Monday, December 18, 2006
This weekend Jen and I finally got to see the Billy Joel/Twyla Tharp "musical" Movin' Out at the National Theatre. It's not really a musical, though... it's dance set to Billy Joel's music. And although it's supposed to tell a story of the main characters over 20-some years, it's pretty tough to tell a coherent story when you're building that storyline by stringing together songs that were written over at least as many years.
That was really my big complaint -- the storyline was there and you could follow it, but it was pretty cheesy, especially the "resolution" near the end. But the performance itself was excellent. The band was amazing, and it was fun to hear how some of Billy's songs were tweaked a bit to fit the storyline. (If you don't know, a live band performs Billy's songs on a catwalk above the stage, while the dancers perform below.) The dancing was also amazing, especially the lead character, Eddie. Jen felt there was too much dance for the sake of dance (as opposed to dance in an attempt to tell a story) and too much ballet-style dancing in general. Still, if you see the show you have to go expecting to see a dance performance, not a musical. And don't expect "Dancing with the Stars" either.
All in all, I was very impressed with all the performers, and it was fun to hear Billy's music performed by someone else, with great arrangements and a killer horn section. Was it worth the $94 per ticket (with service fees)? Probably not. And I certainly wouldn't pay to see it again. But I'm certainly glad I got to see it once.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Monday, September 25, 2006
Anyway, I saw this on Mystery Mommy's blog and thought it was cute. The ones I've done are in bold, with comments in italics.
01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins Wild dolphins? No, but I did swim with dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center in the Florida Keys.
03. Climbed a mountain C'mon, I am an Eagle Scout after all. The tallest was Mt. Baldy in New Mexico (elevation 12,441), as well as at least one of the 4000+ peaks in the Adirondak Mountains (I forget which one).
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive No, sadly nothing more exotic than a Corvette and an SSR.
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said 'I love you' and meant it
09. Hugged a tree Because it was the only way to get down!
10. Bungee jumped Not on my list of things to do before I die
11. Visited Paris Not yet. :(
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten my own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than I could afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger My wife was a stranger until I met her. :)
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as I possibly could
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about my life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for my computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends Not many, but at least a few here and there.
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign It was already blown down by the hurricane, but it still counts, right?
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Taken a midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving Again, not on my list of things to do.
51. Visited Ireland Not yet. :(
52. Been heartbroken longer then I was actually in love with the person
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized my CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero As a kid? Sure. As an adult? Probably. :)
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud Aw hells yeah! They had a great mud slide at a campout we went to.
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love with someone and not had my heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites Assuming places like the Grand Canyon qualify as "ancient".
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than six hours straight No, always got bored after about 3.
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River I believe our family float trip was technically on the Snake River. I've also rafted on the Cheat and New rivers (WV).
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
83. Received flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark I think I've tried it once.
88. Had a one-night stand
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one of my parents
93. Been on a cruise ship Not yet, but hopefully soon!
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror Picture Show
96. Raised children Work in progress.
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named my own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge Not the whole thing, tho.
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when I knew someone was looking I don't usually care if anyone is looking, so I don't notice.
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an illness that I shouldn't have survived
105. Written articles for a large publication No, only for a small one.
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane Just a small Sesna.
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of mine below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi Bleh!
128. Had my picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something I care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad
135. Selected one "important" author who I missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared and animal for eating
137. Skipped all my school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written my own computer language
141. Thought to myself that I'm living my dream
142. Had to put someone I love into hospice care
143. Built my own PC from parts
144. Sold my own artwork to someone who didn't know me
145. Had a booth at a street fair Technically it was a car show.
146: Dyed my hair
147: Been a DJ
148: Shaved my head
149: Caused a car accident I'm an excellent driver. :)
150: Saved someone's life
Friday, September 15, 2006
My first thought was "Oh how cool! What a neat way to tap into the power of the internet and reach out to friends and relatives to help with your fundraising campaign. And it's so EASY -- no orders to take or deliveries to make, and the customer can take as long as he or she wants to pick out items."
But then another thought entered my mind. And it started something like "Boy, when *I* was a kid...."
Yep, when I was a kid, we did it "the old-fashioned way"... walked door to door to take orders (uphill both ways, of course). We didn't have no fancy-shmancy internet to do the work for us!
Seriously, though, while I love all the ways the internet has made our lives easier, there is still something to be said for door-to-door fundraising. It teaches kids social interaction, gives them self-confidence, and teaches them to handle rejection. It builds character, dammit! It also puts a FACE with the solicitation request. I mean I'm much happier to shell out $3.50 for a "single-serving" box of girl scout cookies when I see the friendly and enthusiastic smile of the girl I'm helping out.
On the other hand, I guess at six years old my friend's son is a bit too young to be out selling door-to-door, even if his mom went along. And does mom really have the time to tag along? Even with older kids, do you really want them going out door-to-door with all those pedophiles out there? And for the customer, would you rather support some random neighborhood kid who comes to your door (and how do you know they're really from your neighborhood?), or someone you actually know?
So I guess I'm on the fence about this one. I guess using the internet for school fundraising makes sense -- it's a safe and efficient way to contact people you know, especially those who live outside of your immediate area. And I'm sure kids will still be going door-to-door to solicit their neighbors, since they don't have email addresses for everyone! I just hope I don't start getting flooded with email fundraising solicitations in the future, and I hope email solicitation doesn't completely replace that character-building experience of trudging through the rain and snow just to have your hopes and dreams shattered by the mean old man at the end of the block!
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Apparently late last week, Melanie Martinez, the host of "The Good Night Show" on Sprout, was fired due to a video she had done about seven years ago. (Note #1: SHE brought the video to PBS's attention. I'm not sure why she waited till the second year of her contract, but kudos to her for voluntarily making them aware of it.) You can
read the article on MSN and also read PBS's official statement. Then you can watch the video here (probably not the kind of thing you want to watch at work, however).
Now at first glance I guess I can see where PBS is coming from. The material certainly isn't appropriate for children... but kids shouldn't be watching this sort of video in the first place! (And if they are, their parents need to be more vigilant about their children's web surfing!) Then my wife forwarded me an email talking about other kids TV stars with risque shows/films in their bio, and one name that jumped out at me was George Carlin. Wait a second! Isn't George Carlin the narrator in some of the Thomas the Tank Engine episodes, a show that plays a VERY prominent role in Sprout's "Good Night Show" programming? Is PBS now going to pull all Thomas episodes where Carlin is the narrator? And if they do, I'd argue that all of Alec Baldwin's episodes need to be pulled too, as he has certainly played roles more risque than Melanie's 30-second PSA spoof.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
bath time ("bah tah")*
Zuzu (our dog's name)
... and the one that surprised me the most last week:
I'm not sure if she really knows what a backpack is, or if she just associates the word with Dora the Explorer. She has a Dora backpack, but she also said "backpack" when I gave her a Dora sticker... but there WAS a picture of backpack on the sticker too.
