Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What happened?

What is my daughter trying to show here? Aftermath of a big party, gas leak, earthquake? The lady downstairs is laying across the arms of the couch, stiff as a board. Hmm. I'm going with gas leak.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Stuffing the Ballot Box

OK, if you look at my wife's latest post about the new puppy, she also mentions we are deciding on names for the puppy. What she doesn't mention is she sent an email to everyone we know telling them to comment on my site with the name she chose. (Is it sad that there are only 5 comments?) I think that should automatically disqualify her choice. Don't you think? Ah, who am I kidding. I'm toast.

Off topic advice for the day. Do not run on the treadmill after eating Chinese food. I did the other day and I thought my intestines were unspooling as I ran. All better now, thanks.

Air Buddies

We are getting a new Golden Retriever puppy! Here's a picture of the litter.

We are getting one of the males in about 8 weeks. We are hoping for him to be ready to go hove for Easter. I think it would be nice for the Easter Bunny to bring a puppy for the kids.

Now, the problem is, what to name the puppy? First, a little history. I came up with the name for our first dog, his name was Cosmo. Cosmo died in September due to cancer. The poor dog couldn't walk anymore. He was eleven at the time, and was our first "child." My wife wanted to get another dog right away, but I wanted to wait. Winter was coming, the kids are young (6 and 3), and I didn't want to train a puppy in the winter.

I wasn't sure how long I wanted to wait at first. I was willing to wait until the kids were older and could help out. My wife didn't like the idea too much, and to avoid an argument, we decided not to talk about it for a while. See, I never understood the concept of getting a dog right after one died. I didn't think it would help us feel better about Cosmo.

Anyway, we started talking about it again around Christmas time, probably after some beer on my part, and decided we should look into breeders so we can get one close to my daughter's birthday. So, here we are, the puppies were born two days after my son's birthday and will be coming home soon. Now we need a name.

When our kids were born, it took us until about a week, or less, before they were born to agree on names. For our son, we went in with two and picked one after he was born. I don't know why we have such trouble, but we do. Here are the names so far: Kramer (in honor of Cosmo, my pick) and Payton, in reference to Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears. My wife came up with Payton when we were talking about running the Walter Payton run. So, anyone who comes here, which one do you like better? Leave a comment.

On a side note, I am watching MTV from 1983 that Wil Wheaton put up on his web site. It's funny, the commercials are so awful. Oh my God. A Michael Bolton video just came on. He has a full head of hair and is rockin' out!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

How did it start?

Writing my weekend assignment got me thinking about how I became so interested in astronomy. I think the first seed was planted when I saw Star Wars. I don't recall seeing the movie in the theater, I was only 8, but I remember playing with all the toys and watching it on video. That's Betamax, people.

Then Close Encounters of the Third Kind came out. That movie both fascinated me, and scared the pants off me. I loved the idea of aliens coming to visit us here on Earth, at the same time I didn't want to get taken away from my family. I was very conflicted about the whole thing. I remember one night, shortly after seeing the movie, looking out my window and seeing these lights hovering in the sky. I immediately called for my parents who informed me that the lights were planes going to O'Hare airport. I had never noticed them before that night. I never looked at the sky much before those two movies.

At this point I was mostly focusing on science fiction movies, played with the Star Wars toys, and occasionally watched Star Trek. I didn't care much for Star Trek though, it seemed too old, but I never missed an episode of Battlestar Galactica. Then, in fifth or sixth grade, our class went to the library to pick out books for a book report. I walked around a bit, not much of a reader at that point, and I found this book with the coolest cover. It was David Starr: Space Ranger, by Isaac Asimov. I had never heard of Isaac Asimov, but the cover had a guy in a space suit and some planet behind him. I think that is what the cover was, there are so many editions with different covers, but that is what I remember. I think I read the book in two days. It was the fastest I had read anything in my short life. From that point on, I read every book I could find by the Isaac Asimov, which took a while, and then went on from there. I think Arthur C. Clarke was next, then a high school teacher told me to read Dune and I read all the Frank Herbert I could find.

All the science fiction I was reading really got me into astronomy.  I took the space science elective in high school, and I think two in college. I also saved up money to buy a telescope at the end of high school. It was a 4 inch Newtonian reflector from Meade. I never took it out to secluded areas like I should have, and I didn't know about star parties, so I never learned to use it properly. Oh, and at one time in high school I was thinking of going into astronomy for a career. I changed my mind when I saw the average starting salary. I wanted to go into business and be rich. It didn't happened.

