Sunday, July 31, 2011

10 Blogging Tips for the hypothetical newbie

Liz over at A Belle, a Bean, and a Chicago Dog is running possibly the most brilliant plan for those of us who are too cheap too busy to go to all these blog conferences.  She (along with Jessica from Four Plus an Angel) is hosting a stay-at-home conference called the #SummerBlogSocial!  From what I gather, because this is my first blog conference of ANY type, it's an exceptionally awesome way to write about blogging, and then get together and discuss through link ups!


So without any further ado, 

If there was a person who was thinking about starting a blog, I'd try as hard as I could to offer them these 10 incredibly useful tips:

1.  Outline your goals, short, intermediate, and long term.  If you're just writing a blog as a type of diary, and you don't necessarily care about stats or readership, than this is something to keep in mind when you're designing your layout, or piecing together your content.  Likewise, if you're looking to get a large army of readers as fast as humanly possible, your approach would be completely different.

2.  If your goal IS to get a large army of readers as fast as humanly possible, please - take a breath.  Now take a chill pill, and finally, take a reality check.  Things don't happen as fast as you'd like.  For some people, yes - they can gather a huge amount of people quickly, but you'd be surprised at how much work  it is.

3.  Comment!  No, seriously, comment a lot.  Bloggers love to hear feedback from their readers, no matter how positive or negative.  It's really how everyone learns to get better, or even how they connect with people.  But don't leave crappy comments.  A little thought put into them goes a long, long way.

4.  Once you get started (assuming you want more readers, of course) you should absolutely get a blog assessment or even a personalized strategy from Eli Rose Social Media.  This helped me incredibly, and I think it allows you to be more focused in not only your content, but in your entire blog "brand".  Just one suggestion about it, give yourself some time before you go get their help.  You need to understand a little bit about how the blog community works in order to reap the most benefit from their suggestions.

5.  Try to control your audience.  Dependent upon whether you want your blog to be entirely anonymous, or to give your name and address, and invite your whole family to read your blog, this should really be part of your strategy to balance your blog-life and your real-life.  This is something I'm still struggling with, and will likely end up being an entire post all on its own.

6.  Don't be too hard on yourself.  If you write a post that people hate, or have to take some time off so you can get your life back on track, or you're just too busy - it's not the end of the world.  Look, in all reality, it's just a blog.  The people you're writing to will likely never know who you are, and you'll likely never see them in real life (unless you go to a blog conference).  To be honest, what you write is MOSTLY just for you.

7.  That said, if it's something you have the time and desire for, put effort into it.  You can absolutely tell the difference between those who have nothing to say and are just spinning their wheels, vs. those who are really trying to create a blog that really encompasses who they are, and is really cohesive.

8.  In regards to content - don't pigeon-hole yourself.  Keeping yourself broad will allow you to be whatever kind of blogger you want to be.  I admit that I'm a "daddy blogger", but I try to distance myself from that term so that I don't get stuck writing solely about being a dad.  I enjoy blogging about other things too, like anything from the clashing russian/american cultures, to literature, to linguistics.

9.  Write ahead of time.  I can't stress how important this is.  Some times you just don't feel like writing.  You're tired, hungover, and missing a couple teeth.  The last thing you want to do is sit down and churn out something for the blog.  Other times, you're manic and need to get out the four or five posts on gigantic topics.  That natural instability (everyone's got it) should be balanced out by blogging ahead.  Added bonus: you can re-read stuff you've already written so you don't make a mistake by hitting the publish button.

10.  Have fun with it.  No, seriously - have a crap-load of fun.  I've met so many amazing people already, and shared great experiences with them even though we've never actually seen each other in real life.  I've read some great blogs, and written some of my favorite posts ever.  These couple of months that I've been blogging have been extraordinary and even if blogger were to seize up and die, and my account were to be lost, I'd never regret a moment.

So there you go, young padowan.  Run free, and grow into the amazing blogger I know you were destined to be.

Also - because it's monday, and this is a list, I'm linking up with Stasha as well at the Good Life for Monday Listicles.  She has asked me to come up with a topic for next week, so if you want to join us for that next monday, create a list about food.  That's right - any food.  Food you like, don't like, wish you liked, etc.  See you next monday!










