The ‘Dash Dictionary

Okay, I know this is already available on my website, but I recently re-read it and it had me laughing out loud a few times. Enjoy.

 

abbozzo: any pasta made entirely from abstract materials such as anecdotes or victory (Corey)

abigus: not quite French (Will)

able-whackets: to be so skilled at cricket that you can almost explain the rules to someone else (Jay Lawton)

acouchy: that feeling you get when you pet your cat so much that you bore through to its muscle layer (Bryan)

acronyx: a numbering system that used letters, but in 1728, the year spelled out “dickhead” so it was never used again (Derek)

agama: from the Latin word meaning “truth”, it’s a sandwich (Derek)

anatta: a South African American bald eagle found only in Iceland native to Australia (Mitch)

annicut: to cheat on your taxes by copying off the guy next to you (Derek)

antiambulo: fuzzy lap flounder (Bryan)

apodixis: a pack of Bruce Willis (Will)

bafalo: to follow your shadow as far as the forest, where he totally loses you (Derek)

baldachin: a yiddle itty bitty cute ‘n’ fuzzy widdle omnipotent being (Stephanie)

baleen: to purposely spell a wrong word in a spelling bee so that it spells a dirty word (e.g. “country … D-I-C-K … country”) (Corey)

banxring: to freeze your toes just in case you stub your toe. That way, the toe breaks clean off instead of that annoying 2 seconds of uncomfortableness (Mitch)

barbone: to throw one’s penis so the woman doesn’t know where that orgasm is coming from (Derek)
barmbrak : super-sleuth Don Knotts and his dancing troupe the Frayed Knotts (Scott)

barney: the unthinkable type of sock that has no place for the foot to enter (Caroline)

baroxyton: when bears ravage your car by siphoning your gas for their RV (Jay Lawton)

bathycolpian: the term given to people rather than borrowed or stolen (Kevin)

bechic : to attract attention to one’s stoma by installing a full-size ceiling fan in it (Bryan)

beek: what James VanDerBeek’s agent made him change the last syllable of his name to. His real name is James Vandercutlet (Bryan)

begigged: compared to peas (Will)

bezoar : the T.V. made with glare built in so there is no annoying glare from the lights (Caroline)

bildad: the reverse effect of an amoeba but with humans where all people fuse together into one (Chris)

billycock: the medieval phrase, “too much plague, not enough dancing” (Corey)

bingy: a tiny maneuverable vessel used in war and found in the birth canal (Kevin)

bobabza (1): a mine rich in ore, similar to Bonanza, a show rich in horses (Aaron)

bobabza (2): a pole commonly used to fake children into thinking they are being rescued from the well.  You wave the stick, kids gets optimistic, we all have a good laugh (Eric R)

bollard: an ancient Egyptian game where the man holding stick tries to squiggly lines (Derek)

bonamano: the annoying canyon between me and the other canyon (Bryan)

boodin: the insistence on using chopsticks to play Chopsticks, arguing that ‘that’s how he would have wanted it.’ Hey, it’s not as bad as when you insisted on eating kung-pow chicken in the piano (Bryan)

boondoggle: an assassin that kills his victims so slowly that his methods are often confused with natural causes (Will)

breastweed: a lizard’s tail, used to cure inflammation of the breast: “Hi, have we met? I’m a lizard” (Paul)

buccula: the non-working title of Scott Bakula’s best selling book on how to kill deer. It is now called, “Quantum Heap…of Deer” (Bryan)

bufagin: parallel lines in love…so tragic (Corey)

bummalo (1): the spot on your skin where your body tries to escape (Caroline)

bummalo (2): someone who has made it their life-long goal to be the universal “THAT guy” (Alisha)

capernoited: slightly tipsy, not drunk, but tipsy enough to get your head stuck in a Trapper Keeper (Stacey)

carwitchet: the French word for “croissant” (Corey)

cenobite : to knock over a volcano (Derek)

clarigate: that one spelunker who insists on having a strobe light on his helmet because, “Hey, life’s a party” (Corey)

cleek: Milton Bradley’s classic board game “Cleek” where the objective is to hurt people with the pieces. Roll for bruises! (Jay Lawton)

coire: one who courts a young lady by licking her shoulder to the rhythm of any Beastie Boys tune (Jaime)

conspectable: an adjective that comes before a noun, only to leave a slick trail of oil behind it, so that the noun slips and hurtles headlong into the already nervous preposition, ruining the whole predicate dance (Bryan)

crannog: being 10 paces or less from a colander (Will)

craquelure: a store in which to buy new bags of rusty nails for the playpen (Aaron)

crottels: funeral game where the family of the deceased has three chances to place the body in the grave using a cannon (Corey)

dandypratt: the flamboyant wrestler that, for some reason, everybody wants to wrestle (Ron)

deambulacrum: the ability to suck God through a straw (Mitch)

degrugger (1): is when sunlight becomes semi-hard and everyone ends up spending the day getting hit in the head and staggering around (Cyrus)

degrugger (2): a large bi-pedal arachnid completely laughing in the face of Mother Nature (Aaron)

deipnophobia: the fear of nocturnal emissions becoming as strong as solar emissions (Derek)

dithyramb: rock hard nips used to dial old rotary phones (Scott)

doddard: an elusive word that hides in small puddles though “regal”, who is It right now, is searching through the dictionary (Kevin)

drapetomania: the scientific term for “the scientific term for” (Mitch)

dronkship: to attend a funeral dressed only in cub scouts (Derek)

drupe (1): a person whose stomach does not work, but luckily has epilepsy and can use a strobe light to digest (Corey)

drupe (2): that sinking feeling you get when your boat goes down (Aaron)

dudolo : someone so bad at digging that they cause injury to others (Will)

duffing: while passing a car with a ski rack, testing the water resistance of your watch (Aaron)

dupion: the feeling of dread you get just before the Dating Game comes on…and usually after…and during (Will)

elflock: the popular never released ending for (Kevin)

ennead: to legally change your name to the entire contents of the Bible just so you can give people Bibles instead of having to sign autographs (Derek)

eroteme: the European A-Team with Prime Minister Strom Thurmon as B.A. Baracus. “I pity the foo who don’t eat tea and crumpets!!” (Jay Lawton)

euneirophrenia: to sit quietly with reckless abandon (Cyrus)

facula: to throw your arms into the air in celebration then run before they fall on you (Aaron)

faulx (1): a cross between a single use copier and an earthquake fault line (Cyrus)

faulx (2): the confused look you give when you discover you can put your hand into your stomach so far it pops out your back without drawing blood (Mitch)

feaze: the small metal object placed in 5% of all children at birth so they set off airport metal detectors for apparently no reason (Scott)

fenugreek: salad greens grown to taunt the starving kids (Jason Wahler)

fewterer: the misguided pistol prototype that had no barrel (Matt S)

fewterer: really fewter (Lynly)

fitzhugh: the lowest octane gasoline at the Lukoil station.  So low that it can only be used for Hot Wheels (Aaron)

fleam: the world’s largest steam-powered monk (Bryan and Mitch)

fleer: it’s one of those new slang words like “dope”, “phat”, and “fly”, but in reality, it means “rabies”. Example: “Yo man, I gots fleer” (Jay Lawton)

flews: the tears in the neck caused by eating shards of glass (Kevin)

flicer: a special breed of goldfish that likes to be skipped across lakes just like those flat pebbles (Eric B)

foiter : (said in a French accent) “when stupid Americans pronounce fotiay wrong” (Aaron)

footle: a Canadian sport that closely resembles the murder mystery episode of The Facts of Life (Will)

fossick: monetary unit used by the dinosaurs…economy collapsed due to lack of pockets (Scott)

foulcher: the best part of waking up is a foulcher in your bed.  The worst part is explaining this to the foulcher’s parents (Stephanie)

frantling: the capital of the eyebrow (Dan)

furbam: the noise an exploding bunny makes (Susan)

furbelows: the first level of Boy Scout, which you graduate from after nabbing your first Brownie (Aaron)

gallinipper: the most homeless person (Caroline)

ganosis: a small species of beaver that invades homes and pretends to be an ottoman. If you put your feet on it, you will find it to be quite comfy (Cyrus)

gavelock: when you crush a Quaker with your mind (Dierdre)

geropigia: a convicted outdoor-fountain thief (Derek)

glair: the 5th Golden Girl, who’s gimmick was being offensive and getting looks; removed from the show after the pilot episode for her famous comments, “Hitler was a brilliant man who never did anything wrong in his lifetime.” (Aaron)

goolos: the reject Cherrios cereal. “These Goolos taste just like Grandpa!” (Jason Waller)

gradine : the single exact difference between TV show character George Kastanza and the Easter Bunny (Kevin)

gremial: a collection of knife wounds.  Trade conventions are rather rare (Kevin)

gulgul : the time of day best suited for a crusade (Derek)

gunkhole: the elementary school teacher’s vocabulary word for children who bring in crap for show & tell (Erika)

hackmatach: the love-making technique of Gene Hackman (Rachel)

hectocotylus: the inevitable evolution of stethoscopes into barley (Mitch)

hector: a plant eating man native to Earth (Mitch)

hidrotic: a dance technique in a ninja strip club that involves turning off all the lights and leaving quietly (Cyrus)

hippogriff : the Hieroglyphic on a pyramid that means ‘pull in case of fire’ (Kevin)

hirple: the one thing science has proven that actually does amount to a hill of beans (Aaron)

hodiernal: the slide at the waterpark where one out of six people lose their soul (Mitch)

hoker: to ridicule someone to the point of eczema (Will)

homobrant: not-so-common garden tool used for nothing of importance (Aaron)

hypoprosexia: a testicular disorder found in women of the opposite sex (Dierdre)

janker : pirate talk for tea-time (Kevin)

jeofail: a mistake made by a lawyer – the mistake was that he’s actually not a lawyer at all, he’s a dentist (Mitch)

jequirity: the staunch belief that priests are sweaters (Bryan)

ka-ka (1): a piece of pound cake that travels over to the other side because it really wants to be a wedding cake (Rachel)

ka-ka (2): the sheepish grin you give the judge after he finds out that Exhibit B is a pile of bloody babies (Derek)

kalanchoe (1): the new elephant recruited by the Knicks under the philosophy that all good basketball players are from Africa (Corey)

kalanchoe (2): a chandelier made with little suns with tiny universes orbiting them (Mitch)

kantharos: the unpopular Greek guy who always got stuck taking pictures of everyone else (Derek)

keddah: a roller coaster where the people in the first car are responsible for keeping it on the track (Corey)

kennebunker: in World War I, a fort made out of the wounded soldiers named Earl who were supposed to be sent home (Aaron)

kerpucket: to ignore someone politely (note: the actual word for the round was ‘murginger’) (Kevin)

kickshaw: brand of fish that swims downstream, eats bugs, lays eggs-hell, it’s just a regular fish but it’s got a damn good marketing department (Stephanie)

kilhig: to blog in Russian even if you don’t know Russian (example: Ravolshnik ptolmelk en varshnik Christopher Lloyd!  Ha ha!  Vodka!) (Bryan)

killick: the very very slow sound made by a very very slow revolver as it is very very slowly cocked. k i l l i c … k (Stephanie)

kinnikinnik: an old Cherokee tribal game. The rules are simple: a bunch of Cherokee sit in a circle, and close their eyes. The first one to develop a sense of ownership wins. Everyone else gets their land taken away, their children sold and their pride destroyed (Bryan)

kipsey: an envelope filled with “the shakes” (Caroline)

kloof: cliff extensions (Kevin)

knurlin (1): a priest collar that slaps on like one of those early 90’s slap bracelets (Bryan)

knurlin (2): little tiny throat deer (Mitch)

kokopolo: a tropical disease so common that you’re not allowed into South America without it (Derek)

kolacky: to raise your hand in class, and when your teacher calls on you, making sure their attention is on your hand, slowly and methodically lower it (Bryan)

lanugo: the calculated unit of time between the beginning of a Bill Cosby impersonation and the point where the impersonator makes a Jello Pudding reference (Will)

latrobe: the last effort of an ailing country to stay underwater for just a few more seconds (Bryan)

liebig (1): nationality-changing paintballs. “Haha, you’re Croatian!” (Mitch)

liebig (2): the “Devil Went Down to Georgia” action figure set (Corey)

logie: the first word to mean ‘logic’, but it didn’t make sense, so they changed it (Mark)

loppet: to stumble, while walking or running, into a vat of ill-tempered wolverines with ADD, so they forget to hurt you and you can just swim through (Bryan)

lusk : a Mormon fish tickler (Derek)

macadoub: a prosthetic soul (Mitch)

madefy: to replace your head with a mirror just so you are infinite when you look into a mirror (Derek)

maffle: the term for when you begin to sneeze, some random person comes up and covers your mouth and without wiping his hand, runs away (Cyrus)

makebate: what bait-makers do when they’re not denouncing ballet and promoting tap (Bryan)

manit: a pause in hand-to-hand combat because one of the combatants has an itch “down there” (Jay Marshall)

