Friday, August 31, 2007

Who makes these rules? Andy

As some of you know, I am slooooowly finishing our basement. I had a great idea awhile back that I pitched to Becky... and it got immediately pooh-poohed. I mentioned how cool it would be to have a urinal in the basement. I mean what better way to make a space guy-friendly than to toss in a shiny white urinal. But this is not acceptable for some reason. I heard someone bring this up on the radio during my drive to work, and it had great support from male callers, but almost all females had a similar response to Becky's. This probably won't get me any closer to my dream, but If we can get a grass roots movement going, the urinal could replace the garden tub as the most desirable bathroom fixture in the US home market. Go ahead, pick one out.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

STOP Having Fun! Andy

Sad news for kids in Colorado . It seems that the game that we all remember fondly as a playground staple has been outlawed! That's right, 'tag' is illegal at this school. This heavy-handed response to kids being chased against their will is wrong in my opinion.

If you ask me, the teachers are responsible for, umm I don't know... teaching kids how to play nicely! Not just saying, "NO PLAYING!" And someone needs to tell these kids, that are "chased against their will", that they can just simply stop! If they don't run, they don't get chased... another opportunity to learn.

But they may be right. So, why stop there? I have a few suggestions for the schools:

1) No recess in schools. By age 5, kids don't need breaks in school. What they need is more math worksheets! This will prevent 98% of School injuries.
2) No pencils or pens. Lets face it, those things are sharp and could easily put an eye out! All writing should be done in dull crayon!
3) No desks or chairs in schools. Did you know that kids fall off chairs every day in this country. In a first world country like the USA, this sort of injustice should be a thing of the past. My solution is to rid schools of chairs completely. They would sit on the floor, to avoid the dangers of chairs.
4) No bag lunches. How sad is it that kids parents send them to school with unrefrigerated food? God forbid there was a room temperature ham sandwich. Parents recklessly endanger their children every day by poisoning them with botulism. All kids should have identical lunches, preferably in a purried form to reduce the risk of choking.
5) All grounds surrounding the schools shall be paved over to prevent dirt. The risk of children touching dirt is unacceptable. The children will be washed and sterilized prior to entering the complex, where they are issued padded jumpsuits, which will prevent injury from falls, bumping into things, and pointy doorknobs. And they will be issued facemasks to prevent seasonal germs from being transferred.
6) Isolated learning environment. By far the most dangerous thing facing kids these days is human interaction. Such interactions will leave lasting traces on a child. Children should not have to face conflict in any form while at school. They should be shielded from other children who way attempt to "play" or "joke" or "talk" or "rough-house" with them. The risks are too great. I propose a 3 foot by 2 foot "learning pod" for each child. Each "learning-pod" will be equipped with a video teaching screen, an air purifier, a feeding tube, and of course soft padding.
7) No grades. Aside from physical contact, nothing can harm children more then feedback about there efforts. No child should ever feel that 2+2 is not 5 if they really believe it enough. Telling a child such harsh criticism will break their spirit, and make them a danger to themselves and to society.
8) No art. Millions of children eat paste. need I say any more?
9) No Music. Music is a gateway stimulus. Music leads to toe-tapping. Toe-tapping leads to dancing. Dancing leads to falling down. Falling down leads to death. Q.E.D.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Kilwin's ... A standing invitation Andy

Don't know how many of you have ever been to Blowing Rock, NC, but there is an Ice Cream Parlor there that rocks my face off every time we go! I should mention that they sell handmade chocolate treats that will make you wish your head was one giant taste bud (actually, that's kinda gross, I'll retract that). Anyway, they opened one up locally. It's called Kilwin's. So far, we've been there twice (in the last week I'm ashamed to say) and we're loving it.

So here it is, a standing invitation. If you are in town, and want to go, we'll meet you there, we'll even let you buy if you are so inclined!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Top 10 Signs Summer has overstayed her welcome... Andy

Here's my top 10!

10) The grass looks to be a slightly more greenish shade of yellowish brown on the other side of the fence.

9) You can't tell the temperature, cause that red stuff keeps squirting out of the top of your thermometer.

8) The bugs retired to Canada. With universal healthcare, it's a better place to live out the last few weeks of your lifespan.

