Thursday, December 6, 2007


It sounds easy, right? Pick your favorite Christmas song. Maybe it is a beautiful choral piece that brings a smile and a tear at the same time. Maybe it is something that your mom sang to you every year on Christmas Eve. Maybe you were in you second grade pageant and it is the first Christmas song you had to memorize and sing in front of yawning parents while wearing angel wings. Maybe the song has your name in it – and you love it for that simple reason. Or maybe it is that song that the first time you hear it while holiday shopping, you are reminded that it is the holidays and you should be merry. Or maybe you are a heathen and you avoid all things commercial Christmas like the plague. If that’s the case – stop reading.

There are so many factors that go into the process. Just like we all have emotions and thoughts tied to “regular” songs, except this is one that you only justify for one season a year.

My dear friend Tom posted a blog earlier talking about the songs that give him holiday cheer. It really made me think a little bit. What are my favorite songs? The simple answer is – it depends on who is asking. You see, I have a library of just about 800 different holiday songs. And yes – I do start playing them at Halloween. But with such a vast library I don’t get bored with the music and I can have conversations with many people about it.

Example – my mother likes Christmas music – but she does not like music versions of songs that normally have lyrics. So if somebody is playing Jingle Bells – and not singing – she is going to make a comment. My father loves choral music. So rather than talking to him about Brian Setzer doing Christmas songs – I am better of talking about some version that the Westminster boys choir did. Amy loves most Christmas music – but she has certain songs she grew up with – so it is important that I know those and can recognize them when heard – and I need to be prepared to hear some story about she and her sister fighting while listening to the song.

Am I avoiding the question here – or am I making a point. Both. The point is that my favorite song is known and appreciated by so few people. Rather than having to explain myself to everybody I prefer to keep the song to myself whilst in casual conversation. Is that lazy – or respectful? I think that latter – wrapped up in the first. Seriously though, I like to believe that I can I can express genuine interest in things outside of my own world and be able to talk about them intelligently…even if the subject is Christmas music.

Putting this ridiculously heady argument/conversation aside – I do have a favorite Christmas song. The top of the list is easily “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth” as performed by David Bowie and Bing Crosby. It is really something special – and not appreciated (or heard) by enough people. It is worth listening to – and if you can find the video, do that.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tannenbaum II

Our tree is up and decorated. As a matter of fact, most of the house is decorated for the Christmas Holiday – though we still have a few things to do. Last year we made the switch to an artificial tree. There were a few reasons for doing this. First – the artificial trees are really starting to look good, at least the one we bought. Second – the price we were paying per year to cut our own Frasier Fir was getting ridiculous. Theoretically if we keep this thing at least one more year we’ve made our money back. Third – although made of plastic, we felt as though we might be lowering our carbon footprint by not cutting down a tree each year. Fourth – it is a hell of a lot easier to set up an artificial tree than it is to set up a real tree. Oh the fights we have had trying to “level” the tree. It’s a miracle we are still together. Did I mention that you can leave the lights on year to year? Even though I replaced a few this year, it was so much better than lighting an entire tree. Finally – not having to worry about water/drying out – there is nothing worse than thinking that your tree might catch on fire.

Now that it is set up and decorated how do I really feel about it being artificial? Well, it is lovely. It truly is. Our ornaments are all very personal and carry their own little stories. It is fun to get them out every year and relive the memories; it is those memories that really gives character to the tree. However, the tree gives me a sense of déjà vu. Part of the charm of the Frasier Fir (fresh cut) is that it never looks the same. It doesn’t have the typical “cone” shape that a lot of pines do. So every year finding the tree and getting up proved to be a unique experience and outcome. This year I walked to the shed and opened a box. The shape is identical to last year and even though the ornament placement (I assume) is different, the tree has a similar feel. I guess I didn’t think about how much the shape would dictate.

That being said I truly do believe that the tree is beautiful. There is no sap on my hands, no water spilled on the floor and no pine needles constantly falling onto the floor. I might have to buy some fake pine smell to help calm my nerves.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Can YOU Dig it?

This Wednesday Franklin College opens the WORLD PREMIERE of Dig, a new play by award winning playwright Paul Shoulberg. Read the press release below…

This world premiere by award-winning playwright Paul Shoulberg is the story of a middle-aged professional man living with cancer and the physical and emotional pain that comes with the disease. He forms an unlikely friendship with a young streetballer. Dig combines hurt with humor, revealing its tale through crisp, contemporary and startlingly poetic language.

So – come and see it. Tom Robson is the guest director, production design by Brady King and me. It is going to be good. Performances are November 14th – 17th at 8 pm and November 18th at 2 pm. Tickets are $10 for people and $6 for students or free with FC ID. Message me if want me to reserve you some tickets - or if you need more information.

See you at the theatre.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Life is worth living - ask George Bailey.

I just recently returned home from a weekend of seeing Mozzer. Saturday night was fantastic...and I took my camera in. Here are some links - the first = pictures - the second = a little bit of video.



And this picture...well this is just sad but funny. This was on the Tappan Zee Bridge. Clearly the idea behind it is very sad and true - but the humor comes in because there is NO PHONE! We kept going back over the bridge to try to find it! THERE'S NO PHONE!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


This weekend Amy and I headed to Cincinnati to visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. It was being built while we lived in Cincinnati, but we moved before it opened and for some reason we hadn’t yet made it back to the museum.

My first comment is simple. Allow more than two hours. We had planned to meet friends in the afternoon – and we thought that two hours would be sufficient (but not ample) time to work through the museum. Not that in my head I was belittling how much info there is about the Underground Railroad – we just didn’t know what to expect.

The Freedom Center is absolutely gorgeous. It is located in downtown Cincinnati directly between the two stadiums. We already knew the exterior was attractive – as we saw it while we watched the Reds lose on many occasions. But the inside matches. It is absolutely stunning. I am really not sure how to do it justice. I am a huge fan of the Ghery designed Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain – and this building at least matches in “awe” factor.

The cost to enter is $10 for educators, $12 for all you “normal” people. At first I was thinking that seemed high, especially since so many national museums and monuments are free to taxpayers, but I felt like I did get my money’s worth – and it would have been better if I had been there longer.

There were many times that I felt myself getting emotional at the museum. It’s not worth going into depth on those – because I know that everybody has their own emotional response. But, this got me thinking. Do people get enough out of this museum, or is the point of it lost in history?

It is easy to say that slavery sucked, and thank goodness we are past it (I think). But doesn’t it deserve more? And what about the kids that go to the museum. Do they understand what slavery is…what it was? The sheer magnitude of it – or is lost to them? There is so much to learn, understand and try to appreciate – but is that opportunity taken advantage of?

