Friday, June 29, 2007

The Gift that Says You're Infectious

My friend Lisa stopped by my office early this week, after I had returned from the funeral (and an added day off being sick from said funeral/plane ride). She said, "I have a small gift just to lift your spirits. "

And she gave me Athletes Foot.


Check out Giant Microbes which makes stuffed animals that look like tiny microbes—only a million times actual size! They have everything from the Common Cold, The Flu, Sore Throat, Stomach Ache, Cough, Ear Ache, Bad Breath, Ulcers, E. Coli, Black Death, Ebola, Rabies, Sleeping Sickness, Dust Mite, Bed Bug, and Hepatitis.

I mean, what says 'I Love You' more than giving someone crabs?

On a strange, related note, three months ago, my product guy Charlie surveyed me for a number of things I might test drive for him. He asked if I had ever gotten Athlete's Foot, which I had but at that time did not include the furry 4" stuffed version above. The next thing I know, a package from Lamisil arrives and includes a tube of cream and a really nice gym bag. (I'm waiting for the 'have you ever tried looking at a 55" flat screen TV' question.)

I emailed Charlie and asked how I was supposed to be review the stuff since I didn't have the condition for which it was technically prescribed. While I enjoy reviewing products, I was not willing to make the sacrifice of walking around the gym showers in bare feet. He said, "I'm not giving you hazardous pay, so if you get it, use the stuff I gave you. If not, enjoy the gym bag."

For the record, the gym bag rocks.

So whether you are catching it or giving it, let this post be your guide for athlete's foot.

(Crap, I really need higher end material, don't I?)

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Caboose

There is a train that runs from Williams, AZ to the Grand Canyon.

Larry & I were visiting my aunt and uncle about five years ago at their place in Sedona. Three of their kids (and their families) were also in town so we extended a business trip and went up to Sedona for a visit to see everyone.

Larry doesn't have much family. He has no siblings and about three cousins, all of whom he's seen less than ten times in his life. I have 12 cousins and am closest to the four daughters of this particular aunt and uncle.

With all of these guests, my aunt and uncle suggested a trip to the Grand Canyon. They really wanted to try this train ride, but none of their girls would do it. Having driven to the Grand Canyon once before, we thought this could be a fun way to experience a second time.

On this train, there are five different classes of service. The cheapest is a "cattle class" in which you sit much like a grey hound bus. The nicest class is in the luxury parlor car. That car, the last car on the train, is reserved for only 25 people and has all the food and drinks you can consume. Plus, there is an open-air rear platform allowing you to look out over the pristine beauty of untouched land.

At first I was hesitant on the added expense, but my aunt & uncle pointed out that sometimes you only experience things once in your life and you should just do it the best you can.

So while my cousins and their families drove to the Grand Canyon, we rode in style. We had our own server for 25 people, wine & cheese platters, and comfortable, cushioned, high-back chairs where the four of us could just talk for hours. We took turns with the other passengers in our car, looking out over the landscape from our private platform. And we enjoyed the 'staged' train robbery.

The day was one I will never forget; both the enjoyable time with my aunt & uncle and the lesson learned along the way.

We buried my uncle yesterday. On Monday, he died of a heart attack, in bed watching TV, while my aunt while making dinner. He was 61.

I don't see my relatives that much with them being in Chicago and me being in DC. Even the short visits to see my folks never seem to include stops to see them anymore.

Life is busy...sometimes too busy.

I will miss my uncle a lot. He made me laugh and he loved me for who I am, good things and bad.

But most of all, I will always remember that train ride and how sometimes paying a little extra, gives you ten times the benefit in return.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I was but the Learner; Now *I* am the Master.

I totally love Corey's moms.

There are times I feel intimated about trying new things with Corey. By nature, I am a routine guy. When Corey is with us, we serve him the same foods, we watch the same movies and many times, read the same books.

Some days we will be talking and they'll say "Corey loves pizza now" or "He can peel his own banana." We blink in amazement and realize the kid has been playing us. I think all kids are taught that in pre-school. Seriously, that's why they charge so much.

