Sunday, September 28, 2014

Performance Booster

Your unknown pleas have been answered, yes, they now make sport nutrition bars… for dogs.  And if that’s not bad enough (hint, it definitely is), they also make two formulations, you know, for before exercise and then after to refuel.  

Remember, these are FOR DOGS.  Animals that are often known to eat dead animals, inedible objects, and even their own shit.  Just so we're all operating under the same assumptions.  

I would try to make fun of this, but really, it's hard to make this seem more absurd than the product's website does already:

But my favorite part is the product reviews, especially from "Liz". For the recovery bar, she writes:

one of my dogs plays for a hour with ball its with panting and can cool down faster.

And for the pre-activity bar, she expounds:

my dog love and buy it again for the dogs. one of my dogs can play ball for hour.

No, I know I should mock someone's grammar, especially as my own little corner of the internets is no doubt rife with errors, but when your lack of understanding of simple sentence structure makes your writing border on incomprehensible it becomes less of a grammar nazi issue and more a matter of not using a discernible language. 

Let's start with the first review, shall we?  The sentence starts off reasonably enough, though the lack of capitalization is a personal pet peeve, I do recognize in these times of mobile devices I need to let that go.  I'll even gloss over the "a hour" error, as maybe they pronounce it with a hard H sound in Liz's dialect.  But then we come to the real train wreck of this review: "with ball its with panting".  Yes, we're all dumber for having read that.  Thanks Liz.  Then, in a stunning finish, Liz makes us question what, exactly, she gave her dog and how, precisely, she discovered this dry, room temperature bar helped it "cool down faster".  I am envisioning a very rigorous testing protocol with multiple studies to isolate for the many variables in order to come to this stunning conclusion.  That or Liz is just full of shit.  I'll leave that conclusion to you.

Moving onto her second review, we're immediately confronted with the idea that Liz's dog buys these again for the dogs.  Stunning!  I mean, these bars are obviously imparting some astounding mental acuity to these canines.  I think Purina should be touting these benefits, even over the "taste dogs love".  After this astounding revelation, Liz kind of mails in the rest of the review, ending with a fizzle rather than a bang.  So one of your dogs "can play ball for hour" (notice Liz's solution here to the whole a/an conundrum, just cut the article out altogether), whoop-de-fucking-doo Liz.  Hmmm, in reading this together I am wondering if Liz understands there are timeframes other than a(n) hour.  I would like to think so, but I have my doubts.  

But my biggest issue is not with the reviews (not even Liz) but with Purina itself.  Is anyone else troubled by the naming convention of these bars - "Sport Adult Prime/Refuel Bar" as it leaves open the possibility of non-sport (relax, revive, de-stress, immunity boost) and non-adult (adolescent, puppy, newborn, elderly) bar offerings?  Personally, it makes me quite uneasy.  Though if they come out with a "Revive Puppy Immunity Booster Bar" I expect some sort of royalty.  I think a box of bars would be fair, god knows I could use some immunity boosting.  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

Well, the Easter Bunny visited Kiki in the night, so we've got that part of Easter down.  The whole religious/Jesus/God side of it... not so much.  

See, my dear, long-suffering wife & editor came from a family with a Buddhist mother and a Protestant father, so she viewed Christianity as the thing that made you go somewhere with Dad every Sunday morning vs. Buddhism which allowed her mother to stay home alone and have some peace & quiet.  

I came from a father who grew up Catholic in Europe, experiencing religion in cathedrals that had seen generations come & go, kingdoms rise & fall, ideologies flourish & die, and then he came to the United States where we have a church that  is almost 12 years old!!!!!  Needless to say, he didn't find religious rapture in institutions that had yet to hit puberty.  My mother was raised Southern Baptist, with a central theme of people are sinners, women are sinners, you, Jean-Clare, are a sinner.  Thankfully she recognized that this form of religion is less an aid in life and more of a bully, and distanced herself from it and organized religion in general.  

