Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Workplace Holiday Party – Bad DJ’s, Free Alcohol, Picking Fights With Dwarfs And Home By Midnight

Last night was the big party, I love these things – it gives me a chance to talk with people I normally don’t chat with on a daily basis (in case you don’t already know - I’m a ‘talker’) Meet co-workers significant others, which is always interesting, for some you can tell why they never leave work; others you feel really sorry for. And it gives those of us around the office a sneak peak as to who’s on the ‘way out’ (drinking like nobody’s business, doing crazy stuff like breakdancing to “Cool and the Gang” or “Celine Dion-club remix”) or on the ‘way up’ (hanging out in the VP’s circles, laughing real loud like Pee-Wee Herman at unfunny jokes.) It also gives us a chance to see which VP’s assistant will be drunk of her/his butt, freak dancing with a busboy.

This one was held at a trendy club in Hollywood, the kind where they hold the line outside to make it look like it’s “happenin’” inside (with Rog and Rerun.) I hate it when they do that- what are we 21 year-olds? I don’t think so! - I have a kid, and dream of going to bed at 10pm these days. It just irritated us since it was just our company taking over the place and it was cold outside (did I mention its been in the 30’s at night? This is L.A.- things like that don’t happen here. The earth is very angry.)

Anyhow, it was fun. We stayed out until our $50 ran out on the babysitter meter, I talked so much yelling over “Beat It” and Madonna’s “Holiday” that I lost my voice, and we were given extra cocktail tickets since the HR woman knows my wife and I pretty well. Other than that, pretty uneventful – I know all of you were hoping for a Christmas party with orgies, heated debates over how a Lexus really is just a Toyota (plus 30k), and a drunken boss who picks fights with midget bouncers (in high heels), etc. Me too…maybe next year we’ll invite Willie Ames and Charo.

Pssssst! By the way...we're leaving for Disney World with the wife's family for Christmas and New Year's, so no blogging fo' me. Take a break and spend some time with the family. And if you happen to find a Nintendo Wii....let me know.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Being Up At 5:30 A.M. Isn’t What It Use To Be

Boy, there sure is nothing quite like waiting in a line, in 32-degree weather waiting for a Nintendo Wii at the local Best Buy that makes you feel like a parent at Christmas. I stood out there wondering – is this what it’s going to be like when my daughter wants some “hot” hard-to-find toy in the future?
I was about 73rd in line and down in front were parents who were camped out in tents (yes, tents and stoves) since 4pm yesterday. We all heard that this place was getting a HUGE shipment this morning, the last before Christmas.

I was chatting it up with the other parents around me for a while; each was trying to convince the other why they should get one before the other. I swear it could have been its own reality show—it went something like this:

Dad ‘Shady Looking’: (looked like he closed the bar a few minutes ago) "If I don’t get my son one of these, he won’t talk to me for another 3 years - he’s 8." (eyes shift around)

Mom in Puffy Christmas Sweater and Snowman Scarf: "It’s this or laptop for my kid. This is my 8th time waiting before the store opens. If I don’t get one before Christmas, I’ll kill." (she stares at ME)

Mom Heavy Smoker With Deep Voice: "I work all the time, if I get this then my kids will stop bothering me." (takes another puff)

Mom Who Looks Like She’s 11: "My son wants this so he can make friends (puts her head down) he doesn’t have any."

Grandfather Short Pudgy: "This is for my straight-A grandkids…if these S.O.B.’s don’t open that door; I’m going to kick all of their asses! " (fist in the air, then looks at ME)

Mom With 1 Gallon Steel Coffee Mug: "This is for my 5 boys; I can only afford one gift. I was down at the Target, they have 2 policemen, one was my 2nd ex-husband…so I came here. (smells coffee) Did I mention I have health problems?"

Dad With Glowing Bluetooth Headset: "I’ve got my wife at Walmart, Grandma at Costco, older son at Circuit City, if we don’t get one - I’m mailing bombs to Nintendo..." (yells into headset "GO!, GO!, GO!)

Dad Who Didn’t Move Or Acknowledge Anybody During Entire Time: (talks without moving) ..."I wonder if the police are going to show up this time. Because if they don’t (unintelligible)….." (then looks at ME)

(heads turn, all eyes on me)

Me: This is for me. (thumbs up!)

In case you’re wondering, none of use ended up getting one -the store only had 24. Once they yelled out the news I ran to the car and locked the doors (I wasn't sticking around.) And if my daughter wants something that's hard to find in the future, I'm wrapping cash in a box.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Who’s That Sexy Man In The Mirror With That Shiny 'Iced' Gold Grill?

I guess I can reveal my secret to everybody since Dad Gone Mad revealed his. I’m getting braces in a few weeks, but unfortunately not the kind I want: a gold grill with diamonds that read “Who’s Yo’ Daddy” - the wife doesn’t think that’ll go over well because “technically” I’m not everybody’s daddy.

My bottom teeth got a little bad after I kept making excuses for 11 years about getting my wisdom teeth taken out (sidenote- why in the world are they called that "wisdom teeth"?!) and when I finally did get them removed, the aftermath wasn't so pleasant. I'm a little annoyed at the prospect, you'd think in the year 2006 dentist would be able to use 'lasers' or something to straighten teeth in 10 minutes or less, and then rush home to dinner in a flying car.

I’d like to think there are a lot more adults getting braces these days, but in reality there probably isn’t (actually, I don’t know, I haven’t been paid 2 million dollars the government to do a study – but I am open to the idea.) Braces have this stigma of being a 'teen-thing', so of course I’m not announcing it to people (only strangers). Thankfully somebody invented some invisible-braces (well plastic toy-looking ones, without the vampire teeth) so people don’t know your little secret and can’t tell your wearing anything- kind of like those women in those tampons commercials jumping around in white shorts on the beach during their periods.

So my scientific work begins (without millions of dollars), do any of you adults wear braces? Any with these 'Invisaligns' ?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Playing Santa With The Kids AND How I Learned 'The Truth' About Santa!

Kittenpie @ Life of ‘Pie got me thinking about this - Do most of you parents “do” the Santa thing with your kids? If so, what are your traditions and how do you reveal ‘the truth’ about Santa. If you don’t “do” Santa - why? I want to know...

