Sunday, January 31, 2010

Video Blog: January 2010

Here it is, folks: The first in a series of monthly video blogs. In this particular episode, I talk about the death of my goatee, my old black jacket and my new netbook. And, let's not forget the Beer Of The Month award! You'll find the video blog embedded below, in spectacular widescreen.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The iPad...DO NOT WANT

It was the most hotly anticipated tablet since Moses brought down the Ten Commandments. What resulted from Steve Job's keynote at the press conference in San Francisco earlier this week is the iPad. In essence, Apple's much anticipated new creation is..........a giant iPhone. I'm underwhelmed.

I realize that this device is meant to compete with e-readers like the Kindle and the Nook while offering many more media options than are available on all other e-readers. There's no way this thing can hope to compete with netbooks, though, as there's no multitasking, limited storage space, no flash support, it uses the same OS as the iPhone and has no camera? What is this? I had expected a tablet version of a MacBook, and instead Apple has given us an iPod touch for the elderly.

I'm told that within 18 months, there will be a version of the iPad with 128Meg of storage, 2gig processor and two USB ports. They are going to call it the MAXiPad. and you'll have to avoid it like the plague 5-7 days a month.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Become A Star With Popstation

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Popstation. All opinions are 100% mine.

I've always wanted to record my own album. It's the result of a life-long desire to be a rockstar, but it also stems from the desire I've got to give life to a the tiny spark of musical creativity that I've been nestling in my brain for the past 20 years. Maybe you have the same desire. Maybe there's a musician inside you just yearning to get out, but those bastards on American Idol just won't send you to Hollywood. If you've got the same dream that I do, then you'll want to head over to PopStation where they're holding a contest called The BIG Deal where the prize is A VIP album recording experience.

If you're not already familiar with PopStation and how it works, PopStation offers you an online music & entertainment singing experience. You select a song, visit one of their virtual practice rooms where you can work with lyric sheets, backing tracks, videos and song demos. When you're ready to record your song, download the song instrumental, the PopStation studio software and you're ready to go. Record your song, upload it, and you're entered in the contest. PopStation even has press releases, buttons and badges available to promote your song to #1.

The BIG Deal is awarded every three months. Registration is free. What are you waiting for?

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On Charity, Haiti, And The Nature Of Humanity

Normally, I don't allow myself to get drawn into a debate on Facebook. The opinion of some guy who used to sit behind me in study hall whose name I can barely remember doesn't really matter to me. However, I've seen the following posted in a few peoples' status updates lately and I'm just shocked at the level of ignorance being displayed, even though it's little more than the regurgitated ramblings of someone trying to look selfless and intelligent:  

Shame on you America: the only country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed without eating, elderly going without needed meds, and mentally ill without treatment - yet we have a benefit for the people of Haiti on 12 TV stations. Lets rebuild OUR country before we try to rebuild every other one................ most people won't have the guts to copy and paste this

On the surface, this sounds like a noble sentiment. After all, charity begins at home, right?

Robert Heinlein once postulated that the beginning of the end of all civilizations will occur when we allow ourselves to be identified too much with sub-groupings. For example, instead of humans, we might think of ourselves as Americans. Or more specifically, Mid-westerners, or Illinoisans or Chicagoans or South Chicagoans or South Chicago Irish. The more you identify with increasingly granular groupings, the less you identify with humanity on the whole. It's then that you begin to rationalize, often saying "Well, we need help more than they do". What winds up happening is that no one gets assistance. To put it in perspective, even Liberia and Congo, two countries much worse off than Haiti (pre-earthquake) are sending money. Look at it this way: You are no doubt familiar with the old saying "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will be fed for a lifetime"? Well, most problems in America can be solved by teaching people to "fish". Under the current circumstances, we don't have time to teach the people of Haiti to fish. We need to give them some fish before they starve to death.

