June 30, 2010

Watering Can FAIL

Ryan: You know what's hilarious to me?

Caroline: I think the watering can was the problem.

Ryan: Isn't it always?

Caroline: Typically, yes.

Ryan: It's astounding she was able to keep on her feet as long as she did, frankly. Damn that's just funny! One of those videos that will always make you laugh.

Ryan: Maybe we could do a documentary about HER!!!!!!!!!! She could meet the news anchors!

Caroline: Totally!

Ryan: "Runway Girl"

Caroline: "Watering Can Fail"

Ryan: LOLO! I KNEW you were going to include something about the watering can.

Caroline: It's just too great not to.

Ryan: How many careers have been destroyed by watering cans?

Caroline: I bet she was all "I own this runway." Then the designer said she had to walk with the prop and all hell broke loose. Can not walk.

Ryan: It's generally understood watering cans can't walk themselves.

Caroline: And models can't walk with watering cans.

Posted by Ryan at 08:57 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 28, 2010

Happy Crawl Day!

Today was Aiden's nine-month doctor check-up. He received a clean bill of health and, even though his length and weight remain about average, his noggin continues to top the charts at an astonishing 97 percentile.

Perhaps inspired by all the confidence instilled in him by his successful check-up, Aiden apparently decided today was also the day he was just going to start crawling all over the place. Granted, he's been army crawling pretty much throughout June, but today marked the first time he just up and started crawling everywhere in the normal fashion.

Perhaps unfairly, I relied on a visual pointer to cajole him into demonstrating his new crawling ability, but I had to do what I had to do.

Posted by Ryan at 09:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 27, 2010

Ailing Automobile

I've officially owned my current automobile for ten years. The 1996 Cadillac Eldorado two door came to my attention in June of 2000 after the grandfather of a friend of mine passed away and the vehicle became available as the family looked to liquidate his assets. In other words, I bought an old-man's car because it had very low miles (39,000) and an equally low price.

I always stressed to friends and family that I planned to drive the Cadillac until it gave up its automotive ghost and was no longer driveable, and I'm beginning to suspect--now at 140,000 miles--that it may very well be nearing that once inconceivable fate. Rust now eats its way through both doors, the driver's side leather seat is now a cracked and broken mess, the front-end assembly can be heard dangerously rattling, and the driver's side window only goes back up when it damned-well feels like it.

Most of the cosmetic stuff doesn't both me. I can live with rust and a disintegrating car seat, but the front-end assembly rattle presents me with a bit of a cunundrum. Fixing it would cost in the realm of $800+, and I just don't quite believe it's worth that investment.

The irritating thing about the front-end assembly damage is that it was almost completely the fault of Yellowstone National Park. Specifically, it was a poorly-maintained access road in Yellowstone National Park that had no signs indicating it was in such poor condition most Humvees couldn't successfully traverse it. By the time I finished gingerly picking my way through that harrowing ordeal, I was frankly astounded I still had four functioning wheels beneath me.

I won't necessarily miss my Cadillac when it finally gives up the fight, but I will miss the fact the thing has been fully paid for since 2003. I don't look forward to the days of car payments again, although it will be nice to have a more practical automobile for the sake of carting my baby boy around.

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June 23, 2010

Pickles, The New Lemon

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June 21, 2010

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

One thing I repeatedly find myself bumping up against, that insists on being a problem, is that, when it comes to technology, I know a little about a whole lot of things, but I don't know enough about any of those things to really consider myself fluent.

Computers? I love 'em! I use 'em all the time! But, once you start stripping away the layers, eventually it will be revealed just how many applications I know very little about. I've tinkered with PhotoShop, for example, but it's just so big and scary that I usually go scampering back to MS Paint, which is just pathetic.

Or, take the Windows operating system. I know how to work my way around Windows fairly well, but the underlying secret about Windows is that it's basically really pretty window dressing for DOS. DOS is the skeleton upon which the Windows muscle and skin alight. However, call up a DOS prompt screen, and I may as well smash my keyboard with a sledgehammer, since the results would almost certainly be better.

