Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Making Fun of Stephen King.

After listening to approximately six hours worth of Stephen King's short stories on audio tape on a road trip to and from Peoria, llinois, at the beginning of the month, and after adding another two hours worth of a novella that Tad and I turn on sporadically as we commute to and from work every day and also as we go about our business during the evening, I've developed a certain disdain for his minute detail, excessive use of commas and inability to create dialog that is in any way believable, unless, of course you live in a world in which every living person precedes or confirms their thoughts with lengthy descriptions, explanations and backgrounds, like a teenager, trying to convince his overly-skeptical father that it was necessary to leave his bedroom light on the night before, not because he had sneaked out, forgetting to turn it off, but because he needed it to sleep.

In short, I'd like to know how many words can Stephen King cram into one sentence?

The answer: We're still counting.

*Yes, I am prepared to receive hate comments from S. King fans.
**Yes, I realize my simile was terrible and not nearly as creative as the time S. King described the popping sound in someone's knees as "twin pistol shots".
***Yes, I am fully aware that my entire sentence is wretched and possibly full of errors.
****My sentence is 155 words long.
*****No, I do not believe this is an accurate portrayal of S. King. Truth be told, he is much worse.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lemmies and other Lemon Deliciousness

(Aha! Those be not eggs! Those be Lemmies!!)

Life has been busy, and though I wish I had something really impressive to show for it all I have are these desserts. Because when life hands you lemons, don't you dare write blog posts or do the laundry or work on selling your car. Why, you should make lemon pie instead! Or lemon cookies! Or lemon cake!

Last week I made simple Lemon Poppy Seed Pie and tonight I made Lemon Dimples. Or, as I like to call them, Lemmies. The first was a recipe I got out of a cookbook. The second was a recipe I stumbled upon here.

On Wednesday, for Thanksgiving, I plan to make a Triple-Layer Lemon Cake. No box mixes. No shortcuts. Everything real from the lemon zest to the lemon juice to the lemon curd. Well, maybe not the lemon curd. I plan to cheat on that. If all goes well, I'll make it again for Tad's birthday in January.

Yes, I realize I'm stuck in a lemon rut. But this is how it goes and there's no getting around it; there's only eating through it. So, that's what we'll do.

(This was the recipe that called for condensed milk--my arch nemesis)

And eventually, I'll get around to some blog posts of substance.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Words (w-o-R-d-s)




In elementary school I was a star speller. Had I gone to public/private school, my workbook would have been full of gold stars. -ible, -able, -ant, -ent. There was no match for my ability. And not only was I precise, I was fast. L i g h t n i n g f a s t. So fast I swear my mother made me repeat myself a few times. e-x-p-e-d-i-t-i-o-u-s. What was that? h-y-p-e-r-s-o-n-i-c.

Part of it was because I was an avid reader. A Nancy Drew book, put away in three hours. An American Girl book in an hour and half. This, of course, in between Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Alcott's Little Women, and Streatfield's Ballet Shoes. I was insatiable. v-o-r-a-c-i-o-u-s.

The other part was because I was obsessive compulsive. Every word I saw on every sign, every commericial, every brochure, every flyer, I felt compelled to spell. Forced. o-b-l-i-g-e-d. This lasted for a good year or two, and got to the point where I could be heard whispering to myself in rapid tongue, letter after letter after letter. I soon began dividing words in half, finding the middle letter and counting the total number of letters it held.

Scary, I know.

And then, years later, we got a computer. And I met Spell Check. And I love Spell Check. No more dictionaries or asking for help. No more testing out the word on paper to see if it looks right. No more having to know how to spell.

And now . . . my words look like this:




Monday, November 16, 2009

Here's an Idea!

I am convinced that there should be warning labels on certain food items. Imagine how helpful it would be to know:


Knowing these things would have helped immensely. We can only hope to stomach the Lemon Poppyseed Pie.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pearl Slam

This is the most awkward thing. Nothing could be more awkward. In all awkwardness, this wins hands down.

Notice how awkwardly the lead singer of Pearl Jam attempts a rock star jump (around the :02, :03 mark). Notice the stiffness. Notice how he gets about 6 inches from the ground. Notice how he could jump twenty times and he still wouldn't have enough air time to fill a whole second.

It's so awkward, I feel my face flush every time. I feel my heart, hoping that maybe he won't do it. He won't jump his awkward old-man-trying-to-be-a-rock-star way. But then he does. And it's so awkward.

I think his children should say something. Something like, "Dad? All our friends are talking about your Target commercial and how you only got a fifth of a second of air time and how maybe you shouldn't try to jump anymore...and well, dad, I was thinking about it and I think you know you're rock star jump days are over when you're more worried about whether your landing will result in a broken hip than whether you're actually getting any air. I'm just sayin', Dad...."

