Monday, December 28, 2009

who defines normal?

Slowly, things are getting back to normal around here.

The kids were all running around the country over the holidays. Ethan was down in VaBeach with his dad. He just came home a couple days ago on Amtrak. I picked him up from Union Station which was a huge crowded mess. Traffic to and from DC wasn't bad, just the inside of the station was a madhouse. I think Amtrak's target audience is rookie travelers. Thousands of people, all looking confused, trying to read the map, can't find their gate, and clumsy with their luggage. Auntie Anne's pretzels erased a lot of the stress though.

Joe and the girls went down to Kentucky right after Christmas to see their grandma. The girls are driving home today with the fam, but Joe's staying an extra day and driving home solo tomorrow. Odd, but I'm rather used to dealing with the unexplained by now.

We took the day yesterday to disassemble all the decorations in the house. It's done. All 100% completed. The tree is out at the curb, the outside lights are down from the house, and everything is boxed and back in the attic. The end of the holiday is always a bit depressing, but I'm happy to get back to a more normal schedule.

New Year's Eve was a good time with neighbors and friends. Nothing too crazy, just hanging out around the block for dinner and drinks. Maybe a few too many drinks, or so they tell me. I firmly believe that I partied happy all night, then simply teleported home to bed sometime around 3am.

(Missy - thanks again for not leaving me to sleep in the truck all night.)

I'm thankful that I wasn't wearing flip-flops that night. I would have had all sorts of wardrobe malfunctions and wound up like this guy:

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The holidays are over, but this game is a good reminder of just how annoying Christmas lights can be.

Save Santa!

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Review your Facebook config here, to see what FB apps you've granted access to your personal details. I'm sure some of you will be quite shocked at how generous you've been.

Happy Christmas pic of the presents opening their children:

The TSA full of naked idiots.

Apple is full of idiots, too. They're just not naked.


I'm thinking this was not a happy house over the holidays. Ouch. (click to enlarge.)

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

a very special holiday waster

Between the holidays and the crazy blizzard, I was slacking a bit this past week. I caught flak from those of you who can't entertain yourselves. You can consider this waster either really late from last week, but I'm calling it the very early and extra special holiday edition. Just remember, though, calling it special doesn't necessarily make it good.

A month or so back I shared the news that Joe was engaged. The fam likes his fiancée, and they're really happy together, so there's not much stress there. The fact that they've only been dating since the summer was a bit of a shock, but they're planning a 2yr engagement so that pacifies the "rushing into things" concerns. They're even starting to look into buying a home.

Last week I started bugging him for his semester grades. If you remember, he's on the reimbursement plan, where I pay 100% for his classes after he shows me results. He avoids the questions, doesn't respond to email or text, and I start getting the idea that I'm not going to have a very large check to write.

I actually don't have ANY check to write. Genius dropped out back at midterms then hid the fact until finally confessing a couple days ago.

Good news? I learned a year ago not to front him any money. He didn't put a single one of my dollars in the trashcan.

What stresses me? Not the fact that he dropped out of school. If he's not ready to grow up yet, that's cool with me. I'm a bit jealous, actually. I don't want to grow up either. I want to be able to drop out of school when things get too hard. I don't want to pay a mortgage. I want to sleep late.

What stresses me is the mismatch and conflicts between his actions. "We're getting married." "We're trying to buy a house." "I'm going to keep working at the ice cream shop." "I dropped out of school." It's gonna make my brain explode.

So for now, he's crashing at his gf's parent's house, bc she doesn't have a place to live either. He's still scooping at Ben & Jerry's. The shop owner is trying hard to help Joe forget that education BS and become an IceCreamManager instead. They just lost their previous manager, so the owner is in full recruitment mode to fill the slot.

I learned all this information at the end of last week, right before our main Christmas plans. It made the weekend a little tense, but there was enough distraction to keep the subject buried.

Yes, Christmas. Since we've got multiple split-families to coordinate, Missy and I scheduled our Christmas with the kids this past Saturday. We had all sorts of stuff on deck to fill the day, too: DC all day, doing the tourism thing at Union Station, the Botanical Gardens, and the National Christmas Tree. The day was going to end with a dinner cruise on the Odyssey, viewing the lights & sights up and down the Potomac.

Mother Nature had her own plans. The blizzard shut down the entire region and canceled everything on our schedule. Instead, Missy and I were snowed in with 4 kids, 1 fiancée, Missy's mom. Plus lots & lots of dogs: Missy (2) + fiancée (1) + mother-in-law (3) = two hundred and thirteen effing dogs in the house.

Even though the original plans were jammed, the holiday was rescued. We filled the time with lots of playing in the snow, caroling over at Grandma's house, running around the neighborhood, sledding at the Gorge, opening our gifts, and burning the fireplace all weekend long. Instead of a cruise in the city, Missy whipped up a big fondue dinner, punctuated by chocolate fondue for dessert.

Next topic... my schooling. Strayer, consistently boneheaded, came up with a semester schedule that ended during the week between Christmas and NewYears. They tweaked the semester to end a week early. That left the professors with two weeks' worth of lessons to complete in one week. Last week, I burned at least 18 hours on schoolwork and final exams. I'm done til January now, but wow was I crying for a few days. Sometimes I wish I got credit for writing the Waster.

Final thought before I check out this week: Go visit 15minute lunch. I like them. They like me. I won a weird and useless prize for my limited drinking skillz. For reals.

