Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Two quick notes.

First, Thaumatrope published another one of my twitfic stories today. I woke up to the notification on my phone. It was nicer to wake up to that message than when I woke up to the lawnmowers out in the neighborhood. You can read it here. It doesn't take long.

Also, Jenn had a nice little incident at the treadmill at work today. It's better if you read it for yourself where she explains her klutziness. (Yes, that's a word!)

C). It was really warm here today. No, I mean it. I don't think we cracked 80 degrees, but we got awfully close. Tomorrow we are supposed to hit 81 degrees. I know it won't last too long,but it will be nice. I might have to turn on the A/C tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I should be sleeping

I have to work tonight so I should be getting some rest to prepare for it. But, of course, I'm not. After I dropped the kids off at school I had to take my mom to a doctor appointment, then we had an early lunch, I stopped to pick up some gifts for the Easter Bunny (he's lazy, you know) and by the time I got back home I had to pick the kids up in an hour. Now they are home, so rest is out of the question.

I should be much more rested than I am. I was off Sunday and Monday (I even took a nap on Monday) but I'm not. I know a lot of it is psychological. My brain knows that I have to be up all night so it goes into Tired Mode as soon as it realizes the midnight shift is coming up. It usually starts two days early. Just to get me prepared.

Speaking of the weekend, we went to our friend's house for a wine tasting party. I was fun, we had a nice big group of friends and got blasted on wine. I'm kidding of course, we are all responsible drinkers. (Stop laughing!) I will say that the guy running the wine tasting seemed to want us to get toasted. We tried about 12 wines and he went through them very quickly. Since I'm not a wine drinker, I was slow to finish each one, but he was quick to move on to the next. You know, wine hits you pretty quickly when you haven't had dinner yet. The last two wines I made sure the guy gave me just a splash for me to try. I didn't want to get all stupid(er); they kids were there, you know?

It was a good time, though. We haven't all gotten together in much too long, so this was a great idea. We all plan on getting together more frequently now. Next time we'll have a beer tasting.

So, needless to say, Sunday was a day of lounging. We got home kind of late on Saturday, the kids were tired, daddy had a headache, the dogs were tired, so we just hung around the house. Well, Jenn went to work out, but she'd more devoted to that than me. I was going to run on Sunday, but I wasn't up for it, and Monday I was too lazy. This isn't good since I have a race on Saturday. Yes, you are right, I'm on the midnight shift that day so I'll finish at 7am and the race starts at 9am. Is it possible to fall asleep while running? We'll soon find out.

After school on Monday I took the kids to a nature center near our house. I brought my camera, and had the kids take theirs, and we took some pictures. It's a pretty big place. I've been there before but not to the farm part of the center. I was expecting some old barn to be sitting out somewhere in a field that used to be a farm back in the day. Turns out, there were animals there and everything. We've only lived here 15 years and had no idea. We win Parents of the Decade.

This cow seemed to be afraid to come out of the barn. Or it was a fake head, it's hard to tell. Maybe he did like life in the suburbs.

I feel bad for the people whose houses were right in front of this farm. It stunk pretty bad.

More lovely pictures are on my Flickr page.

That's about all I've been up to. Time for a nap.

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's Friday already?

Wow! That week went by fast. Because the kids were off on Monday with me I've been off a day all week. I have enough trouble keeping track what day it is.

So, anything happen this week?

I totally missed Karen's assignment this week. I had some good ideas about favorite cheeses, too. Want to hear them? Too bad.

I think my favorite all time cheese is mozzarella. Followed closely by cheddar. Think about it, what doesn't taste good with one of those on cheeses on it?

I'm also partial to ricotta cheese (I'm half-Italian you know). I love lasagna, stuffed shells, ravioli, tortellini; anything you can stuff with ricotta cheese really. Except cannoli, that is. I never understood the concept of a pastry filled with cheese. No, as a matter of fact, I do not like cheese Danish. Aren't you paying attention? By the way, did you know that the singular form of cannoli is cannolo? Now you learned something.

Anyway, those are my favorites. As I kid (who am I kidding, now too) I was a big fan of the Easy Cheese in a can. I could go through one of those cans in 20 minutes if I wanted to. Hey, it's a great source of calcium. It says so right on the bottle!

A new thing I like is something that Jenn found a while back. It's the Laughing Cow cheese wedges. They are supposedly a little better for you than regular cheese, but they still taste good. Also, they are portioned out so you don't eat the whole package in one sitting. Maybe.

So these are a few of my favorite cheeses. (Sing it!) By the way, I'm eating pretzels with highly processed cheese right now. Don't tell Jenn.

