Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I guess I'm becoming the holiday blogger. Since New Year's is coming up soon, I'll have more than one post in a month. Believe it or not. 

Hope everyone (singular) who reads this has a great Christmas, or Chanukah. It's truly the best time of year to give presents to people. I mean, besides birthdays. 

I remember getting some great toys as a kid. Sure, they were probably filled with toxins, but they seemed way more sturdy than this stuff nowadays. There are some toys at my mom's house that I got 30 years ago. Yes, I'm old. My favorite toys, or at least things I really wanted, were the Firefox remote control car and Big Trak. 

The remote control car did end up being great. Sure, it couldn't climb sand dunes like in the commercial, but it worked. I could drive it anywhere in the house and outside. Then, when we got bored, we'd put tape on the wheels and do drifting around the house way before it became cool. 

The Big Trak was another story. You had to program it to do a specific task, which took forever, but in order for it to drive you had to tell it how many vehicle lengths to go, then what degree turn to do, etc. Am I supposed to be an engineer at 8 years old? How could I have it drive up to my cat and shoot at it? By the time I'd be done programming the cat would have kittens. But it did make cool noises that sounded like they were right out of "The Six Million Dollar Man." 

Oh, wait! I forgot about the Evel Kenievel stuff we had! The motorcycles were great. They would actually go, jump over ramps and all that stuff. I also had the Skycycle. That thing sucked. It didn't go anywhere you wanted and ended up crashing into things all the time. Which I guess makes sense. This was the thing he attmepted to jump the Snake River Canyon in and he only made it 10 feet before he crashed spectacularly. if I had known that I would have returned it before opening it. 

Anyway, I hope you all get nice presents this year. You all deserve it. And, don't give out crappy presents like I did to my mom one year. 

All this thing did was blow ashes all over the place. it kind of defeated the purpose. Sure, the smoke didn't get in your eyes or lungs, but the ashes did. What's worse? I should have bought her the food dehydrator instead.  Hell, the Pocket Fisherman would have been better. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving: Be Lazy

Happy Thanksgiving. I think we all need to get these to take full advantage of this holiday.


I think we should show up at our our celebrations wearing these. What better way to enjoy the peaceful bliss that tryptophan provides than by slipping into a nice food coma in your pajamas that you wore to the house? As a bonus, you can wear these out for you Black Friday shopping. It has an escape hatch for bathroom visits and who is really going to care what you are wearing when you are on the ground wrestling for that last 12 dollar DVD player? So, enjoy your lazy day. Have a lot of food and wear your pajamas. You can keep them for Christmas day, too.

Friday, November 18, 2011

EMPS 150: A walk in the Park

I haven't participated in one of Carly's photo shoots in a loooooooooooooong time. I'm here to fix that. This week Carly asked for pictures from a walk in the park. I was in a park-like place. It's a nature center that I go to all the time close to the house. It has a little bit of everything in one spot. I always feel very relaxed walking through there.

Anyway, on to the pictures.

As you can see, fall is pretty much done here. There are barely any leaves left, and most everything is brown. At least we are snow free. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mini Home Improvement

As I mentioned last time, Jenn is out of town for work for ten days. We are halfway through and I am not insane yet. Success!

Anyway, I have some house project to work on which, if you know me, I suck at. But I worked on painting our fireplace this week. We painted, well, my nephew painted, our family room walls, and we decided to paint the fireplace too. Why you ask? Well, take a look at what it looked like.

A little on the 70s side, don't you think? We decided that when we painted the room we'd have to do this as well. I was a bit worried since it is finished wood and I knew it would be hard to cover. I wasn't wrong.

On day one I put a coat of primer on. I was actually more nervous after I did this. See how much you can still see through it? I didn't think anything would stick to the wood.

I took a picture after the second coat, but I can't seem to find it now. But, it was a little better. I felt a little better.

The first coat of paint went on pretty well. I could still see the wood, but it was much less noticeable. Progress!

Finally, I applied the last coat today. It's like a whole new fireplace!

Of course, now we need to put something up. It looks too bland by itself. Don't you think?

Okay, now for some well deserved rest.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What kind of lame blog am I running here?

I can't believe it took me more than a month to come back here. Actually, I can. I have a short attention span. I'm surprised I kept this thing going as long as it has.

I haven't been around much here, but I'm still on Twitter, Tumblr and Google+. Mostly I've been posting pictures there and I'll probably end up doing the same here. It's what I like to do know, so I should probably put it here. I hope I don't bore you all too much.

Speaking of pictures, here are the last batch from Hawaii.

This is the helicopter that the family rode in to see the sights. How did I get this picture, you ask? Well, I wasn't in there. Our daughter was afraid, so someone had to stay. I took one for the team. What?! I'm not getting in one of those things.

This is Mauna Loa from the helicopter place, Blue Hawaii. I originally thought it was Mauna Kea but was corrected on Google+.

These are some palm trees at The Place of Refuge. My wife and I went by ourselves here. It was a neat place to walk around. Yes, those are people. The trees were TALL! 

This is from our last night. Some damn good sunsets in Hawaii.

This is also from The Place of Refuge. Blogger wants this picture here and will not let me put it in order. Anyway, you see a lot of little things like this around. Right near here was a sign saying not to do this. It's considered graffiti and since this is sacred ground it's not cool. Though I don't think the person who put this here meant any harm. 

Putting these up so late really make me want to go back to Hawaii. I knew I'd love it, but I didn't think I would this much. I really want to go back. Hopefully in a couple of years we can. 

Before I move on I want to thank Dreamybee (not her real name). She lives in Hawaii and was a great source of information and was especially helpful through Twitter when we were stuck in Honolulu. This is why the Internet is great. 

