Thursday, December 31, 2009

Facebook A.I.

Facebook is beginning to scare me (and I don't mean the way it scares old people). I'm getting scared of its power. Gone are the days when you could say, "Wait, you know so-and-so? That's so weird! I went to school with so-and-so! Small world!" Because nowadays facebook will give you a notification that you and so-and-so have mutual friends (which sucks, because I really like the phrase "small world"). Also gone are the days when you had to ask someone what they did on their vacation. Now, they have a photo album called "What I Did on My Vacation!" and you can know about it six minutes after they get back.

But increased ability to anonymously stalk people aside, facebook is starting to worry me in how intuitive it is. I was writing a nasty email to a friend last week and decided to check my facebook page. And the status update bar asked me, "What are you doing?!" And I said, "You're right, facebook. I'll just let it go. It's better to spare our friendship than to be petty about something so trivial as cheating at Boggle." So facebook is my conscience now too? It was supposed to just be my interactive address book.

But let's face it... if any bit of technology is going to become self-aware, it's gonna be facebook. It knows our full names, who we're in a relationship with, where we live, what we do on vacation, our likes, dislikes, and now it's starting to guess things a little too accurately. Let me give you an example. Last night facebook suggested that I reconnect with my wife. It said I should send her a message. Now how does facebook know that we were arguing*? And how does facebook know that we haven't been out on a date, just the two of us, in a year?! I didn't post a photo album called "What My Wife Looks Like When She's Mad At Me," I haven't been SuperPoking anyone, and I certainly didn't update my status (it still says "RIP MJ"). So facebook is now beginning to detect things in my marital relationship that I'm barely aware of in real life. If that's not scary, I don't know what is.


*For the record, we weren't arguing. C'mon, people. It's just a joke.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

More Shameful Pride

I mentioned a while back that there are a lot of things I do that I'm simultaneously proud of and ashamed of. They're those things that you would love to brag about, but the only person who would be proud of you would be your clone. So you end up not sharing them. Well, it's time to share them anyway.

I have 74 of the 79 achievements available in Halo 3, the video game. It's taken me over a year to accumulate all of them, and the other five are within reach. I only know one person who has all of them (and he still lives with his parents' so I'm not gonna count him). So I'm maybe a month away from getting all of them done. And the one I did most recently was my Perfection medal on a Mythic map. I got a Running Riot just before the game ended (and maybe three people who read this will know what that means). I jumped up and fist-pumped in front of my recliner. But I had no one to call or brag to. It was sad. No one cares about that stuff except my online friends (and yes, I realize that the term "online friends" is one of the saddest things I've ever written). I wouldn't expect my wife to care. In fact, I would be sad if she cared. I purposely avoided marrying a girl gamer. I'd prefer people to say, "How did Taylor get such a pretty girl to marry him?" rather than "Why doesn't Taylor's wife wash her hair?" Plus, I try not to discuss my video game prowess with her as it tends to lead to marital regret (marital regret = 2 parts eye-rolling + 1 part panicked second-guessing of her proposal acceptance).

The other thing I recently felt the shame/pride combination for was using my empty toothpaste tube five extra times. I was proud because I didn't have to buy toothpaste for an extra two and a half days. But I was ashamed because I spent so much time squeezing and massaging and pounding that little tube just to get a pea-sized amount of Colgate. I saved about a nickel. Not really worth the effort. But I feel good that I got five more uses out of it.

Most of the other things I'm ashamed/proud of are bits of trivia that I remember. I hear a lot of people say, "It's sad that you know that." For example, did you know that the longest word you can type with your left hand on a QWERTY keyboard is "stewardesses"? Or that the longest word with your right hand is "lollipop". Go ahead, try it. It's a weird feeling to let one hand relax for so many consecutive letters. And for those of you (old people) who do the hunt-and-peck typing approach, today is the day you finally regret never learning. Because you're missing out.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I'm So Sorry

I'd like to apologize for the things posted to my blog yesterday. Apparently someone hacked my blogger account and decided it would be funny to go on a hatred-charged rant about all different types of people. I assure you; those comments were not reflective of my own personal feelings. I have since taken down the horribly offensive post and changed the password on my blogger account. I don't want anyone out there to think that what you saw on my blog represented prejudices in my life. I have no ill will towards Inuits and one of my best friends has a club foot. Plus, I've worked with at least five different people from the Czech Republic and never found them to be "sneaky" nor to have "crazy malevolent eyes." And I would never call cat-lovers "lonely" or "future serial killers."

I think the thing that stung the most was the trail of comments. I'm disappointed in those of you who commented on the post. It's one thing to make your opinion known, it's another to applaud such horrible remarks and exchange email addresses to organize a rally against a specific group of people. Shame on you... all 46 of you. Trekkies are people too. I hope you each received my email that included a virus.

So to the 17 followers I lost, I apologize for not being more careful with my account information. In hindsight, it was unwise to use the word "password" as my password. I know now that it's better to use a zero, instead of an "o" so as to throw off the hackers. So in the future, just know that any post you see on my blog that includes six different ethnic slurs, two Senators' names, and seven curse words is not from me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

BLOG CLOSED FOR CONSTRUCTION

The My Older Brothers blog will be closed for laziness construction until further notice. The holidays just happens to be the best time for me to eat too much, lay around, and not spend any time writing anything creative work out some issues with the site. So be assured, the blog will be back when I remember some more good stories to blog about better than ever!

Friday, December 18, 2009

It Didn't Have A Flux Capacitor

I feel kinda bad. I replaced my cell phone's wallpaper picture of my wife to the DeLorean I saw the other day. But really, I see her beautiful face everyday. I've only seen a DeLorean once.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tiffany Didn't Like Me Back

There are times in every man's life when they realize that life's not fair. Santa's not real, jean shorts and a flat top were never cool, and your team won't win the championship. And every one of these revelations hurt. Especially when there's a school picture of me with my shirt tucked into my "jorts" while sporting a flat top. And it makes it into every slideshow I’ve ever been in. So that one still stings.

Another one sticks out in my mind pretty harshly, too. I learned in fourth grade that "Secret Admirer" gifts and cards are not as cool as the movies make them out to be. Because I had a crush on Tiffany. And Tiffany didn't know me all that well. So I snuck over to her cubby (remember those?) and covertly slid a homemade Secret Admirer Valentine into it. But I wasn't as covert as I should have been. Because stupid idiot moronface Tim saw me do it. So he snatched the card as soon as I walked away and then read it in front of the class. And everyone laughed at me because he made sure they all knew that I'd been the one who delivered it. Tiffany never spoke to me again, fourth grade was ruined, I became terrified of girls, and Tim was mean to me the rest of the year. And that wouldn't have been so bad if Tim weren't the teacher.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

For Goodness Sake

I'm a list person. I like listing stuff. I make grocery lists when my wife will let me. I make lists for the errands I need to run. I once made a list of all the lists I needed to make. It was wonderful. So, being a list person, I really like this time of year. I get to make a list of stuff I want for Christmas, a list of things I need to buy for others, a list for grocery items we need. And right now I'm considering making a list of things I want to consume during the Christmas holidays (eggnog, sugar cookies, white chocolate, an entire glazed ham). I don't really care if I ever cross stuff off the list. I just like making them.

Well, last week I was able to add an item to a list. And that can be just as fun. I was able to add something to the list I call "Things That Scare My Kids Even Though You'd Think They'd Like Them." Recent additions to this list have included vacuum cleaners, puppies, my Louis Armstrong impression, and drive-through car washes. But I now have photographic proof that my kids are morbidly terrified of Santa Claus.

Now, they like the idea of Santa Claus. He's a nice man that brings gifts to children for Christmas. So, in theory, they're on board with the whole process. But to see him in person is a different story. From the way they screamed, you'd think we were letting a crazy homeless man in blood-stained clothing take them forever. And I see now why they got that impression. Wildly uncontrolled white hair and beard, red suit, their parents handing them over and running away at top speed. It's scary stuff. And abandonment issues aside, Santa is not as jolly up close as he is in the cartoons and books (and he had a weird accent and surprisingly musty smell). But my wonderful wife obligingly gave up any hope for a lovely picture and abandoned her expectations for good behavior. So while the picture wasn't as nice as some, it was definitely worth the $18 we paid for it. I've never seen so many Facebook comments on one picture.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Does That Say Faylor?

