Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Moms In the Stands and Dads on the Sidelines

This is a Guest Post from an esteemed blogger, who writes well and makes sense, so definitely not a typical HTF post...

The orange slices at halftime, the fleet of minivans shuttling players to and from practice, the words of encouragement after a tough loss... yes, little league parents are a big part of their children's games; at least the ones who help make treasured childhood memories.

They may also be the memory their kids would rather forget, such as Mom yelling at the coach to get Junior more playing time. In the last decade or so, little league parents have become notorious for sticking up for their little leaguers to the point where they make the games less enjoyable for the players, the coaches, and the refs. All parents want their children to do well and get a chance to a play (and experience the joys of winning), but it seems there is a gender divide between how each parent handles a child's success -- and failures.

Moms are often the most ferocious advocates for their little athletes, and as a result will shift blame for an athletic shortcoming from lack of ability, skill, or effort to outside forces like injury, stupid coaching, bad plays, or the other team being evil/good/bad, depending on what is most fitting for the situation. Moms like to coddle. They like to make sure their kids are emotionally sound, and by their definition it usually means protected from criticism. Moms try to protect egos and massage bruised ones, and so will tell their children and everyone who wants to listen that their son or daughter had a bad game due to a phantom injury, the coach putting them in during the wrong situation, dirty play from the other team, or a blown call.

Dads also love to blame coaching and reffing, and unfortunately some have taken it to extremes. But rather than simply deflect all the blame on these outside factors, Dads will also put some blame on the kids. Dads can be gruff, realistic, and not averse to a little "character building." Though the refs may get their fair share of verbal abuse during a game, and there will be plenty of grousing about how a coach does not see a little athlete's potential, if a little leaguer has a bad game, a Dad may let them know about it.

Little League parents want to see their children succeed more than anything else, but when they don't, they deal with it in different, often gender specific ways. But at the end of the day, it's just a game, and more than anything else it is joy to see children playing a game and having fun.

J. Gustav is a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog and a writer on forensic psychology schools for Guide to Online Schools.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Emergency Rooms, 3rd-World-Dictators, and the Moon Fest

As I write this I’m sitting in the semi-pleasant waiting room outside the “Surgical Center” of our local hospital.  A “loved-one” is back behind all these walls getting some necessary repairs and perhaps an hospitaloil-change thrown in.  I don’t like hospitals, few people do.  And if you do I’d submit that you should sell your services as a proxy for those of us who hate the place.  So like, the next time I have to go the ER or something, you could go FOR me.  I might even consider paying you to visit the people that I should be visiting.  I love those people, but I dislike hospitals THAT much, and I’m pretty sure they’ll eventually forgive me – referring to the people, not the hospitals.

A couple weeks ago I did actually have to check myself into the ER.  (see the Brian Regan rant about hospitals, seriously, you must watch it)  This was an odd experience.  I walked in, I’d played hoops a few hours earlier and was pretty capable of, you know, walking, but they threw me in a wheel chair and then got me on a bed where I was told to “lay flat” repeatedly.  I was wheeled around everywhere I went.  It was like I was a lazy 3rd world dictator.  Everyone was pretty nice though.  Except I think they need to have a better way of prioritizing people as they walk in.  Like there should be a nurse at the door, one of the more experienced ones, who can glance at you, ask a couple questions and then tell you if you’re in the “Extreme-Emergency”, “Plain-old-emergency” or the “Not really much of an emergency” lines.  Just seems more efficient, and safer.  Just so you know, I’m totally fine – zero problems, except that the tape they used to adhere the IV to my arm left behind “awesome residue” (good name for a rock band) that refuses to come off even with the use of power tools and spatulas (at the same time!).

These places have a weird smell that I’m convinced is pretty universal.  I’ve smelled it in lots of hospitals in several states and even other countries.  But I think that’s to actually make them not-so-comfortable.  If you run a hospital, you probably don’t want people, you know, trying to move in or retire there on purpose.  So you make the place smell bad AND you make people wear these gowns that make you feel pretty much totally naked all the time.  You have look down constantly to make sure that your nether-regions are actually a little covered.  And the back of you, where the “flap” is, is basically the 24-hours-a-day-moon-fest.  Oh yeah, and there are needles too.

Anyway, despite all this, I’m thankful that we have hospitals, and this one even has wi-fi in the lobby, which is a plus.  But that doesn’t mean I have to ever enjoy dropping by…

Friday, October 22, 2010

Beach Boy Karaoke, Swagger, and Impressive Wiggling

KoQYou know how the model in lots of TV sit coms is less-than-average-looking-guy married to way-above-average-looking-woman.  (right here I was gonna list the shows for you, but let’s see in the comments if you can list them…trust me it’s a long list.)  Sometimes people land things that they really don’t deserve – and strangely this often results in unintentional comedy.  That last sentence pretty much describes my whole life, which I’m good with.  Recently I was “matched” with a new assignment in our church that yet again proves this point.  I am now the official DJ for teenage church dances.  If this confuses you, I’m right there with you.

DJs, by definition it seems, are cool.  I haven’t been cool in like 20+ years, and even that is debatable.  Perhaps the last cool thing I did was land a spit-wad directly between the eyes of a the girl I liked in 2nd grade.  I was a hero amongst the large group of 2 eight-year-old boys watching me.  I guess it was all downhill from there.  But DJs have to have swagger and be hip, so the image of the bald-dude who thinks he dances WAY better than he actually does standing behind a bunch of equipment telling the kids how to “get down” should absolutely make you laugh.  (don’t worry, I’ll put pictures up here when it actually happens – I’m nothing if not self-effacing)

One of the surprises so far is that whenever I tell people who are super-old like me about it – they actually want to come hang out with me during the dances.  I’m gonna go ahead and call that my posse.  And we’ll spend the entire first dance coming up with our “street names.”

I haven’t been to one of these dances since I was the teenager.  I’ll admit, I have super-great memories of them and was a little less-inhibited than I should’ve been probably.  This includes the time I did a semi-spontaneous karaoke to a Beach Boys song with 8 girls on the stage in front of the confused on-looking crowd.  But I’m pretty convinced that I’m gonna be laughing a lot looking down on the crowd.  People watching paradise…

So as awkward as I might look trying to be cool up there – at least I can fell some consolation as I look down on the teenage kids trying to wiggle around and impress each other.

Now I just gotta figure out street names for me and my homies…

Friday, October 15, 2010

HTF the Fantasy Football League –Week 5 Update

You know that whole tree falling in the forest without anyone to hear it thing – well, in spite of me not writing about it, the HTF Fantasy Football league has been rockin’ the last month since I gave it a shout out here on the blog.  Last week’s games were particularly close and featured a super-tight 6 point win by the up and coming NYTrainSpotters against Tiffany’s high-scoring crew.  JJ’s Diamond people made sure that “True to the name Tony” stayed in last place, but just barely.  The Gobstoppers snagged their second W and I eeked out a smallish-margin-win against the Goatz, whose mascara-wearing QB named Tom was on a bye.


But Matt’s Cannibalistic Pigs sit atop the league after rattling off 3 wins in a row including a beat-down of the Crushees. 


This week the top and bottom ranked teams actually play each other and you know who most of us will be rooting for.  Go Tony-boy – surely the Chilean Miners are on your side!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

2 Continents, an inflatable kangaroo, and those little white bags on airplanes

Nobody who flies on planes a lot likes flying on planes a lot.  Still, it beats driving, walking, or, uh, swimming to get to where you wanna go.  The blog has been a little sparse lately because I took several, really-long, plane rides, which, judging by the fact that I’m back now and not stranded on an island with polar bears and smoke monsters, were successful.  I went to Sydney and Singapore, which I’ve learned are actually farther away than they looked on my globe growing up.  (like a quarter-turn and I went from the West Coast to Asia – not a big deal.)

