03 July 2008

And they call him a doctor...

This post which I have just carelessly spewed forth was inspired by my wife's post here. I love you honey.

I secretly believe that while some dentists may actually enjoy dentistry (all the others are likely just sadists), the one common thing they all delight in is making their patients look downright foolish. I mean come on folks think about this one. The dentist has quite a view once you’re all gussied up and ready for your semi-annual torture session… you have to sit in an oddly shaped chair that somehow seems to pull your pant legs up to make it look like you are wearing high-waters, and you have to hold your legs at awkward angles to keep them from slipping of the vinyl covered “foot rest.” Next they place a man-sized bib around your neck and give you some oversized sun glasses that would put even Groucho Marx to shame. Then they lean you back just far enough in the chair that an uncomfortable amount of blood courses to your head, but not so far as to make you lose consciousness (you will see why this delicate balance is so important in a moment). At this point the dentist and his assistant/accomplice begin to warm up their routine with a few subtle jabs such as the classic, “are you comfortable?” line. Once sufficiently warmed up, the interrogation light is turned on and the real verbal abuse begins (reference comment about the importance of retaining patient consciousness). The dentist will likely amuse himself by asking you questions such as the following:

“So, do you brush three times a day?”

“Do you consume a lot of candy or sugary drinks?”

“When was the last time you flossed?”

“Do you even know what floss looks like? Ha ha, just kidding.” (No, actually he’s not kidding at all. Don’t fool yourself into thinking he has compassionate feelings like other humans. It will only make the rest harder to bear.)

After the dentist tires of verbal play, he will move on to the next act in his sadistic show, the one where he gets to use all his fancy toys. This act opens with yet another blow to your pride in which the dentist shoves whatever is close at hand into your mouth…cotton pads, rubber wedges, metal tooth spacers, sheets of latex, etc. This adds a chipmunk effect to your ensemble. As a side note, it is a little known fact that dentists play Tetris while prepping for patients to perfect their mouth stuffing skills. Now pause for a moment if you will and picture yourself from the dentist’s vantage point. It’s probably only the desire for you to naively return someday for another round of torture that keeps him from popping a bright red clown nose on you right then and there. Of course if he did he would probably say it was the latest technology breakthrough in helping patients avoid the nasty smell of their own rotting teeth burning as they are being drilled away in order to expose the sensitive nerve (a procedure which is done so they can spray it with high velocity water followed by cold air to give you that bone chilling zingy pain in your mouth).

As far as the physical torture is concerned, I will not go into detail about the sharp shiny objects thrust repeatedly into your mouth with the occasional “accidental” slippage and subsequent puncture of the tongue or gums. No, that is all explained away by the dental cult as necessary discomfort in order to achieve optimal dental health.

Ultimately the dentist will find some excuse to inject you multiple times in your mouth’s most sensitive areas until the left side of your face is numb enough to feel like someone has injected it with a pound of gelatin, but not quite numb enough to actually absolve you of the pain he is about to inflict while stabbing, chipping, drilling and sawing away at what used to be known as your pearly whites. Not wanting to miss any opportunity to degrade you to the maximum extent possible the dentist will use this time to make small talk with you. And you, having been taught from a young impressionable age that it is impolite not to respond when someone asks you a question, will inevitably attempt to answer. Of course you will sound like a walrus with laryngitis and occasionally choke on your own spit in the process, but hey, no one wants to be rude.

Of course the best part of the devil’s, er… I mean dentist’s day is when he gets to tell you that you need to make another appointment to take care of the rest of your sorely neglected teeth. Oh, and don’t forget to see the cashier on your way out. They’d be more than happy to help you. :)

07 June 2008

What? I thought this blog was dead.

Welcome back

You probably don't care, but I'll tell you anyway (that way you will know that I am still alive)... The missile badge is back. Yes, that is a happy thing.

14 March 2008

Everything you didn’t know you needed to know about Easter Candy

First let me say that no, this is not an advertisement for Cadbury or any other candy company. Rather, this is an all inclusive list of the ancient secret plans for Easter candy purchase and consumption used by the Pharaohs and other Demi-Gods which ensured their continued power and health throughout the coming year. Okay, that’s a complete fabrication. It’s just a list of stuff you should know about the proper way to go into insulin shock this Easter, grouped by product type for your perusing pleasure.

