Monday, March 31, 2008

A quiet afternoon on the links

In the movie The Green Mile there is a character named "Wild Bill." He's the crazy son of a bitch on death row. Just over-the-top crazy and loud. Yesterday I played golf with that guy. Not Sam rockwell, the actor.... Wild Bill, the guy.

From the very first hole it was, "Hey buddy, how you doing? We're gonna drink some beers and play some golf!" When he asked what I do for a living i told him that I was retired and my wife supported me. "You are living the dream!" he screamed. He was fun to play with because he got excited about every drive and every putt that everyone made.

About the 6th hole I was standing on the tee box and I noticed that he was in his cart with his back turned to me doing something on his lap. "He's rolling a joint," I thought. (It's been a long time since I saw someone roll a joint but I still no what a person who is trying to do it without being niticed looks like.) Sure enough, not long after we had all hit our drives he told me, "I'm going to go over there and hit my ball and we're gonna bust this joint. You want some?"

I declined.

On this particular golf course when you get to the 9th hole you can call the snack bar and order some food so that it'll be waiting for you as you make the turn. We were sitting in the middle of the fairway waiting for the group in front of us to clear the green when he decided to call in and order something. For some reason, he put his phone on speaker and set it on the seat next to him.
"Snack bar, this is Dave."
"Hey Dave, we're on the 9th fairway and we need to order some food."
"Go ahead."
"Okay, I need a grilled cheese sandwich and a chili cheese dog. Also, give me one of those chicken sandwiches and Dave?"
"Yes."
"How's your steak sandwich?"
"It's good."
"Okay, give me one of those too."
Then, he turned to his partner and myself and asked, "You guys want anything?"

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Here we go again

My dad sent me a link to a news story on Fox about firefighters in Oregon. In short, the story said that some crew chiefs were being demoted because they don't speak Spanish. "The law requires that a chief speak the same language as the men under him, even if it's only one person, " the announcer said. "So why not require the workers to speak English? The state has no clear answer on that."

Naturally, the blogosphere loves this story.... more Americans losing their job to illegal immigrants. Those shit-heel, no-good, fire-fighting fucks.

Since "...the state has no clear answer on that," I'll try to answer it for them. Allow me now to turn the microphone over to my esteemed colleague from the Oregon fire Dept.:

Well, see, here's the problem. The state is desperate for firefighters. If you don't believe me you can ask the Fox reporter who did the story because the first thing he said was, "There is an urgent need for firefighters in the west to battle about two dozen wildfires."

We've been trying to recruit more firefighters for years now but we don't seem to get as many educated, English-speaking recruits as we would like.... something about shit pay and possibly burning to death. So, we've been forced to take whomever comes along and unfortunately that means Mexicans. How many? Oh, 85% of the force is of Spanish descent. Yea, how bout' that shit? Those wetbacks love potatoes.

What? That's Iowa? Oh yeah, I forget sometimes.... what with all the smoke inhalation and all...

Anyway, three years ago we realized that we were having some safety issues because some of the crew-chiefs couldn't yell, "Hey, you're on fire!" in Spanish. So we passed a law that anyone who oversaw a 20-man crew had to be bilingual. We didn't want to do it but it was either that or let the Mexicans burn and let me tell you, if you think it's hard getting English-speaking dudes to run into a burning forest with nothing but an ax in their hand, try getting the Spanish-speakers to do it once they start cooking off. It's a real damper on career-day.

Did I mention that we can't seem to get educated, English-speaking recruits? Did I mention the part about the shit pay and the burning to death and all that? I probably should keep that on the down-low...