On to new business. Jenn just left for India for 10 days. I just looked and her flight is in Dubai now and she heads out to Mumbai next. That's a lot of flying. So, I'm home alone with the kids and getting some work around the house done. You know, painting, fixing up stuff, re-wiring the family room (220-221, whatever it takes).

Right now I'm working on the painting and I'm at the, "Oh shit, this may not work," stage. I'm hoping it's okay, but I have my doubts. I'm painting the fireplace. It was really dark before and I'm worried the lighter color is not going to work. I'm working on priming it now and it just looks like it's going to look like crap. I think I'm doing it wrong. I'm taking before, during and after photos so you can see what I'm talking about. My plan is to have all this stuff done before Jenn gets home. Won't that be a nice surprise? Actually, it will be a surprise if the house is in one piece. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Our Summer Vacation Part 2: No, I'm not going to say it

It's kind of sad that it is taking me this long to post part two of our trip. Does anyone even care? Well, too bad. Here it is anyway.

Okay, so I left off on the second full day in Kona and how tired we were. Sunday was the next day and a little better in the sleep department. This day Jenn and I took the kids out geocaching around the area. We found one out of three that we tried. Some were really hard! This is also where we ran into our first gecko. They are all over the place, but I didn't mind them. I'd rather see these guys walking around than rats.

After a driving around and not finding anything for a couple of hours, as well as some hiking to the locations, we went to lunch with the kids. It was a little hole-in-the-wall place, but it was good. That afternoon the "downtown" area had a little festival of sorts where they closed the street off and had display areas where the local residents and shops could sell stuff. We bought some homemade jewelry and awesome kettle corn for back at the house. We also saw a guy jamming on his homemade guitar-ukulele double neck thing. I make fun, but he was really good.

Then it was time for some shaved ice and more geckos. This guy was eating some of the syrup that spilled on table. It probably tastes better than bugs.

That night we went to the Luau. The mai-tais were good, the food was just okay, but the show was really good. The performers really were into it. One of the guys was pretty funny, too. Everybody enjoyed the show.

Monday was the big deal day for the kids. They were going to swim with dolphins. They were looking forward to this ever since we told them about it back in December when they opened their gift of the dolphin ride. That day, of course, our daughter was a little nervous about it, but she was much less shy about it once she was in the water. They only let parents get so close so you have to buy their pictures, but I managed to get a few to work since I had my zoom lens. Of course, we ended up buying a couple of pictures anyway. Yes, we are suckers.

The kids didn't get a long time in the water with the dolphins, but we ended up spending most of the day at the hotel that contained Dolphin Quest. I think by the time we go home it was almost 3pm  and we left at 9am.

I think all we did was go to eat after the kids changed. We went out to eat way more than we said we were before we left. Isn't that always the way? So much for buying food and cooking it at the house.

Tuesday was the "Big Drive." We went all the way around the island, for the most part. The main plan was to go to Volcano National Park, which was on the opposite of the island, but we were going to make some stops on the way.

The first was actually unplanned. We were driving and saw a sign for a tsunami memorial and we decided to go see what it was. After some very narrow and twisty roads we ended up in a place that reminded us some place right out of "Lost." Actually it was Laupahoehoe Park, but look at this, doesn't seem like the others would live here?

The tsunami memorial was off to the side and marked the site where 20+ people, many children, were killed when one hit in 1946. I didn't take a picture because I felt weird taking one of a memeorial. I don't know why.

There were also a lot of these big concrete things along the water. I don't know what they are for, but they reminded me of something for a WW II movie.

We left there and continued on to Akaka Falls. Actually, we stopped for lunch first, but everyone agreed it wasn't very good, so I won't mention the place here. The falls were...wet. I mean rainy wet. Yes, I know were were in the rain forest, but it makes it hard to take photos when it is raining so much. Jenn was nice enough to hold the umbrella over me as I took a few photos. It's a Hell of a drop, no?

We moved on to the volcano park. Due to recent activity a good section of crater rim drive was closed off so we didn't get to drive about as much as we'd like. But we did see a rainbow over the caldera!

We also went to the Thurston Lava tube. It was much larger than the one Jenn and I went in on Maui years ago. We could actually walk upright, which is good since I'm an old man now. I guess we could have walked down in one of the old calderas, but we didn't. See those white dots, they are people.

We continued our journey around the south end of the island, which was had a lot more twists and turns, and made it home just as the sun was setting. We were pretty wiped out after that day.

This is getting long, so I'll stop now. I thought I could finish in two posts, but I'm too wordy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

In honor of getting the Internet back...

Here is something from the Way Back Machine. I'm not sure when this was, but I'm guessing it was 1992, or close to it. For some reason I decided to go all out for Halloween. I never did that before, not even when I was a kid, so I don't know what got into me this particular year. (No, it wasn't booze. Well, at least not when I bought this stuff).

Anyway, Jenn and I were at some Halloween shop and I saw this Klingon kit. Now I watched Star Trek, but I wasn't a super huge fan. At least not enough to dress up as a Klingon. Or so I thought. So, yes, I bought the kit with the wig and ridged forehead and the makeup. It turned out okay for my lack of skills in the makeup department. I know that the guy throwing the party didn't recognize me. Anyway, here you go. Laugh it up, fuzz ball. Wait, that's the wrong movie...

I look kid of bad ass, don't you think? Well, except for the straw in my beer cup. I had no choice! That stupid beard thing kept getting in the cup. You didn't expect me to got to a party and not drink beer, did you? 

I hope you all had a good laugh.

I don't know why I post these things...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Our Summer Vacation Part 1: The Beginning

Like I promised in my last post, I'm back to talk about our vacation. I hope you can contain your excitement!

