November 30, 2009

Things that will kill me that used to be safe

When I was a kid, my parents threw me in the back seat of the car without seatbelts. I drank water from the garden hose and I’m pretty sure I ingested a fair share of lead paint. It’s a miracle I’m not dead. But that got me to thinking… What items do we encounter in our lives that used to be considered safe but now will kill you? The list grows daily. These are just some off the top of my head but I’m sure you might have others. Let me know so I can go live in my plastic bubble. Oh, wait. Make that glass bubble. Plastic will kill you.

  • Plastic bottles
  • Vaccinations
  • The Flu
  • Icebergs (Titanic not withstanding)
  • Cell Phones
  • Fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Sugar
  • Fake Sugar
  • Caffeine
  • Floor Mats
  • Being Uninsured
  • Fish
  • Paint
  • Water from hoses
  • Cough Syrup
  • Beds of pick-up trucks
  • Bacteria
  • The Sun
  • Rain
  • Air
  • The Internet
  • Television
  • Video Games
  • Diet Soda
  • Soy
  • Pesticides
  • Blogging (Kidding. I think.)

November 10, 2009

Helping out Disney with their Princess Dilemma

In our home, Princesses are a big deal.  We’ve got Ariel and Aurora.  Belle and Cinderella. A little bit of Jasmine. (Not really a Mulan or Pocahontas as Disney doesn’t seem to push the Princesses of Color as much – I’ve got some thoughts on that, but that’s another post.)

Disney is making another Princess movie, The Princess and the Frog (little known fact, I was briefly considered for the role of the The Frog, but  I wasn’t the right shade of green), and I’m starting to wonder what other Princess stories they can come up with to continue to cash in on the obsession of preschool girls (and their twin brothers who seem to have the hots for a certain red-headed princess with fins) for every cartoon character with a crown.

So I have taken it upon myself to brainstorm some ideas.

The Princess and The Pimp. This follows the story of a cute little prostitute from West Hollywood who doesn’t realize she is really a princess.  Her pimp, an evil man who loves nothing more than to screw young girls out of their future (both literally and figuratively) discovers her true identity and goes to great lengths to prevent her from learning the truth. Prince Charming rescues her after a great night of “snuggling under the covers” and she lives happily ever after – or until she dies from Hepatitis a few years later.

Princess Chastity and the Magic Pole. This soon-to-be classic follows stripper extraordinaire Chastity who fights evil by swinging around on her magic stripper pole, destroying evil and delighting boys of all ages.  You must pay for the movie fee with $1 bills.

Princess Portia and her Special Princess Friend Ellen. This movie is a double bonus as girls get two princesses for the price of one.  Both princesses are extremely successful in their own right and the synergy of princess power is hard to ignore.  The movie is bittersweet in that it is difficult to live “happily ever after” when the ultimate scene is not a wedding but a civil ceremony certifying them as “domestic partners.”

Princess Oprah Rules the World. Why not, right? Oprah pretty much owns everything else on this planet – why shouldn’t she get to be a princess too?  Promos abound with Oprah screaming, ‘IT’S THE BEST PRINCESS MOVIE EVVV-AAAAAHHHH!”  Added bonus: All the dolls of Princess Oprah will come in two sizes: Petite Oprah and “The camera adds 50 pounds” Oprah.

Princess Kate Plus Eight Munchkins. A takeoff on the classic Snow White, Princess Kate suddenly finds herself taking care of eight little ones after her loser Prince turns out to be a skirt-chasing scumbag.  Unfortunately, Princess Kate succumbs to the pressures of Princesshood and ends up sleeping with her bodyguard royal servant.

Princess Swee’Pea and Princess Monk. This movie is based on real life examples of how Princess Swee’Pea owns all of the beautiful princess gowns but her brother covets them and wears them every chance he gets.  The movie ends when Princess Monk is finally given his very own Princess Dress to wear whenever he wants.

These are just a handful of ideas. If Disney wants to hire me to do some consulting for their next big Princess film, then I’m more than willing to help out.

October 11, 2009

The Week That Was – A Body Made for Radio

It started out like any other week. Monday morning was the usual struggle to get the kids back into our weekday morning routine. A certain girl didn’t like the socks I picked for her. A certain boy didn’t want to put his shoes on. A certain Daddy was under-caffeinated and rushing to get to work.

