Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm It!

I've been tagged by fellow blogger Jamiee Love! This means that I have to tell you eight random facts about myself and then tag eight other people. Yay! So, here it goes:

1. I love drinking orange juice right after I brush my teeth.

2. I like eating popcorn like cereal, with milk and all!

3. I plan to leave Ohio within the next 10 years, but hopefully I'll make it out sooner like within the next 5 years or so.

4. I'm addicted to chapstick and seriously freak out if I forget it or run out without a spare nearby.

5. I have a serious sock problem: (1) Most of my socks have holes in the them; and (2) rarely do they match my outfits; (3) If you look closely most of my socks don't even match the other sock I'm wearing; and (4) If I buy socks for myself I end up buying grandma-looking socks. I hope someone buys me some for Christmas :-)

6. I will not change any part of my name if I get married, unless I can change it to the last name of Rodriguez or Rigatoni. I've always had a strange affinity to those names ...

7. Due to serious stress, I actually lost a lot of hair and started grinding my teeth in grad school.

8. I have a weakness for 80's hair bands and old school Hip Hop.

Now that you know 8 random facts about me, I want to know some about you! Here are the fellow bloggers I've tagged:

Ok, so the tag rules are as follows: Each player starts with eight random fact/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. At the end of your blog post, you need to tag eight people and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’ve been tagged and to read your blog.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Internet Best Friend Search!

Tiffany and I are addicted to TV, especially reality shows. Although we will watch pretty much anything, no matter how stupid or trashy it is, we do have our limits. Take for instance the MTV show Paris Hilton's My New BFF. Yah, that is wayyyy too low for us. I have never watched it and never really cared to. The only reason I even know it exists is because occasionally Joel McHale will make fun of it on The Soup.

Well, Tiffany came up with, what I consider to be, a creative, funny, brilliant idea based off of this ridiculous show - a blogger internet best friend contest! The contest has officially started, so you should read up on all of Tiffany's previous blogs about it: Originality for $500 please, Alex & New Internet Best Friend Part I & New Internet Best Friend Part II. Pay special attention to the blog titled New Internet Best Friend Part II as it contains all of the rules and the first round of the contest.

I am THE judge in the competition and will be helping Tiffany choose her new Internet BFF. This is meant to be stupid and funny and will not involve much of your time. The contests are going to be quick and simple and will NOT involve eating a bull penis or cat intestines or drinking your own urine, so don't be scared!

Go to Tiffany's blog and join the best contest on blogger! The clock is ticking y'all ...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Old Man's Nightmare!!!

I'm wrong.

I can't even list all the ways I am. Yoda would say about all my intentions and tries: "NO TRY...DO!"

I didn't.

I'm wrong at being a parent and at being a "life partner". I'll begin with one and end with the other.

Being single with two hyper boys was difficult. Imagine living in a place with absolutely NOTHING to do with your kids. No Chucky Cheese. No Amusement parks. No child friendly environments AT all. And most important of all, NO MONEY!

So, I ended up at Old Man's Cave religiously. We went ALL THE TIME. It was a 20 minute drive from home, it took several hours to hike around this park, it was fairly safe, and most importantly, it didn't cost a dime.

Before I go further, please keep in mind that this was 10 years ago and there is NO INSTRUCTION MANUAL FOR CHILDREN!!!

Old Man's Cave is a wilderness "retreat". It's essentially a "middle of no where" park. For the most part, it is comprised of well worn paths, steps, and bridges winding around natural waterfalls and cliffs.

You start at the top of this big huge circle where there are restrooms, a camera shop, parking lots, picnic tables, and a gathering spot.

It descends down into the bottom of a large natural falls where you have to be particularly careful that the little ones don't dart into the water. It's all very beautiful.

Well...Without failure, Sean, my youngest son, would never need to use the bathroom at the beginning of our adventure. The first time I didn't think anything about it. He was just potty trained, he would know.

And, of course, he wouldn't need to go until we reached the very bottom of the trail. If I hadn't mentioned it before, you spent a good 20 minutes walking DOWNHILL to the waterfalls. Sean would wait until he was basking in the glory of the falling water before needing to go potty. Which entailed a mad dash UPHILL for 30 MINUTES OF OUT-OF-SHAPE HELL!!!

It didn't end with that first time. Without failure, he did it every single time! It got so bad that I would wait 15, 20, 30, up to 45 minutes at the top in the hopes he would need to go. Nope. Only when he was looking up at the God Forsaken falls did he realize he had a bladder and a colon. Oh, and it was rare that it was the ol' number one he needed to rid himself of. MONSTER!