Anyway, that's how it started. I still read a lot of science fiction, and thanks to John Scalzi and his website, I can find new authors that I may like. I also read about astronomy and cosomology online quite a bit. There is always new stuff to learn.

The funny thing is my son loves to play with Star wars toys. He's never seen the movie, he's afraid of Darth Vader, but he loves flying the ships around. He can watch the Buzz Lightyear animated show all day if we let him and he was Buzz two different years for Halloween. It seems he's going to be interested in the same things as me. I've never steered him in that direction -- I swear! Sounds good to me, I have a stack of books he can read when he gets a older. Maybe we can get a nice new telescope, too.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Weekend Assignment #200: When Are You Going?

Karen posted another good weekend assignment.

Weekend Assignment #200: You've recently become friends with someone who unexpectedly reveals that he or she has a time machine, all tested out and ready for adventures. Your friend offers you one round trip to anywhere, anywhen, backwards or forwards in time. What's your destination? Or would you rather just stay home?

I read the assignment yesterday before I went to work but I wanted to think about it a little while. I still like my first thought best. Always go with the gut.

My first trip would be back to see Apollo 11 go to the moon. I'd want to be where I can see it launch and then watch the footage as it happens on TV. I've always been fascinated by astronomy, and I wish I could have seen it live. Actually, I may have, but since I was less than six months old I don't remember. Without a doubt, that is where I'd want to go.

Extra Credit: The first trip is so wildly successful that your friend offers you one more trip, this time in the opposite direction. When are you going this time?

Now I have to go forward. I'd go about 75 years in the future. I would think that would be far enough to see some dramatic changes. There better be flying cars; we were supposed to have those by now! Oh, and a base on the Moon -- and Mars.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Is it just me?

When I need to use the phone book to find a plumber, electrician, or any thing along those lines, I purposely avoid the companies that put several A's in front of their name. I just feel that is the weakest attempt to drum up business. 'Call AAAA - Ralph's plumbing!' I saw a truck on the street today that was A-AAAservice, or something like that. I know it is not cheap to do marketing, but it doesn't make me think you are a good company. It does just the opposite. Am I the only one?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Happy Feet

My wife and I went to Fleet Feet this weekend to buy some new running shoes. She found the shoes she wanted right away, but I had some trouble. The salesperson helping us was nice and patient, and brought out several pair for me to try, but my feet are not easy to please. It seems that my left foot turns in more than my right foot, and my right foot is wider than my right.

The first pair I tried were the Adrenaline GTS 8 from Brooks. The left shoe felt great, but my right foot wasn't happy. Since my right foot was wider, it was hanging over the edge and getting jabbed by the stitching. The same thing happened with 5 other pairs of shoes. I think my left foot was getting ticked off at my right foot, I can't be sure though. Nike, nope, Asics, nope, Saucony, nope, it was frustrating. The salesperson recommended getting the wide version of the Brooks, I didn't know my old pair were 2E, but that store was out. So she called one of the stores in Chicago and they sent it right to my house. Saved me an extra trip.

I was nervous about getting shoes that I never tried on, and even though the box came last night, I waited until this morning to try them. Maybe I thought I'd be less disappointed if the didn't fit after I had some rest. I shouldn't have worried, they felt fine. I ran on the treadmill without any problems. Now both feet are happy.


I don't know why I do it, but I always read the engagement announcements in the newspaper. I'm not looking for anybody I know, I just think they are fun to read. People seem to think that getting engaged is a time to proclaim to the world what your accomplishments have been to date. What does graduating magna cum laude or with honors have to do with getting married. Why should people care where you went to school? I never really understood that. I'm not sure if my wife and I even put an announcement in the paper. You'd think that the people that care you are getting married would know since you would tell them, and those people know where you went to school and how well you did there. I know a lot of these announcements, or all of them, are put in by the parents, but I think you can talk to your parents and have them dial it down a little.


Mike (super magna cum laude, Fred's Internet School of Knowledge)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cinematic Titanic and The Oscars

I just finished watching Cinematic Titanic's "The Oozing Skull" and I really liked it. I missed seeing Crow and Tom Servo, but since the voices were essentially the same, I got use to it quickly. The original movie was awful, as usual, but these people always bring out the best. They always seem to think of the same things to comment on that I would. That is probably why I like it, and a lot of people in my family don't.

