Seemingly trivial changes in my community make me sad

 Yes, I comprehend that time marches on and that things change, but there's just something moving about a landmark changing. I can drive down most any familiar street and in my mind is playing a video recording of how things once were. It totally annoys my wife that I'm always pointing out the window at an empty lot or a new Dollar General and saying "That's where that old double-drive-through sandwich place used to be. Remember? They had such awesome French fries. You remember. The ones like Snapps used to serve. Remember? Snapps. I think they were bought out by Rally's.  Oh, Rallys has good fries..." and on and on it goes. 

Anyway, yesterday I was driving down Archdale Road in Archdale, NC, as I have almost daily for over 24 years, when I felt a sudden disturbance in the Force.  "Where'd the Tire Pole go?!?" 

The Tire Pole has always been a mystery. I noticed it when we moved to NC from Ohio back in 1999 and every time I saw it I wondered "Who put that there?"  "Was there a service station there years ago?" "Perhaps it was a one-man mechanic shop or a small engine repair shop..."  It looked like someone had planted flowers in it at some point, and who knows, maybe that's what it was actually for. 

I mentioned the missing tire to several coworkers and was regaled with stories of a nearby swimming pool that as kids, see the sight of the Tire Pole always meant they are close to the pool.  One coworker recalled that there were other tires on display, and sure enough, after a look at historic photos on StreetView I saw that in 2007 there sure enough were some buried tires! 

I purchased an AWESOME alarm clock!

Because I travel so much I've experienced a bunch of alarm-related issues that I was determined to put behind me.  There is no way that I'm going to trust a wake-up call, because they are too unreliable, and my phone alarm has let me down too many times.  It is with that knowledge that I did some research and found the perfect alarm for me.  It has an easy to set keypad on the top, a loud alarm and best of all, a battery back-up that works every time.

Recently I traveled away for home on a two night trip, so I decided to leave my alarm at home and take my chances on the old iPad, iPhone, hotel wake-up service trifecta. 

I'm so excited that you will get to share in the related moment where I was able to annoy my wife long distance... 

I'm Perpetually Gruntled

I am "perpetually gruntled", which is to say that most generally I am even keeled and happy. My bride might even say a bit oblivious to reality. Anyway, as you can imagine it can be a little annoying to live with someone who most often lets things roll off his back and keeps smiling. I don't see anything wrong with it, but apparently it is wrong. Go figure.

I'm "Following Guy"

I thought I was being cool about it, but my bride recently figured something out about me: I've been following Guy. Actually, I think I'm a little hurt that she obviously doesn't read my blogs, but the point is that whenever I travel I always check the web site to see if Guy Ferri has been in my destination and to make sure that I visit at least one of the places that he's visited. What's worse is that I feel compelled to blog about my vists to these resturaunts. it's really nothing weird, it's just that I'm a foodie, and after seeing these places showcased on the Food Network I just have to check them out. Last week I visited the Tatooed Moose in Charleston SC and had their duck BLT with the duck fat fries. Amazing! There is no way on earth that I would have stopped there without Guy's endorsement, and even with that my bride wouldn't be caught dead there! So, with that it's just me following Guy.

New Glasses

I had a coworker show me his new glasses today. He's never worn glasses before, but now he suddenly needs bifocals. He said the funny thing is that one of his eyes is nearsighted, while the other is farsighted. Weird.

I can relate to the need for bifocals because my eyes are ever-so-lightly nearsighted, so I have a pair with very mild correction, and I have begun using readers for reading and using my iPad for the past few years. My eyes seem to be worse when I'm driving at the moment that the sun sets. I was telling my friend about this and mentioned that what was really weird is that my eyes are much worse when the sun is setting, especially if my wife is in the pasenger's seat!

I shared this with my bride and her reaction made it clear that I had the makings of a new blog post. So there it is.

Fun at the hotel

I travel a lot, and there is very little that excites me anymore at hotels. Sure, there's the occasional silly housekeeping goof-up, like when they gave me a new shower cap five days in a row, when I hadn't even used the first one!

This week I was in Seattle Washington and Torrance California and as I was warming my shaving cream in the sink this following this happened that for some reason entertained me for several minutes. I only wish my bride had been here, because I know this would have annoyed her to no end.

If only she were here, I know I would be annoying her.

I'm sitting on a Delta flight flying from Atlanta to Seattle and I'm actually live via WiFi on my iPad (for an excess fee, of course).
My flight to Atlanta from Greensboro was delayed so I rushed to the gat with moments to spare. One exciting thing was that my arrival gate and my departure gate were both in the same terminal! I don't recall the ever being the case, so yes, it's a big deal. Anyway as I approach the gate I learn the there's been a slight delay. I was really hungry, having had nothing for breakfast, but I didn't dare wander far as they were bound to start boarding any second. Well, that delay was just the first of several, but by this time I was busy killing zombies, so my hunger abated. Finally they made the announcement I was expecting.

"I'm sorry, but your flight has just need canceled."
Again, no need to panic. I've been through this dozens of times, and so has Delta. I sit put for a few minutes while folks scramble and the attendant announces that they have another plane and all we need to do is switch gates.

I'm now on the plane and playing with my iPad, (yes, I'm name dropping) and finally my hunger returned with a vengeance. I checked the in-flight magazine and see that there is a snack pack available and it's only $6.00.

