Vacations & Holidays 2008

Slip slidin' away...

It's one of those mornings where I'm both upset and grateful. No, not because of the holiday season, but because of what did and could have happened this morning on my way to work.

If you read any local Chicago news this morning, officials are calling it one of the worst road icing events they've ever seen. Hundreds of accidents reported by 8 a.m. It's that bad.

On my route to work, I was trying to turn off one road to get to the highway in to work. I'd already hit a couple small ice patches by this time but recovered without a problem. I've owned my truck long enough to know how to get out of just about anything. We've got a bit of a symbiotic relationship going... we can feel each other (no, not in that way). However, when I hit this turn lane, I could tell the plows and salt trucks had done nothing at all. I lost complete control of my truck for the first time. The pedals did nothing. The steering wheel may as well not have even existed. I just slid. And I had only been driving about 10-15 MPH into that lane.

I kept sliding. Right up to the car in front of me. At the last second, something shifted and made me drift into a giant snowbank on the side of the road.

While I was ticked that I lost control. I was entirely thankful that I not only didn't hit the car in front of me, nor the other car stuck in an extension of the snowbank, but also that the cars behind me were far enough away that they could avoid my lane and allowed me room to back out of the snow and onto the road.

No damage to the Beast whatsoever, though. Phew!

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA):
Katie got me a camera bag for my new Sony! And it's pretty awesome. It's a Tamrac shoulder sling bag. Perfect fit for the camera with my 35-70mm lens on it. Plus some compartments for cables and chargers and a pocket for extra memory cards and whatnot. Also, it's built for add-on components like a smaller pouch just for my telephoto lens, etc. I love it.

And I got another gift that is going to assist my photo and music loving immensely... a 500GB Apple Time Capsule. Sure, I could've requested just any external hard drive for our computers. But, considering we're probably buying Katie a MacBook very soon, having this Time Capsule available for her to use with Time Machine on it will be very nice. I also have an additional $100 in Apple Cash, which I'm debating using to upgrade the Time Capsule to the full 1TB jobber. I think I'd have to pay another $100 on top of all this. Good idea to plan for the future?


Try to separate them...

Just a very quick note.

I know that Katie and I celebrated our wedding anniversary back in October. But today marks our 10th anniversary together.

One decade. In the immortal words of Harry Caray, "Holy cow!"

This is, by a longshot and outside my biological family, the longest anyone has ever willingly put up with my shit. By like nine years and eight months. Most normal people ran away screaming and seeking professional help.

Happy anniversary, hon. Sorry, but the return period has long ago expired.


When you're all alone...

First off, I want to thank everyone here for all their birthday wishes. I was truly overwhelmed. To be honest, I wasn't sure if anyone would catch on to my image reference. Yep, that is Sweetness himself, Walter Payton, donning #34, the age I turned on Friday.

However, anyone who has friended me on Facebook needn't have bothered with the reference as they were reminded on their own and I received nearly 30 well wishes. After a couple years on Facebook, during which I've received only a couple birthday wishes, seeing approximately 30 this year just blew my mind. I guess I actually should start paying attention to the birthday list and returning these sentiments. So, anyone not on Facebook, please get on there. It's going to be my primary method of keeping track of your birthdays. Lord knows I won't remember on my own. Seriously... I won't. I'm bad like that. So I guess it's nice to have Facebook.

Oh, and for your viewing pleasure, I took some pictures of the Christmas decorations around our house. I would've taken more of the Christmas tree, but we have a bunch of unwrapped presents underneath and I don't want to reveal them. I'll get a new photo of that later on. Enjoy what I have otherwise in this pictobrowser (or over on Flickr)...

Did I forget to make note of the camera used to take these pictures? Yeah, it's my brand new Sony Alpha A350. Got it earlier today. I bought just the body of it, though, at the Sony outlet store. It's a refurbished camera and with nothing additional but the battery, covers, cords, manuals, etc., and with an additional 20% discount this weekend only, it came to $471. I did tack on a memory card and a four-year protection plan so it came out to a bit more total. But still. I love it. It's wonderful.

My rig

Thank you Katie!

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I woke up this morning and took my shower then came into the bedroom to wake Katie up. She was buried under the covers. Up over her head, in fact. So I peeled back the covers from her head and said, in a sing-song manner, "Katieeeeeee."

She looked at me with the good ol' Katie stinkeye and said, "There is no Katie, only Zuul.

"Are you the Gate Keeper?"

My wife, the movie geek.


It's so cool, it's so hip, it's alright...

Payton34
'nuff said.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I like when certain Web sites dynamically change the proverbial little things each time you revisit them. For example, a Javascript-based image rotation or how Flickr welcomes you in a different language each time you log back in or reload the page. I like that sort of thing.

FeedBurner does the same sort of thing. It's a corny message about "your feed" and what it's capable of. And last night's message certainly spoke to the geek in me...

Tk421
Heh heh. Sorry, it's the little things in life for me.


And this is my Thanksgiving...

While I won't be able to say it anywhere near as eloquently as John at Buddha on the Road did (thanks for cluing me in to that song so I had a title for this post, BTW), I would like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all my U.S.ian friends. And, although a little late, to my Canadian friends as well.

And, if you're either spending time with or hosting family like Katie and I are, I pray you prepared yourself adequately. We did...

Temporary bar


Leave your body and soul at the door...

Happy Halloween, everyone!

No, the title does not mean that we will be having a party at our paddock. Hell, unless a miracle happens, I'm pretty sure we're not even dressing up.

But we are hoping for trick or treaters and tons of 'em at that. It's Friday! It's supposed to be in 60s (Fahrenheit)! No rain! SO THERE IS NO REASON WHY THERE SHOULDN'T BE AN ABSOLUTE ASS TON OF TRICK OR TREATERS TONIGHT!!! Please don't let me down, kiddies. We've got good candy, I swear!

For those wondering, my original plan was to grow out my goatee long enough that I could trim it down to a good chin strip, shave my head, throw on a chef's jacket, and laugh maniacally so I could be Chef Duff from Ace of Cakes.

Then I got lazy and never shopped for a chef's jacket. And do you know how much of a bitch it is to find a University of Maryland-Baltimore County hockey jersey? They don't even have a hockey team!

So I worked out a plan to buy an Ohio State sweatshirt, carry a pipe wrench, and declare myself Joe the Plumber (geez, I can't believe he's actually got his own Wikipedia page).

Of course then I got all wishy washy about shaving my head (this likely played partly into the demise of my Chef Duff costume as well).

