Monday, December 10, 2007

Let it Snow

Last week it snowed here--it snowed quite a bit by Columbus, Ohio standards. Anyway, being the first snow of the year, the boys were rather excited about it all. Not wanting to pass this opportunity up, I grabbed the camera.

Stuart and 'Kuma ran around, played with each other, and ate snow (fortunately not the yellow stuff). The didn't seem to mind it at all, which is no surprise for 'Kuma, who is a St Bernard after all.

If you haven't noticed, I'm running out of things to say, so I'll just post a link to the rest of the pics and leave you with an image of Stuart barely keeping his junk above the snow.

The End of The Year

Well, it's that time of year again. but I will spare you the monotony of a year end recap (well, for today at least). Last weekend, well weekend before last, as I've procrastinated a bit, Liz and I attended the year end party for her employer (rhymes with Yolanda). Now I've been to a couple of events from my employer (rhymes with Haitian Pride), though I kinda expected something much nicer, as Liz's coworkers have described this party as a prom of sorts. Anyway, enough of the buildup.

The party was at the Arena Grand, which is a newish mid-sized downtown theater. The Arena Grand has 8 screens, a large central lobby, and a couple of mezzanines above that. I half wondered how a company party could occupy all of this space, but the invite mentioned quite a few destinations (it had a New York City theme), each complete with food and activities. As we approached the garage, it was obvious that only company employees were welcome, and as we walked toward the theater, we were greeted with covered and heated walkways instead of a cold windy sidewalk. We get to the theater, and most people are dressed rather nicely, with many guys in suits and tuxes and many ladies in dresses and gowns. Some took it to the next level, with dress kilts, kimonos, and full cowboy regalia. We quickly got over our people watching, and sought out the food.

Our quest was brief, as we were bombarded with salmon hor'dourves and butternut squash shooters (yeah, there may be a NYC theme, but we're still in Ohio). We walked past a huge spread of meats and cheeses, as we were on a quest for sushi. We came, we ate, and we conquered. Damn there was a shitload of sushi there, and since we were unfashionably early, we could chow down. Afterwards, we sought out dinner. Yes, there were hor'dourves, sushi, and dinner. Dinner included all kinds of meats and mashed potatoes in martini glasses.

After dinner, came desert (chocolate fountain), and then pictures, a movie (Fred Claus), a comedy showed (we ducked out), video games (Wii), and karaoke (of course). There was a jazz band at dinner, which like the sushi was outside of the theater. Back to the video games, watching a couple in a suit and gown play Wii Tennis is a hoot. I never used a Wii before, but I got quite a workout bowling. On our way out we scored cotton candy and a Coney Island hot dog.

Needless to say it was very grand, larger than I expected, and blast. Next year I'm bringing a doggy bag.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I am a Rock God

There are many things a lady can say to a man to make him all giddy, for for the purposes of this entry, I'll focus on one of them in particular "we should get Guitar Hero for Christmas".

After reaching a critical mass with whole episodes of South Park devoted to it (still awaiting the Heroine Hero game), it would be hard to resist. In fact, I've had lengthy discussions with a host of coworkers, all adults as I am--many even older than I, about Guitar Hero. Some even ponied up for Rock Band, and tackle the drums and guitar in an attempt to live out their dreams. Well for now, lets real it back in. Yes, Guitar Hero 3. Owning a 360, we opted for the easier to find Sams Club bundle (comes with the wired Guitar Hero 2 controller), and upon unwrapping it, the madness began.

At first it was pretty ugly. Getting booed off the stage sucks ass, even if it's just a game. Hell, it's even worse when it's a game, as you paid for the damn thing. Not one to get shown up, I persevered. Picking the right songs and finding my rhythm, I survived playing "Talk Dirty to Me", "Barracuda", and "School's Out"--all relatively easy for folks not in the know. I appeared to plateau, and soon I'd be washed up. Liz started to play, and she experienced the same blues, but then too she got better. I began to resign myself to musical parity or perhaps a parody of music. Then it happened.

My untapped potential got tapped, and then it was neither untapped nor potential. I was a rock god. Songs like "One", "The Number of the Beast", or even "The Devil Went Down to Georgia", bowed before me and my greatness. Now on to medium difficulty!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm a happy boy

As I alluded to in the end of my last blog, things really ended on an up note on our vacation. The prospect of a free trip to San Diego notwithstanding, having Liz say yes to a question I've been pondering how to ask for a while really made it all so special.

No it wasn't a successful resolution of the question I asked previously, rather something a bit more substantial. I wish I could spin a yarn of some wonderfully romantic approach to that age old question, but alas I was thwarted with a bunch of circumstances that really forced me to make the most of the situation (I suppose I could have slipped the ring on her finger while she was asleep and explained that she must have forgotten about the wonderfully romantic way I asked her the night before). Anyway, Liz said yes, and I'm a happy boy.

Our First Vacation

My employer (rhymes with Haitian Pride) was kind enough to send Liz and I on a trip to Walt Disney World last week, so I could officially receive a couple of professional designations (CLU, ChFC, and CASL for those non-existent people who care). To be honest the free trip was a huge part of my motivation for getting this motley assortment of letters to append at the end of my name and stamp out some of the white space on my business cards. While it would have been nice to spend all of my time with Liz and my parents (who joined us for a couple days, as they are still Floridians), I had to be fettered and tethered to the conference that went on (for IRS reasons--this is a "business" trip after all). Liz did manage to spend a lot of time at the theme parks, and oddly enough I did too (a real pimp can be at two places at once).

For the past few weeks, we both were very excited about the trip, as we haven't had a real vacation yet, and well who wouldn't be excited to go to "The Happiest Place on Earth"? All of that anticipation seemed in vane, as Liz informed me that Disneyland is "The Happiest Place on Earth", and Walt Disney World is merely "Where All of Your Dreams Come True". Damnit! If I want to dream that Disney World is the "Happiest Place on Earth", well then IT IS! I was going to be fucking happy! After being reminded that Disney World is a whole lot more expensive as an Ohioan (they have all sorts of Florida discounts that I've exploited over the years--next time I'm getting a fake Florida ID beforehand), we placed our fingers on the biometric turnstiles (EPCOT technology at work) and got happy--err had productive dreams.

We spent the better part of the first two days at EPCOT, which is dork heaven complete with animitronic dinosaurs, purple dragons, and lots of simulated culture. Liz even got to ride Test Track, which is kinda like a French chef touring a McDonalds kitchen. Oh speaking of smelly hairy types, one of the many fanciful meals we enjoyed was Liz's first encounter with es cargo. We also got to dine with the princesses in Norway, though I thought it would have been cooler to dine with the trolls, provided we weren't the main course. We also got to chow with Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore in the Crystal Palace and some fellow dorks at the hotel (who knew there was another financial services nerd/engineer couple?) Crazy world indeed. Oh speaking of hotel, if you don't mind power outages (for "homeland security reasons") or intermittent construction that sounded like a moose getting unwanted dental work done, give Hilton a call.

Beyond EPCOT, we went to the Animal Kingdom, where we conquered Everest (really cool ride btw), brought elicit dinosaur contraband back from the past, and got to see many animals (which would seem obvious, but the first time I went there I saw more vultures eating a skunk carcass than anything I wanted to see). Too bad we missed the "Blackhawk Down" parade through Little Mogadishu. The following day we overcame Liz's dislike for free fall rides and being trapped in an Aerosmith themed roller coaster at MGM Studios. Lastly, we wrapped it all up in the Magic Kingdom, where we learned that it pays to complain to Disney employees. In between we got to witness my mom's amazing ability to use her Jedi mind tricks on the greater at the Polynesian meat feast (previously Disney Dining said they were booked full all week and suggested we try a night 180 days in advance!--that's not making my fucking dreams come true!)