I used to know my way really well around the Macintosh operating system, since my first actual desk computer was a Macintosh Performa 405. That machine got me through most of my college years, but by the end of its tenure, its 256 MB of hard drive space just wasn't cutting it. So, right about the time I should have been learning about all things Mac OS, I jumped ship to a Windows-based PC, because I simply HAD TO PLAY Command and Conquer: Red Alert.

I was briefly very interested in how computer networking worked, but after learning how to string five computers together for a weekend of playing Delta Force with some friends, I generally just kind of let that knowledge drain from my brain.

So it is, today, I find myself hampered when people ask me to fix their little technology problems. There's a chance I MIGHT be able to help, but it's most likely I'll have to get really lucky.

Posted by Ryan at 08:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I honestly don't know what's better

The concept of something as deliciously awesome as Canned Unicorn Meat.

Or the fact they're getting sued.

Posted by Ryan at 01:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Just so I remember

Sitting with my boy on the couch each morning, shortly after 7 a.m., feeding him a bottle of formula and watching television together is, for now, the purest little joy of my existence. I write this now so I remember it when he's become a nasty little asshole in his teenage years.

Posted by Ryan at 09:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Something I didn't know until today

CNN.com has a special section dedicated to "Gay in America."

My father-in-law is gay and, having built up my own extensive list of anecdotes over the years, I have to say the whole gay lifestyle isn't as glamorous and witty as "Will and Grace" and "Queer Eye" would seem to suggest.

Posted by Ryan at 09:10 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 15, 2010

My Only World Cup Commentary



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June 11, 2010

Use Technology to Solve the Panhandler Problem

The wise Solons of the Rochester City Council recently decided to take a closer look at the expanding popularity of panhandling in our fair city; this after the mayor and others experienced the effrontery of beggars hitting them up for a buck or two on the Peace Plaza.

It's one thing to have cardboard sign poets staking claims on off-ramps and overpasses, mining motorists of their compassion—that's tolerable—but when they start migrating downtown and advance to shoulder-tapping, that's something else entirely.

Whether the downtown beggars are cut from the same herd as the overpass panhandlers is questionable. I've personally been hit up for spare change by beggars downtown in times pre-dating the panhandling phenomenon. I've even been asked by individuals, on occasion, if I've found Jesus, as if one has gone missing. Regardless of their origin or intent, the downtown beggar variants are admittedly annoying, and for some people I can imagine they're somewhat intimidating. The panhandlers, by comparison, are mostly a visual nuisance.

So, what to do about the problem? The city council wants to look into the possibility of licenses for beggars, which is a curious solution. A panhandler is just a panhandler, after all. But a Licensed Panhandler almost sounds distinguished, as if they're panhandlers who can also inspect a house's electrical work.

Rather than legitimizing panhandlers, I think it might be far more effective to give them one of the biggest things they hate: exposure. This being the information age, with the omnipresence of digital cameras, cell phone cameras and relatively-inexpensive digital video cameras, I propose having some fun with the panhandlers.

Take their pictures. Conduct video interviews with them, if they're willing (don't be a jerk about it). Just as they're free to park themselves on an overpass and mope for dollars, so too are we free to take their pictures. They may not like it, but there's nothing they can legally do about it.

But pictures and videos aren't enough without a place for them to live. To the Internet! I figure, if Web sites dedicated to dog and cat pictures can thrive online, there simply has to be an online audience willing—nay, eager—to surf through panhandler images that have been altered to include humorous captions, along the lines of http://www.icanhascheezburger.com.

Yes, I can envision millions of people Googling their way to http://www.panhandled.com (looks like that domain will have to be purchased from GoDaddy.com. Figures!), where hilarious content awaits of panhandler images with such captions as "I'm on ur overpass, lackin' mah dignity" or "Oh, hai guyz! Spare me some change?"

After awhile, the word will get out to the panhandlers, and they'll eventually find themselves one evening in their apartments, perusing the Web on their laptops (which they totally have, trust me), and they'll see some of the most unflattering pictures of themselves imaginable, complete with captions mocking them mercilessly.