Now I've got one final idea left. One last vestige of costumed hope. It involves a long, dirty, light brown wig and plaid boxer shorts that I would have to buy on my lunch break. Of course, this also requires that the DMV get me in and out (that sounds dirty in and of itself) right quick as I need to buy my vehicle renewal sticker TODAY (it expires, um, today). I should already have the rest of the costume, I think.

Wish me luck. If it works out, I promise to get pictures.

Oh damn, I think I might also need a carton of Half and Half. Does it still come in cartons?

And, no, I'm not dressing in costume at work. Why? I would likely end up like Pam on last night's The Office or Dilbert as seen below...

Dilbertcheese_2

Seriously, though, have a happy Halloween!


You can call me any, anytime...

While this exercise won't necessarily apply to every one of you out there (those young'uns like kilax), I would like you to think back to when you were young and how you got in touch with your friends when you wanted to hang out and play. Or how they got in touch with you.

What did you come up with? If you were me, you came up with nothing more than a home phone and knocking on each other's front door, right? You could also have letters sent to your parents' house. As I got older and girls came on the scene, notes were passed in school to get messages back and forth. Early on in college, I got my first pager. That was pretty much it.

Flash forward to today. Not that you go outside and play anymore (that would just be creepy and might warrant a call to the police), but think about all the different ways you can now be contacted for whatever purpose. How long was your list?

I shall attempt to count for myself:

  • home phone
  • office phone
  • cell phone
  • home mail address
  • work mail address
  • text messaging
  • three G-mail accounts
  • two Yahoo e-mail accounts
  • one SBC e-mail account
  • one Hotmail e-mail account
  • five work e-mail accounts
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • G-chat
  • work-based instant messaging program
  • three or more AOL IM accounts
  • one ICQ account (does that still exist?)
  • My blog comments
  • Last.fm message board
  • Vimeo comments
  • Talkshow comments

You scared yet? I don't know why I thought of this, but for some reason I did. And as I was mentally hashing out my list of contact methods, I realized I was having trouble keeping track of them all. In fact, I'm pretty certain I thought of some others yesterday that I'm forgetting now as I type this.

I'm not sure I enjoy this realization. On the one hand, it's nice knowing I can be found in an emergency. On the other hand, it's a bit disconcerting knowing I can be found in an emergency, if you catch my meaning.

I would seriously like to go back to the days of passing notes in class. Please?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): This is here only because I would hate to leave Cinnkitty "jonesing" unnecessarily. That would be animal cruelty.

Typically for our anniversary, Katie and I will get each other one sincere card and one funny card. I dunno how this started, but it did and we try to live up to it each year. This year, though, Katie outdid herself. No, I'm not sharing the sincere card, just the joke-y one.

The outside reads: "Sometimes when we're lying in bed, I look over at you and think, 'I'm so lucky'."

The inside reads: "Then you start snoring in that snorty way, and I think, 'Well, that's annoying, but I'm still lucky'."

And she accompanied the card with a box of Breathe Right strips.

I love my wife. No, really, I do. Seriously!


I believe in a thing called love...

It's been a few years since they were posted on the Web, but I'm finally starting to get some earlier photos that were on my static site up to Flickr.

And the first to be posted are the pictures from our wedding!

Why? Because today is our seventh anniversary! Happy anniversary, hon. I love you.

[Check out the album on Flickr if you can't see the Pictobrowser in your reader]

Sorry they are so low resolution. They are scans of print photos and I had so many to do at the time (six years ago), that I scanned them quick and dirty. But they still work.


Sum, sum, sum, sum, summertime...

Hey all! Happy Saturday to you.

Nothing much going on here right now, so let me direct you over to Secondhand Tryptophan where yours truly is guest blogging as part of Karl's Summer of Love.

I was nervous as hell doing this guest post, but it seems to have gone pretty well. So if you have a moment, drop on by and check things out. Talk atcha soon!

Blogforkarl

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I don't care what the naysayers say, Katie and I loved The Dark Knight. Awesome! And Heath was fantastic. It's not just hype. Seriously.


The bombs bursting in air...

Happy U.S. Independence Day, y'all! And happy blogiversary to John.

Sorry this is so late, but I wanted to give you some fireworks videos. It almost came a day later than I had planned because YouTube is taking forever to process these little two minute videos. Go fig. Still and all the same, though, enjoy!

   

   

We love St. Charles' fireworks!


Listening to the wind of change...

Damn, I almost forgot that today is InWeDay 2008 (that's "International Webloggers' Day") and I committed to writing a post on the chosen topic. Well, it's 9 p.m. and I've got a half bottle of Charbono in my system with a second bottle being poured through the aerator by Katie as I type this. Better get crackin', eh?

International Weblogger's Day 2008

What Does Change Mean to Me?

"Change" is never an easy thing to define when it comes to what it means to us, so I'm going to start by changing the question around a bit. I'll give it a shot more in terms of what kind of changes I'd like to see in the world around me.

One, I'd like to see some change in the attitudes of people around me. I'm sick of everybody being out solely for themselves. No regard for anyone else whatsoever. And I'm just as guilty as the next person. I want to see us give a damn for once in our lives. Stop and talk to somebody you don't know. Help someone load groceries. Talk to your neighbors. Stop your car to let somebody pull out of a parking space or cross the street. Don't be in such a hurry in life.

Two, I want to see a change in our politicians. I can't imagine what it would be like to actually have a politician, be they local or larger scale, do what his/her constituents actually wants them to do. To stand up for what we care about and not just what those who donate money to a campaign want.

Three, I'd like to see car companies put more effort into making fuel-efficient vehicles that are affordable to the common man. Katie and I saw a report on Today the other morning in which they said that, due to sheer cost, it would take a minimum of seven years for anybody to start seeing cost benefits from hybrid vehicles. In some cases, it would take 20 years of driving for it to kick in. How sick and wrong is that? Why can't they nix their gas guzzlers and focus more on fuel efficiency? If you did that, the production costs would come down making them more realistic for all of us. Forget about big oil and their money. Think about the customers for once.

Four, higher education costs need to come down. The cost to attend college these days is ridonkulous and it's only getting worse. When I started college, the cost to attend a state school was less than half that to attend a private school. Now, at least in Illinois, they seem almost equivalent. Or at least within a few thousand dollars of each other. Why is that? Why has state schooling become so much more expensive while private schools have gotten only slightly worse by comparison? A college education is a prerequisite for almost any job these days and it seems like it's only becoming more difficult to obtain that elusive degree now. In fact, according to one of Katie's teachers, only 28% of Americans these days receive their bachelor's degree. Not sure where that stat came from so I'm not certain of its authenticity, but it's scary enough that I felt I should include it.