The more I thought about the, the more frustrated I was. I think that we did US History in the 8th grade and then junior year of high school. I don’t remember much about what I was taught – which I guess is my point. I’m not really looking for an answer – just sort of thinking out loud.

Anyway – I wanted to list a few things that I learned at the museum; Oprah cannot read a teleprompter very well; slaves were more expensive the further south you went; the final destination of the UGR was actually Canada – not just north of the Ohio; it’s hard to be a white male in a museum like that and not feel guilty; and so much more.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Who knew?

Regina Spektor smiles a lot. It's cute.

She is also very little. I knew she was tiny - but I was still taken back a little.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Bachelor

I pick Jade.

I hope that young Indy's voice doesn't annoy me before the end of the season.

I wanted more shit to go down on the first episode.

You'd think they could shoot this show in HD.

DWTS - my picks

I have to keep this quick so I can walk the dog and get back to work. Ugh...I hate working at night...especially a DWTS night.

The final three is probably going to be (in no particular order) -

Helio Castroneves (he was really good)
Floyd Mayweather
Cheetah Girl

Now the last one really disturbs me - and I hope I am wrong. I think she is an "OK" dancer - but she is annoying. Really annoying. I also think that she will get a lot of votes from fans. Which is why I hate the fan vote. I also think that Cameron (the other Cheetah Girl from All My Children) will make it further because of the fan vote.

I would love to see Mark Cuban get somewhere...and he'll do OK. Sadly he won't get the fan base that he needs - and his hip will prove to be a bit of a problem.

I think that Helio and Julianne might get it done. They were really good. Floyd has skills/movement, too - if he can apply it. Jane Seymour - I'm still rooting for you...

Monday, September 24, 2007

DWTS - Season Five!!!

Surprisingly a lot of people have asked for my predictions on this season of DWTS. I have acquired some street cred after consistently naming the top 3 for the past 3 season. I’m not sure if I should be proud or embarrassed. Nah, I’m just kidding. Of course I am proud of such an important accomplishment.

Anyway, I digress. It’s not about me – it’s about the stars….and the dancers. Well, it’s more about the dancers – the lady dancers…but I digress again.

I will not make predictions in this post. I will make them after watching the men dance tomorrow. So for now I will talk about the contestants…

Lou Ferrigno – while technically not on the show this season there was a widespread rumor that he would be. I cannot even begin to tell you how much joy that would have brought me – and they need somebody with a significant disability this season. C’est la vie.

Jennie Garth/Kelly – well she still looks good. Didn’t see that one coming. She’s popped out three kids and still has good “hip action” according to Len. Her partner Derek Hough is leaving me wanting to punch him…but maybe he’ll grow on me (not literally).

Josie Maran – HOTT. Done and done. Alec Mazo – I’m not sure how you won first season with Slutty McSlutterson. You annoy me. But Josie is still HOTT.

Sabrina Bryan – who are you? I don’t really care. The only “Cheetahs” I have been to is a strip club…and I’m pretty sure that’s a different thing. And your professional partner – Mark Ballas…um…your name looks like “Balls.”

Marie Osmond – wow. Really? Really? I’m not sure how you are looking these days. I am tentatively going to say – not very good. But…I have no real basis for that. At least you have a great sense of humor. Jonathan Roberts – you still look like Tom Cruise in Top Gun to me.

Mel B/Scary – good to see your life is back together…I think. I’m sorry that I am going to miss the reunion this summer – but my actual job calls – so that sucks. Oh…and where did those boobs come from? Maksim – great to have you back…you always seem to have a good attitude.

Jane Seymour/Dr. Quinn – I would be so excited if you did well. Truly. The idea of Dr. Quinn winning this is fantastic. Tony – you are my favorite male dancer…I’m glad that you’re with the classy lady.

Mark Cuban – wha-what?!?!? Are you serious? Do you know how potentially AWESOME this is? You are funnier than Kenny Mayne – and you have so much more potential. I hope you take this somewhat seriously so that I can see your antics all season. By far the celebrity I am most excited about this season. Kym – Still cute…

Helio Castroneves – growing up in Indy I know your name. I know nothing about your personality – but you are partnered with Julianne. I heart Julianne almost as much as I heart Cheryl.

Cameron Mathison – are you a Cheetah girl too? Oh…you’re a dude? Whatever. Edyta – whatever.

Floyd Mayweather – I’m not really a boxing fan. I don’t really know much about you. I suspect you can kick Mario Lopez’s ass if he comes after you for putting your hands on Karina.

Cheryl Burke – I mean Wayne Newton…what to say here? Um – Cheryl – sorry about your partner. You got some alien. He’s more plastic than man. He’s so odd looking. ps – it’s time for a haircut girl. It is so much cuter when it is shorter.

Albert Reed – are you the third Cheetah Girl? Oh…Albert is clearly a boy name. Sorry – I just don’t know who you are. And you are paired with Anna – back from the good old days with Jerry Rice.

New interview room – a little less boudoir-ey. I’m not sure if I like it yet…but it really doesn’t matter what I think. So I guess it will do.

Drew Lachey – work on the color commentary. Are you still with your wife? Does she still look as bad as she did when you were on the show?

Samantha Harris – so you had that baby. Nice work. OK then…

Tom Bergeron – you haven’t changed…

Judges – you also haven’t changed…

The Bachelor – wow. You kind of look like a young Harrison Ford. I will be posting about your show later…

Monday, September 3, 2007

Dogs love me 'cause I'm crazy sniffable.

I was recently asked what my favorite Beastie Boys album is. Without any hesitation I answered “Paul’s Boutique.” It seemed like such a no brainer to me. I remember when that album came out. I remember listening to it and thinking how awesome it was. In my mind there was no question that it is indeed the finest work by the Beastie Boys.

Chad, who asked the question, then brought up how good “Hello Nasty” is and that he has also recently been listening to “To the 5 Boroughs.” It got me thinking…those are really good too. Our conversation pretty much stopped there. It was at the end of the evening…so we did not get o have a full discussion…and this is one of those subjects that deserves a full discussion.

So, what is your favorite Beastie Boys album…and why? In case you want to know what the albums are; Licensed to Ill (1986); Paul’s Boutique (1989); Check Your Head (1992); Ill Communication (1994); Hello Nasty (1998); To the 5 Boroughs (2004); The Mix-Up (2007). I actually haven’t listened to the latest. It came out in July – it is all instrumental. It’s not on the top of my list – I like the rhymes.

Anyway, I mentioned that my gut reaction was to go with “Paul’s Boutique.” I was young when it came out – and I probably had no idea what I was even listening to…I just knew it was awesome. The older I got and the more I listened to it, the more I liked it.

