22 posts from March 2007

Kickball, stickball, kill the guy with the ball...

I would like to tell you of a recent observation I have made. Are you ready? It's quite deep and insightful, if I do say so myself. Here goes...

Nothing quite compares to playing Wii Sports Golf when you're drunk.

I told you it was heavy.

Seriously, though, you wind up putting when you should be driving, driving when you should be putting, scoring a quadruple bogey on a par 4, and just saying, "meh, whatever."

Oh yeah, and it tends to look a little something like this...


While logic might dictate that I should pay attention to the one in the middle that's actually casting a shadow, I feel compelled to remind you that logical thought and drinking are not exactly the best of buddies.

So, um, yeah, last night wasn't exactly a tributary any of you should veer down if you're following me through the murky waters of dieting. We all have our days.

TUA: Hilly posted a great video blog entry a couple days ago. It was funny, sarcastic, and ever so adoring of moi. What more could you ask for? I'll tell you what... a version of it adapted for your video iPod that you can keep with you forever and ever and ever, that's what! That is my gift to you, Hils. Beware, the beast is 40.8 MB. Ideally it won't kill my bandwidth allotment.

God bless you, iSquint.

Watch out boy, she'll chew you up...

I would just like to say that when I'm having a bad day or I'm tired or world weary, etc., there's nothing that cheers me up quite as well as seeing someone else who is angry at the world.

You know the type, don't you?

In the last couple days, I've come across two such individuals. I use the term "individuals" because, while one was human, the other was a goose.

Yeah, a goose.

The human factor occurred yesterday as I was leaving work. I was worn out from having stared at a computer screen for hours on end. But then I saw her walking into my building as I was leaving. She was about 15 or 16 with her hoodie drawn close around her head and her arms scrunched up tight against her chest. Her face looked as bitter as a person who not only had a broomstick shoved up their butt sideways, but also went so far as to have both the smooth ends broken off before insertion.

The goose happened two days ago as I was coming into work. The walkway up to the front entrance of my office is surrounded by big concrete-walled gardens. One goose was nesting in a garden while the other was standing guard on the ledge. He was at least three feet tall and standing up on one leg. Dunno why, he just was. With the gardens laid out the way they were, I had to pass within five feet of the goose and he didn't like it one bit. As he stood there on his single leg -- showing an incredible amount of skill and dedication to the craft, mind you -- he hissed. Not a warning quack, a hiss. Guttural, full of malice, and just pure evil.

After I edged sideways through the passage, all I could think was how lucky I was to be able sit my lazy butt in front of a computer as opposed to standing guard... on one leg... hissing at humans.

Things can always be worse. Count your blessings.

Our hopes and expectations...

As they said during last night's weather report, we've gone from summer to spring to winter in less than 24 hours. That's right, we had a record-breaking high on Monday that peaked out somewhere in the 80s. It was gorgeous! Not perfect as it was way too muggy for my taste, but still a nice break and a great sign of things to come. Yesterday was in the high 60s or low 70s while last night dipped into the 40s. Funny how Lake Michigan affects us here in Chicagoland, isn't it?

I guess so long as the days stay in the 60s or above and the early evenings are, for the most part, in the 50s or higher, we're set. We can finally break out of winter hibernation mode and take some activities outdoors. Thank God!

On Monday, Katie and I grilled out for the first time in months. Not that we're adverse to grilling in colder weather, but we got so much darn snow that heading out in the backyard to break out the grill became an exercise in futility. So we never bothered. Our Foreman Grill got more use in the last three months than it has seen in years. So I'm sure the old Coleman was happy to see the light of day again and with no critter inhabitants.

We even opened our doors and windows on Monday to let out some of that old winter stagnancy that accumulates in any building that closes itself off for any extended period of time. Just feeling the breeze blow through is wonderful. Hearing nature outside our windows cheers us up like nothing else can. Well, until a train barrels past, that is. Grrr...

We've also been trying to get outside as much as possible lately for cardio workouts. Nothing depresses me more than being stuck on a stationary machine trying to pretend like I'm "moving." I hate it and it makes working out very difficult for me. Trying to run or bike or walk and not seeing anything around me change is wholly disheartening. And it also helps explain why dieting is always so difficult for us over the winter.

Now, however, we're taking long power walks around the neighborhood and on some of the local bike trails. We even saw our nextdoor neighbor the other night while out on our walk. She thought we were either dead or had moved. She even asked if we had been on vacation for the last couple of weeks. We wish.

I think I may tune up our bikes and grease up the bearings on the Rollerblades this weekend so we can start doing those as well. Yep, cardio is so much more bearable -- dare I say even enjoyable -- when you have a fresh view with each step.

I'm just happy spring kicked in when it did. The wedding is a bit more than two months away. We're in crunch time. It's now or never! Time for us to get in "dead sexy" mode!

TUA: Have you ever had an earworm that you've enjoyed? I know it's rare, but I've actually had Muse's "Starlight" stuck in my head for the last couple days and I'm loving it. I whistle along like a lunatic and I just don't care what people think. Yes!

Everybody walk the dinosaur...

When I was young, one of the things I always dreamed about was being an archaeologist. No, I was not laboring under the fantasy of living the Indiana Jones lifestyle swinging around on a bullwhip, shooting swordsmen on the streets of Cairo, and romancing women in the chilly northern peaks of Tibet.