I never really thought about it until today (yeah, weird I know.) My daughter is only 17-months and the only Santa-thing we do is teaching her how to call the old guys in the malls “Santa” (or any old guy with a white beard.)
In my own life, I’m a little jaded - I found out ‘the truth’ when I was around 5 or 6. It was a horrible experience. I went out to the garage on that Christmas Eve to turn on the outside Christmas lights and saw two BMX bikes (from ‘the Santa list’.) I remember standing there in shock like, “did he come early?” and then I heard an angry voice behind me yelling, “what do you think you’re doing!!” Before I could think or talk I got chewed out and sent to my room. All confused I had no idea what to think –random stuff filled my head like “God, I hope these aren’t my parents..…maybe my “real” ones will come this year to take me away”. Actually no, I thought that all the time. I think it was just simple confusion.
Anyhow, my father comes in maybe about an hour later and starts yelling at me like I robbed the corner 7-11 and tells me not to tell my brother anything about “the incident” and then goes on to say “you’re not getting anything for Christmas!”, He then left, slamming the door (I remember my framed poster of Chewbacca falling off the wall that moment and breaking – Chewbacca didn’t deserve that.)
I sat on my bed confused, “why did Santa come early and why was I in trouble. Santa must be an angry teamster.”

Low and behold, I did end up getting the bike late the next day. My parents gave it to me after my brother was riding his new bike up and down our cul-de-sac street all day with the neighbor kids while I sat in the garage and observed. But my Dad warned me “don’t tell your brother about Santa not being real”. Then it hit me – “What, he’s not real?”

Oddly around that time, my younger brother told me that he knew Santa wasn’t real. All parents lied about it to make the kids behave (yes, younger brother.) Some kid, Billy Bologna (not his real name) told him at preschool or on the street. And then he went on and told me why didn’t I just go along with it - I’d get more gifts if I did.
That’s probably the smartest thing my little brother ever said his entire life. Because God knows most of the stuff he says these days isn’t.

O.K. so tell me people? Do you still do Santa? And do you have any stories about “the truth”

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Stunt-Man Toddlers Who Look Like They’ve Battled Jackie Chan And Chuck Norris At Gymboree

This weekend, I was feeling like a pretty bad parent. A few days ago my daughter was jumping up and down, laughing and yelling in some weird language, in her crib and in the process hit her bottom lip.
It’s a little weird walking in a store, just me and the kid, and then some strange old middle-aged woman gives you a comment like “Oh my God! What happened to her!” and then looks at you -the Dad, of course, with those ‘suspicious’ eyes (you know the ones that say “I Know What YOU Did Last Summer”). Well, to tell you the truth, I felt as if my shirt transformed into a pork-grind stained wife-beater, a beer can AND a 3-day beard magically appeared on my face (like in those old Bug Bunny cartoons) that instant.
I’m not one to make excuses, normally I would have cracked something amusing like “Aliens”, “Fight with Webster”, or whatever, but in this case I told the truth hoping she would go away (the little dog in her cart wearing underwear told me that she was a serious woman.) Even though, she still gave me weird looks as she walked away behind some aisle.

Things only got worse when yesterday she started running in the garage and tripped on a doormat. When we picked her up, there was blood. Man, there’s seriously nothing worse in the world than to see your own kids’ blood (heck, I don’t even like to see my own blood!) She was fine after a few minutes, but the lip grew like a mo-fo.

Now she looks like Angelina Jolie with her two big lips. Maybe she can start a modeling career (or maybe not, she might weight too much at 23 pounds.)

I know that at 17-months (as of today!) kids are prone to all kinds of falls, slips, tumbles, etc. but in today’s world where parents get locked up for anything that resembles anything 'suspicious' - I don’t know, that’s the part that freaks me out the most.

So as of today, I’m wrapping my daughter in bubble wrap (the kind that I like to pop out of boredom to annoy the wife) until her coordination gets a little better- I don’t know maybe by kindergarten. The nice thing about this solution is not only the ultra-safety factor (people ship Picasso’s in bubble-wrap) but if she were to fall – the sounds of “pops” will warn the wife and I of any impeding danger.

O.K. so am I being paranoid here, or should I start making getaway plans to Mexico? I can’t be the first parent ever to go through this…

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A 'Novel' Idea From Mrs. (KFC) Chicken

To fill everybody in - Mrs. Sanders (from Chicken and Cheese) started this "Mother of all Memes" basically she starts a story, and then passes (tags) it to somebody else, and then that person passes (tags) it...you get the idea. It's my turn. If you're not interested in reading this, there's this pretty funny video on YouTube that had me cracking up earlier today - go check that out. For the rest of you, read on:

(by Mrs. Chicken @ Chicken and Cheese)
I thought I saw him at the grocery store. It was raining that afternoon, and he had an umbrella. The red and white triangles that made up his portable shelter partly obscured his face, but I caught a glimpse of his eyes. Those eyes. Huge, blue and empty.

When he left me I remember searching their vast cerulean expanse for some sign, some flicker of love. It rained that day, too. Why does it rain when you lose someone you love? My tears left him unmoved. I don’t know why that surprised me.

The baby kicked in my cart and I let my gaze fall on her face. Her father’s eyes stared back at me. Green eyes, warm and full of life.“Mamma?” she said. “Mamma!”

(by Binky @ 24/7)
The question-turned-exclamation jarred me out of my reverie. There was pressure in my temples and behind the hazel tint of my colored contact lenses. "Mamma's here," I cooed. My voice was a manufactured kind of soothing. I leaned in and brushed a kiss over Bethany's forehead, where a drop of rainwater hung like the tiniest Swarovski pendant. Its chain was made of fine blond locks.

"What do you think, baby girl?" I asked as I pulled her into my arms. "Is it time to go home?" Her searching legs and center of gravity found all the right contours as she settled atop the jut of my hip. I tugged at her coat until the hood framed her face, then I stepped into the rain. A small deluge of water streamed off the curve of the lowercase "o" on the Save-A-Lot sign and landed at the back of my neck. I could feel the tag from my shirt sticking sharp and soggy to my skin.

I sighed against Bethany's face and tried to avoid the bigger puddles on our way to my twenty year old Civic, which was miraculously close. One row over and three cars ahead, I saw a familiar red and white umbrella spanning the gap between an open door and the driver's seat of a rusty 4Runner that had to be as old as my own piece of junk. They guy I'd mistaken for Paul sat sideways and watched the rain as he talked into a cell phone.

(by me)
Hastily reaching into my purse holding Bethany firmly, I could faintly hear the sound of his voice. His mumbled words were almost too reminiscent of Paul’s. The way he laughed as he said “Gouda” into his plastic phone brought back imagery of the two of us, sitting together last winter on the living room floor, sipping Merlot watching “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” Occasionally Paul would jokingly burst out vocabulary in his comedic English accent – expressions like “Don Perignon!” and “Caviar Dreams!” oh, how I loved Caviar and that faux bear skin rug.
With keys finally in hand, stumbling to open the rusty car door, I could sense this strangers stare against my cheek. His phone chatter abruptly ended and I could hear the sounds of squeaking cowboy boots crushing the wet pavement.

