Friday, July 30, 2010

Clothes, Clothes Everywhere

And nary a thing to wear.

We own too much stuff. As we prepared for our last move, we began getting rid of some of it, and now our largest clutter item is books. (We are completely unprepared to begin tackling that issue.)

I try to lead the way by regularly getting rid of clothes, but I think all that happens is my wife invades the vacated closet space with clothes of hers.

I don't think something like this would work for me, because I could EASILY get by on four clothes items, not just six. (Top and bottom for Sunday, and top and bottom for the rest of the week.) That's what happens when you become a bum: you get to stop changing your clothes.

My wife, however, is still (mostly) presentable. It would be interesting to see if she could do a clothes diet. I bet, of all the women I know, she'd be the one who could come closest to pulling it off.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Favorite Euphemism

Yesterday on Facebook I saw a high school friend who has moved to Portland posted as her status: "I'm looking for part-time work in Beaverton."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sleeping Arrangements

My parents slept on a standard mattress for the first 13 years of their marriage. My wife and I lasted about four months. During that time, more than once did I sleep on the floor to be able to have enough room. (And we were newlyweds, mind you. Honest-to-goodness newlyweds!)

When we bought our king mattress, we both got in with our faces hanging off the sides, as the standard mattress had conditioned us, and then we reached back for the other with our feet. When we couldn't even ACCIDENTALLY run into each other, we giggled and exclaimed, "This mattress is HUGE!"

Well, huge is the new small. There's not enough room for both of us in our bed these days. (Mostly because I sleep on the hump in the middle of the bed instead of in one of the giant grooves.) Due to this, I take every opportunity to show my wife news articles about the return of separate beds in a marriage.

She thinks I'm signaling my desire for a divorce. Really all I desire is a big-ass bed, all to myself. I think separate bedrooms is weird (though secretly awesome, as I'd be able to have a Star Wars bedspread again), but I think a huge bedroom with two king beds in it would be perfect. To make my case, I recently told her, "And it would be exciting when you get invited over to the other person's bed for a visit." She just rolled her eyes.

In reality, though, I don't think we'll ever get separate beds because it would be way too hard to steal her pillow every weekend when she wakes up.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Movie Review: Ramona and Beezus

I saw Ramona and Beezus this past weekend. I knew going into it that my daughter would enjoy it; the question was how badly would I want to gouge out my own eyes?

And the answer was: not that badly at all. It was mildly enjoyable, and part of that may have been that the books are old enough that they're from my childhood, too. I expect we'll end up owning this movie on DVD, and as long as we don't spend more than $12.99 for it, I'll be okay with that.

Not everyone is as big a fan as I am. ("Nine thumbs up? What the hell is that?!") For instance, this reviewer has problems with such things as the speed with which Aunt Bea's wedding is put together. (Note to idiot reviewer: read the freakin' book.) All I gathered from this review is that the reviewer was bitter she was assigned a kids' movie. Well, that makes two of us.

If you don't require your kids' movies to have a plot as intricate as that of Primer, you'll enjoy Ramona and Beezus. Otherwise, you'll die smug and alone.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Our Family's New Favorite Jingle

I took Crazy Jane on Saturday to a neighboring town to see Ramona and Beezus. And, like all modern movies, the presentation began with 20 minutes of commercials.

Now, in the past I have complained vociferously to all and sundry about commercials before a movie. I understand showing trailers, but commercials? We talkin' 'bout comMERcials? We ain't talkin' 'bout the movie, we talkin' 'bout commer-- What we talkin' 'bout? Commercials.

While trailers used to be a necessary evil, and commercials were a downright travesty, now I don't have TV and both were quite pleasant to experience. We came home and looked up the better ones on YouTube to show to my wife (who did the same thing two weeks ago when she went to the movies with her friends).

Our favorite is probably one of those ads that drives the local TV-viewing public nuts (like Spangles ads in Kansas), but since we'd never seen it before, we absolutely loved it.