I wanted to be a legitimate archaeologist, uncovering lost objects buried under centuries or even millennia of dirt and rubble. I wanted to find a new species of dinosaur never before seen. I wanted to discover ships lost at sea (yes, I am a SCUBA enthusiast). And I wanted to be the one to find the Missing Link between apes and man.

I guess, even as years went by, that I've always harbored the dream of somehow still doing this. I took some anthropology classes in college that related to this topic. I am a big fan of the Field Museum in Chicago and Katie and I even became donors to/members of the museum this past year. I'm sure my fascination with archaeology played into this decision somewhat.

So imagine my excitement when I read an article today about a local forest preserve district presenting a program in conjunction with the Field Museum in which students will be able to be a part of a dig for 11,000-year-old mastodon bones in a forest preserve in Wayne, IL.

Wayne, IL?!?! That's only 10 miles from where I live! A mastodon was found there?

Yep, back in 2005 and, somehow, I missed the announcement entirely.

How cool would that be? Think I can go back to school and jump in on the fun? One can dream, right?

TUA (Totally Unrelated Aside): Does anyone still use Technorati? Has anyone ever clicked on the link I have in the sidebar? I'm asking because I'm thinking about replacing that link with my new Facebook link. I'd rather not add another line over there and, to that end, I think this swap might be the best solution.

It's so hard to say goodbye...

As a pseudo-responsible member of the blogging world, I don't want to keep links in my blogroll to sites that are dead. So, a couple times a year, I perform an overhaul of my blogroll and feed reader to make sure that I know who is "alive" and who is "dead" in this great community.

Let me tell you, nothing really pains me more than those few days.

It's not fun to discover that someone has quit the blogging world and moved on to other things. Sure, there are some people you can look at and think "yeah, I saw it coming," but that really doesn't make it any easier when it actually happens. However, there are those people whose expiration from this place is completely unexpected. Then there are those people who say they're quitting and wind up coming back (yay!).

Perhaps it's the optimist in me, but if someone says they're leaving, I hold off for a while. I'm not going to immediately remove them especially if their blog is still viewable. Bloggers like the great writers behind Mocha Momma, One Child Left Behind, and Sucky Blog have all said they're done. Kaput. Outta here. "On a break."

But I didn't give up right away.

Since she "quit," Kelly at Mocha Momma has put up another post, albeit brief. So there is still hope. Brandon at One Child has only been gone for a few months. He could still come back. No, wait, his blog URL now redirects to the Communicatrix. I'm guessing that means he's completely gone as well. It appears Jack at Sucky Blog may legitimately be done. It's been about nine months since he took his "break."

And I keep holding out hope that Chanakin at Sensible Dolt will get his technical issues ironed out. I miss that big galut.

Then there are those bloggers who just leave. No warning that I recall at all. They just jump ship. I'm not going to list any names here because, perhaps, there are good reasons they left and they don't want to share them with the world and, by calling them out, I'm making it more difficult for them. But I had to axe about three sites that fall under this category. One has been gone for sometime now and I kept thinking she'd come back, but she never did. The other two just up and vanished taking their sites with them. Just a void at both addresses now.

I guess if there's one consolation to this whole sordid affair, it's that I now had reason to go ahead and add some new blogs to my roll. If you haven't had a chance yet, give the roll a once over. You'll find some new goodies in This Fare City, radioactive girl, and Pink Bunny Foo Foo.  All are great sites and have passed the ever-strict kapgar blogroll inclusion criterion.

Oh yeah, and I've just signed up with Facebook (Burn, Hilly! Burn!). I don't know why as I hardly use the MySpace account I have. But, I gotta admit, the interface is a heckuva lot more visually appealing at Facebook. Now, can someone please explain to me how this infernal thing works? What are these so-called "networks"? And can I set up a simpler URL like at MySpace (.../kapgar as opposed to .../profile.php?id=555460844)?

Yeah, I'm a noob.

Everybody want a booty call...

Some snippets for you today...

Pirate's Booty
Piratesbooty I remember eating Pirate's Booty years ago, but had given up on it for whatever reason. However, lately, I'd been seeing bags of it at Trader Joe's and been wanting to try it. After checking out the nutritional facts and discovering that a fifth of a bag is a mere two points, Katie and I bought one. Holy crap! I know Dave loves the stuff, but how was I to know it was that darn good?? Addictive is more like it. It's got a bit of a cheesy poof meets popcorn taste to it.

Katie: Mmmmmm!

Me: Get your hands off my Booty!

Katie [whining]: But I like your Booty!!!

Joe's Hos
Speaking of Trader Joe's, it would seem that Katie and I have become addicts of the store in general. Since we recommitted ourselves to working out and the WW points program, we've started shopping there. Not only are we able to find lots of great low-point products, but it doesn't take as big a hit on our bank book and we feel better about what we buy and eat.

Yeah, Joe, my check had darn well better be in the mail!

Swear Jar

No, I have not given up on my New Year's Resolution, contrary to popular belief. What I did not realize was that when I reverted back to my old template, I forgot to activate that sidebar element. Gah!

Well, it's back and you are all free to report me for Crimes Against the English Language.

I received an e-mail yesterday asking me to compete to be a speaker at a conference this coming September. No, it's not a blogging thing. It's a software package I use in my non-blogging life.

Basically, I need to throw together some kind of presentation on an aspect of this piece of software and submit it. The winners will have their conference admission waived.

I realize that it's not necessarily as big an honor as it may sound as they likely have thousands of references, but it was still pretty cool to receive that e-mail. A bit confounding, too, as I've only been using it for a short time now and, even by the date of the conference, I will not have even hit that one-year mark yet.