manypleise: the disease that causes cows to have blotches instead of stripes. It is very common (Greg)

marlish: to continuously give blood in order to have more room for chili (Corey)

mawworm: an evasive wall (Derek)

mehari (1): a giant stone used to sort through large pieces of baby (Aaron)

mehari (2): spite filled balloons that, when popped, erase your entire family and family history right off the planet (Mitch)

menseful (1): a jail term . . . just a jail term (Ron)

menseful (2): a topographic error. ex: to have a mountain range in your rectum (Derek)

mercaptan (1): bringing a cadaver to take-your-daughter-to-work day (Will)

mercaptan (2): Underwater Breathing Self Apparatus Contained. UBSAC never caught on (Scott)

mizzy: the tabloid section of the stock report (Kevin)

musnud (1): a failed wrestler whose gimmick was that he did laundry. Musnud the Launderer (Aaron)

musnud (2): having the same characteristics as a flea market (Derek)

mustelid: when Bryan walks into a party and says “Wow, I musteleid ’em all by now” and leaves (Mitch)

natatorium: a museum that houses imaginary musical instruments, such as the euphorium, the chum drum, and the kickinthenutsaphone (Derek)

navicert: not a piece of toast; the whole toast (Derek)

nullanulla: kinda like a much much larger version of the Molotov Cocktail – using a crane, you take an already flaming building and drop it on the building you want to set on fire (Corey)

nurdle (1): smells like ovaries (Corey)

nurdle (2): a well-hung participle (Aaron)

ollapod: to velcro a bunny to your forehead because you like the way the fur makes your eyes water (Mitch)

omphaloskepsis: when you see a girl and it looks like her mascara is running and you ask, “Excuse me, have you been crying?” and she says “IT’S VOLCANIC ASH, YOU FUCKING JERK!” (Mitch)

oologist: one who looks for ways to make irony more apparent, for instance, turning smoke detectors into fire hazards by piling them in front of all exits (Corey)

orison: giving birth to a baby. . .(pause). . .orally (Jason Waller)

ouscutate: to suck on the Pope (I never said it was legal) (Will)

pannychous: to become a carpenter solely because you can vomit caulk (Mitch)

pawleekarpick: the slut of all fruit trees it bears fruit many times every night for a different farmer and has no self-respect for itself because of a daddy complex (Domo)

pesade : to carry around your baby like a football, occasionally passing it off to strangers to see if they’ll run with it or not (Derek)

petasus: a remote-control bush (Will)

philater: a device used to loosen up the clump of dead people in my cave…my cave of Dead People (Bryan)

pintle: the raised bumps in an infant’s forehead that complement the indentations on the golf ball that left them (Eric R)

pizzle: a trap that’s nearly impossible to get caught in because it involves being 6000 degrees at the time of capture (Derek)

pleach: a person who latches onto barnacles “to return the favor” (Aimee)

plimsoll: a fruit with radioactive pit and paralyzing spikes. It’s very difficult to eat, but as they say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you radioactive and paralyzed” (Eric R)

plumbago: a medical deficiency in bones; i.e. less than three (Derek)

plumbum (1): an alarm clock that only tells you when it’s not time to wake up (Corey)

plumbum (2): to find inner peace in your wife – no wait, that’s another dude (Derek)

ponzi (1): a reverse kamakazi pilot; he crashes his plane in such a way that it induces labor (Derek)

ponzi (2): to successfully shower before the porcupine gets REALLY jealous (Mitch)

poonac: a clever reversal of the failed McDonald’s promotion “Happy Can O’ Poop” to disguise the true contents of the meal (Dr. Fenkart)

poppism: p.o. – you smell; p.p. – tinkle; ism – in the fashion.  Ergo, poppism = you smell like trendy piss (Paul)

powsowdy: to reap the benefits of fascism in a monkey suit (Bryan)

princox: a succession of events that beings with an avalanche and ends with strawberry fritters (Derek)

prushun: what my Grandma used to call me after her untimely demise. Of course, I had to move her mouth and do the voice, but whatever, it’s her (Bryan)

punty: a rodent very similar to a doric column (Kevin)

ramfeezled: a word that when written in a circle brings about the rebirth of the League of Nations (Kevin)

rataplan: the side of your mother she doesn’t often show (Derek)

recto : the spot on the stomach of a baby that invariably makes them laugh when touched. Be careful! It’s one millimeter away from the spot that makes them crack in half (Derek)

rosmarine: an ancient berry used to calm deer who are trying to come to terms with his or her homosexuality (Jaime)

sapit: it was a dark and stormy night…the pants were eating their dinner and I was enjoying the Jets game. Now you know this isn’t real…no one enjoys a Jets game (Aaron)

sardoodledum: stepping on a pair of glasses while your sister is still wearing them (Dierdre)

scandaroon: to pull a fast one on Richard Nixon (Alisha)

scarpology: humping for points (Bryan)

scarrow (1): when, for the sake of variation, the priest stops breaking bread and starts breaking bones (Derek)

scarrow (2): a short stroll along a timeline (Alisha)

schnecke (1): exhibitionist snakes who actually track down those Discovery Channel people in order to have sex on cable TV (Borch)

schnecke (2): a pet name you give to one you think you love, but in actuality, you’re just using them for their burning tire-yard (Eric R)

sclaff: the part of the body (Derek)

scotoma: a skateboard move resulting in change of gender, cross-dressing, or the desire to drink milk with businessmen (Jaime)

scrobiculate (1): to fill a coffin with a dead body instead of honey (Corey)

scrobiculate (2): the term referring to the first time testicular cancer was misdiagnosed as ‘testicular dancer’ (Bryan)

scroot: a raft made for stealing (Kevin)

scumble: a technical term for pole-vaulting when the pole vaulter runs in the wrong direction and leaps into the stands (Cyrus)

scuppernong: a time of day in Switzerland where everyone goes home to use the toaster (Aaron)

scurfer : association based on negatives as in: if everything then [end universe here] (Kevin)

seckel : anyone who thinks they are involved in the Battle of Hastings whenever they attend parties (Will)

sermunckle: the situation in a baseball game wherein a baserunner gets a line drive lodged in his face, then in his agony runs into the outfield and over the wall, resulting in a homerun (Bryan)

shebo: the use of feng shui as a form of combat (Corey)

shilpit: an adopted child just after they found out their real dad was hung in the Nuremberg Trial (Kevin)

shoon (1): a small clay tool used to push bits of anti-matter under the carpet (Stephanie)

shoon (2): when shadows fall in love (Caroline)

sinopis: when explaining a story, to make it much longer and more boring than the original. See Will Hickey (Derek)

sirretch: to contend that the only one who can eat a Reese’s the wrong way is Catherine Hepburn (Bryan)

skeg: the diseased portion of Romper Room (Bryan)

skerfer: to have a wonderful name but mysteriously lack initials (Bryan)

skimmington: a talking stuffed bear that never made it on the market due to the fact that young British children couldn’t give two shits about yard work (Corey)

sklodowskite: the active ingredient in sin (Bryan)

slobgollion: to remove a tooth using a pea with the gravitational pull of a black hole (Mitch)

sloom: a Egyptian carpet which jealously lusts after the Oriental carpet’s husband, Charles (Kevin)

slumboes: a daring acrobatic move that creates a rift in time, sending 10,000 angry Norsemen right into the fray of some poor little girl’s dismount (Derek)

smeddum: the pasty substance left on the treads of the monster truck after it makes it all the way through the day-care center (Derek)

sniggle: to catch eels by throwing bait into their hiding place and watching as they jump into your bucket to express their thanks (Corey)

snollygoster: a mythological beast who served a brief stint as the secretary of state until they stopped telling stories about him (Aaron)

snook: a new take on an old children’s game, also called “Duck Duck Rape” (Mitch)

sord : to compete biologically (Dierdre)

spanghew: to be religiously excommunicated for thinking that Mount St. Helens is not a volcano, but an order from God (Bryan)

spatang: the sound oranges would make when simulating a shoot-out, if oranges were allowed to own guns (Corey)

spatilomancy: a form of modern dance no longer used because of the great percentage who caught fire (Derek)

sphairistike: a roller coaster with no restraints, no seats, no remorse. It stops at the peak of a loop, allowing all passengers to spill to the ground, then seconds later, the train comes crashing down upon them to finally silence their terrified screams (Bryan)

splacknuck: Polish cousin of the renowned satellite, Splacknuck successfully orbited the Harrington Park traffic circle three times before plummeting into the Hudson River, where it dissolved (Stephanie)

spoffler: a woman who could suck the chrome off a doorknob, and often does; from the German spoeffel, one who dislikes shiny objects (Stephanie)

squatinid (1): unusually small receptacle used to hold N’Sync’s talent (Stephanie)

squatinid (2): a frustration specific only to finding out you have no ankles although you clearly remember them being there yesterday (Jeff)

squitters: an intern that never does anything right (i.e. – “Squitters, when I say donuts, I mean DONUTS!”) (Will)

stanhope: when the day of reckoning becomes so commonplace that it comes after the sports in the newscast (Derek)

stickamstam: when the doctor accidentally removes your skull but not the head so your face kinda flops about. Then he says, “Oooooh, Shrinkidinks!” (Mitch)

tankle (1): to have all the blood flow to your extremities cut off by militant white blood cells (Aaron)

tankle (2): to sanctify victims of crib deaths by racing the cribs down the street and over the bodies (Jay M)

tapetum: where nuns go to knit new priests. Also, a type of kelp useful in training said nuns to knit (Mike F.)

taphophilia: a strong affinity for funerals that involve the throwing of a bouquet to determine who gets to die next (Corey)

taplash (1): a moat filled not with water but with castles (Aaron and Derek)

taplash (2): a portrait created with perishable materials so you can watch the person rot away over the years (Corey)

tappen: dance-based accounting system where a soft-shoe scuff represents ones, a left-right ball change represents tens, and so on (Stephanie)

tappoon: like a harpoon, but used to gain one’s attention, not so much kill them (Keith)

tektite: an infant holster (Bryan)

teledu: a moon of Saturn which, in a bold act of rebellion, gave up glowing and became a voice-over artist (Derek)

teleran: when your shadow complains because you’re always in the way of it getting a tan (Bryan)

tench (1): the tree grown from “Roots” the miniseries (Paul)

tench (2): the plural of ten (Caroline)

thenar: the 17th second before an explosion. Every second before an explosion has its own individual word; drives physicists crazy (Eric R)

thesicle: a replacement testicle full of angry, angry sperm without remorse, and they attack the egg with reckless abandon, those sperm, leaving only wanton destruction in their wake (Bryan)

thob: to pattern one’s pants like the Israeli flag and make pilgrimages to yourself (Bryan)

tiffing: a verb meaning to car (Kevin)

tilbury: the ghetto name for Pillsbury products. The Tilbury dough boy carries a gun and a crack pipe (Stacey)

topepo: a eucalyptus tree with retracting ten inch spikes which it uses to play nasty pranks on unsuspecting koalas (Corey)

tragomasehalia: the farthest a skydiver can fall before changing his mind and getting back on the plane (Derek)

tragopan: the addition of the mythical Satyr to the Power Rangers team. “Tragopan: flute attack!” (Jason Waller)

trork: to re-enact famous and decisive naval battles in your bathtub using actual sea-craft (Derek)

tucket: the long part of a wheel (Aaron)

tweeny: a really small yarmulke for a really small Jew (Susan)

vaccary : I still believe in the Easter Bunny (Borch)

verbigeration: recycling ugly people into productive members of our night shifts (Erika)

vinegaroon: started as a joke between a priest and Tattoo from Fantasy Island, it was a short Mexican citrus Jesus (Bryan)

vuggs: a venereal disease that is quite pleasant, actually (Derek)

wanion: the realization that menstruation is actually bad luck due to the waning of the moon (Cyrus)

weedmonkey: def: not applicable (Keith)

witzelsucht: alternate lyrics to the George Thorogood classic, “One bourbon, one scotch, one witzelsucht.” (Will)

woopnacker: a phenomenally moving and emotional eulogy (just approach a priest at the end of a funeral, hold out your hand, and tell him, “Nice woopnacker, Father”) (Will)

wungee (1): the man who holds the world record for stuffing Indians down his pants (Derek)

wungee (2): when your bungee cord snaps and you are no longer pulling wungee, it’s more like 6-7 G’s (Mitch)

xerotic (1): the really bad porn that nobody ever rents and they wind up putting it in the kids section (Ron)

xerotic (2): the feeling that you owe it all to maple syrup (Will)

xystus: the new Sega video game system so real, you just pay $600 at the counter, then walk around the real world remarking how good and realistic the graphics are (Bryan)

zaffer: tiny people that pan your hair for gold (Dierdre)
zobo: the little boy on the pogo stick jumping to keep his fingers (Aaron)

zoster : to excrete nuns (Stephanie)

March 22, 1903: the River Styx first opens its ferry service to the damned (Kevin)

November 4, 1914: this date used to be an important date in history until it was discovered that it wrote its own Wikipedia entry (Corey)

