Sunday, December 31, 2006

144. Hitch, Fiddler on the Roof

Here are some more movie reviews. And don't forget to check my last movie reviews if you missed them.

Hitch (2005 Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kevin James)

(Ultra short review:) Mustard on Kevin James’ clothing: three (3) times. F words: one (1). Disfigurement of Will Smith’s face: one (1). Legitimate laughs: six (6). Thrown inhalers: one (1). Times this movie made me think of every other romantic comedy: three million six hundred fifty three thousand six hundert and forty seven (365,3,64,7).

(Thoughtful Review:) Hitch is a good enough movie I guess. It’s got plenty of comedy for men and for women , and it’s got enough real-world significance for me to give it a thumbs up. Kevin James is nails in this movie as is the James/Smith team. Downside: like every other romantic comedy, this movies ceases to be funny just about the time the characters take their situation too seriously—see: couple falls in love, couple has a trying time, couple almost breaks up, couple gets back together; many, many people buy the movie only to donate it to a third world country three (3) months later. Sorry The Congo, you’re going to get Hitch next Christmas

(Standard rating:) Eleven and a half (11 1/2) stars out of seventeen (17).
(Non-standard rating:) Guys, you won’t feel embarrassed to have your friends see this movie on your shelf until three (3) months from now when the movie should be shipped to The Congo.

Fiddler on the Roof (Topol, Norma Crane, Leonard Frey, Molly Picon)

(Ultra short review:) Who the heck is Topol, and how does he get through life with just one name?

(Thoughtful Review:) Fiddler on the Roof is a classic movie and I don’t make bones about the fact that I love it. I have even been known to prop my arms up, elbows and ninety degrees (90˚) and dance to "Tradition." On the other hand, the movie is much too heavy for me starting at the wedding scene **SPOILER ALERT** when the local head honcho dood comes in and busts up the wedding party. On the other hand, there’s always the fact that they named one of the daughters ‘Hotel.’

(Standard rating:) Fourteen (14) stars out of seventeen (17)
(Non-standard rating:) Seriously, there’s a female character named ‘Hotel.’ That’s A-one (1), top-quality comedy, folks.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

143. Rocky Balboa

Sorry I haven’t blogged for so long; I couldn’t find my crayons to write anything down. This holiday season has been filled with much movie watching at the ramblings household. In the next couple of days, I'll post reviews for each of the movies I've watched this holiday season. As promised, first is Rocky Balboa--and The Sound of Music.

The Sound of Music (1965 Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer)

(Ultra short review:) That reverend mother sure can sing—too bad she can’t fly like Gidget can.

(Thoughtful Review:) Do we really have to get into this? The reader is already tired and we haven’t even gotten to Rocky yet. No? Well…Okay then.

(Standard rating:) Thirty three (33) stars out of seventeen (17)
(Non-standard rating:) Girls shouldn’t have boy haircuts. Julie Andrews would have looked a lot better with shoulder length feathered hair. And the lonely goat song makes me wistful.


Rocky Balboa (2006 Sylvester Stallone, Burt Young, Antonio Tarver, Peter Petrelli)

(Ultra short review:) Rocky is old, but he’ll kick your trash if you bother his not-girlfriend.

(Thoughtful Review:) Rocky Balboa is not just a good Rocky movie, it’s a good movie period. I thought the Rocky character was brilliantly displayed in this movie, and I’ll fight anyone who says differently in a charity match. Rocky Balboa didn’t display Rocky as a fighter with a vision, but a vision of a man who is a fighter. Ol’ Sly delivered a few soliloquies that brought me to my figurative knees and then built me back up and made me want to be a better person. In short, go see it. It’s not a ‘Rocky’ Movie. It’s a movie. Downside: some might tell you the movie (pre-fight) is too long and never goes anywhere. I say the issues the Rocky character faces (loss of a spouse, estrangement of a son, helping strangers) couldn’t be shorter. It’s a story of him trying to weave his personal struggles in with his everyday life. It’s not long—it’s brilliant.

(Standard rating:) Fifteen (15) stars out of (17).
(Non-standard rating:) My wife Limpy and I wanted to rent some of the early Rocky films to catch up. I can’t find any of them in any of the video rental stores within a five mile radius. People have Rocky fever again.

Watch for reviews on Fiddler on the Roof, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, Hitch, Over the Hedge.

Grettel! The PRINCE!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

142. Tradition. Tradition!

So my wife Limpy and I started a new tradition this year. We’re watching Fiddler on the Roof right now with the first mate. I mean, what says “Christmas” better than that Wattoo sound alike, Tevye, and the good citizens of Anatevka?

On the other hand, my wife Limpy and I come from completely distinct cultures: She’s from the Caribbean, I’m from Utah; she hates milk, my family comes from dairy farmers; she’s a grade A beauty, I am not attractive; I’m stupid, she’s intelligent; I say tomato, she says tomato.com.

On the other hand, if I were a rich man, I’d change it all and make sure to pay her enough just to conform to our culture. Until then, though, I intend on meeting her halfway—so we’re watching a movie about Jewish people. Thus begins our Christmas tradition.

On the other hand, I’ve just celebrated my thirty-third (33rd) birthday on the twenty-second (22nd). Fortunately this year I was blessed to be able to stretch my birthday for three days. Thursday (the day before my birthday) my wife Limpy and I had invited my siblings’ children over for a sleepover and give my siblings a chance to shed the layers of self-loathing and do a little bit of last minute shopping. Or to find all the lost “hidden” gifts in the attic.

On the other hand, Thursday was also the day of the big bowl game of my favorite college football team. What was I to do? Watch the game—that’s what. Not before I planned myself a birthday party, however. So I drew a donkey so we could play ‘pin the tail’ on its butt. I also went down to Wizzymart to buy bags of party favors. By planning the party, I was given the chance to be completely selfish and forget everyone else once the game started. I must mention at this point that I don’t have ESPN at home, so I planned all this at my friends’ house. We played ‘pin the tail on the donkey,’ cried a little, blew out candles, and I let them eat cake.

On the other hand, Friday was my actual birthday, so I forced my niece and nephews to serve me all morning before we delivered them back to their parents’ house. I requested waffles—not too brown—with real blueberry syrup, home-butchered bacon, and homemade eggnog. The eight-(8)-year-old did a mediocre job of things, but the five-(5)-year-old and the two-(2)-year-old didn’t do a very good job with that old sow out back. Then I slept in bed all day crying.

On the other hand, Saturday was the day my parents could watch the first mate, so that’s when my wife Limpy and I took our chance to go on our date. I dragged her to see Rocky Balboa—did you know ol’ Sly Stallone is getting pretty old now?—and then we went to one of those fancy Japanese restaurants where they light the food on fire right in front of you. We didn’t even get sick this year like we did last year and the year before that. Chalk one up for the chefs!

On the other hand, so that’s how you squeeze three days out of your birthday. Next time I promise a review of Rocky Balboa.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

141. Audible but Deadly

So today I tried to sneak in a little silent-but-deadly, but I forgot about the silent. Did I mention I was in the office when it happened and four (4) or five (5) people were blessed by the aire of stupid? Well since the only thing to do was laugh, I did. Can't cry over spilt milk. Until you are alone at home curled up in the upstairs bathtub sucking your thumb.

Anyway, Christmas is upon us. I just wish she weren't so weighty--and why did her parents name her Christmas anyway?

I've just finished all the shopping yesterday. I also started yesterday since we aren't doing anything big this year. We spent all the Christmas money on lottery tickets--I have a good feeling about my chances.

Yesterday I purchased a fishin' pole for the first mate. He'll grow into it. And I crocheted a new outfit for my wife Limpy. I hope she doesn't read this before the big day, but I think I'm safe--even if she does read this, she doesn't know what the outfit is. Is it overalls? Is it a sun dress? Is it a new church dress? Is it long johns? No matter what, the surprise will remain intact.

I was also treated yesterday to an overdose of Holiday cheer. Nothing says 'Happy Holidays' like an Indianapolis Colts win. Indy looked good last night for the first time in about a month and it couldn't have happened at a better time. The Colts used to be undefeated, but they started channeling the '72 Saints there for a while. Fortunately, they came back to their senses and played some defense. They won by, like, forty eight (48) points or something. Despite me being a rabid Colts fan, I still like calling Peyton Manning 'Peyote.' It makes me feel good.

My toenail grew back and yesterday I clipped it. I had lost it whilst playing football and I was afraid I would never enjoy the toe protection that had previously been my sole sense of security. Now I feel safe again--no need to eat sunscreen anymore.

Finally, no one--and I mean NO ONE--wanted to come to my blog party, so I cancelled it. If you need me, I'll be crying in the upstairs tub again.

Monday, December 11, 2006

140. I Believe

Therefore I am.

If you're wondering whether I believe in Santa Claus or not, you have your answer. The important issue is whether or not the first mate believes.

I mean, he's four months old already, making him just about the right age to start learning about Santa. And corporal punishment. Later on, we'll teach him about the cover two (2) defense and how to defend a lefty on the court, but that will have to wait until he learns to walk. Or crawl for that matter.