I don't think I'm going to participate in the contest, but I may try to go to the conference anyway. Sounds right up my alley.

So what's Beantown like in September?

The Family Band
Anybody looking for some interesting music? Try Robert Randolph and the Family Band's Colorblind. They're a band that fuses rock, soul, funk, blues, and even some jazz to create a killer sound.

You all might recognize the first track on the album, "Ain't Nothing Wrong With That," as it is the song that NBC uses in their Must-See Thursday promos. They may use it elsewhere as well, but I just know I remember regularly seeing it in conjunction with My Name is Earl and The Office.

Incredible song, fantastic album.

Don't wanna be an American idiot...

I love the Web. It's an unhealthy obsession I've developed since my undergraduate days in college. I like to look around at what's available, read people's blogs, check out the news, watch a couple videos, listen to some music, buy some stuff, etc. You name it.

The Web can be a great thing.

But it can also be a terrible thing and by no fault of its own.

For some reason, the mere existence of the Web has seemingly given some people permission to be lazy. I don't mean in the whole "sitting at home banking in your underwear" sense, either. What I am talking about is this tendency people have to "abbreviate" words by dropping a letter or two or just completely butchering the spelling of them entirely, whether intentional or unintentional in nature. Not just one word here and there, but an entire statement full of screw ups. 

A while ago, I wrote a post describing my disdain for the album American Idiot by Green Day. At the time I wrote it, I was exceptionally sick of it. Actually, to be perfectly honest with you, I still am. I stand 100% behind what I wrote in that post. But, lately, it's become my flaming clown post, as it were. Maybe not quite to the same level as Dave's hate mail, but still.

I've received some comments lately telling me that I, myself, am an idiot for my views on Green Day's album. Instead of trying to just describe my problem with these comments, I'll just repost them.


I changed nothing in that comment. It has been reposted in its entirety... or lack thereof.


Seriously, people, is it really that difficult to take the additional two seconds to type out, "Shut the fuck up. It's a great CD and, if you think otherwise, then fuck off, you jerk" or "Fuck you. Green Day and the American Idiot album is the shit, you cum stain."

Not only would you appear light years more intelligent for having actually spelled it all out and correctly punctuating your comment, but I might just take your sage words under advisement. *cough* Sorry, tickle in my throat.

But if you'd truly like me to take you seriously, you could ramp up your efforts a bit. Try this on for size...

"While I appreciate your right to say what you feel, I must disagree. I think the Green Day album is fantastic because [enter supporting reasons here]. But, if you think otherwise, I respect your right as protected under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment right to free speech."

Not that this would ever happen.

As I said, a couple typos here and there is not a bad thing. It's an unintentional error. These comments... not so much.

Why? Dear God, why are people so willing to make themselves appear like idiots in this day and age? Don't people take pride in their education? Or wouldn't you want to make your opinion known and actually have people listen to it? It's no wonder many seasoned newspeople don't take the Web seriously... because users of the Web can't take themselves seriously. Take a few extra seconds and think through what you're saying and how you're saying it before you fire off crap at your target. Your first grade teacher would be proud. Really.

Oh, and I dumped a buck in the swear jar. Grrr...

Another fine day...

These are the sorts of things I usually plan well in advance for.

Those inevitable little disasters that, in the grand scheme of things, don't amount to much, but can still ruin a single day in time.

Nothing but a miserable, heartwrenching, gut-punching, unavoidable, despicable pain my butt.

I had to stay late at work last night for a big meeting of all the big wigs from throughout my company and from the surrounding community. Knowing I would be here for a while, I dressed comfortably, yet professionally. But I also took into consideration that I would be eating two meals at work and, therefore, wore colors as opposed to my stain-magnet white dress shirt.

I chose my bright orange dress shirt with darker khaki pants. I also had a dark blue tie with diagonal orange and light blue stripes. Brown belt and brown dress shoes. Quite comfy. Quite professional. Quite safe.

Or so I thought.

Orangeshirt Just before meeting my dad for lunch, I looked down at my shirt and saw, at gut level, large grayish grease stains that spanned the entire width of my shirt.

Holy crap! Holy crap! Holy crap!

How could this have happened??? Then I realized that a couple hours earlier, I had been leaning against a podium while talking to a coworker. I found out from him that the building maintenance crew tended to grease the holder on the front of the podium to facilitate the constant changing of the nameplates that were used on it.

Oh dear sweet baby Jesus, NO! Not today!

I frantically tried to get it out with my Tide Pen... nothing.

I tried water... zilch.

I tried warm, soapy water... zero.

NOOOOO!!! I had an extra tie at work for those emergencies when a tie would be necessary, but I didn't have a whole other shirt!

And, even though Katie was convinced she could get the stains out, that did me no good at work where I don't have access to a lot of the same stuff she uses to clean nor did I have the time to go home at the end of my workday, fix it or change to a new shirt, and return to work in time for the meeting.

I bit the bullet and wound up heading to Eddie Bauer, the closest men's clothing store and bought a new dress shirt. Really nice shirt that was also on clearance. Of course, it was wrinkled and I had to hang it near a shower in our fitness center locker room to steam it out. But I guess that's better than wearing a grease-stained shirt in front of all the truly big-named people here at work.

Oh crap. I suddenly realized I wore it in front of my boss. Before I noticed I had the stains.