I tag Occidental Girl to continue (Note to Occidental Girl - "Cowboy Boots" maybe with spurs?...just a suggestion)

Participants List (go to Chicken and Cheese if you want to participate):
Occidental Girl
Mrs. Maladjusted
Desitin's Child
Tater And Tot
Word Girl

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

When You Smell Alcohol On The Dentist, It May Be Time To Scream.

I started getting a little nervous this morning while waiting in “the chair” when the dentist walked in late and told the assistant (in a loud whisper) she was out until 1am closing a local restaurant bar – and she had a headache to prove it.
When she got closer to me, she smelled like my old great uncle ‘Pete’ (the one who hung out at the racetracks, smoked cigars for breakfast, and always offered strangers cookies), which made me even more nervous. I started to scream, on the inside, when she dropped the tools on the floor and said the sound of the metal tools hitting the floor made her want to squeal like a fish (yes, 'fish')
Her usual unintelligible slurring didn’t bother me though (she has some Persian accent... at least I think it’s Persian – or could be from some remote village in Canada) my wife and I usually make jokes later about things we think or thought she said to us like, “My horse is in the bathroom” or “Brittany needs to buy underwear.” In reality, she’s actually saying stuff like “Rinse your mouth in the bathroom” or “Brittany needs to buy underwear.”

I've always had bad luck with dentists, they all creep me out and my wife and I have been through a lot. These people are hard to find. This one has been pretty good over the last year; I’m almost inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt - this time. But if this happens again, the search is on. Although, I’m sure she would be a good drinking buddy down at the racetracks.
What would you do….?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Art Of Christmas Shopping Procrastination: Don’t Think About It And It’ll Go Away!

So what did you do over the weekend? Perhaps you, like millions of others, did some Christmas shopping? What did “I” (and family) do you might ask? Well, surely not Christmas shop. We did what the French do best - just ignored it and did something fun (minus the cigarettes). We went to San Diego. There sure is nothing like 78-degree, cloudless, sunny weather that gets you into the “Christmas Spirit” (I even had Hot Chocolate with marshmallows- you can’t get more “Christmas” than that!) Although I can’t honestly say the weather was that good all the time; it did get down to 50-degrees at night (Brrrrr! – practically snow weather.)

We haven’t been down to San Diego in about 4 years, and we heard about this event they have called “Christmas at the Prado” (which was renamed “December Nights”) up at their Balboa Park area. We had a good time, Balboa Park is an absolutely amazing place – it looks like a piece of Spain landed in the area. Ornate Moorish/Spanish Renaissance architecture with towers, manicured gardens, great city views, and enough museums to make any 16-month old scream from boredom. Add Christmas lights and about 4 million people there that night (well, not 4, maybe ‘3.4’) and you have quite a bash.

The best part was walking past the (lonely) Atheist Coalition booth that had a bunch of creeping looking, sour-faced hippies working it and then about 100 feet up the way was some crazy over-the-top Jesus freaks wearing t-shirts and holding signs like “Repent!” When I passed the dude with the sign, I told him that he should talk to the dudes down at the booth - they needed Jesus (I would have liked to have seen that conversation...)

One thing I really like about San Diego which is much different than L.A. -- the people -- they're much friendly there. Total strangers will just chat with you as if they’ve known you for a while. You don’t get that in L.A. unless you know them somehow (or you just had a fender-bender or sell crack).
Or it could be the fact that if you have a kid (or a dog) people deem you as “approachable”.

What about all of you? Does having a young kid (or dog) make it easier for strangers to talk with you?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Random Thoughts For Friday, Dec. 1st And A MEME.

Yeah, so I’m feeling pretty random today. Maybe it’s because the yellow Wiggle is leaving the band because of some rare disease (I hope it’s wasn't because of Dorothy), or maybe because Christmas is a few weeks away.
Randomness on my mind:

I have no idea what this one guy at work does! For the last year I’ve been sitting about 30 feet away from this one guy who nobody knows. He shows up everyday and sits at his computer, never leaves, even for lunch it seems. Every time I walk by, he just kind of stares at me. I’ve even tried talking to him once or twice and he kind of brushes me off. Has anybody seen “Office Space”? I want to put a red stapler on his desk.

What’s that guy planning on doing with that cigar? I have a junk e-mail account that I use to sign up for newsletters or special offers. My wife and I stayed at Luxor – Las Vegas a few years ago and they continue to send me offers with some pretty weird pictures on them. The one I got today was the strangest - it has a caption of “Kiss a stranger.... It’s a long way to midnight and it’s up to you to make every second count” and the guy is showing the camera a cigar he’s hiding in his coat while a woman undresses.

Women talk 3 times more than men!? And then there's me - I talk 3 times more than those women (so my wife tells me.) Did anybody see this study?

Life Meme (thanks to radioactive girl)

1. What time is it? Miller time.
2. What is your full name? Billy Dee Williams (No, not really. I just think it’s a funny name)
3. What are you most afraid of? Cancer of any kind. My wife and I know way too many people this has affected.
4. What is the most recent movie that you have seen in a theater? Mission Impossible 3. Cars was sold out.
5. Have you ever seen a ghost? He’s sitting right next to me. His name is Bubba (he doesn’t feel like writing right now.)
6. Where were you born? West Covina, Ca
7. Ever been to Alaska? Nope
8. Ever been toilet papering? Yup
9.Loved someone so much it made you cry? Men don’t cry. Only when we accidentally miss a nail and the hammer goes into the knuckle, if there’s blood - maybe.
10. Been in a serious car accident? Nope (knock on wood)
11 Do you plan to have any more Children? Yes. In exactly 3.6 years.
12. Favorite day of the week? Friday
13. Favorite Restaurant? Any with Sushi.
14. Favorite Flower? Motor Oil
15. Favorite color? Black (color of motor oil)
16. Favorite sport to watch? What’s ‘sports’? (don't believe me? Read this)
17. Favorite Drink? Fiji water.
18. Favorite Ice Cream? Vanilla (Ice)
19. Favorite fast food restaurant? KFC (‘the bucket’ has magical powers)
20. What color is your bedroom carpet? Cloud with Dancing Gnomes (or off-white)
21. How many times did you fail your driver’s test? 0
22. What do you do when you are bored? Draw, read, play video games.
23. What time is your bedtime? Sometime between 10:30-12
24. Favorite TV shows? Anything on HGTV that involves a “reveal” at the end.
25. What are you most grateful for? Wife, daughter, friends, extended family, job, ability to see through walls (still working on that one.)
26. What are you listening to right now? 60’s Hawaiian music
27. How many pets do you have? 1 Beagle (he doesn’t sleep on top of his doghouse)
28. Which came first the chicken or the egg? Chickegg
29. What would you like to accomplish before you die? Go to space. Maybe build a cabin on the moon out of cream cheese.