Some time last year, I can't remember exactly when, I was at work and Jenn had gone to her parents with the kids and when she came back we somehow had plans to all go to Hawaii this summer. Don't get me wrong, I didn't complain at all, I was more surprised than anything. After a year of figuring out where, and exactly when to go, we decided on renting a house in Kailua-Kona. By this point Jenn's sister and boyfriend dropped out, but we found a great place to stay on the water. Okay, Jenn found it, are you happy?

Seriously though, this place was perfect. There were three bedrooms and a nice patio (lanai) to look out on the water. Check out the view to the East:

And to the West:

You can't get much better than that. And, since we were splitting the cost, we didn't spend anymore than we would have on a hotel. Our plan was to save a bunch of money on food since we were at a house where we could cook. Well, we did eat breakfast over there, but that is about it. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. 

See, the vacation didn't start off so well. Before the vacation even started we had medical problems. From the beginning of July until we left either my mom, stepmom or dad were in the hospital at some points. All with different illnesses with various degrees of severity. Everyone is out now, but my mom got out two days before we left and my stepmom got out about two days after we were in Hawaii. Then, to top it all off our flight to San Francisco was cancelled the night before we left. 

Since I work in the airline business, we planned to fly stand-by all the way out to Kona. Well, once that flight cancelled it threw a wrench into everything. To make it short, we bought tickets to get to San Francisco. We were supposed to be there about 11am, but ended up getting there around dinner time. And with a lot less money. But, hey, we were halfway there! 

The next morning was better, we got out on the flight we wanted. We were split up on the plane, but it was no big deal. I got to sit next to a very nice guy who had a house out on the Big Island where he spends most of the summer. He gave us some nice tips about the island and was probably the nicest person I've ever sat next to on a plane. 

Anyway, we got to the Kona airport, which is an awesome open-air small airport around 1pm to start off our vacation. I tried to wait at the bottom of the stairs (no jet ways here, people) to take Jenn's and the kid's picture coming off the plane, but I was told I couldn't wait around down there if I wasn't waiting for a stroller.  It may seem like a laid back airport since it is wide open, but they still follow their security procedures. 

After we shoved 47 days worth of luggage into the rental minivan, we headed out to town to get something to eat on the water. We ended up at Huggo's, a nice causal place on the water. We spent about 45 minutes there and I got sunburn on the side of my neck. I took the one little spot with no shade to spare the kids. After lunch we headed to the beach to wait about an hour until we could get into the house. This was the first time the kids had been in the ocean and they loved it, once they got used to the waves that is. 

Finally, we headed to the house to unpack and get some groceries. This little (actually big) guy greeted us in the kitchen. I assume this guy promotes good eating and digestion. 

I was a little worried about how warm the house was when we first got there since there was no central air. But, once we had the a/c units running in the bedrooms and opened the windows to let the ocean breeze in, it wan't too bad. 

We got to watch the first sunset on the water and plan our attack for the week. Our first full day was a casual plan of hitting the beach. We knew we'd be tired because of the time change. And boy, were we. The kids were probably the worst, but we all were dragging by about 6pm. We grilled up some food, and hit the sack early. 

I'll stop here for now, but stay tuned for dolphins, helicopters and volcanoes! 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vacation is over, so I'll be back soon.

After much traveling fun, we are home from our trip. I'm tired and have a lot of photos to go through. I'll come back very soon to tell you all about it. I'm sure you can't wait!

In the meantime, enjoy this picture of a gecko. I named him Fred. Fred has a lot of friends in Hawaii. Sometimes they come in your house to say hi.

Be right back!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I have some questions about this wallet

I'm on the midnight shift again, so my brain is a little mushy. But, is that really anything new?

Anyway, I saw this commercial for the Aluma-Wallet, and I have a few questions. First, here is the commercial for your viewing pleasure.

First off, when did we have such a problem with getting our wallets wet? I can't recall any time mine has gotten wet? Do they mean if you drop it in a toilet? If they do, I don't care what the thing is made out of, I'm burning it. Ladies, have you ever spilled a bottle of water in your purse? Is the first thing you pull out to salvage your wallet, or your makeup that costs a million dollars. Now that is something that should come in a water-proof case.

While we are talking about getting your wallet wet, what is ruined when it gets wet? The ink won't run on the money. The credit cards will dry just fine. What's left? That receipt you've been carrying around for five years? An old losing lottery ticket? I can't think of anything that is in my wallet that would need to be replaced, except for maybe the wallet itself.

And How thin is this thing? With it being aluminum, it's not going to flex very much. That doesn't seem very comfortable to carry in either my front, or back, pockets. Of course, I wear super tight pants, that may be why. (No, I really don't).

Oh, about the RFID chips, Is that a big theft thing? I don't have any cards with that, so that is more of a real question rather than a sarcastic one. But, it doesn't seem like it should be as big of a big deal as they make it out to be.

You know what that commercial is missing? The exasperated idiot who can't close a wallet without money and credit cards flying around the room. They show some close-up of wallets not fitting into pockets and purses, but I'd like to see a man or woman's face with that helpless look on it as they try to shove a comically large wallet into their pants our purse.

You should go buy this anyway. To help the economy and all that.

I need to go to sleep.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

This Dog Cracked Me Up

Jenn and I were watching Animal Planet last night (we were flipping, okay?) and we saw this video during some funniest dog show thing. I don't know, maybe it was because I was really tired, but laughed very hard at this. I know, I need to get out more often.

Now, maybe this dog has some kind of brain issue that we shouldn't laugh, but I don't care. It's funny!

I know this is a little old so if you've seen it already, I'm sorry. If you haven't, consider it my Fourth of July gift to you.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Shed Vac

Do you dream of vacuuming your pet? Do you really believe that your pet will sit still for this? Is your pet 15 years old? Then you're in luck! The Shed Vac is for you!

Look how much the pet enjoys it! I bet your dog wished it's mother would have used this on him instead of her tongue when he was born. Wouldn't you rather vacuum yourself instead of taking a shower? Think of all the money you'd save on water bills!

