August 30, 2013

The Weeklies #263

The Weekly Word. Twerk.

The Weekly Sadness. I can't believe it's the end of the summer. How did that happen?

The Weekly TV. The awesomeness that is Breaking Bad is back for the second half of its final season.

The Weekly Music. Since the road trip to the beach, nearly every pop hit has earwormed its way into my brain. Katy Perry, One Direction, Britney Spears, and Taylor Swift have been rattling around in my head for the last two weeks and while they're catchy, they're not getting any better.

The Weekly Read. I bought a copy of The Fort by Aric Davis on a whim. It was on sale for $2 on Amazon and the reviews were good. The reviews were absolutely correct. Davis spun a coming of age story combined the suspense of a serial killer novel so adeptly I couldn't put the damn thing down.

The Weekly Picture. Ice cream at the beach!


The Weekly Question. Syria. I know that's really just a word, not a question but there are so many that come up when you think about it that I'm a bit overwhelmed.

Posted by Chris at 7:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 28, 2013

I Know What You Did This Summer: The Capsizening

When school starts and teachers ask all their new students about what they did this summer, Owen will have a fantastic story. We capsized a sailboat last week.

Every year we head to the beach and for the past few years we've rented a sailboat and taken whichever kids feel like sailing out on it. Last week we rented what was probably only a 12-footer and five of us took off - Beth, Mia, Owen, my father in law, and me. About fifteen minutes in, the seasick-prone (Beth and Mia) wanted to be let off. Luckily a passing speedboat offered to take them back to shore. Two minutes later a massive gust of wind came out of nowhere. The boat kept tilting closer and closer to the water until suddenly the bay was in the boat. Huh. Owen became airborne, I caught him and we were suddenly in the water. We freaked out for a split second until we realized that we could, despite our distance from the shore, stand. Again, huh.

The speedboat that rescued Beth and Mia came out to rescue us. My father in law helped the three of them right the boat while I walked Owen - on my shoulders - a few hundred yards to the shore. The walk through sand, mud and water was the longest walk of my life.

In the grand scheme of things, it wasn't dangerous and only a tiny bit unnerving. But it made the greatest story ever told...if you ask Owen.

Posted by Chris at 8:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 27, 2013

But Wait, There's More!

A couple weeks back we turned on our cable box for the first time in months. We just don't watch cable. Everything's streaming. There's no need. As a result our kids are pretty unfamiliar with the concept of commercials. They know they exist but aside from the Superbowl, they never see them. When we were at the beach last week there was a giant flat-screen in our room and a critical need for some down-time. We flipped on the tube. They mostly watched Nick though we did discover American Ninja Warrior which both of the kids loved passionately. And in the process my kids got their fill of commercials.

Commercials suck.

I understand this isn't breaking news. But aside from the obvious reason - they interrupt whatever it is you're trying to watch - they act like candy in the check-out aisle for kids. They needed absolutely everything they saw. Didn't matter what it was - an As Seen On TV surge protector, light up shoes, or some random toy about garbage I totally don't understand - they needed it. What's worse, they remember the commercials that they saw.

This from Owen at dinner the other night:

Q-tips can hurt your ears. Ow! But luckily there's something that can clean your ears without hurting you. It's a WaxVac. And if you buy now, you can get an extra one for no more money.

Someone on Madison Avenue is reading this and patting themselves on the back. But you, Don Draper wannabe, you are no hero. You're kind of a dick.

Posted by Chris at 7:27 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 26, 2013

Rehoboth 2013

We just returned from our annual pilgrimage to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware This is notable because it's not just our four family.* No, it's pretty much everyone we're related to who happens to reside in the Greater Monkeytown Area including:

- Beth, Owen, Mia and I
- My parents
- My inlaws
- My brother-in-law, his wife and my three nieces
- My brother-in-law's wife's parents

Did you follow all that? Yeah. At any given time there are 16 people in the house. I'm not sure how it all works but somehow it does and everyone still likes each other at the end of the week.

