Thursday, December 30, 2010

Post Christmas Post

So, yes, Christmas is over. I remember always being so bummed when Christmas was all over as a kid. Sure, I had all the toys to play with, but the anticipation was all gone. Also, school was just around the corner. Now it's more of a relief when Christmas is over, especially when you have to host Christmas day. We don't cook all that much, and since it was Christmas we couldn't order out, so that makes us worry a little bit. Luckily my mom brought a ham that just had to be heated up, we made some pasta (I can do that) and we had some au gratin potatoes that needed to be cooked in the oven. Easy as pie. Speaking of pie, as usual we had way too many desserts.

Yes, that is a present cake with and edible bow. No, I didn't make it. See above.

But, what is Christmas about if not to over-indulge in treats? Oh yeah, gifts. I got to stay up until 1:30am on Christmas Eve to put together our daughter's Barbie townhouse. See, Toys R Us were nice enough to ship it to us in the regular box so when I picked up the kids from school one day it was sitting in front of the door for her to see. We tried to play it off that it might not be for here, but she wouldn't have it. Luckily, a friend at work came up with the idea that I put it together the night before and leave a note from Santa saying he had to drop it off early so his elves could come and put it together. She totally bought it. Kids.

The kids did let us sleep a little late on Christmas which was nice, but that meant Jenn and I were scrambling around all day to get things ready. I had actually just come home from picking up sushi, for an appetizer, when my mom and sister showed up. Of course my mom's first words were about the driveway being slippery, but she came early to get the ham going, so what could I say? Overall it worked out well. I think everyone had a good time.

On to other stuff. Because everyone else was doing it, I started a Tumblr blog. Or is it just a Tumblr? I don't know what all I'm going to put up there, but if this space is any indication, you know it is going to be awesome.

Also, if anyone is interested in joining our Flickr group go here and send me a message and I'll put you in. It's not an every day thing, but at least once a week. It should be fun; it was last year.

That's all for now. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

How to stay alive on Christmas

Sure, the whole zombie thing is getting played out lately, but I wanted to share this anyway.

Merry Christmas! Watch out for the undead!

(Seen on SF Signal)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Things annoying me this week

I'm working the midnights shift for the next two weeks so I'm extra cranky and irritable. Merry Christmas! Anyway, due to less sleep and messed up circadian rhythm, some things are bothering me more than usual. So let me share my complaints with you.

Let's start with the an easy one; The War on Christmas. I'm tired of hearing about this supposed problem. Is it really that big of a deal when people, or stores, say Happy Holidays when you are in the middle of at least three holidays? What about the war on Chanukah? I don't hear anyone wishing people Happy Chanukah in the stores or anything (When it is going on that is). I don't hear Jewish people complaining. You know who cares about this? The idiots on cable TV news. It's a (moderate) ratings grabber. You know, the poor people aren't going to enjoy Christmas because some one wishes them Happy Holidays. Won't somebody think of the children?

I will say this, if you are a priest or pastor and you are a little upset about how commercialized Christmas is, I'm fine with that. That makes sense to me. If you are on a cable news station, shut up already.

Moving on to a lighter topic; stupid football graphics during the games. Actually, all I'm talking about is the images of the players. (Don't even get me started on the stupid robot football player on FOX.) When did we decide it was a good idea to take the stock athlete photo and make it a moving image? I find it a little creepy when they show, what I think is a photo of the player with all his stats, and he blinks. I don't know why it bothers me, but I think it reminds me of every horror movie where someone is staring into a mirror and all of a sudden the image moves. When I was watching some of Patriots vs Green Bay game on Sunday they had a little thumbnail of Tom Brady with his stats and he suddenly licked his lips. Why didn't somebody edit that out? Who thought it was a good idea to leave that in? Oh, and what about when they have the guys do the thing where they are looking down then lift their head to look at the camera. Is this "America's Next Top Football Model?" Let's just go back to the old style "action photo" where the guys are all wearing headbands and are in the Heisman Trophy pose, okay?

