Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Suffer Through It

Cracked.com can absorb a lot of my "free time" if I let it.  Daniel O'Brien published an article titled, Five Jobs Everyone In The World Should Have At Some Point, the other day.  This is something I've discussed at length in my past stoner days working as a waiter. 

Waiting tables can be very lucrative at times.  When you're a student who needs drinking money, all that cash in your pocket is a dangerous perk when rent comes due.  The downside of earning cold hard cash in the restaurant industry is you have to serve assholes at their absolute worst. 

You see movies where the servants of a house hold mock their employers for being out of touch with society and whatnot.  Typically these comments follow a scene where the lady of the house puts a maid in her place or the lord of the manor takes his butler for granted.  More than half the folks who enter a restaurant, that doesn't have a drive thru window, temporarily step into the role of arrogant servant abuser.

I saw a news clip years ago that stated that 40% of people in a restaurant believe the waiter cooks the food as well.  That percentage seems highly suspect to me given that it's nearly the same amount as the people who get pissy when they cannot find their waiter who just refilled their drinks and asked if they needed anything 2 minutes prior. 

I'll stop digging up old memories and move on with my point. Yes, of course I have one.  My stoner days were rife with a sense of superiority found in many a teenager/twentysomething.  I believed that everyone should be a waiter, a janitor, and a police officer for at least a year of their life.  My theory was that serving people, cleaning up after people, and corralling people would give everyone a better understanding of the world around them. 

Dan's Cracked piece included: Waiters, Working with Kids, Tech Support, a Position of Power, and a Manual Labor job.  I'd agree with the addition of Teacher/Camp Counselor/Nursery Worker/Parent to the list.  The tech support or any kind of customer service job, especially one over the phone is also respectable addition. My three fit the bill with his remaining ones though. 

Wouldn't the world be a better place?  Literally stepping into someone else's shoes.  Respect yourself and respect others.  I don't think it gets any simpler than that, right?  Oh, and have a laugh or two a day; Cracked is a good place to start!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Intro to Eastern Medicine

I assume massage could be categorized as Eastern medicine, but it's so mainstream now I'm not sure.  A few months ago a place called Turtle Dragon ran a Groupon for acupuncture sessions.  I'd always wanted to try it but never followed through.  So this struck me as a fun opportunity and I bought it.

My appointment was yesterday.  I went into the little shop that smelled a bit like a head shop with the incense (at least that's what I assume it was) filling the air.  They had all kinds of ointments and Asian knickknacks like you'd find in any Chinatown souvenir shop on display with some interesting seating and decorations putting you into that foreign culture vibe.  Just like a doctor's office there was a little windowed box with a receptionist to greet you.  She had me fill out some forms.  Most were health history and a description of a typical day with food, exercise, bathroom breaks, and stress laid out.  I was very frank and honest, why not?  Who knows what they could screw up if I tried to make myself sound better than I am.

I also put in information about the car wreck I was in a couple weeks ago.  Quick recap.  A taxi driver didn't see that me and all the traffic on the highway were stopped because an accident was being cleared out of the right lane.  He tried to jump to the right but saw a couple of police cars and smacked right into me.  Company car, so I'm not worried about the damage. His was destroyed.  He told the cops who, being on the scene helped us get safely to the other side of the highway, "He just stopped!" Without skipping a beat the officer said "and you didn't!" Humor isn't appreciated in times of stress, and especially when English is your second language!  He got a couple tickets and I got a jacked up back and neck. 

So the acupuncturist comes out to greet me.  He was about 6 foot, trim, good looking, white guy.  Not really what I was expecting but then again, I doubt an elderly China man would be caught dead associated with Groupon.  So he gets me into the room and says "20 cups of coffee?" I pointed out that it was per week, not a day. Apparently 4 cups a day is excessive...who knew? He said "don't you realize that caffeine is a toxin plants produce to warn animals not to eat them? We need to find you something else to supplement after your first cup or you will feel like crap in your 40's." Apparently he finds that confrontation is relaxing for his clients.

He has me lay down on the table and starts pushing around on different parts of my body and asking if they are tender.  He moves right into putting needles into some points around my arms, hands, legs and ankles.  I just lay there for about 10 minutes.  They didn't hurt going in, but after a little while I felt a slight burning around them, but nothing horrible.  He comes back in to put more pins in me, a few around my belly button.  After pushing around on my stomach, he informs me my sugar intake is too high and goes on about how many grams are in an apple and the behemoth bananas Dole produces.  I'm left to lie again.  I'll give him that being alone in a room at a time when I'm usually inundated with phone calls was relaxing, but I don't know how much the needles did.

Later he has me flip over (needles removed) and starts feeling around on my neck and back.  He tells me he'll focus on my neck with the next set of pins.  He asked if I'd mind him doing something a little more rigorous to help with the relief but since it was my first time he wanted me to make that call.  I let him know I wasn't apprehensive about whatever he wanted to do.  Besides, I might as well get the most out of this since I probably won't go back...yep, snap judgements are a bitch, especially when we get off on a bad foot first.

He explains that he wants to do some cupping to help recirculate the bad blood that's stored in my muscles.  No not that kind of cupping, the kind with heated glasses on your skin.  They basically act like a vacuum.  I'll admit, I understood the concept, but hadn't really though beyond that.  When he returns he rubs my back with lotion and applies the cups.  Only two of them.  He then rubs them all over my shoulders and upper back.  This was quite possibly the most painful experience I've ever willingly allowed to happen to me.  Not like breaking a bone or child birth, but the friction really did hurt like hell.

He was done and about to put more needles in my neck, shoulders, arms, and legs when he said something that startled me.  He said "you might forewarn whoever you share you life with what we did here before you take off your shirt tonight. Your back will look kinda gnarly." My head popped up and I said "like bruised?" He replied "bruisy."  I laid there the rest of the time, far less relaxed until he came in to take the pins out and send me on my way.

He may not be a doctor but bruisy isn't a word I want to hear describe what the after effects of treatment.  When I got home I wanted my wife to see because I hadn't gotten the chance to inspect it.  Looking at your own back takes more than just a glance over your shoulder.  Horrified is the only way I can describe her face when I removed my shirt.  I have a giant Kandinskyesque hickey all over my back.  I'm pretty sure an S&M club would leave me less visibly accosted. 

Gnarly is right huh?  Today, I'd describe it as "bruisy" given the purple and yellow that have joined red's party on my back. Not really diggin' the whole muffin top thing that I have going on either, but c'est la vie.

A friend of mine is way into Tai Chi and touts acupuncture's glories as well as his desire to own his own set of cups.  There's something for everyone out there.  The pin pricks were just a little red and have already gone away.  This shit ain't going anywhere any time soon!  I'll leave my health to professionals from now on.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Monkey See, Monkey Do, Please Just Stop

Declan now mimics everything Berlin says and tries to copy everything she does too. Granted everything doesn't come out the same.  This competition is awesome.  When they are watching a TV show, he now talks back the same way she does.  She didn't develop this until she was two!

With it comes the downside.  If she's whiny, so is he.  If she throws a golf ball at the window, so does he.  That'd be my fault for bringing them home in the first place, right?

What's funny though is that in her bullying, she instantly wants to do whatever has struck his fancy.  So I guess they just feed off of each other.  Either that or they are actually learning something.

He hit the eating crayons with reckless abandon stage recently.  I can't say he doesn't stick everything in his mouth, but chalk and crayons are being chewed every time I turn around now.  I don't miss this from her.  The difference is with Berlin, I didn't have to worry about another sibling leaving them out and about.  With her it was our fault for leaving them within reach.

We're still a ways away from potty training Delcan, but Berlin has been trained for all but a month of his life.  The past year, she has had fewer accidents than I can count on one hand.  That is until the past few weeks.  She'll get enthralled with the TV and not give herself enough time to run to the bathroom and get her clothes out of the way.  She's peed on the rug/stool at least 10 times in three weeks.  Twice in the hallway right after she says she has to go.  She'll announce she has to potty and we tell her to get in there. Something will preoccupy her, whether it's something we're doing, the TV, a little dance she wants to do prior or just about anything.