I ordered the snack and have to say that I wasn't fully prepared for what I received. This was basically a glorified "Lunchable". That's OK, it looks mostly eatable. I am trying to watch my carbs, so the chocolate and the cookie go to my neighbor. Cheese, sausage, and a pack of crackers that's not too terrible carb-wise. Then I see it...

There's a PRIZE in the box! This is an adult Happy Meal! What can it be? It's sort of like a book...
Oh boy, it's a pad of faux Post-Its. This instantly took me back to the days when Crackerjack stopped putting cool toys in the box and went to little books and stupid My Little Pony tattoos.

I don't like this.

I Have an Internet Radio Station

My bride reminded me this weekend how much this annoys her, so I just had to share this with you. 
Several years ago a buddy of mine (Spanky) started an internet radio station through Live365.  I was very intrigued by it and regularly asked him for updates on his success, which was quite impressive.  His station featured 70’s pop/rock and most weeks it was #1, 2 or 3 in the adult contemporary genre.  After a few years Spanky began to lose interest and one day he emailed me to see if I wanted to take over his station.  I told him I wasn’t in the position to purchase it and he assured me that it wasn’t for sale, but he needed to pass it on to another “caregiver”.  After a short investigating into how it worked I said “Sure, why not?”  Allow me to explain how it works:

UPDATE: I no longer have an Internet radio station.

There are two “classes” of listeners: Those who listen for free in exchange for having to listen to up to two commercials per hour, and those who are paid “VIP” listeners.  VIP listeners don’t have to listen to commercials and they are never “bumped” from a broadcast.  Huh?  Every Live365 station operator must choose how many of each type of listeners will be able to tune in at any one time, and if the max number of free listeners are listening, only additional VIP listeners will be able to join-in and one free listener will be bumped off as each new VIP listener joins in.  

Another choice that the Live365 station operator has to make is the quality of the broadcast.  The higher the quality (CD quality, for example) the more the station costs the operator.  Costs the operator?  Yep.

The station operator makes a few cents of credit for the VIP listeners who tune in; and if a free listener converts to a VIP listener the station earns a credit.  To date my station has never fully paid the bill, so each month we pay a portion of the $30 monthly fee.  Just in case you are not good at reading between the lines, let me tell this to you straight:  My bride is not pleased that we are paying a monthly fee so that others can listen to my MP3s.

So, do me a favor and click on the link below and give it a listen.  Live365 has some excellent stations on it, and if you really like it consider a VIP membership.  It’s inexpensive and best of all you’ll never have to listen to a commercial and you’ll never get bumped off in the middle of your favorite station.   

UPDATE:  My station is off the air.  This is one idea that's time has passed.  With, Jango, Youtube, Slacker and on and on, there's really no need for me to keep this up.  So now that this phase is over, what's next?  

Playing With My Dingleberry At The Dinner Table

Way back in the early 2000's I replaced the silly piggyback data thingy on my Motorola StarTAC with the fancy-schmancy Mindspring Treo.  While it wasn't a phone it did sync with Outlook to give me my entire mailbox, contacts and calendar at my fingertips. 
In 2002 or '03 my employer began investigating the BlackBerry, and I was given one as part of a 3 month beta test.  Three months stretched to 6 when the call finally came from the IT department that it was time to turn-in the BlackBerry.  While all the users love them, they had some security concerns, so for the time being the BB's had to go.

It was later that night when I plugged my old Treo into my PC to sync my data that I began referring to my PDA as my Dingleberry.  If you don't know what a dingleberry is, you might not want to Google it.  Trust me, it's not a term of endearment.

It's over 7 years later and though we've had Smart Phones for most of those years they have all been my Dingleberry, and they've all annoyed my wife.

I suppose she'd be fine with it if I didn't have it in my hand all the time.  It's really an odd, Narcissistic thing to have to constantly check my email, just in case someone sent me something.  Heaven knows there have been very few issues that have required that sort of vigilance, but like so many of my generation I can't seem to help it.

Where it really gets on her last nerves is when I have my dingleberry out at the dinner table.  I think what really annoys her is that I am such a trivia and news junkie that I'm forever Googling something.  (They do call me "The Googler")

Thankfully I've moved from the Treo, to a couple different Pocket PC's , and now to an Android.  Who knows what's next?  All I know is whatever it is I'll be lying with at at the dinner table and annoying my wife.

"The Face"

Recreation of "The Face"
My wife HATES "The Face".  What's that?

Well, apparently I make a particular "face" whenever I'm telling a story that is obviously a joke.  I suppose what it really is, is the worlds worst poker face.  What's really funny is that I've never seen "The Face", and when we were trying to recreate it for the photo at right, my bride said I never did it.

Another interesting thing as that my bride and my kids have been able to spot The Face for years; and now their spouses are even getting into the act.  You know, now that I think about it, I think this is something that annoys ME about Them!

Stacks and Stacks of Catalogs and Magazines

I've always enjoyed reading magazines and catalog.  My mom used to worry about me because my favorite section of the annual "Sears Christmas Wishbook" wasn't the toys or the sporting goods; but rather it was the section between them.  That's right, the gift boxes of cheeses, sausages and candy!  I can vividly remember the red and while candy ribbons and the cool little chocolate Santa in the middle of it all.

