Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Life Imitates Blog

Well hello there. I told you I was going to blog more this week. Twice in one week > no times in two weeks. Unfortunately I've only left the house once in the past 72 hours. I've gone for a couple of runs, but that doesn't really count. Although I did see a lady on the trail walking her birds. While they were in their cages. That's probably blogworthy. Maybe next time. Anyway, my hermit lifestyle (Kate is traveling this week) makes it very difficult to find material for a 'random stuff that happens in the day' blog. But lucky for you I did leave the house yesterday to buy oatmeal and dishwasher detergent. And even luckier for you, I went during peak hours at the grocery store, so I had plenty of time to read (or scan the cover) of Us Weekly.

It has been well documented that I love celebrity gossip as much as the next girl. I have even developed a trustworthiness hierarchy for my celebrity gossip. For print gossip, it goes something like this:

National Enquirer - Most likely not true, but who doesn't love pictures of 200lb babies?
OK/Star - 20% Chance for Truth
Us Weekly and People - Some truth to whatever they are saying
Time/Newsweek/Other Grown Up Magazines - Probably accurate, but only going to read it at a doctors office or when I'm visiting my parents.

Most of my online sources (Perez, TMZ) probably fall into the same category as OK/Star. 

So while I was buying my oats and Cascade, I had some extra time to read the cover of Us Weekly. The cover story was something about Jon from Jon and Kate Plus Eight allegedly having an affair. Long time readers will remember a post that I did about spinoffs for reality shows. I think the one that I came up for Jon and Kate Plus Eight was going to be Jon Minus Nine - where it was him running away from his wife who clearly hates him, and sitting alone in a dark one bedroom apartment. Based on the fact that this story has gone up the gossip magazine food chain from the OK/Star level to the Us Weekly level, I feel like my spinoff might become a reality show reality (hence the post title). Does that make me a prophet or just someone who watches too much reality television?

Anyway, when Kate called me today, the majority of our phone conversation was about Jon Minus Nine. She also asked me about Gilbert and whether or not I have been bathing since she left. Then we started talking about all of the other reality show couples that didn't end so well. There was a streak there a few years back when everyone who had an MTV reality show ended up divorced..

Nick and Jessica on Newlyweds - Great while it lasted. Everyone loves a train wreck.

Travis and Shanna on Meet the Barkers - I met them, then they got divorced.

Carmen Elektra and Dave Navarro on Til Death Do Us Part - Probably not the best title.

And that doesn't even count the Osbournes. I'm pretty sure Ozzy had an affair with Charles Shaw for during season 3.

So I'm not sure if the story with Jon and Kate is true or not. I'll have to wait and see if it shows up in a grown up magazine.  And for that, I'll have to wait until I go to visit my parents or go to a Barnes and Noble. All I know is that Kate and I decided not to have a reality show about our marriage. This blog will have to do.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Don't Call it a Comeback

Hi Friends,

I have to apologize. I have been neglecting you. 2 weeks without posting is not cool. Not cool at all. My blogging friends sometimes say that their blog is like their baby, and it needs constant attention. Apparently I think this blog is like a cat, and I can just throw some food out and go on vacation. 2 weeks is even long by cat standards. But then again, I don't really like cats, so there you go. I'll try to do better now. Maybe something like three posts a week. We'll see how that goes.

I should have a couple posts lined up in my head. I just got back from a road trip to Tampa. For those of you who aren't so good with geography, Tampa and Charlotte are not very close to each other. I drove about 19 hours this weekend. By myself. In addition to singing along with every Taylor Swift song and watching the televisions in the minivans in front of me, I probably came up with a few things that are YIFY-worthy. The first one should be pretty easy...

Why did I drive 19 hours this weekend?

It was my friend Natalie's 30th birthday. Natalie is one of our really good friends from when we lived in Jacksonville. Her husband Joe threw her a party, so that's what I was doing down there. And if you're wondering why the unnecessary name-dropping - Natalie told me that she likes it when she and Joe are featured on the blog, so there ya go.