In the United States, we have programs that assist those in need such as welfare, food stamps, medicaid, medicare, etc. They're not perfect, but there's only so much you can do at home. We have one of the most extensive public assistance programs in the world. In Haiti, even before the earthquake, they had nothing. The amount of aid we are sending (both pre-earthquake and post-earthquake) is just a drop in the bucket compared to what we spend on social programs here. It's about economies of scale. The per dollar effectiveness of a donation to Haiti compared to a similar donation in America is different by an exponential degree. The average wage of a Hatian is $2 a day. Simply put, a dollar goes much further in Haiti than it does in the states. As a nation, we pledged $100 million to Haiti. The UAE pledged the same amount. The EU pledged over $600 million. Even Iran and China are sending aid. What does that tell you?

I acknowledge that we have our share of problems here in the states. Which country doesn't? When you consider the scale of human tragedy in Haiti, upwards of 200,000 dead; this is more than 9/11, more than Katrina and even more than Hiroshima; anyone who doesn't have a heart made of stone would realize that these people are in much more immediate and dire need than most of the folks we have here at home.

Yes, charity begins at home. But communion begins next door.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Does This Sound Appetizing To You?

My old friend Leigh submitted this one.

Below, you'll find a staple of English cuisine called Spotted Dick. Some more prudish English menus will occasionally refer to it as Spotted Richard, but we all know what they're talking about. It's a steamed suet pudding containing dried currants. It's commonly served with custard.

The next time you're reading Harry Potter, remember that Ronald Weasley likes to eat Spotted Dick. In fact, Spotted Dick is his favorite snack.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mugshot Madness Over The Weekend

Below, you'll find two mugshot images that will no doubt find their way onto badly silk screened T-shirts sometime in the near future. Former actor, Gary Coleman, best known for his role as Arnold Jackson in the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes, was arrested yesterday on a warrant stemming from a domestic violence incident in 2009. Coleman had been cited at the time, but never showed up for court, thus the warrant.

Comedian Andy Dick was arrested Saturday for alleged sex abuse and has been released from a West Virginia jail after posting $60,000 bail. Dick has been accused of grabbing a security guard's crotch at Rum Runners in Huntington, then trying to forcibly kiss a male bar patron. Dick is currently on probation for sexual battery stemming from an incident in which he pulled down a teenager's shirt outside a California restaurant.

Whatchu Talkin' 'Bout, Officer Willis?

Hey Andy! Pull Down THIS Shirt!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Walking On Broken Glass

My ass is apparently much more powerful than I give it credit for. While bringing in some groceries earlier tonight, I attempted to hold open the screen door in order to let the dogs out while I brought everything in. The screen door swung back just as it has has always done before. This time, however, when the glass bumped my ass it shattered with a thunderous crash.

I should digress here and mention that the mere sound of breaking glass wigs me out. It puts me in a state that is not unlike that of a deer caught up in the high beams of an approaching car. There have been far too many times when I have been involved in some sort of glass breaking incident that ended with me in the emergency room having some part of my hands stitched up. Whenever glass breaks around me, I am keenly aware not only of the sound of the initial breaking, but also the subtle plinking sound of the broken shards as they hit the ground. 

I stood there for a moment, mentally assessing the situation. First off, I determined that the breaking glass did not cause any bodily damage to me, which relieved me because I dreaded the prospect of having to explain to some nurse how my gluteal area had become cut up. Thankful that my jeans had given me sufficient protection, I set the groceries down, motioned for the dogs to stay inside, and went on about the business of cleaning the porch up.

Here's where the lesson comes in. I had been so paranoid about getting the glass cleaned up, I didn't think to protect my hands. All it would have taken was a quick trip to the tool box to retrieve my work gloves. But, no, instead, I just started tossing the glass into a paper bag and ended up with a number of cuts on my fingers. Thankfully, none of them were deep enough to require stitches. Gauze and duct tape were sufficient to get them closed. Still, they are a stinging reminder to me that I need to properly think out these sorts of situations in order to minimize collateral damage.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Some Thoughts On Haiti

The Hope For Haiti Telethon aired last night on all the major networks and several other channels. I remember when I was a kid and when something like this happened, or when the President was on, my evening was shot. "Oh God! The President is on! He's on every freaking channel! I can't even watch 'Good Times'!". Thankfully, hundreds of other entertainment options are available, so anyone who doesn't want to watch George Clooney and Bono fellate each other can easily find something else to rot their brains.