She's also started putting words together into sentences, such as "bye-bye dada", and some unintelligible sentences too ("ah ga gah ga tiger da da"). And she's really started responding to our sentences, such as "Could you put that in the trash?" or "Please pick that up." The best was at the chiropractor's when she actually put the doodle-pad back on the toy table without a fight. It's such a neat age.
One last funny thing... most toddlers learn the word "no" very early and love to use it, right? Not ours. For some reason, she's decided to say "uh uh" instad. But it's cute, and I guess it's less abrasive than hearing your toddler say "NO!" all the time!
In case you've forgotten, in three days Little Miss will be 18 months old.
* She's actually been saying these for a while but I forgot to list them in my previous post!
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Last Comic Standing -- first, I can't believe they decided to elimintate TWO finalists each week and basically cut the competition portion of the show down to four weeks. I want to see MORE of these comics each week! On the other hand, they did cut down on the house soap opera antics... although they kinda had to in order to have time for three performances each night.
As for the comics, I was really disappointed with about half of the finalists. I really don't know what anyone saw in Rebecca Corry. What's with the toilet humor? Not only are her jokes disgusting, but she's freaky-looking. And her kick-boxing antics tonight, along with her little pudge stomach sticking out, were just vile. I'm so glad she's gone. Kristen Key, on the other hand, had some great material in the audition rounds. Unfortunately she's so new that she must not have much written (and as we saw at the roast, she SUCKS at writing). She bombed tonight and deserved to go home, although I do feel bad for her.
So now we're down to five, and next week the TV audience finally gets to weigh in. Based on what we've seen over the weeks, I'm pretty certain the winner will either be Josh Blue or Chris Porter. I don't think the other three are even in the same league. I never thought Roz was very funny, and Ty Barnett is just ok. And I'm still not sure how Michele Balan managed to survive two head-to-head(-to-head) competitions.
As for Supernova... well, I missed the premiere episode last week but caught the results show, and tonight I was blogging about Last Comic while watching Supernova so I wasn't really paying much attention! I'm not as interested this time around since this is a brand new band rather than finding a new singer for an established band. Plus it's early, so I still have time to pick my favorites. Really nobody has stood out to me so far -- in fact a few times tonight I asked out loud "these are really the best singers they could find for this show?" Half of them are AWFUL! Last year there were three who stood out right off the bat -- Ty, Jordan, and Mig -- plus Susie McNeil, Marty Casey, and J.D. Fortune who turned it on later in the show.
Maybe next week I'll pay closer attention and see if anyone actually has any talent. But for now, my pick to go home this week is Chris Pierson. He was in the bottom three last week and an awful performance this week too. My other two picks for the bottom three are Zayra and Josh Logan. I have no idea what Dave Navarro was listening to when he said Josh could be one of the best singers he's heard. I thought he sounded like Kermit the Frog! Well hey, at least the house band kicks some serious ass!
By the way, if you like Rock Star: Supernova, be sure to check out Rock Star Go Home, where you can pick who's going home each week and compete for fantastic prizes!
Monday, July 10, 2006
Of course the draw of this "musical" isn't really the music, it's the comedy. (Although I was impressed with the music too.) You don't need to be a Monty Python fan to enjoy the show (although it helps), but I do think you must have at least watched The Holy Grail at least twice to have any idea what's going on, or why some of the scenes are so funny. I was especially impressed with how they managed to translate some of the funnier aspects of the movie into live theater -- the knight that won't die (I'm sure he has an "official" name... someone help me out here!) and the holy hand grenade/killer rabbit scene in particular.
I must say that after seeing the show, I am even more disappointed that I didn't get to see it during its initial run on Broadway. I would have loved to see Tim Curry, Hank Azaria, and David Hyde Pierce in the leading roles. But this cast was great too, and of course you can't help but leave whistling "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life" all the way home!
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Anyway, on to the point of this post... Little Miss is babbling more and more each day. She still doesn't have many "words" but she certainly has her favorite phrases and we can tell what they mean, at least somewhat. She has one that seems to mean "what is that" that basically sounds like "ah DAH dah!", and another that means "look what I have" that's just "ah DAH!"
She's also started mimicing our words, so it's tough to tell if she actually knows what a word means or if she's just mimicing. She can say sticker ("tick-aw"), daycare ("day-cuh"), and juice "jzhh jzhh", and tonight she said pizza which pretty much sounded like pizza from what I could tell. She definitely knows what stickers are... ask her if she wants a sticker and she'll hold out the back of her hand for you to put one on. The only thing that troubles me is some words she used to say really well (like "more" and "hi") have pretty much vanished from her vocabulary. It's very strange. But her favorite word now is "b-bye", which she says clear as a bell. Oh, and I swear she says "Trogdor".
Friday, June 23, 2006
Monday, June 19, 2006
Last week Jen and I saw Nine Inch Nails in concert at Nissan Pavilion. NIN is probably the hardest band I listen to, and not one I would normally buy tickets to go see... but I didn't buy them. We cashed in our DC101 listener network points for a pair of tickets. Hell, they couldn't even give away all the tickets -- the 300 section was 3/4 empty and the 200 section was about a third empty. But regardless, the show still kicked some serious ass. Reznor and the band started off strong and went the first five songs or so with incredible energy before coming up for air. (I wish I could find a set list... more searching tomorrow, I guess.) The light show and effects were amazing. I only knew about half the songs -- I only own one NIN album (their latest, Hand That Feeds) so I pretty much only know the radio songs. But I felt a little better when I noticed I seemed to be the only one rocking out to Dead Souls, a song that appeared on The Crow soundtrack. So I guess all these die-hard goth metal freaks really aren't that die-hard after all.
Latest additions to my CD collection
I really don't buy too many CDs these days -- with a collection of over 400, Jen has tried (in vain) to implement a "buy one, sell one" policy on our collection. But recently I broke down and placed a BMG order for some albums I've been meaning to get, and an Amazon order for some new releases. Today I got my BMG order:
Bo Bice - The Real Thing
Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway
Limp Bizkit - Greatest Hitz
Fuel - Greatest Hits
OK, I admit it, I'm a Kelly Clarkson fan. Call her my guilty pleasure. She was the first American Idol, after all (and you all know that I am an AI addict), and she is a fantastic singer. Plus her second album is a bit harder and edgier than her first, so some of her songs get airplay on the adult alternative stations that I tend to listen to. Bo Bice... well, I heard one of his songs on the radio and I liked him well enough on AI, so I thought I'd give it a shot. As for Fuel -- well, I thought I'd pick this up since it was rumored that Chris Daughtry (from AI) was going to be Fuel's new lead singer, but apparently he turned down the gig! Oh well... I still like Fuel quite a bit. And Limp Bizkit is a band I've always liked on the radio but never bought an album. A Bizkit hits album is perfect for my collection.
So what's in my Amazon order?
Billy Joel - 12 Gardens Live
Live - Songs from Black Mountain
These are two of just a handful of artists where I will buy a new album from them. Others (off the top of my head) include Dave Matthews Band, U2, Alanis Morisette, and Rush.
Coming soon, the 10 favorite albums in my CD collection!
