My New Home

  • Adventures in Bitcoining - Awhile back I posted on my fascination with bitcoin. As it turned out, the post was inspired by the all-time high price of bitcoin . . . up to that point. ...
    5 weeks ago

Friday, February 29, 2008

WAYITM?

My friend has a tradition of asking the question, "What are you into this month?" Actually, it's a series of questions, so I'll get right to flattering her with imitation by answering them myself.

The Thing I've Been Working On The Most
Change. I had a Groundhog's Day revelation that I desperately needed to break out of my "every day is the same" lifestyle. So I've spent the entire month trying to make at least one change a day. Some of them lasted. Some of them stuck for no more than a day or two. Some days nothing changed. But in the end, it was a fantastic exercise.

TV Show I Used To Love But Now Hate And Refuse To Ever Watch Again
We used to be huge Survivor fans (the show, not the band). But for the past few go-rounds, we haven't watched an episode. It's not that I hated it, I just hated what my Thursdays had become.

TV Show I Sometimes Hate But Really Like This Year
Desperate Housewives. It's kind of moot post-strike, but I liked what they were doing with this season. Felicity Huffman and Dana Delany are serious actors, and I'll tune in to watch them share the screen any time it happens.

The CD I Can't Stop Listening To
Raising Sand, the surprisingly natural collaboration of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, and produced by T-Bone Burnett. But I think every album recorded in the last 8 years has been produced by T-Bone. Still, it's really good, and this song is one of my favorites.

My Favorite Blog Entry This Month
I guess it would have to be my last one, because it was the biggest change of all.

Blog I Am Always Visiting
Michael and Leah (and Cole) really crack me up and make me think and all the other things I look for in a blog. Plus, the Web address starts with mlb, which subconsciously makes me think I'm about to read about baseball. http://www.mlbarefamily.blogspot.com/

What I'm Most Looking Forward To Next Month
My last day. And March Madness. But mostly my last day. And meeting my friend's new baby, whenever her first day comes around.

Enough Change for One Month

I started this month talking about Groundhog's Day and how I'm not big into change. I'm a big routine person. And after trying to make a change every day, I'm still a routine person. I mean, come on, I had to turn change-making into a routine in order to be able to do it.

But one of the big no-change areas in my life was my job. I've had the same one for almost ten years . . . and I'm not going to make it all the way to ten. I saved the biggest change for the very end of the month, and it will force me to make quite a few changes from here on out.

Yesterday, I handed in my resignation. My last day is March 31. At that point, my official occupation will be "freelance writer," which is equal parts scary, exciting, and satisfying. There are more adjectives, but those are the main ones. Just typing this gives me an adrenaline rush.

But, as adrenaline doesn't pay the bills, I have work to do. Seriously, what this came down to was whether I was going to trust God or not. Deciding to trust Him, that's the big change. Heather and I agree . . . we'll never regret it.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fresh Prince of Beldare

Addison has now memorized the entire intro (well, the abbreviated intro they played in every episode after the pilot) to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. He's memorized it phonetically, so there are plenty of words he's lost on. Like calling him the Fresh Prince of Beldare and instead of saying, "shooting some b-ball," he says, "shooting some people." I'll consider posting Addison's rendition when he's not unintentionally threatening violence against the community. For now, I'll share the full, rarely seen version from Mr. Smith. Just close your eyes and imagine a four-year-old white boy getting a few words wrong here and there. Oh . . . and I made a big change today, but I'll keep it a surprise for now.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It's Over-Myer

I wasn't going to do American Idol commentary, but I just had to say goodbye to one of the female competitors that I liked going into the competition phase. Amanda Overmyer . . . she can't possibly come back another week. (Quick aside, there's no way Alaina knows what the term Dark Horse means.) Amanda just absolutely slaughtered "Wayward Son," and it's too bad, because it dawned on me who she reminds me of: D. J. from Full House, only with attitude and a comic-book hairdo. Oh well.

And a tip to any of the Idol contestants who read this blog: don't sing your favorite song. Okay? The songs you sing along with in the car are NOT the songs you should sing on stage. "It's always been one of my favorite songs," is not an excuse for phoning in a lame performance.

I'll wrap it up with this: my next change . . . is gonna be a big one. A few days' worth.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Musical Ripoffs . . . Mayer vs. Cooke

John Mayer slowed it down a little bit, but check it out . . . total ripoff. Or spinoff. But, as I've said before, ripoff is so scintillating and scandalous, it's yummy.

Truth vs. Reality

There's a big difference between truth and reality. Sometimes, it makes all the difference in the world. Actually, the world is all the difference.

Today, I heard someone talking about college students--in a positive light--having an invigorated sense of vision and passion yet to be doused by the reality of life outside the shelter of a dorm room. It was the positivity that caught my attention, because it was a successful person speaking. This was someone who had realized some of his dreams, so he didn't dismiss the naive dreams of kids with no clue about reality.

