Friday, December 28, 2007

Things I Like Right Now

1. The third Harry Potter book.

2. Comic Life (no longer exclusive to Apple).

3. Lego fruit snacks.

4. My new Moleskine notebooks.

5. Jonah Hill appearances in movies.

6. Black, red, orange, and silver.

7. Fresca (zero calories, zero).

8. Planter's Peanuts, lightly salted.

9. Ellie Kreiger of the Food Network.

10. My new red coffee maker.

11. Monkeys (always monkeys).

She's a Mod

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Post Holiday Cheer

Is it over? Already?

I'm back at work today. Though I think I'm the only one. No one on the road this morning. No one at work today. Don't tell anyone, but I'm totally sneaking out of here early today.

Christmas was wonderful. Unfortunately, my parents were not able to get to us because their flight was canceled. We didn't allow that to get us down. So this was our first Christmas sans Illinois and family. I swear each year that state seeps out of me more and more.

We got a new dog on Saturday. We weren't planning on speaking of it until we knew it was going to work out. Looks like this one's a keeper. She's white with brown ears and much smaller than the others. We have no name for her yet. Her racing name was Ageless. She's very sweet and calm and reserved.

Christmas morning was beautiful. We opened presents and played with our toys. We bought each other inline skates so we were outside skating around (it was quite warm and sunny). Our street was so quiet and peaceful. Other people were outside walking around and smiling at each other.

Our Christmas dinner was huge since I was planning on cooking for four. We had the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole. I also made oyster dressing for the first time (typically southern fare, or "soul food"). And the highly-desired corn pudding. For dessert, I made a chocolate layer cake.

A Christmas Story played on our TV all day and I took a nap for the first time in years. Lynette even took a picture of it.

Yesterday was nice, too. I imagine this whole week will be quite festive and cheery. Good thing I got enough Christmas sweaters to last the week.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas is Coming, Everybody!

I'm a sucker for Christmas. I love everything about it. Regardless of religious persuasion, beliefs, etc., I find the whole rigmarole fun and exciting. Obviously, we have fond memories of Christmas as a child. I'm sure we can all remember that one special Christmas when we got that one awesome gift. I've been lucky enough to have a few Christmas mornings when I received awesome gifts.

I remember the year I got Lazer Tag. (Nerd alert!) It was the year it was the hot gift of the season. My best friend and I both asked our parents for them, but we later discovered that it was near impossible to find in the stores. Somehow momma pulled it off. I don't know how she did it. But I was like the Nintendo 64 kid when I unwrapped that gift (see video below if you don't know about the Nintendo 64 kid).

Then there was the year I got my first ten-speed bicycle. A Schwinn. Red. Beautiful.

This year will be the first year I won't be in Illinois during Christmas. Due to the new home purchase earlier this year, we cannot afford to go home. But it's going to be great. We still have plenty of gifts under our tree. I've got a grand feast planned. Each day Christmas gets nearer, I get a few more butterflies in my stomach.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My New Favorite Thing

I have a new favorite thing: these work out style pants. I bought them when we (briefly) had a dog. You see, at night I used to wear pajama bottom style pants while lounging around the house. But since the dog had to go outside before bed I purchased these pants to serve a dual purpose. I can lounge around in them AND wear them outside without people wondering, "Is that guy in his pajamas?"

And to my surprise, they're warm. They insulate and keep the wind from cutting through the fabric. Genius!

Then a couple weeks ago we decided to buy inline skates. Well, these multipurpose pants will do just fine as we zoom around the neighborhood. (The skates have not yet been enjoyed because we're wrapping them up and putting them under the tree.)

Then last night we went jogging outside for the first time. We usually do our running indoors at the gym. Once again, the magic pants proved valuable.

The only worry I have is that these "athletic" pants might be one step away from the sweat pants mentality. Honestly, I have gone out into the public wearing these pants. Do people view me in these pants and conclude that I'm giving up on life? That I no longer care how I am perceived? That moments before shuffling down this ice cream aisle, I was lying on a couch brushing Cheetos crumbs off my chest?

Whatevs.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Crushloads?

I learned a new word yesterday: crushload. As in, "Metro customers, please be advised that we are currently experiencing crushloads."

The man whose body I was spooning asked, "What's a crushload?"

With my mouth centimeters away from his ear, I replied, "You're in it, buddy."

Due to the annual White House Christmas tree lighting ceremony, last night's evening commute was nothing short of epic.

I purposefully took the train into work yesterday to avoid said commute because I made the mistake of getting caught in it last year. Guess I wasn't the only "smart guy."

Oh yeah, and there was also a "suspicious package" found at the Pentagon station causing a delay for a few hours yesterday afternoon (probably somebody's half-eaten braunschweiger sandwich) . The proverbial cherry on top.

I eventually made it to my final destination, fought to get off the train car, and decided to walk home rather than take a taxi. I estimated a 10 to 15 minute walk.

25 minutes later I arrived home. Hands frozen, face numb. Crushloads on my mind.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I Saw Snow

It was definitely snow. On my way to work this morning. Tiny, swirling flakes. So small that maybe I'm the only one who noticed them. Wait, maybe it was a figment of my imagination. Dammit, am I seeing snow again?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Happy Friday, Everybody!

Today's video should leave you saying, "Um... what?"

It's from Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job. And if you know anything about this show this video shouldn't seem strange at all.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lucky Star

Last night Lynette caught something out of the corner of her eye in our salt-water aquarium: a tiny starfish moving slowly across the front of the glass. It's white and very small. The interesting part of this story is that we have never purchased a starfish of any kind. Ever.