I spent this weekend driving up to Chicago…and back. I decided to use that time wisely and listen to the albums in order. I was worried that I would not have enough time, but a side trip to Michigan City to see family made it all possible.

So, after many hours in the car, here are the results. This is all negotiable…it might even change before I post this.

Hello Nasty
Paul’s Boutique
To the 5 Boroughs

And those three are VERY close. It wouldn’t take much to move that order around. My mood might change, a butterfly my flitter by, anything. Oops, the dog sneezed…let me shuffle those. The second tier is a little more solid in the order. These albums are good – but they are just not the same level.

Ill Communication
Check Your Head
Licensed to Ill

I should note…I still think my favorite song is “Get it Together” which is on the “Ill Communication” album. It is really something special.

Initially when I started writing this blog I thought I would give myself a section that listed my favorite Beastie Boys lyric – but there are just too many great ones to choose. So, reader, I leave that up to you. What is your favorite album, song, lyric? Is there a reason…a reason that you are willing to share? Do you even know who the Beastie Boys are? Do you have a favorite Beastie Boy? What is a Beastie? Let’s get some discussion here people.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Summer is over - bring it.

I didn’t want to admit that summer is over…but I see that David Letterman is doing a bit about summer being over…so it must be true. Classes start for me tomorrow. Ugh…back to work. Summer really is over. It’s a sad fact. I know, some of you are thinking “Jerk, at least you get a summer break.” Well, to you sir or madam I say, “we all make choices. You could have chosen to be an educator. You could also have summers off. You made your own bed, now lay in it. Don’t blame me.”

I do have some sympathy and empathy for you. But I won’t accept blame. Sorry.

So, the students are back on campus. My syllabi are printed (mostly – I have a couple “corrections” to make). Parking lots around campus are full again. It is an exciting time of year. I remember when I was a kid I was always excited to see my old friends – maybe meet new friends. I also used to love getting my new locker. August and September were full of new beginnings.

Now I am looking forward to my new students – and of course seeing my old students. I am excited to see how the dynamic of my classes will be different. I am excited to start our new season. I am excited for all the other projects I am getting into this year.

Of course I am sad about summer being over. It always seems to go so quickly. One day you are excited for Wimbledon to start – then all of a sudden you are crying because the US Open has started. Summer is full of projects. Some get finished…some get started…some never leave the “honey-do” list. Summer is the time of year when you are so busy doing nothing that you feel too busy to do anything. You can stress about relaxing while relaxing without stress. It is an amazingly paradoxical time.

As I mentioned though, the beginning of fall is fun. I look forward to cooler days. I almost miss sweaters. Not yet…but in a few weeks I will be longing for that wool that I haven’t seen since early March. Then will come the wonderful season that is fall. The pumpkins, the leaves, October baseball – the excitement of college basketball – then the wonderful time that is Christmas! So many things to look forward to.

So, as I venture off to my “first” day of work for the year – I am excited. I feel like I spent a lot of my summer dreading this day – and now that it is hours away – I cannot wait! There are so many great things to come. Bring it on first day of classes. This year I am ready for you. My syllabus may have holes, my lectures may still need tightening – but my attitude is just right this year…I think…

I reserve the right to cuss and scorn this blog after things completely fall apart tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

How comfy is your couch?

Furniture is “one of those things.” You know what I mean? It is one of those things that EVERYBODY has an opinion on…EVERYBODY has a solution (the best solution)…everybody

has furniture. And we have all come about it in very different ways. In our house, we did, what I assume is normal? We started with a bunch of hand me downs. We got an entertainment center that way, a dining room table and chairs, even a couple of couches. Our bed was a gift – so I guess that was not technically a hand me down. Anyway, the other pieces that we needed we tried to fill in as cheaply as possible – so IKEA.

It’s not an awful way to start. Especially when you are on a limited income or not sure how long you might live someplace. After all, you don’t want to base an entire decorating scheme on an apartment that you’ll be leaving in a year. At least I never wanted to do that. So the hand me downs paired with some IKEA pieces made for fine furnishings…for a while. But as income increases, and your living situation gets potentially more “stable” the burning desire comes to get your own things. So after seven years of the old couch – we finally ventured out into the world of “grown up” furniture shopping. That means you go to real furniture stores, and you look at different styles and fabrics. You start weighing the options of different fabrics and what leg style, etc. etc. In fact there are many decisions to be made, and they can be quite overwhelming.

Our first attempt was a miserable failure. We went to far too many stores and never found what we thought we were looking for. As a matter of fact, we decided after our first day of shopping that buying a couch was NOT for us…so we would just make what we had work. Clearly we were just jaded, grumpy and not really prepared. Fortunately deep down we knew that.

Roughly four weeks ago we ventured out into the furniture world. We learned from our first attempt and applied those lessons. First lesson – don’t go to a bunch of stores. It will just wear you down. If you have to go to a bunch…break it down. Second – avoid sales people. They have no idea what you like – and should just stay away until YOU make a decision. Third – don’t get too excited. It takes weeks to get the couch “made and delivered.” Those are the biggies. There are others, but I will leave those to discover on your own.

The couch that we ended up getting is from La-Z-Boy. It is part of the Todd Oldham collection. It is very sleek, classy…some might even say handsome. I won’t go into any detail describing the colors, fabric, etc., because, who cares? Look at the pictures – if that is not enough info for you – get your ass over here and sit on it. There’s really nothing else to say about it. So…without further ado…pictures and then I sleep. Enjoy.

New couch, new ottoman and our happy feet on the new ottoman. (click to enlarge)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I just Wii'd myself.

The inevitable happened. I bought a Wii the other day. Technically, I bought 3 Wii the other day – but only one was for me, one was for Conor and one for Matt. Matt’s was a surprise for his birthday…which is actually why I am writing this blog today instead of last week when the purchase was made. You see – I didn’t want to risk ruining the surprise.

So, yes. Here I am, the proud owner of a Wii. It tooks weeks of searching, calling and waiting – but I finally found one (three). I purchased one at Toy R Us – the only one that they had. I then headed to Walmart – and got two more there as they were loading them on the shelves. People look at you funny when you buy two Wii systems.

So – how is it? It is amazing! As I mentioned in an earlier post – I was so turned off at the lack of HD capabilities. HD begin introduced in a video game system leaves lots of room for better graphics, more complex games, etc. etc. 10 minutes with the Wii and I say “F that!” This thing is absolutely revolutionary.