Tag- If you want to try any of these, just leave a comment (I’ll link to you).
MamaLee @ Full Plate,
Lisa @ Refuse to Blog
Deb @ Whoduhthunkit!?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pregnant Women And Men Who Do ‘Pretty Good’ Manicures and Pedicures

I had an interesting conversation with a co-worker who is 37 weeks pregnant with her first kid (I personally think she’s going to give birth to a 4 year-old – this womans belly freakin’ huge!) She’s in the countdown phase right now; she only has a few days left of work and then it’s off to maternity leave. Something about pregnant women: they just love to talk about gross intimidate pregnancy details with fellow parents (dads included) about 'the boobs', marshmallow feet, pains in weird places, etc… they would never say stuff like this to non-parents. But I don’t mind, it’s funny to me. I’m a veteran of it all.

Anyway like any conversation people have with me, I get easily sidetracked:

PregMom: …the guy who does my nails told me….

Me: what? ‘the guy’ - a guy does your nails?

PregMom: …yes, so anyway, he was telling me that when his wife was pregnant…

Me: Hold on - he’s married, has a kid, and he does nails?

PregMom: Yes, and really good pedicures too! He’s the best in the shop.

Me: I’ve never heard of that. I wonder what his wife thinks about that?

PregMom: She really likes it, she get her nails done all the time. And he makes a lot of money.

Me: I bet he tells ‘the guys’ he paints houses, or Ferrari’s – ya’ know “Man Jobs”. I couldn’t do that for any amount of money. Unless, of course, I wore a mask and a cape, and had a Darth Vader voice changer box to hide my identity. Then it could be possible - but I would have to make a whole lot of money.

(Silence and blank stare)

PregMom: I’m feeling pretty sorry for your wife and daughter right now.

Moms? Is there such a thing? I’ve never heard of this. My only knowledge of this is (1) from my wife who goes to a spa once in awhile - but she would feel a little weird if a straight guy were working on here nails or feet. (2) My one straight pal who gets his man-manicure down at the Peaches and Cream (but he'll never reveal his secret of soft hands.)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Who’s That Guy Singing Along At A Lionel Richie Concert?!

What chou’ talkin’ bout’ ? It wasn’t me (…well, maybe…)

So Friday was the big day. The wife got her ultimate, dream birthday gift – orchestra seats to Lionel Richie. She claims it was the second happiest day of her life (#1 being our wedding day - but the look on her face made me a little suspicious…) Just before Lionel walked on stage, I think every single woman was ready to toss her underwear (including this weird squealing guy sitting behind us.) He opened with the ultimate “cheese” song “Hello” and ended 2 hours later on a 9-minute rendition of “All Night Long” (complete with a 2-minute drum and guitar solo – don’t ask). Somewhere in that 2 hours he sat at the piano and sang some “strangely familiar to me” songs (“My Love” and “Say You, Say Me”), which reminded of this weird girl who made a few tapes for me back in H.S. (I attracted the odd ones back then.)
After my apprehension about going, I must admit, I had fun. Seeing how extremely happy my wife was made me happy. And I shocked myself a little, I actually knew more songs than I thought I knew. I remember my grandma and parents having the “adult contemporary” radio station on in the car growing up - you know that one station that played Hall and Oates and Captain and Tennille (at least that’s my excuse.)

Shopping At The Mall?

Did anybody venture out? We did on Saturday and it wasn’t nearly as bad as it was made out to be. We were down in Orange County and ended up at South Coast Plaza – which is a huge freakin’ mall! We were there for about 3 hours and managed only to get 3 gifts. We should have just bought everybody Lionel Richie Fan Club T-Shirts at the concert. I wish I had thought of that earlier.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving Is Over, "Black Friday" And Lionel Richie

Now I know why they call it “Black Friday”, because when you wake up early and find 200 other people who were waiting earlier than you, and the store doesn’t even have what you’re all looking for –you feel like a complete idiot.
So this morning I searched for a Nintendo Wii and they didn’t have it anywhere. My entire life, I’ve never jumped onto this mad rush bandwagon and after today’s experience, I’m never doing this again. I’m waiting until after-Christmas and just putting an I.O.U. (to myself) under the tree. But all was not lost - I did find a great deal on a VHS to DVD recorder for $99 (which is a steal!) We have what seems like millions of movies on video tapes and nearly every Disney Animated movie on VHS and there’s no way I’m paying $18-25 each to replace them with DVD’s.

How was your Thanksgiving? Good I hope. Mine – well, we drove out to my uncles’ house in far out Riverside and it took over 2 hours to get there. The food was excellent, it was really nice to see some of the family, and my daughter loved exploring my uncles’ house with her cousins. Although, we’re hoping to have dinner somewhere else next year, because Riverside isn’t close...and it’s a scary place. We saw some rowdy kids throwing bottles at cars near the freeway off-ramp. I guess that’s how they say “Happy Thanksgiving” in Riverside.

Tonight I’m taking the wife to dinner and to see the Lionel Richie concert for her birthday. I hope he sings “All Night Long” because for some reason, that song is stuck in my head. I’m just walking around yelling, “Damn you Lionel Richie, get outta my head!!”

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What? It’s Nearly Thanksgiving? And It’s 2006?

Wasn’t it just Thanksgiving, like… a few months ago? I just can’t believe it’s that time of year again. My wife has just reminded me how we’re leaving for Florida in exactly a month for Christmas. Where does the time go?

With Thanksgiving coming up I thought I would make a little list of things I’m thankful for this year. My family use to do this before my grandmother passed away 6 years ago - she would make everybody say at least 6 things they were thankful for (if you happened to be in the house when she initiated it.) We would all cringe at this crazy tradition, sometimes being a little too obnoxious with our answers. When her turn came around she would always name her 6 kids (my 5 uncles and my mom) for giving her a huge family and then make some funny joke.
My family no longer gets together every Thanksgiving, every uncle does their own thing with their kids and grandkids; it’s just not possible to have one large dinner anymore. Now that I have a little family I miss those large family get-together days. This year, we’re spending it with my uncle’s (#5) family and my brother’s family.

Thankful for:

The Wife- It was nine years ago this week that I met her in Paris (yes, France) and after 7 years of marriage, it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

My Daughter- I never imagined how amazing being a parent could possibly be. I find myself just staring at her, entranced by her curiosity, growth, and the person who she will eventually become. It’s both exciting and a little intimidating.

Friends – Somewhere along the way, I got lucky. (Even the dude who likes facials and pedicures.)

Extended Family – My side of the family has grown by leaps and bounds, and as I get older I’m thankful that they’re not too far away (but far away enough). My wife’s side of the family is everywhere - which makes for great places to visit.