7) Brownouts. My neighbors should really turn off their ACs, Cause when their comfort prevents me from watching Eureka... we got issues!

6) When the pool is warmer than an average bath... that is bothersome... Lathering up in the kiddie pool is downright unacceptable!

5) Wasn't there a lake here last week?

4) It's not so much the heat... yeah, you know what... it IS the heat!

3) You clean out the fridge so there's enough room to play scrabble inside it!

2) You have developed a "pavlovian" response to sweat when you hear a door open!

And the number one ... ugh ... [thud] ...

1) Ooh sorry, I passed out there for a second... what where we talking about.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Shall I be Tamed? Andy

I am torn! For my entire life, I have laughed at these people...!

Now, I feel drawn, well, not actually drawn, more like pushed! Much like the north poles of two magnets, I find myself repulsed form the idea, but I am unable to resist the push of a greater force pushing us together in a great, big, ironic vice.

Could this actually happen to us? I, as a man, have tried to avoid being domesticated. As it turns out domestication has it's upside (see Cammie & Devon). So I'm left with an internal struggle to be "Domesticated", to be "Wild", or to be "domesticated" but still appear "wild". I don't want to be "wild", I love my family to much to return to life without them, so that option is off the table! So I'm left at my current crossroads.
Down one road, I remain "domesticated", but work hard to appear to be "wild." I would still have to do all the things that are required of me, all the while still looking like the "wildman who can't be tamed!" Here's the only metaphor I can think of to describe it, imagine: "Batman, grocery shopping with the Batkids in one of those racecar-looking shopping carts, comparing toilet paper prices!" I'd really like to be Batman (that's NOT me in the picture), but, not at the expense of family. I'm pretty sure that I don't have the energy to keep my family in bat costumes to protect them from some weird super villian.

Down the other road, I give myself over to "domestication." I put away the Bat-gear and go to Chuck E Cheese as Bruce Wayne (without the billions in the bank, of course), I would have to beat down my ego, and accept the facts that are my life. I would conform with those that I once laughed at, saying I will NEVER end up like him!

So here I am, standing at my personal crossroads... To the left, is "Coolness at a price". To the right, is a minivan! Growing up stinks!

This is only about a minivan. Don't read more into it then there is!

Monday, August 13, 2007

New Tricks Andy

Cammie has been busy learning new tricks. Some are fun, some are obnoxious, some are downright dangerous. But, ya know, even the obnoxious ones are pretty cute in moderation!

  • Crawling up on her play table. This thing is on the dining room and is about 18" tall. She climbs up on the thing and seems to be trying to stand up. Did I mention that is is roughly the size of a place mat. Cuteness: 7, Danger: 6
  • Climbing the outside of the steps. When we are downstairs playing, we have a gate up at the bottom of the steps. It's no fun to stair at steps, and since she can't climb them, she climbs the narrow part of the steps that stick out past the handrail! She did fall (almost gracefully) once, and hopefully that was a lesson learned. Did I mention that the floor there is wood?! Danger: 8
  • Throwing herself backwards. While holding her, she will occasionally lunge backward, almost flipping herself out of your arms. She only does this when she is really tired, but It keeps you on your toes for sure. Cuteness: 0 Danger: 9
  • Her "All Done!" She will do this while eating. When her plate is empty, or she is done, she will open her palms up to the sky and put her elbows almost together, and say "aw daaa!" Cuteness: 9
  • Kisses. This one has me worried! She will lean in to your face, mouth to mouth. She hasn't really learned the modesty of a closed mouth kiss. I'm really hoping she grows out of this for strangers, and BOYS other than ME! I'm worried! Cuteness: 10
  • "Uh-Oh!" This isn't really a new one, but she has really started to use it a lot lately. Actual she is misusing it! She will throw or drop something intentionally then look at it, and say "Uh-Oooh!" We're trying to teach her that it doesn't count when you do it on purpose. Cuteness: 5
  • Walking FAST. She really loves walking. Sometimes she will get going so fast that she loses control and it's only a matter of time before she falls in a spectacular fashion! So far, she hasn't hurt herself yet. Cuteness: 8 Danger: 3
  • Unloading the dish washer. This is awesome. She will help unload the dish washer, clean or not. She starts with the silverware basket. One by one, she grabs a piece and holds it up to you to put away. The bad thing is that she will grab a knife if it's down there, and you can't load the dishes while she's on the floor. Cuteness: 9 Danger: 4
I'll post some video evidence later!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Site Update Andy

Last night, I had some free time, and decided I would HACK at our blog.