Friday, July 29, 2011

Trading Sweat for Obesity

On any normal day, if you were to say to me, "Hey, Bill - I've got a splendid idea! Let's go to the beach!"

I'd instead hear this: "Hello, person I hate - I secretly want to kill you.  And the first step in my plan is to tear you from your comfortable air conditioning, stuff you into shorts that have a weird net in them that threatens your freshness, put sand in every place it shouldn't be, and leave you with a terrible skin ailment that will likely give you cancer, but in the meantime makes it uncomfortable to sleep.  Also, please make sure to swim out into the deep part of the ocean so all the billions of terrible fishes and sharks can nibble at your toes until you pass away from nibble-fatigue."

This is the test of true friendship - beaches and Bill mix like seagulls and alka-seltzer.

But not today.  We're headed to the Jersey shore this weekend for some good old fashioned fist pumping and GTL.  In "hey, actually you have a kid" terms, this really means learning how to change a diaper without getting sand in there and applying sun block every five minutes.

And even though I will likely be sweating the entire weekend +2 days, it's totally effing worth it.  We haven't taken time off from work to just sit and relax in over a year.  So I'll suffer through a little bit of melanoma if it means I get to stop working 11 hour days and worrying about silly stuff like what's for dinner.

Because guess who is coming with us?  My mother in law and her friend.

I just recently learned a joke about Jewish Russian Grandmas.  There was some kid who only ate chicken nuggets.  And...well, I don't remember the whole thing, but the punchline was, if you've got a Jewish Russian Grandma, don't waste her by being picky about what you eat.  That is to say, something in their genetic code requires them to make all kinds of delicious food all the frickin' time.

So not only do I have one Jewish Russian Grandma coming with me, I've got TWO.  Please, don't expect me to have any kind of sex-appeal after this weekend.  I fully anticipate being an obese blob.  Don't pretend you're not jealous.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ok, Maybe I'm Whining a Bit

I never brought any of my buddies or girlfriends over to my house when I was growing up.  I was embarrassed of my family.

"Oh, gosh, how could you be embarrassed, they're your family!" you ask?

Example #1: We were in NYC one weekend eating at some restaurant when I was 12 or 13.  I have no idea where it was, or what restaurant it was, mostly because a deep, deep mental scar healed up over top of it, and in trying to subdue the insanity, the majority of the details were buried.  But the waitress was an attractive 20-something Hungarian girl.  How do I know she was Hungarian? Because my mom asked her. While she was holding on to her arm.  Which she got a hold of by force.  After which followed the phrase: "You've got such GREAT skin!"

Example #2: My father is absolutely incapable of hiding his emotions.  He would get incredibly pissed off at something - the dog, the house, his job, the floor, my mom, me, his shoes, the door, a bug that was on the table, or English grammar - and then the night would be ruined.  And if I had friends coming over (the very few times that it happened) he would almost always be in a crap-tastic mood.


So I guess I was always afraid my dad would sit there silent and seething while mom would attack my friends and start caressing their bodies.

Thus, after living this way for 20 something years, you can imagine how strange it is for me to bring my wife and kid home to see them.  My strange and awkward mother is externally overly interested in my wife's background and culture while secretly hating the fact that she's not some southern debutante.  And my dad's mood is about as volatile as an aging star whose mass is above the Chandrasekhar Limit (Yay Astronomy!). 


This is probably one of the big reasons we're living a couple hours away from them, and about 3.5 minutes away from my in-laws.  This fact is especially pronounced when semi-big events come up, like when your only grandson reaches six months old. 


My wife's parents bought presents, we drank in celebration (just a symbolic amount, of course), and they made time out of their day to make sure not only that we knew they cared, but that Sammy felt special.


My parents still haven't called or texted anything.


Look, I'm not whining - I'm just curious.  A lot of times, I have these perceptions of American culture that are seen through distorted lenses.  Firstly, my parents are outliers in pretty much every American cultural norm.  And second - my second family is just as clueless about American culture as I am.


