Friday, October 31, 2008

Cafeteria, you're dead to me

Okay, maybe that is a little harsh, but I have to complain again. Yesterday it was stale salad. (Thanks Cookie and DC for backing me up the possibility). Today was a bad sandwich.

They have a turkey sandwich that is pretty good and pre-made, so it's easy to grab. The roll it was on didn't look right, but I couldn't touch it to see if it was hard. Or just plain funky. So, I took a chance and brought it upstairs. My instincts were right, it was funky. And I was pissed. I didn't have time to go back and complain so I performed some sandwich surgery and eat the insides only. Hey, at least I cut down the carbs!

I need to go to the store to get more food for lunch. I can't rely on the cafeteria to provide me with edible food anymore. And I need to get up earlier to put a decent lunch together. That is the bigger problem.

I'm hungry.

Halloween and babies.

Kids like Halloween, right? Most people don't have a problem with Halloween, as far as I know. We all just want to have fun, play dress-up and have candy. Lots of candy.

What's my point? Someone at work just had a baby yesterday. She was induced so she wouldn't have the baby on Halloween. At least that is the story I'm getting. I don't see it as a big deal. Actually, I think the kid might like it later in life. She could have cool birthday parties, bring disgusting candy to school for treats on her birthday, it's perfect. It could be worse. I knew someone who was born on April Fool's Day. Think about all the crap he got every birthday. His parents we kind of loopy though. They probably planned it.

What about Christmas (if that is your holiday)? Isn't that so much worse. You get screwed on presents every year. You know nobody is going to buy you double! Heh, I almost wrote down Easter, then I remembered it moves around every year.

Anyway, would that be a big deal for you to have a child on Halloween? Would you name the baby something Halloween related? Vampira? Ghoulie (instead of Julie)? That's all I can come up with right now. I'm sure you can do better.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Busy day, but I have a question

It's been super busy here today. I'm not happy about that; I like my days to be relaxing. Is that too much to ask for from a job?

Anyway I ran to the cafeteria to grab something to eat. The options weren't good, so I bought a small salad and some soup. The salad was...weird. I want to know if salad can be stale. That's what it reminded me of, like when you have a chip and the texture isn't right. So, can lettuce be stale? Or am I just a dork?

Wait, only answer the first question.

Back to work!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

But wait, there's more!

When I talked about the Axe commercial the other day I knew there was another creepy one out there that I wanted to talk about. I knew it was either for deodorant, or a fragrance, but I couldn't remember for sure. Today I remembered, lucky you:

This commercial isn't quite as disturbing as the chocolate man commercial, but when the lady walks in, well it adds an element of, ew. I mean, think about it. I just wanted to share my disturbing thoughts with you while I remembered them. You're welcome!


I'm testing out a blogging tool on my iPod to see how it looks. It's free, but it doesn't have tags. I could do this through e-mail so I don't know if it's much better. Oh, unless it formats it correctly. I had problems with that at times on my iPod.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I finally saw the latest Indiana Jones movie

(Deep breaths) I'm not very happy. I'm glad I didn't spend money to see it in a movie theater. Then again, maybe I would have liked it better on the big screen. I don't think so, though.

Spoilers follow so don't read further if you haven't seen it yet. If you haven't, maybe you would want to wait until it is on cable, or someting.

Jenn noticed that the story was by George Lucas in the opening credits, she wondered if we should be worried. I said that the screenplay was by someone else (no, I'm not going to look up who it was right now) so we should be okay. I should have listened to her.

The beginning wasn't too bad, but them finding what we are led to believe is an alien kind of ticked me off. Yes, I had heard about that, but still. Oh, and if the magnetism was so strong that gun powder flew across a warehouse to the box, you would not be able to pull anything off the box that stuck to it. Especially a large sword. But, okay, the science stuff isn't always right, I can let it go usually. But the alien thing was bugging me. I did like that the showed part of the Ark from the first movie. I'll come back to that later. I didn't even mind the nuke test scene. Sure, he would still be dead since he flew several miles in a refrigerator, but I let that go, too.

After he gets let go by the FBI (I didn't get the war hero thing either) we see Indy back teaching and his boss calls him out of the class to tell him his being booted. Then we see them both at his place packing. Jenn mentioned that almost the same thing happened in the first movie; He gets called out of the class by Marcus, then later we see them at Indy's house packing. I was waiting for Indy to throw a gun wrapped in a towel into his suitcase.

I'll skip some parts here, when Indy and Shia (I can't remember the character's name) are in the tomb area we have scorpions crawling all over Shia. Again, Jenn pointed out that replace scorpions with spiders and the scene is very similar to Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Okay, one thing I liked is that Indy explained the shape of some skulls by saying some tribe put bands on the skull and they get that shape. Good. I figured we were done with the aliens. Silly me.

Now Indy is tied up in some campsite that, again, looks eerily fimilar to the first movie. They get away, after dragging Marion out and get stuck in quicksand. So, Shia gets a snake to pull them out. Obviously Indy is a wuss about it. I know, they were going for a laugh, but it wasn't working. Why? Well, to me at least, it really seemed like Harrison Ford was not into this movie at all. He seemed bored and half-asleep. Anyway, they were in the Amazon rainfores, Shia couldn't find a branch faster than he could find a snake?