When I used to watch MST3k at home my family thought I was goofy. At that point I was just out of college, so maybe they just thought I was drunk and that I would give up on it when I was sober. I guess if you didn't know what the show was about, and you walked into the room to see some old, bad movie with a guy and two robots in silhouette talking, it would seem odd. I always did like things very different than my family, I guess I read too much science fiction growing up. A lot of the jokes in MST3K would go over your head if you didn't read and watch a lot of that stuff, and you'd probably never give it a chance if you weren't into that genre as well.

Anyway, go out, get "The Oozing Skull". Open your mind and enjoy it.

So, the Oscar nominations came out. I haven't seen many, if any, of the nominated pictures, at least not yet. We are mostly a rental type family with two small children. However, I was shocked to see a movie about Queen Elizabeth was nominated! I think Cate Blanchett and the costume designer were nominated. Now, I have nothing against Cate Blanchett, or the designer, but why is every movie about Queen Elizabeth, I or II, always nominated? Are they all really that good? It's like a guaranteed nomination for the Oscars or Golden Globes. They have to run out of material eventually, right? Coming soon Queen Elizabeth: The College Years, watch her party with her co-ed friends, starring Lindsey Lohan. That just might work for Lindsey.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Nice Spatula

I finally got around to buy a silicone baking implement. Nothing fancy, just a spatula-spoon crossover to replace the wooden spoons that I keep setting on fire. You'd think that I would have learned by now to keep them away from the open flame of the stove top, but I haven't. Anyway, the silicone "spoontula" works great. There is no chance of scratching the pots, and so far, no fires.

As I was cleaning it today, I was thinking about when the silicone cooking product line came into full swing. Am I wrong, or did it coincide with the ban on silicone breast implants? Or at least close?
Someone working at the silicone plant probably used his wife's old implant as a hot pad, and boom, every household now has silicone cookware of some sort. I probably don't want to know that the guy who designed the silicone muffin pan was thinking about.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

So long, Sam...

Last night I heard that actor Allan Melvin passed away. He's best know as Sam, the butcher, on "The Brady Bunch", at least that's how I remember him. Sure, I had seen him on "All in the Family" and other shows, but I didn't see those other shows until they were long into reruns. Actually, "The Brady Bunch" went off the air in 1974, so technically I saw that in reruns too, but at a much younger age.

I was probably same age as Bobby when I started watching the show. We had a giant station wagon similar to theirs, but we didn't have an Astro-Turf lawn, nor one bathroom between six kids. How the heck does that work with three girls? Marcia must have started her shower and make up and 4am to make to school on time. I'm sure the boys blew off the shower, though Greg may have spent some time on his hair, he had to in order to get the groovy chicks. At least Alice had her own bathroom, stuck in the back recesses of the house. She may have been locked away down there so she wouldn't run off in the middle of the night. There was no way Carol was going to do everything around the house. Maybe that is why Sam and Alice never got married? Maybe she wasn't allowed to leave.

I still watch "The Brady Bunch" if it comes on, sure it is painfully dated and super sugar coated, but I can't help myself. Maybe it makes me feel young again. Maybe that is why I watch all those old shows when the come on, Columbo, Quincy, MASH, etc. My wife makes fun of me, telling me I'm stuck in the 70's, and she is probably right. We all probably like TV shows or movies that were from a time in our lives where things seemed the best. These shows may seem lame to others, but their quality is artificially boosted by our memories of the time. I'm sure everyone can think of an example, but I still think Columbo was an awesome show, no matter what anyone else says.

I just heard Suzanne Pleshette died, too! Is it 70's TV show death day or something?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Chuck E. Cheese

We took the kids to Chuck E Cheese's for my son's birthday today. The band was totally phoning it in; I pretty sure they were lip synching. It's so sad when the big bands fall.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Running Down Memory Lane

I took advantage of the 40 degree weather on Wednesday to take a run outside. I left the kids with my mom and ran the streets I used to run when I was a kid. I used to run them much faster. Running through the old neighborhood turned out to be a good distraction from the lack of oxygen I was experiencing.

I ran past the corner we used to hang out at night, we were hooligans, remembering the bat that used to circle the street lamp. Then I made my way past the house where Lisa used to live: looks like the people living there now don't use the pool. We were in that pool a lot during summer. Sometimes we'd just show up there on really hot days and hope Lisa would invite us to swim. I felt guilty about that sometimes. We were kids, but we were old enough to ask her properly. Looking back on it now, I feel worse.

