Sunday, December 24, 2006

But The View Is Amazing

I have never scaled Mount Everest, but I have been to the summit of Piestewa Peak quite a few times. All without the benefit of supplemental oxygen. Lately, Robyn and I have come about as close to Everest as we will ever get, thanks to the new Discovery Channel documentary, Everest: Beyond the Limit. It doesn't take much to get me to watch something on DSC (as long as that something doesn't showcase those overhyped Orange County idiots). However, if it is on DSC and Robyn likes it, it must be great. Truly, this series is great.

Unlike seasoned climbers, the times I have been at 29,000 feet above sea level have been in the back of a commercial aircraft. As I struggled to relieve the numbness in my lower back during our flight to Boston yesterday, I found that there were other startling similarities between scaling the highest mountain on the planet and traveling coach class in an A319. Here are my reflections from the top.

Miles of walking over rugged and unfamilar terrain are required just to reach an intermediate camp (or connecting flight).

Only sherpas have the über-human strength and stamina necessary to carry the hundreds of pounds of required bags and supplies.

At altitude, there is barely enough food to survive. Minimal sustinence consists of processed rations in one of the following forms: gel, dehydrated, freeze dried, or powdered.

Ultimate success or failure is at the behest of Mother Nature. For climbers, failure is the end of a dream. For air travelers, failure is the start of a nightmare that includes sleeping at gate B26 and eating TCBY for breakfast, Cinnabon for lunch, and Pizza Hut for dinner.

Space and movement are so limited that you have to urinate in a cup and throw it out. Ok, on a commercial flight, this is frowned upon.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Admittedly, I don't get out very much. But in typical Christmas vernacular, we ventured into the dark heart of American consumerism: Scottsdale Fashion Square. I was immediately overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the situation. Thousands of contumelious teenagers and Snobsdale socio-elites flooded wreath bedecked halls in an orgy of commerce. Truly, my ninth circle of hell.

Robyn sped off and left baby and me to fend for ourselves. I wandered aimlessly, pushing an empty stroller with baby strapped securely to my chest. In the throng of passers-by, a woman hails me and asks, "Do you know where the movie theater is?" This question made me laugh on so many levels. First, I didn't even know where we were parked. Second, keeping in mind I have a four-month-old baby on my chest, when do you think was the last time I made it to the movies? Third, I'm a 32 year old man with a baby strapped to my chest. Do I appear to be the best candidate to answer your mall information inquiry? I politely told her I didn't know.

I stopped to sit on a bench while baby napped peacefully. Another weary dad and baby sat down next to me hoping for a brief respit. Anonymous Dad strikes up a nice conversation about his Anonymous Kid, his dad life, and his Anonymous Wife. Eventually, Mrs. Anonymous Dad shows up and whisks him away for what is undoubtedly more torture. Certainly, a forgettable event.

My dilemma is this. How do I ask another dude for his phone number? I could use another dad pal in this life and this guy certainly made the grade. But coming right out and asking a guy for his number is a little, well, yeah. I wouldn't even know what to say. "Hey, it was great talking with you. Maybe we can get together sometime and talk more about getting the kids to sleep?" Seems a little stalker-ish. I never was good at asking for numbers. Anonymous Dad, if you're out there, I like reading, walks on the beach, and playing Scrabble.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Fox Funday

8:22 tonight, we get a glimpse of the film that will change the world.

Monday, October 30, 2006

But Once A Year Does It Pass

For an epicurean undertaking as complex as the state fair, I needed to prepare a checklist. My record of completion and comments below.