And don't even get me started on his circa 1994 wardrobe. Come on. You're a rock star. Where's the rock clothes? Oh, I'm sorry I forgot. Your rock star clothes are probably out with your rock star jump.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We Don't Need No Education

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I was reminded of various crafts that you are forced to create as a child in order to reflect the season. A cornucopia made out of a construction paper cone, a cornucopia made from a paper plate, a cornucopia colored with crayons....

And yet how important have cornucopias been in my Thanksgiving festivities? How prevalent in holiday decor? Table settings? Memories?

Cornucopias are nothing. Nada. No one cares about them. They're void of this world, appearing only in Target's dollar deal aisle and coloring books.

And that is why I include The Lie of the Cornucopia within a compelling list of lies told us by textbooks, teachers and the educational system. It is the worlds biggest letdown list, and the top 5 are below:

The Top 5 Lies I Learned in Grade School

1) Animals hibernate during winter. I will never forget the moment I realized that 1) it was winter, 2) there was snow on the ground, and 3) squirrels were NOT sleeping. They were scurrying. It was at this point I realized that hibernation is not a winter-long sleepfest, but rather an off and on slumber party. Tisk Tisk.
2) Birds fly south for the winter. Upon realizing that animals do NOT hibernate all winter long, I turned my attention to birds and found many of them to be tweeting and cawing well into winter. Thus, disproving the teacher lie that all birds migrate south for the winter.
3) Columbus discovered America. It is common knowledge by middle school that Columbus didn't actually discover America as much as he discovered the Americas, so why lead little children to believe as such? Why not stress the difference between the two?
4) Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity. He did not discover electricity. He found it to exist within lightning. His result was not a light bulb or a spark. It was a lightning rod. This means nothing to children. So, instead of the classic (and potentially dangerous) key and a kite story, teacher should instead speak of Edison 10,000th try. Much more inspiring.
5) Everything ever said in math class. Once out of elementary school, it seems everything you ever knew to be true concerning numbers has a condition. Even the number 'zero'. You think it's the smallest number possible, right? WRONG! There are in fact an infinite number of smaller numbers, provided they are proceeded by a negative sign.

Bottom line: Though it may sound cool in the classroom, make for an interesting lesson plan and translate well into a handy craft project, teachers should ask themselves, one ultimate question:

Is it worth it?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Case Update: Modern Warfare 2

Last night on Unsolved Mysteries, we reported events surrounding Tad's strange departure and plans to acquire a video game. Since, more events have unfolded, adding to the mysterious happenings surrounding this seemingly hypnotic game.

1) Tad has been able to operate on two hours worth of sleep.
2) He has already developed pet phrases for the game's features, referring to the blood spatter that appears on the screen when the player is wounded as "Ketchup Face"--a term he devised in an attempt to trump his wife's inevitable mockery of the feature (she refers to the old wounded screen as "bloody eyeballs")

Yet in all this, a few of the mysteries surrounding the case have been answered. Why did he dress in camo? Why did he stand in line for so long? Why was it imperative for him to be there at precisely the time the game was released?

I'll be darned if I know, but it all resulted in him 'winning' GameStop's Modern Warfare 2 countdown clock due to the fact that he was the ONLY person dressed in costume.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Unsolved Mysteries: Modern Warfare 2

At 20:45:00, Tad, decked out in full camo, left to sit outside of GameStop in anticipation of the release of Modern Warfare 2 at midnight.

Friends and family are left with these questions:

1) Why is it that Tad, who must routinely be reminded to shower, did so without coercion for tonight's big event?
2) When did said event become enough reason for him to take off an entire day of work?
3) How is it that he will be able to tolerate standing in line for three hours to get this game when standing in line at Wal-Mart for ten minutes is out of the question?
4) Where exactly has the money come from to pay for his XBox Live subscription, considering neither his wife nor friends passed him funds.

And lastly,
5) How long before his wife is annoyed at some aspect of the game and demands that he play it quietly or minimally when present?

If you, or anyone you know has information that could lead to toward answers to these questions, comment in the box on the screen. Or, if you do not see the box on your screen, click on "comments".

Until next time on Unsolved Mysteries.

Da da da.....dadadadaa...daaa.da.daaa
da da da....dadadadaa..daaa.da.daa

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Remember, Remember, the 4th of November

This is my friend, Josh:
What a stud!

Now, being a die-hard Libertarian, Josh doesn't take too well to socialism. He also has a tendency to be offended by all things socialist, fascist or communist. It's just how he is. So, naturally, he was a bit nervous at this time last year. What, with all the "spread the wealth" allegations and what not.

So, for his birthday, I told him I was going to give him John McCain for president. It wasn't exactly what he wanted, but it was a step in the right direction and so he was pleased.

I was unable to follow through with this promise.

Sorry, Josh. Don't be mad!