He either didn't see the problem or was just keeping his mouth shut in an attempt to keep from embarrassing me or so he could laugh at me privately later or some combination thereof.

Shoot me.


But I guess to prove that every gray cloud has a silver lining, you remember the reporter that digs my blog? He visited me shortly after I returned from the Bauer. He said that while reading my blog, he discovered that he and I had pretty similar tastes in music. He then told me that he and his buddies swap "best of" mix CDs each year and that he made an extra copy of his CD for me. And his mix rocks! Some Wolfmother, Pete Yorn, Katie Melua, Josh Rouse, Lily Allen, The Killers, Corinne Bailey Rae, Ray Lamontagne, Paolo Nutini, Beck, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Christina Aguilera, and several others. 20 songs in total that really made my day. I actually stopped griping about my shirt after that. Thanks, J!

I don't wanna miss it when you hit that high...

Exercise is such a mixed blessing.

Yeah, Katie and I have been hitting either the gym or the local trail lately in order to ensure we are in good shape for my brother's wedding in June. Oh yeah, we also started back on the Weight Watchers point system to track our food. It's amazing to think how poorly I'd been eating over the last year.

But we're exercising four to five times a week now. Katie is making the transition from the elliptical machine to a treadmill. I've been doing a lot more cardio than I used to and even got on a Stairmaster for the first time in my life. Wow! I've also gotten back into my weight lifting zone. My goal is a sort of Paul, Jr. (American Choppers), look just with less hair and less money. I don't want to be freakishly small as my frame and head would just look weird, but I don't want to be heavy and out of shape anymore, either.

After a few weeks of pretty hardcore exercise and now on our second week with WW, it's really having an effect. My work pants are fitting better and Katie's bridesmaid dress is going to have to be taken in (she tried it on again last night and it is certainly getting big on her). I'd call those good signs, right?

However, despite exercising, which typically energizes me, I've been painfully tired. I swear I used to run and I'd have an abundance of energy. Nearly scary levels, in all honesty. Now I'm just dead. I'm wiped at work. I'm zombielike at home. The second I lay down in bed to watch TV with Katie, snore...

I guess I can understand this if it's a sort of transition phase. Maybe, since exercise wasn't a priority before, my body and metabolism weren't accustomed to it and now it's sort of in-shock, per se.

Please just tell me this is the case and that, sometime soon, I will return to a place where exercise boosts my energy level. I'd hate to think I'm getting in better shape only to have no energy as a result. Plus, this falling asleep early thing is for the birds. We were ready to call it a night at 8 p.m. on St. Patrick's Day of all nights!

On a completely unrelated aside, my friend, Juliette, sent me a link to a fantastic video on YouTube. It's a remake of the old Apple 1984 ad but geared towards the 2008 Presidential Election. It's incredibly well done! Thanks, Jules!

It's time to get things started...

I fear a rift has developed between Katie and me.

It's a huge rift and one that I don't think can be easily mended.

Muppetsuno I beat her in three out of four games of Muppet Uno. And she doesn't take well to losing. Especially not to me.

What is Muppet Uno? Well, it's the classic Uno card game, but with Muppet characters on the cards. Many of you might think this is nothing special considering that specialty branded decks of Uno cards are popping up all over the place. Heck we even have a Simpsons deck of Uno cards. Why is this one special?

Well, apparently all the branded decks have special cards contained in them... Draw 3s (Simpsons), Dominate (Family Guy), Pic-a-Nic (Hanna Barbera), etc. But the Muppets deck has the coolest special card of the bunch... the Mayhem card!

The player who holds the Mayhem card may, at any time, opt to swap their hand with any other player. But the catch is that everyone has to swap their hands at this time. So, if I'm playing a four-person game and I like how few cards the person across from me has, I swap with them, but the other two players have to swap as well. Across, right, left, you name it. And the Mayhem card can be held to the very end and played as the last card in the deck. As an added bonus, the person who plays the Mayhem card then gets to call what the color will be for the next card played. If I take someone's final card, you can pretty well guess what the color called will wind up being.

And I used the Mayhem card to somewhat unfair advantage against Katie last night. I took her final card once. And then, in another hand, I held three out of the four available Mayhem cards and my crappy hand of cards went back and forth three times in a row. I think I won the third hand fair and square.

I don't think she's ever going to forgive me.

Me: You love me!

Katie: No I don't! I hate the playa and the game!

The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah...

Random things overheard while hanging out with Bro and FSiL, et al...

Me: Where the hell are you guys?

FSiL: Steak and Shake?

Me: STILL?!?! You've been there for two hours! We're here at the theater waiting and we thought we were running late. How much can there possibly be to do at Steak and Shake?

FSiL: Fine. We're coming.

Or this one...

Bro: Hey all! This is my friend, J.

[hand shakes and greetings]

Katie: So where's FSiL?

Bro: She's coming.

Katie: Standing down by the street corner?

Bro: Heh. Yeah.

Me: You got her hooking for the cost of admission? Cool.

FSiL [walking in]: HEY!!!

Walking toward the theater...

Me: They've got an elevator for the theater?

J: You've never been to an IMAX before?

Me: Not recently, no.

J: Oh you are in for a treat.

During the movie...

[heavy electric guitar music plays during one of the battle charges]

Katie [whispering in my ear]: Yes, because they had that kind of music way back then.

Me: You didn't know that ancient Spartans created the first electric guitar?

Katie: Really? You don't say.


FSiL: What was with how blatantly gay the one king was?