A few things I learned/observed during my travels:

  • Being upgraded 30 seconds before you board a 14 hour flight feels an awful lot like somebody ringing your doorbell while you’re writing your mortgage check and handing you a bag of hundred dollar bills.  I’m guessing…
  • Ambien totally works
  • Sydney is an awesome place and they love them the tourists.  Also, so many people called me their “mate” that the Mrs. HTF has reason to be jealous. sydney
  • Went for a jog around the Opera House, botanical garden and the harbor bridge, which other than dingos and marsupials are like the only Australian things I recognize – best jog evah!
  • Sometimes the perfect gift for my kids is standing in a window wearing boxing gloves.  This was the case with the 3.5 foot tall inflatable kangaroo that’s now a fixture in our family room.
  • Harbor Cruise was awesome.  We saw some sweet views, some houses worth $50 million, and a smallish island which we nicknamed “Tasmania.”  The cruise was slightly less awesome during the torrential rains.  Sadly my fish & chips didn’t hold up well.  And for “seafood” that fish didn’t taste very good after being drenched.
  • Flight to Singapore delayed 8 hours, so I pulled into the hotel at 4 AM.  Good morning!!
  • Singapore is a lot like South Florida except much cleaner, the people are way nicer, fewer alligators/snakes, and most people there speak better English than I do.  (not a stretch)
  • I’m not a shopper, but if I was I’d visit Singapore often.  Technically speaking – the shiny stuff in the shops was stunning.
  • The place feels like it was all built in the last 2 years – again, much shininess.
  • The flight home was horrific as everything that was on my inside suddenly wanted to be on the outside.  You’d think this would be fine after a time or two, but I got to have essentially a 15-18 hour party with those surprisingly (and thankfully) strong “motion sickness” bags stuffed in the seat in front of me and/or the squeaky clean restrooms in Tokyo on the layover.  The good part was that with the time changes I literally landed in Seattle before I took off from Singapore (wrap your head around that), so it was like the whole thing never happened.

All said it was an awesome trip and I got to hang out and work with some marvelous people who may or may not ever speak to me again.  I leave you with this important photo I took at a Sydney park, which is TOTALLY clear:


Monday, September 27, 2010

Can’t you just find a tree over there?! and other notes from the scout campout

I camped a lot growing up – and in spite of that I always told myself that when my boys did the boy scout thing that I’d go on their campouts with them.  This was mostly so I could see stuff happen first-hand that they would be teased about or possibly arrested for later.  But there was at least a tinge (measured precisely) of wanting to hang out with my aging offspring.  This weekend I went with three 11-year-old scouts and their 2 fearless (and I mean that term in the most literal sense – because I know the 3 boys personally) adult leaders.

Here are a few things I learned/experienced:

  • Food and/or hot dogs tastes significantly better when eaten on a campout.  I suspect this is often due to the fact that you eat it roughly 4 hours after you expected to due to camp-setup.  Also, there’s often no microwave nearby, so that slows things down a bit too.100_0154
  • Despite their best efforts, the scouts proved that you can’t really take a single match, light it, and drop it on a huge log to start a fire.  They learned this a lot of times because, well, they had a lot of matches and once you start lighting those things – pretty hard to stop.
  • Sometimes, with roughly 50 bazillion spots in the woods to choose from, a boy scout will choose to relieve himself next to the picnic table that has your food on it.
  • There’s a direct relationship between the lateness of the night and the crudeness/weirdness of the stories told around a campfire.
  • Coming up with a skit spontaneously is way harder than it looks.  The boys performed a 3 second skit where they all walked up, shot and/or machetee-d each other and then fell to the ground laughing.  You’d think competing with that wouldn’t be so tough…  Luckily, we had a seasoned scout leader with us who directed a skit where I would put a bag over my head and then people would faint if they lifted the bag.100_0145
  • Watching three 11-year-olds put up a tent without help is way more entertaining than it should be.
  • Flaming marshmallow sticks are way better than regular old flaming sticks.  Also, sitting directly on bags of marshmallows is apparently a fair and acceptable way of protecting them from other scouts.
  • Dumping bacon grease on the fire is even better than eating the actual bacon.

So as you can see, I learned a lot and had a great time.  Looking forward to the next adventure…

Friday, September 24, 2010

Superheros, Hairless French Cats, and the HTF Mailbag

The HTF mailbag got a rare hit this week.  Remember to send in your questions/comments/words of any sort to

So here we go (longtime blog readers will quickly recognize the prose here):

Dear HTF,

So you might would be interested to know that word on the street is that you were the one who hung the Blago jury.  The word on the street is that you were afraid that The Hair just wouldn’t look the same with the hard water of hard time. 

In case you were wondering, additional words on the street that I have heard about you:  that you own newcokecan1985a hairless cat, that you also own The World’s Fastest Amphibious Car and that Spineroos in the water are even more fun than on land, that you secretly like snakes, that you prank call local businesses using a Scooby Doo voice, that you once had a sweet perm (during your boy band days), that you were responsible for New Coke, that your real name is Francois, and that you actually like to talk like Scooby Doo when doing Water Spineroos with your hairless cat in your Amphibious Car while drinking New Coke AND eating Pop Rockets!  Oh, and that you totally named your hairless cat "Francois McDoo" (Francois/Scooby hybrid).  Oh part II, and that you’re Batman.  (Totally explains The World’s Fastest Amphibious Car. As well as the ability to drink New Coke while eating Pop Rockets without your stomach and/or head exploding.)

I cannot reveal my sources, but I am asking you to confirm and/or deny these statements. 

Enquiring Minds Want to Know; AGM Wants to Know!Eiffel-Tower-Black-and-White

Let me begin by chuckling about the phrase in your first sentence – “might would be interested.”  That one is a winner.  For instance, “I might would be an excellent NBA center.”  On the Blago thing, I’m sworn to secrecy, but there may or may not be a deal in place awarding me the next Illinois senate seat that opens up.

For paragraph 2, I knew there were some “words on the street” about me, but I had no idea that some of those words would include Spineroos or Francois or even Batman.  While I can neither confirm or deny any of that specifically.  Here are a few facts:

  • “Hairless Cat” is a good name for a rock band, but would make a horrific pet that would scare the people
  • The name is Frankie Mac – and he’s clearly against all things French.  In fact, at the mention of his name, the Frenchies put up the surrender monkey flag and award me the Eiffel Tower and some truffles
  • The Car you mentioned may or may not exist, but it’s classified, and it’s green, and I can plug my iPod into it.
  • Had nothing to do with “New Coke”, but that was possibly the term I used in junior high while daring people to snort Pop Rockets.
  • Snakes are evil.  There’s not a debate to be had there.
  • I’m Iron Man (not the other guy)
  • Perm = no comment

Thanks for the inquiry, AGM.  Just don’t go believing all the words on the street.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Electronic Messages/Voices and Remembering Car Phones

“Daddy, when you are you going to be done talking to your computer?” – this was what my daughter asked me last night when I hosted a meeting with people in Singapore, Sydney, and Hong Kong while I sat in our home in Seattle.  And I did this by talking into an invisible microphone somewhere inside my computer.  This seems normal enough to me, cuz I do it regularly, but I paused for a minute this morning to think about that.  Guess it’s gotta seem kinda funny to my 4 year old.

