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!

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