In what strikes me as a very devious move, the World Bank has decided to postpone $54 million of Haiti's debt yet are also loaning them another $100 million. The World Bank is essentially acting like the international equivalent of a payday loan outfit. Why not just forgive the debt? There's no way Haiti will ever be able to repay it.

A local church group, aware of my fluency in French and my telecommunications experience inquired if I'd like to go to Haiti for a bit to help them rebuild their infrastructure. No way. I'll donate money, I'd even be willing to do a little volunteer work stateside to help out, but there's no way I could ever go. I have a child and a career to worry about. And, I don't want to get shot.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

2010 Homebuyer Tax Credits

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Coldwell Banker. All opinions are 100% mine.

With the housing market still struggling to recover from the trashing it took over the last year, it's still a great time to buy a home. Did you know that you can get a federal income tax credit if you're a first time homebuyer? In fact, the federal income tax credit for has been extended and expanded. Instead of simply covering first-time homebuyers, the tax credit now includes homeowners who wish to "move on" and purchase a new home after 5 years of living in their current property. Understanding if you qualify for 2010 Homebuyer Tax Credits can be a little difficult. Thankfully, the video below, featuring Jim Gillespie, President and CEO of Coldwell Banker, gives some great information about the tax credits as well as some interesting facts about the housing market.

The housing sector is a vital part of our national economy. Did you know that every time a home is purchased, one job for the next 12 month period is created. Every time a home is sold, an average of $60,000 is injected into the local economy. The 2010 Homebuyer Tax Credits will greatly benefit new homebuyers, buyers looking to set up to a new residence and will inject some much needed life back into the housing market. Not only is buying a house good for the homebuyer and the seller, but it's good for our economy and America.

Visit my sponsor: 2010 Homebuyer Tax Credits

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Daughter Know What She Wants To Be When She Grows Up.

I had to work yesterday. I had the kiddo join me for a little bit and let her watch as I helped lug a number of gigantic disk array servers from one cabinet to another. Her grandfather (her mother's father) essentially did the same job back in his hey day. When we left for the day, I said to my daughter "You know, if you end up working on computers here when you grow up, you'll be able to say that you work where your father and grandfather worked".

My daughter simply replied "That won't happen. I want to be a vet".

I'm proud that she wants to find her own way. I don't expect her to follow in my footsteps. She doesn't even like using the bathroom after me.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Barbie Folks Must Be Out Of Ideas

I took the kiddo shopping yesterday and she insisted we make the requisite stroll through the toy aisle. I usually take this time to zone out and think about various electronics I'd rather be purchasing. Yesterday, however, a particular Barbie doll caught my attention. It was the Barbie "Potty Training Pups" set.

My mind is boggled. I can only imagine the conversation unfolding in the research and development lab.

"Well, Barbie has experienced every career from Flight Attendant to President of the United States. What's left?"

"Computer network engineer or poop scooper"

"That's practically the same job!"

"Let's go with poop scooper. The dogs are cuter and easier to pick up after."

A number of the marketing people no doubt threw themselves out the window upon seeing the prototype. How can you make picking up dog poop seem fun? To their credit, they were able to churn out a pretty impressive load of crap themselves:

Barbie is having a fun-filled day with her new puppies! After she feeds water to each of her 3 puppies, they go potty to reveal a surprise on the newspaper - it changes color to yellow and brown! Each of the puppies goes potty in a different way: the boy dog potties when you lift his leg and the girl dog squats to potty when you press her back. The third puppy just needs a squeeze on the tummy to go potty and reveal a surprise. And when Barbie feeds the puppies, they're ready to go again! Includes 3 puppies, Barbie doll, 2 pieces of color-change newspaper, dog bed, assorted collars and toys for the pups.