Let's move on to the car chase in the forest. Sword fighting between two cars? Okay, I'll go with it if I have to. The cars separate so Shia is spread-eagle with branches hitting him in the balls? I'm sorry, you lost me. Was it necessary? Or funny?

Let's skip to the last act. First of all, how many times was Indy going to let his friend double-cross him? I thought Indy was smart? So, they get the room where the skull goes and there are twelve full alien crystal skeletons, and one without a head. Wait, we are back to the aliens? Crap. Then after the put the skull on number 13 it kind of comes to life then everything gets pulled into another dimension. So they try to say they are not aliens because they are from another dimension? I have a feeling that might have been some point of contention when they were making the movie. Someone wanted aliens, and someone didn't, and this was a compromise. Either way at the end a saucer-shape craft came out of the ground and disappeared and so did my childhood. Aliens was the dumbest thing they could have used in this movie, in my opinion. Sure, Indy always went after legends, and didn't really believe in them, but they were based on Earth at least.

At the end we have Indy and Marion getting married. Whatever. Then a breeze pushes open the door and Indy's Fedora rolls to Shia's feet. As that happened I'm screaming in my head, "No! Don't put it on! NO! You cannot be the next Indy! This is bad enough! No!" Thankfully, Indy grabbed it and put it on. Phew. Close one.

I guess you could say I didn't like this one. This is a shortened version, if you want to hear more, let me know.

About the Ark; Jenn and I thought it was nice nod to the original to put that in there, but I had an idea after I went to bed. They could have dumped the whole alien thing easily. Say the Russians notice the Ark, the lady realizes what it is and takes that instead, knowing it's power. This way now Indy has to go inside the Iron Curtain to retrieve it. I know I was making fun of them for using things from the first movie, but they could have done it as more of a direct sequel, and gotten rid of the aliens. I think it may have been more enjoyable. To me at least.

So Mr. Lucas has ruined another one of my favorite movie series. Well, maybe he made me appreciate the first three more.  Yes, Spielberg directed it so he gets some blame too. At least Lucas can't ruin anything else. It's not like he's going to digitally add a character to American Graffiti or anything. Though it would be cool to see Yoda driving a hot-rod around.

Okay, I need to go yell at the neighborhood kids for being on my lawn. I've obviously gotten to be old and cranky.

I can't believe I think this might be a good idea

Have you seen the informercial for Smart Lidz? It actually looks like it might work. Of course it probably won't, but it seems like a really good idea. It would be a lot easier than plastic wrap, it should fit any size bowl, but I'm not going to buy them. Believe me, this is a giant step for me to even say it's a good idea, I usually make fun of infomercials. Partly due to the goofiness of the hosts, and partly because the product is usually a joke. Oh, Ron Popeil, what did you do to us? Now every one has to say, 'But wait, there's more!" What they don't really tell you is the shipping and handling for the free stuff is more than the stuff would cost anyway.

I would try them for free though, and review them, do you hear that Smart Lidz people? E-mail me, just make sure you expect an honest review.

Hey, did you know Chef Tony has his own website? He's free to help you sell you kitchen goods.

Speaking of commercials, have you seen this commercial for Axe?

I find it very disturbing. I don't know if it is the dead eyes that that chocolate man has, or his body parts getting ripped off while he has that stupid grin. I have nightmares about the guy. I usually have to take a 30 minute break from eating chocolate after seeing it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween is just around the corner.

Are you ready? Do you have your costume? The candy for the neighborhood kids. The cleaning supplies for your place after the local punks egg your house? Good!

I was never very into Halloween as a kid. Sure, I dressed up, but that was the only way I was going to get candy. I don't remember how old I was, but I stopped at a relatively young age and just handed candy out to the kids that came to our house. Maybe I was scared because of all the stories of razor blades and poisons that were supposed to be floating out there. I never knew anybody that got anything like that, but we all knew someone who knew someone who had a cousin whose friend got sick. Why, oh why, wasn't around when I was a kid?

I did have a few decent costumes over the years. One year I was Mork from Mork and Mindy. It was pretty good. My mom put a lot of work into that one. I was an astronaut one year, and one year I was Worf from Star Trek. Yes, I was in my mid 20's at this point. It was good though, I had a pate that went on my head so my forehead was all bumpy and my hair was down to my butt. I don't have an pictures in digital for, sorry to disappoint you all, not that I would post it anyway. The biggest problem with that costume was the mustache that I wore. It was long and I had to drink my beer with a straw. I felt like a dork. Then again, I was dressed as Worf, what else would I feel like?

Speaking of costumes, I dropped my son of at his first costume party on Friday. He was Batman, he's never seen a batman movie, I don't know why he chose that character. When I dropped him off at the house I noticed something that brought me back to my childhood. I would say 80%, if not more, were dressed as Star Wars characters. There were 3 or 4 Stormtroopers, though I think the new ones are called Clone Troopers, and 2 Darth Vaders. It's funny to see how that all came around, but also made me realize that George Lucas is a marketing genius. Bring back all this stuff when then kids that watched the originals have kids. Sure the new movies kid of suck (I'm being nice), but the toys and costumes are much better than what we have. I wonder if I can find a new Land Speeder.