Thus Kiki is, I guess, being raised without religion.  I won't say atheist, as that indicates an adherence to a belief system almost as strong as most religions.  It's a sort of sciency/loosely buddhist framework, informed at times with lessons from George Carlin and She-Ra.  

Writing that out makes me realize how batshit crazy it sounds... but then that's probably the indication of a good religion, isn't it?  Do you think the guys writing "How blessed will be the one who seizes your young children and pulverizes them against the cliff" (Psalm 137:9) were thinking how logical that was?  Well, dear reader, count yourself lucky, you may have just witnessed the genesis of a new religion!  You can call yourself a disciple if you want.  Or Pope, for that matter, I don't really give a fuck.  And we just found our central tenet! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My name is...

In our parenting efforts we have tried to instill a sense of independence, strength, and creativity in our daughter.  4 years into this, I'm starting to think that may have been a bad idea.  We now have a daughter who prefers to be called "Aduna" over her given name of Akira (a.k.a. Kiki).  Though, to be fair, it could be spelled Adoona.  Or, most accurately, when asked she informed me that it's spelled "33221" so what the hell do I know?  

She has also informed us of our future pet choices.  It all begins when our current dogs die, all three of them, which according to her is going to be rather soon (two are ancient and the third, well, let's just say I hope Kiki's being silly and not foreshadowing a serial killer future).    

First we'll be getting a cat.  Then a hamster.  Then it starts getting more unusual.  Next we'll have an iguana.  Then we're getting a parrot.  At some point she also wants a "trained" dog, because ours are fucking uncontrollable and annoying as hell.  That's the one choice I'm fully behind, although when she says trained, she is referring to a seeing eye dog we met at dinner one night, whereupon she decided she wanted one too, because it would help her "do the dishes, clean up my toys, and cook dinner", so I think she should probably be prepared to be disappointed.  

I did get her to agree that we have to wait for each pet to die before we get the next (because I'm the parent so I'm in charge here.  Okay, I get a vote.  Granted, she gets 5 votes to my one, but I worked hard for my one vote).  

But joke's on her, because given her current age and the expected lifespans of our various pet, she'll be about 30 when she gets her iguana and, depending on how well she cares for it, could be well into her forties when she gets her parrot.  

At that point I'll be nearing 80, so assuming I even still have my mental facilities and am not just entertaining myself by watching the drool puddling in my lap, I will be old and crochety enough that I can refuse to help watch her parrot.  

Because parrots, despite what my daughter and wife may say, are horrible fucking pets.  If I want to have a flying buzzsaw, well, I'd go to Amazon and buy such a thing.  I have free time (plus Prime!) so would have it quickly.  But at least my drone/chainsaw hybrid would be relatively short lived, surely meeting it's demise against a ceiling fan within a matter of minutes, while a parrot lives forever.  Fine, they may not live forever, but so far no one has kept one for it's entire life, either getting rid of the damn thing or being found dead with little beak shaped pieces missing from their face, so no one knows the lifespan of a parrot kept in captivity.

But, given that my daughter (a.k.a. 33221) is also in charge of naming the animals (strangely, I lost that vote 5 to 1), I am curious just to see what the hell this procession of pets is named.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The first rule...

So, the wife and I went to a Halloween party this year, dressed as Daniel-san and Cobra-Kai from the karate kid.  While there, and perhaps also inebriated, I had the following discussion with a friend:

Friend: "Sweet costumes!  I always wanted to take karate as a kid."

Me: "Totally, me too."  (Apparently, when drunk I become a laid back surfer dude from the 80's)

Friend: "Ha, we should take a karate class."

Me: "Totally.  Tubular!"  (Okay, I may not be remembering the conversation verbatim)

Anyway, the next day I sobered up and forgot about it.  However, being that my friend has both 1) a better memory and 2) a better ability to follow through on ideas, I discovered an email awaiting me on Monday with a list of karate studios in town.  Turns out one of the places, and the one he was leaning towards, is about 1 mile from my house.  Figuring if I backed out now my friend would go on to become the next Bruce Lee while I would muddle through life, struggling to become the next fat, old Stephen Seagal.  I knew I couldn't back out now.  