Whoever thought that it would be fun to see little plastic pieces of paper turn brown or yellow has got to have their head examined. Seriously, nobody likes watching dogs poop and piss in real life, so why would kids want to deal with a toy version? The one good thing I can say about this particular Barbie is that the dress she is wearing in this set is actually very pretty and is rather modest looking. I approve. Oddly enough, she has paired the dress with a pair of dark pink sneakers, which is a diversion from her usual high heels.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hitler Reacts To The Spider-Man Reboot

It's a little known fact that Hitler is a huge Spider-Man fan. He was so looking forward to Spider-Man 4, that he planned to build a new theater just in time for its release. However, Sony is rebooting the Spider-Man franchise, thus leaving Tobey Maguire, Kirstin Dunst and Sam Raimi out in the cold. Hitler has some very harsh words when he finds out

[UPDATE: June 20, 2012] I received three copyright infringement notices regarding this video last night and have decided that filing a fair-use counter claim wasn't worth the effort.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Thoughts On The Tonight Show Controversy.

It looks like they're getting ready to strike the set on Conan O'Brien's tenure with the Tonight Show. Word is that a deal to pay O'Brien off so that they can stick Jay Leno back into the chair is imminent. It's certainly not a tragedy on the scale of the Haitian earthquake crisis, but the whole thing is incredibly disappointing for Tonight Show fans.

The problem here is that NBC tried to have their cake and eat it too. After promising to give O'Brien the Tonight Show five years ago, NBC got cold feet about potentially letting Leno go to another network where he could eat away at their ratings. In order to stave that off, the idiots in charge at NBC put Leno on during prime time. People over 50 were happy with the move because that meant that they could go to bed earlier. Unfortunately, the folks who are awake at that hour realized how un-funny Leno and were staying away in droves. This pissed off the local affiliates because their lead-in to their local news programs was deader than Leno's audience. So, in yet another brilliant move, NBC decides to push Leno back to his original time slot and put the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien on a half hour later. Conan was having none of that.

It's easy to show integrity when you're in a lose/lose situation. It's the only option you've got if you want to save face, Still, Conan's insistence that he won't allow NBC to ruin the Tonight Show "brand" by changing its time slot shows a lot of class. Leno's excuse that he's a company man and he's only doing what his bosses tell him, at best, show's that he has no spine. If the guy had any integrity, he'd walk away rather than allow NBC to dig themselves deeper into the hole. You see, a true "company man" does what's best for the company, not what the company tells him to do. And it's not like Jay needs the money.

How ever this situation is resolved, it won't amount to much in the world. What we've got here are people arguing over million dollar contracts and they are all getting their share of the payola one way or another. I wish I had their problems.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Heineken iPhone Brethalyzer App

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Heineken. All opinions are 100% mine.

There's nothing I like more than partying on the weekend. However, I always make sure to drink responsibly and I wouldn't even think of getting behind the wheel after a night of partying. I think we've all been in a situation where one of your friends has partied a little too hard yet isn't quite willing to acknowledge that they are too drunk to drive. It can be an embarrassing situation for everyone involved. Thankfully, the good folks over at Heineken have developed a novel way to diffuse such situations.

For those of you who have iPhones, you can Download the Heineken Breathalyzer iPhone app. It's a comically useful app that can be used to humorously nudge your friend into realizing that he/she is turning into one of the stereotypical drunk types identified by Heineken. You just have your friend blow into the iPhone “Breathalyzer” and it will show your friend which character he/she is turning into. It's a lot of fun, and it serves a good cause. I can't wait to test it out myself.

Heineken encourages people to drink responsibly and wants everyone to know the signs of when they've had too much. Their new iPhone app is part of their ongoing KnowTheSigns campaign. You can learn more about it when you visit The Heineken Know The Signs website

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What Lies Hidden In The Desk Of Mystery?

I changed offices recently and was assigned the task of clearing out the desk of a former colleague who had left. What would I find there? Would my findings rewrite history, shake the collective knowledge of mankind to its foundation, or would it be just another Geraldo vault joke? Find out for yourselves. The video is available below. In chilling widescreen!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mark McGwire Admits What We Already Knew

Mark McGwire has finally come clean. The ex-Cardinals slugger has admitted that he used steroids when he broke baseball's home run record in 1998. McGwire said in a statement sent to The Associated Press today that he had used steroids on and off for nearly a decade. McGwire's admission to using steroids was prompted by his decision to become hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals. No doubt he also wanted to drum up some Hall of Fame votes. With his most recent vote tally being very low, the guy probably figured he'd have to come clean in order to garner some sympathy.

