Wednesday, December 29, 2010

And... Break!

Alright, I'm callin' it.  With one day of work left this week and no motivation at all, I'm just gonna stop blogging for the rest of 2010.  I'd really be forcing it if I tried to think of funny stories for even one more day.  And if I try, I'm just gonna over-promise and under-deliver, and nobody wants that.

But hey, at least I'm honest with you about it.  I'll pick it up again next week/year (maybe).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

String Theory

My older brother called me today to complain about something.  And it's one of those things that never bothered me before, but now it's really bothering me.  He said he was driving behind a Tombstone pizza distribution truck, and the back doors had an enlarged picture of a finished pizza.  And he noticed (as I have a thousand times without realizing it) that the pizza was cut, but the cheese was still attached to the pizza and stretching out as the piece was pulled off (see below for an example of this).

And he said that normally this wouldn't bother him.  But he was stuck behind that truck for a good 35 minutes because it was a winding two-lane road.  So he had to keep staring at that pizza slice.  And he sat there trying to imagine a scenario where you cut a pizza and the cheese still strings off like that.  The way he figured it, there were two possibilities.

First, the pizza could have been cut from the bottom.  That would allow you to cut the crust underneath while leaving the pizza untouched on top.  But that would mean using some sort of anti-gravity oven or flipping the pizza over to cut it.  At the very least, that seems highly unlikely.  And the other option is that after cutting the pizza, the temperature is still so high that the cheese remelts into a solid topping.  But considering how fast my frozen pizzas cool off, I don't consider that very likely either.

So the only conclusion I can get from this (unless I'm missing something here) is that the Tombstone Pizza people are lying cheats who use false advertising.  I thought about boycotting them for that, but then I realized I'd have to boycott all the pizza companies.  Because I can't remember ever seeing a pizza advertised without the cheese melt string thing included in it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Clean And Clear

I guess I should have updated you guys on my hearing situation. I mentioned a few posts back that there was an issue with my ear, and I couldn't hear out of it. So I went to a clinic and got it taken care of. I'll spare the details, but basically it was a build up of earwax and they cleaned my out with some contraption that shoots water into your brain at high speeds. Well, at least that's what it felt like.

But I won't complain about that. Regaining my ability to hear was worth the discomfort of having cold water shot into my ear. Although it was strange how dizzy I got just from them unclogging it. It made me lightheaded and a little nauseated. It was like I'd just spun around in my office chair 65 times (trust me, I know what that feels like). But again… not complaining about that.

However, I will complain about one thing. If you're a doctor, nurse, physician's assistant, or some other version of a medical professional, then please remember this. If someone comes in seeking medical attention and the first thing they tell you is that they can't hear out of their right ear, don't sit on their right side and mumble your way through the appointment. It's very mean and kinda stupid.

The guy helping me out kept asking me questions about what was going on. But he wouldn't speak up and he wouldn't talk to my left side. It was one of the most frustrating things I've ever experienced. If it was on purpose to mess with me then kudos to him. But if he did it accidentally, he's just dumb. And that concerns me. I felt like I was in an appointment with Charlie Brown's teacher. Everything he said sounded like "wah wah wah."

Anyway, the good news is I can hear again. No verdict yet on whether I'll develop super-hearing. But I'll keep everyone posted.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Blah

This late in the year and this close to Christmas makes it very hard to get motivated for anything productive. And my definition of "productive" seems to broaden considerably. So I haven't shaved in a while. And I've been too lazy to wait for my PC to shut down (I just hold the button down). And it's even creeping into my blogging. Because I have little to no desire to attempt blog humor right now.

So instead, enjoy the picture of a ninja I've hidden on this page (don't waste your time, ninjas are invisible).

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's A Trap!

My older brother and I wear the same type of Hanes undershirts. But he wears one size smaller than me because he's not a fatty. Well, I accidentally took one of his when we visited him a couple of weeks ago and I didn't realize it. So my wife washed it with the rest of the whites, and I tried to put it on this morning. And I thought I had gained 25 pounds while I slept. I got it over my head, but my arms got caught when I tried to pull it down.

And then I got in a position where I had to either stretch out the shirt or ask my wife for help. So to avoid the embarrassment of having to be assisted out of a piece of clothing, I kept struggling. It was like a Chinese finger trap for my torso. The more I fought, the more I became entrapped, until finally I dislocated my shoulder and escaped the clutches of the evil shirt.

And since it was early in the morning, my brain wasn't working.  It took me another five minutes to figure out what happened. I knew I hadn't gained that much weight overnight. So I thought maybe my internal organs were swelling or something. It felt like I was trying to remove a powerful anaconda or octopus from my body. I never want to go through that again.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Good Thing I Didn't Drop My Kids When They Were That Young

I don't usually hug people.  Family and friends know this about me.  And most coworkers have figured that out about me.  But I almost went against my hug-resistance movement yesterday at the Apple store.  Because I dropped my phone on the concrete a few days ago and severely cracked the screen, exactly 13 days after getting it for my birthday from my parents.

Side note - Mom, if you're reading this.  I'm sorry I broke my iPhone.  I didn't want to tell you because I knew you'd be disappointed (parentspeak for "MAD"). You can probably figure out why I kept this from you.  But don't worry, there's a happy ending to this story.

So I took my 13-day old phone to the Apple store and asked them what I could do about it.  After making an appointment for 6 minutes later (complete with a confirmation email that I didn't get until I got home) and waiting for 5 minutes, I showed it to one of the workers at the Genius Bar.  And she said it would normally cost $199 to get a new phone if the display is cracked.

And I'd like to say I turned on the charm and suavely convinced her to give me a discount.  But I just frowned and fought back the tears.  And she said that one word that hope dangles precariously from in such situations.  She said, "But...."

And I just knew she was gonna tell me she could charge me half of that.  But, even better than that, she said, "But... I can go ahead and replace it for free today.  Merry Christmas."

And I'm not lying when I say I almost hugged her right there on the spot.  I've never felt so much fondness for a complete stranger, except when I saw that 65-year old man do a handstand on a street corner in college.  That was awesome.  And yesterday was awesome too.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Wouldn't Say I'm A "Proud" Owner, Though

I am now officially the owner of a 1993 Acura Legend. I went to the courthouse again today and laid out my seven documents in a row (seriously, seven of them). And the lady behind the counter said, "Wow, you came prepared!" She, of course, had no idea that this was my fifth time coming through the line in the last few weeks. If I have five tries to get something right, I think I'll always be prepared by the last try. Anyway, I walked out of there as the official owner of my car. And I celebrated by getting a flat tire on the way home.

But I didn't let that damper my mood.  In fact, I'm so used to changing flat tires (I've done it about 12 times now) that I got the spare on in less than 10 minutes. I felt like a member of a pit crew. Then I went inside with my hands all grimy and my shirt covered in grease and wrestled a grizzly bear while growing a beard and chugging a Mountain Dew. Very manly stuff.

But really, I went to Target and the grocery store with my family and did Christmas shopping and picked out fresh produce. Equally as manly, but not as obviously so.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Traffic Court Is Nerve-Racking (Or Nerve-Wracking)

I think I know what it feels like to quit smoking. Because I have the jitters, and my stomach hurts, and I'm nervous. So if you want to know what it feels like, drink an energy drink with breakfast, an espresso with lunch, and then plan on going to the court house in the afternoon. I'm nervous because I'm afraid I won't get through the line at the courthouse. And I'm jittery from the caffeine. Anyway, it's a weird feeling.

And it made me look like an idiot during my meeting today. I couldn't get a sentence out because I was trying to talk so fast. It sounded like I was interrupting myself to say what I was already saying.