We had a wonderful week. Stressful, yeah, a bit, but when you're parents you don't expect vacations to be stress-free. Better yet, it was the sixth year in a row we've managed to spend quality time with our family. And there's nothing better than that.

* This is what our kids call the four of us - Me, Beth, Mia and Owen.

Posted by Chris at 7:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Haiku For Monday #462

Word to the wise: Post
vacation reentry's a
bitch. Need coffee now.

Posted by Chris at 7:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 16, 2013

The Weeklies #262

The Weekly Reason The Weeklies #262 Is Kinda Lame. I was out past my bedtime last night. Why?

The Weekly Six Word Concert Review. Grace Potter is the real deal.

The Weekly Expansion On The Six Word Concert Review. Beth and I went to see Grace Potter & The Nocturnals last night. I'm not an uber-fan but I've got a couple of her albums and always found them pleasant. So I wasn't really prepared for just how awesome she is. Within the first five minutes, she amazed everyone with her voice, jammed on a Hammond B-3 organ and strapped on a Flying V and played some mean rhythm guitar. Amazing show.

Posted by Chris at 8:08 AM | Comments (2)

August 15, 2013

Am I Smarter Than A Third Grader? Logically Not.

There is a time in every parents' life when they realize that their child is smarter than they are. For me that time came yesterday. Which is slightly sad because the child that outsmarted me is eight.

Last night Mia and I had a long conversation about astronomy and physics. About Albert Einstein, the space-time continuum, black holes, event horizons, blue shifts, red shifts, and relativity. I nodded a lot and said things that positively reinforced this knowledge. And quoted Spock because, honestly, all I know about astronomy and physics comes from the original 1960s run of Star Trek.

I love math and science. Now. But they did not agree with me when I was in school. In high school, I took science very slow knowing that one day it would betray me. It almost did, in chemistry, though I sucked up enough to the teacher that I eventually passed. I was not so successful in math. I took Algebra I twice and only barely squeaked out a passing grade in Geometry. In college, my geology professor finally just told me to stop coming.

I was far more successful in English and history. I aced college English classes that I only attended once. I manufactured brilliant Far Eastern history papers. My mythology professor told me not to come to class anymore only because I'd aced the thing by the third week.

Anyhow, my kid is smarter than I am when it comes to science. It's not long before I'm outsmarted in math...and probably everything else.

Mia: See, black holes actually bend space and time.
Me: That's very logical.
Mia: Science is just awesome!
Me: Captain, I see no reason for such emotion in what is an obviously factual statement.
Mia: Captain?

Posted by Chris at 7:11 AM | Comments (3)

August 13, 2013

What Year Is It?

I don't watch news. Honestly, I'm not sure why we pay for cable since almost all entertainment is streamed to us. I read the news, sure. I've got a news reader that's overwhelmed keeping up with all the national, world, local, music, tech, TV and geek news I can handle. So, while I don't watch news, the fact that people are already talking about the 2016 presidential race hasn't escaped me.

Sickened me, yes, but not escaped me.

We elected Barak Obama into office 10 months ago. All I want is a year - maybe two if I'm feeling lucky and greedy - without talking about presidential nominees, primaries, Iowa and New Hampshire. But, no. What I got was ten lousy months. Really eight, since everyone started talking about Hillary's potential run early in the summer.

I accept that fact that the guy I voted for (twice) hasn't exactly lived up to his promise and that, in his second term, he's been underwhelming at best. But I refuse to start talking seriously about the next election when we're less than a year into the current term. Aren't there more important things to talk about? *

* Answer: yes! Like the economy, equal rights, gay marriage, stand your ground, homelessness, education, illiteracy (which is admittedly part of education but when grown people are graduating from college without the ability to read, it deserves its own special shout-out), obesity, healthcare, insurance reform, social security, hunger, poverty, mental health, Gitmo, Detroit, workers' rights, domestic surveillance, the growing threat of sinkholes and the inability of Jennifer Aniston to have a single hit movie in her post-Friends career. +

+ Not necessarily in that order.