Speaking of dreams coming true, I found out that it will be easy to add some more letters after my name and get a free trip to San Diego next September and something else which I'll save for my next blog.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Assorted Dining Encounters

Friday, being the date night that it is, had Liz and I trekking to two different pet for stores to procure food and treats for nine of our ten pets (poor Pablo the turtle got left out). We're not content to have ten pets, rather we strive to have ten spoiled pets who all get the best. Anyway, betwixt our two pet store encounters, we dined at the finest restaurant that has all you can eat pizza for $5--CiCi's.

Liz feared the worst when she saw the full parking lot, and despite my best efforts to convince her that there were so many better places to eat there that CiCi's could be packed, she didn't believe me. She was right, as we had to wait to pay for our food, wait to find a place to sit, and wait to get anything that resembled pizza. That wasn't the worst of it, as everyone had kids--lots of kids--lots of ill behaved kids. They might as well tear up that pathetic arcade room and place a planned parenthood in there. I'm sure they'd have a line there too!

Not sated with the paltry offerings off a picked through CiCi's and the monotony of the experience, we sojourned to Culver's. Culver's is like the Valhalla for Ohioans--featuring butter burgers, milk shakes, frozen custard, and anything else to make a cardiologist's bank account swell. I like hamburgers, and cheeseburgers are even better, but do we really need to lather the buns in butter before frying them? What next buttered and fried tomatoes? Lettuce? We passed on the "hearty" burgers and focused on the frozen custard. For those of you who don't know, frozen custard is like ice cream, but it is even fattier. It's so creamy and fatty that it slides off of your tongue. It's good, but you feel like you just had a Crisco sundae (tastes much better though).

Lastly, this morning we had our usual trip to the zoo. While it was a beautiful day and the exercise is always needed, we were most excited about the "Boo at the Zoo" event. This takes the usual zoo experience and adds "animal enrichment", which means pumpkins filled with treats. For some animals that means trail mix, for others like the lion, we saw some odd furry thing getting gnawed on.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Scary Sight

Today as I was driving home I saw a city bus, all decked out in one of those hokey ads that envelop the entire bus. While the usual ads are for insurance carriers, collision center, or even the godforsaken Buckeyes, this one was a tad more alarming.

It had an ad for the local VA hospital, which apparently is in need of some psychiatrists. Yes, they have resorted to the side of a bus to diagnose and treat shell shocked soldiers who have seen god knows what, done stuff I don't want to know about, and maybe had some really fucked up shit happen to them. Oh yeah, some of these guys may have re-enlisted and had even worse shit happen the 2nd time around. I feel bad for these guys, and I suppose they should have good treatment, but more importantly, if they're in bad shape, perhaps violent, or in some post traumatic stress induced stupor, well they should really be taken care of. I'm not sure that whoever is wandering around, in need of a job, desiring nothing better than shitty government pay, and responding to this bus ad is up to the task.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Sometimes things just aren't as the seem

As a kid, I watched my share of cartoons, and the amalgamation of Loony Toons creations was a part of this educational experience. Among the cartoons was the tale of Speedy Gonzales, which always seemed a little wrong. Was it the fact that Speedy was supposedly the same species as Mickey Mouse and looked nothing like him? No, it wasn't that--Pluto and Goofy as well and Daffy and Donald have prepared me for that. Was it the fact that over the top ethnic stereotypes was a part of overall premise? No Bugs Nips the Nips took that concept to new lows. Was it the depiction of Speedy's stoner cousin Slowpoke Rodriguez? Nope. I just didn't know what seemed so off--Until now!

Now it all makes sense. Speedy wasn't a Mexican mouse, rather he was a Chilean chinchilla! Sure he wore the sombrero and lived in Mexico, but he likely made a wrong turn Santiago or something, and well--maybe he just liked the look that a sombrero helped him pull off. You see, mice aren't that fast, nor are they that cute. Basically they're just snake food (I can't wait until Mickey's copyright finally lapses and some of that stuff gets animated). A clever speedy rodent with big ears and a long tail, well that's a chinchilla. I know that now that we've adopted one. Yes the old homestead has gotten more crowded. Now there are two guinea pigs, three kitty cats, a bunny, two dogs, a turtle, and a chinchilla.

Pedro is his name, and we adopted him last Saturday. He's a nocturnal fella, and well he's a bit different (who else bathes in dust?). He's started to fall for our bunny Petra, who I suppose is as close of a critter as we have in our petting zoo, but I'm old fashioned about inter species romance. I suppose the times are a changing. Now we just need to get the little fella a sombrero to round out his wardrobe.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Dark Side of Food

Lately I've been eating more than blogging--well, I tend to always eat more than blog, as it would be rather boring and my fingers would bleed down to the bone otherwise--where were we? Ah food. Well, I've had a few odd encounters and more than a few wise non-encounters with bizarre creations.

Living in Ohio, home to all things fried (including Pepsi), I'm used to encountering fried pickles, fried, Twinkies, and my favorite (really they're delicious) fried snickers, so I suppose it shouldn't be alarming that a recent commercial for Steak n' Shake mentioned its lighter healthier fare, including a sandwich with not one but two fried pieces of what they described as chicken. Speaking of Steak n' Shake, well more so speaking of having the shits, the documentation that comes with Alli mentions bringing extra undies with you everywhere just in case something leaks out:

  • "You may feel an urgent need to go to the bathroom. Until you have a sense of any treatment effects, it's probably a smart idea to wear dark pants, and bring a change of clothes with you to work"
  • "You may not usually get gassy, but it's a possibility when you take Alli. The bathroom is really the best place to go when that happens."

Now if that's not enough to help you loose a few pounds, I dunno what is. Oh, speaking of leaking out, recently they've been showing these macho older dudes riding on Harley's and shit and talking about pissing oneself. I can't recall what the things were called, but I joking call the dude diapers Hoggies.

Gosh, where is this going? Who knows--back to food. While wandering through the various midways and exhibit halls at the state fair I saw a poster advertising a roast beef sunday. Yeah, you read that correctly. Who needs, fudge, caramel, nuts, and that lone cherry when you can have mashed potatoes, gravy, meat that's claims to be beef, and cheese glorious cheese!. Maybe that have cans of whipped sour cream to spray on the top.Perhaps the only thing scarier than this is a poster I saw last week. While wandering the halls of my workplace I saw an advertisement for a lunch special for today (8/13/07--the day that will live in infamy). It mentioned that there will be sushi in the cafeteria. Next to McSushi, Nationwide cafeteria sushi is about as dubious as it gets. Oddly enough, my girlfriend designs ATVs or something like that at Honda, and they don't have sushi in the cafe--maybe that should be a damn good sign that we shouldn't have it here? Well I wandered down to check it out, and thankfully they veered clear of raw fish, but they did manage to create many combinations that should never ever be made again. Just because you can make some odd rice dish, it doesn't mean you should roll it in seaweed. They had some form of rice pilaf rolled up like sushi. WTF? At least the lady behind the counter looked passably oriental, not that that means much--some of the best sushi I've had was made by Mexicans. She probably got her degree in the sushi arts at Devry or ITT tech or OSU--they all blend into one school in my mind.

Maybe I should get my appetite back by ogling at a root beer float cupcake.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Stuart and Kuma's Big Adventure

Probably the most consistent part of our lives is the existence of our two largest pets: Kuma the bovine like St Bernard and Stuart the goat in a Bassett Hound's body. Both have their charms, and I suppose we love them equally (I'll never say that under oath though), but we definitely like Kuma more. His unassuming self deprecating manner (much better than a dog with a self defecating manner) and overall need to please us makes him so much easier to deal with. Anyway, this isn't an ode to our dogs, though I suppose it could have turned up that way.

