July 30, 2009

She Seems Like a Friendly Person

I don't think this is what my wife had in mind when she encouraged me to join Facebook so I could connect with a bunch of people.

Denise wants to be my friend

July 29, 2009

Ghost Busters

I love the original from the 1980's, but this version might have been pretty fun too.

Crushed Like Crackers in a Fat Man's Bed

It's my new favorite phrase.

Pearls Before Swine - 07-29-2009

July 28, 2009

5 Things I Think

  • Where I work currently is the first company I've been at that actually has offices for people to work in. Everywhere I've been it's been about cubicles. Everybody was in cubicles. Even the CEO was in a cubicle

    (Okay, two exceptions. One, at Progressive Insurance they had offices, but I was there less than 9 months and hated it – so I rarely count that as a place I worked. Two, at the first company I worked for we had offices, but we would cram 2 or 3 people into each one.)

    Anyways – now I'm being moved into an office this week and I think I feel a little guilty about having an office. Not exactly sure why.

  • I think I've found the application that will finally convince Heather that I should buy an iPhone.

    Or maybe not

  • It's the end of July already? I think this summer is going by way too fast. I've only complained about the humidity once since the end of May.

  • Actually, I know we’ve hit the second half of the summer because Turner Classic Movies is preparing its annual Summer Under the Stars film festival. They only have a small preview site up now, but it includes some wonderful newly imaged movie posters for classic films.

    I think my favorite poster is the one for High Society. Though the poster for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is a close second.

    TCM poster for High Society


  • My latest favorite song is "DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshakes" by Art Brut. Discovered the band via an episode of Sound Opinions.

    The band’s latest album was produced by former Pixies front man Frank Black and the songs reflect Frank’s stripped down, straightforward style of music I really enjoy.

    And who can’t love lyrics like this:
    DC comics and chocolate milkshake
    Some things will always be great
    DC comics and chocolate milkshake
    Even though I'm 28
  • July 27, 2009

    The Next 10 Begins

    Ian’s tenth birthday was yesterday, which means today Heather and I start on our second decade of being parents.

    Ian, Emma, and Zoe at the Indiana - Kentucky Border - Summer 2009It’s been an interesting first 10 years of being parents. I think Heather and I have managed to navigate fairly well and without inflicting too much emotional damage on our children. (And I think if you asked, Ian, Emma, and Zoe they would agree with that statement.)

    The first ten years were about figuring out how to deal with new things like changing diapers, reduced sleep, and reduced privacy. It was about teaching your kids how to walk, talk, and being gracious when Grandpa gives you the exact same present for the third Christmas in a row. It was about learning how to live with kids. Ian broke us in, and things became easier with each subsequent child.

    The second ten are going to be about figuring out how to turn these kids into adults.

    That scares the crap out of me.

    What I see ahead is maturing bodies, more complex social situations, driving lessons, authority challenging, hormones, middle school, hormones, high school – did I mention hormones?

    Ten years from today I will have a 20 year-old son, a 16 year-old daughter days away from her 17th birthday, and a 15 year-old daughter.

    I never liked teenagers when I was one. How am I going to handle having a house full of them?

    July 26, 2009

    Kid Quote of the Week

    "Zoe is a burly bear"
    - Ian trying to translate Heather's Pig Latin phrase "oeZay ashay urlycay airhay"

    July 25, 2009

    The Deification of Youth and Stupidity

    Craig Ferguson is a genius. I should watch his show more often.

    July 24, 2009

    Cardinals Acquire Holliday

    Yesterday the St. Louis Cardinals sent a bunch of minor league prospects to the Oakland A's for outfielder Matt Holliday.

    Holliday gives the Cards another big bat and someone to slot in behind Albert Pujois in their lineup for some protection.

    The trade was just one of a few moves the Cards have made this season to keep their team competitive and position themselves to hold off the Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, and Chicago Cubs in a weak NL Central Division.

    What have the Cubs done to try and catch the Cards - which they are currently only 1 games behind?

    Nothing.

    They send guys to the DL.

    More Batman on the Way?

    If Empire Magazine and Gary Oldman are to be believed, the next Batman movie will start shooting in 2010.
    Gary Oldman joined Denzel Washington and Mila Kunis today at Comic-Con, taking part in a panel for upcoming apocalyptic thriller The Book Of Eli. Towards the end of the panel Oldman was asked the obligatory Batman 3 question and, to eveyone’s surprise, actually answered it.

