over 200 miles per hour!

I think my favorite episode was the one with the Mammoth car. It was a three part-er if I remember correctly, I could check the DVD downstairs, too. The car was, well mammoth, but somehow incredibly fast. And, Speed was in danger, of course. I think the mammoth car was stealing gold, or some precious medal. You would think I'd remember exactly if it was my favorite episode, but I haven't watched in a while. Most of the animation we get to watch now is Pixar related. Not that it is a bad thing, it just leaves less time for my shows.

Wait, can I change my favorite episode? It's The Most Dangerous Race, yeah, they weren't good on the title thing. I loved this one because it is so outrageous, and dangerous of course. The race was actually the Alpine Race, which probably should be the title, and at one point in the race they have to cross an abyss by jumping their cars onto these pillars of rock. Well, Speed doesn't quite make it. He almost does, and with his special snow tires and 5000 horsepower (!) you think he is going to make it, but alas, he slides down into the abyss. And, that is the end of the episode. You had to wait until the next day to find out if her survived!

So, you race home to see if Speed is alive. He is, but he is not in good shape. For some reason he can't see. I'm not sure what caused the blindness, maybe it is hysterical blindness, either way he is stuck. Until Racer X (whoisreallyhislonglostbrotherRexRacerwhocrashedhisdad'scargotpissedooffandleft) finds Speed and since Racer X can't use his legs (he's lying) and Speed can't see, the devise a brilliant plan. Speed will drive the race car while Racer X tells him where to go. It's pretty awesome to see Speed driving 250mph and Racer X telling him to turn 45 degrees to the left around the hairpin turn on the cliff that drops off 5,000 feet. I can't remember if they win. They probably do.

Anyway, I may sound like I'm making fun, and I am a little, but I still love the show. It may seem cheesy now, but it will always remind me of good times in my childhood. So, what should I buy in the store?

Oh, I should probably say I'm not sure if I am going to see the movie. It looks like it might make me nauseous. I might rent it though. If you see it let me know what it is like.

Friday, May 9, 2008

So far tonight

We did some clean up, watched Battlestar Galactica, had some Sam Adams Summer Ale, and now I'm watching Lost on TiVo. Not a bad night. So Locke was a wuss in high school?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

weird and sad

Yesterday I mentioned we had a nice free lunch at work. The person who bought it for us worked here until he got really sick. He bought it to be nice for us, and I guess, in a way, to say good-bye. It was really good food, and they set up a web cam for us to leave him a message. Turns out he passed away only a few hours after we ate the food. I don't know if he got to see our messages; they were recorded since he wasn't up to talking, I hope he did. A friend of mine here mentioned how it seemed he waited until he said good-bye to us. I wasn't good friends with him, but it is still sad. He wasn't that old, early 60's at most. Way too young to die in this era of medicine.

It wasn't on purpose

Last night my wife was working late, so as the kids were enjoying their dino-shaped chicken nuggets, I went in search for something for me to eat. When I opened the freezer outside, I was surprised to find more frozen dinners in there. I knew there wasn't much the night before, but I remembered my wife stopped at the store after going out to dinner with a friend the previous night. There were two things I was deciding between; a frozen steak and mushroom panini, and a flatbread chicken sandwich. I decided on the flatbread sandwich. I don't know why.

Now, skip to my wife coming home. She is starving and goes out to the freezer. As I see her searching the freezer it hits me; that sandwich was for her. As she comes back in she is saying how she knows she bought a flatbread sandwich. I just burst out laughing. I don't know why. It wasn't funny. It was just that as soon as I saw her searching I knew I screwed up.  She wasn't mad, I think me laughing helped, but I felt bad about it. Now I really have to get her something nice for Mother's Day. At least she was nice enough to post about something she wants.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I'm no tree expert...

naked tree
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
but I think this tree may be dead. It sustained some heavy damage last summer and winter. I think she may have given up.

That's OK, though. I hated the location and little tree sprouts grew all along the root line. We always had a million little tiny trees throughout the lawn. It was a nice looking tree in the fall. It turned a fiery red, that was nice.

If it magically sprouts leaves I'll let you all know. I'm sure you can't wait.