It was at this point that I saw the difference between truth and reality. Truth is extrauniversal, not confined to the boundaries of our experience. But in our lives, something becomes real when you can experience it--see it, touch it, taste it, whatever. When your senses can take it in, it's reality. When all you can do is imagine it (or have faith that it exists) it's not real . . . but that don't mean it ain't true.

A lot of truth has no basis in reality. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not real. I think courage is the ability to make truth a reality, or at least hang in there until it materializes on its own. I've got some dreams that I've been waiting to come true. But now, I think they're already true. I just need them to become reality for them to be worth anything. Or maybe, the possibility will be enough to keep me going.

So, why Voltron? Because I added to the sidebar an automated news generator that pulls up stories containing the word of your choice. I chose Voltron because A) that show freakin' rocks, and B) I thought it would be funny. As it turns out, C) there really is Voltron news. So here's my invitation to go check out all the happenings in the world of lion robots.

Monday, February 25, 2008

IATLAYAS and DD and IVVVV

Addison stood up on his chair at lunchtime yesterday and said, "I am the Lord, and you are Satan."

He was pointing at me, his faced clench into the most adorable expression of wrath I've ever seen. I really didn't know what to say . . . I was really just doing my best not to laugh. I mean, was I supposed to lay down the law here and now that in the world of make believe, you are not allowed to pretend to be Jesus. The only acceptable times to assume that role is in manger scenes and Passion plays. This was neither, so the obvious thing to do was to nip this behavior in the bud.

"Sit down, Lord," I heard myself say. Okay, this had gone too far. And then, it went farther. Addison went into old school WWF mode.

"Watcha gonna do, Satan? Are you gonna destroy me? Or are you gonna give up?"

"Well, I guess I'll give up. What's the point, really?"

"No, you're gonna destroy me."

Okay, so the theology was beyond messed up at this point, so Mommy stepped in between the Lord and Satan to offer this word of counsel: "No, Jesus is all powerful, so Satan can't destroy Him."

"Oh." Thoughtful, four-year-old pause. "You know who can destroy Jesus? Bad guys."

We eventually straightened Addison out, assuring him that Jesus could not be defeated by anyone or anything and that pretending to be Him for play was probably not the best idea, nor was calling his father, "Satan." He still gave me one more Hoganesque, "Watcha gonna do, Satan?"

***
Heather (and Addison) swear that Colin is saying, "Da-Da." Frankly, I don't see it. Or I don't hear it. I don't buy it. No one is suggesting he's actually calling me Da-Da, but I don't even hear the sounds. I hear awooyaga. And olyowaa. But not Da-Da. Why I'm not playing along, I don't know. I'd kill for a Da-Da. Maybe I'm just not ready for another kid to grow up. Nothing to fear . . . he's not yet eight months old, but still . . .

***
Tonight as Addison was going for his ritualistic bedtime cereal snack, he said, "I'm vo, vo, vo, voracious." God bless Pinky Dinky Doo's Great Big Word Machine.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Little Cub

(UPDATE: If you were wondering, here's an update on Liev.)

After we named Colin (and I think an hour or two went by after he was born before we finally decided on one) we later discovered that one of the meaning of his name is "Little Cub." So it came as no surprise to me yesterday when the donning of an oversized Cubs hat caused him to burst into fits of hysteria. By the time I got the camera, it had downgraded to a mild case of smilius goofus. By the way, the hat Colin is wearing in these pictures is adjusted to fit Addison perfectly.

Colin's happiness aside, he probably won't be joining us on May 1 when Heather, Addison, and I head to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs take on Prince Fielder and his vegetarian Brewers. We bought tickets for just one game when they went on sale Friday . . . I'd like to think we could attend more games than just the one, but the Cubs' recent rash of success (financially; baseball, not so much) has ticket prices just a bit high. It doesn't help that you wind up paying about 5 bucks per tickets in convenience. Getting the shaft, so convenient. The real hilarious thing is that the ticket sellers recommend you use the uber-convenient "print the dang tickets yourself" option, which will cost you $2.50. Yes, they invite you to print out the tickets you bought on your own printer, on your own printer, with your own ink . . . and pay them two and a half bucks. I opted for the no extra extra charge for just having them print out the tickets and mail them to me. Go figure.

And here's a random tidbit from the Oscar red carpet festivities. When Cameron Diaz was talking about . . . something incredibly important, I'm sure, Addison asked, "Is that Mommy?" I hadn't heard that one before.

Oh, and I've seen just a smattering of the Oscars so far, and it's so good the writers are back so the presenters have something freshly awkward and unfunny to recite. Yay!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 23, 2008

New Site of the Week - White People Blog



If you read only one blog today . . . dude, seriously, this one? But if you read only one more blog today, I would highly recommend this blog about Stuff White People Like. It is hilarious. Every post triggers at least one of two reactions: 1. Ha! White people are so ridiculous. 2. My stalker has been blogging.