Where was I? Oh yeah, now it's three years later and we still have some crew-chiefs who don't speak Spanish and we've got to demote them in favor of guys that can. The funny thing is, while a lot of people seem to be upset about this, no one seems to like any of my ideas to fix it. I suggested that we just lay off a majority of the firefighters and tell them to come back when they can speak English but the homeowners didn't seem to like that idea on account of the wildfires and homes burning and everything. Also, once they learn to speak English a lot of the firefighters discover there are a lot more opportunities out there that don't require skin-grafts. I also suggested doubling the budget so that we could attract some good, English-speaking white boys to the job and that went over real well until I mentioned the increased taxes. It's almost like they really want English-speaking firefighters, they just don't want to pay for em'. I also suggested making wildfires illegal.... but that was just a joke.

I'll be honest though... and I probably shouldn't say this... but if you ask me the Mexicans are kinda rude. I mean, they come to this country with nothing and we take them in, give them a job that English-speaking white boys don't want protecting our homes and our lives from raging fires with their bare hands (and an ax) and they can't be bothered to learn the language? What a bunch of assholes. I say we ship em' all back to Tijuana and let em get a job in the sombrero factory. Not right away, mind you. First they need to put out all those fires. Then, it's back to tequila-ville for the whole lot.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The father of the most photographed 4-year-old in the world


The mother of the most photographed 4-year-old in the world...


Thursday, March 27, 2008

The most photographed 4-year-old in the world


Rule #237

Anytime you begin a sentence with, "I'm not trying to be a dick about this..." The person to whom you are speaking will definitly think you're being a dick about it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The learning curve starts to flatten...

You're in luck today because despite the fact that I took about a gazillion pictures of myself yesterday I'm not going to post any of them here. Samantha was kind enough to pose for me so instead you get a lovely picture of her. I think that I've pretty much perfected the standard head shot. This shouldn't come as a surprise since I have put about 600 pictures through my camera in the last two weeks. I'm not kidding. I don't know how old school photographers ever learned anything when they had to process every roll of film they shot before they could see any results.

Now, the problem I'm having is that my prints don't look exactly the way they look on my computer screen. So, in an effort to deduce whether the problem is my monitor or my printer I have sent eight test shots off to two online photo processing websites. Most of the the reviews that I've read say that Kodak EasyShare and Snapfish have the best print quality. I'll let you know what my results are in a few days.

"C" is for "Cookie"

One of the great things about kids is that their idea of risk and reward is different than ours. For example, yesterday when I was making lunch for my children I included a cookie. Normally I would just give each child a cookie but we had these big cookies that were left over from Easter and they were too big. So, I took one cookie and it broke it into about six pieces and then split it between the two girls... each one getting three pieces of cookie. You would think they had won the lottery because now they were getting three cookies. Children have very little concept of mass (and you can just forget about quantum mechanics). If someone owed me a dollar and instead gave me four quarters I don't think I'd be any more excited about the money but to a child... that's a definite upgrade.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ryan vs. Dorkman 2

Lightsaber duel

Really well done. Really.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Here comes Peter Cottontail

Easter has come and gone and all-in-all things went pretty well. When I was a kid the Easter Bunny would bring me a basket that was full of candy. My children also get some candy in their Easter basket but not nearly as much as I did when I was a child. For me, the success of Easter was measured by how deep into a diabetic coma you slipped by the end of the day. Because we are good parents we don't subject our children to the tooth decay nightmare that we endured. Instead, we substitute toys and other material goods for the bulk of the candy. Better our children should grow up materialistic slobs than fat. It's all about priorities.

The other difference between my childhood and my children's is that my children are blessed with an extended family that feels the need to buy them gifts regardless of the occasion. I don't have a problem with this because that's what grandparents and aunts and uncles are for. And so it was that on Easter morning my children had a basket from the Easter Bunny, a basket from there aunt, a basket from their grandmother, a basket from their great-grandmother, and a basket from their grandfather. It's good to be a kid in my house. Actually, the kids didn't receive the basket from my sister until later in the day because my sister wanted to hide the baskets and have the children look for them. That's the way it was done when we were children and so that's the way my sister insists that it is done for my children. My sister believes that all children should do things exactly the way that she did them when she was a child regardless of whether or not they belong to her, her brother, or strangers passing by on the street.