So, like I said - I'm mostly just curious whether this is something you all are like, "dude - six months?  seriously?  who cares?"


Yeah, not whining - just....curious.  No matter what the title of the post says.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Six months of Sammy

Sammy is Six months today, and looking back at the past six months, I can't believe that he ever was this small

That he slept almost constantly the first couple days:


That he ever had trouble smiling at us


That we used to swaddle him and constantly keep him in hats


Or that he would laugh at the most benign things


Because for me, even though I look through the pictures, and recognize that he was so much smaller, and couldn't even hold his head, or that he didn't eat real-person foods, or show any interest in toys, I still will always hold him in my head as a generally naked, smiling and loving baby, who is curious and handsome and smart and loves to explore, and has exceeded every expectation I've ever had.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cleaning Requests from the Wife

As much as I hate to admit it, I am not a clean person.  Or, rather, I am fairly clean, but not as clean as my wife would want me to be.  I can tolerate a bit of mess, such as our shoes lined up slightly non-symmetrically, whereas she wants our treatment of shoes to mirror what this dude's got going on.

 

Not wanting to catch tongue-ringworm, I am satisfied being slightly more messy than she would like.  But to be honest, I used to be a lot more organized.  

Take, for example, my method of pants storage while in college.  It was an amazingly devised system of complicated temporary pants placement that incorporated strategically located venues of pants removal - all of which were outside the bedroom and within ten feet of the door to the outside.  It was through this procedure that I could find the exact pair of pants that I needed, pick them out of their respective pile from the floor, and I was on my way.  It was like a highly pants-specific version of that "take a penny, leave a penny" policy.

My wife couldn't understand it and over-simplified it.  She just said (and still says to this day) that I would simply drop my pants upon entering the apartment, leaving a path of filth in my wake.

Psh, women.  They know nothing of complicated, scientifically-derived procedures.  

Anyway, she's now reached the pinnacle of the apex of the most ridiculous possible request: vacuuming under the bed.  In case she's not aware, people can't SEE under the bed.  And in my book, the dedication is to the inventor of the motto "out of sight, it's effing clean!"  I don't need to see under there to know that there's nothing of any interest below my sleeping bum.  Sparkling and clean down there, I tell you.

Next thing you know, she'll be asking me to do something insane like, cleaning out the refrigerator, or something.  Which is dumb, because EVERYONE knows that bacteria can't grow in the cold, so no reason to ever clean a fridge.


Monday, July 25, 2011

10 ways to NOT FALL ASLEEP

This week, Sammy will be six months old.  Yip-a-dee doo dah - it's exciting and all, but he still can't figure out how to sleep.  On Saturday, he went an hour and fifteen minutes from the time I put him in his crib until he finally passed out.  I seriously don't get it.  If I were in a room with a thousand gyrating people, and a giant Rhinoceros were to be doing the can-can while someone hit me in the face with a fly-swatter every thirty seconds while tiny leprechauns were to tickle my feet, I'd STILL be able to fall asleep in under 10 minutes.
 
I blame it on my wife.  Before we had Sammy, she always needed to chat for at least 45 minutes before going to bed, otherwise she'd stay up until 2 in the morning bored and unable to fall asleep.  Yeah, I don't know what's wrong with her, either.

So what follows is the 10-step-process by which Sammy goes through falling asleep every night, without fail. 

1.  Close my eyes?  That doesn't seem right.  Are you sure?  Get the instruction book again.

2.  Can I fall asleep like THIS? (rolls over on stomach and looks up at me)

3.  How about like THIS? (rolls to his back but flips legs up on side of crib)

4.  Hold on, do I need to have my eyes closed?  I keep forgetting that part

5.  How about if I were to try to stick my entire fist in my mouth?  Is that sleeping?

6.  I don't want my pacifier in my mouth! (Take it out and throws it across the crib).  I hate this thing!

7.  WHERE IS MY PACIFIER?!?

8.  I need my blankey!  Oh, and the eyes gotta be closed!

9.  Pacifier, dad!  Let's have it!

10.  Oh....hey, uh...I pooped...you gotta start all over.

Seriously, what's wrong with him.  You don't need a degree from an Ivy league school in order to figure out how to sleep.  Just close your eyes and let it happen! 