Geek side note: "Hacking" is not "Cracking". Cracking is the malicious action to try to p0wn a system that they do not own. Hacking is a much broader term that means many different things to different demographics... as a software engineer, to me it means "Adjusting or tweaking code to get it to perform beyond it's original intent." And that's pretty much what I've done.
And we're back... Some things that you may notice...
  • At the header, I moved in a picture (I will replace this with a cleaner pic, but it works for a proof of concept.)
  • I added "label" links across the top. Is the growing text annoying? Let me know.
  • In the blog post titles, I added some color (based on WHO posted it... Becky is blue, Andy is orange).
I rearranged some stuff, put fewer posts per page and removed some unused/unnecessary sections.

So, anyone with opinions, please comment. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Fighting Game Andy

Those of you who were there can attest to the sheer velocity to which the night went from friendly to cut-throat!

It started innocent enough... GAME NIGHT! We played Catch Phrase for a while, at first, we kept score and the teams were, for once, not split on gender lines. After a while, it was fun just to play, without any score-keeping, however, I'm pretty sure my team would have won if it matters.

Becky disappeared for a minute, and came back with "Battle of the Sexes" game, dropped it on the table and said something like, "Let's play this... it makes you fight." At that point, everyone was skeptical, how could a simple game like this turn the evening into bitter arguments? So we cracked open the box and it was on like Donkey Kong. It was pretty fair and cordial, until the ladies got sent back to start by one of the wild cards. That was when the elusive female ego emerged and the claws came out. At one point the ladies, feeling that the questions for the guys were way easier than the ones we were asking the girls, suggested that we switch decks. The girls would now be asked questions all girls should know, and the guys would be asked about guy things. Kind of goes counter to the game's original intent, but we decided it was better to preserve what little love was left in the room. Backfire! It went from bad to worse, as the guys ran away with it.

I think Todd summed it up better than anyone could when he sarcastically stated, "You ladies are right! That was an unfair game. It seemed that the guys were asked really easy girl questions, and when we switched the guys were asked really easy guy questions." Go figure.

Seriously, We had a great time, and all apologies to the Vaughns for making them wait! The gellato wasn't even that great, Let's face it, It's no DQ blizzard or Goodberry's concrete.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Walkin' Andy

Here she is...

A Great Mystery Andy

Call me crazy, but there is one section of I-40 that smells like butterscotch! I first noticed this anomaly when I was driving regularly to Charlotte when Becky and I were dating. In Greensboro, just east of the I85-Business split. It seemed that it was sporadic but more often then not you could smell it very strongly.

I have a few theories:

  • There is a factory hidden somewhere back there.
  • That section of 40 uses an experimental paving compound, based on recycled tennis balls and butterscotch sauce.
  • The Greensboro Chamber of Commerce is scenting the city so that people don't realize that they hate traffic and want to shoot the driver next to them. This way, the commute feels more like a Willy Wonka Ride than a chore.
  • There is a old lady living nearby that regularly restocks her candy dish. She unwraps the candy before putting it in the dish so that when the kiddies come by, all the candies are stuck together. This serves two purposes: It makes the kids happy, and it makes up for the fact that there is nothing fun for kids to do at her house except pry candy from the ever-growing glob.

Being of a more scientific nature, I would choose to apply Occam's Razor to figure out what the likely cause is... So I'm pretty sure it's the Old Lady thing.

But seriously, next time you are cruising through G-boro, roll down the window and breathe deep. It just might make you glad you are there... it could happen!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

One Thousand-Eleventy-One Miles Andy

Well, we made it! It was all pretty fun. Despite lack of sleep and a moderate fever that Cammie had early on, we were able to do everything that we wanted to do, and see everyone we wanted to see.

