Followers

26 December 2009

Goal Setting Debunked

Traditionally, the start of a new year is a time to set goals. According to USA.gov, top new year’s resolutions include the following:

- Lose Weight
- Manage Debt
- Save Money
- Get a Better Job
- Get Fit
- Get a Better Education
- Drink Less Alcohol
- Quit Smoking Now
- Reduce Stress Overall
- Reduce Stress at Work
- Take a Trip
- Volunteer to Help Others
- Health-e-Cards for Holidays and New Year

Their web page even has links to help you with each goal.

Many books, speeches, classes, websites, etc. have been dedicated to helping make and achieve personal goals. This article is not an attempt to duplicate any one of them in a thinly veiled act of plagiarism. Instead, I am here to debunk a common goal setting myth. What, you didn’t know there were any goal setting myths? Then you will be twice educated. First I will introduce the myth (you might have heard it before), then I will debunk it. No, this will not be as visually entertaining as say MythBusters; but then again their show sets about “busting” myths which is a highly visual term. Debunking, on the other hand, is my objective.

Interestingly, the word debunk originates from a speech given during the 16th Congress, but I will not bore you with the details here. According to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition (of course), to debunk is, “To expose or ridicule the falseness, sham, or exaggerated claims of.” I will focus primarily on the ridicule bit because it is of course so much more fun.


Common Goal Setting Myth: “Aim for the stars and maybe you’ll reach the sky.”

Reinhold Niebuhr, US Protestant theologian and critic, penned this quote in The Serenity Prayer (1934).

Taken literally, this makes no sense at all. First, let’s assume that when Niebuhr said “sky” he meant the beginning of outer space, which starts anywhere from 100 to 1000 kilometers (that’s 62.1 to 621 miles) from the Earth’s surface, depending on how you define the distinction between atmosphere and open space. Proxima Centauri, the nearest star, is 4.3 light years away. So, if NASA intended to reach Proxima Centauri and only made it to the sky, then their spacecraft would be 25283999999379 miles away from the intended destination. Put another way, this would be like setting a goal to earn one billion dollars and in fact earning just over two cents but being happy about the results anyway.

Some might cry foul here and argue that Niebuhr was not to be taken literally. Fair enough, as I have never read The Serinity Prayer, I do not know the context in which this was written. Let us give him the benefit of the doubt and contemplate the “spirit” rather than the “letter” of the quote. The spirit of the quote would seem to say that when setting goals we should consider a suitable goal then aim so high above it that we eventually reach the aforementioned acceptable level and are satisfied. This is bunk. This is self-delusional and ultimately disappointing. If we make impossible goals that we never really intend on reaching we have defeated the primary purpose of goal setting – goal achievement. That said, if you had a reasonable end in mind to begin with, why not just set it as the goal itself? Granted, we should choose goals that stretch our abilities to the maximum, cause us to learn and grow, and are difficult, but obtainable. The ideal goal is something that if we try our absolute hardest we have about at 50 percent chance of achieving. Any better chance and we are not challenging ourselves enough. Anything less likely to result in success and we are only setting ourselves up for failure.

So the next time you set a goal, be it on New Year’s Day or not, do yourself a favor and put some thought and effort into setting a realistic goal. You will find that goal achievement is very rewarding and be more likely to continue setting and achieving productive goals for years to come.

20 December 2009

Do you have a Zombie Plan?

In the past couple of months, my kids have had the flu, then bad colds, then H1N1 (the swine flu), and are currently suffering from major ear infections causing temperatures of 105-plus degrees, conjunctivitis (pink eye), and just to make things interesting one even has pinworms (see previous post).

Why am I telling you this? Well, it’s only a matter of time before one of them, or someone else, contracts a zombie virus. So I ask, what’s your zombie plan?



15 December 2009

Greetings Human

Hello, my name is slick. What? You say you don’t know me? Well, we’ve met once before – I’m sure you remember. Oh, I see, you didn’t know I had a name, or that I could blog for that matter. Well that’s just naïve. After all, everyone has a name and this is the digital revolution. It’s amazing the micro-technology available these days, and at such a low price (don’t worry; I used your credit account not the debit, so the bill won’t show up until after Christmas – you’re welcome). What about access to the internet you ask; well, let’s face it, you’re no techno-geek and the laughable 128 bit encryption on your wireless network took less than a day to hack.