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Dom found a simple but addictive basketball shooter. Competition between others online, you can even form private leagues to play in the office!

Shopping Cart Hero!

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Quite possibly somebody has a legitimate explanation for that freaky, no-offensive-line fake kick that the Redskins tried to run last week. It actually makes sense to me now. A little.

Why we should eat horses.

Kristin's friends are hard-core:

Add an eye-patch, Matt is an instant bad-ass!

Mikey found out that Bumbles do more than bounce...

Go 'head; sing the song. You'll get it.

News of the past year, sorted by topic. Click for full size interactive zoomable pic:

Cracked's list of the 15 worst prn ideas ever.

Now let the Charlie Brown Metal Christmas take you thru the holiday...

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Monday, December 7, 2009

hey there mister shintoist

The annual day of Christmas tree cutting and decorating was straight storybook! Actually, more comic book than storybook, but it was still a good day.

We all got up early to get a good start on the day. During breakfast, there wasn't much going on outside other than a really dreary yucky drizzle. Then the flakes started drifting down. Jumbo floaty snowflakes like they show in cartoons. By the time we were loaded in the truck and heading toward the tree farm, the roads were already getting some coverage.

Twenty minutes later, I'm driving a truckload of excited kids, and hauling a flatbed trailer, down a muddy unpaved road on the way to the farm. The 'parking lot' was even worse off, as parts of it was simply deep mud, muck, and slush covered with straw. No worries, the truck plays nicely in the snow, but I was definitely avoiding the bad parts of the drive. Digging anything out of the mud was NOT in my plans.

We grabbed one of the bow saws from the rack, and headed out to the fields. It was cold, but beautiful... all the trees were dusted with snow in their branches, and all the fields had a good 2" blanket by now. We didn't realize for a minute that the pretty snow was simply hiding the mud and puddles underneath. So we're marching the field in wet socks. Reminded me of spilling beers at GDays, actually.

The kids picked out a really nice looking tree rather quickly. Sometimes, this part is a bit of a challenge, but Ethan stepped up and made a very good find. It was shaped nicely, with real full branches, and had a good point on top. Consider it done!

I worked my face into the bottom branches so I can start cutting the trunk of the tree. This is where the fun began to fade a bit.... the needles were scratching my face, the mud was soaking thru my jeans, and every single giant snowflake was able to find the bare part of my lower back where my jacket had crept upwards. And the saw wasn't working.

One by one, the kids bailed to hide from the weather in the barn. They took turns pretending to check on me, but I think the message was more "are you done yet? are you done yet?". After a bit of fighting with the bad equipment, Missy went back to the lot and grabbed a different saw from the rack. This one had a much better bite, and we PaulBunyan'd that thing to the ground in short order.

Now we had to fight our way out past the legions of retards in the parking lot. The problems were compounded because there were people who a) didn't know how to load things on a roof b) didn't know how to drive in snow, and c) didn't know how to avoid getting stuck in the mud. I could feel the stupid attacking my sanity, so we completely bypassed the loading area, and just carried the tree all the way back to the truck.

This is where we found challenge #2. Imagine following a big-ass truck (a big ass-truck?) down a muddy dirt road. Now throw some salt, snow, and slush into your mental picture. All this mess is flying around behind me over a 30 minute drive, and if you were following, you just caught it all on your windshield. But wait! The trailer caught it instead! I was towing a huge pile of tasty muck, and had nowhere to load the tree.

After a bit of brainwork (made more difficult by all the stupid in the vicinity) we figured a way to wrap the tree before loading it. The farm was selling plastic "tree disposal bags" for getting it out of your house after the holidays without showering your carpet with dry needles. We bought an extra one, and used it to keep the tree clean and dry on the trip home.

After a grabbing lunch at Arby's, and resisting all temptations to spin donuts in the snow while towing a trailer, we got home successfully. I took our prize up to the back deck to do some more trimming and get it ready to bring in the house. Things were going great until I got ready to attach our 7" diameter base to the 9" diameter trunk of the tree. Uhhhhh, great job, genius. Measuring fail.

So now I had to get creative with the chainsaw. Leatherface what?!

Last year's tree was the fattest tree ever. 8' tall and 7' wide. That tree left us many good stories. This year's tree didn't break tradition. It was a fun, challenging, crazy, pain in the tail, and it turned out perfect!

Final thought for the week... Later in the evening, Megan made this snowman in the front yard, and I can't get over how much awesome it has!

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Paper Cannon - Kill the Bunnies!

Dodge. That's the name, the description, and the directions.

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Jess figured me out. The sole reason I started writing this blog to lay the cornerstone of my social media guru EMPIRE!!!!! (In layman's terms, that means I'm super effing awesome, and you should probably just start writing big checks right now and never stop.)

Sketchy Santas!
"Ridgemont High" meets "A Christmas Story":

Take a second look before you decide Santa isn't creepy.

The secret to world peace.

Joe & I geek out together sometimes. Create and register a scannable logo with BeeTagg. Use it for business cards, t-shirts, avatar, whatever. Phones that can scan tags will get automatically linked back to your e-content on BeeTagg.

My weekly installment of adolescent humor:

Yep. More lamebook. I can't feed my addiction fast enough.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

december already???

This vid of Beaker from the Muppets unexpectedly fired up my holiday spirit:

All this freaky weather has really interfered with my internal calendar. Last week, I'm riding the bike to work in beautiful sunshine weather. I rode Monday and nearly froze my nads off in the 30s. Yesterday, sunshine & 60. Tomorrow, snow. WTF???