Last night we enjoyed a visit from Jolly ol' Saint Nick at the house of some friends. I think this Santa was 'the real deal' because he knew everyone's names and told funny jokes and was sober and wore jingle bells and was very engaging. He also sees me while I'm sleeping as was evidenced when I woke up late last night and he was hovering over my bed. I thought, "That Santa--he really knows how to check up on a guy." I bet I'm on his good list.

The first mate thought Santa was funny. He stared with all the wonder and excitement all children should exhibit at Christmas (except in Spain where the three (3) wise men bring gifts on the sixth (6th) of January instead.) Then on his way out, Santa sang a song while he jingled his jingle bells and the first mate was barely even alarmed.

That kid's got promise. And a wish list as long as his arm to leave for Papa Noel on Christmas Eve...

Friday, December 08, 2006

139. For Lo, It's Time My Car Got a Blog Name.

Until recently, I've had no need to name the car because I've had no reason to recount stories about her.

Well, that is until last night. Allow me to play the role of raconteur

See, Last night there was a drunken woman. Not mine. I was entering a parking lot at the local church where I was going to play low-intelligence basketball with my low-intelligence friends. As I was arriving, I noticed a pair of amorous youth who were making out à la freakery. Then I noticed the drunken woman.

She was exiting the church and staggering under the load of two (2) sewing machines. She might not have been drunk and only staggered because she was carrying so many sewing machines (more than one (1) is too much, I always say), but I prefer to think she was drunk.

Anyways, as I entered the parking lot, I was barraged with a veritable cornucopia of intriguing and distracting images. And thus I made contact with the concrete base of a lamp post. I struck the post with my left front wheel and allowed it to scrape the entire side of the car. In my defense, the window pillar of my car obscured my view of the lamp post through the sweeping gentle turn I was making. The lamp post was probably cognizant of its position and chose to wait until the last moment to enter my view.

'Yeah but what's the car's name?' you ask. Well after having made such a pathetic driving error, there's no other choice but to name her 'my car Space Lord.' Enjoy this footage of the damage:

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

138. Wherein I Became Handy

(Not to be confused with handsy.)

So when we had our house built, we tried to make sure we built it in a way that would speak to people. We wanted our house to send the message "We need professional help" to the rest of the world. For the most part I think we succeeded, but we hyper-succeeded extra overtime in one little detail: we have no medicine cabinet in our master bathroom.

Or any bathroom for that matter. Because I am practically Bob Vila, or whoever it was who they replaced him with on 'This Old House,' I just decided to do it myself. I mean what could go wrong with cutting a hole in the wall and inserting raw materials and home-cut glass? I'm just asking.

You be the judge:

Before--
And after--
And somore after--
And e'enmore after--

Can you tell I like my pain killers? I figure they will dull the dreadful 'everyday' in my life and at the same time, make me feel more sedate. Thank you Traumeel®! I'm also feeling a rush of confidence knowing I finished the project with more than sixty-five percent (65%) of my fingers intact. I'd say it's a good day. And the best part is I don't have to store my analgesic rub under the matress anymore.

In an unrelated note: despite the name that makes you think of the trots, this is one of the best taco stands in the Los Angeles area. I think you should try it out. And get this: it's near the LAX Airport--whose food will give you the trots.

Sometimes.

Friday, December 01, 2006

137. Mars is for Lovers.

Let’s get one thing straight right here and now: I am an überdork when it comes to space and Venus and whatnot. Just look at my sidebar, I have a link to NASA’s science page carefully camouflaged near Strongbad and Eric Snider.

So I wasn’t too surprised last night to find myself watching PBS last night instead of The Office because they were talking about meteors hitting the moon and the earth and changing the face of the earth and the face of the organisms that live(d) here. I mean, you’d make the same choice ninety-nine (99) times out of a hundred (100) too. It was kinda cool (to me, the überdork.) For example, large quantities of gold have been found in the impact crater of one of Earth’s older impacts. In others, diamonds, uranium, space proteins, and other valuable and/or important substances to Earth’s inhabitants or economy have been found.

Unfortunately, the show took an unexpected and dramatic turn to Mars’ potential to support life and the likelihood Jupiter’s moon, Europa, could already have life forms. Like a nebula-crazed sheep, I kept right on watching as my shepherd, the TV, spelled it all out to me in the geekiest way possible.

Apparently, a faction of scientists exists who think they could warm up Mars, find liquid water, and make great strides toward making the atmosphere human-friendly in about 50 years. Keep in mind these are the people Trekkies look down on as dorks (but secretly envy them because as dorky as they are, they are much more likely to be living in space soon than those idiots who glue on Spok ears and surface from their troglodyte lairs in their parents’ basement once a year wearing Starfleet uniforms and traveling great distances only to find out other people A) exist and B) have cooler Star Trek gear than them and C) that Geri Ryan was a Star Trek anomaly and neither of the trekkie girls at the convention look like her.) These Mars people (and I use the term loosely) are convinced that humans will be living on Mars not just one day, but one day soon and that we’re probably going to have to repopulate there anyway because the republicans are going to burn the earth alive in a fit of fossil-fuel fueled end-of-the-world skid.

(The previous statements have not been verified by the FDA and may lead to serious damage.)

Anyway, one of these dork geniuses (genii?) was all stressed because he was trying to draw pictures of what Mars life forms would look like based on the limited information we have about its climate and elemental makeup. He had a lot of jellyfish-like versions—very creative—and a couple that looked like Strongbad’s Trogdor drawing. I said CONSUMATE V’s! I swear one of these creatures consisted of nothing but thumbs and mucous.

And I thought to myself: (and please pardon the language, but there’s only one set of words to describe what I thought to myself) What the hell kind of job is that? First of all, if my tax money is going directly or indirectly to people who get to make amoeba drawings for a living I want out. OR hook me up with that job—I know I could get more creative than Milhouse version 0.4. On the other hand, maybe he was drawing Martians as a hobby in which case I say, “Mr. Scientist, this is a woman; put down the homemade tricorder and talk to her. Proceed with prescribed activity until:

•Your violent shaking stops
•You realize her skin is smooth, not like Martian soil
•You no longer have a desire touch her hair
•And until you realize your alien sketches are nothing more than an adult version of Napoleon’s liger.”

I’m the first to get all excited about space ‘n’ stuff, because it gives me respect for creation and patience, but I’ll be Swedish before I’ll let any of my mental energy be wasted on the prospect of space exploration. There’s a difference between my healthy respect for the study of space and their unearthly (pun intended) desire to spend billions and trillions of my dollars to put a man on Mars. I mean, just watch Red Planet one day (it may take two (2) or three (3) viewings to get all the way through it because of the disgust factor) and you’ll know that a mission to mars could only end in disaster.

Alf was a puppet.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

136. Ugh...I'm one of THOSE people.

My life has taken a dramatic turn since the first mate was born. It's not as dramatic as the time I didn't win the spelling bee or the time I had no money and ate rice everyday for about a week. But since the first mate joined us in the ramblings household, my whole focus has changed. Notable changes include:

  • Instead of trying to look good just in case famous people come over to the house, now my whole objective in the 'appearance' category includes: anything that doesn't get baby vomit on my nicer clothes* (*Nicer Clothes=not pijamas)
  • Instead of coming home from work and doing whatever I want, I come home from work, try to not make the first mate cry, and try to not stifle the first mate's mental and emotional progress as I am wont to do.
  • Instead of cooking real food, I boil water for the first mate's bottle.
  • Instead of using the weekend to PAR-TAY, now the weekend consists of sleeping. And don't confuse my tiredness with the baby staying up all night. He consistently sleeps nine (9) hours per night without any prompting from my wife Limpy and me or any chloroform or other barbiturates. The sleeping comes from nothing other than laziness, and the first mate makes it much easier to find an excuse to just stay home and be sleepy.
  • Last, but certainly not least, I now blog about the first mate often. 'The first mate is precious,' I say. 'The first mate is worthy of admiration by the following people:
    • Screech
    • Raven Symone
    • Mary Kate and Ashley
    • Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes
    • Jack Lalanne
    • Rachel Ray
    • Willie Wonka
    • Lionel Richie
    • Captain Jack Sparrow
    • Furbees
    • The cast of Passions
    • Dan Brown
    • Hillary Duff
    • Elvis
    • And any other famous person who has profited from my use of their name in my blog.'
So, yes, I am one of the 'my-kid-is-the-greatest' bloggers. Nothin's more funny than that. And I know funny. Here's another blatant attempt to tell you why my kid is great and also to tell you to stay away from him:

I was speaking to a guy on a plane just before thanksgiving who had been in Kathmandu. He asked me a lot about my book and plot summary and a whole bunch of other stuff. It turns out he's a documentarian and author. Imagine his horror when I told him my key to writing a successful novel included the successful use of adverbs. I told him I was going to make sure to use an adverb with every verb. He looked like he was going to sick up. I never told him I was joking, so he's probably somewhere blogging about what a moron I am.