I ran near the area where my friend Lisa (a different one) used to live, her old house is gone now, some giant houses took over her old street. It's weird to think the house we spent a lot of time at is gone now. We had a lot of fun there. I'll always remember that.

I also went past Mike's house, he moved there later in high school so we didn't hang out there as much as his older house a few blocks away. His Apple IIc was long gone before he moved into that house, but he did have a pool table. I was never very good at pool (billiards, whatever), I often sent the cue ball in the pocket, usually when it would lose the game for me.

Passing my mom's house, I turned down the street my third grade teacher lived. She may still live there now, for that matter. To be honest, I'm not sure if she is still alive. I don't want to sound mean, but I don't know how old she was back then. Everyone looked old to me back then. If someone had gray hair, they were old to me. I have some gray hair now, and I'm only 38. No wonder my kids think I'm old. I'm really not!

I looped around the streets where my teacher lived (lives?) and headed back home. A lot of new houses were going up as old ones are torn down. I figure by the time my kids are my age, I may not recognize the neighborhood.

Weekend Assignment #199

OK, the new weekend assignment is up. Let's go!

Karen asks a very good question:

What is your usual sleep schedule on weeknights? Are you an "early to bed, early to rise" sort of person, or do you stay awake far into the night (voluntarily or otherwise), and get up as late as your work schedule permits? Do you give priority to getting adequate sleep? If so, how is that working out for you?

I don't have a regular schedule at work, that is probably why I am always tired. Any given week I can work one of three different shifts, sometimes more than one shift within one week. I'll try to make this as easy as possible.

The day shift is 7am to 3pm where I work. The first day of the week I end up going to bed around 10:30pm or 11:00pm, and as the week drags on I go to bed earlier and earlier. No matter what I do though I am usually tired and cranky by the end of the week. Surprisingly enough, I manage to perk up the last night of the week.

The afternoon shift is 11pm to 3pm. Even though I start much later, I still get up at 6:30am to get the kids to school. Sometimes I will take a nap, but I feel less guilty if I get things done around the house. I usually stay up to 12:30 am after this shift since I find it hard to go to bed right after work. I think most people are the same.

The last shift I may work is the midnight shift which is 11pm to 7am. I'm usually in bed by 8am after I get home and get up at 3pm to get the kids. It doesn't sound bad, but that first night I am usually up for 25 to 26 hours before I go to bed; I'm playing catch up all week long. The last day of the week on this shift I sleep a lot. I come home, sleep until 3pm, get the kids, go to bed around 10pm, then get up at a normal time. Unfortunately, after working the shift for a week my body is used to being asleep in the middle of the day, so I'm dragging all day.

Like I said, sometimes I may go from a day shift to an afternoon shift, like today, or some other combination. With all that and two kids under six, I am always tired.

Extra Credit:
If you had no work or family scheduling obligations, would your sleeping pattern change substantially?

Yes! I would probably be up until 1am every night, and sleep until 10am at the very least. I've always been more of a night owl.

I know my sister is going to think I am complaining, but I'm just doing my homework....

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Uh ,oh...

I think I pissed off Mother Nature. I'm sorry everybody....

Fri Sat Sun
Snow Partly Cloudy Chance of Snow
Snow Partly Cloudy Chance of Snow
26° | | -6° |

From the Chicago Tribune.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Peaceful and Warm

It is warm for sure, not so sure about the peaceful part. Yes, the heat is fixed. They finished up yesterday around 2:30 pm, just enough time for me to get my oil changed and replace both headlamps that burned out yesterday, then get the kids from school.

I was thinking about how I turned into a helpless teenager when the furnace stopped working. The first thing I did was call my dad, he used to be a sheet metal worker, and ask if he had any advice. Not that it would have helped, I'm not very good with my hands. Who am I kidding? I'm useless. I can tell you how a furnace works, if you tell me how something works I can understand it, but putting a tool in my hand is asking for trouble. Whatever the thing used to be, will become a pile of useless materials.

I've been this way forever. I have what is called stupid hands. I can visualize what to do, but someone else's hands need to perform the task. I'd probably be really good with those robot hands doctors use to operate on people thousands of miles away. That's what I need! A robot!