But 30 is a big deal. Maybe it's just because I am fast-approaching my own 30th, but it seems like it is worth a long drive. I also drove back to Indianapolis for RJ's birthday, so this isn't a first time thing for me.

I'm not going to lie. One of the reasons why I made the drive is because I got an Evite. I don't know what it is about those things, but I just can't say no. It doesn't matter where it is or what it is. If there is an Evite, I am probably going to show up. So from Columbia to Hilton Head, I came up with my reasons why I respond 'yes' to 98% of Evites that I receive.

1. It shows some level of effort. If someone takes the time to send out an Evite, it means there is almost no chance that the party is going to fall through. I have yet to have an Evite party cancelled. Also, if they put in the required effort to send out the Evite, there is a high probability that the other necessary party plans will receive attention. The food is usually better, the games more enjoyable, and the beer more plentiful when there is an Evite - as opposed to parties that rely on word of mouth or random email invite. This was certainly the case at Natalie's party - there were steak tacos, cornhole, and even leftover beer at the end of the night.

2. You can screen the potential guest list and make an informed decision. So if you don't like a particular friend of the host, then you can wait to see if s/he is invited/accepts before making your decision. In most cases, said person is a non-responder, or responds with maybe. Then it's sort of a judgement call, but it's still nice to know the guest list before committing. 

3. There just isn't really a good way to respond no. I think Evite responses should be 5 words or less. Anything more than that, you're either going into too much detail about why you can't come, you're trying too hard to be funny, or you're responding with some inside joke that most of the other Evitees aren't going to understand. Keeping a yes response to five words or less is pretty easy. I usually stick with "looking forward to it" or "wouldn't miss it." Nothing too original or creative, but it gets the point across. It's more difficult with 'no' responses - so maybe that's why I can't decline an Evite. The most common no response (As I approach 30) is something like "sorry, got the kids" or something like that. Which is basically another way of saying "attending your party is not worth the cost of a babysitter to me." Other people frequently respond with their other plans. Something like "sorry we can't make it, it's date night with me and (insert spouse name)." I don't know if it's because they want to 'prove' that they have other plans, or just think that the only person who can read the response is the Eviter. And if you just respond with something like "sorry...can't make it" you just sound like a dick. This is what goes through my head every time I get an Evite. I can't say no because I don't think there's a good way to say no. 

And don't even get me started on the 'maybe' response option. Maybe can only mean one of two things:

1. I might show up if nothing better comes up between now and then
2. I can't think of a good excuse right now

So there you go. It was a pretty long drive, so I should have more to write about later this week. I won't treat you guys like cats anymore. Unless I find a laser pointer. 

Friday, April 24, 2009

This Week In Blogs, Volume V

Hey - this week's roundup is posted on my new blog: http://www.theblogstalker.com/. So go check it out, and add that blog to your RSS Feeds, or Google reader, or whatever the kids are doing these days.

YIFY Fans Not Interested in Food Blogs: We will return to your regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. Or whenever I get around to thinking of something somewhat funny. YIFY will not go away, just the food blog content that has been dominating this blog for the last month or so.

That is all. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Vote Here

Hi Friends. Exciting news here. My friend Jennifer gave me a late birthday present and nominated me for a Blogger's Choice Award today. You can (and should) vote for me here. Now I could do what most bloggers do, which is to act like it's not a big deal, sort of passively ask people to vote for them, and then put the little logo on their blog. I'm not going to do this. First, I'm not quite sure how to put the little logo on my blog, so that's out. Second, I'm taking this very seriously. Instead of just mentioning it in passing, I'm writing an entire post about my nomination and eventual victory. 

You see, I'm not going to treat this like an awards show. There's no "it's just an honor to be nominated" bullshit like it's an Oscar nomination, or perhaps a Source award or Kid's Choice Award. Nope - not going to do that. Instead, I'm treating this like a political campaign. I will be openly campaigning for your vote. Which is why you should vote for my blog here.