My favorite blog is Cake Wrecks. For those not familiar with it, just click the link and enjoy the sarcastic goodness. Now it may be my favorite blog mostly because it's the only clean humor blog I know of. But still, it makes me laugh almost daily. And it never ceases to amaze me how bad professional cake decorators can be. Well, my younger sister's hobby is decorating cakes. So for my birthday this year (December 1st if you want to jot that on your calendar), she made me my very own cake... wreck.


She took all the best aspects of Cake Wrecks that hurt me most as an English major: misspelling, improper punctuation, poor penmanship, and taking people too literally. Then she fused them together in the awesomest cake I've gotten this year. So behold! My personal cake wreck:















The real shame is that I can't submit it to the Cake Wrecks blog. My younger sister is not a professional baker, so it doesn't qualify. If only I had my own blog! Then I could display it!

*Also, I should clarify that this was an intentional wreck. She's not an idiot. And if she was, I wouldn't make fun of her so blatantly. She reads this blog, after all.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Name Game

I'm a nickname provider, not a nickname receiver. And I really wish I could get a nickname to stick with me. I don't have any outstanding skills that would garner a nickname. And my last name sucks (those who know me personally might catch the pun on that one). So I always try to say stuff or do stuff that will get me a nickname. My only unusual skill is the ability to balance a broom on my foot, then transfer it to my hand, then my chin (Enrique, send me that video). That's if you don't count my ability to breakstuffwhenIdance.

What's really frustrating is that during college, my older brother came to visit me for a weekend. And he joined our weekly game of Ultimate Frisbee. And he's tall and hairy and he played really well that night. So people started calling him "The Mammoth." So all my friends who'd known me for a year assigned him a nickname on his first night! I almost cried. At this point I'd even accept "Baby Mammoth" or something to that effect.

I guess I'm just not talented or crazy enough for a nickname. Because if you think about it, a lot of the people with cool/enviable nicknames are either very talented ("Air" Jordan, "Magic" Johnson) or very insane ("The Unabomber", "Boxcar Willy" from my neighborhood) or both ("Iron Mike" Tyson).

So I'm gonna start taking suggestions for talents I should try to develop. Also, I'll take suggestions for questionable behavior I should start displaying. Because the closest I've ever gotten to a nickname is my dad calling me "Tank" when I was a chunky two-year old.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nodding My Head Like Yeah

Everyday, I walk past the security guard on the way into my building. And in my last building, he sat behind a desk that was only in view when you walked through the door. But the guard at my new building stands in the middle of the foyer, so you see him while you walk from the garage to the doors. So I have to avoid eye contact until just the right moment, so I don't have to nod at him twice. And I keep screwing it up because I forget every morning.

So this morning, I looked up when I came around the corner and he was looking out towards me. So I gave him the customary nod and then lowered my head so I wouldn't have to look at him again. Then I forgot after about 10 steps and looked up again. And I made eye contact by mistake again so I gave him a second nod out of habit. So I dropped my gaze again and walked through the door. Then I had to give him my normal verbal greeting ("Whaaaaassssssuuuuuuuuup?!?!") and I accidentally nodded again! He probably thought I had some kind of nervous tic.

If I could pull off wearing sunglasses, I'd do that. That way he'd never know if I was looking at him. Unfortunately, I have tiny little eyes. So when I wear sunglasses, I look like a nervous tick (Get it? Look at the picture!).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tic Tac?

I got my haircut again recently. I was told that getting it cut more would keep me from losing so much of it (which I'm now convinced was just a marketing ploy). And I had a different lady cutting my hair this time. I told her what I wanted (pink mohawk, star-shaped sideburns) and she ignored me completely. She cut it the way she thought I should have it. Then she styled it with gel and basically just swirled my hair around my head. It looked like I'd been given a very intense swirlie. And it was during my lunch break, so I had to wet my hair in the car with a bottle of water and try to fix it.

But the worst part was when she washed my hair out. If it's free, I always ask for them to wash my hair because otherwise I get those little prickly, stabby hairs that stick to my neck and scalp. Well, I never know if I should open my eyes or close my eyes when the lady washes my hair. Because if I close them, it looks like I'm trying to pretend I'm falling asleep while someone messes with my head. And that's awkward. But if I open my eyes, it's creepy because I stare at the ceiling until her face pops up in front of mine. Then it's like a 2-second staring contest that she wins. And that's super awkward. So I usually split the difference and just close my eyes when they get in my face. But this lady was really short and had to lean over my face a lot, so I chose the perma-shut approach. And her breath was the worst-smelling breath I have ever smelled. Ever.

I don't know if she ate something that had expired in the 80s or if her tongue was decomposing in her mouth, but it smelled like hot garbage. And I had to pretend not to notice. So since I couldn't see when she was coming, I had no notice for when she would breathe on my face. It was horrible. And I couldn't hold my breath because she'd notice when I let it out. And I wasn't gonna be a mouth-breather. That's gross. So I sat there and endured the longest 5-minute hairwash I've ever had.

P.S. - I really wanted to use the phrase "weapon's grade halitosis" but I couldn't make it work. So I figured I'd just mention that.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Top Ten Things That Are Cute For My Son, But Creepy For Me

10. Plumber's crack.

9. "I want a new baby brother for Christmas."

8. Asking for chocolate milk with a hamburger.

7. "Can I take a bath with you?"

6. Stomping on a puddle.

5. "You wanna dance with me, Daddy?"

4. Smiling at strangers.

3. "I wanna wear girl pants, too!"

2. Singing Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift songs.

1. "I gotta go poo-poo!" while running past without pants on.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's Back... Again!

I started my diet yesterday. I figure at the ripe old age of twenty-number, it's finally time to get in shape. And two things made me realize it was time. First, I was raising my hand during a question and answer session at a recent meeting, and I decided to give up on my question because I was too out of breath from holding up my hand. It was too much physical activity for me to put one hand above my head. And that's ridiculous. I should never be so out of shape that I can't put my arm up for 38 seconds. And the second recent event that motivated me was the guy in front of me at McDonald's last week. I was there to order my usual meal (number 3, ketchup only, Diet Coke - light ice), and the McDonald's employee left the previous order up on the fancy computer display. And it read as follows:

5 McRib sandwiches.................................................$12.45
Chocolate Sundae.....................................................$1.00
Tax......................................................................$1.11
Total...................................................................$14.56

So naturally I looked at the occupants of the car in front of me... only to find that there were not occupants, but rather an occupant. The guy ordered 5 McRibs and a chocolate sundae... for himself! Either he's just a fatty or he's the only guy on the planet who thinks that this McRib Farewell Tour (number 5 by my count) is actually the last one.

So why is this the reason I'm motivated to lose weight? I wasn't really all that dismayed by the fact that he was ordering for one. In fact, the only thing I could think was how jealous I was of that order. I actually hesitated before I ordered and contemplated ordering the exact same thing (plus a Diet Coke - light ice).

So I started my diet yesterday. I will purposely be missing the McRib Farewell Tour. And all subsequent McRib Farewell Tours.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Why Cute Babies Aren't Allowed To Drive

So I vowed a long time ago not to be the one to drive before or after a holiday weekend. Of my 11 speeding tickets, 4 of them came on the way home from or on the way to a holiday weekend. But I forgot my rule this weekend. It's been two years since my last ticket and I've been careful about my speed. But the "Construction Zone" didn't even have traffic cones in it. And everyone else was speeding. So it shouldn't have been a big deal to the cop that I was going 75 in a 55. But he thought it was a big deal.

So I came over the hill, saw him, sa
w my speed, and turned on my blinker for the inevitable pulling over I was about to get. And sure enough, he turned on his lights immediately and pulled me over. And 20-over is not something you charm your way out of. So he told me my speed and asked if there was an emergency. I fought off the urge to say something smart-alec, like "Yes, there's a sale at the Gap!" and just shook my head.