Monday, June 12, 2006
- work as a full-time web developer
- sell diecast cars from home (as part of Indypacecars.com)
- do occasional gigs as an audio engineer at Reston Town Center and Burke United Methodist Church
- do mystery shopping
- perform with the Redskins Marching Band
- participate in product sample testing and word-of-mouth marketing through BzzAgent
- am the father of a 17-month-old girl, as well as the principle cook and grocery shopper for my household
In the past I've been a/an:
- member of my high school rifle team
- Assistant Scoutmaster
- journalist and photographer for my local newspaper
- ROTC cadet
- Lt. Governor in Circle K (collegiate service organization)
- recording engineer at a studio outside Philadelphia
- audio engineer at an amusement park
- delivery driver and prep cook for a sports bar
- HTML instructor
I guess I can understand all the different activities during high school and college... that's part of "finding yourself". The question is, did I maybe find too many different sides of me?
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Thursday, June 01, 2006
"LM, what does the duck say?"
"Dack! Dack! Dack!"
"That's right! What does the doggy say?"
"Dack! Dack! Dack!"
"No, the doggie says 'woof woof'. Can you say 'woof'?"
"Dack! Dack! Dack!"
"Um, honey, I think this one's defective!"
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
I'm probably crazy to even take the position since it pays the same, it's almost twice as far from my house (7 miles instead of 4 miles), and it's only scheduled to be a three month contract, but my current position is just so incredibly boring that I really needed to make a change. Also, they did say a few times in my interview that the position might go longer or they might like to bring the person on full-time. And if not, the job market seems to be pretty good right now and I don't think I'll have any trouble finding something new in three months if I have to. Or if we are able to manage our finances right, I might be able to become a stay-at-home dad in three months! Although I gotta admit, working at NWF really does sound like it will be fun. It's also the most fun I've ever had in an interview, which I'm sure helped me to get the offer.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Thursday, May 11, 2006
The proposed scenario is that if people started buying only a few gallons of gas at a time instead of filling their tank, we would cause the stations' tanks to stay full all the time. Even before I read the response on Snopes, I immediately knew that this was a ridiculous assumption because the story completely fails to take into account the law of AVERAGES. And more importantly, the story doesn't talk about reducing consumption, only changing your buying habits.
Let's look at the facts. Let's say I buy 10 gallons of gas once a week from gas station X. Let's say there are six other people out there just like me that all fill up at gas station X. And let's go a step further and say we are the ONLY customers that buy gas at Station X. Maybe we all fill up on the same day (unlikely), or maybe we each fill up on a different day (just as unlikely), but no matter when we fill up, Station X still sells 70 gallons of gas that week, and he needs to order 70 gallons to replace it.
Now the next week all seven of us decide that instead of buying 10 gallons once a week, we'll all buy just 2 gallons at a time. But we still all drive the same amount and consume the same amount, so we now need to stop at the gas station FIVE times instead of just once. So what happens? Absolutely nothing. Station X still sells 70 gallons of gas that week, they just sell it in 35 transactions instead of seven. Yes, there might be a short-term surplus because on Monday the people who filled up on Saturday and Sunday don't need gas yet, and the person who filled up last Monday is only buying 1/5 of the normal amount. But that surplus will be quickly corrected, and by week two Station X is back to selling EXACTLY the same amount of gas per day as they did before.
If anything, the only thing this proposal would do is drive prices UP. Why? Because every time a customer uses a credit card, the merchant gets charged a flat fee for the transaction (usually $.20-$.30) plus a percentage of the sale. Whether the customer buys $4 or $40 worth of gas, that flat fee stays the same. So now Station X has to charge MORE in order to make up for the fact that they now have 35 credit card charges a week instead of seven.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Monday, May 08, 2006
what happened today in Chantilly. Not only did this shooting take place about a mile from where I work, but the suspect apparently lived about 500 feet from the townhouse where Jen and I lived for two and a half years, and where my brother currently lives. Crazy. Makes me glad we moved out of there five years ago.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
I heard that the purpose of the boycott was to show the importance of immigrants to America. I don't think there's a single person out there who doesn't acknowledge the importance of immigrants. After all, we are ALL descendants of immigrants (unless you're 100% Native American). But most of us immigrated to this country LEGALLY. So my question is, why would legal immigrants want to support ILLEGAL immigrants?
I guess I must be missing the big issue here. Is the issue about making it easier to get a work permit or become a citizen? Is it about giving amnesty to those already here illegally? I've heard some stuff about workers' rights and giving benefits to immigrant workers, which is fine if you are paying taxes -- but if you're undocumented, then you aren't paying taxes!
As for yesterday's boycott, I really didn't notice any difference (although I didn't go out for lunch), other than traffic being lighter than usual. Insert your own joke about immigrants not being able to drive!
The other day while watching the news, I found myself saying something I never thought I'd say. I a... ag... agree with President Bush on something.
"I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English, and I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English," said Bush. For once, I agree.
To be honest, I'm still not sure where I fall on the whole immigrant issue. (More on that later.) But I do know that a country's -- any country's -- national anthem should be sung in the country's official language or the language in which it was written when it was approved as the national anthem. I had to add that because, sadly, the US does not have a national language. And we should.
I think it's great that America is known as the "melting pot" of the world, and I realize that ALL of us (other than native Americans) are descendants of immigrants. But this is still one country, united, and we ought to have a national language. You don't have to necessarily speak English to move here, but I certainly think you should know how to speak English to hold a job here. I wouldn't move to France or Spain or Mexico and expect to get a job without speaking the language!
Well Monday was a little tougher than we had expected. LM was very clingly and didn't want me to leave, even when other kids came over to play with her. Monday was also picture day, which we forgot, so I ran home to get a nicer outfit. When I came back, she was crying. I helped get her changed and then calmed her down and took her down for her picture. That went OK once she finally settled down, and we managed to get a bit of a smile from her, but she certainly wasn't herself. I guess this is understandable, coming back from a weekend at home and being dumped in a new class with new teachers. Luckily the toddler and infant rooms are only separated by a knee wall, so she can still see her old teachers and they can come over to comfort her if they need to.
The strangest thing so far is that LM doesn't like to go outside. They've told me that even when she's doing fine inside, she will cry outside unless someone is holding her hand. It's so strange considering she LOVES to be outside at home and is never afraid to venture into the grass or far away from mommy and daddy. And we've taken her to our neighborhood playground and she runs around, completely unintimidated by the other kids. But even when I was with her at daycare, she wasn't happy unless I was holding her hand or at least right there next to her. I know this is just something that will take her some time to get used to and she'll be fine, but it sure is heart-wrenching to see her crying when I leave and crying when I pick her up, wondering if she ever stopped in between!