Everybody in our family thinks it's great (except Super-Hot 111, who nonetheless sings the song all day, just like the rest of us). This morning I used the video as an alarm clock for our kids. When I went in the boys' room and started playing it with the computer facing Articulate Joe, Jerome Jerome the Metronome popped up and demanded, "I [should enjoy to] see it [if it's not too much trouble, Father]!" Tonight before bed he requested it again. My dream is to get the MP3 of the song as my phone's ring tone. If I die before science renders death an anachronism, please play this song at my funeral. Once as a greeting, once as everyone (i.e.: the hobos who'd been lured inside by promises of a temperate clime and free alcohol) files out, and three times in between.

Just a note about the type of community I live in: this was not the only pawn shop ad shown that day at the movies. But it was the best (sorry, Woodbridge Gold and Pawn).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Full Steam Ahead on the S.S. Expanding Waistband

I have an uncle who is such a devotee of Hometown Buffet that he has memorized the rotating meat schedule. "It's Tuesday? They'll have ribs, but they won't be out until after 4."

At least, this was true the last time he was talking to our side of the family, which was years ago. For all I know, he's dead now. (You know, the ties that bind and all that.)

My point is, I never allowed my devotion to buffet-style eating to reach that level, but I stood in the offing, silently admiring. I love buffets. I love the idea of coming out ahead financially, the idea of never having to decide on any one menu item. As much as I like the notion of eating out, the actual practice just leaves me angry when I worry about spending time and money on an entrée that, one bite in, I might hate.

The frequency of my buffet usage has declined along with my metabolism. On top of that, I'm now too poor for a buffet (and given the socio-economic status of my uncle and his fellow-patrons of Hometown Buffet, I cannot stress enough just how much that is really saying).

Today, however, I received good news. I've been cleared for returning to the buffet line. According to a formula from Men's Health magazine (which purports to be from the Institute of Medicine), I'm supposed to be consuming 2,908.0825 calories per day. That's, like, more than a single meal at Hardee's (thanks to the point-oh-eight-two-five).

Now that I think about it, the "Institute of Medicine" sounds totally legit and all, but is probably just a front organization for the Buffet Restaurant Marketing Board. Be that as it may, big-S Science has spoken. Who am I to withstand? If you are looking for me I'll be in the buffet line. I plan to arrive Tuesday shortly before 4.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Quest Fulfilled

When the hell did my blog become a food blog?

Thursday's Grandma Next was not allowed to die until she'd read the ten most-boring books on earth. If my compulsion to find a thirst-quenching beverage is similar, I might have fulfilled the requirement.

I have my procrastination to thank. While I should have been doing a billion other things, I looked through a recent Better Homes and Gardens issue, where I found a recipe for something the article's writer was calling a June Bug.

The ingredients. Add blender to taste.

Here's an action shot.

And another. Sadly, this passes for "getting some action" in my house.

If we weren't teetotalers, we'd be alcoholics. Since discovering this recipe last week, we've drunk a pitcher of these every night.

A week ago when Super-Hot 111 came home with a bottle of grenadine, she laughingly said, "And now we'll have grenadine for the rest of our lives." (Because the bottle was so large. You know, they say if you have to explain a joke, it's not funny. See, grenadine comes in only one size bottle, and it seemed like the amount of grenadine we were being sold was more than we would ever need.) I've already had to go to the store for a replacement bottle.

Super-Hot 111 said, "You should make these for [Crazy Jane]'s baptism next month," but I said, "I'd be like Ice at George Sr.'s fake funeral." So don't come to town in August expecting one of these. Make your own.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Physical Therapy

Some people who require physical therapy, end up finding sweet, sweet lurve in the process. For those of us who aren't Frederico Enrico, however, it usually is much closer to my kindergarten experience with a speech specialist.

SPEECH SPECIALIST: Say "railroad."




SPEECH SPECIALIST: Go back to class.


Why not just bypass that whole process and do your physical therapy yourself? When I had to try on the Fathers Day cards-cum-ties my kids made for me, I realized that this is how I managed to cope with my stroke-victim smile.

