Friday, October 30, 2009

Weekend Assignment #290: Sick Call

My Internet connection as been spotty today, so I hope I can finish this and send it out.

Anyway, Karen wants to know how often we get sick.

Weekend Assignment: #290: Are you one of those lucky people who hardly ever get sick, or do you tend to catch every cold or flu or virus that comes along? And when you do get some infectious disease, do you stay home, or try to keep going?

I don't think I get sick that often, but my frequency has increased since we've had kids. They are little bacteria and virus factories. When I do get sick, though, I get sick. Like, incapacitated sick. I don't know why, but I'm useless. I just want to curl into a ball and die. My head will hurt, my back won't let me stand up straight, basically I look like an 80 year-old man who was born without a spine.

There was one time when I was sick as a kid, I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and I passed out and smacked my head on the linen closet door. I wasn't sick when I went to bed, and I didn't realize anything was wrong when I first woke up, but as I was standing there the room was growing dark and I knew something was wrong. I tried to get back to my bed, but, obviously, I didn't make it. The door still has the dent on it. I should have taken a picture of it to post along with this. Just imagine one of those doors with the slats on it, and the bottom 1/6th are a bent into the shape of a head.

Extra Credit: Are you getting a flu shot this year?

I usually don't get the seasonal flu shot, but I will probably get the H1N1 shot, if it's available for my age group.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

And that's Perfection!

Remember this game? The kids found it in the closet of my old bedroom a couple of weeks ago. It's still works. I decided to use this for my picture for the Flickr photo group theme day -- Play. It turned out okay. I forgot how high the pieces flew.

Do you remember the song from the commercial? I do. For some stupid reason I had memorized it when I was a kid. I watched a lot of TV, what do you expect?

I also remember my brother playing a trick on me about that stupid song. We were in bed, back when we shared a room, and he kept asking me how the song went. So, I'd sing it. He must have asked me ten times, trying to pretend like he didn't remember. Then he said said, "Does it go like this?" and he started signing it. Only, it wasn't him. He had recorded me on his cassette player (those old shoe box-sized ones) and played back my voice. For some reason this pissed me off, which is stupid, but being the youngest of the family I yelled at him just loud enough for my mom to hear and get him in trouble. Being the youngest was the best sometimes.

I still have Electronic Perfection, which was nothing like this game. It was a lot more like Simon. I don't recall playing that too often. I wonder if it still works? Anybody have 10 C batteries for me to use?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Poised for attack

I see you
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
Sure, this squirrel looks all nice and cuddly up there in the tree eating his little nut, but he would grab you by the throat in a second if you let him. Or, maybe he'd chew through your power line to your house and let all your food spoil. Either way, squirrels are pure evil. Don't. Ever. Forget.

How is your Monday?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #60: Black and White Photography

It's been a while since I've been here on the blog, and even longer since I joined Carly's photo shoot Monday. But, I'm back now. I think I have more time now. I hope.

Anyway, this week Carly wants some Black and White photos. I have a couple. Nothing special.

Here is shot I took earlier in the week. Actually, I took it before I knew the theme for the week. It's part of the kids swing set, but I like the old time-y look it gets in black and white.

This I took today. It was originally in color, but since it was so gloomy and dreary outside, it looked like it was in black and white. I've gone back and forth a few times, and I can't tell the difference. The birds look a little creepy against the gloomy sky. Don't you think?

That's all I have this week. Go check out the other photos!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Death Troopers sounds like a great idea

A few weeks ago a happened across a post on SF Signal about a book called Death Troopers. I'm not a Star Wars book reader, I'm not sure if I've ever read one, but this was a Star Wars horror novel. That sounded very interesting to me. I read a a little more about it, derelict ships, horrific disease, possible zombies...what's not to like? Just check out the cover!

The book is written by Joe Schreiber. Now, I'll admit it, I hadn't heard of him before, but the idea of the book was just too good. I checked out his site and noticed that he was going to be at a Borders close by yesterday, so I went. I thought it would be a good idea to see what he had to say about the book, and what it was like writing a book in the Star Wars world was like. It turns out, it was a lot of fun.

Joe was lead out by some Stormtroopers and others from the 501st. And they guarded him during the talk. See:

Now, like I said, I've never read a Star Wars book, nor gone to s Star Wars signing, so I don't know if this is normal. I also think it was safe to say I was the only one there who hadn't read any other Star Wars novels. These people knew there stuff. I'll leave it at that.

Joe himself was super nice. After the short reading he made it more of a conversation with the audience. Always a good idea in my opinion. He also took his time with each person who got their book signed. I mentioned how my son was getting into Star Wars now, but I have to hide this book and paraphernalia that I got since it was not meant for a boy of seven. It turns out he also had a son the same age, but he also said how when he was the same age when the original Star Wars movie came out he was pretty scared by it. Which does make sense, there was some scary parts there for kids that age, like me. It was a PG movie, so that only makes sense. But, yeah, Darth Vader is a bit scary, not to mention Jabba the Hut, or many of the characters from the Cantina on Tatooine. (Sorry, my inner geek just popped out.)