Side note: today was a little different story. Lately LM has been throwing fits while she's eating. We're not sure if she doesn't like the food or maybe she's just teething. (She's 15 months old and STILL has no bottom teeth and only five top teeth.) This morning she would be eating happily, then suddenly start screaming and throw everything on the floor... then turn around and ask for more. Coupled with the new toddler environment, I'm sure today will be interesting for LM's teachers.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Monday, April 17, 2006
Friday Jen and I went to see Billy Joel in DC. The show was amazing, as expected. I just wish I had been able to enjoy it more. The (drunk) couple in front of us insisted on turning around and talking to us between and even during songs. When they were in their seats, that is. Thankfully they spent more than half the concert out in the beer line or in the rest room. Explain to me why someone would spend $90+ each for concert tickets and then spend more than half their time standing in line to buy $7 beers?? Blows my mind.
Anyway, as for the show, Billy was in rare form. He had more energy than I have seen from him in a LONG time. He basically spent the last seven songs of his regular set running around the stage, playing guitar on a few numbers and twirling the mic stand like a color guard flag for the others. He even got up on top of the piano as it came up from its trap door -- although the days of one-handed round-offs off the piano are long gone. (I have a picture of that from 1990. I'll have to post it if I can find it.) I've read some reviews that say Billy has lost his spark. From what I saw Friday night, that is far from the truth. This was the 7th time I've seen Billy Joel in concert and this show was certainly as good as any I've seen.
I have also seen a lot of reviewers complain about Billy's shows being nothing but retread hits. I have to disagree with that too. You can see the set list from Friday's show here. At our show, Billy did four songs that I would consider at least somewhat obscure -- Everybody Loves You Now, Ballad of Billy the Kid, The Entertainer, and Zanzibar -- and there were a few others that haven't been heard in concert since the early 90's. The only complaint I have is that Billy played all four lesser-known songs within the first eight tunes of the show. I guess this makes sense from a sense of "building to climax" (a quote from Billy during Friday night's show), but I would have liked to see him mix them up a little bit more. At least then he would have kept everyone's attention through the first part of the show and given them a chance to hit the beer truck again later in the set.
I am a little bit jealous of the people who got to see some of the Philadelphia shows, like this one on March 13 where he threw in Vienna, Stiletto, All For Leyna, Captain Jack, The Night Is Still Young, and And So It Goes. But what did they lose? Everybody Loves You Now, New York State of Mind (gasp!), The Downeaster Alexa (a personal favorite), An Innocent Man, Goodnight Saigon, and I Go To Extremes (Double gasp! My all-time favorite live BJ song!). So I guess it was a good trade-off overall.
That being said, exactly what's wrong with Billy Joel playing a "greatest hits" show? I mean isn't that what the audience is paying for? Not everybody at a BJ show is a diehard fan or has seen him eight times like I have. They pay big bucks to hear the songs they hear on the radio or on their "Essential Billy Joel" CD. I've heard reviewers say "If I just want to hear his hits, I'll stay home and listen to the CD." That's ridiculous. People come to concerts to see and hear the hits played live. And even though I would have enjoyed hearing some of the more obscure songs, I know that would mean cutting one of the bigger hits and leaving even more people disappointed.
My Billy Joel shows (some dates are approximate):
12/17/89 - Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA
10/18/93 - US Air Arena, Landover, MD
7/9/94 - Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia, PA (with Elton John)
3/28/96 - master class at Penn State
2/6/98 - CoreStates Center, Philadelphia, PA
4/25/98 - MCI Center, Washington, DC
1/18/02 - MCI Center, Washington, DC (with Elton John)
4/14/06 - Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Monday, April 03, 2006
Now if I could just get her to keep those swiffer pads on her shoes. :)
Sunday, April 02, 2006
muh - more
bah - milk, or basically any food/drink. Also used in place of "more".
tata - thank you (This is the funniest one -- she's been on this kick of handing things to us lately, so we always say "thank you". Well now she says it back any time she hands me something!)
hada - hello (only said into the play telephone, of course)
ah - up
dah - her all-purpose word, but usually means "here" or "I want that".
She also knows her sign-language for "milk" and "more", although she uses "milk" to mean any sort of food or in place of "more". ("Milk" is a squeezing fist, kind of like milking a cow, while "more" is a motion kind of like stretching a piece of taffy. LM's version of "more" looks more like a sideways "time out" call or, if she's REALLY hungry, punching her palm.)
"Mama" and "dada" are still rarely heard. Oh well.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
WARNING: the site seems a little buggy to me. I had a lot of trouble searching for former co-workers, and the company keyword search would return employee listings with their title and company but no names. But it's still a fun way to put together a collection of friends and colleagues by email addresses and then see how many people you are connected to through 2 or 3 degrees of separation.
If you join and would like to be linked to me, you can invite me at my gmail address and then I'll add you from my primary email address. (Eventually I'm gonna have to drop this anonymity charade.)
Friday, March 24, 2006
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Hallelujah! Last night's elimination show has restored my faith in humanity. We can finally say goodbye to Kevin "Chicken Little" Covais! I am so glad to see that America finally came to its collective senses and got rid of this doofus. Sure, he's a sweet kid, but C'MON! *I* freakin sing better than him! Just selecting him for the top 24 was a cruel joke... letting him make the top 12 was just plain sad. Unfortunately the crop of guys this year was really weak in general. So I guess when you're faced with 9 mediocre talents and 3 superstars and you have to pick 6 to go on, it's not that surprising that two of the worst (Kevin and Bucky) went on while the "average" singers went home.
Anyway, last night America got it exactly right. The bottom three were Kevin, Bucky, and Lisa Tucker, in that order. I actually thought Lisa might be the one to go home, due to the "sympathy vote" and the support from VoteForTheWorst.com for Kevin, and I know there are a lot of rednecks out there who like Bucky's southern rock. But these three are clearly the weakest singers of the group and have been since the round of 24 started. Hopefully America will continue to vote this way and we'll get this thing down to the eight truly talented singers... and THEN we'll have a competition.
Of course all this did bring up some thoughts of conspiracy theories. I mean last week Ace Young (the pre-season pick to win it all) was in the bottom three along with Lisa and Melissa "Bellybutton" McGhee. Ace was safe for another week... but could it have been a ploy by AI producers to stir up controversy and get people to vote more often? Perhaps they were irritated that Kevin Covais had made it this far and threw Ace in the bottom three to increase viewer voting and help counteract the VoteForTheWorst.com voting block? Since Fox doesn't release voting totals, we'll never know. Of course DialIdol.com did predict (based on measuring busy signals) that Ace would be in the bottom three. Although their order prediction wasn't right, it does seem to support the results as shown on TV. (If DialIdol had shown him in the top 6, then we'd have a controversy!)
Of course one could also argue the opposite conspiracy theory -- that Fox intentionally kept Kevin around for another week just to stir up controversy and outrage fans of the other singers. Could that be possible? DialIdol's predictions seem to support that theory, as they put Kevin in the bottom three last week. Hmmmm....
But I guess it doesn't matter now. Kevin was voted off last night and all is right with the world again... at least until next Wednesday!
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Last week I got a forwarded email from a friend of mine that really got under my skin. Now keep in mind that my friend is a blue-collar rural redneck with a high school education, so this is the kind of narrow-minded blather I would expect from her. What really surprised me, though, was her reaction when I tried to share my point of view with her. But hey, if she doesn't want to hear what I have to say, maybe you do.
