Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Well, you're not going to find any New Year's resolutions here. I don't make them.

To me, a New Year's resolution is something that I feel forced to keep. Like, if I don't keep it, the "resolution police" will come and slap me with fish for a day. And, while love eating me some fish, I don't want to be beaten with them. Fish are friends, not food...er, wait...fish are food, not weapons.

Instead of resolutions, I simply try all year to find new things to improve upon. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes...not so much. But at least I'm not sitting around wondering "now what resolutions did I make while trying to play Rock Band, after I'd had that 500th beer? Something about llamas and beans?" Why set myself up for insta-fail?

Exactly.

I find it silly to think that a new year automagically means that things are going to be totally different. And yet, part of me still wishes to believe this illusion...this fa├žade of hope. It's akin to a mental cleansing of the past year's events. We can all start anew now that the past year is behind us. In most situations, we would call this blessed event "Thursday". This week, we call it the new year.

Chapter 2 of The Call of Chaos is primed to go up soon. I just need to do the actual transfer which is, admittedly, more of a pain than editing the dang thing. I'm currently searching for the creativity that seems to elude me. There are moments--bright spots of lucid clarity on a blurry canvas of mottled colors and shapes--but nothing so much as a few months ago. I blame this on the lack of sunlight. Lousy fiery skyball. Be more...skybally. What once was a pleasant walk in the woods currently seems to be a slogging crawl through waist-deep mud. But hopefully, with the new year, I can somehow kick my own ass into shape without pulling a muscle. Maybe that should be a resolution?

Nah.

Anyway, for those of you who are interested in reading it (and I know there are a few of you out there), I will hopefully put it up next week and link to it here (as well as my blog on Writing.com). I also promise to peruse WDC and get back to reading some other authors' works. There's a particular werewolf'esque story that I need to pick back up.

Until then, have a safe and happy new year (or 1st of 2009, depending on where you are).

Save tonight and fight the break of dawn

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I'm taking this day to try and stay away from the computer to enjoy a wonderful Christmas with my family (so I scheduled this post earlier). I heartily recommend that you do the same--enjoy the holidays (whichever it may be). And if you're not celebrating a holiday, then have a wonderful Thursday (or Friday, depending). Below is one of the family pictures we had taken this year. Think of it as our Christmas card this year.




Be happy and be safe!

Fa la la la la, la la la la

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Santa, Where Art Thou? (Live Version)

So here it is, the eve of Christmas Eve. We've got all of our shopping done (and have essentially had it done for a few weeks) so now there is not much left to do but hang out and wait for the big day. These days, Christmas has a much different meaning than when I was a kid. I loved Christmas then and I love it now...but for totally different reasons.

As I think back to my childhood, I can't help but recall the fond memories of waking up Christmas morning to see what was under the tree. It was so hard sleeping solidly. I would wake up at least a dozen times and be so excited that it would take me a long time just to fall back asleep for an hour or so. It was magical.

Yes, much of me was excited about the presents I'd get and the hours of fun I'd have with all the crap that was released from its paper-shrouded prison. That's not really such a bad thing for a child. Obviously Christmas has a much broader scope than things wrapped in paper. But, to a certain extent, kids should be allowed to be kids. The larger Christmas message is lost on them for quite a while.

As an adult, a very large part of Christmas is just spending lots of time with my family--doing Christmas activities, watching crappy Christmas movies, or just being around each other. It's wonderful to just enjoy the company of people you might see every day but don't realize how much you appreciate. It's awesome.

But there is a part of me that misses Santa. I miss believing in Santa--the wonder and mystery that surrounds him. Sure, presents that mysteriously appear under the tree from some dude in a sleigh are nice, but I really miss having something magical to believe in. I mean, he could be a dog or a dragon or something else. That doesn't matter. Come to think of it, Santa Dragon would be awesomesauce. I guess I just miss the ability to believe in something that is so absurd it has to be fake. I know there are no flying jolly fat men and no dragons in the world. But it would be fun to believe in them again.

Grandma got run over by a reindeer

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wtf Should I Call This?

Christmas time is upon us. I am, as usual enjoying the holiday season immensely. Sure, there are burps and hiccups and never enough money but that doesn't put a damper on my holiday cheer. But that leads nicely into my first point...

I know Christmas is one giant commercial for toys or appliances or...more toys. Normally I'm able to overlook that whole aspect but, this year, it's been getting to me for some reason. Don't get me wrong--I love to give presents. I'm particularly pleased when I have a really good gift idea and get to watch the light in the recipient's eyes when he/she opens the gift. I don't have any problems with the giving portion of Christmas.

It's the buying portion of Christmas that I'm not too keen on. Obviously, things must be bought in order for them to be given. Most methodologies that skip the "buying" portion of this formula will land you in jail. In some cultures, I think you'd get your hand cut off...and maybe be forced to eat it with ketchup. But we won't go there.

There are many things about Christmas that link it to commercialism that I already knew. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, for example, was started a looooong time ago as a promotional tool for Montgomery Ward, a department store. Haven't we gone too far when Rachael Ray has a Christmas CD out that are her "holiday favorites?" I'm pretty sure, somehow, even I released a Christmas CD. Though I wouldn't recommend buying it.

For some reason, I'm reminded of the character, Captain Amazing, in the movie Mystery Men (yeah, the guy who had sponsors' logos all over his super suit). Anyway, I'm having an awesome holiday season anyway, just enjoying most everything that comes along with it, and having fun with my family. That's what's important.

Christmas, Christmas time is near

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oh Come All Ye Failful

In years past my family and I would make the short jaunt to a tree farm and cut down our own Christmas tree. It was a fun outing, usually consisting of tromping around the farm, looking for the absolute oddest tree we could find. We have no use for your standard, normal-looking tree. We always want a tree that screams character. Past examples include "The Tree That Wanted to Hug" and "The Leaning Tree of Christmas".

But, as of last year, the tree farm has been closed. So we've made do with going to get a tree at a nearby grocery store. They usually have 10-15 trees, sitting on spikes near the front doors. Last year I was wary about this--we have horrible luck with trees from lots. They tend to end up dried out after a couple of days.. So last year's tree was "The Leaning Tree of Christmas". It was awesome. It grew so crooked that, even when it was straight in its base, it was leaning at a hideous angle. I had to use barbell weights to balance the tree stand (about the only reason I've lifted barbell weights in the past year). The tree also stayed green for weeks. Win!

This year, we got a tree from the same place. I took G with me (as I did last year) and let her pick it out. All of the trees were fairly normal and uniform--about 6' tall with that standard Christmas Tree shape.

Except one.

"That one!" she said and pointed to a ginormous, 9 1/2-foot tree. Seriously. It was nearly 10 stinking feet! Of course, I totally knew she was going to pick it. As a child, we almost always tend to pick the biggest thing out of any bunch. So, satisfied that it was as freaky as we were going to get, I paid for it, crammed it in the van and returned home. I sawed off about a foot of the base, we decorated it, and all was right with the world.

Until K and I awoke to a rather sickening crash coming from the living room. Now, during our first Christmas together, my cat was the instigator behind the first ever Christmas Tree Fail (it's difficult to look innocent when the tree falls and you are seen zooming away from the scene). I thought he'd learned his lesson but he is a suspect in the latest fiasco. But that's neither here nor there. The fact remains that our behemoth tree lay, sleeping, on the floor at 3 am.

With tired eyes, we righted the tree (and used the barbell weights again--they're so handy for everything except actual exercise!). I put some of the decorations back, refilled it with water, and went back to bed. Only one ornament was actually broken--the one ornament that meant the most and can't be replaced.

Of course, now, the tree is turning brown faster than...anything else that turns brown quickly? We'll keep it up through Christmas but probably pitch it to the curb as soon as it's all over. I really think the tree itself just didn't want to go home with us and it's been protesting.

Strength of the world is on my shoulders

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Come on, Vamanos!

Damn, it's cold. But enough of that.