Keep in mind though that we do have roughly 50 lbs. of "live" rock harvested off the coast of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean. The live rock acts as a natural form of filtration for the water via biological processes from all the millions of living creatures within the rock, mostly microscopic. But every once in a while there are "hitchhikers" in the live rock that rear their heads shortly after the tank stabilizes. During the first month of our tank, we had feather dusters, which are a type of beautiful worm with long flowing feather-like protrusions. Some people claim to get different types of crabs, anemone, corals, urchin, shrimps, etc.

Well, the mystery in our situation is that this little creature appeared almost three years after the tank was set up. Three years! That's amazing. I can only assume he was tucked deep within the rock. If he ever ventured outside the rock into open water it must have been in the middle of the night.

Regardless, Lynette and I have taken this surprise to be a good omen. Since Christmas is right around the corner, the appearance of any type of sudden star can only mean good things, right? I'm generally not a superstitious man, but I'll take any kind of luck or positive energy I can get.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dogs, Blogs, and Taco Bell

Actually, I have nothing to say about Taco Bell. Well, we did stop and eat at one in Breezewood, PA when we finally exited the Pennsylvania Turnpike Sunday night. I think I ate a Chalupa. I still feel slightly dirty for ingesting it.

We received a telephone call from Blue Ridge Greyhound Adoption last night... looks like they're willing to give us another dog. Let's hope the new dog doesn't have the same issues Abe did. I have to assume they wouldn't give us another dog with the same problem (separation anxiety for those of you not paying attention).

His name is Royal Flush and he looks just like Abe. Which is a good thing because now our neighbors won't know that we switched dogs. "Hey, didn't those people have a different greyhound a couple weeks ago? How many greyhounds do they have up there?"

Obviously, we're going to change his name. I thought Roy would be good, but Lynette's grandfather was named Roy. Then I thought, "How about something Christmas-y!" The reindeer names are out of the question because a lot of greyhound owners name their dogs Dasher or Comet.

No, I need something that rolls off the tongue, like Vince. Or Bert. Or Harvey.

How about Barry?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Black Friday, Everybody!

I hope everyone had enough to eat yesterday. Who's ready for some shopping? Meet me at Best Buy!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Goodbye Abe

For those of you keeping up with our Adventures with Abe, I'm afraid this story does not have a happy ending.

After getting home from work on Friday I was pleased to see that the software we used to record Abe in his crate all day actually worked. The entire day was documented and ready for viewing. Unfortunately, the results were not good. Abe basically barked and cried all day. We were hoping he only barked for the first hour or so, but what I saw was an entire day full of anxiety and fear and within minutes my heart was broken. I knew at that moment that I could not leave this dog alone another day. Doing so would be nothing short of cruelty.

After some discussion, we decided to do one more test. On Saturday morning, we woke up early and took Abe to the dog park. It was a long walk. We tried to wear him out. Then we came home, put him in his crate, and left for the gym, camera rolling.

We were gone for 45 minutes. We came home and watched the tape. What we saw was extreme fear and anxiety. Sheer panic. Abe cried, barked, and howled. He shredded his dog bed and tried to chew on the bars of the crate. Then he urinated in his crate, which is the highest level of indication of anxiety.

And that's when we knew: He couldn't live in our home.

I called the adoption agency and coordinated a time for us to take him back. Unfortunately, we had to wait until Sunday. Without going into much detail, it was a sad, painful weekend for us. I know we only had him for a month, but the bond was beginning to develop.

The agency assured us that this failure was by no means a reflection on us as dog owners. Sometimes it's just not a good fit. Sometimes the chemistry is not there. They tried their best to make us feel better. And they pleaded with us to not give up. They want us to try another dog. But this time my only prerequisite is that the next dog can handle spending time alone.

Work has already begun on finding us a dog that fits that description. In the meantime, we're happy Abe is currently living somewhere where he doesn't have to spend another day totally alone. We feel deep regret that we put him through what what must have been a miserable experience. I'm hoping he already forgot about it.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Happy Friday!

Let's laugh at someone else's misfortune, shall we. This one is a classic. Makes me laugh every time. Enjoy!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Round 2; Or, Love LIfts Us Up Where We Belong


The dog. Oh, the dog, Abe. Sweet, sweet Abe. We received another phone call on Tuesday night from the adoption agency where Abe is currently staying. And apparently he's doing great. Granted, there are other dogs around him.

According to the agency, he is not crazy (as I first suspected). And he is able to learn how to stay home alone. The agency seems to think we're not showing enough leadership in the house. They want us to give it another go. But this time really exude our leadership. We cannot feel stress or anxiety because the dog will pick up on these panicked emotions and exhibit like emotions.

So Abe comes home tonight. We're picking him up and we're going to start fresh with a whole new attitude. If it's a leader he needs, then call me Louis Gossett, Jr. (He played the drill Sargent in An Officer and a Gentleman... He won an Oscar for his performance... Come on, people, it's a very famous role... don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about). Anyway, Round 2 starts today. Be sure you'll hear all about it.

If you like the image above check out Brian Despain's work here. I think it's swell. I like robots and such.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Dependent on the Pack

I called to check on Abe. Long story short, he's very dependent on the pack (their words). In the company of other dogs he's a dream. An angel. He apparently is not an alpha male. He sidles up to any dog, male or female. He shares beds with any other dog who will have him. He is constantly in the presence of other dogs, going where they go, doing what they do.