þ Indian fry bread with beans and cheese. This is my state fair tradition. I can't recall a time when we went to the fair and I didn't get a Navajo taco.
þ Funnel cake with strawberries. Had a few bites of this. Perfectly crispy and delicious. Makes me want to sell the house, buy an RV, a funnel cake machine, and roam the country with my carny bretheren.
Fresh roasted corn on the cob. Mmmmm, corn.
Deep fried Snickers. This was my first sampling of the deep fried sweet craze. I have to admit, although tasty, I would not order it again.
Fried zuchini, onion rings, mushrooms, and artichokes. I mistakenly ordered this veggie platter from a place serving fish. The vegetables were big and fresh, but the batter was flavorless and non-descript. As Robyn would say, "You didn't like it because the vegetable-to-batter ratio was too high." Indeed.
Deep fried Coke. I expected this. What I got was something that looked like a soggy corndog and tasted like warm, flat Coke.
Deep fried cookie dough. After three offerings, I've decided I don't like the fried sweets. I like my fried salty, meaty, and on a stick. Preferably of the pork variety.
þ Spicy cajun corndog. There is nothing like a true state fair corndog. A foot of some sort of spicy meat, dipped in corny batter, and served on its own souvenir stick.
Polish sausage corndog. This needs some explaining. I wanted the cajun 'dog because I wanted the true creole experience. I had not finished turning the stick horizontally to gnaw
the last batter remnants, when across the fairway I did spy the elusive Polish sausage corndog. Back to back 'dogs? Could it be done? I sidled up to the counter, slapped down my fin, and asked for a Polish. The carny looked right at me and asked incredulously, "Didn't you just eat one?" Yes I did, brother. Yes I did. This is a true story.

Frozen banana. The crown jewel of stick-based cuisine. God's perfect fruit made even more perfect through the magic of refrigeration, chocolate, and of course, the stick.
Grilled turkey leg. The line was too long. I'll catch you at Thanksgiving, Mr. Turkey.

Until next year, I leave you with these words of gratitude from Homer Simpson.

"He's not just some guy, Marge. He's a Carny and part of a noble tradition. Carnies built this country--the carnival part of it anyway--and though they may be rat-like in appearance, they are truly kings among men."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Wild Parakeets Of The Golden Horseshoe

I finally got a shot of the wild 'keets socializing in our tree. Apparently the rest of the world calls them budgies.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Not In My Backyard (But I Wish They Were)

These friendly little piglets are javelinas. The little pellets are pieces of dog food on which they love to snack. The babies are two days old. These collared peccaries are wild and free roaming. Pictures courtesy of a guy at my work, taken looking out on his 10 acre spread in New River.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I Wish It Was Waterworld

Name this movie storyline.

Kevin Costner stars as a washed up pro who is too old to get back into the game. He struggles with reconciling his past success with his current role as a mentor in a training environment. The only connection to his storied past are the dreams of a brash young talent. But he finds that much has changed in the passing of the torch to the new generation.

If you said Bull Durham, I'd say you just got punk'd. If you said The Guardian, I'd say, why do you know the plot of this hackneyed mush? Did you actually watch it?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Let It Grow

Three cool living things that appeared in our backyard recently.

1. This guy is probably a waved sphinx. And I think he likes to munch on our jalapeño plant.

2. This hibiscus has no business growing in full sun and radiant heat from a block wall. How it thrives I'll never know.

3. This parakeet is among about ten others that regularly appear to eat seed and socialize. They always arrive in pairs. I couldn't get a good shot with his friend. White, yellow, blue, and green are the other varieties. With these pictures, I feel like we live in Hawaii, not Arizona.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Greatest Day Ever. Ever.

I didn't know I had this much love in my heart.
We love you, Audrey.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Things You Might Have Missed

I noticed this on Yahoo!'s most emailed photos today. If you are going to assemble 17,000+ sailors and most of the Pacific theater's military firepower for what amounts to a "picture on Santa's lap," you could at least ensure that all the children are wearing their best clothes, have their eyes open, and are smiling. Careful observation of this picture reveals two errors (click on photo for edits):

1. Air Force pilots are incapable of flying a decent echelon left. That's an F-16 so grossly out of position.

2. If you look closely, you can see the helo buzzing around in the distance. From one helo pilot to another: have some pride and stay out of the cool picture. People like you best when you deliver pizza and mail.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day!