Anyway, the email I received was titled Proud American (actually, it was titled "pROUD aMERICAN"). It started with the Pledge of Allegiance, with the line "one nation under God" underlined... so I already knew where this email was headed. Following the pledge was the following text:
I was asked to send this on if I agree or delete if I don't. It is said that 86% of Americans believe in God. Therefore I have a very hard time understanding why there is such a problem in having "In God We Trust" on our money and having "God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.
I won't quote it exactly, but the reply I sent to my friend went something like this:
First of all, America was founded on the principles of freedom of religion and more importantly, freedom from forced religion and freedom from persecution for your religious beliefs. This protection extends even to those who choose to practice no religion. 86% of Americans may believe in God but that leaves 14% of Americans whose religious views are basically ignored. Also, keep in mind that only 32% of the world is Christian. [I thought I had read 10% once, but I just double-checked that figure.] The phrase "under God" may seem harmless, but to Wiccans, Buddhists, and some other religions (not to mention atheists), it is a statement that cannot be said without directly conflicting with their own views.
Some people say that the pledge should be optional and that if you don't want to say "under God" then you don't have to. But keep in mind the words that surround that phrase -- "one nation ... indivisible". Dividing classrooms into those that say the pledge and those that don't -- "believers" and "non-believers" -- goes directly against the basic philosophy of the pledge, not to mention makes kids feel like they are "different" or "outcasts".
The thing to remember is that while the founding fathers may have been religious men, they founded this country on the principle of religious FREEDOM. I'm sure if they knew how we have incorporated our Judeo-Christian belief in one God into our schools, money, and other government-run facets of our lives, they would be rolling over in their graves.
Monday, March 13, 2006
Friday, March 10, 2006
The Guys' Rules
We always hear "the rules" from the female side. Now here are the rules from the male side. These are our rules!
Please note.. These are all numbered "1" ON PURPOSE!
1. Men ARE not mind readers.
1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.
1. Sunday sports. It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.
1. Shopping is NOT a sport. And no, we are never going to think of it that way.
1. Crying is blackmail.
1. Ask for what you want.
Let us be clear on this one:
Subtle hints do not work!
Strong hints do not work!
Obvious hints do not work!
Just say it!
(This is one my wife needs to work on!)
1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.
(I'm not exactly sure what the author means here. Does this mean that women should accept a yes/no answer as an acceptable answer from a man? Or does it mean that it's ok for women to stick to yes/no and not bore us to death with the details? Or perhaps it means that when you ask a question, be willing to accept either "yes" or "no" as an answer (i.e. "Could you take out the garbage?"). Maybe it's all of the above!)
1. Come to us with a problem only If you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
(Another one my wife needs to take to heart!)
1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem. See a doctor.
1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 Days.
(I like this one!)
1. If you won't dress like the Victoria's Secret girls, don't expect us to act like soap opera guys.
(Or romantic movie guys.)
1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.
(See #1 below... er... well you'll figure out which one I mean!)
1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.
(I like this one too!)
1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.
(Of course the second half of the sentence renders the first half moot.)
1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.
1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.
(Um, yeah, and he ended up in America instead of India. Probably not the best example, dumbass!)
1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.
1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.
1. If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," we will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.
1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.
(Too true! This is the '#1' I referred to earlier.)
1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine... really.
(I don't really agree with this one. It depends on where we're going. But I'm sure the author meant that you don't need to spend an hour "getting ready" to go to the grocery store!)
1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball, the shotgun formation, or golf.
(Or sex. Or cars. Or... did I say sex?)
1. You have enough clothes.
(Unless you are my wife... then it's "You have enough Land's End clothes.")
1. You have too many shoes.
(Unless you are my wife... then it's "You have too many shoes without heels.")
1. I am in shape. Round IS a shape!
1. Thank you for reading this. Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight; but did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping.
What's the difference between a wife and a job?
After five years, the job still sucks!
What's the difference between a wife and an airplane?
When you land in the Bahamas, the plane stops whining!
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Last weekend (a week and a half ago), LM was quite cranky. She seemed to have a lot of gas and wasn't eating well. She didn't have a BM at all on Saturday but she also didn't eat much solid food so I wasn't worried, and Sunday she had a normal BM. She had a low fever Saturday but felt fine on Sunday, so Monday she went to daycare. Well, turns out daycare had a run of rotovirus going around and LM was one of only 2 or 3 kids in that day... and they ended up sending her home anyway because of diarrhea. In the evening she'd be happy one minute and screaming for no apparent reason the next, so we eventually chalked it up to either teething or gas/upset stomach/other symptoms from the rotovirus. We continued to send her to daycare that week because she always seemed fine to us in the morning, plus she wasn't pooping at home so we didn't know if she still had diarrhea or not. Daycare said she was pretty cranky Tuesday and Wednesday, but she seemed to be back to herself by Thursday.
Unfortunately the screaming fits didn't stop completely. She may have been doing better at daycare, but Friday night she started the screaming fits again. LM didn't want to eat or take a bottle, or chew on anything for her teeth, and this time the tylenol and anbesol didn't help, so we suspected gas. By Saturday it became clear that she was constipated... then Saturday afternoon she finally passed a HUGE (adult-sized) rock-hard BM. Poor baby! She immediately stopped crying and then slept for another hour, so we thought we might be able to go out to dinner. Bad choice. She ate ravenously for the first 10 minutes we were there, but once she was full the screaming started again (just as we got our salads), so I took LM out to the car to let Jen and her aunt eat their steaks, until Aunt T came out to take over for me.
Sunday LM had another screaming fit and then passed some more hard poop, so we thought for sure that this would be the end of the screaming fits, but it wasn't. Last night (Monday), LM fell asleep on her way home from daycare (as she often does), and I carried her inside and she slept for about a half hour. I was sure she'd be hungry when she woke up, but as soon as I put her in her high chair she started kicking and screaming and flailing, and absolutely refused to eat or drink anything, including goldfish (her favorite). She also refused to be held or consoled. The only way I managed to get her to eat anything was while she was running around, I was able to get her to take a few spoonfuls of peaches -- when I tried again with the bottle, she started screaming again. I eventually had no choice but to leave her lying flat on her back in "snow angel position" on the kitchen floor, crying. Of course after a few minutes, the crying stopped just as suddenly as it had started and LM popped up and came trotting over to play with her toys.
At this point I felt I really needed to get her in to the doctor and see if we could figure out exactly what was wrong with her. Was it something we missed, like an ear infection or some other infection or gastrointestinal issue, or was it just teething or more constipation? I managed to get the last appointment for the night, at 8:50pm. Jen got home from class around 7:45 and tried feeding LM again, and again she had a screaming fit but this time with two of us I was able to get some anbesol on her new tooth and that seemed to do the trick. Jen was finally able to get her to sit still long enough to eat half a Graduates chicken stew, and she continued to munch on goldfish until the doctor's appointment.