What change would you like to see?


This celebration could last throughout the year...

...or just through the end of the day. We'll see.

Yep. Today's the big party here at kapgar!

Party? What party?

Cake1000candles As Claire so astutely pointed out to me, while ajooja may have written up the 1000th post on my site, and done a damn fine job I might add, it wasn't my 1000th post. So I ran a couple quick calculations, subtracting out the number of guest posts and unpublished posts, to determine that today is officially my 1000th post on this blog! Plus, it falls within a week or so of my three-year blogiversary, so I'm wrapping it all up into one semi-, demi-, quasi-, pseudo-mediumish celebration!

Yay me!

But wait! Didn't you say that there was some sort of participatory aspect to this whole thing?

That's right, Don Pardo! Because this little hovel wouldn't be what it is without all you, my readers, I'd like to give back. Even if it is just a small little return on all the daily joy you provide me through your input. So I'm giving a $30 gift card for either Amazon or the iTunes Store to one lucky commenter. That's $10 per year of blogging. I'd love it to be more but I don't quite have the budget for it at the moment. Gotta pay out my life savings to those big oil companies.

There's gotta be a catch. You're never this generous.

Ah, you are so smart! There is a catch, but not because I'm not generous. Just because I like to have some fun.

No, it's because you're cheap and you like fucking with people's heads.

Well, you might not be that far off.

Aha!

Bite me. Anyway, here's the catch. This contest is only open to people who have commented on this blog at some point during my three years here. I can check, too. Typepad keeps pretty good records of this stuff. So if you're returning after a long hiatus of non commenting, please be sure to use the same name as you did before or I won't be able to find a record of past comments.

That's it?

Not exactly. Another catch is that you have to do a little work.

Here it comes.

As you may or may not realize, the titles of all my posts dating back to sometime in July 2005 use song lyrics or titles. What I want you to do is take all my posts since I returned from my vacation a week and a half ago (Tuesday, May 27) through yesterday (Thursday, June 5) and tell me what songs they come from. As a bonus, tell me why I chose that song for that post.

That sounds difficult.

Well, it's not so bad. The last week and a half of posts are pretty simple. Now that I look at them again, they're scary simple. As for why I chose a song, that's a bit more subjective. If you come up with the real reason, great! However, I won't rule out creative descriptions. But that's totally up to me.

So the person with the most correct answers wins?

Not exactly. The person with the most correct answers will get the most entries into the drawing.

Huh?

Well, much like how Avitable does his Lazy Sundays, you guess what you are able to guess and you don't wind up losing just because you can't get them all.  You get one entry for a correct song ID and one entry for a correct (or creative) reason why I chose it. If you guess five correctly, you get five entries into the drawing. So, sure, a person who guesses more has a better chance. But you, with even one correct guess, will still have a chance to win.

Is that the final catch?

I guess there is one other smallish one... if you live outside the United States, your gift certificate may wind up being worth something like a dollar after currency conversions. Don't blame me. I don't set the exchange rate.

Weak dollar.

Amen. So get out there and figure out where my titles come from and why and leave your guesses in the comments section of this post. Yes, I know this promotes the possibility of cheating, but oh well. Play nice. This contest will be open until noon CDT on Tuesday, June 10 at which time I'll close the comments. Then I'll get everything prepped and hopefully have the winner announced in the next Snippet Wednesday post on June 11.

I still say you're cheap.

And you're annoying.

Annoying is forgivable and sometimes cute. Cheap is just, well, cheap.

Again, bite me.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Tomorrow night is the showdown! A contest between armies who are squaring off in the alleys. That's right... it's the Great Blogger Bowl Off! Katie and I will be facing off against Team Kilax and Team Former Blogger Formerly Known as Diane in a grudge match for the ages at AMF Lanes in Hoffman Estates, IL.

Be there, or be square. And we all know a square ball just don't roll.

(Brandon! Help me conjure the Aura of Lebowski! I need all the help I can get. I haven't bowled in five freakin' years.)

NOTE: Comments are now closed and the winner of the contest has been announced.


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, or 10...

We are back. Actually, we've been back since Saturday, but just haven't wanted to admit it. That would mean we must acknowledge the inevitable return to reality and that's just something neither of us were willing to do. So we planted our asses in front of the DVR for the past couple days and did nothing. Not even laundry. We're a couple of sad sacks.

But here's the recap of our vacation by the numbers...

  • 1,400 - the approximate number of miles we drove
  • 2 - the number of rental cars we had (we hated the first one and traded it in)
  • 4 - the number of hotels we stayed at
  • 7 - the number of cities we visited
  • 0 - the number of wildfires we saw despite news reports that claim we should have driven through or near about three or four
  • 0 - the number of Florida Panthers and Key Deer we encountered in designated Florida Panther and Key Deer crossing zones
  • 2 - the number of alligators we saw in the wild, but not in designated alligator crossing zones
  • 1 - the number of pairs of sunglasses stolen from our rental car by valet services (also the number of pairs of new sunglasses we were forced to purchase while down there)
  • 10 - the number of Benadryls I consumed to ensure I fell asleep in strange (read: "not our") beds
  • 5 - the number of restaurants at which Katie and I attempted to eat dinner on Duval Street in Key West before finally finding one that had seating and a low enough decibel count so we could talk
  • ~50 - the number of photos I took and have yet to post to Flickr (sorry, I was taking it all in as opposed to photographing it)
  • 23 - the number of updates I made via Twitter
  • 5 - the number of guest posts done on my site (thank you all again!)
  • 3 - the number of messages on our answering machine at home (this does not include voicemails at work of which I'm sure there are plenty)
  • 872 - the number of spam e-mails in my gmail account
  • 40 - the number of legitimate e-mails in my gmail account (kinda low and for that, I'm happy)
  • 1000+ - the number of feeds I have to read in Google Reader (it's so high, they can't even tell me how many... I'm scared)

Greader

I think it might be time for a vacation. Oh wait...

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Well, I thought my brother's truck had already sold since the old Craig's List ad died out, but it did not. Here it is again, with a newly reduced price!


Somebody put me together...

I thought I'd leave you with one quickie pre-written post of snippets to say good bye before Katie and I head out to sunny F-L-A (it is sunny right now, isn't it?).