When Corey is with us, I always create these illusions of him snuggling between us on the couch watching a movie. However, he usually picks some crazy cartoon that he's watched 1000 times and Larry & I just grab a book and sit in the next room.

Not anymore.

This past month, his moms introduced him to Star Wars. I kid you not. With the exception of fast forwarding through a few scenes, he's watch all of the first, the second three. OK, the ones with Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford.

These were pivotal in my upbringing. I can still remember sitting in the theater as the giant space craft passed over our heads on the big screen. Monumental for a 9-year boy. And now, I was sharing that same joy with my son. This is what fatherhood is all about.

Corey giggles more in these movies than any others. He loves R2D2 and the Ewoks. He gets all excited and loves to tell you what is about to occur in each scene. But when he giggles, it just gets me all gushy.

There we are, him snuggling between us. Our little boy sharing in the magic that his daddy did 30 years ago. As The Return of the Jedi flashes across the TV, he gasps, he laughs and he talks. I can't help but sit there and smile. And clearly, we are caught up in the magic because it's 9:45 PM as the final confrontation with the Emperor, Darth Vader and Luke play out.

The most riveting scene about fatherhood that ever played out and I'm sharing it with my son. Does he see Anakin's angst about the choices he's made? Does he see how being a father turns out to be the most important thing that Darth Vader has ever done?

It's the scene where the Emperor is killing Luke when his father cannot. The agony is evident in Anakin's actions. My son speaks.


Clearly he is catching all the subtleties playing out in front of us.

"Yes, my son." (I actually said this and then realized I used Darth Vader's voice. Corny, but I was lost in the moment.)

"Look at the Emperor's face. He doesn't brush his teeth or take baths."

Moment lost.


Sticker Shock

They always say that life imitates art. Sometimes I find that life imitates blogs.

My friend Tony wrote this great post about Father's Day and how he's joined the set of men he referred to as a fraternity of hard working chaps with pipes in their mouths. There are times it's hard to believe we're dads.

I don't feel 40. I don't feel like I should be in charge of things; young lives, mortgages, etc. When did I become responsible?

However, what makes me feel more validated is hearing how my counterparts wish for and receive what they most desired on Father's Day: Guitar Hero II. (Sorry Matthew, not all of us could get a flat screen.)

What made me laugh even more was when Tony said his daughter decorated the guitar with stickers.

Looking at my guitar, I know I'm a really dad.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Three Little Letters


Holy Shit....I got in. The letter arrived today.

You are now reading from George Washington University's newest member of the Executive MBA class of 2009.

I cannot tell you how excited I am, albeit a tad nervous. Twenty one months of grad school while working full-time. However, I'm so thrilled with the thought of what I will learn over these next two years.

Thanks to those who served as references, my company which will allow my to take days off to attend class and everyone who encouraged me along the way.

PS Thanks to you too, babe.

(Here's the class list of the graduating class if you'd like to see what I'll be taking.)


My Family

Corey had to draw a picture of his family the other day. Damn you all, why didn't you tell me how freaking cute that is the first time you see it?

(I would share who each person is, but we all seem to keep changing places.)


Friday, June 15, 2007

If Ian can do it...

So last week I was reading Sarah's blog and saw this.

Sonabitch. Three year olds are playing with the game I want the most. And they are jamming out to Shout at the Devil.

Well, it's Father's Day and I decided that it's best to take matters into your own hands. Guess who went to Best Buy last night?

Let me introduce you to DC's newest Guitar Hero! For two hours last night, I was Shouting at the Devil, putting the Message in the Bottle, and Surrendering my Heart-Shaped Box. I was, well frankly, amazing. It only took me 45 minutes to hook the entire system together. But once it was...lightening came from these fingertips.

And how do I feel this morning? My fingers really fucking hurt from hitting the keys so hard. :) Damn, I'm getting old.

Watch out Claudia, I'm going to blast you out the water!

