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.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Tale of Two Tiggers

Once upon a time, there was a cute little red-headed girl. We'll call her T (or Spudling, either one). T received a stuffed Tigger as a gift. Oh how she loved that Tigger! She went everywhere with it. She peed on it, drooled on it, threw up on it, and still loved it as much as the day she had received it. The time quickly came when Mommy and Daddy realized that having only one of these magical stuffed animals wouldn't be enough. What if it got lost or destroyed?

So the decision was made to purchase another Tigger toy. And the little girl was pleased. She loved the second one as much as the first and would carry them both around if she got her hands on them. Now, one could be thrown in the washer while the other was in circulation. Months passed and the little girl grew older and so did her love for the two Tiggers. Mommy and Daddy, keeping one step ahead of potential trouble, purchased two more Tiggers. If two was good, then FOUR would be fantastic!

But the little girl had grown wise to Mommy and Daddy's schemes. She was old enough to know that these two new interlopers did not belong amongst the true believers. They neither looked nor smelled like the real Tiggers--they still had their stripes, they weren't mushy, and their fur was still clean and soft. And, hence, they were not allowed into the club. When Mommy and Daddy tried to fool the little girl she immediately detected their ruse and said intruding Tigger was promptly ejected from her grasp with as much strength as an infant could muster.

And thus it has been. She still holds true to the original two Tiggers. They are worn, limp, and stripeless, but they look just as happy as the day T received them and, likewise, she is just as happy. She still carries them around, usually squeezed in her arms. She is lost without them most of the time and they make excellent crib companions. Mommy and Daddy cling to the hope that they are around for a long time.

Just as recent as last night I tried to pull a fast one on T. She climbed into her crib (yeah, she insists on climbing into her own crib now) and snuggled up with her blanket when it was time for bed. She noticed the newer Tigger and looked at me. Then she said "I want Tigger" and I playfully gave her the one in the crib. She looked at me like "Are you F'ing nuts?" and flung him from her sight--out of the crib and onto the floor.

Maybe if I peed and vomited on him?

Don't waste your time
Or time will waste you

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Best Time In My Life

Independence Day. The day we celebrate our country's independence by doing what? Blowing crap up. Sometimes I wonder if we really need an excuse to do that. "Hey, congrats on the promotion!" *BLAM BLAM*. "I have a date tonight!" *BLAM BLAM BLAM*. I guess if we blew up fireworks for every occasion America would quickly be known not as "The Land of the Free" but as "The Land of the Missing Fingers"...or toes, or eyeballs or whatever.

So I took G, along with some family, to see the big super fireworks extravaganza extreme super duper happy family fun time to celebrate the 4th. This was her first time seeing fireworks because a) they start at 9:30 and b) she's always feared them until this year. The weather was perfect--I cannot remember a July 4th when it did not rain or the temperature wasn't 95 degrees with 80% humidity (at least). But not today. Today it was 85 (maybe only 80) and sunny. It was perfection.


First of all, as an aside, I really had no idea that I could flick things so accurately (and at such a distance) with my fingers. G was eating Dippin' Dots (the ice cream of the future!) which, if you don't know, is essentially ice cream that is freeze dried into little pellets. A few Dippin' Dots had landed on the blanket and I proceeded to remove them before they melted and created a mess. Forgetting exactly where I was, I began to flick them off the blanket. Obviously I was meant for great things in the World Dippin' Dots Flicking League as the first one I launched rocketed through the air and came to rest soundly within a woman's hair. I debated briefly about telling her and apologizing but, instead screamed and ran away.

So as I sat on the grassy hill of the football stadium with G in my lap, leaning against me I thought about how nice it was. I very much enjoy doing things with my daughters but sometimes I find it difficult to pay attention to one when the other is swinging from the rafters, trying to pull my pants down, or setting off small nuclear devices. (One of those is made up. Can you guess which one? That's right--I don't wear pants!) But tonight was quite the opposite of disaster.

The fireworks exploded in the sky as usual, creating nice thunderous pops and vibrant, shimmering colors. Meanwhile, a symphony played choreographed music on the football field and we sat, in the dark on the grassy hill, and watched the show together. Every "oooh" and every "aaah" and even every delighted, high-pitched scream made me happy. It wasn't just about the fireworks. Sure, they were great, but so was the wonder in my daughter's eyes, laughter, and screams of joy.

And as we sat there having our good time together, G laughed, looked up at me and shouted "This is the best time of my life!" And you know what, I think it might have been mine too.

And I walked until the night was far behind

Thursday, July 3, 2008

In the Garden of Eden, Babeh

Garden Update: So the plants are all doing very well. The one green pepper is coming along nicely, nurtured carefully by neglect and scorn. The tomato plants are ready to start producing and the strawberry plant has little white berries growing. With this garden I shall hold the entire food supply of our house and rule with a spartan regime! Bow down to me and my foodstuffs!! Do it! Or I shall eat a strawberry and make you watch!


*

So here's a riddle for you. What do you get when you have mix a retired father, too much time, and knowledge of my intense disdain for Barney? I imagine it might look a little something like this...



Yes, that would be "Cactus-Climbing Barney". Though I personally like to think of it as "Barney doing us all a favor", but that's just me. The imagination is a wonderful thing!

*

So I've decided that this whole "expensive gas" thing might be one of the best things to happen to our planet in a long time. Sure, it sucks more than a Dyson vacuum cleaner to be forced to show collateral every time you fill up the ol' tank but the necessity to find cheaper energy sources has propelled us forward at a rather abrupt pace. What would have normally taken the US a decade to do is being done now. People are ditching their SUVs and going for more fuel-efficient vehicles. In response, auto makers are starting to shape up and produce more fuel-efficient vehicles.

This just goes to prove that most people do many things out of necessity only. Me? I've enjoyed getting 32 mpg (highway) for 13 years. That's still pretty good by today's standards but I am overjoyed to see it becoming more the norm. Of course, cars produce very little pollution in comparison to emissions by factories. Once we kick in alternative power sources for the masses in the non-auto arena things could turn around pretty quickly. But, for now, I'm more than content to watch our oil consumption go down. OPEC and its cronies can float and sputter.

I'm not insane I'm not insane