Then he asked, "Is that your beautiful baby girl back there?" And expecting some kind of lecture on protecting my family, I said yes. But he kept staring at her. It was then that I realized she'd woken up right as I pulled over. Then he asked her"Did you just wink at me?" Then he handed me my license and said, "She just saved you a ticket. Keep your speed down. Have a nice day." So we pulled away and got back on the road again. And she went right back to sleep. It was like she woke up specifically to save the day and then continued her nap.

So now I can add another thing to the list of unforeseen perks of being a parent. It's number 2 right after the tax write-off.

And be honest... could you write a ticket for someone when this face is winking at you from the backseat?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Will Blog For Christmas Money

My wife and I agreed from the onset that we don't keep stuff from each other. There are no secrets. And the only exception to that rule is speeding tickets... I mean Christmas and birthday gifts. We're allowed to keep gifts and gift plans secret. So I'm selling some stuff on eBay and doing surveys online and selling my blood to vampires to raise some secret money for her Christmas gift. Okay, only two of those are true (because online surveys are lame). The problem is, I only have random stuff to sell on eBay and I only have so much blood... I mean I only have so much time to do surveys. So I've hit the point now where I'm taking donations via PayPal. And if you'd like to contribute, just hit "Donate" on the right side of the screen.

And please be assured, this is definitely a scam. You won't get anything out of this. You'll lose money and someone you don't even know (who is a lovely person, by the way) will get a better gift this year. So at least I'm up front about it.

So, if you know my wife, please don't tell her about this post. You know who you are, so I don't have to name people specifically (but I will - Jill, Landry, Amy, Eva). And to make sure she never finds out about it, I'm hiding the information in the last place she'll ever look - my blog!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Give Up

Fine, I'll admit it... the last post was about me. I hate looking stupid, okay? Is that really such a crime? And once again I failed. And once again it was in an elevator. I had an unopened Rockstar energy drink in my hand and reached to hit the button for my floor. And on any other day I would probably be alone on the elevator. But today it had four other people in it. So I reached for the button and my gripped loosened. The Rockstar slid from my fingers in slow motion and gravity took it. And in hindsight, I realize I should have just let it drop. It was unopened, so the worse thing that could have happened was a dented can and a loud noise. But I didn't just let it drop. I tried to save it.

And in the next 4 seconds I went from the guy who dropped something in the elevator to the idiot who lost his mind in the elevator. I started by throwing my other hand under the can. And I managed to get underneath it, and then tried to grip again, only to fail again. But I'd at least changed the direction it was going. So as it flipped back up through the air, I tried to cradle it with both hands as I leaned against the side wall. But it was wet and I was nervous in front of my suddenly-captivated audience. So it bounced off my hands and hit the buttons, lighting up a floor that nobody needed. Then I grabbed at it again and tried to pin it against the wall. But I still couldn't grip it, so it bounced loudly off the wall and cascaded to the floor. At which point a slightly embarrassed, normal person would have let it go. But not me. I stuck my foot out, trying to slow it down. Only to have it smash my toe and hit the ground anyway as I winced in pain and lost my balance. So I almost fell down, then I had to bend down and pick up my destroyed can.

The guy behind me suggested (without so much as a smile) that I should probably wait to open the can. Then we all stood staring into an empty hallway when the doors opened on the third floor (thanks to my Rockstar hitting the button), and I felt like an even bigger idiot. So on the way out today, I'm gonna see if that's the floor where I left my dignity. Because I can't seem to find it anywhere.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dumb And Dumber

My older brother's main goal in life is not to look stupid. Unattractive is fine. Unfunny is okay. And slightly smelly is manageable. But being thought stupid is too much to handle. So getting through life without looking like a complete moron is his main objective. Unfortunately, when you focus so hard on that, you set yourself up to look even more stupid.

For example, he's usually afraid to ask people for help with stuff. I guess he thinks people will laugh at him if he doesn't know what he's talking about. That's how he spent two weeks in the wrong class in college because he never bothered to ask anyone why his American History professor was talking about Pre-Cambrian organisms. I guess he figured the professor wanted to give a really thorough background for his lectures on the Revolutionary War.

That's also how he ended up in the wrong state because he figured he could guess which way to go on the highway for an hour rather than call someone or stop and ask a local. We still joke with him that he can't drive anyone anywhere because they'll end up in Georgia.

But the funniest stuff is when he thinks he knows what he's talking about. He'd rather make something up than admit he doesn't know. So if you ask him about hockey, he won't admit that he doesn't watch hockey. He'll attempt feebly to stay with the conversation and throw out whatever information he can recall from the deep recesses of his memory. So I do what any brother should do... I mess with him. I talk about stuff that he's never heard of (because I make it up on the spot) and then try to get him to admit he doesn't know what it is. And if you could have heard him trying to stay with a conversation about a new species of monkey scientists recently discovered in the Adirondacks, you'd laugh as hard as I did. But I have to admit, he almost convinced me that he'd played a game called Sninkerwintz, even though I'd invented it 30 seconds earlier. So much for not looking stupid.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Laughter Is The Best Defense

My son (who is 3) just got a haircut from his mom (who is... awesome). And he has what the barber called a "double crown." It's supposed to have something to do with where the hair starts moving in a different direction on his scalp. It really just means that he's got hair on the back of his head that naturally forms a pyramid shape. So when we cut it, we have to put gel or mousse in it. So my wife noticed how quiet he was being (a little too quiet) and walked slowly (a little too slowly) into the bathroom looking for Andrew (a little too Andrew)*.

He was sitting on the bathroom counter, applying copious amounts of hair gel to the top of his head (and the back of his neck). My wife asked him what he was doing, and he just raised his eyebrows and looked back at his reflection. So my wife asked again what he was doing. And he looked at her, then looked back at his reflection and said, "Helloooooo Gorgeous!" And she laughed so hard that he didn't even get in trouble.

And he's getting really good at making us laugh when he's supposed to be in trouble. Last week, I told him to put up his toys and he said, "I can't right now. I need to dance." Then he did the toddler robot to a Black-Eyed Peas song that was on. I couldn't help but be impressed. And the other day, I told him to do something and he disobeyed. So I asked him, "You didn't do what I asked you to do. Do you know what happens now?" He said, "Chocolate?" And we laughed about it over a Snickers.

*Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze reference!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Arbitrary Post Title

Here are my random thoughts for today:

- I have red Wal-Mart knockoff cough drops and the guy at the end of my row has blue Halls cough drops. And he's away from his desk right now. So I think I'm gonna sneak a red one into his bag of blues and see if he notices. He doesn't know me very well, so he probably won't suspect me.

- I got a donut from the next department. They don't know I got one, but I think 10:00am is the cutoff for hording breakfast foods. At that point, if they haven't been eaten, they should be in the common area for everybody else. So I don't feel bad for stealing one (except I do feel bad).

- My older brother broke the back of his office chair yesterday. He leaned back too far and SNAP! So now I'm going to make fun of him. I'm already calling him "Brokeback" and getting others to do the same.

- It's eggnog season! I'm buying eggnog today and going to Starbucks for an eggnog latte and going to Jack-In-the-Box for an eggnog milkshake and buying eggnog creamer for my coffee! I just wish I wasn't horribly allergic to milk products. That way I wouldn't have to be deathly ill.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Just Park And Walk In

Shipley's, believe or not (see what I did there?), doesn't have a menu on it's drive-thru wall. Shouldn't it be required that any donut shop with a drive-thru have a list of the donuts they offer? Because that seems to make sense to me. Even a piece of paper tacked to the wall would help. Or a chalkboard with a list of all the fillings they offer. Because I totally panicked. I pulled up to the window and the lady asked me what I wanted. And I did a big clockwise circle with my head, trying to find the stupid menu. And she looked at me like I was crazy. So I blurted out, "Uh, I need a dozen donuts!" And she just stared at me. Then I'm pretty sure she hit one of those hidden buttons under the counter like a silent alarm to alert all the other workers that they had a weirdo at the window to stare at.