Oh, I have a question? What candy did you absolutely hate getting for Halloween as a kid? I'll go first. I have a few: Mary Janes, Bit-O-Honey, and whatever those candies were that came in the black and orange wrapper. These were all the candies I gave to my mom, she seemed to like them. She also likes black jelly beans, which are some kind of poison, I'm pretty sure.  One last thing about candy; I remember one time in junior high, I went to a friend's house to spend the night on Halloween. There were three of us and we wore lame costumes with plans to get as much candy as wee could with the least amount of work. We went to one house and the lady gave my two friends giant candy bars, then she told me to wait a minute, and went back inside to get more. Or so I thought. She came back with a box of raisins. Raisins! I was so ticked! I ended up throwing them on her roof as we walked away. I was such a rebel. I do know that I will never give anything except candy for Halloween. I don't want to get egged.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Now that I think about it. (probably an old theory about Lost)

Remember yesterday when I made a joke about our yard having supernatural powers and that is the reason our trees turn colors so late? No? That's okay. But it got me thinking about healing powers and weird (obviously fake) stuff like that. Those thoughts then lead to Lost and how people are healed on the island, 'the others' haven't aged, and generally weird things happen.

Except for the polar bears doesn't that remind you of an older movie?

Think about it. Maybe the island is surrounded by the cocoons from the movie; that is why people are healed. The others could be the aliens and they moved out to a remote island after the old people in Florida screwed it up for them. Maybe Dharma is just a group of people that found the island and want the technology to themselves. The aliens then enlisted Ben to get rid of all of them so they owe him a debt of gratitude and that is why the listen to him. Better yet, Dharma was working with the aliens in the beginning. All those medical facilities were for those experiments you always hear crazy people talk about after being aubducted. Again, the aliens still got rid of Dhamra with Ben's help. He wants immortality.

So, if I am right Lost is really Cocoon III. I swear, if Steve Guttenberg walks out of the forest I'm going to blow up my TV.

Yes, I am lacking in sleep. Why do you ask?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Natural highlights

Natural highlights
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
The tree in our back yard is slowly going through its color change. I like how the tips of the leaves look like they were dipped in paint. I don't know much about trees, but it seems like the color change should be farther along. We have trees in our front yard that are totally green, while up the street the trees are bare. We must have some kind of special soil on our property. Maybe there are some supernatural forces going on, like on the island in Lost. Maybe it is something as simple as the street light right in front of our house confusing the trees.

Nah, it supernatural. I can feel it in my bones.

A simple question of the day

I'm home with my sick daughter today, so that means little playing on the interwebs. So let me ask you something.

Have you ever:

Filled the dishwasher and forget to turn it on?

Put clothes and laundry detergent in the washing machine and failed to turn it on?

Put clothes in the dryer and forget to turn it on?

If you answered yes to any of the above: Which irritates you more. Why?

If you answered no to all of them: Don't rub it in.

I'm going to take a nap now. Sleeping on the floor next to a bed of a sick child isn't very restful.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tagged: The 5 x 5 meme

Jenn tagged me last night with this one. Here are the rules. You know I'm not really going to follow them, right?

Rules: Each player answers the question themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blog and leaves them a comment letting them know that they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve answered the questions on your blog.

10 Years Ago (1998):

1. I started my current job at the end of 1998.
2. I had finished my second round of college.
3. My wife and I went out a lot more often since we didn't have children.
4. Because of #4 we tended to sleep really late on the weekends.
5. This was the last year of my twenties.

5 Things on Today's "To Do" List: (We'll look at tomorrow instead).

1. Get up on time to go to work.
2. Run. Either outside or at the gym.
3. Get stamps. I have a few things to mail.
4. Deposit a check.
5. Try to be less lame and come up with better things to do.

5 Things that I would do if I were a millionaire:

1. Quit my job and work part time at a golf course in the summer, and a bookstore in the winter. Or move somewhere with no winters.
2. Get my Porsche.
3. Go on a long vacation. Maybe rent out a giant yacht to cruise around the Hawaiian Islands.
4. Buy some lottery tickets. You can never have too much money. Since I'm rich I can buy so many that my odds are better, right? (Yes, I'm kidding).
5. Learn to play polo. Just to fit in.

5 Places I have lived:

1. Mount Prospect, Il
2. DeKalb, Il
3. Schaumburg, Il
Does it count if I lived in two different places in DeKalb and Schaumburg? That would make it five. No, I haven't moved around much.

Jobs I have had:

1. Waiter. A few different places. Most recently (10+ years ago) at an Applebee's resturaunt.
2. Warehouse worker during two different summers. Easily the most physically demanding job I've had.
3. Manager of a Finish Line store. First job out of college (the first time). I didn't start out as the manager obviously, but I eft as one.
4. Sales Conselor at Circuit City. Second job out of college. It was fun at Christmas and the Fourth of July, otherwise it was boring and didn't pay well.
5. Service Adviser in the service department of a Chrysler dealership. It's fun dealing with people who are ticked off that their cars are broken.
(No, I'm not mentioning where I work now. Sorry.)

As you probably expected, I'm not going to tag anyone. Feel free to answer these in the comments or post in your own blog.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend Assignment #238: What a Rip Off!

Karen is asking us to tell our stories of things stolen from us. I've had a few things, but nothing comes close to Karen's story of the record store robbery. Yikes.

Weekend Assignment #238: As you can see from the entry below this one, I found out on Thursday morning that someone ripped me off by plagiarizing a poem of mine all over the Web. Tell us of a time you've been ripped off - that is, stolen from or cheated in some way.

