Monday, September 29, 2008

Guinness World Records

Ever wonder why they started the Guinness World Records? I never put 2+2 together and got beer, but that is where it started.

Check this out.

Yes, it started to prevent bar fights. (bar bets often turn into bar fights don't they?)

"The Guinness book got its start as a volume designed to help settle bar bets. The beer company, which sold the rights to the book in 1992, delivered it to pubs as a promotion for its primary product"

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dad & Daughter camping this weekend

I got back a few hours ago from taking Meghan on a Dad and Daughter camping trip. We left Friday directly from school and went to Camp Misty Mountain in NW Georgia. I am amazed we jammed all the gear into the Mustang, since Deb needed the van for Christopher and Courtney's weekend activities.

The campground was really nice, once of the other Dads arrived earlier in the afternoon and took a primo spot near the lake. We setup and pretty much hung out all night. I learned a new version of 'Spades' and my teammate and I did pretty well crushing the other dads ;-)

Sleeping in a 2 person tent with Meghan was interesting and fun at the same time. I think the last time I slept in a sleeping bag was 1985 or 1986. I'm a little bigger now then I was then ;-(

Saturday morning started in typical dad fashion: pancakes, sausage and bacon! Saturday during the day we did several events:
- candle making
- leather making (we made book marks out of leather strips, put our initials etc. on them)
- canoeing (another thing I hadn't done since 1985 or so)
- a 4+ mile hike to see some crazy people do zip lines from a 45 foot tall tower. We didn't sign up in time so there weren't any slots for us to try. I wish we had

We then made spaghetti, bread and salad for dinner. One of the dads had to run into town because his lantern broke and he brought back ice cream for the kids.

Once it got dark the whole campsite had a bonfire and 'skits' event. Not having been at a girl scout event before I didn't know what to expect, but they were a lot like the boy scout events I remembered. Just a little cleaner in the jokes.

Our girls did a funny one about keeping the worms warm. If you have to ask you don't want to know!

The evening then ended a little early since the girls were pretty tired.

This morning we went to the dining hall for a breakfast provided by the campsite. After that we went and did an hour course/hands on even with the Lego Mindstorms. We almost got one of the intermediate projects completed before we ran out of time. I think Meghan is interested in them so we may see about getting her in a course at GA Tech.

The ride back was uneventful. Meghan fell asleep for about 30 minutes and is still pretty tired. I unpacked, took a shower and immediately started a load of laundry. While we couldn't have open fires due the drought, we still didn't smell very good.

I had a lot of fun and hope to do it again with Meghan or Courtney if they want.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Why can't we get any gas?

This is ridiculous. Since Monday almost every gas station around us has been without fuel. Those that do have lines around the block. From what little I remember of the 70's oil crisis, this looks familiar.

The issue isn't that we don't have enough gas, rather that people are changing their patterns to get gas each time they drop below 3/4 a tank. Some people are actually running out since they waited too long, but the news was showing most people putting $10-$15 in (which at $4/gallon isn't that much!)

At least the EPA did something smart and suspended the rules about 'winter gas' so we can use the gas from surrounding states and counties that aren't filled with smog.

Also the only fuel to be found is regular unleaded, so I had to remove the high performance tune from the Mustang today. It is okay running the 93 octane tune with 89 for low RPM, but I'm concerned I'll forget when merging into traffic or something and damage the engine.

I am also taking Meghan camping this weekend, so I need to be careful I have enough fuel to get there and back.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Georgia Aquarium

Yesterday we went to the Georgia Aquarium, this was my first time there. Deb's brother Mike and his friend Kelly came to visit for a few days so we took them to the aquarium.

Christopher of course fell asleep on the way down, and we didn't want to wake him up right away. Let's just say that his stroller looks REALLY small when he's asleep in it. Several people commented on how big (and tired) he was.

We were able to wake up Christopher before we got to the whale shark exhibit. If you've never seen one, they are huge fish. We did get a lecture on why they are fish and not whales but an informative, but goofy spokesman. To me the cool part of that exhibit was the 61 foot long, 30 foot high, 2 foot thick wall of glass that allowed you to see most of the exhibit.

Then we walked to an area that went UNDER the whale shark exhibit. That was cool seeing all the fish over you.

We also went to the Titanic exhibit. With a toddler it was hard for me to see everything, but Deb, Mike and Kelly said it was very informative and cool to see.

Courtney got to see some turtles, a few giant eels and lots of colored fish. Christopher loved it all, staying interested in most places except the Titanic exhibit.

Being an aquarium there were a few whale-tails, splash pads, muffin-tops and the elusive hoochie-mama mammals too ;-) (It wasn't that bad, but even my girls commented on a few outfits and behaviors.)