Speaking of interrupting myself, I have to cut the post short today. It's time to go to court.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Relax, It's Just Air

I found out recently that not everyone can make themselves burp. It's a simple thing if you know how to do it. You just swallow a little bit of air and then pull it back up before it makes it to your stomach. I didn't realize that people couldn't do that. I just assumed that most people chose not to do it because it's gross. But as gross a talent as self-induced burping is, it's quite useful at times. In fact, I'll go ahead and give you two scenarios where it's very helpful.

The first scenario is when you feel a burp in your chest that just won't come out. It's that one where you duck your chin to your chest and then stretch your neck to try to coax it out, but it just sits there like a lump of air that's caught next to your heart. Those of us blessed with the gift of self-induced burping can swallow air and send it down to the trapped air. Then they fuse together and shoot back up your esophagus. I call this one the "rescue burp" because it acts just like a rescue worker when someone is trapped in a well or a collapsed building.

The more impressive scenario is when you want to really gross out your wife. This one has a more personal meaning to me because I've employed it for great use in the past. What I'll do is start off by complaining about some stomach pain. And I'll tell my wife that I don't feel so good. And I'll start to get up from my seat and say, "Oh no." And then, right as I get up, I'll turn my head and release a giant self-induced burp that shakes the walls. But I'll also add a little groan to it. The resulting effect is a very realistic vomiting sound. It's quite convincing (my wife usually tries to jump out of the way of the impending splatter). It's only funny for a few moments though, because it's always followed by a nice little fight about pranking people and how mean it is to do that to one's spouse.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Tomorrow is our company holiday party. We're closing the office 6 hours early so we can all go to a high-scale Italian restaurant downtown. And then we get to go home after we eat. So I'm looking at a half-day tomorrow with a free/awesome lunch, and then I'll be home by 2:30 in the afternoon! I've been waiting all week for this.

And from the rumors that have been floating around, the boss insists that everyone order dessert and have coffee afterwards. So now it's a toss-up as to what I'm most excited about. Free fancy food, half of a work day, and required dessert consumption. I really love Christmas-time.

Speaking of the holidays, I feel like we're losing the month of December too quickly. I haven't had egg nog once. And I've only listened to Christmas music on four or five occasions. And I haven't watched Elf yet. But it's already December 9th! I better kick it up a notch. I think tomorrow during my completely free afternoon, I'll put on a green and red sweater and listen to Jingle Bells over and over while drinking egg nog and watching Elf ("What's a Christmasgram?! I want one!")

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

One Less Thing To Worry About

I had to defriend my first person on Facebook. It was my little sister. But I had good reasons. For starters, she updated her status about 6 gajillion times a day. And it was never anything interesting. It was always "doing dishes" or "why does this always happen to me" or "can't WAIT". And I know I can take that stuff off of my news feed, but that wasn't all. She also liked to make electronic holiday posters and tag all of her friends in it. So I would see a notification saying I'd been tagged in her photo. Then I'd go to the photo, and it would be a WordArt drawing of "Happy Holidays" and it would have 435 people tagged in it.

And it felt really good to defriend her. It was like taking out the trash after it's started to stink. Or like sitting down after being on your feet for a long time. It was such a relief. I think I might find more people to defriend. It's very freeing.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Speak Up!

The way my desk is positioned at work makes it to where 98% of the conversations I have are on my right side (your left). The only thing I have to listen for on my left is someone coming in through the front door of the office. And when I play video games, or talk on the phone, or do anything having to do with listening with one ear, I almost exclusively use my right ear. So naturally, when one of my ears decides to stop working, it's the right one.

I'm not sure exactly what's going on, but I woke up last week with what I can only describe as a muted ear. I can hear out of it, but only a little bit. And everything I hear on that side sounds like I'm hearing it from underwater. And up until today, it cleared up after a few hours. Something would unclog, and my hearing would come back. But today, I've sat at my desk unable to hear my coworkers, feeling lopsided and unbalanced.

I've tried everything: eardrops, Q-tips (against the recommended use), peroxide, warm water, pounding my fist against my sideburn. But nothing has worked. Everyone still sounds like they're talking to me in an aquarium. And it's starting to make me dizzy.

I'm almost to the point that I would try one of those ear candles (which always sounds like a mad lib). But sticking something into my head and then lighting it goes against my gut instinct. So I might hold off on that until it's both ears.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Curl Up With A Good Book

I finally got an iPhone.  My parents gave it to me for my birthday, and I love it.  And I realized that I'm fast becoming a Mac snob.  I have two iPods (a Mini and a 5th generation Nano), my wife and I each have an iPhone, I'm typing this post on a MacBook Pro, and I'm seriously considering getting an iPad next year.  But being a Mac snob doesn't really bother me that much.  Mac snobs are way cooler than regular snobs.

No, in fact, the thing that concerns me is that because I'm so used to using an iPhone (my wife's), that the "wow" factor has been missing from my newest toy.  I feel less like a snob in that respect and more like a spoiled brat.  But I did find one thing that I hadn't used on my wife's iPhone.  I downloaded the Kindle app and started reading Sherlock Holmes on it.  It was pretty sweet.

But the real story here is that I was reading Sherlock Holmes for the first time today.  And because I saw Guy Ritchie's film before I read the series, I can only imagine Robert Downing, Jr. as Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law as Watson.  I don't think those were the faces Arthur Conan Doyle had in mind when he invented those characters.

But the real real story here is that I was reading Sherlock Holmes in the bathroom at work today, and both of my legs fell asleep.  Then the automatic-timer on the lights went off, and I had to wait for my temporary paralysis to go away before I could wave my arm out the stall door to turn the lights back on.  And then someone walked in and found a person sitting in the bathroom stall with the lights off.  Luckily, I had locked my phone so there wasn't an eerie glow coming from under the stall when they walked in.  So I think from now on I'll limit my reading destinations to places that have chairs and manual lights.

Friday, December 3, 2010

"Don't Wanna Be An American Idiot"

Every year when I was a kid, we spent a good portion of the summer in South Carolina with our extended family. We'd drive up to my grandmother's house and stay a while with her, visiting some cousins in a different part of the state occasionally. One summer, my aunt and uncle had a foreign exchange student with them. And she was there while we were visiting for a few weeks. And due to my cousin's accelerated, South Carolina-accented speech, the Spanish girl who barely spoke English (I think her name was Olga) got confused a lot. So I took it upon myself to translate his fast, Southern English into slower, unaccented English to keep her from feeling lost. I didn't want her to be completely confused the whole time she was there.

So I turned into her English-to-English translator during that time. And she got in the habit of looking at me whenever she needed something explained (or simply slowed down as was often the case). Well, one day we were planning a trip into Atlanta to see a baseball game, and someone mentioned taking a bus instead of parking downtown. And Olga looked at me and said, "A bus?"

This is where there was some confusion. When she said that, she meant it as, "We're taking a bus? Why would we need to take a bus if everyone here has their own car?" But what I took it to mean was, "A bus? What in the world is a bus?!  I've never heard of such things!"

So I said, "A bus? Well… how do I explain? Okay, it's basically a really long car with LOTS of windows." And when I said "really long car" I put my arms really wide and raised my eyebrows as high as I could.