K got sick yesterday so I am staying home to help with...well, whatever needs helping with. But mostly helping with T. Right now she is watching a marathon DVD of Dora the Explorer. I don't really plan on doing much today except making sure everyone is as healthy and happy as they can be. If that means watching movies most of the day, so be it.

When K is sick she either sleeps on the couch or I let her have the bed and I sleep on the couch. When I'm sick, I usually hole up on the couch (or on the futon downstairs). The thing is...we have what might be the awesomest couch in the entire universe. Aliens ain't got nuthin' on us with their fancy space couches. They're full of crap...no matter what they tell you!

Back in college, my roommates and I had what was known as the "Coma Couch". It was where we went to die after eating. It was comfy but rather small...and more on the ugly side than anything. The couch that currently resides in our living room is made of pure, 100%, unpolluted win. We have family that comes to see us solely so they can sleep on our couch.

What I really want to do is get a bed made out of this couch. I swear I would never leave. I wouldn't be able to. I'd probably not wake up! So being sick in this house has its upside, actually. I always say "I have to/get to sleep on the couch tonight." All hail the couch!

Make a little birdhouse in your soul

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanks of Giving...Wait, What?

So, Thanksgiving is over and we're all alive and well...and sane! Can I get a Hallelujah?? No? How about half of one?


So...Black Friday. It's aptly named. Stores name it that because it's the start of the Christmas shopping season which will hopefully put them "in the black". I've always thought the name was appropriate because it tended to bring out the worst in everyone as they beat each other senseless to get that Christmas bargain. Case in point: Wal-Mart Employee Trampled To Death. That poor slob (who, first of all, sucked it up to work at Wal-Mart) was just trying to make some money...and ends up dead. And what gets me is the idiots who kept rushing through the doors, not even stopping to help. Their excuse was that it was okay because they'd been waiting in line for so long? Go to jail. Do not pass "Go". Do not collect the $88 GPS unit.


I don't usually go near a retail outlet on Black Friday. IF (and that's a big "if") I do, I go to one that nobody else goes to...theoretically. Because we were bored, my brother-in-law and I went to Cargo Largo. Cargo Largo is basically a half step up from a dirt mall. It's an outlet that sells overstocks and slightly damaged items (or items with a damaged box) or items that just don't sell in the store. Everything is really cheap and the place is filled with crap nobody needs. But on Black Friday, they apparently had 20% off EVERYTHING. And, wow, was it crowded! Anyhoo, I picked up a couple of things for really cheap (whether I needed them is another issue).


The long weekend generally went well. The only downside was Mizzou losing to KU. Kansas just played smart whereas Mizzou did not--so they deserved the win. It was a good game (most of it) and fun to watch. Besides, I was shoving Hot Wings in my face like there was no tomorrow. What could be better than that? Wait...don't answer that...I don't really want to know.


I OD'd on caffeine for about three days. Like, I had way too much. I'm going to pay for that...soon. See, with a full house, there was really no bed for me to sleep in so I got tainted sleep. Also, the air mattress we brought would not hold air. So I took couch cushions to the basement and made a cushion bed. This sort of works, sort of not. You can't really lay on your side comfortably and you wake up rather stiff (unless you have really good cushions). So, when my brother-in-law and his girlfriend left early Saturday morning, K and I immediately moved into the bed. My quote (that I barely remember due to fatigue) was: "This must be how rich people sleep". Then I passed out.


I also discovered that, if you want free hamburgers, wait for someone to slam their truck into a cow in the road, drive up and, when nobody's looking, take a few bites. Seriously, it's a victimless crime!


Someone keeps moving my chair

Thursday, November 20, 2008

You've Got Some Randomosity In Your Teeth...

The following is definitely bits of nonsequitor wrapped in a tasty burrito shell...but no red sauce. Cope.

I went to the mall for lunch today for lunch and as I was walking through the parking lot I noticed another dude walking toward me. Something about him looked oddly familiar and I couldn't figure it out until I had almost passed him. Then it hit me--I'd found my walking twin!!

Seriously. This dude walked exactly like I do...and that's not a good thing. I don't have a studly, badass walk. Nay. I have a walk that is akin to an injured duck playing hopscotch. Well, maybe not that bad...maybe a healthy duck. Anyway, it was freaky.

ABC's "Pushing Daisies" seems to have been canceled. I find this very, very sad. I'm not a huge television viewer but I have a couple of choice shows I really enjoy--"Lost" is one of them. And not just like "wow, that's a neat show." No, I enjoy Lost like a cat enjoys licking its butt...only I think my activity is much less...um...butt'ish.

I thought "Pushing Daisies" was a unique, refreshing show that had a little bit of everything. It was like a cake on top of pie buried in some ice cream...wrapped in bacon. And now that bacony dessert will be snatched away from me at the end of this season (or is tentatively going to be). I guess there's always Deal or No Deal...if I want to vomit.

Later, on a different day...

So, today, I decided to have some "Daddy time" with G. We went to Going_Bonkers which, if you have not seen one, is like a giant Habitrail except, instead of hamsters and gerbils, there are children squirming through every crevice, tunnel, and slide. The only other difference is that there may be more or less errant turds in this habitrail. Your mileage may vary.

I followed G through the first go-around and then sat out for the rest. I think it might just be the busiest, loudest place on the planet. But we had fun and it was really nice to spend some one-on-one time with her.

Baba yetu, Yesu uliye

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Bottom of the Random

Now that I've suitably decompressed from the entire last week at work, I think what sanity I had has finally returned. Who benefits from this? Why, you, dear reader...or you're cursed. That's for you to decide.

Last night I played Left4Dead online with a couple of friends. It was released (via download) at 11:00 central and I was up and playing by 11:15. Now that is what the Internet is for! It's finally living up to its promises! But, wait, where's the popsicle it promised me?

Anyway, Left 4 Dead is a first-person shooter that puts you in the role of one of four survivors in a city where a zombie apocalypse just occurred. Don't kid yourself. It could happen. And when it does, I'll know everything there is to know about getting my brains eaten!

These aren't your normal, lazy zombies out for a Sunday stroll who might just happen to eat some brains on the way home. No. These are full-on, beat down the door, smash through the window with a knife and fork, eat your brains zombies. It's you against them and the scales are tipped in their favor. They crawl out of the woodwork like the family at holidays! Except they don't want turkey. A good time was had by all and I look forward to playing again.

K just informed me that we are going to provide and cook a turkey for a local church's Thanksgiving dinner this week. While I'd like to give more to charities and do more for them, it is really tough. So I am overjoyed that we can help out in this way. We do what we can through other avenues but I know it's not nearly enough. Now I just gotta make sure I don't try to devour said turkey...

Speaking of charity. Now is the time of year when MyCokeRewards allows you to give Coca-Cola points to Toys For Tots/Toys For Teens. While it's not the greatest way to give, it's virtually free. And most people will never accumulate enough points to get anything good on their site anyway. :) I happen to accumulate a butt ton of points and am funneling a bunch through to Toys For Tots/Toys For Teens in this way. (No, I don't actually buy all that soda, but points are easy to come by.) So I urge anyone reading this to help out...even just a few points can make a difference. It's a worthy cause that really costs you nothing! What a deal!

Above the planet on a wing and a prayer

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Urge to Set Someone On Fire Rising...

I don't talk about work on here. It's a policy I have. I will, however, say this one thing...

People are very, very strange. I mean...you probably have no idea. Seriously. Some are very very particular about the way the keys on their keyboard feel and will be brought nearly to incurable rage if the delicate balance is messed with. Others will use a standard, white computer mouse until it is brown with filth. Apparently, washing one's hands or one's computer mouse is beyond normal comprehension.

Still others will gripe about every setting on their computer--settings they themselves set up in the first place, but they will blame you when those settings are not restored on a new computer. They will blame you for everything that is wrong in their PC's pitiful existence, and they will probably feel better for it. The only way out is fire...cleansing fire.

Now that I'm done with that rant, something fun! Here's a sort of tutorial about how to pay a bill with a drawing of a spider! (sent to me by a friend.)

Spiderlicious

I'm out.