Monday, November 27, 2006

135. Will You Please Hammy the Analgesic Cream?

Thanksgiving was uneventful.

I really mean it; nothing happened.

Nothing.

And then we ate pie.

OK, one thing happened. I obliterated my hamstring muscle while playing flag football with the friends-n-family. I was set to catch a long pass. The defender was chasing. The ball floated gently over my shoulder. I turned to run screaming, and my hamstring tore. I felt like I'd been hit with a hammer in the middle of the back of my leg.

So I started wondering why I'm the first normal person I know who's ever had a hamstring injury. The world's top athletes get them all the time. Hamstring injuries are to track athletes as groupies are to rock bands--they both lurk in the background waiting for a chance to get noticed and then they sue you. Anyway, why do normal, everyday Joes not ever experience the pulled hamstring?

It's because nobody uses their hamstring. Nobody. Well, except athletes. Nothing we normal schlubs do on a daily basis requires one to even HAVE a hamstring, let alone use it. So aparently I am an athlete. Who would have guessed?

Anyway, I searched WebMD for the term 'hamstring' to see what to do about my latest medical condition and found out our hamstrings are actually quite useful:

Ahem.

The hamstring is not one muscle, but three--kinda like the three musketeers. 'All for one and one for all' I always say. But our muscle-y musketeers serve different purposes, see. Some of the three muscles connect underneath the buttocks to pull the femur backwards (see 'power running') and the rest connect behind the knee and serve to bend the latter. (see 'best sentence ever written').

Well, the one I tore in my maniacal athletic flurry was the kind that help me with the power running, or the one that connects under my buttock. Look what I can do!:

  • Taking stairs two by two: check.
  • Eating massive amounts of turkey: check.
  • Sitting sedentarily on the couch watching football: check.
  • Jogging forty (40) feet across a busy road to attend a basketball game: no go.
  • Standing on the double yellow line for a few moments waiting for a chance to finish crossing the road: check.
  • Becoming roadkill: no go.
That's how I roll. And if you're wondering whether or not being athletic so you can experience a pulled hammy is worth it, it's not. Better to just watch others play sports and get injured.

Monday, November 20, 2006

134. Voyeur Kidding Me!

No! I'm not! But I'll get to that in a minute.

This weekend, I have been on the road again. I have also adopted a very strict diet. It's because of the goiter. Usually when I travel, I request a minifridge in my hotel room, and usually I get it. This trip was an exception.

So how does one eat on the road when one wants to eat healthy and one doesn't have a fridge? One goes to the grocery store to buy a lot of fruit and carrots and whatnot.* One usually buys lunchmeat so one can make lean healthy sandwiches on whole grain bread, but without a fridge, how does one make a sandwich?

That's where the beef jerky comes in. One thought it would be disgusting, but it's actually pretty good if one has no other option. And one had no other option. None. If one puts greens (lettuce in this case), mustard, and jerky on bread, and then carry it in your unrefrigerated bag, the moisture in the greens and mustard rehydrates the jerky and one doesn't even have to chew so much.

It's not the best option, but it's much better than eating out. And I've lost a few pounds, but that's because of the ulcers. [Boo! Hiss! get to the voyeur story!]

Okay. Okay. The voyeur.

Two years ago when I was participating in the same trade show, two men (and I use the term loosely) were snapping photos in the exhibit hall. Pictures are not too out of the ordinary at a trade show, but I noticed these guys were different. One of the guys, the internet predator looking one, walked the hall looking for pretty girls. The other one, the one with a mullet and a camera, was snapping photos of the creepy predator one whenever he would share proximity with any attractive woman. (Keep in mind these are not the type of trade shows where they actually import pretty girls to attract business. It was also not the kind of environment where people would expect that type of behavior.)

When I wised up to their act, I confronted them. They stopped taking photos of people after I told them how despicable it was, but claimed "we were only having a little fun."

Today I ran into the predator one again. He didn't have a pit crew like last time, but he was following the more attractive women around. Then he had the nerve to come up to me and ask, "Hey, remember me?" like we were old buddies or something.

I said, "Yeah, did you think I'd forget?"

Then he walked away. I guess he didn't want me to remember him. That's a point we can both agree on.

*Whatnot was listed as an ingredient on the burgers in a restaurant I went to once. I ordered water--I'm afraid of whatnot.

Friday, November 17, 2006

133. A Dolphin Named Kirby

So I haven’t blogged in a while—because what’s funnier than a torn ligament and a stay overnight in the hospital?

Actually, it’s because I’ve started to write my book. It’s a coming-of-age thriller about a teenager’s romantic failures in an increasingly difficult world. Or it’s about a dolphin named Kirby. I haven’t decided yet. I’ve started the first chapters and left the story kind of ambiguous so I could finish the plot however I want. Needless to say, when I get a moment to write, I am more inclined to work on the book so I can sell it. This blog, while intriguing, is not a money maker—I have to go with the payoff option.

So don’t think I’m not posting because I don’t like you. The book is more important (for now.)

Anyways, I thought I’d try my hand at posting a little video. This is a video I took with my phone while at a gathering of friends. I tell you, this kid has a future in slow movie action sequences and slow monster truck rallies.



You know that thing I mentioned when I was telling you about the thing I was talking about? (Click here for back story.) Well my prediction came true. None of my readers have clicked on any of my sponsors ads since I started hawking certain products I don’t want to mention for fear my advertisers will never net me any revenue again.

Hopefully my ads will start to reflect the true spirit of my site again soon. And hopefully those ads will be appealing to my loyal readers, so I’m including these key phrases in an effort to do just that:

Hostess® brand snack cakes
Colossal pansies
Mensa International
Mickey Mouse club
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
Monique Coleman
Hip Hop MP3
Horse pucky Warning! Hilarious link.
Pooper Scoopers®
Long in the tooth
Hamburger helper
Clamato® refreshing drink (It’s made with clams AND tomatoes)
Cuy...

Monday, November 13, 2006

132. Nipper Skipper RCA

So my good friend MG has started a blog and I implore you to check it out here. The normal trial period of sustained posts of a humorous nature before one will be added to the sidebar will be foregone with MG on the strength of his longstanding funniness through the years.

He was also best man at my wedding, which means he probably wouldn't have made the guest list for any of yours. I mean, 'best man' is a fancy way of saying 'second only to the groom' which means MG was stupid's first attendant at one time. Welcome to the blog world, MG.

Anyhoo, a few things about TV:

'The Office' is the best show on TV, hands down. Steve Carell has the best delivery of any comedic actor and is the best funny character on TV since Kramer on 'Seinfeld.' Watch the last episode of the office here. Best line of last week's episode. "...the board voted last week to close the Scranton branch." "On whom's authority." "The board's."

'My Name is Earl' is almost as good, and it leads 'The Office' in, so it's got my vote. I don't feel like linking to it.

'The best new reality show is 'Heroes.' It's very realistic. My wife Limpy and I watch it every week. The character acting is good, and the story is setting up well. You don't get so lost as when you watch 'Lost' and as far as reality goes, '24' is the only reality show better than 'Heroes.' Check out the latest episode here. Saving cheerleaders is what I'm all about. All kidding aside, great show.

About the first mate:

The first mate is becoming exceptionally adept at Jedi mind tricks and is very good at making a sucker out of my wife Limpy and me. "Pick me up and hold me and smell my baby-hair" he seems to say as he peers at us with his liquid-pool eyes and his brooding lips. "I'm gonna be a quarterback when I grow up and throw for two thousand (2000) yards." He's just such a trooper. I've included a photo against my better judgment. I want you and your stalker friends to stay away from him. If you're wondering if I'm talking to you, the answer is yes. Besides, if you come around here looking to start something, the first mate will kick your trash. He's not a colossal pansy like me. Just look at the photo and admire from a distance.

The photog who took the picture here.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

131. Little Italy is for Little Lovers.

Which is my new name for San Diego's very own Little Italy. It's located downtown jammed in between the mall (which means 'bad' in Spanish) and the Harbor (which is Spanish for 'San Diego's Riviera'). Oh, and San Diego is Spanish for Saint Diego.

Anyway, I'm writing from the airport in Atlanta, through which I'm en route on my way to Missouri from San Diego. That's how I roll. San Diego was a very nice place to be stuck for a few days with the exception of a little fire alarm at my hotel last night at about 3:00 am.

Anyway, (just call this sidetrack-me-Saturdee), my hotel was right near Little Italy, so I got to sample genuine Little Italian food.

At one restaurant, I was enjoying my pre-fatty-food salad when I was paid a surprise visit from a cockroach. My waiter--who had been very laid back and masculine-ish previously--became extremely uptight a girlish when I showed it to him. Free dinner. Sweet.

At another restaurant, I ordered a pizza for carry-out (prosciutto with pepperoni), and sat down at the bar to wait for it. An elderly gentleman came to sit by me to wait for his pizza and proceeded to exclaim in a blaring, chant-like voice his surprise at seeing all the Mexicans in the place. Nevermind that I was trying to pretend he was not talking to me and that I was deaf and that possibly I was in a persistent vegetative state, he kept right on going--and in front of the mexican people who were hard at work. I couldn't get away from there fast enough and I'll consider myself lucky if my pizza only had a little saliva in it.