My first memory of something being stolen is probably one of the most tragic since it involved Star Wars toys. I remember playing with my friends on our patio; I had my Land Speeder with Luke, Obi-wan and R2-D2 in the back. I think one of my other friends had the Millennium Falcon, but I could be mistaken. As we were playing I was called inside by my mom. I had to go in to wash up so we could go out to dinner, or maybe I was going to the dentist, I'm not sure. So I took my Land Speeder and put it behind the air conditioner and said bye to my friends as I went inside. When I came home it was gone. I looked all over the deck, and I probably cried a little, but it was never found. I've always thought that one of my friends I was playing with took it, but I never confronted him. It still haunts me to this day. Why , oh why did I not bring it in? I could still have it for my son to play with and my dog to steal it so he could chew one of the engines off!

In my adult years we had a CD player stolen out of our car overnight. Remember those removable CD players that you can take with you so people won't steal them? Turns out it is really easy for a thief to steal it if you leave it in the car, too. Keep that in mind. What do you mean they don't make them anymore? What am I going to do with the carrying case that I have for that stereo?

For a while there, in the town I grew up in, there was a rash of bike stealing going on. My sister's was stolen right out of our garage one time. We were pretty sure it was some kids that lived across the street from us. They were bad eggs. Our backyard looked out to an open field that was also conveniently located for them to plant stuff as well. I think we found at least three bikes back there over the course of one summer. Not my sister's though. We were pretty sure they were stealing bikes to ride home, then ditching them there. I wonder if they ever went to jail?

Extra Credit: Is there anything you do differently now because of what happened?

I certainly make sure I lock the doors to the house and car. I don't have a bike right now, but when I get one I'll make sure to lock it up tight.

Have you ever had anything stolen?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Weekends, they go by so fast

It really feels like it should still be Saturday. This weekend went by way too fast. Well, at least I don't have to work tomorrow, so I guess you could say it is still like Saturday night for me.

Saturday was jam packed with activities. It started off by my alarm going off at 7:00am reminding me that I signed up to run a 5K that I was not really prepared for. I hit snooze twice, each time trying to decide if I was going to run it or not. Finally I decided I should. I've been a slacker lately and it was time to get my butt in gear.

I had my clothes ready the night before, but I didn't think about how cold it was going to be in the morning, so I forgot to hunt down my sweat pants. I think I spent 20 minutes looking for them, each minute getting more pissed because I knew I had just seen them. Eventually I gave up and grabbed my running tights, I'm not a big fan of wearing them in public, but I felt I had no choice. Then, just as I was grabbing my keys, I saw something out of the corner of my eye. It was my sweat pants. They were in the laundry room, which I had checked 10 times, hanging up on the little rack we have. Obviously, I failed to look there.

Anyway, I ran the race. I don't have an official time (my watch said 30 minutes exactly. What are the chances of that?) to share with you, but I stuck around a while after the race to see if there was an outside chance I was the only one in my age group. The race was small and I thought I might get an award. Hey, that is the only chance I'm going to get one! I had to leave before an announcements where made. I needed to be home by 10:30am to go to my son's school. To help out with Market Days.

I don't know if Market Day is everywhere, so I'll exlain quickly. You can order food, usually frozen, through them and the school gets some money. It's a nice way to get some food and help out the school at the same time. Since we had to help out, I had time to go home, change, then go to the school. You'll notice I didn't mention shower in that last sentence. Yeah, I tried to stay downwind from everybody.

We had to unload the truck, count all the contents to make sure we have everything ordered, separate the food into each person's order, then get the food from the gym to the front door for people to pick up. I was getting kind of tired by the end. I was really second-guessing my decision of running before helping out with everything. But hey, it's for the school, right?

We finished up there and got home just before 1pm. I gave the kids some lunch, had a little snack myself, then streched out on the couch for a little while. See, we weren't done yet.

After my brief nap, we got the kids bathed, then cleaned ourselves out to go out to dinner. Yes, Jenn and I got to go out to dinner. By ourselves. Neither of us could remember the last time it was just us at dinner. Where did we go you ask? Why "The Most Romantic Resturant in Chicago" of course. It's called Geja's Cafe . Let me tell you a little bit about it.

It's a foundue resturaunt , first of all. It's small, and dark, and crazy busy. They take reservations for 5pm. That's it. After that it is a free-for-all. You could get there at 7pm and wait an hour or three, you never know. But, it was fun. Jenn and I have never done fondue before, so we weren't quite sure what to get. We ended up getting the a combination of beef, chicken, and various seafood. If you know me at all, you know I didn't touch the seafood, but Jenn said it was good.

Like I said, we never had fondue before, so I spent the first few minutes at the table scoping out the other people. I wanted to see what they were doing so I knew how to eat and not look like a fool. I think our server noticed my nervousness and made sure she told us how to do everything. A few small notes, since I know I am getting kind of long-winded here. The cheese sauce appetizer was much different than I expected. I didn't expect the cheese to taste good with apples, but the sharpness of the cheese played off the sweetness of the apple nicely. (Wow, I sound like a restaruant critic there!) Another thing, I knew we had to cook our own meat, but I had no clue how that was going to work. Until the server came over and lit the giant vat of oil that was sitting on the table. I'm sure there were other spices, or something in the vat, I just don't know what they were. I know I over cooked some of my meat pieces, but since it was so dark I couldn't tell by looking at it whether it was cooked enough or not. I wasn't taking any chances. As I've mentioned before, I am very paranoid about under-cooked food.