Their grandfather sent them some Play-Doh because he somehow sensed that I had managed to get rid of all of the Play-Doh in the house. Play-Doh, like herpes or that time in college when you accidentally pissed yourself at a party, never really goes away. It is, pound for pound, the most mess you can make with any toy. It is maximum messiness because not only do you get little bits of Play-Doh all over the place but once they have been stepped on they can no longer be swept up. They must be scraped. I once saw a guy at the mall whose entire job consisted of walking around with a putty knife and scraping gum off of the floor. I'm not saying it's not a necessary job but it can't be that high on the marketable skills chart. Now, I'm that guy.

How to tell which side of the new double-flavored Pop-tarts your daughter prefers:




Friday, March 21, 2008

Picture day at school

I figure if you're going to learn to be a studio photographer the first thing you should learn is how to take the standard yearbook picture.

I lit this shot with a shoot-thru umbrella for the main and a white bounce umbrella for the fill. I also added a gold reflector for a hair light. I'm not happy with the reflector... it's just not putting out enough light. Maybe I'll try the silver next time. Also, the fill light is a little dim... too many shadows and I still don't have a background light so that ruins the depth. Other than that, not a bad first effort.

Tampa wedding photographer

I'm continuing my quest to be the best wedding photographer in Tampa Bay. Being a Tampa wedding photographer takes a lot of practice and equipment but I'm on my way.

I got my reflector and stand in the mail today and immediately took them upstairs so I could try a few test shots. Right away it became obvious that I wasn't setting up my lights correctly because I wasn't getting near as much bounce as I thought I should be. Bobbi and the girls came upstairs and started playing around and then my sister arrived and joined them. Since there was too much activity for me to fine-tune my new reflector I just concentrated on trying to light the four girls as they sat on the floor. I used a shoot-through umbrella mounted very high as a hair light (I really need soft-boxes) to my right and a white umbrella as the main to my left. I wasn't very happy with the result when I put it on the refrigerator but then tonight when Bobbi and I came home I looked at it it again and it didn't look so bad after all. It was especially hard to light them because they were sitting on the floor and so I couldn't place a low light to fill any shadows that were produced by the overhead hair light. I can see now that shooting on the floor may prove to be a real challenge. I can also see that it would be really great if I could just mount a permanent hair light to the ceiling.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Random notes

I was at Target today getting my prescription filled when I asked the pharmacist about aspirin. I'm pretty sure that a guy my age is supposed to take aspirin every day because it does wonders for my heart. I asked the pharmacist about this and she said that she couldn't give me any recommendation. That's right, the pharmacist can't recommend aspirin.

The backdrops that I ordered have finally arrived. I ordered three different backgrounds and two of them are reversible so it's the equivalent of five. I also ordered another light and another stand and another umbrella which should arrive next week. I felt pretty bad about spending the money and so I went into Quicken and pulled up a report of how much money we've spent on studio photography since the girls were born. I would have to double the amount of money I've spent so far to equal the amount of money that we've spent on other photographers. Suddenly, I don't feel so bad.

I went ahead and moved all of my studio equipment upstairs to the theater room. While I hate having to rearrange the theater room in order to make room for my studio it just isn't practical to keep it downstairs. We have plenty of room for it downstairs right now (since we don't have any furniture in the front of the house) but because of all the light that comes in it's very hard to frame up and shoot a good picture during the daytime. Since the theater room is already blacked out it just seems the logical place to set up the studio.

I still need my backlight to get good separation between my subject and the background but as you can see from the photo at least I finally have a decent background to shoot against. I had to make do with Elmo as my subject for a few test shots. While it may be true that Elmo is not necessarily a good model, at least I can no longer say that I haven't done any nude photography. For the attached photo I just blasted Elmo and shot the picture so that I could see what the background would look like.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Put me on the jury

This is not a funny post so you can move along now.