Of course Christopher stayed up until almost 10 pm because of his nap.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Lost in Softball today

Courtney's team lost in softball today. The team they lost to is 5 - 0 now. Their opponents were pretty good, but we hurt ourselves with errors in fielding. Once we got settle down we start hitting and stopping the ball, but it was too late. We were down 13 runs in 2 innings. Not impossible to come back from, but tough.

I did have to make a fool of myself though. Apparently I made a Facebook bet with Courtney's coach from last Spring (who's daughter is on the other team) that the loser would run around the bases backwards. She mentioned it repeatedly last night at a school function, but honestly I don't remember.

Anyway, after we lost I went out and ran backwards around the bases while getting cat calls and cheers from the crowd. On the things we do for our kids.

Interesting view on Goth/Anime culture and general response

Yesterday during lunch I walked up to Subway from my office (mainly to get out and stop cursing Oracle.) While walking there, I couple of young people (late teens, early twenties maybe) were walking in front of, in Goth outfits and a couple of strange policeman like outfits. They actually looked like stormtroopers, but in Blue and Pink.

I walked behind them up the hill, for maybe 5 minutes. No big deal.

On the way back though I got behind a different group, with different, but equally unique outfits. Turns out there was an Anime conference at the Cobb Galleria by my office. I was probably 10 feet behind them and we were walking into traffic. So I was able to see everything the people in their cars were doing as these dressed up people went by.

Everything from smirks, head turns to a couple of ladies that look shocked at what they were wearing. (Nothing really risque, but you have to look a a woman in a bright pink and purple 'gone with the wind' gown.)

Nothing really interesting happened but it made me think that while I didn't care what they were wearing, the most of the people in the cars were around my age acting like they were 5.

I know, kind of random ;-)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: I will get old, but I refuse to grow up

Yes, I'm 40 now.

For some reason we must have Chocolate Cake at every birthday, even if I wanted my Carrot Cake!

Been doing this for years ;-)

Even the little guy thought it was cool. Too bad no pictures of Deb's face when I did this ...

Yes, I washed my hands really well before and after this.

Now see who else is sharing today.

Monday, September 15, 2008

September 15, 1968

40 years ago yesterday, the N.Y. Giants won their season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Also, I was born a little after 11 am, just in time for my Dad and uncles to go watch the game on TV.

Unlike many friends, I kept the event low key. No party, no big dinner plans, no outrageous gifts. Well, I did go out to eat a few times this weekend, and I did buy myself a new toy. I had bought a 'theater in a box' several years ago but the DVD/receiver died before Christopher was born. So I finally replaced it with a nice Onkyo TX-SR606. I had to deal with the less than helpful sales people at Circuit City to get it, since they are the only authorized dealers around here. (Make sure you check the 'internet' price on anything you buy there. It was $120 less than list and the sales guy pretended he didn't know what I was asking him to check.)

The day went pretty smooth:
- took Courtney and a friend Abbey to school in the Mustang
- took Meghan to school in the Mustang (she had to be there early)
- took Christopher to school, but not in the Mustang. Poor guy started crying when he got out of the van, but his teacher left us a note he was fine later
- Went to breakfast with Deb
- Went to Lowe's, Circuit City and finally back to pick up Christopher
- I spent several hours trying to put the receiver together, only to figure out that it would not upconvert S-video to component, so I need to get an HDMI cable now
- Went and picked up Courtney and Abbey in the Mustang. Had 3 or 4 different boys tell me I had a cool ride. Hmm 40 year old impressing 10 year olds. Damn I'm old.

Dinner was good, Deb made me a steak and fajitas. The cakes were great. Yes cakes. As a kid I loved a 'carrot' cake, which was really a spice cake with some carrots in it and I asked Deb and Meghan to make it for me (this was the first time in probably 15 years I've had it.) Of course we can't have a birthday without chocolate in this house so Deb also got her, um me, a chocolate cake.

The girls and Deb got me a couple of different Giants things: a dress shirt with the Super Bowl champions logo and a wind breaker like they wear on the sidelines. Christopher got me a couple of movies and a Star Wars book.

The kids are now in bed (except Meghan, but she'll be shortly) so I'll sit down, drink a beer then go to bed. Not bad for being 40.

Pictures here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Burn After Reading

We had dinner last night we our good friends and after 3 hours in the bar/dinner we decided to go see a movie. A movie that didn't include animated characters, dogs or aimed at tweeners. Wow.

So we saw 'Burn After Reading'. I think this was the first 'R' movie Deb and I have been to in a long time and it was worth it. I don't really like Brad Pitt, but he was hysterical in this movie as an idiot personal trainer.

The plot tool a little to get into, but once you understood what was going on the little jabs and level of incompetence in each character was funny. It wasn't stupid slapstick like a teenager movie so you had to pay attention to catch many of the jokes.