I think that's where it started.  Years later in High School (1980) I took a speed reading class, where I eventually clocked 1000 words a minute with 98% comprehension.  Not bad, but even with that "gift" I wasn't all that interested in literature.  No, I checked-out every book from our school library that related to tools, handyman interests, true crime stories and history, but most of all I discovered magazines.  And did they have magazines!  They had 50+ years of Popular Mechanics, Popular Science and Mechanics Illustrated!  I read every one from cover to cover.  In fact, I still have the smell of those old yellowed pages permanently etched into my memory. 

I moved on to Time Magazine, National Geographic and even Better Home and Garden.  My true favorites were Hands-On Magazine from Shopsmith, and later Fine Woodworking.

Fast forward over 30 years and even I can admit that I have a problem.  I subscribe to Wood Magazine, Fine Woodworking, Cooks Illustrated, Cigar Aficionado, Variety (that one's a mystery to me, but I read it), Woodshop News, Fine Home Building, SalesXP, Cabinetmaker+FDM, American Woodworker, Incentive Magazine, and Closets.  Add to that the magazines that I buy at the news stand and you can imagine how they add up.

Oh, then there's the catalogs:  I get three versions of the Lee Valley catalog: Hardware, Woodworking and Gardening, Woodcraft, Rockler, King Size (fat dude duds), Woodworkers Supply, Micro-Mark, L.L. Bean, MSC Direct, Reid Supply, Grabger, McMaster/Carr, Penn State Industries, Craft Supply, Hartville Tools, Highland Woodworking, Jamestown Distributors, West Systems....  Most of these are woodworking and tool related, but that's not a hard and fast rule.

So what's wrong with any of this?  Can't a guy read a few magazines and catalogs without annoying his wife? 

Well, I guess I need to confess the rest of the story, and this isn't an exaggeration... I have almost every catalog and magazine that I've ever read.  They're next to my recliner; they're in the book case in the living room.  They're in bankers boxes in the garage, my closet, the bonus room, under the sink in the bath room, and in my wood shop.  They're in my work book case, on my desk, under my desk, in my training room, and so on and so on. 

I've actually purged some of them, but what's really weird is that I still read them!   I think this is somehow indicative of my interest in EVERYTHING, and has fueled my ability to retain tons of useful and trivial information; and the DIY magazines certainly have helped my mechanical knowledge.   That said, as of this post my bride has put up with me and my magazines for almost 30 years and I really do understand her frustration and appreciate her patience.   

One final thought.  I know that some folks will understand the magazine thing but still be asking themselves why I would possibly want to keep old catalogs???   One of these days I promise to tell you the story of the Woodworkers Supply covers, but that wound is still too fresh.   Am I a hoarder?   I don't want to be, but if I apply a purely clinical definition, I would have to admit that yeah, to some extent I am.  But hey, just think of all the interesting stuff that my bride will be able to sell on eBay when I die.  My goal is that they'll all be well over a hundred years old by then... and well read.

But I Digress (& obsess)

I had a break between webinars today so I suggested to my bride that we make a quick run to Steak 'n Shake for lunch.  They've recently added a Portabello and Swiss burger that is absolutely wonderful and I also like the tunes that they play.  (That's another post, I assure you!)

Anyway, we are walking to the door when we see this "fugly" Scion that looks just like our son-in-law's car.  No, wait, it doesn't have the pink monkey face in the rear window, and besides, it's parked in the handicapped space, so it's not him.

We turn to enter the restaurant when my bride points out the little bumper sticker in the lower left rear window.  It says something about turning off a certain conservative cable news network.  That's interesting because that certain station just happens to be my favorite channel.   

We enter the restaurant and within a few seconds I notice that Jandy is staring at me.

"What?" I ask.
"Did you hear what I said?"  She asked
Of course I didn't.  But why not?  That was when I became conscious of the fact that I was scanning the place and "profiling" the crowd for the likely driver.   There were no obvious culprits:  no one in a wheelchair or with a cane in a Che Guevara tee shirt and red memorial Larry King suspenders, for example. 

Our meal was disturbed countless times by me interrupting Jandy with something stupid like "I bet it's that guy over there with the black vest.  Yeah, he looks like like a commie."  Nope.  He hung a right as he exited.

"Oh, look over there!  Is that Michael Moore?"  It wasn't, but until he paid and walked past the Scion I refereed to him as Michael.

"Oh I know!  It's that tall effeminate guy in the pink shirt and pink tie."

It wasn't.

No, despite ruining lunch for my wife with my inane chatter and supposition, we came and left without the car's owner reveling them self.

Hey, on the bright side at least we learned that I'm not good at judging books by their cover.

You can have the turkey, but the oysters are mine.

Allow me to let you in on a "Dad" secret.  The juiciest, best tasting morsel on a turkey is a pair of thumb-sized meat chunks that you will likely NEVER personally enjoy.  At least that's true if you eat one of MY turkeys.

It's Thanksgiving week as I write this post, and as I look ahead to the two wonderful birds that i will roast this week, the thing I most look forward to is the one selfish moment that I enjoy every Thanksgiving.  Unless you are an experienced cook, or know how to expertly carve a bird (which by the way is genetically a male trait) you probably don't even know what I'm talking about when I mention the "oysters".  And no, they're not related to the Rocky Mountain kind.