I remember the first “electronic message” I sent in like 1993 to a girl I liked.  It was super-amazing!  (though I think the written notes at school were more fun – I wonder if kids do that anymore…doubt it)  It was a few years later before the term “e-mail” showed up.  Today I spend most of my day sending and receiving e-mails (or so it seems) – it’s significantly less fun now than it was in 1993.  I actually asked the Mrs. HTF out on our 2nd official date via e-mail when we kept missing each other on the telephone – nobody had cell phones back then (though I think people had “car phones,” which is a funny term now.  Can you imagine a phone that only worked in your car?!).  She teases me about that now, though I’m guessing that there are roughly 4 million dates set up every day now with text messaging.  I think sending an e-mail back then showed a lot of dedication because it was at least a 10 minute proposition to “log-on” to the dial-up network that made that awesome modem noise, and then each screen took at least a decade to load.  walkman

My kids won’t get any of this fun.  Of course the list of technology fun they’ll never get to have is really long.  My wife showed me an 80s photo of a friend of hers on FB last night where she had a HUGE Walkman strapped to her belt and big foam earphones on her head.  People used to JOG like that and listen to 10-12 whole songs WITHOUT SKIPPING.  Ouch.  Anyway, I think I’ll revisit this topic, cuz I think it’s fun.  But I’d love to hear your reminiscing as well – maybe even some fodder for the usually empty HTF mailbag…

As for me I need to get back to talking to the voices in my computer.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

HTF The Fantasy Football League – Week 1 Report

We laughed, we cried and half of us were happy after week 1 of HTF Fantasy Football.  I think it’s appropriate to begin with the weekly honor bestowed by that little Japanese car company for the most embarrassing smack-down:



Judging by a rush of roster moves this week a few of us are not so convinced that our teams have what it takes.  In grand fashion I was crushed by JJ, the Cannibals feasted on some Gobstoppers, Tony’s Terror Squad EEKED out a 2-point win over the team whose name no one can confidently pronounce and the Goat-eeze grew all over the chins of the Potters from the NYC.  But the performance of the week (both best and worst) was in the Toyota game.  Congrats to the Tiff who more than doubled that girl from O-town.


Good luck in week 2!!  (unless you’re the Cannibals, who I think should really stick with veggie burgers…)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

That Funny President and a new job for Traci

Last week I was scrolling through news stories on the interweb (yep, I’m that up-to-date on current events) and noticed that our President had dropped some un-intentional comedy on a press conference.  He got some question about tax cuts or stimulus (something like that) and he looked at the reported with a little disdain and pronounced,

“We can’t afford it.”

money_treeI may be the only one who found that line hilarious.  But I actually expected him to smile and/or wink at the people with notepads and pens in front of him.  But he maintained a straight, even stern, face.  Regardless of your politics, and I’m guessing that some of you have politics that shouldn’t be regarded at all, the idea that math is being done in our government to figure out “what we can afford” is kinda funny.  “We can’t afford it” hasn’t been relevant there for a while. 

In our family, those types of statements come always from the Mrs. HTF who is the absolute owner of all money stuff.  I may work in Finance at a small-ish software company, but at home I’m the guy who turns in my receipts and has absolutely no idea where money goes.  It’s all on the computer, her computer, and I could probably figure out some of it.  I think we pay bills sometimes, but not sure to whom or how we do it.  For all I know we tightly roll up cash and the intimidating crows outside deliver the payments.  Now you might think this dynamic would bother me, but in fact, I’m more concerned about how the kids got toothpaste up on the ceiling.  You see, with Traci running the show we’ve never had money troubles.  It’s kind of like bedtime at our house – my involvement, however well-intended, only screws things up.  (this hasn’t stopped me from pretending every night like I’m actually helping with bedtime while I’m jumping on the bed with the kids…)

So my point is this – Barry Obama totally needs to hire Traci to run the financial show there for a while.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The NFL case for Daddy DVR Time (DDT)

Pro football kicked-off (pun totally intended) its season last night with a Viking quarterback who may or may not have dentures and/or Depends playing against a team from New Orleans whose motto is “Who Dat” which clearly means they’re REALLY good at football.  I watched the game as I usually watch football – late at night on the DVR, several hours after the “real” game ended, and with the volume on so low that the59215l human ear can’t detect it (this is so it doesn’t wake up the 5 sleepers upstairs).  This is mostly because for whatever reason my wife isn’t completely down with me disengaging for like 4 hours at a time while the kids are at their, um, busiest.  Yeah, I guess that’s fair.

I was reminded that I really like watching the foozball, and how life has kinda gotten in the way of staring at a TV for entire weekends at a time.  A few years ago the Mrs HTF and I had just finished saying our little before-bed-prayer and I opened the eyes I realized that a few hours earlier the college football national championship bowl game had ended and not only had I forgotten, but I hadn’t seen a single bowl game that season.  (in case you don’t know there are at least 2 bowl games for each company listed on the New York Stock exchange, so that’s, um, a lot)  At that moment I realized that maybe my distance from the football had gotten maybe too extreme.  So now I pay a bit more attention and catch those DVR’d games every once in a while. 

For the record, with the 30-second-skip-button I can watch a 3.5 hour NFL game in just under 30 minutes…efficiency baby!  Too bad we can’t DVR some of life’s other events (the DMV, work meetings, or perhaps conversations we were done with like 30 minutes ago but don’t seem to have an end in sight . . . etc.)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Wet ‘n Wild ‘n Wacky At The State Fair (and a little Flannel too!)

We like exploring new places, and we probably like it a little bit more than is normal.  By “we” I’m mostly referring to my adventurous wife.  She has a list, and infinite one, of places to go check out.  This is similar to a list a US Senator might keep of “stuff to do if we had infinitely more money to spend.”  We may cross stuff off the list occasionally, but it’s constantly growing.  We’ve checked out a lot during 18 months here in Washington, but apparently we haven’t seen everything just yet.

100_0025On Thursday we hit the fabulous State Fair in Monroe.  I’m not a State Fair guy by nature, but the Mrs. HTF is pretty good at getting the troops excited about things like livestock, scones and huge quilts.  This is a mystical power that never ceases to amaze and confuse me.  We did get our state fair on and did some animal petting, junk food eating, and spent WAY too much time in the arts and crafts area – this was salvaged for my boys when they found the Lego exhibits which they proceeded to belittle and ask me how they could get their “stuff” in there next year because it was “way better” than the displays in the barn.

100_0024But then something happened that dampened our spirits in a serious way.  It started pouring rain, and it was that super-cold rain that feels like I stuck my bald head into and ice-maker dispenser on the “crush” setting.  All of us, except for our fearless leader, wanted to go home in the worst way.  Our complaints were scoffed at because,

“We have to stay for the lumberjack show.”

And stay we did.  Here’s some proof – remember that while I filmed this I was suffering from six kinds of hypothermia and was the only person without something covering my melon (not that I’m bitter or anything).  But the guys in flannel were undeterred and put on a show:

The race between flanneled-man-power and flanneled-chainsaw-power

We also had our first ever all-family-roller-coaster-experience on THE WACKY WORM:

A roller coaster only slight less wild than Mommy driving to church…


So even though we’re still trying to dry out a few days later it was actually a pretty good time.  But if you go, be sure to take a parka covered with a rain jacket, unless of course you’re wearing flannel, in which case you don’t even need to wear pants, cuz you’re THAT tough!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Those words that make you chortle…

I like words, I really do.  But I also really like unintentional-comedy.  Words often cause unintentional-comedy simply by, well, existing.  And we all need to laugh a bit more than we actually do.  SO… to determine the draft order of the 2nd Annual HTF Fantasy Football League each of the folks have picked “funny words” and we’re asking you to vote for your favorite or favorites.  There’s only a couple days until the draft, so do it now, please.

Even if you don’t give a skadoosh about our scrumptious shenanigans that may or may not involve phytoplankton having infarctions after eating baba-ganoush with gubernatorial candiadates debating dopplegangers and fibbertygibbets while dancing a mean jiggery-pokery – you really should vote!