Last night on 60 minutes they did a story about the actor Dennis Quaid and his wife. They recently had twins and while their kids were in the hospital a mistake was made and they were given an adult dosage of medication which almost killed them. It was an interesting piece because it brought to light the little known fact that about 100,000 people die every year because of preventable errors in healthcare. Dennis Quaid and his wife are now suing the drug manufacturer. So, let me just take a moment to defend something that very few people are willing to defend these days: a pharmaceutical company.

The drug in question comes in two different forms: an adult dosage and an infant dosage. One comes with a dark blue label and the other one comes with a light blue label. They have a different name (although the names are similar: Heparin and Hep Lock). On a previous occasion when some children were given the adult dosage the company issued an alert reminding people to be sure and read the label before administering the drug to children (what a concept). They also changed the labels on all new shipments. However, they did not recall the old drugs. Here's what Dennis Quaid said:

"After these three kids died in Indiana, they did not issue a recall…They recall toasters…trucks. They recall dog food that came from China last year. But they don’t recall medicine that kills people if you give it in the wrong dosage…we think it’s wrong."

There's an easy way to tell if you are giving the wrong dosage: If it's a 10ml dose it's called Hep-Lok and it has a light-blue label. If it's a 10,000ml dose it's called Heparin and has a dark blue label.

As I've mentioned before, the Quaids are now suing the drug company. What they aren't doing is suing Cedars Sinai Hospital despite the fact that the hospital has admitted that there were three mistakes made: the pharmacist who checked out the drugs put the wrong drug in the box. The person who checked in the drugs in the pediatric ward failed to check the label. Finally, the nurse who administered the drugs did not read the label.

Now, call me crazy but it seems a little odd to me that the drug company is being sued because they produced a drug that was labeled properly. While it would have certainly been conscientious of the company to say, "Hey, some people are making mistakes out there so let's spend a bunch of our own money to recall a correctly labeled drug," I think it would be even more conscientious for the medical professionals at the hospital to actually read the fucking label before they inject it into a baby. Hey, I love those hard-working nurses as much as the next guy but the doctor called for 10ml of Hep-Lok and you injected 10,000ml of Heparin. I can see where it was an easy mistake to make because the bottle was labeled: Heparin, 10,000ml. Oh, that's right, the label was kind of blue so it must be the drug company's fault and not the fault of the three different people at the hospital who never bothered to read the properly labeled drug.

What's so crazy about this case is that not only does Dennis Quaid believe the drug company is liable but the drug company will probably settle for fear that they might actually lose!

Monday, March 17, 2008

The view from here


Dude, you're ripping my card..

I went to the doctor today for my annual checkup. One of the bad things about turning 30 is that you have to go every year for a checkup. The checkup will include a prostate exam. For those of you who still may be very young, a prostate exam means that the doctor will be sticking his finger up your ass. I really don't think that it's fair that they pile both of these things on you immediately after you turn 40. I wouldn't mind if I had to visit the doctor once a year. I could even tolerate having someone stick their finger up my ass say.... every five years. But every year with the doctor and every year with the ass finger? Seems a bit much. (Actually, you have to go to the doctor twice. The first time it is just so they can take blood and do your weight and blood pressure etc.... and the second time it is when you get the anal raping.)

I actually don't see a doctor anymore, instead I see a nurse practitioner. Today while talking to her in the exam room I said, "You look like somebody famous but I can't figure out who."
"Some people say I look like a young Alyssa Milano, " she said.
"Yeah, I can see that but you know what else you look like? Phoebe Cates."
"Who's that?"
"Oh, you know, Phoebe Cates. She was in Fast Times at Ridgemont High."
"I don't know what that is."
"Do you know who Cameron Crowe is?"
"No."
"Have you ever seen the movie Almost Famous?"
"Yes."
"Well, that movie was written and directed by Cameron Crowe... It's actually a true story. Cameron really did become a reporter for Rolling Stone magazine when he was still a teenager. Later, he went back to high school and wrote a short story about it for Playboy magazine. That story was turned into a screenplay which became the movie Fast Times at Ridgemount High. It came out in 1981."
"I was born in 1981."