It really is fine work. The blogs make fun of white people, but they aren't kidding. It's insightful, brilliantly written, cutting, sarcastic . . . everything you'd ever want in a blog, right? If you're a white person, or if you've ever met one, you should check it out. Difficult breakups, expensive sandwiches, the Toyota Prius . . . it's a veritable emporium of mock whiteness.
Today's change: less laziness.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Top Ten Myths the Church Loves to Believe

10. Your personal level of righteousness is directly proportionate to how nicely you are dressed.
9. Punctuality is commanded in the Bible.
8. Heaven will be a democracy.
7. Satan was a musician.
6. Dissent is the same as dissension.
5. There are seven things that please the Lord: the habits of highly effective people.
4. Perfection is possible.
3. Righteousness is impossible.
2. If your theology is correct, it's okay to be a jerk.
1. Comfort is a virtue.

Bonus: Pastors should pee standing up.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lionheart

I decided a while ago that I wanted to do something special for post #100, which this is. I mean, it is post #100. But it is also special.

I just wanted to invite you, dear reader, to pray on behalf of a little boy who might be in the process of being born right now. His name, I'm told, is Liev (which is the Russian word for lion). Because of complications, he has to be delivered right now, three months early. Obviously it's a shock for the whole family, most of whom live in Ukraine.

Anyway, I said I would pray, and I hope you will too, that God will protect this little guy. Thanks.

UPDATE: Liev was born the good old fashioned way and is doing well. He weighed in at 2 lbs., 10 oz., (1.2 Kg) which they say is actually pretty big for being born that early in the pregnancy. No complications other than the early delivery. He's on a respirator (but is starting to breathe on his own in a "who needs this ridiculous machine" kind of way) and is being fed through a tube (although he is sucking at it, showing he knows full well this is a task he's supposed to be doing by himself). He's still at incubator status, but the family is ecstatic about the prayers Liev has received and the strength he has shown thus far.

Not Nice

I am not a morning person, but I appreciate 5:00. As much as I hate to roll out of bed (and I relive it with multiplicity each day, depending on how many times I go all Rick James on the snooze button) there's something special about those first few moments of the day when I'm the only waking person in the house. It is that window of time when I have convicting thoughts. There is clarity in the morning, and clarity almost always reveals something I've been doing wrong for years. But unlike the regret that creeps in at nighttime, morning clarity has a certain positive spin . . . I think it's equal doses of reality and hope.

Reality is the nerve-shredding buzz of the alarm that gets you out of bed, and hope is the hot shower that convinces you it's worth it to try a little harder.

But this morning's dose of reality was a little stronger than that of the typical day. I realized that most of the nice things I do for others come at absolutely no sacrifice to me. I get accused from time to time of being nice, but the more I thought about it this morning, the more convicted I became that I don't do it enough . . . or at least, I'm not usually very selfless about it.

It's like this. In life you have three different types of activities: things you're supposed to do (responsibilities), things you want to do (desires), and things it would be really nice if you could do for other people (good deeds). I would guess most people's lives are pretty full of responsibilities, and I tend to fill in the rest of the blanks with desires. As for me, when I decide to squeeze in time for good deeds, it's not my desires that take the hit. When I do something nice, it's usually at the expense of responsibilities. Not always, but . . . usually.

So that sucks. And it's pretty obvious what the change for today needs to be. It won't be easy. I think I know where to start. I know, I'm not the only one with this problem. And it could be worse. But, it's gotta get better. I believe it will.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Changing Batteries

The change of the day is pretty simple, and I started it a little while ago. Old batteries are going in a paper bag to be recylced at some point. I confess, I've never been a battery recycler. Now I am. We are. We recycle.

Alright, planet slightly less destroyed, I was shoveling away the lack of global warming this afternoon, and it was hilarious. The snow was as light and cloudy as a dry cappuccino. Seriously, there was a ton of it, but I've expended more energy brushing dandruff off my shoulders. Okay, that's gross and untrue, but you get the picture. I truly have never shoveled snow that was that light before. It was so light, I was spending most of my time just thinking up metaphors just to give me something to do.

When I came in from the mini-exercise, Addison commented, "Daddy, you're really strong! I saw you move a whole pile of snow!" It was true. I did. I was going faster than my neighbors with snowblowers. Heather wondered how I could plow through it so fast. I didn't tell her (until now) that it was ridculously easy. I mean, that's the first lesson in Chick Impressing 101: If the girl you like is dishing out credit, you take it, no matter how little you actually deserve. It's even more important after you're married and she grows accustomed and unphased by your feats of strength. Oh well, it was a fun couple of hours of falsely received glory.