Friday, August 27, 2010

And The Winner Is . . .

We have our winner!  Thanks to all of you who participated in the “random drawing AND-THE-WINNER-IS-OSCAR-37748contest thing for a $60 gift card to buy most anything online.”  We (no idea how “I” became “WE” but it sure sounds more impressive, right?) had lots of entries from AWESOME people – including some shout outs in other blogs and on the Facebook.  And our winner is:


This is a friend I haven’t seen in like 20 years, but recently reconnected with.  Congrats to her and may she buy fun stuff.

Special thanks to the promotions department at CSNStores for sponsoring the goodness!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Getting Blue in the Face and Holes in the Teeth

One of the cool parts about being a dad, aside from getting to roll up to the public library in a dented mini-van, is getting abbreviated reports of how the day went from the people who didn’t get to go to the office.  This usually involves cryptic half-sentences shouted towards me when I walk in the door, and at times the events are urgent enough to warrant a cell phone call during the day. 

phoneOne such “urgent event” is whenever my 4 year old suddenly remembers that the “2” button on mommy’s phone is a speed dial to daddy AND that she needs to push this button . . . a lot.  This can happen 40-50 times on a given day, and the likelihood of it increases exponentially when I’m in an important meeting.  Of course after a few times of ignoring the calls I assume that my wife actually urgently needs to talk because either she’s close to sending a child back to where they were 20 years ago OR the child has done something to another child that causes the same outcome OR something is on sale and she needs my opinion on whether to buy it or not (said opinion will then be ignored).  Instead, I find out that I’m being prank-called by a 4 year old who diffuses the situation with incredible skill by simply saying, “I called to say I miss you daddy, and I love you.”  You’d have to be a mean dude to stay mad after that.

This week I got a call from my wife, but only after a “warning text” where she let me know that the upcoming call was gonna be really unpleasant.  You see, it was “take the boys to the dentist day” and we’ve learned to always expect the worst.  And we got what we expected.  On the call I learned that the dentist had surmised that our oldest hadn’t put a toothbrush in his mouth since George Bush had decent approval ratings.  This is in spite of us nagging him constantly to brush those things and floss a bit too. His cavity has its own zip code and zoning laws.  We were told by the disapproving dentist that we actually have to brush the kid’s teeth ourselves.  (side note – try to keep a normal face while you brush someone’s teeth – WAY harder than you think…)  So we get to be super-embarrassed, terrible-parents AND give this dentist guy more money – the upside is that he’s gonna:

stick a needle in my son’s mouth. (something I’m totally good with, since it seems like a semi-legal punishment)

bluesmilingfacetransparentballoonWhen I got home that day I was greeted with the strange one-liner that, “Braeden was swimming as far as he could at swim lessons and HIS HEAD TURNED BLUE.”  I wasn’t quite sure how to take this – surely his swim teacher was an evil monster that should be thrown in jail.  But then Braeden entered the conversation, smiled at me and said,

“I had my goggles on too tight… it was kinda fun.”

Gotta love those Daddy-reports….

Monday, August 23, 2010

I Voted . . . sort of

I voted last week – you probably did too.  But I did it while sitting on my bed reading stuff online about each of the candidates (and perhaps watching Youtube videos of them tripping or saying things out of context that made you think they hated children).  This is probably a little different than how it goes down in Iraq.  We’ve done absentee ballots for quite a while, but somehow it doesn't feel quite like voting.  It feels a little bit like watching church stuff on TV instead of going to church.  Kinda like my vote should be worth a little less than the guy who took the time to drive to the Junior High and stand in line so he could vote.  Still, since my vote is worth the same as that dude, I’ll keep doing it via the mailbox.

The big mid-term elections are coming up, and from what the make-up-caked-talking-heads on the TV keep saying – there are gonna be some serious changes.  For example by the time the election is over, instead of a country run by career-politicians, we’ll have a country run by career-politicians who very recently won an election.  I’m not sure one election, especially a mid-term is going to change everything, but it makes for some good theater.  And it makes a strong case for us to KEEP OUR DVR so that we can skip all of those commercials.  (that last sentence may or may not of been directed at the Mrs. HTF)

Anyway, be sure to pay super close attention to your local races.  And then in November we can get back to watching those awesome Old Spice ads again.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Junior High Dances, Football Helmets, & Porta-Potties

With the rapid approachment (a great word I just made up) of the football season there’s anticipation in the air of NFL mini-camps.  There’s also some serious BO-stench in the air there as well, but I’m choosing not to talk about that.  Every team thinks they have a shot.  It’s kinda like the first few seconds at the junior high dance.  You think, “hey, this could be awesome if everything goes exactly the way I’ve been trying to imagine.”  If only willing it would make it so… (I’d be significantly taller and have a lot more hair if “will” was all u needed).  Well, the 2nd annual HTF Fantasy Football league is about to kick off and there are similar stakes and a massive sense of unfounded optimism.  One of our more skilled (at what? – I’ll let you decide) managers sent in this question:

Dear Amphibian Friend:

In preparation for the upcoming FF season I have been doing the following:

· Religiously watching the “Chiefs Training Camp Update” every night on my local news

· Religiously reading the bottom-of-the-screen crawl for NFL news on ESPN while my husband hogs the TV to watch the Little League World Series

· Tracking Ben Roethlisberger’s progress toward not screwing up over the past 2 months so his suspension will be reduced (it won’t), and

· Researching which players are “HELMET OFF” and “HELMET ON” because there is a direct correlation between playing ability and HELMET status

What do you think my chances are this season?

CM the GM

Let’s be clear, your name, or rather, call-sign, there are the end may well be your best FF attribute.  Thanks for the great questions.  I’ll tackle each line one by one:

  • If by “religiously watching Chiefs training camp” you mean that you’re praying that they’ll win more than 3 games, then that works.  If you plan to draft an actual Chiefs player, that strategy will work perfectly, but only if you draft all Chiefs players
  • I’m withholding jokes about watching children play baseball on TV out of deep respect for your husband.  I don’t get watching actual men play baseball on TV, so the kid thing confuses me.
  • Ah, Big-Ben the role model… You can draft the guy, but just please avoid setting him up on dates with your friends.
  • Important to remember that a key purpose of helmets is to “cover up the ugly.”  I’m not sure just wearing a helmet means a dude can play.  I proved this myself during my own adolescent football career.  But if that strategy is working for ya – you go girl!

I think your chances this season are certainly off the charts.  You’re guaranteed a victory with those keen strategies.  And since you brought up Chiefs training camp – I leave you with this training technique in which the starting running back attempts to do, uh, two things at once…

Be sure to send your questions, regardless of how random, into!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

HTF Givin’ Stuff Away!! You’re gonna wanna get in on this!

For some reason for like the last week I can’t get that “I Wanna Be a Billionaire” song out of my head.  This may be because, well, I wanna be one.  But one of the biggest reasons would be to be able to give stuff away to the people.  I have this fantasy about leaving thousand dollars tips or giving the family with the rickety, old mini-van a brand new ride.  Well, it’s not exactly that, but I have the Wowwee Alive Leopard Cubawesome chance to do a giveaway to some of my favorite people on the planet – you guys!  I’m giving away a SWEET $60 gift card to use at any one of 200 online stores to buy stuff you NEED like yoga mats, wire wisks, remote control leopards, or dining room sets .  It’s pretty much anything you could want thanks to the groovy promotions department at CSN Stores – who are apparently new HTF fans.

Trust me – you’ll have zero trouble using the $60 gift card.  There’s no catch.  Here’s how you enter:

  • Post a comment on this post or send me an email – the comment must include your email address.  You can only enter your e-mail address once, so spammage isn’t gonna help!
  • If you post a link back to this post on your blog, let me know and you’ll get an additional entry!
    • AND if people enter the contest and tell me in the comment/email that they came here from your blog – you’ll get an additional entry, plus they’ll get their entry.
  • Remember – your email address is your entry!  If you don’t want the world (which may be a bit of an overstatement) to see your email address in your comment, then just send me the email.