So then she had to explain to me that she knew what a bus was. They have buses in every country, and it's a fairly common English word. And then she explained that she wanted to know why we were taking a bus. Then, the little Spanish girl who barely spoke English did her first truly American thing. She shook her head and rolled her eyes at my ignorance. And though it really hurt my feelings, I couldn't help but feel proud of her for learning to judge people when they're stupid.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

There Are Better Ways Of Getting Your Fiber

My older brother works for a company that gets a lot of promotional merchandise. It's usually useless stuff like baseball caps and mousepads and stuff like that. But at this time of year, they get a lot of gift baskets and holiday items. And a lot of them have baked goods or candy in them. Well, one of their suppliers sent them a box of Mrs. Fields cookies. But instead of just regular cookies, they sent cookies with the supplier's logo printed on the top.

Now some of you might be familiar with fondant. And if you are, then you may skip this paragraph while I explain it to the naïve ones. Fondant is a sorry excuse replacement for good icing. It is not even close to edible (meaning it won't kill you), but it's disgusting not very tasty. And bakeries use it on cakes because they're lazy to keep a flat, smooth surface. And they can also print stuff on it a lot easier than they can on regular icing. So think of sugar-flavored Play-Doh thick, edible paper when you think of fondant.


The supplier had the logo printed on a circular piece of fondant that was then slapped onto the cookies. But as soon as my older brother opened his cookie, the logo fell off. Not one to waste a semi-edible piece of paper that had some cookie shrapnel attached to it, he took a bite of the fondant logo disc. And that's when one of his coworkers walked up and saw him.

But the coworker didn't know the logo had fallen off of a cookie. It looked very much like my brother was eating a supplier-sponsored coaster at his desk. And the "you-caught-me" look he had on his face didn't help. So now that guy thinks my brother eats flimsy coasters when people aren't around.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Facebook Page Is Blowing Up Today!

Today is my birthday. So today's post is the one where I wax nostalgic about years gone by and lament my ever-fading youth. But I won't do that. It's a waste of time, really. And I'd rather stay in complete denial of my aging and talk about other things.

My (actual) brother and I share a birthday. And we share that birthday with our mother. And as weird as that may seem to anyone on here who doesn't know me, it's true. Three family members. Three different years. Same birthday.

In some ways, I like it. It means that I'll never forget my mom's birthday. And growing up, it meant two different birthday cakes (and sometimes three) on the same day.  I can't complain about that. But in a lot of ways, I hate it. My brother thought it was funny while we were kids to say "Happy Birthday" to me just so I would have to say it back. And I rarely get to use the phrase "my birthday." It's always "our birthday" or "THE birthday." So it's an unusual situation.  I would compare it to being a twin, but without the twin perks (clothes-sharing, switching places in school, twin ESP).

The one complaint I have about getting older is that my age will continually get harder to type until I hit 30. Ages 21 through 24 were easy. I could get those with my left hand while typing. Then I started to have to use two hands to type my age. So the bigger the distance between the "2" and the last digit, the closer I am to 30. And I realize that is probably confusing. But just try it on your keyboard above the "W" key, and you'll see what I mean.

So anyway, I'll leave you with a quote from comedian Steven Wright:
"I plan to live forever... so far, so good."

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Still Good!

I'm not a smoker. I've never had the desire to smoke, and I've never understood its appeal. The D.A.R.E. program was a waste of money on me because there was never a chance I would be tempted to smoke. And no one I've ever known has been a smoker either. I'm telling you all this because I want you to understand how little I know about smoking. So when I tell this story, it may actually be that I'm the weird one (although I seriously doubt it).

My wife and I were standing in line last week for a Black Friday event. To be specific, we were standing in line outside of Old Navy to get one of the free Xbox Kinect games they were giving out if you made a $25 purchase (we got two of them, by the way). So it was about 15 minutes before the doors were supposed to open, and an employee walked out to get something from their car. Of the 150 people in line, 149 of us realized the store was not opening early. But one lady, who was out of line to smoke a cigarette, panicked when she saw the doors open. She thought for sure they were opening early, so she threw her newly-lit cigarette to the ground and scurried back into the line as quickly as she could. Then she realized it was a false alarm. She laughed at herself a little bit and got a little embarrassed. Then she did something I didn't expect.

She walked back over to where she'd been smoking and started searching the ground for her cigarette. Then she found it, brushed it off, and put it back in her mouth. Then she said, "Hey… five second rule, right?! Ha!" And all the people in her group laughed. The other 144 of us stood in horrified silence.

Again, I don't have any experience in the area of smoking. So maybe this is normal for smokers. But it was new to me. And I was not able to fathom it. Because in my opinion, even the official five-second rule is deemed invalid when you're outdoors. If I drop something edible onto the cement outside a retail store where 150 people are standing, it's no longer edible. There's no way something that touched the ground is going in my mouth.  The only exception I can think of would be if I dropped the antidote to a poison in my system. And even then, I would hesitate. But a cigarette that you've already put in your mouth? If that hits the ground, it'll have that layer of germ-collecting saliva on it that kicks up the nastiness to all new levels.

In conclusion: Smoking is gross. And secondhand smoke is inconsiderate. But a five-second rule on a used cigarette is simply unacceptable.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Falling For Fall

I took eight steps down the stairs this morning.  Unfortunately, our stairs have 9 steps.  So I dropped 8 inches on the last step and fell forward, twisting my ankle and tearing a hole in my jeans.  Luckily my wife was there to help.  And by "help" I mean "laugh at me."  I disappeared from her view completely in a terrifying instant of panic.  And her response was uproarious laughter.  She thought it was absolutely hilarious.  She started chuckling before I even resurfaced.  And before she even knew I was still conscious.  Then she immediately called her sister to tell her all about it.

On a lighter note, I now have a reason to get new jeans at Old Navy on Black Friday for $15!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Crazy Cruise

My older brother went on a Caribbean cruise last year. And for some reason, he thought that an appropriate carry-on item for his cruise was his trumpet (he plays with a community orchestra). I think he figured that being out of town for a week was no excuse to miss out on practicing. And this didn't seem unusual to him. In fact, when he came back in town and told us about his trip, he turned it into a complaint about someone else.

He was in the middle of telling us about the activities they had on the cruise, and he stopped to say the following:

"You know, there was one crazy guy that almost ruined the whole trip for me. On the third morning, I got up and had breakfast. And then I went back to my room to practice a little bit."
I stopped him at this point and asked him what he was practicing.
"My trumpet."
My brother didn't seem to notice my dumbfounded look, so he continued.
"So it was at least 8:30 when I finished breakfast. So I went back to my room and started practicing. And after a few minutes my phone rang. It was a cruise employee asking me to stop playing my trumpet because it was waking up my neighbors! So this idiot (probably hungover because he got wasted the night before) stopped me from playing because I was waking him up! Can you believe the nerve of that guy?"

And believe me when I tell you that my brother was not lying, being ironic, or trying to be funny. He honestly thought the other guy was the weirdo. So he had to limit his practices to the early afternoon from that point on and keep them under 20 minutes.

The two things that bother me about this should be pretty obvious. First, why wouldn't you know that playing your trumpet in the morning on a cruise ship would disturb others? That seems like such common sense. And second, why such a high level of dedication to a community orchestra? I could almost make an exception for a world-renown trumpet player practicing on a cruise ship. But I would doubt that even a famous trumpeter would bother to practice while he's on vacation on a floating apartment complex. There's no way that playing an instrument is more fun than being on a Caribbean cruise.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I Gotta Remember That One

My older brother had his yearly review at work recently. And his boss told him that he might want to work on how he takes constructive criticism. My brother should have graciously accepted this criticism and pledged to work on it. But my brother finds it too hard to pass up an opportunity like that. So, the hilarious comedian that he is, my brother decided it would be funnier to respond with a joke. So he told his boss to "shove it."

Needless to say, that didn't go over very well. He had to backtrack pretty quickly and explain to his boss that he was merely making an ill-timed joke and he didn't really mean for him to shove anything. But his boss didn't find it as humorous as one would have hoped, so the yearly review was wrapped up quite nicely with a written warning.