    “We’re starting filming on the next Batman next year. So it won’t be out for another two years at least, I think. But you didn’t hear it from me!”

    It’s too much to ask for any details on the plot at this point but the ball is rolling and that’s the important thing. Roll on 2012.

    I'm not putting too much stock in Oldman's remark right now, let's wait and see what developers over the next six months.

    July 23, 2009

    Google Does ComicCon

    ComicCon, the annual orgy of all things pop culture, started today in San Diego and Google is getting in on the action. This is today’s Google logo, designed by Jim Lee and starring the heroes of DC Comics:
    Jim Lee design Google logo for 07.23.09

    Google also released a bunch of new iGoogle themes drawing inspiration from comics. Everything from Batman to Ziggy, with some alternative comics and manga thrown in for good measure.

    I tried out the Pearls Before Swine theme for my iGoogle page, but I just can't get into that sort of embellishment on my personalized pages. I already have plenty of content on these pages – news, weather, email, quotes of the day – I don't need a bunch of images crowding things up.

    It's neat idea. Just not for me.

    Here's a real close look at the Jim Lee-design logo

    Slice versus Wedge

    Chicago Tribune writers Phil Vettel and Kevin Pang debate the correct way to cut up a pizza: slice versus wedge

    A snippet:
    pizza slice image taken from Chicagotribune.comKevin: Square-cut pizzas should go the way of Crystal Pepsi. The first time I laid eyes on one, I thought surely there was a mistake; perhaps in the course of slicing, the pizza maker slipped and his wrist went 90 degrees sideways. He kept going, covering his mistake, and thought, "Wow, I'm on to something. I'm innovating on decades of pizza tradition!" Except it's no innovation. It's impractical and dumb. Thoughts?

    Phil: Party-cut pizza, as it's commonly known, is a fact of life in Chicago, and variations can be found throughout the Midwest. The grid-cutting pattern that offends you happens to be useful in reducing pizza to manageable portions, particularly in standing-around-chatting situations. Unquestionably, grid-cut pizza has its drawbacks. But it's a tradition, and some people love the squares.

    Kevin: I'm all for squares -- pizza, the geometric shape or otherwise. That's how they do it in parts of Italy. Except in Italy, they don't layer 2 inches of mozzarella on the pie like they do here. Cut into squares, it's not so much a cheese topping as it is a cheese hat. There is no dry crust surface to grab, and oily fingers are unavoidable. Lucky be the eater who gets that greasy middle piece, which shall henceforth be known as the Paul Lynde slice: center square and too much cheese.
    I learned a few things from this exchange
    1) Square cut or grid cut pizza is referred to as the "Party Cut" - interesting

    2) "Paul Lynde slice" is a great name for the center squares of pizza in a party cut pizza.

    3) Kevin Pang can't possibly be Chicago-born. How else can he explain making this statement about pizza, "That's how they do it in parts of Italy."

    Chicago pizza people don't give a rat's ass how they make pizza in Italy. We like Chicago pizza. If we want pizza like they make in Italy, then we will go to Italy - or New York City.

    In any case, an argument over slice versus wedge is pointless. It doesn't matter how the pizza is cut, just as long as I get to eat it.

    July 22, 2009

    Death & Taxes

    Jess Bachman has created the 2010 version of the "Death & Taxes" poster.

    It is a large representational graph and poster of the federal discretionary budget (though he breaks down the total budget in the lower right-hand corner of the poster. Where money is going. How those amounts are changing from last year.

    It's an fan way to take a look at where the government puts its money.

    Good Stuff

    The first four minutes of Green Lantern: First Flight, which debuts on DVD in about a week.


    One more DC DVD I plan to add to my collection.

    July 21, 2009

    5 Things I Think

    It's a special Family Vacation edition of "5 Things I Think"

    Last week Heather and I loaded the kids into our van and drove over 1,200 miles to Port Canaveral, FL so we could board the Disney Wonder for a 5-day cruise with her family.

    When we were done with the cruise, we drove back – stopping one day in Chattanooga, TN.



    5 Things I Thought About the Drive There and Back Again

  • The Louisville Bats is one the best baseball team names I’ve seen in a long time

  • I don’t think the radio stations south of Macon, GA play anything other than Country Music and Classic Rock. I honestly heard the exact same Doobie Brothers song being played on 3 different radio stations at the same time.