Could I be any more old? In a couple of weeks I will go back to my doctor's office and a medical professional will stick her finger up my ass. A medical professional who was born one year before I graduated high school. And if that's not awkward enough, I spent 10 minutes trying to explain to her who Phoebe Cates is, what she did with her red bikini when she stepped out of that swimming pool, and why that scene is remembered by every man of my generation (hint: it involves masturbation). By the time I was finished she was looking at me like she never planned to be alone with me in an exam room again.

Still, it's an awesome scene.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sexy baby! Yea!

A couple of presents arrived at the front door today. When I got home from taking of the girls to lunch with my family I discovered that my lights had arrived. I ordered my lights from a company called alienbees which seemed to get a lot of good reviews from amateur photographers. I ordered what they call the "digital package" which came with two lights, two stands, two umbrellas and a remote trigger (I'm sure that most people don't understand this technical talk but I'm including this information in case someone comes across this post while surfing the Web looking for information on setting up their own home studio).

I haven't received my backdrops yet so I had to make do with just a black background the first time I set up my new lights. So far I've been very pleased with the quality of the lights and ease of operation.

As is typical whenever I go down a path like this, I have already decided that I need more lights. What I bought is sufficient for shooting group shots of the family, which is the main reason I bought them, but if I want to do more intimate portrait work I will need more lights. Still, just working with the two lights that I have I was able to set them up in a clamshell configuration and shoot a self-portrait of myself. I put one light directly over my head and a little in front shooting through the umbrella. I put the other one below me and in front bouncing up as a fill light. Normally when you try to do a clamshell configuration you would have the above light in a soft box and on a boom and you probably wouldn't use a bottom light at all but rather a large reflector. Still, it only took me seven shots before I got the one that accompanies this post (and remember, I was shooting myself so I had to use a timer and after every picture walk around to the back of the camera to see how it turned out). I did a little post-op work with Paintshop Pro but it was all cosmetic, no color adjustment or contrast/brightness. (What did I do? Well, if you know me then you know that I look even older in person than I do in this picture. Plus, I have a pimple right in the middle of my chin.)

By the way, let me also point out that despite all the technical lingo-rap I'm laying down in this post, I didn't even know what a "clamshell configuration" was until yesterday. Also, if you notice some strange discoloration in the picture when you click it, especially in the shirt, that's something to do with the way that Blogger uploads pictures.

If I had my way, I think I would buy two more lights. One for lighting the background and one more for the model. I also need a large reflector and stand as well as at least one soft box and maybe a grid for the box. I don't see myself making these purchases anytime soon because I still have a lot to learn. It will probably do me a world of good if I'm forced to improvise a lot. For example, in the above shot I was using a silver umbrella for the bottom fill because I forgot that the umbrella was reversible. I'm sure the shot would have been better with a soft white umbrella fill.

Bobbi has, as of yet, declined to get naked for the camera. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Say "cheese"

A couple of days ago I began the process of setting up my own home photography studio. I've always dabbled in photography a little bit, going back to high school when I was a photographer for the yearbook staff. (Being a photographer for the yearbook staff allowed me to get within 10 feet of the cheerleaders and the pep squad girls, a feat I would not have been able to achieve without my camera.)

I didn't decide to set up a home studio because I really want to do portrait work. I made the decision for financial reasons. You see, Bobbi isn't happy unless she has a professional picture of the family every, oh I don't know, three months. Well, it's not every three months but I look forward to having my picture taken about as much as I look forward to my annual proctology exam so, like the exam, it seems to come up far too often. What makes it worse is that I only have a $20 co-pay when I go have a woman stick her finger up my ass (all-in-all a fair price) but when Bobbi wants to have a family portrait done I have to take out a small business loan to pay for it. If we can take those pictures at home than the equipment cost should pay for itself within a year. Plus, there is the added benefit of being able to take pictures for every special occasion. Not to mention, there's always the chance that I might be able to get Bobbi drunk and naked in front of the camera (before you ask Mark, the answer is "no"). Not to mention the fact that a lot of times when you're shooting pictures of a woman she'll get all frisky and decide to take off her clothes and have wild crazy sex with you. At least that's the way it always happens in porn.