I'm the same way with art. I can visualize a lush meadow with a man and a woman running down the hill hand in hand, with a beautiful orange sunset. When I am done drawing there are two stick figures standing in some green scribble with a roughly circular orange blob in the corner. "Now that is art," my hands say. Poor hands, so willing, but so dumb.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Call me Iceman

I'm huddled in the office with three shirts on, and a space heater, trying to stay warm as the heating company installs the furnace downstairs. It's cold. Like, I can almost see my breath cold.

As I am sitting here, I am going over the signs of hypothermia. I'm not shivering uncontrollably, so that is good. I'm tired from not sleeping well last night, and I remember from all the TV shows where people would get lost in the woods in the winter, you are not supposed to go to sleep. Specifically, I remember the Mork and Mindy episode where they are lost and are in some run down log cabin trying to survive. One of them is falling alseep while the other tried to keep them both awake. I don't recall the end, but I know they lived since the show went on for two more years.

Anyway, I have some water up here that I don't need to worry about getting warm, some M&M's to keep my energy up, and the computer. I think that is all I need today. If I remember correctly the guy on Survivorman used the same stuff in the woods of Canada. I could be wrong.

So my plans? Well, I brought my Play Station 2 up here, I can't read because I will think of how cold I am, and I'll probably check out MacWorld 2008 . I don't have a Mac, but I like Apple, and would like to get one some day. As many people my age, an Apple II was the first computer I ever used. I remember playing Lemonade stand on it at school and thinking it was the coolest thing ever. Then in high school we were allowed to take them home on the weekends and I would play Castle Wolfenstein. The graphics were extremely lame by today's standards, but I loved it, and would play for hours.

Sometime around sophomore, or junior year in high school one of my friends got an Apple IIc. I thought it was so cool. The floppy drive was built into the side; how awesome was that? We were playing a lot of adventure games back then: Examine room, Use blue key, you know how it went. We would really lose track of time with those games. Some even had graphics, by that I mean a static, huge pixel image that would take 30 seconds to load, but we didn't care. The one I remember most was the 'Menacing Werewolf'. I can't remember the game, but the 'Menacing Werewolf' would appear, and you would frantically type E,W,S and N while your friends would shout at you to get out of there. I never learned to type properly, but I can tell you were E,N,S, and W are without looking.

Well, I need to go put my feet on the space heater now. Have I mentioned it is cold in here?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Can I get some heat here?

As stated in a previous entry I do not like the cold. Well, I must have ticked off the Big Guy upstairs with that one. Our furnace has gone out. How fun is that? We had to pay overtime charges on Saturday for the HVAC guy to come out and say the furnace is in a bad state. It needs at least two parts, and maybe just a total replacement. Nice, huh? Perfect time too, right after the holidays.

So, I've spent the last two days thinking about that and trying to drown my sorrows in candy. All that did was make my stomach hurt. I'm still cold! Actually it is not too bad in here. I ran out to get some space heaters to help, and occasionally I can coax the furnace to work for a short time. The rooms close to the heaters are running about 67, but rooms further away, like our bedroom, are colder. Time to pull out the flannel pj's!

Tomorrow I'll get the call on the price of the parts and the price of a new furnace and figure out what we are going to do. The furnace is 20 years old, and who knows if those two things are all that is wrong. You can see which way we are leaning.

I'm going to run on the treadmill tonight to warm up. I may have to wear some warm running gear in the laundry room, it is the furthest from the space heater. At least it will be good practice for running in the cold.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

That was my Oozing Skull!

It came today. Not sure when I will get watch it. Maybe next weekend.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Weekend Assignment #198

The new weekend assignment is up over at Karen Blocher's blog. Go over and read her assignment and write your own. Thanks Karen!

Weekend Assignment #198: What is your favorite thing about winter? Whether you love this time of year, hate it or merely endure it, you should be able to find something good to say about the season. What is it?

I had to think about this one for some time. I'm not a fan of winter, living in the Chicago area doesn't help, so I thought about this for a few hours before I posted.

I think the best part is just after a fresh snow. Especially a first snow of the season. I'm not talking about a blizzard, just the first snow that drops about 5 to 6 inches of snow, just enough to cover the lawn and sidewalks. I like how quiet it is, with the snow absorbing all sounds of the neighborhood. You can be out shoveling your driveway, yet feel like there are no people around for miles.

Until the snow plow comes down the street, dumps wet, slushy snow at your feet, and the feeling is gone.

Extra credit: What do you hate most about winter?