Aaaand . . . so far American Idol has been one big eyeroll for me. I'm ready for the dead weight to be cast off. Why does this show bring out my inner Simon?

Overheard . . . All Day Long

Addison has been cracking me up left and right today, and I wish I could remember everything he has said. I'll go in reverse order and see what I can recall.

"Michael Jordan is a bad guy. Let's get him."

"Look at the size of that Jaminja Turtle!"

"He's dead! No, he's not dead. He's okay. Their shells protect them."

In response to my demands that he abandon his toys and return to the dinner table: "No time to explain!"

"I'm Devin Hester."

"I'm Bernard Berrian. Is he a girl? Does he have funny hair? I'm not Bernard Berrian."

"I'll be Brian Urlacher."

"Robbie Gould? Is he king of the Bears?"

"Nobody can turn into a plate. People don't eat plates."

"My brain wants TV right now."

And he started off the day with, "I love you, Daddy." Yeah, I'll take that.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I Don't Care What Randy Says

"So Happy Together" does not rock. That dude did not make it rock. No. No, no. That's a Golden Grahams song. It's an Ernest Goes to Camp song. It is not a rock song. Not that kind of rock song. I'm not feeling very good about this year's AI batch of boys. Every year they say it's their best pool of talent yet, and every year there is a whole lot of dookie.

Right now, I blame Michael Buble. No, scratch that. It's not his fault people like him. Why any man with testosterone flowing through his veins would choose to emulate Michael Buble is beyond me.

I shouldn't blog while I'm watching American Idol anymore. Not this season, anyway. Dedicating a song to your dead Grandmother? Nah, not on the first show. Play that card later, when people know you. Oh, oh, and why, oh why is Barry Manilow wearing a doo-rag and a fake beard and wig? Or why is the motorcyle rocker guy singing like Barry Manilow? What is this world coming to?

Okay, let's move on before the kid from Freaks and Geeks starts singing. I was going to decide to be punctual today, you know, for a change. But then I decided I would just be enabling people who were too wrapped up in their fast-paced lives. Then I was going to talk about people who were too wrapped up in their fast-paced lives. Then I decided . . . no, don't talk about people. Talk to people about what bothers you, or get over it.

That's my change. I gotta go talk to the Freaks and Geeks kid. I have issues with his performance, but I want to bring them up to him face-to-face.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Just to Clarify

This boy is not a crybaby. Yesterday I said "uncharacteristic" because he is not predisposed to fussing. Far too often his face looks like this, smiling ridiculously.

I say that because I fear Colin is slightly underrepresented thus far on the blog. It's not that he isn't vastly interesting. I'm in love with that kid. He's just not exactly in story mode yet. Pictures do him better justice than words. This one is pretty darn accurate.

Now, Addison continues to crack me up, and to my disbelief he remains motivated by the "eat it or you'll turn into it" trick. The really funny thing is that he doesn't believe me at all. He just likes entertaining the notion that he's narrowly avoiding some sort of culinary metamorphosis. I know if he had a blog, right now he'd be typing, "Dude, I almost turned into a noodle tonight. Close call." Regardless, I can't believe how much I've gotten him to eat with this one trick. Tonight is was a noodle (which is high atop his list of offensive foods) and a cooked carrot (can't remember him ever eating one before). I didn't even have to spoon it to him. He couldn't eat it fast enough. Awesome.

Today's change is very small but that doesn't mean it's not important. It's one of my favorites. I'm changing the way I say caramel. Up until now I had rotated between all the options, defaulting (I think) with CAR-uh-Mell. Turns out, that isn't even one of the five--FIVE--accepted pronunciations in Merriam-Webster's dictionary. There was much debate in the office over how to pronounce the dictionary's given pronunciations. So I've decided on CAR-mull, pronunciation number one. Then it was insinuated that this was a waste of time. I scoffed at the notion, sure that as the resident grammarians we were compelled to be the authorities on such matters. I was quickly proven right.

Not five minutes later we headed down to get some coffee at Moody's righteous java joint, where I overhead the barista repeating back an order, "So a shot of CAR-uh-Mull? Or is it CARE-uh-Mell?"

It's CAR-mull, buddy. But to each his own.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Terrific

Despite an uncharacteristic weekend of naplessness and a night full of crying from Colin, this weekend had its fair share of random delights. Here's a sampling, way too many of them coming from NBA All-Star festivities:

1. Yesterday's dunk contest. Dwight Howard had an array of ridiculous dunks last night, including one that had him catching the ball in midair behind the backboard, ducking his head below the backboard and slamming it home on the other side. He also dressed up like Superman, but his first propless dunk was the best. But for me, the highlight of the night was Gerald Green's blow-out-the-candle dunk.