The games look as good as or better than the latest PS2 games. I know that the textures are richer, trees are more real buildings are more reflective with the XBOX 360 or PS3 – but you know what? If I want real trees and rich textures, I am going to walk outside and enjoy them for real. No need to spend my entire life on a couch wondering what the world is like. I play video games because I want to have fun – and because they are not real.

So – the Wii is fun. Loads of fun. As a matter of fact – even Amy plays it and is having fun. She NEVER plays video games. She is into the Wii and that is great! It is a little frustrating at first – because using the controls is like nothing you have ever done with a video game…but it is a fun frustration. You have to laugh at yourself. Eventually the movements make sense – and you are still having FUN!!!

Did I mention that it is wireless out of the box? No extra pieces to buy. It = ready to go. There are only a few games currently available for online play – but Nintendo has a bunch in the works. Mario Kart Wii has me the most excited. It is set to come out in 2008. The rumor is that you can race up to 12 people – so that should be incredible.

The machine itself is quite tiny – at least compared to XBOX 360 and PS3. That is especially nice for us, as Amy hates looking at “equipment” – but I’ll be damned if this thing is hooked up to my widescreen TV. So – it has to sit in the open…but as I said it is tiny. And sexy. If you haven’t seen them, they are glossy white line and iPod, but the disc slot glows blue. Rwar!

I haven’t played a bunch of games. Currently Amy and I are pretty content with Wii Sports and Wii Play. I did pick up the Zelda game – and it is amazing – but I am not in need of buying a ton of games. Playing what I have is great. Besides, there are some great titles coming out soon. I am also making sure to only buy games that are in 16:9 aspect ratio. I don’t know why…but I feel like that is important to me so don’t talk me out of it.

I have been Wii’d. It’s great. This is an open invitation…feel free to come over and play. If you have one…let me know your Wii number and we can swap Mii’s. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some Wii tennis to play.

Monday, August 13, 2007

More conventions!?!?!?!

I am recently back from Wizardworld Chicago - which is actually in Rosemont, Ill.

Check out my report and photos of the weekend on the iFanboy site.

I'm tired...and mad at Rosemont.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Rampage! MarioKart! Pitfall! Oh my!

I vaguely remember the first video game that I played. It was on an old Commodore 64. It sucked – maybe at the time it was OK. I remember when our family upgraded to an Atari. It was pretty neat. We had pong – it had those little “wheelie” type controllers. For those of you that don’t know, pong is not an amazing game – but the fact that we had a controller instead of a keyboard, like on the Commodore 64 – that made it amazing.

Next came the Atari 2600. Upgrades galore! I remember that we had a bunch of little cartridge games for this fine piece of machinery. There were games like “Asteroids” and “Centipede” that relied on a single screen. You would be at the bottom – and you just had to move from side to side and shoot at the things as they came down. Then came an amazing game – one that I think of fondly whenever I look at games today. “Pitfall.” It was, at least to me, revolutionary. The character is this Indiana Jones looking dude – and basically you just run, jump and swing over various types of pits – trying to gather gold, or some type of treasure. Playing this game gave me such hope that there were exciting things out there. I never fathomed the future of gaming and what it would become…

As I grew older Nintendo was introduced as were Gameboy and Intellivision (I’m still not sure how that one worked?). My family never had Sega, or Sega Genesis, or Atari Jaguar, I had to head over to other houses to play games like Sonic the Hedgehog. The jump between Atari 2600 and Nintendo was huge. The characters and the movement were so fluid. The boards were longer and more challenging. Games like “Contra” (and yes I still remember the code – up up down down left right left right B A start – or select start if you were playing 2 player) were fantastic. In retrospect the violence in that game was mild, but at the time, it was a war game unlike any other. And then there were the sports games – “NHL ‘94” is the one that I remember most fondly. Although you couldn’t have fist fights (you could in the ’95 version) the movement was so smooth. Then there were the accessories, like the track pad, the gun for “Duckhunt” and countless other things.

I have run the gamut since then, buying a Playstation in college – spending countless hours on “PaRappa the Rappa” and on “FIFA ’98.” I had SNES and N64. “Goldeneye,” “MarioKart,” and “WCW/NWO Revenge” were some pretty amazing games for N64. I think, actually, that I haven’t played any games as good as those. I bought a PS2 when it came out…sadly Amy sold all my other systems after she realized I had it. So, all those brilliant games listed above are now out of my possession.

So why am I writing this? Well – over the past couple of months I have been contemplating an upgrade. The choices – in case you don’t know – are XBOX 360, PS3 and the Wii. All have their very distinct pros and cons. I won’t bore you with all that I have contemplated…hell, it bores me. There are so many different factors. “Gamers” could tell you more. I guess I should note that I am not a “gamer.” I enjoy video games, but I enjoy them VERY casually. So that is something that has factored into my decision.

I have decided to get a Wii. Like I said, there are pros and cons to all the new systems, but this is the direction I am leaning. The biggest con I am finding with the Wii is availability. Before I left for San Diego last week I saw them in many stores around here. Now that I am back, there are none! Natch. I have been told my numerous stores that they are expecting them this week…so I just keep calling and doing the rounds.

What about you? Did you play video games? Do you still play them? What is/was your favorite game? A friend recently lent me some fantastic games for PS2 – “God Of War” and “God of War II.” It is just amazing to see how far these things have come in my lifetime. I can only assume that when my kids play video games (which they will do in moderation) that they will resemble the 3D Holographic “chess game” in Star Wars…or perhaps even more progressed. If you had the money, the time, or the gumption – what would you get and why? I am always curious to hear what other people are thinking.

Oh – and I’ll end with this – because it’s important. Some of you may know that I was very against the Wii for a long time. I was sad and disappointed that the Wii was not using HD technology, among other things. However, when we were in San Diego, Conor and I saw some company that was doing a promo for a new Wii exclusive Godzilla game…so after that there was no turning back for me. Oh man – remember “Rampage”? The arcade version was SOOO GOOD! Let’s hear your video game thoughts and stories.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Sitting in an airport. Sometimes life sucks – at least at these hours!

I am currently making my way back home again to Indiana after a LONG week in San Diego. I was out there serving my iFanboy duties and reporting on Comic-Con international. We arrived Monday – and now it is some ungodly hour on another Monday.

San Diego was fantastic – as if I needed to say that. Monday we arrived and just laid low. We enjoyed good food at our favorite establishment – Gas Lamp Strip Club – which is not what it sounds like. It is a “cook your own steak place” and there is no nudity. Tuesday we went to the beach and to the zoo with our wonderful guide, Kristin – and iFanboy fan. Later that night I was able to meet up with my dear friend Michael (and his wife) for dinner. A fantastic time was had that evening.