I am almost willing to be that my wife secretly slips him cocaine and meth just before bedtime solely so that Sammy can give me troubles when I'm putting him to bed.  Totally sounds like something she'd do.  Actually, I AM willing to bet.  Any takers?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Guest Posting at Daddy Runs A Lot!

Today, I have the grand honor of guest posting over at Daddy Runs A Lot - a blog about a dad who...you guessed it, runs a LOT.  Once, he just walked outside, willy nilly, and busted out a half marathon without even thinking twice about it.

I knew I liked the guy when he talked about his love of opera.  But then, he sealed it with an accurate discussion of the different types of zombies available to choose from when deciding which one to run away from first.  The list even includes the often contemplated "Rule 34 Zombies", who are at all times sexy, weird, and brain-hungry.

So, if you please, head on over to his place and peruse the merchandise, then read some blabbering monologue I put together about how impatient I am about Sammy growing up.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

THE POOL IS OPEN

So those rascally Russian contractors finished the job.  The pool is a beautiful pristine blue, and you can actually see more then an inch into the water.  Which is great because of two things: first, as everyone else in the world is mentioning today, it's effing hot; and second, I never thought it would happen so quickly. 

Involuntary pun section:
The Russians have really deserved...high..."Marx"..?  They likely got it done so fast because they were always "Russian" around so much.  So in honor of these brave contractors, "Ural" invited to come play a massive game of Sharks and Minnows.  
Ok, I'm done with the puns.  Sorry about that. 

Why Sharks and Minnows, you ask?  Because it's the best game ever invented.  Marco Polo is stupid, and not historically accurate what-so-ever.  Water Polo doesn't even allow the use of horses or mallets.  And yes, while silly races where you swim across the pool in all your clothes are fun, there's very little risk of people getting injured, which is lame.

Yes, Sharks and Minnows, people - it's the balls-to-the wall game where you'd better get your balls from the wall they're on to the other wall as fast as possible, because goddamn it, there are SHARKS in these waters.  Haven't you ever seen shark week?

"Sharks and Minnows: 1, 2, 3!!"

I used to play it back when I was a competitive swimmer in high school, and the entire team would use it as lung building exercise that was also super fun.  We'd all battle, and grapple, and beat each other silly underneath the water until people would almost pass out and drown.

Side note: I also tried to devise a re-breathing apparatus out of a series of tubes and Styrofoam cups from the concession stand.  It didn't work, and I nearly passed out and drowned a bunch of times. Come to think of it, the more times I almost passed out and drowned, the more fun I remember having.  Probably due to memory loss/hallucination due to oxygen deprivation.

However, while I'm entirely obsessed with sharks and minnows, I AM open to suggestions about what awesome pool games you all have been enjoying this summer already. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Investigation into my Wife's Sanity

So Sammy's been going through a little bit of a growth spurt.  How do I know this?  Because a week ago, he was all cute and playing on his play mat giggling and laughing as if the world had no limit to its happiness and hugging us with a determined look of complete love and adulation, and this week, he has declared war on us by attempting to shatter eardrums with his yelling, peeing on everyone, holding his poop until the exact moment he's got his diaper off, needing constant food, and generally hating everything.

So either he's magically leaped into his teenage years, his old and senile years, or he's going through a growth spurt. 

This means that just about every night, he needs to wake up, and scream at us Gordon Ramsay style to make sure we're moving fast enough with the whole "Get Milk or Die Trying" shtick.  Last night, we both got about 4 hours total of sleep.

But this morning, my wife, who was suspiciously cheery eyed and bright and much more beautiful than usual (though not necessarily a statement that she doesn't look good normally, just a statement that on this specific day, she was particularly stunning...I'm not sure how to get out of that one), looked over at me while she was getting ready for work, and she asked, "What's wrong?"

I turned towards her, picked my knuckles up off the floor, wiped the drool off of my face, and made a herculean attempt to seem less like the first patient in the coming zombie apocalypse and said, "What?  Are you insane?  Or merely not human?  What have you done with my wife?  Did you manage to travel back in time a few hours just so you could sleep a bit more?"  (please remind me to look into this)  I'm pretty sure, though I can't be certain, that I went on like this for a good hour or two.