I think most of the American public, even folks like me who don't follow baseball closely, knew that McGwire was juiced. Were I fan, I would be disappointed with McGwire's statement. By saying that he wished he hadn't played "during the steroid era", McGwire implies that the baseball community at large all but forced him to take the drug. Despite McGwire's attempts to shirk responsibility for his own actions, we must all realize that was this so-called "steroid era" existed because cheaters like him made it the "steroid era". If he indeed took the drug due to peer pressure, that is just another way in which he was truly a weak person.

It has to be said that the 1998 home run record chase did a lot to revitalize public interest in professional baseball at a time when even the hard core fans had begun to realize that most players were little more than one-man corporations in long johns bowing down to the all mighty Nike. Now, with Sosa and McGwire having the taint of performance enhancing drugs on them, will asterisks be issued to their entries in the record books? Will Roger Marris' record eventually be re-instated?

Any chance that we'll hear from Barry Bonds?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Spider-Man 4 Is On Indefinite Hold

Variety is reporting that production on Spider-Man 4 has been delayed so that work can be done on the script. The script has already been through numerous drafts and it appears that Sony and director Sam Raimi are at odd on which villain(s) should be featured in the movie. Raimi reportedly wants to cast John Malkovitch as The Vulture and Anne Hathaway as The Vultress, a character that has not been introduced in the Spider-Man comic books. There's no word on which villain(s) Sony wants to use.

I'm on the fence on this one. First off, Sony's insistence that Raimi include Venom in Spider-Man 3 was a huge mistake. Raimi, however, handled the directive in a completely stupid way. Venom should have been set up in 3 and then used in 4. I'm thinking Raimi may be wrong on this one. Vulture is a boring villain and even a great actor like Malkovich can't make him work. And don't get me started on the absurdity of the Vultress.

The thing I can't get my mind around is why they aren't using the one villain they have been setting up since the first movie. The thing practically writes itself. I'll do it for them! Dr. Conners, Peter Parker's biochemistry teacher is researching methods to re-grow his severed arm using recombinant reptilian DNA. After successful animal trials, Dr. Conners tests the serum on himself. It works initially, and Connors re-grows his arm. Later, however, the experiment goes terribly wrong and Connors turns into a reptilian creature called the Lizard. Spider-Man tries unsuccessfully to capture the creature. Sergei Kravinoff, known for his big game hunting reality show called "Kraven, The Hunter" is determined to hunt down and destroy the Lizard as a ratings stunt. It's then that Spider-Man realizes that the Lizard and Connors are one and the same and becomes determined to stop Kraven so he can capture and cure the Lizard. Throw in a little Peter and Mary Jane romance and angst and you've got you're movie.

Now, where's my $25 million?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Yep, I Saw Some Movies Over Break

Each year, I take a few days off around Christmas. It gives me a chance to relax, spend time with my family and have some "TommyMac" time. Inevitably, there are long stretches of time where I don't have much to do, so, to pass the time, I rent a movie or pester Jason to go out to the cinema with me. Here are a few quick reviews of some of the movies I saw over my break:

  • Sherlock Holmes: Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law had a great dynamic and it's refreshing to see a take on the Watson that doesn't have him acting like a clueless chump. Some folks have complained that this version of Holmes is much too gritty. Well, 19th Century London was driven by the coal industry, so it's pretty freaking gritty in its own right. Jude Law himself deserves an Oscar for making me forget that I was actually watching Jude Law for once. Downey is great as usual and, for the first time I can remember, I didn't hate a movie that Rachel McAdams was in. This was both intelligent and fun. Can't wait for the sequel. Here's hoping for Brad Pitt as Moriarty.
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks - The Squeakquel: I took my daughter to see this. The plot makes no sense. Casting the voices of Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney, Christina Applegate, Anna Faris, and Amy Poehler when they're going to sound unrecognizable as chipmunks makes no sense. Casting Jason Lee and hardly using him in the movie makes no sense. Then again, the concept of singing chipmunks makes no sense. The movie reminds me of an episode of the Chipmunks show from the 80's, so I guess it wasn't all bad. Thankfully, the movie was very short. My daughter liked it but couldn't articulate what she liked about it.
  • Live Free Or Die Hard: The appeal of the first three movies is that you've got an ordinary guy caught up in extraordinary circumstances. I didn't get that vibe with this one. I couldn't even sit through it. I turned it off about 45 minutes into it.
  • District 9: Intelligent, engaging, thoughtful and even fun. This is what sci-fi is meant to be. I liked this a lot despite finding the main character more than slightly annoying.
  • Star Trek: Even on the small screen, this movie is a steaming pile of space turd. It's over-pumped with action, short on story, heavy on lens flares, contains plot holes large enough to fly a starship through and is all style with little substance. No longer is James T. Kirk called upon to be Captain of the Enterprise because he was the best man for the job. No, in this version of Star Trek, Kirk sits in the Captain's chair because it's his destiny. Pine and Quinto do a great job with what they are given, but what they are given is flimsy.
  • The Darjeeling Limited: Sometimes, I think Wes Anderson puts out crap like this just to see if anybody is paying attention to him anymore. The only good thing about this movie is that it made me appreciate Rushmore all the more.
  • Terminator Salvation: I don't think it's as bad as everyone said it was. Christian Bale and Sam Worthington chewing the scenery isn't the wost thing that has ever happened in a Terminaor movie. The digital inclusion of Arnold as the T-800 was worth the rental. At the very least, this movie made me forget all about the travesty that was Terminator III.
  • The Hangover: I saw this in the theater when it first came out and bought it on DVD the day it was released. It's a definite "guy" movie and, unlike most comedies in that genre, it actually holds up to subsequent viewings.
  • Night At The Museum II: I actually liked the first one, and I liked the way Amy Adams looked in aviator pants in this one, but that's about it. The end sequence with the Wright Brothers' plane took me right out of the movie. I'll accept a mystical totem that brings inanimate objects to life. I'll accept a hot looking Emilia Earhart. I'll accept that Ben Stiller's character is a genius inventor. I will not, however, accept that the Wright flyer was capable of aerial acrobatics or even capable of transporting two people.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I Snuck My Daughter Into The Hospital

A friend of mine has been in the hospital since New Years Eve. Thinking that I might brighten up his New Years for a bit, I decided that I should pay him a visit. With my daughter in tow, I braved the bone chillingly cold weather and headed to the hospital. As I walked past the nurse's station towards his room, I heard a shrill, accusatory voice call out after me.

"Sir...." it bellowed. I knew that tone of voice. That's the same tone of voice that my long suffering high school teachers, college professors and various bosses often used on me when they were suspecting me of shenanigans. I did what I always do in that situation; I ignored the voice.

I continued down the corridor, my daughter lagging two steps behind me. The nurse made two more attempts to get my attention by yelling "Sir!" at me. Again, I ignored them. The goal was in sight, I could see the door to my friend's room. Suddenly, my path was blocked by a burly nurse who didn't seem very pleased to be ignored.

She would have to make the first move. I refused to speak up right away. Instead, I shot her a look that said "Thanks for stopping me, now you're in my way. Please move".

"You can't bring her in here", the nurse said calmly to me as she motioned to my daughter.

How would I respond? My mind began to run through my available options. Should I bite her? Should I make a break for it? Should I bite her THEN make a break for it? Both options would probably get security called on me and simply biting her would doubtlessly only net me a mouth full of flab. I decided to play stupid.

I acted like I didn't understand English. I'm fluent in French so I began to rattle off inquiries in a manner that would indicate that I didn't understand a word she was saying. Nurse Ratchet was undeterred and repeated her statement, louder this time, as if she thought that she could yell so loud that the information would somehow force itself into my mind and make me understand.

I threw my hands up and shook my head at her and tried to get around her, hoping she'd have such little passion for her job that she'd let us by. No such luck. She sidestepped us and blocked our path again. The foreign act wasn't going to work. It was time to switch tactics.

"Is there something I can help you with?" I asked, trying to sound sweet and innocent but failing miserably.

The nurse told me that the CDC has issued recommendations that children under the age of 16 should not be allowed to visit patients in order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as H1N1.

"She's 16", I said confidently.

"She's a little short for 16", the nurse said, obviously not believing me.