In other news, my calves have recovered from last weekend. I haven't done much in the way of running, but I can walk without looking like I'm a hundred years-old. Now I look like I'm 80, so that's an improvement.

See, I haven't done, or seen, anything exciting to talk about all week. We need a new wave of infomercials for me to watch. I think everyone is waiting for the next Billy Mays to come along before they start making up new products. Where is the Slap Chop guy? Is he still in jail?

On that note, have a great weekend!

Monday, March 22, 2010

This is post 667

You didn't think I was going to sleep and leave this on post 666? What kind of dreams would I have? What would happen to this blog?

The New and Improved Shamrock Shuffle.

(Damn it, I hit enter and sent out a blank post again. Sorry!)

Well, this year was new and improved because we weren't standing in 2 inches of slush at the Shamrock Shuffle like were were last year. The weather wasn't great, especially since it had been in the sixties the few days prior, but at least it didn't rain on us. Also, it's easy to stay warm when you are surrounded by 25,000 of your closest friends.

This year was a little different in many ways. One, my sister-in-law came with us this year. This was her first organized race (nothing like jumping into one of the biggest of the year as your first) but she works out all time, so it wasn't a big deal in terms of mileage. No, we are not going to compare hers and my times. Just drop it.

Also a first, we finally got to meet up with Mr. Unfocused before the race. We met here online about two years ago, and have been at some of the same races, but this was the first time we managed to get the timing and place to match up. We didn't get to talk a whole lot, mostly because he's an awesome runner and was way in the front of the pack, but we got to talk some at least. It was good to finally meet him in person.

The race itself? Well, it wasn't too bad. I did run much this winter, in fact I hadn't run more than four miles all winter, but I did okay anyway. I beat my time two years ago by about 40 seconds or so. I could have done better if my calves didn't lock up in the first 100 yards. It's never good to have to pull off the side that early to stretch out your calves. I really thought I wasn't going to be able to run at all. But, they loosed up after a couple hundred more yards and I was able to finish.

I had a plan this year. I brought my watch to make sure I took the first mile easy and not get caught up in the hoopla and be wiped out by mile two. I actually hit the time I wanted for mile one right on the nose. I was very proud of myself. The problem came in the next two miles where I actually went slower than mile one. That was not planned. But, I was able to pick it up on the last two miles and have better times on each of those two miles. So I can't complain too much.

The end of the race was kind of a mess. This year they had the largest crowd actually show up to run the race. Since the weather wasn't terrible most people still ran it and didn't wuss out like they did last year. That meant the end of the race was a mass of people trying to get water and a banana. They actually ran out of bananas, so it's obvious they expected more people to drop out due to the uncertainty of the weather. Never count out us hearty Chicagoans!

Finding Jenn was a big problem this year. I think every racer was on their cell phone at the end of the race so the circuits were jammed. Luckily Jenn was able to get a message through to me and tell me where to meet her. Otherwise I would have had to leave her behind. Hey, I had the keys, someone had to get the kids. We never met up with any of our friends, or relatives, at the end. t was too much of a madhouse. We just headed to the car to go home. Of course, when we got to the car someone had double parked behind us. Lucky for her she left a number for us to call and she'd move it. Otherwise I would have seen if our car had enough power to push hers out of the way. I'm kidding of course, I would have had it towed. I wouldn't want to ruin our paint job.

So, I sit here today, nursing my still aching calves (I'm doing a good job milking that, no?) and watching the dogs sleep off the fun they had while being boarded. Seriously, they are wiped out. We never seen them this inactive. It's a nice change of pace.

Speaking of change of pace, on Saturday I got home from work to a totally empty house. Jenn had taken the dogs to the place where they over nighted, then was out by her parents for a birthday party and then dropping the kids off at her parent's house for the night. I came home and didn't know what to do with myself. I had nobody to take care of, and no dogs to let out, or anything. So I sat at the computer and watched a show on Hulu and had dinner. Yes, that is kind of sad, but it was a quiet, yet slightly odd, night.

So, that was my weekend in a nutshell. Hope yours was good.

By the way, this is my 666th post. That can't be good...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Where have I been?

I just realized it's been nearly a week since my last post. I guess you can say I've been busy. I'm not sure with what exactly, but I know I haven't been here much this week. I even missed this past week's assignment on new urban legends. I had a good idea too. Want to here it?