I'd reallllllly like to see some flakes tomorrow. Bright & early in the morning, we're loading the truck with the whole crew of kids. The new kid, Joe's fiancée, is coming, too. Heading out to Ticonderoga Farms to cut down our own Christmas tree. We've been going there for the past couple years. It's a fun, silly, Rockwell family kinna thing to do. If we can add just a dusting of snow to the picture, I'll be a happy boy.

After we get the tree in the morning, the rest of the weekend is set aside for decorating the tree and the house. I'm planning a big ol' fire in the woodstove, lots of holiday music, cocoa & marshmallows, and munching all the broken candy canes that we find mixed in the bottom of the decoration storage bins.

My little bro has already won the Spirit Award. Doesn't matter what we do to our place, he's in the major leagues. He may have started his install back in August sometime, but the results are worth it. He's got the synchronized lights dancing to recorded music. Not just any music, though, he's broadcasting it through the FM on your car stereo. For real. I feel like I should win concert tickets by being the 7th caller on his cell phone.

Enjoy the weekend, get your holiday spirit cranked up, and think of me tomorrow! (Happy thoughts if it snows, wet & muddy thoughts if it rains.)

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Help Tiger escape the angry Elin!

The game that's fun even if you lose, Guess the Chest. (Safe at work, and includes both M & F Hollywood contestants!)

You only think you know how the Mixed Memories brain game works. It'll stretch your brain a bit before you figure it out.

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(I can't help that my brain is still only 13 years old.)

Five things to know about climate change.

Legaliiize it:

Google is twisted. So is Dom.

The Chinese uncovered the truth about Tiger:

Video Professor is a scam. Well, duh. Almost every one of those work-at-home, learn-at-home, anything-without-effort things are some sort of sneaky. I had no idea it was this bad.

The Muppets sing Bohemian Rhapsody. Best version ever; they kick Wayne & Garth's A55!

Vampires suck.

FoxNews = GoodMaths

Star Wars Facebook

More SWFBs on CollegeHumor.

Bing is a rip-off, too.

Crazy infographic map of human space exploration for my fellow geeks...

Here's a dynamic & interactive version of the same pic, from National Geographic.

Lamebook of the week:

(You're still singing Peter Tosh now, huh? It's been in my head since I wrote that comment days ago. Don't criticiiiiiize it. Legaliiiiize it, I'll advertise it.
Take that to your weekend.)

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Monday, November 16, 2009

narwhals & unicorns

I really have nothing to report on this week. No big news, no drastic stressors, simple & lightweight plans for the weekend, and nothing of any value rattling around in my brain.

That's not to say life isn't busy, just steady rollin'. We got our project all certified at the office, so now we have time to get caught up on all the little tasks that were skipped for a few weeks.

All of us are chugging thru the middle of our various school semesters. Midterms are over, report cards are completed, nobody is on my bad list, and we all just cruise the school scheds from here thru to the holidays.

I failed on riding the bike to work every single day this week. Each day was for a different reason, and all reasons were legitimate, but I'm still feeling a bit guilty over the whole situation. There's only another week til Thanksgiving, and I really don't want to jack up my exercise routine right before I start shoveling stuffing & gravy into my face.

Holiday plans are starting to come together. It's easy when a majority of the fam is local. A few people from my office are traveling up and down the I-95 corridor next week, and I'm sooooo not jealous. We hit NYC a few years back over Thanksgiving; it was the first & last time I'll ever do that drive over the holiday weekend.

So we're keeping it simple, and staying in town & hanging out with the fam. Nice n easy....

(Yes it's a re-run pic, but it still makes me smile. And you know I just do this blog-thing to entertain myself.)

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Narwhal vs Unicorn kinna makes me horny.

Best "not-intended-to-be-a-game" game.... Translate the Joseph Ducreux bad-ass self-portraits! (I'll give you the first one: Jay-Z / 99 Problems)

Tired of the innuendo? Then get rid of your balls.

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Leslie thinks I'm easily amused. She's right.

"Often feared and grossly misunderstood." A beginner's guide to PedoBear.

Who would want Charlie in the Box? Or this?

BaconNails are fierce! (click it... whatever you're expecting, you're wrong.)


Time keeps scrolling by. Take a look; you'll understand.

Sometimes it's better if you put a little more thought into your choice of words.

Um, no thanks.

My momma used to have a dalmatian. Dumbest dog ever. Totally cute, very very lovable, but dumb as an effing rock. I never paid attention to his shadow though.

Yep. Still easily amused.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

big big big news!!!!

Got a big announcement to share this week; totally totally crazy news!

Samantha is starting work tonight at her very first paycheck-job. Not a babysitting / walk-your-dog / water-the-plants-while-you're-on-vacation job, but a for-real job that requires her to have ID and pay taxes.

She went up to the mall yesterday afternoon for an interview at Claire's. She had the right combination of responsibility, availability, and English-speaking skills to get the job. She also correctly answered the question "Can you start work tomorrow afternoon?"

So she's up there now, making very good cash and helping to Accessorize the World.

But that's not the big news. You're gonna flip when you hear this...

Joe & his girlfriend got engaged last week!

They've been dating a while now, but maybe not as long as you'd expect for a move like this. They're working toward a long engagement, actually making plans for the end of summer 2011.

It was definitely a surprise when they broke the news. I'm not sure anyone was expecting a move like this at this stage in their lives. Although he's working steady and attending classes, he hasn't completed his schooling yet. The long engagement gives them a bit of time to figure out a lot of things between now and then.

