Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolution Season

SOOOO many things to change. I am happy, but I know what I could/should be doing better. Here's the list: 1. Since my daughter was born, I can count the number of times I've gone into work on time/early on my toes. 2. On the same line of thought, I could really use a stricter sleep schedule for myself so that I can actually work out with my boss in the morning like I wanted to. I could also spend morning time (cooking breakfast, reading the paper, chatting with my wife) not on the clock. 3. To top off the work adjustments, I need more organization and follow up. But enough about the J-O-B. 4. Now that Tina is expecting our second, we need to get our finances in order. A, to better budget for a new mouth. B, because Tina's unemployment will go away right as the baby is born. C, because we need to buy a house and stop paying someone else's mortgage. 5. Our current home needs HELP, I'll fully admit, I'm a lazy ass, but so is Tina, therefore I must lead by example and start just doing the things that need to be taken care of. 6. Gross for me to admit, but I know the majority of Americans are with me here, I need to floss regularly. Seriously, I purchased these little floss picks and have used them at least 4 out of 7 days a week for the last couple weeks. It had probably been a year since I'd flossed last.

So, that would be, in a more appropriate order for my day to day...

Wake up when the alarm clock goes off. Floss your damn teeth after you brush. Cook breakfast for my family instead of grabbing a bite on the way to work, spending money I shouldn't. Call people back and actually complete my daily duties at work. Come home and pick up the house or work on a project. Finally, go to bed at a decent hour.

After thought but, I want to learn to play guitar this year, got a how-to DVD for Christmas to go along with the awesome guitar my father-in-law gave me two years ago! Happy New Year Everyone!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I'm addicted!

I downloaded the "Words With Friends" app a about a month ago. I cannot stop playing this. I'll admit, I love Scrabble, but rarely break out the game and play with my wife. I think the last time we played was last Christmas with my parents.

Words with Friends lets you play "Scrabble" with random people on your phone. You don't have to play through the end in one setting either. As a player puts down their word, you get a push notification on your phone that it's your turn. I think I have 8 to 10 games going at once. I love waking up in the morning and having 5 or 6 turns to play. It's like a little moment of joy for me. Yes I know I'm a dork, but I've found a fun outlet for my head.
I've played people who are SOOOO much better than I am and they've really taught me new words that I'd never thought of or heard of, but can come in really handy. Occasionally I get to school and idiot, but it seems the majority of the time I'm super far in the lead, they resign before the game is over.
I've only used the chat feature on a couple games, it's nice, but most games it isn't touched. I just whooped up on a punk who got testy with me on the chat when it took me a few hours to get back to the game we were playing. Love passive aggression. I did get to wish everyone I was playing Merry Christmas which was super cheesy, but ah well. I've had a couple rematches because the opponent enjoyed the game with me, that's a nice boost to the ego.

If I had to rate it versus all the other apps I've downloaded, it would be #1.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Would You Rather

I didn't want to write about the holidays, family or work today. So I grabbed Heimberg & Gomberg's "Would You Rather...? Pop Culture Edition" book I got a few Christmases ago. Random page turn opened to...

Would you rather...

have all of your hook-ups displayed prominently in You Tube videos
all your masturbatory fantasies printed as a Sunday comic in explicit detail?

Simple answer...cartoonize my jerk off sessions!

Explanation...There is no way I'd want my booty calls, random strange, exes and everything in between displayed in video format for the whole world to see. Y'all it ain't all pretty. That does mean I'd have to find Wankasaurus Rex (WR) on every doorstep weekly beating cancer.

~side note~ They say masturbation helps prevent prostate cancer, therefore, alone time shall now be refereed to as "beating cancer."

I think comic format desensitizes the whole affair. My dad might even laugh on occasion whilst WR is victorious in his next battle. Then again, my coworkers would have to see what drives the inter fantasies. Oh well, it would give me a reason behind all of those awkward moments I currently experience with no rationale.

Monday, December 28, 2009

2009 has been a Rollercoaster

The Christmas travel week is done and I've found myself reflecting back on the year we are closing. It included many overwhelmingly happy memories and a few gut punches that won't soon be forgotten.
Here's a quick recap:

Jan - Still getting used to having a baby in the house. Life as we knew it has vanished!