I'm tired of cleaning it up.  I realize she just turned 3 and I should expect this.  That said, a full year with out a hiccup and now urine on the floor every day? Tina swears she left a log on the carpet in the living room.  By the time she found it she just cleaned it up and didn't investigate.  Slacker.  The poop in the bathtub was an experiment.  I'm thinking this was too.

What would you do to change the recent messy behavior?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Birthdays in the Wired World

It's my birthday.  November is a heavy birthday month for my family.  I've got aunts, uncles, cousins, and a sister with birthdays this month.  On top of that, three generations in one week.  My daughter's birthday was the 3rd, mine's the 8th, and my Mother's is the 10th. Kinda cool really. 

You hear people, myself included, gripe about Facebook for various reasons.  Days like today however make it totally awesome.  My phone dings every time some one posts birthday wishes on my wall.  Let's be realistic, I know it announces my birthday at the top of the page, so maybe people didn't just remember it.  But the constant outpouring of love coming my way makes me feel pretty good just the same. 

From Facebook, text messages, emails, and phone calls, I'm diggin this interconnected world we live in.  Hell, my aunt even sent me an Amazon Gift Card via Facebook.  While connecting your "finances" to the social network may be iffy, that was a pretty cool side affect. 

So to all you fellow Scorpios out there, I hope your day will be as enjoyable as mine has been.

Friday, November 4, 2011

3 Years

Yesterday was my little girl's 3rd birthday.  Tomorrow marks the day we actually took her home three years ago.  It's hard for me to grasp that there will soon be 5 little ones running around my house.  I am still learning as a parent.  In truth, I believe everyone continues learning as a parent their entire lives.  My parents are having to figure out how to be grandparents, theirs are learning to be great grand parents. Constantly gaining and lessening responsibility.  Also constantly gaining and imparting wisdom or at least your opinion onto the next generation. 

I've certainly, bearing my ass, have tried to impart my experience onto new parents.  Now I've learned to just keep my mouth shut.  No kid is the same.  Now that we have two that is certainly evident.  I have a friend who successfully did that whole cry it out crap with her first kid and the second kid wouldn't have any of it.  There is no guide book or correct versus incorrect.  That's what gives each of us our individuality, our personalities mixed with those of our parents and siblings all swirled into different socioeconomic levels.

So what have I learned in 3 years of parenting?

If something is breakable and within your child's reach, it will be broken.  In fact, if you leave anything within their reach, yelling at them for ruining it is really silly cause it's so your fault you ninny.  Of course I'm speaking to myself here.

Mommy and Daddy's toys are far more coveted than any other object in the house.  Cell phones, Television Remotes, Stoves, Refrigerators, Power Tools, Computers, Kindles and Cars.  Most will have to be replaced at some point because of their obsession and penchant for destroying objects!

If you want your child to eat something specific, lets say a sandwich or non pasta related food item (cause you know pasta will be devoured no problem) do not under any circumstances let them see chips, fries or any other potato related item.  Starches will win every time. 

Volume levels of children are adjusted accordingly to the importance level of a phone conversation.  Trying to get a telemarketer off the phone and your whole house is silent. Chatting with a friend or relative, there is a constant murmur with occasional bursts of "here I am" reminders.  Finding out that a relative has just passed away and you might as well be at a public playground.  Working diligently with the computer technician whom you waited on hold with for 2 hours to get to and Walmart's PA system might as well be attached to your shoulders.  Try talking to your boss while trying to convince him that working from home will cause no distractions to your work performance and 747's fueled by baby screams couldn't touch the sound level your kids produce.  I now look forward to going to my office at work and completely understand why my mother used to lock herself in the bathroom for half an hour every night.

Poop happens.  A lot.  Lose your gag reflex and always keep extra wipes around.  Same goes for snot and drool, just less gagtastic I guess.

Older siblings will hurt younger siblings.  You must defend the little ones. 

Younger siblings will annoy older siblings.  Give them separation often.

My kids are my biggest fans.  Every time I walk in the door I have 2 little people scream DADDY! Typically followed by my wife mumbling, yeah, go get your father please.  Enjoy this adoration, I've seen my friends with teenage children.  It goes away completely.  The cacophony of 5 rugrats calling out my name could be really cool though.

Speaking of names.  If you call your spouse by their real name, so will your children.  I've been Dorn my entire life and only Daddy for the past three years.  Why then is it so unnerving to hear my daughter call me Dorn?  It's even better now that we're Daddy and Tina not Mommy.  Snicker every time gets me smacked.

Pacifiers are a blessing and a curse.  My son wouldn't take one at all.  My daughter had hers taken away 6 months ago.  That was the end of non-car-educed-naps. 

Children are so much smarter than we given them credit for.  Combine them in groups and they can do serious damage.  Just because they cannot properly communicate their thoughts doesn't mean they aren't using their little heads. 

The television programs that annoy you the most are probably the ones teaching your children something.  Those you can actually stand to watch are mindless crap.  Both serve a purpose.

Yelling at your children is pointless.  They will tune you out in an instant.  You'll learn to reciprocate accordingly. 

I'm sure there's a million and five other things but I've still got forever ahead of me to continue learning.  Most important thing though is to enjoy each moment you have because time flies so quickly.  I can't wait to see what the next 3 years holds, let alone 30!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Please Explain Herman Cain

I am not a tax expert.  In fact, because I don't own a home and currently only have 2 children (though it will spring to 5 in  a few months) I end up with the standard deduction every time.  That very reason is what I believe truly separates the rich from the poor.  The ability to claim deductions.  I'd never understood why we would tax the wealthy more until recently.  The wealthy have CPAs do their taxes, not TurboTax or H&R Block.  They get every fraudulent deduction possible so they don't have to pay the full amount.  Whereas with poor people, most of the time they are paying out the max and getting the standard deduction.  Or in the case of normal home owning Americans, they get the minimal deductions because they don't have the money to spend on a CPA and the amount of crap to tinker with.

So that leads me to believe, a flat tax without deductions would make more sense.  Again, pure speculation.  I was trying to understand Herman Cain's 999 triple flat tax deal.  There would be a 9.1% income tax with no deductions (maybe one for kids but I think it's only charitable donations), a 9.1% employer tax (so it would affect businesses, not individuals right?), and a 9.1% federal sales tax.  I'm leaving the income alone because it made sense and the employer tax is already being paid, so no sweat.  If I'm wrong, please help me understand these.

I've heard people arguing that the poor pay a higher percentage of their income on new products/services so they would be adversely affected because there would be a tax they never had on all of it.  I heard him say that they would start buying used more often to compensate.  That's just kinda rude, but fine, I'll work with that.  Does that mean there will still be a state/city/county tax on everything too?  That'll get excessive really quickly.

But what about Alcohol, Tobacco, Printed Materials (Newspapers, Books and Magazines) and Gasoline?  Don't those have different taxes than the rest?  I thought gas had a built in tax.  Would that go down?  And if that's the case, would the gas companies just take advantage of the sudden drop and raise it back up to where everyone was used to paying to make a bigger profit?  I know alcohol had a higher tax, like 20% versus the state/city tax on food back when I was bartending.  I assumed part of that was a federal tax.  Again, would it go down?  Tobacco is also part of that whole Sin Tax crap.  Would the tax on cigarettes go down?  Again helping the tobacco company regain customers who didn't quit because of health but for cost.  If they begin taxing Newspapers, won't that just tank a dying industry?

It all just seems to have a bunch of negatives when I thought it sounded like the ideal solution.  Please break it down for me if you can.

After I published it I started thinking about other businesses that would be affected.  New homes and new cars.  Would home builders start renting the houses for a month prior to selling to avoid the sales tax?  Cars probably won't feel much more of a crunch seeing that they're already suffering, but like newspapers, it seems they'd be tanked by this action too.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Random Perspectives

I was listening to the radio yesterday when a DJ was giving a Mexican caller a hard time about his song request.  The guy asked for a song buy LFMOA.  The DJ of course tries to break that down "Laughing Effing My Off Ass." the caller just laughs, obviously not getting it as the DJ announces LMFAO "Sexy and I know it." (seen below)

People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, but what's life without risk? When I was a teenager and AOL Chat Rooms and IMs were huge (not saying they aren't still, I just haven't used them since I got a steady girl friend somwhere in my late teens.) I hated the abbreviations.  You know, LOL = Laugh Out Loud, etc.  It wasn't that I couldn't remember most of them, it just got too complicated the more letters you strung together.  Nonetheless, I used them every time.  However, BRB was the one that tripped me up. 