May you all become Guitar Heroes this Father's Day.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

The City of Paradise

So we're in Portland, ME. Our friends are getting married tomorrow on Peaks Island tomorrow and we decided to hang out up here a few days early.

Yesterday, we spent our afternoon at Freeport, which is mecca is you are an LL Bean fan. Freeport is also loaded with outlets.

Sadly, while the LL Bean stores (there are three) were pretty much the same stores you'd get at home, the other outlets treated us much better including getting 11 pieces of kid's clothing at the Children's Place for $24. The LL Bean outlet was an utter rip off.

I mean who wants a knapsack for $40...with the wrong monogram. Granted it was 35% off but come on.

Today we went south and explore the towns of Cape Elizabeth, Old Orchard Beach, Ocean Park, and Kennebunk. Most of the drive was just unbelievable views of the coast, with your average views of beach towns. We drove and explored, all the while listening to this amazing radio station.

That is until we got to Kennebunk. All of a sudden, after hours of seeing run-down cabins and motels, we turned down the street that had compound after compound (yes, including that compound). We pulled off to the side and enjoyed both views, that of nature and that of mankind's architecture.

It was just a magic moment.

"I love the way the music compliments the view," I said.

Larry listened intently for a moment.

And Axl sang...Take Me Down to the Paradise City.....

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Fiber Topics

I have never met my friend Charlie (the product guy), but he seems to be a regular guy. And with all the fiber-related products he gives me, I'm becoming one as well.

Last time, he had me reviewing Fiber One bars and now he has given me two other fiber products made by the folks from Metamucil.

The Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences suggests Americans should consume 21 to 38 grams of fiber per day. However, the average American consumes only 10 to 15 grams of fiber per day.

With 5 grams of fiber in 1 heaping teaspoon of Fibersure, it’s not hard to actually get that amount. The powder is easy to add to just about anything to boost fiber intake. Just take a teaspoon and dump into your baking, your cooking or mix it into lemonade (which is what I've been doing). The powder is so sweet tasting that you don't even realize something healthy is going on.

For the record, my mom used to do this with our spaghetti sauce. She'd make it from scratch and then mush up carrots, beans, and any other vegetable she could get her hands on. We didn't know about it until we were in our teens.

But back to the Fibersure, this seems like a great way to increase your fiber intake and not really get grossed out with powders that lump up or get pasty. And you can try it for free here.

The other fiber supplement was Berry Burst. Sorry to say, but I hated it. You are supposed to mix this red powder into an 8 oz. glass of water. I was expecting a healthy Kool-aid. Instead is was like a trailer park drink; red colored water with the residue just piling up at the bottom.

While both products are a little higher in calories than one would hope for, it's all about the balance you need. I'm not one who adds good things to my body very easily, but the Fibersure was the better of the two for putting a little more natural fiber into my system.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Fair Labor Standards Act

Normally, Larry and I commute in together. He drops me off at work and then continues on to his job.

Since we have a baseball game tonight and are flying out to Portland, ME first thing in the morning (if you know of any good restaurants, leave them in the comments), I decided to drive into work this morning.

This afternoon, I got home and ran around to get all my chores done before heading to the ball game. I called him to verify the house keys were given to the dog sitter.

"Yep," he says, "She's got them. (pause) So what are you doing?"

"Well, I've fed the dogs, opened & processed the mail, made coffee for tomorrow, cleaned & fed the birds, changed, folded the clothes, packed the suitcase and watered all the plants."

"That's great. I stayed at home late this morning and did stuff too. I watered the lawn for 90 minutes."

I thought about this for a moment. "Did you actually take the nozzle and aim it at the grass or did you use the sprinkler?"

"The sprinkler,"
he said.

"Okay babe, then you didn't really water the yard. You turned on the hose."

Now he thought for a moment. "That's what I said."

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Have You Ever Needed Something So Bad?