She's totally cool though, and they're very happy together. There's still a big dose of puppy-love in the mix, but underneath things seem to be pretty solid between 'em too. It's very rewarding to see your kids smile they way they are.

(And get this: they're not even embarazadas!, which doesn't happen in this family all that often.)

All the rest of the news this week is rather pale by comparison. I took my midterms, got good grades. All the kids got their report cards, got excellent grades. We're all working way too many hours, but there are people out there who don't even have a job to complain about.

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Phytrix starts out really easy, but it'll piss you off before you know it.

Dammit, just lemme sleep!

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Prank War 8!!!!! "Right now, I'm just happy to not be dead."

180 of the best (and drunkiest) beer pong tables!


Is over-glossed music production and infinite editing the death of rock n roll? I've always hated drum machines and 'computer music' bc it grates my nerves. I never really understood why it bothered me so much. Well, now I know. (still hate it though)

Caption Obvious. (clicpic to embiggen)

Super slo-mo of a tattoo needle:

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Friday, October 30, 2009

don't ask, and please don't tell

Last weekend's NYC trip started off very very well.

I tensed up for a minute when I saw the long security line at Dulles, but they had things moving pretty well. We made friends with the officer monitoring the line, hearing his stories about all the idiots he deals with on a regular basis. (Water is a liquid!) We got thru the gates without much hassle at all, except from the hyper-sensitive monkey behind me in line, complaining that my picture taking was a security threat.

JetBlue had the plane loaded and ready to go in record time. They called a quick roll of missing passengers, decided that enough of us were there, so they bounced out early. Captain Mike was pretty motivated to get to the city, bc our flight time was quicker than expected, too. We were on the ground 20 minutes ahead of schedule. Whooooohoooo!

JetBlue had free DirecTV on all the seatbacks, and a cool GPS display on one of the channels. I thought this was about the awesomest thing ever. Then I was told that all the airlines have this now. So for you non-frequent fliers, check this out. You jet-setters can just STFU, thanks.

The ride back to the city was a bit more challenging than it should have been. Our ride got jammed behind a tractor-trailer wreck, then we couldn't find each other at the airport, finally we got lost on the drive into the city. Lucky that Cap't Mike had a booty call on his mind, bc our 20 minutes early arrival turned into 20 minutes late for dinner reservations.

We met with a few friends at CrifDogs, downtown NYC. The plans were to eat CrifDogs for dinner, but not at the restaurant, exactly. We were just hanging in the staging area. CrifDogs is a tiny little place, couple of 80s video games on the side (Double Dragon & Donkey Kong!), and counter service at the rear. JB picked up a couple of PBRs for $2.50 a can, and I hit the Gennie Cream Ale for $3.25. Excellent prices for any bar, much less in the city!

The owner of CrifDogs also owns the place next door; "Please Don't Tell" (PDT). It's a classic cocktail lounge with a tip of Bogart's fedora to the speakeasy style.

There is no street entrance to PDT. You arrive at Crif's, enter the old 1930's telephone booth, and pick up the handset to call the hostess at PDT. She confirms your reservations, then opens the secret back panel of the phone booth. For real. It's warm and dark inside, just enough light to see each other, music present, but quiet enough to enjoy the conversation.

At PDT, a cocktail is art. Calling these guys "bartenders" doesn't do justice. They are creative experts, using the finest liquors and the freshest ingredients to present drinks that simply amazing. These drinks are so complex, your head will spin before getting drunk. Please, check out last winter's cocktail menu. You'll understand.

We had 7 people in our party, so we were able to taste dozens of different drinks. I started the evening with a Benton's Old Fashioned; bacon-infused whiskey w maple & orange flavors. It'll be my go-to the next time I'm there. It's perfect. Check out the vid: PDT had a guest bartender, David Shenaut, performing the night we were there. His home bar is at the Teardrop Cocktail Lounge in Portland OR. This made things a little more difficult for us, bc now we had to work thru both the standard PDT menu and David's special menu that he brought with him. Challenge!

So, simply put, Friday night was a blast. Big love to my buddy Jon, who coordinated the evening.

Saturday morning started much too early at Nevada Smith's football pub. My brother-in-law is the president of the Arsenal Football Club NYC fan club, and he def knows the right place to hang out and watch a match. Click the link to the bar, watch the flash vid load, and that's exactly how the place fills. Just before kickoff, there were only a handful of people there. 15 mins later, and it was packed, and loud, and jumping, and singing. And singing. And more singing; 2 hours of singing. And maybe a few pints of beer, with a side order of singing.

Arsenal was the first match of the morning, and they won handily. The whole place was in good spirits. Chelsea Football Club was playing in game two. Chelsea's owner, Roman Abramovich, was in Nevada Smith's to watch the game with his kid (and bodyguard). I did get a chance to meet & chat for a bit, but didn't want to interrupt his day too much. After the game, he posed for this pic with a bunch of the Arsenal guys, in front of the 20' Arsenal flag:

We stayed for most of a 3rd game, before bouncing out to meet the rest of the fam for lunch at some random, but tasty, Middle Eastern place.

After crashing for a nap in the afternoon, it was time to get ready for Halloween night in Grenwich Village. One of the biggest parties of the year in the city that never sleeps. I was stylin' as the scarecrow, complete with extra straw from a wrecked Buffett skirt.

The Halloween party didn't go exactly as planned. Don't ask. Next time, I'll know better.