I’ll take entries up until the end of the day on Aug 25th – then will select a random winner.  (by “random winner” I’m not calling the winner RANDOM per se, but if you read the blog you probably are a bit random)  Good luck!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Leisurely Evening At The Pool

There’s nothing quite like finishing off a long day in the office by being mauled by gaggles of small children in a public swimming pool.  Which is precisely what I did last night becausedecatur_county_public_pool that’s what you do when your wife has been home with the little people on a hot day without air conditioning.

Public pools are an awesome scene, but not for the faint of heart.  Easily the scariest place is the bathroom/locker room.  If there was ever a room where you shouldn’t roll around in bare feet – this is probably it.  Let’s just say, toddlers trying to navigate wet swimsuits while taking care of urinal business can result in some, uh, “liquid outside of the pool.”  I think the assumption is that the actual pool water has enough cleaning effects to cancel out the nasty – this is an assumption I challenge.

Also in the locker room is the unavoidable “nudity with strangers” thing.  Not typically a big deal, but, well, I’ll leave out a few stories.  Last night I was doing the swimsuit change and was just about the drop my drawers when a 2 year old GIRL came flying around the corner and almost ran into me.  Luckily I had time to, well, not flash her.  Her father was right behind her and quickly realized the awkward moment that had happened.  He quickly took care of her and whisked her away.  A few seconds later the SAME THING HAPPENED.  At this point I resolved to become swimsuit-man from inside the biological weapon that is the public toilet stall.  At no point did bare feet touch floor, but I did successfully get dressed.

Once in the water I instantly became the juggle-gym/punching bag/drowning victim of my kids and their friends.  This was expected, but the onslaught was particularly ferocious yesterday.  I judge this by the claw marks, bruises, and time spent laying on the bottom of the pool with multiple kids standing on me.  After a while I escaped to what I expected was the relative calm of the toddler pool, only to be clocked in the eye by my daughter wielding a plastic dump-truck.  This caused actual bleeding.  But her friend made it better by slamming a plastic bucket on my head.

The part I left out . . .

I had a ton of fun last night!!  (but may wear a helmet next time)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Struggling with complex math…

Friends, there are still a few more slots left in the always-um-special HTF Fantasy Football League.  We want to have 10 teams and have 8 awesome (brave) readers who are in: 

- Tiffany, Christy, Dave, Aubri, Aaron, Matt, Jerianne & me

So that leaves like 13 or 17 spots open.


Ok, maybe it’s less than that

Anyway, this is your big chance to be part of the fun and be featured on the blog for being dominating and/or getting crushed.

As an extra incentive there will be a prize for the winner!

And it won’t be this:

It’ll be even better!  So drop me an email and get in on the fun!!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Teen Frog

A couple nights ago the Mrs HTF was out on one of her female-only adventures.  After I put the little people to bed I found myself doing what I usually do when I’m alone – just kinda walking around the house, slowly, and sitting down in random places thinking of what I should do with the alone/free time.  Then I go sit in another place and do the same bit of thinking.  Well, that night I turned on the TV and, for reasons I describe later, watched the entirety of the “Teen Choice Awards.” 

I thought it would be a less-serious, more appropriate version of the adult award shows.  But the opening song was Katy Perry singing something about “Let’s go all the267B40C5_94D8_4ED4_8C6A_143733D30EC2_1 way tonight…”  So right off I was hit with the fact that “teen shows” meant something a little different than I thought.  Still, with the help of the fast-forward button on the DVR, I endured the rest of the show, including way more of Taylor Lautner’s chest than in all the Vampire movies combined.  Now I should tell you why I turned it on in the first place… (actually, I shouldn’t tell you, but I’m going to anyway)

Recently Traci made an observation that at first I scoffed at, but then realized was awfully correct.  (most of my observations get scoffed at and then scoffed at again . . . and again – appropriately)  She said:

“You’re a closet teenager.”

This is factually correct, and pretty embarrassing.  Without knowing it I try really hard to like the same music teenagers do (loudly), to like the same TV shows, to stay up late without fearing consequences the next day, dancing badly, stuff like that.  Only I get to do it without the zits or the fear of my Biology mid-term.  I guess I channel the inner-teen because, well, those years pretty much rocked (and I had hair then).  It’s also a self-played-mind-game that I do to avoid the really apparent fact that I’m getting ancient.  I know that “happy teenage years” is a phrase some of you think makes as much sense as “common-sense-government.”  And I’m sorry about that.  But for me that was a good time.

So if I call you randomly at 2 AM asking if you wanna come over for Pizza and a Fletch Marathon – just roll your eyes and remind me that I have a budget meeting at 8 AM and that I haven’t had hair since Bill Clinton won an election.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Picture story…

Not feeling a lot of words right now, so I think I’ll just throw out some photos to ponder.  But first, we still need 4-5 folks for HTF Fantasy Football.  Please let me know ASAP if you’re interested!

And now the picture stuff:

You know this guy:


For Father’s Day I got this:


And just a few weeks ago this happened:


So you should be pondering just how awesome our family dance parties are AND how awesome we smell.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Family Camp Recap Part 2: Celebrities/Apostles, Super-Athletes, and Scum

A couple posts ago I threw down the always-awesome “To Be Continued.”  (I guess it’s not awesome when dental surgery is involved, but generally it’s a good thing)  So, I give you part two of “Family Camp Recap” where I drop nuggets of interesting goodness on you about our adventures at Aspen Grove:

  • On the first night when we walked into the Dining Hall I glanced around and quickly noticed a serious Mormon celebrity in the room.  Jeffrey R Holland (the Apostle) was with us the entire camp – which was really awesome, particularly his sweet fireside on Sunday night and passing him on the trail to the waterfall where he asked me, “is it much farther?”  Love that guy.
  • As the kids were away doing whatever it was they were doing (again, I didn’t really care deeply) – the Mrs HTF and I played some big-time swimming pool basketball.  I eeked out some wins, but not without suffering claw marks and sharp elbows.  It was a battle-royal.
  • While at the pool the life-guard, who I chatted with a few times that week, interrupted our game by asking me, “I’m sure everyone says this, but did you know you look like the guy from the Princess Bride?”  Traci and I pondered…  She said, “Wesley?”

  to which the lifeguard girl said, “no, the other guy.”  Which I quickly realized meant this guy:

  Ouch, I thought.  That one hurt a bit…

  • We joined a softball game in progress and were greeted kindly by a large family of super-athletes.  Seriously, I’m quite sure any one of the women in that group could’ve thrown me up in the air and run a mile before I hit the ground.
  • Each evening we got together with our adult friends and played SCUM and/or Trivial Pursuit.  We stayed up way later than we should’ve and I think that was just to pretend like we still can.  The way we stumbled around at breakfast in the morning though proved that wasn’t quite accurate.
  • Our 11-year-old, Ethan was at the camp, we think.  We didn’t see him much, though they renamed the pool after him for some reason.
  • Allison, (4 year old) deserted our family during the week and formally joined another family with a girl her age.  She quit eating with us and towards the end of camp I had to sign a form so the parents could include her as a dependent on their tax returns.