My new made up urban legend was about a race of super-intelligent, radioactive rats that were living in the sewers and planning a take-over of the over world. They had been feeding off all the pollution and toxic waste and evolved into super smart rats that weren't going to take it anymore. Just to make it interesting I was going to say how their plan was to take over on 09/12/01, but too many lost their lives taking there positions in the World Trade Center on the 11th. Anyway, that's what you missed. See all you miss out on when I'm not around?

Also, I've been practicing my photography skillz. (Can you uses the 'z' when talking about photography? Do I look cool or stupid? Don't answer that.) I went to this sculpture park by our house, that I didn't know existed until last fall, and practiced there. Some turned out okay, but I still need to practice more on composition and such. While this particular picture isn't great, I like it because it is disturbing to me.

See that? The dog's tongue is coming out the back of the head! That is why it is called "Heavy Dog Kiss." I can't think of a more accurate title. The rest of the photos from that day can be found here.
In the weather's snowing. Which really sucks since it was in the upper 60s on Thursday and nearly as warm on Wednesday and Friday. So, yeah, happy Vernal Equinox! Of course tomorrow is the Chicago Shamrock Shuffle race, so it should be nice and chilly for that. It won't be the slush-fest it was last year, but it's not going to be nice. I swear, if it is nice next weekend I'm going to be pissed.

Speaking of races, this year they are moving the long race I've done the last two years to August and moved it to Soldier Field instead of the suburbs. Dammit! So now I'm looking at a half marathon on Labor Day. This makes me nervous since I've never done a race that long. Sure, they long race I do is 9.3 miles so the half is only 4 miles longer, but that is a tough four miles. You know? But the half marathon looks really scenic, doesn't it. Plus, I get to run through Hamburger University. How can I pass that up? We'll see how training goes, I guess.

Well, that's about all I've been up to. It better stop snowing soon.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #80: Animals

Carly wants some animal pictures this week. You'd think with two dogs living here I'd have no problem. Well, you'd be wrong. Our dogs do not like to sit still for more than 1/10th of a second. It's hard to get set up that fast. Here's a few I took this week anyway.

Here is Cruise taking a break from the action on the family room floor.

Then you have both Quincy and Cruise Staring out the window waiting for Jenn to come home. Notice how Cruise's nose is smashed against the window, as well as the old nose marks on the window.

The other day I went to the local nature center to see if I can find some animals. I think it is still a bit early. I did get a shot of this duck diving for food. I know it's a bit far away, but I don't have a lens that can pull that in and I was right on the edge of the water.

As I was leaving I heard a helicopter approaching, little did I know the helicopter had a little friend following him up there. I don't think this bird was having much luck finding animals either. I never saw him swoop down and grab anything.

There you have it. Go check out Carly's blog for other peoples photos.

New Look!

I tried out one of the new templates from Blogger. What do you think? I was happy that I could find one that had a sun theme to keep with the name of the blog. It's not too bad. I'm sure I'll tweak it some more, but I don't have too much time. Jenn is already checking on me, making sure I get off the computer to get the kids in the shower while she's gone.

Speaking of Jenn, she and her friend Suzanne started a new blog about their adventures in training for a marathon. Jenn is training for the Chicago Marathon and Suzanne is running in the San Francisco Marathon, which makes sense since she lives there. Go check it out, tell them I sent you. This is Suzanne's first blog so make sure to tell her I said to say 'Hi.'

I've been a bad blogger lately, I know. It's been a busy time, as far as you know. I did take my first photography lesson this week. It was a three hour one-on-one session. I learned a lot about the basics of photography and how to make the camera do what I want it to do. When I get a chance to take another lesson I want to learn more about composition and stuff like that. But, this was the perfect start. I took the lesson from Russell Lowe who is a local professional photographer. He knows more about this than I can ever hope to, but he was good at making it easy for me to understand. If you are in the Chicago suburban area I highly recommend him for lessons or photography.

Okay, I really need to get the kids, and myself, cleaned up. Enjoy the last bit of the weekend!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Weekend Assignment #309: Get in Line!

Ugh, Karen wants to know how we like standing in line.

Weekend Assignment #309: Nobody likes standing in line, generally speaking, but sometimes you have to wait around to get what you want. Are you one of those people who avoid lines as much as humanly possible, even if it means doing without? Or do you accept the need for queues, and simply try to make the wait as painless as you can?

No, just like most people I don't like standing in line, but you can't always avoid it. If you go to the grocery store on the weekend, go to a concert, pr the DMV, you are going to have to wait in line. I'm okay with it to a point. I get irritated when the people in front of me make it much longer than it needs to be.