As I said, this was ten years ago. He's 15 now. The scars are barely visible any longer.

One time, I had enough. I said to him as plainly as I could, "If you don't go now and you need to go at the bottom of the falls, I WILL MAKE YOU GO IN THE WOODS!!!" We of course waited around our normal 15 minutes, nope, he didn't need to go. As we began our trek downward, I can recall an almost liberated, light, emboldened step in my strut. I must have meant it, because I was not a nervous wreck. I actually realized once again how beautiful the place was. I hadn't appreciated it for YEARS!!!

Down at the falls, I was smelling the cool, fresh, moist air when I heard his little voice say, "Daddy, I need to go."

Anger flooded my euphoria. Lost was my joy of nature. Rage engulfed me. "I told you if you needed to go, you were going in the woods!"

He replied forcefully for a 5 year old, "I need to go NUMBER 2!"

I glared at him and said, "I...DON'T...CARE."

Proceeded was a momentous stare down, we've never match that one. I was not going to be conquered. I stood my ground. It was unbearable!

Eventually, he conceded. I think it was due to the pressure that was surely mounting. He turned and begain to march off. Just as I began to lose him in the trees, he yelled back, "Don't take a picture!" Notice the photographic mastery below. Just the right angle, pose, lighting, I believe it's my best work...

As I said before, I AM WRONG!

Not only is there nothing to do with two evil boys, there is even less to do with a beautiful woman you are madly in love with. So guess where I took her? Yep. Old Man's Cave.

Unfortunately, we have not been back. It wasn't the Sean debacle, that was well in the past. Strangely, now, he forces himself to go even if we're just going a few minutes away. Nope, we'll never be back for something unspeakable. Notice the photo below. It's different than the one above. Above she appears to be enjoying the trip, below, not so much. Somewhere between the above and the below picture something very bad happened.

We didn't know at the time, but something unforgiveable and evil occurred. It slowly crept into our consciousness. It came in the form of a smell. Not a good smell. A very bad smell. Slowly it became worse. Danielle kept saying, "I smell #$%Q?" We, of course, thought nature was just a little stinky that day. It wasn't until we were sitting in the car about to leave did we realize that we had brought a little nature into the car with us. We began by examining our shoes. We progressed to our shirts with a sniff check. We stared at each other in bewilderment. Then she ran her hand through her hair and shreiked, "WTF IS THIS!?" I looked and saw a fairly massive amount of animal poo all over her hair. I don't know what type of animal did this ... definitely not a bird - way too much poop for a bird - but maybe a squirrel?

I guess we will never really know.

What I do know is that I have experienced two sh#$tasrophes at Old Man's Cave and now both Sean and Danielle refuse to go back.

Can you blame them? Like I said, I'M WRONG!

Monday, November 10, 2008

What did you just say?

I am not a good singer at all. In fact, I'm absolutely horrible. But, this doesn't stop me from singing, especially in the car! Unfortunately for Mason, he's the one that drives with me the most so he gets to listen to me sing A LOT. When I start singing, Mason will usually give me a long sigh followed by a really whiney, "NO!" and then he always ends by saying, "What did you just say?" One of the many problems I have when it comes to singing, is that unless it's a relatively easy song to learn, I rarely memorize the words of an entire song. I usually just memorize the chorus, maybe a few other verses, and mumble the rest. This drives Mason crazy!

Let me give you an example. I used to hate the song Ridin' Dirty by Chamillionaire, because, well, it's not very good. I also really hated the artist's name, Chamillionaire. But, then one day, quite awhile ago, I was watching the news and they kept talking about a press conference at the White House that was interrupted by reporter Martha Raddatz's cell phone ringtone of Ridin' Dirty. I thought that was really hilarious. The song ended up growing on me a little bit and when I would hear it on the radio instead of changing the channel like I used to do I started turning up the volume. Aside from hating the song, the problem Mason has is that I do not know the words to it. I am really strong on the chorus, mumble most of the rapping in between, but will occasionally shout out an actual word to the song. So, it ends up going something like this:

"They see me rollin', they hatin', patrollin' they tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty ... (a long reptition of "Tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty" is here) ... My music's so loud, I'm swingin', they hopin' that they gonna catch me ridin' dirty... (a whole bunch more of "Ridin' Dirty" here as well) .. tryintoseedeepleamwhenidknowknowseemerideridedecks leamriderideleamdeck TV SCREEN ridfernewchick HOLD UP nextoda PLAYSTATION CONTROLLA ..."

