Monday, December 31, 2007

Year End Review - Doofus Style

Rather than creating a self-serving tribute to myself by conjuring up blog posts from the past (that you didn't read in the first place or managed to erase from your mind thanks to advancements in psychiatric pharmaceuticals), I've decided to create a sentence using one word from each month's worth of posts. So, I bring you the year-end review 12-word sentence. Enjoy...

I (January 17, 2007)
have (February 5, 2007)
movies (March 31, 2007)
about (April 12, 2007)
stupid (May 8, 2007)
people (June 18, 2007)
cooking (July 29, 2007)
bacon (August 18, 2007)
with (September 20, 2007)
Elmo (October 20, 2007)
at (November 19, 2007)
Wal-mart. (December 24, 2007)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Me Get Words A Ward Trophy

TKT of Tappity Tappity gave me this very important award and I'm displaying it here for all to see and know my greatness. It be given to I for me's crazy good funky fresh word writing skills and all that.

Also, I'm s'posed to forward it on (i.e. to share the love) with five other people, but I'm not down wit dat so I'm not doing it. It's mine!!!!!


Snip and Snap on Adulthood

Last night we had the privilege of having one of our nieces stay the night to be with her cousin and best friend, Izzi. These to peas in a pod like to do a lot of things, but the one thing they do the most is talk. Talk. Talk. Talk. Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. It's actually quite cute and sometimes very endearing. In order to protect their privacy, we'll just refer to them as Snip and Snap. Early in the evening, Snip and Snap were talking about the freedom that comes with being an adult and it went something like this:

SNIP: When you turn 18 you're an adult and your parents can't tell you what to do anymore.
SNAP: Yes, I know, but they can still hug you.
SNAP: I know.
SNIP & SNAP: Heee, heee, heee, heee-hee.

(NOTE: If you're going to make a comment and use the real name of the cousin, I will not be able to publish it out of respect to the parents. Thanks.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas at the Doofus/Sniz Home

It's been a very nice day for us. We told the kids that we would not start with the gifts any earlier than 8:00 a.m. and our middle child opened up our door at EXACTLY 8:00 a.m. yelling, "It's time to open presents." Miss Sniz and I were both in a deep sleep, but we were happy to get up and enjoy the day ahead.

Gift giving was a very joyous time. The boy didn't get much as he and I used our gift resources (we both have birthdays in the fall) for an XBOX 360 in November. He still managed to get a cool sweatshirt and a nifty USB light for his XBOX. The highlight for both girls were some mp3 players that they are still listening to this evening. I was pleased to get a couple of shirts that I can wear to work. As for Mizz Sniz, it was the usual Christmas fare for her. It wouldn't be December 25th unless she got her case of Bud Light and a carton of Marlboros. Merry Christmas, sweetie. You've earned it!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Excuse Me, Sir...Do You Work Here?

If I am ever in just about any retail store by myself, I am often plagued by the following question, "Excuse me, you work here?" It happened just the other night when Miss Sniz and I were shopping at Meijer.

It's innocent enough, I guess. At least they're asking me if I work here before they start asking specific questions. On rare occasions, I'll have some lady ask me where she can find the muffin mix or the Muffin Man (ANSWER: Drury Lane) or the French Fried Onions.

So, why is it that I have this look about me that says, "This guy works here," to people? I used to think it was because I look young for my age. But even if that's true, it's not like these stores are exclusively filled with young whipper-snappers. Just walk into a Wal-mart sometime and you'll see what I mean.

The question is, what should I do about this? For years, I've been doing my best to avoid it. Even if I'm just running in to pick up a single item that I can easily carry around the store, I make it a point to grab a cart or at least one of those annoying shopping baskets that you can never figure out how to hold.

I'll also go out of my way to dress like I don't work here...or get what I'm saying. If you have the same problem (is there anyone else out there who can identify with this?), heed my advice and don't wear khakis and a plain red or blue shirt. This screams, "I'm an hourly employee!!!!" at places like Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mmart, Meijer, Lowes, etc. (NOTE: There's nothing wrong with working at any of these places. I did it in the past and I'd do it again. Honest work is honest work, folks.)

But lately, I've been trying to work up the courage to take a new approach. The next time some poor confused woman asks me, "Excuse me, you work here?" I want to say, "You betcha I do. What can I do for you?" And then I want to have a little fun.

"Where can I find the Chex Mix?"