Cadbury Mini Eggs
Always purchase in bulk. Avoid the dark chocolate and stick with the milk chocolate. If you crave dark chocolate look for something without a candy coating like Dove chocolates. Use enough self control to squirrel some eggs away for those desperate cravings you’ll get throughout the coming months as you go through classic Cadbury Mini Egg withdrawal symptoms. You will be doing your family and society at large a huge favor. Stimulate the economy by buying more stuff and spare the world from your personal Mr. Hyde who has gone a week without his Cadbury Mini Egg fix.

Cadbury Mini Eggs may be eaten by nibbling off the shell and attacking the inner chocolaty goodness in any manner you please. Other favored eating styles include lightly sucking the candy to nothingness and savoring every moment of the experience, or just chewing ravenously so you can be finished with the current mouthful in the same time as it takes you to move your hand from your mouth down to the open prepositioned 5 lb bag sitting next to you and back to your mouth.

Cadbury Eggs (full size)
Go ahead and buy one or two. While far too rich to eat in succession like their solid chocolate miniature counterparts, a basket of Easter candy would be sorely lacking without this decadent treat.

Peeps are an Easter novelty food and not necessarily a WOW candy. Buy them because it is the only time you can eat something that looks like a colorful, small, furry, cuddly, harmless creature without any pang of guilt (other than regretting the subsequent and inevitable blood sugar crash).

The best way to consume this unwary confection is to pop the critters in the microwave and watch them grow. Be careful not to leave them in too long, which can cause undue work from messy melting and/or explosions. Nuke them only long enough for them to roughly double or triple in size, cracking and expanding in a most satisfactory manner. As an added note, don’t make the mistake of roasting them over an open flame as the sugar coating will burn and entirely ruin the experience for you. (Unless of course you just like the idea of torturing innocent little marshmallow creatures and burning them at the stake – you sicko.)

Jelly Beans
Don’t go with cheap nasty stuff. Why? Well, because it’s cheap and nasty. Just don’t go there. If you’re looking for something refreshingly fruity, try Starburst brand jelly beans. If you want to pay a bit more, Jelly Belly brand jelly beans contain a wide variety of scrumptious flavors.

Chocolate Easter Bunny
Chocolate Easter Bunnies present somewhat of a dilemma. While young children will certainly appreciate them (they are chocolate after all), the resultant mess including likely clothing stains is not worth it. Older kids are a maybe. Boys are a good bet as they will probably enjoy biting off the ears first, laughing, and then viciously decapitating the poor earless fellow in one mammoth bite. As far as adults are concerned, unless they are a Easter enthusiast/purist, they will likely enjoy other candies more than a solid chocolate bunny that will stare at them forlornly while they nibble away at it on and off for days on end. Some might even question the concept of a chocolate bunny. Why does the Easter Bunny do this anyway? Santa’s in on this scheme too you know. But where’s my chocolate tooth fairy? Melted under my pillow when I was younger? Too many unanswered questions here my friend. Too many secrets.

Easter Colored M&Ms
Actually, forget what color they are – buy M&Ms. Heck, throw in the 1 lb bag of red and green colored M&Ms you got from the after Christmas sale for $1.19. Sure the Easter Bunny might be offended, but Santa will be pleased; and lets face it Santa brings more gifts.

Random Candy
While off-season M&Ms are fine, don’t be fooled into thinking Easter is a dumping ground for all your leftover Halloween, Valentines Day, Christmas, and random piñata leftovers. After all, NO ONE wants to wake up Easter morning and find Circus Peanuts in their basket, or those generic black and orange wrapped Halloween taffies that taste oddly of peanut butter and threaten to tear your fillings out with each bite.

Seasonal Crap Candy
Avoid this bunch of constant disappointments. You know what I’m talking about, the generic brand of chocolate with mystery crunch inside that tastes like it is one part chocolate, seven parts wax and two parts soap. Or the pastel colored gum drops that don’t even taste as good as the sugar cubes people feed horses. Yes, they may be cheap, but don’t go there. Trust me on this one, don’t be that guy.

13 March 2008

Once There was a Snowman...

So, the unthinkable yet amazing happened this week -- the temperature rose above freezing! Granted, this did have some unfortunate side effects such as the melting of our once proud sentinel of a snowman into something... well, something less than he used to be.

When I arrived home after work to find this morphed snow sculpture standing in the middle of my front yard, I wasn't sure just what to do. Do I pretend that I don't notice anything odd so as to not make anyone think I am a perv? Do other people see what I see in which case I should go smash it to the ground right away? What would I say to console my betrayed and devastated children should they catch me trampling the snowman they gleefully helped me build just a few days before? What to do? Ignore or flatten? Then a third option popped into my mind releasing all thoughts of destruction and denial – photograph and blog. The sunshine will take care of the rest.