November 4, 1914: the opening of the first movie with sound.  Oddly, people weren’t surprised by the talking, but by the fact that the movie was Pootie Tang (Jay Lawton)

May 7, 1914: in an attempt to gain momentum in his candidacy for ‘Most Hated German of the 20th Century’, Kaiser Wilhelm buys a full-page ad in the newspaper to put a picture of him molesting a child wrapped in the German flag (Aaron)

September 1, 1914: the passenger pigeon became extinct in a tragic rush hour 6 million bird pile-up (Aimee)

March 7, 1917: day 9 of the Welsh protest against glee (Eric R)

January 26, 1925: Erwin Phipps announces that he’s invented the female orgasm.  Under further scrutiny, he admitted it was just an upside-down pie tin and a bit of string (Stephanie)

January 26, 1925: an alchemist discovers a cure for cancer, but then remembers he’s an asshole (Sara)

April 9, 1928: after a terrible and bloody feud with February 21 1928, April 9th was dubbed Sir April 9th, 1928 (Kevin)

October 28, 1929: the day the Great Anticipation gave way to Feelings of Inadequacy (Paul)

August 1, 1932: the “short bus” is born, thus ending the tradition of dragging retarded kids through the streets, attached by fishing line to a VW Bug to get them to school (Will)

August 1, 1932: the parachute was improved on by attaching strings to the chute (Corey)

July 28, 1933: Nintendo launches their popular depression-series card battle game.  Featuring Scruffy Hobo the Stockbroker and Jiggly-Child Molester Puff Man (Jeff D)

March 3, 1939: “Sprite” was invented, although due to an error in production, it was called “Spite” and it was filled with kerosene (Derek)

January 19, 1946: failing to admit to losing the war, Germany decides to invade themselves, to make them feel better (Aaron)

July 31, 1948: Pontius Pilate realizes the irony of the whole situation (Derek)

July 13, 1954: the day the Earth stopped rotating for 12 seconds, causing the single largest immigration (Aaron)

June 18, 1958: Darwinian evolution comes to a halt and starts to go funky when creatures start adapting features that will kill them off quicker: eagles evolve lead-weight talons, spiders lose all eight legs and their torso…etc (Derek)

November 3, 1957: the day some uppity chick got smacked around too much and thought, ‘Hey, feminism would be good about now’ (Susan)

November 3, 1957: the day the music was diagnosed with cervical cancer (Derek)

June 18, 1958: Darwinian evolution comes to a halt and starts to go funky when creatures start adapting features that will kill them off quicker: eagles evolve lead-weight talons, spiders lose all eight legs and their torso… etc (Derek)

August 16. 1958: the first date in history whose numeric date is an oxymoron (Eric R)

August 16, 1958: the day the goldfish was implemented (Caroline)

August 16, 1962: the date of the failed attempt at the Kennedy Assassination…the CIA greatly overestimated the toxicity of Marilyn Monroe (Joe Time)

February 22, 1963: the day the phrase “to be continued…” (Aimee)

March 29, 1971: we all decided to get totally drunk. We drunk punch which was spiked with mouthwash…which was spiked with rum…which was spiked with TERROR! (Eric R)

March 25, 1975: Hans von Munchen Bussler, 32nd in line to be King of Saudi Arabia, is killed by his nephew.  Oddly, this actually knocks Bussler up to No. 5 in succession (Angela)

February 10, 1987: the last date to be conquered by February 5th in forming the President’s Day empire (Corey)

April 23, 1988: the day that refuses to bare its midriff of 5’s, 6’s and 7’s (Emily)

June 28, 1988: on this date, an unholy alliance was formed between Gerber Foods and Smith and Wesson. “Look Sweetie, here comes the airplane…BANG!” (Bryan)

July 31, 1988: Egypt thought they entered the space race by successfully launching a bottle rocket in the air. They were told mid-August they were wrong (Aaron)

Anton Van Leeuwenhoek: inventor of the microscope and centrifuge. Sometimes he gets really drunk and tries to find out how dizzy he can make an organism get (Mitch)

Arnold Fornichou: the first person to put an ailing pet to sleep, though his method of unceremoniously lobbing them into a pork shanker was quickly replaced (Bryan)

Betty and Richard James: the infamous lovebirds that in 1956 stole all the ink from every pen between Florida and Rhode Island in order to create the Indian Ocean (Kevin)

Carmelina Fedele: kickstarted the 80’s – in 80 A.D. she sported legwarmers and anti-Semitism (Derek)

Arnold Fornichou: failed entrepreneur – established Forna-Caterers food service (Paul)

Debbie Horn: the woman who swallowed a genie lamp so her stomach could have three wishes (Mitch)

Edward Teach: got thrown out of 6th grade for calling Ms. Stonehouse a “half-baked loaf of bitch” (Bryan)

Erasmus Bond: also known as secret double agent James Bond, had to change his name when he joined the union. There was already an Erasmus (Paul)

Frieda Carter: the first woman not to play jazz-bass (Eric R)

Frieda Carter: the person people are really talking to when they think they’re talking to themselves (Kate K)

George Blaisdell: invented the Zippo lighter that, once lit, never goes out until a forest disappears (Caroline)

George Dawes: the first man to replace his large intestine with a “Biggie Size” intestine (Corey)

Harold Fulp: the first man to donate his toes for the sake of goodness: “For goodness sake take my toes” (Caroline)

Hippolyte M. Mouries: the Greek God of Rome (Paul)

Jesse Reno: the first person to screw up a filibuster when she ran out of synonyms for “fuckbucket” (Derek)

Joel Cheek: ate his wife just to shut her up (Derek)

Joseph Montegu: born in the Medieval Ages, Mr. Montegu was the first worker who went “postal.” Back then, they call it “going parchment beating” (Cyrus)

Joseph Montegu: invented the steam powered kettle (Corey)

Professor Leo Kongee: devised a maze for mice where every dead end had a hunk of cheese, and the exit brings you back to the start. The study was to see how fat you could get a mouse (Bryan)

Professor Leo Kongee: a Nintendo classic where, instead of jumping over barrels, you teach physics to kids in Poughkeepsie (Will)

Ralph Wedgewood: his pickup line was: What’s the difference between Wedgewood and peanut butter?  I can’t peanut butter my dick up your ass (Sara)

Rant Mullens: fused a shoehorn to his inner ear canal to measure just how long he thought in shoe (Mitch)

Robert B. Thomas: taste-tester extrordinaire – he had the power to tell when you will die by licking your earlobe… inserting the poison (Aaron)

Robert B. Thomas: accidentally stoned in 1975 when a bunch of stone-skipping kids mistook him for a lake (Corey)

Sarah Winchester: New England housewife who created a delicious new cookie made of the flesh of a prowler she’d caught breaking into her home.  The intruder was later substituted by chocolate pieces and the Tollhouse cookie was born (Stephanie)

Sarah Winchester: lived near Niagara Falls and pretended to be a barrel so she could feel a man inside her eventually (Derek)

Tannakin Skinker: the guy who hated the inventor of the crock pot a really really lot (Jess W)

3 Nuts In Search of a Bolt: a small boy named Phillip gets trapped up to his waist in cement at age 7. The neighborhood kids all line up and kick him in the head in this 2 hour documentary (Mitch)

A Lady Takes a Chance : a young woman’s love for her boyfriend is tested as he is put under a large cup and is shuffled around with other large cups – she can only marry him if she selects him (Derek)

Assignment Terror: an openly black man scares the bejesus out of a closet KKK member (Derek)

Do You Like Women?: a man in a suit behind a desk appears and asks, “Do you like women?” He then stares at you unnervingly, impatiently waiting for an answer for two hours. For the last five minutes of the film, he is clearing his throat (Bryan)

How Sweet It Is: a chocolateur makes a fortune by replacing the chocolate Easter bunny with the chocolate Easter Judas (Corey)

I Hate Blondes: it wasn’t actually a movie as it was a plan concocted by a man who loved blondes.  He figured the movie title would lure brunettes to the theatre where he’d proceed to gas them (Corey)

I’m Dangerous Tonight: in a world without multi-celled organisms, only one paramecium has the guts to take it to the man.  Rated R for violence, mitotic division, and unlanguage (Kevin)

Incredible Melting Man: a poignant look at a man who can only exist at absolute zero. Running time: .06 seconds (Derek)

Kansas City Bomber: “In a world without hope, one man had the courage to stand tall. One man who had a dream to fight for freedom through the perils of war. One man to save us all. That makes three men. All doing the same friggin’ thing. For our country.” (Bryan)

Little Cigars: 50 minutes of romantic-comedy set in a pickling plant; single mother finds love with nosey janitor. Concluding 55 minutes of Asian-American women screaming (Eric R)

New Pastures: two childhood friends meet up again to fight over the ashes of the kid they accidentally killed in second grade (Aaron)

Only One Night: you’ve always heard the New York Times rave about movies…now a film that raves about the New York Times (Will)

Operation Bullshine: Hey kids!  Let’s learn alternative ways to cuss!  Spoiler alert: they fuckin’ fail the mission (Sara)

Seed People: the period film of the harvesters who planted seeds in the dirt. Problem is, they grew dirt, so they were often overlooked (Bryan)

Shack Out on 101: the story of a bum who convinced everybody the toll booth he took over was an actual residence (Susan)

Someone Behind the Door: a rich billionaire who watched his parents die as a child chooses to fight evil by hiding behind doors and opening them into people (Cyrus) Sssssss: World War II drama about the least creative, rug-tug German Naval ship, the fabled S.S.S.S.S.S.S. (Eric R)

That Sinking Feeling: confessions of a developer who built nursing homes on swamps and felt bad when he realized people do miss old people after all (Erika)

The Fabulous Joe: Stalin goes on ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ (Max)

The Girl Less Likely: 64,000 rapid shots of foliage culminating in the credits (Derek)

The Outing: frustrated girlfriend invents the opposite of baseball (Stephanie)

The Secret Life of Archie’s Wife: Edith Bunker’s true identity is revealed as a KGB mole, whose assignment was to steal government secrets from Archie, only to discover she was the butt of a cruel office joke (Susan)

The Tuttles of Tahiti: the first film where the subtitles are screamed by a hyperactive 2nd grader (Bryan)

 

The World Series (in picture form)

WORLD SERIES 2016

Game 1: Cleveland, OH

(Time to cue the intro from… well, I’ll just do it…)

If any of you bothered to watch that, you’d be as amused as me that the newspaper headlines are overdubbed in German.

I’m not going to go into great details, I already did that in THIS POST HERE. I will, however, share the pictures that accompanied my once-in-a-lifetime trip. (Full disclosure: I hope this isn’t once in a lifetime, but it’s certainly not gonna happen again next year, even if they make the series again. I’m broke as our electoral system.)

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On our way to Dennys before the game. Jay got a salad. I ordered the seasonal Thanksgiving dinner. This is the first proof that, in any picture we are both in, one of us is not capable of looking good.
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The one and only Jaymar posing before the field. The sign may say Progressive, but it’ll always be The Jake to me.
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Entering the stadium from center field. I agree with Jay, that does seem weird.
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A view from our seats. That is: a fish-eye view from our seats before I realized that my camera inexplicably has a fish-eye setting.
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A better view from our seats. And further proof that, like Highlander, there can be only one (that looks good in a picture of us both).
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We were close enough to see John Adams banging away on his drum. Well, to be more precise, my camera has a good enough zoom lens that… you get the point.
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The unfurling of the obligatory huge flag. “Gets me every time,” says Jaymar.
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Pre-game fireworks. SPOILER ALERT: more of that to come.
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The retiring of 455, the number of consecutive sellout games. In 3926, Sicnarf Loopstok the 95th will be very upset that he can’t pick his high school number of 455.
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First pitch. Like this was ACTUALLY the first pitch of the World Series.
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Frankie Lindor doing what he does best. Smiling. And stealing 2nd base. But mostly smiling. Why? Probably because he knew he was going to win a Gold Glove in his first full season in the majors! Booyah!
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I can’t believe I actually got this on film. It was the massive 30′ dinker that Ramirez hit that opened the scoring of the World series. Given that we were probably at least 250′ away, that makes this shot even luckier.
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I like Nap and love what he did for this team. The Party at Napoli shirts are awesome. That being said, this is what he did an awful lot of in his last two months at the plate. Steeeee-rike.
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Okay, I know this isn’t the at-bat where I famously called Brandon Guyer getting a HBP RBI on an 0-2 count. But screw that, on the very next pitch I PREDICTED HE WOULD GET HIT BY A PITCH TO SCORE A RUN!
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Remember what I said about our inability to both look good in the same picture?
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Napoli proving me wrong with some solid contact. Still an out, but solid contact. I do genuinely hope we can resign him next year. Just not at $17m.
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Mid-game fireworks, these coming after Roberto Perez’ first of TWO homers of the night. It was a career game.
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Proof that Perez can trot.
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The score after Perez’ dinger.
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Slider hugging Santa. Because baseball, that’s why. The Indians scored 3 more times this game, and I somehow attribute it to this action.
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Cody Allen throwing a white cylinder at the Cubs. He fared well this day. As did the Indians.
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Post-game fireworks: the trifecta.
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Post-game glee. Jay’s thumbs up was for the game, his grimace was for my photo-while-walking skills.
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Our glee evaporated when we waited on line for about an hour to go up the only escalator.