The peppering of questions slightly annoyed her, and she lost her entirely unnatural early-morning sense of humor.  "Seriously, what's wrong with you?  What would make you feel better?"

Ahh, of all the the potential options, even after four hours of sleep, I could answer this question perfectly.  I could literally answer it in my sleep, because I wouldn't NEED to answer the question then.  And the amazing thing about this is that my wife didn't know the answer to her question already. 

Problem: Lack of Sleep.  Solution: ?  let's see, um...hamburgers?  uh...drinking pickle juice?

Which leads me to ask the question...what's wrong with HER?  I have deduced the following possibilities:
  • SHE is the first patient in the coming zombie apocalypse, and I should stock up on shotguns and their corresponding ammunition
  • She has been replaced by a Pod Wife, a la Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and I'll go outside one day to find her real body zipped up in a pea pod.  
  • She has converted to Surrealism, and she will randomly change both emotions and appearances with no apparent purpose, pattern, or goal.
  • She is ALSO sleep deprived, though this is probably the least likely scenario, due to her increased attractiveness this morning.  Everyone knows sleep deprivation and attractiveness are inversely related.  Just like happiness and how many spiders there are on your face.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fun with Malapropisms: the Eye Doctor

Did I ever tell you about the time when I crushed that standardized test?  No?  Probably because it's EVERY time.

Unhyperbolic examples: I walked into my SATs when I was in high school stoned, drunk, hungover and missing two limbs, and guaranteed my simultaneous entrance into Oxford and Harvard.  I took the GMAT with my eyes closed and both hands tied behind my back (they grew back in college) and got a score an Asian father would be proud of.  For shits and giggles, I took the LSAT, and John Grisham wrote me a letter asking me to work for him as his mentor.

Basically, I'm an amazing test taker. 

So I wasn't at all afraid when my wife insisted that we went to go take the eye exam yesterday. Because it was my first eye exam ever, I have to admit, I was kind of nervous.  I memorized all the letters in the alphabet ahead of time, just in case my amazing test taking skills failed me. 

And to be sure - I destroyed the eye exam.  I listed every letter I knew, and the doctor seemed pretty impressed.  Then she put this crazy metal Optimus Prime mask over my face, and asked me repeatedly which number I liked better, 1 or 2.  I don't really understand why she asked the same stupid question over and over.  Especially when everyone knows I only like even numbers. 

But my poor wife didn't study hard enough and had trouble with the letters V and Y.  and also O and D.  It would probably have been easier for her if she were to be asked about the Cyrillic alphabet, I imagine.  She got an A, though apparently, in the Eye Exam world, A stands for Astigmatism.  Strange though, how a Jewish girl can get Jesus Sores.  Or even how an eye exam can determine if you're going to get those sores. 

I guess it's why I'm not an ornithologist. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

10 Unexpected Uses for a Second Language

1.  Secretive discussions between my wife and me without letting others know what we're talking about.  This is more useful than you could imagine, especially when gossiping about people that are right next to us.  This is less important in NE Philly, where EVERYONE speaks Russian.  Unfortunately, my wife forgot French, but thankfully, we speak English, which is a minority language.

2.  Chastising my child in public while not wanting other people to know what I'm chastising him about.  I'm not entirely sure how this is advantageous, but I imagine it will be eventually.

3.  Improved handwriting skills.  When I was learning Russian, my wife would stand over me and make me repeat writing the same letters over and over again and slap my hands with a ruler every time I made a mistake.  I now write in Russian better than I do in English (thanks, computers for hampering my handwriting skills).  Also, my fingers ache when it's cold out.

4.  Better interjections.  Russian beats the pants off of english in terms of short, interjection phrases.  I think my all time favorite interjections are things like "Nu" and "Vso", which mean "well" and "that's it" respectively.  They sound so much more badass than anything we have in English.  English, however, has other, cool phrases that have no equivalents in Russian, so I haven't abandoned my native tongue completely.

