Vacations & Holidays 2005-09

He's makin' a list...

I know, I know. Christmas is done... STOP USING CHRISTMAS CAROLS AS POST TITLES!!! I will make a concerted effort. I promise.

Not all of you are Twitter users, I would presume, right? For those of you who are, you know that the most recent gauge of cyber-inclusiveness has nothing to do with your ability to avoid being dealt the Facebook deathcard known as unfriending (I'm still in shock as to how this got "Word of the Year" accolades... whatever). It's all about being added to someone's Twitter List these days.

Since I'm still working on my Top TV Shows and Top Movies lists for this year, I thought I'd spend a day discussing another Top measure that happens to come in the form of Lists: all the Twitter Lists I belong to.

Sure, this is completely me tooting my own horn, I admit. But it sounds like fun.

Currently, I've been "Listed" 19 times by various folks. And I want to point out a few of them real quick.

While I'd like to be able to say that this is as dirty as it could be perceived by gutter-minded individuals such as myself, it sadly is not. She actually runs a Web-based cupcake company in the Chicago suburbs. Bummer.

I have always thought of myself as delightfully perverted. I'm proud knowing that my efforts were noticed by you, @hismuse! Thanks.
I'd really hate to see his wish-dead list. I'm afraid to look and see if there actually is one.

Well, we'll just have to work on that one, won't we?

@neilochka, I would definitely sit there and hold your hand through this ordeal... from the other side of the bars. Feel free to call me. Just don't expect bail money.

While I love being on his cool-mfers list, I think he and I should both create a list called cool-bald-mfers and be the charter members!

This is the ultimate sign of cyber acceptance, IMHO. @avitable is looking pretty damn hot these days and with his increased fitness level, I would assume comes an increased capability level in the sack, right big guy?

Can you tell I'm really reaching for blog fodder right now? I'd make a New Year's Resolution that I will come up with higher quality posts and maybe post more often, but I can't guarantee that the Angel of Inspiration will bind herself to that resolution.

So how was your Christmas this year? Big haul? Small haul?

I'm happy with how it turned out. Several books, some giftcards and cash to buy some new appliances in the kitchen, a copy of Rock Band: Beatles for the Wii (no drumkit, sorry), and, from Katie, a Blackhawks jersey (to be worn at the Blackhawks game for which the two BiLs and the FSiL got us tickets) and a copy of the Monty Python's Flying Circus 16-disc box set, among other things. That's pretty sweet! I can't wait to start watching it. I got Katie a few things including a really pretty garnet necklace. She seemed happy. I guess that's all that counts.

And, in case you're interested, here are some photos from the various Christmas celebrations we attended this year (Facebookers, click through).

But one of my favorite photos of the evening was just a little experimental picture I snapped. Not that it's a true mystery photo like the ones I used to post. Heck it should be easily identifiable. But it's just a different point of view on it. Let me know if you figure out what it is.

Apgar Christmas

Everybody's singin', all the bells are ringing out...

Hey all, Merry Christmas!

Yes, I said it. I opted for political incorrectness and y'all are just gonna have to deal with it. Heh.

I just wanted to quickly share one gift that we exchanged. This was with some of the cousins on Katie's mom's side of the family. In lieu of regular, paid-for, what-retailers-are-begging-for gifts, we decided to make mix CDs of music we enjoy for everybody else. No, we're not making mix discs of music the recipient would like. These are of music we like in order to potentially introduce the recipient to new stuff.

Sounds like it should be pretty cool. Especially being the music fiend I am, right?

Not so. I hate making mix albums. I was dreading this. I remember the John Cusack character (Rob Gordon) in High Fidelity describing all the work he puts into the creation of a mix tape and similar information is shared by Rob Sheffield in his book Love is a Mix Tape. And, based solely on this input, I've been scared off of ever making mixes. Stuff like the delicate mix between soft and fast music, the blending of the end of one track into the beginning of the next, etc. I'm a perfectionist and, if I can't do something right, I don't want to do it at all. That's just how I am. 

However, after making the actual exchange yesterday, I feel much better about it. Everyone was really excited checking out the mixes that we all put together. Then, with those couple of people that forgot to include a tracklist, we threw the discs in a stereo and played "Name that Song." It was really fun despite my earlier dread. And Katie and I are kinda hoping we do it again next year. Heck, she's already planning out what she wants to do for hers.

But here are the albums we put together. Let me know what you think.

First, the covers. The covers are basically a photo of us die cut on top of a wallpaper of the album art for the songs contained on the disc. Disc one on the left is the disc in Katie's name and disc two is the one from me.

The KA2 Xmas Mixes

And now for the music...