Tuesday was more of the same. Nothing very exciting.

Wednesday, however, got interesting. In a brief chat with Tania from Chicky Chicky Baby, we both got into a whining match about how much weight we’ve gained since BlogHer. My memory of the actual conversation is vague but I seem to remember references to thunder thighs and hippos. It also got more interesting when Tania said, “I smell a bet.” So a bet was made. The bet? Whoever loses the most percentage of weight in the next six weeks is the winner. The loser? The loser will have to post a photo of herself on her blog wearing spandex.

My starting weight was 189.5 pounds.  Since the bet was placed, I’ve lost 3.5 pounds. I am determined to win this bet. Here is my game plan:

  • Have a net daily caloric intake of 1300 calories.  (I can eat more but the exercise I do has to cancel out the extra calories)
  • Exercise. A lot. I’m thinking of doing the thigh master at my desk at work.  Maybe some buttock squeezes whenever I’m walking. Perhaps even some running.
  • Taunt Tania with apple cider donuts. Thinking of having a dozen shipped to her every week day.
  • Shave my head. Every ounce counts. That hair was on its way out anyways.  If that doesn’t work, shave the rest of the body.
  • Lose a limb. How often do I really use my left arm?
  • Donate a kidney.  How much does a kidney weigh? A pound?

This better work.  If it doesn’t, I’m going to have to post a photo of a bald-headed, hairless, one-armed, spandex-clad me on this blog.  I’ll miss my readers.

Thursday was a lot of fun.  My body adjusted to me starving myself. And when I say adjusted, I mean my stomach growled all. day. long.  That evening, however, I got to chat with Karl from Secondhand Tryptophan on his internet radio show.  You can listen to the recorded show at his radio show website or you can look up the podcast on iTunes.  We had a nice talk.  I answered the questions that James Lipton always asks on Inside the Actors Studio and chatted about why I think women hold men back from parenting (you know you wanna listen now, right?).  It was fun and I had a good time.

Friday, aside from starving myself, I went to visit our day camp at the Y.  The staff asked me to participate in a banana eating contest with other staff directors in front of the  entire camp.  I happily obliged because I’m a team player and I wanted to support our camp staff.  As I stood with five of my fellow directors in front of the camp, they blindfolded all of us and handed us a banana.  Soon after, they shouted “GO!” and it was on!  I crammed that banana in my mouth.  As I finished it, I could hear the kids cheering and someone handed me another banana.  I started to shove that one in my already full mouth and suddenly, I was declared the winner.  I removed my blindfold, banana still in my mouth, and glanced around.  Every staff member that had been standing next to me was no longer next to me and not one was eating a banana.  It was then I knew I had been had.  The banana eating contest was a contest of one: Me.

Of course, the staff and kids began laughing and I laughed along too.  They got me.  They got me good.  Of course, they won’t be laughing so hard when I don’t sign their timecards next week.

Saturday and Sunday were all about not eating.  It’s harder than it sounds.  Stay tuned for that. Bald, one-armed guys in spandex could be a sight to see.

July 16, 2009

101 Words of Wisdom (21-40)

    21. Thank your teachers. They laid the foundation to your future success.
    22. Learn to play a musical instrument. Everyone wishes they knew how to play the piano or the guitar.
    23. Maintain your car. Change the oil, rotate the tires, get scheduled tune-ups. Your car will last much longer.
    24. Don’t let fear stand in the way of your dreams. Fear is a wasted emotion.
    25. Learn to say “I’m sorry.” Apologizing helps make it better.
    26. Find a mentor. If someone is where you want to be, seek that person out and learn.
    27. Learn CPR and First Aid. You never know when you could need it.
    28. Surround yourself with people smarter than you. Be confident in that others brilliance shines brightly on you.
    29. There is no such thing as “get rich quick.” Success comes from talent and hard work. Period.
    30. Become an organ donor. Your last gift will save others.
    31. Always make sure you take time for yourself. You can’t give to others when your tank is on empty.
    32. At work, dress for the next position you want. If you look like you belong, superiors will take notice.
    33. Stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. Correct injustices when you encounter them.
    34. Don’t take yourself too seriously. You can count on the fact that 10 years from now you will laugh at your current hairstyle and clothes.
    35. Love with abandon. Holding back when in love doesn’t honor how rare love can be.
    36. Give blood regularly. Every blood donation can help three others.
    37. If someone offers you a breath mint, take it. There might be a reason it’s being offered.
    38. Be humble. Nobody falls harder than the one who thinks he can’t fall.
    39. Admit when you’re wrong. It certainly won’t be the last time so get used to it.
    40. Don’t assume. It only makes an ass out of you and… well, just you.