So, I found myself talking with Master Lee (or Jet, or Chan, or something).  Is that racist?  Yes, it is, but since my wife is half Japanese, it is impossible for me to be racist.  Now you may disagree, but it's a fact, just ask the internet.  

Anyway, the master informed us that by signing up for three years of classes with him we would be black belts. This seemed fishy to me, because how did he know I was not some Karate prodigy who would fly through the rainbow of belts in two months time? Conversely, how did he know if I lacked the coordination to even dress myself and in three years I could only hope to master tying my white belt around my gi so I did not expose myself during warm up stretches? But I settled myself, figuring he was just confident in his extraordinary abilities as a sensei and took him up on his offer to watch the adult class starting in a few minutes.

Watching the disciples file in, I was ready to be amazed.

The fat guy is a red belt? Awesome! I've never seen a 300+ pound man pull off a spinning reverse flying head kick.

The teeny little housewife is a black belt? I can't wait to see her execute the five finger death punch!

So, to be fair most of my knowledge of the martial arts come from the Karate Kid franchise and Mortal Kombat video games (I was a bit surprised by all the flammable materials in the gym, but I guess they save the fireballs for outdoor training sessions).  However, even with lower expectations I was not prepared for the total and utter shit show that was to come. The big fat guy? Literally couldn't get his foot above knee level when he kicked. The housewife had to hop five times to complete a roundhouse kick. I watched a guy practice with a Bo and hit himself in the leg four times. And through it all, the master made his rounds, "teaching" and "guiding" this helpless mess of a class.

As I watched this collection of unskilled middle aged schlubs wheeze and pant their way through a succession of simple and poorly executed exercises, I realized that this master was only a master of lies, rewarding those who simply paid their money and served their time with a progression of belts, the adult version of the "Participation" purple ribbon. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, in a time when every kid is a "winner" it is only natural that their parents would come to expect the same thing for themselves. Pathetic.

So I signed up for the three year course. You can just start referring to me as "master" now, you know, to get used to the terminology. "Ninja" and "super badass kick master fu" are also acceptable.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The 5 Stages of Abandonment

Kiki and my wife recently (1) returned from a long trip to Japan.  This was very welcomed by me, as well as my co-workers, friends, and neighbors, as I had started to become, well, weird.  See, with my family departing every 6 to 8 months for a multi-week stay in Japan, I have noticed a very reliable and somewhat disturbing unravelling of my behavioral patterns.

Stage 1 kicks in 12 to 25 hours after the family departs, and lasts 6 to 10 days.  This stage is marked by a noted increase in cycling activity, sleep, and general quietness.  Generally the subject's behavioral changes are unnoticed by others.

Stage 2 follows hard on the heels of stage 1, being recognized by an increase in social activity, a continued high level of cycling activity, and a notable accumulation of desserts, namely cake (2).  This stage lasts 4 to 7 days, depending upon the size of the cake.  Other than a faint odor of frosting, others are unlikely to notice this stage.

Stage 3 is notable for a sudden and massive increase in productivity around the household, being recognized by activities such as cleaning out closets, organizing pantries, repairing household appliances, and generally doing all the shit that has been ignored since the last time the girls were gone (3).  This stage generally lasts 6 to 8 days.  The frequent phone calls, emails, and texts inquiring about social plans and a general willingness to do anything (4) as long as it involves another human makes this stage easily recognizable.

Stage 4 is much feared and, thankfully, rare, as the family knows they cannot be gone too long.  Stage 4 finds the subject, having steadily ratcheted up the cycling activities through the previous stages, considering a 300 mile week, while working a full time job, as perfectly normal.  Having exhausted all social connections, completed all household tasks, and polished off the cake, subject begins to become... well... weird.  Subject will be found talking to himself in empty rooms.  Subject, having watched anything worthwhile on television, will become addicted to bizarre Japanese knockoff cartoons on YouTube (5) and devour them by the hour.  When observed, subject is skittish and odd, seemingly unsure how to interact normally with other humans.  A certain bizarre element begins to appear in outfit selections, as the lack of a wife to keep things in line leads to brighter color choices, bolder combinations, and a penchant for wearing questionable t-shirts in public.  The total duration of this stage is unknown, as subject has never been allowed to progress to an as yet theoretical stage 5 (6).  