Which brings me to the thing that is bugging me today. I have been scouring the web for diagrams and ideas on how to set up the lighting to get the best effect from my portraits. There are certainly a lot of websites out there that will tell you how to set up your lights to get a different look. However, almost none of them include sample pictures. Is it just me or does it seem insanely stupid to have a website that talks about photographic lighting and doesn't show any actual photos? At first I just laughed it off but then it began to become an epidemic. Website after website describing how to set up photographic lighting without a single picture of the effect of said lighting. So far I have found one. That's right, one, and I know I've looked at at least 20.

What does all this mean for you, dear reader? Well, if you think that I already take an insane amount of pictures of my two daughters and post them on my website you haven't seen anything yet. You can imagine that I will have to go through a very long testing period while I learn the ropes and how to use my new studio equipment. That means tons and tons of photos of my kids. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Sloar that day, I can tell you!

"Hey Booray, do you want to join a premade AV?"
"Sure," I said.
A few minutes later we had a full raid and everyone was in vent (a voice chat program).
"Okay," the raid leader said, 'I lied. This is not an AV raid. We are going to raid Orgrimmar and kill Thrall."

Now, for those of you who don't play WoW, I'm going to try and explain how cool it is to kill Thrall. Thrall is the king of the Orcs and he sits in their capitol city. You need at least 40 people working together as a team just to get to him and if you are lucky enough to pull it off you will be left standing in the middle of Horde central with enemies swarming in to kill you. However, it's all worth it just for the screenshot of yourself standing on the throne over a very dead Thrall.

It was amazingly easy. Because the raid leader had not announced the raid to the general populace, no one had tipped off the Horde. We rolled in like a train and commenced to pounding on the big guy, then the rogues (that's me) broke off and guarded the door, killing any poor Horde stupid enough to try and stop us. After he was down, we strolled out into the city and killed anything that moved.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Live from New York

I have an on-again-off-again relationship with Saturday Night Live. I usually watch it for three or four weeks and then I become convinced that it's just not worth it. Eventually, I'll come back and watch the shows again in the hope that maybe they've learned to somehow fill the entire program with quality comedy. I am usually disappointed. So, here are just a few things that Saturday Night Live needs to do to fix their show:

1. Stick with a guest list who are comedians.
Sure, every once in awhile you get a host that isn't a comedian and yet still can pull off a good show (Justin Timberlake). But most of the time it's just awkward trying to watch these poor people stumble through the hardest job in television.

2. Learn the script.
I know it's hard to learn an entire new show every single week. But it's gotten to the point that the cast members don't seem to make any effort at all to actually learn their lines. Last night I watched an entire sketch in which none of the cast members ever actually looked directly at each other. You are supposed to be the finest improvisational and sketch actors on television so why don't you just try to remember the script and if you can't, improv your way back onto it. If you have to read the cue cards just as hard as the lame guest host you're not much of a comedian.