June 1, 2009

Meaning of life

Over the years, I’ve spent a great deal time pondering the age-old question, “Why are we here?”

As a kid, I would stand in front of the mirror, peering relentlessly into my own eyes and ask why I existed. What am I here for? What am I supposed to do? Am I here by chance or is there a purpose behind my existence? Was I part of a higher being’s great celestial plan? Or was I here based on a big bang and pure chance?

I never did find an answer.

But that didn’t keep me from asking the question. As I got older and wiser I began to think that maybe I was put on this earth to do good. To bring joy to peoples lives. To leave the world a better place. To make a difference in the life of a child.

As I studied the stars on a crystal clear night, I would ponder the heavens and wonder about all the possibilities strewn across the galaxy and galaxies beyond. And again I’d think of the question… why? Is it to behold a sunset while holding your wife in your arms? Is it to witness the newborn cries of your children and see life being created and all of its possibilities? Perhaps it’s to experience laughter and sorrow and fear and joy and love and anger so that you may truly know yourself. Perhaps each of us is put here to learn as much about ourselves as possible before we move on to the next stage. Or perhaps this is the last stage.

Years and years of pondering have brought me to this point. One where I finally know myself and I can finally answer the question, “Why am I here?”

The answer, it turns out is this:

To eat donuts.

March 11, 2009

The end of the pity party

I’m a pretty up-beat guy.

I like to experience the joys in life versus the kicks to the groin. I’d rather laugh than cry. When looking at a glass of water, it’s almost always half full (unless TheMonk drank it, then TheMonk’s half full).

Obviously, for the past couple of months it’s been hard to focus on all the wonders of the world when my own world seemed barren and desolate. But that ends today.

Today, I choose to look at all the good that is in my life. Today, I choose to laugh rather than cry. Today I make a choice to live life like I own it rather than living like it owns me. So while there are still many uncertainties in my life I choose to be happy nonetheless.

And I’m upbeat even after learning that my kids lost some IQ points just because I was an old fart when they were conceived. No, not even having stupid kids will get me down today.

Today was a good day. I got to sleep in (Thank you Daylight Savings Time!), I found out my kids aren’t as messed up as I feared, the auction for my YMCA (that many of you helped support) netted over $4,000(!), and I had Golden Grahams for dinner. It’s my feeling that any dinner filled with things that are partially hydrogenated is a pretty darn good meal.

And tomorrow… TOMORROW! I hear that the little punk girl I bought Girl Scout cookies from is finally going to get off her lazy butt and deliver them to my office. AND because the stars are aligning as we speak, I also hear that the two buckets of cookie dough I ordered to support the YMCA Youth & Government program is also coming tomorrow. Life is, indeed, good.

So from here on out, I hope to resonate with joy and love (and possibly chocolate chips). I hope to find humor even when it is difficult. I hope to teach my kids that it’s not getting knocked down that defines you in life. It’s whether you get back up.

And it’s good to remember that even a kick in the nuts can be pretty damn funny. Eventually.

February 21, 2008

I’m an excellent driver

I am a good driver.

No, that’s not right. I’m a great driver. When it comes to directing my vehicle through the cement superhighways, I am the Tiger Woods of driving.*

With that in mind, picture this. I’m cruising in the “fast lane” of the local interstate in my super fly 1994 faded gray Nissan Altima with two hubcaps missing. I’ve got the radio cranked up and I’m cruising at a nice rate of speed. In my rear-view window I see a red sports car with a young blond behind the wheel holding a cell phone to her ear. She has been slowly gaining on me but she’s not quite close enough for me to change lanes to get out of her way. Even if she was, traffic was getting a bit tight and there wasn’t room to move over.