Tijuana style mini tacos are amazing--especially in San Diego. And it's only fitting that you buy and eat the mini tacos in Little Italy--where all your little dreams come true.

Someone found my blog by googling "nipper skipper rca."

And I want to become a sailor. Or a bell boy. Cuz sailors have a gorilla in every port and bell boys make a buttload of money--greedy little buggers...

Monday, October 30, 2006

130. Inkom: Stinkum--A Rare Svithe.

The first time I remember hearing or saying the phrase, "You're not the boss of me," was when I was a resident of Inkom, Idaho (motto: Inkom: Stinkum). It's all because of one Bossy Ginger who was our neighbor.

See, back in One Thousand Nine-Hundred and Seventy Seven (1977) I was three (3) years old and my brother was five. Ginger was much older, stronger and selfish and she always told us what to do. Nevertheless, my mom Ramblimom always used to force us to invite Bossy Ginger to our birthday parties even though she was always so bossy and took control of the party activities.

Anyway, one day my mom asked my brother and me to take a bag of fresh garden tomatoes over to Bossy Ginger's parents. Bossy Ginger opened the door and we asked for her parents, but she wouldn't go get them and instead, she took the bag of tomatoes from us, reached in and pulled out the biggest one, and took a huge slobbery bite out of it and let the juice and seeds run down her chin.

And that's why I don't like tomatoes on my burger.

Unfortunately, I learned recently that Bossy Ginger (and that's really what we called her) had Downs Syndrome. My brother and I have been vilifying her for years and using the words 'Bossy Ginger' as a joke, and now I learn she had Downs Syndrome. It explains so much, the bossyness, being forced to invite her to parties even though she was much older than us. Through my three year old eyes I remember little, but I remember Ginger, and I remember her bossyness. I don't remember her being different at all. I don't remember her as anything other than the bossy kid next door.

As an adult, I notice the differences in people and unfortunately my jaded inner self makes judgments and hedges for what I think will happen based past experience. I wish sometimes we were all a little more like children in the respect that I wish we woould allow ourselves to experience and then judge instead of judge and then experience. Basically, when I lived next to Bossy Ginger, I had no preconceived notions about her. I had no misconceptions. I allowed myself to wait until our interaction before I made any judgments about her. Now I'm learning those judgments were largely uninformed or at least under formed because I didn't realize the girl was different and because I was very young.

I know it's a kindof backwards look at things, but I'm glad I didn't notice 'differences' back then.

Anyway, Other things that happened in Inkom (remember I was three (3)):

I threw a broken bottle at my brother hitting him on the head but causing no injury. He threw a smaller piece of glass back at me and it hit me under the eye requiring three stitches. We blamed it on the neighbor who got a medieval beating.

I heard cats fighting for the first time. It scared me to death.

I was eating an Oreo outside and I decided I wanted to climb a tree. To save the Oreo for later, I put it in my pocket. Not adviseable.

The fourteen (14) year old neigbors told us our farts were bionic and fed us our first caffienated beverages.

If one goes to the open front door of the neighbor's house and shouts certain words, one will be forced to be in time-out inside said house and play with old toys left over from the grown children of the homeowner. Come to think of it, she was kindof creepy.

My brother Chewy got knocked out while he was trying to sneak some marshmallows from the cupboard while we were watching Saturday morning cartoons. He threw up on the way to the hospital. Concussion was an early medical term for me.

My brother Chewy dropped a huge rock on his finger and required stitches. Ramblimom and ramblidad were out of town together, so all this happened at the neighbor's house.

Also while we were gone to the neighbor's house and just after my brother Chewy smashed his finger, I was riding a horse that was being led by the owner when the horse got spooked and ran away. At three (3) that can be a bit scary.

Lastly, riding your big wheel into the neighbor's house will get you a sound spanking.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

129. PCP and Me Two (2): With a Vengeance.

In case you missed the last installment:

I chronicled how the Pharmacy Counter Person was so unfriendly and non customer-service oriented that I was forced to buy the generic Flonase even though I had asked to buy...Aw, forget it. You can read it yourself here; it's not a freaking sitcom for crying out loud.

Anyway, I left the store after paying for my new drugs and decided to test out the drugs before going to far from the store. So I opened a box, pulled out a bottle, and primed it by spraying a few squirts into the air. The volume and general non-mist-like cloud of spray was my first clue that the generic brand was going to be a bit different than Flonase: The Original. Then I sprayed it into my nose.

Because I have been vigilantly guarding myself from allergy flare-ups by being diligent in my drug habits, I have not had a runny nose in years. It's been very nice, BTW. But this NEW spray that is NOT Flonase made my nose run in its inaugural trial. It's not just that the medicine is different as barb pointed out in her comment in the prequel to this post, but that the sprayer the liquid comes in delivers it into the nose as a liquid, not as a mist. I can't go into all the differences here, but suffice it to say that if I use a medicine to prevent a drippy nose, but that medicine CAUSES a drippy nose, that medicine is not the good stuff.

To restate, I don't want a runny nose, but my new unrunny-nose medicine makes my nose run. Something seemed amiss with that scenario. So later that night, receipt and drugs in hand, I went back to Wizzy-Mart. I approached the pharmacy counter and asked them to take their crappy drugs and give me the good stuff. That's when they called security.

Really what I said was that I didn't want the generic, and that I wanted real Flonase. The pharmacist was extremely unhappy, because he was going to have to throw away the original bottles of generic nose wash, because it's illegal to give them to someone else. He was also visibly upset that his staff didn't work very hard to satisfy the customer, and that he was going to lose money because of it.

And that's how I got my REAL Flonase--Now with Riboflavin!

128. PCP and Me.

Remember those kids who can't eat choco-chip cookies at parties because they're allergic to everything?

Well I'm one of them.

Fortunately, I've found the right balance of drugs and psychotherapy, and my allergy problems have been nearly non-existant since The Great Maggot Migration of '65. I use generic over the counter Loratadine, and a steady oxygen-tube flow of Flonase (Fluticasone Propionate, 50 mcg.)

Well, my last bottle of Flonase is running out, so I called a pharmacy we'll call Wizzy-Mart, to ask if they had my old prescription in their system so I could get a refill. They told me I have refills left in the system, so I went down to the pharmacy inside Wizzy-Mart and ordered my new Flonase. They told me it would take about ten (10) minutes to fill my prescription and that I should enjoy the beauty of the electronics section--which I do.

After coveting the HD TV's for about eleven (11) minutes and stopping at the makeup counter, I went back to the pharmacy to pick up my Flonase only to find a line of about four (4) old people. Being old, it took each of them about half (1/2) an hour to take care of business, so it took me ten (10) more minutes to pick up my Flonase.

Only, see, when I got to the counter, they had given me the generic version of Flonase. I asked, "I asked for Flonase."

Pharmacy Counter Person (or PCP): "We always run the generic; it's cheaper for you."

Me: "But you didn't tell me you were giving me generic. How much more is it going to cost me to get the good stuff?"

PCP: "I don't know; I'd have to run it."

Me: "Then run it; I want to know how much it's going to cost me to get what I asked for."

PCP: "Okay," she said, looking perturbed. After a few minutes she came back and said, "The drug costs about forty dollars ($40) more, so you can estimate your co-pay from there."

At that point, a line of old people was developing behind me so I asked, "Can you check please?" Only to hear another PCP tell my PCP they don't have any brand name Flonase in stock. So I took the generic. During the awkward moments while my credit card transaction was being finalized, I started getting more and more angry at the non customer-friendly way I was treated. I didn't ask her to give me a massage; I asked her to check the price of the drug I asked for. I guess I was feeling angry about having my right to choose taken from me because they assumed I'd be unwilling to pay for the good stuff.

I said to PCP as I was signing the receipt, "You really should give people a better set of options."

PCP: "We always fill the generic because insurance companies don't like to pay for the name-brand."

Me: "Then you should tell her [pointing to the drop-off counter] to inform the customers theif prescription would be filled using the generic unless otherwise specified."

PCP: [Stared at me with a customer-is-the-enemy look as I turned tail and ran out of the store.]

Tune in Tomorrow for the dramatic conclusion of this exceptionally long post.

And thanks to Daltongirl for giving me a reason to tell my own customer service story.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

127. I'm Hawking Anti Fungal Creams Now

OK, so on Monday I blogged about having lost my toenail playing flag football over the weekend. I thought it was a pretty creative way to tell a story and get a few laughs. I had no idea all of you had such an adverse reaction to toenails--even healthy toenails on impeccably attractive and clean feet. Only Barb (who gets her kicks by working in the ER) was disappointed by not seeing photos of The Emancipated Toenail.

The most startling development is my new sponsors. By contractual obligation I'm not supposed to tell you all to click on my advertisements, because that would cause unnatural advertising traffic on my sponsors' sites and they would pay me money that would have been ill-gained. In fact, I'm telling you now NOT to click on my advertisers unless you are interested in the product because I intend on earning my money the right way.

