Thursday, April 29, 2010

You need this after a long night of beer and Taco Bell

I don't know what else I can say about this product. It pretty much speaks for itself.

This is perfect for any married couple. Look, it absorbs the smell of farts, what else do you need to keep your marriage alive? Nothing! I'd say 90% of failed marriages is due to the husband reeking up the bedroom. Sure, that is never put on the divorce decree, but deep down, you know it is true.

Since Mother's day is coming up, I think you need to buy the Better Marriage Blanket. It's the perfect gift for mom's nose!

Okay, I need to go eat some tacos...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How a cereal company ruined my childhood

Back when I was a kid (so many, many years ago) my favorite cereal was Cocoa Pebbles. I loved that it turned my milk in to chocolate milk, it tasted good, and it had Fred and Barney on the box. What else could I want? I trusted Fred and Barney to keep me entertained on the back of the box as I ate my 6 bowls of cereal. (Fortified with 8 vitamins and minerals, part of this complete breakfast.) Then, one day, they let me down. I still haven't forgiven them.

You know how sometimes you get toys in the box? Sure, they aren't anything special, usually crap, but it was something you got for free. Just for eating the cereal you already love. It was great. Well, one day I saw something that I thought was even better. On the back of the box I was reading one particular morning, there was a special prize you could you send away for. I don't remember how many boxtops I needed to save, but it didn't matter since I ate about a box a week. I think I had to pay postage and handling which was probably $1.95 at the time. Everything was cheaper in the old days, you know.

Anyway, it was Treasure Chest of 25 games. Yes, 25 games! Can you believe it? They were going to send me a chest full of games and all I had to do was eat the cereal I loved and beg my parents for a measly 2 bucks. Awesome! I was so excited since all the games and toys in my room were obviously obsolete and my buddies Fred and Barney were going to send me some new games. Thanks Guys!

So, I waited patiently for the usual 4-6 weeks for my friends at the cereal company to put together my chest of games and send them to me. I don't think I checked the mail everyday, but I probably bothered our letter carrier Teddy (yes, we knew his name) asking about it.

Then the big day came. I got a package addressed to me. Actually it was a manila envelope (which I used to call a vanilla envelope back then because I was a cute little boy right out of a Rockwell painting). I was confused. How did they fit a treasure chest of games in an envelope? Maybe this was just a special autographed photo of Fred and Barney letting me know that my chest was on the way. I just needed to give the boys time to put it together. Sadly, that was not the case.

How do you fit a treasure chest of games in a manila envelope? Like this:

Doesn't that make you drool in excitement to play all these games? Yay, cardboard!

Here is the "chest." It's a cardboard envelope-thing that they didn't bother to put together. Yes, I had to fold it up to put all the "games" in. As you can see I was so pissed off I didn't bother.

Let's take a look at what we have.

This board had three games; hurdles, geography quiz and state tour. Yes, two geography tests on one board, can you feel the excitement? Just what every kids wants in their treasure test of games!

This next board was Percheesy. Come one, they couldn't spell it right? Not to mention the fact that every house in the US already had this game in their house during the 70's. Who needs a cheap-ass version of it?

Now, you would think this is a basic chess or checker board, but you would be wrong. In the completely awesome Treasure Chest of Games, you get 9 full games out of this board. I'll put the instruction book at the end so you can read all about the nine different games. I can't contain my joy enough to write about all of them.

Now, this is a colorful board. It has to be since you can play 15 different games on it! You can spend an entire day on one board and not play the same thing twice. You might want to put a gun to your head, but that is a different game that wasn't included in this chest of games. Look, who needs to go outside to play baseball when you can play it on this board right here? That sun will give you cancer, you know. Sure, you could say that it was perfect for a rainy day, but so was the TV, a book or any of my toys that actually did something.

Now , you might be asking yourself, how do I play these games? Did it come with pieces? Sure it did. Here are the plastic checkers pieces and the dice.

What about the other games you ask, well you got these awesome pieces of colored paper that were conveniently left on a big piece of paper for you to pop out in order to use. They wanted to make sure you didn't lose them. How nice! Sure, your cat would probably end up eating these, but you can get some construction paper and a hole-punch and make more.

Am I exaggerating? No, not really. I was so disappointed when this thing came. This stuff is over 30 years old but it looks brand new since all I did was open it, put the crap back in the envelope and throw it in the back of my closet. It has not seen the light of day until today when I took these pictures, but I never forgot the experience. You wonder why I'm so cynical and don't trust anything I read or see on TV? Well, here is your answer. Cocoa Pebbles took my trust, stomped on it, scrapped it off it's shoe and tossed it in the trash.