You'd be IMing someone and they'd BRB you to hold the conversation for a sec.  I always thought BRB was "Bathroom Break." That works right? Nope, it's Be Right Back.  Fine, so maybe I shouldn't have laughed at the little illegal with his jumbling of "Laughing My Effing Ass Off." 

The song he requested is a song I really enjoy.  The beat is fun and fast.  Kinda reminds me of a Prodigy pop song.  The lyrics however made me cringe.  I always picture the douchy cast of Jersey Shore.  With lyrics talking about walking in room and everyone stopping and staring cause he's sexy and he knows it, look at that body, he works out.  Is it any surprise that those douche bags pop in my head?

Well, for this post, I decided to Youtube their video.  Holy hell it was funny.  SOOOOO happy to learn they aren't taking themselves seriously. 

Also, there is a section that repeats the word Wiggle.  This is straight up from Yo Gabba Gabba.  Do the wiggle dance!

Enjoy it.


Yo Gabba Gabba

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Happy 400th to Me!

Blogger shows that I've published 399 posts, so this is number 400!  Apparently I have a lot of bs out there in the world

I think back about how many posts that I began and scrapped because the ideas didn't fully evolve or the topic was stale after 24 hours.  Let's face it, I'm not breaking any news on this bad boy, but if I'm talking about something that happened a week ago, I might as well move on because a million others have trampled it to death.

I've contemplated many different directions to take this blog over the past couple years.  Nothing really resonates strongly enough beyond just putting my random thoughts out there.  I read about a dozen blogs religiously.  A good majority of them are humor blogs, fewer are tech/web/news type of blogs.  I am drawn to them for a reason and would love to be able to twist my thoughts into the continuous laugh fests they seem to produce.  Sadly, I have a much more subtle or indistinguishable humor. 

So I lean on work and my family at ton for inspiration.  That keeps this more like a journal than anything.  So since we're about to have triplets in addition to our two little hellians, I guess I should stick to what I know.  Every once and a great while, I'll drop my wife and kids' names, but I'd always been paranoid about creepy web stalker crap.  Really, I don't think it's as big of an issue, so let me introduce you to the fam.

So rarely do you find a picture of all four of us!

My beautiful wife, Tina, almost 18 weeks pregnant with our triplets.

Berlin, almost 3 years old.

Declan, 15 months old.

For those of you who do read my little updates to the world, thank you.  For those of you yet to stumble upon it, I hope to see you soon!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Makin' Babies

I have several friends who have struggled with fertility issues trying to start a family.  One of my wife's old coworkers went all the way to India to have a treatment done that supposedly, even with the air fare, was cheaper than having it done in The States.  A couple have taken the fertility drugs and another set have had artificial insemination.  My wife's aunt couldn't conceive, so she adopted some wonderful children (now adults). 

All of this makes me feel awkward announcing the joy of triplets after two other kids.  This was 100% natural.  In fact, it's scary how easy this has been for us.  Which is probably why there is a twinge of guilt involved. 

With our first, we had only been married five months before my wife went off birth control.  We figured it would take awhile to conceive.  You know, drugs have to leave the system an all.  The whole routine needs to be auto corrected in her body and what not.  Well we were wrong.  Very wrong.  She had one period after she went off the NuvaRing.  The next month she had a surgery scheduled down there for something she had to take care of.  The day she went in, standard practice, they did a pregnancy test.  She was only 4 weeks along.  We knew before the typical panic of "oops, I missed my period" even hit.

Because she breastfed our daughter for a year, we chose not to do birth control for her so her milk production wouldn't be affected.  That means I threw on a jimmy cap every time we went to town.  I remember the day I was in the mood, but wasn't in the mood for protection.  I mean seriously, condoms suck and when you're married they are even worse!  Just over a month later, about a week after my daughter's one year birthday, she missed and panicked.  Yep, that pregnancy test came back positive. 

You know what they say about the best laid plans.  We wanted 2 years between pregnancies.  So much for that. 

At this point, I should know better than being selfish with our extra curricular activities.  We had a scare at the beginning of the summer when another test had to be used.  I was so happy that came back negative.  It's not that I dont' want more kids, I just need more time to let the ones I already have to grow up.  But when libido is involved, well let's just say that nature has a way of ensuring chemistry and primal urges align. 

One afternoon the kids were down for a nap and I was lucky she was in the mood.  First our daughter woke up early.  This was not going to stop me, I could put on some Dora the Explorer in the living room and have at least half an hour to ourselves.  As my greedy little plan was coming together, our son decided to wake up early as well.  Not to be deterred, I busted out the play pen and locked him in front of another electronic baby sitter.  We jumped in the shower and had some of the best sex in years!

This my friends is where karma is a bitch.  The forces of the universe were trying to prevent the impending doom but I wouldn't hear any of it!  A month later we're chillin' on the couch talking about our new nephew who was born that morning.  You know, cause we're not the only ones making babies.  She says "so I took a test today."  Naive little me thought she was talking about some cheesy Cosmo or email forward joke test.  I said "how'd you score?" "Positive," she said.  "Huh?"

I hate to admit it, but my stomach turned.  Like I said, it's not that I didn't want more kids eventually, but holy crap, three within three years is a bit much.  Fast forward a month to when she told me we are having triplets and five kids in three years becomes the biggest cosmic joke ever!

Am I happy we are fertile, of course.  Should I curtail my joy in front of those less fortunate? Probably.  But then again, who doesn't love babies?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Occupy What?

Occupy Wall Street and my own city's spin off, Occupy Austin have me a bit confused.  I get that people are upset by the giant corporations and wealthy people being wealthy and presumably getting tax breaks.  I get that Greed is NOT Good.  But what exactly is the point?  United front, sure, but what's the goal? Socialism? Because banks and wealthy people aren't going to change because a bunch of broke people don't like them.  They might turn this into a money making marketing ploy.  But that's kinda what got them here to begin with. 

The motto for Austin is "Keep Austin Weird."  There are obvious plays on the fact that we're a "green enthusiastic" city and have a bunch of hippies and hipsters who think they are original and system bucking individuals.  But at its core it is about buying local and supporting small independent businesses.  The funny thing is, most of those small businesses would sell out or gladly become giant corporations if the opportunity presented itself. 

That's is the key to ending the corporate greed stranglehold into which we've found/willingly led ourselves.  The folks being interviewed at the local protest were people who "were taken advantaged of" by banks with their 0% interest mortgage loans with explosive increases afterward.  Others claimed to be hard working folks who couldn't make ends meet.  You know the 99% of us Americans who aren't wealthy. 

What I want to ask is, how many of them are willing to stop shopping at places like Walmart and buy local, American made products at a premium?  How bout Hollywood or the NFL?  Those folks make a fortune off of us and who protests then?  THEY DO!  Do you think people will turn their TVs off?  Everything could go back to the farm days when you lived on what you produced, that'd kill corporate greed.

I also want to know how many of the mortgage foreclosure "victims" actually took any action toward refinancing before their revolving interest rate kicked in.  I know the people who rent cars from my locations don't read the simple contract they sign, let alone the terms and conditions that goes along with it.  I can't imagine them reading, let alone understanding a mortgage. 

At some point people have to take responsibility for decisions and actions they make and do.  You can't cry fraud when you didn't do your part.  I rent a home, if I don't pay my rent, I get evicted that month!  If you don't pay your mortgage, you get to live rent free for many times over a year!  That's worth protesting.

But fine, if we must blame someone for our money woes, how bout we point the finger at the oil speculators in 2008.  When they doubled the price of gas and shut entire businesses and industries down with their greed, hundreds of thousands of people were laid off.  This affected every single job place. 