With that said, we have some options. Unfortunately, one of those options is not to keep Abe as a single dog. I mean, it is an option, but the training would be long and difficult on all involved. Technically, all dogs can be trained. And all dogs inherently have a need to be part of a pack, but I feel that it wouldn't be fair to put Abe through this type of "reprogramming."

The other option is to care for two dogs. I expressed my concerns about having two dogs due to our modestly sized condo. After some discussion with the adoption people, I agreed to foster another dog with Abe to see how he acts with a companion and to see how well we can handle caring for two dogs. This way we;re not committed and can back out at any time. Sort of like a rent to own situation.

According to the adoption agency, if space was the only issue we had then there really is no issue. As I already know, greyhounds take up minimal amounts of space. Caring for two is not much different from caring for one (their words). Truthfully, the most important issue should be money. Obviously, caring for two dogs requires buying double of everything.

So, perhaps this Saturday we will be bringing two dogs home. The experiment continues!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dog or Dogs?

As many of you already know, we adopted a greyhound two weeks ago. He is a retired racer. His name was K's Lincoln. We call him Abe. He is a sweet dog. Very smart and friendly. But we suddenly ran into a very serious problem soon after getting him home: He cannot be left alone.

Well, he can be left alone, but he suffers from separation anxiety and barks and cries all day. I have video taped him in our absence and he displays nothing short of shear terror when we leave the house. For two weeks as we left every day for work Abe would have to deal with being left alone during the day. Given our current living situation, we can't have a barking dog disturbing the neighbors.

So I called the adoption agency and explained our problem. Obviously, this isn't the first phone call they have received from a distraught couple. For two weeks, we were prisoners in our own home. Everything that had to be done outside the home had to be done by one of us while the other stayed home. As many of our friends have joked, we should've just went ahead and had a child.

So last Sunday we took Abe back to the adoption agency. They're "evaluating" him. The foster home he stayed in had another dog and they didn't report any issues with leaving him alone during the day. The adoption agency is testing to see if the presence of other dogs calms him.

Monday night we received a call. Abe is doing fine. He was left alone with other dogs and he didn't make a peep. Next, they're going to leave him alone without the company of other dogs to see how he reacts. I have a feeling I know what the prognosis is going to be. Abe needs friends.

So now we're facing yet another crossroads: Keep Abe and get another dog, or let Abe go and adopt a different dog hoping that new dog can handle being alone. In all fairness, we originally set out to have ONE dog. But caring for two is not out of the question. In fact, it would be great fun. I'm just not sure we're set up for two dogs given the lack of space in our modest condo.

The most important point in all this is that Abe has a chance for a happy life. Forcing him to learn how to be alone all day does not seem fair to me. Granted, most dogs do learn. But for the two weeks I feel like we tortured this poor creature. And Abe certainly didn't do anything in his life to deserve such hellish conditions.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sorry Folks, Park's Closed.

Well, not really. It's been a week and a half since I last posted. Much has happened in our lives. First, there was a four day visit from L's parents. Then on Sunday we adopted Abe, our new dog. Abe is great. We like Abe. But there's one problem that has sent our lives into complete chaos this week: Abe has separation anxiety. Apparently, he has never spent a single moment alone in his life. He was either in the presence of humans or surrounded by fellow dogs. So, to our surprise on Monday morning, Abe went nuts the moment we left the house.

We called the adoption agency and they recommended crate training. To be honest, I have no problem leaving a barking dog at home all day. It's not Abe I'm worried about. As you know, L and I recently moved into a new condo. We're waiting for that one neighbor to come knocking on the door, or that first complaint to come from the building manager. We did speak to a few of our close neighbors. And we put a note on our door.

If you were to see our faces today you'd think we just had a human baby. I mean, the stress we've endured this week is ridiculous.

In Abe's defense, he is perfect in every other way. He is completely house broken. He eats whatever we feed him. He walks on the leash like a pro. He lays around a sleeps while we're home. He's totally cute. It's hard not to like him. I just wish I didn't resent him right now.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Burning Corpses Sold Seperately.

Star Wars toys that never were. LINK

BTW, if you don't know what Alderaan is, well, I can't help you. Maybe learning about Alderaan will be your first step to becoming cool like me.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Happy Friday, Everybody!

In case you missed it or refuse to take my advice and watch good television instead of that crap you usually watch. I mean, seriously, how many of you people are keeping the CW on the air? Calm down, I'm just breaking your balls. Watch whatever you want. See if I care. No, I care. Don't watch crap TV. Watch what I tell you to watch. Do as I say. I am the boss of you.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Sputnik!



50 years ago Sputnik freaked the shit out of our grandparents. Scaring grandparents = bad.

Monday, October 1, 2007

His Name is Earl

We got a phone call Saturday night from the people at Blue Ridge Greyhound Adoption and found out that our future dog is currently residing at a foster home in Florida. His name is Earl. He's two years old and has been retired from racing for several weeks (which means he didn't win many races). Here's a picture they sent us:

We're very excited about him. Estimated arrival is in two weeks. Obviously, you'll be getting more updates on this creature as more details come in.

Oh, also, the Cubs are in the playoffs. So it was a pretty good weekend.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Happy Friday, Everybody!

Let's take a moment to laugh at someone else's expense. This one's a classic, but it never gets old. The guy plays it cool afterward, which is the perfect move. Whereas I would be running out there crying like a toddler and screaming, "Shut up! It's not funny!"

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Where's Jason?

Approved!