Nevertheless, I call your attention to my newest sponsors--the fungus people. See, ads for my blog are generated by google attaching content-specific sponsors to my blog. So in my blog when I say I lost a toenail AND that it was healthy WITHOUT any fungi or nuthin', Google Ads searched the content and finding the words 'toenail,' 'fungus,' and 'What, are you kidding me? put a fungus ad on my site for crying out loud;' decided to place fungus cream ads on my site.

I almost feel offended, but then I realize the fungus people pay good money to Google Adsense to get placed in places people will see them. And I guarantee I was the only one 'stupid' enough to have placed the words 'toenail,' 'fungus,' and 'I don't want to earn any money from advertisers,' in my blog. So, naturally, since none of my readers will ever click on the anti-fungal ads, I won't earn any money for about two weeks until I can blog the fungal content to the bottom and off the front page. Maybe I can count on the approximately twelve thousand (12,000) who find my blog by searching to see 'if Raven Simone is pregnant' to click on my new advertisers.

And I'm not doing myself any favors with this post either, so I might as well do my best to make my adspace as much of a joke as my IQ. So these are terms I'm going to post here now to see if the fungal ads will disappear soon (WARNING! sensitive viewers might prefer to skip to the next paragraph of text):

Open sore.
Pet diabetes.
Cod liver oil.
Why won't this rash go away?
Baltimore is for lovers.
Body odor.
Rex Kwon Do.
SARS outbreak.
Octopus a la mode.
Star Wars.

So there you have it. Try to make an ad out of THAT, the man.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

126. Things I learned while house sitting.

For the next three days, my wife Limpy and I will be house- and baby-sitting for some friends who have run away from their responsibilities. Now those responsibilities are ours and include: caring for four (4) children ages eight (8), five (5), three (3), and two (2), the oldest three (3) are girls and the last is a boy; keeping the house safe, and watching free cable. The following are things I learned in my first evening yesterday:

It’s not just my bathroom scale that hates me, EVERY bathroom scale hates me. MY bathrooms scale refuses to help me lose weight or even fudging the numbers a little bit to make me feel good. THEIR hoyty-toyty bathroom scale laughs at me and flashes *ERROR* on the screen when I hop on.

Silly Putty and Gerber® Soothie binkies do not play well together. The first mate was crying and my wife Limpy asked the two (2)-year-old to take the binky to me. He gladly agreed to take it and brought it to me in the same hand his Silly Putty was in. The Silly Putty tried to consume and possibly destroy the binky and now the binky and the Silly Putty are inextricably connected.

Little girls are the devil. Who can deny a child another handful of goldfish when she looks at you with a twinkly smile and tells you she likes you? I can’t. I also can’t tell an eight (8)-year-old she needs to go to bed when I’m not even her dad and she’s not even human; possibly she’s super-human—with pow’rs to make me do what she wants—or a Jedi Knight or something. I’m a weak-minded fool.

Band-aids® brand sheer strips are not just for bleeding cuts; they’re for bonked heads, fallen toddlers, spanked bottoms, bleeding gums, and bruised egos.

“Who’s your daddy?” doesn’t work on children that are not yours.

The first mate loves chaos—sleeps right on through most of it.

Second (2nd) grade homework is easy.

House sitting is not what appears, for it's the children who need the most attention, not the house.

And finally, candy is my best friend.

Monday, October 16, 2006

125. Toenail or not Toenail? That is the Question.

Interviewer: If I told you you would lose a toenail, would you do it?

Interviewee: No.

Interviewer: If I told you you would lose a toenail AND if I told you you would feel no pain, would you do it?

Interviewee: No.

Interviewer: If I told you you would lose a toenail and if I told you you would feel no pain AND there would be no blood, would you do it?

Interviewee: No.

Interviewer: If I told you you would lose a toenail and if I told you you would feel no pain and there would be no blood AND you wouldn’t even be able to pinpoint when it happened, would you do it?

Interviewee: No.

Interviewer: If I told you you would lose a toenail and if I told you you would feel no pain and there would be no blood and you wouldn’t even be able to pinpoint when it happened AND it would happen during the course of doing something you loved, would you do it?

Interviewee: No.

Interviewer: If I told you you would lose a toenail and if I told you you would feel no pain and there would be no blood and you wouldn’t even be able to pinpoint when it happened and it would happen during the course of doing something you loved AND that something you loved would be flag football, would you do it?

Interviewee: No.

Interviewer: If I told you you would lose a toenail and if I told you you would feel no pain and there would be no blood and you wouldn’t even be able to pinpoint when it happened and it would happen during the course of doing something you loved and that something you loved would be flag football AND you wouldn’t even know it until you took off your pair of cleats, would you do it?

Interviewee: No.

Interviewer: If I told you you would lose a toenail and if I told you you would feel no pain and there would be no blood and you wouldn’t even be able to pinpoint when it happened and it would happen during the course of doing something you loved and that something you loved would be flag football and you wouldn’t even know it until you took off your pair of cleats AND you could save the toenail on your dresser until you could get a chance to photograph it, would you do it?

Interviewee: No.

Interviewer: If I told you you would lose a toenail and if I told you you would feel no pain and there would be no blood and you wouldn’t even be able to pinpoint when it happened and it would happen during the course of doing something you loved and that something you loved would be flag football and you wouldn’t even know it until you took off your pair of cleats and you could save the toenail on your dresser until you could get a chance to photograph it AND if you knew your toes were totally healthy before the incident and there were no fungi or nuthin’, would you do it?

Interviewee: No.

Interviewer: If I told you you would lose a toenail and if I told you you would feel no pain and there would be no blood and you wouldn’t even be able to pinpoint when it happened and it would happen during the course of doing something you loved and that something you loved would be flag football and you wouldn’t even know it until you took off your pair of cleats and you could save the toenail on your dresser until you could get a chance to photograph it and if you knew your toes were totally healthy before the incident and there were no fungi or nuthin’ AND if I told you your wife Limpy would accidently knock the toenail off the dresser while grabbing for the TV remote and the toenail would fall to an unknown location and there would be very little chance you would recover it for the photo op and it would resurface three years later having grown and mutated in the sewer to attack and traumatize the whole town, would you do it?

Interviewee: Well…Yes.

Sorry no photo.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

124. I Started Falling Three Days a Week--A Madlib

Yesterday, I asked my faithful reader(s) to complete a list of parts of speech for my latest madcap madlib. Below are the responses; they couldn't have turned out better. I changed only the verb tenses and pluralizations for agreement purposes. Enjoy:

By Bone Junior:

A few months ago when I was applying for term watering can insurance, the insurance envelope moistener sent a nice young Tasty painting out to draw blood so they could do a blood jackhammer. I guess they wanted to prove I was staple remover-worthy.

When the results came back, they told me my fax machine level was slovenly technical and they rejected me. I commandeered, OH! How I commandeered, but then I decided to skip and do something about my Elvis Flying Elvises. I started Falling three days a week, I flied my diet and snacking weed wackers, I even cut down on fake crab meat and other fatty foods.

When the first mate was sickly, I decided it was time to try again to get my sandwich insurance policy. I went to Bone Junior to draw more blood; the results came back and my lactic acids were still heavingly quiet. The doctor told me I was in need of some serious stomach and I told him I had dry heaved a lot of things—my porcelain throne, my bathroom, and my snotty drips. He then told me my crickus neckus was probably caused by my DNA and prescribed Badasspirin. Badasspirin is a drug that contains omega-three (3) fatty fake plastic grapes and is used to reduce the amount of mannequin heads in The Second Amendment.

After a month of taking the pills, my toe jam is ‘drop down and get your eagle on’ he*. Now maybe I’ll be able to get that Scott Bakula insurance policy I’ve always wanted.

By Sariah in Vancouver:

A few months ago when I was applying for term dog insurance, the insurance nail sent a nice young roof shingle out to draw blood so they could do a blood ear wax. I guess they wanted to prove I was cd-worthy.

When the results came back, they told me my rope level was tentatively bright and they rejected me. I drilled, OH! How I drilled, but then I decided to dance and do something about my crack towels. I started yelling three days a week, I flew my diet and snacking dice, I even cut down on pickles and other fatty foods.

When the first mate was shiney, I decided it was time to try again to get my pocket knife insurance policy. I went to the window washer to draw more blood; the results came back and my tears were still playfully brown. The doctor told me I was in need of some serious cone and I told him I had hurried a lot of things—my whale, my log, and my cars. He then told me my heart disease was probably caused by my DNA and prescribed Zyrtec. Zyrtec is a drug that contains omega-three (3) fatty books and is used to reduce the amount of photos in the shirt.

After a month of taking the pills, my bloods are North she*. Now maybe I’ll be able to get that blog insurance policy I’ve always wanted.

By li’l mil:

A few months ago when I was applying for term army uniform insurance, the insurance dead spider sent a nice young tacos out to draw blood so they could do a blood toilet. I guess they wanted to prove I was gummy worms-worthy.