  • I’m not sure what to think about the massage/spa parlors being advertised along the expressway in southern Georgia. Most of the billboards use photos of slutted-up Asian women and proudly declare "Lots of Truck Parking!" The exception being the massage place that promised "American – Asian - Latino"

    Although, the ads for these "spas" did break up the monotony of seeing another Cracker Barrel billboard.

  • At a stop in Tennessee Florida has the stupidest tollway system. They have a turnpike you pay to enter as opposed to exit. They also have a tollway that doesn't appear to have any logic to where toll booths are placed or the amount charged. Then they have two different E-ZPass type systems – one for the turnpike and one for the tollway – and nether is compatible with the E-ZPass system being used by 13 other States.

    I hate Florida's roads.

  • Driving through Kentucky and Tennessee is so much more interesting than our standard runs through Illinois/Indiana/Ohio, if for no other reason than getting to travel through the mountains down into the Tennessee River Valley area. The kids loved the views – as did Heather and I.

    It made me want to take a driving trip out to the Smoky Mountains



    5 Things I Thought About the Disney Cruise

  • I think either the sun is lot hotter in the Caribbean or my hair is getting thinner, because I'm fairly certain I burned the top of my head slightly.

  • I don't know how much the Disney entertainers are paid – but I hope it's a lot. There were shows held outside on the deck stage where they were performing in 90-degree heat under a blazing hot sun in their uniforms or dressed up like some Disney characters singing, dancing, and jumping around. You could see the sweat pouring off of them. Their faces were like little red pimples ready to burst.

    I couldn't figure out how they didn't pass out from heat exhaustion.

    And yet the danced and sang and kept a huge Disney smile the entire time.

    Maybe they're heavily drugged.

  • the kids pose with Daisy Duck on Castaway Cay The Trio – best dessert idea ever. Every night at dinner there would be a number of dessert options to choose from. The one I noticed the first night, and then enjoyed on subsequent nights, was the Trio. It was a sampling of three of the desserts all on one plate.

    Why have to lock yourself into choosing just one tasty treat when you could enjoy three.

  • When you can't get your mask to fit right, snorkeling is a lot harder than you think. I spent as much time blowing water out of my nose as I did exploring the snorkeling trails Disney built on their private island – Castaway Cay

  • Disney/Pixar's UP was screened one night of the cruise. An excellent movie – funny, touching, and poignant. I don't think Pixar knows how to make a bad film. They proved once again that if you focus on developing a compelling story – keep that the main focus of the film you are producing – the end product will always be entertaining.
  • July 20, 2009

    Apollo 11 versus Wal-Mart

    The Chicago Tribune has a short article arguing that while Apollo 11 reaching the moon in July of 1969 was momentous, they real “big” event of 1969 happened a few months later when Sam Walton incorporated Wal-Mart.

    Trib writer Rob Manker thinly argues that the creation of Wal-Mart had a much more direct and lastingly influence on American than the Moon landing. For better and for worse, the existence and success of Wal-Mart has influenced the way we shop, how we live, and how business is conducted.

    It’s an interesting question to ponder. I want to believe that the Moon landing was more influential; but when I consider what’s happened over the last forty years since Neil Armstrong’s first steps I have a hard time getting excited about the U.S. space program or revealing its influence on American life.

    July 19, 2009

    Kid Quote of the Week

    Ian: "Knock-knock"
    Me: "Who's there?"
    Ian: "Yodel-ay-ee-who . . . no, no wait . . . say 'Yodel-ay-ee-who' without the 'who'"
    - Ian, trying to tell me a knock-knock joke

    July 12, 2009

    Kid Quote of the Week

    "You do a great job of cutting the grass short"
    - Zoe, who can always find something to compliment you on

    July 09, 2009

    And So It Begins

    I've seen stores do "Christmas in July" sales, but Sears & Kmart are taking things to a whole new level this summer.

    They've already launched their Christmas Lane departments online and in stores.

    screen shot of Sears Christmas Lane
    And according to the story I read on the Chicago Tribune, it sounds like other retailers could take the Christmas Creep to a whole new levels this year.

    Ugh.

    Hopefully the all-Christmas radio stations will still hold off until November.

    July 08, 2009

    Start of Cyber-War?

    I guess if the North Koreans can't build a missile that will fly, then they will find another way to attack.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The powerful attack that overwhelmed computers at U.S. and South Korean government agencies for days was even broader than initially realized, also targeting the White House, the Pentagon and the New York Stock Exchange.