Without a doubt, I hate the cold the most. Not when it is in the 30's or even the 20's, but the teens and below zero. I feel like I never get warm, even in the house, and I don't want to go outside. If I need anything at the store I wait until the cold snap breaks. We've been lucky this year, I hope we stay that way.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Where's the phone?

Why do we bother with multiple handsets if they always end up in one room?


Not only cheese, but cheese flavored sauce. What am I eating?! Soylent cheese?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hey Winter

Where did you go? It's early January, it is supposed to be cold, snowy, and windy. Remember? Did Al Gore scare you away with all the Global Warming talk?

Now, I don't like to complain about warm weather in January, I admit that I like it. My wife and I have been able to do some running outside, and it's been nice going out with ten layers of clothes. On the other hand, we shouldn't have tornadoes destroying houses in January, it's just not right.

Also, on a personal note, we have a race early February in Lake Geneva. Are you going to wake up and be all irritated that you haven't been spreading cold and misery, and dump a foot of snow on us? Is it going to be so cold that we can't breathe? Let's make a deal, let's drop the temperature down to the 20's for a couple weeks, maybe a little snow if you want, then you can go away again. Deal? Great!

If you are looking at this Lori, yes I ran on the treadmill. For 40 mind numbing minutes. I tried a new trick where I increase the speed one notch when a new song starts. It helped pass the time a little quicker.

Driving Tips

I thought I'd share some driving tips. it seems some people need a little

Just because you put your turn signal on, and there is a two foot gap between
two cars, you do not have the right to veer over like you've had a stroke. (I'm
talking to you, young lady in the Camry with the vanity plates). If I had my
mom's '76 Cadillac, that I drove in college, I would not slow down and your rear
bumper would be in your lap.

If you are at my rear bumper, in the other lane, it is a lot easier to let off
the gas and slide behind me to get in my lane. This is especially true when
there are no cars behind me for miles. There is no need to hit the gas and get
in front of me and make me slow down, or do you have to be the leader all the
time, like my 3 and 5 year old children.

Due to the laws of physics, a 6000 pound car cannot accelerate to 45 miles per
hour in the time it takes a car 35 feet away from you, also traveling that fast,
to reach you. Again, my mom's old car had a lot of steel, it would mess up your SUV pretty good.

That is all for today. Learn it. Live it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

And I Ran

Thanks to the great weather, I was able to run outside on Sunday. It didn't go as well as I would have liked. Taking a few weeks off around the holiday to eat a ton of bad food, does not do help your cardiovascular fitness one bit. Now, I was not a great runner before this little break, heck I was lucky to go for 4 miles at a time, but since I just started in June last year I felt good about it.

Now it is almost like starting over, except I can start at 2.5 miles instead of .5. So that's something. As usual, I started off way too fast. At about the half mile mark I thought I was going to die, then I slowed down, got into a rhythm and didn't feel that way until 1.5 miles. The last mile was spent tricking myself.

Brain: "OK, let's just go to that next street sign. "

Me: "OK, I'm here. "

Brain: "No, I meant that one over there. "

Me: "OK, OK, I'm almost there. "

Brain: " What about to that truck up ahead, it's not dark yet."

Me: "OK, I think I can do that." I slow down as I reach the truck.

Brain: "No, not this truck, that red one ahead."

Me: Smacking my head, "No, you didn't say that truck! I know what you meant, It's my brain after all!"

Brain: "Don't be a wuss. What about that Dean Karnazes book you are reading? If he can run 200 miles you can do two!"

Me: "OK , I'll do 2 miles."

Brain: "What about 2.5?"

That is how I usually run, I bargain and trick myself to get to the distance, or time, I want to accomplish. Hey, if it works for Dean Karnazes to run 200 miles, it's got to work for me.

Tonight I get to run on the treadmill. Not my favorite place to run, but I need to be ready for the Shamrock Shuffle.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Why Fox News is Awesome

This is why I love the Fox News channel. I look up at the TV to see the "Election Alert" tag on the bottom of the screen proclaim, "Clinton appears misty during campaign event". Then, after that, they show Edwards who, "responds to Clinton's show of emotion".

This is a joke, right? Did someone change the channel to The Onion TV? There is no way this is an actual news channel. Maybe I am dreaming.

By the way, the sound is off here (at work) so I don't know what they are saying, but I'm sure it is completely relevant to the issues that all the voters care about.

Rock and Roll!

I have been thinking about this for a few days, then I saw on Whatever that Mr. Scalzi was talking about how bad the band Europe was and it inspired me to write this down.