1000
First, I just realized, much to my dismay, that my 1,000th post is coming up very soon! Would you like to know how soon? Next week. When I'm gone. When I have a guest blogger posting in my absence. And the lucky stiff? Ajooja. Yep, my 1,000th post hits on Wednesday. No pressure, ajooja. None at all. Actually, I think you'd probably do better than I would. No, this was not a set up. I didn't find out until I started writing up this post. Sorry.

Twitter
I'd also like to let you know that I'm going to have some connectivity thanks in part to Brandon twittering ("twotting" as Hilly would call it) me a reminder to actually update my Twitter page. Yeah, as shitty as my cell phone is, I can still Twitter from it! So I'm going to post some Twitterfied updates from Florida. I won't know how to read replies as, the last time I checked, you cannot receive text alerts just for messages that are replies (it's either all or nothing, I believe, and I subscribe to enough Twitter users that I'd hate to have thousands of texts coming through on my phone).

So, if you wanna see what's going on during our trip, click the Twitter link in the sidebar and you'll find out. Oooh... maybe I'll tack in one of those Twitter applets in the sidebar too. That could work. Check that, not a maybe, it's already added. That was easy.

Bumper
I also wanted to take this opportunity to share with you that I've now found my new car. Check it out!

Crap car

Ain't she a beaut? There are some details about what I discovered on the car built into notes on the actual photo in Flickr so click on it to read them. Kinda funny. The owner has a pretty decent sense of humor.


You, you got what I need...

...like a Web connection and a willingness to play along!

Yep, the May return to Florida is nigh and Katie and I are hopping our plane tomorrow in the wee hours.

However, unlike San Francisco where I could find no computer to use without dishing out money and Las Vegas where I took no Web connected device and Florida in March where Disney wanted to bend me over and make gentle love to me in exchange for a WiFi connection, this time I'm not even gonna bother. No laptop. No Palm Pilot. And we all know my cell phone sucks.

So, yeah, I'm signing off for a week. Goin' dark, as it were.

But, don't you worry, I've got a fool's gallery, er, fine lineup of fellow bloggers willing to take the reigns on this site and let you know whatever they want to let you know. I've given them free reign to do and say whatever they want. This might terrify the normal blogger. However, I made sure not to invite Avitable so that cuts out about 99% of the potential for horror right there.

Oh, and as I've sworn I will always do so long as he's always willing, Dustin is back. He's been the only person to guest blog for me every time I've asked. Clearly KJ is keeping him well drugged.

Here's the schedule:

This should definitely be interesting...

Thanks to all of you for being willing to play along. And here's hoping that this guest blogging stint won't ruin your cred with your own readers.


Primal scream and shout...

Either summer vacation has started for junior high and high school kids or I have officially entered the Seventh Ring of Hell.

I'm on my lunch break right now sitting inside an Einstein's Bagels trying to eat my Turkey Club Panini with shrieks and howls and high talking going on all sides of me. I'm going insane.

Also, have you ever looked at today's kids? I mean really looked at them? Is it just me or do many of them look exactly alike? I watched Mean Girls and thought it was a cute and funny film in a seriously dark way. But the very concept of "The Plastics" just didn't seem quite real. Sure, I've seen people conform to an Alpha pack member. That's pretty normal.

Communion I'm talking lookswise. All thin, like rail thin. Long straight hair. Drawn out faces. Sunken cheeks. Sharply pointed chinbones. Big saucer-like eyes. It's pretty scary in a Whitley Streiber Communion sort of way. Do they all belong to the same pod or something?

And then there's this boneheaded asshole at the end of the bartable where I'm sitting banging the table with his fist so hard that my laptop is bouncing. He's by himself and is clearly not high-school age (somewhere in his mid-20s, I'd guess). But that's certainly not stopping him from ogling all the little girls as they walk by. I smell a future registered sex offender.

Oh shit. Some "long-lost" friend just walked in the door right in the midst of a pack of 14 year olds. I'm guessing based on the decibel level of their yelping that they all haven't seen her in at least five minutes.

Dear sweet mother of God. Just put me out of my ever-loving misery NOW!

No, check that. Please wait until I finish my sandwich. It's pretty good.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Just a couple quick holiday notes.

For all you fellow bloggers, InWeDay (International Weblogger's Day) has officially been announced for June 14. Head on over to www.inweday.org for details and to sign up!

For everyone (especially you, Diane), Mother's Day is Sunday. Forget it and be damned. Oh I'm not kidding. As my mom likes to say, "I brought you into this world; I can take you out." Sometimes, I actually believe her.


Way down, south of the border...

Dear Purveyors at Potter's Place Mexican Restaurant,

First, I hope you had a good Cinco de Mayo and that you raked in the profits during what I'm certain is one of the busiest days for Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants everywhere. I mean, seriously, who doesn't want a burrito or taco salad on the Cinco? Only insane people.

Now on to the meat of this letter...

I'm no restaurateur. I don't even play one on TV. However, I have in the past worked as a server at Applebee's and Baker's Square. Yes, they were both quite a while ago, but I did, so I do think I know a thing or two about the business. And I'd like to impart a little of that knowledge with you right now.

Do not... I repeat... DO NOT make the busiest day of your year the first day of work for a new server! What the hell were you thinking? I went to your restaurant yesterday with a couple friends to have us some burritos. And we only know our waitress was new because she used that as an excuse to the guys at the table next to us. Put simply, it was 15 minutes until we got our menus. However, since we'd all worked in restaurants at some point in our lives, we were willing to forgive so long as she came by quickly to help us out.

Yeah, that didn't happen. Ever. 30 minutes later, she hadn't been to our table for anything other than to give us menus. We didn't even have drinks for Chrissake! At least the busboy had given us two baskets of chips and salsa.

When you're on a fixed lunch schedule, sympathy only goes so far. We got up and left. We went to Chipotle instead.

So now I ask you why? WHY DID YOU START THE GIRL ON FRIGGIN' CINCO DE MAYO?? She wasn't even shadowing anybody. My first couple weeks at both restaurants I worked at were spent shadowing a more experienced server to learn what they do. You threw her into the lion's den on her first day. Or so she claimed it was her first day.

From what I can tell, we weren't the only table to leave. When we got up, one of the tables next to us began rumbling that they were going to leave.

Again, I'm not a restaurateur, but this is not how to do business. Wake up and smell the enchiladas.

Sincerely,

Pissed Off Customer.


I see your true colors...