To my dad, and the other dads and dads to be (that's me!), happy Father's Day! I got this great book to commemorate my first of many Father's Days. I read it and cried like our soon to be born baby.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Temporary Felt Covered Wall Hangings

To pass the time until the next season of The Office...I love the single camera work on these clips. Here is their other site. I was actually looking for something like this to brighten my workspace.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Your Sunday Cartoon

I didn't know Over The Hedge was first a comic strip. Am I living under a rock?

Monday, May 29, 2006

A Mile And A Half In His Shoes

I found this article after poking around in some Yahoo! groups to which I subscribe. As the officer that used to brief these cases to Academy leadership, I know that the Review Board has shown more than its share of leniency-- to the detriment of consistency.

I recall Mr. Shannon, but he had not risen to a level of great concern when I was in this position. Despite his size and reputed strength, any football coach will tell you that a 10:30 1.5-mile time should be easily attainable. I know from experience that any student in this position is screened by a panel of senior physicians to eliminate the possibility of any physical ailment. Barring a physical condition, there should be no reason why a 23 year old man cannot meet this relatively low standard. But the physical fitness standard is not the issue here.

I'm sorry that he is shouldered with this monstrous debt at such a young age. Truly, I am. However, the Naval Academy espouses itself to be "the cradle of leadership." And without standards, there will never be growth and development of, supposedly, the nation's finest.

Mr. Shannon has invoked the name of his Congressman for assistance. Sen. Mikulski, bless your heart, it is your astute body that set the compliance to these standards. And these standards, I argue, are broken not only by the midshipmen, but more egregiously, by the administrators themselves. My chief complaint during my tour at USNA was the murk of unpredictability and opacity that surrounded these separation hearings. In my experience, an identical set of facts could yield any permutation of administrative discipline, ranging from a verbal warning to discharge with debt recapture. Frighteningly, I was rarely able to correctly predict the outcome of a student's case.

I'm not givng Mr. Shannon a pass. I'm not giving the Academy leadership a pass either. When exceptions are more common than the rule, the rule making body needs to reevaluate their effectiveness.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Proeliator Senator

Translation: Warrior Senator

What isn't to like about Senate hopeful, James Webb? He's a Marine attorney/author from Nebraska that graduated from the Naval Academy and is now running on the Democratic ticket in Virginia. Of course his Republican opposition is already mounting a campaign to discredit his military record, which includes the receipt of the Navy Cross. Tasteful. Having read, listened to, and met this man, I can attest that he is the real deal. Jim, do you want to move to Arizona?

Your Sunday Cartoon©

One of the best strips ever. Too bad G. Larson doesn't want them published electronically. If I get one of these letters, at least I know someone is reading. Fair use, fair use!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Crack The Code:

thi(s) book = s(u)ck / e(d)

I am officially declaring myself the second-to-last person on the planet to read The Da Vinci Code. Mom, you can borrow it now. I am also declaring myself the first open minded liberal to say that it was a big disappointment. I'm not angry about the theme or fictional insinuations. I'm angry that I wasted a few hours of my life on this sixth grade reading assignment.

I don't read much fiction...and I broke down to swallow this bland morsel? A contrived, formulaic offering, served at room temperature over a bed of transparent characters, smothered in predictability and snoozy dialogue. Bon appétit, Mona Lisa.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Give Them The Bird

Hey! These guys ripped off the City of Phoenix logo! I haven't figured out exactly what they do down in the Dominican Republic. The Google translate function tells me they do something with aircraft. No other line of airplanes makes so many things, in so many places and for as much people. Ahh, muy clearer.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

For my wife, a mother-to-be, and my mom, the mother of me. Today, and everyday, we honor you.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

No Shoes. No Shirt. No Kidding.

I've done a little rehab on ye olde blog.