5.  Inter-language puns.  I love puns and word play, and it's even better when you sort of stumble upon something that's funny just through constant blabbering.  Especially when it's inadvertently brilliant, then you get to take all the credit and be like, "oh yeah - I totally meant exactly what I said".

6.  Awesomeness.  You get that really cool feeling when you non-chalontly tell people, "what up - I speak more languages than you, mofo".  Unless you're talking to a European, because, well, they speak craploads of languages.  Although Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian essentially count as one language.  Same goes for Russian and Ukrainian.

7.  There is SOME value in reading books in their original language.  For example, I read Les Miserables in French, and am working up the guts to attempt a Russian language book.  Les Mis turned out to be infinitely more powerful in the native language.  And I just read Kolobok in Russian.  Totally changed my life.

8.  When you're talking to someone who speaks that foreign language, and you no longer want to talk to them, there's no better conversation ender than, "I'm sorry, I don't understand what you're saying".  Polite AND effective.

9.  It's sexy.  I know I've read about three hundred articles that say that bilingual people are super sexy, but I can't find them right now.  But definitely google it, because it's true.  If you go up to someone and say a bunch of crap in another language (even if it's something like, "there is a lot of poop in my underwear"), they'll swoon with ecstasy and immediately ask you on a date.  Even if you're already married to them.  Believe me, my wife does it to me all the time.

10.  Reading foreign news.  Because American News agencies care WAY too much about Marc Anthony and that other person.  And Kate Middleton.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Russian Contractors: haven't you learned your lesson?

Soooooooooo - it seems that two things happened yesterday - first, that the general topic I wrote about was a sensitive topic for some, and two - that the point was a bit lost.  To be clear, it was intended to be satirical commentary focusing on the differing approaches to historical propaganda from two very different nations written with in the voice of a stereotypical and overtly ignorant American because, well, I thought that perspective is much funnier than the voice of a Russian person.  Mostly because Russians tend to be...ahem...fact nazis, always so concerned with knowledge and learnin'.

But, moving on...

A couple days ago, we finally resolved to get someone to come out and do the pool for us.  There were a couple reasons.  First - I haven't had time to even shower more than once a week, let alone put all the time it takes to prep and clean a pool properly, and even if I DID have time to spend cleaning the filter and vacuuming out all the gunk from the pool, I likely would rather spend it with my son who is about as awesome as anyone could possibly imagine.  Second - I'm very much into stimulating the economy, so i feel like any extra cash that I have should be given away to local businesses and merchants so that we can get our economy back on track.  And third - a health inspector came and said that he (I found out later it was actually a she) would fine us if we didn't clean it up ASAP.

The jury is still out on whether it was just a routine check on people's pools, or one of our evil neighbors called the health inspectors, worrying about something the inspector called, "West-Side Nile Virus", or something else called "Malaysia".  But I replied back to him/her, "But hey, most of this neighborhood is Russian, and we've all got Hammer and Sickle Cell Anemia, so we're protected against Malaysia!"  He/She didn't care much about that.

This design is insensitive to people suffering from that terrible disease
So, we needed some help.  And what did we do?  That's right, we hired a Russian pool guy.  I think his name is Valerie.  Yeah, I know, it's a lady-name.  But apparently, if you put the stress on the first "e" in Valerie (like val-Erie) it becomes a badass dude's name.  Go figure.  There's a couple names like this.  Sasha is a derivation of the name Alexander (not sure how they go together, but then again - Richard/Dick?).  And then there's all the other girl names that are actually guy names, like Sara, Jennifer, Jane, and Laura.  Ok, not really, but still.  There's Sasha and Valerie.

Now, I know what you're thinking..."haven't you learned your lesson with Russian contractors?".  To which I reply - "no, especially when they're less than a third of the price."  Then you say, "But Bill, he snapped the handle off of your filter, he's been working on the pool for three days and there hasn't been any noticeable change, and you still haven't met him face to face!"  And I have to stick by my guns and reply, "DID YOU HEAR - A THIRD OF THE PRICE".