By 8:50pm LM seemed like the happiest girl you've ever met, running around the exam room exploring the heater, the magazines, and everything else. I'm sure it makes the doctor's exam go a lot smoother, but it also makes her parents look like total loons. The doctor ruled out an ear infection but she did notice a big blood blister between the cusps of LM's newest tooth (her first molar), so I'm pretty sure that's the cause of her latest distress. It's just been so tough because she doesn't want to chew on any teethers. And if I knew for sure that's what was bothering her, it would be a lot easier to deal with the screaming because at least we could try to treat the root of the problem -- plus we'd have something to tell daycare when they tell me she was cranky or wasn't herself and they make it sound like she's coming down with something.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
I signed up for AdSense for one of my websites. When I logged in to my account to agree to the ToS, there at the top of the page was a box that said:
Updated - We have made revisions to this agreement in the following sections: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15.
HALLELUJAH! Why can't all companies make things this simple and actually point out WHICH sections have changed? That way I might actually read those sections instead of just skipping the whole thing and blindly clicking "accept".
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Here are a few of the ads I remember. Feel free to add any others!
Zest - You're not fully clean unless you're zestfully clean
Safeguard - The smallest soap in the house
Coast - The eye opener
Irish Spring - Fresh and *cat call* clean as a whistle
Dial - Aren't you glad you used Dial? Don't you wish everyone did?
Ivory - So pure, it floats!
Apparently all these soaps do still exist, so what happened to the commercials?
Friday, February 17, 2006
If you have the time and want a good laugh, check out the first 10 minutes from Monday's Daily Show. (Sorry, it won't let me link directly to the video clip.)
The biggest tragedy in all of this is that Cheney wasn't hunting with George W. A man can dream....
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Then yesterday I had a root canal, and this morning I finally got to the dermatologist to have him look at a mole or sunspot or whatever you want to call it on my arm, which of course he decided should be removed and sent for a biopsy. Suddenly I feel quite old.
Monday, February 06, 2006
Last week I talked about an unsigned singer/songwriter Harry Francis that I've been a fan of for 12 years. Today I want to share another band that I have a personal connection to, although this band is in a VERY differeng genre!
While I was at Penn State, I took an electronic music class as part of my Integrative Arts (aka "the build-your-own-major major") curriculum. The class covered all sorts of electronic music topics but focused mostly on MIDI synthesizers and computer-based sequencing software. Also in my class was a guy named Chris Sevanik. Chris was already an electronic music composer in his own right, and had some techno/electronica songs that he had composed and sequenced on his Ensoniq ESQ-1 that he wanted to record to tape. Since my area of interest was recording, we teamed up for our final project and I helped him mix and record his songs.
Anyway... in addition to his techno stuff, Chris was also in an industrial band with his brother, Jason. The band was called Mindless Faith, and they'd occasionally get airplay on the weekend "local music" show or on the late-night hard rock show. Well believe it or not, 10 years later Mindless Faith is still performing and recording new albums! In fact much many of their songs have been featured on MTV's "Road Rules", and they have appeared on at least 16 international compilation albums!
In addition to their own music, Mindless Faith has also gotten into remixing other artists' songs. Specifically, they recently won a Nine Inch Nails remix contest with their remix of 'Only'. Now THAT's impressive!
Anyway, it's been years since I've seen Chris but I'm thrilled to see that Mindless Faith has enjoyed so much success, both with their original music and with their remixes. Hopefully I will get to see them the next time they are in DC!
Height: 30.5" (90%)
Weight: 23 lbs 5 oz (80%)
Head: 17.75" (55%)
In addition to being so tall, I think she's always looked older than her age because her head is so small in proportion to her body, which makes her look less like a big-headed baby and more like a "little person".
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
3) dr four eyes
4) Mystery Mommy
5) MusicLover Marc
Next select five people to tag:
3) My wife. Yes, she has a blog. But I won't link to her because she links to her homepage, which would blow my anonymity. :)
4) Um... I don't read any other blogs on a regular basis! So anyone else who would like to, feel free to tag yourself!
What were you doing 10 years ago?
February 1996: Let's see... I was working at Penn State full-time, subletting an apartment while my girlfriend (later to become my wife) was an hour away at Penn State - Altoona.
What were you doing 1 year ago?
A year ago? My daughter was 10 days old, so it's kind of a blur.
Five snacks you enjoy:
1) Doritos used to be my #1 until they changed the flavor again. Now it's gotta be Tostitos.
3) Lightly-salted dry roasted peanuts
4) Homemade chex mix (we call it "nuts and bolts")
Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:
1) I Know a Chicken (and most other songs from Jack's Big Music Show)
2) Just about every Billy Joel song
3) The Star Spangled Banner (unlike most people)
4) Moondance (which I sang to my wife once)
5) See #2
Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
A million doesn't go far, so let's assume lottery-type winnings.
1) Buy a huge house somewhere outside of the DC metro area (otherwise there wouldn't be anything left!), probably somewhere warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
2) Open a recording studio (or buy one).
3) Take a two-week trip to Hawaii (flying first class, of course!)
4) FINALLY get a Corvette
5) Stop collecting 1/18 scale pace cars and start collecting the real thing!
Five bad habits:
1) Biting my fingernails
4) My short temper/blaming my wife for everything
5) Watching too much tv
Five things you like doing:
1) Watching tv
2) Sunbathing, swimming, sailing, scuba diving... basically any activity that takes place in the tropics
3) Is this a family show? :)
4) "Driving around with the car top down and the radio on"
5) Going to concerts
Five things you would never wear again:
That's a tough one... I'm a guy, so there's not much I've worn that I would be embarrassed by. So I guess I'll say...
1) My Members Only jacket (not like I actually have it anymore)
2) My high school band jacket (which I DO still own)
3) The light-up sun visor that I bought at Disney World
4) Any sort of sun visor, for that matter
5) Long hair (although if I HAD hair, I might consider it)
Five favorite toys:
1) My GPS
2) My telescope
3) My Mustang convertible
4) My HDTV and DVR
5) Card games
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Wow. Clearly the education system failed the author of this article! Maybe it's time for No Journalist Left Behind?
Monday, January 30, 2006
First let me share some great news. I got my Billy Joel tickets! I was able to snag two 200-level seats for the April 14th show in DC. What's ridiculous is that even the 200-level tickets were $89.50 -- worse yet is the $14.30 PER TICKET convenience charge plus $4.50 order processing that Ticketbastard charges! That's over $106 per ticket. Oh well... Billy Joel puts on a great show, often playing almost 3 hours, so I guess it's worth it. And you never know when he'll stop touring. I believe this will be my 8th Billy Joel concert (two of those were with Elton John and one was actually a master class lecture series).
Now for my second Music Monday topic. This one's also a bit of a rant. Friday my wife IM'd me about a song she had heard on her way to work, "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter. Yeah, it's a good song. So what's my rant? Well, Powter reminds me a lot of a great singer/songwriter out of the Philadelphia area, Harry Francis. Harry used to play keyboards for Mr. Greengenes, a fantastic alternative cover band that I've been going to see since they formed at West Chester U. 12 years ago. What I don't get is how someone like Daniel Powter can get a major record contract and have a single getting national airplay while someone like Harry remains unsigned. Harry is a great singer/songwriter and piano player, and his songs are catchy and very radio-friendly, which is why I can't figure out how he hasn't been picked up by a major label yet. Anyway, I encourage you to check out Harry's website and if you like what you hear, pick up a copy of his CD!