Now you’re really curious who I am, aren’t you? I suppose I was a bit misleading when I said we had met before. Actually, I saw you but you didn’t see me. You did however meet my twin brother stinky. How can I be so certain? Let me refresh your memory. Remember yesterday when you were ever so overtly casing our home? When stinky came out to see what all the ruckus was about you nabbed him right from our front porch. I heard all the rude things you said about him and “our kind” in general. Well all I’ve got to say is this. He’d better be safe. If you’ve harmed him in any way you’ll live to regret it – I’ll make sure of it. You see, our kind, we stick together. That’s right; there are more of us than just my brother and I… many more. And some of us are considering taking up residence elsewhere, if you know what I mean. Yes my friend, wrong us and The Brotherhood of Pinworms will stress you by day and haunt you by night. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Note: Nikki brought it to my attention that my post was unclear. My apologies. Bottom line (no pun intended) is this -- one of my kids has pinworms... yuck. And yes, I did see one squirming around you-know-where. There, I said it. Did you know their eggs can live up to three weeks on clothing and linens? And adults usually get infected by inhaling them when a sheet or something moves around? Now that's a happy thought -- breathing in a worm egg. That's going to be a real pain in the...

28 November 2009

Post Turkey Post

Well, I cooked the Thanksgiving turkey too long and the meat was a bit dried out but palatable nonetheless. We had invited the missionaries over for dinner the day after Thanksgiving and were planning on having leftovers and a fresh pie. Not wanting to serve the turkey as it was, Nikki saved the day by making her best batch of turkey tetrazzini ever. Yum. Thanks hon!

25 November 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Nikki just made some amazing stuffing. Now I just have to figure out how to cook a decent turkey and we're most of the way there. My turkeys tend to be hit and miss -- no, I'm not referring to roadkill; I'm talking about juicy vs. too dry. I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving all!


23 November 2009

A medium-long and fairly uninteresting mostly true story

Cleaning baby bottles is not always a simple task. It begins with the dishwasher. No, I do not wash the bottles in the dishwasher as this would result in compromised bottles tumbling wildly throughout the wash and rinse cycles to perhaps meet their untimely ends hugging the heating element at the bottom of the unit as they quickly deform into a smoldering glob plastic stink.

The dishwasher is the first step because it must be emptied of clean dishes in order to load it with the dirty dishes that occupy the rinse-half of the sink. The rinse-half of the sink can then be scrubbed and receive the dishes from the wash-side of the sink (dishes such as bottles that are not or should not be dishwasher safe). The wash-side of the sink can then be scrubbed and filled with hot soapy water and receive the dirty dishes from the rinse-half of the sink which can again be scrubbed in preparation for the clean but soapy dishes which will soon be placed there.

Okay, maybe I am just a little bit OCD. But when it comes to something I am about to put in my baby’s mouth I can’t stand the idea of it having any trace of rotting sink goo still attached.

Well last night it was already quite late. The kids were finally all in bed (the two-year-old had attempted an all-nighter resulting in a parent-toddler standoff that ended in a rather lose-lose fashion when he went to bed earlier that he wanted and much later than I had wished). The dishes were dirty. The table hadn’t even been cleaned off after dinner. Left unattended, the bottles would add up in the night and I would likely end up doing dishes to the tune of hungry screaming babies when the clean bottles ran out around 3 am (this I have learned from sad experience).

I was tired. Nikki was sleeping. (Quasi-related side note: If you want to live a long and happy life, you must never wake the sleeping mother of small children without a very good reason. And no, “Help me! I cut myself and am bleeding to death,” doesn’t make the grade. It has to be a VERY good reason.) Alone and unsupervised I cleared off the table and began to load the dishwasher… WARNING: This is where my tale turns dark and sinister – those of faint heart should consider stopping now. Proceed at your own risk. Did I mention it was late and I was tired?

I scraped but did not rinse all the dishes before loading them. Everything dishwasher safe went in – even those items we never load because they take up so much room and it would just be easier to wash them by hand. Remember I said I was alone and unsupervised. The guilt weighed heavily on me, but I could already feel the desensitizing process working its evil magic on my soul. Since there was no hope for salvation now, I figured I might as well finish the job. I put dishwashing detergent in the appropriate receptacle, closed the retaining door, closed the dishwasher’s main door, selected normal wash and heated dry and pressed the START button, all while being fully aware that the dishwasher contained less than full load. Yes, you heard me right. The dishwasher was not full… and I ran it anyway.

A little part of me died inside last night (a bit of the OCDness I reckon), and as the dishwasher hummed and swished quietly in the distance I lay my head on my pillow and slept guiltless of the transgressions committed just minutes before.

