Thursday, April 30, 2009

Julie Andrews and her Crew Rock the Train Station

Every once in a while I think about what life would be like if we all lived in an old-school Broadway musical (don’t worry, I think about other things too).  Well, this happy little number is kinda what I had in mind.  I dare you to watch this and not be happy for a few minutes.  Thanks to Nikki for pointing this out.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My empty lunch bag and other disappointments

I remember as a kid thinking how different things would be as an adult.  There were so many things I wouldn’t have to worry about any more.  To my surprise I quickly learned that all the kids stuff that bugged is really only exacerbated (yep, I just used an awesome word) as an adult.  Wow, was I wrong.  This was confirmed again yesterday when I went to get my little lunch of leftover pasta & fruit out of the fridge, only to find an empty lunch bag with just a napkin left.  (apparently the thief didn’t care to have clean fingers)  My sack lunch disappeared a few times in second grade I think, but I’ve lost way more lunches in breakroom refrigerators as an adult.

Apparently this struck a cord, because I posted this little event on my FB status and got quite a few insightful, and often funny, comments.  (typically when I post status updates I’m pretty sure only my mom could care) 

So it got me thinking about other things I hoped would change as I got to the really old age that I’m at now.

  • HOPE: there won’t be any more cliques . . . . REALITY: the importance of social circles in corporate life would even stun teenage girls
  • HOPE: there won’t be any more homework . . . . REALITY: then I got a job
  • HOPE: it won’t matter who I eat lunch with . . . . REALITY: I just finished reading a scholarly article about how important it is to eat with the right people
  • HOPE: short guys won’t get pushed around at recess . . . . REALITY: have you ever played basketball with out of shape guys in their 30s & 40s?
  • HOPE: happiness won’t revolve around popularity . . . . REALITY: see entertainment and politics
  • HOPE: punks won’t steal my lunch . . . . REALITY: yesterday

Anyway, I could go on and on, but you get the idea. 

So to the guy (making a gender assumption here) who stole my pasta – I’m totally gonna take you down in tether ball at recess!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

HTF Does a Book Review . . . and Surrenders the Man Card

I’ve done a few posts about a particular series of books (self-referred to as a SAGA) about a teenage vegetarian vampire and a pale girl from Phoenix.  A recent question came in from alert reader, DW.  He said:

Mr. HTF,

It’s always fun to read your literary works of art…

In our house there are two of the “obsessed” when it comes to Twilight.  I’m glad we didn’t know about Forks when I was in Seattle a while back or I would have been encouraged to make the drive to take pictures.  Maybe even bring back some Forks memorabilia.  We actually have two Twilight movies because there’s no way the “obsessed” would be able to share.  The movies were picked up on that opening evening followed by a very late night (early morning) Twilight party at our house with the equally “obsessed”.  Bailey (daughter) was first to take the plunge in this whole thing.  I don’t know how many times she’s read the books.  Kelley (wife) has read them all once and I think is on round two.  As of yet I haven’t read the books but I really liked the movie.  Do I have to turn in my man card now?  I plan on staying out of the sun, not getting a haircut for a very long time, and trading in the van for a sporty silver Volvo.  I think you should read the books and make a recommendation for me.  One last thing, can I have a free bouncy ball?


(Warning to the readers: if you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, this will contain spoilers, so you shouldn’t continue reading and you should probably go watch some football or change the oil in your car or something)

Awesome question, DW.  Let me know how all those lifestyle changes work out for you.  I will openly admit now, for the first time, that I recently finished the first book.  So here’s my little take on the book the ladies in your house, and the ladies in MANY houses are obsessed with.  Disclaimer: I’m not a big fiction reader, so had to adjust to that a bit.  Overall, the story is fairly intriguing, but Ms Meyer way overdoes herself in the romance/relationship piece of it.  Then again, I’m a guy, so I totally expected to have that criticism.  But I got SO tired of reading the never-ending string of adjectives for Eduardo’s perfect physique.  On every single page of the book we are reminded that he is, in fact, BEAUTIFUL.  This is not an adjective that I’m really comfortable with when referring to another guy.  But if you read the book, expect to be reminded of his perfect face, perfect smell, perfect eyes, perfect cheek-bones, perfect hair, perfect chest, perfect voice and perfect toe nails until you are actually ready to puke, perfectly.  This was my biggest complaint about the book – I got really tired of reading pages and pages about some guy’s body, regardless of it’s level of perfection.  (something to ask your daughter/wife about)  For this reason, and also the slow pace of the thing, I almost gave up at the half-way point.  Trust me, the book’s hero will trip any guy’s inferiority complex, and so you’ll have to get past that part.  Not easy…

The action picks up nicely towards the end and has a nice crescendo, like you’ve seen in the movie.  I think my favorite part of the book that wasn’t treated as much in the movie was the history of our vampire family.  I dug getting to know that family more.  That part helped keep my attention.  (I learned more than I wanted to about the two main characters)  One other thing that I would’ve changed – the whole book is written from Bella’s perspective (again a plus for the ladies), so prepare for that . . . you’re gonna spend several hours inside Bella’s head.  But overall, it’s a strong story with great characters, and it did keep me wanting to read more, but just barely.  So call that a tepid recommendation.  Your time may be better spent throwing the aforementioned bouncy ball against your garage door.

At the end of the book is the first chapter of the next in the “saga” . . . so . . . I may or may not be 50 pages or so into “New Moon” already.