(pssssst... before I go..... you want one of Mariah's monkeys. Put it on your Christmas list.)

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FloodFill kinna reminds me of Tetris, but with colors instead of shapes.

Guess the Crime is TSG flashified, matching the best mug shots to their violations. Dom, I'm keeping an eye out for your momma's pic.

Kerixep? WTF does that mean? Totally addictive, though.

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My brain at 3am:

If you're online at 3am, make sure to validate your actions. (clickpic for better view)

After all this dirty play, I can't believe nobody had the nads to stand up to this chick:

Brian who?

I miss summer already.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

slackin' at slackin'

It's been a while since I totally missed a week of posting. I've phoned it in a few times, and turned in less than stellar efforts, but an entire whiff? I suck. Dom says I've been slackin' at slackin', and he's got it pegged.

We've been spun up hard these past few weeks in the office. We're within a couple days of completing the gubmint acceptance of the delivery, and most of the stress & tension are winding down now. They've been twisting and turning our tests in dozens of different directions, many of which are completely senseless. A lot of it is to be expected, as most of the testers don't have a very good understanding of what needs to be done. They're good people, well intentioned, but the gub put 'em into a position they shouldn't really be in.

But we do what we do, and shoulder the stress and tension the only way we know how: butt heads with each other a lot, make up creative insults, and sneak out for 3-beer lunches (mmmmmm..... Jimmy's).

The fall semester at school started at the same time as these 3 weeks of gubmint testing. It's a pain in the tail to have to do office-work all day, then do school-work all night. I'm in a pair of IT classes this semester, so the work is actually relevant to my job. An even bigger annoyance is that one of the professors just doesn't have his shiznit together. I think he knows the subject matter, but he's doing a craptastic job of doling out assignments and grading completed work.

So all this productivity is getting on my nerves. It's interfering with my sanity, and interfering with your good time on a Friday afternoon. I need to get back to the slack.

So I bailed from work early today. Me & the first lady are flying out to NYC for the weekend. We've got a full line-up of activities with family and friends. We have 10pm reservations tonight at the Best American Cocktail Bar 2009. It's in the speakeasy flavor, and I'll have much better info to share next week. (Lemme just say our host has me totally stoked for the maple & bacon-infused whiskey!)

Saturday morning, we're hitting up a Soccer bar football pub for a big inter-London rivalry game. I don't know much beyond "sanctioned beer for breakfast", but as long as I avoid the topic of how often they flop & dive, I won't get my tail whipped.

And to put the cap on the weekend? We're walking in the Grenwich Village Halloween Parade!

By the way, if you're staying in for the night, please don't hand out any of these 11 crappy "treats". It's a sure way to make little kids cry, and motivate teens to soap your windows.

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My eyes feel like they're gonna bleed.

The Smoking Gun contest - match the t-shirt in the mugshot with the band. Entries must be submitted by 4pm.

You shouldn't have to think while working, but as long as you're not thinking about working I guess it's OK. Bloxorz.

You could put a lot of thought into this game, too, or you could just blow stuff up.

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I don't know why the anti-vaxxers get under my skin so bad. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot, it's the fact that their space-cadet viewpoint hurts little kids!

The Droid. Oh, please please please Verizon let me geek out soon. Please. Want.

The FaceBook express lane.... lets you keep up with your friends on FB but removes all the other crap. FaceBook Lite.

Owen Schmitt busts his own head open before the game starts:

The best remix of the SuperDrunkGuy vid I've seen:

But wait, there's more! If you click now, you can get your very own ChiaObama, plus one for Laura!

Awareness Fail (from FailBlog)

Musicians who hate the songs that made them famous. Robert Plant calls Stairway "that bloody wedding song".

One more flash of geekiness before I go....

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

eff that stupid faker balloonboy

So I'm kinna happy that this rainy nasty weather has coincided with all the testing that we're doing at work. Either issue, alone, would have interfered with my bike to work. Since they're simultaneous, I'm only losing out on a week or so. I've been driving to the test facility all week, and I'm really feeling the lack of exercise. I can't wait to get back on a good schedule again.

The first week of gov testing of our delivery has gone really well, even better than anticipated. Testing continues for the next two weeks, but most of that time we'll just be on stand-by for support or Q&A stuff. Boring as hell, but it's part of the cycle. Every delivery has to go thru acceptance testing before they sign off on the product being allowed to go out to the live users.

I started back to class on Tuesday night. Since this is the first week, the workload was rather light. I'm not looking forward to having my next two months of evenings jammed up again, although I'm totally excited about both of the classes I'm taking this semester. Now that I'm in the higher level classes, they're a lot more challenging, plus I actually learn something useful. Kinna the whole point of going to school, huh?

Besides work & school, there isn't too much else to share this week. The kids are all doing well, and they've all been head-down in their schoolbooks, too.

Our plans for attending the WineFestival are on shaky ground bc of the weather. I was pretty stoked about the trip, and we've got a good crew of people planning to go, but a soaking 40 degree rain just isn't conducive to fun times.

I already had the WineFestival loaded in the GPS, too:

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Fat Slice, the game, is a heck of a lot different than fat slice, the punishment for beer goggling. The spider level was tricky, but that damned dinosaur level beat me into submission.

Satellites. For real. Learn something from the Waster for a change.

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BalloonBoy? Eff that. AtticBoy and AttentionWhoreDad. A collection of the best mashups here: Urlesque

Hey! The DC Sports Bog is turning Seth into a celebrity!