First I overcompensate.

Then everything looks normal.

Advice like this can be yours for highly-inflated prices if you hire me to be your life coach. I began life coaching my younger brother without his consent and he already has learned to not return my calls. But then, he's a special, very special boy.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Safeway Does Customer Service Right

I called Safeway today and all I had to say was, "I bought a potato salad that was funky." No further description needed. My refund check is winging its way to me (if something that will arrive in two-to-three weeks could be said to be "winging" at all).

You know who sucks the customer service hind tit? Gust Buster.

Fashion Advice

Okay, fashionable readers (and despite what your sisters might say, Cristin, I consider you a fashionable reader), is this suit still fashionable?

I bought it 10 years ago. I don't want to wear it out in public if it obviously is a suit from 10 years ago. Leave your comments.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I feel like once a week for the rest of my life I'm going to read a news article about an "unnoticed" provision of the health care bill. This week: increased government oversight of gold sales. (Remember, the first thing you have to do when you want to inflate away problems is outlaw gold ownership so citizens can't escape the effects.)

Of course, one way to reduce the number of unnoticed provisions is to give each bill a suitable public review. Instead, we got 2,000 pages and less than a week to read it. The congressmen who claimed it was absolutely necessary couldn't be bothered to read it (just like how the Attorney General couldn't be bothered to read Arizona's immigration law before threatening to sue the state to bar its implementation). Actually, the Speaker of the House said we had to pass the bill to find out what was in it. If only our government allowed for a legislative process that relied less-heavily on "let's see what's behind Door #2"-style thinking.

Next week, we'll find out that the health care bill contains an unnoticed provision requiring every 1,000th baby girl to be named "Apple".

Culinary Genius

Like Norville Barnes I'd say if inspiration is 99% perspiration, in my case it's at least twice that. But lightning has struck gold. Or whatever.

I give you, the Ginger Bean.

Ingredients: vanilla ice cream and ginger ale. Okay, so it's basically a root beer float with ginger ale, but it's still incredible. Prepare for two things (listed in order of importance):

  1. To recognize my patent (with said recognition taking the form of hefty royalty payments)
  2. To be blown away

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bakin' Bacon Pancakes

A few weeks ago I wrote about how great these pancakes looked. My wife tried to turn it into an opportunity to get a griddle. Homie don't play that. Instead, she made them for me in her frying pan for Fathers Day.

Verdict: pretty good. Since bacon and pancakes have different cooking requirements, she decided to cook the bacon first, then put them in the pancakes, but she forgot that this would then re-cook the bacon. Instead of leaving the bacon a little under-done before the pancake stage, we ended up with sort-of-burnt bacon in our pancakes.

Also, Angela's advice to include an egg was beyond us. Is the egg cooked separately also? Do you mix the egg in the batter? What is a horseshoe? What does a horseshoe do? Are there any horse socks? Is anybody listening to me?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Worst Dinner Of My Life (So Far)

Neither of us decided to make a perfectly awful meal. It just happened.

First, I went to the grocery store thirsty. Couple this with my already heightened sense of dehydration ("I wish there was some sort of thirst-quenching beverage." -- my tombstone), and we came home with many more varieties of drink than necessary.

The haul included Goya Jamaican-Style Ginger Beer. It tasted like someone dissolved Red Hots in soda water. The original plan was to share it with Super-Hot 111 (she who often tastes food I consider bland and complains of its spiciness). I took a sip and told her, "You're not going to like this at all." She took a sip and yelled, "Is one of the ingredients tobasco sauce?" (It is not.)

Later I poured the rest down the sink while SH 111 was rinsing dishes. The odor burned her nostrils. I rinsed the bottle several times, then tried to teach our kids how to blow across it like backwoodsmen with a bottle of moonshine. (We honor our ancestral heritage in this house.) Inhaling across the lip of the bottle caused my lungs to burn.