Oh holy hell, Mother's Day is coming up (Update for Diane: It's Sunday, May 11). This, in my pained world of stacked holidays also means that my mom's birthday is nigh. Do I have any idea what to get her? Of course not. That would require a little something known as "forethought," a concept I have yet to grasp after 33 years.

So imagine my sheer delight when I see an e-mail in my inbox from Apple with the subject line "Find gifts to make Mom smile." Well, not that my mom is a Certified Apple Whore (tm) like Dave or myself, but whose to say there won't be something kinda cool in there?

What do I do? I actually open the damn thing and am greeted with this...

Mothersdaymacbook

Ah hahahahahahahahhahahahahahhahaha. ha. A MacBook?!?! For Mother's Day?!?! My Dear Apple, let's get something straight... I love my mom, but I can barely afford a MacBook for Katie and myself let alone one for somebody else. Even if she is my mom. Even if she would take this opportunity to remind me that she spent some God-awful number of hours in labor with me (it was more than a day, for the record).

But you tell me what's better here... buying her something more reasonably priced (like waayyyyyy less than the $1,100 price tag on a low-end MacBook) or buying her something lavish like this, winding up in the poorhouse, and subsequently being forced to move back home with her and my dad. That's a lose-lose for all involved.

Sure, Apple had more than just this MacBook in the e-mail, but after seeing this as the first thing listed, do you really think I bothered looking any further in the message? Hell no. For all I know, they probably asked me to buy her a MacBook Air or a Pro or an entire friggin' farm of Xserves, not that she'd have any idea what to do with them.

Quick tip, Apple, build up to the expensive recommendation next time.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Not only is Tony still alive, but he's gone rogue!

Yeah, baby!


The devil's in the house of the rising sun...

Here's some snippety goodness to carry you through your Saturday...

Heroic
Well, on a minor scale anyway. I solved the easy level of Guitar Hero III. For a guy who doesn't commit to video games, this is a pretty big deal. But it is seriously fun. I had a 92+% on all but one song. Ironically enough, I can't even finish the song without being booed off stage. It's "Raining Blood" by Slayer. I just can't do the speed metal for some reason. I also had problems with the unlocked final song in the end credits, "Through the Fire and Flames" by DragonForce. But that last one goes unrated; a bit of a freebie throwaway, I suppose. I'm not sure if I should skip up to medium or go back and force myself to master that damn Slayer song. The furthest I've made it through was 43%. It killed me. Bastards. I will tell you, though, that playing "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" against Satan (or "Lou" as the game calls him) is really fun. I love the little Mortal Kombat reference with "Finish Him!" Cracked me up.

Popcorn
Is it just Katie and me or has the quality of movie theater popcorn gone to hell in a handbasket? We saw Leatherheads last night with Scott and Becca (you may have seen them commenting here in the past) and the popcorn was horrible. Not that it really tasted bad initially. But as it sits in your gut, it leaves you feeling hollow and almost sick. But it's not something you realize is going to happen until it's too late. You can't determine it based on smell or taste. You just have to try your luck, eat it, and hope for the best. I'm having trouble remembering the last time it turned out for the best, though.

Oh, and Leatherheads was a lot of fun. I recommend it.

Inter-Airport
I finally booked our airfare for Florida in May. While searching through Expedia and Travelocity, et al, I found an odd little quirk. You know how you can book flights either non-stop or with any number of stops and transfers to save some money? Well, have you ever heard of transferring airports? One of the flights offered to me said that we would be flying to D.C. and make a transfer. Not just of airlines, but of airports! I've never heard of that and I somehow doubt the airlines or what I pay to Travelocity would cover the transfer costs from one airport to the other. What kinda load of crap is that?

Garage
Oh, and just to prove to Nilsa that shit does happen to me in multiple numbers, our garage door opener died yesterday. Thankfully, Katie and I were not in a hurry to get where we were headed, but it still died. And we had to buy a new one. I'm installing it either later today or tomorrow. Never fun.

Silverado
Oh, and I'm not sure if any of you ever buy from Craig's List (I never have), but I'm here to help my brother sell his Silverado. If you have any interest, check out his ad and get in contact with him.


The world was such a wholesome place until...

Happy Easter to all of you!

Could've been better over here. Katie's sick. Technically she has been for about a month. Even while we were in Florida, but I think the weather helped her, well, weather it out a bit better.

Now that we're back and have been for a couple weeks, her sickness is back too. And it hit full steam ahead in the middle of last week. She went to urgent care and they diagnosed her with the tail end of bronchitis and a variation of whooping cough. Yay fun.

So we missed the Easter celebrations this year. Well she did. I still went to my parents' house even though I told Katie I'd stay with her. She insisted I go. But we stayed home from her parents' party especially since her grandmother, who already has chronic respiratory problems, would be there. Probably not a great place to have Katie mix and mingle.

Speaking of "mix," we spent the day catching up on some DVDs. Rather interesting mix if I do say so myself. Let's see...

I told you it was an interesting mix.

And a Happy Easter back atcha!


On the rocky road to Dublin...

I hope you're all going to celebrate the holiest of holidays tonight... St. Patrick's Day!

If you are, may the luck o' the Irish shine down upon you.

If you're not, may a thousand angry, drunken Leprechauns torment you in your sleep for weeks to come.

So... how about some holiday cheer in the form of jokes and a rhyme?

Guinness The Mouse on the Barroom Floor
Some Guinness was spilled on the barroom floor
when the pub was shut for the night.
Out of his hole crept a wee brown mouse
and stood in the pale moonlight.
He lapped up the frothy brew from the floor,
then back on his haunches he sat.
And all night long you could hear him roar,
'Bring on the goddamn cat!'
(from islandireland.com)

Light Bulbs
How many Irishmen does it take to screw in a light bulb?
One to hold the bulb and five others to stand around and drink until the room spins.

Water to Wine
An Irish priest is driving down to New York and gets stopped for speeding in Connecticut. The state trooper smells alcohol on the priest's breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car.

He says, "Sir, have you been drinking?"

"Just water," says the priest.

The trooper says, "Then why do I smell wine?"

The priest looks at the bottle and says, "Good Lord! He's done it again!"

Lost at Sea
Two Irishmen, Patrick & Michael, were adrift in a lifeboat following a dramatic escape from a burning freighter. While rummaging through the boat's provisions, Patrick stumbled across an old lamp. Secretly hoping that a genie would appear, he rubbed the lamp vigorously.

To the amazement of Patrick, a genie came forth. This particular genie, however, stated that he could only deliver one wish, not the standard three. Without giving much thought to the matter, Patrick blurted out, "Make the entire ocean into Guinness Beer!"