You can see why Mason hates me singing. It gets worse, though. I also have a problem of confusing the words to songs. I think I hear the words a certain way, so that's the way I end up singing them. However, they end up being very, very wrong. Here are just a few of my recent mess ups:

I swore the words to this song were, SECRET ASIAN MAN!!! SECRET ASIAN MAN!!!," until Mason told me Johnny Rivers was actually saying, "Secret Agent Man."


Mason particularly LOOOVED it when I butchered Randy Travis's song, If I didn't have you. I really thought he was saying "floundering around LIKE A CHIMPANZEE." Oops! It really is "ship at sea." This song makes a lot more sense to me now that I know the real words.


Could've bet my life that the Rolling Stones were singing, "YOUR FEETS A BURNIN" instead of the actual lyrics of "Beast of Burden:"


I honestly think this problem runs in my family. When my brother and sister and I were younger, we were dedicated followers of the Dick Van Dyke Show reruns on Nick at Nite. I think we saw every episode at least 4 or 5 times. If you're not familiar with the show it's an old black and white from like the 60's. It follows the life of Rob Petrie, a writer for a comedy show. Well, Rob's boss is this guy named Allen Brady. I don't think he was ever actually pictured on the show. He's kind of like George Costanza's boss at Yankee Stadium or the neighbor, Wilson, from Home Improvement. They end up being semi-prominent characters in the show but you never actually see their faces. So, anyway, one day we were at my cousin's house and he was playing Madonna's song "Holiday" and my brother, who was probably 8 years old at the time started singing along to the chorus. At first, none of us said anything because we couldn't figure out what he was saying and then all of a sudden we were like "WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?" Are you saying "ALLEN BRADY?" Yes, in place of the actual chorus of "Celebrate" and "Holiday" my brother was singing "Allen Brady" ... "Allen Brady" ... since it is so likely that Madonna would write a song about Rob Petrie's boss!

"Allen Brady! Allen Brady! Allen Brady!"

Now for the final example of my butchery of the English language. My argument with this song is that there is no way possible that you could learn the actual words to this. The one hit wonder, Informer by Snow, is a song that I consider to have mastered. I understand that I have made up jibberish to it, but, seriously, that's the only way you can sing this. No one, I mean no one, is able to sing the REAL words to this. Totally impossible! Nevertheless, Mason hates my version of Informer. Well, I should say that he hates the song period, but he hates my version more than the original ...


Friday, November 7, 2008

Total Financial Collapse!!! Bring it....

Danielle is the primary blogger, but I thought I'd give it a whirl for a change. So, here's our situation: We are $250,000 dollars in debt. Student loans, mortgage, car, TEENAGE BOYS, living in Chauncey, etc. have really dug us into a hole. And that is particularly dangerous living in a flood plane. Get it? Dug ourselves into a hole and we live in a flood plane. Anyone? Ok, sorry. Anyway, I've often asked myself, what if we really are headed for "hell in a hand-basket"? It never really solicited any trepidation. No fear. I should be, but I'm not afraid.

I then realized, if all hell breaks loose and the financial crisis comes to fruition, we just made $250,000!!! There is no way in hell we'd ever make that much otherwise, especially being civil servants wanting to save the world, stupid.

(The Athens Messenger)

I never realized something about being poor in a poor town. We are recession proof! People everyday worry about BECOMING us. Being us, we don't have to worry! It's liberating, in a sad pathetic way. As I watch the news, with our president-elect talking of certain doom, I can't help but to think that we can not lose what we DON'T HAVE.

I sort of snicker to myself when I think that people are budgeting recently for the first time in their lives. I don't want to sound like I have no compassion, I would like to feel for these people; but I can't help myself in gaining a sick twisted satisfaction in telling myself, "Welcome to my everyday life!"

(Some cartoon somebody gave. I don't know who did it.)

My routine involves pinching Lincoln until he's asphyxiated! I know he's one of many presidents that don't like me. I really abuse them and put them through the ringer. I squeeze every conceivable ounce out of them.

I get hounded all the time for choosing my low pay. People wonder why I'm wasting my high education level on serving the public good. My only retort is...why does someone have to be so poor serving the public good?