Me: Xerxes?

FSiL: Yeah, that's him.

Me: God-kings were rather androgynous and asexual. Added to their mysticism. Nobody really knew who or what they were, so it became easier to revere them as Gods. And it added to the perception that they were invincible. Kinda like Ra in Stargate.

FSiL: Never saw it. But I get it. That's cool.

Me: Or I could just be blowing smoke up your butt.

FSiL: Wouldn't be the first time.

In the car on the way home...

Katie: You so owe me a chick flick.

Me: I figured. Which one?

Katie: I don't care. So long as it is a CHICK FLICK!

At home...

Katie: I didn't think it was going to be so bloody.

Kevin: Oh, I did.

Katie: And I could've done without all the sex. Not that I'm a prude, but that queen was taking it three ways.

Kevin: Yeah, there was a lot, wasn't there? And is it just me or do Spartan women have the biggest nipples on the face of the Earth?

Katie: THANK YOU! They were just so out there!

[Katie imitates Austin Powers fembot boobie guns]

Kevin: Fembots got nothin' on Spartan nipples.

Yes, after much time spent doing cosmetic work on our master bathroom last night, we went out to a late showing of 300 on the new IMAX screen down the street. Care to guess? I LOVED IT! Katie... not so much. The only thing I can't figure out is if it was the movie or the presentation that I loved best.

This is the first commercially released film I've seen on an IMAX screen and... woah! The picture and sound were beautiful and I can't think of a better film to watch on an IMAX than 300 with all the gorgeously rendered artistry of the visuals. If you want some idea how it looked, think Sin City with the CG mixing of real life and comic art, but add more color. More oversaturated color akin to say the battle scenes in Saving Private Ryan. Oh God, it was fantastic. And I can't wait to see how it looks on our HD.

Oh, and the movie was great, too. Not to take anything away from it by focusing solely on the visuals. It's supposed to be based, loosely, on the true story of the Battle of Thermopylae when 300 Spartans, led by King Leonidas, defended their shores against an onslaught from Xerxes and his army of hundreds of thousands of Persians. Why so few Spartans? Well, you'll have to either see the movie or read Frank Miller's graphic novel 300. Well worth your time either way.

Time keeps on slippin'...

One thing that has consistently fascinated me since my childhood is the concept of time travel.

There are the standard questions... Is it possible? Will we ever do it? Have we ever done it?

Then there are the more thought-provoking questions... How would we do it? Will it be a machine we control (a la The Time Machine or Back to the Future)? Will it be a matter of just concentrating on where we want to go and seeing it happen (Somewhere in Time or Heroes)? Or is it something completely outside our control and we are mere victims of circumstance (The Final Countdown with Martin Sheen and Kirk Douglas)? Perhaps, in a physical sense, we never actually leave our place in time, but we find a means of transcending the time-space continuum by communicating with someone in a different era (Frequency and The Lake House).

But more importantly, if you can go and control your travels, to when would you go?

This is a question I've asked myself many times. And it seems, I've come back with a different answer each time.

As a child, I wanted to visit the prehistoric era and see the dinosaurs or go to the future and watch as we all zip by in floating cars. As I grew up and attended history courses, certain figures or time periods fascinated me and I wanted to experience them firsthand. World War II, Tsarist Russia, Victorian England, Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon Bonaparte, Erwin Rommel, etc. Sometimes, you'd just like to revisit earlier periods of your own life and correct what you perceive to be some injustice that was dealt to you (Mr. Destiny, anyone?). And then there are those guilt-ridden desires to revisit those people in your life that you have lost just to spend a little extra time with them or maybe even meet those that you never had the opportunity to before. My maternal grandfather who died four years ago or my paternal grandmother who died about 15 years ago are good examples.

I also wonder, if given the chance to actually do it, would I? There is that fear that any little mistake you make in the past would have a radical effect on the future (The Butterfly Effect). Or you could subscribe to the theory postulated by Michael Crichton in his book Timeline that, effectively, your mere presence is not significant enough to impact the future in any noticeable way.

But these are both theories and not, to the best of my knowledge, testable ones at that.

Would I do it? I don't know. Where would I go? I'm even less sure of that anymore. Do I bother asking myself such questions considering the seeming unlikelihood that the opportunity would ever be presented to me? Jeez, I'm really not even able to answer that one.

Sorry. I sometimes go on these flights of fancy, typically because of something I've seen or done recently. In this case, Katie and I watched The Lake House with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock last night. Of course, as a result, I start wondering about time travel.

Go figure, right? My messed-up brain.

I wanna sex you up...

While watching The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night (yeah, you all thought I was going to be talking about my sex life, didn't you? Some things shall remain private, even here.), he made mention in some joke about a concept called "Green Sex." It was part of a joke about conservation efforts and I don't even remember the punchline, to be honest.

But the very name, and the fact that Jay never bothered to explain it at all, left me wondering. Maybe it was my perverse mind in combination with the fact that in Christopher Moore's latest book, You Suck, he talks about how the Animals hired a blue-skinned, Smurf-looking woman named Blue to be a long-term sex pal and this was just my mind working its way across the rainbow of not-so-fruity flavors.

So I wrote it down on a pad of paper I had on my nightstand so I would remember to look it up today.

Yes, it's actually about making your sex life more environmentally friendly. Sex, being the organic (and, hopefully, orgasmic) act that it already is, didn't strike me as something that you could really make "green." It's not like it's car emissions or garbage disposal. But, leave it to treehugger.com to make us put more thought into the act than we already have to.

