Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve

I vividly remember the day I stayed up past midnight and woke up that morning feeling like I had been hit by a truck.

In college, missing out on sleep was no big deal. All night cramming sessions. Midnight trips to Denny's.

Then came that fateful day when my body decided to strike and officially label me as "old."

I've never been the same since. That's why I am excited to continue a family tradition I have. This is one that we have in place purely for the sanity of the grown ups.

Tonight, we're setting our clocks forward a couple hours to trick the kids into thinking it's midnight.

They can have fun thinking they're staying up late and I can get the rest I'll need to function the next day.

Win. Win.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I like the song in this video

I don't want to get all sappy on everyone, but I really like the song on this video. It reminds me that I shouldn't neglect giving a gift to my Savior this season.

And as great as the Wii is, I'm not so sure that kind of a gift would work. The song reminds me I should be a better person to those around me because that is the gift that will mean the most.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Favorite Christmas Tradition

You know the inevitable let down when all the Christmas presents are opened?

You can have the most altruistic attitude about giving instead of receiving, and there is still a little deflated feeling once it's all over on Christmas morning.

My family has a tradition I wrote about last year, and it has become one of my favorite traditions.

Click on the link for the full explanation, but this tradition is called the "White Envelope." It never fails to give a perfect ending to gift giving on Christmas morning, and I walk away from the whole experience feeling completely satisfied.

There are a couple sticks in the mud ...

(Tangent)
That's right, isn't it? Sticks in the mud? My internal grammar alarm isn't going off, but it doesn't look right for some reason.
(End Tangent)

... in my family, but for the most part, people are willing.

It's seriously my favorite part of the whole day.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Scavenger Hunt

It was Christmas, and I was 8.

I had opened up most of my gifts, including a Where's Waldo book and a Dino Rider (now there's a blast from the past), when my parents gave me an envelope. It held the first clue in a scavenger hunt that eventually lead me to the storage room.

Inside was a cage with my very own hamster. (My dad was allergic to pretty much every kind of animal, so this was the best I was going to get.)

It was instant love, and I'd spend the next 2 years with that little guy riding shotgun in my shirt pocket.

But the real question is, what did I name him?

I named him Waldo because of the book I got that same day.

Feel free to ooh and ahh at my dazzling creativity on that one.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Boil Water

Yep. Someone actually spent the time to write this and publish it to the Internet.

I guess boiling water is more of a science than I thought.

Friday, December 18, 2009

California Propaganda

Everyone is a lemming in one form or another.

And sometimes it surprises me how many of my current opinions have been shaped by what I heard as a kid.

Some (translate: almost everyone) would say I'm gullible.

(Tangent)
Did I already mention I fell for the "Did you know that the word "gullible" isn't in the English dictionary?" thing? ... Twice.
(End Tangent)

I grew up in California, and one day while I was in elementary school, we had a slide show about our state.


It was one of those filmstrips with the accompanying tape that beeped when the AV monitor was supposed to move the filmstrip forward.

(Tangent)
That last sentence made me feel kind of old. Does anyone use those anymore?
(End Tangent)

The presentation covered California's economic development, agriculture, military bases, history, the kitchen sink ...

Years later, I only remember one sentence:

"If one state in the union had to survive as their own country, California would be the best equipped to do so."

I guess the brainwashing starts early on the West Coast.

And I think they forgot about all the water that gets pumped to southern California from Colorado.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Going Overboard

My family has a tradition of giving friends and neighbors pumpkin chocolate chip bread for Christmas.

(Tangent)
Emphasis on the bread.

It's WAY better than pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
(End Tangent)

This year, we made 43 loaves, and we didn't even make it to all the people we wanted to.


(Do you like the plastic pitcher and cereal box accents in this picture? We thought it gave it a homey touch.)

I'm sure everyone who got one would have preferred something healthier, but it's tradition.

(And I love eating the leftovers.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Moron, party of one?

As you've probably figured out, I can be a little dense sometimes. Thankfully I put up a good smokescreen and got my wife to marry me before she figured it out, but it can get me into trouble sometimes.

So, my daughter is obsessed with movies (I wonder where she gets that addiction ...), and as a result, we've occasionally let her watch one on our portable DVD player so we can finally have something non-Barbie/non-animated/non-sing-a-long on our regular TV.


(Tangent)
Portable DVD players are LITERALLY the best invention EVER. I don't even want to think about how annoying it must have been to be trapped in a car with me when I was 3 years old. It's amazing I survived to adulthood.

Seriously, they are AMAZING. Last night, we delivered some holiday treats to friends, and let our daughter watch a DVD in the back seat while we drove all over town.

Aside from the muted sounds of Aristocats and Sleeping Beauty, it was blissfully silent.

If you have a kid and don't have one and have a few bucks, GO. BUY. ONE. NOW.
(End Tangent)

A couple weeks ago, we had our daughter on the couch, cuddling up with our portable DVD player and letting her watch Barbie Fairytopia: Magic of the Rainbow for the 834th time, when she decided to have one of her life-is-too-hard-for-me-so-I'm-going-to-lash-out-at-the-nearest-inanimate-object-and-take-out-all-my-frustrations moments and threw the DVD player on the floor.