Feb - Tina went back to work, so we started using my old boss as a baby sitter. The long drive was worth it because I knew Mo was taking great care of Berlin.

Mar - Did the second round of lay-offs, I hate being the boss sometimes.

Apr - Kick in the junk - quadrupled my work load and gained 20x the territory - I hate, no loathe the company I work for "just be glad you have a job."

May - Family vacation to Denver and Estes Park - absolutely majestic!

Jun - Tina got laid off - Damnitalltohell!

Jul - Berlin started crawling!!!
Aug - The start of teething her two bottom teeth.

Sep - Nearly got my counterpart trained to take over half my territory - little shit is making more money than me and only took half my workload. I must have put some really bad Karma out there.

Oct - Tina's little brother got married. Hard to see him as an adult, he was only 13 when we started dating!

Nov - Berlin turned 1 and I turned 30, these are major milestones people!

Dec - Wrapping this year up with Tina 12 weeks pregnant!!!
2010 should be interesting at best! Get out your party hats and champagne flutes and sing Auld Lang Sine with loved ones and say good bye to this decade!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas is the Greatest Holiday!!!!

Last Night my Wife, Daughter and I went to the Zilker Park Christmas Tree Light Festival. They have a huge Moon Tower (yes, the one from Dazed & Confused) strung with beautiful Christmas lights. Over half a mile of other themed scenes and stages await travelers through the walk. Berlin had issues halfway through, but for the most part loved being outside with all the people to watch. My Daughter is truly a people watcher. She couldn't take her eyes off the yokels and their offspring.
I kept trying to get a shot of us with these goofy moose antlers and a blinky Rudolph nose. A broken antler later and barely escaping a black eye and broken nose, I've learned my lesson on trying to get a toddler to do anything on cue!

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Piraat Cheers to You!

A couple guys in my family are going to receive a beer mug with their NCAA team logo on it along with 750 ML of an unusual beer to accompany it. For my uncle John, I've chosen Arrogant Bastard Ale. I've tried it and it's neither here nor there for me. The name wins hands down however. For my uncle Larry, I chose Piraat Ale because he lives in Bristow, OK where the high school mascot is a pirate. Sure it's a hokey reason, but at least there is some thought put into it. I couldn't however give a brew I haven't certified as mondo libatio. So I bought a second and cracked it open this evening.

Y'all...The beer is great! I'm not just saying it because I've drank half the bottle of the 10.5% alcohol brew. Like all European beers, especially Belgium, the head is very aromatic and the flavor is out of sight. I'll definitely be revisiting this when the celebratory mood comes along.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

VFWs are Disappearing

Watching the local news last week, there was a segment on the loss of VFWs across the nation and some around Austin. A VFW from what I understand are meeting places for Veterans of Foreign Wars to hang out and participate with fellow veterans in random activities. Apparently their member numbers are dropping and new recruits are hard to attract.

Some jarring figures were thrown around. After 1945 there were 16 Million WWII veterans. Today there are only 2 Million WWII veterans left. They are dieing at a rate of 1000 people a day. That's a staggering statistic. My grandparents were too young to serve, most were in the Korean War. But the idea that soon they will join the ranks of the disappearing at a rate of what ever a day is terrifying. I guess I've never quantified death in terms of number of people who die of (fill in the blank) or number of people from this group who die per day. Little depressing to think of mortality in terms of statistics, it really removes the human factor.

As for the VFWs, they are having to get modern to attract new recruits. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Myspace, Etc. I can't wait for the out of touch rap commercials that will ensue from desperation for members. I guess they shouldn't have bullied the Vietnam vets for being overly sensitive when they got back into the country. Maybe they wouldn't be in this situation.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Frailty, Thy Name is Woman...Mine's Vanity

Warning, vanity shall rear its ugly head in the following passage. Don't you just hate it when you put effort into an outfit and no one of consequence is around the whole day? Since the weather has been surprisingly wintry lately, I've gotten to break out sweaters, suits and jackets I'd normally never wear this early in Texas. I'm still out of shape, but honestly, I've looked well put together the majority of the work days lately. Because it is the end of the year everybody is out of the office. Most days lately I only see 20% of my coworkers at most. I'm not saying I'm hurt if I don't get a compliment or at least a look...who am I kidding, my ego is definitely bruised. I may not be hot, but damn it, I've looked good lately and it's gone to waste. Whatever, I'm whining like a little bitch right now. Let's hope my overconfidence in my sense of style translates into the family portrait we are taking next week.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Shopping in Your Own Closet