I'm not saying I don't want more money in life or that we should ignore shady crap that wealthy people do, but staging a protest with no way to judge the amount of change you're making is pointless.  At least when idiots from unions protest they get something, even if it's two steps back from where they started.  They are told that it's a good thing and everyone goes home with a false sense of accomplishment.  What will come of occupying anything with no agenda?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bang Bang Bang, Vamanos Vamanos

Having a super busy week and stressing about all that's going on in my life right now.  Triplets on the way plus my wife and two children as a single income family is weighing heavy on me.  So here's one of my faves.

Clutch - Electric Worry

Rock out the anxiety!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Halloween Costumes

Typically we try to coordinate Halloween Costumes, when we were a couple and now that we're a family, you know because we're cute and cliche like that.  Last year we didn't quite pull it off, so it was Father-Daughter pair and Mother-Son pair. I was Lex Luther and my daughter was Super Girl.  My wife was the wicked witch of the west and my son was a flying monkey.

This year I'm on the hunt for pieces of our costumes.  My daughter wants to be a princess, cause what nearly 3 year old doesn't? So to fulfil her desires and keep me out of a beast costume and my wife from being shoved into a giant teapot, we're going to let her be Princess Toadstool from Super Mario Brothers!

I'll be Luigi and my wife who'll be giantly pregnant by the end of the month will be Mario.  Ours is entirely contingent on finding a little dinosaur costume so my son can be Yoshi.  Shouldn't be impossible.  Then again, if I find a giant mushroom costume, bam, he's in! 

My daughter gets to just be a pink princess, there's not a whole lot of restrictions as most people won't recall what she looked like...you know the whole point of the game and all.

Gots to get us some overalls and bushy mustaches yo!

Yup, that'd be Mario riding Yoshi.
In the Oedipal reincarnation that's my wife on my son.
Shame on us.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We're having Triplets

No, that title wasn't just to grab your attention.  We really are having triplets. 

Most people I've told, I start with "Tina (wife) is pregnant again."  They do the normal reaction, be it "OMG, you guys are having more? One of each wasn't enough?" or it's "OMG how are you going to afford it?" or the preferred is "Oh wow, congratulations!"  Then I get to come back with "Oh wait, there's more."  Which many say, "TWINS????"  It's when I say the word triplets that every single person has said "you're joking, no way."  Why would I make that up?  It's not really that funny...unless you're on the outside, then everyone gets to laugh cause they're glad it isn't them. 

So because the next question after the shock and condolences are offered is, "well, were you guys doing fertility stuff?"  I've streamlined my responses at this point, "Nope, we did this the old fashioned way."

So then starts the questions about any pregnancy, when is she due, what are you having etc.  Then they start asking about how she's doing, you know cause family and friends care.

I can tell you this, now that she's 15 weeks along, I'm comfortable talking about it here.  It took me a week or so before I was telling people about them.  Tina didn't start sharing until a week or so ago.  Well, family knew, but the rest of the world is just finding out.  She's still scared, which is understandable, so she wasn't in the bragging stage like I was.

We knew she was pregnant at 5 weeks, cause after two kids you just don't do the college panic and call all your friends to ask for moral support before you take your test.  Yes I'm speaking from experience.  My best friend was a girl in high school and college and frankly it seemed every month she'd need a test only to start the next day.  She went to the doctor's at 8 weeks to confirm and do all the normal stuff.  I stayed at home with the kids.  I know it sounds cold, but I don't need to hear the heartbeat for the first time to feel a connection.  Besides chasing a 2 1/2 year old and a 1 year old around a waiting room isn't my idea of wise parenting. 

She'd been gone for a couple hours when she text me the following:

When you go to the doctor about your pregnancy, the last thing you need to text your husband is "We'll talk when I get home!!"   I assumed we'd lost the baby.  Why else would it take so long AND have a text like that?

She calls an hour and a half later and is on her way home.  After worrying the whole time I said "No matter how emotional it is, you just need to spit it out."  She says "It's triplets."  I said "Don't fuck with me, Tina, what's wrong?"  She said "No, there's three."  I couldn't speak.  I said "I'll talk to you when you get home."

Yep, a wife always knows huh?  I'll erase this post and deny all knowledge of that statement if you put me under oath.

Well there you have it.  Sometime between the 3rd week of January and the 2nd week of February we'll go from 2 children to 5.  We just celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary.  You'd think the were a long string of Irish twins at this rate.  Our cat will never know what hit him.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I'm not just an Alibi

Bout to explain some drama that has nothing to do with me, I promise there's a point.  Well, there's at least a point where I bring the topic back to me and how it affected me.  Cause isn't that the point of everything, to talk about me?  Yes, thank you for agreeing with me.

One of my contractors and I have become close friends over the last four years we've been working together.  He's gone through sort of a life overhaul the past year.  The first major move, aside from moving back across the country to work for me again, was getting rid of his nine-year-boyfriend.  He spent the better part of that nine years carrying the emotional and financial weight of that relationship.  I definitely supported this decision as, the punk was just lazy (no joke, wouldn't work more than a couple hours a week max) and had serious conflicts about his homosexuality and thus made their relationship remain closeted the entire time.  How do you every grow as a couple when you're not allowed to be a couple outside of your home? But That's not the point, so I'll move on.

My friend found a new fixation.  Yes as typical of long term relationships fizzling out, he found someone new prior to the break up.  Tsk, tsk.  This new guy still has another man in his life.  Queue the gay soap opera theme music.  Now the new boy works for my friend, meaning I now work with him.  I don't really have an issue with the new guy.  He and his crew have made my friend much more out and proud than he'd ever been before.  It's been good for him to really come out and accept himself too.  That said, it's been six months and the new guy's other guy is still in the picture.  So that makes my friend the mistress right?

Well, he met another dude online recently.  He told his...wait, what do you call a mistress's man?  Is he the mister?  Surely he's not just a boyfriend?  In this case he's definitely not a sugar daddy which at this point my friend was/is one for his ex even though the ex was a couple years older than him.  Doormat.  Oops, did I just say that?

So the story he told his f**k buddy, yeah, that sounds better, about who this online guy was believable.  He wanted to lessen the suspicion about why this guy would text him and whatnot.  The f-buddy and his boyfriend are nosy...funny that my friend has to deal, daily, with other man...I'd call it karma, but the f-buddy isn't being affected, so it's not quite universal balance.  Again, I digress.  The problem with the story, is I was present when the lie was told, so I didn't actually realize the truth (online=truth; a customer from the university=lie).  So we'd been talking about missed hook ups with this guy for weeks, and I really didn't get it....I knew he was hiding it from the f-buddy, but not that they'd never met. 

Here's where it starts coming back to me.  Once I asked the right questions to get my friend to say "oh shit, I didn't realize you'd only heard the lie...that explains why you've been less than helpful every time I've asked for advice about "Online Boy."  Well, duh, I thought it was just a really pushy customer who liked you, not someone you've been pursuing.  They'd been having a hard time meeting because f-buddy is very intrusive, just like a boyfriend without most of the benefits.  Lots of apologies later I offered a solution.  I invited my friend to go see another one of my friend's bands play downtown.  They could meet up for a date and catch up with me later and bam we gots cover right?

Well, a cheater never trusts his partner because well they must be a cheater too right?  F-Buddy told him he wasn't going downtown alone...what am I, chopped liver...they're all going with?  So instead of having a couple of gay guys accompany me to a hard rock show in a dirty dive bar, I was going to have an entourage!  Fine, should be fun.

Well, this means that my friend and online boy still need to meet.  I was asked to be the alibi.  Sure whatever.  I texted him to invite him out for drinks and he accepted.  The cover would be that I originally invited him because we haven't gone out in forever and while the whole crew would be fun, I'd like to actually just spend some quality time with my friend. 

Now here's where the "best" laid plans go awry.  My daughter hid my phone from me that night.  I missed the text saying that he'd been stood up.  Online boy no showed.  We could have had a conversation prior but that didn't happen.  The next day he'd given me the low down via text but because he was working with f-buddy, he didn't get to talk.  I show up that afternoon and find out that because I stood him up last night...which of course is what he told f-buddy who was texting every 5 minutes of the evening because cheaters trust no one yeah?  Again, digression, I stood him up, so they're all bailing on me. 