But the good news is the girls are back, my cycling has been dialed back, the pantry is a model of organization, and there is not a cake to be found in the household.  Life is good.

(1) Erm, by recently I mean 6 months ago.  Been a bit busy what with travel, work, and a certain 3 year old and have been neglecting the ol' blog.  I apologize and swear to do better in the future.  Unless, well, you know, I don't.  And yes, I know this footnote is entirely out of order and I should have gone back and renumbered them all but I have about 15 minutes while Kiki watches Caillou here and want to post this before another 6 months pass. 

(2) Whenever the girls are gone I buy myself a cake and proceed to eat the whole damn thing.  Over the course of a few days.  Hey, I'm not a pig or something.  I've tried some alternatives (pie, cookies, ice cream) but have settled on a cheap, supermarket sheet cake as my go-to multi-day bachelor dessert of choice.  Preferably a discounted one for little Jimmy's 6th birthday that was never picked up.  The sorrow makes it even more delicious.

(3) And cycling.  Don't forget the cycling.  It's a bit of a constant.

(4) e.g. helping someone throw away their old, moldy and spider infested hot tub cover.  Because hey, human interaction!

(5) Who knew there was an anime knockoff version of The PowerPuff Girls as teenagers.  I do, that's who.

(6) Sociologists and abnormal psychologists theorize that stage 5 would be noted for an abandonment of traditional western clothing, with a sudden and unsettling appearance of loin cloths, and the creation of a personal language for communications, consisting mainly of grunts, hiccups, and obscure cycling references.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Master of Delays

While putting my daughter to bed tonight, she uncovered a new and almost endless way to put off sleep.  

You see, we are engaged in raising a budding insomniac.  She would happily stay up until, well, forever, if not forcibly put to bed, typically through the liberal use of those age old tools of coercion, picture books and kisses, a technique first applied by the alguacil of the Seville tribunal of the Spanish inquisition (1)(2).

Anyway, my daughter discovered that her dad is a huge nerd (4), and by asking simple questions like "what is the moon" or "why does it get dark" or "why are there stars" she can set ol' Dad off on a 20 minute rambling, mildly accurate-ish explanation of theories of satellite formation, orbital periods, and gravitational attraction and the cosmic scale dance of nuclear fusion.  Thus, by only asking, seemingly innocently, "can I ask three questions" she can defer bedtime by at least an hour.  

Now, I tell myself that maybe I'm somehow kind of educating this small human that lives with us, but let's be honest, I just love talking about science.  Now I just need to figure out how to sneak recordings of Carl Sagan lectures into her bedroom without my wife noticing.  Although the giggles and squeals of delight emanating from Kiki's room well after midnight may give the game away.  Also, Kiki may make some noises too.
(1) Yes, I have decided to insert utterly useless and random historical factoids into the blog to make this appeal to an even smaller and more particular (viz. strange) audience.  Yes, I'm talking to you.  Hello.  Thanks for reading!
(2) And I've also decided to replace my repeated parenthetic phases with footnotes, cleaning up my main point and giving my mind much more freedom to randomly explore (3).
(3) In the margins.  Where, let's be honest, my brain usually belongs.
(4) I know, shocking, right!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

New numbers

My wife has been working on counting to 10 with my daughter. She is a woman of almost infinite patience, she has managed to put up with me after all. Tonight Kiki wanted to show off her new skill. It was... interesting.

"Kiki, let's count to 10 before bedtime!"

"Okay! Ten!"

"No, no, Kiki, how do you start?"


"Kiki, what is the first number?"




"Yes, and then?"




"Then, wait, what?"


"No, Kiki, what comes after two?"