I'm on a roll now.

I'd also like to complain about ear buds. I'm on of those people who have ears that can't hold the standard ear buds in. It is very annoying to sit at work and try to listen to music while working but I can't move my head at all or one of the buds will pop out. And forget about eating with them in, the chewing motion basically shoots them out of my ear. If the weren't tethered to my iPod I'd be worried they'd shoot across the room.

Today I tried to use some in-ear headphones we have. They aren't bad headphones, but they dampen so much outside noise that I can hear everything going on inside my head. I didn't realize how much noise your mouth makes when you drink water. Also, typing and not being about to hear they keys bothers me.

I have serious problems, don't I?

You know, I should stop right here. I don't want anyone to think I'm a nutcase (anymore than you already do). Besides, I have stuff to do.


Grandpa Simpson

Friday, December 17, 2010

Parents, this is why you don't give your kids clothes for Christmas

Actually, I'm not sure if this is from Christmas or my birthday since the back of the photo just says 1980. Also, since my birthday is in February, it is usually still cold so the fireplace would be going then too. But, just look at this picture, you can tell I'm loving this gift.

Jenn and I were trying to figure out if the shirt is made from terry cloth or velour. It's hard to tell from the photo and the color doesn't help. If it was a nice blue or red you'd see the shine that velour gives off. Now, the shirt I'm wearing in the picture is definitely velour. I actually remember that shirt. I wore it a lot, as I did with a lot of clothes back then that I liked. Hell, I do the same thing now.

How about that watch? I remember I really wanted a watch with those flexible metal bands when I was younger. I didn't think so at the time, but isn't that a girl's watch? Look at the size of the face. I think I got it from my dad, if I'm not mistaken, he probably got me the smaller one since they didn't have a kids version. It's not like he wanted me to wear something meant for girls. At least I don't think so.

Now look at my hair. Believe me when I say I could care less about my hair, I go to Hair Cuttery for Pete's sake, but what is with the sideburns? If you can call them that. Maybe it was just longer on the sides. But how do my ears show? We won't even go into the front of my hair. I have many cowlicks in my hair so it always looks funky if it is too long or tow short. Basically, I have one day of good hair. That is why where baseball caps as often as possible. It's so much easier.

My grandmother seems happy with the gift. Well, knowing how she was, she was probably laughing at me. She was always laughing. She was a lot of fun. My sister, who is ten years older than me, used to go out with her on the weekends sometimes. She was a hoot, as they say.

Anyway, I thought I'd share this awesome photo that Jenn found. You're welcome.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cold Mornings

I don't have much too say except that it has been a little chilly here lately. Not as bad as those who live in Minnesota and other more northern states, but when you drive to work and the thermometer says 1, it is cold. And I'm a wimp.

I took this from the parking lot at work. You can tell it is chilly by how much steam is being generated. Doesn't it look cold?

Oh, quick funny story. The other day our son took over my spot in bed after I got in the shower to get ready for work. I didn't know he went in there and neither did Jenn. Well, for some reason Jenn woke up and looked at the clock (I think it was Sunday) and it said 7am, the time that my shift started. So, thinking that it was me, she pushed our son and said, "Mike," trying to wake me up. He sat up and looked at her like, "what's your problem" then went back to sleep.

I thought it was funny.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fall into Winter

Fall into Winter
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
Do you think the snow is really deep and there is a full tree buried under here?

Or, do you think this is just a leaf stuck in a measly 2 inches of snow that is mostly gone now since it was warm yesterday?

I probably gave it away by adding too much description to the second one. Damn.

Tomorrow we are expecting a blizzard. We should only get about 4-6 inches of snow, but the winds are going to be close to 45MPH with blowing snow and visibility less than a mile. So glad I have to go to work tomorrow. If you live anywhere in the Midwest tomorrow, stay safe!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

About ten years ago Jenn and I went on a vacation to Maui. While were were there we went on a tour of a lava tube near the town of Hana. It was really cool walking around under ground and seeing how the lava had carved out a path through the earth. At one point on the tour the guide took us to a little nook in the tube and had us turn off all our lights so we could experience the full dark of being under ground. Let me tell you, it was odd and a little freaky. I couldn't see a thing, even my hand right in front of me. Stephen King's new book, Full Dark, No Stars is darker than this cave.