I think my older brother learned a valuable lesson that day. And I learned a really good response if someone ever tells me I should work on accepting criticism.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ew, Gross

You learn a lot about yourself when you're stuck standing in line for hours at a time it a courthouse without a smartphone, iPod, iPad, laptop, or book. I learned that I get bored very quickly. But more importantly, you learn a lot about other people. For example, you learn that someone with 7-inch fingernails can still use a touchscreen phone. I learned that because she was standing entirely too close to me and one of her nasty, craggy nails almost touched me.

I also learned that people do not dress up to go to the courthouse. It was like the worst casual day ever. I saw more cutoff jean shorts and fewer shoes than a homeless person convention (if that doesn't exist, it should).

Anyway, I've vowed to myself to never set foot in another courthouse without at least a book to keep my attention. I would hate to go through that again.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Can Explain!

I have a good reason for not posting yesterday. The car my brother gave me (the 1993 Acura Legend) is overdue for its vehicle registration and state inspection (about a year and a half overdue). And I have to get both of those done because I have two outstanding tickets for driving with expired tags, and I've been warned that it qualifies as an abandoned vehicle if I park it anywhere outside of my garage. But before I can get the registration done, I have to transfer the title to my name from my older brother. And before I can get the inspection done, I have to get the blinker bulb replaced and get the Check Engine light to turn off. So I took off work yesterday and headed to the tax office in the courthouse.

After waiting in line for 30 minutes, I saw the sign (that I think should be posted on the front door) that said they only accept checks or cash. So I got out of line and got cash from the ATM in the hallway. Then I got back in line (in the back). After another 45 minutes of waiting, I finally made it to the counter. I laid out my five completed pieces of paperwork (proof of insurance, application for title transfer, the title itself, affidavit of vehicle gift transfer, and a signed explanation from my older brother as to why the title had the wrong name on it). That's when the super-helpful government employee told me that I was missing a photocopy of my older brother's driver's license.

So I got back out of line, called my brother, had him email me a scan of his license from his office in Chicago, found a Starbucks to get WiFi, downloaded the scan to a flash drive, located a FedEx, printed the license scan, ignored the four fast food restaurants I was passing at 2:15pm, and went back to the tax office, where the line was longer than ever. So I waited over an hour and got back to the counter to speak to a different super-helpful government employee. And she said that I had every bit of paperwork I needed to transfer the title and get the registration. I was so happy that I could have cried. Then she told me that she couldn't accept an affidavit of vehicle gift transfer that was a photocopy. I politely explained that I had to fax the affidavit to and from Chicago to get my brother's notarized signature, but she was disinclined to acquiesce my request (means "no"). That's when I actually cried.

Then I drove home and attempted in vain to fix the blinker and the Check Engine light. I gave up when I realized I had no idea what I was doing, and I had my head positioned directly below a two-ton vehicle sitting on a 17-year old jack. So, to recap, I took off work to get registration and inspection, and after 4 hours in the tax office and 3 hours working in my garage, I'm no closer to getting that done. The only bright spot was that I got free tacos from Jack in the Box when I finally had time to get lunch at 3:30 in the afternoon. Anyway, that's my excuse for not posting. Good enough?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lawnmower Man

My older brother and I were put to work early in our house. We weren't required to keep a neat room, but it had to be clean. And we didn't have to do our own laundry, but we were expected to fold it and take it to our rooms. So you couldn't really say that we helped out around the house, but we had certain responsibilities as I can remember. And one responsibility that my father was thrilled to pass on to us was mowing the yard. I think my fundamental hatred of mowing must have been passed down through my bloodline. Because I despise mowing. And my older brother is the same way. And only someone who hates it as much as I do would pass it on to his sons so early in life.

Well we took turns mowing after we hit about 12 years old. And I'm pretty sure we'd be mowing from age 2 if my dad could find a mower low enough for us to push. And we whined and complained about the mowing at every turn (almost literally). Texas summers can get a little hot and we weren't exactly thin children. So what we did was try to make it fun. My way of doing this was to gather up as many pine cones and sticks as I could and line them up in a row. Then I'd run over them and listen as the lawnmower demolished them into tiny bits. I did this every time I mowed until the day one of the larger sticks (most people call them branches) threw a large chunk at my uncovered (and untanned) shin. That was the last time I purposefully ran over anything with the mower.

My older brother had a different strategy for making mowing fun. He tried to see how loud he could yell until he could hear it over the noise of the mower. So he would send out a scream every few seconds until he realized he was louder than the mower. This was fun for him. But what he didn't realize is that his screams were not drowned out by the mower if you were more than three feet away.

So one Saturday afternoon, I was inside the house playing Diddy Kong Racing on Nintendo 64 (or maybe GoldenEye or Perfect Dark… I can't remember exactly). And I heard a lawnmower accompanied by the screams of a 12-year old. And my parents heard it too. So while I assumed my brother was being an idiot, they assumed my brother was being eaten and/or dragged by a possessed lawnmower. So they ran outside simultaneously to see what was wrong. And I think that was the day they would have picked a physically-injured, mentally-capable child over a physically-capable, mentally-weird child. And I assume that's also the day I became their favorite son.

Friday, November 12, 2010

False Hope Is Still Hope

I went ahead and shaved my beard after Halloween. It was getting out of hand, and my nickname ("Grizz") seemed like it had stuck. So I chanced it. But before I shaved it off completely, I decided to shave a totally different facial hair configuration. So I left some long, pointy sideburns, left the long tuft of hair under my bottom lip, left the hair on my chin, and left my disgusting excuse for a mustache. Then I sucked in my cheeks and took a picture of myself with my wife's iPhone. Then I sent it to my older brother.

The problem that I didn't think of is that the iPhone's camera can sometimes distort pictures and make everything look taller (and thinner). And when you couple that with the fact that I was doing my best Zoolander impression, it made me look way thinner than I am (or ever have been). So my older brother, who I don't see very often, saw the picture and assumed I'd dropped about 40 pounds.

Well, I'm not one to disappoint people, so I didn't correct him. I let him think I'd lost all that weight. And I figure I can get to that point before I see him again. He doesn't read this blog, so I'm not worried about that. And I don't put a lot of pictures of myself on Facebook, so I think I can pull it off. Now I just have to lose about 40 pounds. I probably won't see him until the beginning of next year. I think if I try to stick to a strict diet (of water), then I might be able to do it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Classic Post: Parental Thesaurus


I don't have time today to write a new post, so I'm gonna repost.  But instead of highlighting my laziness, we'll just call it a "classic post."

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.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Start A Revolution From My Blog

Violent behavior does not run in my family. We're pretty passive people for the most part. I can't remember ever getting in a physical altercation with a person. So I take that to mean that I'm either really good at repressing memories, I have a Mr. Hyde-like alter ego, or I simply don't get violent. And my older brother is the same way. We're good at chickening out and walking away from a fight.

Well a few years ago my older brother went to Disney World and almost got into a fight with what he called "some jerks from New Jersey." He said he was within 3 seconds of punching one of them in the face. Apparently, they were all getting on the bus that takes you from the park to your on-site resort. And since the bus was crowded, it was taking people a longer time to get on the bus. And a couple of loud, obnoxious guys with slicked back black hair and ridiculous clothing started shoving their way onto the bus because they wanted to ensure they got in. On their way in, they shoved my brother's wife almost to the floor. So there was an exchange of some terse words and the two morons declined to apologize. In fact, they further defended their actions, stating that "she shouldn't have been in the way." So I can understand why my brother almost came to blows with those two. Luckily, his wife was there to calm him down and help resolve the situation peacefully (she carries pepper spray).

