January 27, 2010

Waiting for the snap to snap

Here in Minnesota, we refer to a stretch of ridiculously cold weather as a "cold snap." I've never liked this term, because it seems to indicate there's nothing too bad about cold weather; that it's easy; that it's a "snap."

In fact, cold weather is actually a bit of a bother, if I do say so myself. And I do. If we really must insist on calling a week of cold weather a "cold snap," at least mandate it also must carry the mental image of having your underwear snapped by someone who has icicles for fingers.

I have a lot of problems with cold weather, not the least of which being it can be deadly. Oh, sure, I realize excessively hot temperatures can also be deadly but, generally, if I had to choose between death by hot or cold weather, I'm pretty confident that hot weather would be the way to go. Not that I'm willing to find out either way, or anything. As preferred death options go, I still think David Carradine was probably on the right track.

At any rate, cold weather has a lot of other drawbacks besides simply being deadly, which is, nevertheless, a big strike against it.

For example, on any given morning featuring single or negative degrees, there's a good chance you'll see me -- barefoot, shirtless and with a toothbrush in my mouth -- running down the stairs, outside, to start my car to ensure it's warm and toasty 30 minutes later. Granted, I don't NEED to be barefoot and shirtless, but that's just my general condition in the morning when I realize I have to run down and start my car. And, believe me, when you're barefoot and shirtless in single digit or negative degree weather, you quickly harbor a deep disgust for cold weather in all its forms.

Also, cold weather can lead to awkward social situations. Yesterday, someone waved at me from across the street, but they were bundled from head to toe in winter garb, so I had no idea at whom I was waving. The person could just as easily have been the Pope, from what I could discern.

Eventually, I crossed the street and greeted the individual up close, and I STILL couldn't recognize who I was addressing. Finally, the person lifted their face mask to reveal it was actually a woman. Unfortunately, it was a woman I secretly don't like all that much and who, normally, I'd go out of my way to avoid. But, there I was, in a situation not unlike unwrapping a totally disappointing gift, only in this case I had to make uncomfortable small talk with the gift. The encounter was made all the more uncomfortable because, as I may have mentioned, it was so TERRIBLY COLD.

It's estimated human beings lose a majority of their body heat through their heads. I have no problem believing this. Speaking as a man who has been shaving his head for about 15 years now, I'd say almost all of my body heat is lost through my head. During cold weather, particularly during "cold snaps," I feel so much heat escaping from my head, I think of myself as the human equivalent of a lit match.

I normally remember to wear a hat, but during those rare times I forget, walking outside in the cold is the equivalent of running a cheese grater over my face and scalp. The cold can hurt so bad, I'll actually get mad at my head, which is about as productive an emotion as it sounds.

Now that we're almost in February, thankfully, I only have about a month left
of this year's "cold snap" to look forward to. I can almost envision
the wonderful days during which I can complain about a sunburned head
instead. I can barely wait.

Posted by Ryan at 09:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Editors. . .

Ryan: It never fails. I try to go and enjoy a nice, quiet lunch, by myself, and someone ends up trying to strike up a conversation with me.

Caroline: stupid people

Ryan: And people try to talk about the most boring things.
Dear stranger, I don't care at all that you keep your thermostat at 65.

Caroline: It's strange people look at you and think "hmm, that guy looks like someone who wants to chat with me."

Ryan: I know, right?

Caroline: Right

Ryan: It would take some serious effort on my part to look any more like a kid touching ax murderer. I don't look like this because I want to be your friend.

Caroline: I think you should hyphenate kid-touching

Posted by Ryan at 01:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 25, 2010

Again, For the Record

It's a largely unmentioned fact within my household that I actually videotaped the birth of my son. My wife is aware I did it, but she doesn't seem at all interested in knowing much more than that, while my son seems more intent on basically putting everything he can grab into his mouth.

It was never really my intention to videotape the birth, and in retrospect I did so more as a means of focusing my attention to relieve some of the stress I was feeling as my wife underwent a c-section, which was described to us at the time as "major surgery."

Had it been a regular birth, I most likely wouldn't have recorded it, since my wife would have probably punched me in the groin so hard, I'd be speaking in a voice three octaves higher than normal even today. As it was, recording my son being pulled out of an abdominal incision didn't seem so taboo, since my wife will hopefully never have to urinate out of that.

The fact I even had a video camera on hand at all was something of a happenstance. The month prior to the baby's delivery, I had won a high definition Flip video camera, thanks to a Pepsi sweepstakes program, which speaks more to my perpetual intake of Diet Pepsi than to my good fortune, but I'm okay with that.