20 November 2009

Dignity Lost

I have puke in my ear. I’m not proud of it. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t even aware of it until a few minutes ago. Granted, I have two newborns and messes are to be expected. And yes, I knew my shirt was covered in multiple puke spots of varying wetness from crusty dry whitish ones to dark sopping squishy ones. Yes I had felt the unnerving warmth creep down onto my lap several times immediately following the sloshy verping sounds; and yes, I knew I downright stank of puke. But, I was hoping to maintain some small shred of dignity – an unsoiled bit of me that I could use to moor myself to the glorious illusion that I am yet the master of my own universe. However those hopes and dreams were forever crushed (again) when I found puke in my ear. Oh the indignity. Oh the horror. I’m melting. I’m melting. What a world. What a world. Puddle. Anyone need some ruby slippers?

By the way, did I mention that I am tired and delusional, or did you figure that out on your own?

15 November 2009

What to say when someone else has said too much

This post was inspired by Nikki's post "My kids are making me fat."

...

Anyone with more than two children has likely been assaulted in public at one time (or many times) by someone who has felt the burning need to make them feel like an irresponsible member of society for being so heinous as to burden their sight with multiple children at once. You have likely walked away from such an encounter frustrated with yourself for not having just the right thing to say to make them realize the stupidity of their comment and/or action. Well, no more. Below you will find helpful suggestions for those of you who, like me, are happily burdened with more little bundles of love then the world-at-large can handle.


Got enough kids?
  • Not yet. I’m still trying to acquire a few more healthy ones for the sweat-shop. Why, are you selling?

  • We’re trying to stock-up before all the good ones are taken.

  • Well, we’ve got enough for the basketball team, but we’ve really set our hearts on a football team.

  • We keep trying for one that poops gold. We’ll let you know when we get there.

----------------------

You do know what causes that, right?


Does everyone who says this really believe they were the first to proffer up the socially insightful and clearly hilarious comment? Their all-knowing smirk of self-indulgent humor says:

Yes. I am in fact so naïve as to believe I just could have been the first person in history to ask anyone with more than two children, “You do know what causes that, right?” I most thoroughly enjoy saying it like they were a toddler trying to carry an overburdening armful of toys down the stairs soon to be met with an imminent and complete loss of control followed by a headfirst plummet down to the bottom where they will lay hopelessly sprawled among play-things gone wayward – evidence of their obvious-to-everyone-else-but-not-to-them stupidity.


I usually reply to such an intellectually advanced comment in kind and say, “No. But we think it’s the popcorn.”

----------------------



My! You have your hands full!

  • I know! Isn’t it wonderful.

  • My shrink says I shouldn’t do it anymore, but the voices in my head are saying to kill you and hide the body in the garden with the others. The petunias will be happy.

----------------------

Are those ALL yours?

  • What are you, a Fed?! How did you find me? You’ll never take me alive!

  • Nah, they’re just on loan from God for a few years.

----------------------

Counting children out loud in front of parent (wide-eyed and disapprovingly)


This usually occurs in the mall or a grocery store where the offender likely also has something handy to count. Try counting the bags they are holding or cans in their cart aloud very slowly and with growing alarm with each numeral. End with a firm nod and a satisfied smile on your face indicating you are very pleased with yourself for having been able to count that high without your head popping.

----------------------


And my personal favorite, The Disgusted Glare


Carry around some Imodium AD with you wherever you go. When you catch this individual in the act, discretely walk to them, hand over a few pills and conspiratorially whisper, “I know that look. Don’t worry, two of these and you won’t have to keep them squeezed so tight when you walk.” Then give them a warm motherly/fatherly smile and walk away happy to have been able to help someone in such an unfortunate circumstance.

11 October 2009

Nuclear Weapons and the Nobel Peace Prize

I don't 100% agree with everything in this article, but David Von Drehle makes some valid points.

Why the Nobel Peace Prize Should Go to Nuclear Weapons



15 September 2009

Hamster Movie Fun

Yeah, it's stupid. I know. Bet you watch it anyway. :)

video

08 September 2009

Sports for Infants

Move over Michael Vick! Dog fighting is out – infant fighting is the new rave. Underground fight clubs and tournaments are popping up all around the globe as this controversial sport starts to take hold in the hearts and minds of parents everywhere.



Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one infant fighter’s manager/mother maintained that she wouldn’t have even considered going through childbirth except to bring a new competitor to the ring. “It made all the pain worthwhile,” she said.