I'll give you an example, (this happened to Jenn, but it would kill me) a person is in the front of the line at the grocery store. Now, imagine this is the only lane open. To make the experience so much better, the person at the front of the line decides she wants to break up her purchase into several transactions to be able to use more coupons. Wouldn't this drive you a little crazy? You can admit it, we won't judge you.

On a related note, I hate when you are in a major traffic jam because one lane is closed just ahead, but some idiot decides to drive all the way up the barricade, then try to squeeze into the line of cars that were smart enough to merger earlier. Let me tell you, when this happens I wish I had a Hummer or some major beater car. You know why.

So, yes, I love waiting in line. Can you tell?

Extra Credit: Do you see the problem of waiting in lines as getting better or worse in recent years?

I don't know if it is getting worse. I think there are so many things you can do online now to check into things that the waiting can be much better.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #7: Numbers

Carly wanted some shots of numbers. Sounds simple enough, but I only have two photos.

First, is my current addiction. See the 23 on the Dr. Pepper can? I don't know when it happened, but drinking this stuff has become an addiction. A sweet, sweet addiction. I've been trying to cut down, but it isn't working so well.

This is a picture of my GPS running watch. I'm showing some old data since it looks better than my current numbers.

That's all for me. Go to Carly's site to check out the others.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Quincy watches his nemesis pass

You can't hear the low growl that he's doing here as this other dog passes. He's never actually met this dog before, but how dare he walk in front of the house?

To be honest, Quincy would probably run up to this little dog and roll onto his back and expose his belly to him. He's a big pussy cat.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Weekend Assignment #308: Chick Flicks or Guy Movies.

Carly wants to know what kind of movies we like. I hope the answer is obvious. Right?!

This week, let's talk about our favorite films. Do you find yourself drawn to one type of movie over another? Chick Flicks or Guy movies, which do you think you watch most often? How often does your spouse, or significant other, choose the movie?

Extra Credit: Write a one paragraph review of the WORST movie you ever saw. :)

Yes, I'm a fan of action flicks and Sci-Fi flicks. Mixing the two together is ideal, but it doesn't always work. I can list all the movies that I've seen that mix these two and end up being terrible. I will still watch them, but they are bad, bad movies. Look, Armageddon is a load of garbage, but I'll still watch it when it comes on. Maybe I think that one time when I watch the movie it will magically be better. Also, I like to laugh at it. I mean, come on, who thinks there are space shuttles that can fly like that? And don't get me started on them launching two shuttles right next to each other. Or them out running fire on a space station. Just don't get me started on the movie at all. It's best for everyone.

Jenn and I used to switch off picking the movie, but we really haven't watched much of anything in a while. She will watch some movies that I will hate while I'm at work and sometimes I'll do the same. When she has to go out of town I usually get some guy movies to watch that I know she'll hate. Which is pretty much any movie I'd pick.

I want to say the worst movie we ever saw was The Tailor of Panama with Pierce Brosnan. I can't write a review of it because my brain has erased everything about that movie in order to save room for more important information, like how to crack an egg. Seriously, it was a bad movie. We rented it because the back of the DVD box made it sound interesting, but it turned out to be a meandering mess. I honestly have no idea what happened, nor did I ten minutes after the movie ended. It was B-A-D.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Do you have trouble cracking an egg?

I mean, real trouble? Well do I have a product for you! Take a look at the EZ Cracker! Look how easy it is to get that egg to split in two and deposit it's yolk into your cake mix. It's like magic! 

Are you stupid enough to crack your egg on the flat counter top like the person in this video? Well, you shouldn't be cooking at all, but if you really want to try, you can use the EZ Cracker. Just make sure your family members don't know you have it since they've probably hidden all the other kitchen utensils from you at this point.

As an added bonus you can easily separate the yolk by putting this tiny little bowl that is exactly the same size as the yolk right underneath the EZ Cracker. I'm sure it will work perfectly every time. Just make sure you hold the EZ Cracker perfectly straight. Even being the tiniest bit off to the side will cause the yolk to miss. You have a steady hand, right? Wait, why am I asking you? You can't even crack an egg.

On a mildly serious note, I thought at first that it could be good for somebody with arthritis, but I don't think you'd be able to squeeze the thing.

Look, a normal person can drop a piece of shell into a mix at some point, but are we really this sad? Are we so stupid that we don't know to make a small crack in the egg before we put it over the pan or bowl? If you want to create a product like this, that is fine but like I've said a million times before, you don't need to make people look like morons to sell a product. If you do, then you probably haven't made a product worth selling. But keep them coming, I like laughing at the commercials.