Writing a blog should be fun. Fun is voicing opinion. I need more fun.

You might notice that there is less advertising. I've removed our business logos so that there aren't mass demonstrations outside our respective places of employment. Why does georgiedesigns get a pass? Well, it might be difficult to protest and loot an eBay account. As for RESCUE, maybe would-be rioters would stop by to adopt a cat.

Why worry about rioters? This burrito could use some opinion-flavored salsa. Hang on people. It's going to be a wild and liberally subversive ride.

What you can expect:
More bird flu. Less mad cow.
More great taste. Less gassy bloating.
More Raleigh. Less Durham.
More Nelson. Way, way, less Milhouse.

Fuel up the SUV. Grab your Bible, your gun, and your Bush/Cheney sticker. We're going to crash a gay wedding. But not before we get some Mexicans to clean up the backyard.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Nuggets of Gold From Madison Ave.

Sure, we have TiVo, but every once in a great while, a commercial sneaks through. Here are the best out there right now. Enjoy.

1. A worm doing the worm. Genius.
2. Safe happens. The idiot that thinks these commercials are counterproductive should be canned. Ironic that he says the spots are ineffective as he is being interviewed about the commercial campaign. Honorable mention for unpimp the auto.
3. Push it, Nextel. Try to get this song out of your head.
4. Nothing like a chimp smoking a cigar.
5. Hank. Again with the worm. This time to Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part II."

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Macho Man

Apparently my attempt at naming our so-far nameless neighborhood "The Golden Horseshoe" hasn't caught on. The city has come up with a system of urban villages and we, according to the planning and zoning board, are village people of the Paradise Valley Village.

Cowboys, sailors, and bike cops all peacefully co-existing in the Indian Bend Wash flood control district.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Best Thing To Come Out Of Casa Grande Since, Well, Ever.

Oh snap. Fear the comedy Cerberus that is Stewart, Colbert, and Spade. My favorite whiner is back doing what he did best on SNL- whine and make fun of people. Whine on, whiner. Casa Grande boy makes good, then lame (8 Simple Rules..., Just Shoot Me) , then good again.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Holy Crap!

I can't believe they're going to do it. I have never camped out in ridiculous lines to see a movie opening. Although sitting in a lawn chair, eating junk food, and not showering for two days sounds like any other weekend for me. First in line, here I come. Please don't let the movie end the series. Please.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Isn't He Adorable?

Today's topic is scorpions. No, not these guys, although they can truly rock you in a manner similar to a cyclonic sub-tropical depression.

Apparently scorpions can survive for long periods without food or water. What if all those scorpions encased in acrylic are still alive? I might saw mine open to see. If he is alive after spending his life on a Wal-Mart shelf and then my desk, he certainly deserves to roam free on the desert floor.

In the interest of accuracy, I will seek to confirm two rumors:
1. Cats can and will eat scorpions with no problems.
2. Cats are immune to scorpions.
My cursory research says both are not entirely true. I'll post my findings in a future article. Until then, shake out your shoes.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

All My Friends Know The Low Rider

If you drive some sort of gas-guzzling monster truck, please stop reading. You'll only want to drive your truck-a-saurus over me. If you drive a normal, legal, vehicle, keep reading.

Hypothesis: If you spend big bucks to raise the suspension of your truck/jeep/SUV/Humvee/golf cart into the ionosphere, you probably don't spend your weekends at Mensa meetings. I have observed the drivers of these highway behemoths and developed an equation that will calculate the IQ of the driver based on the lifted height of the truck:

IQ = -4.7059L + 104.74 where L is lifted height in inches up to 18 inches

Try it. Then find out what IQ means and what these people do for a living. "Slow, simple, and supervised?" What are you doing driving a massive 4x4?
PS- If you do drive a monster truck and read this far, I apologize for using big confusing words.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Happy Birthday, Ryno!

A day late. At least you can now (legally) enjoy a hangover. The cure they overlooked: start drinking again.