I should be fair here and point out that, according to the list, there are 28 games included. Good thing they threw in the geography and hurdles games! Three bonus games!

Ah, I feel better now. Don't you? Did you get screwed over by anything like this when you were young?

Here are the instructions I promised. Sorry they are sideways, they are too hard to read the other way and I don't want to deny you the chance to read all about the games. Click on them to read. I you dare. Also notice the great 70s typeface.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #86: Stairs

Wow, it's been a while since I've been able to participate in Carly's photo assignments, its good to be back.

This week Carly wanted some pictures of stairs. I didn't get to find any cool or ornate stairs, but I got something at least.

These were on the side of a bar. It's not too special, but there were some barrels on the wall that were neat. You can find them here.

Originally I wanted to get a picture of the sign, then I realized how many stairs there were. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out as well as I would have liked, but it's better than nothing.

Finally, there are these stairs. I liked the vines growing on the side of the wall as well.

That's all for this week. Go to Carly's to check out the other photos.

Friday, April 23, 2010

"This is the best day ever!"

It was our daughter's sixth birthday on Wednesday. We heard, "It's the best day ever!" quite a bit. Of course I've heard that on Christmas, Easter, one time when we got Chinese for dinner; I'm not sure how much weight that particular exclamation holds.

The fun for her started when we went to her favorite sushi place for dinner. Yes, she like sushi, but it's the really tame stuff. No raw fish and she has Jenn take the avocado out. I think she'd be happy with some crab meat, rice and seaweed plopped onto a plate, to be honest. It would probably be cheaper to eat it like that rather than in sushi form.

The rest of the Best Day Ever, continued with the gift opening. She got a Barbie remote control car, a Nintendo DS and some things for her Zhu Zhu pets. She was really excited about all of them, and said she was so happy to get all of them, but she's mostly played with the Zhu Zhu pet bed and carrying thingy. We could have just given her that stuff and save a lot of money and it still would have be the Best Day Ever. Oh, well. I can always play with the Nintendo if she doesn't want to. I don't care if it's pink.

I can't believe she's six already. It seems like a lot less than six years ago when we were in the hospital waiting for her to come. She was very stubborn that day, we should have known she was going to be like that always. The girl is good at stalling for anything. She can take ten minutes brushing her teeth. I don't know what she does, but a very tiny bit of that time actually involves toothpaste being smeared on her teeth.

Other than that, she's a great kid. She loves her dolls. She likes to play school and draw pictures for us. And she likes to pose for the camera. A typical little girl, but very special to us.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Weekend Assignment #314: Summer Reading

Okay, this is the first assignment for the now blog site. (Does that make sense?) This first assignment is brought to us by Carly.

Weekend Assignment #314: Summer Reading

Okay, yes, I know, it's still spring, but this is when I begin thinking about what kind of summer reading I might like to have on hand for those too-hot-to-clean days of summer. So, for this week's assignment, I want you to share with us the kind of summer reading you look forward to the most. Sci-fi? Horror? Political Thrillers? Romance? It's all good. Now, tell me more!

I'm pretty much a Sci-Fi and horror reader. I don't really stray from those two genres very often. A lot of that is out of fear of wasting my time. There is nothing worse, to me, buying a book and hating it from the start. Well, except maybe hating a book halfway through and getting pissed off at the end. That happened to me very recently by an author I normally like. I won't name him because this is a rare occurence. But, if it happens again, watch out!

Anyway, for the summertime, I think I tend to read horror more frequently. I'm not sure why. Maybe it has something to do with equating the winter weather with the coldness that is deep space. Though I doubt that since I just made it up.

The thing is, I haven't heard about anything that I want to read that is coming out soon. I have a book I'm reading now, and something in my Kindle app on my iPhone, but that is it. That's not good.

Extra Credit: Okay writers, get to work! Write me the opening paragraph, just (1) paragraph of a summer read you would like write yourself. Again, any genre works fine, have fun with it!

Corrine ran down the street, ignoring the pain from the knife still jammed into her thigh. With each step pain shot up her leg and twisted in her gut, but she couldn't stop. Not with Him behind her. She could hear him breathing and growling like a wild animal behind her. She wanted to look behind and see how close he was, but that would slow her down and he'd catch her. That couldn't happen. Instead Corrine put her head down and ran as fast as she could, hoping to put some distance between her and the crazy man.

Meh. Anyway, go to the new blog and check out the other entries for the week. They are probably better.

Monday, April 19, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon -- DreamWorks gets one right

I know the title is long, I wanted to make sure I made my point early.