MadAtoms shows you what's really on TV.

Got to go, be right back. My mom will be rather disappointed in me when she finds out how much I giggle at this site.

The entertainment industry has misunderstood technology for the past 100 years. Every new development has been attacked as the death of the industry. Idiots.

1-cent appetizers at TGIFridays! Caveats: THU night before Halloween, wear a costume, order a drink at the bar.

From Boston's BarstoolSports... oh hells yes!

I love google. I hate that I love google; I don't trust 'em at all and they know way too much about me. But daaaaamn are they good at everything they do. Here's a tool that lets you compare bing vs google side-by-side and make your own decision.

Dom, seriously, WTH?

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Monday, October 5, 2009

random unpaid sponsorships

It's homecoming at the high school, so the kids are all wrapped in activities thru the weekend. Parades, football, dance, and all that other funstuff. I'm doing a bit of chauffeur-ing, and some picture-taking, but not a whole heck of a lot else.

I'm really looking for a rather low-key couple of days. It feels rather odd to feel that way about a 3-day weekend, but that's the way it is. Part of the lack of excitement is bc we've been so effing busy in the office, I didn't even realize until this morning that the office is closed on Monday. I would have forgotten to check if it wasn't for the bossman telling me about his plans to go out of town.

I don't have much information to offer up this week in the way of updates, either. Just a few bits of unsolicited advertisements to force-feed into your inbox.

Tomorrow we're heading up to SterlingFest for a while. Those of you from the 'Park know about it. Nice & simple community celebration, arts & crafts, fire dept demo, candy & balloons, and a load of "save the whales adopt a dog vote for me in the local election" fundraising.

But the best part of Sterlingfest is Augur! I'll be out at the new Community Center gazebo at 2:45 for their show. They'll be hitting a few rock covers, and I'm really hoping for some original Whiskey to be mixed into the bunch.

Next weekend, we're working on a trip to the WineFest out at Historic Long Branch. It's a ways out in the sticks from NoVA, but definitely worth the drive. Good funstuff for the grown-ups ($25 bottomless glass!) and plenty of funstuff for the kiddies, too.

CrifDogs new video!
(Pretty sure I'm their biggest never-been-there-yet fan.)

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Dots game - does it even have a point?

BoxSpin (no, not meatspin) is a neat little puzzle game. The lack of directions made it a bit difficult to get started. Hint: change all the boxes to the same color. Hint2: if you didn't get the joke, do not google it.

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The 90's in just one pic.

Insects, Raid, a pencil, a good dose of creativity, and definitely too much free time results in comics made from dead flies:

I couldn't decide which to post, so I just grabbed the first. See the rest here and make your own decision over which dead bugs win.

Julie, I'm not passing judgement on your kid yet. Just realize what the future may hold...

(clickpic to enlarge)

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Friday, September 25, 2009

i'm still not so sure

We're in the middle of a product delivery at work. Anyone in IT knows what that means: crunch time. Anyone working with the gubmint also knows: documentation. We do IT for the gubmint, so we've got the worst of both worlds. Too much to do, and too much to doc, and nowhere near enough time for either.

The first part of the delivery is a whole test cycle. A bunch of (mostly) non-technical people review and evaluate the software. I've been working at a remote site all week, coordinating the test environment, doing docs, and working with the test team.

I've been getting in before sunrise, working in the dark dingy dreary blah government facility all day, and getting out late in the evening. I'm starting to feel like a vampire. My normal too-pale complexion has faded to almost clear. I snuck out a bit early this afternoon, and my arm started smoldering when the sunlight hit it thru the truck window.

Anyway, enough whining. I wasn't sure if I was going to survive the week, but I made it. Everything is in place now, and things should be calmed a lot next week during the actual test process. The biggest worry is that some of the test team really don't fully understand what we do, so we're not so sure they can provide legitimate review. It'll be a pain if we're jammed up over some imaginary issue.

Outside of the office things have been rather uneventful this week. I'm really happy that the heavy workload at the office happened to fall between semesters at school. I've got one more week off before classes start up again. Things should be back to normal by that time.

We did get a chance to hit up the VA State Fair last weekend, and it was a really good time. We met up with my sis and a couple family friends, too. Mother Nature tried her best to send us home early, but she didn't know who she was dealing with. That little bit of a rainstorm didn't do anything but get our socks wet. By around 9pm, we had most of the fairground to ourselves.

There was all sorts of rides, attractions, freakshow stuff, sales shills, and a whole slew of 4H farmland stuff. The most entertaining part of the day was the pig races.... for real. They loaded up a few gates of pigs, then released them to run around the track to the food dishes at the finish line. A few sets were fast & loud, then they brought out these HUGE potbelly pigs that barely fit into the starting pen. The race started, and they barely moved. Two minutes into the race,they were rounding the first corner, and 4 of the 5 had to stop to relieve themselves on the track. A pavilion full of rednecks, moms, kids, and babies got to see pig poo. That's quality entertainment!

We also attended BackToSchool night for Kid4. It's cool to see the teachers face-to-face, and the kids are happy to know they were represented, but the whole evening is rather bleh. The teachers meet 250 parents in two hours, which is completely overwhelming, especially after they've already spent the whole day dealing with 250 students. Each class visit is approx 8 minutes of auctioneering speech about the syllabus and homework and grading structure and overall class direction.