Oh, and they even have a top 10 list. Here are some highlights...

1. Sex Toys - yes, they start off with a BANG (pun fully intended). I guess many sex toys are made with chemicals called phthalates that are actually semi-toxic to the human body. They suggest looking for toys made of hard plastics (no pun there, really), glass, metal, silicone, and elastimers. Oh, and use recyclable batteries when possible.

4. Sexy Giving - I can't even begin to paraphrase this one, so how about a quote? "Organic massage oils, fair trade chocolate, or a bottle of biodynamic red wine are hot options." Huhwhudda? Fair trade? Biodynamic? Head swimming...

6. Bamboo in Bed - ouch! Sounds painful. I have visions of people being caned in SIngapore when I think of bamboo being used for anything other than as a home to koalas. Hey, nothing wrong with a little kink in your life, but dang! Oh wait, they're talking about bed sheets... made of bamboo?? Still sounds weird to me.

10. Meeting that Special Tree Hugger - this is the best... avoiding those Escalade-driving, eco-hating freaks is the essence of this one. Try your local farmers' market or Whole Foods instead. Well, I gotta argue against that one. Have you seen the parking lots at Whole Foods? In the suburbs, they are jam packed with SUVs because all the soccer moms think it's the "in" thing to shop there, so they do.

Oh, holy crap! It goes beyond a Top 10 list! Links to online dealers? Hemp lingerie? A pyrex studded... woah. And it's got pictures! Ones that I will not duplicate on my site or my IT department at work will red flag me for sure this time.

I'm just in shock here. Who'd'a thunk it?

It's my prerogative...

Is it wrong that for once in my short voting life, I'm actually looking forward to a Presidential election?

I've only been able to legally vote for the Commander in Chief of the U.S. since 1996 (I missed the '92 election by a month) and, each time, I've always felt cheated. I've always voted for what I thought was the lesser of two evils. Seriously. I've been that jaded for that long.

In '96, I was voting based on the Vice Presidential candidates. That was my determining factor. I don't know why, but I knew something would happen to the President on either side of the political coin. If it were Bill Clinton, I knew he'd be impeached (I really did, I swear); and, if it were Bob Dole, I feared he'd die. So I picked which VP I liked best. In this case, it was Jack Kemp over Al Gore. Sorry, I can't stand Tipper or the idea that she would be that close to the leader of the free world. God only knows how she'd exert that power to screw up the music industry any further.

0 for 1

In '00, it was Dubya or Gore. Duh. Who do you think I picked? I even managed to put aside my disdain for Tipper on this one. But I would like to state, for the record, that I voted for John McCain in the primary.

0 for 2 (0 for 2.5, if you include the primary vote)

In '04, we had Dubya or John Kerry. I was really torn on this one. I didn't particularly care for either of them. I almost wanted to vote Independent or Green Party, but even their candidates were for crap. I went Dem.

0 for 3

But things are shaping up interestingly for the '08 election. Right now, there are two candidates I feel I can support. And they come from two different parties, to boot. Not only do we have Barack Obama (Illinois Represent!) on the Democratic side of things, but m'man McCain is coming back!

In case you haven't figured it out, "party loyalty" is a foreign concept to me. I don't prescribe to it.

At this point in the game, I'm not sure who I want. All candidates right now are just highstepping around the country to get some preliminary support for their campaigns. So no real information has come out yet. I will have to wait until later this year to really get any substantial information about who supports what and the like. Then I can make a real decision. And I'll actually give a damn (I'm putting a quarter in the jar now) about what they have to say.

Wow! Might my voting record finally see a tic mark on the positive side? It's entirely possible! I feel like a winner already!

We're off to Never, Neverland...

On Saturday night, Katie and I went out shopping and to dinner with the Bro and FSiL. The shopping wasn't what exactly interested the Bro and I, we were looking forward to dinner. Our plan was to go to Ju Rin, a Japanese sushi and steak house.

We both really dig on sushi so we ordered some. Katie decided now was as good a time as any to try it considering she's freaked out by the concept, but wouldn't have to commit to a whole meal of it.

It didn't go over so well. She didn't really like the taste of it, which I can completely respect. At least she has tried it and knows, from experience, that it's not the thing for her.

However, it started to hit her the next day, while working at the gym. Not that she got really sick, just a bit of an upset tummy. So she went home right after her shift ended instead of sticking around to work out. We both figured it would be best for her to just sleep. Even when I got home an hour later, she was still sleeping. And then for another two hours beyond that.

We played it safe for lunch with chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese sandwiches and then we started reading in bed. It was at this point that I started feeling tired. Not queazy, just tired. And I did something I never do. Something I swore as a child that I would never have the desire to partake in... I took a nap.

I remember my parents taking naps after work as a kid. My dad would just hit the hay and zonk out for a couple hours. I would either have to be quiet or play outside. Not that I had a problem with either option, but I just remember thinking what a terrible waste of a day a nap is. There was so much to do and see in the world and so little time to do and see it all, so why waste it sleeping?

And here I was doing just that.

I'm actually ashamed of myself even though those three hours felt fantastic. Katie even woke me up just in time for the disappointment that was last night's episode of The Amazing Race: All Stars (you can wallow in my disdain over at Snackie Teevee).

I'm getting old. My inner child wants to kick my butt. And I think I deserve it. Perhaps he can beat me until I'm unconscious and can nap for a few more hours, days, weeks...

