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.