And now that I think about it, I realize that people like those two idiots now have their own TV show!  Moronic, egotistical thugs with those attitudes (and those jacked up fashion senses) have now been convinced of their own superiority due to misguided public attention and corporate greed. So I've decided to completely boycott their show. And I'll be campaigning for it to be taken off the air. So join me in my quest to get these idiots off the air. Let's all band together and get rid of iCarly!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

That's Odd... DUN DUN DUN!

I'm not a big fan of scary movies. I can handle the content, I just don't enjoy being scared or surprised. I'd rather be intrigued and slightly freaked out (M. Night Shyamalan) than jump out of my seat every 20 minutes (Wes Craven). But my older brother loves scary movies. And he always dragged me to the theatre with him as a kid to watch them.

Anyway, my wife and kids are out of town for a few days. And that leaves me in an empty, depressing house while they're away. And I don't like life without my wife and kids. One of the really awesome perks of having a family is that you don't have to sit in a dark house alone all the time. And another perk is that when your family is around, little weird noises don't freak you out. They're easily explained.

Well yesterday, I came home from work to my sad, empty house. I changed clothes and used the restroom like normal, but when I came out of the bathroom I heard a noise down the hall. I knew I hadn't turned the TV on when I walked in, so it confused me. I followed the noise down the hall and realized it was coming from my kids' playroom. So I opened the door and found that one of their toys (pictured below) was giggling and playing music.

And my older brother dragged me to enough scary movies to know that if a child's toy starts making noise by itself for no obvious reason, the toy will most likely attempt to kill you. So I did what any future victim of a possessed toy would do. I turned off the toy, frowned slightly, and said "hmm." Then I shrugged and walked out of the room.  If I'm gonna die, I might as well play along.

So if this is the last you hear from me, make sure that M. Night Shyamalan writes the screenplay about what happened to me… and not Wes Craven.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Reinventing The Wheel

I don't know if it's taboo to brag about yourself on your own blog. But I think if I'm gonna brag, it's gonna be to people who don't know me very well. After all, a blog is supposed to be like a public diary, right? (Not to be confused with "public diarrhea," although some blogs are equally as embarrassing.) So although in this post I'll be sticking with my "older brother" cover story, I'm okay with saying that this one is about me and how awesome I obviously am.

So my older brother was reading Yahoo today and saw a story about Wheel of Fortune.  It was a story and video about a contestant who solved a 27-letter, 7-word puzzle with just one letter. And he took that as a challenge to see how good a Wheel player he was. So he stopped the video before the lady guessed the correct answer and tried to figure it out on his own. And he's proud to say that he figured it out in less than 15 seconds (about the same amount of time the contestant had).

So if you fancy yourself a good Wheel player, or if you're curious to see how good I am… I mean how good he is, then click HERE.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Spiders And Roller Skates

My older brother knows all of my weaknesses.  He knows I can't dribble with my left hand in basketball.  He knows I can't resist free donuts.  He keeps a thought bank of anything he can use against me.  So two things I've been careful not to tell him are what I'm truly afraid of and what songs get stuck in my head easily.

Well I accidentally told him a few years ago about my crippling fear of spiders.  So now he goes out of his way to point them out to me.  And it's not just that.  He also successfully tricks me into believing they're on my clothes all the time.  And he never fails because he knows I won't take the chance that he's kidding.  So all he has to say is, "Taylor, don't move.  There's a spider on your knee."  And he knows I'll go into a frenzied quickstep that includes leg-slapping and girly screams to make sure the spider doesn't stay there.

That doesn't bother me as much because I know he'll never physically pick up a spider and put it on me (although just typing that sentence gave me the chills).  But I made another mistake recently and let him overhear a conversation I was having with a friend about songs that get stuck in my head.  And I mentioned that stupid roller skate song from that HP printer commercial ("I gotta brand new pair of roller skates, you gotta brand new key!").  I don't even hate the song.  But once I hear it, it stays in my head for days on end.

So my older brother has been calling me and singing that line from the song and then hanging up.  And he's figured out how to leave voicemails for me without calling.  So I get a voicemail that doesn't accompany a missed call and when I check it, I hear the song again.  I can't get away from it.  And I keep substituting words into the song in the context of my life ("I gotta brand new gaming headset that you're gonna have to see!" -or- "I'm gonna get some coffee and I think it's gonna make me pee!").  And now that I've written this post, I have to go find another song to get in my head.  Because this one is slowly killing me.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wittier And Wiser Older Brother

My older brother should be a t-shirt or bumper sticker designer. Currently, he's wasting his talents on his Facebook statuses. But he has a knack for coming up with clever lines and funny ideas. Here's a sampling:

His Facebook Statuses
"Parenting Lesson #264: A high five is not a good way to congratulate your four-year old son for remembering to cover his mouth when he sneezes."
"I'm fat. Don't try to sugar-coat it, because I'll eat that too."

His Bumpersticker Ideas
"ADWL - Dyslexics Who Like Acronyms"
"I never mispell."

His T-shirt Idea
Front of the shirt:
"Proud member of the 'Guys Who Are Too Fat To Wear Shirts With A Lot Of Writing On Them Because The Shirt Is Never Flat Enough To Read It All At Once And You Can't Read The Whole Thing As You Drive Past Them At The Bus Stop' Club"
Back of the shirt:
"GWATFTWSWALOWOTBTSINFETRIAAOAYCRTWTAYDPTATBS Club"

(And I realize that he may have stolen some of these ideas.  So don't blame me if you've heard it before.  Blame my older brother for being a liar.)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sorry

I'd like to apologize to my four loyal blog followers (Mom, Landry, Jill, and my cyberstalker).  I haven't been diligent in my blogging duties recently.  And very few of my posts have had any reference to my "older brothers," which was the sole purpose in starting this blog (besides shameless self-promotion and thinly-veiled narcissism).

So I'd like to express my deepest apologies to the four of you... I'm sorry, what was that?  You say my mom only reads occasionally?  And she only reads my blog when she knows she's gonna see me soon and she needs to find something to talk about with me?  Fair enough.  Then I'd like to express my deepest apologies to the three of you.

I don't have any good excuses.  And frankly, I don't owe you an explanation!  But I've been spending my lunch breaks watching installments of movies I've missed in the past 6 years (Cloverfield, Van Helsing, etc.).  So I haven't saved time to write a blog post.  And I know I'm not gonna blog when I get home unless I'm super-bored with TV programming and internet surfing.

So to my two remaining loyal followers (I realize that by admitting I watched Van Helsing, I've probably lost Jill), I pledge better stories and more consistent posting.  I'll shoot for a post every weekday afternoon now.  But also know that if I can't think of anything funny, it's better that I don't post.  Nobody likes a poorly-written, hastily-finished, obligatory blog post.  It's like mandatory community service.  If you don't mean it, it doesn't mean anything.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Maybe Someday

I've got an idea for a new TV show.  We can call it "Dancing Without the Stars" and you can call it awesome.  The thing that would make it awesome would be that the weight limit for the contestants would be 250 pounds.  And I mean a minimum of 250 pounds.

Okay, I was just informed while I was writing this that this show already exists and it's called "Dance Your Tushy Off" (I edited that - this is a family-friendly blog).  Apparently it was a flop (pun intended).  So never mind on my great idea.

But my older brother would be perfect for that type of show.  He's an amazing dancer, even though he weighs about 270 pounds.  He can do the worm, the robot, and anything else you throw at him.  It's actually quite astounding.  You wouldn't believe it unless you saw it.  But you'd never see it because he's only danced in front of people 3 times in his life.  So I don't know if he was born with dancing talent (weird) or if he practices for hours at a time in his room (more weird, but also more likely).