Is it only a dream that there'll be no more turning away

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bits of Randomosity

First off, I made this!

It is, in fact, a knitted slipper! It has a sister...on the other foot (not appearing in this photo). You'll have to trust me on that. They're made from...yarn...and they run at 1.5 GHz with...no, wait. They're really comfy warm--good at -31 degrees (quiet, you, it's never been tested, so I can claim what I want), they come in stylish colors (only one color) and I hear they'll walk your dog and take out the trash! I made them for my loving wife and she thinks they're the awesomest thing ever (not a guarantee).

Christmas Creep

So Christmas stuff has been in stores since...probably January 2nd of this year. But I saw it appear in August, i think. It's easy to overlook the stuff in stores since I don't really go in them. But, finally, Christmas has managed to burrow into my brain. My place of employment has a musac system. Guess what it's been playing today? Ugh.

Also, McDonald's had nonstop Christmas music going today when I was there for lunch. That wasn't the worst part, though. The worst part is that the McRib doesn't taste nearly as good as I remember. Either I was kidding myself or they're buying a lower grade of ass to make them. In any event, I doubt I'm laying down some Washingtons for one of those again.

We three kings of orient are puffing on a rubber cigar

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Odds and Ends

First off, if you're looking for a surefire way to get your house coated in eggs and toilet paper, by all means give out those nasty peanut butter kisses (taffy) for Halloween. Seriously. There's nothing like a good egg wash...on your siding. I'm happy to say that neither of my children received any of those horrid little nuggets of disaster. If they had, I just might have egged a house or two myself. But I like eggs and would prefer to eat them instead.

Next up, this_event looks pretty damn cool. Zombies...in the streets?? Almost makes me wish I lived in Seattle...for one day out of the entire year.

In case you're Rip Van Winkle or have been living under a rock for a while (which I can imagine is not very comfortable), today is election day. Now I'm not going to spew the "it doesn't matter who you vote for, just get out and vote" nonsense that you hear at this time of year. That's bullshit. Truth is, it does matter who you vote for, so don't feel a sense of accomplishment by voting for random people. If you're going to do that, seriously, stay home.

If you do vote, however, there is a plethora of free stuff you can get. Starbucks is giving away free coffee. Krispy Kreme is giving away a free, sprinkle-covered donut. Ben & Jerry's is giving away free fat on a cone. And there's even an adult store that's giving away free sex toys! Of course, that would be the store I neglected to remember...

We're not unreasonable; I mean, no one's gonna eat your eyes

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The House! She is Haunted!

...what we have here is a class 3, free-roaming vapor--and a really nasty one, too!

While I basically celebrate Halloween for the entire month of August, last night marked the real beginning. Not only did Spike TV start showing a week of horror flicks, but I met up with some friends to visit a couple of haunted houses. No, these weren't real houses that are supposedly haunted; they're the productions put on where dressed-up people jump out at you with bladeless chainsaws and fake blood.

Five of us (including a friend's 7(?)-year-old son) headed out to go through both Creepyworld and The_Darkness. We had gone through The Darkness two years ago and enjoyed it immensely (most of us). So we went for the package deal this year.

Haunted houses have sure come a long way since when I was a kid--where people in cheap masks and passable costumes jump out of every corner and say "boo"! The haunted houses of yore rarely had decent decorations or scenery, and those that did have awesome ambiance probably paid a pretty penny for elaborate decorations that were probably difficult to get.

Haunted houses these days still have the requisite "boo" guys, but they also have much cooler-looking decorations and tons of hydraulics for motion. They're longer and have really cool layouts. The Darkness (two years ago) even had a spinning room which, unfortunately, was not included this year (though they did have a mirror room which was pretty neat).

We all pretty much agreed that haunted houses are scary only for the first couple of minutes. After that there isn't much shock value of a dude jumping out and yelling "boogety!". I, personally, enjoy the unkown--what is around the next corner. And I really enjoy just looking around at the detail of each area. But there is never enough time to take it all in so I do what I can.

The only real disappointment of the night was the supposed "corn maze" at Creepyworld. It was more like walking down a nice path through tall weeds with a couple of creepy props. The only guy who jumped out at us looked like he was a computer nerd. I'm not sure he even worked there...

When the night was through, however, I think the most amazing part had to have been the urinal at Taco Bell that sounded like a pissed-off cat.

I'm starting to feel loopy

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What Time Is It?

It's Pumpkin Time!!!



Last night we threw everyone in the car and headed to the pumpkin patch for our annual Halloween tradition. Mostly, said tradition consists of letting both children loose upon the farm as they run around like chickens with their heads cut off. Once they finally get tired, we pick out pumpkins and then go out to dinner. I am happy to report that this year was no different than previous years--a complete success.

T was old enough to enjoy the pumpkin patch this year and even got into a little of the goat-feeding action. But she quickly got shy and decided that was not the thing for her. Instead, she decided to help her sister sit upon every pumpkin left in the pumpkin patch. Maybe they thought the pumpkins would hatch if they sat on them long enough? I am not sure I want to see what comes out...



They went on a hayride, ran through a straw maze and posed for pictures at every single photo cutout imaginable. We stopped at every animal pen and either fed them or observed. The animals that scared them the most? The pigs. They were cute but also squealed very loudly. I don't want to jump to any conclusions but I'm pretty sure they were possessed by an evil bacon spirit. Mmmm...bacon spirit...

Fun was had by all and now the family has two ginormous pumpkins to carve. The only sizes they had were large and huge...seriously. If those pumpkins ever hatch, we're all doomed.



The few photos were pilfered from http://greenwomancomesknocking.blogspot.com/. If you want to see more pics, go there.

And all your weight, it falls on me

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Decision '08

Alright, here's the deal. We have all heard the issues, seen the debates, and watched some random wandering and negativity. But I'm here to address an important issue which neither candidate has yet to even remotely mention. It's not health care, the economy, or the state of the singing lemurs of Madagascar. No, I am talking about the issue of powerups. Yes, powerups--something which this country is seriously lacking.

When I'm driving to work in the morning and some primitive screwhead cuts me off, there's no weapons powerup for me to get even! And there's certainly no speed powerup for me to utilize to get ahead of him again. Where are my powerups??

Likewise, when I come into work really late (probably because of the aforementioned driver) I could really use an active camo powerup so that I can briefly turn invisible and sneak past my boss's office. But nooooo, that would be too easy, wouldn't it? And if I were to punch a guy, knocking him out, why doesn't his body turn into gold coins, or why doesn't he drop yummy food for me to eat and recharge?

See, this is what I'm talking about. Did you know that almost every other country is vastly ahead of the US when it comes to powerups? It's true. Sure, they will all look at you funny and tell you you're crazy but they know...trust me, they know. They're hiding it from you. In fact, they probably used their holographic powerup to distract you, and you're talking to an illusion! Sneaky bastards.

So please take this major issue into account when you vote in November. If you're not a US citizen...well, enjoy your stinking powerups, jerkfaces!

They said all teenagers scare the living shit out of me

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cut Back, Baby

First of all, I think it's important to note that there is at least something to look forward to in today's economic stew of despair: Halo 3: Recon. It's a year off, yet (though I suspect that date could slip like me on a floor sprayed with Pam) but it already looks like it resides mostly in the Very Cool Zone.

So, yeah, here we have the economy. And it's not just the US. This should not come as a surprise to anyone who understands that the world is a "global economy". One country has problems and we all feel it. It's pretty simple, really.

I was watching the news recently and they were doing a report on how people are cutting back. And the methods people were using were dumbfounding...that's a strange way to put it, I know. Basically, everyone who spoke acted like they were rocket scientists for figuring out how to cut back. This type of thing comes as second nature to my family since we lead a pretty simple life.

One woman was saying how, to cut back, she now brews her own coffee!! I wish she'd share that secret with the rest of the world, because we're tired of always having to buy it or dig it out of the ground for harvest.

Another woman told a tale of how she had to pull her daughter out of gymnastics classes...then she stopped the lawn service!! The horror! Frankly, I would have stopped the lawn service before the gymnastics thing, but since I take care of my own lawn anyway, that would mean firing myself. And I don't do that...and you can't make me.