I have my own platform. I'm against several things, including domestic violence, international violence, animal cruelty and meth abuse. I'm also in favor of several things, including world peace, clean air, women's rights, and tort reform. So there you go. Vote for me, unless you're a fan of animal cruelty and a hater of tort reform. And did I mention you can vote here

This is a big step for me. I haven't run for public office since my freshman year of high school. I ran for Freshman Class Secretary back in 1994. I'm trying to remember why. I think it's because elections were a couple weeks before Secretary's Day. That was back before they called it Administrative Assistant's Day. So I thought that if I was elected Freshman Class Secretary, then maybe I'd get some free stuff on Secretary's Day. If you haven't noticed, there's a bit of a theme developing here. Getting free stuff seems to be a motivating factor for most of the decisions I make. Oh, and I got my ass kicked in that battle for Freshman Class Secretary. The competition gave away mini snickers bars after his speech. How the hell can I compete with that? No poster board or catchy slogan can overcome free candy. It's still painful. Click here to help ease the pain. 

So in the made up blog awards, I'm coming from behind. At time of post, I'm holding steady with two votes (me and Jennifer). That puts me 235 votes behind the current leader. But I think we can do it. If every YIFY reader votes (multiple times) and then my other blog personas (Marci, Marge, etc) decide to vote, I can win this thing going away. Mostly because the current leader is a blog about cakes. That's right. It is basically just pictures of funny cakes. I can't lose to a blog about funny cakes. So you should vote here to make sure that doesn't happen. 

Editor's note: I actually clicked on the cake blog earlier today and it was pretty funny. Not as funny as this blog, but pretty damn funny. I mean, there was a cake in the shape of a dong. That's pretty much always funny?

So that's all I've got. Yep, I just wrote an entire post about the made up blog awards and why you should vote for me. Perhaps this was disappointing. Perhaps you're thinking, "I've been waiting four days for a YIFY post, and this is what I get?"

Sorry about that, if you're upset about this post, then you can just post your feedback here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

This Week in Blogs, Volume IV

Hi Everyone. Welcome to the fourth and final edition of the food blog roundup. It’s not the last one ever, just the last one on this blog. The new blog should be ready to go next week. I could’ve had it ready to go this week, but I had to watch The Masters all weekend, then I was sick, then it was my birthday, and then I had to catch up and read all of the blogs. So hopefully I’ll get around to it in time for next week. I’ll keep y’all posted. I think it has been an excited week in blogworld. There have been fires, free Garmins, and most importantly, my birthday. Sadly, my mailbox was blondie-free on my 29th. Alright, enough about that. Here. We. Go.

Mara at What’s for Dinner had a busy week. The week started with a nice post for her fiance’s birthday. Yes, I realize that there is an accent mark at some point in that word, but I don’t feel like digging around for special characters in the blogger editor. Anyway, it was a somewhat sappy but nice ode to fiance. My only criticism is that she used the phrase “my stomach flipped with joy.” Now while this might be accurate, when ‘stomach ‘and ‘flip’ are used together, I just start thinking about the end of Marley and Me (both book and movie). And then I think of the 100+ people openly sobbing around me when we were at the theatre. So I don’t really know how Mara’s fiance love post ends because I started thinking about Marley and got distracted.

Mara also had a blogger playdate with Jenn from Eating Bender. It was an action-packed date, filled with everything that a food blogger meet-up should include: overpriced organic grocery store, uncooked Asian foods, specialty cooking stores, and ice cream. I bet there’s a lot of pressure when two food bloggers meet for the first time. If I was the food blogger responsible for coming up with the agenda, I think I’d probably just schedule a bunch of out of character activities. Well, out of character for healthy food bloggers, at least. I’d use a theme, like ‘buckets.’ My Chicago food blog meet up would probably start in one of the neighborhoods around U.S. Cellular Field. We'd make enough wrong turns that we would end up near a Harold's Chicken and enjoy a bucket of legs, wings, thighs, and grease. Then we'd head south for a couple buckets of beers at Bourbon Street on 115th, and then downtown for a big Bucket of Garrett’s Carmel and Cheese Popcorn.  It would probably be our last meeting and the pictures wouldn’t make the interweb.   