Kid4 is in 8th grade now, high school freshman next year. All the HS BtS nights in the county are held on the same day, so for the rest of their times Kid3 & Kid4 will overlap. This translates to only having to attend FOUR MORE BtS NIGHTS EVER! Ever ever ever!

A science project comic for ya: (click to enlarge)

This weekend I'm looking forward to a bit of grown up time. We're taking my father-in-law & his wife to dinner at the Occidental in DC. Whoooohoooo for dinner in a suit! I'm totally stoked about it; never been before, but it looks awesome. After dinner, we've got tickets to see Jersey Boys at the National Theatre. Not the Jerky Boys, JerZEE Boys. Stage show about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

BTW, since Frankie Valli was one of the four members of the group, shouldn't it have been FV and the Three Other Seasons? I know that sounds 'tarded, but it's bothered me for a long long time.

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Trippy wobbly line drawing stuff.

Max Connect laser puzzles.

Name that Band Logo. I thought I had skillz, but daaaaamn was I wrong. I suck.

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Thanks, Jacob, I really don't like Bono either. Not since he started wearing the buggy glasses. Ugh.

WIN (almost) then FAIL:

More fail!

This may be the most intellectual analysis of why marijuana should remain illegal.

In case you hadn't realized, there are at least 15 basic variances between men & women.

The whole entire internet in 4 minutes:

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

good news from the tri !

My sister's new house in Richmond is really, really nice. It's an old 1920's home in a cute little neighborhood, with a storybook fence along the front walk. The house has a had a big remodel, and is just gorgeous. She's done well.

The move itself went off without a hitch. We had the truck fully loaded Friday night. Saturday morning, the moving crew was in top gear. Lots of fam was there, along with a team of good friends. (Much love out to Jacob, Cheryl & her mom, Tyree, Becky, La & his cuz) We had the truck emptied in just a couple hours, with plenty of time afterwards to do a bunch of organizing and maintenance tasks. I kinna like busting out a job like that sometimes, but I sure am happy that's not how I earn my paycheck every week.

The Taylor Love Sprint Triathlon kicked off bright and early Sunday morning. Actually, "bright" is a poor choice of words. We had to be on site by 530am to get inked and checked in, and it was definitely still the middle of the night.

This was my second time running this race, so I was pretty excited to compare this year's performance to last year. I remarked last week that I was nervous about my preparation. The nerves got tighter & tighter right up until I got in the water. Once I kicked off the wall to start, my brain cleared and things fell right into place.

I couldn't have been happier with the results! The only number that got worse was my age! Swim & bike both kicked tail, but as you can see below, my run still sucks (pic of my bad form).

Start position (based on estimated swim time)
2008 - 157th
2009 - 116th (out of 330 people)

Finish position
2008 - 79th, 24th in the 35-39 age group
2009 - 54th, 16th in the 35-39 age group (next year I'm with the really old guys)

Swim - 300 yards
2008 - 12:24
2009 - 6:47

Bike - 17+ miles
2008 - 1:04:00 - 16.7mph avg speed
2009 - 0:57:09 - 18.5mph avg speed

Run - 2 miles
2008 - 18:58 - 9:29 avg mile
2009 - 18:04 - 9:02 avg mile

Total Time (includes transition times, like putting helmet & shoes on after swim)
2008 - 1:36:32
2009 - 1:25:17

Next year's goals (publicly shared, which makes it a lot harder to back out)
- Race in minimum three triathlon events
- At least one of those three is Olympic distance
- Get my run down to 7:30 / mile

Other news...

School finished up last week. Banged out both classes with an A. I'm on a break between semesters until the second week of October. It feels really good to have a bit of free time in the evening, especially since football season has started eating my Monday nights.

Kid2 abused her cell phone privs and got on her mom's bad side, and earned a restriction from text messaging for the past year or so. I think it punished me more than it punished her. The ban was lifted this week, so now I can chat with her while she's in class again.

Weekend plans - heading back down to the Richmond area again tomorrow. This time, we're checking out the VA State Fair. Rain or shine, no worries, there's a lot of indoor stuff to do, too. Last time we went was about 8 years ago, and we found a bunch of firetrucks at my house when we got home. The three cripples had a chimney fire at home while we were at the fair. (I'll tell that story sometime soon. It's worth the wait.)

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I really have no idea what to do with this one. The title makes me giggle like I'm 13 years old, though. The Glean of Glob.

Get high, without losing your clearance or going to jail.

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It Made My Day - Like Texts From Last Night, but with less embarrassing entries.

Top 10 weirdest moments from The Muppet Show.

Basic science info - This should be a pre-req for spawning or voting.

Facebook brings all your worlds together.

How throwback jerseys are hurting the NFL.

No comment.

Oh, my. Looks like someone shared a bit too much info about Josh's aim. (Headphones REQUIRED!)

Al Franken is a breath of fresh air in politics. So many of those jackoffs are so far removed from the real world, they've totally forgotten what their job is supposed to be all about.

Boom with the muay thai!

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Friday, September 11, 2009

totally unprepared

What would Tyler Durdin do if he started a band? He'd name it Fight Cloud, and enter the Gorilla Music local music contest. Then he'd tell all of you lemmings to go cast a vote in their favor. Do it now. I'll wait. For real, I'm not writing another word til you do it.

First rule of Fight Cloud is that you don't talk about Fight Cloud. (I stole your joke, Steve.)

OK, thanks for voting. Love ya long time for it.