Admittedly, my friend wouldn't have normally come with me to a rock show but we were utilizing the opportunity.  So him not coming shouldn't hurt my feelings but it did a little.  But then I found out he was at the restaurant waiting for online boy for an hour.  Because f-buddy was texting the whole time like a goddam suspicious parent, he knew "I" didn't let him know I wasn't coming until an hour after I was supposed to be there.  My friend was stood up and that sucks.  Made him want to make f-buddy really work now, so that's good.  F-buddy has to dump his other guy though soon for it to work.

But now I'm a total asshole.  Who the hell stands his friend up and doesn't tell him he's not coming until he's been waiting an hour?  I'm not a flake! But as the alibi, I have to be the jerk.  I've been defamed and it pisses me off!  I'm sorry my friend was stood up, but don't make me an total douche as well. 

I guess it's good that he sucks at lying and that's why he followed my instructions to just make what ever online boy did, what I did.  Meaning of course, if they drank wine, "we" drank wine, ya know?  Not if he stood you up, I stood you up!

So I was defamed and dejected all for nothing I did.  CHEATERS NEVER WIN!  But apparently neither do their co-conspirators.  He's since apologized repeatedly and it's all going to be OK, because f-buddy can think I'm an ass and I still will be around, but I will never block for him again.  Don't screw your friends over, they're far more important than a partner who won't even make your relationship monogamous!

Friday, September 16, 2011

When You Don't Have Anything to Say

I'm completely guilty of this, so don't think I'm on a pedestal or soap box.

The store I office out of is in a very large shopping center.  The past month the landlords have had a crew out working on the parking lot on the North side of the complex.  They are doing the best job I've ever seen a parking lot redone.  They are actually breaking the ground and removing the asphalt and the top layer of concrete below it.  Then are relaying new asphalt.  Normally, I've seen patches done and restriping and that's the extent of the improvement.

Well they are ahead of schedule and have begun doing the area behind our building and are about to break ground out front.  As a car rental facility that has 20+ cars regularly, parking is at a premium, let alone the fact that the area where they clean vehicles is not accessible.  Bottom line, it's a pain in the ass.

So every day the store operator has moaned and groaned about the work.  I've listened to him talk to the transfer drivers and customers saying "I can't wait until they are done." "This is such a pain," etc.  Nothing just over the top, but negative all the same.

This summer has been the worst heat conditions on record.  Nearly every day since May (with a small handful of exceptions) it's been over 100 degrees outside.  This is the typical go to gripe/topic of conversation.  Again, just negativity.

It struck me yesterday that small talk has dwindled to nothing but complaining and the weather.  I know the weather is the universal idle chit chat.  So I'm not surprised, nor am I innocent of failing to rising above it.  I just seems that it's the poor approach to life.

While cracking wise about someone or something's stupidity and many times insane audacity is funny and an easy topic, I wonder if it would be worth it to always try to focus on the positive.  Then again, I hear people say, "she's always so bubbly, I just want to smack her."

So what's the happy medium?  If you talk about how great things are going, like the fact that I'm currently showing the best numbers of my career regarding sales and profit in my district, I'd sound like a braggart. 

Does it say something about my mental health and that of others that we prefer to dwell on the negative instead of focusing on the positive?  Or, as I've been known to say like the asshole that I am, "I'm just a realist?"

How do you remain positive, or do you just stick to making jokes about the crap you see everywhere?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Anti Harassment Training

Time has come to recertify for our company's Anti Sexual Harassment policy.  I have to watch a video training about all the aspects of harassment.  Afterward I have a test to take and an acknowledgement to sign.  It's the same video every year.  I realize they can't spend a fortune to revamp this every year, but surely there are ways to make it more relevant annually.  Just making me watch a video and regurgitate answers about the scenarios seems pointless. 

Does your company have an innovative approach or do you get the same doldrums of "he said, she said."

What's an hour and a half of my life each year right?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

I watched the ceremonies for the September 11th attacks tenth anniversary.  We surfed between stations to get all the different ones for NYC, DC and Pennsylvania.  The one in NYC where victims' family members read the names of all the victims of the attacks was powerful.  I got very emotional this morning.  Probably also why I flipped to the other two periodically.

It brought back to the forefront of my mind what made the two towers so special and why their significance was greater than other targets they could have chosen.  There were people of all race, age, wealth, nationality, gender and sexuality taken that day.  Seeing their sons and daughters, husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, life partners and friends and even god parents and in-laws really made it sink in how diverse the group was.  It was a giant cross section of America and it's influences housed in one building.

I've visited NYC a few times since the attacks as well as Shanksville, PA.  I've never been to DC but it's top of my list for next adventures.  When I was in PA, they still had the temporary memorial in place.  The last time I was in New York, ground zero was still a giant construction hole.  It looks like they've done some incredible work to all three locations.

Looking at Facebook and Twitter today, it's clear this event still brings the country together.  So impressive and inspiring.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fires to the Left of Me & Fires to the Right, Here I Am...

Sunday marked the 80th consecutive day where temperatures reached 100* or more.  That's not including the better portion of May over 100 either.  We've had minimal rain here in Central Texas (minimal meaning it's sprinkled a couple times throughout the entire summer...we're remarkably down from normal) even the lakes and rivers are nearly dry.  As you can imagine, our lawns aren't exactly lush green pastures right about now.  If they are, that's a jerk who has chosen to ignore the water restrictions because he matters more than everyone else.

So yesterday was our first break.  It only got to 95*.  Sigh of relief? Oh hell no.  Fires have been taking out chunks of the freeway meadows (not sure what else to call them) for a month now.  Sunday massive fires broke out in Leander (NW suburb) and Bastrop (SE suburb) and a couple other places within an hour's drive.

The crew I managed a few years ago at our airport facility consists of primarily retired citizens.  They drive our cars around town part time just to keep themselves busy and we're grateful for the cheaper labor.  A large majority of these folks live in the Bastrop area.  It's unfortunately the area that is still on fire two days later.  Six of them have confirmed their house is gone.  I haven't heard from another.  There are a handful of other friends in the area who lost land, but not structure.  My friends in Leander seem to be OK. 

I drive past this weekly!

These are still burning!  FEMA will be in tomorrow, but I'm not sure what they do, nor when the fire's will be under control.  I'm flabbergasted.  Maybe I'm just naive, but wouldn't you think a major city like Austin would have plans in place for this kind of disaster?

We've been working with our HR department to get a fund set up to help our folks who have lost their homes.  I was really impressed at how compliant they were to assist us.  They aren't always great about thinking outside the box.  Then again, they are in New Jersey, so maybe charity after 9/11 changed their tune. 

Please keep these folks in your thoughts and prayers if you got em. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Yahoo Hack Attack

I opened up a Yahoo mail account my senior year of high school. That's nearly 13 years ago!  Back then I had a password that had to be reset and I kept the preordained password they assigned to me ever since.  I remember this wasn't the first, but they all had this odd pattern.

For nearly 12 years my yahoo password was flexibleearth12.  I recall another one they gave me (well almost, don't recall the numbers) it was silverbed##.  They just paired two randomish words together and slapped a couple numbers at the end. 

I didn't mind typing out that long of a password and don't know why it never occurred to me to change it and be uniform with my other go to password with the slight variation.  You know you do it too, so don't give me that look.

So Friday I received a couple of spammy emails from myself.  I opened up my Yahoo mail on my iPhone and had dozens of Mailer Demons and various bounce back responses.  Dammit, I was hacked...again!

Earlier that day, I'd logged off my company VPN and then remembered I needed to forward something to myself to work on later.  I just pulled up yahoo...much faster than logging back in, right?  It rejected my password twice and I didn't think it was odd, I just figured I fat fingered it or something innocent.  Nope, I must have mistyped mail.yahoo.com somehow and got to a phishing site.

So this is the second time this year I've been hacked.  For 12 years, I've had flexibleearth12 and a few months ago, Yahoo blocked me out of my phone and sent me a message to log in online and correct my account as they'd detected a hack.  Guess they missed this one!