Next was the potato salad. SH 111 and I are pretty big fans of potato salad, but there are so many varieties, and she is pretty particular about which ingredients she wants in it. It took us four years to find a potato salad we both liked in Kansas (Hy-Vee's Amish Potato Salad), just in time to move. Now we are in a trial phase again, and being at a new grocery store, she decided to get their style to test. It is unclear to me why we needed the three-pound container; maybe she is planning to use it to fill the holes in the walls when we move next week.

Maybe it was an after-effect of the ginger beer, but something in the potato salad tasted like pickle-flavored soda. SH 111 made me check the ingredients to see if they had used carbonated water. (What was with her and checking the ingredients all of a sudden? Why wasn't she this fastidious in the store that afternoon?) I documented the ingredients so you know what to avoid--one of these ingredients is DEADLY POISON!

Finally, we ran out of hot dog buns mid-meal. My kids insisted on buns when they usually refuse them, so we had four more hot dogs cooking and no accompanying buns. Since we live within spitting distance of an Aldi (if said spitter is Keith Hernandez), I ran over there for another package.

At Aldi (please notice, various ward members, the lack of an apostrophe and an S in the store's name, thank you), I had one package of hot dog buns, in line between two enormous people pushing carts overflowing with food. (I've said before I know it makes no sense, but when I see a morbidly obese person buying food, I think, "Haven't you already had enough?") Both of these people looked back at me and both had expressions which seemed to say, "Why are you buying only one item?" Neither offered to let me move ahead. My "run right over and run right back" trip was three times longer than it needed to be.

Now I have two and a half more pounds of potato salad to get through. I'm not normally one to condone wasting food, but I don't want to eat it and I don't feel right about giving this food away. I would feel horrible giving this to a homeless shelter and making those sorry people deal with it. I imagine an Oliver Twist-like lad taking a bite before looking at me with giant eyes welling over in tears and asking, "What have I ever done to you?"

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Wife Nominates Me For Father of the Year

Last night I noticed Super-Hot 111's nose wiggled when she talked. (This might have happened late at night, shortly before she tried to convince me that "Jerome" was spelled J-E-R-M-O-M-E.) Then she wanted me to talk for her to see if my nose did the same thing. She said, "Just talk normal, like you're yelling at a kid."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Celebrity Death Conspiracy

I'm reading a book with a confusing title*. In it I read:

"Was I murdered or anything?" he asked in a dreamy fashion. "Ghosts often come back if they've been killed or something--at least, Patrick Swayze did." p.111

I thought, "Is Jasper Fforde insinuating that Patrick Swayze was murdered?" Then I remembered the movie Ghost. Or maybe that's just what Jasper wants me to think he was talking about.

* = Half of people will call this book First Among Sequels, which is what it's called on Jasper Fforde's website, while half will call it Thursday Next, which is what appears on the spine and huge on the cover. The Library of Congress information on the title page says the title is Thursday Next in First Among Sequels, so that's what I call it, knowing that everyone will say I'm wrong. Don't argue with the LoC, bitches.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Truncated Headlines Are ...

Many times throughout the day I say to Super-Hot 111, "I saw a headline today that said..." before talking about some news item. I don't click on most news stories because they rarely are worth the click. Just having a general knowledge of the event is enough for me.

I can fill in the rest based on my knowledge of journalism: a real-life person--selected to seem just like the average reader--has a problem, some expert from a known-but-not-too-well-known university weighs in to make the situation appear serious, a government agency is credited with not acting fast enough, the agency's spokeshole counters that claim, "some say" the agency is covering, and the reporter wrings her hands over the prospect that nothing will be done. All that's left to do is yell out, "Copy!"

Because media outlets are so broke and busted, they have taken to giving stories headlines that DON'T tell you the whole idea. In the meeting where the bosses approved this, they foresaw a flurry of clicking by readers who say to themselves, "I have to know the rest of that headline!"

Maybe that's happening somewhere else, but in my family all we do now is speculate about what could complete the sentence. It's like a topical game of Mad-Libs.