At this point I may have made the tactical error of laughing, which to a three year old is a clear message to do whatever it is you just did again and again.

"Pillow pillow pillowpillowpillowpillowPILLOWPILLOWPILLOWPILLOW!!!!!"

So now we have given up on numbers and are focusing on teaching her that one plus pillow equals blue.

Intellectual Bullying

Yesterday morning when we went to get in the car, much to our surprise we discovered that the garage door was open and had been all night.  

Thankfully nothing went missing, however, being that I was the one who had let the dogs out the night before it was decided by the family that I was the guilty party.  I feel this was not exactly a just trial since there were no witnesses and no DNA testing was undertaken, but no one wanted to hear my alternate explanation of a one-armed man and a malfunctioning black market garage door code breaker.  But, being as our family has a less then ideal justice system (no one likes my idea of an independent DNA testing facility in the basement) I accepted blame, took my lumps, loaded in the car and figured that was the end of it.  


About 4 minutes into the trip, I hear a small voice from the carseat in the back chirp up,

Kiki: "Why was the garage door open?"

Me: "Because I forgot to close it, honey."

K: "But why?"

M: "Because I let the dogs out last night and didn't close it when they came in."

K: "But why?"

M: "Because I forgot, I was cold and it slipped my mind."

K: "But why?"

M: "I don't know, I made a mistake, it was an accident."

K: "But why?"

M: "Because I didn't remember to close it."

K: "But why?"

M: "Well, I guess because I am dumb, okay?"

K: "Okay."

I turn to see her looking out the window with a smug smile on her face as if to say "hey, you said yourself you're stupid, not me... stupid."

Monday, March 11, 2013

Aches & Pains Pt. II, The Son of Aches

Well, over a month later and my knee is still maintaining its stubborn rebellion against cycling.  I have found this whole matter mildly irritating.  Also, it's driving me fucking nuts. 

Basically, my knee is 100% okay, so long as I don't ride my bike.  Skiing? a-okay.  Kickboxing? No problemo.  Squats? More please.  But push a little pedal in a circle? No fucking way! What the fuck is wrong with you?!?!

Now, several friends, family, coworkers, cyclists, and complete strangers at the bus stop have suggested that maybe I just don't, you know, ride my bike.  Now, this does make sense, but much in the way a steady diet of vitamin pills and unflavored protein mush makes a good diet, neither one is going to work for me.  

Now, I did take a solid two weeks off the bike, tried a little ride to find the knee still tender and took another week off.  I even broke down and went to a doctor about it, to thankfully be told that I'm basically a jackass (it's a medical term) and over did it.  The solution is... well... don't ride my bike.  

No, well, stretch my quads, strengthen my hips, and ice my knees is the long answer, but the short one was "stop fucking doing that if it hurts you idiot."  Thankfully, my doctor happens to also be a cyclist, so much like selecting a morbidly obese dietician, I found someone who would ignore my bigger issues and instead try to solve the peripheral ones.  So, hopefully this will work out, otherwise I'm going to need to find some stronger painkillers.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Aches & Pains

So my wife and daughter are in Japan.  Have been for two weeks.  What, you may ask, have I been up to while they were away?   Unsurprisingly to loyal readers, I have been riding my legs off.  And nature seemed to play along by giving me 60+ degree days in the middle of January in Ohio.  Taking advantage of this perk of global warming, I rode about 115 miles over the weekend, after not riding at all since mid-December.

Unsurprisingly, my body was not happy with this sudden change in intensity.  The rebellion was led by my knees, who started things off with shooting pains.  The rest of my body was slow to join in but, as in most revolutions, a tipping point was reached, apparently sometime Sunday night while I was sleeping, and I awoke Monday to a sore back, stiff neck, wrist pain, a hot and throbbing knee, and a headache.  To be fair, the headache may have been related to the concussion and stitches in my head received in Japan, but that's another story.  Being a stubborn bastard, I sought to crush this uprising through a combination of pain killers and more cycling, determined to show my body who is the boss.  This did not go well.