Get it the Shed Vac today! Your pet probably won't kill you. Just make sure you have a good supply of bandages available if using this on your cat!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cars 2: Electric Boogaloo

That joke in the post title is never going to get old. Well, until there is nobody alive who remembers that movie.

Anyway, we went to see Cars 2 today, and even with all the bad reviews out there, we didn't die. Hell, we didn't even hate it. Believe me, we've seen so much worse. So, what is the deal with the reviews? Well, I have a few ideas.

First, check out the review from Linda Holmes on the NPR Monkey See Blog. She points out many of the things I was thinking. Cars 2 is probably the most straight forward kids movie that Pixar has ever done. Sure, there are some things for the adults to enjoy, some of the character's names, the scenery and even some of the voice actors. (That was Bruce Campbell!) But, overall this was really aimed at the kids so they can see the cars zoom around the track and, especially, to see one of Mater's Tall Tales in a long format.

Anyone who has kids has seen these Mater's Tall Tales on Disney Channel, well this is the same thing except expanded to a full feature. We should have seen this coming. Now, I'm not going to pretend that Mater is my favorite Cars character, but he is no Jar Jar Binks. I didn't want to shoot myself while watching it. The kids love Mater though. He's the village goof that the kids can laugh at since he says, and does, silly things all the time. Why wouldn't they make him the central character, it is a kids movie after all?

So, what is Car 2 really? I like to think that it is a action/spy movie for kids. It has all the cool locations, the cool gadgets and the bad guys from some vaugely eastern European country. Also, it has a convoluted plot that doesn't make much sense. But, what Spy movie doesn't have a nonsensical plot? Have you ever seen The Tailor of Panama? Do you know what happened in it? Neither do I, and I watched the whole thing. Also, pretty much any James Bond movie. We adults don't watch spy/action movies for plot, we watch them for, well, the action and the cool gadgets. So, why should Cars 2 be any different?

Oh, yes, it's a Pixar movie so there has to be some deep underlying emotion to it, or something like that. Why? Why can't they just make a fun movie for kids to enjoy? Actually, after I watched the movie it reminded me of one of my favorite cartoons as a kid. It think it was from Hanna-Barbera, where the taxi cab and his wife had a baby car. The baby car wants to be a dragster and his dad is pissed. They end up making up after the boy saves his dad's life. I liked it because it was about cars that were like people. Kids love that stuff. They don't need anything more. The adults do.

I saw in the Chicago Tribune that they gave it 1 1/2 stars today and that is what got this blog post started. They really want me to believe that Mr. Poppers Penguins is a better movie? Come on! I bet if this same movie was released by DreamWorks it would get at least 2 1/2 stars. (Plus more fart jokes). Yes, Pixar has made some great movies, but could this be that much worse than the previous Cars movie? Or is this a bit of, "Let's knock the big guy down because this wasn't awesome?"

Based on my kid's reactions, it seems like the latter. I'm not saying Cars 2 should get four stars or anything, but I think some critics are beiong overly harsh because it is a Pixar movie and they expect more. It's a movie about cars that are like people. We are not talking Citizen Kane here.

Oh, did I like it? Yes, it thought it was fine. No worse than the first Cars movie. It certainly looked incredible. Speaking of which, when do we get Incredibles 2?

The Toy Story short was good, too. Just go take the kids to see the movie already. Your next movie you'll be dragged to is probably going to be the Smurfs. We all know how great that will be.

(Where there enough rehtorical questions in this post? See, I can't stop. What is wrong with me? Stop it!)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Remember that guy that used to write here? Yeah, he was cool.

So how is everybody doing? It's been a while. Why? I don't know. Well, that's not entirely true. I know that I have been lazy and that Twitter has become my Internet outlet lately. You can follow me there if you want. All the cool kids are doing it. (Except, Cookie, and she really should.) Look, there is a link over there on the right. Go poke it and follow my wit and wisdom over there.

What else? Oh, I updated the blog a little. It was due for a change. I added my currently reading widget from Goodreads. I've been reading a lot lately. I've read Feed and Deadline by Mira Grant (AKA Seanan McGuire). They are zombie novels, but not your average zombie books. They are great and you should really read them. I mean it.

As you can see, I'm reading Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson right now because it's a great name for a book, and we all know it is coming eventually so I might as well be ready. I wonder if the zombie apocalypse or the robopocaplyse will come first? Maybe they will team up and completely wipe us out. Who wants to write that mash-up novel?

I've been watching a lot of TV, too. It's been very rainy here the last month, so there hasn't been a lot to do. One show I recommend is Finding Bigfoot on Animal Planet. These researchers are looking for bigfoot, of course, but they are totally gung-ho on this. It's not that they just want to track down reports from people, they believe bigfoot is out there for sure and keep mentioning all these "facts" about them. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but we have never actually found a bigfoot, right? So, there is no way we know how they sound, how big they are, etc. Right? Unless Harry and The Hendersons was based on a real life situation I didn't know about. Seriously, watch it. Just once. It's fun!

Oh, I also have a new music review up at Functional Nerds. So you should probably read that this weekend. What else do you have to do? There is a lot of other cool stuff over there.

Okay, go have a good weekend. I promise to be back soon. I know you have all been waiting.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Not dead. Not yet.

I know. It's been a while. I said I know!

For the three of you still looking for new posts, no, I'm not dead. I'm just been busy with work and Rapture preparing. I've got my bathtub full of water, powdered milk and lots of booze. I figure after Saturday I can find a nice big TV in some house that the family has been fully Raptured. What? You think we are going to be out of power or TV? Yeah, I don't think the people in charge of either of those industries are going anywhere.

Anyway, I'm still here. I have a post I want to do when I get around to it. I think it will interest about seven people. So, look for that!