Right there, that's a tatty tatty...

This cracked me up to no end.

Basically, a guy wanted to get the words "Chi-town" tattooed on his upper chest using a rather decorative font. The tattoo artist was able to take "Chi" from a sample the guy brought in, but had to create his own letters for "town" after not finding anything similar enough in a font sample book. After an hour of back and forth, they agreed on the lettering and the stencil and the stencil was applied to his chest. The guy was happy with it all and signed a waiver. When the tattoo was done, the guy looked at it in a mirror, loved it, and left.

The next day, he contacts the tattoo parlor complaining. Apparently, instead of "Chi-town," the tattoo read "Chi-tonw." He never noticed until a coworker pointed it out to him. Now he is planning to sue the parlor.

I can see how this might be a problem. It's permanent, right? I'd be pissed, too. But, he also signed off on the design, stencil, and application. He knew what was being done and it was spelled that exact way when he looked at it and signed off on it.

The artist
-- Sam Hacker of Jade Dragon Tattoo and Body Piercing in Chicago -- did everything right from a legal and self-preservation perspective. Yeah, he transposed the letters accidentally. He says it was because he was freaking out too much about the artistry of the letters and didn't give the spelling the appropriate attention. But the other guy saw and approved it.

But the story doesn't end here. to show support for Hacker, a few other area artists are having "Chi-tonw" tattooed on themselves.

Oh, but it gets better still. If you want to show support for Hacker yourself, you can get the same tattoo at Bridgeport Tattoo Co. and they'll do it absolutely free on Sundays.

Now, if I was more of a tattoo freak, I would actually do this.
Say I worked at Miami Ink, yeah, I'd be all over it. As it stands, though, I only have the one tattoo and adding this to it might be a bit weird.

But the sentiment is great and the support that Hacker is receiving has got to make him feel good. And I'd say his odds in court are pretty good as well.

I've seen this going around on several blogs in the last day or two and decided to jump on board. It's my VisualDNA. Kinda cool, really.

And I'm lookin' for a kiss...

Alert! Alert!: Mushy reading ahead. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Overheard at home...

Me: Okay, since we're now done painting, I've finished hooking up the surround sound system and burying the wires.

Katie: Cool!

Me: I also started moving some of our furniture back in place.

Katie: I have my living room back!

Me: But I also vacuumed the carpet before putting the furniture back because it really needed it.

Katie: Are you vying for Husband of the Year honors here?

Me: How's my candidacy look so far?

Katie: Not bad.

Me: Don't forget to take your surprise 30th birthday party into consideration when weighing the candidates.

Katie: I still can't believe you pulled that off.

Me: I'm good.

Katie: Yeah you are.


All conversations should end with a kiss.

Wait, let me qualify that one... all conversations with someone kissable and desirable that you can get away with kissing and not get beaten to within an inch of your life should end with a kiss. Is that better? I don't need all of you retreating from talking to me because you think I'm going to hunt you down and kiss you afterwards.

Brain drain 190 grain...

I really wish I had something worthy to say. However, my brain is on strike at the moment. So to tide you over until the labor negotiations work out a mutually beneficial solution, I am going to give you a variety of photos that I just cleaned off my digicam today. I forgot I had most of these.

Rubberband ball
This is a rubberband ball I've been working on for a few months now. It's actually about racquetball size right now so don't let the perspective of the photo fool you.

Parking deck
This image is almost haunting to me. It's just the sunset showing through in a slightly below grade parking deck.

Continue reading "Brain drain 190 grain..." »

It's in the photograph of love...

Need a fun way to pass your time?

Do you have a creative itch you just need to scratch?

Do you live in the suburban Chicago area or are you looking for an excuse to visit every Monday and Wednesday for a two-month span?

Then may I recommend a couple classes that are being offered through the Batavia Park District?

One class that I feel is destined to just be utterly fantastic is...

Artistic Internet Journaling (18+)
Do you ever wish you could write the story of your life? Feel like you are having a "Seinfeld" day and you just want to share the humor, although you are not sure with whom? Here is the perfect opportunity to start journaling online. Start telling little artistic stories about how the days and weeks are going for you in your own perspective. You can keep it personal and no one will know it is out there, or you can tell your friends and family about it and they can drop in and get the scoop. Grandmas and grandpas, this is a great opportunity to reminisce and invite your family to come read! In this class you will learn how to create your own online journaling site that is just yours. Others may view it, if you share that it is there, or you may opt to keep it your own personal space. So instead of looking at what everyone else is putting on the web, start here and get creative!
Location: To be announced
Instructor: Kevin Apgar

Or if just blogging isn't enough, try this one...

Intertwining Photography into Artistic Internet Journaling (Ages 18+)
While you are writing the story of your life, making people laugh, don't forget to add in that picture of you and Aunt Margie on the beach when you intended to smile for the camera, but got knocked over by a wave. That one just has to show up with your story. Do you need a high tech camera for this class? NO! Come with the camera you have, or even a disposable and we can show you how to integrate the moments that mean the most to you right into your online artistic legend. This is your story and you illustrate it by adding photographs of the moments that you choose to portray in your Artistic Internet Journal. come to this class and we will discuss a little of the creative photography, why you don't have an expensive camera and teach you how to integrate those moments you've caught on camera.
Location: Rotolo Middle School
Instructor: Kevin Apgar

Yet another fantastic learning opportunity, for sure!