Disc 1 (Katie's mix):

  • The Smiths - "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want"
  • Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson - "Relator"
  • Rascal Flatts - "Life is a Highway" - she was worried about this fitting in, but it actually sounds decent, I think
  • She & Him - "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?"
  • Dave Matthews Band - "Why I Am"
  • Weezer - "(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To"
  • Scissor Sisters - "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'"
  • Katy Perry - "Hot n Cold"
  • Doves - "There Goes the Fear"
  • Norah Jones - "Chasing Pirates"
  • Imani Coppola - "Legend of a Cowgirl"
  • Lady Gaga - "The Fame"
  • Phoenix - "Rome"
  • I Fight Dragons - "Heads Up, Hearts Down"
  • The All-American Rejects - "Gives You Hell"
  • 30 Seconds to Mars - "This is War"
  • Paramore - "Ignorance"
  • Pearl Jam - "Just Breathe"

Disc 2 (my mix):

  • The Flaming Lips - "Race for the Prize"
  • Matt & Kim - "Lessons Learned"
  • Pomplamoose - "Beat the Horse"
  • The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "The Tenure Itch"
  • The Republic Tigers - "Buildings & Mountains"
  • Blitzen Trapper - "Gold for Bread"
  • Stardeath and White Dwarfs - "New Heat"
  • The Mooney Suzuki - "Alive & Amplified"
  • Tokyo Police Club - "Tesselate"
  • Razorlight - "America"
  • Phoenix - "Lasso"
  • Silverchair - "Straight Lines"
  • Wolfmother - "New Moon Rising"
  • Damone - "Out Here All Night"
  • Foo Fighters - "Wheels"
  • Bear in Heaven - "You Do You"
  • Modest Mouse - "Guilty Cocker Spaniel"
  • Dungen - "Du ar for Fin for Mig"

I was expecting most people to not know a majority of the stuff on my disc. I relish the thought of it being a musical expedition of sorts.

LemonadeAlice at Beyond Alice and Through the Looking Glass has bequeathed unto me the Lemonade Award, or at least that's what I think it's called. Might have something to do with being able to turn lemons into lemonade via your blog posting or maybe it has more to do with having posts that grate on your nerves like a sour lemon. Meh, I'll take it either way. Thanks Alice!

And now for the rules...

  • Put the Lemonade logo on your blog or within your post.
  • Nominate at least 10 blogs with great attitude or gratitude.
  • Link the nominees within your post.
  • Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
  • Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

Well, let's see what I can cobble together here. Mind you, these are just 10 of the many blogs I read and love every day. So, if you're not included, it's not from a lack of love. Trust me on that one.

Oh, and as for the fourth bullet, I may or may not get around to that right away. We all know my piss-poor commenting of late.

Merry Christmas to all my lemonheads out there!

Well, I'm outta here. Talk atcha soon.

What do you get if you gobble down sweets...

*Oink* Remember to eat turkey this Thanksgiving, not ham! *Oink*

He1n1e the Wonder Pig

This Public Service Announcement brought to you by He1n1e the Wonder Pig

Oh yeah, and Happy Thanksgiving!

I can't believe we're actually going to do this, but, for the first time in four or five years, Katie and I are going to take part in some Black Friday sales. Oh shoot me now. Here's where and what we're shooting for:

Old Navy - Free copy of Rock Band: Lego with purchase of $20 or more. And you get a free guitar with a purchase of Rock Band 2. I've played a few tracks worth of that game and I enjoy it. So why the hell not? And they do have it for the Wii. Old Navy opens at 3 a.m. Really, shoot me now. I was serious.

Target - Psych, season 3, on DVD for $12.99. This can be done anytime before noon, I believe. And, if Target holds to their style from last season, they'll offer rainchecks if it's sold out.

OfficeMax - Vivitar ViviCam DVR 810 HD Camcorder. This would definitely make video posting easier. And it's only $69.99. I'm kinda tired of using the video functionality on my point-and-shoot camera. I want higher quality video.

We'll see what happens.

Gave proof through the night...

Katie and I hope you all had a great Fourth of July (whether you observe the U.S. Independence Day or not). We had fun with Katie's brother and his girlfriend at the fireworks in St. Charles, IL. We were going to head up to the Wisconsin Dells, but the weather kinda battered down that plan. So we stuck around here and just did our normal thing. And we loved every second of it.

If you weren't able to see any fireworks of your own, here are a couple videos I captured on my Blackberry for you to enjoy. Surprisingly good quality for a phone-based video camera. I was impressed.

Pyrotechnic Uber Fun from Kevin Apgar on Vimeo.