I haven't read the book yet, I just got it that day, but I think it is a safe purchase if you are an Star Wars or horror fan. Even better if you are both. (No, I didn't get anything for free to say that.)

By the way, I haven't told my son where I went Monday night. I don't think he'll understand that it's something he can't read yet. I can't show him the pictures either, he'd be extra mad if he knew there were Stormtroopers there.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Well, that was longer than I had planned

Yesterday I went for a run. I had taken a bit of a break due to my shoulder/neck problem, and my leg was bothering me a bit after my last race. But, after reading Mr. Unfocused's tweets about the Urbanathlon I was going to do this year, I decided I better get moving again. I was feeling pretty good yesterday, so I decided I'd go out and run 5 miles. I figured I'd take it kind of slow to make sure nothing was hurting, and it would give me a good idea how I'd feel for the race I'm running in two weeks. On a side note, I find it funny that I refer to these as races. That's what they are, but I have no chance of winning, so I should just call it an organized run. Don't you think? Oh, but this race (sorry, organized run) is pretty cool. It's called the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k. Yes, lots of chocolate is involved. How do you pass it up?

So, yes, I went for a run after work. I set out at around 4pm and started out a little fast so I could warm up. It was a bit chilly yesterday. I was feeling good. My leg started to bother me a little around 3.6 miles, but it was a manageable pain. I would stop on occasion to stretch and it would feel better, so I was happy. As I was nearing the house I checked out my Garmin watch and saw I was at 4.88 miles. Nearly perfect for just guessing on a route. I wanted to make sure I did the full five, just so I could make sure I beat my virtual partner, so I had to run passed the house. That's when I noticed something i hadn't expected. One of the cars was gone. I knew Jenn said she needed to get a few things at Target, but she was going to wait until I got home.

When I stopped a few hundred feet from the house I checked my phone. Jenn tried calling three times. Not a good sign. I called her back and she told me she was at the vet. She wasn't positive, but she thought Cruise might have swallowed a magnet from a dart set the kids had. She saw him chewing something, it sounded like metal, and the kids couldn't find all the darts. She took him to the vet to see what they had to say. Now I was stuck outside the house without a key and she was a couple miles away. I stood out front stretching out for a bit and noticed there were no cars at any of the neighbor's houses that I knew. Great.

As I tried to look casual in the front of the house so as not to raise any suspicions, Jenn called me back to say the vet was going to do an x-ray to see if the magnet was in Cruise's tummy. I think they should have tried to stick metal on him first, just to keep the costs down, but I'm not a veterinarian. Since it was going to be a while I told Jenn I'd head that way and which roads I'd take. I was starting to get cold so I needed to start moving.

This time I plugged my headphones into my phone so if could hear if she called, and I set out for the vet. I was walking at first, but with the breeze and drizzle, I soon realized I needed to jog to stay warm. Wouldn't you know it? I was one block away from the place when Jenn called and said they couldn't see anything. So she picked me up, we headed home, and within 2 minutes the kids found all the darts. Sigh. Our son decided he was going to write down some rules of the house after this experience. Yes, keeping the darts upstairs was first on the list.

What's the moral of this story? Always take a key when you leave the house for a run. Or, just don't run. (I think that is going to be Nike's next tag line.)

The good news was that I ran 7 miles instead of 5. The last two were pretty slow, but who cares.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Weekend Assignment #288: Columbus Day

Since Columbus Day just passed Karen wants our opinion about the holiday:

Weekend Assignment: #288: Columbus Day seems to have become a largely disregarded and maligned holiday in recent years, as the dark side of the explorer's legacy has made inroads in the public's perception. Do you think that the voyages of Christopher Columbus still merit a national holiday? Why or why not? And if not, what holiday would you propose to replace it?

Extra Credit: Did you even get Columbus Day off from work or school this year?

Yes, I think it still does merit a holiday. Sure, he wasn't a perfect man, but we do owe a lot to him. If someone else had discovered it, would things be different? We we be the same nation we are today? Who knows, a lot happened from the first time he came this way and the time we actually became a nation. (That was in 1776 in case you weren't sure). But, since he is regarded as the man who discovered America, we should celebrate his day. It only makes sense.

As for the dark side of his legacy, as Karen points out, no, he was not the best human being. That is something we have to remember, to avoid things like that again, but also put behind us in a way. You know? Let's not repeat those mistakes.

