Sunday, December 27, 2009

Technical Difficulties

If you poke around this site over the next few weeks you may find a number of broken links and missing content. I'll do my best to try to restore the site but the fact is I don't spend a lot of time here anymore.

Don't get me wrong - I'm no Dwayne. I'll still post from time-to-time and much of the missing media (particularly videos) will probably pop-up on Flickr and YouTube. I'm just not too keen on spending time trying to reconnect all the wires that are about to be severed.

If for some strange reason you can't get to something you access here on a regular basis (motorcycle oil changes, the post on Esteban's fingernails and the tornado video seem to get a lot of action) let me know and I'll send it to you. That said I'm supremely confident I won't be hearing from any of you regarding lost content. I just thought, for some reason, I should offer.

I'll be sure to post again soon so this message doesn't read like a farewell.

I'm not going anywhere. . .

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cold, Dead Hands Touching My Feet

Allie came downstairs with a book in her hand. "I can't sleep because this book scares me," she said. I gave her a slow blink and asked her to show me the passage that freaked her out. Once she found it I read it aloud to demonstrate how silly she was being.

The part of the book that panicked Allie featured a girl who watched a scary movie about a disembodied zombie hand. The girl in the book (also named Allie) was worried the zombie hand was in her attic.

I told Allie (not the one from the book) she was being ridiculous and that there wasn't anything in her book that should scare a girl her age. She gave me a second kiss goodnight and went back upstairs to try and fall asleep.

Suffices to say I'm completely freaked out and I'm certain dozens of zombie hands are gathering under my bed as I write this. They're going to grab my feet before I can leap into bed. I'll jump, the bed will jiggle and Deb will ask, "What's your problem?"

I won't answer.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Allie's Stop Motion Theater

We've been sick - too much time locked up in the house. This is what we do to keep us from torturing the cats (and each other).

It's Time for Lunch with Julia & Allie

Julia was watching Julia Child on TV and said she wanted to do a cooking show. After that I just set up the camera and they did the rest.

Sunday, November 01, 2009



This year 278 visitors came to our doorstep begging for candy. We ran out of treats this year and had to shut down 30 minutes early.

P.S. Claudette, you can find the message you erased from your voicemail here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

She Wasn't There This Morning

Once, maybe twice a week I see her watching me fill up my car. From the second story of her apartment building she sits in her brass-backed chair and watches everyone as they pump gas. I always look for her and I try to make eye contact with the woman. I never wave because I’m never sure she’s actually looking right at me. Although, it always feels as if this very old woman is ignoring everyone else while I’m there. She sees me scrub the bugs off my windshield. She watches as I try to convince the pump to dispense precisely 12 gallons of gas into my tank. She knows when I’m bad and duck inside the store for a doughnut and a chocolate milk.

On the mornings when she’s not in the window I worry about her. On Mondays, I think she has died and it makes me terribly sad. On Wednesdays I think she’s sick and too weak to sit up on her own. If it’s Friday or the weekend I think she’s sleeping in because she’s too old and too tired to bother watching. Regardless of the day, I never like it when I see the shiny brass back of her chair. I want her up there, in the window, prepared to call the cops if I get mugged or an ambulance if I spill gasoline on my pants and catch fire. I want her up there so I know she’s okay.

She wasn’t there this morning.

It’s Monday, so I’m pretty sure she’s dead.

UPDATE: Two people have asked if I've seen the old woman lately. Yes. The last time I filled-up she was sitting in the window and it appeared as if she had pen and paper. It might have been a crossword or maybe it was something more like, Dear Diary - The pudgy guy is getting gas again across the street. He is staring at me again. . .

Thursday, September 17, 2009

East Si-Eeed!

Deciphering the skill hierarchy of recreational badminton is simple:

The good players all congregate to the west side of the gym. The bleachers on that side of the building are where the people with serious attitudes and the best equipment rest between matches.

I sit on the east side of the gym. That’s where you’ll find the players who wear “I LOVE BEER” T-shirts and depend on the loaner racquets provided by the rec. department.