2. Oh Canada. I love that song. They sang it yesterday and today. It's almost enough to make me move to Canada. Almost.

3. I love sandwiches. The good (or bad, I don't know, really) folks at Esquire have released a coast-to-coast list of the best sandwiches in America. I read through it, and it looks like a mouthwatering road trip. I'm booking it now.

4. Jazz. They've been playing it all weekend since the All-Star Game is in New Orleans. I know the whole thing is lame, but the music has been killer.

5. This morning Addison and I went to Dunkin' Donuts. He paused, mid-donut, and said, "Dad . . . this is terrific." Yes, Son, it is pretty terrific.

6. In a renewal of a previously unpublished change, I'm back to everyday flossing. Woo hoo, I know.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Top Ten Things We All Own But Never Use

10. DVDs. Mostly, we (and by we, I mean society) watch the ones we get from Netflix, Blockbuster, or the library, but we purchase DVDs strictly on a museum basis.
9. That rack that goes in your microwave.
8. China.
7. China cabinets.
6. Tape Decks. The mixed CD will never be as significant as the mixed tape. If you don't have a deck on which to not play your old mixed tapes, the memories aren't nearly as haunting.
5. Smoke detectors. You're supposed to check these how often? I'm running on never.
4. Jet-Dri dishwasher rinse agent. You put this in the first time you buy it. Then maybe refill it biannually.
3. Anything you've ever worn in a wedding.
2. That one wooden spoon with the hole in it.
1. Boggle. I estimate that everyone in the world owns this game, and it gets played a cumulative worldwide average of twice a year.

Change for the day: I had an apple instead of some packaged, corn-syrup-laden snack. Of course, I had already downed some peanut M&M's, but still. I changed my choice of follow-up snack anyway.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Musical Ripoffs . . . Daniel vs. Holiday in Spain

This is one of those that is a long way from ripoff status . . . heavy influence at best, and I'm just taking a guess. But I like the guess. And as Heavy Musical Influences isn't nearly as scintillating as calling it a ripoff, I'm calling it a ripoff. Elton John's "Daniel," to me seems like it may have served as a musical inspiration for the Counting Crows' "Holiday in Spain." For the sake of argument, I'll say that Elton is singing from the one left behind, and Adam is the one doing the leaving. Check it out and tell me what you think. See a link there? For what it's worth, I love both songs, so I hold the Crows to the musical ripoff flames with the highest respect.

Oh, and no real changes today, so, um . . . I'm gay.

- Ellen

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Out of Focus

Today, I'm going to change my focus, at least for a moment, away from anything having to do with me. We have a friend who just had a baby, and there were some pretty serious complications. I won't go into details because I don't want to exploit them for emotional effect any more than my use of the word complications already has. This baby will have a hard life. His parents have gone and will go through difficulties that most parents will not. These are cold facts.

I feel for this baby and what a remarkable life God has mapped out for him. And I feel for the parents who knew having this baby would change their lives, because that's what everyone told them. But they didn't know how much he would change their lives. They didn't know how wonderful it would feel to love someone with so many obvious flaws; flaws that they would care deeply about; flaws that would intensify their love for that precious baby; flaws that they cannot change; flaws that are exactly as God planned them; flaws that serve as slits in the Hand-knit human fabric through which God's glory shines; flaws that we all assume will affect a small percentage of the population to which we will never belong. They didn't know this was coming. They didn't know how much a heart can hurt on someone else's behalf. But they have found out now, and they are grateful for what they have.

They have been freed from the great happy delusion that blinds us all. They see through the silken scarves of entitlement that shade our eyes from the truth. They see health as a gift, not as a right. They see things like strong bones, ten fingers and ten toes, and the functioning innerworkings of the human body as luxuries, not basic amenities. They see each breath of air as the priceless treasure that it is, not the casual afterthought we make it out to be. They see life as more than the pleasures and thrills that this world offers. They know, from the unimaginable experience of life at its rawest and most vulnerable, that we are fulfilled by a love eternal that connects us to each other and to God through pure and incorruptible and unbreakable spiritual threads, threads that radiate love and buoy us above the waves of everything we think we need. We are drowning in the stuff of life. But we are made of so much more. I forget that. These new parents do not.

They know life and love on a higher plane than I do. But it does not transport them beyond the palpable pain of their everyday existence. For our spirits are sewn into the material. As long as they are living in the physical sense, they can never be torn from physical pain. And I'll be darned if the spirit doesn't feel that. Life is hard. Harder for some than others. All these fancy words, and it is still one day after the next. Bills to pay, needs and desires to meet. Life to figure out.

So on I go with flaws inherited and invented. I'm a child of God's with serious complications. How messed up and blessed I am.

Could There BE Any More Change?