For those of you considering training your offspring for competition, child martial arts experts recommend starting as early as possible. Sebastian “Angry Eyes” Zen, a martial arts trainer from Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland advises that some styles are better suited for small children. In an exclusive interview he told us, “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, for example, is a martial art and combat sport that focuses on grappling but especially ground fighting. Thus it is perfect for infants who are incapable of lifting themselves to a sitting or standing position anyway.”

For more information on the subject of infant fighting, look for a copy of Sevastian Zen’s highly anticipated new book, Diapers and Fists – Lightning Fast Metabolisms and Moves. $49.86 in stores everywhere where stores sell it.

07 September 2009

Baby Pic

Here's a picture of the latest addition to my family -- twin boys. I know that I am not in the least bit biased when I say they are the cutest twins there ever were...


30 August 2009

29 August 2009

The Rest of the Story...

If you haven’t already, please read Nikki’s account of the birth at her blog.

Below are some perspectives I have on the event.

The anesthesiologist was pumping all sorts of things into my wife always a few minutes too late and without ever saying a word about what he was doing. Not wanting to upset my wife any further, I quietly prodded him with quizzical glances and whispered questions until I was getting ready to jab him with one of his own needles until he started talking. The man was a mute octopus. Hands on syringes, computers, IV’s, drawers, little glass bottles, and not a sound to anyone even when the doctor pried him for an answer. All the while my wife was crying out in pain. Sadist.

Nikki didn’t want me to watch, but I couldn’t help myself after they had opened the uterus. I got just a little concerned when one of the doctors asked for a stepstool and used it to get positioned above Nikki high enough to do CPR-like belly-compressions while another doctor tugged on her insides. Of course I just smiled for Nikki.

We had wondered whether the twins would be fraternal or identical, so I wasn’t too surprised when as soon as the doctor pulled the second squirming infant from the uterus, Nikki asked me, “Are they identical?” Nodding and smiling like a good husband who has been pinning his wife’s arm down throughout the ordeal and does not want his hand crushed more than it already was, I responded, “If you mean are they both purple and slimy, then yes – they are identical.”

After stitching closed the uterus, the doctors started moving guts around and looking at everything to make sure it was all good (and I’m pretty sure they were also trying to make sure they hadn’t left a sponge, clamp, glove, or baby inside). During this time they pulled out a large pinkish blob with large almost translucent bubbles covering it. Now I am not a doctor, nor have I had any medical training beyond basic first aid and CPR, but thought I should have been able to roughly identify most internal organs. I had no idea what this was. I asked the doctor. “That’s an ovary,” she replied.

“Huh,” I said, “I always thought they were smaller.”

“They usually are. Normally they are about the size of walnuts. This is one of… well, this is the largest one I have ever seen.”

At this point she produced the second one which looked just as bulbous. Um, okay. So… whattheheck?! I thought. You are handling an alien blob about the size of a small cantaloupe with pinkish boils all over it and telling me it belongs inside my wife but should be about the size of a walnut. Whattheheck?! What I said: “So…”

“These seem overly excited by all the hormones.”

Uh doc, I understand it’s a reproductive organ, but it’s not THAT one. Care to explain further? “So, what now?” I questioned (I was full of intelligent comments on this topic).

“They will probably go back to their normal size eventually.” With that they cauterized one they had nicked and stuffed them back inside.

Oh that’s comforting. I’m definitely telling Nikki about this after they staple her shut… and she wakes up.

18 August 2009

When good hormones go bad

Whomever first said, “If looks could kill” got it all wrong (“If” and “could” being the excess words here). Clearly this misinformed individual never met a woman pregnant with multiples in her third term. People, I am here to inform you that looks can indeed kill. The results might not be immediate, and perhaps there will never be quite enough evidence to meet the “beyond a reasonable doubt” criteria of a court of law, but those of us who have experienced the event firsthand have seen the truth in all its naked awful glory.

Over the last few weeks, I have been doing laps between the hospital and home with my wife yelling “clean” obscenities and venomous threats at slow-moving traffic. Today there was particular car, a sad blue one, in front of us traveling about five miles-per-hour under the speed limit. We could not pass, and I could feel the death rays begin to radiate from the passenger seat. The hair had to be standing up on the back of the occupants’ necks and I’m sure they had goose bumps all over their body. Their car was equipped with rear-viewing mirrors and they must have seen the look. How couldn’t they have? Why didn’t they speed up? Why didn’t they pull over or at the very least leap from their moving vehicle to avoid the deadly stare that was gaining vehemence every few feet? Some mysteries will never be solved. One thing, however, is certain, the two unfortunate occupants may now be suffering from a progesterone curse so horrific that I wouldn’t be surprised to find their names in a major newspaper soon.