All in all, this was a day to remember. Major thanks again to Jaymar and to Ashley who made this happen! We didn’t win it all (came within one run) but it was an epic game and one of the all-time great World Series.

The Indians did steal one thing from the Cubs. We’re now the team who gets to say “There’s always next year.”

Post WS wrap-up

This blog will have no pictures because I have to get home, defrag, and upload some pictures, so that blog will hopefully roll out in the next few days. But until then, some notes on the WORLD SERIES:

  • Our seats were pretty amazing. Front row of the upper deck, halfway between 3rd base and the foul pole. Perfect view of the entire stadium and we got a firsthand look at Perez’ TWO home runs. Plus, with my extra-zoomy camera, I was able to snap pictures of individual players batting. I couldn’t have asked for better seats.
  • The weather – I was truly worried about 50 degrees with wind, but up until about the 8th inning it was downright pleasant. Somehow, even tho the temperature only dropped 2 degrees, it did get chilly at the end. But considering as I was walking into the airport today I saw SNOWFLAKES, I can’t really complain one iota about the weather. It was a perfect night for baseball.
  • Jaymar and I had a sort of contest to predict what the most random jersey we’d see would be. I thought maybe a Paul Byrd or Russell Branyan. I forget Jay’s prediction (it wasn’t Hershiser but it was someone like that). We saw someone rockin’ a Jensen Lewis jersey. That took the cake. Although I realize now we also saw a Joe Smith jersey, which is oddly apropros because he was part of the Bullpen Mafia in the Indians and is currently a member of the Cubs. Oh, and you should definitely click that link and watch that video from the so-bad-its-good vault.
  • The game itself was fantastic and was about as good a start as you could hope for. A dominant start by Kluber (6+ scoreless ball, breaking a record for most strikeouts in the first three innings – 8), scoreless relief from Miller, shutdown by Allen, and 10 hits (8 of which were by Lindor, Ramirez, and the newly crowned stud Perez). It was the sort of declarative statement I think we needed.
  • Speaking of which, the Indians were the definitive underdog in the Red Sox series, which we swept. We were the clear underdogs in Toronto before advancing after winning 4 and only losing one. Now we’re probably the biggest underdogs yet we shut down the  best offense in the majors and chipped away at their great staff. You really don’t hear about overdogs enough, but I like flying under the radar. I think it’s making teams too complacent. We’re sneaky good.
  • I put in more steps than I had in the previous week combined, and most of that was looking for a single place to get booze that wasn’t beer. I eventually found a place that served watered down screwdrivers (she was going to make it with GIN! ughhh) but it was just too much work to keep going back. Plus, it was fun being sober for the game – lots of screaming to be had.
  • I made a prediction that possibly rivals the Babe famously calling his home run. With the bases loaded and two outs, hit-by-pitch magnet Brandon Guyer steps up and gets himself into an 0-2. I turn to Jay and said “Okay, Guyer’s gonna get hit by a pitch here to score a run.” That’s an absurd prediction to make, given that a pitcher won’t throw anywhere near him on an 0-2 count. But Lester did on the next pitch, hitting him on the back of the leg. I can’t say anyone else made that prediction. Also, this exists. 😀

  • This really was a bucket list item. Will I go back to the Series if they make it next year, or in ten years, or fifty? I don’t know, probably not. It was something I wanted to make sure I could do once. If I do save up some money, I’d love to go back some day with the whole family to watch a WS game, but I made sure to grab the opportunity this year while it presented itself.
  • I don’t think I can adequately thank Jay & Ashley enough for making this trip happen. It’ll be something I remember forever, and I think I’m going to owe a few dozen footrubs in the coming weeks. And, I guess… more dinners at Dennys for Jaymar.
  • 3 MORE WINS TO GO!
  • Also, Jay and I are going to hopefully churn out a Dirty Dozen list out of this – Top 12 Things That Will Cause the Cubs to Lose Again This Year

Go Tribe! And go me! To Cleveland! To See the Tribe! Exclamation Points!!!

Since becoming an ardent fan of the Indians in the 80s (before I’d ever seen Major League, but probably after the movie came out), I’ve become a bigger and bigger fan over the years. I was raised a Mets fan and still like them and root for them (and even managed to watch all the World Series games last year), but I don’t have the total passion for the Metropolitans that I do for the Indians.

Which is something of a shame because the Indians name and logo are, well, an embarrassment that needs to be changed.

But I can’t help it, I’m an Indians fan. I started getting really into them in the mid 90s, and I was the only one in my freshman dorm rooting for them over the Yankers in ’97. My fandom exploded in the decade that followed. In fact, ever since 2007 when we were within one decently pitched game of the series, I’ve told myself that if they ever make the Series, I’m going to go out there to see a game. I’ve never seen a game at Progressive Field/The Jake (I did stop by once and buy a hat, but I was 2 hrs away at game time and it was supposed to rain that evening, so I didn’t go) and I’ve only seen them play once (in San Fran losing to the Giants in interleague play).

What’s more, now that my oldest son is an Indians fan, I’ve made the promise to myself that I’d take him when this happened.

So of course this year – 2016 – they’re in the Series. 2016, the year I lost my job and taken a new one at a mere slice of my old salary; 2016, when we have had to pay $8k in new flooring that was unexpected, and one that has just seen financial woes in general. So I was going to have to say “I guess next time.”

Until two people stepped in. Jaymar (he of the Dirty Dozen fame) is a true baseball fan, and although he supports the Red Sox first, he will use almost anything as an excuse to catch a game. He sends me this text saying if I’d go to Cleveland if he could pull some strings on tickets. Like WORLD SERIES tickets. The short answer is probably no, no I couldn’t afford even the airfare. And that’s when the second person came in.

Ashley (she of having really cool science clothes fame, among other things) heard the offer and said “GO!” I mean, there’s more to the conversation, about how to pay for things, about how the Indians really need a new name, about gratitude, about priorities… but she didn’t second guess. She not only gave me her blessing, she made it possible.

Then I had to wait for my new job, who initially said no, but I managed to talk them into it as long as I basically miss no work – which means red-eye flights, working in the hotel, barely any sleep. The delay actually jacked up my flights $300, which is NOT cool, but this opportunity could very well not present itself again for many many years.

I regret that I can’t take my oldest son along – the baseball ticket alone for a 3rd person is apparently significantly more expensive than just a pair, and then tack on another $800 in airfare, it just isn’t possible this year. Hopefully a warm Chief Wahoo-less hoodie for him and a stuffed animal for his brother will make up for it. I guess I have to start saving in case the Indians have sustained success and find themselves back here in the coming years.

Either way, I doubt I’ll be able to live-tweet or live-blog any of this as I’ll be working most of the short trip, and it’ll be windy and in the 40s for the game so I doubt I’ll be able to feel my fingers, but I’ll try to post pictures and wrap up afterwards.

So go Jay! Go Ashley! Go Cleveland baseball team (naughty language alert on that link)!

Note, these pictures are 2.5 years old.
Note, these pictures are 2.5 years old.
Try to ignore the racist imagery, try to focus on the message.
Try to ignore the racist imagery, try to focus on the cuteness.

The Last Two Months – Abridged (sorta)

As many astute followers may have noticed, I’ve been pretty absent from my blog lately. And Facebook. And Twitter. And, for the most part, downstairs. I’ve been absent from downstairs frequently too. I’m going to try my best to recapture the events of the last 60 days. So let this be my general apology to all my friends and family who have been trying to get my attention but I’ve been seemingly ignoring. The names and dates have been altered, most likely because my memory isn’t what it used to be.

May 3 – We close on our old house and would be renting it for about a week while we cleaned the carpets and moved all our stuff out. During the transition, we would be fortunately staying at my in-laws.

May 6 – We close on our new house. As part of the agreement, we will not move in until July 1. We know this up front, and while the wait sucks, at least we’ll get rent from them until that day.

May 13 – We officially move out of our old house. All of our belongings (that hadn’t already been packed away into our storage unit) are jammed into the in-laws garage. So starts our 8 week sabbatical.

OH WAIT…

May 10 – Four days after our loan closes, I am let go from my job. This was the day before the moving truck was supposed to come. Well, that gave me time to finish packing, at least. I do get a severance, but the timing really kinda blows.

May 16 – I begin my jaw physical therapy. I start out with an opening of around 20cm (the goal is around 36cm). After day one, I am in much pain.

May 21 – Remember that I’m a professional athlete? With my back sucking for the past few years and with the fact that I didn’t cash AT ALL last year, I tend to forget. I played a last-minute tourney in Dayton (NV, not OH), and while I played below-average, I managed to cash. Yay.

Rest of May – I continue to do almost daily jaw because, guess what, my PT is basically not going to be available for the whole of summer. So I have to cram in all my education into 10 days.

June 2 – I officially get the remainder of my “work” belongings back. That chapter of my life (nearly 10 years) is done. They sign me up for outplacement services for 3 months, which will hopefully get me back on track.

Early June – I don’t do a whole lot. Like at all. I look for work unsuccessfully (though there were little dablings of potential that went nowhere).

~June 4 – We find out that the current renters of our new home will be out June 22 (instead of July 1). Good news! So far, the home-transition process has been pretty painless (FORESHADOWING!)

June 16 – Tired of waiting around, we go to Sacramento for a long Father’s Day weekend. It is a relaxing trip.

June 21 – We set our final walkthrough for June 22.

June 22 – The wife (of the renters) is frantic and asks us if we can do the walkthrough June 23. I’m concerned because that’s technically our first day of true ownership, so if there were a problem, there really isn’t any way to hold the old owners accountable, which is the sole purpose of a walkthrough.

June 23 – After half a day of not hearing anything, finally our realtor gets a text message of a picture of the old owners pointing to where the key was left. No walkthrough or anything. Just “here’s the key”. Turns out they’d skipped town at least a day before.

In jaw related news, I have a one-off session with my jaw PT. When I had ended my blitzkrieg sessions with her, I could open up to 25 cm. But I hadn’t really done ANY exercises in the interim, partially because I was busy, and partially out of sheer laziness. So I expected the worst. Turns out I am now at 27 cm. I think my natural range of motion is coming back, just MUCH MUCH slower than normal.

June 24 – Based on the first few hours in the house the day before, we ratchet up the duct cleaning we’d scheduled to be a total overhaul of the carpets. Full cleaning, duct cleaning, scotch guarding, the whole works. $1200 of cat exorcism. Turns out the prior owners told a while lie when they said they had 2 cats. And technically they did at the time we bought the house. They neglected to mention the other two the had that had passed away recently. Additionally, we hire a janitor that Ash knows to even more fully disinfect the house.  Hopefully this will fix the allergy issues.

June 25 – The movers arrive with all our stuff. It is set up immediately. FINALLY, we are in our new house. I sleep wonderfully in the silence of our new neighborhood, to be awoken by lots of sunlight. Our new bedroom is plenty bright (a mostly good thing!)

June 26 – More unpacking, including getting most of the rest of our stuff from the in-law’s house. I spent much of the day getting the new house in order. Ash’s allergies are really acting up. She warns that we shouldn’t unpack everything just in case.

June 27 – After a wrestling match with the boys on the carpets, Ash has trouble breathing and eating. She wakes up with eyes so puffy they’re half shut. And with that, we spend our last night in the new house.

June 28 – I begin packing up everything in the house to move it back to the garage which is, fortunately, a 3 car garage. Ash and I spend much of the day at 4 different places looking at flooring. It’s a very complex situation, so I’ll simplify by saying we ultimately decide on Home Depot for laminate (almost 800′, should take 3+ weeks to arrive and install) and RC Willey for carpeting (over 1000′, should be installed by July 8 – meaning that’s our new move in date).

June 29 – The house is totally empty again except for a mostly packed garage. I also make numerous trips to the storage unit, as that needs to be empty by July 4 or we’d have to pay another month. We tape up all the tiled areas (bathrooms, kitchens) to prevent dander infestation, and I get a night’s sleep in the in-laws to prepare for demo day.

June 30 – With two excellent helpers (brother in law JJ and family friend Kaylis), we yank out all the carpets and pads and remove just about all the staples. We sweep all rooms. In all, it was around 1800 square feet of carpeting. All without air conditioning (since we sealed off the rooms, if we put on the AC it would rip up all our tape jobs). It was a ten hour workday.

July 1 – I shop vac the entire floor. Then I untape the tarps, turn on the vents (so it can kick up a little extra dander), and I shop vac the entire floor again. I begin laying Kilz down on the flooring – it’s a paint primer, but it has a great reputation for sealing in odors and dander. I vacuum each room for extra residue and finish Kilzing two rooms. It was a 14 hour workday.