The best part, or at least close to it, was dessert. There is nothing like a pot of chocolate to make me happy. As a bonus it comes out with a liqueur on it that they light on fire, then you can roast some marshmallows over the flame. I don't remember the last time I had roasted marshmallows, but these were perfect. I had just the right amount of burnt marshmallow on it to hold the shape while the center was a gooey mess. Perfect!

I should mention that this whole evening wouldn't have been possible with out Jenn's sister and boyfriend watching the kids at their place and buying us a gift certificate in the first place. Thanks Guys!

Oh, so today was spent doing some clean up, mostly by Jenn, and some relaxing. And walking the dog a couple of times.

I'm glad I have tomorrow off to rest. How was your weekend?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Not what I was expecting.

I don't think so
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
I was making brownies with the kids this weekend. They were excited because you can use paint on them and make your our creepy designs. As I took the contents out of the box I noticed something odd. The bag that said vanilla icing didn't look right. I opened it to find a powdery substance, not an "icy" substance. This obviously screwed up the whole project. The icing was supposed to go on top of the brownies, then you would paint on that, after it dried of course. And before you say it, no, I did not say anything about adding water, or anything else to the packet. Actually the second ingredient listed was water. There was no water, let me tell you. We ended up having plain brownies, so it wasn't a total loss. I guess I shouldn't expect much from brownies made by Crayola.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's Wednesday, but it feels like Tuesday. Excuse me if I lose focus...

I didn't do this week's Ten on Tuesday yesterday, or any post yesterday for that matter. I was tired all day and I just wasn't in the right mindset to post anything. I don't know why. So, I'm going to kind of do it today; along with some random thoughts that may pop into my head.

The Ten on Tuesday topic was bands that make you think of high school. A good topic in my opinion since I really like music and certain bands, and songs, do bring back memories. I think it is that way for a lot of people. Who doesn't hear Don't You Forget About Me and think about The Breakfast Club. And now you can't hear any Who song and not think of CSI:Whatever. (I especially think of Horatio's corny one liners when I here The Who.)

Anyway, one band that always reminds me of high school is Night Ranger. Their song Sister Christian was HUGE when I was a freshman, but I liked them for their other songs. Actually, (You Can Still) Rock in America, is on my iPod Shuffle that I use when I go running. It pumps me up. Around this same time I bought an electric guitar. It was a red Kramer and looked a lot like the guitar Brad Gillis uses (though his is a classic Fender). I had an issue of Guitar Player that included their song When You Close Your Eyes (another kind of wimpy song) and I tried learning the song. I didn't get very far. I wasn't very good. I didn't have the innate skill to play the guitar and I couldn't afford lessons since I blew all the money on the guitar. I ended up selling it to one of my brother's friends. I think I broke even.

Another band is .38 Special. I actually saw Night Ranger open for .38 Special during this time. It was a good show. I don't listen to them much anymore, but I will stop on radio station if one of their songs is playing. I never understood why they had two drummers though. It wasn't like they played different parts or anything.

Kansas brings lots of memories too. They had been around a while before then, but a friend of mine brought their Audio-Visions album to school one day in 8th grade and I was hooked. That was my first concert I ever went to. My brother took me since he owed me money (this was a regular occurrence, the money part I mean).  It was a double bill show with Heart which was kind of a cool combination I think. I was disappointed since Steve Walsh had left the band at this point, but It was a decent show, from what I can remember. One thing I remember clearly is the older guy next to me offering me a hit off his bowl. I didn't take it, actually I don't think I knew what it was at the time. I just refused it because the guy seemed creepy, but I did use his binoculars. You need priorities!

One band I wanted to see when I was in high school was Styx. (Hey, they just came up on my iPod!) Unfortunately they broke up when I was in 8th grade, I think. I listened to them all the time growing up; I even had a pin for my jean jacket. I think I still have that somewhere. You know what though? I got my wish about 15 years after high school was over. Styx got together again and toured the country and Kansas opened for them. That is still one of my favorite shows I've seen. (The last Rush one is my favorite in case you care). I'm just sorry they couldn't stay together. Sure, Styx is still out there, but without Dennis DeYoung they are not a complete band in my opinion.

I'll throw out Iron Maiden for my last band. I was just getting into some heavier music when I got into high school (thanks to some of my friends) and Iron Maiden was probably one of the first. I think part of that is because my brother had two of their albums that I could easily steal out of his room to listen to. I can't remember if it was my junior or senior year, but my friends and I went to see them at the old Rosemont Horizon. We had a lot of fun and didn't get in any trouble somehow. Then, 20+ yeas later I got to see them again. It brought back some memories, and made me feel old, all at the same time.

I think I have talked enough. Do any bands make you think of school? Or anything else for that matter?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Weekend Assignment #237 : How can I blow $10K?

Karen wants us to spend some money for this weekend's assignment. You know, to stimulate the economy.

Weekend Assignment #237: A long-lost relative dies and leaves you $10,000. But there's a catch: the will states that it cannot be saved, invested, given to charity or used to pay bills. You've got a week (sorry, let's make it two weeks) to spend it all. (Anything left over will be used to buy tiny wheelchairs for injured pigeons.) What will you do with the dough?

This reminds me of the plot to Brewster's Millions, except for the pigeon part. Remember that movie? No? That's okay, it wasn't a huge hit or anything.