Thanks for the question, DW.  Hope we can both figure out enough tough-guy things to do to get our cards back!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Thin Line Between “Lost” and “Stolen”

For the last couple days we’ve been searching for our camera.  Unfortunately, for our search, this camera is a pretty small thing (kinda like cell phones and iPods, which come to think of it, get lost pretty often too – maybe we should go back to making things really huge or we could at least attach something bizarre to them like they do at nasty gas station bathrooms, it could be a miniature oar, or maybe a plastic donkey . . . whatever it is, you know that if you attached it to the small object in question you’d never lose it.  But just try jogging with an iPod attached to a rubber snake!  And if you do try, be sure you let me take your picture . . . which reminds me to get back to my camera story).  Having 4 small-ish kids means that we “lose” things pretty often, but those things usually aren’t very expensive or valuable, such as the the sugar, entire sticks of butter (true story), or our minds.  These are things we can lose and not feel too terrible about.  But our kinda-pricey digital camera is a different matter.  After a bit of searching I found myself reverting to the natural, though regrettable, guy-reaction:

Wife, . . . it’s your fault.

For some shocking reason this accusation didn’t really help our search much, but did ensure that I’d be apologizing later. 

After poking around and retracing our steps it became clear that something fairly sinister must be afoot.  (is that really a word?!  cuz typing it felt kinda funny . . . afoot, afoot, ahand, asternum, anose, ahangnail . . . oh yeah, back to the camera thing)  And when any sort of chicanery or malfeasance happens we know that the little people who live in our house are pretty bad at hiding the evidence (for instance we found the aforementioned half-eaten stick of butter in the middle of my son’s room . . . in broad daylight . . . melting)  So sure enough, a quick check of my 5-year-old daughter’s room revealed the camera in the top drawer of her desk.  I put it back where I found it and we asked her if she’d seen our camera anywhere.  Now it’s kinda troubling when the default answer is a bold-face lie, but that’s just what we got.  After a while we coaxed her into searching her own room.  She agreed to do it, but only if she could be alone.  That part was awesome.  We stood outside the door laughing.  It took her less than 10 seconds to find the camera that she supposedly didn’t know anything about.  Whoever says these little people are innocent . . . they must be childless.  As she handed over the thing she burst into tears, apparently succumbing to her own guilt, and finally sensing that the jig was up (whatever that idiom means).

So we’re all good now . . . well, at least we will be as soon as I find my phone that I’m sure the Mrs. HTF lost . . .

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Early 90s Pop Music, Our Foundingest Father, Tea Baggers, and I Get Attacked By A Bush (kinda like Iraq)

BLOG FUNK, in addition to being a great name for a rock band, is apparently an acute illness that has kept me away from the blogo-cylinder sphere for a few weeks.  I might blame it on the rain because it worked for Milli Vanilli, and it’s definitely a legit excuse, in fact it may just be 2Legit2Quit.  But it’s been raining non-stop here since the 1760’s so I really can’t claim that one.  But let’s get past the excuse making and update you on a few key events over the past couple weeks that you desperately need to hear about, . . . or maybe not . . . but I’m still gonna write about them anyway, cuz I gotta get back on the old blog horse…

  • March Madness – This is the part where I invited around 100 of my closest friends (63 of which were brave enough to accept) to pick their brackets (there are worse things to pick, you know that).  The other part of the 12th annual tournament is that they got to watch Traci DESTROY me in the standings by finishing in 2ND FREAKIN’ PLACE while I was in 57th.  You’d think I’d be discouraged, . . . and you’d be correct.  I’m still happy for her though – in the same way that I’m happy for her when she beats me at anything else.
  • Last Saturday the clouds parted for a few seconds and we squeezed in some yard work.  I was restacking some logs and somehow grabbed a tiny, “Prickly Bush” (this is the Bush who hasn’t been President . . . yet) with my bare hand.  These bad boyz are actually poisonous on top of being, well . . . prickly.  So that part was fun.
  • I finished a book about George Washington.  This book was written about his life even before he was on our dollar bill.  I wonder what they did without money?  Apparently he was called “His Excellence” from the very start of the Revolutionary War.  I tried to get the people I lived with to call me that, but to my shock, I was pretty much ignored and/or laughed at.  Perhaps I should go lead a revolution somewhere, perhaps in Texas.  I also learned that on his deathbed he was actually tortured by board-certified doctors who thought they could cure him by draining his blood into a bucket.  So I’m good with not being exactly like GW.
  • On that revolutionary note, today it took me like 23 minutes longer than usual to get home because of the mass tea-party protesters on the corner by my office.  (if you don’t know what I’m talking about you should read up on it a bit here or here depending on your political persuasion)  As the traffic moved slower than my children headed to bed I thought the hand-made signs were pretty good and the people seemed quite reasonable.  I just had to discount the tea bags hanging from their ears – I’m not sure that did much for credibility.  This being Seattle though, I saw more than one driver-by encourage the crowd by offering a single-fingered-salute.  I hope that same person then went home and did some quick math on how long they will have to save to pay off our little national debt.
  • Also, I may or may not be 207 pages into a certain book about teenage, vegetarian vampires.  You can count on a thorough and completely unbiased review in the new future . . . if I am in fact reading it.

So there’s a little update.  A couple of you have sent in questions recently, and you’ll be getting answers (of a sort) soon.  Remember to send in your questions/comments/feedback/rants/recipes to

So until next time, May you all avoid the prickly bushes and I hope you have better doctors than our First President did.

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