Yesterday was a huge change for me, as Monica and I decided to move in together. We had been deliberating a decision to get married in Vegas because all the signs seemed to be pointing that way. But after seeing our friends Ross & Rachel get married on a drunken whim, we realized things were just moving all too fast. And then it hit me: what if we kind of committed to each other but not really? What better way to say, "I love you for now," than to just live with each other without any kind of legally binding contract?

I'm really excited about it, even though I'll miss my best friend Joey. And for Monica and Rachel, it's the end of an era. But for the two of us, I think it's a risky but necessary test to see if our relationship will last or if we really just jumped the shark when we hooked up in London.

Oh, and yeah, if I can't make a meaningful change on any given February day, I'm just going to assume the identity of a TV character who did. Stay tuned.

- Chandler

Monday, February 11, 2008

They Call Me Wordsworth

I was reading Addison a library book called The Boy Who Loved Words tonight, and I really liked it. A lot of the words in it were over Addison's head. A few of them were over mine. Oh, Addison liked it, too. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you figured out what the book is about by deciphering the title. If you know me at all, you may have made one or two other conclusions about why I like the book that go without saying. This is me not saying them. And I'll go ahead and not say them about Addison either.

Heather has read the book to him a couple of times before, but it's not one of those "read it again" books that gets worn out the first day you bring it home. So I was positively tickled, given all the reasons that have gone without saying, when Addison quoted part of the book to me as we were reading it. I think it's hilarious what little boys tend to memorize, but this one . . . I don't know, it touched me. There are certain words he can read, but it was pretty clear he was spouting this off from memory.

So there I was, trucking through the book, when it gets to the point when the Boy Who Loved Words finally had a reason to feel proud about his passion, and when the beneficiary of his bon mots asked the boy his name, he said (and by "he," I mean Addison), "They call me Wordsworth." It's the happiest point in a rather long and wordy book, and that line, that one line, was the part that Addison recited unprompted. What got to me wasn't the fact that he remembered it--it was that it meant something to him. Okay, probably not as much as it meant to me, but it clearly made an impression on him. He was waiting for it, he knew it was coming, and he pounced on it the moment the opportunity arose to make sure I didn't say it before he did.

I'll let a lot more of my thoughts go without saying, but they were all good and buoying and delightful. Read the book, you'll understand.

Oh, and the change for the day is that I'm trying to stop complaining about people in general. That gives me nothing to talk about except this sappy stuff. Sorry.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Change Shmange

I'll work backwards, because blogs seem to work like that anyway.

Today, my change is that I'm changing the rules to the month of changes. I never really established rules in any written form, but I did have some mental guidelines set up when I first decided to change something about myself every day. The first one was that it had to be about myself. I wouldn't try to change other people, or the world, or the designated hitter rule--all of which should be changed, to be sure. But that wasn't what I was setting out to do.

And there has been no shortage of things to change about myself. But I have found that changing the things I want to change about myself takes longer than a day. That doesn't mean I'll no longer try, it just means one thing a day--about me--is too much. Besides, why does it have to be all about me? That's selfish, right?

I still want the changes to be meaningful and positive. I want them to require some effort. Changing my clothes . . . not worth posting. It seems like a corny old man quote, although I don't remember ever hearing a corny old man saying it, but I'll pass it on to you as if I remember someone telling it to me: "If you're going to change just one thing today, start with your underwear." So I guess this is me saying, I'm going to try for more than one thing each day . . . clothing in general will be thing 1. After that, it can be anything, anyone, anywhere. Just change something, and make it count.

Now, working backwards with the new rules fitting retroactively, yesterday I changed Addison's mind about mashed potatoes. He said he hated them. I knew he would like them if he tried them. These were those Idahoan powdered flakes that you add boiling water to and then they turn into creamy starchy clouds of yum. If you don't like that particular brand of potatoes, you have every right to your opinion . . . except you don't, and you're wrong.

So I asked Addison why he didn't think he would like them. He said they weren't his favorite. And, for those of you not versed in the lexicon of Addisonian language, "Not my favorite" is his understated way of saying, "From the very core of my being, I despise that and all that has been contaminated by its filth." I offered him a gumball if he would try a bite of mashed potatoes. He refused. I repeated this offer several times, each time being shunned in no uncertain terms. If I held the spoon, bearing a mere morsel of potatoes on its tip, anywhere near his face, he convulsed in fits of maniacal panic.

Then I told him he would turn into a potato if he didn't eat any. I told him his skin was turning brown and his features were starting to harden. Then with a "Quick, eat this before it goes any further," I offered him the spoon of mashed potatoes one more time. He gobbled it down without hesitation. His verdict: "These are good!" Although he politely refused any more bites.