So I've got another triathlon coming up on Sunday morning. This is my second of the year, and third one ever. I've been training most of the year for this one, and I was going to be in top shape, ready to kick some tri-tail. Since the title of this post is UN-prepared, you can guess where this is going.

I'm more nervous about this one than either of the two prior. I think bc I have my expectations set pretty high. Up until quite recently, I was feeling totally on point. The past couple of weeks have kicked my confidence in the nads though.

My pool closed for 2 weeks for an annual cleaning. Morning swim regimen broken.

I've been working at a couple remote sites this week, which broke both my ride-to-work and eat-a-healthy-lunch habit. I did manage one ride down to the lab in Merrifield, but no way I'm riding all the way to Bolling AFB. Screw the distance, no way in Hell am I taking my bike into Anacostia.

On top of an overloaded week in the office, I had all my final exams too. I'm feeling good about the results, and feeling better that I'm on break before the start of the next semester, but dammmmmmn I just want to get back on my bike.

Now I feel fat & lazy & unprepared & out of focus & pretty much just scared of effing up on Sunday morning.

BTW - The tri starts early early early on Sunday. The finish line is in the parking lot across from Jimmy's Old Town. Here's your open invitation to join us for liquid lunch after the race and before the 1pm games kickoff.

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I haven't shared a racing game in a long while. Maybe bc a lot of them suck.

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I bet it doesn't start laying cash on the table after a few beers, either.

Chris Coooooooley has a great story about football, punters, stadiums, and urination.

Barstool Sports celebrates all of the assclownery of this past NFL off-season.

Whoa. Trippy. And the blues & greens are actually the same color. For reals. Still don't believe me? Check it here. (click pic for full image)

Best vids of criminals getting whipped by their victims.

Highs & lows of becoming a man. I still haven't figured shit out. (click pic for full image)

(graph was found somewhere on MadAtoms)

Little dude is a little bit ahead of the curve in becoming a man:

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Friday, August 28, 2009

i don't even know where to start

Yeah, I know that I write about being busy all the time, but this time I'm serious. These past two weeks have just about worn me out.

We traveled to Ohio last week for my Uncle David's funeral. He'd been fighting hard against some health issues for a couple of years, and has a chance to rest now.

We used to play basketball at all the family reunions; the uncles vs. the nephews. All us kids thought we were the shiznit bc we could run circles around the old farts. All we had was youth, though, they had experience and brains and teamwork and discipline that actually wins games. They whipped us nearly every time.

It was like the story of the old bull & the young bull, looking at a bunch of cows in the next field. Young'un says "Hey, let's run down & jump that fence and do the dirty with one or two of those cows!" Old bull says "I'd rather stroll down to the gate over there and take care of all those cows."

Dave used to drive me crazy when we played ball. He'd be dressed in blue jeans and loafers, toothpick in the side of his mouth, "Old Fart" ball cap turned backwards on his head. Looked like he was ready to change the oil in the car, not like he was playing full-court with the kids. He made me crazy bc he was always in the right place at the right time on defense, picking up all the loose balls. He made me crazier with his outside shot - it was MONEY. He'd put the ball up from all over the court, and it was the sweetest, gentlest shot, every time.

And he smiled past the toothpick when he shot, well before it went in the basket, bc he already knew it was good.

Thanks for helping me learn to look for the gate, Uncle Dave.

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Recapping the rest of these couple weeks....

School is slamming me hard this semester. I've got a week & a half before getting a small break before starting the fall term. These two classes have posed the heaviest workload I've had in the past 3 years.

The kids are all fully back in school now too. They're still happy about seeing their friends, and haven't really gotten too much homework yet.

Kid1 has turned in notice down at the Hole. He got promoted from shift manager to assistant manager at the ice cream shop, and got a decent raise to go along with it. I'm totally proud of the work that he's been doing, even though I'm nervous that the extra money might take his focus away from school.

Before the trip to Ohio, I ran a short triathlon in Reston. It was a bit of a surprise; we were out riding one morning, and found out the race was taking place the following morning. After a couple quick phone calls & emails, we all got invitations to race. I felt really good, but my run is still the weakest point. I've got another, more official, race coming in a couple weeks, and I'm hoping I can step it up a little bit before then.

This past weekend was top shelf. We did the whole day Saturday at the Buffett lot party, our group of 20 sharing smiles and drinks with 25,000 of our closest friends. With no recovery time, Sunday was Block Party IV. The crowd only measures in the hundreds, but we do our best to shut down the whole neighborhood. Augur treated us to another excellent show in the afternoon before heading over to headline Jimmy's later in the evening.

I need a rest.

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Here's a creative puzzle game that'll force you to think a bit. The game is good, the puzzles are challenging, and there's cute little toons between levels. With all this intelligence focused on the game, no wonder the title is about as dumb as you can get: Blocks with Letters On.

Perfect Balance is kinna like Tetris on a teeny tiny little platform.

One for the simpletons: mini-golf + human cannon = ragdoll fun!

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There's a reason some kids are slow:

The interwebs should come with warnings.



Jen sent a video. I watched a different one. The video starts here:

This is why you're fat. Mmmmmmhmmmmmm; breakfast pizza, complete with gravy, bacon, & eggs.

I'm on a Boat, Navy-style. This either a really good home-made vid by a bunch of bored sailors, OR it's a really good ad paid for by the Navy. (My gut tells me it was sanctioned. The editing looks professional, and getting footage from inside and outside the helicopter seems a bit tough to pull off for a video prank.)

A little pedo-bear, just for you Mikey...

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