So with 15 people staring at me, 20 minutes after I woke up, I had to try to remember as many types of donuts I could besides glazed. And all I could remember were the ones I don't like that much. So I got two cherry-filled, two cream-filled (I couldn't think of the word "custard"!) and two chocolate (without sprinkles!!!!!!). Which means I managed to get six plain glazed and six donuts that nobody wanted. So I sat alone in a dark conference room and wept while I choked down the cherry (cough syrup) donut. But at least I didn't completely lose my head and order that pink icing with peanuts Frankenstein-donut that always ends up by itself in the box.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Just Have Something In My Eye, That's All

I think women get a bad wrap for not being in control of their emotions. I think they're just less adept at hiding it. Because I get upset about some pretty stupid stuff. And I freak out (albeit internally) when something really petty gets to me. I mean, I don't cry during sunsets or Oprah, but my internal monologue includes phrases like "not fair" and "I can't believe she said that."

Here's a good example of what I'm talking about. In my senior year of high school, all my CDs were stolen from a cabinet in the newspaper staff room. Putting aside the dorkiness of my being a member of the high school newspaper staff, this was a sad day for me. And I can still remember which CDs I'm missing. But the one that stings most is my Lou Bega CD. Because I can go to a store and replace my Wallflowers CD and my Tim McGraw Greatest Hits CD if I really wanted to. But I will never walk into a store and look for Lou Bega (wait, is there still a 'Mambo' section?). I'm pretty sure no one would have it and I wouldn't want anyone to hear me ask for it or see me purchase it. Anyway, it still makes me sad to this day that I don't have closure with that album, as outdated and ridiculous as it would be now. And I feel a little pang in my heart (half nostalgia, half embarrassment, half sadness... half misunderstanding of halves) every time I think about it.

Here's one more example. I have to fight back tears when I watch those fatties on The Biggest Loser. There's something about watching somebody change their life through diet and exercise. And then to see when they reunite with their family and their brother or sister can hug them and make it all the way around for the first time in years... I get a little choked up.

So maybe I should be easier on my wife the next time she gets upset. I'll just think about Mambo Number 5 and those slightly overweight people holding the giant pants in front of them like Jared from Subway.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Just Hangin' Out

My older brother went to the dry cleaners last week to drop off a few shirts. And when he walked in, the lady working there was reading a book in a hammock... inside the store... in the middle of the work day. But he didn't take a picture with his cell phone! So I have two problems with that situation.

First, it's shocking to me that he didn't take this lady's picture. I mean, if someone is willing to install an outdoor hammock inside a building and use it in full view, I don't think they'd mind if you took a picture of them using it. In fact, if they happened to be slightly self-conscious about using the hammock, a person taking their picture would probably make them feel better about the whole situation. So why my brother didn't take a picture is beyond me. That would be my first instinct.

Second, and probably more obvious, why would someone install a hammock in their store? Maybe it's because of my size, but I've never found hammocks to be so much more comfortable than a chair that I resent not owning one. And it's hard for me to imagine that if you're a business owner, you can't budget for an eight dollar metal folding chair. Did she bring the hammock from home? Did she buy it at Sam's with her businessperson discount? Is it possibly a tax write-off? Is she selling homemade hammocks? Okay, that actually sounds reasonable. She probably makes hand-woven hammocks and that's her sales technique. How better to get the word out on your merchandise than to display and use them in public. It works for those toy helicopter salesmen in the mall.


But I do know one thing for sure. I'm purposely staining my shirt with some coffee today just so I can go in that store with my camera phone ready.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Top Ten Quotes I Wish I Could Use In Real Life Situations

10. "You rush a miracle, you get rotten miracles."

9. "You can't handle the truth!"

8. "I believe in fairies!"

7. "It's an honor just to be nominated."

6. "That's what she said."

5. "You're not thinking fourth dimensionally!"

4. "The call is coming from inside the house!"

3. "Get behind me, Satan."

2. "Your mom goes to college!" -or- "You're bruisin' my neckmeat!"

1. "No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Sticks And Stones, Love"

The last time I got my hair cut, the lady cutting my hair told me that I needed to come in more often. She said, "You know, you won't lose so much hair if you get it cut more." But I hadn't mentioned the fact that my hair was thinning. So she forced me to take that awkward jump from denial into acceptance. Because usually I set up camp on denial until I can make some kind of joke about hair loss. But I didn't get to make that usual stop at self-deprecating break-the-ice humor ("I don't think of it as a receding hairline. I think of it as a retractable roof.") And it was totally unintentional, so I didn't even get an apology to work with. Because I can usually spin that into something funny. So I just sat there awkwardly because she basically told me that I was balding and it was my fault. So I felt like a complete loser.

And that kind of stuff seems to happen a lot. I feel like a loser because someone said something unintentionally mean. I can think of one example in particular from when my wife was pregnant with our first child (Well, my first child. We're still not sure if she's the mother.) I said something about how cool it would be to see how the baby looked when he was born. So here's our conversation:

My lovely wife: "Yeah, you know we're gonna be upset when he comes out with all our worst qualities. I bet he comes out pale, fat, and hairy."
Me: "Hey, wait a minute! Those are only my worst qualities!"
My domestic partner: "Oh no. I'm sorry! I didn't mean it like that! I'm sure he'll be... um... well, he'll have... a weird-shaped big toe like me!
Me: "That's the best you can come up with? A weird big toe?"
The pregnant lady in my house: "Well, what do you want me to say? You have to admit that you're... it's just that I'm a little bit more... oh, never mind. I'm gonna offend you no matter how I finish this sentence."
Me: "Shhh! Lost is coming on!"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"They Say Taupe Is Soothing"

Yesterday, I threw a little tantrum. It wasn't visible or anything, but it happened. Because I'm not so good with change, and my entire job was moved to a different building... at a different desk... in a different chair! And the bathrooms are on the wrong side of the hall, and the walls are a different color. And I have a different chair!

I threw a little hissy-fit/pity-party for myself yesterday when I sat down in my stupid chair. It leans too far back and it's really wobbly. And everything is different. I felt like Woody in Toy Story when Buzz has his "suddenly-I'm-the-coolest-toy-in-Andy's-room" montage. I actually found "Strange Things Are Happening To Me" from the Toy Story soundtrack on my iPod and played it on repeat. Then I read the book Who Moved My Cheese seven times. Then I watched Pleasantville and identified with the mayor. Then I read Green Eggs and Ham. Then I ran out of examples of media that demonstrate how upset I was that my routine had changed. And now I just want my old chair back.

Friday, November 6, 2009

"I Wondered Where That Went!"

It's moving day here at our office. Our entire group is moving next door to another building. I've packed all my supplies and personal items and tagged them accordingly. But here's the weird stuff I found:

-A basketball (fully inflated)
-An Iron Man cake topper
-An expired coupon for Ballpark Franks (I've been looking for that for months)
-A Michael Scott mousepad (that I totally forgot to mail to AFWingMom for winning the caption contest!)
-A grocery sack full of Coca-Cola product bottle caps and box tops (redeemed for 4500 Coke Reward points and then redeemed for my first pair of Nike Shox)
-A Garfield piggy bank
-A printout of this.
-One nickel and 3 wheat pennies

That's all the interesting stuff. I've already put my 8 cents in my Garfield bank and ripped the expiration date off my hot dog coupon so I can try it this week at the grocery store.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sharing Your Special Day

I share a birthday with my brother and my mom. I know, I know. That's weird. And we're not twins, and it wasn't on purpose, but that's the way it is. And my brother always told me happy birthday first because he knew I had to say it back to him. It was his favorite way of reminding me that I didn't have my own day. And because my parents didn't want my sister feeling left out, she would usually get a gift too. So it was like a less-awesome version of Christmas. Except we didn't get to sleep in, and we didn't get as many presents.

But the funniest part about sharing a birthday was that every year, without fail, my father would say the same thing to us. "Kids, this year I want to make it about your mom." What that meant is that he didn't have a clue what Mom got us, but he was gonna make sure he got her everything she ever wanted. Wait... let me rephrase that. He was gonna make sure he got her the most random stuff he could think of. So he got her appliances and stuffed animals and stereo systems. He got her furniture and shoes and clothes (as if he knew her size). It was really funny because my mom seemed to like everything she got. Whether she was pretending to like the gifts or she genuinely liked them, I'll never know. But it was fun to watch her open such random things (like a phone charger). If she was pretending to like them, then kudos to her for being so convincing.