Pyrotechnic Uber Fun, Finale from Kevin Apgar on Vimeo.

Oh say can you see...

I'm having a lot of trouble wrapping my brain around the idea that not only is tomorrow the U.S. Independence Day, but that we're already halfway through 2009. Just another half to go before we're making contact with the alien races according to bad Roy Scheider sci-fi films.

But the problem is that since the Fourth of July falls on a Saturday, a lot of employers are not sure just how to deal with giving days off to employees. I am off work today, the day before the holiday, since I'm an 8-5, Monday thru Friday office rat. Katie, who for now only works Monday thru Friday, but for an employer who is open seven days a week, won't see a day off. Her day off would be tomorrow, but since she doesn't work Saturdays, she gets nada. That sucks. So I'm here at home typing to all of you while she toils away at work.

What to do... what to do...

Wake-up? Check.

Check e-mail? Check.

Catch up on Google Reader? Three-quarters of a check.

Shower? (sniff) Nowhere near a check. Yet. I promise I'll get to work on this one, not just for your sake but my own as well.

I think I might also check out my neighbor's garage sale that started up this morning. I saw him out placing signs last night and, as much as I used to love garage saling (can that actually be a verb?) with my mom as a kid, I haven't been to one in years. And I'm told, with the economy in the shithole state it's in, garage sales are totally en vogue. Maybe I should join the hipness and go a salin'.

Do you all garage sale at all? Any cool finds? My curiosity is piqued.

But first, I will shower, and I will download my free Star Spangled Banner from Amazon's MP3 store. Yep, you read right. In honor of the holiday, the Amazon MP3 store is giving away one free copy of any version of "The Star Spangled Banner" that they have in stock. Just click on the link above and follow the instructions. There are a ton to choose from. Once I hit number 400 in my browsing, I gave up looking. I had no idea that song had been recorded so many times.

Burnsbaseball And, shockingly, as much as I thought I'd go for, say, Jimi Hendrix's classic rendition or one from KISS's Alive performances (Ace was on fi-yah playing that one), I instead nabbed one by Branford Marsalis and Bruce Hornsby that was recorded for Ken Burns' Baseball documentary series. This recording really takes me back to my documentary filmmaking days (well, not that I made one on my own, but I was part of a team that made one in grad school). Not to say I'm a huge Ken Burns fan, but the use of music in Baseball was so fantastic and so memorable that it's pretty akin to how Quentin Tarantino chooses music in his movies. Anytime you hear the song afterward, all you can think of is the scene from the movie where it was featured. Just try to tell me you can listen to "Stuck in the Middle with You" by Stealers Wheel and resist the urge to lean over and nibble on your neighbor's ear.

Yeah, okay, anyway. So head over there and nab your favorite version now. Offer ends July 6.

Nuh uh. No way. Not a chance in Heaven or Hell.

Well, maybe I would. But I would have to do some severe steeling up of my gut first. Holy Christ a mighty! Welcome to the new Sky Deck on the outside of Chicago's Sears Tower (fuck Willis Group Holdings).

Stupid SkyDeckChicago Flickr group didn't enable the Flickr photo sharing option, so I did it myself! But I still followed all their linkback rules. So ha!

Update: I did find some cool swag at the garage sale! Checky check!

Every silver lining's got...

And you may be noticing that "touch of grey" here. Yeah, I redesigned the blog... again. It's been a little while and I was getting kinda sick of the M&Ms as much as I love the picture. But, in the spirit of spring cleaning, why not?

I've tried to simplify everything in the world that I possibly could.

  • External links are standardized using something I forced Illustrator to make to my specifications (Illustrator and I are not good friends, but we worked through it this time). So now I can add and delete links easily.
  • Typepad introduced navigation bars... finally. So I have one with links specific to the blog or me.
  • I eliminated much of the kitschy crap in the sidebar that I've been clinging on to for so long. Save for my Hear Me list, which will always be there.
  • I created a graphic for the TUAs so I can stop typing the damn thing in all the time.
  • And I now have a Google search box. The free one because I'm cheap. So you all will have to deal with ads on the results page. Sorry.

But most importantly, I've created a relatively neutral looking site using black and white images in the banner that can easily be swapped as I see fit. Changing color photos was a pain because it requires changing the rest of the color scheme of the blog to fit with the photo. This is going to be so much easier and more fun.

Oh and before you all go running off to Kim screaming, "Ohmigod! Kapgar thiefed your ideas and design elements!" I already showed her. I will admit to you all that I love Kim's design on her blog and a lot of my ideas and thought process was derived from the simplicity and beauty of her site. So, yeah, I was inspired by her design. But it wasn't until I finished my design that I realized just how inspired I must have been. I was feeling like said thief so I e-mailed her with a link to the design to either garner her blessing or face her wrath.