Then came Wednesday…and life started to suck. We picked up weekly comics (not me – but the others) and we also picked up the fancy new iFanboy t-shirts. We enjoyed a little pool/reading time as we prepped ourselves for our eminent demise. Wednesday night was preview night for the convention – and it was PACKED. Wall to wall people! Last year the preview night was tame, tolerable, almost enjoyable. Not so much this time. But we braved it anyway.

The next few days are a complete blur in my mind. I know that I took a lot of pictures. I know that there was a lot of video shot. We met tons of fans – and hopefully made some new ones. We hosted a fantastic party with the guys from the “Totally Rad Show” at a place called Basic. I think that spent more money buying drinks for fans than I did on anything at the convention.

A few hours ago we wrapped up the week with dinner at the Gas Lamp Strip Club (the food is SO GOOD!!!) – and then we all boarded flights for our various destinations. I am currently in Chicago. I left San Diego at 11-ish PT and I landed here at 5-ish CT. I sit here for about three hours and I will get home at 10-ish EDT – assuming all goes well.

I cannot believe that the week is over. It absolutely flew by - it was a lot of fun. However, I am so excited to get home and see my wonderful wife and “child.” I know that Cayuga is not a real child…but he sure does get spoiled like one. Maybe next year I will be able to drag them out with me…well…at least Amy, the dog might not get to be THAT spoiled.

Pictures and video are slowly making their way up on our site – There might also be some more detailed descriptions of what exactly happened. In the meantime, I need to at least pretend to sleep before I jump on this connecting flight. More soon!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Past, present, future - no regrets!!!

We all have a past. We have all done things that we regret…or that we should regret…or that were so damned ridiculous that all we can do is laugh, even if we didn’t laugh at the time such an event happened. I was recently reminded of such an event in my life – and what better way to share it then with the world wide web?

It all happened in the fall of my junior year of high school. I am sure of this for many reasons; I could drive; I was still a minor; it was tennis season; I was stupid. Before I go further I’ll go ahead and tell you the charges. Trespassing, violation of curfew, possession of illegal fireworks and resisting law enforcement. Now this should have immediately conjured up some imagery in your head…but I fear it is better than you are imagining. Just for posterity I am going to change the names of the other parties involved…I don’t feel right ratting them out.

Some friends and I headed up to Carmel for a little evening ruckus. No vandalism, nothing too dangerous, just four friends goofing around with some bottle rockets. We located a nice open field in Cool Creek Park. Since there were four of us, we split into teams of two for a bottle rocket war. A bottle rocket war is as stupid as it sounds…standing on opposite ends of a field you shoot bottle rockets across the field at the other people. I should note – that we were much further apart than the range of our bottle rockets – but for some reason it still seemed exciting.

Anyway – it’s sometime after midnight and we are having a glorious time with our little bottle rocket war. Unfortunately it seems that we did not really know our surroundings. Apparently on one end of this field that we were using as out Waterloo is a fire station. Firemen typically stay up all night – not that a bunch of bottle rockets wouldn’t have stirred them awake. So, it was no long before we had company in the form of law enforcement.

I should say – in my defense – I was on the far side of the field. So if somebody yelled “FREEZE” or anything of that nature – I did not hear it. Rather I saw some people running – so my partner “Brad” and I took off running. In a matter of seconds we were laying on our backs in a creek with just our mouths and noses above the water so we could breathe. It was like predator – we covered our bodies in mud and just laid as still as we could until the coast was clear. Elapsed time was roughly 30 minutes.

“Brad” and I slowly but surely made it back to the meeting point – which doubled as his parents house. We had done it – we had successfully escaped whatever travesty was out there – and potentially had our two unfortunate friends, “Scott” and “Matt”. The plan was to take a shower, go to bed and hope to not have to explain it later – at least until we knew what happened to our friends.


Who in the hell would be calling Brad’s parents at this hour? Brad decided to answer – so as not to disturb his parents. It was the police. They were calling because they had two of our friends and they were wondering where we were. All this commotion got Brad’s parents moving – and before long we were on our way to the station. My parents had been called – and they were also making their way up north to save me from “Bubba” and the other inmates.

I would like to take a brief moment to point out that I am not using my accomplices’ names – but it would appear that two of them had no problems giving up my name to the police – AND – telling the police that I had provided the fireworks. Some friends.

My father – acting as my lawyer – sat in on my interrogation while my mother cried in the lobby and wondered where she went wrong as a parent. The interrogation was about what you would expect. I was in a chair, covered in mud, looking down at my feet and thinking about what I had done. My father – barely awake – was next to me. He was clearly upset but not showing it. The police office (not in a uniform) was acting like the tough cop. Good thing – we all know my size and stature and at the ripe age of 16 – I am sure that I was a force and quite threatening to the cop.

He asked me where I had gotten the fireworks. I lied – so as not to incriminate anybody else…

“Sir, I bought them myself at a stand in Broad Ripple. No sir, they did not ask me for identification.”

He asked what I was thinking and if I thought it was a good idea to have a bottle rocket war. I pointed out the obvious fact that it wasn’t a good idea. In retrospect, had we not gotten caught it wouldn’t have been a bad idea.

Then he got in my face and said, “Son, do you know how stupid you are? What if you had blow of your hand, or lost an eye? Then what? What kind of job can you have with one hand or one eye?”

With him in my face and without missing a beat I said, “Sir, I could be a pirate.”

At this point my father smacked me in the back of my head, the cop slammed his hands on his desk and I still sat in my chair. I went home that night – not having to spend any time in jail. I think we had got home at roughly 6 am – and my parents made me go to tennis practice at 8 am. My parents also told the coach of the night’s activities and he made me do sprints for the entire practice.

I did have to see a probation office one time – and then all the charges were dropped. I am sure that my parents grounded me for some amount of time. I think ultimately they realized the ridiculousness of the situation and couldn’t be that mad at me.

The other night I was enjoying dinner with my parents and we were reminiscing about this event. I finally told them where I had gotten the fireworks. But more importantly, I got my father to admit he wanted to laugh. When I said, “Sir, I could be a pirate,” he wanted to laugh. But he had to refrain because of the situation.

I never regretted the situation. I never regretted what I said to the officer. Now that I know my father appreciated the comment – I am proud to have said it. And…if I have a son and he is in the same ridiculous circumstance…I hope that he makes me proud, too.

NOTE: All fireworks are now legal in Indiana on PRIVATE property and I believe they have gotten rid of the curfew law (though that is not confirmed).

Friday, July 13, 2007

Wishing and hoping...