We have moved to more natural, less costly alternatives to common products. For example, we now make our own laundry soap, all-purpose cleaner, and even shampoo. Each of these concoctions costs a tiny fraction of store-bought, chemical-laced products. And each one does a better job, too. How's that for cutting back and being more environmentally friendly?

Let's all just keep that in mind...and ignore the fact that my garden was made of fail (probably due to me planting it two months too late).

We are the lazy generation

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Another One Under the Belt

Today I probably accomplished more by 10:00 than most anyone else does the entire day. :) I finished the Wilson's Half Marathon Challenge (that's 13.1 miles) in about 1 hr, 56 min, 44 sec. That's 177th out of about 400 people! The race started at 8:00 and it was a nice 58 degrees at that time. I might actually have preferred that it was a little cooler. Now for a little setup...

I found out about this half-marathon almost exactly three weeks ago. I thought to myself "Self, let's see if you can do this." My self said "Screw you, I want to sit around, eat popcorn and watch football you jerk." I won.(?) So I figured I'd train decently for three weeks and run 13 miles once. That would later turn out to be complete failsauce.

Due to a combination of being lazy, being crunched for time, and unusual weather, I never got the 13-mile run in. I also ran only once last week (7.6 miles, but still only once and mid-week). Luckily, my whole goal was to do the half-marathon with minimal training, so...Score! Oh, and throw in a slight illness (either allergies, change in weather, or a small cold).

The course was nice. However...the hills...yeah, those fail. I ran down one long, steep hill and though to myself "Wow, I have to run back up this?? And, sure enough, I did. And there were others--not so epic, but not fun, either. I'm pretty good at hills. I pass people on them all the time. That doesn't mean I like them. In fact, I curse them with every fiber of my being...and every fiber of some other peoples' being, too.

And I did stop--both to walk as well as adjust my sock (which ended up rubbing a blister on the top of my foot). But my legs never got sore or fatigued. The bad news is, when I had to stop, it was because I was fatigued. :(

The race ended with a run around the Quad at Mizzou, which would have been much prettier if there wasn't so much damn construction going on around there. But I sped up and ran full tilt around the Quad to the finish line. It was nice to be able to do that instead of hobble across, looking half-dead (or mostly dead--there is a difference, so sayeth Miracle Max).

Final Assessment: Success. I could see doing this again next year. Maybe training a little bit harder beforehand but not much. I think intense training was part of my downfall in the Lewis & Clark marathon a year ago when my knee wanted to collapse. Not bad for a slightly ill geezer who barely trained, eh?

I then promptly ate and drank everything in sight (I have never wanted a drink so badly) and then went for coffee at Kaldi. :D They have good pumpkin lattes! And now I must avail to the upstairs to clean up copious amounts of cat vomit. It looks like one of them ate coffee grounds! Stupid cats.

I'm falling down, but I'll rise above this.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

First Day of October!!

Today is the first day of the awesomest month in the awesomest season. Enjoy!

On a totally unrelated note...
K and I met G at school for lunch. It was a classwide thing and parents were everywhere. I found out about it the night before and G asked me "Daddy, are you coming to kindergarten to eat lunch?" My first response was that I couldn't, because I had to work. Then I stopped mid-sentence and asked myself "why can't I? That's just dumb." So I said I could. I did, and it was very cool. I love being a part of both my daughters' lives and I know they love it when I am.

Almost as a blatant reaffirmation, there was one little boy who ate alone. Neither parent showed up to eat lunch with him. He sat quietly, surrounded by happy children and their parents, and ate. I don't know if he was sad or not, but I was. I felt for him. I don't have a clue what his situation is like (does he live with a single parent? Are they just "too busy"? etc.) but I still think it's crap. K tried to talk with him and another couple asked him about his lunchbox but he still remained mostly quiet. It made me sad.

That is all.

You're coming, coming back

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sugar-Covered Sugar!

I tried Jones Candy Corn Soda for the first time yesterday. Holy cow! Imagine, if you will, taking a cup of sugar and a cup of honey, then liquifying it. If you throw in an Alka Selzer tab you would probably have the same exact thing. Oh, then toss in a package of Peeps. That stuff will curl your toes.

It is important to note that the average can of soda has anywhere from 150-180 calories. This can, which is just a half can of soda, has 130. Basically, the entire day's sugar output of a small country is contained within this little can. It has a picture of a werewolf on the front. This is because you will feel like running wild and naked through the woods and howling at the moon after just one can of this stuff.

So was it good? Um...it wasn' t bad. But I wouldn't make a habit of drinking the stuff. It was fun to try but probably not something I would buy again. It's certainly not something I would drink to feel refreshed.

Maybe, come Thanksgiving, I'll try the Jones Turkey & Gravy Soda.

'Cause I really always knew that my little crime would be cold

Monday, September 22, 2008

Holy Artifacts, Batman!

So last night I "acquired" (read, was forced to take home) two boxes full of random junk from my father's house. I had no previous knowledge of what was in these boxes, only that it was, at one time, my crap. What miracles would these boxes hold? Hidden treasures? Gems of a finer time? My long lost Voltron? Nay...more like detritus cast overboard from a sinking ship to become flotsam floating in the current of the years.

Let me give you a little taste of what I found in these age-old cardboard storage cubes...and maybe a little insight into my childhood.

In one box was purely junk. There were manuals to all my Game Boy (yes, the original Game Boy) games. I've had the Game Boy with me all along. It still works. There were little rubber frisbee-like discs of various colors...each with the name of one of many popular, sugar-laden cereals on it. Also included was a small leaflet entitled "how to use a condom." Yep...nice, huh? I can only guess I got some of this crap in college when some association or another handed out small goodie boxes (and by "goodies", I mean tiny deoderant sticks, a granola bar, and a pamphlet on how to use a condom). This just shows how much of a packrat I can be.

I also found a small toy weapon that apparently attached to some transformer or other toy that apparently no longer exists. I bet that gun has been looking for its long-lost counterpart, only to have its hopes dashed years later. There was also a toy air-powered gun that shoots little soft rubber things (like, you squeeze it and the little rubber thing pops off, shoots across the room, and is never seen ever again). Then there were also a few various cables--mostly RCA cables for a stereo. I think I now have about 102 sets of those...100 of which are unused. Next time I need one, will I remember my stash? Nope.

So that was the small box. But the other box...yes, the other box was a treasure trove of even more confusion, nostalgia, fun, and a little nausea (thrown in for more fun). Inside this box was my old Godzilla toy! Yes, this bad boy stands at least two feet tall and has a lever you push down to make him breathe fire! (disclaimer: Toy does not actually breathe fire). But the thing that always perplexed me--you can push a button and his hand shoots off! This poses so many questions!

In addition to ol' Gojira, I found all my old Stompers--yes, little cars that ran on batteries and only moved forward. But they were apparently rough and tough and could climb over things. I also found my old Bigfoot toy (same thing as a Stomper but much larger and had different "gears"). Each of these toys still has a copious amount of crusted mud on its tires. Bonus! I also found a few toy dinosaurs and some toy horses. Now why I had toy horses, I really have no idea. But I did. I promptly gave them to the girls who have played with them all day. They have each named the horses different things. But my favorite name is "Prince Cinnamon Boots."

Also, several rubber snakes were found along with some paintballs and six CO2 cartridges. I bet you can guess what I am going to do next time I'm bored! (what I really want to do is try to pass off the paintballs as gumballs at work...bad me.)

Now, most of the stuff is easily explained--even the condom pamphlet (can't we get beyond Pamphlet Dome??). But the next item is definitely a mystery. It is a small, book-like apparatus with a record (yes, a record!!) inside it. In addition, it has a drawing of a little (very cartoony) child who has those colorform-type pieces of clothing. And the record is about potty training! I remember nothing about this item nor did I ever "play" with it. So WTF do I have it? Good question. Very good question. I'm guessing my mother schlepped it off on me so that she didn't have to have it in storage (Heaven forbid she actually *gasp* throws it away!! Wait, I don't throw anything away either...who am I to talk?) In fact, I think I crammed it back in the box, still not throwing it away. Go figure.