Friday: A "late" start... we were trying to get on the road at 2AM but didn't actually leave til shortly after 3AM. That was still fine, I was able to sleep for a few hours before we left. We got in the DC area around 7:30 as the morning rush hour was starting to gain intensity. Good thing we had Cammie with us as we were able to use the HOV-3 lanes and blew right through without much of a delay at all. BTW, I really like HOV lanes! We got to the "Hotel A" (the Alsbrook's house) at around 9AM, after picking up some Panera Bagels to share. We arrived, had some breakfast and caught up with our friends and Cammie had a 102 degree fever! The cause, we think, was that she was teething and the weird schedule really threw her off. On the plus side, I got to have some really nice snuggle-time with her as she slept in my arms for an hour or so (fevers aren't ALL bad). After a few games of "two-ball-fossball" (Grant beat me in sudden-death-overtime, don't worry, I will have my revenge) we headed out to Annie's playground for some running around and climbing. It was a really nice playground dedicated to a little girl who was hit by a car and died. Kind of a downer really, but the playground was a lot of fun. After grabbing a "Snowball" on the way back to the house, we stopped by Gregg's Church, and got the tour. It's a really nice church with a really nice outdoor park/picnic area.

Back to the house for a rematch and probably the best spaghetti I've had to date. I was finally able to beat Grant, in good old "two-ball" and we watched a bit of Shark-boy and Lava-girl, which I'm sure was written, and produced under the influence of something! Totally Weird, and not necessarily in a good way! We crashed in the basement and slept REALLY Well.

Saturday: We awoke to Cammie talking and completely fever-free. She was feeling great and was having a lot of fun with the kid's before we left at 8:30AM ... late ... again! The drive to Uniontown PA was very beautiful. We finaly got to the "family-mountain" at around 12:30 and were treated to a great lunch... including a personal favorite of mine stuffed cabbage... no, seriously... It's great! Then it was naptime, and Cammie and I again took a nap on the couch, despite the noise! We where pretty tired. Had some "wedding" cake then got in the pool after waiting the compulsory 30 minutes! Who makes up these rules? and there I stayed playing the role of "pool toy" for 4 hours, maybe more.
Some other highlights:

  • Two of the Uncles got married, and their wives didn't really seem to mind.
  • Whirlpools.
  • Butterscotch Dilly bars on the porch.
  • 29th of July Fireworks.
  • A really nice Super 8 Hotel... REALLY!

Sunday: We went to the family bruch at 10:00. We were NOT late! They have Golden Corrals up there! I had a really weird mix of Breakfast, Dessert, Lunch, and Dessert. I wouldn't recommend this without proper medical supervision. We'll it's off to West Virginia... In the car again! The drive went well, with the aid of Fergie, (my Dad's GPS) and after a short stop somewhere to stretch our legs and get couple of vanilla frosties (pregnancy-craving)...
Drive-thru-lady: Welcome to Wendy's can I help you?
Me: Yeah, can I get a small vanilla frosty, and a large vanilla frosty.
DTL: OK, drive around to the first window.
Me: OK.
DTL: That'll be $3.27. Looks like more rain huh?
Me: Yeah I guess, here you go.
DTL: And here's your change. Go ahead to the next window!
Me: OK
DTL2: Here you go, have a nice day!
Me: (pulling away like I stole something) Well, Becky it looks like they gave you a Large instead... sweeeeet
Becky: Did they charge you for it?
Me: (doing complicated head math, while merging onto highway... yikes) yeah I guess they did... Oh well. I guess we didn't quite do as well as we thought.
Becky: (opening the lid) And It's chocolate!
Me: Awwwe Man, they suck!

We arrive in Beckley after crossing the New River Gorge (nice view!) and settle in for a nice lazy sunday afternoon. Cammie and Cassidy get in kiddie pool and we sat on the porch and enjoyed the un-oppressive weather.

Monday: Had a great night sleep and awoke for a morning in which Cammie was walking like a champ! and she wasn't gonna stop there, she climbed the little slide and sat down on top ready to slide all by herself! She's awesome. We hung around till it was almost nap time, then took off for the last leg of our trip. Cammie and Becky slept most of the way home for almost 3 and a half hours. Got home around 8:15 and crumpled on the floor. It sure is nice to be home. We'll have pictures, soon. And as soon as I can figure out how to post a video of Cammie walking, I'll post it as well!
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