Although, now that I think about it, I don't think I've seen that stereo system since she opened it. Or the toaster. Or the singing jewelry box. Or the 5-foot tall stuffed teddy bear. So either someone at Goodwill gets new stuff every December, or she found the receipts.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Every Two Years

My wife and I started dating 7 years ago today. And I proposed 5 years ago today. And our son was born 3 years ago this Saturday. And our daughter was born 1 year ago next Thursday. It seems like we're having some kind of big event every other November. So I guess that means something really cool and life-changing will happen next year at this time.

I hope that means we'll finally get to be on Wheel of Fortune together. Because we would totally win. I once got the puzzle "Thomas Jefferson" with just the "T". And my wife rocks at the toss-ups and the final puzzle. And we would never buy a vowel right before solving the puzzle. And we'd never yell, "Big money!"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sick Days Can Be Fun Days

I called in sick yesterday. And I felt bad for doing it. I wasn't lying. I emailed my boss and explained that I was feeling better, but thought it best to take one more day to fully recover and make sure I didn't get anyone at work sick. So I wasn't lying or pretending. But I still felt bad. I felt like "being sick" should mean having a fever and staying in bed all day. Or maybe throwing up and not changing out of my pajamas. But I got up at a decent time and took a shower. I straightened up a few messes I'd made over the weekend. And then I played video games all day while my wife was out with the kids. (On a sidenote, she met some other moms at a ranch and my son got to ride a horse and play in a haystack. So I was jealous. I love horses and hay!)

And now I'm grappling with myself on how much information to share with my boss. Do I admit that I felt okay, but I was worried about getting coworkers sick? Or do I just not say anything? Because if I don't say anything, I'm implying that I was deathly ill. Either way I feel like I was dishonest, even though I wasn't.

I'm really having trouble with the fact that I had fun on a day when I called in sick. I feel like I broke the law or something.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Required Halloween Post

I have a quick gripe. I'll just do it and then I can move on. There is a very big difference between a costume party and a character party. Nobody throws Halloween character parties and there's good reason for that. So if your costume involves your voice or the way you walk or certain choreographed dance moves, it's not a costume. It's an impersonation. And it's probably not a good one.

What not to do:
My older brother decided one year to dress as an old man with a walker. And instead of just looking like a senile old man, he acted like one. So he yelled at people about bowel movements and talked about the old days... for 4 hours. He didn't once break character. Which was funny for about 14 seconds... out of the 4 hours.

What to do:
One of my younger sisters dressed up like Where's Waldo. Just a simple striped outfit and matching hat with some thick glasses. Then she stood in the background of every picture she could get into. Hilarious. Not over the top. No voices, actions, etc. Just looking like what she was supposed to look and adding a little humor for pictures. Great costume.

So if you're coming to any of my future Halloween parties, don't act like something, just dress like something.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nobody Calls Me Chicken

Sometimes when I walk down a long hallway or a long stretch of sidewalk, I try to walk with my eyes closed for a long time. It's like playing chicken with myself. I usually try to see how far or how long I can walk without freaking out about tripping or running into something (I don't recommend doing this on a crosswalk).

It's not so dangerous on a sidewalk. The worse thing that can happen is the occasional person seeing me from afar off and wondering why my eyes are closed. But it's quite dangerous in a long hallway. Because there's a chance that someone will come around a corner (who breathes quietly and doesn't wear squeaky shoes) and I'll walk right at them. And that almost happened yesterday. I was playing personal chicken in the hallway, and I opened my eyes about 5 feet from where I was going to open a door. But to my surprise there was a man standing directly in front of me, looking at me like I was insane. So, standing in the middle of the hallway like an idiot, I jumped about three feet in the air and inhaled sharply (snorted).

So the guy probably thought I fell asleep while walking and he jolted me awake. And I prefer someone thinking that over someone knowing that I play chicken with myself in a hallway.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Top Ten Things That Hit My Nostalgia Nerve When I Hear People Say Them

10. "Go fish!"

9. "Y2K"

8. "One point twenty-one jigga-watts!"

7. "As you wish."

6. "Heads up, seven up!"

5. "You sunk my battleship!"

4. "Pogs"

3. "Updog"

2. "Our Princess is in another castle."

1. "Kimmy Gibler"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Delicious... I Meant Delicious

Why is it that my older brother can say whatever he wants and nobody bats an eye? He calls people "dawg" and uses the word "true" as an affirmative response. ("Sir, would you like another Diet Coke?" - "True!") And nobody ever makes fun of him for it. But I branch out for one little phrase and everybody laughs at the nerdy fat white kid. Apparently, I'm not cool enough to pull off the phrase "this mango juice is da bomb."

Everybody at the table laughed at me and then shook their heads in unison. The only verbal response I got was, "No. You just can't.... Never again." I think it was a combination of the fact that I don't ever say that kind of stuff, I was the nerdiest person at the table, and I was commenting on mango juice. If only I was with a bunch of other nerds and we were having barbeque or something. Then maybe I could use that phrase.

The thing that I realized, though, is that I got off easy. I've held back on my more ridiculous phrases for a long time. So now I know I can't say, "You got served!" And I can definitely cross "off the chain," "tru dat," and "play on, playa" off of my list of things to say out loud.

Monday, October 26, 2009

This Is My 100th Post - And It's Not Very Good

I burned my tongue this morning. And now my mouth tastes like I licked an envelope. It's a little numb and really unpleasant. I'm sure that there's a direct correlation between coffee temperature and desire for coffee. Because the more badly I need caffeine on a Monday morning, the hotter the coffee is when I take my first sip. Kinda dragging and just want something to drink in the morning? Cold coffee. Bloodshot eyes and mumbled speech after 3 hours of restless sleep? Lava coffee.

This is yet another instance where I can never get something just right. I'm like the first two parts of Goldie Locks. Too hot, too cold. Too hard, too soft. Too much, too little. I go through an entire box of cereal and most of the milk, just trying to find the perfect ratio of the two for my bowl. I have four pounds of deodorant on one arm and a thin, worthless layer on the other. So depending on which side of me you're sitting on, you might think I work at the department store cologne counter or an underground sweatshop.

If I could just average out my mistakes with my successes, I could consider myself a success. It's like being bipolar with everything but my emotions. That's why some people who meet me think I'm an idiot, but others think I'm a certifiable genius (okay, that's just my son, but still). I remember in junior high school that I made a stupid mistake on a group assignment in science class and the girl I was working with thought I was a complete moron. And then I got nervous every time I talked to her or worked with her, so I just made it worse. I always dropped stuff and used the wrong words for stuff. And at the end of the year, I had the highest grade on the last test and she was shocked. I'm sure she thought I was the Rain Man or something like that.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dapper Dan

When people say you look like a celebrity, don't get excited. Because you can look very similar to a good-looking celebrity and still be really ugly (like an evil twin). Or, as my older brother pointed out to me, you can look like a not-so-good-looking celebrity. I would prefer to be told that I look similar to George Clooney or Leonardo DiCaprio. (Is it a bad sign that I can spell his name correctly on the first try?) I could handle the fact that it was just a comparison and I was essentially the generic knockoff substitute.

But my brother likes to tell me I look like a younger Dan Aykroyd. And I don't mean to rag on Mr. Aykroyd. I'm sure he's a nice man. I mean, he was a Ghostbuster after all. But looking like him isn't exactly a compliment. And it stings even worse because I saw a picture of him on my SNL Trivial Pursuit game (which I am really good at) and at a glance I thought I saw a picture of myself. So it kinda hits a nerve.


My brother also told me that I look like Tom Cruise. But he said I looked like Tom Cruise in that move The Firm when he's been awake for 48 hours and he's running for his life for twenty minutes. He even freeze-framed it for me for reference. Why can't I just be George Clooney's evil twin?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What's My Age Again?