When the results came back, they told me my academy award level was comically dysfunctional and they rejected me. I clotheslined, OH! How I clotheslined, but then I decided to flush and do something about my paper shredder GPS voices. I started mule mastering three days a week, I trampolined my diet and snacking top secret codes, I even cut down on meatball sandwiches and other fatty foods.

When the first mate was unruly, I decided it was time to try again to get my perm insurance policy. I went to the "ask a ninja" ninja to draw more blood; the results came back and my esophageal juices were still very very sneakily grosser than gross. The doctor told me I was in need of some serious two by four and I told him I had scuttled a lot of things—my blog, my guacamole, and my mooses. He then told me my gildersleeveitis was probably caused by my DNA and prescribed Cialis. Cialis is a drug that contains omega-three (3) fatty feet and is used to reduce the amount of neighbors in the finger paint.

After a month of taking the pills, my [uvula]** is backwards it*. Now maybe I’ll be able to get that Mercedes Benz insurance policy I’ve always wanted.

*I accidently asked for pronouns when in my original story I had an adverb. I was going to change it, but then I realized the poor usage of pronouns here is just as funny as a good madlib insert should be.
**It pained me to edit any of your fine words. I couldn't in good conscience insert the word that was asked for because my peeps read this blog and they're...um...conservative. With a little research though, I think you'll get a hearty belly laugh out of this one.

I think my favorite line is "I drilled, OH! How I drilled, but then I decided to dance and do something about my crack towels." Funny, I thought I gave my crack towels away.

Here's the original story if anyone cares--can you see why this is not funny?:

A few months ago when I was applying for term life insurance, the insurance company sent a nice young lady out to draw blood so they could do a blood test. I guess they wanted to prove I was insurance-worthy.

When the results came back, they told me my triglyceride level was extremely high and they rejected me. I cried, OH! How I cried, but then I decided to get busy and do something about my triglyceride levels. I started exercising three days a week, I changed my diet and snacking habits, I even cut down on pizza and other fatty foods.

When the first mate was born, I decided it was time to try again to get my life insurance policy. I went to the doctor to draw more blood; the results came back and my triglycerides were still exceptionally high. The doctor told me I was in need of some serious change and I told him I had changed a lot of things—my diet, my exercise, and my habits. He then told me my hyperlipidemia was probably caused by my DNA and prescribed Omacor. Omacor is a drug that contains omega-three (3) fatty acids and is used to reduce the amount of lipids in the blood.

After a month of taking the pills, my triglycerides are down significantly. Now maybe I’ll be able to get that life insurance policy I’ve always wanted.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

123. A Medical [noun]

Don't fail me reader(s). Last time I tried this, no one actually took me up on it, but those who read it got a really good laugh. What’re we talking about? Madlibs, that’s what. Here’s your role: submit your list of words based on the following list and submit them via the comments section. After I receive a few, I will post them in completed form. A-like so:

1 Noun
2 Noun
3 Noun
4 Noun
5 Noun

6 Noun
7 Adverb
8 Adjective
9 Verb past tense
10 Same past tense verb
11 Verb
12 Noun
13 Plural noun
14 Verb ending in -ing
15 Past tense verb
16 Plural noun
17 Food

18 Adjective
19 Noun
20 Person
21 Bodily chemical—plural
22 Adverb
23 Adjective
24 Noun
25 Verb past tense
26 Noun
27 Noun
28 Plural noun
29 Medical condition
30 Prescription drug
31 Same prescription drug.
32 Plural noun
33 Plural noun
34 Noun

35 Bodily chemicals.
36 A direction
37 Pronoun.
38 Noun

Good luck remembering your parts of speech. I look forward to seeing the completed story.

Pictured: me and the concrete block I had to break up so I could lift it into a truck and dump in somebody else's yard somewhere. Sorry if the concrete ended up in your yard.

Monday, October 09, 2006

122. Because You Need This, and Because I'm Telling You To.

The message of this post is that you need to getcherself a pizza stone.

A what?

A pizza stone. It’s what they sell at the grocery store in the frozen foods section. Just kidding, it’s a flat ceramic or stone disc on which you put your pizza while you bake it.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I love me some pizza-stone-baked pizza. Last weekend my wife Limpy and I decided to order pizza from Papa Murphy’s**. Actually, to clarify, I decided to order the pizza because my wife Limpy doesn’t like it very much. Her gripe with it is the dough and how doughy it is. “If it’s not cooked, it’s CRAP!” she says. So I took the pizza home and baked it on our pizza stone. The bottom crust was perfectly crispy—ideal for the enjoyment of the pizza by my wife Limpy.

Other noteworthy things we have used our pizza stone for:

Bread. You can get crispy-crusted breads by baking a lump of dough right on the pizza stone. Take that Euros!

Nachos. Don’t just go Kip Dynamite and microwave the cheese on the corn chips. Instead mix up some quality ingredients, heap them onto a pile o’ tortilla chips, top with cheese and bake.

Family burrito. (I can’t explain what it is, other than a giant burrito made with 6-10 tortillas.) I don’t know who invented it, but it’s much better when cooked on a pizza stone.

Easy supper dog (#15 here). Better on a stone.

Fixing a flat tire. Better with a pizza stone.

They’re also great for reheating pizza.

In short, you need one. You want one. And you’ve been yearning for one ever since about 30 seconds ago.

Find pizza stones here, here, and here. Now go get one.

**If you don’t have one near you, Papa Murphy’s is a pizza chain that sells raw pizzas so you can take them home and cook them yourself. The reason they do this is so you can have a piping hot pizza right out of your own oven. The reality is the pizza is just too good and must sit overnight on the counter before it tastes anything like real pizza.


Pictured: photo of our stocked food-storage room. Can I get a woot woot? (I love me some olives.)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

121. The One-Amputee-Armed Gorgon of All Potatoes

So if you cut potatoes in half and throw them in the ground, they actually grow! Unfortunately, they don’t grow very well.

See, last spring I grabbed six (6) full-size, Idaho potatoes from my pantry and cut them in half. Then I mismatched the potato halves, dug six (6) holes and dropped two halves (2/2) of two (2) different potatoes in each hole. Then I watered the garden (by asking my wife Limpy if she’d do it) all summer.

Imagine my dismay when only two (2) of the potato plants surfaced. Regardless of the great potato rebellion of ’06, the two strikebreaker potato plants seemed to be in good shape, so we didn’t roundup the lot of them.

Well, Saturday seemed like as good a day as any to harvest our potatoes, so I grabbed my headphones and with an undaunted resolve, I headed to the backyard to disinter the potatoes. It seemed a good idea to start digging about eighteen inches (18”) from the plant stems so I didn’t cut through any potatoes. You can’t save ‘em in the pantry if you cut 'em in half first.

Eighteen inches (18”), no potatoes, no problem.

Twelve inches (12”), no potatoes, no problem—they’re probably all on the other side anyway.

Six inches (6”), no potatoes, we might have a problem.

One (1) potato from the first plant. The only potato growing from that plant was about six pounds (6 lbs.) of starchy goodness. You see it pictured—it’s the one with the amputee arm growing out the side. But ONE POTATO! What the…?

So I dug up the other plant. Seven (7) potatoes (also pictured). SEVEN (&)! Four normal sized, and three potato nubs. I imagine the potato nubs are the ones they make instant potatoes with. I imagine they are ostracized by the other potatoes and are forced to live in another society in Idaho. I imagine the normal potatoes call the runts “small potatoes.” I’m happy these are Utah potatoes though, so all my potatoes can coexist. Well, except for behemoth-jack amputee potato. He doesn’t play with nobody—you can tell, because he hogged all of potato plant number one’s (#1) nutrients. So I tore his arm off.

So let’s review:

Cut six potatoes in half. Mix up the potato halves and plant them in six (6) holes. Water for HALF A YEAR. Yield: eight (8) potatoes—four (4) of normal size, three (3) of dubious mass, and one (1) that light bends around on its way past.

I can’t wait to eat them all in the same meal. I think at that point it will feel worth it.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

120. Why Things Don't Go Well for Me

So, imagine you're me for a second--a younger, thirtysomething, white, chubby, bald guy with a knack for putting himself in the most awkward situations possible. Then imagine yourself walking into a black hair salon and asking the gay, black hairdresser man if he knows where you can buy some Black N Sassy Triple Gro Tea Tree Oil Gro hair products. Then imagine how awkwardly the man and his elderly black client look at you as you stammer and run out the door a la Napoleon Dynamite.

Well if you imagined that, it must've happened right? Right. Last week I was in Los Angeles working. And for those of you who don't know, my wife Limpy is black and has been all her life. Unfortunately, we live in Utah and she is one (1) of only three (3) black people in the entire state. The other two (2) live in Magna or something.

And for those of you who don't know, Black people don't wash their hair every day. Washing one's hair ruins the hair, makes it brittle, and depresses the soul. I guess their scalps don't produce the oils necessary to keep the hair safe like ours do. In fact, since I am bald, I have been thinking of a way to share my hair oils with my wife Limpy for years but I haven't thought of any good hair oil transferral systems.