I was taught to carve a bird by a close friend, mentor and buddy named Cal, and in a moment of male bonding one Thanksgiving in Centralia IL Cal called me into the empty kitchen while the rest of the family was distracted by It's A Wonderful Life, and showed me how to carve the bird.  Cal was an excellent cook, and when he invited me to the kitchen I was all ears.  After filling the platter and sending it to the table with his daughter Juliet, Cal called my attention to what I though was a completely dissected bird and revealed what he said was the chef's reward for carving the bird.  The Oysters!  I would never have known they were there if he hadn't pointed them out, and at the risk of drawing too much attention and thereby competition for these morsels, that's all I'm going to say about them.

My bride has no interest in cooking turkeys, or carving them for that matter, so guess what?  After 29 years of marriage my bride has yet to taste an "oyster". 

BTW.  My favorite daughter-in-law helped me carve the turkey last year, so if you want to know more about how good the oysters are, you can ask her.

Ice, Ice, baby

There are so many ways I can tell this story, but in the end there are really just tow stories to tell.  #1 is the fact that the blue mug shown on the photo is my ever-present buddy.  In fact, the while mug in the photo was just replaced by the blue one, after several years of faithful service.  These suckers are 100oz, which means they'll hold a 2 liter bottle of "pop" and have plenty of room for ice.  And that's what annoys my wife.  Surprisingly it's not the expense of the pop that annoys her, but rather the fact that every morning before leaving the house for work I pretty much wipe-out the ice tray.  Now, the second half of this story relates to what began as my bride trying to make a point, but it really back fired. 

Please allow me to explain. 

While I was out of town for a week or so some time back, my bride was amazed at the amount of ice our ice maker was able to produce without me cleaning it out each morning and night.  So much so that she started filling gallon-size freezer Zip-Loc bags, which she piled all around the freezer.  When I came home Imagine the look on my face when I opened the freezer and saw all that ice.  Yep, you guessed it... I didn't even notice! 

So what do you think annoys her most; the fact that I use MASSIVE amounts of ice without regard for anyone else, or that she worked so hard to make a point that i didn't get?  The world may never know, and quite frankly, I don't really care.  (Oh, that's gonna annoy her!)

I Hear About Something New, and I Must Try It!

Last Fall I read about something called PechaKucha that captured my imagination.  The idea came from a couple Japanese Architects who were tired of watching boring PowerPoint presentations.  If you have ever been subjected to a long-winded presenter with a 200+ slide count, you know how awful it can be!  These guys said to themselves “wouldn’t it be great if we could impose some rules on these presenters?“  Like what?  Well, what if they were only allowed to have a single PowerPoint slide on the screen for 20 seconds?  And, what if they could only have 20 slides in their entire presentation?  That means all presentations would be over in less than 7 minutes!  Even a guy like me can commit to listening to 7 minutes of most any topic. 

Well, what these guys started has taken the Architectural world by storm.  And not only in the office.  “PechaKucha Night” events have popped-up all over the world, where folks get together to meet and get to know about whatever they are passionate about via a PechaKucha presentation.

Back in January my employer was bringing all our sales reps to town for a sales meeting, so I announced that we’d be holding a PechaKucha Night event.  We had a half dozen folks make presentations, and we had 25 in attendance.  It was a lot of fun and I’m sure we’ll do it again.  Below is my presentation on one of my passions: Missouri Meerschaum Corn Cob Pipes. 

One note: I was so new to this concept when I put this together that I didn't even know how to pronounce PechaKucha.  Oh well, we still had a fun time.

I Buy Cool Stuff That I Know Nothing About

I'm being a little overly critical of myself.  It's not that I know NOTHING about these things, it's just that some times I'm inspired to buy before I've done a lot of research. 

My bride always likes to remind me of "the sewing machine incident".  This happened early in our marriage when we happened upon an estate auction while passing through Wilmington, Ohio.  They had a lot of cool antiques, including a couple clocks that I had my eye on.

At the time I was repairing clocks for a living, and we were just scraping by, but this was right up my ally and perhaps we could buy something that I could repair in my spare time and sell for a nice profit.

Just before the clocks were due up on the main stage they brought up a cute little Singer sewing machine, and for whatever reason the bidding seemed to stall around $10.   Ten dollars?  Is that all?  Up went my hand when they asked if anyone was thinking $11.  The guy who thought he was going to steal it for $10 gave me an evil stare and yelled out "Fifteen!"  He then glanced back at me with a smug look on his face.

Oh really?  That's how you think this is going to go down?  "Twenty!"

A few minutes later my head was spinning.  "What happened?"  I asked my bride.

"You just spent $50 on a piece of crap!"

Over 25 years later that same sewing machine still graces a spot in our living room.  Not because we love it, but because it's gathered dust in countless garage and yard sales.

Attached are a few pics of my latest find.  Again, I'm a woodworker, and I LOVE Morris Chairs, and especially those made by Stickley.  This one isn't made by THAT Stickley, but rather was made by The Stickley Bro's. of Grand Rapids MI.   This chair has a neat feature that I really like and that I've never seen before; it features a built-in writing table that swings out of the way when not in use.  I suspect this was used in a school or perhaps a court room. 

The bad news is I can find absolutely nothing about this chair in the Internets (or is that Interwebs?)   Feel free to make my day with a comment if you can shed any light.