That's a really strange trip down memory lane, that's for sure. Just in case you were bored, and wondering why you actually read this whole entry, I now reward you with a funny picture a friend sent me today:




This song is just six words long

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Arrrrrr, Mateys!

Do not forget that tomorrow is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Please, won't you help out a poor, lonely pirate by, um, talking like one? Seriously, all proceeds go absolutely nowhere because none shall be collected. Just talk like one...just do it. Please? I'll be your best friend? Okay, I probably won't be. But you can say I am!

My "training" for this half-marathon thingy seems to be going well. This week I ran 7 miles in a little under an hour. That's good. That's, like, "I've been actually training" good--and I really haven't been. In fact, I haven't really run much in the past three weeks. No, I haven't been sitting on the couch watching football and stuffing my piehole with popcorn (nice visual, there). Okay, actually, I have been.

But it's good to know that I'm still in decent shape; shape enough to probably finish a half-marathon in pretty good time. But I think I'm going to push it a little more and try to guarantee that I can finish the whole shebang in under two hours. I'm fairly certain I can do this without even really much work. I attribute all of this certainty to the beautiful weather...and a steady diet of Hot Wings. This weekend I am going to try for the full 13.1 miles and see if I can do it. I don't think I'll try to run it too fast--just git 'r done.

Take the night and darken everything around me

Monday, September 15, 2008

FailDay!

Oy. It's not really a bad day, per se. But I feel like I'm about half a second removed from everyone else's reality today. It's one of those days where you definitely should not count on me to save the world...unless I'm allowed a couple of mulligans.

It's one of those days where I couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were on the heel. Well, I might be able to do that but it would probably take me three or four tries.

In fact, I've tried writing this blog entry three times previous to this one. It is one of those days.

It's a short entry...for you...who didn't have to read it three or four times.

Anyway this cake is great, it's so delicious and moist.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I've Gone and Done Did It (Diddly)

This morning I mailed in my registration for a half-marathon here in downtown. Normally this would fall under the "not a problem" category, except that it's less than a month away, and I haven't done any significant training for it.

I could most definitely not do this for a full marathon. It would be suicidal--as suicidal as coating myself in raw meat and running through Jurassic Park singing showtunes. But I am pretty sure I can take a half-marathon with less than a month of training. Now if it would just stop raining I might actually be able to start said training.

This, like the marathon, is a personal challenge. I know I can run for about eight miles without so much as stopping or drinking any liquids. So I'm guessing 13.1 miles won't really be that much of a problem; except maybe for the boredom. At least, I hope so.

I plan on getting out sometime next weekend (it's supposed to rain all of this weekend) and try running either the full distance or 2/3 of it to see how I do. What's the worst that can happen? That was a rhetorical question, thank you.

I'm doing it solo which is a little daunting. Last time I had K participating so it was more of a team effort. I guess we'll find out what happens in a little over three weeks.

He doesn't look a thing like Jesus

Monday, September 8, 2008

Random Dreamosity

Most of the time, my dreams come out of nowhere. I can have one thing on my mind constantly and never dream about it. If the mutant zombie apocalypse was in full swing and brains were being eaten, chances are I'd be dreaming of something totally unrelated. Maybe kittens or rainbows...or rainbow kittens!

So it was quite unexpected when my dream placed me in China. I had apparently won two Olympic gold medals--one in swimming (400m, maybe) and one in...get this...water polo!! Water polo? Really? Yep. And the horses even survived! (ba dum bum ching!)

The dream started after I had won the medals (which were suspiciously absent) and I was driving a car to the airport to go home. I was stopped by a police officer who arrested me because I was driving on the wrong side of the road. I may have been. It seems to me that in my dream I knew that I was. Instead of getting a ticket, I am told I need to return to China to face a trial.

I spend a brief amount of time at home and then travel back to China where...I find myself being led away by strangers! They dump me in a car and drive me to a church. They then lock the doors and explain to me that the Chinese government is really just trying to throw me in jail as punishment for shaming their athletes (their swimmer was apparently a huge star). They told me they would get me out of the country and...then I woke up, quite amused.

So I need to find Uwe Boll to make that into a movie. Uwe, if you're reading this, call me! You know you want to--it's box office gold, baby!

It's always the same it's just a shame, that's all

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Au Revoir August

August is indeed over. But this year I might be a little sad to see it go. Maybe not. Weatherwise, this was the greatest August ever. It wasn't the normal super-hot, super-humid August I'm used to. We got plenty of rain and it's been splendidly beautiful. So I can't really be irritated with the month as I usually am.

But it is over and now September has begun. This means the beginning of Autumn (yay!), football season, and...well, okay, just those two. With the onset of cold weather comes a strange seas0nal hobby of mine. I am a cold-weather knitter. I don't really have much on my plate right now. I have to get K's slippers done (from last year) and then I was thinking about a pair of socks for myself. I'm still formulating the plans on how to knit myself a Ferrari. Once I work all that out, I am so going to be driving down the road in style!

I'm having an immense amount of fun with Soul Calibur IV on the Xbox 360. The sheer amount of customization involved with creating a new fighter is mind-boggling and I swear some brain matter seeped out of my ear once from the possibilities. Sometimes I think I spend more time customizing than I do actually playing the game. I'm not about to let some faceless shmoe on the Internet beat up on me because I didn't do my homework. I'll let them beat up on me because I suck, but that's the only reason.

And, by the way, the spell check here in Blogger is fail. It highlighted the "nal" portion of "seasonal" and suggested alternatives. Bad spell check, no biscuit.

Wake me up when September ends

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Planet Fail, We Have Arrived

Indiana, you have officially been placed in the "Fail" column of a chart somewhere, probably in the Pentagon (sorry Heidi but you, like JM, probably don't read this blog anyway). And I shall now outline all of the reasons for which you suck. Some are you fault; others are not. But I lay the blame squarely on you since everything fell within your lame borders. You are a fresh turd, baking in the sun, left to whiten and crumble. Know thy place, you!

Okay, so let's begin, shall we?

  1. First of all, your time zone fails. Eastern Standard Time is no good. Get rid of it. Seriously, do it. And while we're on the subject, make up your damn mind--EST or CST? Not both. I don't enjoy traveling around the state and trying for 10 minutes just to figure out what freaking time zone I'm in.
  2. Your roads fail. Half the time they are damn-near illogical and unintelligible. The other half of the time, they are TOTALLY illogical and unintelligible. They change names more than Prince. Nay good sir, they change names more than John Cougar IG-88 Mellancamp Fong. Straighten them out, dammit. 'Nuff said.
  3. Speaking of John (etc. etc.) Mellancamp, there are no good radio stations in Indiana. I mean, there is a Jack station, and that's "okay" but good radio does not that make (or something). There is more to radio than Country, pop, Country, Country, College Radio, Country, and .
  4. And another related note...it is your fault that my iPod ran out of juice. Yes, your fault. Your roads go on way too long. And without said iPod, I'm stuck listening to the smelly, wretched drivel that you call "radio."
  5. Ooh, not only do your roads fail, your road CONSTRUCTION is EPIC fail. Wait, no. That doesn't do it justice. Your road construction is Mega Kaiju World-Eating "Batman & Robin and Clone Wars Have a Baby" Super Epic Fail. If you are going to completely close a thoroughfare (especially one that *I* have to use) make sure you give me an F'ing detour. Road Construction Fail. Seriously, WTF? I showed you, though. I blasted through your "construction zone" and made it out alive. In your face.
  6. I don't know how you did it, but somehow you crashed my backup hard drive. I don't know if you paid it to fail or just bullied it into submission, but that was totally uncalled for. I'd just like to know why you did that. It hurt.
  7. You also somehow bribed Microsoft Streets & Trips so that it would give me phony directions. For shame. How low will you stoop, Indiana? How low? What did I ever do to you? I say this because no piece of software could possibly be so poorly programmed as to tell me to turn left...on a dead end...with no turns. Good job. You did it well!
  8. Also, why the hell is "Sex and the City" on every other channel constantly? What is up with that? Is every inhabitant of Indiana a woman? Or someone who wants to be a woman? Ooh, wait, Transformers is on! I *might* forgive you...but I doubt it.
  9. Your Burger Kings fail. They close before 10:00 but the drive-through is still open...so I have to get back in my damn car just to get food I don't really want, but eat anyway because it's the only choice? I know you delayed me so it would be too late to go to that Texas Roadhouse across the street. Instead you leave me with a huge pile of sloppy crap you call a "Fully Loaded Steakhouse Burger". Yuck! Do you know what *I* call it? I'll write it down in a little note and pass it to you if you want to know. Also, do you like me? Yes O No O.
  10. And back to the road construction...you just had to throw in that last little bit right before the hotel, didn't you? Oh, you're so funny.