"Chex Mix?!?!?!? We don't carry that any longer, ma'am--ever since the big explosion last year," will be my reply. When she looks even more confused, I'll just start crying and I'll run away from her as fast as I can.

Monday, December 17, 2007 than Albert Einstein

I've been blessed (or cursed) with the gift of wit. I can usually come up with stuff pretty quickly that turns out to be funny or mildly amusing (depending on your own personal perspective, I guess) and I don't even have to think about it. I think there is some sort of gene or birth defect that I inherited that causes this...and I think I've passed it onto my son.

However, I've learned that just because you have the gene, you still have to hone your skill. I think that's what my 14-year-old boy is doing right now. Unfortunately, he hones his skill by blurting out every thought that comes to his mind. He can then gauge just how effective each comment is and use that data for later. It's sort of like Pavlovian conditioning.

Anyway, he managed to come up with a good one the other day that our family has been repeating. It goes something like this. You're allowed to call anyone, "dumb." If they let it go, no big deal. You just got away with calling someone, "dumb" and that's fun. However, if they are upset in any way about being told they are, "dumb," you just add to it, " than Albert Einstein." Think about it. that's going to be true probably 99% of the time.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Skipping Church!!!!

That's right--we're rebels. We skipped church today. My son got to play his XBOX 360 with the new Halo 3 maps a lot earlier than he originally had planned. Miss Sniz and I just got up and had coffee. The girls watched secular television and saw commercials about toys. I'm wearing a hat because I didn't feel like taking a shower yet.

Did I mention that church was canceled this morning?

The truth is that we genuinely look forward to going to church on Sundays and this particular Sunday was our annual "Bringing Our Gifts To Jesus" service--our favorite of the year. Folks in the congregation can share by singing songs, dancing (as long as it's not a dance about a movie or playing cards--heh, heh), reading something, making a video, performing drama, etc. We even have one guy that usually does a science experiment that the kids love. When we found out that things were canceled this morning due to the snow, ice, wind and general nastiness, we were all very sad. One of my little girls cried for a long time because she was supposed to sing with her cousin (and wear a new dress).

But, what can I say. We're rebels. That's just how we roll.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Stop Driving Like An Idiot


And, just in case you have any questions as to whether or not I'm serious about this, let me quote Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite:

"Oh, I'm dead serious."

Ok America (and Canada), it's time to share the road like responsible adults. I'm going to push this pretty hard for a while. Call it a soapbox. Call it a lone voice in the wilderness. I don't care. Here goes...

I have about a 45-50 minute commute to work (one way) every day. I see the best and worst of the drivers that share the road with me. For the most part--it's the worst. I know that in the past, I've driven like an IDIOT--but I stopped. As a result, it's drastically reduced my stress level in the mornings, I'm saving a lot of money on gas, I doubt that I'll be getting many traffic tickets, and I'M SAFE (which makes other safe).

I'm asking the rest of you to join with me. I'm just sick and tired of dealing with it and I don't know what else to do. Join me. If you're not driving like an idiot now--great. Spread the word to others. If you are driving like an idiot, repent. We will forgive you. Stop driving like an idiot and share the joy with others.

Safer roads.
Saving money on gas.
Less stress.
An end to war and starvation*

*Ok, maybe those things won't end, but I think that the way we drive is a reflection of what's going on in our hearts. When your mission on the road is to get to wherever you're going as fast as possible--regardless of the other drivers in the road--you're reflecting just how selfish you are. My experience tells me that this selfishness will be reflected in the rest of the things you do.


(I'll update this list as I think of new things to add or you give me ideas)

1. Drive the Speed Limit - Yes. You heard me correctly. You don't have to speed. If you are constantly running late and "feel the need for speed" get your own fighter jet or, better yet, adjust your schedule accordingly. When you drive fast, it endangers others. In many cases, you also use more fuel when you drive fast.

2. Use the Right Lane - Speeding is speeding, so I'm not sure that the law will back you up on the "fast lane" notion we have in our country. However, it only makes sense to get into the right (as in "opposite of left") lane and allow the yay-hoos to go around you. If we work hard enough at this, there will be less yay-hoos to worry about.

3. STOP TAILGATING - Not only is it annoying, it's very dangerous. Note: I'm not talking about what you do when you arrive three hours before the start of a football game.

4. Don't Drive Angry - That's a quote from one of my favorite movies, Groundhog Day. If someone IS driving like an idiot, it's not your job to correct them. Let them go on their way.