Have a good weekend! If your still around on Sunday, let's hang out! I'll have a giant TV and plenty of microwave popcorn to share.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

This is not the best idea for a character

We were watching TV last bight and this commercial came on for those Sideshots things. Now, they may not taste bad, but who came up with the mascot? Take a look.

Don't they seem a little gross? It looks like they ate so much they are going to puke out all of themselves, I guess? It's not a pleasing look. Am I right? Does this make you want to buy them?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Time to give it up...and give it away

No, I'm not giving up on the blog, though it may seem that way at times. Or, all the time really. I know.

Anyway, a little history. At the beginning of Lent I decided to give up chocolate. Not for religious reasons, but to see if I could and Lent seemed like a good timeline to use. I figured if I could make it through Lent it would be a big deal for me. Really, it is. You don't know how many M&M's I normally eat.

Now, I'm not going to lie to you, it was tough. That first week was like giving up drugs. From what I've seen on TV of course. I wasn't stuck in bed hurling into a garbage can or anything, but I certainly kept looking for some chocolate that first week.

I guess the best comparison would be to giving up tobacco. I used to chew tobacco in college (I know it's gross, that's why I don't do it anymore) and I remember how tough that first week without it went. You get used to having it at certain times like after a meal, or a snack or while watching TV, etc. Sure, chocolate doesn't have nicotine in it, but I was still used to having some after I ate, or I was bored. It was a bad scene.

So, I gave it up for Lent and I did really well. After that first week it was much easier to go without it. Franky, I was proud of myself. Until Good Friday, I was sick, and I decided to stop that day. Remember, this wasn't for religious reasons so I wasn't worried about getting struck by lightning after eating a piece or two. Or more.

I think I did pretty well the first two days being able to eat chocolate, but yesterday I decided I need to stop and get rid of the stuff in the house. Why? Two words: acid reflux. A while back my doctor had told me some things that can trigger acid reflux; tomato sauce, chocolate and alcohol. Being an Italian, beer loving, chocolate fiend, that was some pretty tough news to take. I have done well with holding back on the pasta sauce and the beer, but not so much on the chocolate. So, long story a little shorter, I had my first acid reflux attack since I gave up chocolate for Lent last night and that's when I decided I need to keep off the stuff for the most part. I can't keep M&M's here in the house, that's for sure. Those things keep calling me back and I end up regretting it later in the night. I need to get rid of them. Now.

I have three bags that I got for Easter. Do you want them? Yes, you! If I'm going to get rid of them I might as well give them to someone that actually reads this thing. So leave me a comment if you want them and tell me why you should get them and I'll chose who gets them. If nobody leaves a comment, I'll bring them to work or something like that. But, I'd rather give them to you. Make sure to leave an e-mail address for me to contact you if you don't have a link back to your blog or website.

Go tell your friends. I know they like chocolate even if you don't.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"I'd Say It's Coming Straight Toward Me"

Have you seen this video of a tornado taken by a guy sitting in a truck? Does anything excite this guy?

But I feel, as a sort of PSA, I should mention a few things about this video. First, don't do this. Ever. Sure, if you see a tornado you are going to want to grab a few frames of video, but do it from a safer spot. Be ready to take cover. Okay?
Second, I like how he says it's about a half-mile away and it's a weak one since he can only see dust and leaves in it, or something like that. Those aren't leaves. That is debris. Can you see leaves from half of a mile away? No, those were probably branches and parts houses or something. Maybe a cow. Are there cows in North Carolina?
And, finally, the best part is when it gets close and he gets a little nervous and tells the person on the phone he loves them. I thin, then he realized that this might be a little more dangerous than he thought. See, even if a tornado look, or is, a little weaker it can still fling some pretty big stuff at you. That is what is going to kill you.
I'm glad this guy wasn't hurt and he shared this video, but let's not try to top him, okay?
This has been your Tornado PSA For today.
I know Jenn is laughing as she reads this since this is something I would do, but I'm a professional so it's okay.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Trying Out Some New Stuff

I'm trying out some blogging software for my iPad. It's called Blogsy and seems to have some of the stuff I was hoping for like, links, posting photos and all the other stuff that goes with blogging. Maybe I'll post more, but don't get your hopes up. (Not that they were).

So supposedly I can put a picture on here. Let's see if it works.

Hmm. I can't see the picture, but I see the link where it comes from, so let's hope it shows up.

Hey, "The Jerk" is on. I haven't seen this is ages! I want to say the first time I saw "The Jerk" was at a sleepover. I remember thinking it was so funny when he called the dog shithead. Actually, it still kind of is. Obviously I haven't grown up at all.

Okay, that's enough random thoughts. It's late, I'm tired and I want to see if this works.

Edit to add picture back in. I figured it out now!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

For once it was warm during the Shamrock Shuffle

Jenn and I ran in the Shamrock Shuffle again this weekend. One thing about having a race this early in the year in Chicago is you never know what the weather is going to be like. Two years ago we ran in a blizzard. So this year the race was pushed two weeks later and what do we get? Near record heat. Yes, I know I shouldn't complain about warm weather in April, but I'm going to. See, I haven't run outside in temperatures about 55 so far this year. It's not that easy to all of a sudden shift like that. Especially as you get older and don't prepare the way you should.

Let's backtrack a bit first. Jenn and I were smart this year and went downtown the night before to make it much easier, and less stressful, to get to the race. We had won a night's stay at the Park Hyatt last year in a silent auction so we used it for this race. It worked great, the hotel was super nice and we had a great view.

We walked around downtown a bit and grabbed dinner at Mity Nice Grill in Water Tower Place. We noticed a million cops walking around as we walked to the restauarant. We weren't sure why, but we thought it might have something to do with it being the first nice night of the year and the cops expected undesirables to come out and try to swipe stuff. Who knows? Whoopi was also in town, maybe they were protecting her. (I'm kidding about that.)