Also, I think we have to give this man special props. He was wrong on his charts and route, he thought the Earth was much smaller, he thought he was somewhere else when he got to the Bahamas, yet we still celebrate him every year. How awesome is that? If Columbus were around today he'd be a CEO of a major money losing corporation. Am I right? Also, notice how no GPS units are named Columbus? See, Magellan knew what he was doing. Well, I should say he knew what he was trying to do. If he lived he would have been successful in his endeavor.

But, I digress.

I did have Columbus day off this year, but it was just by chance. It's not one of our holidays at work. But, it made it easy to go see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs with the kids.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A decade and-a-half, minus one

Fourteen years ago today Jenn and I were married. I know I am lucky, but for Jenn it's like she hit the Mega Jackpot.


I'm kidding of course, it's pretty much the other way around. I was lucky enough to meet her in college and still can't believe my luck.

We don't really have much planned for today since it's a weekday, but I did pick up something special for dessert. That's the most important meal of the day anyway, am I right?

Don't expect me to get all mushy here, it's not for your eyes or ears. I think you understand.

I'll be back tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's been a busy weekend!

As you know, Jenn ran the Chicago Marathon this weekend. Unfortunately, an injury caused her to stop at the halfway mark. She was not happy, of course. The day before the race when we took the dogs to the boarding place she pulled something in her left leg. She was limping the night before the marathon, which is never a good thing, but she went out that morning anyway. She put a lot of time and effort into getting ready for this, there was no way a simple muscle pull was going to stop her. I give her a lot of credit for that, I would have wimped out immediately.

We all stayed downtown that night, and since the hotel was on the race route, we all went out to see her at the 2.5 mile mark. She was already limping a bit. Again, not good. But she kept going. I left the kids with the grandparents and went out with Jenn's sister, cousin, and her sister's boyfriend and hopped on the train to go to the 8 mile mark. She was still running, but now she asked me for some of the Aleve. She was limping a bit worse, now. But she said she wasn't going to stop.

At this point we went back to the hotel since the 12.5 mile mark was only a few blocks away and I could meet up with the kids again. Before we got there Jenn sent a message asking us to pick up a knee brace for her. That was new, and certainly not a good sign. By the time we saw her she was limping much worse. The new problem arose in her knee on the opposite side. At this point Jenn said she may call it at the halfway point if the brace didn't help. We all thought that was a good idea. About ten minutes after we saw her she sent me a text saying she was stopping. Her knee now hurt more than her other leg. Based on how she has been walking the last two days, it was a good decision.

We are all proud of her. She tried her best. Heck, she tried period, much more than I would do for a marathon. That's just crazy. Not to mention she raised over $1200 for Children's Memorial Hospital. So, can you join me in a chant of:

"Way to go Jenn!"


In other news...

You may have noticed a new widget on the right side of the blog. See it? Well, about three weeks ago the someone from the Schmap Guides sent me an e-mail saying one of my photos on Flickr was short-listed for inclusion in there new Orlando Guide. They asked if I would be interested in allowing them to use it. So, I checked them out to make sure they were legit and then agreed. What the heck? So, turns out they chose to use mine, as well as several others. But still, it's kind of cool. Oh, you can go here, then bring your cursor down to the Epcot and watch as the pictures change on the upper-right. One of them is mine. Just look for my one by Mike. I think I'm the only one with that name there. So, that was kind of nice.

There's more, but that is all the fun stuff for now. I need to go make dinner. Sloppy Joe's, anybody?

Edit: Turns out you can get my picture from the widget, too. You need to scroll over the map to get to Epcot then click "photos" and you can scroll through them. Not much easier, I know.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Marathon Weekend

It's the marathon weekend. And, I don't mean it's a long weekend. Well, it is a holiday weekend, but that's not what I mean either. Should I just get to the point?

This is the weekend that Jenn is running the Chicago Marathon. Sorry, The Bank of America Chicago Marathon. I need to make sure I get it right, just in case the FTC thinks there is some kind of blogging shenanigans going on.

Today Jenn went downtown to get her racing packet at the expo. I was supposed to go with her, but I ended up napping. I've been a little under the weather the last two days. I think I got it from Jenn since she had a bad cold about two weeks ago. At least it's me and not her!

Tomorrow we head downtown in the morning to drop off the dogs, come back out here to take our son to basketball, come home and get everything together, then go downtown again to get to our hotel. Yes, I know, we live in the same area as the marathon, but it's not easy to get there that early and Jenn wants as much sleep, and as little stress, as possible on the morning of the marathon. Plus, the hotel is part of her birthday present that was a few days ago. I mean the night's stay in the hotel. I didn't buy the hotel for her.

On Sunday, when it's going to be in the 30s(!), Jenn will head to the starting line, and the kids and I will go outside to see her run past the hotel just past the two mile mark. Then I'm going to go off with her sister and cousin and try to get glimpses of her throughout the race. I'm sure Jenn is happy it is going to be so cool the day of the race, but I'd like it to be a bit warmer. Say, 20 degrees or so. Seventy-five would be perfect!