    Other targets of the attack included the National Security Agency, Homeland Security Department, State Department, the Nasdaq stock market and The Washington Post, according to an early analysis of the malicious software used in the attacks. Many of the organizations appeared to successfully blunt the sustained computer assaults.

    The Associated Press obtained the target list from security experts analyzing the attacks. It was not immediately clear who might be responsible or what their motives were. South Korean intelligence officials believe the attacks were carried out by North Korea or pro-Pyongyang forces.


    Read the rest

    Happy 123456789 Day

    Hey, It's 12:34:56 on 07/08/09

    Live it up.

    Something To Think About

    I like donuts

    July 07, 2009

    5 Things I Think

  • I think it’s sort of funny that the box on the LEGO Architecture model kit for the Sears Tower clearly says "Sears Tower", but if you buy it at the LEGO store (like my brother-in-law did for me last week - thanks!) the receipt says "Willis Tower."

  • It's not a real billboard somewhere, but I think it is fantastic.
    What air rifles were made for

    It's a technique I'd love to employee except that all the tree-hugging, pinko, namby-pandies who live in our neighborhood would probably complain.

  • I seems like faced with the idea of celebrating the achievements of the first 30 years of his life or considering the events / behavior of the second 20 years of his life, it appears most people want to dwell on the first 30 years of Michael Jackson's life.

    I am not comfortable with that.

  • Do you think I need to be worried if I read this in a contract that I am asked to sign before boarding a cruise ship?
    THE CARRIER DOES NOT EXPRESSLY OR IMPLIEDLY WARRANT, AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY WARRANTY AS TO, (a) THE FITNESS, CONDITION OR SEAWORTHINESS OF THE VESSEL AND (b) THE FITNESS, CONDITION OR MERCHANTABILITY OF ANY FOOD OR DRINK PROVIDED ON BOARD THE VESSEL. THE CARRIER SHALL NOT BE STRICTLY LIABLE IN TORT FOR ANY DEFECT, LACK OF FITNESS, IMPURITY OR CONTAMINATION OF ANY FOOD OR DRINK PROVIDED ON BOARD THE VESSEL.
    They won’t warrant the seaworthiness of the vessel? It’s a fucking boat for taking around 2,000 people out into the ocean. How can they even try to indemnify themselves from seaworthiness of the vessel?

    Lawyers? Please speak up.

  • When did parades become about seeing how much candy you could haul in?

    I was shocked when we started taking the kids to the Aurora Fourth of July parades about how much candy was throw to the crowd and how much the kids expected it. Now when our kids talk about going to the parade they mention candy as much as the things in the parade.

    And since I’ve started walking with my Dad in a few parades to help support his campaign, I’ve learned that some cities’ kids are better behaved than others when it comes to candy expectations.

    Warrenville has some well-mannered, fun kids at their parades.

    Naperville has a lot of work to do.
  • July 05, 2009

    Kid Quote of the Week

    "Dad, can you forget that you forgot something?"
    - Emma, who got us started on an interesting logic discussion - at least for a 6 year-old

    July 02, 2009

    The Ledge is Open

    The Ledge opened today.

    4 glass-encased boxes suspended from the 103rd floor of the Sears Tower.

    enjoying the view from the ledge

    And here's a shot looking down through the glass floor:

    that's a long way down

    I can't wait to go.

    July 01, 2009

    Here Come the Hawks . . .

    Chicago Blackhawks logoThe Blackhawks entered the NHL free agent market swinging when they signed two players from the Detroit Red Wings.

    Marian Hossa, who has played on the Stanley Cup runner-up the last two seasons, was signed to a 12-year deal worth $62 million and the Blackhawks gave Tomas Kopecky a 2-year contract worth $2.4 million.

    While I question giving a 30-year-old hockey player a 12-year contract, I can’t help but be a little excited about the Hawks bringing a player of Hossa’s caliber to the team. He’s a great player. It seemed like I was hearing his name constantly when I would watch the Blackhawks and Red Wings square off last season. Hopefully next season I hear his name as much – but this time it will be for the good guys.

    LEGO Fun

    Not only is it incredible cool that architect and certified LEGO professional Adam Reed Tucker has designed and built more than 15 skyscrapers that are part of the ART + SCIENCE = ARCHITECTURE exhibit opening today at the Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.

    But LEGO has also produced model kits based on many of Tucker’s designs.
    LEGO Architecture model kit of Sears Tower

    I want my very own Sears Tower to preside over my desk at work.