The results of such an online approach to the panhandler problem, I imagine, will be twofold. First off, panhandlers who don't respond well to merciless mockery will give up their career path and seek actual gainful employment. Second, it will make panhanders a national laughingstock, and motorists will opt to take their own pictures rather than hand over cash.

I'm telling you, this is a surefire cure.

Posted by Ryan at 01:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 10, 2010

Just a duck, taking a nap

Tonight after work, as I walked the seven minute trek from my office building back to my car, I happened upon a female duck that was taking a nap about a foot away from the sidewalk. It was so close, and so perfectly at peace, I probably could have reached out and touched it.

Rather than reach out and touch it, and contract bird flu, I opted to take out my Flip minicam and film the little critter. I don't know why I wanted to film it, exactly; there was just something about the dumb napping bird that struck me as somehow cute. After all, the sidewalk was a high foot traffic avenue, and there were cars and buses cruising by, yet the duck found that specific spot and decided it was perfect for a quick snooze. How could I NOT film it? Besides, I've been carrying that damned Flip camera around with me for months hoping to capture a major event on film so I could sell it to NBC for millions of dollars. It may have been a napping duck, not a major event, but it seemed filmworthy.

Now, my strength lies in writing. As far as public speaking goes, I'm hit and miss, and mostly miss. Further, as impromptu speaking goes, I'm borderline retarded. Further still, for the last eight months, I've been speaking in baby talk. Taken together, you have this:

"Nappy duck."

Nappy duck. The more I said the term silently in my head as I continued to walk back to my car, the more it amused me. Nappy duck.

By the time I got to my car, I was imagining a scenario in which both Daffy and Donald were calling my fictitious radio station, demanding my immediate termination for the insensitive slur against the duck community, with Daffy calling me "Dethspickable" and Donald so beside himself with rage he could only squawk unintelligibly and moult feathers in that endearing way he does. I was being called out by maligned mallards nationwide.

Sometimes, I think the walk back to my car after work is perhaps the absolute best time of day.

Posted by Ryan at 09:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Unions Apparently Really ARE Evil

Screen shot from MSNBC.com:


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June 08, 2010

And Suddenly He's a Little Boy

I was told, while my wife was still pregnant, that babies really start to exhibit personalities after three months. So, I was a little surprised at how much personality I actually saw reflected during the first week.

He was smiling--yes, actually smiling, not just gas-induced smiling--within the first month. For some reason, that still amazes me.

I look at him now, and personality abounds. I never know what he'll find amusing or interesting from moment to moment. His brain is going a mile a minute, and I would give almost anything to inhabit his mind for even a minute just to see what he's thinking, although I suspect it would be something along the lines of "HOLY SHIT!! EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!" in a perpetual loop.

Some nights after he's been put to bed, I steal myself away in my office and I watch some of the earliest videos I have of him, and I feel somewhat dismayed by the fact I almost can't remember what those early weeks and proceeding days were even like. I mean, I remember many of the details, but I strangely can't recall what emotions I was feeling. Exhausted, sure, but that's not really an emotion.

And now we're entering a phase, very soon, where he'll be crawling, opening a whole new world of exploration that will no doubt include the discovery of the cat door to the basement, and I'm forced to agree with the conclusion my parents reached during one of our many Skype sessions.

"He's really a little boy now."

I guess he is. I just kind of wish I would have noticed when that happened, exactly.

Posted by Ryan at 09:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 07, 2010

Baby laughs At Me crawling

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Helen Thomas in Limerick Form

Helen Thomas long covered the White House
Against Democrats and Republicans she groused
Now press secretaries
Who she so long had teased
Will no longer be able to look down her blouse.

Helen Thomas looked regretfully at her shoes
After her ill-advised meltdown about Jews
She said some dumb things
And payback sure stings
Tonight she'll no doubt be hitting the booze.

As a White House reporter for nigh 50 years
And annoying press secretaries to tears
Despite her maturity
She lost job security
Anti-semitism can at least end SOME careers.