She gave her blessing and said she really liked it. Honestly, she did. I'm not making this up. And I thank her for it because I really got worried that I was either going to have to change it after all that work or stick with it and alienate her as a friend. And I really like this design so you see where this is going. ;-)

I hope you all like it, too. And for any new readers who were just getting accustomed to the M&M header, sorry.

This past weekend, the BiL, Scott, and his lady faire, Becca, hung out with Katie and I. We had dinner and then went to Best Buy to find either a movie or video game to play. We found both but stuck with the latter in the form of Trivial Pursuit on the Wii.

This game is serious fun! I haven't had this much fun playing Trivial Pursuit, well, ever. Some nice animation to the movement of the gamepieces around the board, the controls are smooth, it has a cool little stat tracker that runs along the bottom of the screen like a CNN newscast, and you can now have visual questions unlike the standard board game.

My only complaints are that it doesn't use your Miis as characters and it seems to have a fixation on modern Chinese cinema. Severe fixation.

But, otherwise, it is a great game and was totally worth the $40 we spent on it.

Oh yeah, and Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all. I will be hanging out tonight at Claddagh in Geneva. So if you're in the vicinity, stop in for a pint and say hello!


It's hip to be square...

Happy Square Root Day, everyone!

No, I'm not making veiled references to my own social awkwardness using vintage 50s expressions. It's actually an unofficial math geek holiday and, while I don't consider myself a math geek by any stretch of the imagination, I gotta admit that hearing today was Square Root Day and then reading the explanation did make me smile a little bit.

I only hope it brings a little of your own geekiness to the forefront and makes you grin a bit as well.

And, in 11 days, let your inner geek out again with Pi Day! And then we party again on July 22 for Pi Approximation Day. Oh let the geeky flow.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): AHHHHH!!! Huey Lewis and the News are coming to Naperville for Ribfest this summer! Last summer it was my boys Big Head Todd and the Monsters. This year, it's a chance to relive the second concert I ever attended in my life (first was Kenny Rogers and Crystal Gayle, but my parents picked that one and took me; Huey was one I wanted to go to).

My mom and I saw Huey and the guys rock it at the now-defunct Poplar Creek Music Theater back in like 1987 or '88 and they were one of my favorite bands for the longest time. And now, a chance to see them again?

Yeah, I'm busting out my orange puffy vest and acid-wash jeans, baby!

Okay, not so much the acid-wash, but I'm totally gonna rock the life preserver.

Heh, I think this is the first time my title has tied into both my main post and my TUA. Odd how that worked out.

I'm sorry boys, but you're just too darn loud.

And I will try to fix you...

Birthday-cupcake A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Katie! Woo hoo! I love you, hon.

And now the revelation that she's at home sick for it. In fact, she's been sick all weekend. I swear it's a bit of a curse for us lately, those blasted holidays. I was sick last Easter, she and I traded off over Christmas, and now she's sick for Valentine's Day and her birthday. I think I'm next in the queue and it appears as though Easter is the next viable holiday that can be illness ridden. Oh yay! Can't wait.

So, um, yeah, it was a pretty uneventful weekend. Katie was too tired and sore to go anywhere so we stayed in. But she slept a lot of the weekend so I watched some TV and movies, cleaned within reason (nothing noisy that would wake her up), and I fixed a few things online.

For one, I weeded through my Twitter following list and eliminated about 20 people I was following. There were several groups and whatnot that I had followed that I feel just weren't worth following because I never really paid much attention to their Tweets. So what's the purpose, right?

I also ditched my MyBlogLog profile and services box as I discovered that FriendFeed offers many more services in their repertoire to which I can link including three that I had to list outside the MBL box because, despite my suggestions, they never added them as services (Plurk, Vimeo and Goodreads). And I can eliminate the profile information to make it just a box of service links. So I've got that going.

Lastly, I finally fixed up my blogroll. It's a static page on my blog now instead of being the pop-out box with the Blogrolling list. It's been nearly half a year since Blogrolling went down and I'm sick of waiting. I found a half dozen broken links and another half dozen links to dead blogs. Plus there were several I wanted to add that are newer finds. So I played and now I think it's all good. If you happen to notice any screwed-up links in there, let me know. Typepad did some funky things to my HTML so some may still not be good or some may have gone kablooie. The two caveats I have are that if you have announced you are leaving the blogosphere (or you already have) or you have not posted in calendar year 2009 yet, I did not post a link.

Love letters in the sand...

I know today is Self-Love Day, but before I detail why I love myself, I want to make quick mention of the other holiday that shares this date...