I'm gonna have to work on getting him on tape so I can post it on here.  Because I shouldn't be the only one who knows how good he is.  Anyway, he would totally win that show (just like I would win Wheel of Fortune).

Friday, October 29, 2010

Lazy Fridays

I really hate going two weekdays in a row without blogging.  So does this count?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

If Real Life Was Like Facebook...

... my wife would be able prove that she has more friends than me.

... people from high school could hide their shock at my 75-pound weight gain since graduation.

... most of my friends would only talk to me on my birthday.

... I could conveniently sort my friends into groups and categorically ignore the annoying ones.

... the awkwardness of ending a friendship would be gone.

... I could control what I look like or avoid being seen altogether.

... my stalker would never have been caught and imprisoned.

... I could be part of a group without attending a meeting, paying dues, or caring the least bit about their "cause".

... I would know instantly when one of my friends made a new friend.

... I could say, "I like this," and leave it at that. No questions asked.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

One Man's Trash... Another Person's Problem

The office I work in is diligent about recycling paper, plastic, and aluminum cans. And because I'm susceptible to peer pressure (even the good kind), I now recycle too. It's really mostly because I don't want to be labeled as some kind of heartless punk.  And they all think it's so important to recycle.  So I don't want to rock the boat (and I mean figuratively rock the boat... we work in an office building, not a boat).

So now I don't throw many things away. I don't have water bottles or soda cans to trash anymore. And most everything else is paper. The problem with that is that 90% of my trash is now Kleenex and candy wrappers. And my trash can is difficult to hide due to a lack of space under my desk. So anyone walking past will think I have a ridiculously runny nose and a chocolate addiction. I've tried to remedy that by finding other things to throw away, but there's not much garbage around here.

So what I started doing yesterday was throwing my wrappers away at the new intern's desk. And she wears headphones most of the day, so she doesn't know I'm doing it. So now people think she's the chocolate addict, and I can avoid suspicion completely. It's perfect.  The only problem will be explaining this if she ever catches me tip-toeing to her trash can.  But it's worth the risk.  I can tip-toe very quietly.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I must go eat sixteen 3 Musketeers Minis and sneak them into my unsuspecting neighbor's trash can.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Headset Humility

When I play video games online, I don't wear my headset unless I'm playing with people I know. Because there are few things more embarrassing than realizing that you're playing a 12-year old kid… and losing to him. So I only don the headset if I have friends to talk to. And because I hate spending money, I have a wired headset that attaches to my controller. I'm too cheap to spend the 40 or 50 dollars on a wireless one. Plus, I feel that purchasing video game accessories is slightly more depressing than buying video games themselves. It's one thing to buy Rock Band. It's an entirely different thing to buy a guitar case for your Rock Band guitar controller.

Using that headset has actually provided me a new weight-loss goal. Because at least three times during each of my gaming sessions, my belly falls onto the wire. And then when I move, the wire detaches from the controller. So I made a new weight-loss goal to have so little belly that I don't pull my headset wire from its port.

The saddest part about this is that I'm not the only one of my friends who does this. It's common now for me to hear a friend get interrupted by static and then come back 15 seconds later and say, "Sorry, my stomach unplugged my headset again." We don't even laugh about it anymore. It's just normal for our fat to unplug the cord.  But I guess it makes sense that my gamer friends are overweight too. I've seen the studies. It's no surprise.

The real reason I told this story is because I used a $25 Amazon Video Game credit I had to buy a wireless headset for just $18. So I can cancel that weight-loss goal now. And I can finally look like a complete geek when I play video games online.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fun Size Fits All?

My boss put out a bowl of "fun size" candy bars. And it's made me realize that guilt is easier to deal with in smaller doses. I don't feel all that bad if I eat 13 mini-Twixes a day. But if I buy a Twix at the store and eat it in one sitting, I feel like a fatty. So it's good because I don't think my body has realized the total amount of chocolate I've been eating. It's like it says, "Oh! He's eating chocolate! But, wait… it's only one bite. Okay, false alarm guys. Go back to losing weight." My body seems to have a short attention span and a poor memory. Because I've actually lost weight since she put out the bowl of sweets. And while I'm sure the working out and smaller meals have helped, I think the "fun size" candy bars are also helping.

And you might be wondering why I keep putting "fun size" in quotations. But I think that should be pretty obvious. If I were to invent a fun size of something, it wouldn't be a miniature. A fun-sized pair of glasses would be gigantic. And a fun-sized TV would be huge. And fun-sized candy should weigh roughly six pounds. So they should stick to "bite size" for those.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'm Honoring Them, Really

I'm just going to assume that anyone coming to our Halloween party doesn't read my blog. Or if they do, I'll assume they know how to keep a secret. But this year for Halloween I'm gonna be a Chilean miner. Isn't that awesome?

And let me go ahead and run through the defense I have to use on most people when I tell them that:
Yes, I really am gonna be a Chilean miner. No, I don't think that's insensitive or mean. Why? Because it's not a tragic story now that they've all been rescued. I'm dressing up as one of the 33 guys on TV last week. If one of them had died, I wouldn't be making light of it. So what I'm doing is commemorating a triumph of human determination. By dressing up like them, I'm honoring their resolve and their… whatever, it's gonna be cool.

Anyway I've got a hardhat, a jumpsuit (thanks for being an engineer who visits refineries, Dad), a pair of nice sunglasses (if you don't get that one then go watch the video of their rescue), and some charcoal to rub on my face. It's gonna be awesome. And even though they were all clean-shaven when they were rescued, I'm gonna keep my beard. That's what they looked like in their webcam videos, so I think that still works (plus, I'm not ready to shave).

So now I'm really excited. It fits the three main things I go for in a costume; it's free, it's topical, and it's not offensive to anyone. And as long as there isn't another mine collapse in Chile, I won't have to buy a costume this year.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I Don't Know What You're Talking About

There's a guy I work with who likes to talk about football. But he doesn't talk about football that I watch. He barely mentions the NFL, he skips over the limited amount of college football I follow, and then he talks about high school football coaches and the mistakes they've made in the past few weeks. I've never heard of any of these people. And sometimes I've never heard of the school he's talking about. But he goes on and on about Coach Smith and Coach Anderson and how much the Wildcats' running game would improve if they'd watch the game tape from last week's loss to the Stallions.

And he always wants to talk when I'm in the middle of watching Survivor during my lunch break. So just when I'm about to find out which team won immunity, he comes waltzing in and asks me if I caught the untelevised game between two unranked high school teams. I really want to just ignore him and pretend I can't hear him over my headphones, but that's rude. And I don't want to be mean.  But I'm pretty sure that the next step is gonna be the football prodigy he saw in the 7-year old's league. And I can't even pretend to care about that.

And now I have to make sure never to mention my blog to him. Because I've now complained about him specifically, and he'll know for sure I was referring to him.

Monday, October 18, 2010

In Case You're New Here

Over a year ago (right after I started this blog) I posted "25 Things That I Should Be Ashamed Of".  And because I've gained about 70 followers since then, and there are updates on a few of these, I figured I'd repost the list.  So here it is:

1. At one point in my life, I knew every line from Jim Carrey's smash-hit comedy, "The Mask."

2. I have blamed my gas on my sleeping son.

3. I owned Lou Bega's album, "A Little Bit of Mambo."  It was stolen from my locker in high school, and I still miss it sometimes.