For those unfamiliar with Flip video cameras, they pack an amazing amount of digital video capability into an impossibly small device, no bigger than a deck of playing cards. The very idea your average person on the street can be packing such a calibre of digital video heat is rather astounding. Every minor human accomplishment or foible can now potentially be caught on video and uploaded to YouTube -- something to keep in mind when you're considering wearing that pair of shorts with the small hole in the rear.

Anyway, I had slid the camera into my pocket just prior to entering the operating room and, upon seeing my shocked and convulsively shaking wife on the operating table, I automatically grabbed the camera, since it represented about the only thing in the room that didn't make me feel completely helpless.

At first, I was intent on staying behind the partition separating my wife's head and arms from the surgically controlled chaos being perfomed on the other side, but eventually, curiousity got the better of me and I peered over the divide and witnessed a scene that was both terrifying yet utterly fascinating.

When I first brought the camera up to my face, it occurred to me how much it probably looked like I was drawing a pistol, which would explain the seemingly surprised looks on the faces of some of the surgical staff. One of the surgeons even briefly dropped a tweezer-like instrument, although that was probably due to the slippery nature of fresh human blood rather than because I was standing there recording the whole thing.

I've witnessed surgeries before, but I'm always surprised by how forceful and fairly violent the procedures can be. When you imagine doctors conducting surgery on you, you like to envision them being extraordinarily delicate, like petting a porcupine. The reality is they force their hands into incisions that look impossibly small, and they use retracting devices that would no doubt make Spanish Inquisition torturers swoon. Surgeons tug, and pull and yank human tissue like a gaggle of women fighting over clothes during a blue light sale special.

When it finally came time to remove my son from the womb, a surgeon pushed his arm so far into my wife's abdomen, I wondered--if I looked down at my wife's face--whether I'd see the surgeon's fingers sticking out of her mouth. After a couple jerking motions, and the surgeon saying "I got it," my son was pulled limply free from my wife's body and I remember thinking "this is not at all how I imagined it."

Which is kind of ironic, because I've been saying "this is not at all how I imagined it," at least twelve times a day ever since my wife's c-section.

Posted by Ryan at 09:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 24, 2010

Tick Tock Aiden

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That perfect age

I sometimes fail to appreciate that I'm in the perfect age group. For example, in marketing terms, there's often the "Kids and Youth" sector and the "Seniors" sector, two groups who are apparently hugely susceptible to the siren song of marketing.

When you're in that sweet spot, however, from 34 to 65 or so, you're considered marketing teflon. Advertisements bounce off you like bullets against Superman. The real reason marketing bounces off you during that age, of course, is because you have probably children. When you have children, you both don't have time for marketing, while at the same time you become hyper aware as to how ridiculous most of it is.

Aside from marketing, however, the 34 to 65 age group is also a sweet spot for other reasons, which I realized this weekend for reasons that aren't all that clear to me. Basically, I woke up Saturday morning thinking back to when I was 21-years-old, a year during which I both got hit by a train AND detonated a grenade in my parents' backyard. It was a year, in retrospect, during which I unintentionally tried my damnedest to exit this plain of existence.

And I started thinking about it all in terms of age groups, because my mind is warped like that and makes connections no rational person's brain would attempt. Basically, I thought about my 21st year and how much differently it would have been had all the exploits of that year played out now, in my 34th year.

Because, honestly, if you were reading news headlines, and you saw an item about a 21-year-old, or an 80-year-old, detonating a grenade in their backyard, you'd probably dismiss the story offhand as the stupidity of youth or the dementia of old age. But, if it was about a 34-year-old detonating a grenade in the backyard, well, you'd probably read more than just the headline, because really, you'd want to know more about WHY THAT HAPPENED.

For that matter, if you read about a 21-year-old, or an 80-year-old, getting hit by a train, again you'd just assume the younger kid was being reckless, or the older person simply dozed off behind the wheel because his or her favorite jazz tune was playing on the radio. But a 34-year-old? What's the story behind THAT?

What all this means is I'm basically required to be a lot more responsible from now until I'm 70 or so, at which point I can start doing crazy things again and then just shrug my shoulders and say something like "What do you expect? I'm OLD!"

Until then, there's just too much explaining I'll have to do.

Posted by Ryan at 09:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 21, 2010

Dick Talk

Ryan: Remember when we tried to watch them in your office and pissed off the curmudgeon next door?