Last week I got this Urgent call from my friend John. "Dude, it’s Music Time. I must have Too Much Time On My Hands but I found a Headknocker of a concert. The Heavy Metal Poisoning triple bill of Def Leppard, Foreigner and Styx. It’ll be The Best Of Times."

I thought that Dirty White Boy was playing Head Games with me. "Say You Will go, Babe," he asked.

"I’m not a Lady," I said. "But I Have Waited So Long for a Night Life." (I'm such the Renegade.)

Since Nothing Ever Goes As Planned, we have pavilion seats so we’re Ready For The Rain. The Lowdown And Dirty is that we’ll come Face to Face with these super groups on Friday, August 17. A Man Like Me hasn’t has this much Action in years, so it’ll Feel Like The First Time. I know it’ll be in Paradise even though we can’t take Photographs.

We're Not Dead yet, but we joked that most of us will have minivans and full-time jobs. However, When Saturday Comes, we'll all be talking about the concert That Was Yesterday.

Larry thinks I’m an Animal to live this Grand Illusion of Rock! Rock Until I Drop, but I think it’s just his Double Vision that keeps Bringin' On The Heartbreak. I may be Hot Blooded, but All I Need To Know is that this Reaction To Action is the Rock of Ages.

I Can't Wait for A Night To Remember and I’m Counting Every Minute until the 17th.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

Shrek III

We went and saw the movie this afternoon and Corey laughed his little butt off. My personal review may not be as talented or as long as Clare's, but any movie that can take a green, cartooned Ogre and connect it with a Led Zeppelin song is alright by me.

Rock on, Snow White.

Brilliance never ceases to amaze me.

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Contact Information

We just got back from playing at the park. We had been walking around our neighborhood yard sale and decided to take a break at the playground.

While we were there, two women and a man came in with a two year and an infant. One of the women lived a few blocks away and her friends were in town visiting. We started chatting about the neighborhood, schools and kids.

They asked if Corey was going to the school were playing at and we explained our parenting situation and that he goes to school in his moms' neighborhood. They thought our situation was fascinating and envied the arrangements.

"You know, my friend knew two dads who lived nearby who did a kitchen renovation two years ago," the neighbor said.

"We did one five years ago," I replied. "I only know of one other set of dads in the area. Maybe they did the renovation."

After twenty minutes of chatting, she remembered the name and we connected the mutual. I worked with her years ago at Imagine before we both left. We laughed and as we left, decided to try and meet up again. I fished into my wallet and passed along a business card.

When we got home, Larry said he couldn't believe I gave her my card.

"What would you have done?"

"Well, I had my check book. I was just going to hand her a blank check and void it out."

Necessity certainly is the mother of invention.

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What Can Brown do for You?

I love our new offices. There is a Starbucks in the lobby, a fitness center with TV's in each of the machines and I have a windowed office at the front of the building.

I totally miss our old UPS driver.


Friday, June 01, 2007

By the light of the Silver Moon

Or blue moon as was the case last night. So wanna know what I did last night to see the blue moon? I went kayaking.

I know, hard to believe, isn't it? A city boy like me going on a moonlit kayak ride, but it's true.

In my (not often enough) quest to expand my horizons and try something different, I joined my friends George & Becca for an evening on the Piscataway Creek. They are one of those out-doorsy couples that love adventure and shun most contemporary living. (They don't even own a TV!)

But God love people like them in your life who help you see things in a different light... or moonlight in this case.

We headed out to southern Maryland last night after work for a 2 1/2 hour guided tour through the creek. Since no one else had shown up that evening, we had the guide to ourselves and she shared the history of the land, pointed out different birds & plants and just enjoyed the evening with us.

The highlight was sitting in the middle of this river, looking over the tree tops and watching this big orange ball rise over the horizon. It was incredibly romantic. Larry of course was home, snoozing in front of TV with a glass of wine, but I'm sure he felt the mood in between commericals.

The evening rated a perfect ten for experience and a perfect two for Percosets. I had no idea my body would hurt this badly afterward, but it was worth every stroke!