17 February 2008

From personal experience…

Three foods to avoid in your world travels:

Relleno – rice soaked in pigs blood and deep fried to a burnt crisp inside cow intestine.
Acrid taste, but went down reasonably well. It’s the aftertaste you have to watch out for -- it was truly awful and didn’t go away for a full 24 hours.

Mystery Soup. Since I don’t know the “official” name for this dish, let’s just call it Mystery Soup à la boiled cubed cow hoof. It’s the texture coupled with a vivid imagination that gets you on this one. You see, the cubes are rather large and boiled to a rubbery jelly consistency. The combined result is nothing less than a culinary atrocity. The rubbery quality of the cube makes it impossible to bite, chew, or squish into smaller more manageable pieces (think of trying to chew a large chunk of latex). Meanwhile, the jelly-like property allows it to ooze around inside your mouth, coating all interior surfaces with a layer of foul tasting slime. To me, the experience was similar to trying to eat a very large slug with supernatural powers that allowed it to resist all attempts at dental masticating, all the while squishing from one corner of the mouth to the other, laughing at your vain effort and leaving behind its signature “snail trails.” Surprisingly I have not yet reached the worst part. Swallowing. At some point, you will reach the inevitable conclusion that there is no way (short of being lucky enough to have had green kryptonite fillings put in your teeth instead of the standard silver or white) to whittle down the slimy hoof chunk. Unfortunately, it is just large enough to trigger your gag reflex on the way down (like you needed more incentive to puke – you’re eating a deceased cow’s foot for goodness sake – do you even know where that thing has been?!) as you forcefully swallow it… again and again and again… until it finally clears your throat. Ugh. I was in a cold sweat by the time I finished my bowl of Mystery Soup.

Fried cutting of pigskin. Not to be confused with pork rinds, this delicacy (that’s what we call something most people find repulsive, right?) is a two-faced monstrosity like something Homer might have written about in the lliad…

“The monster, spawned in the very depths of Hades, rose from the festering lake of oil and reared its legendary two-faced head. One side beguiled the unwary adventurer with its gooey soft texture of boiled fat, dripping as though wounded from battle – an easy mark for the kill. Yet, the opposite face, separated by a layer of skin tough like the leather of a well cured shield, showed no such weakness. Coarse hairs, stiffened from the creatures time spent in the boiling cauldron that had helped transform it to this hideous state, protruded at disgusting angles, threatening to tear apart the throat of anyone who dared to do it battle.”

Nasty smell, hideous to look at, terrible to taste, and worse to swallow. Ouch. Yuck. Enough said.

12 February 2008

Because I'm feeling Lazy. That's why.

Another link.

Less effort required on my part here folks, so I'm not feeling too bad about the whole deal.

This one is like those Energizer Bunny commercials where they start off showing a preview for the first show you have seen in a long time that actually looks like it might have promise, and then it happens -- the annoying bunny pops up with his "I'm cooler than you and I know it" sunglasses, endlessly beating on that cursed drum to signal the end of your fantasy. Ah well, at some level you must have known it was too good to be true anyway.

Along those lines, while the link below will take you to an outstanding movie trailer, be forewarned that there is no movie. Just the trailer. Actually, since the trailer is the movie, I guess there really is a movie. It's just very short... and looks like a trailer... for a movie... that doesn't exist. I think you get my point -- just go see for yourself. Then laugh. Laughing is good. Ha Ha. Ha.

10 February 2008

Random Thought Time

This random thought does not come to you from me, but from another source entirely -- the 2007 Miss Teen USA pageant. No, thought is too strong a word… perhaps open mouthed vocalizations of a mild brain spasm. Yeah, that seems more appropriate. If you don’t know what I’m talking about or haven’t seen Miss South Carolina in all her oratory glory, follow the link below. Viewer Beware: your IQ may drop a point or two during the video.

02 February 2008

Life's Interludes

Due to inspection preparation at work, I have been working long hours (12-17 hour days) recently, so it was no surprise when I arrived home after midnight a week or so ago to find everyone sleeping. Nikki often waits up for me, but I had encouraged her to go to bed at a decent hour that night in order to get some much needed rest. As I quietly opened the front door (well, as quiet as you can open a door with hinges complaining about being worked in sub-zero temperatures), all I could think about was how wonderfully warm it was in the house. You see, the drive from work to home or vice versa is just long enough to freeze an average size humanoid to the core, but not quite long enough to allow the overwhelmed heater to do anything much more than blow super cooled air directly at your forehead so you don’t miss out on the fun of having an instant brain-freeze to accompany the rhythmic convulsing of your hypothermic body. Granted, we had not yet reached the -50 degree temperatures of late. In fact, in retrospect it was really rather balmy at -11 °F. Nonetheless, at the time it can truly be said that I felt cold. But I digress.