Now I find myself like a dictator holed up in a panic room with a dwindling supply of food and water.  I know the revolution has succeeded, I have not ridden my bike for the past week, despite no family and 50 degree sunny weather.  The only question now is whether I will face a trial for my crimes or be allowed to sneak out to a friendly neighboring country with a fake beard and the clothes on my back.  What does that mean?  I don't know, I've lost my way in this analogy and my wife/editor is across the Pacific and no help in reigning it back in.  Suffice to say, I have kowtowed to my aches and pains and hope my tendons get the message and release their strangle hold on my biking ability.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Old Man

I awoke this morning, a Sunday, with nothing to do.  My family is overseas, I finished my "honey-do" list, the house was cleaned and ready for their return.

I literally could do anything (or nothing) with my morning.  I could have donuts, bacon, and scotch for breakfast.  I could lay around in my pajamas eating candy and cake while watching 14 hours of NFL playoff coverage.  Instead, I found myself eating grape nuts with chia seeds, flax seed powder, and unsweetened rice milk while prepping vegetable stir-fry for my dinner.

I am so fucking old.  Oh, also pathetic.  Don't forget pathetic.  And lame.

I literally don't know how I can proceed from here.  I'm not even 35 yet.  What will I do at 40, 50, 60?  I figure I'll just check myself into the nursing home in about 8 years and patiently await death.  So at least I've got that to look forward to.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Say what?

Our daughter began expressing herself verbally quite early, which at first was awesome.  No longer forced to guess, we could be informed of what she wanted.  Of course, the novelty of that soon wore off when we were told for the 40,404th time that what she wants is to watch Cinderella.  Well, more accurately, "Cigarella," who is her lesser known Cuban cousin.

Having a talkative two year old has led to some... interesting... conversations and comments in our household.  Just a few things I've found myself saying in the past few months...

"Don't put that on your bottom."

"If you finish your chicken fingers, then you can have more sushi."

"Stop touching your bottom"

"Please don't ride Thomas (the chihuahua), he does not like it."

"Where did your underwear go?"

"Do not put your diaper on Thomas"

"Did you poop?  Are you pooping?  Do you need to poop?  Are you pooping?  Are you done pooping?"

"You can only wear one princess dress to bed, not two.  That would be ridiculous."

"Please stop putting your toys in the freezer."

"I don't know where your wallet/watch/ipod/phone/ring/keys are, last I saw Kiki was 
running around with them.  Have you checked the freezer?"

And, my personal favorite...

"Please stop playing the drums with your magic wand."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Movie Night

About a month ago, Kiki began showing continued interest in the television for more than 12 minutes at a stretch.  Seizing upon this opportunity, my wife and I, lovers of movies, tried out a film on her.  Starting out at home, we were both pleasantly surprised when she sat through all of My Neighbor Totoro, and about a week later Cinderella.   

Emboldened by these successes, we decided to venture out into public, and went to a 6:30 showing of Brave.  Thankfully, because the movie has been out for weeks and we chose a theater that, like many in the suburbs, had started out as the end all be all place to be and has since regressed into little more than a crackhouse that happens to show movies, the theater was nearly empty, just a few other couples with kids.  Well, and the crackheads.  

We prepared as best we could since it was dinner time, sneaking in sandwiches, carrots, cookies, crackers, drinks, and, well, soup.  I know, an unusual movie snack choice, but we did discover that there's nothing quite like a warm bowl of soup during a movie.  So we went in prepared in case we got stuck in the theater for a day or two.  

It started off well enough, Kiki rapaciously staring at the screen, quietly absorbing all the theater had to offer.  Unfortunately this only lasted through the first 23 seconds.  Then she started asking

"Who's she?"

"What's her name?"
"Why's her name Merida?"