Speaking of Eating Bender, I was going to devote an entire paragraph to Jen, but then I noticed that she’s doing the P90X workout. If she is able to make it through one session of that, then she can officially kick my ass, so I’m going to watch what I say. For those of you that don’t know what P90X is, apparently you don’t have cable or sleeping issues. It’s a workout program that only advertises on basic cable between 2:00-6:00 AM. I feel sore after watching one of the infomercials. It looks like Level XIV of Jillian’s 30 Day Shred, and the ‘after’ spokespeople look like Brad Pitt in fight club. Good luck with that.

Caitlin Tipping Point (seems easier than writing out Caitlin, at The Healthy Tipping Point) had some excitement this week when her apartment complex caught on fire. My only critique of this is that there was only one post devoted to The Great Fire of 2009. It was comprehensive coverage within that post, but I would’ve dragged it out over a few days. It was sort of like in the last season of The O.C. when Marissa Cooper started hooking up with the chick that’s now playing 13 on House. There was one episode of The O.C. devoted to their torrid love affair, and then by the next episode Marissa was back to dating Ryan Atwood and hating her mother. Or am I the only one who compares food blogs to Teen Drama plot lines? All I’m saying is that you missed an opportunity to turn this into fire prevention week on HTP, with instructional videos for fire extinguisher usage, and more pictures of the dreamy firefighters. Also, I’m not really a black helicopter guy, but I find it quite a coincidence that there was a fire at the apartment during the same week that Caitlin announced her running hiatus. I’m just saying that maybe someone in the running industry might not be happy about this decision and may have had something to do with the fire. Because ‘fire’ is the #2 cause of spontaneous running, just behind ‘someone chasing you.’

Am I the only one that’s a little jealous of all of the free stuff that Kath gets? She got a freaking Garmin? Kath is my friend so I should be happy for her (and I should realize that maybe I can borrow some of her free stuff sometime) but I want to understand the secret to getting free stuff. I mean, this blog is read by literally DOZENS of people every week, but I guess that isn’t enough. So far I've got

Step 1: Create Blog
Step 2:
Step 3: Free Stuff

Maybe I should drop some subtle hints…

The check engine light is on in my Toyota Highlander. I just love my Highlander and I hear that the new Hybrid model is fantastic. I sure would like to drive one of those.

Or

My Kenmore washing machine is one of my favorite appliances, but the spin cycle seems to be acting up. I’m just not sure where I could find a replacement.

If I haven’t made this clear yet, let me say one more time: I am willing to sell out this blog (and my new blog) for free stuff.  I’ll take almost anything. Except maybe the WWII era cereal that Kath got this week, with the picture of a kid that looks like a cross between Ralphie’s little brother in A Christmas Story and one of the Children of the Corn kids. I don’t think I could eat breakfast with this kid staring at me.

Alright, back to the blog review now

There was some excitement on Hangry Pants this week. There was finally a ‘he said’ post! For those who do not read Hangry, each post starts with either “He Says” or “She Says” depending on who is the author of the post. Sort of a clever idea for a shared male/female shared blog. Only problem is that there isn’t an even balance between he says and she says. Specifically, we’ve gone entire weeks recently without a single he says post. So going to the blog and looking for a “he says” post is sort of like Where’s Waldo or one of those magic eye posters. You know, those things that you stare at for 30 seconds and then you see a panda that says I love you emerge from the trippy design.. Now I know that Daddy is very busy at work, but we stay up late to wait for him to come home, and then he doesn’t talk to us kids out in blogland. We need more "he says" posts – the last one introduced me to new salad toppings, including Pepperidge Farm Goldfish and Honey Wheat Kix.  That is food blog gold, and I want more.