Anyway, since there aren't many black people in Utah, the beauty supply stores here don't carry many products for them. And every time we find a product that my wife Limpy likes, we find it has been discontinued when it's time for a refill. Well, not discontinued, but that the store has stopped shipping any to Utah.

Which is how I found myself in LA making a fool of myself. And now our brand new storage room has a shelf dedicated to the forty (40) jars of hair oil I brought home.

Another reason I'm in such a chipper mood is because the First Mate was up all night last night. I'm not complaining. I vowed I would never tell people I'm tired because of the newborn. I hate it when people tell you how bad their life is because of a baby and I'm not going that way. My life is a blessing, and the First Mate is a bundle of....no, a compressed bundle of extra joy.

But last night, just before bed, he was very hungry. I fed him three (3) ounces of milk because he usually eats just about that much--sometimes four (4). He was still acting hungry after three (3) so I fed him another ounce. And then another. And then half (1/2) an ounce more. If the First Mate wants food, the First Mate gets food, I say (at least for now while he is still a newborn.) Feeding him is a lot like the storage room: the more you stuff in there, the better.

Imagine my surprise when he didn't fall asleep right away, and kept baby-vomiting through the next three to four (3-4) hours. At the agreed time at which I was to hand him to my wife Limpy and get some rest, I thought he was on the verge of sleep. Not so. My wife Limpy was up the rest of the night with him. He didn't sleep from nine-o-clock (9:00) last night until this morning, and maybe not since. And it's all my fault. Not only did I feed him nearly twice as much as normal, I stretched his stomach out so he'll never feel full again.

So things went bad because I am a moron.

Did you know someone found my blog by google-searching the words 'unibrow spanish translation?'

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

119. ArupiseMVLINFA!

arupiseMVLINFA

That's what you get when you type 'stupidramblings' with your left hand shifted one key to the left on your keyboard. How do I know? Because I'm a good typist. Well, what I mean is I don't look at my hands anymore when I type; I look at my elbow.

No, serious. I have gotten to the point in my typing career where I can type without looking. Unfortunately, the issue of starting with your hands in the right place remains. So once in a while, when I'm trying to type something, I end up with a phrase that is very different from what I was expecting.

Which I suspect may have been the case when Miss Nemesis said she brayed like a donkey. Or what happened when I decided to write a blog.

About a year ago, I started this thing with the thought in mind that I could brush up on my typing skills, get a Hollywood contract to write for a major sitcom, and rule the world with my own brand of stupid humor. Well folks, I'm just steps away from my dream.

Hollywood, don't bring at around here for less than eight (8) digits. Because this blog has netted me like two dollars and seventy three cents ($2.73) and If I'm going to be torn away from it, it's gotta be worth it...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

118. My Heart Bleats for You.

But first a couple of photos with explanations (click on each photo to see it full size):

So my wife Limpy makes excellent Rice Krispy Treats. 'Cept when she doesn't as was the case last time. She used old marshmallows from two opened halves of packages. The result of using slightly less-soft marshmallows was a pan full of rock hard Rice Krispy Treats--By Kellog's Brand Rice Krispy People, Snap! Crackle! Pop! Below you can see the blood spot on my midnight snack from where it attacked my gums.




Next comes the story of how I washed my headphones. I wore my headphones on the plane to listen to my MP3 player a few days ago. Then I carefully folded the headphones up and placed them in my cargo pockets in my shorts. (not those shorts) Then I carefully placed the shorts in the wash when I returned home. After carefully placing them in the drier, I returned to find the headphones carefully wrapped around everything. And wadded into a tight little ball. Like freshly spun yarn. And your intestines. So rather than try to carefully unwrap said bundle of wires, I decided to first test the headphones to see if they still worked. They do! but the wires just don't look the same; behold the photo below.




The weather may have sucked in Utah the last few days, but the sunrise outside my house was excellent. Vis a vis:




For you computer guys and girls out there: 0101010001110101101110101000010101011010101001 110010110001 101 1010100101001011111100000101001010 1. 101 1 10010 110110010 0101 0 01 1011 01 0101101 10101 0010 11010101001010 0101010010101. 101 010010 1001010 010 1001 01 1011111000000 010 100111111000110010 01 010101010100101001000001010 0010 1010010001 0101 010100101 10010 101 110. Please don't tell my mother.

And finally, I ate mutton tonight. I usually go for chicken, but I was in a reputable-looking restaurant, and I wanted to do something adventurous. It was a Jamaican place in Inglewood, CA that makes a mean curry goat. I enjoyed it very much. Baaaa-a-a-aa-a-a-aaaa--a-a--a-a-a--a--a---a-a (that's enough of that.)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

117. Tons o' Fun

So I weigh a lot 'n' stuff. More than an elephant, in fact.

I'll prove it to you here and now.

Bring it on, Cletus!

...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

116. Various Funnies from Where I Travelled To.

Eric Snider's readers sent him a link to a website, called Crying, While Eating.com which I am forced to recommend. Find it here.

A new site I found while using the ‘next blog’ feature I’ve gotta recommend is here. It’s a mind numbing explanation of how we might possibly imagine what it’s like to operate in a ten (10) dimensional universe. (String Theory is the relatively new and popular theory of everything that, if true, delineates 10 dimensions. That’s why this explanation is necessary.) I'm sorry I can't remember whose blog it was on. Credit to you, whomever you may be. Watch it here.

And some funnies:

In rural [another state], I saw a roadside billboard advertising one ‘Hookers Restaurant’—sorry no photo. I can’t even begin to explain what’s wrong with naming your restaurant ‘Hookers.’ Do the cops run undercover sting operations weekly? Is there anyone who lacks so much self respect to work there? Does the name eliminate most of the potential clientele? Is the owner’s name Hooker? Naw, anyone with that last name would have to know the perils of such a name and not based their business on it. ‘Hookers’ Really?

Finally, I saw a the personalized plate ‘NVIG8R’ on the same drive. Sure, it looks innocuous enough on the casual glance, but upon closer inspection one realizes it spells EN-vi-ga-tor. I can only imagine how the plate ‘NVIG8R’ came to be.

“Darrr-lin’ I reckon it’s time we get us one o’ them personalized license plates”

"If'n ya wanna waste yer money, go ahead. Whaddya wannit to say?

"Envigorate--N-V-I-G-8-R. It's probably taken, but we might be the first to ask for it."

[later that month]

"Darrr-lin'! We got it. No one has 'NVIG8R.' We own it. YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHAAAAWWWWWW!"

Anyway, I'm "envigatored" by my chance to get back out on the road. I've forgotten how many of the little things I miss when I travel the same route to work every day.

Which brings me to my final thought: in Utah, between Provo and Salt Lake City, there's road that leads up to American Fork Canyon, home of Timpanogos Cave. Just after you leave I-15 heading east toward the canyon, they've posted a large brown road sign that reads:

Timpanogos Cave
Three (3) Hour Tours

I've always wanted to make an attachment for that sign. If I could duplicate the brown paint and font style and size on another board, I could hang a board on the sign that covers the word 'Timpanogos' and replaces it with the word 'Gilligan's'. I think the sign

Gilligan's Cave
Three (3) Hour Tours

Would be a lot more funny.

I'm gonna go drive real fast....

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

115. Express Your Shelf.

Some may think it’s a little crazy to stockpile food and munitions in one’s basement in hopes one might survive the apocalypse. Not me. I think it’s a great idea.

Well, not the munitions part, just the food part. I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out that having a supply of long-lasting, leathery-tasting food in case something bad happens is a good idea. My church preaches physical and emotional self-reliance as well as spiritual progress and yadda, yadda, yadda. I’m not here to preach, sinners, I’m just saying I feel it’s a smart idea to get something together in case a catastrophic earthquake or waterspout hits my valley.

So, I feel the religious fervor-like need to gather grains, canned goods and “a very little meat” in my basement, but until recently I had nowhere to store it all. When we built the house, my contractors had the foresight to put a cold storage room underneath my front porch, so I had the space, but I needed an organizatory plan for righteous space usage.

Which is why I used some of the tax return money to buy materials with which to build a storage room in the nethermost parts of my house. So, all summer as I had time and energy, I spent time in the basement building shelves in the storage room.

AND NOW I PROCLAIM TO THE WORLD THAT MY SHELVES ARE FINISHED AND THAT WHEN THE APOCALYPSE COMES, EVERYONE IS INVITED TO MY HOUSE FOR FREEZE-DRIED POTLUCK RATIONS. Actually I warn you to stay off my property so I don’t have to shoot you. No offense, but I’m an ant and you’re a grasshopper coming to steal my bounty and I don’t have enough for you. Sharing is not part of my religion.

Anyway, the shelves are done and thanks to a ‘case lot’ sale at the local grocery store, I have about three hundred (300) cans of veggies and supplies we regularly cook with to start the shelf-stocking. I can’t wait for the flood so I can live on creamed corn and coconut milk until the nation gets back to order. Shown is a photo of my shelfish ways.