I could go on, but I’ll end it there.  Suffice it to say it was an AWESOME week.  One of the best ever.  Our kids have asked if we can move there.  And I’m pretty sure they’ll figure out how to make it so…


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Huge Announcement – The 2nd Annual Something…

One of the highlights/lowlights of last year for some of you was the inaugural HTF Fantasy Football League.  We laughed, we cried, we made fun of each other’s kickers and I think it was a good time all around.  It even introduced several marvelous HTF readers to the wiles of Fantasy Football, which may explain why some may never do it again.  Still, back by popular demand I’m excited to announce the aptly-named:

2nd Annual HTF Fantasy Football League


So bring along your blog-reading friends OR those who read anything else, and drop me an e-mail.  It’s gonna be awesome!!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Family Camp Recap (Part 1: Ping-Pong, Panic Attacks, & Pottery)

We spent the last week at the Aspen Grove Family Camp in Provo Canyon, just above Sundance.  (it wasn’t really “above” Sundance, it was just up the road a few miles, but it would’ve been even cooler if it was literally “above” I suppose)  It was an awesome time filled with adventure, hilariousness, smallish animals, dancing, firearms, flying axes, singing, face painting, and, well, scum.  So here are a few things I learned or thought you needed to know:

  • Climbing 70 feet in the air up a log/wall and THEN remembering my stupid fear of heights wasn’t my best decision ever.  I actually had a real-life panic attack while straddling a log on the aptly-named “HIGH Ropes Course.”  Oh, I finished the thing (mostly because I was being watched by a bunch of people I knew and because I had a rope around me so I didn’t die when I freaked out and let go of wall), but in a pretty humiliating fashion and gasping for air while having to immediately sit down.
  • On the last night there we (like 400 of us) gathered for the final “show.”  The Mrs. HTF asked the announcer guy to announce that my son had lost his backpack, but that it has his name on it.  When the announcer asked if anyone had seen the missing item with Ethan’s name on it, my son, seated a few rows in front of us, quickly raised his hand, because he’d heard his name – to which the announcer smiled and told him to talk to the “lady in blue” (my wife).  The crowd cheered this development, but we just rolled our eyes.
  • Kids singing/dancing on stage is always cute, until they turn like 11 or something, then they better actually know what they’re doing.
  • The camp counselors, and there were lots of ‘em, took our kids for the vast majority of the day time.  They provided a detailed schedule of the activities they were doing so that the parents would be acutely aware.  I was surprised at how little I cared about those little schedules – except for the dropoff/pick-up times.
  • One night we sent Allison (age 4) with our unsuspecting, too-kind friend to do Arts & Crafts.  She proceeded to convince our friend that she needed 5 different plaster figurines to paint (which cost $$).  The good news is that we came home with a colorful caterpillar, hat, shoe, unicorn and of course, a butterfly.
  • Traci and I won the camp Mixed-Doubles Ping Pong Tournament.  But this was mostly because pingpongplayathe semifinals were a forfeit and the finals ended up that way too because the guy tore his ACL the day before.  I like to say that everyone was too scared to play us.  Yep, Traci is that good.
  • When we met the couple in our first round Ping Pong game I told the opposing wife that she looked really familiar to me, but I couldn’t place her.  I asked her name, maiden name, social security number and stuff that like.  She closed things down by saying that she probably just had “one of those faces.”  Well, several days later Traci ran into the lady at the BYU Bookstore and she told Traci that after the match she remembered that she’d gone on a date with me my freshman year.  I felt strangely vindicated and embarrassed at the same time…
  • Pottery – WAY more fun than I expected.  Also, kinda cathartic, until the candy dish I was creating collapsed for the 4th time, then it wasn’t quite so calming.

As I was writing this I realized there’s way more to add, but this is already pretty long so….

To Be Continued…

There, wasn’t that awesomely dramatic?!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Duke of Chutney Visits HTF

You have to admit that every once in a while you think about being royalty of some sort where everyone does exactly what you tell them to and you have to wear fake wigs and/or be deeply involved in scandalous scandals.  Well, I’m happy to report that a royal(ish) reader of the blog dropped a note in the old HTF mailbox recently that I’d like to share with the people:


I am relieved to know you will continue blogging.  While I cannot regularly follow your blog, I do like to catch up on “missed episodes”.  Also, I have come to rely heavily on Facebook to let me know when there is a new post.

I do have two questions, both related to your still-recent-in-my-mind relocation to the Pacific Northwest.

1. Do Seahawks like the taste of frogs?

2. Is there any truth to the rumor that a rogue faction of your local cherry population [Bing Cherries] is preparing to sue Microsoft over the name of its new(est) search engine?  The word among the trees is that Sergey Brin and Larry Page are funding these litigious efforts, sort of like this guyimage and this guy imagefund these guys.


Sir Reginald

Duke of Chutney

Well, your Dukeness, thanks for the questions.  I’d like to write for a while about how funny the word “Chutney” is, but I’ll restrain myself.  On question 1, it’s kinda complicated.  But using BING I did some high quality research and found this:

“Seahawk is but one of many nicknames for the awesome Osprey (Pandion haliaetus). This large, long-winged bird of prey cuts a striking figure, dark chocolate brown above and white below with a strong black line through its eye.”

So think about it – words like “large” or “awesome” or “striking figure” or “dark chocolate brown.”  Clearly I am a Seahawk, so NO I don’t like the flavor of frogs!  But I do enjoy a little air hockey game with them once in a while.

On your second great question I have to withhold most comments except to say that your analogy is a strong one.  Also, that I’m quite certain the Bing Cherries and the “New Search Engine” folks have agreed that name sharing isn’t gonna be a big problem since MOST people don’t try to eat Search Engines AND it’s hard to type on a cherry (or an Apple…  Smile).

Thanks for the questions your Worshipfulness, I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Enjoying the Journey, or better yet, sleeping through it

When I was growing up we’d drive from Kansas City to Utah pretty much every year to see our extended family and to be reminded that driving across Kansas takes roughly 6 years one-way.  This was an excellent time to engage in great conversations and bond as a family unit, so my approach, which my parents like to remind me of,

was to curl up in a ball like a hibernating grizzly bear and sleep (or pretend like I was asleep) for the duration of the trip or until we stopped for essential meals.

This seemed like a good strategy at the time.  But now kids can avoid all of that family bonding in a more creative, innovative way-

watching 47 consecutive DVDs WHILE eating junk food.

This of course isn’t so great on the digestive system, which explains the buckets that we travel with.  We luckily avoided any bucket usage this week as we drove from Seattle to Salt Lake, despite intense DVD watching in the backseat.  This kids did the usual “are we there yet” stuff.  This would be endearing if it didn’t make us want to toss them ever-so-gently through the window while driving slightly over the posted speed limit.  20 minutes after we left our house we filled up on gas, at which point my OLDEST asked if we were in Idaho yet.  We could pretty much still see our house…

Somewhere while cruising though the middle of Bleaktown, Idaho (not a real name, but it should be) I did respond to the, “are we there yet” question with a provocative, “Where do you think we are?”  At which point my daughter looked around thoughtfully, pondered and said,

“Daddy, . . . we’re nowhere.”

Well put.  Then she followed my well developed example and went to sleep.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I so wish this would happen at the Miss America Pageant

Today I found myself at a massive company meeting in Atlanta.  There were more than 12,000 people from all over the world in a huge arena – it was kinda like a World Cup match, except slightly more violent during the bathroom breaks (the toilet/urinal to uncomfortable-person ratio was awfully high…)  At the beginning they recognized people who won awesome awards for doing awesome things.  And it made more fun because it was a surprise to the people being called up from among a group of like 70 nominees on the stage.  The winners would smile gleefully and get hugged and/or chest-bumped by senior executives (this sounds awkward, but they played loud rock music, so that somehow made it feel right).  And then they’d be handed a ginormous trophy, which I don’t think they can carry on the plane. 