The genie clapped his hands with a deafening crash, and immediately the entire sea turned into the finest brew ever sampled by mortals. Simultaneously, the genie vanished. Only the gentle lapping of Guinness on the hull broke the stillness as the two men considered their circumstances.

Michael looked disgustedly at Patrick and said, "Nice going Patrick! Now we're going to have to pee in the boat."

Fly in the Beer
One day an Englishman, a Scotsman, and an Irishman walked into a pub together. They proceeded to each buy a pint of Guinness. Just as they were about to enjoy their creamy beverage three flies landed in each of their pints, and were stuck in the thick head.

The Englishman pushed his beer away from him in disgust.

The Scotsman fished the offending fly out of his beer and continued drinking it as if nothing had happened.

The Irishman too, picked the fly out of his drink, held it out over the beer and then started yelling, "SPIT IT OUT, SPIT IT OUT YOU BASTARD!!!!"

Slainte!


She's a lady...

122 photos, titles, and captions later and I'm finally done. It's the titling and captioning that kills me, by the way. Takes way too much time.

Anyway, enjoy! If you can't get the PictoBrowser below to work properly, just head on over to Flickr to view the album. Oh, and I gotta thank Alyssa for the tip on PictoBrowser. Cool little app.


Won't you be my neighbor...

Some snippets for you...

Photos
I promise, the pictures from Florida will be up and ready to go tomorrow. They're mostly loaded... only mostly loaded. I'll have an album up tomorrow.

Robo
I've been wondering when I would start reading gripes about that incessant political robocalling that happens around election time. That's when you receive a call from a political candidate only it's not really the candidate but a recorded message either from them or some random lackey. They just keep getting worse and they're driving me nuts. And I totally agree with this newspaper blogger who theorizes that some people probably vote against candidates that use it excessively simply because they're pissed. Probably not the best way to elect someone to office, but I totally understand it.

Sweaters
FredrogersHey, they have Towel Day for Douglas Adams, so why not this?
In celebration of what would have been his 80th birthday, March 20 is now being declared "Sweater Day" in honor of Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

I grew up loving Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. It was a fantastic show. Well, at least insofar as I remember it. Along with Electric Company, The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, and reruns of The Brady Bunch, this show was the pinnacle of entertainment for me.

I think my favorite bit about the whole thing was the trolley and how it was the means by which we were transported between two different worlds... our reality and then the world of Make-Believe. I don't know why that simple transition did it for me, but it did.

So, yes, I will be wearing my sweater on March 20. Will you?

Bonus points if it's a zip-up cardigan and you actually sing the theme song to a coworker.

Hour
Hey, come join me in Earth Hour on Saturday, March 29 (8 p.m. CDT). It's a movement that started last year in Sydney, Australia, where people shut off all electronic equipment, cars, and other mechanized stuff and just, well, do what they would do if none of that stuff existed. Use your imagination. Not you, though, Avitable. Your imagination scares me.


To that same old place that you laughed about...

Guess what?

I'm ba-a-a-a-a-a-ck.

Seems I took a four-day vacation from this place and the online world in its totality. I had that free WiFi connection that I mentioned on Wednesday. Then I went back to try to access it on Thursday and got nothing throughout the entire morning. So I dropped off my laptop in my room and left it there the rest of the week. Didn't even open it.

I realize I could've paid for a wired connection in my room, but that would've required me using my "Katie time" to check e-mails and blog and whatnot. I wanted to do that in the time between sessions at the conference, not during Katie time. Then we were in transit most of Saturday and recovering from both being sick yesterday. Nothing like the extreme weather shifts and having a girl a row in front of you and across the aisle on the plane hacking into a sick sack twice during the flight (and missing it on one occasion). My aren't we all so healthy?

All in all, it felt good to not be tapping away at a keyboard. Even though my inbox is teeming at the moment.

But it is weird to be completely disconnected. You suddenly realize how ingrained your online persona becomes with your "real" self. Not everyone understands this. I have many friends who might be reading this right now and shaking their heads. But that's only because they don't have a job that keeps them online all the time. It's different when you're here all the time partially because you have to be. Everyone has aspects of their life that others don't understand, right?

Anyway, I am back. And I do have lots of photos that will soon go up on Flickr and may wind up cross-posted here. So stay tuned. Here's one from our trip to Epcot that I'm posting simply because they e-mailed it to me so I already have it on my hard drive. Cool little ride known as Spaceship Earth. Don't we look hot in lycra?

Greetings From the Future


It's a small, small world...

Just as a note, last night with Avitable and Karl was fun. Sadly, babysitter issues kept Miss Britt from being able to join us. Babysitter issues in that Britt has probably now killed her.

We hung out and talked for a bit and then got dinner at Raglan's, an Irish pub in Downtown Disney. Good food, Guinness on tap, and Irish music. Hard to go wrong with that combination.

I'd like to thank both Avitable and Karl for coming out and tell Britt that we missed her.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Here are 10 things I've learned, or have been retaught, while down here in Florida...

  1. No matter how many times I repack, I'm always going to overpack.
  2. More hotels have laundry facilities than ever before; but finding time to use them is the trick.
  3. Disney can pack a lot of people into its parks... a lot. But, thankfully, they have the public transportation thing down to a science.
  4. It doesn't matter what odd night of the week you're going out; if it's in Disney, it's gonna be busy.
  5. Finding WiFi connections is easy; finding free ones, not so much. Seriously Disney, $195 for a 24-hour WiFi connection? Are you freaking kidding me? At home, I pay $195 for DSL service, but I get 10 months of it and the WiFi is free with my own hardware. And a hard-wired connection in my hotel room for the same amount of time is only $9.95. Am I really supposed to believe your WiFi is worth an additional $185.05? Guess I won't be able to get work done remotely.
    Disneywifilogin
    (thankfully, I just found out that my conference sponsors set up a free WiFi hotspot; I wonder how many people are going to glom onto this one?)
  6. I love vacationing, but 95% of hotel beds suck; this one is no different. Same goes with showers. The TSA needs to make allowances so that travelers can bring a pipe wrench and replacement shower head with them in their carry-on luggage and not be red-flagged at security checkpoints in airports. Hotel showers are no comparison to the comforts of home.
  7. Considering how entertainment minded Disney is, you'd think they'd have nicer TVs in the rooms than an old 15-inch tube with bad picture and sound. I know you're supposed to be out and about in the parks, but eventually you have to go back to your room, so make it worth our while.
  8. I am going to be soooo far behind on blog reading and comment replies when I get home that hari kiri might be a viable alternative.
  9. Conference check in takes 10 seconds, so why the hell did I show up at the beginning only to sit around for an hour afterward?
  10. If I hear "It's a Small World After All" one more time, someone will pay with their life.