I'm not going to go into specific brands or anything, but most of the things I'd buy would be electronic gadgets. Or toys, if you like. First, I'd buy a laptop. I may have mentioned that before. I don't know what kind exactly, but with 10 grand to spend I can buy whatever I want.

Then, I'd buy a new camera. Did I tell you ours broke? I had the camera, which was starting to chow its age anyway, on the counter top as I was putting dishes away. I had one of the kids cups in my hand and i banged it on the bottom shelf as I was trying to put it away. I lost my grip on the cup, it did a triple lindy, and landed right on the LCD screen on the back. At first I thought it wouldn't be a big deal, then I realized I have no idea if the flash is on, or no way to know what pictures are being deleted. I guess you can say I'd be buying one anyway, but I'd buy a much nicer one with $10,000 to spend. Maybe two!

With the money left over I'd buy a nice surround sound system. I've been wanting to do this since we moved in but there have always been other things I need to buy; like food and clothes. I would go all out too. New comfy seats with cup holders and a little mini-fridge built in. Oh, and the seats would have the rumble feature so I can really feel the loud explosions.

And, because I'm a nice guy, I'd get some jewelry for my wife. I figure after all of the above I'd have about $200 left. I'm sure I could find something nice for that amount.

      Extra Credit: Excluding food and necessities, what is the most recent thing you've bought for yourself?

The only thing I can think of is the Airport Express I bought to hook iTunes to the stereo downstairs. I'm glad I got it. My CD player is not so happy.

What would you blow $10,000 on?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Another cooking tip for kids

Yesterday I asked the kids if they wanted pasta for dinner. I knew it would be easy and I was tired from working the midnight shift. Both kids agreed, but my daughter added that she wanted butter and cheese on it. Sure, it's not all that healthy, but she sounded like she might actually eat if I made it that way. That's huge!

So, as I started to cook the pasta, something very bad happened. I noticed we were out of parmesan cheese. This was a potential dinner disaster. At least for my daughter. She wouldn't cry or anything; she would just not eat it, then complain about being hungry.

I searched all the cabinets and the refrigerator twice. I wanted to be sure that I didn't miss the cheese hiding somewhere. On the second pass through the cabinets I got the idea that saved dinner. I found something that has a very similar look and texture of Parmesan cheese. And, since she is only four, I was sure she wouldn't notice a difference a difference in taste. Did you figure out what it is? Bread crumbs. Yep, I put a dash of bread crumbs on her pasta and she didn't know the difference. She even asked for more. As my daughter likes to say, I'm the best cooker ever!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Scenes from a mom

This is an actual conversation I had with my mom.

Mom: I don't think I like these napkins

Me: Why not?

Mom: They are too hard to iron.

Me: Why do you have to iron napkins?

Mom: They are all wrinkled.

Me: They're napkins. Who is going to care?

She laughed, but continued to iron them. I should know better. She used to iron my t-shirts. No, I'm talking about the ones you wear under other clothes that nobody sees. Oh, and she used to iron my jeans. They had actual points ironed into them. I've poked people in they eye with them. I'm not complaining, since I never had to do laundry while I lived at home. Maybe that is why I have no idea how to iron. My kids have actually asked my mom what an ironing board was. Actually, I think we might still have an unused iron, still in the box, from our wedding shower -- 13 years ago. Maybe it is worth something on eBay.

Weekend Assignment #236 Fourth Quarter Projections

Oh boy. Karen wants to know what we plan to finish up before the end of the year. Here is the Weekend Assignment.

Weekend Assignment #236: We're now in the fourth quarter of the year, the time when (if they're not on a different fiscal year) companies have their last chance to shore up any deficiencies and show a profit for the year. Let's skip lightly over the fact that some companies accomplish this by cooking the books, and apply the basic principle to people instead of companies. As the year winds down, what do you hope to accomplish so that 2008, on balance, represents some kind of progress for you personally? (No, this does not mean financially, unless you've somehow bucked the trend of the rest of the country. Tell me about the writing, the home repair, the wedding, or anything else you hope to accomplish in the next few months.)

I'm glad Karen put the word "hope" in that last sentence. I always plan to get things done; they just never get done. I do a good job of planning, not so good at completing. (Holy redundant sentence Batman! I'm going to leave it though.) I'm sure I'm not the only one. Right? I hope Karen didn't want only one thing.

One thing we need to get done is fix at least one of the back doors. I know, it makes the house sound so big because it has two back doors. Here's the deal, the doors are 3 feet apart. It's hard to explain, one goes to the laundry room, the other to the family room. There is a wall inside the house that separate the two, and there use to be a door that closed off the laundry room. That is why the doors are so close.

Back to the point. The door to the family room is trashed. It doesn't look too bad from the inside; except for the part where you can see light coming in around it. You get a nice breeze through the gap during the winter. The outside of the door is trashed, however. The frame is a mess and the door itself doesn't looks so hot.

The laundry room door looks fine, but it gets all wonky in the winter. When it is really cold outside the door shrinks, or something, and it doesn't shut properly. Sometimes it is nearly impossible to lock. Last winter wasn't a big deal since we didn't have a dog to let out to the backyard. This winter we will need to let Quincy out, unless we want to teach him to go in a litter box.

The question now is which one do we get done? Part of the money planned to fix the door(s) was spent on some car repairs, which cropped up after the last payment was sent in of course.