4. I'm horrible at guessing movie plot twists. I didn't guess the ending to "The Sixth Sense", "The Usual Suspects", or "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."

5. I don't know who my congressman is.

6. Even though I shouldn't like them, I like Eminem, Kid Rock, and the smell of gasoline.

7. I fell for the "updog" joke in eighth grade... twice.

8. I am 6'3" and weigh 260 pounds, but I am an excellent dancer. I can even do "The Worm." I will never prove this to anyone.

9. I have an extensive collection of sports cards.

10. I've gotten 12 traffic tickets and two warnings.

11. I have no idea what the difference is between mayonnaise and Miracle Whip. But I will argue with people about which is better just for fun. I do the same with butter and margarine.

12. I have used the same kind of deodorant for 10 years. (This one isn't true anymore.  I tried Old Spice once since then and realized it's my dad's cologne.  But I only realized it after I put it on.  So I smelled like my dad for a full 24 hours.)

13. I had a favorite elevator at my last job.

14. I think fireworks are stupid, boring, and pointless.

15. When I see someone fall down, my first instinct is to laugh. My second is to look for a fellow onlooker to laugh with. My third is to wonder if the person is alright.

16. I lost my bowling ball. I have no idea where it is. How do you lose a 14-lb. black stone with your name on it?  (Update: I went back to the one place I ever bowled with that ball and they said they didn't have it.  And they never throw away a lost ball.  So now I know it was stolen.)

17. I have cried while watching a reality TV show.  I won't say what show it was, but the name started with a "B". (And it ended with an "iggest Loser".)

18. I saw Destiny's Child in concert.

19. I saw New Kids on the Block in concert.

20. I have an English degree, but I can't name any books I finished in college besides the Harry Potter series.

21. I have never beaten Super Mario Brothers from the original Nintendo.

22. I have an English degree because the day I had to decide on a major, I was three blocks away from the Political Science office and one floor away from the English office.

23. Taco Bell is one of my favorite places to eat.

24. I don't trust short people who are really quiet.

25. I've been blogging for over a year.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I'm Not Bragging, I Promise

I always hate when people brag about things they had nothing to do with. Like the people who brag about how tall they are or how close their parking space is (or how good they are at Yahtzee). So I try not to be one of those people. If I know I didn't have a hand in how something turned out, I try not to talk about it too much. But sometimes that's really hard to do.

My daughter will be two next month. And she seems to have a gift for speech. She doesn't just say two syllable words like most kids her age. She forms complicated sentences with contractions and conjunctions (I had to look that up). She can pronounce the word "ridiculous" better than her older brother. And just yesterday she said to me, "Daddy, can I have some of the candy in the kitchen?" What kid that age can say that?  (And when did we get candy?)

Well the problem is that it's really hard not to brag about that. In fact, I just did it in the last paragraph without even meaning to. I just wanted to mention that she's developed her speech skills quickly. But I couldn't just stop there. I'm just too impressed with her to leave it at that.  And I know this sounds cliché, but we're really just happy that we've had healthy, happy kids so far. We're very blessed not to have to deal with any major issues.  I feel like I have to say that in case people think I'm shallow or something.

But I'm really afraid of becoming that annoying parent who gets excited about normal stuff. So I'm trying not to talk about it too much. Especially since we've had nothing to do with her progress. It's not like we've been training her on it. We didn't buy any toddler teaching software or Your Baby Can Read products. In fact, I'm kinda stumped as to why she's so good at it. We're not exactly good with the words. Maybe she's just an evil genius that hasn't turned evil yet.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Long Story Short

My son asked for a story last night when it was bedtime. And I've found that I'm a pretty good storyteller for toddlers (they don't expect a lot). I usually start with, "Once upon a time, there was a little [insert animal] named [insert silly name]." And that animal usually has a friend, and they go to some location (zoo, store, school, etc.) and have various silly adventures. But last night, my son wanted a story about golf. He's been playing golf on Wii Sports recently, and I think it was still on his mind.

And for the life of me, I couldn't think of a golf story. Animals don't really play golf. But then I had an idea. I told him the story of Happy Gilmore, the boy who had to beat Shooter McGavin at golf. I told him how there was a boy named Happy who played hockey and loved it very much. And how Happy found out he was good at golf and he had a teacher who helped him. And since my son is only 3, he had no idea that I stole the entire plot from an actual movie called Happy Gilmore. I even made him laugh with lines from the movie ("Are you too good for your home?!"). Adam Sandler impressions apparently only make little children laugh.

So now I have a new strategy. I'll ask my son what he wants the story to be about, and then I'll think of a movie that references that subject. Then I'll just make the plot kid-friendly. The only problem I see is that he might actually watch these movies some day. And I will have ruined them.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I Probably Post Things Like This Too Much

Quizno's disappointed me today. They have a sandwich size known as a Bullet. And nowhere in the store did they have a sign that said "Bite the Bullet!" That's very disappointing and borderline unacceptable. They've probably lost a lot of business because of that missed opportunity.

When I played junior high football (for three weeks), the sign of a good workout was when I had to struggle not to puke. And I thought that's what it was this morning. But it turns out that almost puking is also a side effect of working out on five hours of sleep after having a big bowl of Wolf brand chili for dinner the night before. Sit-ups were a very bad idea.

I have to admit, while the main reason I'm keeping a beard right now is to solidify my nickname ("Grizz"), a secondary reason is for a Biggest Loser-type makeover reveal after the holidays when I've (hopefully) lost about 20 or 25 pounds. I think it would be awesome to come in to work after New Year's without a beard. If I've learned anything from Biggest Loser, it's that your weight loss is way more impressive when you shave.

I've started referring to my raisins as "grape jerky." And now I don't have to share.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Yay Lists!

My birthday is in December. So I make my birthday and Christmas list together, and I do it in October. Having both occasions in one month is a blessing and a curse. Because I load up on gifts at the end of the year, but if I think of something I want on December 26th, I'm out of luck for 11 more months if I don't want to buy it myself. And I thought maybe as I got older, my list would start to get shorter. But I've found that thoughts like that are stupid. Because now I just want more expensive toys that have become available only since I've become a grown-up (I use that term loosely). Now I ask for wireless electronics and Blu-ray copies of movies and video game accessories. In fact, I find myself manipulating my son's Christmas list to fill my own wants ("But he doesn't have A Bug's Life on Blu-ray yet!").

The main problem is that I'm a list person. And list people are the mental equivalent of hoarders. We collect sortable, listable things in our brains. And I can't stop making lists. I make lists of stuff I need to get done, stuff I want to do before I turn 30, places I've been, movies I've seen, and people I've killed met. I've even sat down and made a list of all my teachers' last names from the 12 years of school before college (I can't remember my 7th grade Art teacher's name to save my life and it bugs me). So the idea of making a list of a bunch of cool stuff I want that I don't have to buy is a listmaker's dream. That's one of the reasons I get so excited when October comes around. The other reasons are the much-anticipated end of Daylights Savings Time (the stupidest idea in the history of ideas), the beginning of cooler weather, and an excuse to drink pumpkin spice-flavored beverages.

Friday, October 8, 2010

My Open Letter To Barack Obama

Just kidding with the title. I'm not gonna talk about politics in a blog post. That's silly.

What I would like to talk about is something very serious… NBC's Thursday night lineup. Community is outstanding, 30Rock is hilarious, The Office is still hanging on. But Outsourced? I'm not sure how I feel about Outsourced, honestly. It's not hysterically funny. But it's also not mind-numbingly boring (like that one sitcom I can't think of right now). It has pretty funny parts here and there. But in between those decently funny moments are pretty bland moments that don't really interest me. But my problem is that it follows my three favorite comedies. And there's nothing else in that time slot that's remotely interesting to me. If I had a DVR or anything but network television programming to choose from, I might think differently. But I don't. I have to watch everything live. And my choices in that time slot are Outsourced or the second half of some drama/thriller/crime type show (CSI, Grey's Anatomy, Criminal Minds rerun, Fringe). So for the time being, I'll have to continue watching Outsourced.