Job/Immediate Co-Workers – Some days I still can’t believe I get paid for what I do (But I never let my boss and his boss know that.) I also have the privilege of working with some of the most talented artists in the world. Even though I was somehow chosen to lead them, most of the time I feel as if they're leading me.

Colonel Sanders Secret Recipe – Because that chicken is what dreams are made of (I couldn’t end this without a KFC reference, people would start thinking I was loosing my mind, or worse getting “all emotional”.)

Happy Thanksgiving Ya'll!

Some interesting links I’d like to share from other bloggers:
MetroDad writes a very good “serious note” about the anger in people these days and tells people to chill.
Mr.BigDubya gets a new family addition
Ruth Dynamite gives some advice about getting distracted and eating anything bigger than your head.
Redneck Mommy (T) on marriage.
Mrs. Chicky is thankful for Leonardo (not Da Vinci.)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Am I the "Expert" At: Tattoo Ideas, Hooters, Monkeys, KFC, Elvis, And Lesbians In Puffy Christmas Sweaters?

It must be true! Why else would Google and other search engines link to me when people search for this stuff.
Once in awhile, I check out the search keywords to this blog out of curiosity. Some I find entertaining and some I scratch my head like the ones for "daddy issues".

Interesting finds:

tattoo ideas for dad and daughter
Some ideas - "I'm a freak and so is my daughter" with a picture of snake drinking beer on a motorcycle

pregnant hooters waitress
She must get some good tips

picture of dads in monkey costumes
If you must. Will the Dads please send me their pictures. I have to dig mine out

drugged elvis performances
The last one happened in July, at my daughter's 1st birthday party

make at home french person
You could. But why?

what type of lesbian am i
Depends on if you wear men's Wranglers and listen to Dixie Chicks or if you think Jessica Alba is hot

i wish i had a midget he would eat kfc
Me too! He would be really fun at parties.

colonel sanders kfc daughter
Her name is Wendy and she has red hair and looks like Pippi Longstocking

midget family getting hurt with their pumpkin patch
I bet they would love my Colonel Sanders pumpkin stencil. Assuming they eat chicken

subliminal messages in dora
If you play her spanish backwards, she tells you to stop buying grapes and to kill "all the whiteys". I can confirm this

puffy paint christmas sweaters
Add little jiggle bells on them for the full-effect. People just loved that

was colonel sanders really a colonel?
Yes. And his lunches were awesome, especially when he added those Chicken Littles (according to reports)

i'd like my wife to blow up balloons

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Why Do Some Parents Use Their Kids As Surrogate Spouses?

Do you know anybody who does this? I've heard about this, but have never encountered it (like aliens or the lockness monster). I've just had another interesting conversation with those two suto-empty nester moms at my boxing class - if you remember I wrote awhile back how they told me that all kids will eventually get into drugs and have sex at 11 no matter what I did to prevent it.... So I should just go on a cruise during the teenage years. As you can imagine, I don't think very highly of them or their lack of parenting skills.

So yeah, I'm having a conversation and woman #1 (Sandy, divorced for about 16 years) is talking about her 24 year-old son to me. Not just normal "proud" about my kid talk (can sky dive while reversing global warming) but talking about how he does stuff for her -- talks to her every night, takes her to dinner, movies, massages, trips to New York in the Fall. He's planning on making a "test" Thanksgiving dinner this weekend, etc.

Me: Whoa! That's pretty wild. What does his wife think about you two spending so much time together?
(She must be on crack)

Sandy: He's not married- Thank God! I don't know what I would do. I don't have anybody. My daughter lives far away and never calls, (blah, blah, blah...)
(Hmmm, maybe because he's attached to you and you scare them away...)

Me: Does he have a girlfriend?

Sandy: I hope not!
(O.K., gay and she doesn't know? Or is he going to run off and get married to some hooker in Vegas and send her an email)

Me: He's 24/25, right?

Sandy: Yeah 25, but he doesn't have time.

(I must have given a weird look....smile)

Sandy:Why? There's nothing strange about that...

Me: ....O.K....
(I want to run away. I might catch something just by standing here)


Me: Did you know O.J. is writing a book....
(Cut the strings woman! No wonder why your two kids have so many problems!)

I'm thoroughly creeped out. I don't know - maybe she should be a little more worried about that "test" Thanksgiving dinner coming up...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I Pity Da' Fool, Who Don’t Know Mr. T! AND Could It Be More Obvious That OJ Did It??

Most of you who have been reading my blog awhile know that I teach an advanced drawing class to High School kids, 15-17, once a week at an ‘Arts’ school. I’ve been doing this for over 3 years now and nearly every week I go through some type of inner battle - I either loving teaching, or hate it. In the end, at least most of the time, I convince myself it’s "in the trenches" experience with today’s youth (or as Tony Danza would say ‘yout’) – listening and talking with them is a real eye-opener preparing me for when my daughter gets older. And also learning new things about their view of the world as I work full-time in the entertainment industry creating stuff for them and their younger siblings. Oh and sometimes I even get some really talented kid, extremely motivated, who moves on to some ivy league of Art Schools (not the kind that only require you to draw a Pirate or Turtle and show up with a fat check.)

So recently while the kids were doing portraits of each other; I was critiquing art and said something like “I pity the fool!”. All of the kids looked at me like I was on crack, not for making odd comments (I do that all the time) but the blank looks told me they didn’t know who I was referencing. When I said, “don’t you guys know who Mr. T is? You know big black dude, "B.A.", with gold chains, Mohawk, jean vest….’The T’??…(silence).... He fought Rocky!?” – they all gave me blank stares. A minute went by and one of the kids raised his hand – “Is he a rapper?”

It then dawned on me that moment that I’m old. Really old, and I’m not even 35 yet. So old that these kids probably don’t even get any reference to “George Glass”, “What Chou Talkin’ bout”, “Whoa!” or possibly even “Screech”. I remember teachers growing up making references to old shows like “Kojack”, and "Rhoda", sure they were “old people” shows like “Murder She Wrote”, but I at least I heard of them.
These kids haven’t and when you think about it, on average they were born around 1991 (I still have clothes in my closet from 1991!)

But instead of getting ‘all-weird’ about it, I’m looking at this from a different point of view - I’m still making my 80’s references because I don’t care. These kids can go home and ask their aging parents. Or they can look it up in the Dictionary or Encyclopedia Britannica.

Freakin' A!!! Could It Be More Obvious That OJ Did It??