Last night we received a phone call from Blue Ridge Greyhound Adoption and found out that we were approved! Meaning we're fit to care for a dog. (It's actually more exciting than it sounds.)

Last week some people from the organization brought over some dogs and checked out our home to ensure we weren't living in a van down by the river. I suppose adopting a greyhound is a bit different from obtaining any other type of dog.

The greyhounds that go up for adoption are retired racers. They're typically two to three years old. Usually, the racetracks kill the dogs once they stop winning races. Organizations like BRGA are able to get a small percentage of these dogs into loving homes, but most are still killed.

Contrary to popular belief, greyhounds do not "need to run." They are very calm and laid back and rarely run for pleasure. They are raised by humans in kennels which makes them very tolerant and obedient. Lynette and I wanted to find an appropriate dog for our living situation. We knew we didn't want to subject an active dog to the small conditions of our condo. And we also took into consideration that we both work during the day. We wanted a dog that could handle being alone.

The next step is choosing a dog type: Size, color, gender. And then we'll have to come up with a name. Each dog will have a racing name, but we probably won't keep it. "Sit, Seabiscuit, sit. Good dog."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Family Guy: Star Wars Episode!

Anyone catch Family Guy last night? It was freakin' awesome! It was the Star Wars episode (and first episode of the season, I believe). Being an enthusiastic fan of both Star Wars and Family Guy, I was quite excited to tune in (yes, quite).

I was expecting an episode similar to the Robot Chicken send up of Star Wars where random scenes were selected for parody(which was very funny), but instead what we got was a nearly line-by-line rendition of the first Star Wars movie (Episode IV A New Hope, for the cool kids out there). Obviously, presented in sharp Family Guy style.

BTW, the end of the episode had Chris, voiced by Seth Green, asking how Robot Chicken, a show on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, created by Seth Green, beat Family Guy to the punch with the whole Star Wars thing (Robot Chicken has their own Star Wars episode where George Lucas himself contributed his voice). Peter's reply and hilarious criticism of Robot Chicken is classic. Which proves even further that no one is safe from the wonderful Family Guy ridicule that we have all grown to love ("Too soon?")

Favorite scene from last night: Darth Vader/Stewie suggesting they put a piece of plywood or something over the only vulnerable spot on the Death Star keeping anyone from possibly shooting a laser into it causing the entire thing to blow up.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

That's What She Said: Star Wars Edition

Pictures of the new house.

Due to popular demand, I have posted a few hastily taken photographs of the new house. You can access them from our web site (link is on the right).

We have lived there for two weeks now. We have managed to unpack about 90% of the boxes. Nothing is hung on the walls yet. But everything else seems to be in place.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fire Alarm Works!

Last night we got to meet a few more neighbors. Outside at 10:00 PM. In our pajamas.

There we were, watching the end of The Biggest Loser, winding down from a typical Tuesday. When all of a sudden a loud painful noise burst into our quiet, comfortable living room. The fire alarm had begun ringing. Did I mention it was loud? I think my ears are still ringing.

We quickly gathered our shoes and went into the hall where our neighbors lingered and looked confused. I thought that since it was in fact the fire alarm ringing that perhaps going outside would be a good idea. We took the stairs where we found a very confused looking old man in a robe staring into the parking garage. "Let's go outside," I may have said. I can't remember. Loud ringing noise make JC's brain hurty. (BTW, he followed us outside... after he picked himself off the ground from when I knocked him down trying to get outside).

It wasn't until we got outside that I realized the front of my shirt was wet.
"How did I get wet?"
Lynette kindly said, "Dude, that's milk! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!" Or something like along those lines. Yup, I was enjoying a cool, refreshing glass of milk the moment the alarm sounded. According to my loving wife who saw everything, I was in mid-sip at the exact moment the alarm scared the crap out me. My arm jerked and I inadvertently threw milk in my own face. Whether or not milk was still dripping from my face as we rushed through the building I cannot say.

"Hey, did you see the guy with milk all over his face?" Hey, at least I had pants on.

Also, no, our single friend Catherine did not meet a fireman. I knew she should've been standing closer to the fire truck.

Monday, September 10, 2007

D M V

Every once in a while events occur in our lives that remind us that sometimes things suck. Unavoidable things. Like going to the post office or the dentist or the DMV. I knew the night before that I was going to be experiencing an unpleasant event. I knew it.

I had to go to the DMV to renew my driver's license. I chose a Saturday because I really don't have the luxury to take a whole day off to spend at the DMV. I knew it would be busy. But I had to do it. I had to.

I waited in line for one hour before I even came close to the entrance. Getting to the door didn't excite me though because I knew that once I got inside the door I'd be given a number and asked to wait even more. I was waiting to wait. But I tried not to let my brain get cynical. I pretended I was at Disney World waiting to get on a fun, new ride. "Weeeeee! Where's my clipboard?"

At least you get to sit in a chair once you slowly break through the front entrance. "Hey, I was ahead of that guy!" How did D431 get called before C238? Who's running this show?

"C238, please report to window 2." Yes! (This is where the fun begins.)

"When did you surrender your Virginia license?"
"Excuse me?" Apparently, I was in the state computer system as unlicensed because I apparently surrendered my license to another state. Um, no.

"I need to talk to my manager." Shit.

The next hour was spent in DMV Limbo. Like a lost soul destined to roam the dimension between the living and the dead, I stood in a corner of the room, invisible. Floating chin deep in a cacophony of crying babies and confused non-English speaking foreign people. I was told to wait, but I no longer had an official number. I was at the mercy of the DMV manager who was not anywhere I could see. "Did he forget about me?" "Is he at lunch?" "Who do I ask for assistance?" My anxiety was reaching dangerous levels. Innocent bystanders were about to get hurt. I was so angry I almost felt like swearing!