Posted by Chris at 7:15 AM | Comments (2)

August 12, 2013

The Undercover Tourist

If you ever wake up on a Saturday or Sunday with absolutely nothing planned and no ideas of what to do, be a tourist in your own city. It's what we did on Saturday and it was an absolute blast.

Sure, it helps that we live just outside Washington, D.C., which has no end of cool stuff to visit and see. But on Saturday alone - between the hours of 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM, we walked seven miles. Yes, even Owen who usually complains if we take a walk of 100 feet or greater. During those seven hours, we accomplished an impressive array of touristy things. Specifically, we visited:

- Vietnam Memorial
- Lincoln Memorial
- World War II Memorial
- Washington Memorial
- Chinatown (and the best pizza in DC)
- National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial
- Botanical Gardens
- The Capitol

I'm somewhat exhausted just typing the list. Of course, I'm even more exhausted because we followed it up by spending six hours at a water park on Sunday. We're tired, fried, and, despite the fact that it's Monday morning and I got 10 hours of sleep last night, we need a nap.

Posted by Chris at 8:07 AM

Haiku For Monday #461

Sunburned, exhausted.
Just how you should be after
an awesome weekend.

Posted by Chris at 8:02 AM

August 9, 2013

The Weeklies #261

The Weekly TV Addiction. I'll admit it, I got sucked into Under The Dome. Yes, despite the fact that it's slowly coming off the rails, I'm hooked.

The Weekly Scientific Breakthrough. Lab-grown meat? I think I'll stay a vegetarian, thank you.

The Weekly Logical Porn Move. Sydney Leathers, Carlos Danger's Anthony Wiener's sexting partner, got herself hooked up with a Vivid Video contract and, um, strutted her stuff. Of course she did.

The Weekly Read. Iain Banks is one of my favorite authors. When he died earlier this summer, I was incredibly saddened. Before his death and amidst all the cancer treatments he was undergoing he managed to complete one final novel - The Quarry. I bought it the day it came out and tore into it right away. I really, really wanted to like it. After all, this was the swan song of one of my favorite writers. But I didn't. The premise had promise - a kind of Scottish Big Chill with the central figure dying of cancer and all his friends visiting him one last time - but I wasn't able to connect with any of the characters. And the one who should have been the most sympathetic - the dying man - was a terrible, terrible person. I was disappointed until I remembered all the other fantastic things Banks offered during his career.

The Weekly App. I've been looking for something to replace the iPhone's native calendar app for a long time. And I've tried just about everything. But one quirk or another's forced me to abandon all. Until Mynd. It's got a slick interface, the ability to plug into social networks, and pretty great communication features. Overall A+.

The Weekly Picture.

The Weekly Question. Summer - can't wait for it to be over, or wish it would last forever?

Posted by Chris at 7:40 AM | Comments (3)

August 7, 2013

Preparation O

I took the day off yesterday to hang with the family and go to a water park*

On Monday night, I walked into Owen's room and noticed that he looked flush. It was a gorgeous day so we had the windows open and it was cool but he was sweating his little butt off. I peeled back the covers and found him wearing a tracksuit over long jammies. I told him he looked warm and asked him if he wanted to lose the tracksuit.

"Is it okay if I'm maybe wearing a t-shirt and my bathing suit under this stuff? So I can be ready to go have a good day with you?" he asked.

"Absolutely, kiddo. But, um, take some clothes off, okay?" I replied.

Owen was a little wiener most of the day. He drove me nuts. But that, right there, was something special.

As it turned out, it was raining when we all woke up so after an abrupt change of plans we headed to a kids' museum in Baltimore and a nice dinner out.