"Where's her Mama?"
"Is that her Mama?"
"Where's her Dada?"
"Is that her Dada?"

and so on, until we had outlined the entire family tree for every character in the movie.  Once that was settled, she moved on to exploring the theater.  Which mainly consisted of crawling up and down the main aisle.  While giggling uncontrollably.  Once she was done with that we returned to the questions ("Why's she doing that?"), interspersed with further explorations.  Finally, having exhausted her searches and her questions, she settled into a chair to watch the movie.  Oh, the chair she chose was across the theater from us.  But, thankfully, when she had further questions she would just yell them to us across the theater.

Yep, it was quite an adventure.  I think I'll wait about, oh, 14 years until we try this again. 

Friday, November 2, 2012


Well, Kiki just had an absolute shit-fit because we wouldn't let her have salmon right before bed. Nope, not a typo for candy, she was actually bawling "But I want salmon!!!". We're either doing something right or something very wrong, not really sure on this one.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Potty time

Well, it finally happened, Kiki is potty trained.  I know, by putting such a statement out there we are guaranteed a remission and a return to months of diapers and accidents, but it's been a few weeks now of diaper freedom.  How did we manage this in only a few relatively trouble free weeks you ask?  Oh, you didn't ask.  Well, let me tell you anyway  But to be fair, for all the real tips you'll need to purchase my forthcoming book.

Mainly it was a combination of stern demanding, constant haranguing, and vicious discipline.  


Fine, that's a total lie, we basically let her poop wherever she wanted.  Including on the front porch or in front of the TV, during the Tour de France no less:

Yeah, that's pretty much my perfect seat in life.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Well, everyone's favorite time of year has come! That's right, it's time for the annual, amazing, and only mildly corrupt Kiki costume voting extravaganza!!!!

This year, in an effort to streamline the selection process, we have stolen a page from the American electoral system and have been holding primary elections all year long.  It is a rigorous and exhaustive process wherein Kiki, my wife and I each all have a single vote to cast. Tallying the votes is a very technical and complicated affair, involving several complex algorithms, a sophisticated predictive software program, and at least three independent accounting firms auditing the results, but in short, my votes don't count, my wife said "this is dumb" and basically Kiki decides. Thus, I bring you your voting options for 2012:

A) A princess
B) A princess
C) A princess
D) A dinosaur. Ha, nope, just kidding, it's a princess too.

So, much like our electoral system, we find ourselves with a lot of choices that all seem the same and are all vaguely disappointing.

It's not that I have any real dislike of princesses, but I always imagined dressing my little girl up like Amelia Earhart or Marie Curie rather than, well, Snow White. I know, I am basically the biggest nerd on earth. But at least we will put her in some boots so she's kind of a badass princess. I mean, this is still a little girl who can kick some ass and isn't just waiting for a prince to rescue her:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I've trained her well

Last week, my daughter was in a bit of a mood when I came home.  She didn't have her nap and she was being a bit of a pill.  Coming into the house, I briefly considered leaving again, but had been spotted so came in.  My ever patient and loving wife asked Kiki what it was she did want to do, since she had emphatically turned down all proffered activities, food, and drinks.  

She responded with "I want to eat pasta. And watch cycling.  With Dada."

I don't think I could love anyone more than I loved her at that moment.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hide and Seek

Yesterday, while standing in the bathroom, Kiki asked "Can we play hide seek?"

Assuming she meant Hide AND Seek (this parenting thing is hard), I agreed, figuring I could totally own her.  I mean, she is small and able to hide in more places, but I still figured I could dominate, given my years of practice and experience.  And why else do you have children?

However, little did I know that she did not mean Hide and Seek, she meant what she said, Hide Seek, a game of her own creation, apparently.  It started off normally enough.  I turned around, counted to 5, and came searching for her.  She managed to go into the closet and close the door.  When I turned around, drawing on my skills, I managed to pick up on a few subtle hints.  Mainly the giggling emanating from the closet.  Also her face peaking around the door.  After finding her and doing a short celebratory dance, it was my turn to hide. 

This is when I began to realize some of the subtle differences with Hide Seek.  For a start, she claimed she was counting, but did so in her head, not out loud.  Being a seasoned Hide and Seeker, I always rely upon the audible count to know exactly how long I have to fine tune my hiding.  But I'm a flexible player, I could deal with this change.  But then she also refused to close her eyes or turn around, rather staring at me while I hid.  