You see this past Sunday, which started like most Sundays--well except for the fact the weather was beautiful and we opted to not go to the zoo. We were just too doggone tired to do so. I had a wild and crazy night out with my friends who seemed to need to get away from it all. Being young and crazy we ended up parting ways and going home around 11:30pm. I returned home to see Liz immersed in the world of Harry Potter (I had finished earlier that afternoon). I ended up staying up with her past 3am (two nights in a row after 3am--what's next--hosting a Harry Potter rave?). Ok, back to Sunday, we pretty much lounged around the house, finding one sound reason after another not to exert ourselves. Once dinner time approached, I fired up the grill and braced myself for what was to come (having a 170lb St Bernard jump on you is never easy, but bracing oneself can keep your head above your feet). Oddly enough what was to come never did.

Hmmmmm. Where's Kuma (oddly enough I wasn't that worried Stuart was no where to be seen, as I know he is our cross to bear and will always be there)? I called for the big beast, and still I couldn't see or hear him. I looked in nearby yards for a confused pony sized dog (he probably could somehow step over the fence (not much of a leaper, but he is THAT tall). I even called for Stuart against my better judgment. Sadly it all was for not. Desperate I looked over to the gate, which was not closed!

I half expected to see an exhausted St Bernard laying under the tree in the front yard panting like crazy and a Bassett Hound head deep in our trash can, but neither was seen. After alerting Liz, I began my hunt. Knowing that a dog the size of a growing buffalo is not something that disappears stealthily I stopped the first car that roamed by our house. After trying to not look like a car jacker, I got them to roll down the window. Before I could finish asking they nodded rapidly and pointed to the corner not far away. They weren't much for words, but after seeing a giant dog a giant human likely wasn't what they wanted to see next. The hunt continued.

I ran ahead to the corner they pointed to, and there was someone watering their lawn. Only in Ohio do people stand in their front yard with a hose and manually water the grass--quite a bizarre practice, but they smiled and said you own that big thing and pointed to the next corner (which wasn't that far away, but I still couldn't see them). I ran ahead (well maybe I walked fast), and just at the next corner was some kid doing something--can't recall, but he likely thought he looked cooler than he really did. Anyway, he said what's his name and asked which dog was mine. At this point I realized I had only asked folks about Kuma, but I'm not 100% sure I was acting on my greater affection for him or my knowledge that Stuart is a curse that we must bear--most likely it was just the logical reasoning that it's 100x times easier to see a dog that's closer to the size of Mr Ed than Lassie. In any event, it wasn't long before I rounded this corner to see a happier than he should be St Bernard bounding about and a dutiful Bassett Hound sniffing a trail to god knows where.

That pretty much ended Kuma and Stuart's big adventure. I wasn't smart enough to bring collars let alone leashes, so I had to verbally wrangle them--easier said than done, but it didn't need to last for too long, as Liz appeared in her trusty CRV to serve as animal control. Thus their moments of unbridled freedom ended safely. Stuart continues to hound about the gate, and I'm sure he won't forget the endless world of smells out there. Kuma quickly became beyond exhausted after he not only walked farther than he's used to but did so jumping and galloping like a horse with hemorrhoids.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Friday Freak Show

Last Friday was a day many people have been looking forward to for some time--myself included. You see many of us dorks, especially those of us who have read books bigger than Myspace for Dummies, have been waiting for the last Harry Potter book to be read--well what for now will be the last Harry Potter book--my money is on a god awful septology prequal, with a whiny Voldebrat and Jar-Jar Wizard. Let's hope I'm wrong. Anyway, the book came out; lots of people pre-ordered books; and there were huge masses of people waiting to get their book--kinda like the iPhone launch but with costumes and people getting their money's worth.

While I do enjoy a good book every now and then, and I find the Harry Potter books to be worthwhile reading material (a one way ticket to hell would be reason enough), I mostly put aside my usual wild and crazy Friday nightlife aside for a week to freak watch at Borders, and I looked forward to it. I had some pre-work to do, as one needed to get their line position during the day, and when I showed up at 9:30am (they open at 9:00am) and saw a line of people who looked a little too much like they called the sidewalks there home, I was a tad bit scared. We (Liz was just as eager, but for reading every bit as much as people watchin--perhaps even more so) got place #116 in line, which altogether didn't sound bad. We planned on showing up around 11 to claim our place in line, gawk, and get out.

We got there around our planned arrival time, but to be honest I don't know when, and the parking lot was packed. Ugghhh! The store not surprisingly was packed too. It was loud, crowded, and there were more than a few annoying people. People can be annoying due to their loudness, their tone of voice, their sense of self importance, their smell, or sometimes for just being too ugly. We experiences all of those kinds of annoyances--sometimes in just one person! It wasn't all bad, as we got to see would be Quidditch players (complete with brooms), wannabe witches and wizards in their Hogwarts garb, wannabe Malfoys and other specific characters (including someone WAY too old to pull off Tonks), and lastly folks who thought their gear for the renaissance festival needed to be wore twice this year (what no theme weddings to go to?). beyond the annoying folks and those dressed up, we encountered people who obviously haven't left home in a while (I suppose when the last Harry Potter book came out), and they were overwhelmed by it all. Some of these folks were shaking (then again they could have been that pumped about Harry Potter). Anyway it all was good fun, but we were very happy to get the hell out of there.

Of course after all that fun there's nothing else to do but head home and start reading, which we did.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I'm a Genius

Few things survive through the millenniums as pyramids, and few things can be guaranteed to succeed as those that have made it through the millenniums. These two facts are relatively benign on their own, but when a genius puts them together, well you have brilliance. Bask in my glow.

While others have built pyramids in recent years, they have made them into various trivialities as casinos, arenas, or entrances to museums. These aren't structures for the ages, and all in all, they are just rubbish. Greatness demands more, form must follow function. Pyramids, the structures people visit, the things on the dollar bills (which is what it is all about--money that is), and the structures one can see from space--they were the final resting place for royalty--ney gods who walked the Earth. What made them gods? The fact that they were buried in pyramids! We all want to be divine (that's why there are so many Mormons), and we all want to walk among the gods (that's why Zeus was such a mack-daddy--no real answer why no one wants to invite Mormons into their homes), so why not sell divinity?

Sell divinity? Yeah, that is my scheme dream. I need some help from investors, but why not take some abandoned land, scare off the hobos and shit, and build a giant pyramid. We could use prison labor (to make it authentic, we kinda made slavery illegal, but it seems to be a good compromise) to get it done, and when done it would be a giant mausoleum. If people pay thousands to be hacked up and frozen, why wouldn't they want to be hacked up and put in Canopic jars? Want to kick it old school and take it with you? We can offer treasure rooms, space for your loyal servants (you'll have to make arrangements to kill them, as I'm not a murderer--a scoundrel yes, murderer no), and even a fancy curse if you pay enough. Given that it would be quite an addition to the cityscape, I know I could get taxpayer funding for most of it, and hell it would be quite an urban revitalization. We could open up a Valley of the Kings shopping mall, a Nile River waterpark (crocs optional), and a Cleopatra's beauty school (she wasn't really that pretty, but we all have room to improve).