I had to attend a training in Houston yesterday so I stayed with my parents for a couple days. Last night I was hanging out with my mom while she wrapped Christmas presents. OK, so my mom could never be labeled a superior gift giver. My daughter's birth was the exception. We totally got hooked up with an awesome stroller and car seat. Still continues to give awesome stuff to her granddaughter. I'm pretty sure that's Grandma's job, so it is the exception, not the rule.

My middle sister is perfect for Mom's gift giving. She loves the random stuff in life. So getting a purse stuffed with body wash and shower puff thingies is AOK. I'm not saying I don't like what she gives, it just always makes me pause for a moment as I assess how or why she chose the particular item that had my name on the tag.

So this year, my dad had less than subtly been hinting that he wanted a mini fridge for his office. Mom found the perfect gift, a mini Coca Cola fridge from Sears. She envisioned a floor safe sized unit would arrive at the house and she'd get it wrapped up and Dad would be elated. Now, my mother is one of those people who is fully capable of using the Internet and does, but doesn't always note the details or options associated with sites she doesn't frequent. Her first Internet purchase that was not a book was delivered and what to her wandering eye should appear, but an elf fridge that could hold a max of 6 beers. This thing is cute, really. But I felt so bad for her, I'm sure dad will love it as he actually is not allowed to have a fridge in his office per Fire Marshall rules, but come on. So she wrapped it and laughed the whole time. I just hope Dad doesn't have that glimmer of disappointment as he opens it that will destroy any chance of its success.

We continued talking about horrible gifts she was giving others and we were making fun of a gift my Grandfather had recently given her. She mentioned getting underwear and undershirts to Grandpa. My little eleven-year-old sister said "EWW, why are you giving him underwear for Christmas?" Mom explained that it's something he won't buy himself, so she gives it for Christmas. Then Mom explained that Dad had recently opened his drawer and exclaimed, "I'm out of undershirts!" She told him I just did the whites. To which he comments, I guess I do have an unopened pack of them that you gave me last Christmas. WTF, Dad? Don't tell someone, I've never used your gift, even if it was friggin' underwear! So Mom told me that she will just start shopping for his Christmas presents in his own closet. Dad will receive the same packages of socks, under ware and undershirts he did last year. I can't wait for it! Imagine receiving the exact same set of underwear for Christmas every year. How long could it last? I'm betting two or three Christmases at least!

May Santa take pity on your lump of coal!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

Christmas shopping today took us to the darkest of dark places. The outlet mall. Austin has two outlet malls on either side of the city. The one in Round Rock is fairly forgettable. The two mashed together in San Marcos on the other hand has an appealing variety of stores. It was there that I got to see Michael Korrs work in person. SOOOO, not worth the hype if you're under 50. That said, we went with a list of people and gift ideas and at least her half of the marriage was motivated to accomplish great things.

Intentions were to go to Crate & Barrel and William Sonoma to knock out half the list. Yeah, not so much. We were in and out of many stores and found only three family members taken care of and a couple half ways. All in all not horrible, but it means there is a long road ahead with only two weeks left.

So, someone please explain to me the outlet mall experience. They are designed to make parking and maneuvering the lot spirit-crushing. Half the stores are legitimately Outlet Mall inspired, meaning they have last years items or broken stuff marked down. But really the majority of them are identically priced to their counterparts found in the hell holes we call malls located happily within the city limits.
Seriously, Old Navy is 100% identical in both places. Gap (yes, I know they are the same company) actually has special Outlet Mall tags that read something like $69.50 compare to similar look for $99.99. WTF is that? Gap is Gap, there is no "compare to similar look" about it. I understand "regularly $50, now $20."

It just seems to be a trick to get super cheap (or broke like us) folks shopping your brand. It does make Podunk town's economy come to life, but over all the whole experience is maddeningly exhausting.