Have you heard about this? O.J. Simpson is doing that interview talking about “how he would have committed” the murders of Nicole and her friend. This has to be the sickest thing I’ve heard in a long time; I literally became angry when I read this. I can’t even believe this guy has the nerve or Fox for even considering this! If I were the family of Nicole or Goldman I seriously would be making O.J.’s life hell – nobody would be living a life of luxury if this happened to my family.
I remember being a juror at the downtown L.A. criminal courthouse in 1998 (a murder trial, where a black woman murderer her 3 year old son) and the defense attorney had the audacity to tell us jurors that we should “remember that the L.A.P.D. has a history of fabricating evidence against colored people” and then made a lot of references to O.J.’s case (duh, diversion from the murder?). I was literally disgusted! And I wasn’t the only one, two older black women in the jury room were horrified saying, “she was trying to pull a Johnny Cochran” and thought the defense attorney should be sent to prison, or live with O.J.

Monday, November 13, 2006

‘Christmas-Creep’. Toddler’s Closing Down Cocktail Parties, And Angry Midgets

My message to the stores - It isn’t Christmas yet, so Put away the displays!
I keep complaining about this over and over again, but I really hate this ‘Christmas-Creep’ that’s going on at stores, malls, city centers, etc. We were out over the weekend and stores have completely forgotten that Thanksgiving exists. What would the pilgrims think!? I bet they would be very disappointed - possibly rioting at the farms, throwing Honeybaked Hams, and canned pumpkin guts through barn windows. People could die!
This thinking stores want to instill in people hasn’t gotten to me. I absolutely refuse to do anything Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving - decorating, buying gifts, junk, whatever. Because if I did buy into it, I just know stores will start putting up displays and piping Michael Bolton Christmas music after 4th of July. I don’t want my child to grow up in a world like that.

Just in case you were thinking of taking a Toddler to a Cocktail Party.
We went to a party over the weekend for one of our close friends’ birthday - A wine and appetizer type thing. We weren’t sure how our daughter was going to react since her bedtime was about the time it started. To our surprise she did really well. Before we left she lounged down on the ground, did some yoga moves, and pooped (with surround sound!) If you ever want to end something, there’s nothing like a toddler pooping in the middle of a party.

Blogging About People You Know Who Could Possibly Be Reading.
Question to all of you bloggers out there - Who knows about your blog?
Mine? The wife, a few close friends, my daughter (when she does something, I tell her I’m going to blog about it) and that’s about it on my end. If more people I know read this, then I would probably edit myself – and that would be tragic. I have a friend who saw my post about his addiction to facials, pedicures, and midget massages (In case you missed that one, you can read it here). Surprisingly, he wasn’t upset about me writing about his love of the facials, pedicures, or midget massages at places called "Peaches & Cream" though. Only the part about my use of ‘Angry Thai Midgets’. . Apparently they’re Vietnamese. Sorry Robert!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Random Thoughts For Friday November 10

When A Man Loves A Woman. Enough To Take Her To See Lionel Richie

We’re going to see Lionel in two weeks over at the Kodak (or ‘Kojak’ as I like to call it) Theater down in Hollywood. The wife is a big fan, her birthday is coming up and I was able to score 2nd row orchestra seats (we’ll be able to smell that Lionel cologne of his). If you ask me how I was able to do that – I’d like to say it was from some guy named “Manny”, in a 1977 El Camino, at midnight, in North Hollywood. But it wasn’t, they were from a charity that was selling them to help guys like Manny get real jobs.

I’ve been getting some grief from ‘the guys’ about this like “Are you kidding me?”, and from the ladies “Oh my God! I LOVE Lionel- I wish my husband/boyfriend/Imaginary Friend did that for me”. To the guys, I tell them there’re just some things you need to do for the wife, which gives you a load of points. And to the ladies, I tell them to let my wife know how wonderful I am because Christmas is coming up very soon.

Who Says There’s No Such Thing As A ‘Free’ Lunch AND Ice Cream?

Ever since the ‘old guard’ left, things have been getting extremely upbeat at work. The boss’s boss is having lunch catered for everybody in the building every Wednesday (and this isn’t KFC people, this is real food!) And if that wasn’t enough, he has a catered Ice Cream Sundae bar come in later in the afternoon. How freakin’ cool is that!? I really like this, but at the same time it scares me - like when the old witch feeds Hansel and Gretel to fatten them up so she can eat them. I think they’re trying to make us fat so they can eat us (Maybe like that old alien mini-series “V” kind of way) I don’t care, give me free food (preferably KFC) and ice cream and I’ll sit on the ‘barbie’ any day.

I Want To Meet ‘George Glass’ Already

Or in this case Georgette Glass. There’s this ‘ kind of’ nerdy little guy at work, actually there are a lot of them, but this guy in particular has been telling people the last 2 years he has this “model-hot-Baywatch-smokin” girlfriend which nobody has ever met. Not even his mom he lives with. Nope, not at after-work things, office parties, Christmas parties, “bring your ‘other’ to work day”, nothing! It’s not that I would think differently about him if she did exist, but it’s pretty obvious she doesn’t. The Christmas party is in a month and I’m thinking Georgette Glass will be on her modeling tour in Paris, Iceland again.
I don’t understand why adults do this. It’s not like he’s in Jr. High and tells people he’s going out with Tiffany.

Really Funny Things My Daughter Is Doing Update

She has two friends around her age Audrey and Olivia; she calls them “Ah-DEe” and “Ah-Lee”. She can point to them and say their names, yet when she points at me she still says “MaMa!” and my wife “DaDa!”. And even worse, while at Target she still points to strange men and yells “DaDa!” Immediately afterwards, I’ll look at my wife, really disturbed, and say “Is there something you’re not telling me…!!” Guys get really freaked out when I do that.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The First Haircut! (She’s Growing Up Fast)

The first haircut, where has the time gone? As my daughter sat on my lap getting a trim, while my wife was snapping pictures, all I could think about was about how fast she’s growing up. It all starts with a haircut, then asking for money for clothes, and then asking for a wedding that costs more than my house. I wanted to shed a tear, but men don’t do that (especially in a salon!)

Somewhere between 12 months and 16 months she went from baby to kid. The things she does now completely baffles me. Things like parrots phrases I didn’t even know I say much, like “Ah, Man!” or “No way!” all the time. You can point to things and say what it is and she’ll point and repeat it exactly 400 times (even while nodding off to sleep). She insists on bringing a toy along with her for car rides (ones that make noises). She wants to feed herself everything, even open the package and take it out. She’s smart enough to know when we don’t want to want her to eat something (like Halloween candy) and hide it or eating it while trying to act like nothing is in our mouths (she’ll try to open your mouth like Superman bending iron).
And last night about 10 minutes before her bedtime she walked up to my wife, rubbed her eyes (our signal she’s tired), and said “Nigh-Nigh”. She then walked to her room. Whaa?! Somewhere when we weren’t looking, an alien took over our child. That’s my only explanation.