I bought an album from a band called Vanden Plas, they are from Europe, though I don't know which country off the top of my head and I don't have time to look it up, but I'm sure they have a nice strong accent. The question I've always had was, where does that accent go when they sing? The singer sounds like he grew up down the street from me. Most of the bands that I can think of off the top of my head are like that, sure you may get a hint of it, but you'd have to try and listen for it.

When I was younger I'd be surprised when would find out a band wasn't from here, "Really, the Scorpions aren't from Texas?" It's like every time my mom sees "House" she has to mention she didn't realize he was British. Every. Time.

Here's a question, how come I can understand the words that Vanden Plas sings, but I can't understand a word Eddie Vedder sings -- or says? What about Kurt Cobain? What is (was) their problem? Too cool, or too stoned? (On a side note, would anyone care about Kurt anymore if he was still alive?)

I wonder what Arnold Schwarzenegger sounds like when he sings a lullabye? Accent, or no?

I have a lot of questions today. I feel like a 3 year old.

Why is it so cold in here?

Right now it is 58 degrees outside, here at work it is probably colder than that. My hands are cold, it is making it hard to type, but it is keeping me awake as I shiver.

Yesterday was about 90 degrees in here, no joke. At the time I was leaving the "big cheese" said that building maintenance was going to look why it was so warm. I would say they figured it out. The funny thing is, the rest of the building is not like this. We occupy one-third of one floor in one building of the campus. I just walked out of our area and down to the first floor and the temperature is perfect. I think they are trying to get to us, break us down, bring the temperature down to a point where we can't think, then get us to work for pennies if they turn the heat back on. It just might work...

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Water Log

I received a HydraCoach water bottle for Christmas. It's an interesting water bottle that compares your water intake for the day against what you should take in based on your weight. It's fun watching the numbers change as you drink, it's like having your mom watch over you all day. So far I am at 29% of what I should take in for the day, over the course of 5 hours, which equates to 5.1 ounces and hour. What does that mean? I'm not sure. I'm almost a third of the way there, but how does it know if I over-hydrated yesterday and I don't need as much, or just the opposite.

What I tend to do is start off really strong, trying to reach that magic number, take in too much, too soon, and spend the afternoon in the washroom. I need to pace myself better. I have problems pacing myself when I run, too. Maybe that part of my brain that tells me to pace myself is out of order in my head? That could be why I don't remember much from college....

It's a decent day here in Chicagoland, 55 and misty, so I should be able to run outside instead of the treadmill today. That's a bonus right there. I hope my Shuffle is charged....


This is only a test of the e-mail posting system. Go about your business. Thank

Yeah, I screwed it up, but this should work....

Seriously, this time it is going to work.

Friday, January 4, 2008

My feet hurt

Apparently your feet are way more important than I thought. At least according to the fine people at Kinoki. It seems that all the heavy metals, metabolic waste, and parasites in my body are accumulating there. Silly me, I've just been cleaning my feet with soap; what I really need is Kinoki Detox Pads. That's the only way to get all that stuff out of my body.

So, if these toxins are hanging out in my hands, the pad attracts them, has them course through my whole body and get to my feet, sounds like a good idea. I guess this is good news, with these awesome pads we don't need the organs in our body that do this exact same thing. Eventually they will be useless, like the appendix, and therefore less to care for. Soon all we'll need is a heart and lungs. Isn't science awesome?

Weekend Assignment #196: Missing Words

John Scalzi from Whatever has handed over the Weekend Assignments to Karen Funk Blocher, so here we are. Hi Karen.

Weekend Assignment #196: Now that the WGA strike has had lots of time to affect the prime time television schedules, how is it affecting you as a viewer? What show do you miss most, aside from reruns?

For starters, I'd have to say that our TiVo is getting less of a workout. It's sad really, sometimes we fail too hook it up to the phone line, and it doesn't really matter. If it wasn't for all the kids shows we record, the poor machine would be very lonely.

I do miss House, The Office, and Journeyman (hope that one comes back), but at least Monk and Psych are coming back next week. I figure with those two shows on Friday nights, as well as The Soup, I can make them last for three days.

I almost forgot about Lost. I am looking forward to that coming back. I think with no new shows on, even if Lost isn't that great, it will seem incredible.

I will say this, even though there aren't a whole lot of shows I watch, I want the strike to end. From what I've gathered, it seems as if the WGA is asking for very little. Plus, there are a lot of people not working that aren't directly involved, they need money too.