I don't know who was more miserable, my one-year-old daughter who had utterly given up any chance of escape three and a half hours in and had an emotional breakdown by hour five. My wife who pregnancy is not kind to in the first trimester. Or me, who could barely see straight after the 40th store. We are all glad to be home.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Spiral in the Night Sky

Norway had an interesting sight the other day.What looks like a computer generate image or someone playing around with a really powerful laser has sparked controversy.

The official word is it was an out of control Russian Rocket. I really don't believe it. I don't think it was a UFO like initial panicked Norwegians believed. I'm sure this will be touted as evidence for many a year to come. Think Fringe will try to work it into their story line?

I can't see how a rocket could cause that pattern, let alone have the light linger as it did. I'm not a meteorologist nor a scientist of any kind. But I think it may have been an experiment with atmospheric "distortion" that either went really right or really wrong. Maybe they are testing out a rain maker or something. Hello, cartoons have had them for decades, bout time we catch up right?

Fine, I probably sound as crazy as the UFO conspiracy/cover up theorists, but oh well. Pretty damn cool if you ask me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Can I just spray a little PAM down there right before the baby comes out?

Discovery Health and TLC are like crack for my wife. Now that I office from home, I see what my wife's "Stay-At-Home-Mom" life is really like. From 9 to 3 she's semi productive around the house. But running constantly in the background is the TV. 90% of the time it is tuned to Discovery Health, TLC or Lifetime. Discovery Health has wonderful shows like "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" and other random shows displaying Extreme Births. TLC has such insightful shows as "18 Kids and Counting." Seriously the Duggars are just wrong in every way, but that could be its own blog.

I remember a show on MTV she watched that was 16 and pregnant, it was truly disturbing. These trailer park elites and their parents would debate what was to become of the baby and the shenanigans surrounding two children having children.

This voyeuristic need she has for other people's jacked up pregnancies and home lives is somewhat understandable. Just like watching a train wreck, you know you shouldn't watch, but just can't help being drawn in.

She used to have another obsession however. When we were first engaged, she watched "Bridezillas," "Platinum Weddings" and other wretched wedding shows that flood women with unrealistic expectations. But once married, they literally disappeared. I guess it was just a matter of time before she found a new vice.

Monday, December 7, 2009

All is Merry and Bright

My 13-month-old daughter had her first picture with Santa this evening. I'm not going to call it traumatic, but it was definitely less than pleasant. The look on her face as she realized she was alone with this bearded man was priceless. She looked toward me for help and when the response was not to rescue her more panic set in. She's looking back at him and then me and at that moment, I believe the "Stewie Griffin moment" hit her as she contemplated my death.

In Santa's defense, he was well composed the entire time. I don't know if I could handle the insane range of emotions the wide variety of children display in this quintessential moment in a child's life. The neurotic parents are one thing, but the kid in front of us had a mental breakdown before he even made it to the big guy's lap.

Her Great Grandfather also has a Santa Beard. In fact while living on a North Carolina beach he frequently was accosted by children asking if Santa was on vacation like they were. Grandpa also smells like pipe smoke, so the combination of the two keep my baby very uneasy around him.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Off With Her Head

I'm watching SyFy Channel's Alice Miniseries right now. It's a modern twist on Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass. So far, I'm diggin' it! I love the idea that emotions can be milked and served up as tea! My need for immediate gratification is only a few "oyster's pearls" away. Fear, Lust, Excitement? How grand!

I watched Tin Man last year which was SyFy's take on The Wizard of Oz. Zoey Deschanel's DG (Dorothy Gale) was awesome. Hoping Kathy Bates as the Queen of Hearts is as great as I seems it should!

Using the Yeah, Yeah, Yeah's latest song was genius too. Off with her head! Dance til you're dead!!