Anyway, living in a small, poor town does have its amenities...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

How to Put Your Foot in your Mouth

This story isn't my own, but rather one of Mason's. I'm writing about it because it's been bothering him for probably about a year and he just can't stop putting his foot in his mouth. I thought if I wrote a blog about it, he would see the humor in it and get over it. We'll see if it works!

Mason's job involves interacting with a wide variety of people on a daily basis. He is a "trainer" so to speak, so most of his work is spent teaching people. He clocks alot of hours in the classroom and also does some occasional advising. Well, one "client" of his is a woman who suffers from Graves Disease. No idea what this is? Basically, it involves an overactive thyroid that can affect the tissue behind your eyes. This makes them bulge out. Do you remember Minera McGonagall from Harry Potter? She was the Headmistress of Hogwarts' School of Witchcraft and Wizardy. She has Graves Disease. See how her eyes are kind of bulgy?

This is a picture of probably a more severe case of Grave's Disease:

Now, if you are a sufferer of Graves Disease, please don't think I'm making fun of you, because I'm not. I don't think it's a funny disease at all. I am actually quite sensitive about diseases that affect the eyes, since I have a lazy eye that is difficult to keep straight. It's even more difficult when I'm tired. There are some days where, if I don't get enough sleep, I can't control it and it just keeps going "crazy". It's horrible. I remember sitting through classes as an undergrad, when my right eye was going crazy and I couldn't straighten it out and the professor would happen to glance my way and then do a double-take because there I am with one eye looking straight ahead and the other one staring off at the kid's head sitting next to me. Awful! So please don't mistake this blog for anything other than an attempt to tell a story about Mason's many missteps involving a woman with Graves Disease.

Ok. Back to the story. Mason is the kind of "trainer" that discusses what some may consider to be shocking topics. One of our close friends nicknamed him a Gonzo-ologist for his subversive style. (If you don't know the term "Gonzo" then you really need to read about Hunter S. Thompson.) So, it's not unusual for some of his clients to look really shocked and surprised in his trainings. One day, about a year ago, Mason had been discussing a topic that really wasn't anything that should have prompted a surprising reaction, but yet this woman appeared to have a shocked look on her face. So, Mason asks "Why do you look so surprised?" This led to her getting a little embarassed, turning her head down slightly, and muttering "Um, I don't know." At the time, Mason didn't think anything about it and just went on with the training.

A few weeks later, she came to his office. For those of you who don't know Mason or interact with him regularly, he has a bad habit of doing random facial expressions for no particular reason. He has this strange ability to make his eyebrows roll. It looks kind of like a snake slithering along the ground or even like "the wave" that fans do at baseball games. It's totally bizarre. He will also randomly acted shocked, surprised, really happy, really angry, or totally bewildered. I have no idea why he does this and I don't even think he really knows why either. So, when this woman comes to his office Mason gives her this random look of surprise. You know, that look: you raise your eyebrows and your eyes get really big. Well, she gets a little frustrated and with hand on hip tells him, "I have Graves Disease." OH CRAP! Mason goes on to ask what is and she explains it to him and he feels really terrible. I remember him coming home that day feeling guilty about doing that to her, because he didn't know she had Graves Disease and really didn't mean anything by it.

After this last incident, probably about a year went by and then this Fall she ended up in one his trainings again. One day, he sees her walking down the hallway and she's wearing these weird socks. Mason says to her "Um, nice tube socks." She replies, "They're not tube socks, they're knee highs." "Oh, ok," Mason says and walks away. Well, then a few days later he sees her again with a different pair of knee highs on and Mason says, "Nice knee highs." And, she looks at him with this bewildered expression and asks, "Did you just say nice, big eyes?" PANIC!! Mason yells, "No! No, I said NICE KNEE HIGHS. NICE KNEE HIGHS!" OH GOD! It was like something out of a Seinfeld episode, when Jerry suddenly realizes he screwed up and gets that high pitched, shrilly screech and scrambles to tell the person what he really meant. Yeah, it was bad. So, yet, again, without even intending to put his foot in his mouth. He did.

There is one final incident that I must share: While heading to his office, Mason ran into her again. He was having a bad day and decided to share with her how horrible his day was. He began by telling her, "I have a paper cut between my fingers." She replies, "Well, I'm broke." So he says, "The battery just went dead in my car." And then she tells him, "My boyfriend broke up with me." He retorts, "I work 60 hours a week for sub-standard pay." And she comes back with, "I'm getting my thyroid removed." AAARRRRRHHHHHH! No! Not again!