So here would be the short list of things I've learned today.

  1. Don't let your iPod run out of juice...ever. Do whatever you have to do. If this means sucking on a 9-volt battery and hooking the iPod up to your ass, do it.
  2. Whatever you do...if you invent something and want to put it on a roadsign, do NOT call it "Corn Hole Games." You should know better. Disturbing? Yes. Hilarious? Also yes.
  3. Cops that follow you down the highway are usually bad. Cops that follow you down the highway while you're doing 80 (in a 50) and don't pull you over? That's good...very very good. Indiana may suck but its cops are top-notch!
  4. Wasting food is bad. Wasting a Burger King Steakhouse Burger (TM) does not count...for that piece of crap does not qualify as "food". Feces squeezed from the bowels of depravity, yes. Food? Not even close.
  5. Always be prepared to reverse polarity, reroute the plasma flow back through the plasma conduits, divert to the dilithium crystals, and drink a bottle of scotch. The scotch is key, here.
  6. When stuck on a long drive without my iPod I have been known to listen to (and sing along with) almost anything. Almost.

I kissed a girl and I liked it
Hope my boyfriend don't mind it

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Travelogue Part III

I've Been Here...
(Yes, JM, that's a nod to you. But you probably don't read this anyway.)

I rolled into Indianapolis today...exactly two weeks late for GenCon! Or, well, almost a year early for next year!

Anyhoo, I arrived after upgrading a couple of laptops. As I approached I noticed a familiarity to the place and quickly realized I'd been to this area before. And the hotel was one I'd stayed at before. Sweet. With my propensity to get lost in my own bathroom, this was a good sign. It was nice to see a familiar place. Staybridge Suites hotels rock.

I have absolutely no interesting observations from the road. It was a very uneventful and un-humorous drive.

Sundown...You, Bettertakecare (Imagine William Shatner saying that)
I don't know about you but a few certain things have a tendency to spark vivid emotions or memories within me--almost all from childhood, whether I can recall specific instances or not. I returned to Cheeseburger In Paradise (a restaurant quickly becoming a favorite) and had a relaxing evening on the patio, reading and enjoying the most badass August evening I've ever had. (This August has been the best ever, weatherwise.) There was a local dude playing his guitar and singing. He wasn't awesome but he was decent.

Anyway, after he finished his acoustic rendition of Tom Petty's "Runnin' Down a Dream" (which was better than it sounds, btw), he started into Gordon Lightfoot's "Sundown". Now, I have no idea why, but "Sundown" and "If You Could Read My Mind" both evoke really strong memories. Memories of what? I totally have no freaking clue. I can't even tell you when or where I first heard either of those songs! For some reason, those songs both mean something nostalgic to me, and I have no idea why.

I suspect it's because, when we went to sleep, my sister and I listened to a radio that my mother set out in the hallway for us. Maybe each of those songs came on as I was drifting to sleep. Again, no idea. So which song came after "Sundown"? Yep. "If You Could Read My Mind". Bizarre.

Also, the hallway here at the Staybridge smells exactly like my house in Arizona in the summertime. No joke. Weird.

And it just now comes to mind that the lyrics in "Sundown" aren't really geared towards a little kid now are they? Ha!

Sundown, you better take care
If I find you've been creeping 'round my back stairs.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Travelogue II: The Sequel

Travelogue Part II:

More things learned while on the road:
  1. If ever you get the honor of naming something, say, a park, I would suggest a name other than "Big Bone Lick Park." C'mon! Seriously? "Bone Lick Park" wasn't enough? It has to be BIG??
  2. There is a water tower, (I assume for the town of Florence) that has, written on it in big letters "Florence, Y'all!" This sounds more like something teenagers would spraypaint on a water tower, not a legitimate label.
  3. Do NOT, under any circumstances, let Microsoft Streets & Trips tell you when your day ends. Day 1 might just end in the middle of I-75. I'm just saying, is all.
  4. The Riverfront in Covington, KY, smells like 1,000 asses fermented in dishwater on a 100-degree day. Again, I'm just saying, is all.
  5. Apparently I am not in Cincinnati as I thought. I'm in Covington, KY. No biscuit for me.
  6. Flight of the Conchords and Tenacious D are both hilarious...in vastly different ways.
  7. One-way streets disdain me apparently just as much (or more) as I disdain them.
  8. I can be driving the damn car and I will second guess myself and ask "Did I remember to bring the car?"

So what if you can see?
The darker side of me.
No one will ever change this animal I have become.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Travelogue

Interesting Stuff Seen/Learned:


  • Saw a bumper sticker that said "Life's a Bitch, Don't Vote For One". FAIL. It's like saying "Life's Just Like a Big Dump, Take One."
  • Saw a sign on a building (probably a church) that said "Jesus Saves Completely." So, up until now, he's just been mostly saving? What parts was he not saving? I'd suggest the liver...it doesn't refrigerate well.
  • One-way streets are fail. An entire downtown comprised of nothing but one-way streets is EPIC fail.
  • Just because something is called a "margarita" doesn't mean it won't taste like a snow-cone. If you're going to call it a margarita (and card me, no less), put some stinking alcohol in it as well as flavor of any other kind. Don't give me ice with food coloring on it. Mexican restaurant Fail.
  • Also, if you ever have a plate of assorted enchiladas and one of them is a cheese enchilada, eat that one first...seriously. Congealed cheese enchilada isn't as good as it sounds...and it sounds like ass.
  • Saw a bumper sticker on a van that said "Please do not tailgate, there are showdogs in this vehicle." I don't even know what that means? Like, will it upset them? Or is it okay to tailgate other showdogless vehicles? Does this upset them? Will they attack? So many questions!
  • Gas stations/foodmarts that close at 9:00 fail. I want to give them money, yet they will not let me. Fail.
  • 87.9 FM is the best radio station ever. They didn't play one song I didn't like! That just so happens to be the station my iPod was broadcasting on...win!
  • I think my last wisdom tooth--the one that has been trying to fully come in for about 20 years--tried a little more today.
  • The game Candyland can indeed be completed, start to finish, in about 45 seconds.

So far away, we wait for the day
For the light source so wasted and gone

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Kindergarten, Ho!

So Today is G's first day of Kindergarten; her first foray into the world of bigger things and...oh, wait. Really it's the same thing she's been doing at preschool only a) it's longer, b) she gets to take her own lunch and, most importantly, c) she gets to ride the bus! In fact, it's probably a bigger step for K and me than it really is for her.

But it is a big step. It's real school!! It makes me wonder how the last five years blew by so quickly. Did I sleep through it? Impossible in our house. Was I comatose? Possible but not probable (but sometimes preferable).

So this morning, G requested that I, her loving and strikingly handsome genius of a father, walk her to the bus stop. The rain was a bit on the heavy side but we trudged through it, umbrellas in hand, courageously seeking out this fabled bus stop thing.

Turns out the bus would be 30 minutes late!! Obviously it runs on a different time zone than the rest of us--or, at least, it did today. But it eventually arrived at the agreed-upon location. G was excited and could not wait to board the large, yellow, banana-like vehicle. And she did so with a small bit of apprehension and a large chunk of excitement (swirled in with a dash of giddiness and maybe some hot sauce to taste). And then she disappeared. I waved to the bus as it pulled away, hoping she could see (but figuring she probably was interested in other things).