3. Stop making every sketch a television show.
Have you noticed that almost every sketch on the show is a sketch about a television show? I understand that the current crop of writers and actors on Saturday Night Live are television babies and grew up with pop culture. Still, could you try to make some sketches that don't take place on television shows? This isn't SCTV. Watching the show you get the impression that the writers just sit around making fun of whatevers on TV and then write it up. Sure, the original Saturday Night Live cast did this from time to time but the really great sketches were just sketches. If the current crop of Saturday Night Live writers were to write the coneheads sketch today they would write it as The Coneheads Show. I think it's a crutch because it's easier to write in that format and because the actors can look directly into the camera and read the Teleprompter. Sure, Church Chat and Wayne's World were funny but they will never be held up as the icons of sketch writing that the parrot sketch or the confectionary sketch will be. Think Will Farrel and Teri Osheri doing the Spartan cheerleaders or Chris Farley's motivational speaker ( who lives in a van down by the river). Let's not forget that Saturday Night Live was originally envisioned as an American version of Monty Python's Flying Circus. It would do them some good if they went back and studied the old masters. (By the way, if you don't know the parrot sketch or the confectionary sketch (also known as crunchy frog) then you really have no business discussing sketch comedy). The bottom line is that it's okay to write a sketch that takes place on a generic type television show ( like the Irving Mainway interviews on the original SNL) but if you are going to do nothing but parody actual shows then the sketch will always be a one-off. No one will ever go to You Tube five years from now because they want to see the SNL parody of Rock of Love. (For the record, the cowbell sketch is exempt from this statement because it's really not a parody of Behind the Music. It's a sketch about the seriousness of producing rock music contrasted with the silliness of the cowbell as a musical instrument. Oh, and the genius of Christopher Walken.)

Finally, let me say that it's not all bad. This week they had a sketch that took place in marriage counseling and Amy Poehler was a woman who had obviously married her husband just to stay in this country. The sketch was great and Amy (as usual) was great.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Elephant Man

We took both kids to the doctors office today because we figured if you're going to go through hell why go through it twice. Just kick me in both balls today and I won't have to go through this whole thing again tomorrow.

The experience wasn't nearly as bad as we thought it would be and believe me we've had some bad experiences in the past. Of course, it doesn't help that our doctors office is notoriously slow. Once again we didn't actually see the doctor until an hour after our appointment time. The receptionist said that a lot of people call ahead because the doctor is usually running behind. It must be something to be so smart that you can finish medical school but yet so stupid that you can't figure out how to schedule your appointments. Every time it happens I tell myself that I'm going to say something to the doctor about it but I never do because she's a little scary. She's about 80 years old and 4'9'' and looks like your kindly grandma but she has that demeanor about her like she'll lay the stink-eye on your ass if you cross her. Plus, she's German... so she knows from stink-eye my friend. Oh yes, she knows.

After spending all of 10 minutes with our children, the doctor informed Bobbi that we should be very careful about what school we send Samantha to. She said that it's obvious that Sam is very smart and has "leadership qualities." When I was a kid they didn't call it "leadership qualities," they called it "bossy."

There was an interesting conversation while we waited for the doctor to grace us with her presence:

"Let's play "I spy" Samantha said.
"Okay," said Mommy, "I spy something that's gray, has a big trunk, and big ears."
"Is it daddy?"
"No, it's not daddy," Mommy said.
"But daddy has big ears," said Samantha.
"And a big trunk," said Daddy, "let's not forget the big trunk."

Inspirational Poster


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Gary Gygax, dead at 69

Who the hell is Gary Gygax?
Back in 1974, Gary and Dave Arneson created a little game where each player controlled a piece that had different stats for armor, hit points, damage, etc. It was just a small strategy game, came in a small box. I remember playing it once with a friend and not thinking to much about it.

A few years later a friend showed me this really cool book. Gary and Dave had expanded the game so that you actually took on the role of your character. You could be a fighter or thief or magic-user. There were great illustrations and an awesome picture on the cover of a treasure filled room with adventurers plundering. The book was called The Players Handbook and the game was called Advanced Dungeons and Dragons.

Soon we were playing AD&D all the time. It was incredible to us because the game offered so much more than just an excuse to use our imagination. There were rules for everything that you did and dice to be rolled. We loved it. We talked about things that happened in the game as if they happened in real life. And always popping up on books and modules and The World of Greyhawk was that name: Gary Gygax.

Now there isn't a role-playing game that doesn't owe him a dept. World of Warcraft is just a different version of AD&D.
When we were moving into this house Bobbi saw a box marked, "role-playing" and wondered if it was something we might want to keep out of the reach of children. Unfortunatly for her, the box didn't contain a french maid's outfit but rather all my old AD&D books. I can't bring myself to get rid of them. I'm reminded of the line from Field of Dreams when James Earl Jones says, "The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces." That's how I feel when I look at those old books.