I can't figure out how old I am. I mean, I know my actual age, but some of the things I do just don't match that number. I'm in my mid(to-late)-twenties, but there's a lot of stuff in my life that doesn't fit that age.
I drink coffee in the morning (like a 30-year old man), I'm losing my hair (like a 40-year old man), and I clip coupons almost daily (like a 60-year old woman). But I also play video games, stay up really late, and think flatulence is hilarious. And that stuff makes it seem like I'm about to hit puberty.
If you're only as old as you feel, then I definitely don't know how old I am. It depends on what I'm doing when you ask. I'll just have to combine all of the extremes so they average out. I'll stay up really late to clip coupons, drink coffee while I play video games in the morning, and make flatulent noises while I apply my Rogaine.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One And Done

I have a few people I know who I'm not really that close to, but I know a few key things about them. But I'm always afraid to mention the limited knowledge I have for fear that I'll be that guy that only ever talks about one thing. I'm really afraid of doing that because people always do that to me. Like if they know I write a blog, but that's all they know about me, then their first question after saying hello is, "So how's the blog going?" And then that's all they ever ask me. And I have to try to make blog-writing interesting in normal conversation.

There's this older guy I work with who only knows one thing about me. So every time I run into him, he tries to squeeze it into conversation. He knows my dad because they used to work together. And all he ever says to me is something related to my father. He drew my name in a raffle a couple of weeks ago for a brand new iPod (yes I won an iPod, so be jealous), and as I walked up to get it he said, "So you gonna let your dad borrow this?" As if that had anything to do with anything. At that point I'd just prefer he pretend he didn't know me at all.

Then last week he was part of a group of people passing out some company logo stress balls when I walked into the building. And as he handed me a stress ball he said, "Not to be used as a projectile towards family members... like your dad." I didn't even know how to respond. He kinda caught me off-guard on that one. So I was forced to mumble something about stress and keep moving.

I really would prefer that he didn't talk to me. He's just trying too hard. And it's an insult for him to think I won't catch on. So what I think I'll do is find one tidbit about him and mention it every time I see him. Then I can beat him to the punch. And the weirder the information I can get, the better. I wonder if he's had a vasectomy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

100 Degrees For One Degree

I think I was always destined to be an English major. Because I've always been monumentally annoyed when people mispronounce or misspell things. I lived in a foreign country (Louisiana) for a few years in elementary school and almost had a nervous breakdown at age 7 because people referred to a desk as a "dex" and the spelling bee was only six minutes long. So it's always been important for me to correct people's grammar and spelling.

So let's fast forward about 14 years to college. After three years of "studying," I only had 60 credit hours to my name. Or in other words, I'd completed roughly two years worth of college in just three years. And that's right on pace for a six-year degree. The problem at the time was that my university requires students to declare a major once they've hit 60 credit hours. And after three years of college, I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do. (Ambition is obviously not one of my strengths.) So since Texas A&M University doesn't give out degrees in General Studies, I had to pick a major that would accept my solid 2.01 grade point average.

I decided my best bet was somewhere in the College of Liberal Arts, so I headed down to their office in August a few weeks before school started. I looked at the requirements and possible jobs available for each major. And since I only had a few strengths in a couple of areas, I narrowed it down to Political Science (what I still call Social Studies) and English. And I couldn't really decide which one I wanted to do. So I read further down and realized that to declare Political Science I'd have to walk about half a mile across campus in the Texas August heat to their main building. But to declare English, I just had to walk down a flight of stairs to their air-conditioned office on the second floor.

You already know I picked English, but now you know why. Me + walking in the Texas summer sun = profuse sweating and possible collapse. But I'd rather be a lazy English major than a sweaty Political Science major any day.

Monday, October 19, 2009

We Have Our Blogfan Challenge Winner!

Congratulations to Kelly H. from North Carolina!

She figured out the clues and won a year's subscription of Better Homes and Gardens magazine!

For those of you who are curious, the clues led to another blog at fatclowns.blogspot.com.
When highlighted and deciphered, the answer to the last clue was of "traffic lights."

So congratulations again to Kelly! And for those of you who were only visiting the blogs for a chance at the prize, I'm sorry that you'll have to settle for just regular blog posts now.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Great Sandwich Caper

My younger sister is afraid of strangers. She's in her 20s, but she acts like someone's gonna try to lure her away with candy or throw her into a van at any moment. And I'm confident that I know why she's like this. It's because she has a really good memory. She never forgets anything that anybody tells her (regardless of how true it is). And she's been banned from watching the local news because she keeps a list of horrific crimes that have been covered. So she can recite exactly what happened to the last newsworthy victim who "thought they were safe too."

I don't really scare very easily. I figure my chances of getting mugged are smaller than most because a) I'm 6'3" and 275 pounds, b) I don't drive a nice car or carry valuables, and c) I'm not good-looking enough to worry about someone's lust taking over when they see me. So I guess it might be unfair to judge my sister when she gets worried. But I think there should be a little more common sense sometimes.

A few years ago, when I was in college, my roommates and I invited a big group of people over to our house to watch a football game. And we had a really big, really inexpensive house. It was inexpensive because it was in the worst neighborhood in the whole city. Well, because so many people were coming and going, we left the front and back doors unlocked (which was not common practice for the ghetto we lived in). So about halfway through the game a rather old (and rather tipsy) woman walked right in through the back door. She started asking people for any money they could spare so she and her roommate could go to the grocery store for some food. Most people thought it was weird or funny, but just avoided her. But since I was the guy who invited everyone over, I figured I should talk to her. So (before realizing she was a little out of it) I asked her what she needed. I didn't have any cash, so I made her two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and gave her a bag of chips (in about 12.5 seconds). And on the way out she asked if we were a church. So I figured she just got a little mixed up because of all the cars outside and assumed that we were a local community church. No big deal, really. Just kind of weird and kind of funny and a little sad.

But my little sister had a very different reaction. At first seeing the woman (and let me remind you, she was old), my sister freaked out and ran into the other room. I don't know if she expected the lady to pull a gun on one of us from her muumuu or maybe pull off a realistic old-lady mask and explain her plot to take over the world. But in any case, my sister was terrified. She hid behind the next biggest guy in the house and looked like she was about to cry. And if she could have made it to the door, I'm sure she would have jumped in her car and driven home at top speed. Then after the lady left, my sister kept shaking and asking if we should call the police. Talk about an overreaction.

And I think I can really blame this total distrust of strangers on my mother. She wouldn't just give us the standard "stay close to me so you don't get lost" when we were in the store. We were more likely to hear, "If you don't stay with me, then the gypsies will steal you!" And that will scar a child emotionally.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Figured It Out

Here's the difference between an optimist and a pessimist:

The scenario is that someone laughs at how big your shirt is (like someone did to me last week) and says, "Wow, that shirt is huge! That's not yours, is it?"

If you're a pessimist, you'll think they're saying it's because they didn't realize how fat you are (and then you'll cry).

If you're an optimist, you'll think they're saying it's because you look smaller than you think you do (because you're in denial).

And if you’re a realist you'll know that they're saying it because you wear a XXXL that looks like a parachute with sleeves.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Accordion To Jim

One of my older brothers (let's call him "Jim" so the title works) gets a lot of joy out of messing with people. He's not as fond of pranks as some of my other brothers are, so he just enjoys the smaller things.

When our grandmother was sick, people would ask how she was doing. And he'd make a serious face and say, "Well, she's in a better place now. She moved to Florida." But he'd always be sure to take a sip of his drink or cough for a moment between the two sentences. That way people thought for a couple of seconds that she'd died. Pretty mean, but pretty clever.

He also likes to plant little seeds of doubt in people's minds. He'll throw something into a conversation and never let anyone know he was joking. For example, I once heard him say, "Well, I was talking to my parole officer... um, I mean... a friend of mine who's a parole officer and he agreed with me." And then he didn't acknowledge that he'd said anything strange. So then the person he was talking to tried to figure out in their head whether or not he was kidding. ("He doesn't seem like a drug dealer, but maybe he was busted for possession. I could definitely seem him being a recovering addict ex-con.")

The funniest one that he pulled was convincing his girlfriend that he was a skilled accordion player. He actually talked to everyone in the family ahead of time and made sure that they didn't call him out on it. And then he came up with an elaborate story about how our parents had made him play when he was a kid. Even though I knew the truth, it was hard not to believe him. He's really convincing. But his girlfriend got pretty mad when she found out we were all in on it. She's kinda sensitive about being gullible. (She got excited when I told her that she should get the new "Accordion Hero" video game for him.) Plus, I think she might be a closet polka fan, and it hurt her feelings that we were treating it so lightly.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I Had To Look Up The Proper Spelling For 'Wedgie'

The best insults are the ones that hit a nerve or touch on a subject that someone is really insecure about. That's why you won't hurt my feelings if you make fun of the small amount of gray hair on my head. Because I'm not self-conscious about that. I'm okay with going gray way too early. But if you mock my not-crooked-enough-to-get-braces-but-crooked-enough-to-refrain-from-smiling-too-often teeth, then I'll probably cry and run away. But, my wife has found a new, nerve-hitting insult to throw out whenever I say something stupid. And all she has to say is, "Why don't you blog about it?"