Owwwww! My eye hurts!

I have a sore eye this weekend from an old shop injury that flairs up from time to time. (recurrent corneal erosion) Think my bride is supportive? 
Well, she did loan me her sunglasses today when the sun got too bright; and she did get me some eye drops; but as I was wiping away my tears just now she pointed out that "You know, you're only as weak as your leakish wink". 

That Thing I Do

This is a post that I've been sitting on for a while.  It's not out of shame, but rather it's that I've learned not to spring this on people too soon.  So here it is: I like the movie "That Thing You Do!".

I suppose that isn't an shocking admission, seeing what a great movie it is and all, but my admission isn't over yet.

You know that movie or TV show that no matter where in the storyline you happen to stumble across with the the remote you can stop and enjoy it?  For most guys it's The Godfather, or Rocky, or Showgirls, but for me it's "That Thing You Do!".

The screenplay was written by Tom Hanks on the advice of his manager.  As the story goes Tom was on the road promoting his new movie Forrest Gump, and all the good press was starting to go to his head.  His manager suggested that if he really wanted to be humbled he should try writing a screenplay.  He even wrote one of the cheesy songs (Lovin' You Lots and Lots).  It currently has a 92% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

If you haven't seen it you owe it to yourself to check it out.  It's snappy.

Oh yeah, it annoys my wife.

She's Coming Around.

I received a small sign today that my wife is getting over her disdain for this blog.  One of her favorite movies is Dancing With Wolves, and in it Robert Pastorelli's character Timmons was getting tired of Kevin Costner's character spending all his time writing in his journal.  At one point he farts loudly and says to Costner "Put THAT in you book!  Shortly after things don't end well for Timmons, and as I think about it they didn't end so well for Pastorelli either.

Today I did something quite annoying which will be mentioned in another post and my bride gave me that long "You are sooo stupid" stair, then added: "Put THAT in your blog."  Yep, she's coming around.

I Just Lost the Game.

This may be news to you, but as of this moment you are playing "The Game".  The object of The Game is to not think of The Game.  If you do think of The Game you of course have lost The Game.  Why?  Because of the object, silly.  The good news is you have 30 minutes to forget The Game before you can again lose it.  
The only rule of The Game is that when you do lose you must announce to all present that you've just "Lost The Game", and if anyone asked what you mean you must explain The Game, the object and the rule.  Got it?  Now, try not to think of The Game.  Good luck. 
It may go without saying, but The Game annoys my wife.

Taking a Few Days Off

Its all fun and games until someone loses a weiner shirtI'm taking a few days off to spend with my bride.  She noticed that even though I earn "Paid Absence Hours" each month that the number of hours listed on my pay stubs never changed.  I pointed out that I had maxed-out, and  because I wasn't taking time off that each month I was losing whatever new hours I was earning.

Some days this blog just writes itself.

I'll give it an 8.5

September 14th is National Cream-Filled Donut Day, and as I mentioned in a prior post I really enjoy celebrating stupid holidays.  It was with this thought that I stopped by our local Krispy Kreme to grab a couple donuts on my way home from work.

Now, just so you know I am not totally thoughtless...  

I remembered that just this very morning my bride mentioned that she was going to get serious about counting Weight Watcher points, and the last thing she’s going to want to see is me bringing home a couple donuts!

So I had a plan.  As you can see from the top photo I did a little research at DWLZ and then I stopped by CVS and picked-up a couple birthday candles and a bag of Skittles. 

What you see in the top photo is an Original Glazed Kream Filled donut with a special note of encouragement.

The bottom photo was my back-up plan sans filling, just in case she didn’t have the points to spare.

And remember what my mom always says: "You can eat anything you want on Weight Watchers, as long as you rinse it in hot water first!"

Did I ever mention how comfortable my recliner is?

P.S. Lisa and David were in on this.  I swear!

Hey Hon, how do you spell...

First off it's important that you know that I have dyslexia, which wasn't diagnosed until I was well into my 20's.  That said, I can't spell.  What's rather odd is that I love words and English.  I used to say "I spell atrociously", but then my bride pointed out that actually I can't.

Now there it is.  I just had to yell to my wife in the other room "Hey Hon, how do you spell atrociously?"

Just this past Sunday we celebrated 29 years of marriage, or as she calls it "23 happy years of marriage".

There it is again.  "Hey Hon, how do you spell Marriage?"

Yes, I do have spell check on MSWord, and it's true that Blogger also has a spell checker, but let me let you in on a secret:  When you don't know how to spell a word in the first place, and your dyslexic, being presented a spell checker-provided list of spelling options is just an invitation to selecting a very inappropriate word!

Want another example?  OK, how about this one.  One day I sent an email to EVERYONE at my work  which began "Dear Colleagues".    A few minutes my Bro-Worker Mike stops by my desk and says, "So, did you blind copy a few colleges on that email?"  Huh?   That's, spell check suggested "colleges" for my sorry attempt at colleagues.

BTW, I just yelled "Hey Hon, how do you spell college?"

Well, it looks like I owe my bride an apology.