I think that we all make “wish lists” throughout our lives. They can be simple material things, like an wish list. Sometimes it manifests as a Christmas list or perhaps a birthday list. There are also the less material lists – perhaps they are more like goals, or a life plan lists. Regardless, I think that in some shape or form most of us have made a list or lists like this…

The question is how do you prioritize and the list? And then after it is prioritized how do you go about making the things on the list happen? Or – are there things on that list that you have no control over (example – “I wish my favorite team would win the World Series”)?

How often do you re-prioritize the list? Maybe there is something on the list that you put on as a young child – and you have since realized that meeting Rowdy Roddy Piper is not as special as you once hoped…and therefore it should be removed or at least pushed down towards the bottom.

I can tell you that my list is long – and it contains all sorts of crap. Some are material, some are idealistic – it pretty much runs the gamut. Some of the things are probably “needs” not just “wants or wishes”…but it is hard to say.

Anyway – share your thoughts on lists. I am currently re-working mine and I am curious to see how you approach yours.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

The joys of homeownership?

Warning this story contains adult language, rambling, sheer idiocy and a late night trip to Wal-mart. If you are prepared to read those things…continue.

There are so many nice things about owning a home. If you want to do something…you do it. There is no need to get permission from a landlord or super…the house is yours to wreck or improve as you please. Of course, if something goes wrong it becomes your responsibility to fix – there is no landlord or super to call.

As you may or may not know – we are in the process of improving our backyard. First was fixing up the barn followed by some landscaping, and then came the new fence. Last week Amy picked up new patio furniture to make it quite a lovely spot to sit and enjoy a meal or just the weather. I had the genius idea to run some speakers to the back patio. We have one of the “wireless” speakers that work with a little FM tuner – and it is OK. But there is really no substitute for hardwired speakers to help you fully enjoy the backyard experience.

I purchased all the necessary equipment and my dear friend Chad offered to give me a hand with the project. It is always more pleasant to wiggle through the crawlspace with a handful of wire if there is somebody with you. Scratch that – somebody with you that isn’t complaining about being down there.

Now – I shouldn’t even have to say this next part – but I will. We started the project much later in the evening than we should have. I had my evening class – and for some reason we still thought it was a good idea to start as the sun was setting. Much of our time was spent in the crawlspace – which is dark anyway – but this seems like it should have been a 3 PM project not a 9-ish PM project.

OK – so Chad and I are in the crawlspace. We decided that since we were down there we would go ahead and run cable not just to the outside speakers, but also to the back office and bedroom in the event I decide to hook speakers up there. How long do you think it was before Chad (a few feet in front of me whilst Army crawling) said, “Hey, it looks like there’s some water down here.”? Not long is the answer to that. Not long at all.

“FRACK!” There is nothing worse than water in the crawlspace. I have buried all of my gutter downspouts 25 feet from the house to avoid just this! That means that the water is worse…it means that most likely it is coming from the bathroom. “FRACK! Double FRACK!”

So – we finish the wire – at least that run of it – and we realize that we need more for the actual hook-up on the topside. So, at some late hour we ran to Wally World covered in “crawlspace crap”. There is nothing like a late night trip to Wal-mart…especially when they are renovating the entire store. We needed speaker wire on the night that they were moving the entire electronics section! What are the chances? Wal-mart’s Law (similar to Murphy’s Law) states very clearly that if you are sweaty, upset and in need of something – they will make it as difficult as possible to locate your item and be on your way. I know – that sounds exactly like Murphy’s Law – this difference is that Wal-mart’s Law has the addition of screaming children, regardless of the hour you are there. We did manage to find some buried in a shopping cart. What a pain, though. Man I really dislike Wal-mart. Can anything else stay open 24 hours…please?

Anyway – back to the shitty part of homeownership – water in the crawl. A year ago, our inspector told us that it looked as though there was “old damage” under a toilet that had been replaced prior to our purchase of the house. We have been operating under that assumption for the past year. It turns out that was not the case. Water has been going through bad grout in our shower! There is no shower wall left – it has all rotted away – and the subfloor is on its way out, too.

So – in an unexpected turn of events – we have another fun house project. We knew we wanted to work in the bathrooms – we just were hoping to wait a year or so.

I did get all the water out. Amy has removed LARGE portions of tile – and we are currently in the drying/repair mode on our shower. That means we have no shower to use. All we have is the tub. A bathtub is a great thing if you have a HUGE tub or you are 80 or if you are a baby…and know nothing better. For two people that are about to hit 30 – a bath everyday is gross. And for a guy that is my size (with a tub our size) a bath is just degrading. I simply cannot fit in the tub.

In other news…who am I kidding? There is no other news. This house consumes us. Every improvement is merely a window in the countless others that need to happen. So to all the kiddies out there – live at home. Live there forever. Then you don’t have to pay rent – there is no weird landlord to deal with – and any problems aren’t “your” problem…they are your parents’ problems.

NOTE: The speakers do work – and they are great.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

An Ode to Graeter's

Graeter’s ice cream IS the best thing on earth. Seriously.

Should we have moved back to Cincinnati? Did we make the wrong decision moving to Franklin where all we have is crappy Ritter’s?

The fact is – if I were basing my life on where to eat ice cream everyday – then yes, we made the wrong decision. However, I think we made this decision because of jobs – and being a college professor is much better than being a part time maintenance man. I just need to remember to drive to Cinti every few weeks and grab a few pints.

I have 6 in the freezer now. I *heart* you Graeter’s. Don’t change. Don’t ever change.

ps – there is a real blog in the works…I am just having trouble writing it. It’ll be there soon.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Rings and things.

It was a big week. I am not sure where to begin. Chronological is best I s’pose. For those of you that don’t know – Amy and I have been working HARD on our house. At the beginning of spring we began devoting time to the outside/curb appeal. One of the big things to change was the fence. We hired a wonderful gentleman named Blair Van Velse to do the ‘work’ on this. He and I worked together on a design – and within a week of starting, he was done. It looks amazing! These pictures don’t do much justice – you really have to experience the new backyard.

Olde tyme fence vs. NEW AND IMPROVED (click to enlarge)

Olde tyme fence vs. NEW AND IMPROVED (click to enlarge)

I will be running some electricity and speakers soon (with Chad). Additionally we will continue to landscape and re-seed the lawn. In a dream world I’ll put a bocce court along the back fence, but I’m not holding my breath. It should be a pretty amazing backyard by the time we have Amy’s BBQ in September. (see entry 'Soft Hands' to read about re-roofing the barn).

What else…what else? Oh right…today is the seven year anniversary of my best friend breaking my leg…which means we are just days away from my seventh wedding anniversary. In honor of this glorious achievement I decided to do something special for Amy. I designed a new ring. It is not meant to replace her old ring – maybe just to be worn on the other hand or something? Whatever she is comfortable with.