We also need to clean out the garage better. There is room for one car now, it would be nice to fit both in the two car garage. But hey, we've only been there 5 1/2 years without putting cars in there. Why rush?
The office needs some work too. There is a border along the top of the ceiling that is peeling away to reveal the older border that is underneath. We didn't put either of them up, but they need to come down. A fresh coat of paint would go a long way to make it look nice. We put some new blinds up, so it is not like we have done nothing in that room. It just looks that way.

I should probably stop now before I you all to death. Too late, I know! (Anyone know a good handyman to get this all done?)

Extra Credit: What is the best thing you've done so far this year?

Does it count if I didn't technically do it? It would be the work on our yard. It looks much better in the front of the house. It needs some touch-up work, but that can wait until spring.

What do you need to do before the year is out?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Great/Awful Things about Television Today

This should be an easy one for Ten on Tuesday. I hope so at least. It's 3:45am and it's not that easy to concentrate this late at night.

1. Great -- The amount of channels available. Sure, there is nothing good on 78% of them (it's a scientific fact), but I can usually find something I want to watch.

2. Great -- Recording capabilities. Using a TiVo is so much easier than a VCR!

3. Great -- On Demand on Comcast. Yeah, Comcast can be a pain, but I like being able to watch something when I want.

4. Great -- Battelstar Galactica. Yes, I am a geek.

5. Awful -- Celebrity reality TV. How many Z list celebrities do we need on TV? It might be interesting to see a show about how a movie or TV show is put together from start to finish, but I don't care about where they take their dog to get a pedicure.

6. Awful -- Dr. 90210. He is creepy.

7. Awful -- MTV. Period.

8. Great -- Mythbusters. Always a good time!

9. Awful -- Brett Michaels. Yes, he is covered under #5, but the show is so slimy it deserves its own slot.

10. Great -- The Soup. They let you see how bad TV can really be, then make fun of it.

There you have it. What do you thing is good/awful about TV?

I'm officially disgusted by celebrity birthday parties

I don't get the way celebrities celebrate their birthdays. Why does every birthday have to be a huge party and some ultra-expensive place with a million people?

 "Today Sean 'P. Diddy Puff Daddy' Combs celebrated his 33rd birthday with his 1000 closest friends at (insert famous/trendy bar here). They sipped Cristal and 'P" serenaded them as the night went on."

Maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but who has that many friends? They seem to invite every person they have ever met, or heard of, and they do this every year. Is it really necessary to have a huge bash for every birthday? Why can't they just go out to dinner or a bar with their family? I guess it is to show how rich they are, and to make sure that Extra covers it since their next album/movie is due out soon. It's kind of sad if you think about it.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, Miley Cyrus just had a birthday bash. Sigh. I don't really have much of a problem with her, she is just a kid, but this doesn't make me think much of her family. At first I saw the article since it said they closed Disneyland for her. That made sense; she does bring in a bunch of money for them and it is the slower season. Well, then I read on. There were 5000 people there who paid $250 each to get in. Wait, they charged people to go to her birthday party? That's weird. It reminds me of the poor soul in my fifth grade class who kept trying to give me a quarter to be his friend.

It gets better. (I'll recap here in case you didn't want to read the article.) She performed some songs. Would you sing to your guests at your birthday if karaoke wasn't involved? And booze? Okay, she's a singer; let me rephrase that. Would you do your job in front of your friends at your party?  It gets better, would you let your dad sing to them? Yeah, Billy Ray sang some songs to warm the crowd up. Ugh. Talk about using your kids. Jeez. I'm sure people didn't pay $250 to hear Achy Breaky Heart. I'd pay that much to NOT hear it.

Oh, and they had a "Hannah Montana" makeover area. Granted, she is popular and kids would like to do that. I don't have a problem with that normally, but this was technically a birthday party for her. People were dressing up like her (okay, her alter ego) at her birthday. That makes it weird. I'm sorry.

Anyway, the whole internet is invited to my house for my next birthday. I'll let you all know what to wear. I know you want to dress like me.

(I can be kind of mean on the midnight shift. And I'm not even that tired right now!)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Almost forgot!

I told you my brain doesn't work on this shift!

I forgot to mention that it is Jenn's birthday today! Go over and say happy birthday for me since I will be asleep! It will be like a virtual birthday party. You can give her virtual presents and virtual cake. "Just close your eyes and imagine the beautiful new car I bought you!" Make sure you tell her I sent you, and remind her what a wonderful husband she has. (Yes, she knows that, but it doesn't hurt to hear it from other people besides me.)

Happy Birthday Jenn!

Is it the end, or beginning, of the week?

It has officially changed over to Monday here in my time zone; unfortunately I am awake to observe this since I am at work. Only six more hours to go! Woo! I guess that means it is now the beginning of the work week. Speaking of the beginning of the week, let me ask you a question; what day to you consider the first day of the week? Do you consider Sunday to start the week since all the calendars are set up that way? Or, do you consider the week to start on Monday because that is the day you go to work? Have you ever seen a calendar that starts on Monday? It's weird. We have a dry-erase board that is like that. It is nice to use for all the different things we have going on, but I get very confused looking at it. I'm always a day off. It doesn't take much to confuse me.