I recommend it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Middle School Open House

I went to open house at Meghan's school tonight. At least now we can sit in the desks. Trying to cram my petite frame into an elementary school desk was never fun ;-)

I was going around with a couple of the same parents to all the classes and one group, two moms, struck me as having the totally wrong attitude about education. One complained about the need for the kids to read for 30 minutes at home each night saying 'don't they know we have football every night?' to her friend. The friend replied with 'well, we'll just settle for a B in that class then'. This was within ear shot of the teacher. Amazing.

I'm also getting old. I'm older than all but one of her teachers. All seem really nice and Meghan likes them but I guess I'm feeling a little old now.

Yes, I signed up to present at career day again. When I told Meghan her only comment was 'use pictures of Courtney this time!'.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

True meaning behind one of the most annoying songs ever

I'm pretty sure I didn't have to sit through Titanic at the movies with Deb. I know I've seen it from beginning to end at least once, but I don't think I would have wasted a rare childless night out with my wife to see it (we reserve Star Wars movies for that!) I think she saw it with several friends.

Why is this relevant? Well that Celine Dion song "Because You Loved Me" was featured in a blog by Tom Peters. Yes, management guru Tom Peters. Personally, this song always annoyed me because of the message I thought it sent. Way too sappy and needy. Tom described my thoughts on the song pretty well. I disliked the song so much that I used to sing it like 'Astro' on the Jetsons. (Try to lose that visual next time you hear it.)

Anyway, it turns out it isn't based on the movie where you had the annoying (but good looking ;-) brat crying for her dead boyfriend. The song is actually about the song writer thanking her father for all he did to support her growing up and achieving her dreams. This totally changes my view of the song. However, I love singing it as Astro to amuse Deb so that won't stop.

So next time your kids are acting like unappreciative br- um, little kid and teenagers, keep supporting them and some day they will thank you. Yes Mom and Dad I do appreciate all you did for me and my ungrateful brothers. (Remember, I'm the favorite according to Deb ;-)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

First win and second loss

Courtney had a double header today, first game at 11:15, second at 12:30. First game ran into extra innings and included 2 ties before a final come from behind score for their first win.

Courtney was walked a couple of times and did good in the field for the first game.

Second game started 30 minute late because of the first game. It was very hot and humid and you could tell our girls were tired. They did well, but made some fielding mistakes that they didn't make in the first game. Courtney walked once and went down swinging the second time.

If they play like they did the first game for the rest of the season they shouldn't have any problems beating any teams in their league. Fortunately no more double headers!

We have ice!

Yes, I fixed it myself with out any help from outside sources.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Giants: Good start to the season

Not great, but good. After that first series I thought they were going to crush the Redskins.

Makes you wonder how hurt Plaxico really was. Or getting $11.5 M guarantee for this season made him play better.

Unfortunately, they didn't show up in the third quarter again. Good thing the Redskins didn't either. Reminds me of the 2nd half of last regular season.

Now I get to wait until they get on Monday night or Sunday to see them again. It sucks living in another city (I can't justify $300 for the Sunday Ticket with everything we have going on either). Especially when the local team sucks ;-(

I promise to get pictures of the kids in the new jerseys. We were really busy this week.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Softball started!

Courtney's first game was last night. I am again 'dugout dude' and Meghan did the scoreboard. Only one girl looked at me and said 'what?' when I was telling her what to do. Much better than last year when half the kids didn't understand me.

The girls did really well but lost. Our pitchers did well, getting strikes on almost every girl and making most of them hit to get on base vs. walking everyone (This is 10 and under).

They were a little rusty in the field, but that will get better the more the girls play together. Most of the girls hit or were swinging at good pitches.

Oh yeah, Christopher broke the keyboard on the kitchen computer after my last post (sigh).

Monday, September 01, 2008

Next thing to go wrong ...

My wife is one of these people who believes things go wrong in groups. Famous people die in threes etc. Me, I don't believe that stuff.

Well, second major item failure happened this weekend. Deb's been hogging the bed for a couple of weeks and I didn't think much of it (other than waking up with a backache each morning). Until this morning when I was giving her a hard time about hogging the bed she said that her side is really uncomfortable so in her sleep she rolls to my side. I don't think mine is that good, but apparently is better than hers (yes we rotate the mattresses)

So today we bought a new mattress. Turns out the one we have is 11 years old. We got it just before Courtney was born so it has served us well.

No, we didn't deal with the con-artists in the local 'mattress stores' (want to have fun, google mattress store scams). We went to Original Mattress Factory, which is where be bought the one 11 years ago and bought Christopher's. Christopher loved the store, he ran in circles for about 10 minutes with me walking between the displays 'chasing' him. Luckily the girls were with various friends so it was just us.

Deb picked the one she wanted, I tried it and we bought it. All in about 15 minutes time. It gets delivered tomorrow. I still haven't fixed the ice maker yet. Maybe next weekend.