I'm not saying it was scary, not at all really, basically King is exploring the darkest parts of the human heart and mind. Only one story actually had a supernatural element, too. Any of these stories could happen and King takes you on a journey of what it might be like to live through them.

The first story, 1922, takes place on a farm in rural Nebraska owned by Wilfre and Arlette James. Actually, the story is in the form of a confession written a few years later, but this is where the story takes place. Wilfred is a born and bred farmer, his wife didn't care much for the farming life, and finds out how far he will go to keep farming and also to keep the big corporate farmers out away from his land. 

We find out early that Arlette is willed 100 acres of farm land that is right next to their current farm. She wants to sell it and move to the big city of Omaha. Wilf wants nothing to do with city life and ends up enlisting his son to help him kill Arlette and hid the body so the deal that she signed with the Big Farm falls through. But that is only the beginning of the story. The rest is made up of the disaster his life turns into because he didn't want to move. I won't say much of what happens, but it's one thing after another that leaves him ready to commit suicide. All because he didn't want to move to the big city. 

Big Driver is a revenge tale. Tess is an author who ends up getting raped and left for dead on the way home from a book group meeting. Eventually she ends up tracking down the rapist, his mother, and brother and taking them all out as she deduces, possibly correctly, that they were all in on it. She wasn't the only victim, by the way. The culvert she was left in contained the decaying bodies of other women. Tess decides it's best to take things into her own hands and not get the cops involved. I found myself rooting for her. 

Fair Extension is the one story with a supernatural element that I mentioned earlier. Basically, it's a deal with the devil story. Dave Streeter is in the near final stages of terminal cancer when he notices a guy on the side of the road selling Fair Extensions. The man, George Elvid, offers a life extension, but obviously there is a price. Streeter has to pay him 15 percent of his salary for the rest of his life, but also has to help to  balance the negative weight that is lifted off his life. Streeter has to give Elvid a person to shift this negative weight to; someone Streeter hates. After some thought he gives Elvid his best friend since grammar school. A guy he has helped with all his school work, lost his first crush to, and a man who just seemed to fall into money by running a garbage business. 

As you can expect this man's life falls apart and Streeter gets to see it first hand. As more and more misery falls to his friend, the more his friend comes to Streeter and says how he is glad Streeter has been there for him. Streeter doesn't necessarily enjoy it, but he doesn't try to stop it. Not the best story of the bunch, but it's a quick read. 

The last story is A Good Marriage. What would you do if you found out your husband led a secret life? What if that other life included him being a killer? Not a cool secret agent operative killer type, but a cold twisted serial killer? Would you tell anyone? Would you be able to stay if he said he'd stop like he did for 16 years after you were first married? Would anyone believe you if you said you didn't know? Yes, that is a lot of questions, sorry. But those are all the things, and more, that Darcy has to work through. I won't say much more about the story, but I was satisfied with the ending. 

None of these stories are super original, but here is another book where King does the deep character study type thing that he does so well. As I was reading I wondered if asked himself what he would do if he was the main character in each story. I know that authors do that most times, the thing is, what were his answers? What are yours? 

Yes, if you couldn't tell, I recommend this book. Just make sure you are in a good mood when you start. You don't want to be depressed before you start reading this book. 


Sunday, December 5, 2010

The First Snow of 2010-2011

We had our first snow this weekend. It wasn't as bad as predicted, but it made some things look nice. See:

There are Elk in the woods here. I guess they are mascots in a way since the town is called Elk Grove. As soon as I went to the fence one started walking towards me. He probably thought I had some food, I didn't and your not allowed to feed them anyway. The Elk should know that by now.

Happy Winter!