Friday, January 27, 2006
1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
How the fuck did I manage to chew a hole in my moustache? (Don't ask.)
2. How much cash do you have on you?
About $100, but only because we sold our fake fireplace last night for cash.
3. What's a word that rhymes with TEST? Jest
4. planet? Mars
5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list?
My cell died today, so I guess all calls will be missed calls for the next few days.
6. What is your favorite ring on your phone?
Before my phone died the last time, it played 'Fight on State'. But my wife's phone also had the same ring, which made it quite difficult to tell them apart. Now my phone's ring sounds like a train.
7. What shirt are you wearing?
Hmmm... just looked through the Land's End website and can't find it... but it's a purple-blue striped oxford.
8. What do you label yourself? Geek, musician, tv addict... all of the above?
9. Name the brand of shoes you've recently worn. Rockport and Land's End
10. Bright or Dark Room? I prefer dim, but not dark.
11. What were you doing at midnight last night? Getting a book packaged up to mail out.
12. What did your last text message you received on your cell say?
You have been outbid on.....
13. Where is your nearest 7-11? About a half mile from work.
14. What's a saying that you say a lot?
Hmmm.... I don't really have a catch phrase! Maybe 'in a sec'.
15.Who told you they loved you last? My wife.
16. Last furry thing you touched? My sweet fluffy poodle-doodle!
17. How Many Drugs Have You Done In The Past three Days?
Ugh. My back and neck have been killing me for the past week -- Aleve during the day and advil at night. Plus Mucinex and Adderall. I guess that's four.
18. How many rolls of film do you need to get developed?
Two, but I need to actually finish them first.
19. Favorite age you have been so far?
Either 24 (the age when I got married) or 32 (the age when my daughter was born).
20. your worst enemy? My alarm clock.
21. What is your current desktop picture? This.
22. What was the last thing you said to someone?
I'll be upstairs in a minute. (Oh, that was 2 hours ago... oops!)
23. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly, which would you choose?
The money's much more practical. Might buy myself a flying car, though.
24. Do you like someone? Of course! Life wouldn't be much fun if I didn't.
25. The last song you listened to?
Currently listening to Alanis Morisette on the Tonight Show singing a song from The Chronicles of Narnia soundtrack.
My wife forwarded this to me and I just had to share. I'm sure most people have seen this before, but it's still funny. Parents will especially like numbers 3 and 4. :)
Have you ever spoken and wished that you could immediately take the words back...or that you could crawl into a hole? Here are the Testimonials of a few people who did....
FIRST TESTIMONY: I walked into a hair salon with my husband and three kids in tow and asked loudly, "How much do you charge for a shampoo and a blow job?" I turned around and walked back out and never went back. My husband didn't say a word...he knew better.
SECOND TESTIMONY: I was at the golf store comparing different kinds of golf balls. I was unhappy with the women's type I had been using. After browsing for several minutes, I was approached by one of the good-looking gentlemen who works at the store. He asked if he could help me. Without thinking, I looked at him and said, "I think I like playing with men's balls."
THIRD TESTIMONY: My sister and I were at the mall and passed by a store that sold a variety of candy and nuts. As we were looking at the display case, the boy behind the counter asked if we needed any help. I replied, "No, I'm just looking at your nuts." My sister started to laugh hysterically, The boy grinned, and I turned beet-red and walked away. To this day, my Sister has never let me forget.
FOURTH TESTIMONY: While in line at the bank one afternoon, my toddler decided to release some pent-up energy and ran amok. I was finally able to grab hold of her after receiving looks of disgust and annoyance from other patrons. I told her that if she did not start behaving "right now" she would be punished. To my horror, she looked me in the eye and said in a voice just as threatening, "If you don't let me go right now, I will tell Grandma that I saw you kissing Daddy's pee-pee last night!" The silence was deafening after this enlightening exchange. Even the tellers stopped what they were doing. I mustered up the last of my dignity and walked out of the bank with my daughter in tow. The last thing I heard when the door closed behind me, were screams of laughter.
FIFTH TESTIMONY: Have you ever asked your child a question too many times? My three-year-old son had a lot of problems with potty training and I was on him constantly. One day we stopped at Taco Bell for a quick lunch in between errands. It was very busy, with a full dining room. While enjoying my taco, I smelled something funny, so of course I checked my seven-month-old daughter, and she was clean. Then I realized that Danny had not asked to go potty in a while, so I asked him if he needed to go, and he said "No". I kept thinking, "Oh Lord, that child has had an accident, and I don't have any clothes with me." Then I said, "Danny, are you SURE you didn't have an accident?" "No," he replied. I just KNEW that he must have had an accident, because the smell was getting worse. Soooooo, I asked one more time, "Danny, did you have an accident?" This time he jumped up, yanked down his pants, bent over and spread his cheeks and yelled, "SEE MOM, IT'S JUST FARTS!!" While 30 people nearly choked to death on their tacos laughing, he calmly pulled up his pants and sat down. An old couple made me feel better by thanking me for the best laugh they'd ever had!
LAST TESTIMONY: This had most of the state of Michigan laughing for 2 days and a very embarrassed female news anchor who will, in the future, likely think before she speaks. What happens when you predict snow but don't get any....a true story... We had a female news anchor who, the day after it was supposed to have snowed and didn't, turned to the weatherman and asked: "So Bob, where's that 8 inches you promised me last night?" Not only did HE have to leave the set, but half the crew did too they were laughing so hard!
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Does it strike anybody else as odd that as the threat level goes down, the terror level of the Sesame Street character goes UP?? I mean Elmo is by far the most innocuous character, Ernie is almost as harmless, Bert can be a little creepy, Cookie Monster is, after all, a monster, and Oscar is just plain grouchy. (But hey, he's got that "shelter in place" thing down to a science!)
So if the terror level is Elmo, am I supposed to be scared or happy?
Before Christmas I discovered a toy called Elmo Knows Your Name. Cool little bugger... you hook him up to your computer and you can program your kid's name, birthday, favorite color, etc. "Cool," I thought, "a toy for LM and a geek gadget for me all wrapped into one!"
Well, after 15 minutes of cutting tape, twist-ties, and plastic fasteners, and another 15 minutes of installing software, I was finally ready to download the customized settings to the doll. It got about 99% done and then said the download failed. I tried it out and it seemed to be working... it knew LM's name and that it was her birthday, so I wrapped it up for her to open. But when she opened it and tried it out, it played just a bit of Elmo's birthday song, went right into A-B-C, and then apparently hung and wouldn't play anything until the batteries were removed! We tried my wife's computer and she couldn't get the settings to download to the doll at all. So mommy headed off to the store to get a new doll.
So after more cutting and unpackaging (but luckily no reinstalling of software), I tried the download again, and once again it got about 99% done and then failed! This time it at least played the first two songs properly and started the third song, and then cycled through them again (with each press of Elmo's stomach), so we decided it was working well enough to at least give to Little Miss. But I want the stupid thing to work properly!