So now I'm back up and running.  I know I have sent emails from my personal account to all sorts of people.  Professors, employees, employers, friends, family, craigslisters, businesses and everyone in between.  It appears they spammed Canadian pharmacy websites to everyone I've ever emailed.  Including people in all of the aforementioned categories...even those with "former" linked to it.  I wonder what goes through their mind...you know especially those I've fired or fucked (both figuratively and physically).  Ah well, such is life in our wired world laden with what I deem as terrorists.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Media Seeps in Everywhere

My wife says "Bedtime for Bonzo" all the time, well specifically at night and usually to the kids, but still.  I'd never known where it came from but didn't put much stock in it either.  Then last night one of my friends put it on their Facebook status.  OK, so the nerd in me had to ask where it came from.  She said her dad always said it to her.  That same nerd in me made me look it up because that random of nonsense is just not coincidence. 

Lo and behold!

Yep, that's Ronald Reagan starring with a Chimpanzee.  Must have been a true career high.

A couple quick review skims and it seems it's not as gawdawful as I imagined it would be. 

Happy Friday!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

NEVER GOOGLE SKIN CANCER...scary looking shit man, no joke!

I feel like an retired old man right now, I'm about to talk about a medical condition in great detail. OK, so it's not bodily fluids (brief bleeding aside) or genital talk or anything, so you'll survive.

Almost a year ago, I busted my elbow on something, I don't really recall.  I got a nice little scab and didn't think twice about it.  A few days later, I nailed it again.  We're talking funny bone area here, so not the greatest feeling, but again, I don't recall much about it.  The following few weeks, I must have busted the scab at least a dozen times.  You'd think that by 31 I'd be fairly self aware, but it turns out my elbow has borrowed Harry Potter's invisibility cloak or something, cause I don't seem to have full awareness of its existence. 

So I don't know at what point I really noticed something was odd but by January, I was dealing with a bump on my elbow where the scar once had been.  I don't know what my deal was at that point, but I scratched it back into a scab and then went through another couple weeks of busting them back open. 

A month or so following the bump started growing.  It kinda reminded me of a wart at first.  I've never had one, so I'm going solely on my perception of witches noses and toads left over from childhood.  It was kinda weird and as the heat started rising in Spring, I began wearing short sleeves again.  Band Aids with Neosporin worked out alright except I still wasn't actually aware my elbow existed when it came to arm articulations.  I'd catch them on everything and have that sexy black ring around the area where the adhesive rubbed against god knows what.

So I needed something sturdier.  Corn pads!  That'll dry it up AND give it better protection, right?  Ever bought or used these things? QUITE CREEPY TO HAVE ON YOUR ELBOW, now that I think about it.  They're like a quarter inch thick and have a hollow center where a medicated pad fits over the lump.  Kinda like a hemorrhoid donut for what should be your foot, but in my case, my elbow.

The top started to dry up and turn black.  Skin shouldn't turn black unless a tattoo, latex or some other substance has been applied. So I chose to alternate days.  Corn Pad, Air it out, Neosporin Band Aid, Repeat.  On the air it out days at least four over the the few weeks I repeated, I busted it on the car door and bled all over the place.

So here's the best description I can give of what Neosporin did to it.  Ever see a Star Nose Mole?  Here's one.

Yep, that's what this began to look like.  It's like each cell on my elbow decided to grow into a tower away from my body.  Not that long or anything totally gross, but enough that this was the image in my head.  Followed by OH MY GOD, people have to think I have leprosy or something!  Who can't see this bump on my elbow?  I mean really, isn't that the first thing you see on someone?  Then their shoes and eyes right?

So we're well into summer at this point and my wife schedules me an appointment with a dermatologist.  Yeah, so apparently this is a high demand field (I guess since skin cancer is the number one fatal cancer, it should be) because they booked me a month and a half out.  Yeah, so I have work meeting in Houston the same day.  I canceled and requested another appointment, maybe a few days before? You know, cause they have cancellations and whatnot right? The receptionist laughed in her email response.  Seriously, typed HAHAHAHA followed by, we can reschedule for October.  I replied I'm positive it's cancer so fuck you very much too.  She didn't respond.

I set up an appointment with my normal doc, who is also very over booked.  Three weeks.  I guess back to school hits him pretty hard...in a good way. Maybe he took a vacation.  It's not like I see him often, so who knows.

Somewhere between the dermie appointment and cancellation, one of my employees told me they'd had something that looked just like it removed from their forearm and it WAS cancer.  That's the only reason I've gone down this road.  I'm basing my medical advice on that of a 65 year old who surely wouldn't steer me wrong.  Cause no one that old isn't practically Jesus right?

So tonight I decided to look it up because it has begun to hurt over the past week.  Stab me in the eyeballs and dump bleach in the sockets.  Google Image Searching "skin cancer" is horrific.  Lesions EVERYWHERE.  Boobs half gone.  Faces Hollywood couldn't design!  GAHROSS!

Here ya go!
I know, I'm sorry.  There are hundreds more, but I couldn't, yeah.

So, since WebMD was no help, I'm appealing to you, please tell me what this is!

Side note: It's astonishingly difficult to photograph your own elbow with an crappy old iPhone. 

Kinda looks like a hairy boob. 

It's all crusty and craggy like an alien planet now.  If you made it through this post without bailing or being totally grossed out, I commend you and would highly recommend visiting your local nursing home.  They'd love to tell you all about their recent trip to the bathroom for sure!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I don't think I'm a Racist, I think I'm a Realist

Nivea apologizing for their recent ad featuring a black man cleaning up his appearance and "re-civilizing" himself sparked a Twitter convo with a guy that irritated me. (Link)

I said:

@ R U Kidding? Look beyond the skin color! Unkempt vs Clean. NOT Racist! RT @mashable Nivea Pulls "Re-civilized" Ad

@thespianJK Said:

@Dornage Nivea said nothing abt white guy being "re-civilized". They just told him to look like he gives a damn.

I said:
@thespianJK Oh, I see what u r saying. But still. The Look Like You Give A Damn is their new catch phrase. Way overthinking in my opinion.

@thespianJK said:

@Dornage "Sin City isn't an excuse to look like hell" - white Nivea ad. "Re-civilize yourself" - black Nivea ad. It's the "civilize" part.

I said:

@thespianJK So had it been a stoner white boy with dreads it would have been ok right? Gotta quit focusing on race at some point.

@thespianJK Said:

@Dornage No I don't. Not when it comes to things like this hinting at a stereotype of black men being savages and white men being polished.

@thespianJK Said:

@Dornage And the stoner with dreads would have been cause for question as that is associated with a black hairstyle.

@thespianJK Said:

@Dornage Nivea should be a little bit more sensitive to things like this.

I said:

@thespianJK I disagree. Respect is one thing. But fear of offending will only lead to people being fake all the time.

I said:
@thespianJK I disagree. Respect is one thing. But fear of offending will only lead to people being fake all the time.

Here's the deal: I don't believe in Gay Rights, Straight Rights, Black Rights, White Rights, Men's Rights nor Women's Rights.  Everyone is human.  You should respect them equally. Unless of course they're your Boss, Parent, President or Spouse...then you'll probably have to kiss a little ass.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Goodnight Moon

I forget sometimes my daughter is only 2.  She amazes me daily with how bright she is.  No I'm under no delusion that other parents don't think the same thing about their children.  I sure hope they do and I hope they tell them so daily!

I'd been away from my family for a full week.  They were up visiting in Oklahoma while I went back to work and enjoyed a week of bachelorhood.  When I arrived on Saturday evening both of my kids were very excited to see me.  My son just wanted to be held and my daughter told me "Daddy, you were gone a very long time back at our home in Texas. I'm very happy I found you again."  Just made my world!

So tonight we were doing the nightly routine for bed and she needed her final book which is always Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.  Admittedly, this book has become purely bittersweet.  She absolutely will not let me get away with not reading it but when it's time to read it she pitches a fit because she doesn't want it to ever end.  We started it when she was about 16 months old.  She'd always anticipate "The Little Toy House."  I'm not sure when that went away but when she was about two and a half the new obsession became the fact that "The Red Balloon" would disappear from the room on certain pages.  Then it would suddenly reappear.  "I found it!" She'd proclaim.

I remember when she was about two we'd lost the book in the house somewhere and my wife and I recited it in unison as an alternative to the real deal.  She clapped and told us "good job, guys."  That was the only time it was acceptable.  Since then if she suspects I'm just reciting it she says, "No Daddy, you have to read it."  I tell her I am and she grabs my hand and says "no, your fingers have to point to the words." Ain't no foolin' this one!