This ring has been in the works since November (original drawing) – and G Thrapp has been working on it for just over 2 months. They did a fantastic job. I hope I was not too annoying to work with – but as the picky designer, I really wanted to make sure it came out well. The stone is a briolette cut (in case you are wondering) – and it is a white gold band (the only thing strong enough to hold the shape/stone).

(click to enlarge, email with questions)

I assume next week will be not as eventful as this week. So…yeah…enjoy the pictures.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

In the newspaper...and I didn't do something bad!

So - I was in the paper today.

If you click on the image it gets larger and legible.

Autograph session on Monday.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Soft hands

I have unusually soft hands. They are not the softest in the world, but they are still quite soft. Before you start thinking that I don’t do anything that would “rough” them up – let me assure you – I do. I have done various forms of manual labor since I was in old enough to work. I have been a bicycle mechanic, theatre carpenter, metal sculptor, concrete sculptor, hours of landscaping; the list can go on and on. Not to mention the athletic things I have done that should build up calluses or otherwise “damage” my hands – tennis, golf, ultimate Frisbee, climbing, years of baseball – it just seems logical that my hands would be a little “rougher.” Hell, I even played guitar for a bit (not too long) – but long enough that it hurt the tips of my fingers.

I don’t want my hands to look like Clint Eastwood’s face – but I feel like people silently judge me because of their lack of coarseness. They think, “Oh, here comes that designer/professor guy, he doesn’t ever do any work – have you felt his hands?” I’m not really looking for sympathy, nor am I looking for suggestions on what do to “harden” my hands. Rather I was just using this as a lead in to something more substantial.

I know, I know – what could possibly mean more to ANYBODY than my soft hands? Well, not much, maybe this – US News had an article on their website the other day – it was called Best Careers 2007. My guess is the article is still up on their site if you are interested. The only career I remember from the list is college professor – and really I didn’t even look at the rest of the list. I am going to cut and paste what they say about it…

Professor: Executive Summary

By Marty Nemko

Posted 12/18/06

If you can land a tenure-track position at a four-year institution, you'll enjoy many advantages. You'll get the pleasure of teaching–but only six to 15 hours a week, so you're unlikely to burn out. Outside of class, you're required to meet with students, but that too is just a few hours a week. Most of the time, you'll do research or write on a scholarly topic that interests you. And in some specialties, you can pick up extra money by consulting. You also get to work in a delightful work environment: a college campus. Plus, after seven years, you get tenure–lifetime job security.

The downside? It's tough to land a tenure-track job. It helps if you were a star in your Ph.D. program–and it helps more if that was at a prestigious university. Obtaining a Ph.D. typically takes five to eight years once you've got a bachelor's degree. In sciences, you may also have to excel in a postdoctoral fellowship.

Be forewarned: Some academics complain about political correctness in the awarding of jobs and tenure, arguing that if you espouse conservative or libertarian theories regarding societal problems, you have a strike or two against you. And if you don't get a tenure-track job, you could end up teaching courses part time, like one third of faculty members at universities. You might land a full-time faculty position at a two-year community college, but some professors are frustrated by the heavier workload, and by a bigger intellectual gap between students and instructors.

Median Salary

$73,666. More specific salary data, provided by

So – I have a few things to say. First – who is getting paid a TON to make up for my salary? I am not complaining…but if the median salary is $73,000 – well – I just hope that one day I am on the OTHER end of the spectrum. Second – I don’t really have anything else to say. I do consider myself very lucky for landing a tenure track position. I hope it leads to tenure…

Anyway – this sort of got me thinking. For years I wanted to be a freelance designer/artist. I thought it would be an incredibly romantic and exciting way to make a living. I was unaware how much I would actually enjoy the professor thing (and not just because I make my dad call me professor Strain). In just my first year I have done some amazing things with my career – all with the stability of a steady job. I could ramble on and on about the good – but there is yet another purpose to all of this.

With all of these thoughts in my mind, I spent the weekend working in my yard. We are having a new fence put in (which thankfully I am not doing much for), I had to bury some downspouts, loads of planting, today I just finished reroofing the HUGE barn. As I sat on the barn…sweating…something crossed my mind. Being a roofer would suck – A LOT! My barn is not really huge – I can only imagine what it would be like to actually do an entire roof.

So, without further adieu, here is a list of the top 25 worst jobs (at least for me). I will make large and gross generalizations here…and…I appreciate people who do these jobs – I just don’t want them. Note: these are in no particular order.

1. Roofer.

2. Landscaper.

3. ANYTHING in food service.

4. Lawyer (sorry Dad).

5. Anything in the medical professions.

6. House painter.

7. Lowe’s employee.

8. Any retail employee.

9. Freelance designer/artist (I am learning to find romance in security).

10. Anything in safety/security.

11. Anything involving sanitation/trash.

12. Dog poop scooper (there’s a company in Franklin that does it).

13. Appliance installer/remover (appliances are heavy and used ones are GROSS).

14. Dry cleaner/launderer.

15. Mortician/undertaker.

16. President of the U.S.

17. Web developer/computer programmer.

18. Planet Earth videographer (they spend months in caves/deserts, etc.).

19. Anything that requires EARLY mornings…unless I can just stay up the night before.

20. Anything airline related – pilot, steward, guy with the cones…

21. Any desk/cubicle job.

22. Pilgrim (mostly because I hate Thanksgiving).

23. Gas station attendant.

24. Car salesman.

25. Lumberjack (see previous blog).

So – I think that sums that up. As I mentioned earlier – I really do appreciate the people that do these jobs, they are just not for me. As a matter of fact it seems that there are only a few jobs that I am suited for/capable of. Firstly and most obviously – the job I am in. It would also appear that I could make it as a strip club owner or perhaps a lingerie designer. I don’t really think that there are even any other jobs, are there? I am sure I covered them all. So – if I ever finish with this professor thing I have two options.

What about you, faithful reader? What job are you in? What job can you not stand? What is your dream job? Do you have soft hands? Are you a pilgrim?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Before you cut...

We have decided to put in a new fence. More to the point, we have decided to hire somebody to put in our new fence. I know what you are thinking. “Why? you know how to build things…how to layout/design a fence. Why not just do it yourself. For goodness sake, you have a degree in carpentry and another degree in design. How hard can it be?”

Well – you have valid thoughts. But guess what – your thoughts don’t mean shit to me. My job is to design and build things. That means when I get home and have to do it, it is not a “relaxing way to escape from work.” Rather it is just like work – except that Amy is not one of my employees – so we don’t really work well together. We do all right – but I generally get cranky because that’s what I do.