Once this works, I can sell franchises in other cities. Soon there will be pyramids everywhere and a whole prison system of really buff and rather tired inmates. Gosh watching COPs has become much more practical, as it is a form of job fair. I need to get to work! Anyone want to be my HR manager?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I guess I like Craig more than that dude Tom

As y'all know, I'm an avid photographer, and some might say a good one (my philosophy: if you take enough pictures, one has to be good). For the past 3+ years, I've enjoyed my trusty Panasonic FZ10, which somehow came to be known as the "Fluzi" among its owners. Now, it wasn't some cheap fluzy--it cost most of my bonus a few years ago, but it certainly paid for itself through not having to buy/develop film. It also made the film camera I got just a few months before rather unnecessary. Anyway, I got a new camera a few weeks ago, one camera to rule them all!!!

Believe it or not, this blog isn't so much about getting a new camera as it is about an odd phenomena--Craig's List. While I got my new camera along with a lens, the combination is best for nearer subjects, not the distant critters one sees at the zoo and other places I wander. I knew this getting into the whole affair planning on using the proceeds from selling my two cameras to buy an uberlens. That's where Craig's List comes in. I had sold things via the company classified ads (they're online), but I knew the bigger net I cast, the higher price I could get. I really didn't want to mess with eBay, so I instead posted a few ads on Craig's List. at first it seemed too easy, offers started pouring in, then I realized that when you filtered out morons who thought a 35mm camera was digital, scams involving mailing it to Nigeria as a wedding gift in exchange for some dubious money order, or people who got cold feet and suddenly needed to tend to sick puppies (heard that a few times), it wasn't as easy as it seemed. In the process I mentioned Craig's list to a coworker who sold a boat in a manner of hours. Frustration set in, but in the end I got rid of both cameras and a PS2. Not bad.

All in all the place really seems like quite the active marketplace, and I suppose I'll use it again (you can't beat the price). I'm still amazed how close to the price of a new item someone will pay for a used one. Geesh. Oh, for you camera buffs out there, I got a Nikon D70s (refurb--yeah I'm a cheap German bastard), 18mm - 135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S lens, and a 70-300mm f/4.5 - 5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR lens.

All of my newer pics can be found here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Where the Buffalo Roam

Liz's folks decided to pay us a visit, and having seen many of the sights in California earlier this year, we didn't want Ohio to disappoint. To that end we tried to show off all that Ohio had to offer, which is well, not a whole lot, but what can you do? Anyway, among our various travels we went to The Wilds, a 10,000+ acre wildlife refuge.

Ten thousand acres of wildlife almost sounds like OSU's campus, but it's much bigger, and it even smells better. After driving the hour and a half to get there, we learned how 10,000 acres were just sitting there for giraffes, rhinos, and buffalo to move in: it was a former strip mine. Ah, the natural beauty of Ohio. Actually, you really couldn't tell the origins of it all, and it was quite relaxing to be away from it all.

We also discovered that our promised half off admission for being Columbus Zoo members was about as full of shit as the piles the rhinos left behind, but it was still worthwhile. Enough bitching, well, maybe after a smart ass remark about starting the tour by gazing upon wild asses. Perhaps giraffes would make a more dramatic kickoff to it all. Who knows.

Not quite as exotic, though still rather cool were the buffalo. I must say baby buffalo look almost cute. Almost cute enough to make me regret eating buffalo short ribs a couple days earlier (not to mention all those wings). Anyway, they like everything else really didn't mind us, and considering they were about as big as the chopped up school bus we were riding, I can't blame them for their confidence. Hell, I hardly fear a Mini approaching me as I'm strolling through a crosswalk.

We also saw rhinos and cheetahs, but we didn't really get close enough to get good pics--not that I'm complaining. I tend to have a high level of respect for things that are a lot bigger than me, especially things that are a lot bigger than buffalo. Maybe that's why I don't eat rhino. You have to draw the line somewhere you know. We did get to see some warring Sichuan Takin. I didn't get any pictures of the dominance ritual, which most dog owners call "humping". I don't know what they call it in prison, but I suppose I don't want to find out either.

Were you expecting this blog to have a point? My bad, I basically just wanted to post a bunch of pics. You can see all of them here. See ya next time!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Life's Great Mystery

Sometimes I'm left with a great question that demands an answer, and now is such a time. Recently we've taken to watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy as an attempt to help us sleep. Watching these movies, in there extended versions can really lead one into a tired stupor and eventually a restful slumber. We also have been listening to the Harry Potter books on our iPods, and I always think about Star Wars. The question, if you were to want one man to have your back in a gang fight, who would it be? Gandolf, Dumbledore, or Yoda?

Yoda is a badass, like no other in that galaxy far far away way back when. He's so full of those MIDI accordions that he could start a techno polka band. When you see past all of that Jedi Jive, it's hard not to see him as the star of Little People Big World Degobah Edition. I could also see him getting tossed around by some drunk wookies in a cantina on Kashyyyk. I suppose that's better than dealing with that whiney farm boy Skywalker.

Dumbledore is pretty tough, the only dude that Vol He Who Must Not Be Named, is afraid of. He can take on loads of aurors without a scratch on his back, and he can have a bit of a smart ass streak to boot. Then again, he is the brother of a guy who does god knows what to goats, plus he puts up with Harry's thick skulled nature far too much.

Now Gandolf, he fought death and won. He can manipulate rulers, use wicked magic, and even whack someone on the head as needed. He is wise beyond anyone's imagination, and he isn't afraid to get down and dirty. Moreover, he also can shave that beard and bust out that groovy purple helmet and bend metal and shit. He could have gotten Luke's X-wing out of the swamp; he could make car's fly; and he could kick some serious ass. Gandolf is who I'd want to have my back.

I'm a dork.

The Irony of all Ironies

I can't believe I haven't written about this before, but i suppose it was out of a bit of kindness that I refrained from telling this tale. Looking back, it's really just a good laugh.

Last year, in an attempt to not appear to be the old man I am, I relented to Liz's persuasion to get around to reading those Harry Potter books that are so popular with the younger folks these days. I had managed to work my way through five of the books, with only one left to go (there were only six written at the time), and I knew that it wouldn't be too long until I managed to finish that one as well. Liz was at her PC, doing what she often does, perusing through the wonderful web of Harry Potter sites, forums, blogs, and other stuff crafted by folks with way too much free time. I sat, amusing myself with her quest, likely with thoughts wandering about my mind about god knows what. Anyway, I sat there and heard Liz giving an account of some jerk posting a spoiler about the end of book six on a person's blog, hours after the book was released. This person was a jerk because, few people could have read the whole book by then, and they should have knew better.

The irony was that Liz revealed the spoiler in her account, complaining about this dude's insensitivity, she told me Dumbledore was dead, knowing I hadn't read book 6. She inadvertently did the same thing the jerk did, but unlike him, she didn't mean any harm, and I laughed then as I do now. It was just too funny.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ahoy Matee

I have written in times past about my odd liking for less than popular sports, whether curling, Formula 1, World Cup, and America's Cup, and now after enjoying the mundane strategy of Curling in 2006 and the thrilling excitement of World Cup later that year I have the good fortune of looking forward to another America's Cup.

The America's Cup is the oldest trophy in sports, and I've enjoyed watching the feats of strategy, seamanship, and awesome bits of engineering that goes into building these multi-million dollar dollar vessels (one team spent $200,000,000 in a losing effort this year) for over twenty years. I know few people know about the America's Cup, fewer still even know its going on, or what channel to watch it on, and I imagine more than a few folks would argue that yachting isn't a sport. I guess I have a foreign soul that longs for things forgotten by most Americans, after all, a billion people, few of which are Americans, watch the America's Cup races.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Gateway to the West and the Beginnings of a Jihad

This past weekend, Memorial Day weekend for those of you who may have missed out on it, was an occasion where Liz and I packed our bags and headed west. Not as far west as we had done for MLK weekend, but certainly enough to provide a pleasant change of scenery. The destination this time was St Louis, where our friend Michelle calls home.