July 2 – I escape for some disc golf (which I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do – all the painting has resulted in quite a bit of back pain) and it turns out to be just what the doctor ordered. After all, I have to practice as I have the BIGGEST tourney I’m playing all year next week. Then more Kilz.

July 3 – We get the quote from Home Depot – more than we thought. Go figure. More Kilz, then a kids’ party. Then I don’t feel like moving for a year.

July 4 – We finalize our laminate order – there is no timeframe, but he imagines it will be around two weeks after they get the product (which he anticipates in a week). We finally unload the last of the storage unit into our now jam-packed garage. And more Kilz. It’s cut short by a call from RC Willey that they don’t have enough of the carpet we want to cover the measurements. This will delay the install (go figure). We rush down and finally agree to a new carpet. And she then finds out they don’t CURRENTLY have enough of that new type either, but they should by July 15-16 timeframe (about 75 days after we closed on the house, and almost a month after we were initially supposed to move in). I happen to see another carpet that we both like and it will work. The install date is July 12. It’s still 8 days away.

In all this time, I’ve been trying to get my face to work properly, spend time with my kids, try to get my back working (which has been failing, though I finally got a follow-up appointment with my neurosurgeon to discuss the possibility of facet joint injections), prepare for a major disc golf tournament, and, oh yeah, try to enjoy summer. And find a job. And figure out how to pay for the $8k in flooring we’ve purchased.

And wait. I’ve done a whole lot of that. 8 more days. I need a vacation. And a job. That will let me take a vacation.

My Stupidest Task Yet

Anyone who knows me even marginally well knows that I’m a nerd. There are tons of types of nerds out there. In no way meant to be an inclusive list, they include:

Stat nerds

Comic nerds

Computer nerds (which can further be subdivided 100 times)

Movie nerds

Book nerds

Collectible nerds

Video game nerds

Socially inept nerds (which can also encompass many of the above)

In short, there are tons of nerds, so me saying I’m one of them is no shock. But I’m a pretty specific kind of nerd. I mean, there’s no denying that I am a stat nerd (as this post and this post would indicate) and I have my own series about the Final Fantasy series. I even started a wine review column, but I can’t in good faith declare “wine nerd” as a thing. Those people are just snobs. The nerdery I speak of here is – mix CD nerdery.

This is a pretty time-specific thing, as mix CDs are quickly becoming obsolete (one might argue they already are), but I am keeping the spirit alive. Now that MP3 CDs are more in vogue and more easily accessible, that’s what I’ve been working on. In fact, I’m sort of working on a series of them in which I’m filling up 700MB of songs (anywhere from 100 – 200 songs depending on length), while not having any CD overlap songs. I’ve done only 2 in this series, 3 if you count my Christmas CD.

One is my Long Songs CD, which I’m particularly proud of because the shortest song on it is Stairway to Heaven. It features only 56 songs. One of the caveats here was that it couldn’t feature any live song, either, so 56 studio songs. The other CD I’ve made is my #1 CD – all track 1s from albums. Again, I didn’t include compilations since #1 there might *not* actually be a track 1.

Well, I’m about to surpass my previous heights of nerdiosity by creating my History of Music CD. This was inspired by a CD I made for Jaymar (we continue to make each other mix CDs because… screw you technology!) where I picked a song from each year between 1992 and 2015 and plopped them into one regular-play CD. No overlapping artists.

I want to take that theory and mix it with what many people have done in one song (like Pentatonix famously did) and create something of a history of music. This is actualy more difficult than it seems, and also explains why I’ve been working on this CD for over a month now and haven’t actually started coming up with a track list yet. To find out when a song was written/released is sometimes easy, especially when iTunes tells you when the album came out. Where this becomes difficult is on best-of CDs (when the release date that displays is the release of the CD, not when the song originally came out), and for mix CDs (which tend to be blank unless they were burned using iTunes specifically), and for classical music (most of which lists the release date of the specific performance, not the original composition/release date).

Further compounding the problem is the fact that I run the problem of how to classify covers. Obviously, a cover of a song by a new artist doesn’t *really* count, and I’d simply use the date of the 2nd artist’s version, particularly when it’s a very different version of the song. But what about a big band covering a collection of works by Glenn Miller, for instance? The recording might have been done in the 60s or 70s or ‘aughts, but they’re the same charts as when they were written in the 20s, just recorded better. I’ve tried to use original release dates for these. The same for classical, since there were no recordings in the 18th century. But did you know Kenny Rogers didn’t actually write The Gambler? Someone else did four years earlier. Would I call that 1976, then, and not 1980? Well no. That’s just stupid. It’s 1976 or else I’d go crazy.

Anyway, after a few weeks of preparation (it’s stupidly hard to find out when classical pieces were written hundreds of years ago, especially for lesser known classical works – also, Henry Mancini has tons of stuff I simply don’t know when it came out), I’m ready to start picking my track list. Here are the (perhaps absurdly restrictive) guidelines I’m imposing on this feat, because clearly just doing all the other work wasn’t nerderrific enough:

  • No repeating artists. From 1700 – 1730, I only have songs from Vivaldi, so rather than pick 30 from that era, only one of my favorite Vivaldis gets chosen for that entire block of time.
  • No repeating any songs I used on my two earlier MP3 CDs. So basically, hardly any track 1s, and basically nothing over 8 minutes. Which is just as well since I want to put a bunch of songs onto this CD. Probably no Christmas songs either, but I might make an exception, since in the 30s-50s, I don’t have too much to choose from. Still can’t be something on my Xmas CD, though.
  • It has to be stuff I (or Ash) already own. While it might be nice to obtain a few songs just to plug in the gaps where I have no songs, it’ll be what I already have on my iTunes.
  • I’m going to try to include only 4 and 5 star rated songs from my iTunes. Some classical might have to make the cut with a 3-star rating, because I tend not to rate the genre as high in general, even though I quite like it, but I’ll do what I can.
  • To some degree, I’m going to try to show the trends within popular music of the year as well. This will probably work better up until the 80s, where my preferences tended to break drastically from popular opinion, but I will keep an eye out for noting what was actually happening each year. For instance, I could probably fill enough classical to get me through about 1940, but in the 1900s started other trends (like ragtime, big band, swing, folk, and stuff like broadway ballads). I’m going to try to give a nod to those.

In creating the CD, I think I’m going to start backwards from 2015 (I haven’t bought any albums released in 2016 yet, and actually only 2 from 2015). From 2014-1960, I actually have quite a bit of choice, so that will likely be the hardest to narrow down, and will definitely take some juggling. Before 1960, I have fewer choices in my music catalog so it should make choices easier.

I do have a fear about this CD. If I pick one song each from 1960 on, that’s only 55 tracks on a CD that will likely fit 150. Before 1960, I have predominantly big band, jazz, and classical. Meaning the CD will be very lopsided. 1/3 classical, 1/3 big band, 1/3 everything else doesn’t seem right. So I will possibly do 2 songs from certain later years when I have a wealth of choices.

I suppose the point I’m trying to make here is… I… HATE… SAUERKRAUT! Wait, wrong point. This is a stupid project, and one I would have been much better spending my time doing other things. But one I’m doing nonetheless.

If anyone wants a copy of this MP3 CD, let me know. I’ll make you one when I’m done.

Before – During – After: House Edition

On Friday I will have 8 teeth removed. That’s a good % of my teeth. In honor of that life-changing procedure, I thought I’d belatedly share our paint job with the world. We had a friend do it, which was very fortunate because boy oh boy did we pick the wrong color in our first go. He spent an entire day putting on a color which was SO wrong. So basically we had to pay for an entire extra day of labor, as well as many many extra gallons of paint. And the total bill still came to less than $2k. Whew.

Anyway, here’s the before shot. It isn’t good – it’s what the appraiser used, and I believe it’s a cell phone picture.

Appraisal1

Light grey on top of lighter grey. Pretty bland. And, as it turns out, pretty in need of repainting. (It hadn’t been repainted since the house was built in 2002). So how did attempt one go?

PaintFail1

“It’s so F’N blue!” – my quote when pulling up for the first time. Fortunately my buddy cleared up an extra day on his calendar and we were able to do it right.

Finished

That’s better.

I’ll post some before-and-after pictures of my face too. Let’s hope they don’t botch it too badly in the middle.

2500 Words On Not Being the Best – Reflections of the SFIF

I still vividly remember the words that Richard Digby Day said to me as I trained at the London Academy of Theatre in 2000. He said, “Derek, you are good at very many things. My fear is that you won’t be very good at anything”. It has stuck with me, both in times when I prove him wrong (when my musical got picked to be at the Fringe festival, when I won a professional disc golf tournament), and in the dishearteningly more common instances when he was right.

I feel like most of my life I was a big fish in a small pond. My silly comedy poems would get picked for our high school writing newsletter despite them being not “high art”. I would be cast in every play and musical – never as the lead, but always as a sizeable supporting character. I was a four-year varsity athlete and even made all-county my senior year (in bowling – don’t judge). I got scholarships for singing and education. In short, I think my achievements, which seemed to take place almost solely in high school, sort of set me up for this belief that I could do everything exceptionally well when really I was just edging out my competition pool that was based solely on a close proximity to my high school. But then getting accepted to Mason Gross school of the Arts (a conservatory) meant beating odds of 27 in 700+. Clearly I had to be something great.

However, when I joined the best-of-the-best, I was mediocre. Perhaps even below average. Surely being a shorter-than-average giant is a nice laurel to flaunt, but it wasn’t exactly what I’d anticipated. I branched off with friends and created Prometheus Productions, where I was a writer,  actor, singer, director, fight choreographer, improv-artist, and musician. Another thing to hang my hat on? Well, perhaps. I was not the best writer (Kevin was), the best actor (Bryan, Paul, Dierdre…), the best singer (Dierdre, Bryan), the best director (Kevin), the best improv-er (Will, Jaime), the best musician (god, most of the group). I maybe was the best fight choreographer. If during that time you’d asked me what my best talent of that group was, I’d say improv. I felt most at home there and, next to other people who (like me) had never received a lick of improv training, I felt strong.

7 years later, having moved to Reno, I found myself again as a performer in an area that wasn’t exactly teeming with Broadway-ready talent, or so I thought. I did a couple of open-mic comedy nights and slayed, I would play an open-mic music nights and quickly became one of the favorites of the organizer. More to the point, I joined an improv troupe where I was quickly promoted to head actor and even head of the creative (despite the fact that the organizer herself TAUGHT improv). Clearly, I was right about my skills, no?

Fast forward a few years. That group had disbanded and in a very offhanded conversation with a man with whom I’d been improvising with (as a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity of all things) he mentioned I should contact The Utility Players about auditions since “I had chops”. I did and was greeted very professionally that they didn’t need more actors. When I mentioned I was a musician too (never hurts to list all the talents, huh?), I got myself into the group as their musician. This is not what I wanted. After all I was one of the best improvisational actors among my friends who were, undoubtedly, extremely talented people.

The mama-bear of The Utility Players, to her credit, never led me on. I was not going to be an actor (except in one-liner games, which were admittedly my strength anyway). But I wanted to prove her wrong. At rehearsals when we were all playing together I would volunteer to get up and, in my own way, I was out to prove that I could flex my NYC-based improv knowledge and prove I not only belonged, but I was better than these Reno-based yokels. I must’ve showed them, right?

No. For two reasons.

One, they’re good. I mean, they’re really really good. Reno or not (and most of them aren’t from here), they’re talented both at being funny and at mastering the actual craft of improv, which don’t necessarily go hand in hand. Two, and this was surprising, I would do shitty shitty improv. There are any number of reasons why this happened (I was used to driving a scene with players who weren’t as seasoned, I just had a big ego, I couldn’t artistically trust this group of strangers who definitely seemed like their own little clique, or, and let’s not discredit this, I wasn’t as good as I thought I was), and that’s largely irrelevant. The point is, I was not up to their level.

So I became their full-time musician. There was a lengthy period of time where I struggled to come to grips with that. It seemed like a demotion particularly because I don’t consider piano playing to be even in my top 5 talents. Composition perhaps. But playing? I’m not great. It’s a hobby of mine, and not one of my primary hobbies. However, very limited playing acumen can be hidden with enough knowledge of the improv craft itself. So my years of improv background were still useful. It’s been a weird road, but I’m okay saying that I’m the musician. Not “just” the musician, but I am the musician for this group.

And with that – and here I hope I’m not overreaching my influence – The Utility Players were strengthened as a unit with me at the keys.

Now what in the hell does this entire backstory have to do with the San Francisco Improv Festival? After several years of failed audition tapes, The Players were finally selected to be a part of the festival, a tremendous achievement as only 27 groups were invited, most of whom were local to the area. There would be classes taught in and amongst the myriad performances scattered through a few weeks of improvisational bliss. Even though I was unable to attend most of the pre-show stuff due to family obligations, I did manage to take in a few things.

The 4-hour class sampler had people from all walks attending – those who’d never done improv to those who were performing later that night. The skills which were drilled ranged from exceptionally useful to maybe-not-for-me-personally to I’m-pretty-sure-this-is-only-applicable-to-the-woman-teaching-it. Due to an awesome anonymous donor, I (along with the entire troupe) was able to check it out and learn from it. I gotta be honest, it felt good to be up and in the thick of things once again – I hesitate to say ‘performing’ because that wasn’t the purpose. This time I felt like I belonged.