Extra Credit: how are you spending the time instead?

I will say it has given me a little more time to exercise. So I can thank the studio heads for giving me one less excuse for losing the holiday weight.

Running on empty

As can be seen from the post below, my iPod is very near death. I was running on the treadmill, and it died out after less than 30 minutes. Not good. I find it extremely boring running on the treadmill, and running without music makes my want to stop and let it throw me through the wall behind me. At least that would liven it up.

So, to battle boredom, I played around with the speed a little bit, mostly to get me to a decent mileage faster, but that grew tedious after only 5 minutes. Luckily, by that time, I was about at where I wanted to be both in time and distance. I have a iPod shuffle that I use outside, but I like the bigger one inside so I have more song options. Looks like it is time to save up some money!

Since my wife and I have a 5K coming up the first weekend in February in Lake Geneva, I need to keep up on the treadmill so I don't collapse. I hope the weather is decent too, I'm not sure if I can run a 5K if it is in the teens. I'm hoping for the 30's at least. I'm not a good cold weather runner, my nose is always stuffy and I end up breathing through my mouth too much. That leads to Frozen Lung Syndrome, as I like to call it. I need to find some kind of mask maybe. As long I don't look like I'm planning to rob somebody when I am wearing it.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

She's dead, Jim.

Got this after 30 minutes of use. She has served me well for almost 4 years. Thanks for all the good times.

Look what I found!

This is not what I thought the collar would look like at all.

Things I have learned this week (so far).

  • The passage of time is affected by how close you are to a gravitational source. So, satellites in orbit have to account for this, especially GPS satellites, if you want to end up at grandma's house.
  • Theoretically, there should be such things as 'white holes' that throw gas and material out instead of sucking it in, as black holes do.
  • Celine Dion is a little nutty.
  • Walking down the stairs, in the dark, while posting to your blog on your cell phone, will cause you to fall down the stairs.
Thank you to "The Universe" on the History Channel, EW online, and myself, for teaching me these things.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Let 'er Rip

Robin Williams ripped his pants on Letterman. Anyone else see it? Thanks Dave for getting some of the writers back. Let's get them all back now!


Here's the clip. It's a small rip, but it is funny, especially since he is making fun of Britney.
It's at the 5:48 point. It's a little hard to see on You Tube.

I'm a guy....

Setting: laundry room.

Me: "I need to go find out what shape my suit in for tomorrow."

Wife: "Can you see if you can find my gray cashmere sweater?"

Me: "I know gray and sweater, but I am not sure what cashmere is."

Wife: "It's soft and has a portrait collar."

Me: Trying to imagine some sweater she has with a picture of herself on it.

Wife: Realizing who she is talking to, laughs.

Me: Never found it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Start

Yeah, it's slow, but it's a start. Thanks to Savatage for the push over 30 mins.

Choppin' Broccoli

Dana Carvey singing the broccoli song always pops in my head whenever I see or say broccoli. Is that weird? Am I the only one? Does anyone know what I am talking about?

I rarely eat vegetables. I know I should, especially if I want to get in shape. I make them for the kids all the time, but when I cook for me and my wife I always skip the vegetables. I'll make make a salad most of the time, but as far as I know, there aren't many vitamins in lettuce.

The thing is, when I make a frozen dinner, I eat all the veggies. Even the ones I don't like. I really don't like broccoli much, but if it is in the plastic try I'll finish it off. It is probably due to the "clean your plate" mentality that we all get growing up. I do eat the dessert before I finish off the veggies -- don't tell my mom.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all (which is probably about 12 people that may see this). Let's have a good year!

Anyone watch the New Year's Eve party with Ryan Seacrest? We watched parts of it, mostly to record Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers for the kids. One thing I found interesting; Ryan was talking about the new ball that drops, and said it only takes as much power as 10 toasters. Hmmm. Toasters are horribly inefficient, I thought, so I got up and went to check out our toaster while my wife rolled her eyes. We have a small double slice toaster and it sucks up 830 watts. I'm going to assume that Ryan was comparing to double slicers, being conservative and thinking those would be 1000 watts, I get about 10,000 watts to light that stupid ball. Still seems like a lot of energy. I don't think Al Gore would be proud.

I wonder what Mr. Gore uses for a toaster? Probably a magnifying glass or large mirror to re-direct sunlight.