Since we had to get up early we didn't walk around much so we'd be well rested and ready to run. Because we are professionals you know. (What?)

The next morning I put on my favorite nerdy running shirt and we headed downstairs to catch a cab to the starting line. Hey, we were about a mile away, we didn't want to burn ourselves out before the race!

We met up with Jenn's cousin, Kim, and waited a long time for the race to start.

It took so long to start because we are slow people and they let all the good people go first and release the rest of us losers in waves. I think it took a little over thirty minutes from the start of the race until we actually crossed the starting line. Those good people up front are finishing the stupid thing before we even get to the start. That's what happens when you have over 30,000 people running at once.

So, since it was warm and humid, my plan was to start of slow and take it easy. So, of course, I took off in the beginning and totally screwed myself up. I was hot and panting way too early and I never really got my groove back. It probably didn't help that I was wearing a black shirt. Idiot.

I finished though. I don't think it was my worst time, but it was nowhere near the time I wanted. After the race Jenn and I made a pledge to be better prepared and not slack off so much during the winter. Sure, we make the same pact every year, but this time we mean it!

We decided to walk back to the hotel so we wouldn't cramp up after sitting in a cab. We walked by the famous Chicago Magic Bean. I don't know if that is it's official name, but what else would you call a giant chrome kidney bean?

After we cleaned ourselves up we went across the street from the hotel and ate at RL, better known as Ralph Lauren Restaurant. Jenn told me she read that the resturant served Jennifer Aniston's favorite burger in Chicago. So, of course, I had the steak sandwich. Jenn had the burger and said it was good, but she also mentioned that Jennifer Aniston should probably go out and try more hamburgers in Chicago.

Now, I don't know why, but after the race when we got to Jenn's parent's house to pick up the kids I felt like crap. I just wanted to sleep. And, actually, I did drift off for a few minutes while we were there. I chalked it up to not being ready for the run and going a bit too hard in the beginning. But then I felt lousy the next day and Jenn was feeling ill today and stayed home from work. I think someone put something in the water. That's probably why I ran so poorly as well. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Growing like

Just before Spring Break the kids had a special day at school where they could sign up to learn about different things. I mean things that aren't normally taught in school, of course. The school invites parents to come and teach the kids which is nice. I didn't sign up since I don't know anything fun to teach the kids. I could certainly bore them to death if I wanted to though.

Anyway, our daughter signed up to do some planting and came home with a little planter that had carrots and bean seeds in it. She was very excited and checked on them everyday. After a few days we started to see a spout popping up.

She made sure to show off the little sprout to anyone that would look. Now, not even two weeks later we have two of these big things. Not to mention some carrot tops popping out. No, not the comedian, thank God.

Obviously she has a much greener thumb than I do. I suck at this stuff. Now we need to find something bigger to put these in, and maybe something to support them so they don't fall over.

This must be my most exciting post ever!

Monday, March 28, 2011

New review on Functional Nerds

Since I didn't blow up their website last time Patrick and John are letting me write more reviews over at Functional Nerds. This time I review the latest album by Stryper. Remember Stryper, the Christian metal band from the 80s? Well they released an album of cover songs from classic hard rock and heavy metal bands. Go read about it over there and tell them how much you love the review!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Few words, mostly pictures

I haven't had time to write much here this week since the kids were on Spring Break and I was home with them. We spent a lot of the time catching up on doctor appointments, hiding from the rain and the last few days spent playing Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars. Our son has been waiting for that game since Christmas I think.

So, since I don't have much to say I thought I'd add a few photos I've taken the last few days.

This one is the side of an old village hall built in 1907. They don't put these kind of things on the side of buildings anymore.

Here is a random cart hanging out behind a gas station. So lonely.

This is the third of fourth robin of spring. Looks a little chubby.

I didn't pull off the exact shot I wanted here with the railroad tracks, but I was afraid of getting run down by a silent train. Or something.

How has your spring been?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I will use these for every birthday

We celebrated my birthday a little late with my family on SUPERMOON Saturday. Not much to report really, but Jenn bought these candle for the cake. I want to use these for all the rest of my birthdays.

I hope the moon didn't ruin the night for any of you. It was cloudy here so we were safe. No werewolves or anything.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Meanwhile, back at the lab

I've been watching my Quincy DVDs that I mentioned in my last post. Actually, I've been converting them for use on my iPad, but you know what I mean.

For those not familiar with the show, as the DVD says, he was TVs first crime scene investigator. I don't know if that is true, but it sounds good. Actually, he's a medical examiner that always thinks a death is suspicious and goes over everybody's heads to figure out if he is right. He always is. Did you really expect it to be any different?

Quincy started out as part of the NBC Mystery Movie series of shows back in 1976, but I mostly remember it as the regular series it became after that. It turns out that Quincy was such a hit in the NBC Mystery Movie that it was the only show to become a regular series from that set of shows. After watching the first five episodes so far I have one question. Really?

Let me explain. I'm not saying I hate it, but the NBC Mystery Movie included Columbo that was a much better show. Quincy, at least in these first several episodes, did not have the same level of writing or acting. It's so clunky. It's not because it is so old, believe me I get a kick out of seeing guys in tweed jackets with giant leather patches at the elbow, but these episodes just don't flow well. It's like they had enough of an idea for a 60 minute show, but since the NMM was 90 minutes they had to cram more stuff in there. One episode I watched was a two-parter that barely had enough material for one.

Oh, and they did not get good actors for these early shows. The main cast were fine, but the guests that they had on were bad. Again, some of the problem was the material they had to work with, but a fair amount of blame has to be put on the guest actors too.