I remember complaining about how time wasn’t moving along fast enough. She needed to get out of that baby stage so we could do more, but now in retrospect it’s a little sad. Time goes by FAST and when I take a second to look at her, I see this little kid who looks like that little baby I once knew - the one who would just laugh, poop, eat and sleep. I sometimes wish that baby were back on the days when my daughter throws spaghetti on the wall and yells “no!” But then I get a little proud when she peels the spaghetti off the wall and starts eating it. No baby can do that.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It’s HOT On Election Day

Can you believe it's 95 degrees today out here!? (I think that’s around 418 degrees for those of you using Celsius) On the way to work at 8:30 a.m. it was already 85. This time of year is usually in the 70’s. I’m blaming the Republicans (they control the weather too)

Before coming into work we stopped and voted at the nearby elementary school – it was pretty empty inside at the library’s polling place. I counted 3 other people besides my wife and I voting - even though there were loads of parents dropping off their kids to school. I wondered why not just get out of the car for 5 minutes and vote? With all this talk about voting and ‘spreading democracy’ it’s pretty distressing to see so many here uninvolved. Is this strictly an 'L.A. thing' or does this happen where you live?
On the other hand, they probably haven’t read any of the measures, propositions, or even know who 90% the candidates are. So maybe it was a good thing they didn’t go inside. Not voting bothers me, but uninformed voting bothers me even more.

When I went to the gym tonight, most of the T.V.'s were tuned into "Dancing with the Stars" with all ‘them youngin’s’ watching (primarily 20-somethings) and along one lonely wall was CNN with a few older folks watching. I joined them and asked, "What's the score?"...you know, like watching a Football game. After saying that, I was feeling pretty good, like to the point of smashing a beer can on my forehead. I've never actually 'watched' a Football game so that was my closest attempt at it. I should have brought some Bud Light and Dorritos. Maybe in 2008 – that one might go into ‘overtime’.

Yup, changing the car's oil really changes a man.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

KidSpace Museum, Our HGTV Appearance, And Doogie Houser’s Neil Patrick Harris - All Walk Into A Bar…

We finally got to visit Kidspace Museum in Pasadena on Saturday. Our last visit was a huge setback since it was closed due to a football game (not a big fan of football even more now.) The place was smaller than expected but had a lot of interesting play stuff for kids a little order than our 16-month old. The only thing they had for kids her age was a Gymboree style playroom, which we sat in for nearly an hour while my daughter ran around with a toy-shopping cart (who knew shopping carts could be so much fun?) Until a few little boys came in and started taking stuff and knocking the kids over like a motorcycle gang from Van Nuys. I spent about 20 minutes keeping them away from my jewel and her shopping cart fun, until they left for their “feeding” of raw meat and Coors Light. It really made me realize the HUGE difference between boys and girls around this age. It’s almost scary.
Most of the time I lounged in a corner sketching kids in my sketchbook while parents were all raving about how smart geniuses their kids are (welcome to Pasadena). When they looked at me, I told them my daughter could blow really huge snot bubbles in the shape of Masai giraffes.
I’m sure we’ll go back in a year or two when we don’t have to sit in the “Early Childhood Development” room.

Today, we saw a house nearby that’s going to be on that HGTV show “Designed to Sell”. It was the big open house ‘reveal’ were the public gets to see the place all fixed up and they film visitors walking in and out with reactions like “Oh! Wow!” “I like the wainscoting!”” Look! Even Grandma has a place to sleep!” When we got there they immediately made us fill out an appearance waiver and then they filmed my wife, daughter and I walking up (I’ll let everybody know when that episode airs) The house did look pretty good inside, but you can tell most of the work was quick cosmetic fixes - uneven paint jobs, fabric draped over things concealing junk, mirrors and large furniture everywhere to make the place feel and look bigger – I think we’ve watched the show enough to know “the magician’s secrets”, even though it looked good. My wife and I still love the HGTV. And the English host dude is TALL and big. I bet he could blow really big snot bubbles (in the shape of furniture.)

By the way – with all this talk I’ve been doing of Doogie Houser - did anybody see the news yesterday about Doogie Houser’s Neil Patrick Harris ‘coming out’? Seriously, I wouldn’t have guessed. Anyhow, I thought this article was funny announcing "Doogie gay, but not Canadian".

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Get Me A Brewsky -I'm Feeling Very 'Manly' Today After Changin' The Oil

You heard me right! I actually learned and changed the oil in my MINI Cooper (my first oil change on any car my entire life). All because the MINI/BMW dealer wanted to charge me $250 for a freakin' oil change. Yup, I went out and told everybody I know how ridiculous it is that dealers can get away with this stuff and along the way told my good friend's dad who use to own a ‘shop’ in the valley. He then told me to drive over his house and he would teach me… and I did! And it only cost me $47 for "the best" oil and a filter. Once I closed the hood, I flexed my pecks, arms, and shot "the bird" over to the direction of the BMW/MINI dealer all while yelling into the air "how do ya’ like me now, be-yatches!!" It felt good. Almost like finding $200 in your pocket after taking the pants out of the dryer.

While scrubbing my hands removing the greasy oil I swear my voice got a little deeper and about 3 chest hairs grew that instant. There's just something spiritual about a guy doing work on his car, like you feel at one with ‘the Fonze’ or 'Jo’ Polniaczek (men who didn’t really work on machinery but played it well on TV).

When I got home, I threw the keys on the counter and announced to the wife that the ‘man of the house’ was home. After I grabbed her by the waist and planted a big wet one, I told her how I felt as if I could go build a boat out of paper clips and duct tape. After she giggled, she asked me to finish washing the dishes. Women just don't get it. She thought I would end up doing some serious damage to the car, but my response to her was that "men have been changing oil in their cars for centuries before Jiffy Lube began in 1876. I’m just keepin’ it real Little Lady”.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween Is Over, Doogie Houser, And Christmas Is Next Month

Does this freak you out as much as it does me? You know, how fast the year is going by. I swear I don’t know understand how time goes by so fast; does this only happen to parents (?) because pre-child time seemed much slower.

Last night we did our little annual Halloween block party with the neighbors. The wife and I made White Russians and Cosmo’s while everybody else brought food - It was fun. We took our daughter to 2 houses (neighbors we knew) to try her hand at “Trick or Treating”. Once they dropped candy in the bucket, she squatted down, took it out and investigated the wrapper like it was kryptonite. We all chuckled like a sitcom, took a few pictures and then moved on.
In all we passed out about 5 bags of candy and had about 2 bags left over. So guess what I had with my smoothie and cereal this morning? Yup, M&M’s. I even threw some in the cereal – man, that’s some good cereal!