Random Wednesday

We had a big, free lunch at work today. If I fall asleep while type, you'll know why.

I have a new favorite product. It's probably not all that new, but it is to me. That's all that matters. It's called the Ped Egg. Go check it out. I'll wait. I saw it in the checkout lane in the store a few days ago. I guess they figure that is an impulse item. "Hey, my feet are really calloused. I could use this!" I don't think you can get a good view of it on the computer, but what do you think of when you see it. Yep, cheese grater. Right? Why buy one of these when you all ready have a cheese grate in your cabinet? I'm sure you don't use it all that often. Go ahead. It's OK, I won't tell. Just don't invite me over for dinner.

In my opinion, the white crayon is the most useless one in the box. How often do you use colored paper so you can actually see the white crayon? I think they should just take it out and add another shade of red. There aren't enough of those. Besides, I'm tired of explaining to my daughter that the crayon works, she just can't see it. That's like magic to a 4 year-old.

It's coming up on summer camp season. I went to a basketball camp one year in junior high. I hated it. I went because my brother went, the problem was he was good at basketball and me? I kind of sucked. I learned to live with it though, I rode the bench in junior high and had as much fun as possible. But, back to camp. The food, as well as most of the people, stunk, the counselors were jerks, and I knew it was a mistake the minute I got there. There was going to be a group of us that went, I remember talking to them and they said they were going to go. Nobody went except one. That was better than nothing, but not by much.  I blocked most of it out of my memory, but I do remember my brother being mad because my friend and I made him leave early on the last day.  To this day the word "fundamentals"  still makes me sick to my stomach. Good thing that's not a word you hear every day.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ten on Tuesday

For this week's Ten on Tuesday we have to list ten places we'd like to visit, but haven't. That shouldn't be too hard, we don't travel a whole lot; I don't even have a a passport. Sad, I know. Here's the list, in no particular order.

1. Sydney, Australia. Well, more than just Sydney, but this is near the top of the list. Just not looking forward to flying for two days.

2. New Zealand. Maybe we could do a trip over a month and hit Australia as well. If we have to fly out that far, might as well make it worth it.

3. Seattle. I was there once for about 12 hours. I spent the whole time in the hotel sick. It wasn't fun, but it was a decent hotel room.

4. Oregon. Probably along the Pacific coast. There is a golf course and hotel that I got a brochure from one day; I've wanted to go there ever since.

5. San Diego. I've heard good things about the area.

6. Scotland. I'd like to play golf there, but I doubt I'd get the chance.

7. Scandinavia. Didn't want to list the countries separately. I'd like to spend about 3 weeks going around that area.

8. Italy. I'm half Italian, I should probably go there at some point.

9. Vancouver. Maybe I can plan a trip when something is filming up there. Again, maybe I should combine the trip with number three.

10. Japan. I think that would be really interesting. I might have trouble finding something to eat. I'm very picky and don't like fish.

Here's my ten. Where would you go?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Time for a change

Starting now no more M&M's for the rest of the summer, I'm going to run regularly, and I'm going to eat better in general. No more eating like I'm a bear preparing for hibernation. I don't need to my fat stores to increase, I will live without so much junk food. Oh yes, it is going to be hard, but I signed up for the Walter Payton 16726 yard run and I need to be able to finish. That is 9.5 miles; much, much farther than I have ever run in my life. Yes, I know people run that long all the time, some do marathons, but I was never a long distance runner, even when I was in the best shape of my life I struggled to do three miles.

Besides the run, I'm not getting any younger. I'm going to be (gulp) 40 next year; I want that to be less than the halfway point in my life.  One hundred would be a good round number. Actually, just yesterday my mom showed us pictures of her aunt that turned 100. Unfortunately, she is her aunt by marriage, so I don't have the ultra-long life gene in my family. I want to be driving my Porsche when I'm 85 years old. Sure, at that age it is more likely I'm going to drive it into house or a pool, but at least I'll look cool doing it.

I say starting now because I had some cookies for breakfast. I blame my sister. She made enough chocolate chip M&M cookies to feed a small school. I have no choice; I have to eat them so my kids don't. I don't want them to develop the bad habits I have. It's all for the good of the children.