Upon closing the door, I pleasantly noted that it only took one forceful slam to fully engage the latch; as it often takes three or four tries before the door will stay fully shut and not just pretend to be completely shut and still open and close an inch or so when the wind or something else gives it a push or tug—much to the dismay of a disoriented and sleepy me who gets ejected from bed to “go find out who is trying to break into the house” (and do what I ask when someday I find the boogey-man crowbarring his way into my home? Stand there in my pajamas and stupidly stare at him, hoping that the red in my eyes is mistaken for anger and the drool escaping from my lethargic mouth identified as rabid foaming? Yes, he may very well run for his life, but it will more likely be the overwhelming smell of poopy diapers in the trash and potty training children’s “incidents” that cause him to flee than the less-than-intimidating figure he will find stumbling about in the dark entryway vainly attempting to secure the domicile so he can just go back to bed).

Now, while I am sure you are on the edge of your seat eagerly anticipating what menial task I will describe in detail next, due to the fact that it is getting late and what small portion of conscious grey matter I have left is desperately trying to communicate the fact to me that I am rambling incoherently, I will finally get to the point.

After I shut the door and turned on the light in the kitchen I was greeted with the odd sight of a milky white substance pooling out from under the portable dishwasher. Since this was not the usual state of things, I decided to investigate. I carefully rolled the dishwasher aside, revealing a much larger pool of the liquid which I quickly and correctly identified as milk (the milky white color being my first clue, and the empty soymilk container the second clue).

Something else peaked my interest at this point. First, it did not appear that the puddle (perhaps more appropriately regarded as small pond where geese flying south for the winter might have stopped to rest for a time) was comprised entirely of soymilk – it being too white and unscented for vanilla soymilk alone. And second, why were there two lids floating about instead of just one? Upon closer inspection, it became apparent that the second lid belonged to a gallon jug of skim milk which, much to my dismay, was not to be found in the fridge where it belonged nor anywhere in the kitchen for that matter. This mystery was short lived however as I discovered a second scene of the crime at the top of the stairs in front of my bedroom.

An empty milk jug sat unassumingly on the floor accompanied by a lidless sippy cup, which surprisingly was quite full of milk. It all became clear now. Bun had woken up at some point and likely requested a sippy of milk. His sleep deprived mother was apparently unresponsive to his middle-of-the-night-two-year-old needs, and the thirsty toddler decided to take matters into his own hands. Unfortunately, while he is a master of dragging drinks of choice from the fridge and removing sippy cup lids, he is still a novice drink pourer and sippy cup lid emplacer. I can just imagine the poor fellow first spilling milk about and sloshing through it in his footed pajamas until exhausting the source and then trying again with a second container. At some point, he probably got enough liquid in the sippy to satisfy him and I’m sure at that point he capped it only to have the lid pop off as he tried to get a drink—subsequently drenching his upper half. Somewhere in this process, he carted the milk jug upstairs and took another shot at quenching his thirst.

Sadly though, I believe that he never did get so much as a sip; evidenced by the fact that I found a full, lidless sippy in the bedroom doorway and an exhausted and thoroughly drenched Bun lying undressed down to the diaper on my bed. My heart went out to him as I noticed his disheveled state and that he had even tried to clean up some of the mess with the kitchen towel (which now lay soaked next to the sippy and jug upstairs). Do not fear, for this story does have a happy ending. Before calling FEMA and starting the cleanup effort, I retrieved the surviving sippy of milk, topped it with a clean lid and offered the drink to a grateful Bun.

I was amazed to realize that while the carpet sloshed under my feet and my blankets, sheets, pillow and bed were dripping wet, my dear wife lay sleeping perfectly contentedly a mere foot or so away from the Bun and his chaos. Five full-sized towels, one diaper, one set of pajamas, one new pillow and pillowcase, and several cloth diapers later I decided most of the damage had been contained and I could safely get a few hours of sleep before my alarm went off at 6 a.m. to start another adventure filled day in the land of inspection-prep and fatherhood.

I am grateful for these interludes to “normal” or routine life that help me remember that we are here on Earth to learn and grow. Even when we try and fail and try again until all our efforts are exhausted and we can not go on and it seems no one can help us, at the right moment the Lord will come along to help us clean up those messes we started to fix but hadn’t the power to finish alone.


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