Our journey out there was rather uneventful at first, with our driving past a 198 foot tall monstrosity of a cross in F'ingham being the only thing of note. Sadly it wouldn't remain that way for long, as we drove past two cows getting it on (well a cow and a bull). It's not as cool as it sounds, rather disturbing. Besides that, we pretty much could have forgotten the trip (dealing with the idiocy of Indiana gas stations is another matter).

So we get there, make our greetings, relaxed, hung out, and enjoyed one-another's company. We enjoyed their hospitality as well as the chance to meet Michelle's husband and sister. Being Memorial Day weekend, there was plenty of stuff to do, including a Greek Festival at an Orthodox Church, which also offered tours. Being that we all like learning new things and looking at different things, we took the tour. It started well enough, with an Orthodox Church architecture 101 as a beginning. We then we tricked into going church proper and grabbing a seat. The friendly approachable deacon type fella was replaced by an incredibly passionate priest, who thought we should pray as much as we breath. Finally, they brought in a recent convert to seal the deal, a former Lutheran minister no less. It didn't take long for him to basically say the world, with exception of the Orthodox Church, was going to hell in a hand basket. He proceeded to get into a spat with those who had the misfortune to sit behind us (ironically a former Orthodox Christian turned Lutheran--who could have asked for more?). We found a way to sneak out and make our exit. Good people watching, but the baklava was better.

Knowing us, it shouldn't be a shocker that we went to the zoo in St Louis (if nothing else the pictures should have been a clue). The zoo there is huge and free. Ironically enough, even given the free nature of it all, it seemed less crowded than the zoo here in Columbus. It was nice to see different animals and different environments. The zoo was in a large park, which also had an art museum and some space for festivals and performances. Both were used, with an interesting mash-up of a Shakespeare festival and a African Art show.. I'll let you picture it all.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Musings of a Peoplewatcher

One of the rules I tend to live by is thou shall not blog about work, and fortunately I have not only been able to live by it (save for a few bring your brats to work days), but I also still have a job. Anyway with a lead in like this, you know where we're going.

Well the other day my boss' boss' boss took me and a few others to lunch. She was also kind enough to drive, and her vehicle likely was the only one equipped to handle us five folks. Being taller than tall, I tend to be given the option to ride up front, which past experiences have always led me to take advantage of. I quickly hop in the front seat while four people, three with newborn babies and the fourth with young grandkids, tried to remove a child seat--you know, the kind that claim to be easy to remove. It took a good five plus minutes, and all along I couldn't help but think to myself, gee I could probably figure it out in five seconds and remove it in five more. the pleasure of watching it was so much more fun than any instant gratification of accomplishing the task.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

We Live in a Sick Twisted World

Ok, that's nothing new. Really, we all kinda already knew this, but there are some times when it becomes painfully obvious. Never is it more clear to me than when I see something suggesting that I eat it or worse yet, watching it eat it's own. Suicide and cannibalism, two disturbing words, and two even more disturbing concepts.

What am I talking about? M&Ms suggesting you eat M&Ms or watching them eat their own. Worse yet, a trip to the annual rib festival is loaded with imagery of pigs, often angry or deranged, eating their own and suggesting that you do the same.

Apparently I'm not the only one bothered by this, as their is a blog devoted to circumstances like this.

Now those Chick-fil-A cows have it right. They are what's right with this world.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Day of the (almost) Dead

Today I decided to be a good boy and do a bit of grocery shopping on my lunch break, so I could cook a nice dinner for my boo tonight. Being a bit of a meat snob, I tend to frequent only a couple of places to get ground up bits of cow and other critters, so I decided to go to The Andersons. The Andersons is a general store, kinda like one would find in the old west, but modernized to be more like a less Ozarky version of Walmart. Anyway they have good meat, and I could grab everything else I needed.

As I pulled in the parking lot, I noticed something was odd. No it wasn't the giant tent in the parking lot (some tool sale rather than Cirque de Soleil), rather the odd ratio of Cadillacs to other hoopties jumped to my mind. Being ever the optimist, I assumed there must have been some sale on pimp canes or purple velvet hats. Much to my horror, the store was packed with old people. Slow moving, wandering, almost zombified old people. Women in silly hats and men in shorts filled my eyes while a static hum of the feedback hearing aids filled my ears. Dudes wearing prescription socks (lord knows you're up shit's creek when the best tool a doctor has to treat your heart are socks) and lots of chick who needed prescription bras (an old lady might bruise their knees with those sad sagging not-so-fun bags) filled the aisles, as I tried to cut through traffic to get to the butcher. When I got their I saw more of the Geritol set holding lists, and it occurred to me that it was not only the first of the month, but also Tuesday--senior day. It was a perfect storm, and the shit was coming down on me.

My well intentioned trip to the store sucked ass, and it only got worse when I realized that they wheel out their chronologically gifted employees to work the registers on days like this. Fuck they should have given me a 20% discount for being young. When I get old I'm not going to be some slow moving zombie who clogs the aisles, even if I have to smoke crack to give me that added bit of pick-me-up I need. This will never happen to me!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bob Barker is a Prophet

Everyone should be spayed and/or neutered. If you guessed today is take your brat to work day, give yourself a pat on the back. I'm no marketing guru, but Trojan man should make appearances all over the country today, at workplaces inundated with bright-eyed, sometimes bushy-tailed little tykes, running around, getting in my way, and otherwise making it hard to do my job.

Now don't get me wrong, it's not so much them stopping me from working that makes it a living hell, rather the fact that they stop me from working AND make it hard to enjoy it. Nothing bugs a slacker more than not getting any satisfaction from loitering.

What's odd is I had forgotten that today was the day, despite dreading it all week, but subconsciously I was really dreading heading in today. I had chalked it up to dreary weather and a desire to crawl back into bed, but now I know better, and I should have just followed my instincts, as last year was no better.

Oh well, at least yesterday was a good day, and maybe I'll survive to tomorrow. If not, it has been a good life--until today.

Monday, April 23, 2007

I don't really have much to write about, but ...

I'll ramble on anyway. Recently the most prevalent matter for discussion in my life has been work, and I know better than to write about that. I suppose I could do the typical Ohio thing and write about the weather, but I suppose I could only do when I have reason to complain, and that ain't now. I did discover today that I could listen to one song in the time it takes to pull out of my garage, drive to work, and make my way upstairs and to my desk--the song is appropriately named Autobahn (if you've ever driven with me you'd know why it can be appropriate). Speaking of driving, last week my girl Ashley got banged up Old Testament style, she was stoned. Fortunately not to death, but it still sucks.

Liz and I have been hitting the theaters, with movies ranging from borderline suckdom to downright brilliant (Hot Fuzz). We've also discovered a pretty decent place to grab some chow, BJ's Brewhouse (where ironically enough they don't brew anything). Their signature dish, the Pizzookie, implies it's a mashing of pizza and a cookie, but it's not quite as good as that. Don't get me wrong it's delicious, but it's like when a dude describes a chick as a goddess, unless she's truly divine, and I mean able to shoot lightning bolts out of her fingers and all that omnipotent shit (none of that weak-ass demigod BS either), it's all hyperbole. Anyway, the Pizzookie is real good, just not pizza * cookie good. I guess that's it. I told you I didn't have much to write about.

Peace Out Homies!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Time to get that can of whoop-ass back off the shelf

Well, once again it is time for those nutty Buckeyes to face a reality check, and sadly once again it will have to come from my Florida Gators. Looking back to December, there was a lot of talk on the TV, the radio, and most annoyingly everywhere else up here about how Ohio State was gonna kick Florida's ass in basketball, then again for the national championship in football. For the record Florida won by 26 points in basketball. Well, that didn't really put a damper on all the talk that they'd kick Florida's ass in football for the championship. For the record Florida won by 27 points in football.