So...what's for lunch?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Busy day

I got up at 6:15 am today to run a 5K, came home to cut the grass, had lunch, we have to give the kids a bath, shower ourselves, and go to my mom's house for a birthday party.

I'm wondering where the nap fits in...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Weekend Assignment #214: Fresh Starts

Time for the Weekend Assignment from Karen over at Outpost Mavarin. This week she wants us to write about any big changes we've had in our lives.

Weekend Assignment #214: Sooner or later, pretty much everyone makes one or more major changes in their lives, sometimes several at once. We leave home, go off to college, get married, get divorced, change jobs, change careers, have kids, move to another house or another state, etc., etc. These things can be very stressful, but we do them in the hope of being better off in some way. Tell us of one change you voluntarily made in your life at some point, that worked out really well.

I've had the some of the same as many people. Going off to college is a big change. Meeting new people, learning how to take care of yourself, doing laundry; all are tough to do on your own for the first time. That's why we all go home to visit with large sacks of dirty clothes.

I've had a handful of jobs. All of them were changes that I thought would better myself in one way or another.

I'd say the biggest change when was my wife and I got married. Within a year's time, we bought our first place, got married and I went back to school. Quite a change for a newly married couple to go through. Most people have a hard enough time learning how to share a bathroom.

Our parents were good to us. They let us stay home while we saved up the money to get married and buy our place. They didn't even charge rent; that helped us out from the sart.

So, after living in the place a short time we talked about me going back to school and how we could afford it. Luckily, I was able to get a student loan, so off I went. I drove 500 miles a week back and forth to school and worked at a restaurant on my days off and at night. My wife and I didn't get to see each other much for those two years, though she would come in to the restaurant for dinner a lot. That was how we caught up with each other for a while.

It all worked out, though. Now we live in a house with two kids and a puppy, and we get to see each other a lot more. Though my family likes to say I have too many days off. They are just jealous.

Extra Credit: Tell us of a little tiny change that also went well!

We switched over from a powdered dishwasher detergent to the little tablets you put into the machine. That seems to be going well.

Tip of the day

If there are several pieces of tape on the box of a supposedly new toy, it has probably been returned and doesn't work. It's fun explaining it to kids when they are waiting ten minutes for you to set it up, only to say it's broken. It looked like a neat toy, too. Oh, well.

Friday, May 2, 2008

For you parents of young kids

I bring you this. I'm not going to show a picture, or say anything else. Just go there and see if it is something you think you need. Personally I think it is gross, but hey, someone thought of this and is selling it. That is the American dream, right?

(found through Dave Barry's blog)

The famous X-ray fish

X-ray fish
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
Yes, I'm supposed to be mowing the lawn but I don't want to get struck by lightning. So, here's the fish from yesterday. You can almost see the house behind us through the fish.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I didn't know this stuff was still around

My son went to a birthday party this weekend and got Big League Chew in his goodie bag. I haven't seen the stuff in a long, long time. I remember trying it out when I was a kid, just to look like a cool baseball player. I didn't even like baseball, that's how good the marketing was. It seems weird giving it to a six year old, since it is made to copy chewing tobacco. But, he doesn't know what that is, so it should be OK. Besides, he already forgot about it. He's not big on sweets. Thst is probably because I eat all the sweets before he has a chance.

Here is one thing, of many I'm sure, where I'm going to be a hypocrite. I used to chew in high school and part of college. I don't want him to since it's bad for him, not to mention truly gross. Let's hope I don't have to worry about it.

Now, to hide the my closet.

X is

My daughter got an alphabet zoo toy for her birthday this weekend. It has 26 (duh) animals, one for each letter of the alphabet. My wife and I found a few that were confusing.

For 'X' they had an x-ray fish. Basically it is a fish that is see through; is there such a thing? For 'N' they have a nightingale. Not too confusing for a kid who has learned 'B' is for bird. They have a uriel for 'U'. I've never heard of a uriel before. It looks like some kind of goat. I could look it up but I'm too lazy. Maybe they should have just done the first half of the alphabet. It might be easier. Who needs the whole alphabet anyway? I rarely use x, y or z.