Posted by Chris at 7:33 AM | Comments (2)

August 6, 2013

Non-Rookie Rookie Mistake

As a parent you sometimes do something in front of your kids that makes you immediately think I really should have known better. For dads like me - the ones who look 40 but are actually 12 - these mistakes involve borderline inappropriate behavior. The other day, for example, Owen came up with this really impressive burp. It was hard to believe something that robust came out of his little body. I cracked up (of course) and he proceeded to repeat the attempt for about ten minutes laughing hysterically the whole time.

Mia got the Wii game Just Dance for her birthday. It has a seemingly endless loop of top 40 hits that are hits precisely because they cannot be dislodged from one's brain. Unfortunately, the song I most couldn't get out of my head is Oops I Did It Again. Mia's been singing it non-stop for the last two weeks. I love her singing and her enthusiasm but I am so fucking sick of that song that I would eagerly go back in time a month or so and hear Owen's endless version of Iron Maiden's Run To The Hills. Last night I'd had enough. The kids were getting all clean and ready for bed, Mia signing at the top of her lungs in the shower the way she always does. I intervened. I sang my own interpretation of the song.

Oops, I did it again.
I fell on my but
'Cos I'm so uncoordinated

It's not genius. It's only marginally entertaining. It's just what popped into my head. But to the kids, it was a work of astonishing hilarity, one that's now been continuously repeated throughout my house for 36 hours.

Upon hearing it for what I'd assume was the 3,685th time, Beth turned to me. "Thanks for that, by the way."

"Um, yeah. I'm going down to the basement now. Conference call, don't you know."

Posted by Chris at 7:58 AM

August 5, 2013

While We Were Celebrating...

While I was all busy recapping ten years of blogging - and let's face it, that was just a cheap excuse to avoid generating any original content - a lot of stuff went down. Really:

- Mia's birthday
- Mia's first sleepover
- The end of swim season
- The thing in Atlantic City with the hooker and the Russian mob *
- Beth's unassisted walking
- The solidification of a deep and abiding How I Met Your Mother addiction
- Mia's participation in cheerleading camp which she hated just as we'd hoped
- A couple of weekends' awesome outdoor activities

We'll get to all that stuff. But in the mean time, if you were in the mid-Atlantic region of the country yesterday, you experienced one of the most beautiful days in recorded history. Proof? You got it:

Pretty much nothing beats a beautiful summer day in my book. This was one to remember.

* Made that up. No, really. I swear.

Posted by Chris at 7:49 AM | Comments (1)

Haiku For Monday #460

And here I start the
eleventh year of haikus.
Are you up for it?

Posted by Chris at 7:45 AM

August 1, 2013


So, this is ten.

Ten years ago, I bought server space, installed some content management software and started writing for absolutely no reason whatsoever. I was convinced that it'd last a week.
It didn't.

A year or so ago I started thinking about hanging it all up, stepping back, and not publishing everything that was going on in my head. I reconsidered, figuring it would be a shame to walk away before I'd hit the ten year mark.

Writing everyday is tough. I don't always have anything interesting to say. Sometimes it feels like I'm writing out of obligation, just because it's what I do or hate to deviate from. On occasion, it feels like a chore. But then I take the time to look back at some of the stuff I've written and marvel at this incredible document I've created over ten years of life - and the lives of Beth, Mia and Owen - and feel inspired to keep writing for another ten.

Will I keep going? Pretty sure. But I reserve the right to change my mind at any time.

To those of you who read - now, at any time in the past, and any time in the future - thank you. I'll be honest; if I wanted to keep my thoughts to myself without any interaction, I'd keep a journal in my nightstand. That's not what blogging is about and anyone who tells you different is lying. Blogging is about sharing parts and pieces of your life with the world. It doesn't matter why - acceptance, approval, interaction, debate or validation. Just that you share. So many of you have shared so much with me over the last ten years and I thank you immensely. You've let me into your worlds through your laptops, tablets, and phones and it's impacted me in ways I never thought possible.

Thank you. Now, let's turn it up to eleven.

Posted by Chris at 7:16 AM | Comments (25)