See, I feel really dorky about certain aspects of my life. I don't broadcast some things about me because the average person jumps to certain conclusions (like "nerd" or "loser" or "needs a wedgie") when I talk about video games or Scrabble skills or writing a blog. And I know I'm supposed to embrace my individuality and all that, but just saying the word "blog" makes my voice go really high and gives me the urge to push glasses up my nose (even though I don't wear glasses).

So when my wife wants to send a zinger my way, she can avoid being mean but still give me an emotional wedgie (and if I ever start a band, our name will definitely be Emotional Wedgie). My wife will never make fun of my graying hair or my semi-crooked teeth. She's not mean like that. She knows that I don't have any control over that stuff and it would be cruel to make me feel more insecure. But when we get in a good-natured insult contest (or Yo Mamma competition) she knows exactly what to say. And I've yet to come up with an answer for it.

But now I've brought it full circle (like an emotional swirlie, maybe?). I start a blog, she mocks me for starting a blog, I blog about her mocking me for having a blog. And next, I think she'll mock me for blogging about her mocking of my blog. In the meantime, I have a headache from typing that last sentence.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sometimes I Don't Have A Funny Story

I almost ran over a squirrel last week. And I wasn't trying to run over a defenseless animal (because those dark days are finally behind me). But he didn't do anything to get out of the way. He was lying on his stomach in the middle of the road and I thought he'd already been run over. He didn't budge for the quarter mile it took me to get to him. And I avoided him by a few inches. Then I looked in my mirror and he was gone. Not gone like I was at the wrong angle to see him. I mean gone like the section of the road where he was laying was suddenly empty.

And it freaked me out more than it should have. Because I couldn't figure out why he would do that. I thought maybe he was injured and couldn't move very well, but he had to have darted off the road pretty quick for me not to see him. And since logic doesn't sound like much fun today, I'm thinking the explanation is one of three things.

Option one is that he was suicidal. He had recently lost his girlfriend or found out about a tragically ironic nut allergy. So he decided that life wasn't worth the living. And then when the one chance he had drove right past him, he chose a busier street and jetted off to make it happen. But that sounds pretty far-fetched.

Option two is that he was playing Extreme Rodent Truth-Or-Dare and his dare was to play chicken with a minivan Corvette. And if this is the case, I'm impressed. Because that's gutsy. And frankly, the awesomest thing I've ever imagined.

Option three is that he was waiting for a vehicle to stow away on. And then as I passed, he grabbed onto my running board with his tiny ninja squirrel paws and tucked himself away under my car. Which means I have a freakishly strong, totally fearless, extremely patient squirrel in my garage. Or maybe in my house. Which is both awesome and terrifying.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Camera Subtracts Ten Pounds

So I think I've figured out why it's hard to lose weight. Because I always thought it was a combination of my love of food, hatred of exercise, and general laziness. But it turns out, it's something else (coupled with my obvious denial). It's the discouragement I feel when I look at pictures of my former self.

The advent of better technology (like the digital camera) has made it possible for me to delete photos that emphasize my size. So if I take a bad picture, I can delete it and leave the better ones. The problem is that people always look at the pictures later and say, "You were a lot thinner in this picture." And they never realize what that means. It never occurs to them that their implying I've gotten fatter, and that they're basically telling me that I am a walking "Before" shot while all my old pictures are the "After" shots. And I even get this comment the week after the picture is taken. I miss the days when a lazy friend would take a picture, and I knew they wouldn't get it developed for at least 3 years. Now my picture can be on facebook in three minutes. I can't stop that kind of speed. My only other option is to stop destroying the evidence and leave the pictures on the camera. So I can't win. Either people always know how fat I am because they have photographical proof, or they think I've gained weight constantly.

Of course, the real reason it's hard for me to lose weight is because I love food. All kinds of food. And I'm lazy, so I don't like exercising. I mean, it would be fun if I could exorcise... but not exercise (wordplay!).

I guess I'll just have to find a way to look thinner all the time. Because I can clear camera memory, but I can't clear human memories (wordplay again!). On a purely unrelated note, does anyone know if there's a man's version of a girdle? (Maybe something called a "boydle"?)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Facebook Only A Mother Could Love

My mom was trying to remind everyone that it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but she forgot the word "Cancer". So her status on facebook said, "Just a reminder that it's Breast Awareness Month. Do what you can to help this cause." And that's hilarious. Because the point of raising awareness is to make people more aware of a particular issue or occurrence. So my mom is essentially advocating that people be more aware of... well, you know. Like there are people out there who were unaware of their existence ("Hey! What are those?!"). Or maybe she just wants people to be more aware of them ("There's some! And there's some! And there's some!"). Either way it's really funny when you take it literally.

But I want to raise awareness for a different cause. I'm calling it the Advocacy Group to Keep Parents Off Facebook, or AGKPOF for short (it really rolls off the tongue, don't you think?). And I know what you're thinking. Yes, I am a parent. So the title of the group seems to imply that I'm advocating against my own use of facebook. But the group's true aim is to keep computer illiterate parents off of facebook. I just thought AGKPOF sounded better than AGKCIPOF.

My advocacy group proposes a simple test for new users on facebook. It would consist of three questions:

1. Can you attach a file to an email and send it without anyone's assistance?
2. Do you know what any of the following abbreviations stand for: LAN, Wi-Fi, ROTFL, IMO, or PC
3. Do you know how to text message?

If the answer to all three questions is "No", the prospective facebook user will only be granted access to a new site called Facebook Lite. They would be able to have a profile and post pictures and messages, but would only be allowed to view other people's profiles, pictures, and walls. This would be good for a certain parent I know. Because she doesn't seem to know what "tagging a photo" means and has thus far tagged herself in 7,642 photos that she's not in.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The ### Will Remain A Mystery

So I was getting a new cell phone plan last year and they asked me if I had a particular number I wanted to request. And I found that I was not at all prepared for that question. If I had known I could pick my own number, I would've brought a list! But I got excited anyway since I still had time to pick one before they activated the account. Obviously, I had to stick to my area code, but they gave me a list of five or six combinations to choose from for the next three numbers. And then I could pick the last four. I started scrambling. I eliminated anything with a 1 or a 0 in it, because those numbers don't have letters on their keys. I was always jealous of those businesses that spelled stuff with their phone numbers, and I wanted in on the action.

See, when I got my first apartment, I got bored (really, really bored) one day and decided to figure out what my phone number spelled. It turned out I was one letter away from ###-MY-GERMAN. But if people dialed the whole thing, it wouldn't matter that they dialed the last 6 for the 'N'. So that's how I gave my number to my friends. And it was awesome. And no one ever forgot my number.

So they finally gave me a chance to do the same thing with my cell phone. I huddled myself in a corner with a pen and paper, sweating onto my new cell phone's keypad, trying to rearrange letters and hoping my slight dyslexia would finally serve a purpose. I figured if I could come up with a really cool word out of the last seven digits, I could just tell people to call me at ###-COOL-MAN or something like that. I picked 6-7-6 for the fourth, fifth, and sixth numbers because I figured I could start with "MR." something after the area code. And I felt like something awesome would strike me at any moment. The problem was that I had a pregnant wife who was not amused, a one-year old boy with the attention span of a one-year old (shocking, right?), and a cell phone saleswoman who was wishing she hadn't said anything and hoping I would just pick something and get out of the store so she could leave on time. Eventually I heard the stupid "sales associate" (cell phone lady) say, "What about 3-7-3-9? That spells DREW. Didn't you say your son's name was Andrew?!" And she said it all cheery like she had figured it out and cracked the case. But I told my wife that I didn't care how late we stayed there or how upset she got, I was gonna find something that worked! And she could walk home for all I cared and glare at me like that all she wanted to. It wasn't gonna change my mind about the fact that....