5. Two Lane Round-a-Bouts Are Not Passing Opportunities
- This is a very specific one based on something that happened to me yesterday. The person who gets to the round-a-bout first should have the right to enter the round-a-bout first. Let him or her go and THEN you can enter.

6. Be Considerate - If you see someone using a turn signal because they need to get into your lane, see if there's a safe way that you can accommodate them. You'd like it if they did the same for you. Don't guard your place in line by speeding up. When you do that you're driving like an idiot.

7. Don't Cut
- This goes back to grade school, folks. You don't cut in line just because you can get away with it. Imagine that you're in the check out lane of a grocery store and you see a little space between two people ahead of you. Would you simply shove your way into the space with your cart and ignore the others around you? Sometimes, things happen and you have to find your way onto a lane (see #5). When that happens, use your signal and be considerate.

8. Consider Your Cell Phone Use
- I'm not convinced that using cell phones while on the road is flat out wrong for everyone. But you know who you are. If you cannot have a conversation and drive at the same time, pick just one thing to do and leave the rest of us alone. Like I said, you know who you are.

9. It's Not a Racetrack - If you're finding that your NASCAR viewing is affecting the way you drive, pick another sport. Actually, I'm an IndyCar guy, but I will not get into that here.

10. Obey Special Speed Zones - School Zones and Construction Zones are designed to keep people safe--not to tick you off. Slow down accordingly. Furthermore, when someone in front of you slows down to adhere to a special speed zone, don't get irate with them (you know who you are, angry man in the black truck from two days ago!). They're just obeying the law. You have no right to get upset with them.

11. Slow Down In Neighborhoods - You were a kid once. You may have kids now. They run around in the neighborhoods, so low down. Ok, look at it this way. Imagine how horrible you'd feel if you kid a kid with your car. For that reason alone, you should slow down.

That's it for now. I'm sure this is one of the longest posts I've ever written, but I'll keep adding to it as necessary. I'm serious about this and I think you should be, too. Spread the word. Send others to my stupid post to read it for themselves. Use the dumb graphic that I created (above). Start driving safely and courteously. It's worth it.

Here's the link to the page you are on (in case you cannot figure it out for yourself):

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Attention To Details

Have you noticed that people today just don't seem to care whether or not they spell proper nouns correctly--e.g. names, cities, streets, etc? However, you'd think that details like this would be important in some areas of retail. Let's say your company makes something that is then delivered directly to someone's home. If there's ONE THING you'd want to get right, it's the address--the numbers and the letters. Otherwise, you're not going to get there--even with the greatest GPS system on the market.

I was reminded of this today when one of my best pals handed me a receipt from a delivery made to his house. It took the delivery person quite a while to get there as he didn't know that my friend lived on AUTUMN Harvest Dr. and not what was written on the receipt (and in the words of Dave Berry, "I'm not making this up.")...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cheer Up, Miss Sniz

Today's blog entry goes out to my lovely wife, Miss Sniz who has been feeling a little down the past few days. If the sun would just peek out today (I cannot remember the last time we saw it here) that would make her very happy. Below are a few things that make her feel good. I love you, Miss Sniz!

Monday, December 10, 2007

This is How We Watch TV

Sometimes, you're really into a show that you're watching on TV--so much that you're not even paying attention to the fact that you're sitting in a very strange position...on the coffee table...when there's a perfectly useful couch only a foot away from your posterior.

NOTE: I wasn't trying to take a picture that would embarrass my daughter--hence the "oops" block. It's also a bit blurry, but I only had one chance to snap this image. I just thought it was interesting that she was in the living room, watching the television this way. Furthermore, it should go without saying that she was watching something wholesome, stimulating and educational.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Saying Goodbye to An Old Friend

Yesterday I said goodbye to an old friend. This buddy of mine was with me from my later days in elementary school all the way through high school when I got my license. For the past 16 years, this pal has hung out in the garage.

I had two bikes growing up as a kid. The first one was a Sears brand dirt bike. It was black and I rode the wheels off of it. At some point in the 4th or 5th grade, I saved up some money and bought this gently used (it was at the time) blue Schwinn from a friend of a friend. I trekked a ton of miles on it. I only wish I had an odometer on it to see just how many. In my mind, I would imagine that I put, literally, 10,000 miles on it. My ride from the old house to school was ten miles alone and then the ride to Jeff's (my best friend) was another five miles on top of that. Since I hung out at his house all the time, I was putting 30 mile round trips on that thing regularly. least, that's what I thought. Earlier this year I went back and looked up exactly how many MILES I was traveling to school. It turned out to be a little less than a half of a mile. That trip to Jeff's might have been a mile--maybe.