"For your information," I said in a mockingly appalled tone, "she has Achondroplasia and she is VERY sensitive about it. Now, if you'll just move aside, we'll accept your apology and be on our way."

No dice. I may was well have been talking to a wall. Nurse Ratchet kept explaining to me "You can have your daughter wait in the waiting room, but you can't take her into a patient room with you".

I thought about asking Nurse Ratchet how one becomes magically less virulent upon reaching the age of 16. I wanted to explain that I myself was a higher risk to the patient as I hadn't been vaccinated against H1N1 whereas my daughter had. I considered explaining that, were she to screen both of us, I would be the bigger risk because I had a slight cough. This would all fall on deaf ears, though. Nurse Ratchet had made her mind up. I was not getting past her.

I turned around, lead my daughter back to the floor lobby and we waited in the waiting room for about five minutes. Then, we walked out, this time taking the long way around so we'd be walking on the other side of the nurse's station. My daughter is short enough that she can't be seen over the nurse's station, so, this time, she walked right past without anyone noticing.

The lesson here is that, if you can't get through them, try going around them.

I'm also told that the CDC dropped their recommendations on December 29, so, really, I didn't do anything wrong.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I Don't Go Crazy On New Years Anymore

Once upon a time, I would do something insane at the drop of a hat. That was before I had a career and a child to think about. Now, my creative insanity happens in a more controlled environment. I've spent the past few years avoiding the craziness of New Years Eve parties, opting for more laid back affairs on December 31 such as dinner parties. I don't want to have to deal with the gaggle of drunken idiots on my way home. Plus, I already had an epically crazy on New Years Eve. It was 10 years ago and I still shudder when I think about it.

The Winter of 2000 was a harsh one. When I arrived at Brock and Larry's place in the early evening hours of December 31, there was a foot of snow on the ground already. We went out and had dinner at Hooters and then proceeded to party it up at some other bar nearby. We rang in 2001 there wearing cheap plastic party hats. By that time, both Brock and I were majorly drunk. By the time Larry drove us back, my BAL was 0.13 and Brock's was 0.15 according to the breathalyzer Larry had gotten for Christmas.

Outside of Brock and Larry's apartment was a basketball court. It had not been tread upon since the recent snowfall, and so it pristine. Brock got it in his head that we needed to remedy that situation. After all, what worth is a basketball court if nobody plays upon it, even in winter? Brock drunkenly challenged me to a game of one-on-one basketball. I drunkenly accepted and the craziness accelerated. We ran out, beers in hands, wearing athletic shorts and T-shirts. Larry yelled out "Shirts Vs Skins!" and Brock removed his shirt. We dove into the snow and ran to center court. I fell over during the jump ball, which allowed Brock to take possession. Dribbling was impossible in a foot of snow, which meant that my already atrocious basketball skills, now hampered by the snow, would put me on a par with Mark Madsen. Brock would fare a little better, perhaps emulating Ryan Bowen.

Brock, taking advantage of my fall, quickly scored a goal. In the midst of his victory dance, however, the bitter cold suddenly cut through his drunken haze and he ran off the field in agony. I declared myself the winner by forfeit and began to jump around the snow covered court, gloating. I then slipped and fell again and ended up making a snow angel in a foot of snow.

I ended up catching bronchitis and pneumonia soon after. I watched the video footage of the whole event recently and I continue to marvel at what a colossal drunken idiot I was. It was still fun, though.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year From The Virtual Sink

I'm not making any New Year's resolutions this year. In fact, it has been nearly a decade since I actually made one that I tried to stick to, and that involved consuming a number of different beers from around the world. I'm fine the way I am. That's not to say that there isn't room for improvement, but I don't need to set goals. I did consider resolving not to run to catch elevators. If have have to pick one, I'm just going to resolve to have a great year.

In the upcoming year, there are some things involving the site that I'd like to see happen. I think 2009 was a great year for The Virtual Sink, but I also think that there's room for improvement. Here's what I'm hoping to do:

  • Create a video blog at the end of every month 
  • Add more sound clips to the sounds section
  • Add more picture albums to the pictures section
  • More music and movie reviews
  • More snack food pr0n!