I'm sure I'll learn more as time goes on. I'll keep you posted.


Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right...

Today should be interesting. We leave Nano's place pretty soon to head back down to Orlando to check in for our stay at the Coronado Springs Resort on the Disney properties. I've been to Disney parks many times, but never stayed at one.

But tonight is when it gets really interesting... Katie and I are getting together for a mini blogger meet up with Karl, Miss Britt, and Avitable. We're going to take the Webby acronym BFF and give it a whole new meaning... Bloggers Fucking up Florida.

As I said, should be interesting.

Got a meme for you in the extended post.

Continue reading "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right..." »


I'm a loser baby...

You know how Bill Cosby used to do his whole "Kids say the darnedest things" some time ago? How about we start "My Nano says the damnedest things"?

Nano was showing us a picture of her and her sisters when she pointed out one of her sisters whose eldest daughter just retired. Apparently, she's loving it. Like really loving it. This was how Nano described it to us...

"She's happier than a little boy with two cocks."

Oh holy hell, I love my Nano.

Yesterday, we spent time at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Pretty cool place that serves as a natural reserve for all kinds of animals. Most of these animals were injured in some way, shape or form and were brought here for recovery and rehabilitation before being released into the wild. Creatures like bald eagles, black bears, Florida panthers, and their most popular guests, the West Indian Manatees. We took a ton of pictures before the battery in my camera died, but never once saw a manatee. Kinda bummed about that, but I'm not surprised. They kinda come in and out as they feel. No pens like many of the other animals.

We wrapped up the trip with a great seafood dinner at the oddly named Stumpknockers in Inverness. Good place, just a strange name. And Inverness was a pretty cool little town as well. I would have taken pictures, but as you read before...

The night ended with the three of us vowing to kick each other's ass in Phase 10. Nothing like a friendly game of cards amongst bitter rivals, er, loving relatives.

Yeah, except it was my ass getting kicked in all games.

I suck.


Sugar, we're goin' down...

The flight down here was rather uneventful. As someone I spoke to said, uneventful is better than the alternative.

One nice thing, though, flying on Northwest for the first time in my life, was that we didn't have to fly into Atlanta/Hart's Field, the worlds' busiest or biggest or most confusing airport, depending on with whom you talk. Instead, we caught our connection in Memphis. What made it so nice was that it split the trip almost exactly in half so both legs of the flight were equal. That was pretty cool.

Then, upon arrival in Orlando, we went to Enterprise and picked up our car. They had none of the cars listed on the Web site as being the vehicles representative of the "standard" car size. So we opted for a Toyota Prius. Actually, I opted for it. I've been curious about this vehicle for some time and figured "what the heck." (On a semi-related aside, the Toyota Web site is very cool).

Holy cow, this is one sweet little vehicle. Not only does it average 40+ miles per gallon, but it's deceptively large inside. I was very comfortable and, once I got accustomed to how electric engines run, it was really fun to drive.

The drive to Nano's house was 61.5 miles and the gas gauge hadn't budged from full.

I am in love.

I'm going to continue gushing while I give you a bit of a post I wrote earlier this week to keep you entertained. I hope you enjoy...

If there's any one thing I like to do more than any other via this blog, it's stimulating your mind. Call it Kapgar Cranial Calisthenics, if you will. I like to make you think, consider your options, wrack your brain, etc.

So when an idea such as this comes along that's too good to pass up, you know I'm gonna ask.

I was in the bathroom the other day, er, taking care of business, as it were, and one of the iPod earbuds that was draped around my neck (my expensive Bose ones) fell down and toward the urinal. Thankfully, there wasn't enough slack on the cord and it came nowhere near the point of no return.

But, therein lies my question to you, what monetary value level must an item surpass for you to be willing to plunge your hand into the "point of no return" and retrieve it from a public toilet (not urinal)? How much does this value threshold change if it contains, well, not-so-clean water? And, lastly, what items have you retrieved from a near watery grave in the past?

C'mon, be honest. Everyone's gotta have a limit and I wanna know what it is.


Don't know when I'll be back again...

Actually, yes I do. A week from now. March 8 to be exact.

Any time now, our limo will be here to whisk Katie and I away to O'Hare Airport where we hope the planes will be at least relatively close to On Schedule so we can fly off to the land of oranges, sun, and statewide power outages known as Florida!

The first few days will be spent with the Nano. It should be fun. It always is.

Then we're off to Orlando and Disney and a meetup with Karl, Miss Britt, and Avitable, which should be fun as well. Although, I must admit that meeting up with bloggers for the first time is always a bit nervewracking for me. I'm not sure why, but it is. So I'm hoping for the best.

Like all vacations that any of us go on, you try to be as thorough as possible with your packing while still toting as little as possible. These attempts at minimalistic maximization always result in the forgetting of some vital piece of something. Be it a toiletry or article of clothing, whatever.

This is my challenge to you... try to guess what I'm going to accidentally leave behind. Obviously, even I don't yet know the answer and it may be days before I figure it out, or I may notice it immediately. But try to figure out what it will be and I'll let you all know. I may even have a prize for the winner.

Talk atcha soon.


Happy happy happy happy...

Happy 31st birthday to Katie!

And how are we celebrating? Well, she wanted to go to our favorite Mexican restaurant.

Plain and simple.

I asked her if she really wanted to do this, to go to DeKalb, on her birthday of all days.

She said she's not letting the actions of one idiot ruin her day. So we're going there. And we're going to visit our school and our town and we're going to love it.

And I love her for it.

Oh, and SJ, my camera battery is charged up and ready to go.


I remember you...

Sorry, I'm still in a bit of a funk over the happenings of yesterday. Some clarification is in order, though. 22 people shot. Six are dead as of this morning (seven if you include the gunman, which I do not). Four victim's names have been released and they are Daniel Parmenter, 20, of Westchester, IL; Catalina Garcia, 20, of Cicero, IL; Ryanne Mace, 19, of Carpentersville, IL; and Julianna Gehant, 32, of Meridan, IL. The other two victims' and the gunman's names have not been released yet.