But who cares how many miles I put on this bike. It was a great bike. I kept it hanging in the garage of our new house from the time we moved in, convinced that someday I'd clean it up and give it the respect it deserved, but yesterday I finally threw it into the van and took it to Goodwill. I hope someone enjoys it.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Ask Izzi

Whenever anything in our house turns up missing, the first thing that we do, if at all possible, is ASK IZZI. Izzi is our youngest. It's not that she's the one who loses things and we're blaming her. She has this amazing ability to categorize where things are in her mind. Even if she doesn't immediately know where it is, she puts it in her cute little brain somewhere and, in many cases, finds whatever it is that we're looking for later. She's located missing school work, keys, glasses (not the kind you drink out of), remote controls, books, you name it.

So, I thought I'd open this up to anyone who reads my blog. If you've lost something (but not "That Lovin' Feelin'"), just ASK IZZI. I'll forward the request on to her and I'll give you her advice.

How can you resist?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Making the Most of Your Starbucks Visit

Okay, so I know that I dumped on Starbucks in my last post, but I genuinely like the place. They have become so big that they're an easy target these days, but I think they have a great product. With that in mind, I've developed a few tricks of the trade to make sure that you get the most of your Starbucks experience.

First, know your cup sizes. This has been discussed way too many times in popular media for me to attempt to be original, so I'll just state the facts:

Tall = Small
Grande = Medium
Venti = Large
Loco = 55 gallon drum

Starbucks Trick #1 - Just say, "No" to Loco
Don't order the "Loco" size unless you're really thirsty and have about five days worth of work you want to catch up on in just five hours (or, if you've given up sleep for lent).

Starbucks Trick #2 - Small Portion in Bigger Cup

If you like to add cream, milk, ice cubes, whatever--order a smaller size cup of coffee in a bigger glass. Believe it or not, the Starbucks people are ready for this trick. Otherwise, if you order a Tall cup of coffee, the Starbucks attendant might ask, "Would you like me to leave room for cream?" This can be translated as, "Would you like me to purposefully short you on your order so I can resell it to the next customer?" It's brilliant on their part, but you can easily get around this by saying, "I'd like a Tall cup of coffee in a Grande glass." Suddenly, you're a genius. Not only do you get all of the coffee you paid for, you're also getting a few extra cubic inches of paper coffee cup--at no cost!

Starbucks Trick #3 - Bigger Portion in Smaller Cup

Here's where it gets fun. Once you've proven to your local barista that you know your way around a cup of coffee with Starbucks Trick #2, you throw this one at them. Step up to the counter and say, "I'd like a Grande coffee in a Tall Cup" (i.e. I'd like a medium coffee in a small cup). Sure, you end up wasting about a half cup of coffee, but you get to watch Peppy pour it all over his hands while suffering only mild injuries that Starbucks' generous insurance premiums will cover. He'll be back behind the counter in six to eight weeks.

Bad Start to the Day

Today didn't start off too well. Every morning I get up and make French Press coffee for me and Miss Sniz. She pours hers. I pour mine, and then I take my cup with me in the car for my long commute. Well, today I managed to leave my steaming cup of perfection (yes, it's that good) at home and had to stop at Starbucks.

If I'm going to get coffee while I'm out, Starbucks is the one place I can usually count on for a good cup, prepared correctly (I'm a coffee snob). But today, things didn't go so well. The guy behind the counter was much too busy taking care of some microwaved "meal" for another customer to deal with me. So, this other fella steps up to the register to help out. First off, he was way too peppy--like he'd been freebasing the espresso or something. My Starbucks order (see the other post from today) is simple--I don't mess around much with fancy drinks. I like good coffee in a cup with some sugar in the raw and half-and-half. I knew that my coffee day wasn't going to get much better when I saw "Peppy" tipping the coffee machine at an angle to pour my cup. I went ahead and fixed it the way I liked and headed off to work. By the time I got down to the last quarter of the cup, I noticed that a thick black slurry of fine grounds had taken over my coffee. I'm not so "foo-foo" that I can't stand a ground or two in my java, but this bean paste was more than I could handle.

Final score COFFEE GREMLINS: 2 - ME: 0