At one point a name was read and a happy dude sprung up and started getting his congratulations, but one of the presenters stopped the festivities, whispered something to him, and SENT THE GUY AWAY.  The name read had actually belonged to lady next to him, so she was called up and congratulated as the real doer of awesome things.  Somehow the guy had thought the name read out was his.  So he was left back in the group on that stage in a bright-red-funk (GNFARB), clapping listlessly for the actual winner.  It was probably the most embarrassing thing I’ve seen live.  All 12,000 of us and the ushers, totally saw what happened.  Poor dude.  We all (those of us with beating hearts at least) felt for the guy, but there was some snickering.  He should get some kind of award – perhaps he should be given a name tag with his name on it or perhaps a signed picture of the female winner.  But if I were in charge, I’d just give the guy a trophy out of pity.  It could be engraved with,

“That one guy who momentarily forgot his name” 

The mailbag has been pretty sparse for a while.  Remember to send in your questions/comments to  I'll be happy to answer them, mostly like in a way that will leave you forgetting what the actual questions was.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Baseball and that girl who hit me with the ruler

I wish I was a baseball fan.  I really do.  There so much tradition, history, culture, and each MLB team plays like 6 games every day, each of which lasts no less than the length of one term in the US House of Representatives.  There was a time though when I was a loyal fan of America’s Pastime (no, not CONSUMER DEBT, I’m talking about baseball!)  When I was a 10 I used to rush out to the local paper and cut out the box scores and standings of my beloved Kansas City Royals.  Then I would tape the little cut out of letters and numbers in a notebook.  Underneath I would provide super-insightful commentary.  I’m sure it was profound stuff like:

“Homeruns are WAY better than getting hit by the pitch” or “Steve Balboni (real guy) is hitting good” or “The infield fly rule is more mysterious than Area 51” or “The girl who sits in from of me at school smells good, but doesn’t know I exist, so I will keep sniffing sometimes and maybe we’ll be partners for science sometime cuz I always get paired up with that girl who hits me with her ruler and calls me shrimp.”

You know, stuff like that.  Tonight I got to catch a game at the famous Turner Field in Atlanta.  I went with some great guys from work and it was an awesome night.  However, one large problem was that after living in Seattle for a couple years, being it Atlanta in July is pretty much like being on the hot part of the surface of the sun, except with a lot more humidity.  But this was made much more bearable by squeezing into small plastic seats and sitting so close to the people next to me that I’m pretty sure I have to attend their family reunions next year.  Still, the game was super exciting, and I remember that I actually do like watching, but only live.  Baseball on TV is slightly less interesting than watching CSPAN on a day when only one Congressman shows up for work and he decides to take a nap. 

I found myself thoroughly rooting for the home team and also hoping for more moments of extreme awkwardness via the Kiss Cam.  In the final inning they trotted out the Closer (whose name I already forgot), but it was a sight to behold.  They blasted Metallica and showed the guy’s name written in fire on all of the many, many screens in the stadium.  The crowd went wild.  We should all have our own entrance music OR at least a guy/gal that shows up at the very end of the day just to put the kids to bed.  He didn’t disappoint and we left with the euphoric feeling of a sweaty 4-1 victory.

Tonight was great – got to hang out with guys, eat junk food, make fun of the millionaires on the field, AND form covalent bonds with my clothing due to heat.  But on top of all that, I did honestly enjoy the game.  Maybe I’ll have to cut out the box score tomorrow…

Or I could just do this:



Sunday, July 18, 2010

Get the camera away from that dude!

Recent events reminded me of when the Mrs. HTF and I got our first video camera.  It was just a few weeks before we were married, which is a pretty odd time to record for posterity – however, this didn’t stop me from taking hours of video… 

Last week we took our old tapes into the Costco to have them turned into DVDs since our old camera died back when George Bush had approval ratings in the high 70s.  Yesterday we got these priceless DVDs and sat down to intently watch our past life.  Somehow while watching we found ourselves simultaneously horrified, troubled, and bored.  We clearly didn’t understand which parts of our lives posterity was gonna wanna see and for how long they would want to actually watch.  Let’s just say the OFF button should’ve been used way more frequently.  The video opens with a small crew in my apartment stuffing our wedding invitations into envelopes while I offer horrible commentary and occasionally pan over to the TV to video tape parts of an NBA game – and that’s pretty much the highlight of the next several hours of video.  My first words are, “Wow, I can zoom in pretty good with this thing…ok, now we’re zoomed out.”  Those are my personal highlights.  Yeah, there’s some quality stuff from the reception, walking out of the temple, and even a couple minutes of memorable honeymoon stuff.  But in the mean sealtime we just recorded and recorded anything that moved or would perhaps move someday.  My commentary, while trying to be funny, comes off like an awkward walrus trying to perform spinal surgery – painful to experience and hard to watch.  I recorded entire shows from Sea World (honeymoon) and surely violated some copyright law in the process.  This was basically the only part my kids seemed to like watching though – mostly because of the seals with balls on their noses. 

The entire second tape is video of my first trip to Alaska – over Christmas.  In this video we attempt to, well,

narrate snow.

This is way harder than it sounds – there’s only so much you can say about snow, but not to worry, I said even more than that.  There’s also like 10 minutes of a moose in the driveway one night eating leaves off the tree.  This is cool for a minute, but then it’s just, pretty much like staring at your TV while it’s off.  One thing we did notice that gave us pause was how nicely and flirtatiously (meaning “with flirtation and/or cheese”) we used to talk to each other.  I blame that change on the 4 kids fighting upstairs about who ate the dart from the Nerf Gun.  Happily, as the years have passed we’ve taken less and less video and have tons of photos – this is safer if for no other reason than you can’t hear my voice on photos.

So if you ever do see me with a video camera – do us all a favor and take it away from me by force if necessary.

PS – we have like 15 more tapes to move to DVD, hopefully we got a little better once the kids came… but I kinda doubt it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Semi-Important Blog Update – and a mention of glowing zebras

A few of you have been reading along with HTF for quite a while – and while I don’t really understand why you do that, I sincerely appreciate it.  (I suspect it’s similar to the reasons that I walk by the TV while my kids are watching super-confusing shows on the cartoon network about imaginary creatures going to school in outer-space and having zany adventures involving fish and/or glowing zebras – and I struggle to pull my eyes away.)  Lately, due to my lack of, you know, writing, AND my lack of writing things worth reading – the readership has dropped off quite a bit.  So I’m kinda at a tipping point where I’m deciding whether to hang it up or not.  I’m not sure blogs are as popular as they once were.  We spend WAY more time on the Facebook reading 12 word updates about what people are eating and the fascinating weather events in their cities.  I think our attention span has shortened – I proved this scientifically the other day by noticing that I’d just scrolled through status updates and ONLY read the ones that were 2 lines or less.  If it was over 2 lines I clearly didn’t have the time. 

Anyway, here’s what I’ve decided to do – I’m gonna try to get the blog going again.  To do this I’m going to impose a bit of schedule on myself – which you should know is physically painful to me.  But I will suffer for the readers because I can pander with the best of them – particularly since each of you is so fabulous looking and insanely intelligent. 

  • I will post blogs each Monday morning (might be Sunday night depending on your time zone) and Thursday morning.
  • I’ll try to get more action in the old HTF mailbag – as source of many, um, words in the past.
  • If events dictate – Like when the Blagovitch hair thing happened – I’ll be drop in a bonus post now and then.
  • I’ll do way more linking and ask other people to be guest posters – I’m hoping this will, you know, increase the level of goodness on the blog

As a pseudo-gift I just posted the long-awaited (ok, that’s a huge overstatement) New HTF Playlist on the right side there.  Hope you dig it. 