Well tonight Florida an Ohio State will meet again for a national championship, and they will meet again in basketball, as it is the basketball championship. Will the Gators win by 28 tonight? Who knows, and they may even lose--I seriously doubt that, but I won't be as arrogant as Bubba Buckeye, who incidentally seems very quiet today. That swagger was absent all day at work, and I think that a bit of humble pie has been consumed. I hope it stays that way, and worst case scenario, I know any Buckeye fan would trade 10 basketball championships for one in football. We already won that one.

Go Gators!

I hate you fat--sweaty dude with the lawnmower

This afternoon while cruising home, I had the unfortunate experience of seeing some big fat dude with his gratuitous plumber butt transitioning to his sweaty hairy back. While this was horrifying, it wasn't for the aforementioned reasons, ney it was what he was doing. Mowing his fucking lawn.

Goddamn Ohioans love their lawns too damn much, and they seem to love all of the crap that makes having a lawn suck more than anything. They love to mow; they love to fertilize; the love to weed. For a city with so many Mexicans, you'll fine nothing more futile than looking for a Mexican gardener, as there are none. Everyone loves to garden too much to pay someone a few pesos to do it for them.

Granted, Liz has suggested that we hire someone to mow the lawn, but somehow I'd feel ashamed to do it. Not so much because no one here does it, as I'm growing tired of some of the neuroses of Ohioan,s no, I'd have a hard time dealing with the fact that my mother or father mows the yard in the Florida heat with twice the yard. Until I can put them in a home somewhere, I will just do my duties and mow my lawn, but I'll be damned if I will do it just because I can. You Ohioans are sick--sick lawn mowing bastards!

I hate you fat sweaty dude with the lawnmower

This afternoon while cruising home, I had the unfortunate experience of seeing some big fat dude with his gratuitous plumber butt transitioning to his sweaty hairy back. While this was horrifying, it wasn't for the aforementioned reasons, ney it was what he was doing. Mowing his fucking lawn.

Goddamn Ohioans love their lawns too damn much, and they seem to love all of the crap that makes having a lawn suck more than anything. They love to mow; they love to fertilize; the love to weed. For a city with so many Mexicans, you'll fine nothing more futile than looking for a Mexican gardener, as there are none. Everyone loves to garden too much to pay someone a few pesos to do it for them.

Granted, Liz has suggested that we hire someone to mow the lawn, but somehow I'd feel ashamed to do it. Not so much because no one here does it, as I'm growing tired of some of the neuroses of Ohioan,s no, I'd have a hard time dealing with the fact that my mother or father mows the yard in the Florida heat with twice the yard. Until I can put them in a home somewhere, I will just do my duties and mow my lawn, but I'll be damned if I will do it just because I can. You Ohioans are sick--sick lawn mowing bastards!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Me and my furry friends

After a few months of talking about it, Liz and I finally took the plunge and became members of the Columbus Zoo last weekend. Basically it means we can go to the zoo whenever we want, which is quite a luxury to have. For those of you outside of Columbus and those here who haven't gotten around to going, the zoo here is very nice, and it definitely gives us a good reason to get some exercise and get out of our zoo.

I've written about our trip there last summer, but it really is a much better experience when it isn't so crowded. Sadly our first two visits saw the sparsity extend to the animal population, but our visit yesterday had many critters out and about. It really is quite nice to just stand and watch a bear lay on a log, a weird, but really cool looking goat thing stand like the bad--ass he is, or even partake in the fun that is the petting zoo (the creepy inbred sheep with scary overbite excluded--someone with a sense of humor called that clan of sheep the Romanovs).

At this point I've kinda ran out of things to say (about the zoo at least), and I'm rambling on so I can put another picture in. BTW, there are many more pictures on our online photo archive (over 7000 pictures and growing).

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing Part II

Last week or whenever it was I commented about the hidden menace of Christian radio in disguise. Well this week I found out that there is an even more popular sheep in wolf's clothing on none other than American Idol. You see Chris Sligh, the nerdy mop headed dude is more deacon than dork. He's a former student at none other than Bob Jones University. Yes THAT Bob Jones university, the one even Billy Graham and President Bush (neither known for liberal views) distanced themselves from. Well Graham was practically disowned by Bob Jones because he actually had the nerve to talk with Catholics. You see Bob Jones Jr thinks this of Catholicism:

"not another Christian denomination. It is a satanic counterfeit, an ecclesiastic tyranny over the souls of men....It is the old harlot of the book of the Revelation—'the Mother of Harlots.'"

Well things are getting a bit more reasonable at Bob Jones, as they will allow interracial couples since 2000. Yes folks, it wasn't until 2000 that it was OK. Blacks weren't welcome at all until the 70's, and that was only due to tax implications (well money does come before bigotry).

Here are some of their enlightened rules:
  • Freshman and sophomore residence hall students must sign out before leaving campus; students with junior and senior privileges may leave without signing out between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.. Curfew is at 10:25 p.m., and residence hall students must be in their own rooms and quiet at 11 p.m. Lights must be out by midnight.
  • Each student is provided with a filtered e-mail account. Using unfiltered Internet access via computer, mobile phone, or satellite phone is prohibited for residence hall students. The university provides content-filtered Internet access for student use that blocks pornography, "lurid violence," racial hate, and other "objectionable content."
  • DVD/VCRs are not allowed in residence halls; DVD players on computers cannot be used for watching films. Televisions may be used only as monitors to play video games.
  • Students are forbidden to attend movie theaters or, when visiting local homes, to watch any films with a rating higher than a G rating. Residence hall students are not permitted to play, use, or own video games that are rated T, M, or Ao or that include profanity, sensual or suggestive dress, rock music, graphic violence, or demonic themes.
  • Students may not listen to country, jazz, New Age, rock, rap, or contemporary Christian music.
  • Residence hall students are permitted to work off-campus only until 10:25 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends, and students may not solicit door-to-door without a retail license or permission from the dean of students.
  • The University will not allow anything displaying the logos of Abercrombie & Fitch or its subsidiary Hollister to be "worn, carried, or displayed" on campus even if the logos are covered because these companies have "shown an unusual degree of antagonism to the name of Christ and an unusual display of wickedness in their promotions."

I am an Enabler

For those of you who don't know, Liz is straight edge, and I was raised as a German Catholic. Needless to say there is a pretty big difference in certain aspects of our lives, but all in all we get along pretty well. When we first met, I had my two kids who pretty much would get wasted on whatever I'd give them, including one who was pretty much a stoner. She had her two kids, who had never done any illicit substances (they had their vices, mostly a punk-like tendency for destruction).

We'd never talked about our parenting views, but I supposed all was well. Being inspired by Bradgelina we adopted an orphan of our own. He followed in his mother's straight edge life, and all was well. My two kids had their stashes, but our latest addition really seamed to have made a choice to abstain.

Well a few days ago we were at the store, and Liz saw something to help get our little druggies their fix (kinda like a bong, only it involved a modest amount of activity). We bought it, and I loaded it up with some of the finest green goodness. Little did I know that within the next few days, not only did my two life long users and abusers get their fix, but our latest addition as well. He's fallen to the dark side, with his distant glazed over look and general lethargy. I hope his mommy can forgive me and continue to love him. Poor kitty just couldn't say no.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Scary--ney, scarier than scary

What's scarier than a schizophrenic, a schizophrenic who's been brainwashed into being well through the power of Jesus.

