The Duke of Chutney Visits HTF

Thursday, July 29, 2010 | | 2 comments |

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:

Henry,

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.

Regards,

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!

Enjoying the Journey, or better yet, sleeping through it

Monday, July 26, 2010 | | 3 comments |

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.

I so wish this would happen at the Miss America Pageant

Thursday, July 22, 2010 | | 2 comments |

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 henrythefrog@gmail.com.  I'll be happy to answer them, mostly like in a way that will leave you forgetting what the actual questions was.

Baseball and that girl who hit me with the ruler

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 | | 5 comments |

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:

image

image

Get the camera away from that dude!

Sunday, July 18, 2010 | | 5 comments |

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.

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

Saturday, July 17, 2010 | | 2 comments |

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.

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

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 | | 1 comments |

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?

My Weekend in the Literal Twilight Zone

Thursday, July 01, 2010 | | 2 comments |

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.

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