Sunday, November 29, 2009

Age is just a number?


I don't know why 36 has been such a big deal to me. I keep thinking of things like how eighteen years ago I was eighteen, how I grew up in a world where people smoked in clothing stores, and how I keep ending sentences with "of course, that was twenty years ago!" But today I really felt my age.

For those of you that are just tuning in, my mother-in-law passed away very unexpectedly and way too young this summer. We've been spending a lot of time with Julie's dad and brother lately, and they came down to San Diego to spend the day with us yesterday. Seriously, they're so much fun. It's a shame it took a tragedy for all of us to realize that, but I really enjoy their company.

Anyway, last night Julie mentioned how for years we've been thinking about upgrading from the 27" old school TV she got when she went to college, but haven't ever gotten around to it. My father-in-law responded, "Let's go buy one." We protested. A little. But how do you say no to a grieving man with an American Express card?

Last night we got this:

I realize it's hard to tell from that little picture, but that's 37" of 1080 pixel HD awesomeness there! You may be able to see how the TV is turned slightly in the armoire. It was about 1/16 of an inch too wide. Ask me if I care. And in case you're wondering, it's Juno.

Anyway, there was the matter of the old TV. We didn't want to just throw it away, so we put up an ad in the free section of Craigslist and decided to leave it outside by the dumpster. By this time I was tired and sweaty from moving furniture around, and there was no way I was getting dressed to walk downstairs and across a small parking lot. I asked Julie, and she said it was ok.

You're thinking I dropped off the TV outside in my pajamas, aren't you? 'Fraid not.

Boxers?? You're getting closer.

I rocked the boxer briefs. In my defense, I was wearing a white t-shirt too.

To some of you, this may not seem like a big deal. You are the people that have never met me. I got down the stairs just fine. No one was around. It was very quiet. I made it across the little parking lot and set the old TV down by the recycling bin for pick-up by whoever saw the Craigslist ad first. I think that's when it hit me that I was standing outside in broad daylight in my underwear.

I have that happen in dreams all the time. And every time, it's like, "Crap! I can't believe I forgot my pants again!!" But this was real life. My modesty caught up with me, and I ran back for the stairs. I tried to take two stairs at a time, and my body cried out in oldness! (Yeah, I know. I need to hit the gym sometime. But didn't we used to all be able to do that? When we were 22 or something?)

I made it inside and crashed to the floor in exhaustion. Then the puppy came and started biting my nose. I didn't even try to push him away. Too tired. Too old.

*BS=Bible Study (c.f. Prov. 20:29)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Smart dogs are overrated.

I used to think I wanted a smart dog, so I could teach him a bunch of impressive tricks and run around the park with no leash impressing people with my crazy dog that does card tricks and stuff.

No longer.

I've had a bunch of stupid dogs in my life, and I never really appreciated the value of that until now. Zeke is SMART. He too smart. Yes, he's slowly picking up tricks, and that's great. He knows how to find his own toys, and he pees in a litter box (usually). He learns little tricks in mere minutes, provided he's given sufficient motivation. By sufficient motivation, I of course mean expensive treats. Last night he had fresh lamb, and I had chicken strips. I'm not complaining, mind you. They were really good chicken strips. But c'mon! Lamb?? I get that maybe once every couple of years!

Anyway, today I'm upstairs (where Zeke can't go) trying to get together a writing sample for my Ph.D. applications. Zeke would prefer I be downstairs throwing a ball, or at least taking a nap with him. (I'd prefer that too.)

Yesterday morning I made the mistake of responding to a single, quiet, whiney "Mmm?" sound he made at the foot of the stairs. About an hour ago, I made the same mistake. Now he's sitting at the bottom of the stairs with his little head cocked to the side, one ear flopping and the other standing straight up, going "Mmm?" in thirty-second intervals.

Oh, and did I mention that Julie got the doctor to write her a letter indicating that Zeke is now an "emotional service animal?" Now he flies for free.

I'm starting to think that, at best, I'm the third smartest in this house.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Put-off blog

Have you noticed that there is a fine art to writing put-off blogs? Y'know, those blogs that only exist to say, "Sorry, I don't have time to blog."

The trick is to try and somehow be cute or funny when you're doing it. For example, you might say that you have no time because your two-year-old son just sat down in his birthday cake. Or you might say nothing, but attach a picture of you smiling and waving. Stuff like that.

Or if you're the guy that likes to explain things, you might write a post about the fine art of the put-off blog.


Look! A bunny rabbit!

Anyway, my self-imposed submission deadline for Ph.D. applications is Tuesday. I really can't put it off any more. So...yeah....

Oh my gosh! Is that a kitten sleeping on a ball of yarn?!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Getting older every day

Did you guys hear that Sesame Street turned forty this week? It hit me kinda hard, and I'll tell you why.

Many of you have heard me at one time or another express my fear of characters in childrens' programming. Like Teletubbies. They scare me!

Am I really alone in this? What if you isolate the face?