Then K and I hopped into our cars and drove to the school to meet her (she insisted we not drive her to school on the first day). We waited quite a while; her bus was the only one that had not shown up yet. Eventually we saw her at the other end of the hall. When she noticed us her eyes lit up. We walked her to her classroom and she eagerly sat on the big rug with the rest of the children. We stayed for a little while (all parents did--we were allowed this time) to watch. I left before K did, but during that entire time she never once paid us any mind. She was focused on something new, something exciting.


And, thus, begins her adventure in Kindergarten. I can't wait to meet her at the bus stop this afternoon and hear all about it. She has requested paella for dinner tonight and then we're going out for ice cream. I am sure she'll have wonderful things to say and I will enjoy hearing them.

Oooh ah ah ah ah!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Randomosaurus

So I'm getting ready to go run. T is sitting on the kitchen floor and the conversation goes like this:

T: "Daddy, I no want you to go running."

Me: "But I need to. Why not?"

T: "Because I said so."


A Place To Run

So last weekend, K and I traveled to her parents' house. While there I got the chance to run at one of my favorite spots--Watkins Mill State Park (we both returned the next day and walked). The park consists of a 3.8-mile trail that circles a lake. From that description you're probably thinking "sounds boring, you're a loser and you smell funny." Well, I showered this morning and I'm only sometimes a loser. Shows what you know.


Here's a pic of what much of the trail looks like:

Most of the trail is like this. It's a beautiful run through the woods. I start out in front of the lake, run out in the open for a half mile, then disappear into the woods, only to emerge a couple of times to look out over the lake. At 3.8 miles it's a damn long lap (or two) and it has some up's and down's but it's an awesome run. To keep it interesting I suggest imagining that a nazgul is on the path behind you and will come into view at any moment. :)


The run was made even better due to the fact that it wasn't 100 degrees with 90% humidity. Knowing that you're not either going to a) suddenly melt or b) die of heatstroke is a reassuring fact.

Here's another pic:



(Note that all pictures were stolen from K's blog...because she took the pictures in the first place.)

I push my fingers into my eyes

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chapter 1!

Sometimes it's not easy writing creatively. It's usually more difficult to rewrite creatively. I tend to look back on old writing styles of yore and nearly want to vomit. I wrote that?? Usually it's very apparent as to which writers influenced me at the time. I truly hope my latest efforts (and future efforts) are a digression from that. Usually I am proud of what I write and Chapter 1 is no exception. Though I don't think I have found my stride yet and I may go back and tweak it a little once I've got a few more chapters pounded out.

So, dear reader, if you wish to take it in, click on the happy guy on the right and enter the passkey. As always, I really am interested in what you think. If it sucks, I want to know (though you can sugar coat it with a cherry on top if you wish but I need no such pleasantries).

Go World!

The Olympics are in full swing and I am inecplicably sucked in. I don't think most people truly appreciate the games until they are older. Certainly college students, chugging beer through a homemade bong-like apparatus, couldn't give a greasy rat's derrier about them. High schoolers are too wound up in the usual drama to notice. And anyone younger than that is probably glued to their Xbox. But there is something about them that really keeps me watching. It's almost as if there is a 24/7, two-week-long world party going on and everyone's invited. There are always amazing moments--some good and some rather less good--that transpire. Sometimes I care if the US wins a medal, sometimes I don't.

Both of the Spuds seem to be drawn into the Olympics as well. G voiced her dislike of beach volleyball (an opinion which, I must say, I seem to share) but was transfixed when synchronized diving came on. SYNCHRONIZED DIVING!! She and T spent the next hour pretending to be synchronized divers, jumping off the couch. They even climbed out of the "pool" using the arm of the couch, and then proceeded to towel off with a blanket.

I can't wait until they catch a glimpse of the really funny sports like trampoline, ribbon-dancing, and the gazing ball dancing.

GenCon

The "Best 4 Days of Gaming" are upon us, officially starting tomorrow. I am not attending this year due to lack of time, lack of money, and a general lack of closeness with the group of friends who are going. Last year I roomed and drove down with some of them and spent precisely 15% of the total time with them, sometimes being frustrated or irritated with a couple of them for one reason or another. I'm not really sure there's much of a point in going with a group of friends with whom I'm not really going to hang out.

But I do miss GenCon. It's very liberating to know that absolutely everyone who attends is at least some kind of a geek like me. It's nice to get up in the morning and know you have the whole day to do pretty much whatever you want, whenever you want. And there is always something going on--24 hours a day. It's nice just to wander the convention hall and see what gems you can turn up or who you can run into. Ah well, maybe next year.

Excuse the unseen, ignore the untrue
Depictions we see and try to get through
Admitting mistakes can hurt
I'm not the last but I sure ain't the first

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Total Randomosity

First of all, I'll start with a linky. Cakewrecks is a pretty funny blog about huge cake mistakes. Some of you may already know about it, some may not. Now you do. Do you feel enlightened yet?


So K and I had the house all to ourselves for a few days as the girls were shipped off to the grandparents for a veritable mecca of fun and exhaustion. This was great because, not only did the grandparents get time alone with the granddaughters, but K and I got some peace and quiet and alone time.


Or so we thought.


Much like an unexpected guest who shows up with a suitcase and slight unpleasant odor, we were hit with a couple of strange maladies. On Friday I went to the eye doctor because of a spot in the vision of my right eye. Long story short: I spent two days with dilated pupils (I looked totally psycho) to find out that I have a swollen spot on my retina. Time and money was spent (or will be, when the bills show up) for me to find out that "it'll probably go away on its own in 3-4 months."


K got a sudden case of selective vertigo--mostly whenever she laid down. Now this makes life tough because lying down is one of the major prerequisites to SLEEPING. So, for a few days, her hobbies included not sleeping, trying not to vomit, and being very still. Lofty goals, all of them. The girls returned a few days later and have proceeded to have a rough time adjusting, driving us insane in the process.


I haven't been running much--only a couple of times a week. I attribute this to the following circumstances:

  1. It's hot and humid

  2. I have to wake up an hour earlier and run before work because of #1.

  3. It's still hot and humid when I perform #2.


August blows.



Writing:

I've stalled a bit in my writing mostly because I have been relatively busy in all facets of life. Some of this is work, some of this is just doing other things. I'll get back to it. Chapter 1 of "The Call of Chaos" is about halfway done. Here, I'll give you visual proof. Ready?

That's about as accurate as any progress bar you'll see when installing software in Windows, which is to say it's not accurate at all.

All we want to do is eat your brains
We're not unreasonable; I mean no one's gonna eat your eyes
All we want to do is eat your brains
We're at an impasse here; maybe we should compromise
If you open up the doors
We'll all come inside and eat your brains

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Miracle of Non-Modern Science!

Vinegar. That's right, vinegar. Apparently it does more than just smell a little strange and sit on the shelf in the pantry, waiting to be used. I remember, back in our old house, we used vinegar to help get wallpaper (curse you!) off the walls. It wasn't the greatest smell in the world but it did the job pretty well. Now if people would just stop putting up wallpaper...

So K recently got turned onto the idea of using vinegar as a substitute for other household substances which may or may not cause cancer, bleeding out the eyes, and instill a love for "Cop Rock" in the user. A solution of vinegar and water will clean most surfaces as well if not better than many household disinfecting cleaners. We now clean the kitchen and bathrooms with it (yes, even the toilets). And if you need a refresher while you're cleaning, give yourself a couple of spritzes! Mmmmm, refreshing!

The biggest change so far is that K has experimented with baking soda (sometimes combined with apple cider vinegar) as shampoo. Yes, seriously. And it seems to work better than actual shampoo. Neither she nor I can notice any difference except that we're not killing cute baby fish with nasty chemicals. I think I'm going to jump on the bandwagon and try it this weekend.