I'm not really doing Gary justice with this post and if you look back in the Boolog you'll find another post I did about playing AD&D. It's late and I'm tired and don't really have the stamina for a fitting eulogy but I didn't want to take the chance that I might skip it altogether. All those times I read and re-read the Player's Handbook or the Dungeon Master's Guide... all those great memories of my youth laughing with my friends over Scott's kitchen table.... I owe then all to Gary Gygax.

Rest in peace.

Just because you're famous doesn't mean you're smart..

I can only guess that when she tried it on she only looked at the profile. Seriously, what were you thinking?

Monday, March 03, 2008

What's important

I'm a guy who likes to have a cocktail now and then. To be honest, I probably drink more now than I ever have at any point in my life. I drank in college because, well, that's probably the best reason to go to college (Oh, and the sex.. we mustn't forget about the sex). I also drank when I was in the bar business. I didn't really drink that much during that period of my life, which is strange because most of the people in the bar business drink quite a bit. It's probably the best part of being in the bar business. (Oh, and the sex. We mustn't forget about the sex).

Nowadays I probably have a drink at least two nights a week. There are lots of very good reasons to have a drink at the end of the day but I don't know what any of them are because I only drink for one reason: my wife drinks. You see, when my wife drinks she gets, how should I put it... "loose." Like most men I would say that my chances of getting laid definitely increase when my wife is drinking but I can also say that my chances of having wild, down-and-dirty porn set sex are directly tied to my wife's alcohol content. In fact, I can tell you without fear of contradiction that some of the best sex I ever had in my life ended with my wife laying off the side of the bed... completly naked..... puking into a trashcan. I can say this without fear of contradiction because said wife doesn't remember anything at all from that night. For me, the most memorable sex I can have is the kind my wife has no memory of. Seriously, if she's sober you have to charm and cajoule your way into her good graces but after four drinks she'll beg you to do stuff to her that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.

(The point of this post is not to talk about how incredible my wife is when it comes to drunk sex. I'm just throwing that in as a bonus because the other night Bobbi said that people who read the Boolog would probably think that she was kind of stiff. I pointed out that since she is a businesswoman and has employees I make it a point never to put really embarrassing stuff on the internet about her. Still, just so there are no misconceptions, let me just say for the record that my wife is a hard-core-porn-star-caliber-sex-machine.)

Anyway, the reason for this post is to point out how some things are important even though you might not think they are. One of those things is how you drink. Sure, you can bust open a can of Schliz Malt Liquor and pour it into your beer hat if you want to, but I prefer to do things right. That's why it took me over a year just to find the right glasses for making a drink. They are rounded glasses with a very thick heavy base. They are the kind of glasses that you don't want to drop on your foot. They are serious glasses for holding serious alcohol (in my case, Crown Royal). I have been happy for a while with my good alcohol and my fine glasses but still something has not been right. I have finally rectified the situation.

Ice.

You see, as I explained to my wife, (as she looked at me like she always does when it's obvious to her that I have put far too much thought into something that everyone else should, and does, take for granted) the ice that we put in our drinks nowadays is fucked up. The ice that comes out of the automated ice dispenser in the refrigerator is a travesty. It's long and thin and doesn't have much weight. In fact, the only thing worse than the ice that comes out of the refrigerator is the crushed ice that you get at a bar. They might as well just dump a glass of water in your drink. You see, it's all about surface area. The more surface area you have the faster your ice will melt and the sooner you will be holding a lukewarm class of water and alcohol in your hand. (right now you're thinking, "If I had to make small talk with this guy at a party I would kill myself). That's why I have ice trays. Little blue rubber ice trays that make these big perfectly square ice cubes. You can only fit about three of these gorgeous gifts to alcohol in your glass. They melt slow, they look awesome, and they don't water down your drink.

Some things are important.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Inspirational Poster


 

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