This, I must say, did rather throw me off.  Not being sure exactly how to hide while in plain sight, I stopped to gather my thoughts.  This pause gave Kiki the chance to illustrate the final difference with Hide Seek, namely that she told me where to "hide." 

"Go in the closet Dada.  Close the door"

Not one to argue when I'm unsure of the rules of the game, I did so, to promptly be "found" by Kiki, who proceeded to perform her own celebratory victory dance.  Personally I think it could have used a little less finger pointing, and I could have definitely done without the mockery of my face and fashion sense, but she was the winner, so I just had to take it.  

I'm thinking we may need to rename Hide Seek to Watch Tell, but I am confident I'll find a way to win.  And oh the dance I will unleash then!

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Well, it has come to pass that, within many of my social circles (friends, neighbors, coworkers), I have become known as "the cyclist."  It's somewhere above being "the pervert" and below being "the doctor"... sadly, I think closer to the pervert.  I blame the spandex.  

Anyway, as "the cyclist" I am often asked questions like; 

"What bike should I buy?"

"Why do you shave your legs?"

"Will you please stay away from the children?"

Okay, the last may be due to the spandex.  But one question I seem to field whenever someone learns of my addiction is; 

"What races do you do?"  

And my answer ("I don't race") always seems to disappoint.  I guess they want me to tell about my experience in the Tour de France, but seriously, amateur racing is just a waste of effort in my mind.  It breaks down into three categories:

1) Criteriums

2) Road Races

3) Time Trials

Let's hit them one at a time and I'll explain why they're stupid, sound good?  Okay, let's begin.

1) Criteriums - these are raced over a small loop course, usually 1-4 miles in length, with the race covering either a set amount of time or a set number of laps.  It's closest cousin would be a NASCAR race.  Well, with less rednecks and more spandex.  But with pretty much the same number of crashes.  The last crit I entered, someone actually managed to crash going uphill.  No turn.  No great speed.  Just, apparently, decided to fall over.  Awesome.  I'll leave these to the critters.

2) Road Races - these are point A to B races, typically covering 75-120 miles, oftentimes with several days in a row (known as stages).  I think these would be quite fun, but I have a problem with...

  • Ending up somewhere other than where I started.  All my shit was there at the start.  You know, like my wallet, and car, and shorts for hiding my spandex shame.  Now I am at the finish and my shit is 120 miles away.  This pisses me off.
  • Racing multiple days.  I have never, in my life, finished a race and thought "wow, I wish I got to do that again tomorrow".  Nope, my thoughts are more concerned with not vomiting and how soon I can shower.  And, as I am not a pro racer, I actually have a job.  So I would take vacation for a race?  Nope nope nope nope nope.
Which brings us to...

3) Time Trials - okay, this is the simplest.  Just you against the clock over a measured course.  You aren't racing the other cyclists, in fact, you aren't allowed to get too close lest you get a beneficial draft.  There is something about the simplicity and purity of it that does appeal to me, but I just can't get over a few things.  I have a clock.  I can choose a course.  Why the fuck do I need to show up at some specific location, at some specific time, to wait around for a lot of other douchebags to ride so I can do a time trial?????  I can also just roll out my driveway, start the timer on my watch and ride.  And I am a big enough douchebag on my own, I don't need any more around.  

But the biggest thing that guts any effort to race, no matter the format, is that is strips all fun out of riding my bike.  Suddenly, what were previously rides become training, either hard efforts to increase my speed/endurance or recovery rides to all the efforts to stick.  Either one is not nearly as fun as, you know, just riding.  

But say I do put in all that effort and become the best, fastest bike racer I could possibly be, fulfilling all my genetic potential, I could, maybe, win some of these entry level races.  And then the riches and fame would be all mine.  Yep, a $50 gift certificate, a pair of socks, and a 1 sentence mention in the local paper that misspells my name 3 different ways.  Well, when I put it like that, I better go start training!