And for those of you who were wondering about that Pumpkin carving contest at my J.O.B., I came in second place with my “Colonel Sanders: Chicken in a Pumpkin” piece. First place was a large evil pumpkin eating her young (which was very funny). I won 4 movie tickets - which for a parent of a toddler is like winning free drinks to the Black Angus ‘fun bar’ – it just doesn’t happen. But that’s O.K., Christmas is coming up and re-gifting is a good last minute gesture.

On other note, this morning my wife and I were invited to some black-tie L.A. art gala hosted by Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Houser himself!) Usually we don’t go too many of these things anymore, but this one, well, I’m really considering it. I wouldn’t mind smoking a cigar, sipping Cognac with ‘Doog’ in a crowd. Maybe doing some belly laughs about how funny he was in that movie “Harold and Kumar go to White Castle”. Hey, we could even invite him to a movie afterwards.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Turning Colonel Sanders Into Pumpkin

Guess who’s greeting "Trick or Treaters" at my house this year? That’s right Colonel Sanders himself! When I lost the battle of costumes this year (the KFC costume tributes staring my daughter) to my wife, I knew there had to be some other way to get “the colonel” into Halloween. It came to me when my wife asked if I had any ideas for the Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin…I thought for a second and then yelled ”KFC Baby!!”
Then the rest was history. I had to make the pumpkin stencil myself in Illustrator and Photoshop, it’s actually kind of a hack job, but I didn’t have much time. The J.O.B. is having a pumpkin-carving contest Tuesday so this version had to work. Wish me luck; I think first prize is a vacation to Fiji (I wish - in reality $25 Amazon.com gift certificate). But that doesn’t matter; it’s all about stopping at KFC before the judging and sticking chicken in the pumpkin. And after judging, me eating that “Finger lickin' good” chicken. Because that's what Halloween is all about - candy and chicken in a bucket (pumpkin).

By the way! If you're interested in my Colonel Sanders pumpkin stencil pattern for some 'Colonel Magic' of your own, click on the image and then save it to your desktop. You can use it for free! I recommend using some Pumpkin Masters tools. They sell them at Target. Please don't post this on your own site as your own (that would make 'The Colonel' very angry)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Halloween Candy Everywhere- At Work And At Home

On November 1st, I’m going to have an additional 10 pounds added to my ass (actually spare tire, it all goes around the trunk first).

Yessiree, thanks to all the Halloween candy people have at their desks, candy people drop off at my desk, buckets just sitting in meetings, and candy practically thrown on every assistant’s desk on the way to the bathroom or parking garage. It just sits there waiting for me to eat it. My self-control goes away during this time of year but now I really need to control it.
When I was younger (pre-30) I could eat all of this stuff like nobody’s business. But now, I can’t. Something happened somewhere along 29, 30, 31, 32, I don’t know – “the metabolism” slowed down almost to a crawl. I swear if I didn’t go to the gym I would look like my Dad (Weird Al Yankovic in that “Bad” spoof - well, almost) and that wouldn’t be good. In fact, I go to the gym religiously to prevent that from ever happening.

So I make a promise to 'this here' mighty Internet: this is my last year of eating loads of candy from people’s desks. Next year, I’m just going to say “No”. Unless people have Peppermint Patty’s (I love peppermint patty’s!) or Twix (I love Twix!) and maybe Three Musketeers (I like that sometimes) But that’s it!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

When The Wife Overrides The Husbands Ideas For Their Toddler's Halloween Costume

So I lost the battle again this year. No Colonel Sanders, Chicken Suit & Bucket, Midget Sumo Wrestler, Gary Coleman (1983), Tattoo (from Fantasy Island), Pink Ninja (with evil bunny belt), or Accordion Monkey with a bag of pork grinds. No, not this year because my wife decided no daughter of hers was going to be any of those. She's a Fairy instead (not an evil one, punk rock one, fireworks one, or even Norwegian one) - just a Fairy (a really cute one though). I guess I can live with it. But next year, when she's talking more, she'll be asking for the Mr. T. costume - I can guarantee it!

We had some pictures taken of her in our neighborhood by a 'pro' photographer friend over the weekend. When you look at these, think of the costumes that could have been (I know I do...)-

Sunday, October 22, 2006

"No Thanks, I'll Pass On the $250 Oil Change"

I still can't believe I actually said this, last Friday, at the MINI/BMW dealership in nearby Calabasas. As I stood there, in uncomfortable silence, I really had hoped the service writer was going to say "Haa! Just kidding!" but that never happened. I began to wonder if they meant Pecos or Dollars. When I quickly discovered the service person was serious, I wondered who in their right mind would ever pay that much to have oil changed and how come I was there. Yes, I know car dealerships like to screw people, but with a jackhammer and a smile?

My wife really wanted a MINI Cooper a few years ago. We were in the market for a new car, and the price wasn't too bad (and gas prices were starting to shoot up fast, the car averages like 37-41mpg!) so a MINI seemed like the best idea around. Oh and the car "looks" pretty cool too. And as a bonus MINI/BMW picked up all the oil changes and maintenance for the first 36,000 miles. Those sure were the days...then when you get use to the VIP service, they stick it to you (and want to recoup their costs - like drug dealers!). In my mind I thought, "O.K. how much can an oil change really cost at the dealer...$50 at the most?". I was wrong. Very, very wrong. When I asked what the $250 included (I don’t know - Don Perignon with an Angry Thai Midget Massage perhaps?) the service woman answered ‘service with a smile, a visual check, Oil and a filter’. Oh, AND the hazardous waster fee of $3 was included (whoopee!). She also added that the changing of the micro-air filter was also overdue, and I was ‘strongly recommended’ to replace it - that part was $60 - but you needed the "air filter replacement service" which was $280 (plus tax). When I asked what my discounted price was (I always ask for a discount, even at Wendy's) she said she could possibly take %10 off, if the manager said "O.K.".

All was not lost though! I did get my car battery replaced when it mysteriously died, and a pretty nice car wash too (at no cost), but no oil change. So over the weekend, I was on a mission - I took the MINI to the nearby trusty Jiffy Lube, only to get 'shooed' away. They told me they don't work on fancy cars like MINI's (the last guy there that tried to work on one got some serious burns trying to remove the filter without some ‘magic tool’). And the other car shop across the street said they've never worked on one and don't carry the parts. And the third place said, "Sorry - why don't you try the dealer".

Driving all around town - I could hear the evil David Hasselhoff laughing at me, from BMW/MINI's headquarters in Germany. I wondered why nobody warned me about oil changes in these cars; how did it come to this. Was this car even worth it?

I can't criticize the car too much. Besides the stylish looks and good gas mileage, the oil doesn't need to be changes every 3,000 miles like other cars - only every 15,000 -which is a science marvel for people like me who still don't understand how a car even moves. But hell will freeze over before I spend $250 on a freakin' oil change! Even if I have to change the oil myself (God, I hope it doesn't come to that...!)