If you need more clues about which set of bleachers is for you just look at racquet manufacturers:

  • Yonex: The best players have not one, but two or more of these $150+ beauties packed in nice, thermal bags to preserve the integrity of the string tension.
  • Weird: These players can keep up with the best players, but they never quite win. Their racquets are from companies you’ve never heard of and unless you live in Malaysia; you probably never will.
  • Wilson: These are the decent players who have elevated their games beyond backyard barbecue proficiencies. Every now and again they have some really great games but the Yonex players make them look like they’re still at the barbecue.
  • Black Knight: These are okay racquets from Canada, but they’re the loaner racquets used by the program so most people with them in their hands are wearing “I LOVE BEER” T-shirts.
As for me, I’m sportin’ a $30 HEAD racquet that came all the way from a business park in Montreal. It got quite a bit of attention from the Black Knight players looking to upgrade; particularly when they found out it was only 30 bucks.

I like recreational badminton. I’ve been having fun. I depend a lot on whatever muscle memory remains from my tennis days. This actually has served me fairly well as I have been able to keep up in matches with the Yonex crowd. For the most part, though, I roll with the east side posse. We seem to smile and laugh a little more easily when we miss a shot which means there's a lot of laughing.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thanks for the Reminder, Richard

I got an email letting me know that I've been signed up for another year of Wired. The email told me the subscription was from Richard Springman.

Richard Springman. That name makes me think of a lot of things like:

Beer bread
Coats from the 70's with fur-trimmed, tunnel hoods
Weight lifting
Drill weekends
Moving furniture
Hagen Das
One o'clock shadows
An overrated British band with a name that rhymes with bowling cones.
Annoying Sesame Street toys
A Family who likes your friend more than they like you
Wired Magazine

Monday, August 10, 2009


I wanted to complete my State Fair experience today by having a corn dog. We skipped the $6 version on the midway and settled on a stand in the carnival area that was selling them for $4.

I walked up to the window and told the guy I wanted a corn dog. As he wrapped it up for me he smiled, "Everybody loves these. Everybody wants these. I know why."

I smiled at him mainly because he didn't have any teeth and I was having a hard time understanding him so I leaned in.

He asked me, "Do you want to know why I know?"

I told him I wanted to know and he said, "Because I know what's in 'em!"

He had already handed my corn dog to me and I know that despite my grinning I had a look in my eyes that said, "You're going to tell me your seminal fluid is in the batter, aren't you. . ."

"I know what's in 'em because I make 'em. Do you want to know what the secret is?"

I hadn't eaten the thing yet so I was confident he wasn't going to spring anything too horrible on me so I asked, "What's in them?"

"Sprite. Half a cup of sprite. It gives the corn bread a sweeter taste."

Half prepared to hear that rat's milk or strained hydraulic fluid from the Tilt-a-Whirl was his secret the only comment I could manage was, "Awesome!"

The corn dog with Sprite in the batter was good. The chocolate covered bacon was not. It made me nauseous. I'm a huge bacon fan but I couldn't manage the chilled melange of greasy, salty, porky sweetness. It wasn't a nightmare. I can actually understand why someone in a very self-destructive mood might even enjoy this treat. But for me, on this day, it was just icky.

There are much better things out there to eat on a stick.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Julia is Six

From this:
To this:
It happened suddenly.

On Thursday I picked her up and shook her and demanded to know what she did with five year-old Julia. She didn't really have a good answer for me but it's clear six year-old Julia is going to hang out with us for a bit.

I'd better spend as much time with her as I can. It seems like these Julias are switching themselves out on a fairly regular basis.

Allie's Nose

Friday, July 17, 2009

Post Haircut: Ten Lines in Ten Minutes

Because I've disabled comments I thought I'd beat most of you to the punch:

1) Tor Johnson called. He wants his head back.

2) The National Institute of Standards and Technology called. They want to use your head as a template for a perfect circle.

3) Where are Moe and Larry?

4) Hair grows, on average, half an inch every three months. That means Deb will be interested in Greg again around April, 2010.

5) I had no idea hair clippers came with a “serial killer” attachment.

6) Most guys go gray. You went translucent.

7) Now maybe you can devote some of that shampoo budget to dealing with your breath.

8) Well sir, we were going to this bingo parlor at the YMCA. . .

9) Don’t worry; they’re not staring at your hair. They’re staring at your brain now that they can see it beneath your scalp.

10) Daddy, would you mind if Mommy takes me to the birthday party?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dear Kathy -

The countdown has begun.

July 7, 2009.

The pain begins. . . again.

Artwork by Allie Lee

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bought a Used, Wireless Keyboard and I'm Going to Take it for a Spin Around the Block

Lately I've been having these horrible flashbacks to embarrassing moments from my past. Most of them happen as I drive to work each morning. They are vivid enough to make me shriek out loud as I relive them.