But where I was hit with the largest metaphorical ton of bricks was during our show itself. We were splitting the bill with a group that was purporting to do a 35-minute improv musical. I’d been assured that the other musicians our troupe had seen were pretty lousy. Not that I needed to be the best, but as an untrained musician specializing in another artform that I’d also never really received proper training, it’s nice to know I wasn’t against a musician with a BFA from a music conservatory. I’m a perfectionist, inasmuch as any person who refuses to just concentrate on one skill for more than 5 minutes at a time can be a perfectionist.

When the lights went down for our show, so too did our piano. For a few fleeting moments, I was on stage as the musician with my ONLY tool, the piano, no longer making any noise. It did prompt a funny moment where I was supposed to play the ESPN Sportscenter music, and when the cue came, I just shouted it out. I’m pretty sure that’s what they do on ESPN.

Our set was very free, very easy, and solid. I’m not sure what my expectations were – I mean, there’s a part of me that wanted there to be a TV executive in the audience who was just coming for a few laughs but spent her entire intermission scribbling out contracts for all of us. What did transpire was 35 minutes of successful improv that earned the laughter of a discerning audience who had seen more than their fair share of improv over the years (hell, over the prior week).

It was topsy-turvy. A Day in the Dream Life is a game I warned that has been missing as often as it was hitting, but it was our clear best of the night (and it allowed me to play my token Asian music). Mediocre Olympics, a game that had been killing, was the weakest of the lot. But as much as this was about us and putting our best foot forward, it was more about the audience enjoying themselves. And they did. Even without our A+ material (I’d have put the show in a solid B, B+ range) we proved without pause that we belonged with the others at the improv festival.

Then, as I watched our “sister-group” do their musical, a few things occurred to me. The Utility Players are not a niche group, we perform all different types of short form improv. It’s not like we concentrate solely on 2-person scene games or anything like that. The group that followed us was a group that does entire long-form musicals based on a suggestion from the audience. Having already been informed that some of the other musicians at the festival couldn’t hold a candle to me (who, in all truth, can’t hold a candle to most true musicians) are lousy, I cringed at the thought of watching 35 minutes of actors bumbling through misrhymed lyrics as a musician attempted vainly to play the outtakes from Frozen.

In this I was very, very wrong.

Their musician started with this jaunty riff right out of a Randy Newman score that featured the whole cast performing a song about kissing. With harmony. And multiple people singing the same words at the same time. And appropriate incidental background singing. And a cohesive story. Following this was a short scene, a new song, one that I daresay WOULD come second in a musical, setting up the protagonist of the story. The third song was completely different, a touching number of exposition that created the subplot between two secondary characters.

There was a time with Prometheus Productions that we had wanted to do an “improv play”, a full play with characters and subplots where there was a “director” offstage who crafted the story around what the actors on stage were doing. We ended up shelving the idea as too difficult. And here, 15 years later, in San Francisco, was a group doing this with song. It was an eye-opener.

And my point here isn’t that they were “better” than us. They were a nuanced group who had a specialty that they practiced. And practiced. And practiced. And practiced. And consequently nailed. If you were keeping track of laughs garnered, we’d have won handily, but that wasn’t what the evening was about. It was about bringing a variety of improv to the audience. If anything, short-form (Whose Line is It Anyway type stuff) seems to be a dying art, with troupes wanting to tackle the more complex longform. So getting paired with something of an opposite of us was nice. I guess we weren’t totally opposite or else the other group would have just read eulogies for 35 minutes.

Immediately I had to make the assumption that my director, in telling me that the other musicians were nothing to write home about, was off her rocker (it turns out she hadn’t seen him in particular). He was phenomenal. I mean, during that second half, I went from feeling like I’d performed a great improv set to realizing I had my moments but I was just the biggest kid at the kids table at Thanksgiving. Hell, he seemed like he was the kind of guy who graduated with a degree from a conservatory in music. Also, not to take a thing away from our exceptionally talented group, but their singers GOT it. They knew when to give over to another person to sing, then knew when it was time to take the reins, and they knew when it was time duet.

In all, I relate the entire experience to sports. It would be like being a top-tier baseball team who had the opportunity to play another team from another country in an exhibition game. And all they did was pitching, not hitting or fielding. It’s impossible to play a game like that and see who would win, but damn, I felt like we couldn’t touch their pitches. Our team is major leaguers, no doubt, but there’s always new things to learn.

Now, there’s a crossroads that happens at times like this. I can buckle down like I did my freshman year of acting when I was on the verge of being asked to leave the class for artistic progress difficulties, or I could fold like I did with my acting after 9/11 when no agents were banging on my door to hire me. And here’s what the purpose is for the SFIF from an artist’s perspective: I left inspired. Inspired to make our group better. Inspired to play better and more diversely. Inspired to create new games, or touch up the ones we have that aren’t hitting on all cylinders. Inspired to make sure that our upcoming 3-month run at The Sands turns into many 3, 6, 9, 12, 24 month contracts at bigger and better venues. Touring companies. TV execs with handwritten contracts on cocktail napkins because they couldn’t wait to get home and draft one properly.

“And I stood there like a businessman waiting for a train. And I got ready for the future to arrive.” -J. Darnielle

As something of a post-script, I did some research on that other pianist, and he did indeed earn a degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music. This isn’t discouraging. Sure, next to me, he shined, but he didn’t leave me in the dust. We share the intellectual concepts and the impulses of improvisational music. He just has me on technical skill. Looks like I got some work to do. Playing piano and watching a group do a musical and, in fact, the idea that we want to expand our musical presence is having one “unfortunate” side-effect: as much as I am okay not being an actor, it’s tough to not want to sing in the musical games, as that was one of my two strengths as an actor (the other being one-liner games like World’s Worst). Looks like I also got some work to do.

As something of a post-post-script, don’t miss out on The Utility Players Season 8: Live at the Sands, every Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are $15 and you’re gonna laugh.

Gender Roles

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My son “Smacky” is at a strange place in his four-year-old life. In many ways, he is like your typically developing boy – loves trucks, trains, wrestling and, somewhat unfortunately, video games (I am simultaneously proud and ashamed of how good he’s become on the Wii). But in other ways, he isn’t. He loves getting his finger and toenails painted. His favorite colors are pink and purple. He loves doing his mom’s hair, at which he’s becoming pretty good using those deft-fingered hair-ties. In short, he likes a whole lot of “girl” things.

And he is constantly processing things about gender. At the skate park the other day, he asked my wife a few times, “Why does she speak like a boy if she has girl hair?” “That’s a boy with long hair,” she replied. Silence. He recently asked that we stop buzzing his hair because he wanted to grow it out. Not sure if it’s because his younger brother “Peanut” has longer hair or because he wants to see how it feels to have long hair, which he innately believes to be “girl hair”.

What’s crazy is that he has the acumen and presence of mind, even at his young age, to know that some of this behavior isn’t socially accepted by everyone. So he continues to try to hide it. If left to his own devices, he will usually pick out a pink or purple plate/bowl, but when he’s in a group of people, or if those ones are dirty, he’ll take a green one apathetically and say, with little emotion, “I’ll take green, it’s my favorite color.” He’s told me in the past that boys can’t like pink and purple. I asked why and he tells me that they’re “girl colors.” I try to reaffirm that anyone can like any color they want – hell, my favorite color is orange. I’m probably not the best person to ask that question. I digress. Smacky has requested that my wife paint his fingernails and toenails, only to immediately say “But we can take this off before I go to school, right?” And why is that?

He’s getting insulted at school. And unlike the very heart-warming and charming story that a blogger famously wrote about, it’s not adults who are making it tough for him, at least none that I have heard of. Despite the school having some conservative teachers, they all support him no matter what he chooses (the owner has spoken a bit about it at times with us). That is a large part of the reason we love his daycare. But as for the teasing, it comes from kids themselves. My guess is it’s probably mostly his best friend “Marcus” – apart, the two of them are great kids. However, once they get together, their bad behavior is amplified all the way up to 11. From what I’ve seen of Marcus, he’s a boy’s boy so I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the teasing comes from him. However, Smacky has told me that it’s some of the girls in his class too that call him a ‘girl’. It clearly bothers him.

Friday is a theme-day at daycare: Teddy Bear Picnic. They’re encouraging everyone to dress up in “tutus and tails” and bring their favorite teddy bear. It was immediately clear that Smacky wanted to wear a dress, and my wife even started talking about using some gift certificate money we had to buy him one. But Smacky retracted immediately solely because of what everyone at school would think. He’s subsequently put aside the dress-conundrum and concentrated on the teddy bear one. (He doesn’t have teddy bears, he has monkeys – go figure. After searching around the house, he finally did find a teddy bear, a purple Care Bear. He grabbed it and put it aside but continued to look for a different one. Maybe he genuinely didn’t like that Care Bear, but my guess he opted against it because it was purple and certainly ‘girly’.)

Finally, after a few days of processing this (and of course the remote-control truck he has had his eye on that we just purchased and have to wait for delivery), he comes in to say goodbye today and tells me that he figured out what he was going to wear to the party on Friday.

“My dinosaur suit. With a tail.”

It does have a tail. I’m pretty impressed with how brilliant the kid is. (I later found out that I had had the gist of the theme day a little off – they supplied the girls with tutus and made paper dragon “tails” to give anyone who wanted one – mostly the boys.) But the point remains that he was choosing to wear a dinosaur suit more than the tutu because what he really wanted was something he wasn’t “supposed” to do.

It crushes me as a parent, and as a father, it’s downright weird. In Reno vs. the suburbs of NY where I grew up, there’s definitely more of a sense of needing to be a “man’s man”. While I’ve never had that pressure in my life (other than having parents who I am certain were relieved that I was straight), I can see how it could be overwhelming in a place where they have stuffed dead animals in their sporting goods stores and in their airport. When I moved here, I was shocked at how there is still some pretty strong homophobia in these parts. (I will say that Reno has a tremendous underground movement of tolerance that is growing exponentially, and that’s fantastic to see.)

Despite growing up in white-bread middle class suburbia, I also found a niche early on in the theatre – our school had only two black kids, and I was friends with one and used to carpool the other one home. Very few kids were out as gay at that point, but those that were were my performing peers and friends. If there’s anyone who would be sympathetic to what Smacky’s going through, it’s me. And as far as someone born and raised in the Reno area, Smacky is fortunate in so many ways to have his mother. He’d be hard pressed to find more supportive parents.

Since he was two, my wife and I noticed these effeminate tendencies were extremely strong and they seemed to be more than him just following in his older (female) cousin’s footsteps. It seemed like, whenever he was outside of the World of Sodor (Thomas the Train), he was happiest in the World of Girl. His parents support him 100%, no matter what he chooses. And who’s to say what that will be? He’s four. Right now he’s enamored with a live-action show about mermaids. But he’s also gone through spells where he watches the Spiderman cartoon from the 60’s and goes around “pewing” (shooting) everything until it’s dead. If it’s just him trying out different things (for the record: he REALLY wants to go fishing) that’s fine. If one day he sits us down to have a coming-out-of-the-closet talk, that’s fine as well. We support whole-heartedly. I just wish everyone else would get on board and, further, to stop spreading the toxic beliefs of gender stereotypes ad nauseum to their kids. Or, worse yet, to other people’s kids.

Or next time maybe we can get him a dinosaur tutu for his suit.

A Bunch of Disc Golf Stats

The title says it all, so if you’re not into disc golf, you can probably mosey along or look at older posts with adorable pictures of my kids.

 

Anyway, I’ve signed up for the Memorial, the first time I’ve ever played in this National Tour event. The actual layout of the tournament is both going to be a benefit and a detriment. 1) It’s open and probably windy. A few years ago, this would have been my bane, but that’s exactly what our Reno course is on a daily basis, so I’ve grown accustomed to it. The wind in particular could give me an advantage if it’s strong (and if I don’t have to make a crosswind up shot) because I’ve learned to play pretty consistently in heavy winds. However: 2) It’s long and at sea level. Half a year ago, length would have been something that didn’t bother me. I’m certainly no big-arm, but not a weenie either. However, in the last few months of playing, my distance inexplicably dropped off by about 50′ on my long drives. I’ve thought of a few possible reasons why, but debunked most of them. Cold? Well, a few of the tourneys were decently warm weather. My change in diet? I started that in June and didn’t start losing distance until September. Not practicing enough? I’ve NEVER practiced enough. Other stuff on my mind? Possibly, but I like to think I can shut that stuff out.

The tournament is doing something new this year (of which I am NOT a fan) – they are having a cut. So I am paying $200 for this tournament in entry fee alone and only guaranteeing myself 3 rounds of golf. That’s pretty lame, but what can you do? I’ll tell you what I can do, get in the top half. What would that take, you ask?