I went to Fisher Price's help website and went through the troubleshooting walk-thru, and all it says is that if you get an error and the doll doesn't work right, you have a defective doll! What kind of help is that? So today I called a live support tech and he made a few suggestions such as trying a different USB port, but nothing really concrete. I'll have to try a few things, including trying my wife's computer again, and then call tech support again while I have the doll hooked up if nothing else works. I just find it hard to believe that we could have gotten two defective dolls in a row. *sigh*
Serves me right for buying a toy that has to be set up using your computer.
*** UPDATE ***
Thanks SO MUCH to Mommygoth for mentioning the reviews on Amazon. After reading the reviews, I tried turning off my virus software and I was able to successfully download the settings to Elmo. Now that he works properly, he is pretty cool!
Monday, January 23, 2006
I must admit I was initially disappointed with the outcome of the show... I thought MiG had the better voice for INXS, and J.D. really acted like a pompous and irresponsible ass (or at least that's the way they made it look on TV). But after listening to the new INXS album Switch, it's clear they made the absolute right decision.
You've probably heard the first single Pretty Vegas on the radio or even in promos for the TV show Las Vegas, but if you haven't heard the whole album, you're really missing out. Listen to the first track, Devil's Party, and you'll swear it's Michael Hutchence reincarnated. But J.D. isn't just a Hutchence imitator. He brings his own style with Pretty Vegas and Never Let You Go, and even seems to channel the sounds of Lenny Kravitz (on Remember Who's Your Man) and David Bowie (on Hungry). But my favorite track hands down is Afterglow. This hauntingly beautiful song sounds like could have stepped off U2's Joshua Tree, with maybe a hint of Genesis thrown in too.
If you liked INXS in the 80's, you'll love Switch. Even if you didn't watch Rock Star, or if you did but didn't like J.D., you still owe it to yourself to check out this album.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
We didn't really do much in the way of celebrating, mostly since my parents are in Spain for another two weeks, but LM did get a bunch of presents. From us she got a musical phone, a vibrating "laughing cow" ball, and Elmo Knows Your Name... although wouldn't you know it but it turned out Elmo was defective and I couldn't get him properly programmed! So today it was off to Wally World to return Elmo and then over to Target for a new one since we couldn't find any more at Wal-mart. She also got a cute singing and bouncing bird (dances to "If you're happy and you know it") from her maternal grandparents, a really soft stuffed frog from her great-aunt, and a Reebok outfit and a book that plays music from another great-aunt and great-uncle. I'm sure there will be lots more presents coming, and we're hoping to have a party for her in early February when my parents are back.
Now I just have to figure out what I need to properly decorate this Blue's Clues cake I'm planning to make!
Friday, January 20, 2006
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Also, if you're an American Idol fan, why not sign up for Idol Go Home and play along? You could win a trip to the American Idol finale in Hollywood, a Dell laptop, an Xbox 360, or other great prizes!
Today's rant has to do with making a right turn on red.
Making a right turn on a red light is legal in all 50 states and DC (except in New York City), but drivers must come to a full stop and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and traffic with the green light. The idea is simple -- if there's no traffic coming and you can safely make a right turn, you shouldn't have to wait for a green light.
The DC suburbs and especially northern Virginia are notorious for heavy traffic at just about any time of the day or night. During rush hour, this often means stop-and-go traffic on major thoroughfares, and frequently this leads to traffic backing up across an intersection. If a driver can see that the traffic is backed up on the other side of an intersection, the proper and courteous thing to do is to stop before entering the intersection, even if he/she has a green light, until there is enough room for the driver to get completely across the intersection on the other side.
Now if you are sitting at an intersection waiting to make a right turn on red, and I am approaching from your left with a green light but I stop before entering the intersection because the traffic is stopped on the other side, THIS DOES NOT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT OF WAY TO MAKE YOUR RIGHT TURN IN FRONT OF ME!! You must still YIELD THE RIGHT OF WAY to traffic with the green light! When traffic starts to move again, I have the right to take that spot, not you! Plus by sneaking your way out and stealing MY spot in the traffic parade, I either end up stopping in the middle of the intersection or I have to sit and wait some more, where I could end up missing the change of the light or worse yet, have another impatient right-turn-on-red-maker jump out in front of me!
This scenario has happened to me more times than I can count. Not only does rude behavior like this lead to more gridlock, but it also creates even more rude and aggressive drivers! Now because of this rampant tactic of people trying to cut in whenever they can, I find that I'm less likely to stop before the intersection even if it means blocking part of the intersection. People just need to learn take their turn and try to be a little more patient. I know waiting your turn sucks, especially during rush hour when you're already late, but if everyone could just try to show a LITTLE more courtesy, the roads would be so much more pleasant.
Monday, January 16, 2006
Today Music Monday has to be about tomorrow's big event -- American Idol! Of course the show hasn't started yet, so there's not much to talk about!
I do have some bad news... apparently being selected as a blogger for Idol Go Home wasn't as big an honor as I thought. I thought I was going to be an official blogger. Turns out it's basically open to anyone who wants to blog.
IGH is also running a blogger contest, with prizes for the blogger with the most traffic to their blog. I haven't even made my first post yet, but please visit my Idol Go Home blog here!
Also, if you'd like to sign up for Idol Go Home, send me an email and I will send you a referral link. Each referral enters me for a drawing for $500!
Sorry to cut this so short, but it's getting late and I'd like to make my first post to IGH tonight before heading to bed.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Monday, January 09, 2006
I was also disappointed by the sets and other production aspects of this show. I would attribute this to the fact that it is a touring company, except that the performance of The Producers we saw at The Kennedy Center last year blew this away. Perhaps it is due to the venue, or maybe this is just the way Les Mis has always been performed. I know this is true of some aspects -- for example, the chain gang in the epilogue uses imaginary picks and shovels. I guess I have just come to expect more realistic props and sets from Broadway shows.
I had also forgotten how disjointed the storyline of Les Miserables is. This show certainly requires some pre-reading of the program to understand what is going on, and a thorough listening of the original cast recording of the show would help too. I own the soundtrack and saw the show on Broadway many years ago, and I still found the show confusing at parts.
All in all, it was an enjoyable show and I'm glad we got to see it in it's (supposedly) final DC engagement. However, I have to say I'm surprised that Les Mis has had such a long and successful run and is considered "the world's most popular musical" considering the disjointed storyline, minimalist sets, and generally depressing theme.
In case you are curious, I have seen the following musicals (listed in roughly chronological order):
Phantom of the Opera (Broadway)
Les Miserables (Broadway)
Grand Hotel (Broadway, feat. Michael Jeter)
Man of La Mancha (Broadway, feat. Raul Julia)
Miss Saigon (Broadway)
City of Angels (National touring company, Penn State)
The Who's Tommy (National touring company, Penn State)
The Producers (National touring company, Kennedy Center)
This does not include amateur theater productions.
LM will be 1 year old on the 22nd.