My wife, who I typically call my bride, has been bothered by the premise of this blog ever since I mentioned its existence on my Facebook profile a few days back.   She took this as a major insult,feeling that the focus of these posts was her unreasonable annoyance; when in reality my point was to admit that I do a lot of stuff that annoys her.  So, after a discussion over our 29 year anniversary dinner with my sister and brother-in-law I finally saw the light and have modified the name of this blog from "Stuff that annoys my wife" to "Stuff I do that annoys my wife".  That may not seem like much of a change, but it's my way of offering an apology to the love of my life. 

Is Pepsi OK?

It happened again tonight.  We were at Country Barbecue in High Point NC when the waitress approached and asked us "What would you like to drink?"  Diet Coke is my beverage of choice, so of course I answered "Diet Coke". The waitress says "Is Pepsi OK?"

And this is where it always happens...

It's really not my fault.  She asked and I had an obligation to be honest.  It's my stock reply to this question that never fails to annoy my wife, and we both can feel it deep down in me as our eyes make contact and she gives me that "Don't even think about it" grimace.  But here it comes.

I say, "It's just OK."  

Uh oh, that's it.  I've done it again. I've just thought of a new post for this blog.  See, a silver lining.

Forgetting to take out the trash

Garbage Truck Rear Loader Apparel shirtI have to admit that even I'm starting to annoy myself a bit with this.  For some reason I keep forgetting to take out the trash on Wednesday night.  You'd think I would notice all the cans lining the road as I drive by on my way to work on Thursday morning , but so far that hasn't been the case.  I must have some excuse like "They changed the pick-up day" or something; but nope, trash day has been Thursday morning for the past 11 years.

"Hungy, Party of Five"

Whenever we go out to dinner and they have a waiting list, restaurant hosts always ask for your name.  It's odd, because they do this even when they hand you one of those vibrating pagers and have no intention of calling your name.  I'm not all that interested in having my name broadcast through these places, so years go I started saying that my last name is Hungry.  They always look up and say "Really?"  and I always say yes, really.  This annoys my wife to no end and any humor that was once found in hearing "Hungry party of five" announced over the intercom is long gone for her.  Unfortunately I know that now, so I take even more pleasure from doing it.

Following through on stupid ideas

Sure, every guy says things like "Wouldn't it be awesome if someone made a .....?" The difference between me and "those" guys is that I actually see the stupid ideas through.

Examples? OK.
  • Competitive belt sander racing.  I made a belt sander racer that won second place in the BSRA US Nationals at Las Vegas in 2007. 
  • How about the six cheese nacho cheese fountain?  This one was even covered by Geekologie and yes, it links to another of our blogs. 
Today my favorite son-in-law Nathan and I were watching a Food network show on pies and Nathan says: "Everything tastes better in pie form."  I really can't argue with that statement, but for fun I just had to retort with something stupid, so I said "Even cake?" and he said "Yes, Cake-Pie would be delicious."  I thought about it for a few seconds and had to agree.  So off we went to the store to buy the ingredients for what we knew was destined to be become a classic dessert. 

Oreo Cake-Pie w/Bryers Oreo Ice Cream & Oreo Fudge Creams.
The picture above is the result: Pie crust, white cake with reduced fat Oreos crushed into it.  Why go to all this trouble just to use reduced fat Oreos?  Because we know what we're doing.  If you've ever dunked a RF Oreo into milk then you know what happens; and why this makes them uniquely suited for inclusion into cake batter. 

In the bottom pic you can see the improvement that we made to our Cake-Pie by adding a scoop of Breyers Oreo ice cream and dicing up some of the new Oreo Fudge Cream candies.  That's right, this isn't just a Cake-Pie.  No, it's a Candy, Cookie, Ice Cream Cake-Pie!  It's basically a Man-food Leatherman!  


I've been a fan of SNL since first hearing an LP record that my oldest sister owned.  It was the best of the first season, and I played it so many times that I can still quote several of the routines 35+ years later.

New Shimmer is a floor wax!  No, New Shimmer is a dessert topping!


Sure, there have been some awful cast years, but I'm not a fair weather fan.  Every Saturday night at 11:30pm-ish I can be found laughing in my recliner, why my bride rolls her eyes.  Inevitably she says something like "our sense of humor are so different" and heads off to bed.

Calling my phone my "Dingleberry"

Let's get this out of the way up front: Yes, I understand that the term "Dingleberry" is not a pleasant one.  Read on.

Way back in 2002 I was asked by the head of our IT department to be a Beta tester of the latest Blackberry.  I'm sure he wasn't even finished asking before I said YES!  For several years I had been carrying both a cell phone and a PDA, and quite frankly I was starting to feel a bit like Captain Kangaroo every morning and night as I loaded and unloaded my pockets.

Everything went great for about three month, when one of the IT guys (Sean) stops by my desk and said "I'm here for your Blackberry".   Let me tell you, they don't call it a "Crackberry" for nothing.

I was given my old Motorola StarTac phone and was told I should sync my PDA to my laptop before they deactivated the Blackberry, just in case data gets lost.   So, I dug through my desk drawers, my computer bag and several boxes that had migrated under my desk until I finally found my sync cable and docking station.   And then it happened.  The ActiveSync softwear asked me what I though was "Do you want to replace the data on the Handheld with the date from the PC".  I click YES, and the next thing I knew I had a newly restored PC with 3 month old data!  No big deal.  I'll just track down Sean and ask him to resync the Blackberry to the server and I'll be good as new. 