Diana at The Chic Life broke the all time food blog record of excessive use of the word ‘sammy.’ Now there has been some discussion and debate on the correct spelling (is it Sammie or Sammy). My official answer is that it is neither, as the word should not be used. Ever. Problem solved.. Now Diana is a friend and loyal reader. She knows how I feel about the use of the word Sammy. Yet she managed to use Sammy four times in one post. And it’s not like she was describing four different sandwiches – it was just one sandwich. And this isn’t the first time. I did a quick control + F and found no less than 13 instances of Sammy on one page of The Chic Life. And I double checked, and none of them were about Sammy Davis Jr. or Sammy Hagar. Diana, we need to talk about this. We might just turn my birthday party tonight into a Sammy usage intervention for you. All of your blogging friends and family will be here to help you through this.

Oh, and to fill out our list of places that spinach should not be:

3. Pancakes
4. Brownies

Thanks to Heather (from Heat the Salmon Butt) and Jennifer (from Blogger Profile Not Available Error Page) for submitting these winning entries.

Stock Up

Salad Challenge – I was going to participate until I found out that chicken salad, taco salad, and potato salad would not count as my daily salad.

Getting Free Stuff from Companies – Unless you are me.

Soups that look like baby food - bleh

Obscure Nut Butters – I don’t think there are any nuts left that have not been made into a peanut butter substitute. Also, 'Obscure Nut Butters' would be an awesome band name

Peep Art and Peep Consumption – Peep Utilization in food blogs was up almost 24% from last year

Stock Down

Cooked Food (or whatever the opposite of ‘raw’ is) – This means that natural gas and electricity are both stock down this week

Cadbury Cream Eggs – I looked at least 50 food blogs on Sunday and didn’t see a single one. I saw lots of Cadbury mini eggs, but not their goo filled big brother.

Pirate Attacks – Although I don’t want to call them Pirates

Alright. That’s all for this week. I’ll put next week’s post here and on the new blog. Let me know if there are any blogs that y’all want me to talk about. I gotta get going. Only a few hours until My SpongeBob Birthday Party/Diana’s Sammy Intervention. Talk to you later.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Hello, and greetings from a man in his late, late, late 20s. Today is my 29th birthday. It's not really a landmark birthday, but leaves me 365 days in my 20s. I'm going to talk about birthdays a bit today. I don't really have any major theme or thesis, so this is probably going to come off like an Andy Rooney segment on 60 Minutes. Just picture me with really bushy eyebrows.

 I just thought about it, and in about two months, my 'days alive' will pass my 'days left on mortgage'. I should celebrate that day.

I always had fun birthday parties growing up. Since my dad was a P.E. Teacher, he could just unlock the gym and the party would be pizza on the gym floor, then dunking basketballs off of mini trampolines. That's a pretty awesome birthday party for a 10 year old.

Having an April birthday was always pretty good. It happened during the school year, which is a plus. I was so happy I wasn't one of the summer birthday kids that had to do the group birthday celebration during the last week of school. I also always felt sorry for the kids who had birthdays over Christmas break. Not only did they get shafted in terms of parties, but also I'm sure that Uncles and Aunts probably went with the one gift for two events method. Poor kids. The only downside of an April birthday is that every so often your birthday falls on Easter which makes it difficult to get pizza and beer.

I've had to travel for work on my birthday the last few years. I decided that I wasn't going to do that this year. I also took it one step further and made my work schedule today more 'birthday-friendly.' I just strategically scheduled calls and meetings that I knew would be enjoyable for today, and pushed others to tomorrow. Because Dammit, it's my birthday. 

It's been a good birthday so far. I talked to my parents this morning. Kate and I had an extended breakfast with good oatmeal and good discussion of blogs and the Today Show. Then Gilbert and I had a good walk.Work was good.. I mowed my lawn during my lunch break. Thanks to Facebook, lots of people that I haven't talked to in many years wished me a happy birthday, so I feel more popular. I went for a run after work. Then we went to a beer tasting with our friends.Now I'm watching The Office and drinking a beer. This has been a pretty fantastic day by my standards.

And it doesn't end today. Kate had a pretty brilliant idea. Since I act like a 10 year old boy sometimes, we're having a little kid birthday party tomorrow. It is SpongeBob themed. There are SpongeBob invitations. We have the paper cone hats and party favors, and cupcakes. It's just like a little kid birthday party. Except there will also be drinking games. I have a dream that the 'little kid birthday party' will catch on in the same way that the 'ugly holiday sweater' party has caught on in recent years. We might take pictures, but this is a picture-free blog, but maybe other bloggers will post pictures of the event.