We took the kids to see How to Train Your Dragon this weekend, finally, and I must say I was impressed. The animation was good, the story was great and I wasn't bored at all. When was the last time you could say that about a DreamWorks Animation movie? Maybe Wallace and Grommit?

Yes, I'm being harsh on DreamWorks, but you have to admit their animation offerings thus far have been decidedly weak. Look at the list on this page. Go on, do it. Okay, without cheating, can you tell me what Shark Tale was about? How about Bee Movie?

Now, can you name who starred in those movies? Probably, right? That seems to be the problem with their movies, they worry so much about who is going to be voicing the characters and don't seem to car about developing them. Again, I am factoring out the movies that Nick Park was involved in, okay? Sure, the movies are entertaining enough, but I never want to see them again. I've seen The Incredibles millions of times and I still watch it when it is on TV even when the kids aren't around. It's a good movie. Period. Sight gags and pop culture jokes can only take a movie so far. In my opinion, you need to care about the characters. Did you care if the Will Smith fish was rubbed out by the shark mob in Shark Tale? No, you were probably hoping he would since he was annoying. (I only remember that because the movie was on TV the other night. I watched 5 minutes.)

Here thar be spoilers!

Back to Dragon. Based on the series of books by Cressida Crowell, we meet Hiccup as he  describes in a voice over about how is town is nice, except for the dragon attacks. Bam! Right into the story. Dragons are flying around burning the crap out of the buildings, stealing sheep and creating havoc. Hiccup is running around outside and all the Vikings are telling him to get back inside. He wants to help fight the dragons, but he's forced to help fixing the weapons that come back broken and bent. During a break in the action in the shop he sneaks out his special weapon and shoots it at a Night Fury dragon, a type that has been heard but never seen. He snares it, but nobody believes him.

The next day he manages to track down his catch, and when he raises his knife to kill the dragon, he can't do it. Instead he sets it free. The next day he goes back to try and figure out why the dragon didn't try to kill him, as his dragon slayer teacher says they always will. He finds the dragon in a canyon with steep walls. It turns out the dragon has lost part of it's tail and can't fly properly.

Over the course of the next few weeks (or however much time elapses) Hiccup befriends Toothless, his name for the dragon, and tries to help him fly again by building a replacement tail. As he is doing this, he's also learning how to fight dragons. He's quite terrible at it in the beginning, but after hanging around with toothless, he learns about dragons likes and dislikes and uses that to tame the dragons in the ring. At one point Toothless takes Hiccup to the nest of the dragons and Hiccup learns why they attack the village, but he knows he can't tell his father where the place is since the Vikings will destroy all the dragons. Over time he becomes a celebrity in the town, which shocks his dragon slayer master of a father, but he's happy to see his son following in his footsteps.

Problems arise when, in Hiccup's graduation ceremony, the dragon he is in the ring with gets spooked and goes on the attack. As Hiccup is screaming Toothless hears him and comes to his rescue and he is caught in the process. Hiccup ends up spilling the beans about the dragon's nest and the Vikings set off to find it and destroy it. Hiccup is left behind while Toothless is strapped to the ship and the Vikings set off to destroy the nest.

Enlisting the help of his friends, Hiccup takes the dragons that are used to train and they set off to the nest to stop his father from destroying the nest and probably getting killed in the process.

Upon landing at the nest site, the Vikings scare off the dragons and think it is all done until the earth starts to rumble and a giant dragon 10-20 times bigger than any other dragon comes out to attack. Hiccup and his friends arrive in time to help the Vikings out and go on the offensive against the giant dragon. After Toothless is freed by Hiccup's dad, a dramatic flight and fight scene is set in motion with Toothless saving hiccup in the last seconds as they both fall into a giant fireball. An intense ending to say the least. Maybe a bit intense for our 5 year-old daughter, but she was okay.

Sorry this was so long, but I wanted to show how this was a lasting movie. I will watch this again, I'm sure. I know this was taken form a series of books, but it seems to differ from the description I can find of the book. So, maybe DreamWorks can make a good, engaging animated movie. Maybe they need to start off with a story derived by somebody outside there company. Will they learn from this? It's tough to say as I see their next movies include another Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar. Sigh. Let's hope they learn one thing from this movie, the story and characters are important; the celebrities voicing them, not so much.

So, yes, go see this if you haven't yet. Even if you don't have kids.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

We went to an auction last night, now we are broke

Last night we went to an auction for the kid's school and church. It was the first time I was at one, and I think the first one that Jenn went to one where she was a guest and not running it in some capacity. I could be wrong about that last part, but Jenn is in bed and I can't ask her now.