Much luv.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You Be Illin’… but don’t worry, we’ll fix that with a Q-tip

You know that feeling where you know you’re getting sick, but you just haven’t penciled in time on the calendar for it?  I had that one last week.  And it kept dragging on.  On Tues the sore throat and subsequent fever drove me to come home from work and pitch a tent of sorts on the couch.  My kids are always extremely helpful in this situation.  At one point my forehead (which is roughly the size of Mongolia) was being gently dabbed by my 4 year old with wet, balled-up toilet paper.  Yep, that’s sure to do the trick.  Strangely, this and 397 Ibuprophen tablets didn’t quite kill the fever.  The whole night I was sick.  I called the “nurseline” and described my condition in my the same way you describe tech support problems to the dude on the phone.  The “nurseline” told me to just keep drinking “fluids.”  I hate when they say fluids.  I wish they’d just say water and stuff.  Now there’s a pretty predictable thing that happens when you drink lots of fluids AND you have a high fever – You’re pretty much hitting the bathroom with roughly the same frequency as you are taking breaths.  This, among other things, makes sleep hard.  Here I feel the need to make a point:

Being sick was WAY better when I was a kid.

Not entirely sure why, but I actually have fond memories of it then…  Anyway, I endured the night by watching almost two full seasons of The Big Bang Theory and by intermittently moaning to nobody in particular.  I was a little better the next day, but pretty much felt terrible the rest of the week.  However, there was too much to do and we had awesome visitors, so I just faked like I felt fine.  I don’t really recommend this.  Finally on Saturday I went to a doctor and they shoved two elongated q-tips into my throat and seemingly scraped off the first several layers of tissue.  (while looking for pictures of Q-tips I found out there’s a hip hop star with that name – really?!  That’s the best you can do?  Why not go with “Cotton Swab” or something.)  And with this test they decided I had strep, which is short for “Strepthisstupidthroathurts-A-Lot".  Anyway, I’m good now, but who know what kind of death bed I’d be on if it wasn’t for those dripping wet toilet paper balls?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

My Weekend in the Literal Twilight Zone

A quick scan of Facebook status updates yesterday made it really, really clear that a new movie about a depressing thoughtful teenage girl and dueling werewolves/vampires was debuting.  But I have to admit that I was already fully aware of this because of where I went on vacation last weekend. 

Yep, we had a sleepover in Robert Pattinson’s really-dark basement.

Actually, we stayed out in Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula.  We were in sweet hotel just two blocks from some Italian restaurant that was featured in one, or maybe all seven of the previous Twilight movies, where you can actually order the SAME ENTRE that Bella ordered in the book.  (And I assume you’d only do this if you for some reason wanted to be more attractive to the local vampire community.)  The name of the establishment – yep, it’s BELLA ITALIA.  It’s true, friends.  But of course Port Angeles is just an ancillary part of the saga that makes 40 year old mothers swoon – the real Mecca of the thing is Spoons, I mean, Forks.  Here I want to make something really, really clear.  Our specific plans, which we adhered to, you know, specifically, were to visit the Hoh Rain Forest and the coast – both of which were AWESOME.  The way the roads work, from our hotel you HAVE to drive though Forks, unless you have a helicopter, a teleportation device, OR a desire to take the long route through Northern California.  So hopefully that’s clear for you.  Our visits this weekend to Forks and La Push had ZERO to do with that semi-popular movie/book series.  Still, I suspect you might want to know what we saw there.

  • People, mostly female people over the age of 35, dressed mostly in black with t-shirts that say, “Bite ME!  (Edward)”
  • Multiple shops that sell crazily-priced Twilight paraphernalia – things like life-size shirtless Jacob cardboard figures, Forks High School cheerleader outfits, and Cullen Family baseball bats.  The wildest shop was appropriately named, “Dazzled By Twilight.”  The place was decked out like a Broadway rendition of the movie with fake trees everywhere, realistic looking mountain/beach scenery, and lighting that made you feel like you were in the woods with vampires who wanted to either kiss or kill you.  I, of course, entered the shop on accident, when I tripped on something.
  • The town is covered with businesses/products renamed to remind visitors about the books and how spending money at these establishments will instantly make the consumer a KEY part of the storyline.  At the Subway we ate at there was an official Twilight Sub.  The hardware store was named, Twilight Lumber.  I’m intentionally NOT typing the jokes in my mind right now.
  • But mostly the difference between Forks and similar towns were the “Fans” mentioned in point #1.  I was, well, scared of them in a way.  Typically 40 year old mothers of 3 don’t frighten me, you know, very much.  But to see them in this place that I suspect they may have spent, well, a great deal of time thinking about, made me a little uncomfortable.  They traveled in packs, not unlike wolves.  At one point in the “store” I did a scan of the other people in the place and I was the only adult male in the place.  I’m a pretty secure guy, but I felt like I was at a party no one had invited me to.  Please understand, I’m not disparaging these fine and lovely people.  So please let them know that I said that last part if you see any of them OR if you happen to be one of them.

I could go on.  I didn’t even describe La Push, but I already worry I may have offended the vast majority of my readers.  I was lit up recently by a woman when I implied that there may be better writers out there than Stephanie Meyer – I should’ve known better.  Anyway, if any of you happen to pass through Forks like I did be sure to eat the Twilight Sub, which is easier to eat with your $29.99 designer Vampire Fangs that you can purchase around the corner.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Black Funk in the Gulf and an Awkward Oval Office Chat

It’s been a while since you got an update on the always semi-popular, yet mostly-inaccurate, HTF spin on some of the bigger current events of recent days.  Here are of couple that you may have noticed:

  • Clearly the biggest story is the fossil fuel that for millions of years was safely underground under a few miles of ocean in the gulf until we decided to suck it out of there and put it in barrels so we can drive and fly and stuff.  After the oil rig exploded, at which point we obviously blamed the Canadians and/or terrorists from Florida, the black funk (perfect name for a 70s soul band which I probably wouldn’t be invited to join for several immaterial reasons) began spewing at rates ranging from 3 drops a day to 3 bazillion Big Gulps per second into the ocean depending on who was estimating.  The company responsible, BP (which stands for BIG freaking PROBLEMS) quickly took charge of the situation by issuing wordy press releases from London that, somehow failed to plug the hole in spite of their length and earnestness.  So then they had the CEO do commercials in America where his words and slow stride set to instrumental music also somehow failed to stop the leak.  But all these valiant efforts have succeeded in making the BP stock price roughly equivalent to the price of a bean burrito at the Taco Bell.  (I’m suddenly hungry…)  Anyway, the update is that the clean-up is well underway in spite of the mess growing exponentially by the second.  This is roughly equivalent to me trying to floss the kid’s teeth WHILE they are continuously shoving sugary pieces of Hubba Bubba in their mouths and chewing away…
  • The lead US General in Afghanistan, whose last name is McChrystal and first name is General, was pretty much fired last week.  It seems he did an interview with Rolling Stone, which makes, you know, perfect sense.  It’s not like the guy is busy fighting a war or something.  Definitely a winning strategy for all great war heroes on the eve of a major offensive is to get an interview published next to multi-page articles on Lady Gaga’s tattoos and/or underwear preferences.  And in the interview you should totally make offensive remarks about most everyone you work for (although the digs on the French people seemed fairly accurate).  Upon reading the article (the McChrystal one, not the Lady Gaga one…I think…) the President got our good General on a plane back to DC and had what must have been a very warm and fuzzy meeting in the White House, after which we suddenly have a new General in Afghanistan.  Come on, don’t you think reality TV in the White House would be WAY more interesting that at Kate Gosslin’s house?!

That’s all I have time for now, but the lessons here are mccrystal-clear: if you’re going to chew Hubba Bubba while issuing verbose press releases about oil spewage and/or Lady Gaga’s tattoos be sure you get interviewed by a deeply respected, hard-hitting, news magazine like Rolling Stone.

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