So there's my birthday post. Sorry for the unconnected thoughts. I probably could've spent more time on this one, but it's my birthday.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pirates?

Hi Everyone. Sorry for the delay. I actually have a good excuse this time. I've been pretty sick for the last few days. I've been trying to self diagnose on WebMD since Friday. I've narrowed it down to SARS, Bird Flu, or Mad Cow. I was going to pick one of those three, but then I started feeling better. At least I think I'm feeling better, because Kate is no longer:

A: Calling me Typhoid Mary 
B:Banishing me to the bonus room above the garage 
C: Wearing one of our construction masks when she comes up to talk to me. 

Since none of those things are happening anymore, I must be healthy enough to blog. 

Since I've been confined to my bonus room bubble for the past three days, I've had plenty of time to watch television. Huge surprise, right? Anyway, my television viewing - from CNN to the Today Show - has been saturated with coverage of this Somali Pirate standoff. Now don't get me wrong, it was a great story. It was almost like an episode of 24. Except that it went on for like three days, so I guess it was more like three seasons of 24. Anyway, the one thing that bothers me is the use of the title 'pirate.' I've read the definition of pirate, and it is technically accurate in this situation. The problem is that I've got a list of things that I think of in my head when I hear the word pirate, and none of the hundred or so things that I think of is remotely close to a 2009 Somali man with guns and a a cell phone and  a boat with an engine. Here are some of the things that enter my head when I hear the word pirate:

In no particular order...

1. Traits/Attributes: Wooden leg, birds on shoulders, hooks for hands, curly mustaches, incoherent accents, gold, treasure chests, there are others that fit here. I think Kate mentioned vitamin deficient diets and women in puffy dresses when we discussed this topic this evening. 

2. Pop Culture References: Disney World, Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom (so dreamy), Spiced Rum, Paula Dean's husband, some musical from junior year of high school, and Rufio from Hook.

Question for the Group - Were Rufio and the rest of the lost boys in Hook/Peter Pan technically pirates or mini pirates in training? If not, why do I always think about Rufio when people talk about pirates?

Clarification - Trust me - Paula Dean's husband sort of looks like a pirate. If you catch one of the 'Paula Cooks with the Family' episodes, you'll totally know what I'm talking about.

3. Goonies References - I know that these could probably roll up into the 'pop culture' category, but there are literally dozens of them, so I think they get their own category. So when someone talks about pirates, I think about: Chunk, One-Eyed Willy, Ma Fratelli, Fifty Dollar Bills, Mouth's Soliloquy in the Wishing Well, Mikey's Marble Bag, Rocky Road, the Truffle Shuffle, Hey You Guys, Rosalita, and Chester Copperpot (to name a few).

So clearly I have enough mental images of pirates. I don't need these modern day Somali guys jumping into my brain and pushing Rufio and Paula Dean's husband back. So we need to come up with something else other than pirates to call these jackasses. I don't have all of the answers here, but I've given it some thought. Here's what I thought about on my run today. And yes, I'm now healthy enough to run again, which rules out SARS:

Boat Stealers - A little too easy and doesn't really account for all of the people on board or the size of the ship.

Boatjackers - I like using jackers - it modernizes it like carjackers and hijackers, but boat isn't quite right.

Shipjackers - Close, but not quite. And what if it is technically a boat and not a ship.

Vesseljackers - It's perfect! It uses 'jackers' when sounds more serious than robber, thief or stealer. Also, when you combine vessel and jacker, it sounds pretty inappropriate. So it'll make me smile and laugh when Brian Williams and Matt Lauer talk about it, even though it's a very serious situation.

So there you go. They will now be known as Somali VesselJackers. Please adjust your water cooler discussions accordingly. Come to think of it, that's another term we need to change. Nobody really stands around a water cooler anymore, right? Another day.