Because I’m such a good driver, I was looking farther down the road than is normally necessary and I notice that traffic is beginning to slow considerably about a 1/2 mile down the road. And because I’m a good driver and good drivers don’t plow into cars that are slowing to a crawl, I took my foot off the accelerator and began to slow.

The lady behind me, without removing the phone from her ear, suddenly became indignant that I would be slowing down and flashed her lights at me. As if to say, “Hey moron, why are you making me late to my tanning session?”

I did the classic raise-my-hands-in-the-air as if to say, “WTF?! Can’t you see all the frickin’ cars slowing all around us?! Or is that cell phone embedded so far inside your brain that it’s impeding the two synapses that remain in that vacant skull of yours?”

Or something like that.

The best part of it was that right after this she, of course, noticed the reason I was slowing down and realized that her flashing me with her lights wasn’t the best course to take. And I watched her quickly change lane after lane and exit the freeway with her tail between her legs.

Soon after, the traffic dispersed and quickly, but safely, proceeded on my way – blond-in-sports-car free.

*Honey, if I die in a fiery automobile crash someday, please delete this post from the blog. And don’t get remarried or I’ll haunt you forever. Thanks!

December 20, 2007

“Starbucks” to go

I start the day like I do almost every day. I make myself a cup of coffee at home and take it with me in a travel mug for the morning commute.

I usually make myself a poor man’s mocha with some instant coffee and cocoa powder. Sometimes I’ll add a little raspberry syrup. I’m a gourmet like that.

Today, I decide to make a poor man’s eggnog latte. I figure the eggnog will be sweet enough to counter the bitter coffee so I don’t taste it before heading out the door.

I drop the kids off at daycare before I have my first sip. It is bitter. Very bitter. It will be a long commute if I have to drink this bitter eggnog concoction.

There’s a Starbucks that I frequent often just down the street from where I live (Probably from where you live too. Perhaps we’re neighbors.) and I pull in to rectify this bad coffee morning.

I walk in, smile and nod at the barista who is cleaning a nearby table. I walk straight for the area where the milk, sugar and napkins are held. I grab two organic sugar packets from the caddy. I also grab a wooden stirrer and a napkin.

I, once again, nod at the barista and then I head out to the car to sweeten my homemade eggnog latte.


Is that wrong?

December 7, 2007

Rain Drops keep hitting me in the head

It’s raining today.


I mean, this has to be the third time this year.

I might actually have to find an umbrella and one of those jacket things.

November 11, 2007

Grand Theft Shopping Cart

Yesterday I went grocery shopping.

I arrived at 8:00 p.m. at a Farmers Market which is a grocery store that has a lot of good produce and organic goods. My plan was to hit this store for some produce and meat and then hit Trader Joe’s, located in the same shopping center, for the rest of what I needed.

Both stores closed at 9:00 p.m. so I needed to get in and out of there as fast as possible.

I raced around, throwing flax seed oil and chocolate-covered peanuts into my basket. In the produce aisle, I bagged some tomatoes and some parsley, threw them into my shopping cart and hustled over to the meat section. I was so focused on my shopping list and what I needed to get in the meat section that it took me a while to hear a voice calling, “Hey! Excuse me!”

In retrospect, I do vaguely remember hearing that “Hey! Excuse me!” more than a few times as I raced over to fondle the poultry. It wasn’t until I arrived, however, that I realized that person was talking to me.

“Yes?” I reply when I turn to see a guy almost running to catch up to me.

“Um,” he says, pointing to the shopping cart that I’m still clutching in my hands, “You took my cart.”

I glance down and see a whole array of food that aren’t mine – except for the tomatoes and parsley. Those are mine.

“Oh. Sorry!” I say as I quickly hand the cart over. “I’m so sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

Embarrassed, I look for my own cart and go and retrieve it in the produce section. My plan is to get out of the grocery store so I don’t have to face the guy and his wife whose cart I stole. It is then that I realize my parsley and tomatoes are still in the cart.

My mind, for a moment, wants to just leave it and go get more. I don’t do this, however, and I go and retrieve the items from the guy’s cart.

I leave before I get arrested.

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