Caroline: Ha! Yes. What a dickbag.

Ryan: Dickbag. . . Can you imagine your surprise if you discovered a bag full of dicks? Totally without any background or context.

Caroline: Would I really want background or context? I think that'd make it more disturbing. Like, is this a bag full of dicks that occurred out of happy circumstances or tragic circumstances?

Ryan: Just BAM you step outside and there's this bag on your doorstep, which you open and find it crammed full of severed dicks.

Caroline: Dick Crammed will be a character in our book.

Ryan: You'd probably immediately think "This is probably my husband's bag of dicks."

Caroline: "I'll just put it over here until he gets home from work."

Ryan: Probably would want to put it in the deep freeze or something.

Caroline: Probably. Next to the Vagbag.

Ryan: Oh, so now there's a Vagbag?

Caroline: Why can't there be? Is there some kind of law? Equality for all!

Ryan: A bag full of vaginas would at least be somewhat useful.

Caroline: Mmkay. Let's explore that thought. Sicko. A bag full of "severed" vaginas would be "useful" to you.

Ryan: You could use the vaginas as leg and wrist warmers. Maybe even a headband, if it's a larger severed vagina.

Caroline: That vagina gives good head ...band.

Ryan: But a bag full of dicks? Totally useless.

Caroline: Nonsense!

Ryan: Explain.

Caroline: You could use one as a door stop. Paperweight. Dog/cat toy
Fill that sucker up with catnip!

Ryan: A severed dick would be a terrible door stop.

Caroline: Maybe YOURS would.

Ryan: It would just get all smushed up under the door.

Caroline: Then it's not big enough.

Ryan: Wait. Are you talking erect severed dicks here?

Caroline: Sentences like that make me smile.

Ryan: Because I was thinking about a bag of flaccid severed dicks.

Caroline: how about a bag full of talking erect severed dicks

Ryan: Well, now you're just talking crazy talk.

Caroline: It can happen!

Ryan: What would a severed dick POSSIBLY have to talk about?

Caroline: I can imagine there'd be a lot to talk about. It's troubling being a severed dick.

Ryan: Troubling being a severed dick I can agree with. But wouldn't the dick just be beside itself because it discovered it could talk?

Caroline: Oh, it knew all along.

Ryan: Wait, maybe THAT'S why it got severed.

Caroline: Now we're getting to the bottom of this.

Ryan: I hear when you get to the bottom of a severed dick, you just pop out the other side. Like a worm hole.

Caroline: Peek-a-boo penis

Ryan: Getting back to something you said earlier: why does it have to be an "severed ERECT talking penis?"

Caroline: It just does. Flaccid ones are useless.

Ryan: I can see that argument. Anyway, what would a severed erect talking penis have to say?

Ryan: "Damnit, man, throw me into that Vagbag RIGHT NOW!"

Caroline: "Ouch," for one.

Ryan: It wouldn't say "Ouch," because it would have been removed from the host's nervous system. The former host would no doubt be saying ouch though.

Caroline: You went all nerd boy there.

Ryan: Just shooting for a little biological realism here.

Caroline: I think realism went out the window when this conversation started.

Posted by Ryan at 08:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

New Jobless Claims Rise, As Expected

Everyone knew this was coming, Labor Departments analysts say, shrug.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Rhodes Media Services -- It came as no surprise to anyone outside of the national press that there was an increase in first-time claims for unemployment aid last week, with Labor Department analysts saying "Yep, what are you gonna do?"

With an almost steady stream of similar increases over the last several months, Americans have largely grown to expect this kind of news, while most news agencies continue to use terms like "unexpectedly," "surprisingly," "Wha?" and "Huh?" when reporting such increases, as if anyone is taking them seriously any more.

One Associated Press (AP) representative, who asked to remain anonymous, indicated they're even entertaining the possiblity of inventing new words and phrases to convey their faux-surprise when such increases are announced.

"We've kicked around some ideas," said the A.P. rep. "We've looked at such lead-ins as 'Rise in new jobless claims consterfabulated the experts,' and 'Analysts were boinkstonishified by the rise in new jobless claims.' We're basically throwing crap against the wall to see what sticks."

Joseph Turner, a 28-year-old unemployed construction worker, who was interviewed just prior to this blog post's deadline, took a much more realistic view of the situation.

"Of course new jobless claims rose," he said. "You'd have to be an idiot to be surprised by this kind of news. Look around. Jesus."

Posted by Ryan at 12:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 17, 2010

Because I can


Posted by Ryan at 08:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Get out the vote

My wife has been driving me nuts about linking to this.