I find it entertaining on how they make Quincy seem like some kind of super doctor. There was one episode where the press was outside getting a statement from another doctor that solved the case along with Quincy. One of the reporters asked Quincy if he felt like he was getting shown up by the other doctor. What? Why would a reporter ask such a stupid question? Would a reporter even know who the LA County coroner was? Especially if this case was not in LA County? Was he some kind of world famous coroner?

Like I said I watched this as the series when I was a kid and I don't remember that he had a serious girlfriend in the beginning. I recognized her, but not from this show. I found out that she was on quite a few episodes of M*A*S*H which I also watched a lot. I still do. According to IMDB, the episode I watched today was the last one she was on so I'm curious to see how she is written off or if she is just gone all of a sudden with no explanation. I can see why they got rid of the character, she didn't have a whole lot to do in the show. They could have kept here on if they could have worked out a role for here to play, but Sam was Quincy's lab assistant already. Quincy didn't need two. Remember he is awesome.

So, am I disappointed? Not yet. It's been fun watching the episodes so far. I especially like the one on Catalina Island since Jenn and I were just there. I was trying to see things in the background that I remembered. The Casino was the only thing I could see.

I'm interested to see if the episodes tighten up and make a legitimate case for why the show lasted for nearly 150 episodes. Then again, I have yet to understand how Two and a Half Men lasted as long as it did.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pardon me, I'm busy right now

My son has been home sick for the last three days, so I haven't had much time for anything. But, after watching this video, I know how I can get some golf practice in. So, if you'll excuse me...


Monday, February 28, 2011

Birthday, Oscars, Dogs, etc.

Another month down in 2011. Sure, it's the shortest month, but at least it makes it seem like it will get warmer soon. It's March in the morning, it feels warmer just thinking about it.

So, Saturday was my birthday. I won't say how old I am now, but it is divisible by 7, if that helps. I had finished my week of midnights that morning, so I slept until 1:30-ish and got up to spend the day with the family in a daze while wearing sweatpants. It's the only way to spend your birthday, in my opinion.

I got some nice gifts; a pair of Bluetooth headphones, a few shirts for our Hawaii vacation in August and DVD's. What DVDs? Well, they were from out dog Quincy. So what else could the be but the TV show Quincy. See:

I used to watch this show all the time. For some reason I like some of the 70s crime shows. Then we had dinner from Wildfire. We ate in so I wouldn't have to shower. It truly was a perfect day.

Speaking of dogs, Jenn and I were wondering how we always end up with weird dogs. Our first dog was Cosmo, a golden retriever who thought he was human. Really, look at how he used to sit on the couch.

That is not normal. Also, he had this thing where he would introduce bones to one of his toys. Seriously. Whenever we brought a new bone home for him he'd take it from us, walk over to his favorite squeaky ball, whine, put it in from of the ball then make the ball squeak. For like two minutes. I am not exaggerating, if anything I am understating how long he would do this.This was real fun when he'd decide to do this in the middle of the night. It would scare the crap out of us sometimes. We would think he was trapped somewhere and we'd go downstairs and we'd find him bone laying in front of his ball.

So now we have two dogs. One of them, Quincy, also a golden retriever, likes to take his new bones outside. Nothing weird about that at all, if that's all he did. What he likes to do is bring them outside and just leave them out there then, about 2 weeks later, he'll bring them back in to chew. It's like he needs them to marinate or something.

He also has to be the last dog outside at night. He'll always go first, then we'll let Cruise out, then Quincy has to go back out. If you don't let him out he won't go to bed easily. My guess is he is checking to make sure Cruise isn't touching any of the bones he has marinating. Weirdo.

Cruise seems to be relatively normal, except for the fact that he was a dog rescued from the streets and is afraid of the rain. I would think he would be used to it.

I was going to talk about the Oscars, but what can I really say that a million other blogs and websites haven't already said? Except, whose idea was it to do the auto-tune thing? It's like your grandparents trying to be hip and giving you a Member's Only jacket 15 years after they were popular and they look even less hip than you thought they were. (Yes, that happened to me, but it was my dad).

Okay, I have to go look at some stuff for work.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Commercials of the future

I'm working the overnight shift again this week. No, I'm not looking for sympathy. Well, okay, maybe a little. Anyway, on this shift the TVs in the office (yes, we have TVs playing news channels or the Weather Channel) play the best commercials. I love a ridiculous commercial for a terrible product. But tonight it got me thinking, what will commercials be like in the future.

Imagine them 20 years from now. Sure, they'll be in 3d, so that is a benefit, I guess. Now when they have a commercial for a product that will make it easier to type on the computer, you can see the person acting out how difficult it is to type the old fashioned way by falling out of the chair and seemingly into your house. I mean, I can't count how many times I've fallen on my chair due to the extreme effort it takes to type. That is why we will all just speak into a microphone to type. (Yes, I know there is software out there now, but this will be cheap stuff that will really suck.)

Now, let's go farther. say 50 years. Now we are at holographic TV. The actors will be in your living room, hopefully not your bathroom you weirdo, and telling you how much simpler your life would be if you had a robot doing everything for you. Look how hard it is for this man to cut his lawn that just appeared in your house. He just tripped over a branch, the lawn mower shot out ahead and ran over poor Skippy the dog. If he had a robot to do his work that would never happen. Robot XG-5 constantly scans for branches in it's way and throws them into your neighbor's yard. What is your neighbor going to do about it? Robot XG-5 also knows Kung Fu. Plus, he's made of bullet proof steel.

You know how hard it is to fix a leaky roof with out plummeting to your death like the hologram just did a belly flop on to your living room floor? Well, Robot XG-5 can fall from a height of 50 feet without any damage. Just make sure everyone is in the house since they will most likely be killed if a 300lb robot fell on them. Better yet, leave the house all together. I'm not sure the roof will hold Robot XG-5 and he may end up on poor Skippy will he chews his bone in front of the TV. (Poor Skippy is having a bad day).