And yes, I could turn off the TV completely. We could stand 30 minutes of quiet time. But after an hour an a half of watching the same channel, there's no way we'll find the remote quick enough to justify looking for it. So for the time being, Outsourced is still in.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What Do You Call A Camel That's Missing Its Hump?

For three months I've been bothered by this painting in our office. It's in the hallway outside the bathroom, so I see it everyday. And it's a painting of a cowboy being bucked off a horse. It was painted by some junior high school student back in 1994, and it won some kind of contest. But the thing that bothers me so much about it is that the name of the painting is "Buckin' the Camel's Back."

The horse has no resemblance to a camel. And I would think that a junior high student with talent enough to paint a realistic-looking horse would know what a horse is. So that got me wondering if maybe it was labeled wrong. Maybe some teacher didn't know the difference between the two. But that makes me even more upset.

My Google searches didn't help, and I couldn't stop thinking about how stupid it was that it said it was a camel. But then yesterday, the painting disappeared. The only evidence that it was even there is a small nail hole in the wall and my own memory of it. And now it's bothering me that a painting that's 4 feet long and 3 feet wide just disappeared. Who could have taken it? And why? My theory is that it bothered somebody else in the office so much that they couldn't take it anymore. Or I have a devious alter-ego that snuck in after dark and did it while my current consciousness was asleep. And that actually makes sense. Because I've been extra tired lately. I wonder what else my alter-ego has done.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"You Can Go WIth This, Or You Can Go With That"

If I don't think of something to blog about in the next ten minutes, I won't blog today. Because once I get home, I won't be able to concentrate on funny stuff. My kids will crawl on me like a portable playground and my wife won't stop making out with me (one of those things is not true). So this is it. I have to think of something funny right now.

Okay, I got nothing.

Although, today I rewatched the music video to "Weapon of Choice" by Fatboy Slim. It's the one where Christopher Walken dances around an empty hotel. And I thought of a funny comment I'm gonna use at some point in the future. The next time someone mentions dancing of any kind, I'm gonna say, "I don't know, man. I learned all my dance moves from Christopher Walken." And then I'll sing the song while performing his moves.

Okay, so that's not that funny. But it doesn't matter, because my time's up.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Running For Your Life

Last year at some point I decided it was time to start getting into shape. So I started with a jog in my neighborhood. And since my neighborhood is not an upscale neighborhood and my neighbors are not upscale neighbors, I got chased by a pit bull that wasn't on a leash. I jogged about 200 feet from my house, and then had to sprint all the way back. So that was the last time I went jogging in my neighborhood. And I didn't want to join a gym for three reasons: 1) I don't want to pay for it, 2) I'm not as strong as the guys there who are in shape, and 3) I'm terrified of getting in one of the machines wrong.

So I didn't really do any kind of exercise since the pit bull encounter. But then my wife got a free treadmill from her dad. So I've been trying to get up early a few times (okay, once) a week to run (okay, jog) for about half an hour (okay, 18 minutes). And what I've found is that it is absolutely necessary for me to look at my feet when I'm on a treadmill. Otherwise I find myself losing my footing.

This morning I decided the best way to pass the time was to watch an episode of Community (Thursdays on NBC). I just got the DVDs of season 1, so I watched an episode while I jogged. The problem with that is I wasn't watching my feet. And when you combine a 6-foot-3, out-of-shape man who's not paying attention at 6 in the morning with a cheap, hand-me-down treadmill with the tendency to slip on its track, it's a bad combination. I lost my footing completely while laughing at the hilarious character of Abed, and I nearly died.

Lucky for me, I was able to react pretty quickly. My left foot, which had randomly deviated a good 12 inches off the track found solid ground and I turned my would-be fall into what I'm sure was a hilarious-looking spin move. But I avoided tearing the skin off my legs by falling on the carpet instead of the conveyor belt of death. And no one was around to see me make a fool of myself.

So I've decided to take my chances with the free range pit bulls. My pride couldn't handle explaining a treadmill injury to people. But a dog attack makes for a really good story.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I Put The 'Bear' In 'Beard'

Well, I can't shave any more this year. But it's for good reason. No, it's not because I'm donating my beard to Locks of Love in January (their standards are too high). It's because I finally got a good nickname! The guys I work with said I look like a grizzly bear with my newly-grown beard. So one of them called me "Grizz." And if you watch 30Rock on Thursdays on NBC like I do, then you know that they have a pair of characters named Grizz and Dotcom. And the guy who called me Grizz happens to be a website developer on the side (you can find him here if you're interested in getting your own website). So calling him "Dotcom" works perfectly! So now we're Grizz and Dotcom! It's awesome.

But now I have to keep the beard for a while to ensure that the nickname sticks. And I figure I need it for a good three months before it's guaranteed to stick. So I can't shave until the end of this year.

And if you're wondering about the third guy in our department (it's weird that you know we have three guys) and whether he has a nickname, don't worry. We call him "The Beast" because he told a radio station last month that he wears raccoon thongs. So now we have The Beast, Grizz, and Dotcom. We already modified our name badges.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

No YOU'RE Immature!

One of my friends asked me after church last night how I liked the new Halo game. And all I could get out was, "Dude, I love it-" when an eleven-year old girl interrupted me.

She said, "Ugh, all I hear at school is stupid boys talking about how much they love Halo. And I still can't get away from it. And these are grown men!"

Now I'm not in favor of hitting other people's kids, but I see the temptation of it now. And in that moment, I realized why I will never become a teacher. Because I am not equipped to handle that kind of attitude. Call it what you want; sass, backtalk, prosecutor's evidence for my inevitable child abuse trial. But that kind of thing is just too much for me.

And I didn't know how to respond. I felt insulted, belittled, and mocked. And because she was eleven, it was amplified about 20 times. In the three seconds of silence that followed her little comment, I went through all the possible responses I could have used. They ranged from completely ignoring her to getting in a yelling match that ended in both of us crying. And I couldn't think of a single thing to say that wouldn't make me look like more of an idiot.  I wanted to respond like an adult, but I was finding it hard not to make a flatulent noise and call her a doodoo-head.

Because I'm a respectful adult (and since her parents were standing right there), I settled on muted indignation and self-deprecating humor (my old standby). I said, "Who says I'm a grown man? Don't let the beard fool you, young lady. I'm just a giant kid who loves video games."

Everyone laughed and I didn't look like a complete tool. But I still ended up feeling like a loser because of a girl who's younger than my car. It's weird that more than a decade after I leave junior high, the girls there can still make me feel stupid. (But I don't really care. Her feet are too big for her body, and those shoes did not match her top. It's whatevs.)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Go. Do It Now.

I know I'm a nerd for liking The Amazing Race. I realize that I may be the only person my age who watches it. But I don't really care because it's quality entertainment. My only complaint is that thanks to CBS airing 60 Minutes right before The Amazing Race, I am now trained to get excited when I see Andy Rooney's face on my television.

But I don't care if you start watching it too. If you do, great. If not, no big deal. What I do care about is that you must this instant go to Youtube and search "amazing race watermelon." You'll see a clip that's about a minute long, posted by CBS. Trust me when I say it's well worth your time.

I'm hoping the rest of the season is as good as this clip. I wonder what fruit will be the enemy next week.