So, this year, I'm going to scale things back a bit (because I really hate it when people promise stuff and don't follow through), and instead, list out for you reasons why Josh is one of my top 10 most favorite persons in the world:

1) He's a fellow home schooler.
2) He doesn't take himself too seriously. (Ahh, my knee!! )
3) He is easily angered. (We often tell him that Thomas Jefferson would have made a good president, or that JFK was a godsend or that Guy Fawkes was awesome!! or that we're glad the government tells people where they can and can't smoke--just to make him mad.)
4) He is of Norwegian ancestry. (Norwegian and Jewish, to be precise. I particularly like the Norwegian part, since I am also of that people).
5) He includes me in conversation. (There can be a huge group of guys talking about guns and video games, yet Josh, if he is close enough, will talk with me about books or his love life or taking over a small country)
6) He has dreams of taking over a small country. (This is a dream we've shared for awhile now...letting our Viking roots get the best of us...it's just a matter of choosing the right country....oh, and getting over the fact that Josh prefers freedom and is therefore morally opposed to conquering and ruling a people group even if in the name of liberty)
7) He is a superb actor. (I had the privilege of acting opposite him in Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park. Because of what we would later find to be typecasting, we were the old people.)
8) He could be a fighter pilot if he wanted. (Or, at least this is what I imagine of him).
9) He is smart, but not too smart for his own good. (Nuff said)
10) He may one day rule the world. (His most favorite thing in the world is politics (that, and reading while eating potato chips). It's just a matter of time before he gets so riled up over what he's seeing in Washington that he'll run for some seat, somewhere)

Glad to see you like the gift, Josh.

Happy Birthday! Hopefully, this post will make up for the fact that I was not able to come through on last year's present and consequently we're about to have evil, government health care!!

P.s. - What do you think about North Korea? I hear Kim Jung Il will soon be relinquishing his throne to his son...sounds like the perfect time for a coup.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Birds

Can you count them?

Would you want to?

What's scarier than a billion and one birds circling outside of your window? (Alfred Hitchcock need not answer this one).

The poop they leave behind.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Creep Alert!

There is an unspoken bond between runners.

A smile. A nod. A warm 'hello'.

Regardless of height, age, race, weight or fitness level, passing a fellow runner means you're passing a friend, and all normal tendencies go ignored as you and that person share a moment. A moment in which you know that regardless of his bulging biceps or her graying hair, you are kindred spirits.

So what happens when kindred spirits get creepy?

I heard the pounding footsteps approaching behind me. Staying to one side of the path, I continued my pace, unfazed. I had been passed before. Once, by an elderly Asian man, wearing brown denim and ankle weights. Once by a tall, dark and handsome. I was sure I could handle this heavy-stepped runner.

And then, his steps slowed.

I stayed my course, my eyes straining where my head would not dare to turn, yet he remained out of sight. We continued on for a second or two, before I caught a bit of movement. I turned, and as I did so, he came up beside me.

Dark hair
White shirt
Blue athletic shorts
Glasses, maybe

I turned my attention back to running. He was nothing to be afraid of.

And then, he spoke.

"How you doing?"

I didn't know whether to answer. Sure, we were both runners. At times it can be awkward to pass a fellow runner. And yes, there is a runner's code that says we're to be friends and share in our secret knowledge that what we're doing is better than the walkers or the bicyclists or the golfers even if it causes a bit more pain, but THAT DOES NOT MEAN WE HAVE TO BE SPEAKING FRIENDS.

"Alright," I answered--my standard answered when I'm secretly annoyed. Then, because I live by the runner's code, maintained friendliness, "You?"

"Good," he said.

He lingered for a moment before taking off. Then, not 20 paces ahead of me, he looked back.

Now, he could have been being nice.
He could have been looking out for me.
He could have been double checking on whether the tree he passed a minute ago was truly an oak.
But my gut told me, he was being creepy....and it wasn't just the side stitch talking.

I followed him for a bit (there's only one path around this particular park). Then, after he again stole a lengthy glance behind him, I slowed to a walk. And when the opportunity for me to cross over into the bordering neighborhood presented itself, I took it. There was no way I was going to 'happen' to be in the parking lot at the same time as this guy. No way.

And that's my story. Was he a creep? Maybe. Maybe not. Did I get too freaked? Maybe. But probably not.

I'm trying out this new thing where I force myself to react as a normal person would, because the real me lacks a healthy dose of fear. The real me takes unplanned detours into the neighborhoods of Gary, Indiana, and the real me goes to the Shell station off of Pontiac at 10 o'clock at night.

While the new me throws up a red flag at 'hello'.

It's all about balance.

The real me lacks a healthy dose of fear.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nurses (IN NEED)

It wasn't until today, that I heard of the plight of American nurses. They are in need. They are in Desperate Need. And to aid them in their suffering, you and I have the opportunity to join their ranks. It won't be pretty, but it will be well compensated.

So, what say you?

What was that?

You don't want to spend 24 months in training only to find yourself in need?

That's okay. There's an even better deal out there...

If you're between 25 and 29, you get to cut that learning time in half and make more than ever. And that whole being in need thing? Turns out this deal doesn't involve nurses in need, but rather a need of nurses!

Who would have thought?!
I'll see you in the ranks.

This has been brought to you by AdVantage - making sense of ads since 2009.