"Go home to Poland" Helen Thomas suggested
Which is a stupid thing for her to have requested
It's a pretty big mystery
How she's so ignorant of history
Perhaps in school she wasn't adequately tested.

Posted by Ryan at 01:13 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 03, 2010

Lemon Head

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June 01, 2010

Memorial Day Recap

Ah, Memorial Day, a.k.a. "The Starter Pistol of Summer." I never seem to take adequate note of my Memorial Day activities, owing primarily to the fact I used to use Memorial Day to sleep until noon, and everything that followed was just more self-indulgent crapulence.

But now, I'm a Dad, so Memorial Day was a chance to see the world anew once more, through the babbling wonderment of an eight month old. It's easy to capture these kinds of days exclusively through the camera lens or the Flip video camera, but those only go so far. So, to the written word I turn.

Aiden began his day, as he usually does, at 7 a.m. It's uncanny, really, how punctual he is about waking at that hour. It's also uncanny how I've become programmed to wake up in anticipation of his waking up. Alarm clocks are for people without children, I've come to believe.

After his obligatory post-wake-up bottle of formula, he was ready to play, so we went into the porch, where he rolled and babbled and tried a few abortive attempts at crawling; all the mechanics are in place, but he can't seem to get them all to work together as a cohesive crawling whole. So, he tends to roll his way to whatever he wants, although he has performed some rough army crawling when an object particulary grabs his attention.

Then it was a quick jaunt downstairs to my office to fire up a Skype session, so my Dad could watch his grandson grab assorted objects off my desk and place them in his mouth. Skype is one of those technological innovations that I always knew was on the horizon, but I never figured it would be A) so damned cool and B) FREE. I don't imagine it will always be free, since fee-creep always tends to spoil this things eventually, but for now it's the chance to live like Star Trek, entirely free of charge. Amazing.

By that time, my wife had woken up and gotten ready for the day, and we decided Memorial Day would be the day we took Aiden to the house of his non-Skype Grandpa to use his swimming pool. I knew there would be some logistical things to take care of prior to actually putting Aiden in the pool, but I certainly didn't anticipate I'd find myself at Toys-R-Us loading up on swimming pool necessities, such as a baby-floatation device, a diaper-protecting swimming suit, assorted water toys and sunscreen. All told, the bill came to $91, which struck me as rather expensive for an outing that probably wouldn't be much longer than an hour.

To say Aiden enjoyed the swimming pool would be a supreme understatement. I didn't know what he'd think of the whole experience, because the water wasn't what you'd call. . . what's the word. . . WARM. While it wasn't cryogenically cold, it certainly could cause shrinkage. Regardless, Aiden couldn't wait to get in that pool. There was a brief lower-jaw quiver acknowledging the temperature drop, but other than that, it was pure, undiluted joy. He was practically crowing with delight. I could have bottled his excitement, since it was almost radiating off him in waves. It was one of those moments that make up for the last 200 changed diapers.

Then it was home for his afternoon nap as we waited for the time to pass before the Memorial Day dinner hosted at my mother-in-law's house. Once there, I broke out one of the water toys I'd purchased earlier in the day. While it's currently being marketed as a Toy Story 3 "Buzz Lightyear" rocket, old school water toy people like myself recognize it as a current iteration of the clown head and pointy clown hat toy from our youth. It was that magical toy that used a focused stream of hose water to levitate the clown hat above the clown head. Now it's a Buzz Lightyear rocket and launch pad. Whatever. It's still AWESOME.

While Aiden was far too young to do anything with the Buzz Lightyear water toy, his three-year-old cousin, Rosemary, immediately amused herself by running through the water stream. Although she started out wearing a swimming outfit, within about 30 seconds, she had stripped herself down to her birthday suit and was revelling in her nudity. It's odd how you just accept nudity from children. We all just kind of rolled our eyes in collective "Oh, it's just easier this way."

And so Memorial Day wrapped up with burgers, bratwurst, chips and beans, and Aiden slept like a rock, starting almost immediately once we got home. It was a great day, and I'm missing it already.

Posted by Ryan at 10:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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