Happy Valentine's Day!

To all of you, to your friends, to your families, to all my friends and family members. But, most importantly, to Katie. I love you, hon.

And I guess the reason why I started this way was because it does work itself in nicely with Self-Love Day. For me, a lot of the things I love about myself revolve around Katie. I know that sounds cheesy, but it's true.

Selflove2009altI love my life. It's not perfect in any way, shape or form, but I love it because Katie is in it with me and she loves me as much as I love her. I'm not an easy person to live with. Hell, there are times I've wanted to break up with myself. But Katie has shown an infinite amount of patience with me, which has, in turn, helped me improve my own ability to be patient with others.

Before you laugh or cry foul in my comments because, like you, I have also read some of my ranting posts expressing hatred with others and their stupidity, do take note of one thing... just because I feel I have patience doesn't mean that everyone out there deserves to be a recipient of said patience. I will select those I feel deserve my being patient with them.

I also love my willingness to try new things. There are very few things that I am completely unwilling to try at least once. Life is too short to be closed minded about new experiences. I want to live life as much as I can and so much as our bank account will allow us to (okay, so there is one restricting factor).

And, finally, I love that I'm a sap. I love being romantic when I can. I love public displays of affection, within reason. I love that I watch romantic comedies and enjoy them and that two of my favorite movies of all time are Sleepless in Seattle and Notting Hill. Does this make me less of a man? I'd argue no.

I'd better stop now or I'm going to have nothing left for the Fourth Annual Self-Love Day.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): As you know, this day now also has a bit of a somber side to it for me being a graduate of Northern Illinois University and this being the first anniversary of the campus shootings that took the lives of five innocent students.

The university is holding some memorial services today as well as an art exhibit and wreath presentations. Katie and I were going to attend, but she's pretty sick right now and we're going to stay in.

So I'd just like to take a moment to remember those five students who lost their lives one year ago today... Catalina Garcia, 20, of Cicero; Julianna Gehant, 32, of Mendota; Ryanne Mace, 19, of Carpentersville; Gayle Dubowski, 20, of Carol Stream; and Daniel Parmenter, 20, of Westchester.

[Taken by me one year ago. Hey, Chicagoist picked up on this photo today.]

What's your name (what's your name)...

In the last month, I've had four different cell phones and if there's one thing I've learned, it's that you can never rely on SIM cards to hold all the information you want to transfer from one phone to the next. They help, but they're far from perfect. Or maybe it's that the phones don't make use of the SIM cards to their fullest extent. Whatever the case may be...

As of this past Tuesday, I'm on a BlackBerry Bold and I'm trying to get all my contact information up to date. However, I didn't realize until after I blanked out my old BlackBerry that I lost several of the secondary phone numbers I had attributed to names in my directory (I haven't found BB software that works on my Mac yet so I didn't get around to backing it all up to my computer; not that I've really looked as I'm still new to this whole thing and am still just trying to make the phone work, period) so I lost some phone numbers for people.

The problem arises when you receive what seem like random calls and texts and you no longer have names attributed to them.

Yesterday, I received a text message from a number that looked familiar but I couldn't quite pin down. It simply said "Happy New Year!" Katie and I sat there trying to figure out who it was. We couldn't. So I called the number and went straight to voicemail. Unfortunately, as many people are wont to do anymore, the outgoing message simply said, "I'm not here, leave a message." Oh yeah, that really helps.

Katie: So was the voice male or female?

Me: Female.

Katie: Reeeeeallllly? So some strange woman is leaving my husband random text messages on his phone?

Me: It would seem that way.

Katie: Now I really want to know who it is.

So, um, while I know Katie was ultimately joking and all, if you happened to text me yesterday from a west suburban Chicago area code with a prefix of 415, please let me know and tell me how innocent your message was intended to be.


Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Katie and I went to my parents for dinner last night and we somehow got on the topic of dogs and microchip tracking systems. As you know, Katie and I are dogsitting Lilly again. My mom decided we should have a little fun and so we texted the following message to my brother...

"Out of curiosity, does Lilly have a microchip in her at all?"


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.

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...


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
  • 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.

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)


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?).

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.

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.

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.

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 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.


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...


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 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!'

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!!!!"


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.
    (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.

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.

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)!

I think I'd rather go outside and play...


Okay, everybody together now!




While we don't hate you, Katie, we are very displeased with the fact that, starting tomorrow, you are on vacation from work until January 2. We find this to be exceptionally distressing and thoroughly unfair, especially since we do not get the same number of days off.

And we are disgustingly jealous.



Especially me.

Since I want to be home with you.

Totally not fair.






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