When I went to pick it up, the screen was black and all it said was "Line-In."

That's when I lost it.

Knowing Christmas was fast approaching and we would need the DVD player as our only link to sanity in the next car trip, I flew out the door in a rage, hoping I could get Sony and Best Buy to fix it before we had to leave.

I explained the issue to the Geek Squad and specifically mentioned the "Line-In" problem.

(Tangent)
The Geek Squad crew looked like, between the three of them, their collective age was 19.
(End Tangent)


After they took it with plans to ship it to Sony for repairs, I still had to cool off a little more, so I finished my Christmas shopping.

After a week of shipping and waiting in the repair queue, we got a phone call from a Sony technician.

Do you know what the problem ended up being?

There was a little switch on the said that got flipped. "Line-In" meant it was waiting to display an external media source.

Leave it to me to ship my DVD player across the country (and maybe even the world) so that some guy can flip a switch.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Carpool Lane

Last week, my wife and I were driving in a traffic jam (although the better verb in this sentence would probably be "parked" in a traffic jam). In a vain attempt to get where we were going a little faster, we shifted into the carpool lane ... and promptly came to a stop.

I was just starting to feel my blood pressure rise when I glanced in the rear view mirror.

Right behind us in the carpool lane was this girl who couldn't have been more than 10 years old.

(Tangent)
I think the first sign of aging is when you look around and see all these little kids driving cars, going to college or registering to vote. Whenever I see this, I keep thinking, "Was I really that young when I {insert grownup activity here}?"
(End Tangent)

This infant looked like she was in a real hurry, and while I watched, she pulled something into view and held it up in the passenger seat.

It took me a second to realize what it was, and when I figured it out, I nearly choked on my gum.

It was a mannequin head. Yep. Just the head.


Is it bad that I REALLY wanted a police officer to drive by right about then?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Oxidize Silver with Egg Yolks



I didn't realize people would want to oxidize silver. I thought the whole point was to get the oxidation off, but the link explains why.

The best part of this "how to" is that it's cheap.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Have you ever had one of those days?

When your inbox exploded?

When you can't get up from your desk to eat or answer the call of nature until 3 in the afternoon?

When anyone calling your cell phone has a 100% chance of getting your voicemail?

When you go in early and leave late, but it doesn't make a dent?

I've had one of those days. I've had one of those weeks, actually. And that is why I've been AWOL. But I'm making a commitment. Next week, I hope to be back to my old self.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New Christmas Tradition

My wife and I decided to start a new tradition this year. We bought this and filled it with little papers describing activities we can do as a family.


Growing up, my parents gave me those chocolate advent calendars , and I struggled hourly to keep from eating all 25 in one sitting.

So far, we've loved all the activities. Since our daughter's attention span is about the same as a Chihuahua hopped up on Mountain Dew, none of our activities are elaborate, but she seems to like them too.

However, her favorite part is opening the little doors each day.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I guess anyone can be a scientist

I've made a remarkable discovery.

The Nobel Prize committee will probably call me any day now.

And I didn't even major in anything science-y.

You may want to sit down for this one, but I think I've discovered an entirely new element for the periodic table.

It's definitely not a gas. And it's not really a solid or a liquid.

You'll have to see it to believe it, so head over to the grocery store and buy a stick of light margarine.


Even refrigerated, it isn't completely a solid. It's almost like Jell-O, but it's still gooey. And it doesn't seem to melt either. Putting it on toast just smears it around without actually shifting into a liquid.

So, when the Nobel Prize committee calls, do you think I should give any credit to the people who actually make light margarine?

I didn't think so either.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's so tasty too. Just like candy.

My daughter is literally bursting with personality. It's cute now, but I worry about our sanity when she gets older.

She is also beautiful (while I'm biased on this one, I can still say it because it has been substantiated by numerous third parties).

(Tangent)
Thank goodness she takes after her mother.
(End Tangent)

As a result, all the present-day noise and flurry of activity makes me forget what she was like as a baby.

So what does this long intro have to do with anything?

My daughter gagged whenever we tried to give her a pacifier. This was depressing when we wanted to soothe her to sleep. And when it's your first kid, everything out of the ordinary tends to inspire completely undeserved panic.

One night, we peeked into her crib to find her happily sucking on one of her socks.

I can't figure out why anyone would be content to slobber all over a strip of cotton, but she loved it. It reminded me of the Vitameatavegamin fiasco on I Love Lucy.

"It's so tasty too. Just like candy."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'm done with it ... really. I am.

You know that stupid little hand motion Keanu Reeves does in one of the Matrix fight scenes that has been repeated on every fight scene since then from cartoons to big budget blockbusters?

Yeah, I'm done with it.

Feel free to leave that out of your next production.

Thank you in advance.