Now let's skip 500 years. Now the commercials are pumped right into your brain. Wirelessly. Remember how it too forever to get to Alph Ceti 6 to visit the in-laws? Half the time your dog Skippy would die on the way and have to be ejected out into space. (In the future dogs can't be put into suspended animation. I don't know why, I'm just making this up as I go along!) That's no way to travel. Plus the Cryo-sleep really does a number on you hair, not to mention your liver. There must be an easier way.

Of course there is, this is the future after all. The new Galaxy 1200XL will get you there in a fraction of the time thanks to the new Relativity Drive. Now, with a push of the button you leave this reality, skip through multiple dimensions, then end up back in ours right at your grandmother's doorstep, so to speak. No Cryo-sleep. You arrive fresh without the need to eject a dead pet, or relative, into space. It's just that easy. There is a small chance you might go insane while traversing the other dimensions, but you'll get there faster! Order Today!

Okay, maybe I shouldn't post in the middle of the night...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hey, look what cool thing I got to do.

I know I've told you all to go check out Functional Nerds before for their fun podcasts, but today you have an extra special reason to check them out. I have a music review up over there. Isn't that cool?

How did this come about? Well, quite a while ago I saw a post up over at SF Signal about music. I don't remember the actual post, but I know I commented about some of the music I like. Later on in the day I got a tweet from John Anealio (I think he wrote the post at SF Signal, but I could be wrong) saying we had very similar tastes in music. Turned out we did. John is know for his SF Songs that he writes, as well as his work on Functional Nerds, of course. He also has a regular feature on Wired about music.

Anyway, a while back I was talking about the latest Spock's Beard album on Twitter and John came back and asked me if I'd like to write a review for the Functional Nerds. So, John got me in touch with Patrick Hester to set me up to post the review. Now Patrick is the co-host with John on Functional Nerds, but is pretty much the go-to guy for SF podcasts. Well, actually podcasting in general as he helps produce several right now. Patrick is also posting tips on podcasting now as well, not to mention writing.

So, to make a long story short, that is how my review is up at Functional Nerds. So go over there and read it and comment. Please.

Special thanks to John and Patrick. And thanks to all of you.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Busy week again. Enjoy some pictures!

It's been a busy week with stuff at the kids' school, getting ready for the second attempt at our son's birthday that was cancelled due to strep throat and all the other stuff that goes on in life.

Anyway, I thought I'd share a few photos from the last week or so.

Here is Quincy and Cruise celebrating Valentine's Day in their own way. This didn't turn out exactly like I wanted, but I like Cruise's eyes in the background.

Here is an old farm and smoke house in the area. The smoke house is actually on the National Register of Historic Places. Cool, no? More on this later.

And last we have the full moon. No werewolves were harmed during shooting of the last photo.

Have a good weekend. I'll be back Monday with some cool news. Really!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Let's all enjoy our made up holiday! Basically today is an excuse to eat candy. At least that is how I look at it. Well, more of an excuse anyway.

Back when I was a kid this would be a day where my mom would make us kids a regular dinner, like meatloaf, then her and my stepdad would have lobster or something else expensive. I didn't feel cheated though. I'm not a seafood fan. Of course, looking back on it, maybe that is the reason I don't like seafood. Maybe my parents put the seed in my head that I don't like it so I wouldn't ask for it. I fell for their Jedi mind trick!

Anyway, Jenn and I are doing exactly the same thing. The kids get some lousy pasta and we are having something a little more expensive. What exactly we are going to eat is still up for debate, however. We have a real problem deciding on food for some reason. As long as it's not lobster, I'm okay with it.

Happy Valentine's Day. Have some candy on me.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

We celebrated our anniversary. Again.

Wow, it's been a while, huh? I have a good excuse for not posting lately. Jenn and I spent the night out last weekend, which killed the whole weekend, our daughter was home sick from school, then Jenn was home sick. Sound good?

So last weekend Jenn and I went up to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and stayed at the Grand Geneva Resort for a night. We won the night stay in a silent auction last year, so we thought we'd stay there and run in a 5K they have up there as part of their winter fest. Well, after our major snow storm only a couple of days before the race, we knew we weren't going to run, but we were certainly going to go up there anyway.

We dropped of the kids with my brother and sister-in-law and drove up there on a Friday night. It was a nice drive with all the snow, but it would have been even better if we didn't get stuck in traffic in Woodstock, IL. Which is home to the Swanky Spa. You know it's good if Swanky is in the name of the place. I didn't have my camera ready to snap a picture of the place, but the nice website with the bright teal background will suffice, I think.

Also, we passed through Hebron, IL which is home to the 1952 State Basketball Champs. They had a great water tower painted up with a basketball and everything. When we drove passed it I told Jenn that they might want to think of something a little more recent to be proud of, but then I read up on them a little. Turns out they won the championship and they had a total school population of 98 students. That is pretty cool. In the current age they would play against schools of similar size, which they didn't do then, so it is something to be proud of.

But, back to me. We got up to the resort around 6 PM and decided to walk over to the steakhouse inside to get a reservation for 7:30 PM. They receptionist took our name and asked if we were celebrating anything special so Jenn said it was our anniversary. I was kind of embarrassed at first. But it paid off. When we came back they had a nice table set up for us with rose petals spread out on the table, we got some free champagne and free cheesecake. So, Geneva Chophouse, thank you. The food was great, as was the service.

After dinner we walked over to the bar that was next door to have a couple of drinks. Hey, we weren't going to run in the morning, and it was our anniversary as far as anyone there knew. It was a nice relaxing night.

Here is the view from our balcony then next morning. It was much colder than it looks.

Oh, and this is something we need in our house:

A TV in the mirror! I'd never leave the bathroom. Though, it is kind of weird when actors are watching you go to the bathroom.