It's not really a shriek. It's a more of an, AAAAGH GOD JEEZ WHUUU!

Now that I'm writing about these embarrassing moments, I can't remember any of them. There was a toga party when I danced with a really cute girl and she shoved me away from her because I kept stomping on her feet.

No. That's not one of them. I'm focusing on the ones that really meant something. The moments when I screwed up so badly that it actually altered the course of my life.


Suddenly more than a few of these bad memories have come to mind but I'm really not going to share them with anyone; at least not right now.

I have on new underpants. They are expensive, high-tech underpants. It may seem foolish to spend money on technologically advanced skivies right now but I have a good reason for buying them. For one thing, they wick moisture away from your body.

I often wonder when I read about these space-age fabrics where the moisture goes once it's wicked away. Turns out that the moisture is transported directly to the outside of the garment. I know this because. . .

I wouldn't consider myself a fastidious person but I'm not altogether slovenly either. I'm clean. I keep myself clean. However, there are those rare occasions when I haven't tapped my wing-wang enough to insure that I have completely voided every inch (foot?) of my urinary tract of fluid. This means sometimes a few drops may make their way into my underwear.

Usually my cotton, boxer-briefs absorb the extra moisture but these new high-tech skivies sucked the pee away from the inside of my underwear and distributed it to the outside. I know this because of the curse of tan pants.

I looked down, panicked and then I silently went over the few tactics you can employ in this situation:
  1. Find an object to hold in front of the area to hide the watermark as you make your way to safer territory.
  2. Splash more water on yourself to make it look as if there was some plumbing accident that soaked your crotch and not your careless ding-dong manipulation.
  3. If there's a hand dryer you can remove our pants and hold them beneath it while you pray no one else wants to use the bathroom.
  4. You can go into a stall and get two wads of toilet paper. Place them on either side of the wet spot and rub them until the friction destroys the toilet paper. By the time the toilet paper wads have disappeared in your hands the mark of shame has probably vanished.
I chose option four. Should you find yourself in a similar situation, I strongly recommend option four.

I should go now. I've got my underpants, a stopwatch, a blow dryer and a huge glass of cranberry juice. I am prepared to devote the rest of my evening to science.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

It's a Wrap. . .

They had glow-in-the-dark! I'll never understand why she chose pink over glow-in-the-dark.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Spiral Fracture of the Lower Left Tibia

She really isn't smiling all that much these days.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Girl on the Run

She ran and ran and ran and then. . . she ran some more.

Allie's first 5K was a success. It was raining this morning and a little cold, but that made for perfect running weather.

We arrived early and walked the grounds while we waited for Girls on the Run group photos and the start of the race. Allie's coach found a break in the fence and we snuck in line to reach the start which meant we wound up toward the front of the 11,000+ racers/walkers there with us. As we jogged to the starting line Allie asked me when we were going to start. I looked at her and I noticed the start banner was well behind us and said, "We're racing, Allie!"

She did great. The majority of the race consisted of speed play where we'd pick a sign or a person and run to that point and then slow down for little up-tempo walking. I pushed her a little harder than she might have liked a couple of times, but for the most part Allie maintained our 80% running, 20% walking mix on her own.

Slapping her hand against the big mile marker signs as she ran by became small goals for her to accomplish along the course. Her biggest obstacle was a hill that everyone seemed to be walking up that Allie pushed herself on. She made it to the top running all the way as people out on their lawns, drinking their morning coffee, cheered her on.

The best part of the race? Allie says it was getting a drink of water and then being able to just drop the cup on the ground without getting into trouble.

For me it was looking to my right and seeing her grin, all rosy cheeked and panting, as she gave high fives to people along the course.

The only part that we had trouble with was finding Deb and Julia after the race. They waited for us at the finish line but didn't see us cross. We walked up and down the line and then waited for them at the Girls on the Run tent but didn't see them. No cell phones, no contact. Allie was a little disappointed and while they didn't actually see us I know Allie felt great knowing they were there.

We were very fortunate to be a part of an event that holds a great deal of significance for many people that goes far beyond a first-time fun run. I found a clip from today's race that does a far better job of illustrating this point than I could:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Evelyn in Three Minutes

We met Evelyn at the book store. She was in a wheelchair accompanied by a man with a big growth on his neck.