Longtime readers recall I've written about the said state of schizophrenics before, and BTW, let me just pat myself on the back for being able to spell it correctly the first time!!!! More recent readers have read about the Jesusification of the FM dial. Well, imagine being schizophrenic, bipolar, severely depressed, or worse and pulling into Walgreens to get you happy pills or whatnot. As you pull in, you drive by the Jesus Outreach Center with a scrolling marquee, telling you that they can treat your mental ailments, which they listed in detail. Why pay good money for medicine, when you can just stop by and pray away your mental illness.

Let me tell you my deranged friends, listen to your neighbors dog, the voices in your head, even the advice Jerry Springer gives at the end of his show--anything instead of the marquee at the outreach center. There are enough crazy Christians out there--we don't need any more.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

If All Else Fails, There's Always Starbucks

If I recall correctly that was the motto of the Department of History at the University of Florida, and if it wasn't, well it should have been. Worry not, things are going well at work, so well we even got a bonus--not too much, otherwise I'd be writing about far cooler stuff--say maybe a new digital SLR.

Anyway, this is going somewhere ... yeah, with my bonus, I got Liz and I a new friend. No I didn't buy some slave on the internet, though having someone to clean the house, shovel the driveway, and amuse the dogs would be nice, but I did get a helper. His name is Frank. Unlike the somewhat creepy bunny dude in Donnie Darko, he's rather friendly looking and has a clear purpose.

Well, here's Frank, why is he called Frank, well he's the FrancisFrancis X5, and I'm not calling anything Francis, so we decided on Frank. I'm pretty much fueled on caffeine, hell I already had four different coffee making apparatuses (including another espresso machine), and I've been wanting a real espresso machine for a while. Deciding that I should get something fun with my bonus I decided I should splurge on an espresso machine. Given that Liz and I have started to amass a small collection of handsome appliances (and the great deal Illy has on these things), I decided to get an extra perdy machine.

So, in the days that have passed since Frank has stormed into our life, I've done what I do best, and learned everything there is to know about him and making espresso (lattes, cappuccinos, and other drinks too). There are quite a few interesting resources, ranging from geeks to champion baristas and everything in between. Now i just need a home still to help me unwind at the end of the day.

Monday, March 12, 2007

A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing

Feeling deceived is about the worst feeling in the world (well that and realizing that you really shouldn't have drank that water and Montezuma will be inflicting his revenge). Anyway, I and many other central Ohioans (those who say "pop" instead of "soda" and "mmmmmmmmmbye" instead of "goodbye" or simply "bye"), and it's the worst kind of deception. Far worse than a wolf in sheep's clothing (for after all the poor wolf must eat) is the sheep in wolf's clothing. The Christian guerrillas of the world, damn you to hell!

The story starts like many others, Liz and I were driving in my humble steed, Ashley, and we were surfing the radio dial for something to listen to (someone tends to tire of my iPod selections), and we stumbled upon 88.7, an odd frequency for anything other than NPR, college radio, or Christian radio. What we heard wasn't NPR, nor was it Christian radio. We didn't seem to hear any DJs or commercials, and the music was kinda good. Nothing was familiar and nothing was great, but it always seemed like there could be something good coming up, and neither one of us were playing too close of attention. Over the coming days we each listened separately for clues to the stations origins, and I heard them call themselves Radio U. Well, there we had it--a college station. Cool. We were a little skeptical still, as we were expecting an eclectic mix of formats and DJs, which is more typical of smaller college stations.

No, it was not cool. Liz listened a bit, and she seemed to here themes that were very Christian, and she was getting suspicious. I checked out their website, which revealed that they were owned by Spirit Communications, and they were all about anti-drug and anti-violence music (not all that bad in and of itself). Reading further I saw that they work with a local prayer line. Well damnit, they're Christians in hiding, pretending to be cool. Listening further, we heard one of the DJs bust out into a sermon.

Afterward I felt dirty--dirty and used.

Spring Has Sprung

The days are getting longer, the snow has melted, the clocks have sprung forward, and I see 70 degrees on the forecast! I know the warmth will be short lived (the longer days and daylight savings are here to stay though), and soon I'll be able to see living ground hogs (I've seen one, but he appears to be terminally asleep in the middle of an onramp). More than anything, the ruffling sound of paper brackets with everyone's picks for the tournament reassures me that spring is right around the corner. Tonight we'll fire up the barbecue, and it won't be long before we can start going to the zoo (not just the one at home).

Monday, February 26, 2007

It's that time of year

I suppose there are a few THAT time of the years, but I digress. Now is the time of the Lenten fish fry, crowded seafood restaurants (only on Fridays), and mysterious 'fish' offerings at places like Arby's, Wendy's, and even KFC. BTW, KFC is so worried about how bad those things are, that they're seeking a blessing by the Pope. Maybe they should have tried Mother Teresa, as it would take a miracle to make such a sandwich edible. I suppose this phenomenon occurs everywhere, but it is much more pronounced in Ohio than it ever was in Florida.

Growing up Catholic in Florida, Lent wasn't anything real special, heck I think I've observed Lent more than my folks, even in recent years. I suppose the prevailing availability of seafood made it kinda moot, but here in Ohio, it's practically an event. Bingo halls are being cleared out, and beer battered fish is being consumed hand over fist, then it's bingo time (hey Jesus didn't give up bingo, did he?). Anyway, I find it all amusing (unless it's frightening, such as the KFC 'fish'). Speaking of fish, even my junk yard cat, who would eat just about anything, won't touch a Fillet o' Fish, which oddly enough isn't a fillet, and perhaps is not fish.

I always ponder why others don't jump in. Come on PETA, quit handing out brochures with tortured animals and showing videos of cruel slaughters at gallery hop, all they ever do is get sickos off. Meat eaters will always eat meat. That's why steakhouses aren't even afraid to put big old cow or buffalo heads on the wall. They could put mounted dog heads up, and we'd still eat meat. Why not sponsor some low key veggie nights or hand out some decent recipes for those of us who don't like hummus or tofu? Bring a truck of corn up from Mexico or maybe fry some zucchini. Oh, while you're at it, make sure everyone involved bathes--with real soap. Also, NO PATCHOULI!!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Thawing out

Now that the snow has begun melting, the abominable snowman has retreated, and the thermometer has stabilized in the positive realm, I feel its safe the reflect upon the days that have passed. They've brought two debilitating snow storms, about a foot of snow, lots of ice, and way too much local weather coverage. They've brought images of silly Ohioans mowing their snow with snow blowers (folks here love to mow their yards WAY too much), memories of snow plows trapped in the snow, and visions of puppies playing in the snow.

Perhaps one of the most memorable moments was on Valentines Day, where upon returning home from a romantic meal at Smokey Bones (nothing says love like ribs and chicken), we were slowly getting trapped in the snow that inundated our driveway. Being the chivalrous fella I am, I hopped out to shovel snow out of the way, but before I could realize how futile that effort would be, I was greeted by two of our friends from the south (Mexico, not Kentucky), who appeared out of nowhere. We quickly got past the language barrier, and upon some negotiation, which involved converting prices into Pesos, so they could determine if it was worth their while, we agreed upon a price. What was almost as remarkable as their sudden appearance was the arrival of two more helpers. In less than five minutes, they cleared all of the snow and more importantly ice, from the way of the garage, helped push the car in, and began work on the rest of the driveway. When I looked out the window ten minutes later, they were gone, as was the snow and ice on the driveway--six inches of snow and about an inch of ice, all for less than the price my coworkers paid to replace their broken snow shovels from their failed efforts. Rome wasn't built in a day, but I'm damn sure Mexico City was.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Bring the llama pelt

Those four words, "bring the llama pelt" were the last four words in an email I just reread, and as usual there is a story to be told. You see back in my younger days, I often frequented a variety of thrift stores, and I would often come upon some rather interesting items (I wouldn't necessarily rely upon these places for my usual wardrobe, but every now and then you need something special). Well, once I found just that, and it came in the form of a llama pelt fashioned into a vest. Now, I'm no Jim Tressel, but even he'd be cool with a llama fur vest, and once day I decided to liven things up at College Bowl practice. The team often needed an added bit of energy by Wednesday night, and a good conversation piece (to break the monotony of endless arguments over Brian Boitano's sexuality), and showing up wearing a llama vest (bare chested below) seemed like a sound idea.