I realize I didn't watch Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland this year. Gotta Netflix it!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Wow, OU Fans are Evil

I'm from Oklahoma. Or, at least, I grew up there. But today during the Florida Alabama Game and the Texas Nebraska game, I heard noting but smack coming from my peeps across the Red River. They loved Tebow crying on national television. They hated Texas getting another second (literally, for those of you who didn't watch, UT won with an extra second {singular} on the clock). I love OU. I cheer for Texas in every game except the Red River Shoot Out and I cheer for OU in all of their games. So, maybe I'm not the most die hard fan. But the straight Hate-er-ade that Okies drink for all teams that beat OU or who have national championships against OU in the past is bizarre. My aunt was trash talking me on Facebook. She graduated from TU (University of Tulsa) and only this year did her son start at OU. WTF? I still like OU, why is supporting UT so bad? If the Razorbacks were any good, I guess the hatred would be equivalent. I dunno, maybe I've been across the "border" too long to view this objectively. If your team isn't going to the championship bowl, why hate on the ones who have a chance?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Homeless...An Aspiration?

Austin has an infestation of panhandlers. Every major intersection has 4 folks posted up hitting each direction of traffic for "compassionate sharing." Apparently the folks in this town liked it so much they decided to put the "Bum Hotel" (AKA Homeless Shelter) right in the Downtown Bar District. Guess they didn't want them drinking and driving back to their boxes.

So along with the tired and poor are the fakers. The intersection at Brodie and William Cannon by my house is their training grounds. These guys practice their sad limp, dirt make up, proper signage inscriptions and wear and tear. Because of these (It's been 7 years since the incident in Tulsa that jaded me against all panhandlers for life...not gonna go into it here, let's just say he screwed the pooch for all legit vagrants) I don't trust anyone outside my car window.
We also have the aggressive former-drug-addicts-turned-bible-thumpers on our streets. These whack jobs will throw themselves on your car, shake your car and reach into your car to get the goods.

So, my wife and I have established a practice of only giving actual items to charities. We refuse to donate cash, period. I don't like the idea of some non-profit exec driving a BMW while only 5% goes to the charity we are backing. So food banks, toys for tots, coat donations, etc are the only feasible way for us to give back beyond our time, blood, sweat and tears.

Tomorrow we are going to the Capitol Tree Lighting Ceremony and the admission cost is a jar of peanut butter per attendee. I love this. It's benefiting Caritas Austin, a local food bank. If you're going to give, give cautiously and know the recipient percentage. If you're Scrooged against the idea, join my train of thought and donate goods and services...not your cold cash.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Eba Bebi Bu Mi

Listened to the new song by Fifty Cent yesterday. CRAP! The title of the song is "Baby By Me" and the chorus/intro he is repeating Have A Baby By Me. The lyrics are neither here nor there for me. But the way he says them really rubbed me the wrong way. Literally sounds like EBA BEBI BU MI over and over.

Fine black people speak differently in America no matter what part of the country they grew up in. I can accept that as a sad fact of our life. But this is really retarded. I do not believe a person is defined by how they were raised, but will concede it affects the final outcome. That said, aren't we trying to bring the education and intelligence level up in the projects? This is straight ghetto and not the Elvis kind. Enunciate people. I grew up in Oklahoma and have no problem pronouncing words with minimal accent. Let alone sounding like I'm having a discussion with my dentist while his hands are in my mouth.

Thank you Fifty "fity" Cent for helping dumb down the nations youth. I'd say you should be shot, but some one's already tired that. I'm thinking public flogging.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sages, Scorpios and Cancers, OH MY!

Looking through and ran across the Horoscopes section. I'm not one to put my faith in anything...especially predetermined character patterns. That said, I've always found the star signs interesting. I'm a Scorpio and so is my mother. My wife is a Sagittarius and so is her mother. Both of us have Taurus fathers. The fact that our mothers share our sign and Taurus ruled the house actually bring another similarity to us and our parenting style. My daughter is also a Scorpio, a fact that utterly crushed my wife as she was due to be a Sag and came a month early.

So Baby Center breaks it down like this...Scorpio/Sagitarius combo is a great yin and yang to parenting...sounds like we're off to a great start huh? For my wife and daughter, hell will be unleashed as she gets older. The emotional depth and complicated passions of our Scorpio will turn my wife's Sagittarius flightiness into fodder for many wars. Lovely. This next one is due to be a Cancer. Could my wife have a worse match up? The patience required to make that relationship work will most likely crush my wife.

The only redeeming point to note here is if this one comes as early as the first, we'll end up with a Gemini and that combo will be perfect for my wife and to quote Baby Center "You and your Gemini Child could hardly be more different."

Que Sera, Sera!