We had a good time. Jenn was smart about it and got some people together from our son's class so we could be at a table where we know some people. Also, the other people had been at this event before so we could ask them questions. We probably should have asked them more.

This auction was part silent and part live. A dangerous mix, if I may say so myself. When we first got there we checked out the silent auction goodies to see what kind of things we liked. Turns out we liked a lot of things. There was the usual things, dinner certificates, wine tasting, various food and personal services, some hotel stays, some sports trinkets and some things made by the various grades.

On the live auction side, there were more things made by the various classes, principal for the day, dinner with the pastor and a motorcycle riding day with a bunch of people. Jenn wanted to try for the flag that our daughter's class made since it would go in the kid's play room. Our son wanted us to get the principal for a day for him. He said we could spend $1000 on it for him. How nice of him to set a limit for us.

It turned out we didn't win any of the live auction items. The principal for a day went for a few hundred more than we were willing to spend as did the painting. The dinner with the pastor went for over $2000. That better be one hell of a dinner! (Hiyoooo)

As I said, this was my first auction and I didn't know what to expect at all. With it being run by the school and church I thought it might be a little on the stuffy side. I couldn't have been more wrong. The Vicar in charge of the youth ministry ran the auction along with the 5th grade teacher, and they were great. The kept it lively, funny and entertaining the whole time, which couldn't have been easy since it ran for about 2 hours. Maybe more.

It was fun watching people get caught up in the bidding, though nobody went crazy, but I was terrified of pointing out anybody to Jenn so they wouldn't think I was bidding on anything. I didn't want to be on the hook for 700 bucks for something we didn't want, good cause or no. Every time I had to rub my eyes or scratch my forehead I felt like I should hide under the table. That would have been one expensive scratch. (That's what she...oh, forget it).

So while we didn't win any live auction items, we weren't so luck in the silent auction. When it was over and Jenn gave me the list of things we bid on to see what we won. The list was long, but she told me not to worry too much. Well, I started to get worried as I kept circling things we had won. I think I stopped and eight things, two of which were hotel stays, and went back to Jenn in line. I told her we were in trouble. When Jenn got the file folder that was bulging with our receipts in there, I knew we were in deep trouble. Two trips to the car later, we were heading home with a lot of things we didn't need. A basket of beanie babies, two different pet baskets, a training session, two baskets of school related gear...the list goes on. Imagine if we did win the two other things.

But, hey, it's all for a good cause, right? Plus, we did get most things below their value. Besides, it's not like we pay tuition...oh, wait...

It was a fun night though. Next time we just have to not get caught up in the deal, just get stuff we really wanted. Like that original picture made by Tom Skilling. That would have been cool.

In a completely unrelated matter, I witnessed first hand to how a dog reacts when his leg falls asleep. It was pretty funny. It involved a little jumping, spinning around in circles and finally plopping on the floor afraid to get back up. He's okay now, in case you were worried.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dewey's back and needs your help

Dewey's back!

He needs you to help by donating books and other things to libraries, hospitals and wherever else books are needed.




Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Normally Worf wouldn't be caught dead in this car...

Also, he would never let the girl drive. It's not the Klingon way. But, Barbie is a superstar you know.

It doesn't matter anyway. Look at Barbie. She's not even looking at him. She's tired of the Klingon jealousy and all the talk about honor, etc.

I think she spied Ken off to her left. Someone is going to be whipping out his bat'leth soon...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Weekend Assignment #313: Meet a fictional character

It's been a little while since I've participated in the weekend assignments (sorry Karen and Carly), but I'll try to get back on schedule. Most of the time I've forgotten what day it is and missed the deadline. Think I'm making it up? Today, Wednesday, the kids get out of school 30 minutes early and I forgot. I pulled up to school and wondered where everybody was going. Luckily, I was early and was going to wait in the parking lot. I think I was about five minutes late. Not that my son didn't notice.

Anyway, on to the assignment!

Weekend Assignment #313: Through some miracle of colliding realities, you have the opportunity to meet a fictional character, face to face. Which character would you most like to meet, and why?

I've been thinking about this for a while. Who would I want to meet? I like Die Hard, and watch it whenever it is on, but would I want to meet John McLane? Probably not, he seems like he'd be hard to get along with. He's too much of a loose cannon you know.

I thought about Mulder and Scully from the X-Files, but I would think Mulder is a wacko and Scully is too annoying and has to be right all the time. Her and her so-called analytical thinking.
KITT? Ugh, even more annoying than Scully. I don't know how Michael Knight didn't drive KITT off a cliff and end it all. that's why the car is indestructible. I understand now.