And then the DMV manager appeared. He sent me to a window and I got my new license. An explanation? Nope. Done and done. New license in hand, I was led out of the chaotic room by Lynette. I believe I said "Get me the hell out of here," and she put my hand on her shoulder and tore through the weary crowds like a lineman creating a path to the end zone for a embattled running back. Touchdown.

The whole experience made me think about all those uncomfortable, painful, annoying things in life that we have to endure. There are certain things we must do. Certain things we must earn. Does it build character? Perhaps. Will I do it again someday? Probably. Do I still feel like swearing? You know it, mother-(Shut your mouth!)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Happy Friday, Everybody!



Co-starring Marion Ross? Co-starring?!?! Are you kidding me? Mrs. C was the glue that held that family together!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Electric Limbo

Today's post is a simple statement acknowledging the lack of attention being paid to all things web. Jason and Lynette Dot Com needs to be updated, I know. And postings on this blog seem scarce, yes. But, hey, I just friggin' moved! Give me a break. The cardboard boxes holding up my monitor are starting to weaken and wilt. And my brain is struggling to find things witty enough for comment (must... unpack... another pair... of pants).

About the move, things are looking good. It's by far the nicest dwelling I ever inhabited. The kitchen is up and running. I'm nearly finished installing shelves in the closets. We made the obligatory trips to Ikea for Ikea-type stuff. This weekend will be spent unpacking all the boxes stacked throughout the place. Then after that I'll feel free and uncluttered.

By the way, we have photos to display including pictures of the new place and pictures from Pittsburgh. Until then, you can visit this site and be slightly entertained.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

One More Week

This is it, everybody. One more week until we move into our very first home. It was been one year in the making and the time has finally come.

Fortunately, we have had ample time to prepare for this life-change. We anticipated lack of storage in the new condo so we rented a storage unit. We've been slowly filling it with various crap we can't throw away like Christmas trees, old dressers, etc. We've been cleaning out closets that have been gathering stuff for six years. Many weekends leading up to this week have had us occupied with creating large piles of garbage outside our back door.

The truck has been rented. The male friends are in place. Everything is ready to go. Lynette and I will probably begin loading the truck with boxes the night before the big move. I've got it all mapped out in my head.

Friday we close. Then that afternoon (after much celebrating) I'll install the closet shelves and blinds. Saturday we're going to move the aquariums. We are planning nothing else on that day because those three words "move the aquariums" sends shivers up my spine. It will be a slow process. Sunday we'll begin loading the truck with boxes. Monday we officially move everything.

I have a question: This will be our first house closing settlement meeting (or whatever they're called), what am I supposed to wear? Is it a formal occasion? Business casual? Afternoon BBQ? (Please let it be afternoon BBQ.)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It's hot! Meet me at the pool!


"Hey Greg, where's your hand?"
"Between two floaties. Why?"
"Those aren't floaties!!! Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!"

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wasn't Me!


Friends and family, you must believe me. This is not me. I swear.

It's true that I have wrapped myself in duct tape, but this time it wasn't me!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bioshock!


Those of you who know me fairly well know that I am a casual gamer. I own an XBox 360 and a Nintendo Wii. Having to go to work AND keep a wife happy limits my time in front of the plasma saving the world from various villains and monsters. I have other hobbies, too, like bathing and teeth brushing. Regardless of the lack of time I have to play video games, there is a special place in my heart for them.

It's no secret that am a nerd at the core. I owned an Atari 2600, I played Dungeons & Dragons, I worship anything Star Wars, and I still laugh at The Simpsons no matter how many times I saw that episode. So this video game hobby that I try to nurture is nothing shocking. I've even managed to get Lynette into it with games like Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution and Animal Crossing.

With that said, I'd like to announce a new game: Bioshock. It releases on August 21. It is gearing up to be one of the greatest games ever. Early reviews are amazing. Here's a trailer for the game. Watch it. It looks amazing. It's not often I get excited about a game. I will definitely be purchasing this one and spending precious time playing it. Time I could be using to pay attention to my bride or washing dishes or going to work (Wait, what?) Just kidding. I'll still go to work.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Happy Friday, Everybody!

It's Friday. The happiest day of the week. So here's today's treat... you deserve it. Without further adieu, I bring you Philippino prison inmates performing Michael Jackson's Thriller...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Marie Antoinette

I know the film has been out on dvd for some time, but I would like to take this moment to recommend it to all my friends. Sophia Coppola's direction with this movie is beautiful and gothic and delicious. The soundtrack is comprised of the best music on Earth (New Order and The Cure, perfection). Kirsten Dunst can do no wrong in my eyes. Neither can Sophia for that matter. Here is a trailer:

Monday, August 6, 2007

Beautiful Moments in Time


I found this image on DCist this morning. As an avid appreciator of all things cheese puff, this juxtaposition of nature and tasty foodstuff brought a tear to my eye. Then I thought, whatever cult/religion leaves behind this remnant of ceremony, count me in! All I ask is do the cheese puffs have to be name brand Cheetoh's, or will the generic Utz brand suffice?

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Place for our Asses; Or, Ektorp! The Swedish Lava-Walker

In preparation of moving into our first home, Lynette and I officially purchased our first, new furniture. Call me overly nostalgic or just plain silly, but little moments like these must be celebrated.