After the appropriate secret door knock (The open movement from "The Imperial March" (Darth Vador's Theme) I enter in time to see Sean with a straightened paperclip jammed into a small hole in the bottom of the Blackberry!  Noooooooooooo! 

It was then that I adopted the name "Dingleberry" for my old PDA, and all wanna-be Blackberry smart phones that have come since.

Trust me, there's more.

The nickname that we have for our local Chinese restaurant.

Yep, the nickname that we have for our local Chinese restaurant is simply "Cat".  Used in a sentence:  Hey Hon, we're headin' to Cat.  This annoys my wife to no end, so I obviously enjoy saying it to her.

Not exactly related to this, but the most shocking/funny customer service experience that I ever witnessed happened at Cat.  I was having lunch with a good friend who also happens to be a large woman and when the food arrived at the table my friend inspected everything and said "Oops, it looks like you forgot my extra noodles", to which the little old Chinese lady said "You no need no extra noodle!"  OUCH!

B.R.A.I.N.Z. tee shirts

B.R.A.I.N.Z. shirt
Here's a shirt by our buddy Waffle.  This is one of several designs that Waffle made for a local zombie event that he participates in each year.  He's quite talented and has had a few designs in tee shirt design contests.  You can see more of his work in his Zazzle account.  Click the "KiubezUndermann" link below. 

Men Who Can't Pee: A Failed Commercial

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING annoys my bride quite like the videos that I enjoy on Youtube. And of course, once I find one that really tickles my fancy I HAVE to drag her over to the computer to watch it. This usually leads to some reference to how dissimilar our sense of humor is. I don't know about that. She married me didn't she? Here's one of my favorites from Rhett and Link. It's educational too!

Push Butt, Rub Hands Under Arm...

PUSH BUTT, RUB HANDS UNDER ARM shirtWe were at dinner with some friends a few weeks back when my buddy and I started talking about the "Hidden Message" that used to be contained on every hand dryer in every men's room in the USA.  They thought we were out of our minds, so we flagged down a couple guys at a nearby table and asked them if they remember it too.  Sure enough they did, as did several guys at another table that overheard us.  Our wives still thought we were nuts, but what we've since come to learn is that this message was NOT revealed to the women-folk.  Hummmmm,  Very interesting.

Below is a link to a Tee Shirt on Zazzle that shows exactly what we were talking about.  You should buy this for your husband or dad.  They'll get it even if you don't, and they'll think you are cool because of it. 

A blog post on blogging on Blogger

I guess I need to stop rating how much the stuff I do annoys my wife, but on a scale of one to ten I would have to say that blogging has got to be a ten in her eyes.  I suppose all you have to do is click on my profile to see that I have a bit of a problem.  I suppose someday I'll have to investigate a 12 step program, but for now I think it's perfectly normal for a guy to have more than one blog.  To be fair I did start with just one blog, but because I am such an interesting and complex fellow, it didn't make sense to mix so many topics on a single blog.  So, this post is dedicated to all the bloggers out there blogging on Blogger.  Blog away my friends.  Eventually SOMEONE is bound to stumble across your blog and have enough pity to post a comment or two.  I'm still waiting, but I'm sure my time will come someday. 

The Money Clamp. Finally a money clip that works!

Over the past few years I've been struggling to find a reasonable substitute for the traditional "rear pocket wallet".  Why?  Well, for one thing I've had no less than three occasions where my wallet was ruined by being soaked.  One involved a pool; another time the ocean played a key role, and the last one lost its life to a Slip-n-Slide accident.

Some time ago I switched to money clip, but as cards have become such a common part of our lives I finally moved to the Slim Clip (As seen on TV, you know.) 

The Slim Clip is a double-sided stainless steel money clip that holds cash on one side and cards on the other.  This served me well until recently when my card collection seemed to explode!  Now I have to carry:
  • Drivers licence
  • ATM card
  • Personal charge card
  • Business charge card
  • AAA card
  • Automobile insurance card
  • Health insurance card
  • Flexible Spending Account card
  • PayPal debit card (Never know when a good Woot will strike)
  • Hotel mag-strike key
  • Misc gift cards
As you can see, this list puts us a few cards beyond the 5 card max of the Slim Clip.  What really started to suffer was the thin insurance cards, because as I slid the other cards in and out the thin ones kept getting crushed and jammed into the bottom of the clip.  Also, this clip is a massive chunk of SS, and weighs at least twice as much as I felt it needed to.  Perhaps it would be better made from titanium.

So, I abandoned the Slim Clip and tried a simple binder clip.  Surprisingly I preferred it to the SlimClip, but it's just a bit too weak and the cards want to slip out of the clip in my pocket.  I also wind-up with a bunch of receipts, and unless I remember to remove them each night this clip allows them to hand out and get ragged in my pocket.

Enter the Money Clamp.

I finally decided that there MUST be a stylish alternative to my budget money clip, so off I went to my buddy Google, where I found the MoneyClamp.

I'm not sure how I missed this, but the Money Clamp is essentially a larger and infinitely more stylish version of my binder clip that will hold 12 cards AND 25 bills!  They are available with or without a card wallet that is sandwiched between the bills, just like my old binder clip solution.