So, I was thinking I should go back further into my childhood. I was thinking about Mork, from Mork and Mindy. That would be an interesting conversation. Though I would think I'd come away with the thought that Mork was the stupidest person on Ork. Am I right?

So, I'm going to go even farther back (Jenn can probably see where I'm going) and say I'd like to meet Lt. Columbo. Wasn't he the best. He was great at playing dumb and allowing the bag guy (or girl) to think he had know idea what was going on then let them hang themselves, so to speak. It's still on of my favorite shows. I wanted to go as him one year for Halloween, but Jenn thought nobody would get it. Maybe she was right. I need to find an old Peugeot to drive to complete the outfit.

I would ask him what made him to decide playing dumb, or was it an accident. (Actually I don't think it was always that way. If I remember correctly, in the first movie he was quite a bit more direct. I think he even pulled a gun! Sorry, for the Columbo geek-out).

Extra Credit: What question would you most like to ask that character? Extra extra credit for posting the character's likely reply!

I imagine his answer would be something like this: "Oh, it just kind of happened. You know, when your clothes look like mine people tend to look down on you and not take you too seriously. I decided to use that to make them feel at ease. Like I wouldn't notice if they changed their story, or their answers didn't make sense because I was too impressed y how important, or rich they were. I worked out pretty well for me." Then he would turn and walk away, stop, turn halfway back to me, raise his hand in a slight wave, and walk out of the room; cigar smoke trailing behind him.

Anyway, go check out what others had to say over at Karen's blog.

Monday, April 5, 2010

En Garde!

Our son decided he wanted to take fencing this spring. I wasn't so sure about it since I figured all he knew about sword play was what he saw in Star Wars, but he really liked it. I didn't get to go watch because I was working, but Jenn sent me some pictures and video to watch. I think we might have a future fencing champ in the making. Do they make a lot of money? Is there some way for me to be his manager so we can all make a lot of money? I wonder if we can tie it in with Gatorade somehow? There slogan is, "Is it in you?" They could put an image of a sword (sorry, foil) going through someone on it. That should work.

I am really happy, though. I guess he was so excited that he yell out to Jenn that he really liked it. That's always good to see. I hate when we sign the kids up for something and they hate it or don't like the teacher, and we have to force them to finish out the sessions. Or we just lose out on the money. Neither way is fun.

I'm kind of looking forward to the class when I can go watch. Do they slap each other with a glove and challenge each other to a duel? Is that fencing I'm thinking out?

Meanwhile...Easter has come and gone, and so has my vow to not eat M&M's. I've done okay so far, but mostly because we don't have many in the house. I can't say I've been so good with the mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. What is it about chocolate and chalky peanut butter that makes them so good? If I ate peanut butter like that on its own I'd think it is gross, why is it okay when surrounded by chocolate? Science?

Hope you had a great Easter! (Or weekend if you don't celebrate that particular holiday).


Saturday, April 3, 2010

This may not have been a good idea

I think I mentioned this the other day, but I'm running in a race tomorrow morning. Not that it is a big deal by itself, especially since the term 'race' is used very loosely when describing my abilities, but I'm finishing up my week of midnights today, so that means I'm up all night before the race. Yay? At least I have an excuse for not having a good time. I need to keep planning races around situations that give me a good excuse.

On top of this, somehow Jenn talked my brother into running with me. We've been trying to talk my brother into running in a race with use for at least two years. Finally we broke him and he's going to run. So, there is another reason why I need a good excuse to be slower than normal. They fact that I haven't run since the Shamrock Shuffle two weeks ago certainly isn't going to help me. It's supposed to be rainy in the morning too, another good excuse. Maybe I should just get my butt in gear and workout so I don't need excuses.

Actually, I was talking to Jenn about that the other night. I need some motivation to get my butt in gear. For some reason I'm stuck in winter sloth mode and can't get out of it. Yes, being on the midnight shift on the best weather week we've had in 6 months hasn't helped, but it's not really the reason. I'm just a big slacker, is the real reason. This winter was one of my worst for not doing anything and eating really, really (really!) bad stuff. I don't want to know how many M&M's I ate this winter, but I still haven't had any since Ash Wednesday! I'm quite proud of that. Sure, I've eaten some other candy, but the amount of candy I ate when not eating M&M's is dramatically less. Believe me. I got one big bag for my birthday that has been calling name from the back of the cabinet. It's voice is quite muffled, but when it is late at night I can hear it's voice.

So, yes, I'm going to start a New Year's resolution in April. Why not? Spring is springing, the flowers are thinking out blooming, so I need to start exercising. 

Ha! My brother just sent me a message saying he's still drinking. We are going to be in great shape tomorrow. Wish me luck!