Maybe tomorrow I'll change my stance on lying to my kids. Don't hold your breath, though.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Musical Ripoffs . . . All I Need

Okay, these aren't actually ripoffs, other than that all these songs have the same title. I got the first one stuck in my head, which aggravated me to no end because the only lyrics I can ever remember are, "All I Need is just a little more time to be sure what I feel." Drives me nuts. Anyway, I thought I'd pass the aggravation on to you by adding the song to my playlist. But in my search for the song, I found loads of other artists who have recorded tracks called "All I Need." And while I wouldn't go so far as to call them clones of each other, at least three of them seemed to have the same vibe as the song I was looking for. I guess it sounded to me like they all had an assignment in music class to write a song called "All I Need" that was melancholy while making a vain attempt to be upbeat. Go figure. So I thought I'd put it to a vote. Please check out a sampling of the four different songs, and tell me which one you like best.

To make it easy on some of you, I went ahead and included Radiohead. I'm not really familiar with Shawn McDonald or Mat Kearney, but I liked the songs. So give them an honest listen, a fair shake, and make your vote count . . . even though it doesn't, in the vast configuration.

New Site of the Week - Cubscast


This is a good site, a great podcast, and a bright shining ray of hope for all who irrationally believe in the search for the mythical Cubs World Championship.


Backsliding

In the past two days, I've just about shot all my previous changes straight out of the sky. But before I get to my recidivism, I wanted to make a public service announcement about yesterday's previously undisclosed change.

I decided to stop complaining about the weather, period. I had previously quietly made it a point never to complain about the weather acting exactly as it should. This is a pet peeve of mine, but I want to quickly define what I'm talking about before I offend anyone who has recently said anything weather-related to me.

What I'm Not Talking About
People who say, "It's negative 6 today, so we're staying inside." A) This is not complaining, it's stating facts that affect your behavior and/or status. B) Those conditions are extreme, even for the dead of winter in Chicago. Even if it were considered complaining, it would be justified. You know, if a hailstone crushes your car, complaining is not that annoying.

What I So AM Talking About
People who say, "Boy, do you believe this snow? We're in for some horrendous traffic today if this keeps up." See, now this is complaining about things behaving as they should, AND it's complaining about something that has yet to happen with no guarantee that it will. Let's take the first part: "Do you believe this snow?" Yeah. It's snowing. In February. In Chicago. What is hard to believe about snow falling in the winter in the Midwest? Grrr. Then there's the, "Oh, woe is me, I know the snow will have an adverse effect on traffic later, I just know it" whining spree. People who speak like this want to be depressed. They can't wait for it.

The Change I'm Making
Now I'm going beyond just avoiding that which peeves me. No more complaining about the weather, even if it seems justified. If it's negative 25 in May, so be it. If the sun doesn't shine for a month, no problem. I'll take the weather, be thankful for it, and bask in the glow, the freezing rain, the showers, the flowers, the heat, the humidity . . . I don't care what it is, I'm basking. At least for now.

The Changes Formerly Known As Changes
Yesterday happened, and a lot of things went out the window. I didn't get around to trivia last night. I went to bed at 4 in the morning. I spent too much time online (although not all that time online). I didn't do the boring work thing. I did stretch, though, and it saved me from spraining my ankle during Wallyball. (Maybe someday I'll blog about Wallyball . . . it's awesome.) And then today, I didn't really change a thing. I'll try again tomorrow. Maybe.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Little Bit Sooner

Just to get one thing straight: the pictures herein have nothing to do with the text in this post or the change for the day, other than the fact that it felt really good to play baseball with Addison today. He's so much fun, and it really got me ready for spring. My change for the day is another boring one. Every day I send a trivia question out (as well as blog it) and today I decided I'd do tomorrow's tonight instead of tomorrow morning. You know, a little time-saving maneuver. Doesn't really save any time for me now, but maybe it will turn out to be more productive use of today's time and more freedom tomorrow morning. Lame, I know. So to combat the lameness, enjoy the awesomeness of Addison's batting prowess.





Tuesday, February 05, 2008

That's a Stretch

Today's change caught me by surprise, because I really didn't expect to think the thought that triggered it. But there I was, early in the morning, telling myself that I ought to stretch more. What? Like, metaphorically? No, just, you know, Jane Fonda, touch your toes, keep going till it burns and hold, two, three, four . . . stretching.

If you're spouting off the initials of the World Trade Federation, I understand. If you're shouting at me through your computer screen, "Yeah, Adam, I'll see you at yoga," I'm not quite there yet. But, I did it. I stretched this morning. I felt a little bit more limber all day long. And this is one of those changes that really means nothing if I don't keep doing it. So I'm going to try to introduce stretching into the morning routine on an ongoing basis. Don't look for me in Cirque du Soleil anytime soon, but I'm stretching.

And even though I'm only 5 days into this thing (and I didn't really do anything new on February 1) I'm doing okay with making these changes stick. Internet use is down. Obviously I'm not getting to bed by 10:30 tonight, but I'm not going to work tomorrow either. Still, I'm keeping it reasonable. And I'm doing the splits as I type this. I can't wait to see what change tomorrow brings. It's kinda fun.