The article would read something like this, “Two men die in freak of nature accident when their slow moving vehicle was run over by a herd of giant snails. Sadly, the ill-fated victims of this anomalous event did not have the good fortune to die quickly. They were slowly engulfed and asphyxiated in slimy secretions from literally thousands of the wayward gastropods. According to eyewitnesses, the men’s final words before being completely enveloped in the fetid ooze were, ‘The eyes! The eyes…ahhhhhh!’ Government officials were quick to assure the public there is no danger of such an event recurring and that the streets were once again clean and safe for travel.”

16 August 2009

When you dial right, but it's oh so wrong

Today I attempted to put together our crib in anticipation of the twins arriving any day now. However, I ran into a bit of a problem. We recently moved and work paid a company to pack and ship most of our belongings. The individuals assigned to pack our home were completely consumed with getting the most stuff in as little space as possible as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this meant they gave little thought to how much difficulty their errant work would cause us unpacking on the other end. One such oversight/inconvenience involved disassembling furniture and letting the nuts, bolts, etc. ride freestyle and decide for themselves whether to show up on the other end or not. Not being the loyalist of furniture, in the case of the crib this meant I had only seven out of the twelve long bolts required for safe assembly.

Okay, options – I could try to find a local vendor for the obviously custom-made bolts or something compatible (a far shot at best) or I could try to contact the manufacturer and order a replacement set. Fortunately, we had been able to locate the instructions, and I perused them for a website or contact phone number. There was a mailing address in Quebec, but no website, and a 1-800 number listed next to the statement, “In the unlikely event your unit is damaged or you require parts or assembly help, telephone our Customer Assurance Toll Free 1-800-XXX-XXXX.” I was pretty sure the “unlikely event” they referred to was during the original opening of the box, however it was worth a shot to see if I could pay for a few extra bolts. So I called. And the voice answered.

The voice was a recording made by a female who breathed heavily into the receiver before beginning to speak. Either she had just finished sprinting from some far-off place to the answering machine because she was just so gosh-darn excited to tell callers to leave a message after the beep, or I had reached a recording one might expect to find on the other end of a 1-900 number rather than the seemingly innocent 1-800 number I had called to request assistance assembling a piece of infant furniture. As she breathed her next few words, the answer became unmistakably clear. I flushed a deep shade of red and hurriedly mashed the “off” button to terminate the call. My wife and mother happened to be in the room at the time and they both turned their now interested gazes on me as if to inquire why I had so abruptly hung up. I uncomfortably explained that the customer service the nice lady on the other end of the phone had to offer was not likely to get us crib bolts anytime soon.

This awkward moment brought to you by: Thoughtless Packers Inc., Outa Business Crib Co., Phone Number Recyclers R-US and Asian Girls Anonymous.

10 August 2009

Fair Weather Fiends

Twice in the last seven or eight days there have been protesters outside the base’s main gate. Having paid their $50 for a ride on the Green Tortoise bus from San Francisco, they stood and displayed large banners stating, “End nuclear weapons testing,” and, “PEACE.” I do not harbor any bad feelings toward those who would express their opinions openly – after all, freedom of speech is one of the cherished privileges I serve to protect. However, I do take exception at the fact that they are either ill informed or fair weather protesters. Either of which is entirely unacceptable. If you believe strongly enough in something to organize an entire movement against it then you should make darn sure you get your facts straight.

The United States has not tested (detonated) a nuclear weapon since 1993. On the other hand, North Korea claimed to have tested nuclear bomb as recently as May 2009. So if you would really like to protest nuclear weapons testing, you could secure passage to their happy corner of the Earth and bombard Kim Jong II with signs that have snappy sayings like, “Give up Nukes… you Pukes,” or “Stop trying to destroy the world… think of the kittens!.” Yep, that would probably do the trick.

Finally, Vandenberg Air Force Base does not have a nuclear mission. I repeat, there are no nuclear weapons at VAFB. If you would like to protest land-based nuclear weapons, please get out your gas card and cold weather gear and ride the Green Tortoise out to Great Falls, Montana, Cheyenne Wyoming, or better yet, Minot North Dakota. For the full experience, you should go in January or February when you can stand outside the gate in the negative 50 degree Fahrenheit weather waving “PEACE” signs at the Airmen traveling out to the missile complex for another 1-3 day tour at a remote Missile Alert Facility. Their constant readiness serves as a deterrent to those who might use weapons of mass destruction against the U.S., our friends or allies.