For instance, yesterday I saw a headline that began, "Woman With World's Largest Breasts Fighting For Her..." and I came up with these possibilities, in this order:

  1. ...Right to Party
  2. ...Life
  3. ...Privacy

I still haven't clicked through to see which is correct yet. That way I can always believe it's Number 1, and that makes my world a little bit of a happier place to live in.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Anticipated Math Analysis

How many of you have this clock?

To some of my relatives, the fact that I enjoy watching The Simpsons is a requirement that every birthday and Christmas gift they give me be Simpsons-related. Thus I own the clock (and I have a much longer story about the Homer Simpson slippers I was once given, but nobody cares (more than usual) about that).

Lately I cannot look at this clock without wondering, "At what times exactly are his pupils looking directly at the doughnut?" Then I realize I have a lot of other things I should be doing, so I try to ignore it, but it has gotten to the point that looking at the clock doesn't tell me the time because I'm so distracted with thoughts of how I would find the answer. So I expect to work it out soon, and once I do, you can be sure I'll share it here, thereby bolstering my blog's position as your one-stop clearinghouse for all your useless information needs.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Too "Blue" For My Wife's Blog

My wife went to see whatever the new Stephenie Meyer movie is called. Later that evening we had the following conversation.

A RANDOM STRANGER: I thought you'd be all horny because you just spend two hours getting all turned on by, "Oh, I want to do it so bad even though we can't. Oh, I want to see your sparkly wiener."

SUPER-HOT 111: I wish I could put that on my blog.

Friday, July 09, 2010

FIFA Can't Recognize Fair Play When They See It

What is cheating? Is it Thierry Henry knowingly handling a ball twice before eliminating Ireland? Is it Manuel Neuer knowingly playing on after a goal to "fool" the referee? Or is it Luis Suarez knowingly playing by the rules and accepting the consequences of his actions?

If you're FIFA, it's only the third one. Henry's cheating didn't prompt FIFA to change the rule they said bound them to send France to the tournament instead of Ireland. Neuer's cheating didn't prompt FIFA to change the rule that blocks video replay or goal-line technology. But Suarez's fair play is prompting FIFA to change the rule that gave Ghana a penalty kick on the last play of the game.

Anyone bemoaning the fate of Ghana is shamelessly arguing in support of an outcome. Instead of playing the game by the rules (which Suarez did), they think the rules should be changed to produce the "right" outcome.

Suarez didn't eliminate Ghana. Not even Asamoah Gyan did. If anything, Ghana was eliminated by Mensah and Adiyiah's lackluster penalty kicks that allowed the Uruguayan goalkeeper to make easy saves.

It seems to me that, had this fate befallen a European or South American team, there would be no uproar. FIFA wanted the storyline of the "home" Cinderella squad (distance from Ghana to South Africa: 3,000 miles) making the quarterfinals in Africa, and instead they are faced with resurgent Afrikaner pride as Holland makes the final. Maybe not what they were going for. Next time they will be prepared, with a new rule that will allow them to give goals to whichever team deserves them, instead of seeing who can actually score.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Wily Foreigners

I've railed before about foreign-character comments, and how I'm not about to approve them for publication. Today these porn-hocking Asians have stepped up their efforts by leaving an English-language comment. Crafty, but I still managed to stop it from going through.

Previously I've instructed not to leave foreign-character comments on my English-language blog. Maybe I should expand that instruction to include a prohibition on any long ellipsis link to adult websites. (Besides, a true ellipsis is only three dots long, with the option of then ending the sentence with a period.)

Sunday, July 04, 2010

"My Brain Is Working Overtime"

At least PART of me is working. The rest of me has been busy not blogging because it's been busy trying to find a job.

But that doesn't mean I don't have a lot to say. Upcoming posts shall include:

  • Review of pancakes with bacon in them
  • World Cup cheating and why Uruguay isn't guilty of it
  • My invented recipe for a wonderful frosty beverage
  • Physical therapy for seeming stroke victims

In addition, I have to write a quarterly book review update over at my other blog. Yes, I know how much you're laughing at me when I write the words "my other blog."

Post title shamelessly stolen from Rivers Cuomo.