Next plan is an upright freezer so we can store tons (4000 lbs) of raw venison and mutton for non-emergency consumption. And there’s really no way to wrap up my comments in this here post except by saying STAY OFF MY PROPERTY! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

114. Happy Freaking Blogiversary.

Apparently, none of you remembered my blogiversary yesterday because you all hate me. I was waiting around all day for somebody to write a comment, post well wishes, and yadda yadda yadda, but no one did. So I figured when I got home there was going to be a surprise party waiting or something. Nothing. Thanks people.

Anyway In honor of my one year blogiversary. I had something real special planned for you. In fact, it's the same real special thing I talked about in post number one hundred (#100). It's still not ready, but it will be soon I promise. It requires some technical skill and acumen to pull off which I just don't have, so be patient, it's coming.

Anyway as I muse and look back on this year I remind myself I have written little of substance and even less of intelligence. And I say, "GOOD!" That's the point. And despite the bitter, sarcastic tone of the first paragraph of this post, I thank you all for reading and I hope I can continue to be your first and only source of interweb stupidity.

Peace, out.

Friday, August 25, 2006

113. Cross, My Heart.

A woman was jaywalking today. She went diagonally across the intersection making cars wait for her. She took her own sweet time about it without even a half-hearted apology wave to the people in cars who were waiting for her to clear the intersection so they could go through. She sickened me.

So it should come as no surprise that when she asked me for directions to [a place] I told her I didn’t know even though I did. I wasn’t feeling very kind at the moment and if she doesn’t care to cross the street when the ‘walk’ signal is lit—especially when there are cars waiting for her—I don’t really care to help her find where she’s going.

And furthermore, if she doesn’t even know where she’s going, why is she in such a hurry to jaywalk? Also, who is she to tell me my socks don’t work with my outfit? (She didn’t ask it, but I could see it in her scorn-filled eyes.) If I were a pioneer, I would have denied her passage across the plains. ‘No west for the rear-y,’ I say.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

112. A Bringing Home a Baby Bumble Bee

OK, my regulars are probably wondering a lot about the birth of the first mate. It’s been over a week and I still haven’t given you more details. That’s because the little guy has been in the hospital until yesterday where apparently they know how to take care of babies better than we do.

It all started about two weeks ago when I got some bad food at Applebee’s. I was on a business trip and spent a day trying not to crap my pants and three (3) days trying to recover from it while still making my sales calls. When I got home that Friday (the fourth (4th) of August) I was spent. I took the following Monday and Tuesday as sick days. I even went to the doctor to make sure I wasn’t going to lose my gall bladder or anything like that. He told me I was fine and admonished me to drink plenty of…YADDA YADDA YADDA. He didn’t even check for a collapsed lung like I asked him to.

Anyway, by Wednesday the ninth (9th) of August, I had decided to go back to work. My wife Limpy had a doctor’s appointment to do a routine ultrasound that morning which I would have been to, but I didn’t want to lose any more sick days. Also, the ultrasound was just a precaution to make sure the first mate was developing well late into the term. Then I remembered I had a dentist appointment that morning, so I arrived at work around ten o’clock (10:00). Keep in mind as I go on that our due date was September ninth (9th) so the baby wasn’t even supposed to arrive for four (4) weeks.

No sooner did I arrive at work than my wife Limpy called to tell me the ultrasound didn’t look great so she was going over to the hospital for more tests. I determined it would be best to go over there, because I didn’t want to be absent if anything important was going to happen. I went home, changed my clothes grabbed the hospital bag my wife Limpy packed, and headed to the hospital.

By the time I arrived they had decided it was necessary to either go for a caesarian section or induce labor because he was under too much stress. My wife Limpy and I had wanted to go with a natural birth, so we allowed them to start inducing her. They started with very minute amounts of medication to induce her, but every time she had a contraction, more stress was added to the first mate. So we started to prep my wife Limpy for surgery. Meanwhile, all our friends and family knew she was in the hospital undergoing tests so they kept calling to see if they found anything yet.

So we lied to them. We didn’t want anyone to know we were going to have a baby that day so we just told everyone we were still undergoing tests and that we would let them know what the results were, and that we would know in a couple of hours. Meanwhile, I was being fitted for a clean-room suit so I could attend my wife Limpy in the O.R. Then they took her away from me so they could administer loads and loads of drugs and anesthesia and I was left alone with my thoughts and to prepare myself to become a father.

And let it be known to the whole interweb that my wife Limpy didn’t give birth, it was taken from her. Not that we mind, but we simply weren’t ready.

In the O.R., I was impressed by a few things. One (1) was the businesslike manner in which they worked. My normally friendly and personable doctor was quiet and concentrated. I was happy. I wouldn’t want a guy with a knife hovering over my wife Limpy to get too relaxed about the whole affair. Another was the contact paper they pasted to her stomach. To help prevent any cross contamination, they stuck a large sheet of sticky cellophane to her stomach. After that, I didn’t look toward the abdominal area as they made the incision and performed the surgery.

When they pulled the first mate out, he started crying immediately. In fact, I was surprised he started crying so vigorously because they told us his lungs might not be all the way developed since he came so early. I was torn between keeping my wife Limpy company and taking some photos of the baby. They were so far apart. In the end, I decided it was more forgivable to get film on the kid so I could share him with her sooner. So I took a few photos, then I went back to show them to her. Then I took a few more and showed her those photos as well.

I was taken with the baby to the nursery while they finished the sutures and cleaning. It was quite alarming how they began tugging, pulling, flicking and startling the first mate. I mean, I knew it was going to happen, but babies just seem too fragile to be prodded.

When they finished the surgery, I helped the nurse wheel my wife Limpy into the room she would be staying in for the next four (4) days. The first mate was in the nursery under lights and my wife Limpy was beginning her recovery.

AFTER

Later on, the first mate still hadn’t seen his mother except briefly in the O.R. The nurses were nice enough to let me wheel him over to her room so they could spend some time bonding. He was so small and fragile and beautiful. He and his mother got to spend some time together—which fortunately was before the pain medication wore off so she was able to enjoy him.

Earlier that day, the doctors had told us the first mate might have one of a bunch of temporary problems until he got big enough to take care of his vitals. Things he was going to have to do before they let him leave the hospital included breathing on his own, eating by mouth, keeping his temperature stable, gaining constant weight, changing his own diaper—that kind of stuff.

Breathing on his own, check. Keeping his temperature steady, needs improvement. Eating by mouth, needs improvement. Gaining weight, needs improvement. Despite his list of requirements, he was in very good shape and seemed to overcome one of said requirements every day. By Sunday, my wife Limpy was ready to be released from the hospital, with the thought that the first mate would soon follow her.

Sunday night was very hard for us both because we had to come home; the insurance only pays ninety-six (96) hours for the mother for a C section, so we were forced to leave the first mate to his own devices in the level two (2) nursery. The following days were spent going to and from the hospital so we could feed the first mate. Fortunately, everything was going well, we were getting adequate rest thanks to a rental breast pump and the milk we were able to leave at the hospital nightly for his midnight feedings. We were sad to leave him there; the dream is to bring the baby home immediately, so it was a little bit disappointing to leave him there. It ended up being the best thing though, because we were able to make sure my wife Limpy was recovered and rested without the added stress of taking care of the baby.

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday showed great improvements in weight gain and temperature regulation and the doctors told us they were optimistic he would come home within the week. By Tuesday, he was up over his birth weight.

Wednesday morning, we arrived at the hospital to find they had added oxygen to the first mate’s probes, prods and other taped-to-the-skin items. Apparently some time in the night his oxygen saturation dipped low and the nurses were unable to get it up without oxygen. So they taped the tubes to his face and shoved them up his nose. Two reasons why this is problematic include that one (1)) he had just had the feeding tube removed from his face two days earlier and the red spot was just disappearing, and two (2)) he likes to pull the tubes off his face. Nevertheless, we’re glad they could make sure he still has an adequate supply of oxygen to the brain.

Wednesday night, they hinted they would probably send us home with the first mate the next day. We all know doctors don’t usually say anything very positive unless they are sure ‘positive’ is the only possible outcome of the culmination of the events. Two things we still had to do: one (1)) we had to return the car seat we had purchased because it was unsafe; no matter how tight you cinched it into the car, it was still removable by hand. In a rear end collision, the first mate (car seat and all) would have been thrown violently against the seat back. And two (2)), we still had to get a few supplies, because we were not done shopping for all the things we would need to get ready for bringing him home.

Thursday morning, true to their word, the doctors sent us home with the first mate. We had to rent an oxygen tank from Praxair and a monitor for his heart and lungs, but he was finally coming home.

So here we sit in our house after two days of having the first mate in his brilliantly decorated room. I’m sorry it took so long to get details to any of you; I’ve been trying to take care of a recovering new mother and a newborn, but I hope it was worth the wait. I’m also sorry for the length of this post, but I wanted to let you all know exactly what happened and why it crept up on us all of a sudden like that.

We’re home; we’re happy; we’re changing diapers.