I also got a recipe from a friend to make our own laundry soap. It looks incredibly simple, requires three ingredients, and should save a boatload of cash. I can't say whether it's better for the environment but it's better for MY environment...you know, the one inside my wallet? Yeah, that one. I'M SAYING IT'S CHEAPER!!! Jeez, do I have to explain everything to you? Okay, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to yell...there there. Here now, drink your vinegar and calm down.

We've all been lost for most of this life
Everywhere we turn more hatred surrounds us

Thursday, July 24, 2008

There's Doin's a Transpirin'!!

First of all, let me highly recommend a game called Pandemic2. If you would like to waste an hour or so, this game will deliver. You are a disease. Evolve, infect, and take over the world!! Especially those damn singing lemurs in Madagascar!! It'll get old after one or two plays but, until then, will entertain.

Me Vs. The Crabgrass
So it's late July and I think I have effectively stifled the plague of crabgrass that usually sets in. I've dumped so many nasty chemicals on my lawn that it should glow by now. The five-legged rabbits do. Anyway, this fills me with the joy of a thousand...um...things that emit joy. I don't care so much that crabgrass looks uncool. Nay, it looks much like regular grass...if you pay attention to it. But therein lies the conflict. See, inherently, I loathe any plant that requires inordinate amounts of work. One patch of crabgrass is no problem. But multiply that by 100 and, all of a sudden, you get much more work. Crabgrass is oh so good at avoiding the lawnmower so that I have random grass sticking up when I'm done mowing. If I leave it, it looks bad (again, not my biggest concern). But it also seeds and grows. The latter means that I will probably have to mow it sooner and it'll take longer. Totally uncool, crabgrass. Weaksauce to the extreme.

But none of that is much of a concern this year since I showed it who's boss!! Now I must take issue with the grass itself since it seems to be taking over in the absense of crabgrass. And don't even get me started on the "garden".

Spider Girl!!
So I get home from seeing "The Dark Knight" (which is totally good, btw) and G tells me "come here and watch me do something really cool!" I agree and observe as she proceeds to put one foot on the door frame and the other foot on the other side of the door frame and scales it to the ceiling! Then she stands there with no hands. Some parents would freak. Others would probably yell. Me? I laughed and applauded! Then I showed her how Daddy does it (using the hallway)!!

See, I used to do the exact same thing! Only I was more like 12, not five!! And she did it with so much ease that it looked like she'd been doing it for years, even though she just learned it earlier today. It sounds really strange but I'm proud of her for some reason. Next up--beating her Daddy at Halo! :)


Snowy Goodness
I got to looking through a few pictures and found a blast from the past!





Oh yeah, it's Poultron, Defender of the Universe!!

...And his sidekick, R2D2!!

So how does it feel to know that someone's kid
in the heart of America has blood on their hands
fighting for your rights so you can maintain a lifestyle
that insults his family's existence

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Door is Locked Now

So, if you're reading this, then you may have noticed the happy little pentagonal guy to the right. Or not. It doesn't matter. You probably notice it now, don't you? Still nothing? Okay, just look over to the right and go find it. I'll wait...

Anyway, dear reader, I like to call it...well, I can't really tell you what I like to call it. Sorry! It acts as a link to the book I'm writing...er...rewriting, as it were. You see, I wasn't 100% satisfied with it when I finally finished it over five years ago. It was too long, too wordy, and lacked focus. But I feel I have gained the discipline required to do it justice. And my Word-Fu skills are much stronger now.

So if you would like to read it (and hopefully comment), the prologue is up. It's a mere 1,200 or so words and should not take you long and I promise it will entertain--either because it rocks your face to epic proportions or because it's so abysmal that you have to laugh. Just click on the happy little pentagon and use the key. Also, bow down in awe and marvel at my totally awesome Paint Shop Pro skillz. That's right. Total sweetness.

Today I discovered soy milk. And by "discovered" I mean to say "we were out of regular milk so I thought I'd drink soy milk with lunch. So, um, can you undiscover something? If so, I'd like to sign up for the first available opportunity. I'll sign my name, take a number, whatever.

K and I saw Hellboy II: The Golden Army on Sunday. It was a very fun, totally satisfying, light-hearted (mostly) action flick. We enjoyed the first Hellboy movie as well. This one is pretty much more of the same with some added overall plot development. The world presented is just so weird it's awesome. You don't need to question "why" or "how", you just sit back and let the movie force you into believing as it crams itself down your throat while boxing your uvula into submission...wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah. If you have a problem with that it'll be a painful ride but, then, you also have bigger fish to fry. And that's enough about that.

Oh jeez, I just endured a soy milk burp. :(

The door is locked now, but it's open if you're true.
If you can understand the me, then I can understand the you.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Feel the Burn!!

So this past Saturday was the annual "Midnight Bike Ride"--an event that my father-in-law and I (and usually brother-in-law as well) participate in. We generally sign up for it way in advance but, this time, pretty much forgot about it until, oh, mid last week. So, on short notice, I got my bike prepared and we headed to the in-laws' Saturday afternoon (the ride was that night).

We could not have asked for more beautiful weather. Typically, in July, it is 80-85° and humid as a swamp (yes, even at Midnight). This time, however, it was 65° and relatively "unsticky". In fact, I was just a bit chilly before the ride started.

So the Midnight Ride, for anyone who doesn't know (read: anyone reading this) is not a race. You basically pay $15 to ride around a predetermined course starting at Midnight. It takes us about an hour. Really, you could probably just go out at Midnight and ride your bike for an hour and get the same thing. Okay, probably not. Police officers block off the entire course and, well, it's just fun to ride around the streets at night with about 2-3,000 other people.

The event has gotten larger every year. This year was no different. Unfortunately, this draws anyone and everyone, including those who may not even really know how to ride a bike, may not know what a bicycle is, or may try to eat said bike. Before the ride even began, some nimrod in front of us (who was simply inching forward) forgot how to stop and nearly caused three or four people to fall over. Once the ride got started he was no better. He wobbled and weaved all over the place. Some might think he was drunk. I simply think he was stupid.

Later on there were two young boys (probably 9 or 10) who kept mouthing off at each other while their mother kept telling them to shut up. At one point, one of them swerved in front of my father-in-law, cutting him off and causing him to go through the cones and outside the course. At the same time his brother cut me off and nearly became roadkill himself. Luckily I avoided said twerp and moved on.

The best part of the ride is, after a rather dark and steep descent, THE UNDERGROUND!! Now, I like to call this place Subtropolis (you have to say that in a deep voice with an echo) but, well, Subtropolis is an entirely different place. So I guess we'll call it "The really cool underground place where they have offices and stuff" or, simply "The Undergound" for short. Anyway, yeah, you're basically riding your bike through caverns carved out of rock. There are offices and warehouses (most of which have picnic tables in front of them) down there. It's usually about 15 degrees cooler and really dry down there so it's a nice break from the rest of the ride. This time, however, it was actuall hotter and more humid down there. I constantly have to resist the urge to ride off into one of the dark, uncivilized tunnels and seek out the Lost World. But the threat of dinosaurs and savages always steers me back.

I did really well throughout the ride. I even tackled the hills pretty well. That's not to say they weren't exhausting, but merely that I made it up them all while still passing people.

After the ride we stopped at an iHop and ate lots of greasy, nasty food. Nothing better after a good workout than to pollute your body again with some iHop! Of course, iHop at 1:30 am is a bit dicey. The clientele is certainly not businessmen and socialites. One guy had tiger stripes tattooed up and down both arms. He must have had some sort of plastic surgery done to his face because he totally looked like a cat but in a subtle way. Also, the iHop has a cop who stands by the register and gives the evil eye to everyone who passes. But you know he's really thinking "What did I do to deserve this beat??"

Got in around 3:00 and crashed. I didn't wake up until 11:00 or so and probably could've slept for another few hours. I got chided for snoring but since I didn't hear it, it didn't happen. Yes. To that, I says: "Pics or it didn't happen!!" :)

I want to ride my bicycle,
I want to ride my bike.
I want to ride my bicycle,
I want to ride it where I like.