So tonight as we're wrapping up, I can't find the book but I know her Gigi has an older version on the book shelf.  It's a paper back, not a hardback board book style.  "No, little one Daddy."  I explained I don't know where it is but this one will tell the same story, it's just bigger and paperback.  "No Daddy, we need to go back to our home in Texas and get my little Good Night Moon."

This kid may love her family SOOO much, but she's ready for her own place with all the familiarity of home.  Gotta love it.  I told her we'd go back on Tuesday, only two more days.  She replied "No Daddy, no more days, we need to go back to Texas on Sunday."

Yep, that's all folks this kid has made up her mind, we belong in Texas where her bed has pink pillow cases and Goodnight Moon is small and Daddy doesn't go away forever and ever.

In case you need a reminder of how it goes!

I recorded a ton of her books so my wife could show them to her that way she'd still have some semblance to our routine.  I don't think it ever worked out for her.  Apparently both the kids were fascinated that it was my voice on the computer though.  And after uploading these, I realized I missed an opportunity to practice the readings after recording.  Sometimes you just don't know until you hear yourself though.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

When the Cat's Away, the Mice Will Play. Oh, and Do Housework

I took my family up to visit relatives last weekend.  I came back on Sunday by myself.  I'm going back for them on Saturday and going to spend a couple days there myself reconnecting with friends.  500 miles each way  is so worth the freedom though. 

I'm not saying I don't miss my kiddos and wife, but the reality is I haven't been alone for a week in almost a decade.  Yes I've gone out a couple times with friends but nothing extravagant, just some beers at the bar down the street.  It's been cool.

My original intent was to do a giant chunk of the ubiquitous honey do list.  Really all I've done is picked up the house and done all the laundry.  But still.  The first day that I ran 6 loads of laundry and folded it all I was like, "what the hell does my wife do all day?"  Feeling all proud of myself.  Then it occurred to me that I couldn't have done this much with the rugrats around either.  In fact, the living room that I'd also picked up would have been a disaster within minutes too.  Oh and the next day when I got the kitchen cleaned up? Yeah, then it occurred to me that the living room and kitchen are two areas I clean every day any way.  Hmmm.  Not feeling nearly as productive as I had.  Maybe I'll tackle the rest of the shelves I was supposed to hang in the bedroom a month ago.  Maybe I'll call my buddy for a beer. 

Yep, I'm lazy with or without the stress of children.  Though a queen size bed without four bodies is un-freaking-believably awesome.  Highly recommend it to all parents.  Separate bedroom for each of you to sneak to after the kids have joined you is definitely an investment worth considering!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Latest iPhone Game Addiction

I find there isn't enough time in the day yet amazingly I still find time to post on Facebook, Twitter, occasionally this blog and play three games regularly on my phone.  I'd say it's a priority issue but really it's more an outlet for my ADD.  With that unapologetic and BS rationalization for being a total lazy ass, here's my newest find that I can't put down.

It's called Tiny Tower.  It's created by Nimblebit. I have also played Sky Burger that they've created and like most game apps I've ever downloaded, after a month I became un-enamored and moved on to a new obsessive time waster.

So here's the skinny. You have a skyscraper to build.  You build it floor by floor.  You have 6 options on the type of floor it will be.  Residential, Food, Service, Recreational, Retail and Creative. You build Residences for tiny people called Bitizens.  Each bitizen has a unique name and look as well as a "Dream Job" and a 0-9 ranked scale of floor interest.  You build the other floor types to provide businesses for your bitizens to work.  Creative for example would be a Tattoo Parlor or Photo Studio. Three bitizens can work at a place and ideally you pick those who want to work in that particular industry or score a bonus when you assign someone their dream job! They then stock your business for sales. It cost you time and coins to stock, but you are repaid because Tiny Tower never closes and as your stocked items sell, your bank keeps filling up.

Now, here's some of the obsessive parts, you can earn bonuses for fully stocking a facility. Other bonuses come randomly by being tipped for taking customers up the elevator to their desired floor.  You can speed things along by spending bucks, but once your little world begins to grow, there's no need to waste your bucks, they come in handy in other ways like upgrades and what not.  You as the gamer have the option of paying actual hard earned dollars from your REAL bank account to get more bucks, but thankfully I'm not that obsessive nor am I an ignorant teenager with access to mommy's wallet.

More obsessions come in the form of dressing up your bitizens.  At first it was just cute and mildly entertaining to make each bitizen stand out.  Eventually it becomes a necessity as you are occasionally asked to locate a specific bitizen and they all end up looking alike which leads to wasted searching.  So a silly hat, the addition or lack of facial hair and crazy costumes become a must to distinguish one varied skin tone and subtle male versus female characteristics apart.

The bigger the tower the more time you spend stocking and the more floors cost but it's all OK, because when you're not there, they're still hard at work for you like good little slaves would be.  I mean really, who doesn't need a Shrimp Platter from the Mexican Food and a Cardio Work out from the Health Club at all hours of the night? The food floors take less time to stock, but make you less money because their items fly off the shelves.  So that means you want floors with better stuff.  That often times means you have to evict the occasional flunky who's dream job is working for a Sky Burger or the Laundromat!  Sorry little guys, this game is about me.  I'll never miss you Alan Monroe with your yellow goatee and blue baseball cap.  Hello Vivian Jones, thank you for aspiring to work at the Glass Studio in your Pirate Costume.

These little bitizens mouths never stop moving...I think there's an oxygen problem or maybe this is waterworld but the DVD rentals don't get damaged.  They also never sleep nor sit.  There are chairs everywhere but they insist on pacing back and forth like crack heads.  Can't really help a customer locked behind a counter though I guess.  There's a fun element of humor involved helping bring your bitizens to life by way of a mock Facebook.  Bitbook allows the bitizens to be goofy and obscure all while guilting you the player into restocking because "Just had to close the Aquarium, hope I don't lose my job" really hits home you know?

There's help along the way in case you get in over your head or are impatient like everyone else.  VIPs come in various forms.  A Celebrity will temporarily increase the number of customers purchasing things on your floor. A big spender will buy out an entire product. Delivery men will knock off 3 hours of restocking.  (This comes in handy when adding more 3D movies to the cinema.) A Realtor will move a new bitizen in an empty apartment. Also Construction workers will knock off a few hours of new floor construction.  But you HAVE to actively play to get the VIPs or you just wait to turn the game back on and eventually your stocking will be completed, items will sell or the floor construction and someone will eventually visit the floor that needs a new resident.

I highly recommend downloading this free app and enjoy playing god with your minion.  Though my wife keeps reminding me I'm one step away from Farmville and two steps back from a Tamagotchi.  Less than subtle way to say "Dorn, put down your damn phone and pay attention to your family!"

Thursday, August 11, 2011


My wife requested some free stickers from a company a few months back.  I didn't know what the story was until they arrived.  I don't think she did either...strange that she would have gone blindly to a website (directed from a couponing website I'm sure) and given them her address and name, but it is what it is now.  She was thinking our daughter would like some stickers and they are free, so why not?

They arrived a couple weeks ago.  They will not be in the hands of my daughter.  No porn or anything she shouldn't be exposed to but they've piqued my interest, so they're mine now.

They are from a design company in San Francisco called Altitude. Their site has a wide variety of their projects and design capabilities...most of which are very interesting, but they all seem to revolve around the idea of not conforming.

The stickers are part of a defacing property campaign to turn our ideas behind the economy on their ear.  Here's the blurb from their site:
What's actually good, or bad for the economy? And why are we always concerned with what's good for the economy, instead of what's good for people? Altitude investigated this concept through a series of posters and stickers distributed in 33 countries and every US state.
The two I received say:

nature is bad for the economy
obesity is good for the economy

I've been debating whether to participate.  Basically Austin is the perfect town to spread this kind of message, I just have issues with messing with other people's property.  After a couple weeks of deliberating, I've decided yes, I will join the cool kids in spreading the message.  I'll post some pics later.  The idea is to get creative with the placement and send in your work to be shared.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hansel & Gretel This Was Not

While out of town a few weeks ago, I received a call from my wife in an utter panicked rage.  She opened a preheated oven to cook dinner and found dozens of DVDs and CDs melted on the racks.  Our little girl was very naughty it seems.