Scary, huh? And does anyone else think that disembodied infant in the sun is going to rain down judgment any minute?

Teletubbies aren't new though. I know this cause I have nephews, see. The cool kids watch Yo Gabba Gabba now.

This show scares me slightly less. Yeah, the monster teeth look sharp, but really the only terrifying thing on this show is DJ Lance.

I'm sorry, folks. That's just weird. What is he supposed to be? I do remember carrying these large radios we called "jamboxes" over our shoulders during the eighties, but I don't remember dressing like a Push Up.

Incidentally, doesn't Fred Flintstone look like a real man's man compared to DJ Lance?

I'm rambling. I really wanted to talk about how old I feel. At several points as I caught bits of Caillou, Barney, or whatever, I've thought to myself, "Whatever happened to Sesame Street?"

Well, if Sesame Street is forty, and I'm thirty-six, what does that tell you?

That's right. Sesame Street was NEW when I was a kid. Come to think of it, those Muppets look pretty scary, don't they? Sometimes I look at pictures from the seventies, and find it hard to believe I was really alive back then. And then I think about how long I've been alive.

It's crazy to think that it's been a full eighteen years since I was eighteen! Here's a few more random facts for you:

1. By the time Augustine was my age, he was already working on his autobiography. Think about that. How much do you have to have accomplished in life to think, "Gee, maybe it's time to recount my life for the sake of posterity?"

2. By the time Mozart was my age, he was dead. He'd been dead for more than a year, too.

3. By the time Jesus was my age, he'd payed for the sin of humanity, conquered death, and sitteth at the Father's right hand!

Me? I guess I'm just a late bloomer. As long as we're talking Sesame Street though, let me point you toward a really cool YouTube video. I have such a vivid memory of this episode! Soooo sad.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My bug question

What to do at 3:45AM when you have insomnia? Blog, of course.

Guys, I've got a problem. I have this blog that's supposed to be about answering life's biggest questions, and I can't think of any more. Except one. And I don't know the answer to it.

Seriously, I always get the same answer when I ask people, and I'm still not satisfied. So let me torment you with it...

You know how bugs can walk on the surface of the water without breaking the surface tension?

Here's my question. Do they get wet? Most people say yes without thinking, but I remain unconvinced! Think about this. They don't break the surface of the water, so how can they take any drops of water with them? And look at the guy! It looks like he's sitting on a layer of plastic!

Meh. I'm going back to bed.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

What is the sound of one hand clapping?


What do this:

and this:

have in common?

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, let me say that I'm reserving judgment for a single reason. If the Democrats are right, this is a good thing for all of us. On the other hand, if the Republicans are right, it's a real travesty. Cause here's what I've figured out. Effective politics today has much less to do with morality than we'd all like to think, and more to do with how we're defining reality. In other words, we believe what we believe based on the information that's found its way into our brains. And while some may disagree, let me say that everyone--EVERYONE wants more healthcare, better healthcare, cheaper healthcare. Republicans want it. Democrats want it. Independents want it. Only time will tell whether this plan is really gonna work or not.

ADDENDUM (11/9/09)

What I meant by everyone wanting better and cheaper healthcare is that Republicans and Democrats alike want it. In other words, no one's arguing that healthcare isn't expensive enough, or that we should be providing worse healthcare.

The House bill doesn't argue for a single-payer system--just a public option. But Republicans have two primary concerns, as far as I understand. First, they believe the national budget can't handle it, and that the U.S. has too much debt already. Second, they believe that government-run healthcare would be inefficient. References are frequently made to the inefficiency of other government systems, and the analogy is often made that it could be like trying to get illnesses treated at the DMV (or DPS if you're in Texas).

I'm not saying those are necessarily my concerns. What I'm saying is that if the Republicans are correct in their assumptions, it would be a travesty to implement such a plan. I, for one, don't want to go to something like the DMV if I get sick or injured.

On the other hand, if all the Democrats say is true (and I think we're more familiar with their arguments), to stand in the way of this bill is to favor the profits of insurance companies and lobbyists over the health of children.

If Republicans are telling the truth, there's only one logical recourse. If Democrats are telling the truth, there's only one logical recourse. That's what I meant when I said effective politics today have less to do with morality than reality.

Like I said, I'm really trying to reserve judgment, but I think it's only wise to enter into what could possibly be the most significant national legislation in my lifetime with a little caution.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Those of you that blog, have you ever gone so long without posting that you don't even know where to start? There's so much to tell. Let me see if I can sum it all up in a few bullet points. That's what bullet points are for, right?

  • Did well on the GRE. It took me two tries though. Once last Friday, and again on Wednesday. Now no more math--ever.
  • Congratulations to me! I'm an uncle again. Little Will Morris was born just this morning.

There he is with his dad and his big brother, Ben.

  • This next one needs no explanation. Or maybe it deserves no explanation. Oh, you think I'm weird? These are the guys I lived with for five years.