That being said, I feel like there is so much to say on a day like today. Regardless of who wins, I like it when people vote. I like it when anyone reads the Declaration of Independence, be it before the Super Bowl or during 4th Grade Social Studies. I love the notion that the people who govern us derive their power from the consent of the governed. The consent of the governed . . . I love that phrase. I like it when people in high places care about what precincts in Kansas have reported. I won't say everything I'd like to say. But I will say this, and mark my words:

Barack Obama just won the election. The other candidates have given small celebratory speeches tonight (although I haven't heard from Clinton yet). McCain took tonight off, deciding not to beat his drum on election night. Hillary already missed her window. I'm going to bed after this. And even though my mind is made up yet, Barack is trying real hard to make it up for me. He is monopolizing the television networks of America, and has been for about 15 minutes or so. He's saying all the right things. He's striking all the right chords. He is delivering a vibrant, powerful, invigorating speech. And he is OWNING the air waves like he's delivering the State of the Union. America is watching, and all they can see is Obama.

There was a concern that Super Duper Tuesday would render the other state primaries inconsequential. Guess what, all states who have gone before are nothing. Obama, right now, even as I type, is icing up every remaining state in the union. Mark my words. Barack is our next president. In a landslide.

I'm not saying I'm voting for him. I'm just telling you, it's over. And that's no stretch.

Monday, February 04, 2008

They Can't All Be Winners

Today's change is so pathetically, wretchedly boring, I won't, I repeat, I will not publish the coma-inducing details. It's a work thing. In fact, it is the one aspect of my job that, had I faith in the Norse gods, I would call on Thor to wield his hammer and fire down a Nordic lightning bolt from the heights of Valhalla to strike this useless exercise right between the glockenspiel and straight down to H-E-Single hockey stick. It's one of those jobs that management tells you is meaningful, important, and vital, but every fiber of your being will testify to the fact that it is the single biggest waste of time in the vast sea of trivial corporate vanity.

It sucks. But today, I've decided to go ahead and do it the way the demons of office bureaucracy intended when they originally spawned this soul-sucking happy meal of ennui. There. That's it. That's the big change.

But let me tell you something, embarking on a change-a-day adventure is risky business. First of all, there is seemingly no limit to the number of things I could or should change in my life. That's real encouraging. But I'm used to that. No biggie. The other sad fact is that I have no intention of continuing these changes. I didn't work that into the plan. So I might make 29 changes this month, and spend all of March reverting back to my old ways.

Still, that's okay. If even one of these changes sticks, I'll consider the experiment a success. If I don't end up changing a thing . . . ha, well, maybe success is a change I'm not ready for.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Bedtime

Okay, the change for today is officially boring. Quick Sidenote: it's really funny hearing someone say "Bayer Aspirin." The "pirin" really tends to get lost. Sidenote over.

Back to today's boring new change. I'm going to get to bed by 10:30. I know that's not exciting, but truth be told, it's not like I'm fighting crime after 10:30. I just need more sleep. I've been averaging under five hours for the past . . . I don't even want to think about it. So it's time for me to change that particular habit. It might change my whole life. Who knows? Maybe I will start fighting crime.

Also, people in BowFlex commercials scare me. I'm not worried they'll beat me up, but they make me realistically afraid of alien life forms. I mean come on, there's no earthly explanation for how someone can have muscles that sculpted and teeth that white.

So . . . yeah, I'm going to bed earlier. Time to watch me some Super Bowl. (Yeah, that's right NFL, I said Super Bowl. Not the big game. Super. Bowl. Sue me.)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Groundhog Day

The premise for the movie Groundhog Day just might be the best movie concept of all time. A guy gets stuck in the same day over and over . . . and the fact that it is so immediately applicable to life in this world is too sad to even explore in any depth at the moment. The short of it is, I'm Mr. Habitual. I like variety in expression, but repetition in action. I guess you could say I'm a huge fan of the formula. The pattern. The template. The routine. You can plug all sorts of different things into life, but they all end up in the same basic shape. My life is a Jell-O mold.

But here's the hilarious (and by hilarious, I mean I'm laughing to prevent a nervous breakdown into depression) reality that hit me today: I'm in my 10th year at my current job. My dad is in his 36th or 37th year at his current job. We both work at the same place, and in almost 50 combined years of working there, the two of us have not switched jobs at all.

And guess when my dad's first day on the job was? You betcha. Groundhog Day.

The job isn't the only thing that has stayed the same. It's symptomatic of a wholesale lack of change. So . . . here's my new month's resolution: I'll change one thing every day. Today (and there's still a good 23 hours left) I'm going to limit myself to one hour of Internet access. That's a start, anyway. For the rest of February, I'll let you know each day what I changed.