Any protesters reading this might also be interested to learn that since 1958 “Peace is our Profession” has been the official motto of the nuclear deterrent force. On the other hand, perhaps you already know that and the “PEACE” sign is actually in support of our mission and serves as a thank you, not a protest. Well, in that case. Thanks – it’s good to be appreciated.

02 August 2009

Because I needed to post something


How long can you stare at it without your eyes wigging out?

26 July 2009

Let's review again. Reverence means...

During church, my wife had to leave the chapel so she could sit herself somewhat more comfortably on the couch in the foyer. She took the reverent three-year-old with her and shrewdly left the other three with me. Most of my time and attention was taken up by trying to distract the two-year-old howler monkey using my chair and lap as a launching pad for his acrobatic antics. Consequently, I unwittingly left my oldest boy and girl sitting next to each other. Fortunately, we had brought Magna Doodles for them to draw on and I only had to threaten them with grounding for life a few times to keep them roughly in line.

However, as the meeting was drawing to a close and during one of those random quiet moments, my 5-year-old girl loudly exclaimed, “Ew! He drew a butt crack with poop coming out!” Instantly I flushed (no pun intended) with embarrassment. Since my children and I were now the object of everyone’s attention for three rows behind and in front of us, I offered a sickly smile and snatched away then erased the offending artwork (which yes, was indeed drawn as advertised).

After the meeting, I escorted my children to nursery/primary then joined my wife in the foyer. Seeking a measure of sympathy, I relayed the uncomfortable event to her. She replied by laughing hysterically. And no, I do not mean a simple chuckle. This was uncontrolled, shameless laughing. She may even have peed her pregnant self a little bit. Well, no sympathy there, but I did feel a bit better. Thanks honey. :)

24 July 2009

Word of the Day

Thanks to the Random Word Generator (Plus), your random obscure noun for the day is "nonsuccessiveness." Microsoft Word underlines it with the red squiggly of death. Dictionary.com has no idea what it means. A Google search comes up with about 202 results -- most of which seem to be links to online dictionaries stating "no entries found." Wow, that is obscure.

So what does it mean?

21 July 2009

New Trainees

Today I introduced two new students to the Launch Control Center (LCC) Minuteman Procedures Trainer (MPT). (A simulator for pulling nuclear alert duty).

During the first hour these two were bright eyed and generally lost. During the second hour they were just lost. The third hour introduced a hint of doom and gloom into their souls. By the fourth hour all energy had been drained from their frames, and the fifth hour left them as walking zombies. Now the sixth hour, yes the sixth hour is when I extracted their souls, placed them carefully in jars and told them to go home and study more or they would never see them again. (Insert evil laugh here).

Well, maybe it wasn’t quite that bad for them, but we do operate on the fire hose effect here – pushing a TON of information at them in a very short time and expecting them to soak it all up without losing a drop. Oh, and it’s my job to make sure they do. Let the fun begin.

20 July 2009

It sounded better in my head… and probably should have stayed there.

My wife is about 31 weeks pregnant with twins. One day when the aches and pains were particularly bad she described exactly how uncomfortable she felt. Every organ, joint, and nerve seemed to be battling her. Hmmm, I thought, isn’t there is a word to describe when the ones that normally work for you suddenly decide to take up arms and fight against you? Ah yes, I remembered. What did I say to my pregnant wife? “Your body is revolting.”

19 July 2009

Sometimes Ignorance Really is Bliss

Dingleberry.

I've used it numerous times throughout my life in phrases such as, "You dingleberry!" But I can honestly say I never knew what it meant until today. To all of you who were ever the intended recipient of such a phrase -- please accept my sincere apology. I did not know what I was saying.

Phraseology

My three-year-old just walked up to me and stated,
"Daddy, we eat dead fish."

Well, yes. But... ew.
Some things just shouldn't be said a certain way.

...OR...

18 July 2009

Woof: an update

At the behest of my wife, I confronted the dog owners today. We opted for the neighborly approach and made some cookies, which I took over apologizing for not introducing ourselves earlier... Oh, and by the way, did they have any good tips for calming their dogs when they bark incessantly?