Right now Jenn is watching The Spirit of the Marathon to get all psyched up to run the race. I'm here typing on the keyboard because I have no spirit for the marathon. It's too long. Way too long. The human body wasn't designed to run that far. That's why we invented cars. And before there were cars we made animals take us where we wanted to go.

So, to sum it up, we have a busy weekend. Not sure when I'll be back, probably not until Monday is my guess. I may have to carry Jenn around the house after she is done and I can't type while doing that.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

See, I listen sometimes.

Believe it or not, I actually went to the doctor to get my neck and shoulder checked out. As Jenn said, my family likes to see if things like this go away and not go to the doctor, but I went against tradition. I'm a trailblazer. A rebel. You can even say I went rogue. (Maybe I should have someone write a book about me, for me. Zing!)

Anyway, I went to the orthopedic doctor due to Jenn's, her her physical therapist sister's, urging. I was hopping not to need an MRI, but that wasn't the reason why I wasn't racing to go see the doctor, no matter what Jenn says. But, I wasn't looking forward to getting in the tube that looks like a cross between a sun tanning booth and Spock's coffin in Star Trek II.

The doctor came in and asked me what hurts and what I did. Of course, this was the day that everything felt the best, but I did my best to describe the problem. Then he had me perform some tasks. I had to make a fist and squeeze his hand, hold up my arms, push down on his arm, look at the floor, look up, and I think at one point he told me to pull his finger. I don't know why.

Then he started his doctor-speak. I understood, C6 (which was my apartment number in college), impingement, nerve, x-ray and anti-inflamatories. So, I guess I did something in my college apartment and had the nerve to impinge my anti-inflamtories. Whatever that means. All I know is I have some medicine I need to take and do some physical therapy for 6 weeks. The good news is I don't have to go back unless it gets worse. I always hate doing the follow up appointments. "So, everything is good? Great, thanks for wasting an hour! Go pay up front."

The best part of the night was when I took the dogs for a walk and Cruise decided he really needed to go the left when I went to the right. Now everything hurts again. Stupid dog. I thought they are supposed to sense when something is wrong and help you? I'm going to buy a little barrel to put on one of the dog's collars and put my medicine in it so he can bring it to me. Good idea?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mr. Krabs gets some help

Mr. Krabs has searched the galaxy for help to protect his secret formula. I don't think Plankton will try to steal the formula with these guys on the job.

(No, I didn't set this up. My son did. Really.)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #57: Weeds

Carly wants photos of weeds for this week's assignment. That shouldn't bee too hard since they grow everywhere.

Take this guy for instance. He found away to grow on the ledge of our building at work. There is no soil there for it, or anything. This is taken with my cellphone, so pardon the quality of the shot. I would have zoomed in a bit if I had my regular camera. You'll have to click on it to get a good view.

I don't know if these clovers are technically weeds, but they grew here without being planted, so I consider them to be weeds. These showed up in a planter at my mom's house and she has decided to water them and keep them. Not bad looking for some wild growth.

That's all I have for you. Fall is approaching, so the weeds aren't as prevalent as they normally are.

Go check out the other photos through the link back to Carly's page.

Friday, October 2, 2009

weekend Assignment #286: Far Away.

Karen wants to know where we want to go? At least she not telling me where to go.


Weekend Assignment: #286: What is the #1 place you'd like to visit that you haven't been to yet? Do you think it's likely that you'll ever get there?

I've been trying to think about the number one place I want to go. For some reason I've been having trouble coming up with the numero uno place. For a while it was Hawaii, but we went there about nine years ago. Then it was Australia, but not so much anymore. I still want to go, but I'm not looking forward to two days traveling. That is a long time in an airplane.

I'd like to go to Japan some time. Jenn and I were just talking about that the other night. Not that we are planning to go soon. We were just talking about if we'd like go sometime. The verdict was yes, we would. I might need to pack a big lunch, though. I don't know how much food I'll like there. Jenn will eat sushi all day, so she'll be fine. Can I get some Chicago style pizza delivered out there?

I'd like to go to Europe as well. We could hit England, Italy, then go up to hit Sweden, Norway, Denmark; that might be a long trip. I'll wait for the Euro to lose some value so it's a little cheaper. If that ever happens.

So my answer is Australjapaeurope. I just made that up.

Is it likely that I'll make it to all those places? It's tough to say. Depends on the economy, jobs, kids, way too many things to calculate right now. But, I certainly hope so.

Extra Credit: What is the farthest place from home that you've ever been?

The farthest place I've ever been is Maui. We are planning on getting back to Hawaii in 2011. I'm already planning where I want to play golf. You need to have priorities.