I picked-up the Black Mesh Geneva with a leather card wallet for $30 +S&H.  Fortunately I found a 10% discount widget (Found below), so in the end it cost me $32 including shipping.  The Clamp alone is only $15, and there's a $10 microfiber wallet available; but I convinced myself that I'd prefer the leather.

Why does any of this annoy my wife?  It's because she's convinced that I change wallets more often than she changes purses.  to that I have two things to say:  Really? and So?

Click the widget below and when prompted at checkout enter the coupon code MC10 for the 10% discount.

[MoneyClamp (10% off Promo: MC10)]

How About a Pop in the Mouth?

Last month I entered a step-by-step instruction on how to make a unique dessert at a neat website called My favorite son-in-law Nathan made a silly suggestion one evening, and like a lot of silly things it sparked my curiosity. So we invented something we call "Cake-Pie" and let me tell you, it's excellent!  Several months later I noticed that was doing a dessert contest and the top prize was something that I'd been investigating: SodaStream

SodaStream is a counter-top "pop" maker (I'm from Ohio), and based on my super-human pop consumption it made sense to me that an in-home soda maker was my "density"  :-) .  The winner of the contest would win one of their top of the line units, while a couple runners up would win one of the mid-priced units.   I figured that even if I was a runner up I would walk away with over $100 in prizes, so why no?  

It took a few evenings to write my Instructable and I entered the contest.  Here's the OREO Cake-Pie Instructable.  Long story short I am now the proud owner of a SodaStream Home Soda Maker!

The unit is self-contained and best of all it's not electric; so it's just about the only think on the kitchen counter that's not hogging an outlet!  At its core is a proprietary CO2 canister, which had me a little concerned because the last thing I need is to be locked into an expensive consumable.  Fortunately I found these for sale at Bed, Bath and Beyond and was also pleased to learn that the $30 price sticker (!) included a $15 deposit, so that, added to the cost of flavors would make the resulting 1 liter less than .50 cents.

My wife's favorite thing is that for the first time in who knows how many years, the kitchen, fridge and cars aren't overflowing with 2 liter bottles!  As for me I like that we aren't hauling all those full bottles in and empty bottles out, and best of all the pop is always fresh!

Here are a few shots of the unit in action.

The top pic shows most of what was included in the kit.  The larger bottles were purchased locally and from what I can see from the SodaStream website the unit shown normally comes with one each of the sample packs shown.  The unit also came with two heavy 1 liter bottles, which have a nice wide mouth that makes adding the flavors a breeze.

The prize I won included two sets of the sample flavors, so we've been having fun trying them all out.  I've enjoyed the diet drinks, including a cola, a Dr. Pepper taste-alike, a wonderful lemon-lime flavor that is probably closer to Sprite than 7UP. 

My bride raved about the diet root beer, which like the caffeine-free cola is sodium free.  We haven't tapped into the fruit flavoring yet, but one surprising thing we read on the package was that it doesn't require a large amount to flavor water.  That'll be nice for when I'm not in a cola mood.  

To use the SodaStream you first fill the bottle to the fill line with cold tap water.  I originally thought that I would have to break-out the Brita filter, but I'm happy that I tried it straight from the tap first, because it's just fine.

Anyway, you fill the bottle then screw it onto the female threads on the unit.  You'll notice in the top photo that there's a short white tube that dangles a short distance into the water.  This is where the CO2 is propelled into the water.

It takes a few short bursts of gas to fully charge the water, and you know when it's done when the unit makes a funny buzzing sound as you press the button.  The sticker on the unit says that three buzzes will give you the typical fizz, but for the caffeine-free cola I just need a little more fizz, so I've been giving it a few more shots.

One neat feature that I didn't notice at first (no, I didn't read the instructions) was that the threads that hold the bottle in place will allow the bottom the the bottle to swing forward while it's attached to the unit.  "Cool" I thought, "That'll make it easier to remove".  But the first time I used it I was surprised by the "WOOSH" of gas that was released when I swung it forward.  Why didn't I know that before?  All the previous batches I made released a rush of CO2 as I twisted them off the unit, and in some cases it gave me an unexpected spritz of mist.  Now that I know how to use it I'm able to remove the bottles and stay dry too!

The bottom pic shows the unit in action.

Here's a link to the SodaStream site.
Here's a link to SodaStream items on eBay.

Here's the Cake-Pie video

Celebrating Stupid Holidays

National Pigs in a Blanket Day.
Another example of something that annoys my wife is that I enjoy celebrating stupid holidays.  A short list of a few of my favorites:
  • National Pigs in a Blanket Day, April 24th.
  • International Pickle Week, November in May.
  • National Chocolate Chip Day, May 15th.
  • National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, June 7th.
  • Pop Goes The Weasel Day, June 14th.
  • National Tapioca Pudding Day, July 15th.
  • National Milk Chocolate Day, July 28th.
  • National Mustard Day, August 5th.
  • National Cream-filled Doughnut Day, September 14th.
With the exception of "Pop Goes the Weasel Day", most of these celebrations involve food.  I suppose I could open a can of North Dakota Caned Weasel  (The other yellow meat).  
We celebrate the "Lighting O' The Dill" during International Pickle Week, and make S'mores on National S'mores Day, but nothing comes close to Pigs in a Blanket Day on April 24th.  My wife occasionally plays along, but mostly she just gets annoyed.