She saw right through the cookie-coating. Much to my dismay, she too was pregnant and about as tolerant of me coming over as my pregnant wife was of me not going over. The hormones were raining down on me like acid and I wanted to cry out like the witch at the end of the Wizard of Oz, "I'm melting! I'm melting!" But I didn't because I wouldn't have actually melted and instead would have still been standing there on the porch looking awfully stupid. That would have certainly upped the awkward factor.

I decided to cut my losses and reemphasize the point that we had wanted to introduce ourselves and as a very minor sub-point were hoping they could give us a tip or two for helping their dogs be quieter on the rare occasions they might happen to go on a barking frenzy. Thankfully, she warmed up a bit after we discussed her other child (a one-year-old babbling at us from the living room). We are now fully authorized to yell, "shut up!" at her dogs and/or spray water over the fence should the occasion require. It's the small victories... right?

Completely Random

Did you realize that turnip spelled backwards is pinrut? Now you know.

Unfortunately, it is entirely possible this bid of random useless information just pushed out some bit of helpful information from your already at-capacity brain. You know, like how you can only fit so many penguins on an iceberg. Eventually you get to the point where if you add one, one also has to jump/fall off.





Speaking of penguins...


I warned you it was completely random... and you chose to read it anyway. Random.

If you go to sleep...then...um...

Bribe, threaten, negotiate, reason... whatever it takes, just PLEASE go to sleep.


Sometimes it is necessary to think of something spur-of-the-moment to induce a desire in your children to finally check-out for the night. Upon arriving home from work late last night, I learned that my wife had promised the children a treasure hunt in the morning. Don't worry, she assured me, all I had to do was come up with clues, hiding locations and figure out a treasure before I went to bed.


:) <---- (that's her "I know you won't let the children down" smile)


So, I drew up some clues (only my oldest can read so everything has to be visual), hid them around the house, and at the suggestion of my helpful wife made some drawing books out of happy yellow paper (complete with personalized covers).


You would have thought it was Christmas morning. Nikki had told the kids they couldn't do the treasure hunt until 7 a.m. so we had to send expectant little ones back to bed a few times. Finally the moment arrived and a couple wide-eyed youngsters, trailed by a very sleepy and disoriented 3-year old, zipped from clue to clue and exclaimed happily upon discovering the ultimate treasure. Thank goodness they are easily impressed.


17 July 2009

Woof

If a dog barks in the night and there is no one to hear it does it make a sound?

Yes. The answer is undoubtedly yes. Dogs are nothing if not noisy. Especially dogs left home alone. For a long time. At night. For a long time. When people want to be sleeping… For a long time.

Shut up dog!

16 July 2009

Pick your Poison

If you had to choose between two sleep disorders to live with for one year, insomnia or narcolepsy, which would you pick?

For those unfamiliar with these ailments, here are the dictionary definitions:

Insomnia – Inability to obtain sufficient sleep, esp. when chronic; difficulty in falling or staying asleep; sleeplessness.

Narcolepsy – A disorder characterized by sudden and uncontrollable, though often brief, attacks of deep sleep, sometimes accompanied by paralysis and hallucinations.

For the very adventurous type, perhaps you would like to be narcoleptic insomniacs, or as they are known in obscure medical circles, narcomniacs. This is not to be confused with narcomaniacs who have an abnormal craving for a drug to deaden pain. However, narcomniacs may turn to drugs to try and deaden the emotional pain of always falling asleep but never being able to stay asleep long enough to do any good. These poor souls would then be categorized as narcomniac narcomaniacs.

I digress. Back to the original question: insomniac or narcoleptic? You choose.

15 July 2009

Customer Disservice

What do you get when you take customer service, subtract the service and ignore the customer?

I recently had one of those customer service experiences that had little to do with customers and nothing to do with service. We are about two months into our first experience with limited (15 GB/month) high-speed internet service. Since we have only had unlimited usage before, I had no idea how much we would need. The cable company representative said the average household doesn’t go above 15, and since it is an extra fee for more I decided to start there.

After the first full month and several phone calls to figure out how to track our usage, I found out we had used 81 GB in a month. Not to worry – we could continue at this rate for only an extra $100/month. Ouch. That was not going to work. Even if I had to pay some sort of early cancellation fee it would be cheaper to try and find a service provider offering unlimited usage. I found one (Verizon), but at a speed of about 1/3 what we are currently getting. However, I figured it was better to have a slower connection and be able to use what we need.