Now that the $700 billion rescue bill has gone through we can all rest easy now, right? Our retirement accounts should bounce right back up to where they were by the end of the week, and we can stop burying money in the backyard. Right? No? Crap. All kidding aside, I feel bad for the people just about ready to retire, and those that are retired. They don't have time to make up all the loses that they may have had. It sounds like things won't get back to normal (whatever that is) for at least a year. Let's hope it doesn't get worse. I find it interesting that my iPod wants to keep playing Foreclosure of a Dream by Megadeth. (Yes, I listen to them. They are not as bad as you may think.) What I find really interesting is that the song came out during George H. W. Bush's presidency. The lyrics fit right in to what is happening today as well. Coincidence?

Speaking of politics, did you catch Saturday Night Live this weekend? I told Jenn that the Sarah Palin stuff is going to get old soon, but I liked the debate sketch. Tina Fey really has a good mix of caricature and straight up impression of Sarah Palin to make it really funny. It doesn't hurt that Tina Fey looks a lot like her too.

Great, now I lost my train of thought. Someone brought in some snacks so I was away from my desk eating some. It doesn't take much for my brain to lose its place in the middle of the night. Or any other time for that matter.

We went to the Capital Grill restaurant on Saturday night for Jenn's parent's 40th anniversary. It was some really good food, and they gave us all a free glass of champagne. Oh, and Shirley Temples for the kids. You don't see those much anymore. I know I used to love getting those drinks when I was little. Of course, this was back in the late 70's when all the grown-ups had 3 or more scotches or martinis with every meal. I was used to seeing a cocktail glass in front of them; when I had my own I felt like a grown up. Except my drink didn't burn a hole in my throat. Or liver. But I was still cool, and I got a cherry. Though my mom used to let me eat her olives all the time. She'd rinse them off in her water glass before giving them to me. No need for me to get a hit of vodka at six years old. Maybe that is why I always feel asleep at the table in the restaurants?

Okay, I'm rambling now. See what no sleep does to you? Feel free to let me know all the grammatical and spelling errors in this post. I will gladly look at them, and block you from the comments section! It's the middle of the night. What do you expect?

Hope you all had a good weekend.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Two questions for a Friday

I'm trying to clean up the house and keep the kids occupied, it's not going well.

So I'll ask you these two questions:

Do you ever keep, and use, those free labels you get in the mail from charities and not give them money? Does it make you feel guilty? (That was question one, a two parter)

Why does it hurt so much when you smack you knee cap on something? You don't have to hit with much force to cause a good amount of pain. It doesn't last long, but Jeez, for the short time it does you think surgery is needed.

Okay, back to work!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Weekend Assignment # 235: Button Up

From Karen at Outpost Mavarin:

Weekend Assignment #235: Design a button (a badge, a pin...). It can say anything you like as long as it's clean and not defamatory. Or maybe you prefer a photo button. You can just describe it if you like, or tell us what it says - or you can actually create the complete design. I am hoping to actually make your button and mail it to you, so do play along, okay?

I've been thinking about Karen's Weekend Assignment since I read it on Friday. When I first read it I thought we definitely had to design a button. I've talked about my lack of skill in the design department before so I won't rehash it now, but I was glad to see that I mis-read the post. I can just come up with an idea, or slogan, or something along those lines. Great! That makes it so much easier for a hack like me. But, since I wasted so much time thinking about how I was going to design the thing, I didn't leave much time for a good slogan, or cause, or much of anything.

I was trying to think about it today when the kids were at school unfortunately they had a half-day. That didn't leave me much time. Here are a few things I came up with on the fly. They are bad, trust me. (who could forget the great poems I came up with.)

I was kind of stuck in the political mode, for obvious reasons, so they are kind of along that line. None of these could actually be used though; you will see why.

For some reason I wanted to do something with Rocky. Yeah, Balboa. From the movie. For some reason I remembered some peope calling him Rocko in the movie, then I thought of something like Rocko for Barack-o. You know, with a picture of Rocky at the top of the stairs with his arms over his head. Hey, I told you they were bad! Wait. Don't go! There's more. Not better, just more.

Then, I couldn't get Sylverster Stallone out of my head. You know what popped up next. Rambo. See, look at that name. It is almost an anagram for Obama: or vice versa. Yes, I know I'm reaching, but this is how my brain works. So I had something like "You can't spell Rambo with out Obama". See. I told you nobody could actually use these. That is not something you want to associate a presidency with and I don't think of Obama that way at all. It just popped in my head. I'm sorry.

The last one has nothing to do with politcs. (You're wlecome!) We have this picture in our kitchen of our first dog, Cosmo. He is sitting on the couch, like he often did, but he is sitting on his butt with his hind legs in front of him and one front leg on the armrest. He looks like he is trying to imitate the way a person sits on the couch. It cracks me up everytime I see it. I'd put it here, but it is from an old, non-digital camera and we don't have a scanner. Anyway, I was thinking of that and something along the lines of, "Couches, they're not just for people anymore."

Extra Credit: Have you ever designed a button or other apparel before now?

The only time I designed a button was for grade school. I was running for class treasurer. My slogan then: "I Like Mike". How original! Hey, I won. I'm not sure anyone was running against me though. With a slogan like that, they'd be foolish to do so!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Another Quick Quiz

I just got home from the dentist. I have to eat a quick lunch then get the kids at school. So I ask you to think about this:

Which number is higher?

The distance (in millions of miles) from the sun to the earth? Or the number of times John Cougar Mellencamp says "small town" in the song, Small Town?