Here's what Allie, Julia and I learned about Evelyn in approximately three minutes:
  • Evelyn was blind for four months.
  • Now she can see again no thanks to that dumbass doctor.
  • She off the medicine and feeling much better.
  • She's writing a book entitled, "You Think Your Life Sucks You Should Try Mine".
  • She's seriously going to write the book.
  • She grew up during the Great Depression.
  • When she was a girl she would stand in line for hours to get food that had to last her family an entire week.
  • She wasn't invited to a wedding a few years ago because a family member called her a dirty slut.
  • Evelyn has a tiny Green Bay Packer duffel bag filled with new $1 coins that she hands out to kids who are adorable.
  • Evelyn was molested by her father.
  • She loves her grandchildren.
  • She's very fond of her granddaughter who lives far away.
  • Evelyn has a photo mounted on a small piece of cardboard of her granddaughter sitting on a couch with four men sporting camouflage T-shirts and tattoos.
  • The man with the growth not only pushes Evelyn around in her wheelchair but he also softly affirms or rephrases everything Evelyn says as he looks for books.
  • Evelyn has two cats.
  • Evelyn carries around pictures of her cats mounted on small pieces of cardboard.
  • Evelyn punctuates many of her sentences with bad words.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

母亲节快乐!(mŭ qīn jié kuài lè)


This year you asked me to get you a Mother's Day card.

So, I did.

This is what it will look like:

This is what it will look like when you open it up in a few days or so:

I know you don't speak Spanish, and neither do I, but this card seemed to capture the nuance of what I wanted to express this Mother's Day.

In any language - I love you very much, Mom. You are, indeed, una Madre tan especial.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Fascinating Flickr Photostream

These days a tour of the Whitehouse requires congressional clearance. According to the Web site: Requests must be submitted through one's Member of Congress and are accepted up to six months in advance.

I've walked around the Whitehouse. I've been waved at by, then, President Clinton as his motorcade pulled away from the rear gate (you could barely see the guy through the bullet-proof glass). I've chit-chatted with a uniformed Secret Service agent at a side entrance (those aren't hand warmers beneath those leather flaps). I've even stolen a few leaves off the lawn for Allie.

I still want to get inside someday.

This will have to do for now:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Romance Walking

There is a man and a woman who I often see walking together in our neighborhood. When they walk the man has his arm around the woman's waist and the woman has her arm around the man's waist.

If you've ever tried this you know it's not the easiest thing to pull off.

Whenever I see them I never think, "They must really be in love to make the effort to walk like that."

I always think, "I bet they're developmentally disabled."

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Mom Doesn't Believe in Unicorns


When I use your full name you know you are in trouble!

The family has read your last blog. We didn't like it. I have no idea where you come up with this stuff. I wish you would not write things like that. I have friends who read your blog. Remember Dan's Mother-in-Law reads your blog, too.

Just had to let you know what we think.

Love you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Birth of Another Unicorn

I have to really go to the bathroom. The sense of urgency is overwhelming but I'm not going to allow myself a toilet break until I come up with a topic and explore it here exhaustively.

So far I'm drawing a blank. I always thought that I worked better under pressure, but I'm not sure this is the right kind of pressure.

I know some of you may remember one reason I bought a laptop was so I could blog from the throne. I did it. I blogged while sitting on the toilet. I wasn't thrilled by the experience. And now I hesitate to do it again because I have a feeling this episode is going to be complicated. And everyone knows you don't take a magazine into the bathroom with you and expect other people to use it afterward. The same rule applies to computers.

I did this same exercise the other day while making lunch for Allie. I had to use the bathroom but there was no way I was going to go until I had everything on the table. I was slicing an apple while trying to convince myself I could overcome whatever obstacle was in my way (or way out). Each slice required me to remove the seeds and parts of the core and as I cut through the slices I thought I was going to freaking pass out but I knew that if I could master my G.I. tract that it would be the start of a new life not just for me, but for every person who is a part of my life now and in the future. Unicorns aren't real, but something just as magical was going to become real if I could just manage to keep from crapping my pants while I made lunch for my daughter.

I did it. I removed all the seeds and bits of core and as soon as Allie began to eat I dove into the bathroom.

It was a moment I will never forget.

And now, I have reached another milestone. It's the birth of another unicorn and you're a part of the magic. It feels like all my friends and family are here with me cheering me on.