There are conflicting reports so far as I can tell about the university's response. Campus Police and other law enforcement agencies were on the scene within two minutes. I'd call that impressive. Some news agencies report that an e-mail did not go out to students until an hour after the shootings occurred. Yet, one student interviewed on AM radio said the student portal of the Web site was updated with the incident within 10 or 15 minutes so he knew not to go to his next class. I can confirm that the main homepage had news up within 20 minutes. Yet the timing of the e-mail is what everyone is going to remember and harp on about.

And, of course there was Nancy Grace more than willing to jump on board and hype this as the new St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Great. I dunno if she was the first or not. But she was the first one I saw using the name. Thanks a pantload. It's not as though I didn't already hate you enough, now you have to jump in with the all-too-obvious allusion to Chicago's horrific past.

Being eight years removed from being a student there, I was having trouble thinking of exactly which building Cole Hall was. I had it envisioned in my head because I had a class in the fateful lecture hall (two, actually). But I was still trying to picture where it was in relation to other buildings; it was such a nondescript and forgettable building. So I checked out a campus map on the NIU Web site. This is when I was shocked into a bit greater realization in terms of proximity. Check this map snippet out...

Niumap

Number 31 is Cole Hall where the shootings happened. Number 33 (Neptune Central) became a bit of a triage and patient care center. Neptune Central is a building full of offices, dining areas, meeting rooms, and basically a centralized gathering area for students that live in 32 (Neptune West), 34 (Neptune North), and 35 (Neptune East). I was the Hall Director of #32. My building was featured prominently in b-roll footage used by news organizations throughout the night. I lived there for two years. Katie did, too. That's where we met. That's where we fell in love. Number 25 (DuSable Hall) is where most of my undergrad and grad classes were taught. Number 28 (Watson Hall) is where my office, classroom, and A/V editing labs were located when I was a Graduate Teaching Assistant. The parking lot indicated by the red arrow is where Katie and I would sit in the back of my truck and have picnic lunches between classes and work.

Okay, I'm really sorry. I need to get past this and stop depressing all of you.

Sometimes the best way to help move on is to remember the simple things. They always make life better. Simple things like waking up this morning and having Katie still asleep next to me. When I leaned over to kiss her, she instinctively reached out and touched my face. But her hand was covered in her sweatshirt sleeve. She's cold. No wonder, she kicked off her blanket. I pulled the blanket back up over her and watched as she nestled into its warmth. I got up and went to take my shower.

And there's also this cute little Valentine's Day e-mail I received from Noodles & Company. It made me smile...

Noodlesvalentine

Like I said, sometimes it's the little things.

Update: It was actually five victims in DeKalb. Apparently people were misinterpreting reports from a DuPage County hospital and thought there was a sixth. And the fifth victim is Gayle Dubowski, 20, of Carol Stream. Sorry this update is a little late, but I didn't realize it had misinformation in it. Better late than never.


I want you to love me...

Vdaypourelle Katie: "So what are you blogging about tomorrow?"
Kevin: "Self-Love Day."
Katie: "I don't think the world needs to read about that."
Kevin: "Love you, too."

So, despite the detractors and doubters, today is Self-Love Day and I plan to celebrate it. And if you'd like to do so, click on the link above or the image at right and check out what it's all about.

What do I love about myself? I love that I have found the capacity to love another person and that she loves me back. Um, that would be Katie, you smartasses.

Before Katie, I went through a series of slightly self-destructive relationships in which my feelings went unrequited. Trying to date those that were not genuinely interested in me. Re-dating one girlfriend. Being cheated on... twice. Being the one that somebody cheated on their significant other with (I truly had no idea, seriously).

And all this left me somewhat jaded as you might expect. I got to a point where I was content with the idea of living my life through a series of sordid flings. Of course, not a single fling happened either, but it was, at the time, a nice thought.

Then Katie came along and I realized it was possible to love and be loved in return. And I thank her for that.

So now, according to the rules, it's your turn to say something nice about me. And, if you decide to participate on your own blogs, let me know so I do go over there and read. My feed reader should catch it, but it's been a bit wonky of late. Some feeds aren't coming through until many hours later.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): One of my biggest frustrations with Typepad since the start was their lack of "smart" spam comment filters. They claimed they had a system in place that would learn as you mark comments or trackbacks as spam. Well, it was all a bunch of bunk. I kept reporting the same sort of messages (even with the same message, sender, and IP address) over and over again. So much for "smart," eh? But I kept hoping against hope it might happen.

Somebody seems to have listened. They now have a system in place that seems to learn what is spam and now they put it in a separate section of your "List Comments" area so you can check them to make sure they are actually spam. In the last couple months, I have found about a dozen messages in there. This morning, I looked and found that in the last seven days, I'd been hit with 275 spam comments. And Typepad caught all but one all by itself. Do you realize how pissy I would be if I had to go through and delete them all myself? I don't want to be pissy on Self-Love Day. That just wouldn't be good.

I'm so proud of you, Typepad. They grow up so quickly, don't they? *sniffle*

TUA2: Katie told me she heard on TV or the radio about this new thing called the Doodle 4 Google contest. Basically, it's a contest open to K-12 students to design a homepage screen for Google's search engine based on the theme "What If." After going through a series of state and regional selection stages, the final overall winner will receive a $10,000 scholarship to the college of their choice, a trip to Googleplex, a laptop (hopefully a Mac!), a T-shirt with their logo, and a $25,000 grant for the establishment or improvement of computer facilities in their school.

How freakin' cool is that?

So if you have a K-12 kid who likes to doodle or design stuff or you are an educator in that level, click on the link above. May as well get some money for the skills, right?

I want to be a kid again. This would be right up my alley.


Should old acquaintance be forgot...

Happy New Year everyone! Even those of you who might celebrate at another time!

So how did Katie and I ring in the New Year? Three words... naked. snow. angels.

Just kidding.

Well, the "naked" part anyway.

Yep, despite Katie having a sinus infection, we decided on pure impulse to run outside in nothing but pajamas and T-shirts and socks and make snow angels in the six inches of white stuff that fell last night. I triple-dog-dared Katie to do it thinking there was no chance in Hell that she would. Next thing I know, she's running outside and taking a dive into the snow. I followed shortly thereafter.

If it wasn't so cold and the event so short-lived, I would've taken a picture of Katie actually doing it. Instead, you'll have to accept a photo of the aftermath...

Snow angels... questionably

And here is the pile of wet clothing we dropped after we were all done as well as the snow we tracked inside. It was fun. Quite exhilarating. But don't ask us to do it again.

Wet clothes

Well, Happy New Year all the same! Go Illini (although you're losing pretty badly as it is)!