There are currently 84 pros signed up. So I have to come in at 42nd or better. How hard can that be? Turns out quite hard. If I go based on rating alone (I’m currently rated 963), I am sitting in T65 out of those 84. That’s bottom quarter, not top half. Now, my 963 rating is pretty low – it fell off drastically at the end of last year. So what happens if I use my strongest rating from last year (978)? That pulls my projected finish to a  top 60%. Good, but still not good enough, and that’s the highest my rating has ever been. So is it a lost cause? Will I be driving home the Saturday of the tourney?

Not quite. After all, I don’t have to have a full YEAR of that rating, just one single tourney. Looking at last year’s statistics for the Memorial, the person  at the cutline (my buddy John DeBizzle being the first one to miss this cut) averaged a rating of 987 per round. So fine, how many times have I ever averaged that for a tournament.

Once. In 2006.

Uh oh. However, in the last 14 months alone, I did come very close several times. I averaged 983 at a sea-level course I’d never played before, two rounds, 985 (3 round tourney) and 985.5 (at my home course, the open windy one, two rounds). One more good putt a round and all of those tournaments would be ‘qualifying’ ones. And in that 2006 tourney (which was my first ever pro cash), I averaged 990 in a 3-round tourney. So I certainly have it in me.

I’ve decided to break all this down now because as it gets closer to the tournament, I don’t want to be putting myself in that “I need this score” mindset – I want to just play my shots. But as it’s still 2 months away, I can do all the speculation I want. In short, I need to have the best single tournament of my life. Which means getting some of my distance back, keeping my good putting up (for the most part, putting was a plus for me this year), and getting the hell out of my head during the round. Also, getting good rest and not partying it up will be good tips.

But why stop at making the cut, why not go for the cashline? What would THAT take? Last year, 2 people with ratings lower than mine (3 if you use my 978 rating) cashed. That’s not great, but it’s certainly DOable. The average rating of last-cash? 996. Why, I’ve hit that score or better 15 times in my career (just never twice in the same tournament), and I’ve hit 990-995 an additional 9 times. Alls I’m saying is I have it in me if I can play my game and not let 100 things get in the way.

I’m sure I’ll have more of these analytical disc-golf stat type columns in the next months. After all, I’m a stat nerd.

So where do you all think I’ll end up? Will I make the cut? Think I’ll cash? Think I’ll DFL? Let’s get some hype going.

 

White Christmases

When I moved to NV, Ash told me to even bring a shovel because they never get snow and it never sticks. Well, apparently that was before global warming (which we know started up in early November 2007), because it’s snowed pretty regularly (with the exception of last year where it only snowed on October 5 for an inch or two and that was it). Anyway, since coming here, I’ve been involved with a White Christmas of some sort every year but two. Here’s how it breaks down:

2007 – We had a little patch of snow in our lawn. Ash’s folks’ house (where we celebrated Christmas) had only a tiny patch where there was the remnants of a shovel-job. Pretty technical in its assertion as being a “white” Christmas.

2008 – We had a decent snowfall on Christmas itself – Ash’s folks’ backyard probably got 5″ on Christmas itself. A TRUE white Christmas.

2009 – We had a big snowfall on 12/7 that year, but I’m not sure that any remained by Christmas.

2010 – We had our own tiny patch in the shade. Ash’s folks had none. VERY technically a white Christmas.

2011 – No snow at all for basically the entire winter.

2012 – I thought this would be another technical white Christmas, as our both our front and back yards had a few patches here and there with snow and ice. But then in the evening it started snowing and we got a good two inches when all was said and done.

So there you have it – in Reno, a desert, I’ve had White Christmases of some sort in 4 of my 6 years. I think statistically that is more than I ever had in NJ.

15 years in under 600 words

I started writing a letter to a very old friend who I had lost contact with shortly after high school. I wanted to catch her up to where I am at and how I got there, so I decided to catch her up on 15 years of my life, with the superfluous caveat that I would only allow myself 40 words per year. It was pretty tough, but somewhat rewarding. Interesting to see what sticks out in my memory (my first draft omitted that I graduated from college.) Here’s the result:

1998: spent much of year dressing poorly, being anti-social, and wishing I majored in writing – was put on wrong campus but became good friends with a few non-actors – dated a girl that went nuts – co-founded a multi-medium entertainment company Prometheus Productions

1999: finally started establishing friendship network and enjoying school a bit – wrote my first ever play that later debuted with Prometheus and won award – romantic scene barren – parents divorced after 33 years

2000: made resolution to date girl I’d liked for 2 years – got surprising amount of acting work –2nd play I wrote for Prometheus got award – spent semester in London, hated it (but Edinburgh was awesome) – on 12/28, started dating that girl

2001: dated girl entire year – graduated college and took road trips – Prometheus performed last shows – was introduced to disc golf – my acting showcase (to attract agents) interrupted by 9/11, lost interest in acting after that – got new job at office-type company

2002: worked way up company ladder, soon helmed broker department – moved out of folks’ house for first time – broke up with girl for several reasons – had first liquor at 23 years old, started to make up for lost time – started website

2003: got jealous that old girlfriend moved on, got back together with her – it didn’t last – by end of year, moved in with her (as friends) – worked fine for a few months but seeds were sown for problems

2004: social implosion as friends and exes started hooking up, dishonesty and bullshittery abounded – became pretty reclusive – moved in with longtime friend where stupidity commenced and pretended to live a college-esque existence – increased disc golf activity

2005: made NYC debut as a playwright with two shows – social life rebuilt painfully slowly – started playing disc golf professionally, made $0 – quit longtime office job over increased loathing of it, worked freelance theatre lighting by year’s end

2006: released comedy music CD – toured as disc golf pro for 5 weeks, finally cashed – moved for fourth time – met no-expectations pen pal on dating site OkCupid – freelance work dried up, got job in old industry but better company

2007: fell in love with supposed no-expectations girl after several visits – first full-length musical debuted in NYC at Fringe Festival to emphatic end-of-spectrum reviews, convinced boss at relatively new job to let me move to Nevada and keep job – headed west

2008: bought 2nd car – found out girlfriend was pregnant five days later, we got new larger apartment together – wedding plans discussed – tried to play as much disc golf as possible – finished my first novel – last year I got sleep

2009: son Landen born in January, had a “weddingish” ceremony for friends/family in May, had legal proceedings in August – after a two-month nightmare, bought our first house – spent year adapting to budgeting and selflessness with varied success

2010: Just existed happily for much of it – started small home projects – apparently played much disc golf, video games, and online poker – started reading much more frequently – company announced it could shut down close soon – panic ensued

2011: became an uncle for the first time – wife enrolled in school to get her degree – got promotion to A.V.P. at company which was now stable – welcomed second child Duncan – finished 2nd at tournament, highest finish as a pro

2012: started short story writing project with friend – entire family traveled east to visit good friends who lost their toddler – otherwise lived life contentedly as father, husband, homeowner, professional athlete, artist, and frequent sweet potato fry chef

My Trip East – Part 2 (What Went Wrong)

Note: this is probably the longest blog post I’ve ever written. Forgive the typos and tense-shifting, I’m not proofreading.

By now, you’ve probably read why I went east. The reason wasn’t fun, but I was looking forward to it. However, Ash was going with me on the flight, and as you know, when Ash flies anywhere, things just go wrong. Not only was this trip not an exception, it might have set the standard for all future shitty trips.

This is as comprehensive a list as I could remember of what went wrong. I’m leaving off minor things like the food we ordered not coming out right (which happened a few times during the trip) or the muggy weather. This is everything else, broken down by day.

THURSDAY

We heard the bad news and booked a flight. Landen had less than 24 hours notice, but he handled it like a champion. While not totally packed, we were pretty good that night. Our flight left Friday at 10:40, enough time for me to get an hour or two of work in.

FRIDAY

After a little more packing (but not everything), I head to the office to work. Landen comes in a few minutes later saying, “Mommy needs your help.” I go to her and she says “Call 9-1-1.” Duncan had been choking and vomiting and crying for about 20 seconds by this point. I call them and the responders show up almost immediately. This is a little over 3 hours before our flight. By the time they arrived, whatever he’d swallowed made it past and he was okay, though shaken up. Ash had found an envelope with some coins and he had a penny in his hand. We assumed it was a coin, but we weren’t sure.

Because we weren’t sure, they recommended going to the ER to get an X-Ray, make sure it wasn’t a) anything sharp or b) a quarter. Ash says she still needs to pack, but I tell her to take Duncan to the ER and I will get Landen ready and we’ll go. At worst, Landen and I would still make the trip, but Ash and Duncan might not. Turns out they did make it (after security, we were there about 45 minutes before our flight was scheduled to take off – our flight was actually late anyway, but we didn’t know that at the time.)

But in my haste to pack, which I wasn’t ready for, I left some stuff at home: Landen’s blankie and stuffed monkey Buddy, Duncan’s birth certificate, and some berries. Most of these would actually be irrelevant, but not all. In the process of packing, my back gave out. It would continue to get worse every day of the trip.

The flights were fine, and the airline didn’t ask for Duncan’s birth certificate at all, so we dodged a bullet there. Actually, somehow (and I’m still not 100% sure of how this happened), Landen managed to flush his underwear down the airplane toilet, and for the rest of the trip, every time he went to the bathroom he was deathly afraid of losing his underwear.

SATURDAY

This was a day where we were just going to take it easy. For the most part we did. We even managed to sneak away and see some friends so they could meet the boys. Landen and Nathaniel (Aaron’s son) got along great and played with cars and trains until they were well-past bedtime. It was this night that I broke my diet. I will have more about that in Part 3 of this journey.

SUNDAY

Because of the last-minute nature of this trip, we didn’t work out many logistics. Thankfully, Tracy and Jerry were AWESOME and flexible and extremely accommodating. They let us use their car to drive to CT for the wake and burial, for which we were extremely grateful, and they even watched Landen for two days while we did it. The drive up was rather uneventful, though we later heard we just missed a mega accident that forced Aaron and Julia to turn around and not make it. That might have been the one bit of luck that actually found its way to us.

A second thing we didn’t have planned was where we were going to sleep while in CT. Worst came to worst, we’d get a hotel. But Jaymar had given me the # of a buddy of his. I never got ahold of him, but while at the viewing, Jay and Jen hooked us up with this lovely couple (very good family friends of Jen’s) who volunteered to put us – total strangers – up for the night. They even gave us their GPS to find their place. They simply said “punch in HOME and you’re good to go.” Maybe things WERE looking up.

After the very painful viewing, Jay and Jen invited anyone who wanted to to come out for dinner and drinks and just some camaraderie. During dinner Duncan started getting fussy, so we made new plans. Ash would take the car to get Duncan back to Gail and Kevin’s (the very nice couple). I would hang with Jay, have a drink or two, and mooch a ride from somewhere back to their place. Great.

About twenty minutes later, I get a call. Ash says there’s a problem. She’d already been driving 20 minutes and the next direction on the GPS was to follow that road for 25 miles. Knowing something was wrong, she pulled over. Just then, she notices the AC in the car stopped. And the hood started smoking. GET OUT OF THE CAR! She pulled Duncan to safety, but now she had two problems. She was lost despite having a GPS and her car was leaking fluids in a not-at-all-good way. The next twenty minutes are spent in a mad game of Operator. Ash can’t reach Gail. She calls Triple A. Gail’s daughter (who happens to be at the bar – one of Jen’s close friends) is trying to reach Kevin, her dad, who is both a firefighter and a mechanic (convenient!) Finally, we make new plans. Kevin and Gail will take two cars to pick Ash up (she is probably 40 minutes from their house). Gail will drive Ash and Duncan back to their house, Kevin will wait for AAA to tow the car back to a VW dealership in the same town as the burial the next day.

We found out what happened with the GPS too – they have a summer home in Vermont, and they still had that address set at “home”, and Ash who is not from the area, didn’t realize it until too late. Yeah, that actually happened.

Meanwhile, at the bar, I decide to order one more very stiff drink, knock it back quickly, and head out with Gail and Kevin’s two kids and Jen’s sister to get back. I finally do make it back (before Ash) and at last we all arrive at Gail and Kevin’s house. The car was towed to the dealership, we hoped it wouldn’t be bad, and we tried to sleep. Nobody really succeeded, though. Duncan barely slept and Ash hardly slept because the only way Duncan would sleep is if they shared their (single) bed. I had a tough time sleeping because of my back.

MONDAY – After Gail made breakfast (seriously, they went ABOVE AND BEYOND the call of duty for complete strangers) and we finally determined that our car would be looked at that day, we went to the burial. After the burial and before lunch, Kevin took us to the dealership, where they told us they had no news. Ash told them that we’d need to rent a car soon and we needed to know as soon as possible. They said they’d try.

After lunch, at Jay and Jen’s insistence, we headed back to their house for a few hours. This was to buy us time so hopefully we would get news of the car. We DID get a call saying it was a hose or belt, and that it wasn’t too big a deal, but they were going to replace it and run it a while to make sure nothing else had gone. Best case scenario (ha!!) Ash would be on her way with Duncan that night – Landen was getting very antsy without us by then – and she would drop me off at my boss’ place in south CT to stay with him.