So 30 seconds later, we were headed home and my number was officially ###-676-3739. And I felt pretty defeated. The only thing I could come up with that number was ###-MR-N-DREW, which is stupid. No one would think that was funny or clever. But then my slight (self-diagnosed) dyslexia kicked in and I thought I saw something else. When I switched the 'D' and the 'E', I saw the word "NERD". Then I realized that the 'W' was on the same key as the 'Y'!

So now my cell phone number is ###-MR-NERDY. And I will never change it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Parental Thesauruses

Being a parent is just as awesome and satisfying a job as people told me it would be. And it's just as frustrating and difficult as my parents claimed it was when I was a kid. But what I've really been surprised about is the little perks that come with being a parent. Perks like the ability to ignore conventional medical wisdom and wipe my son's nose with my hand and rub it on the grass. Or the new ability my wife and I have to hold a child in one arm, keep the other kid back with a foot, and take a casserole out of the oven without burning anyone. But, by far the best unforeseen perk is the training we've been getting as game night competitors.

Let me explain. My family and I had family game night growing up. It wasn't always official or planned, but we'd play all the board games and party games we could think of. We played Taboo, Charades, Pictionary, Stratego, Boggle, Life, Scrabble, Skip Bo, Uno, and Yahtzee to name a few. Yeah, we were complete and total nerds (that's not even a comprehensive list by the way). But I think I would be even better at some of those games now because of being a parent. I know I'd be better at Pictionary because I have to draw stuff for my son now. And if you can get a two-year old to figure out that you're drawing an elephant, it's perfect training for Pictionary. My stick figures don't cut it anymore, so I've graduated to advanced figure drawing, level 2. Which means I am able to draw non-stick people figures who don't have distorted faces or hands (most of the time). And I've even better at Charades and Scrabble. Because there are certain words we don't/can't/shouldn't say in front of my son now because he can repeat anything he hears. We don't use bad language, but certain things are inappropriate for a toddler. And it's a lot easier to stop my son using the term "stupid-head" if we stop saying it altogether. And it's only funny to hear him say "that's stupid" when we're at home. Not so much when we're at church. So we've learned to spell naughty words really fast so he doesn't hear them. Hence the new Scrabble skills (although, to be honest, I was already an excellent Scrabbler). And the Charades come in handy when we're too tired to spell multiple words. That way, if we want to ask the other spouse if it's okay for him to "go outside" and play with a "ball" or if he can have one more "cookie" before we "go to the store", we don't have to sound like a spelling bee on fast-forward. We can just use gestures and motions, and he's none the wiser.

But my favorite is the Taboo training. Because we have to find the strangest ways to say stuff. This weekend, my son was feeling a little sick. And I wanted to ask my wife if we had any children's Tylenol with us. But my son knows the words "Tylenol" and "medicine" and the phrase "give to Andrew". So I found myself saying, "Honey, do we have any... uh... toddler's pain reliever to give to... our male offspring?" And we have to do this all the time. Because I'd rather him not see me eat dessert at 4:30 in the afternoon or even hear me ask for it. So the other day I had to ask my wife if we had any "non-vanilla baked good with buttercream topping" (chocolate cake) left over. And then if we had any "frozen dairy baked goods companion" (ice cream) in the freezer. Then I had to eat it alone in the garage so he couldn't find me.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

$0,000 Blogfan Challenge UPDATE

For everybody who has been following the clues of the $0,000 Blogfan Challenge and has been a little frustrated, here's a little help.

Clue 1- All words found and unscrambled:
"It's another one of what you've been reading..."

Clue 2- All words found and unscrambled:
"Circus men who eat too much. Big pants, large shoes and lots of blush."

Solve these two clues and you will be on the final step of the challenge. This might help you get a little closer to winning that magazine subscription!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Shameful Pride

I realized last night that you can be proud of yourself and feel like a complete loser at the same time. It came to me as I was buying six boxes of cereal for four dollars. I had coupons, they had Honey Bunches of Oats (with almonds!). I couldn't pass it up. So I was proud of the deal I found, but also ashamed that I'd purchased enough cereal for a week at the Duggar* house. Pride and shame don't really seem like they'd go together. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that those two words go together a lot for me. In fact, I'm thinking they should probably go on my tombstone. Because I'm always doing really nerdy, dorky things that I am simultaneously proud of and ashamed of. Like watching all three extended editions of The Lord of the Rings trilogy in succession. (Yeah! I did it! It took me 14 hours, but I did it!... Wait... I can't believe I just sat on the couch for 14 hours.) Or like the time I saw the new Harry Potter at the first midnight showing (okay, the six times I did that). Or like the time I started a blog.

I usually end up deciding that I'm not ashamed of these kinds of things, but I keep them to myself in case other people don't think it's neat to memorize an entire Weird Al album. After all, it's better to be silent and perceived a nerd than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. (And by "remove all doubt", I mean "get beat up".)

*For those who don't know, the Duggar's have like a million kids (okay, 19 kids).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rub His Nose In It

My older brother likes to compare having a dog to having a child. And being someone who's had experience with both, I get pretty mad when he tries to equate the two. So when I talk about how my kids made a mess, he talks about how his dog makes messes. Or if I say that my son is just trying to get attention by acting out, he says his dog has been doing that too. And it's really hard to talk to him about it because I have to fight off the urge to slap him. But I think he really needs to know that there is a huge difference between raising children and owning a pet. That's why they don't call it raising a pet, and I'm legally not allowed to call it owning a child.

Here's my main example. With a dog, potty training has a pretty good safety net. If all else fails, put the dog outside. But the neighbors give me dirty looks when I take my kid out on a leash to poop in the yard. So I have to deal with diapers and wipes and training potties and germs and emergency potty breaks that involve a game we call "don't-touch-anything-because-this-WalMart-bathroom-smells-like-bad-decisions-and-hepatitis." But dog-owners don't have all that. Worse case scenario for them is bagging up some doodoo in the living room and busting out the carpet cleaner.

So I yelled at my brother the last time he compared kids to dogs. But then I got carried away and swatted him with a newspaper and locked him in the laundry room.

Monday, September 28, 2009

My Crazy Kid

I've heard people say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I think it's usually attributed to Albert Einstein or Winston Churchill or Zach Morris or some other famous genius. And if I'm to accept this statement as true, then my son is insane. Because no matter what we tell him about his little sister, he thinks eventually it will be acceptable to tackle, push, pull, throw, shove, or dislocate some part of her. I assure you that it's not his intention to hurt her. He doesn't punch or kick her. He doesn't bite or slap her. But he does make her cry. I think his sense of curiosity gets the better of him. So he tries to see what will happen if he pulls her leg down while I pick her up. Or he wants to find out (for his research, I assume) if she falls the same way he does when pushed from behind. I'm sure it's all in the name of science.

But, the part that confuses me is that no matter what we do to him to make him stop (spanking, tasering, waterboarding) he continues to use her as a step, a shield, a chair, and a personal push tester. I've actually witnessed him "help" her walk by pulling her to the ground, then receive punishment, cry loudly, and then walk directly back over to her and pull her down again. And then he has the audacity to looked surprised when he gets in trouble again. Like somehow the rules have changed in the last 12 seconds. As if we, his parents, will realize the merit of making babies cry and apologize for not seeing the genius in his methods. And that's the single most confusing thing about parenting. Ignorance is easy. (You didn't know it was wrong, now you do.) Defiance is easy. (You're not gonna do it? Oh yes you are.) But he knows it's wrong. He can go from punishment to repeat offender in 3 seconds. It's like walking out of prison after getting paroled and breaking into the warden's car as you're being escorted out.

And usually, the only response I can muster is "Seriously?!" followed by a quick succession of exasperated sighs. Then I ask him why he did it again and all he can say is "I'nt know" which is his adorable little way of saying "I don't know." And when he says that, what he's really saying is, "This is why Mom's gonna live longer than you." Because the one thing that hurts my brain the most and inevitably drains years off of my life is people ignoring basic logic. So every time my son does something monumentally stupid (like his injury-inducing leaps from the coffee table), my life expectancy shortens. And since I have a death-defying stuntman toddler at my house, I expect I won't live past 30.