Vote daily, because it would make my wife most happy.

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January 14, 2010


Just before the turn of the year, my parents visited and my Mom handed me an envelope full of bonds. Some of the bonds date back to 1975, the year I was born, and the same year my grandparents started sending me bonds on my birthday. All told, there were two $25 bonds, and 12 $50 bonds, spanning years from 1975 to 1991.

For those doing the math, that's $650 face value. Of course, bonds accrue interest, so some of the older bonds can be worth as much as five times their face value, so I'm looking at $2,000 to $3,000 (give or take a couple hundred) overall. So, in general, this is a good thing.

The thing is, I have a mixed reaction to a financial windfall like this. On the one hand, I can look at it as money for a new gas fireplace, which I need to buy eventually, one way or the other. Still, on the other hand, I look at the bonds and see them as representing three months of financial peace of mind should I somehow lose my job or incur some sort of unknown expense.

This is the dual financial world that always rules over me, often leading to an intractable non-action. I end up building a healthy savings I'm simply too terrified to spend. It drives my wife crazy.

This is also why I don't want to have the coin collection from my more youthful years appraised. Oh, sure, I'm curious as to what it's worth, but once I know, it'll just become another one of those things I'd sit and worry about.

Posted by Ryan at 04:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 12, 2010

Blogged Down

Ryan: I watched "Julie and Julia" last week.

Caroline: Oh right. We watched that a few weeks ago

Ryan: That's about a time when blogs were still the newest thing.

Caroline: yeah seriously

Ryan: A person writing that kind of crap nowadays would get about 10 visits a day, tops. And nine of those would be people looking for nude pictures of Julia Child.

Caroline: ::shudder::

Posted by Ryan at 11:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 11, 2010

Only 170?


Posted by Ryan at 01:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sheets that don't rock

I spent a large amount of time over the weekend hanging sheetrock in the basement.

I honestly hate hanging sheetrock, in the basement or elsewhere.

It's not so much the act of hanging sheetrock that I mind; I actually find it to be somewhat relaxing. Rather, it's looking at a day's worth of sheetrock hanging and saying to myself: "That's it? That's all I accomplished?" Because, you know what? Hanging sheetrock is one of the most labor-intensive, nothing-to-show-for-your-work activities this life has to offer.

I mean, seriously. You'd think a sheet of rock that's four-feet-by-eight-feet in size would possibly cover some serious area. Instead, after you button that chunk of crap to the ceiling, you step back and marvel at how tiny that huge piece of shit actually is. It almost makes you sit down and ponder just how insignificant your life apparently is.

And that's just the hanging aspect; it doesn't include the measuring, an exact science which, left in my hands, would result in a room eerily reminscent of most Salvadore Dali paintings. Putting a measuring tape in my hands is like giving a monkey a hand grenade.

Instead, I leave all the measuring to my wife, which leads to an interesting sequence of events. You see, while I would never trust myself with measuring basically anything, that in no way diminishes my impatience with my wife's measuring process. While she labors to exactly determine where light switch openings need to be cut, I'll be circling the perimeter, sighing loudly and asking what's taking so long. I want to HANG the sheetrock, after all, not just stand there and watch my wife make pencil marks. My impatient behavior, though very cathartic to me, does not go over well at all with my wife. The end result of this sequence of events, ultimately, is a lot of bickering. We're professional bickerers.

After a piece of sheetrock has been adequately measured and cut, I then get to actually hang it, which consists of putting roughly eight million screws into each sheet. I don't have a definite formula for how many screws I dedicate to each sheet, but the number tends to increase depending on my mood. If my wife and I have just finished bickering, for example, there will be so many screws in the sheetrock, you probably couldn't throw a dart without hitting one.

And all of this doesn't even begin to address the areas of mudding and taping, which are such maddeningly mundane and repetitive activities, they actually prompt you to wonder if God Himself invented them as a sort of celestial joke on mankind.

Posted by Ryan at 05:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 05, 2010

The Boy Likes Piggy Noises. Who Knew?

Posted by Ryan at 08:08 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


There are few entities that are more universally evil than the scum of the earth responsible for comment thread spamming. I feel a boulder of hate develop in the pit of the gut whenever I log into my blog and see the "Latest Comments" have been flooded with comment spam.

If you're reading this, comment spammers, I disabled hot-linking in my comments ages ago, so all your efforts have been for naught. Jerks.

Posted by Ryan at 10:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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