Hold on, Greg. Hold it in, buddy. You can do it. You can finish this post and prove to yourself that you are in control of your life. Some will say what you're doing is inane. Some will claim you need the help of a therapist named Joan who is really good with cases like yours. But they're wrong.

I have a topic now. I'm ready to create the post that will become the touchstone for a new generation of bloggers. It's the one I've been waiting to write for years and it's only because I waited to poop.

In this bold new age the singular most signif

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Julia Gets Tormented by Item #2 from My List

J: Tell me a story about when I was a baby.
G: Well, your mom and I went to the baby store and picked you. We paid for you and brought you home.
J: You got me at a baby store?
G: Yup.
J: Did I cry when you got me?
G: No. We had to activate you first. We did that after we got you home.
J: What?
G: There's a button we pressed and it kind of woke you up. You have an off button, too.
J: Where?
G: Here. Let me press it.
G: It's no big deal. It's like you go to sleep. I promise I'll turn you right back on.
J: Daddy please don't turn me off. . . I didn't come from a baby store.
G: Duh. Remember that video you watched with those doctors pulling you out of Mommy's tummy. You were all covered with blood and stuff. There's no baby store, silly.
J: Oh yeah.
G: We had your off button installed later.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ten Things You Didn't Know About Me

I'm really getting into this list thing. Here's another one that's chock full of super interesting really groovy facts all about me.

1) I like to keep my left toenail 2mm longer than the right. I also sharpen it in case I'm kidnapped and need to cut through a rope or some type of restraint.

2) I have an "off" button. I'm told it was installed after I finished second grade.

3) I have product placement in my dreams. Last night cans of Lemon Pledge kept showing up as I tried to figure out why I went to work without my pants.

4) I wrote a letter to Mallards baseball team management suggesting that instead of "Bat Night" they have "Machete Night" and then some cops came to ask me questions.

5) I'm convinced that I can throw a javelin the length of my backyard. . . with my jaw.

6) When I was a baby if my nose was cold my mother would put me in the clothes dryer for five minutes. To this day I can't get to sleep unless someone blasts me in the face with a super hot hair dryer while simultaneously smashing a metal folding chair into various parts of my body.

7) I have secretly recreated every piece of furniture in our house by hand and then destroyed the original. Debbie always asks, "What's with you?" every time she catches me smirking as I watch her put something down on an end table.

8) I'm not as picky about toilet paper as the Principal at my daughters' school thinks I am.

9) My personal Kryptonite is. . . Whoa; wouldn't you like to know.

10) I have plans to sculpt a life-size, painstakingly realistic replica of myself in Velveeta. Then I'm going set it up at various holiday gatherings with a bunch of crackers and a sign that says, "Eat me."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Did You Know that as Soon as You Hit "Enter" Your Blog is Published?

I didn't realize that.


1) In the new year I will allow the nail on my pinky to grow so that people will think I'm a coke dealer (or Esteban).

2) 2009 is the year I will mess around with telemarketers more.

3) Fiber! Fiber! Fiber!

4) This year I am only going to check email on the first Tuesday of every third month. If you need something from me in a hurry the best way to get in touch will be by timing your email to coincide with this new schedule.

5) It's a great opportunity to start fresh with my sock drawer. I have to say this resolution is the one that's really making me tingle inside. I almost want to stop typing right now and get started. But we all know sometimes the anticipation is the finest part of the experience.

6) I'm going to start heckling more. Places like: movies, music venues, political speeches, business meetings, parent/teacher conferences (not our own), weddings and freshman communications classes at the UW. Really nasty, Tourette's-like outbursts.

7) I'm going to lose weight but only in a single area of my body. I'm going to try to isolate the nine inch strip that begins at the bottom of my sternum and ends at the top of my navel. I plan to purchase several, clingy Body Armor T-shirts that are a few sizes too small to accentuate whatever progress I make in this area and bolster whatever side show potential I may have.

8) Save enough money to check into an out patient program that will get Beyonce's "Single Ladies" out of my head for good.

9) I'm going to emancipate Allie and Julia and hang out with them at their apartment all the time.

10) In 2009 I will sculpt a bust of my wife from a chunk of concrete I plan to break out of the left center portion of our driveway. I will fill in the hole in our driveway with a burner that will create a natural gas fueled column of flame that reaches about four feet high that we will have to drive over really fast to get into the garage or the car will explode.