In Illinois, we put our asses on old, hand-me-down couches. For the last six years here in Virginia, we used a futon and a strangely-shaped, dirty chair that demanded its occupants to fall unconscious upon sitting (due to a way-too-comfortable feature that separated the sitter from the rest of the room socially).

Now, we own brand-spankin' new furniture. By the way, we bought it now so that we have new furniture on the first day we move into our new house.

In case you can't tell from the picture above, we bought from Ikea. You got to love a store that sells couches, frozen yogurt, and light bulbs all under one roof. If you haven't been, I highly recommend it. Bring a large vehicle, unless you want a long, flat box sticking out the passenger window on your way home. (Trust me, this will happen even if you don't walk in planning on buying anything.) We rented a box truck.

In defense of our furniture, we did not have to assemble it when we got it home. Those of you who have shopped from Ikea will know why that sentence is funny. Though I am trying to figure out why it came with a small, hex-wrench...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Harry Who?

I like to consider myself up on things popular. Or at least as up as a 33 year-old man can be. I'm an avid TV watcher. I appreciate a good independent movie. I own an iPod, an Xbox 360, a Nintendo Wii (Guitar Hero II is one of my favorite games right now). I create web sites. I produce a podcast. I'm a child of the eighties: Very few pop-culture references get by me. As a former English major and high school English teacher, I am a huge advocate for all things wordy. Reading, writing, whatever. I love Tolkien, Hemingway, and Bukowski. And comic books will always have a place in my heart, too. Often I wonder if all these toys and interests might be a bit too young, or immature. Regardless, I enjoy these things. In the future, after I become some poor fool's dad, I won't have the time to stay up on things, so I'll enjoy them while I can.

Let's get to the point: As the previous post states, we recently made a trip to Chicago for a friend's wedding. Our old college group reunited once again. Just like old times, as they say.
Coincidentally, the new Harry Potter book went on sale during the course of our visit. And to my surprise, a few of my friends were clamoring to buy this book. Now, I'm not a complete moron. I know how popular these Harry Potter books are. I've seen the kids wearing cloaks and circular glasses at Halloween. I'm aware of the movies. But what took me by surprise was the amount of adults, specifically adults I knew, who were so into this book. I was aware of some adults who liked these books, but I always discounted them as the Non-Literary Reading Public, like Stephen King fans, or John Grisham fans (yes, I know I'm sounding like a literary snob). But then I found out my actual friends had been reading these books and loving them. (And in all honesty, one can make the same argument toward a Star Wars fan or a Simpsons fan, many people not understanding the appeal.)

So I inquired as to why they were into these book, being careful not to make fun of them. I truly wanted to know how and/or why they got into these books in the first place and what sustained the interest. The answers were vague (being fair, if someone asked me why I love Star Wars, an answer of Because it's so cool! just wouldn't suffice). As could be predicted, Natalie, my fellow English major friend and current book editor, handed me book one. "Shut up and read this, ya bastard." She may or may not have called me a bastard, but my suitcase was slightly heavier as I traveled home on Sunday, for I had in my possession J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Note: There were dozens of people strewn about the airport reading the new Harry Potter book. Adults. Sitting on the floor. Lost in their books. It was actually quite beautiful considering how dependent we have become on technology during the course of this past decade. No laptops, no cell phones, no iPods, just a simple, hard cover book.

So, I'm on page 101. Harry just boarded the train to Hogwart's. Not quite half-way through the book. My assessment: It's wonderful. It's charming. It's exactly what I need to be reading. Truthfully, it ain't Shakespeare, but seriously, every once in a while we have to stop being so important. Which reminds me, I did manage to catch the end of Transformers.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ode to Beef (Sandwiches)

Ah, Chi-town... Sweet home, Chicago, Indeed! Lynette and I recently spent time in Chicago and rural Illinois, our home state. We made the journey for our dear friend, Alex, who married a beautiful woman named Lisa. Alex grew up in central Illinois: Hog Capitol of the world, where the land is flat and the corn fields stretch as far as the eye can see. As Lynette proclaimed in the car, "You can get out of the corn fields, but you can't get the corn fields out of you."

We were lucky to have at least one night in the city of Chicago. We stayed with our gracious friends, Natalie and Dean. We walked the streets of their wonderful neighborhood. Ate pancakes at a hip joint around the corner that served the best coffee I ever put to my lips. We had pizza. Honest to goodness, true blue, 100% Chicago pizza. And here's the beginning of this post's observation: The food in Chicago is by far superior to anything we can eat on the east coast. This pizza, merely a carry-out pie from some place called Pete's... nothing special, no frills, very simple... this pizza, merely an afterthought to our native Chicago friends was The Best pizza I had eaten in many, many years. This basic, humble pizza from some place called Pete's was better than ANYTHING we can get in DC. I won't dwell on it too much, but I'd love to know why no one where I live can figure it out.

The wedding was idyllic, taking place outdoors in the vast prairies of Illinois: Lush green fields of high corn; ancient, towering oak trees; Tiny bugs dancing on the warm sunlight; the subtle clang of a flag pole rising somewhere behind us. And fiddles. Angelic, perfect fiddles charming us like a spell, the undeniable sound of eternal country life. It was nothing short of heavenly.

Upon departure from our homeland, we had time to kill at the airport in Chicago. So we got some Italian Beef sandwiches at the C terminal at O'Hare Airport. These beef sandwiches were the perfect close to our grand visit. Italian beef sandwiches bought at an airport! Come on, DC!! Even food bought at an airport in Chicago is still better than anything in DC! Unless you've actually had an Italian beef sandwich, there's really no good way for me to describe it. No, it's not roast beef on bread. The key is the gravy. And the roll. Two distinct Chicago-tasting things.