Anyhoo, Blair came to our house today to remove our old fence. Great – get rid of the old rotten red thing. The removal of said fence meant that I could now get the chainsaw out and remove the GIGANTIC bush in the back corner…as well as the little pine tree in the corner that is clearly on its last leg. When I say it – it sounds like a very easy after dinner type of job. I can repeat it a hundred times…it just seems like it shouldn’t take more than an hour. After all, I’m not using an ax, or a hand saw.

Well, as with any other “little” project we have attacked in this house, this one ending up sucking too. No matter how much planning we do, nothing seems to work well (now do you understand why I hired somebody to put in the fence?). OK – so the GIGANTIC bush was not so bad…if you ignore the poison ivy. The tree…well…the tree was not so good.

Some years ago our neighbor with the “shit for yard” (see RIP Rocky for more explanation) built a fence right next to the tree. Literally right next to it – as in one of the pickets was not even screwed in; rather it was just wedged between the tree and the 2x4 support. Anyway, the screws were on “my” side of the fence, so it seemed like a good idea to remove a few pickets in order to have better cutting access and to prevent breaking any pickets on their fence. I have ZERO desire to upset these people, let alone talk to them. So, if removing a bit of fence – just to put it back up – means that they will never know I was there, it is totally worth it.

In case you can’t see it coming, this is where things start going wrong. I was able to pull out five pickets around the tree. With the pickets removed I was “graced” with a few of all the crap in their yard. Little did I know that soon I would be in their yard…holding up a HUGE FUCKING PINE TREE and their fence. But let us not get ahead of ourselves.

At this point Amy’s dad is using the chain saw and I am pulling on a rope that I have attached to the tree in hopes of pulling the tree towards my yard and away from the power lines…and their fence. As you know, the rope trick did not work. It might have started to work – but one man and a rope only has so much control over 2 tons of falling pine. In a matter of seconds the tree was neatly captured on their fence…and pushing it over quickly. I am paying to get my fence replaced, not theirs. And – their fence is oddly close to their pool – and I had no desire to explain that…let alone clean out their pool (who knows what is even in it – sulfuric acid?).

In a flash I was through the hole in the fence, using every bit of strength I had to support the tree/fence. Amy’s father is desperately trying to get the chain saw “unstuck” from the tree that is no resting on the blade. Did I mention that is dark? The sun set roughly 45 minutes ago. Amy and her mother have no decided that we need more help. They went running to the neighbors in hopes of finding another saw, more hands – maybe a time machine? Any would have helped at this point.

Roughly an eternity later Amy returned with our neighbor and a chain saw. I was able to cut some of the precarious branches that were catching on the fence. Eventually we were able to de-lodge the tree and roll it safely into our yard. We did also manage to find spare pickets hidden amongst the crap in the neighbor’s yard. I casually grabbed a few and quickly repaired their fence.

My hands are still covered in sap. My leg has a mysterious (and bloody) gouge in it, but the tree is down. The fence is still up – and there is no reason the neighbor should notice anything wrong with it. All in all, things worked out (as they always seem to do) – sadly they did not work out until MANY hours after we started. I assume we will get some complaints from other neighbors about the hours in which we had a chainsaw going. Oh well. At least nobody had to go to the emergency room.

Friday, June 1, 2007

What products do you buy?

Remember the days before DRV or TiVo? You might record your favorite shows with a VCR – or (even worse) – you might have to actually be home when they are on. How medieval. But now you just set your handy little device at the beginning of the season and you are done. Amazing. What a fantastic world we live in. I rarely watch live TV anymore…it annoys me.

It annoys me because (mostly anyway) of the commercials. You know, those product pushing things that happen for 3-4 minutes after 8 minutes of show (LOST – I’m talking to you). Ah yes, commercials, I see that it is ringing a bell.

You see, advertisers buy time in popular shows in the hopes that lots of people will see their product and then a few might go buy it. It used to be that the Super Bowl was just as famous for the commercials as it was for the football game. For some people it is/was probably more about the commercials. The past couple of years the commercials have not been that good – which is a little sad (although this year I was much more interested in the game – GO COLTS!).

Anyway, this was intended to be a blog about a commercial I just saw…and a few of my other favorites. I see them in the mornings – I watch the Today Show in my room without DVR (so no fast forwarding). And when I say “favorites” there are so many classifications – humor, visual interest…and probably some other stuff. At the end of a quality commercial I often say, “I’d buy that” or “if I didn’t already have insurance…” – this is just a little acknowledgement for all the hard work that went into the 30 second art.

My number one commercial (right now): The scene opens with an Eric Carl-esque (The Very Hungry Caterpillar) bug crawling on some leaves. It is a fascinating 2D art look – almost like flat papier-mâché with water color on top. The pictures take us through a garden, around an apple tree with a snake and eventually to a lake with some fish. The scene ends with a dinosaur foot stepping in the lake, narrowly missing a fish. In case you haven’t seen, the commercial is for the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Yes, the garden we just moved through was the Garden of Eden – you know…that place where Adam and Eve hung out with dinosaurs. I will refrain from giving all my thoughts on evolution vs. creation in this blog…

So why do I love that commercial so much? Well, at first I just love the artistry of it. It really is visually stimulating – inspiring, even. There is also a certain level of humor in it, at least for me. I like to think of the creative team that came up with it. For some reason they are all sitting in a room and thinking about how serious this is, and truly believing it. That’s funny to me.

Another good right now is for Stanley Steamer Carpet Cleaners. It is a young boy saying “Mom, check out Toby’s new trick” then we flash to a shot of Toby (a large yellow lab) dragging his but across the carpet. This is a hilarious site, especially for all dog owners who have seen this same sight in person.

Geico has had a fairly good run recently. 5 years ago they had an amazing commercial involving a stuffed dear and a jogger. If that doesn’t ring a bell, I’m sorry. You missed a fantastic commercial. But recently they have been doing the caveman thing – which is now being turned into a (probably bad) sitcom. I still snicker at the commercials, though.

Finally, I will end this with a great series of commercials; the “Sportscenter” commercials on ESPN. Wow. These use a slew of sports super stars and put them in funny cubicle/office situations with the various anchors of Sprortscenter. It can be anything from the Manning family having a scuffle to Lebron wondering where his chair went. These are all just comic genius. They should put them all on a DVD. I cannot believe I just asked for a DVD full of commercials.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. I’ll just leave you with this question…what’s your favorite commercial? And I should specify – that airs in this country. Because we all know that other countries are much racier and much funnier with their advertising. you even watch commercials, or do you just fast forward through them like I try to do?