So, I gave Verizon a call. The Verizon rep. (I’ll call him Gary) took about five minutes to collect my name, phone number, email address, home address, sock size and political affiliation just to tell me what services they had to offer in my area (the same services I found online in about one minute using only my home address). He confirmed that it was unlimited service, but said it had to be bundled with a home phone line. Normally this would not have surprised me except for the fact that their web page said they had the bundled service available or the option to get only internet for a slightly increased price over what you would pay with an existing Verizon phone line. When I brought this to Gary’s attention, he conceded that they did in fact offer the stand-alone service, but it wasn’t a good option since it used packet switching technology. Perhaps this explanation would have thwarted the unwary layman, but for the technologically informed, we know this is how the internet itself is structured. Hence, bundled or not it uses packet switching.

I didn’t want to be on the phone longer than necessary, so I decided to give Gary a free pass on this one. I explained that I did not need the phone line since I used Voice over Internet Provider (VoIP) and had already prepaid for two years of service. Consequently, the internet only option came out cheaper. He queried how much a month I was spending on the VoIP – I told him, reminding him that I had already prepaid. He countered telling me that for only a few more dollars a month I could get the bundled service from Verizon to include home phone line and internet service.

Now it all made sense, all I had to do was pay more money for an unnecessary service and my life would be complete. Was this guy formerly a televangelist or did he only speak telemarketer? Since I didn’t need to be saved that particular morning, I decided to let that one slide too and moved on to the more important subject at hand. He had quoted a price for the internet service about $15 more a month that that listed online. Had I misread something? I asked Gary (you’d think I would have know better). He assured me that over the phone they had the best pricing available. Did he even hear me? How then did he explain the pricing discrepancy? He didn’t. He simply said that I could contact my local Verizon branch but it would probably cost me a little bit more if I took that route.

Now don’t take me for one of those “the customer is always right” cultists, but I do believe that customer service should involve some measure of human dignity and common sense. Please do not treat me like a misinformed Californian tourist asking a prepubescent convenience store clerk which highway will get me to Hawaii quickest. But if you do, be forewarned I have a blog, and am not afraid to use it! Someday someone somewhere just might read about your incompetence. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

13 July 2009

Opinion o⋅pin⋅ion /əˈpɪnyən/ [uh-pin-yuhn]


Have you ever met one of those people who have an opinion about everything? I find it interesting how their opinions are quite obviously the only acceptable ones and how dare you or anyone else feel differently! They have a favorite sports teams – which might be having a rough year, but are still the best because of a dozen detailed (while logically flimsy) arguments. In fact, it would be unpatriotic to like any other sports teams. And speaking of patriotism they know just how to stop the war in Iraq in a month or two with little to no negative side effects, and the war on terror might be a little more complicated so it would likely take them six months or so to wrap up. Yes, if the military and government would only listen to their enlightened ideas the national deficit would be resolved in a year or two and the energy crisis would be over next month. You heard right – next month. After all, the technology already exists to power our vehicles and homes using animal feces and carbon dioxide, but the oil companies have thus far successfully bought-off and/or otherwise silenced all with knowledge of this valuable technology.
Now while these people are subject matter experts on nearly every facet of life, they do not claim to be know-it-alls. No, they will most humbly admit that their expertise is lacking in certain areas, but not to worry, those are the trivialities of life, not worthy of the true devotion of their mental prowess.


If you have not yet had the pleasure of engaging in fine conversation with one of these individuals, consider the following advice:

  • Nod and smile, but whatever you do don’t verbally agree or disagree with anything they say


  • If circumstances force you to speak, don’t bother trying to discuss anything of value – stick to safe topics that shouldn’t burn more than an hour or so of your time like whether it is best to use a #2 pencil or a pen when taking a test, or whether it would hurt more to fall ten feet onto a concrete surface face first or feet first


  • Be wary of using impromptu excuses to get out of the discussion – such a simple statement as “well, I’ve got to run” could very well lead into a lengthy discussion on how you are not likely to be running anywhere, but rather walking or driving and how the English language has been perverted over the years – likely a result of illegal immigration (which they’ll get to in a moment


  • While tempting, it isn’t a good idea to fake narcolepsy as this is time consuming to do properly and will likely result in your new acquaintance accompanying you to the hospital where he or she will edify you with a lengthy monologue on how to fix our broken health care system


Perhaps the best advice I can offer is to stay mentally strong. Regardless of your opinion of their opinions, if you can keep silent and endure, the discomfort will last only for a short time until they move on for another more talkative victim. Just remember that as my high school English teacher used to say, “Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has a couple, and they usually stink.”

Interconnects

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