There's something that confuses me though: I stated in a previous post that when the Cubs came to town, half the stadium was full of Cub fans. Well, if there are so many transplanted Chicagoans in DC, why isn't there more demand for Chicago food? Could it be the water? Is it a scientific impossibility to actually bake the same-tasting roll, or conjure up the right kind of gravy? Maybe we're too close to the ocean. Or maybe the midwest folks take more pride in their cuisine.

If you're not living in the midwest and you happen to be reading this blog, you can taste for yourself by ordering from Lou Malnati's. They deliver all over the country.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dessert Appreciation #38

Next in our series of Dessert Appreciation is the noble ice cream sandwich. The mere sight of this classic novelty brings me back to sweltering, summer nights sneaking into the kitchen for one of these beauties. There seemed to be an endless supply of these wonderful treats in our freezer... I picture my mother in the grocery store, blindly reaching for the box of Dean's Foods ice cream sandwiches, as if they were a standard item on the shopping list like toothpaste and toilet paper. And I do not remember any dessert negotiations in the freezer section either. Mom rolled through the freezer section, grabbed the ice cream sandwiches, period. (Wait, maybe this is why I was an obese child...?)

Growing up in the northern midwest, Dean's Foods was the staple dairy products supplier. But as I've grown up and moved on to other parts of the country, I've noticed one thing: The ice cream sandwich never changes, regardless of brand. In fact, I have found that the generic versions of these brown and white miracles seem tastier than the more expensive bourgeois brands.

The ice cream sandwich, reportedly, began in New York City at around 1900. Vendors pushed carts and made the sandwiches on site using a metal tray to mold the vanilla ice cream into its perfect rectangular shape. The silky monolith was then placed between two wafers and sold for one penny. Vendors had no time to make change because the demand was so high.

August 2 is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day. You have a few weeks, so make sure to stock up on ice cream sandwiches for that glorious day.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

How to Incite a Riot; Or, What Happened to Me When I Went to See Transformers

I warned the usher at the movie theater, "This is going in my blog!"

Let me explain: It's Saturday, my wife is out of town, a buddy calls and says he wants to hang out. I think, "Hey, let's get nerdy and go see Transformers." Hell, my parents gave Hasbro a lot of hard-earned cash twenty years ago (those toys were expensive!)

So we get to the theater thirty minutes early, as is my neurotic requirement when going to the movies. We get nice seats. Sodas, candy, etc. It's a typical summertime movie-going experience. Lots of kids, none of which were even alive when the Transformers debuted. The seats filled. The trailers rolled (love the trailers). And the movie began...

As you know, Michael Bay directed this movie. And if you've ever seen a Michael Bay movie, you know that his movies are the kind you hear through your ass. Loud, baby, loud. My IQ fell several points every time an explosion ripped across the screen and I yelled WOOOOOO!!! with the rest of the crowd.

The movie is good. Well, at least the part that I saw. Um, yeah, at about the half-way point, everything went black. Gone. Silent. The movie stopped in mid-scene. A loud, action-packed scene, too. And for added effect, I think someone turned off the a/c because I started sweating. Then the crowd started murmuring. Then they started yelling. People were getting up from their seats. Grown men were shouting directives up to the little window, "You better rewind it!!" The lights came up. Everyone groaned. Kids were running through the aisles. People started running out of the theater. Faces turned ugly and angry. Twenty minutes went by. People shuffled out of the theater looking defeated. I stayed in my seat. And for the record, I was one of the last to give up hope.

We left the theater to find a huge line of restless, pissed off people demanding refunds and vouchers and written apologies. Some poor schlep in a suit was on the verge of tears. I could tell he had heard a plethora of negativity. Considering Transformers isn't quite an art house film, I'm sure the crowd had a very limited vocabulary on their way out of the building. I took pity on the man in the suit and only gave him my look of disappointment (if anyone wants to see my look of disappointment, I can email you a pic).

You want to know why the movie stopped and never started again? Well, when I received my voucher from the frazzled man in the suit, I asked what happened. He said















So, anyone want to go see Transformers? I'll buy the popcorn if you bring the pepper spray.


Friday, July 6, 2007

Wrigley Field East


Last night I had the pleasure of seeing my beloved Chicago Cubs play against the Washington Nationals at RFK Stadium. As usual, I think the Nationals forgot to tell their fans there was a game last night because I only saw Cub fans there.

Rick, my brother, was able to dig up some awesome seats behind home plate. So he and Hunter (my nephew) and my dad all boarded a plane headed for a glorious 24 hours in the humid DC swamplands. As long as we were wearing Cubbie blue, nothing could go wrong... except for rain... but don't worry, it stopped before the first pitch, making the air even more humid.

As I have proclaimed to my friends before, there are only two locations on this Earth that get me closest to God: Sitting on a boat at six o'clock in the morning in the middle of Six Mile Lake, Bena, Minnesota, fishing for perch and the occasional walleye; and attending a major league baseball game at a major league park preferably when the Cubs are playing, and preferably at Wrigley Field.

Fishing and Baseball... my churches.

As I said, it was HUMID last night. We enjoyed a Cub win. I took communion (a beer and a dog). We worshiped summer and one of our country's only inventions (besides jazz). And the men made it safely back to Chicago this morning on an airplane still reeking of beer and sweat (just kidding, I let them use my shower... though I am glad Lynette is in New York until Sunday because our house is a wreck right now).