They called back to say that the water pump had also gone and that would take a long time. Kevin agreed that that was a definite possibility given what he saw, and there’s NO WAY it would get done (they told us this news at 2). We begged and pleaded and explained our situation, and he said he’d try, but no promises. Ash gave up and just ordered a rental car. She and Duncan left and I was to wait for the car. Either I would be staying with Jay and Jen (which I had wanted to avoid – to give them their space) or I would have a car and would drive down to my boss’ house.

Jay and some friends decide he needs a walk, so we take a 2-3 mile walk at a nearby park. It was nice when we got there. With about 1/2 mile left, the winds pick up and the sky darkens. Suddenly, THROUGH THE WOODS we see a storm moving in. Someone’s phone rings – it’s a relative saying that the area is basically getting hurricane conditions. The skies open up. DOWNPOUR. Hail, lightning directly overhead. We assumed it was Gavin who had just found the weather control console and REALLY liked pushing the red button. Over and over again. We get back to the car drenched but okay. Just before the walk I had gotten confirmation that the maintenance crew busted their ass and the car was ready. Following a change into dry clothes, Jay and I have dinner and he drops me off to get it.

I bid farewell to my friend, pack up, and head to south CT. I meet my boss there and explain what has happened so far. I needed two drinks in me to even get it all out.

TUESDAY

My company asked me to come in for one day during the trip to meet some new employees. Also, Ken, the original boss, was celebrating his last day with the company at his upper west side home that night, so it just made sense. But now we had a problem. Ash was supposed to drop off her rental car in NJ, then wouldn’t have a way to get her, Landen, Duncan, two car seats, and a stroller into NYC, and Tracy wouldn’t be able to drive her because it was Knox’ first day of  daycare. I was in the city with Tracy’s now-fixed car, but had no way of getting to Jersey. After many many many phone calls and planning, Ash changes her location to drop-off the car to a Hertz in NYC, not far from Ken’s, and that’s that.

However, at work, I spent an hour fighting with my computer, as it isn’t working properly. The IT team does a fix that works for about twenty minutes. Bear in mind, I hadn’t worked much of the last few days because of Gavin’s funeral, so I’m very far behind and need every minute I can get (particularly because the office was closing early for the party and 4th of July). Another hour passes and I give up and go to another computer. THAT one isn’t working properly either. We end up having a 2 hour conference call, further reducing the time I have to get stuff done. Add to that my cell phone stopped placing calls while in the city. I was not a happy camper.

Finally Ash comes in with the boys a little late and we start to head over in 90+ degree heat. We divert our trip a bit so we can hit the subway (Landen was promised a train ride). He had a great time on the trains, though they were too loud for his liking. The party itself was quite enjoyable, and I think I ate more red meat than I had in the past two years combined. Scrumptious.

By the time we finally made it back to West Milford, it was after 9. I had to lay down immediately because my back (remember that?) was in so much pain that basically utilizing the muscles hurt so so much. I had a glass of wine and went to bed, hoping it would be better in the morning.

WEDNESDAY

Fourth of July. And my back was worse than ever. I took two ibuprofen in the morning just to make it through the morning. After some pictures and last-minute packing, we head out to the airport about 1.5 hours early. When we check in, the guy asks us for Duncan’s birth certificate. We don’t have it. He says he can’t go on the flight. Ash and I don’t quite realize right away that he’s totally serious. He asks again and we tell him we really don’t have it – it’s in Reno. Ash points out that he has no teeth, can’t talk, and can’t stand. The guy replies: “I know old people that don’t have any teeth. I need proof of his date of birth. It’s on our website.” He tells us to have it faxed. By the time someone were to go to our house and get it and fax it over, we would have missed the flight. Ash breaks down while I try to get the hospital on the phone. (The Doctor’s office is closed, mind you, because it’s a holiday).

After two calls and speaking to 4 people, Ash gets this unpleasant woman who won’t help us – it’s against company policy to give out that information. Finally, the Southwest guy asks to speak to her. He runs around in circles for more than five minutes. The hospital wants authorization – we’re right here! We give it! – and then says that won’t work, they aren’t allowed to give that out. Finally, the Southwest guy says “Just say yes or no. Was Duncan born on 10/12/11? And she keeps fighting him, though at one point she says “yes, but I can’t fax you anything.” After more than five minutes of fighting (we’d probably been in line 25 minutes at this point), the guy instructs me to just hang up on her. He is willing to accept that very unofficial acknowledgment of his date of birth. He (fortunately) ushers us to the front of the security line and we make it through with about 15 minutes before our flight boards.

The flights themselves were okay – Duncan wouldn’t sleep unless he was being nursed, so Ash basically fed him for four hours. Landen did great on all the flights, but he’s still a 3-year-old and that’s draining.

At our layover, my back hurt now so much that I laid on the floor to try to fix it. And when I tried to get up, I couldn’t. I tried three times and I literally couldn’t use my back muscles to help me up. Ash brings more ibuprofen and I suck them down. We instruct Granny to meet us at the Reno airport with something stronger. It is probably the most (prolonged) pain I’ve ever been in.

The rest of the trip went without too much hassle and we made it home.

The results? My back is better now. Duncan DID swallow a penny (it came out during the wake), and all our hosts rocked our socks. We  were able to be there for Jay and Jen, a few friends got to meet our kids, I got to have a send-off for the one-time boss who basically enabled me to move across country and marry Ashley… it wasn’t all bad.

But most of it sucked.

I’m a Prognosticator

On a chat board for disc golf, I just stumbled on this post I had made on April 28, 2005:

“Fats is deliberating “pulling a Mullet” and just up and moving in about a year to some part of the country and completely restarting his life.  Any suggestion of areas?  (Do NOT include your own city/state, because if Fats follows through with actually leaving, he is likely going to want to know nobody in the area – an actual restart)”

I have no recollection of ever posting that, nor did I know I had ever thought about moving anywhere. I guess it made sense; I knew I was quitting my job around that time, but to move across country where I didn’t know anyone? That would have been nuts.

Well, it turns out my guess was exactly right, even down to “pulling a Mitch” – moving for a girl. I just was wrong about the timeframe. I left on Halloween of 2007. Though it was a spur-of-the-moment idea. I think from the time I spoke with my boss to the time I left in my car was less than 6 weeks if memory serves me.

Who knew I knew? I didn’t.

Writing Project

It’s already a bit late, but for the few of you who read this who aren’t on the Facebook, long-time friend and up-to-no-good-collaborator Aaron Bell and I are working on a short story project where we will write a short story each month based on the same premise (that will change monthly). The January ones are being reviewed right now, but you can read all about all our exploits on this blog.

http://shortstoryproject2012.wordpress.com/

Picture Blast, Pt. 2

The following are pictures largely of sunsets/cool skies.  They were taken mostly on the same day, one handed, with a camera-phone, while driving.  So suffice to say they may not be the absolute best quality.  Enjoy.

Taken with a camera, not while driving, ~2009

The far side of a sunset

Same clouds, same phone, minutes later, completely different look

The near side of the same sunset

Different day, and for those keeping track, we have two suns now

Finally, two pictures that, no matter how many times I look at them, always make me smile, and usually make me laugh.

This is what he did when I asked him to pose for a picture with Mommy

Hooray for “fish-eye” silly effects on the camera phone!

Picture Blast, Pt. 1

I’m just gonna throw up a bunch of random “Earth” pictures I’ve taken over the last few weeks (or, in one case, years).  They’re not the usual cute baby pictures, but I think you’ll enjoy them nonetheless.  The first four are from our trip to Michigan last month.  They’re also with the fancy new camera, so I was trying some nifty stuff there.  Click to make them bigger.

Lake Michigan at sunset

This little guy did not like staying still for me

A different sunset on Lake Michigan

Artsy and/or fartsy

The next two photos were from the balloon races today – this is an annual event that’s one of the largest in the world.  And, while I don’t consider myself a patriotic person, I was very happy to have snapped the last photo as I was walking with Landen around the disc golf course today.  That it happened on 9/11 isn’t the reason why, either.  I’m fine with patriotism, as long as it’s not manufactured.

Uhhh, I think you’re in my fairway

More in the next day or two.

American Airlines Can Go Suck an Egg

I consider myself pretty lucky with airport luck.  I booked a flight with Landen to MI on American (which was, at the time, my second favorite ‘major’ airline behind Southwest, who didn’t fly where we needed to go.)  A month or so later, Ash was cleared to fly despite starting her 8th month of pregnancy and we were set to fly.  Would Ash’s typical bad luck bring down the flight?

Well, Ash or no Ash, American Airlines screwed the pooch on this one.  Let’s break down what happened.

1st Flight – RNO to ORD (Chicago) – We print our boarding passes out the night before and were all set.  Then at 3:45am Ash gets a phone call.  We call back to find out our flight has been cancelled.  No reason why, just cancelled.  Ash calls them up and talks to someone for a while, who was very inept and poor at explaining things.  We get a new flight booked that will actually put us into MI earlier than anticipated.  Okay, this could work out after all.  We decide to get to the airport early “just in case.”  Bear in mind, we have a 2 year old who, despite being a patient toddler, is still a toddler.

We check in at the airport to be told that we’re not BOOKED on the flight, we’re on standby.  We have a choice: go to American, wait in line amongst the other people who are in our boat, or just go to the Delta flight we’re “booked” on and hope to get on.  We choose that (as we were first on the standby line).  At the gate, they inform Ash that they’re getting all of the American holdovers and just turning them away.  But he tells us “you never know.”  So we figure we’ll wait out the 90 minutes to see if we get on the flight.

Then, our makeshift flight that we MIGHT get on is running late.  First a half hour, then 80 minutes.  If you looked on the ENTIRE Reno flight board, there were only 3 flights with any negative status changes: ours that got cancelled, the incoming one that was late, and our outcoming one was late.)  It now seemed pretty unlikely we’d make our connector and we’d be stuck in MN, not Chicago.

Finally, they start boarding.  They call families.  They call all boarders.  I finally get tired of waiting and say “When will you know the status of the stand-bys?”  “Oh, you can board.  You’re all on.”  We go to the final checkin guy who seems to think we’re not on, but after a while, we all get seats near each other.  Landen sleeps through almost all of the 3 hour flight.  Thank Goodness.

Flight 2: ORD to GRR – So instead of an 80 minute layover, we have about 40 mins.  And of course, we are at one extreme end of the airport, and our next gate is at the extreme other end.  I take off running with the car seat and tell Ash to find a tram.  I reach the Delta desk only to have the lady there tell me that we’re not booked on the flight at all.  She asks me who booked it, and I nearly swear telling them the episode with American, and she pauses for a few minutes.  Then, wordlessly, she hands us our tickets.  We do arrive at Grand Rapids over an hour earlier than our original trip, but with many many more gray hairs.

Flight 3: GRR to ORD – We get to the airport with about 90 mins before flight – we don’t anticipate any issues since this flight isn’t cancelled for no reason.  We look on the board.  There are only two flights with messages, one unrelated one that is delayed, and ours which says “Volunteer”.  I speculate that they overbooked.  Turns out I’m right.

We get to the gate to hear announcements that they are looking for two volunteers to bump to a later flight, offering $300 vouchers.  If we didn’t have a 2 year old, we might do it, as it’s only 4 hours later, but we got the 2 year old.  After a few more pleas, they announce that they are involuntarily bumping people from the flight based on the order the tix were purchased.  First name up?  That’s right, ole’ Ash (bear in mind, she couldn’t book her tickets earlier because she had to wait for medical clearance.)  They tell her she can “volunteer” and still get the $300, or if she says no, she won’t get any voucher and will be booted off.  Ash waddles back (perhaps exaggeratedly) extremely upset (not all exaggeratedly).  We talk.  All three of us could get bumped and make $900 in vouchers, only having to wait four hours.  Then they tell me they won’t arrange any transportation to and from the airport in the interim, meaning we have to entertain a tired toddler for 4 hours (he had gotten up at 3am his body-clock time) in an airport.

I go up and give the 2nd degree (I wasn’t quite at 3rd degree yet) asking that the airline is REALLY going to separate my 8-month pregnant wife from her 2 year old son for reasons SHE WASN’T RESPONSIBLE FOR!?!?  Unacceptable.  I felt bad for the guy (I don’t think he was even typically a desk-guy – he was wearing an orange vest), but really, it is totally unacceptable.  Right as they’re about to close the gate, he tells me we can all get on.  All our seats are separated (of course), with Landen sitting alone.  After a few nice volunteers moved, we got to sit together.

I didn’t find out what happened – did someone else volunteer non-verbally?  Did he arbitrarily kick people off?  If someone else volunteered, I would have liked to thank them.  Oh well, American sucks.

Flight 4: ORD to RNO – This one was fine, other than Landen being pretty much done with flying.  He napped for about 1 of the 3.5 hours.  But his “done” is still better than 90% of toddlers’ best days.

The summary?  American Airlines, once my second choice, has just lost my business.