Firstly, my wife doesn't cook often.  She is in charge of weekday breakfast and lunch for her and the kids and that's about the extent of it.  So on a day when she has to come up with dinner (not from a drive thru), hiccups are HIGHLY unwelcome.

Here's a dramatic re-staging of the damage.

She'd pulled them out while on the phone with me and was burning her fingers getting them apart.  She wanted to know what all was officially lost.

When she called me she said it was about 70 DVDs.  I was thinking in their cases and everything.  Nope, just the loose ones and it was closer to 25, 35 max.  That said, it was all of the kid's favorites including Your Baby Can Read.  The latest Harry Potter BluRay, a few of our favorite CDs were all that we lost.  The random Disney movies and all of the "on the road entertainment DVDs" are going to be missed and eventually some will need replacing.  It's the Your Baby Can Read that sucks the most.  Our son is in the middle of his learning experience.  Knowing it works means we'll have to replace it. 

So, how you might ask did this happen?  Well this was a Wednesday evening and I used the oven on Monday, so that leaves all day Tuesday and Wednesday morning.  Anytime while it was off she could have loaded it up, without the anticipation that it would be turned on.  Yes, we have child safety latches on the thing, but our daughter disabled them months ago. 

So, my wife tells me that she should have checked (which I wouldn't have necessarily prior to this incident even though I usually double check the rack placement).  Apparently this isn't the first thing to pretend to be supper.  She's found baby dolls tucked away like the witch in Hansel and Gretel in the past.  Yeah, so pretty much shame on her for not checking, but since the kitchen isn't her domain, I'll give her a pass this time.

Oh, and this of course isn't the first DVD related destruction my daughter has put us through.  Eventually we'll learn. Right?

Take aways? Don't leave your DVDs out of their cases.  Don't leave anything of value within reach of a toddler, or any size child for that matter.  And finally, ALWAYS, ALWAYS open the oven before turning it on!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ch-Ch-Ch-Change, Time to Make Some Strange...

We've been reevaluating our lives (money wise especially) recently, as a family, I mean.  My wife has been unemployed since June of 2009.  Her unemployment wages helped keep us a float for quite some time.  The days of living partially on government money have been gone for a while now.

We've had to scrutinize our budget...something we've never really done before.
 Cable went away a year ago.  With Netflix, I don't even notice it's missing. Along with that was the home phone and frankly aside from a blatant lie from a salesman about how much more we save by bundling, I can't recall why we had one to begin with.

  • My cell phone contract is up in October.  I've had a work cell for nearly 5 years now and again, aside from the novelty of playing games on my phone, I have no reason to have a personal cell.

  • It's taken some work, but various student loans are entirely manageable now.  Well, with the exception of one from Oklahoma that until they began garnishing my wages, I didn't know I had.  That's a crappy realization.  They want me to pay half down in order to discuss removing the garnishment and setting up a payment plan.  They seem to think nothing of the fact that they are crippling me and were anything but fair about the garnishment option.  Hello, if you can find my employer after a 24 hour search (time between the judgement and the notification of garnishment), you could have found my address within the 10 years prior (9 1/2 of which weren't at the address you kept sending mail to!).

  • My wife began couponing like the crazies on TV a few months back.  If it weren't for my irrational need to eat produce, meat and dairy NOT FROM A CAN, our grocery bill would be even smaller.  That said, we're down to $65 a week for 4 mouths, 3 meals a day, 7 days a week.  This was the biggest challenge.  I have to admit that I wasn't completely comfortable at first but the amount of free crap you get by doing so is unfathomable!  That said, I was super proud of myself this week when I was picking up some yogurt for my lunches this week I scored several these 6 packs of Dannon yogurt for the kids at 9 cents each after coupons!  The guy at the register did a double take when he read the amount to me.

So how is it possible? Another thing we'd NEVER done. We plan every meal on Saturday for the Sunday through Saturday following.  Our grocery shopping is organized around it.  Now, on Sunday when the ads come out in the paper, we augment some meals depending on the deals.  I'm not going to lie, I miss my typical spontaneity regarding cooking and on the spot shopping.  You know picking up salmon on the way home and throwing together a mango avocado pico with almond apricot couscous.  But the brief moments of creativity in the grocery aisle are greatly overshadowed by the decidedly less stressful event of knowing exactly what I'm cooking when I get home.  I can't tell you the number of times I'd be stuck in traffic pulling teeth over the phone to find out what my wife wanted me to cook for dinner.  Yes you should get the picture now...I'm the cook with lunch time pb&j exceptions.  

  • What is also the biggest change is that we only eat out once a month.  This includes my lunches.  I'll be honest, I'd usually only spend $3-5 bucks at lunch but then there was the random stopping for something to drink while on the road or the $10 lunch splurges and whatnot.  It adds up quickly.  

  • Alcohol was the most recent phase.  I can drink me some beer.  I'm not going to say alcoholic is a possible description, more like Al Bundy...though I'd never compare myself to him in a million years!  

These last few things have had a grand side effect too! I cut soda (diet) out except for rare occasions and had been watching my portions since the beginning of the year.  Combine that with the lack of fast food and minimal beer intake and you've got a 35 pound lighter Dorn in your midst.  Just think what could happen if I actually exercised on a regular basis.

You know what's more astonishing? Spending time with the kids occupies a lot of time that I'm now not sure how we filled it with as much going out as we did. 

Getting back to the whole reevaluation.  Because I've always worked toward moving up in companies that require relocation, we're still renting 8 years later.  We've paid $1100 a month toward someone else's mortgage every month for the past 5 years.  We've looked at buying a house several times but houses we can afford (around the 200K range) are in the ghetto and I'm not doing it.

So we've been kicking around the idea of moving back to our home town of Tulsa, OK for a bit now.  Nothing is set, especially since I haven't gotten a job relo or anything.  But my brother-in-law bought a home a little smaller than ours for 60K a couple years ago.  That right there tells me I could easily find one for around 100K that'd suit our needs and still not be in the ghetto.  Not joking when I say that 150K will put you between a crack dealer and a homeless guy in Austin.  This isn't NYC for christsakes!

So, now I have to make the real decision.  Do I pursue opportunities in Tulsa or should I look for a higher paying job here?  I'm marketable within the company, but outside I'm just another name on a resume that doesn't have a masters degree, 20 years of experience and is willing to work for 20K a year in a job landscape that the Ukraine would kill for and we should be ashamed it's in America.

OK, so I'm rambling and just started bashing countries that I have no beef with while wagging my tongue at my own.  It's time to call it a day. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Congratulations! You have Broken the Internet.

I'm trying to expense my hotel stay while I was traveling to Houston.  I need a receipt to do so.  I went to Hotels.com where I booked it and have been getting no where.  It couldn't find it under my account (yes, I'm using the right one...same one I got my confirmation email!)  So I searched by my last name.  No luck.  I then search by my confirmation number (from the email they sent).

Here's what I got!

While I appreciate humor in business, this just pushed an irritable me over the edge!

Shouldn't be this difficult, ever.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

WTF Internet Explorer?

I use Firefox at home because I need constant spell check ability.  Whether at home or work (where I have no choice), if I'm on Blogger using Internet Explorer I continue having the same issue.  It started a couple months ago.  Originally I thought it was linked to my conversion to Windows 7 on the home desktop.  But with my work computer, I didn't think I'd upgraded in over a year. 

I cannot post a comment on a blog as anything but anonymous.  I'll be logged in to blogger to pull up my dashboard like normal.  If I read a blog and type a comment it asks me what account I want to post it from.  Typically on Firefox it's already chosen or at least has my name on the list, but if not, I just select Google Account and log in no problem.  Here lately though it asks me to sign in and still posts me as anonymous.  Then it asks me to log in again as anonymous.  This cycle doesn't end.  I have to actually select anonymous to post any comment. 

Anyone else experiencing this? I assume it's an IE setting I just don't know which one to change.  Your help is greatly appreciated!