By the way, I think the president was at the game last night, but I don't think anyone noticed.


Sunday, July 1, 2007

What Really Grinds My Gears



You want to know what really grinds my gears? One sentence email responses. (I put this one right up there next to receiving a gift wrapped in newspaper.)

You spend valuable time and effort writing your friend an email that's at least two paragraphs long, maybe more, explaining some interesting aspects of your life, like what happened during last Friday's date with Betty (that hot chick from accounting), or the prognosis of your aunt's intestinal infection, or your thoughts regarding this great Buddhist philosophy book you're reading and a couple days later you get a response from your friend who says, "i dunno maybe"

That's it! One line! Not only is the response a measly three words long, but your friend didn't even take the time to use capitalization and/or punctuation! Was my friend in such a hurry that they couldn't even use both hands to type the response? I could understand if maybe they just had a bike accident the day before and one of their arms was in a sling. But I don't know any of my friends to be in that much of hurry in general. In fact, most of my fiends are pretty laid back. Plus, if you're in such a hurry, why are you even checking your email? Get going! You're late!

Here's what I want: An email response that is comparable in length to the original email, capitalization of proper nouns and first words in a sentence, and periods at the ends of sentences. I can let comma misuse slide (our schools are so screwed up, I can't blame you for not knowing how to use a comma). I'll even forgive multiple exclamation marks or question marks on sentences that aren't questions.

I guess what I'm really asking for is that my email responders take their time after they click "reply." Slow down, think it through, and remember, this will all be on the test.

Friday, June 29, 2007

iPhone Friday!


Happy Friday, Everybody! In case you just woke up from a coma or haven't been able to pull yourself away from all the Paris Hilton coverage (Did you hear? She was in jail!), Apple officially starts selling its much-hyped iPhone today.

No, you're not dreaming, it's all true. The one piece of electronic joy that you need to make your life complete is finally available for purchase.

And guess what... it's only $600!

And you know what else... you have to switch to AT&T to use it because Apple must have forgotten to make it accessible to the millions of people who don't use AT&T.

But don't worry! After forking over $600 and paying the criminally high price of cutting your Verizon service short, owning the iPhone will totally be worth it.

"But I already have a cell phone," you're saying to yourself. "And it was much cheaper. And I got to choose whatever service provider I wanted." Or those of you who own Blackberry's may be saying, "My toy can do all that stuff already." Well, I feel sorry for you people saying these things because you're obviously losers. You probably won't get invited to the cool parties, or asked to go to lunch with the hip coworkers. Nope, without the iPhone people probably won't want to have sex with you or even share the same hand railing on the Metro.

In fact, for those of you who do own the iPhone, I suggest you also get an iPhone cap to wear for the times when you're not actually using the iPhone so people will know you have one. (That joke was stolen from this hilarious iPhone ad from The Onion.)

In case the sarcasm was too subtle, I do not plan on getting the iPhone. Hopefully, my 30GB video iPod will still be enough to keep my friends talking to me. I wonder if I should put another Apple logo sticker on my car, just to be safe...

Here's some pictures of people waiting outside my nearest Apple store in Arlington.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

More FotC

I can't say enough about this show. Here's a clip from episode 2. Someday I'll move on to another topic.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Flight of the Conchords

In case you haven't noticed, or don't subscribe to HBO, there is a deluge of new shows that have either already started or are coming soon (overcompensation for losing The Sopranos?). One show has grabbed my attention and I think I'm ready to say I love it. I know it's still soon to be proclaiming love, but it just feels right...

Flight of the Conchords comes on right after Entourage (another love). It's only been on for two weeks now, but after watching last night's second episode I can now say I'm hooked. The humor is quirky and subtle and sometimes absurd. And at least two or three times an episode the band breaks into song. Watching Flight of the Conchords is refreshing. And now that I'm mourning the loss of The Sopranos and still pissed they cancelled Deadwood, Flight of the Conchords pleases me.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Bad Day Averted

Like they say about potential astroids hitting Earth and killing all life, it's not a question of if, but when.

This morning it happened. I overslept. It has been a long time since I last overslept. Lynette's theory is that storms messed with our power last night, since her clock was flashing 12:00. But my clock, however, seemed fine. Which leaves only one logical explanation: My side of the bed is haunted and a ghost kept pressing the snooze button on my clock each time the alarm sounded.

Regardless, at 7:15 AM, I awoke and quietly muttered to myself, "Uh oh." I didn't panic. I didn't leap from the bed screaming. I calmly nudged my bride and informed her that I overslept. Then to my surprise, she got out of bed and headed downstairs looking like we had practiced this emergency routine several times. I performed minimal and necessary hygienic things to my person and got dressed. 7:22 AM. I was able to hear Lynette downstairs conducting all the tasks that I had been doing for years: Making coffee, building lunches, etc. All normal, comfortable routines were turned upside down on this Friday morning, the second day of summer.

In the end, I got to work on time. The coffee was spot on. The lunches constructed as they are every day. None of the other drivers on the road seemed to know that I had overslept this morning. And after I got to work I thought to myself, "We pulled it off."

Lynette really stepped up to the plate for me this morning. Like Gerald Ford taking over after Nixon resigned; or that chick on Battlestar Galactica who became president after all the other politicians got killed by the Cylons. Likewise, I was reminded this morning, in the event of such dire situations, my wife will be there to make the coffee.