Notice anything unique about the classes, aside from the subject matter just being downright cool? Yeah, that familiar name under "Instructor." Your fair host is getting his foot in the teaching door and is just a semester away from obtaining a key to the sanctum sanctorum... the teachers' lounge!

Remember some months ago when I said I was approached about instructing classes for the Batavia Park District? Well, it's coming to fruition! The classes start the second week of April and end the week before Katie and I jetset it out to Vegas for my brother's wedding. Talk about perfect timing.

Clearly this is just my first step toward total world domination. Dave thinks he's cornered the market on that one, but I'm in the process of developing my own personal press corps. Top that, Blogography Boy!

Seriously, though, I'm living the dream. I'm being paid to do two things I love, blogging and taking photos! Sorry, Karl, but I just gotta... wOOt!!!

In case anyone is curious, I didn't write those class descriptions. I never would've thought to use Seinfeld in it, but I do like the touch. But, wouldn't you say that the use of "Artistic Internet Journaling" as opposed to "Blogging" is akin to calling a "Garbageman" a "Creative Waste Disposal Artisan"? Perhaps it's just me, but...


"Surprise!" They all yelled in unison.

And the victim, my lovely wife, stood there. No jump. Just a look of shock on her face emphasized by her bugged-out eyes. Any less self control and it's possible her jaw would have hit the floor.

That's right. I threw Katie a surprise party for her 30th birthday this past Saturday. I know it was two weeks after the fact, but it was the only weekend I could bring just about everybody I wanted together to celebrate without it being too far gone from her actual birthday that it would have lost all effect.

19 people were in attendance in all, including our parents and siblings, some neighbors, and our gamenight friends save for one couple that were snowed in up in el Campo de Queso (that would be Wisconsin).

Two weeks late has an advantage, too, in that she didn't suspect a thing. That's right, I kept it a surprise, baby! The fact that I managed to keep from acting freaked out all day is a shock even to me. That I didn't slip and eke out word of the affair in the weeks leading up to it is also noteworthy. That not a single one of the 19 other attendees slipped in the slightest is nothing short of a miracle.

I wish I had photos, but I forgot that I changed jackets and left my camera in my other one that day. Some people took photos, but I have yet to see them. Maybe someone will take pity and e-mail them to me. Please?

She's coming back on Friday...

I know it's cliche to say, but thank God it's Friday!

I am so looking forward to tonight. And, no, not because it's the end of the week and I'll be done with work and all that jazz.

Actually, it's because earlier this week Katie suggested having one of our stay-in date nights. First we decide what kind of food we want and order it, then we spread out blankets and pillows on the floor of our living room like a kids sleepover, and then we just hang out together.

She actually suggested having a combination movie/video game night. I'm not kidding! She wants to finally start playing the Wii and see what it's all about. I really can't wait! I'm sure we'll also be bringing the PS2 and GameCube back down so we can play some old faves on those as well.

As for the movies, who knows? We were going to do a bunch from Netflix, but only one has come in so far (The Devil Wears Prada). So that idea might be blown. We've also been wanting to do a classic movie night for some time with her introducing me to An Affair to Remember and me introducing her to Casablanca. And then, last night, she said she wouldn't mind just buying a new copy of The Bourne Identity (we fear we may have lost it by loaning it to someone and we can't remember who) so we can watch both films back to back. I guess we'll just take it as it goes. However we feel is the way we'll roll. Although, personally, I'm really leaning toward Grant and Bogie right now. I've never seen Affair and I haven't watched Casablanca in about eight years.

The thunder rolls...

There's nothing quite as dynamic as a thunderstorm in the winter.

They're typically so rare. I'm not sure what the scientific reasoning is, I just know I've heard that lightning isn't supposed to happen during the winter. Well, so long as the temperature stays below freezing, that is.

This year, though, we've had a couple such storms. And both of them just within the last week or so. I woke up this morning to flashing clocks and, when I got out of the shower, I heard a sound like someone dragging heavy furniture over slate tile. A few minutes later, I saw a blinding white flash. Remember how I said the snow amplifies the little natural light you have in the morning? Well, imagine that a few thousandfold with lightning. Just absolute cornea-popping brilliance.

It did do a number to our computer and wifi network. Had to fiddle around a bit to get it all back up and running. The iMac was not a happy computer.

You know what? On second thought, I might just take back that first statement. There is something quite as dynamic... we had the HD cable hooked up yesterday.

WOAH! I never wanted to buy into how much nicer HD is, but dang! Once I discovered what the new numbers were for HD channels, I started watching. The first show was the Matthew McConaughey starrer Sahara. No, not a great flick, but fun. And it looks STUNNING in HD. And, hey, did anyone realize that Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson from The Office) was in that film? I don't remember seeing him the first time we watched it and he's got a decent sized role in it.

Later last night, after working out at the gym, Katie and I watched CSI: NY in HD and I was marvelling over the detail. Katie's still a little weirded out by how clean it is. The only problem is that you can now pick apart everything and even, to some degree, tell how fake the staged crime scenes are.

Do you all remember the Super Bowl commercial where the cheerleaders were fixing their pompoms, the guy was painting fine detail into the team logo on the field, the mascot was brushing his fur, etc? The motivation behind the commercial was that they were all preparing to be presented in HD. There's quite a bit of truth to that commercial. We could see the pores on the faces of the characters on CSI: NY. As cute as I think Lindsay "Montana" Monroe (Anna Belknap) is, her makeup artist needs to be fired. That's how much detail I could make out.

It really does change everything, doesn't it?