Well, it worked, and the stroll from the parking lot to the union (and through the union) was quite an event. My favorite part was being stopped by a Latin American lady, who immediately recognized it as being llama and informed me that it was very good quality. I was rather proud of my purchase. Sadly it's been lost over the years, and now I must troll ebay for a replacement.

Fuck it's cold

For all of you outside the metro C-bus area, I just wanted to let you know it's fucking cold here. I never thought one could get brain freeze from it being so cold outside, but believe me, it happens. Last night I had to stand outside to encourage our pups to pea (thanks 'Kuma), and I didn't feel right until this morning, then I had to go back outside to go to work. My car said -20, which sounds horrible, but it really was "only" -4 (and it's a dry cold), since it only tells you the temp in Celsius, which actually lets me impress the ladies with my multiple by nine, divide by five, and add thirty-two skillz. The friendly neighborhood video billboard just said N/A for the temp. I guess fucking cold would be too many characters.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Curse of Thai Beef

On Friday, I made a commitment to stave off an impending epidemic, so Saturday Liz and I were set to order take out from our favorite Chinese restaurant. We were rather horrified to find that they were closed for a vacation, so suddenly we were faced with the dilemma of not knowing where our next meal would come from. Trying to be a savior, I suggested the Thai place we've tried going to before only to find it closed at the time (between lunch and dinner). Having found a solution, I felt rather good about myself.

When we got there, we were pleasantly surprised with the decor, and the menu seemed to be equally delightful. We decided on some items to dine upon, including an appetizer. The appetizer was excellent, complete with perfectly cooked spring rolls (everything was fried just right). We also enjoyed the Thai iced tea and Thai iced coffee. All seemed to be going rather well, until...the SMELL!!!

The waiter brought the food out, and something smelled bad, real bad. I couldn't figure out where the smell came from, but it reeked of stinky nasty unhealthy feet. I imagine boots worn by a hobo for a month or two straight might be close to that smell. Note that people typically don't dine within close proximity to a bum's feet. This fact hit Liz hardest, as it was her entree that smelled so bad; more specifically, the beef in her entree. I suppose the hodge podge of interesting sounding one syllable words she uttered as a part of her order must have translated to Foot Stink Beef. She eventually needed to request a box, just to seal in the stank as she ate some rice and a part of my entree, which was very good. I guess we can not relate to that old woman who lived in a shoe.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I'm doing my part

Today at work I noticed a poster by the elevator from the Mid-Ohio food bank, which said (among other things):

Over 1.8 million Ohioans don't know where their next meal will come from

I re-read that trying to figure out its significance, as well as understand how food can collect interest at a bank (I tend to only get mold, which isn't exactly the kind of returns I look for). Anyway, these bankers seem rather concerned at the lack of planning, so I emailed Liz to verify what we will be eating. Based on that and the restaurant we discussed last night, I think I know where we will be eating tonight.

Fuck they have THREE locations! Where will we go? Where will OUR next meal come from. Damnit!!!! Over 1,200,002 Ohioans won't know where their next meal will come from. We need to get on top of this people. We'll get our act together, you too! Make plans!!!

No need to compete for 2007 Nobel Prizes

Every once in a while you bask in the glory of pure genius (usually someone else genius, but bask nonetheless), anyway, today is such a day:

Scientist develops caffeinated doughnuts

I could develop cold fusion, room temperature superconductors, or figure out how to cleanse Lindsey Lohan's liver, but it would pale in comparison to this moment of brilliance. Hell, I'm sure the great minds who will accomplish those feats will do so using the power of caffeinated doughnuts (or even donuts), as will the person who cures cancer, solves world hunger, and unravels the mysteries of SPAM.

Perhaps only Guinness (beer that is a meal) can match this achievement.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Help our friends out west

This morning while I was disbursing salt on the driveway and sidewalks as snow floated down, I thought, as I often do, about the less fortunate (being an ordained minister it's my calling to be compassionate and concerned, that's why I watch so much COPs). Anyway, thinking back to my last entry, I couldn't help wondering if there was anything I could do to help the people of California with their snow/ice mitigating technology. You see we Ohioans have discovered that salt dramatically lowers the melting point of water, thus making less snow and ice (snow and ice are in fact water). Unfortunately, California seems to be close the technology (relying upon sand), but the real solution is beyond their grasp.

This is where we can come in. Remember after Katrina when we forgot that most of Louisiana and Mississippi is full of inbreds and other backward folks and held food drives and shit (I think a liquor drive would have been better received though)? Well we should have a salt drive. We can collect a bunch of the salty goodness and ship it out west. Maybe in time they'll understand how to use it, and all will be well (they'll have to figure out what to do with all that fucking sand). So is everyone ready to pitch in?

Monday, January 22, 2007

We came, we saw, we took pictures (finally over)

Before long it was time to depart SoCal and head back to Sacramento. We decided to take a detour via San Francisco to make our trip all that much more interesting. Mother nature almost made us make a detour of her own, but we were able to go as planned via I-5--unfortunately all was not well there. You see they had quite a bit of snow (a few inches, which might as well be a few feet in Southern California). Folks there just don't know how to handle snow. When I say that, I'm not just speaking of the average Joe, as the folks taking care of the roads appear clueless too. Rather than use something sensible, such as salt (likely plentiful too--they have that big ass ocean to get some from) , they used the only thing that is more plentiful--sand! While salt and sand may appear similar at first, only one of the two helps melt ice/snow, and they chose the wrong one! So to make things safer (both from the snow/ice and the man made obstacle: that stupid sand), they insist on escorting the cars at a ridiculously slow speed to make it all safe and retarded. I officially started to miss Ohio.

Spending an afternoon in San Francisco certainly falls short of seeing it all, but we packed quite a bit in. I got to see the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and we ate at Fisherman's Wharf. My quest for Rice A Roni went unfulfilled, but we enjoyed some great seafood with nice views.

Speaking of views, we got to spend a while admiring the wonderful characters that were at Pier 39. These included so many interesting people that Liz had to refrain from commenting to keep her voice in check, and there were the sea lions too. Even if I did get some Rice a Roni, the highlight still would have been the Sea Lions. They were huddled onto a few floating docks--packed almost like refugees (they likely smelled better though). These big fellas seemed to enjoy the sun and the tourists. Whenever a boat would pass, they would stand at attention and great the guests with a loud chorus and many waves. Every once in a while one of the sea lions would want to crawl on top of the others, which would create quite the ruckus.

The only other memorable moment of note after returning from San Francisco was flipper boy, a dude who wore a tank top that would qualify as long sleeves, since his hands were attached to his shoulder. Miraculously, we were able to watch him eat ice cream and watch others watch him eat ice cream (which was even more entertaining). Sadly no pictures.

California was interesting, enjoyable, and a nice diversion from our day to day life, but we were very glad to be going home after a week. Thankfully everyone was safe and sound when we got home. We're definitely going back (Liz's parents newfound liking of me would cease if we never went back), and hopefully we can spend more time towards to top half of the state, perhaps touring wine country as well.