The one on the left is NOT my babysitter.
Also, we're apparently running a Russian dating service, because he apparently got the number of our babysitter, and they're going to now be dancing the Hopak together.  Yes, that is a euphemism, because I could never see my babysitter doing the hopak.  Maybe a little kalinka, but no hopak. 

Valerie promised me that by Monday, we'd be able to swim in our pool.  And if Russians are anything, they're true to their word.  So you all are invited over Tuesday for a massive game of Sharks and Minnows.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

History Lesson

It's time for this week's thoroughly researched and historically accurate (and, as usual for this blog, not ignorant what-so-ever) history lesson.

Why, you ask?  A couple reasons.  First - whatevuh - I do wut I want. Second - history can be awesome if you focus your attention on tanks and away from boring stuff like facts.  And third, which is probably most important, have you ever spoken to a Russian about World War 2?  Apparently, they won the pants off of it.

I know what you're thinking - America won WW2.  And it did - there's no question about it.  It's written in all the best history books and in all websites that I chose to read.  And it's logical too.  America = Good.  Nazis = Bad.  Soviets = not as bad as Nazis, but still - they're not America, so pretty bad.  And Good beats Bad all the time.  Except when you take into account Dark Helmet's wise words that Evil will always triumph because Good is dumb.


But those crazy Russians will fight you to the death when you present them with hard facts about the amazing successes of America during the Second World War.  Facts like:

  • We dropped two atomic bombs, forcing the surrender of one of the axis powers.
  • Without our participation in the invasion of Normandy, the Allies would not have been able to begin moving East, retaking Europe as they went.
  • We achieved air superiority with the involvement of planes like the B-17 Flying Fortress and the P-51 Mustang.
  • Our tanks, like the Sherman, could beat the pants off most German tanks (except those which were so badass that nothing could stop them except a lack of fuel or money to produce them (Tiger 2's)).  
  • Psh, We're Americans, and we win EVERYthing.
 It seems like sometimes, they forget that they had the Japanese knocking on their backdoors (which perhaps the Russians might have even enjoyed), and we took care of them in like a week and a half.  Whereas the Russian strategy for fighting the Germans consisted of nothing more than, "Aie! Ze Germanz! Vee mahst rrun avay!"  Then, according to the plan of Sir Robin of Monty Python, the Germans became so confused by their running away that the Russians could strike at Stalingrad, when the Germans least expected it.


Also?  The Soviet T-34 tank was like trying to fight a giant ogre-dragon hybrid while using a pencil as a sword and an Altoid tin for a shield.

And if that's not the best evidence that America won WW2, I don't know what is.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Just a Little Obsessed

I want to say a few words about my wife.

As a mother, she worked literally up until the last minute before we went to the hospital.  She cleaned up her inbox, tied off a few loose ends, shut down her computer, and delivered Sammy literally less than 24 hours later.  Somehow, she can handle his bouts of crying in the middle of the night with tenderness and love, rather than my approach, which usually entails trying to verbally chastise the five month old.  Amazingly, her approach tends to work better.

As a wife, with all of the stress that we've both been under, what with the seven thousand things we both have going on (breaking news flash: our second babysitter is also now leaving to go back to the old country), she still has the patience to be able to allow me to be neurotic and anxious, hysterical and abrasive. Yet, she still manages to find it in her to love me. Even when I implode from all the stress and run outside screaming in my black and yellow striped underwear (she calls them my bumblebee underwear) in the middle of the night.  This is not a hypothetical situation.


And as a professional woman, she's the only person I think I've ever known to be able to leave for maternity leave, broker the deal of the century where she could work from home indefinitely, and simultaneously eke out a massive promotion.  All while managing to breastfeed and change the diapers of our screaming son, and dealing with a husband that has the stress tolerance of balsa wood.  And it is because of that promotion that this era has ended - as of this past Monday, she went back to work.  In her own office with a door that closes, and real people working under her and everything.  Hopefully, she can get all of her "telling people what to do" out of her system at work from now on.

She's my girl - and I'm just a little bit obsessed with her.

Also, she's really hot

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Change in Strategy - aka a "Chrategy"

Yesterday I was a mess.  I seriously don't even remember posting anything to the blog.  Also, I apparently commented on someone's blog and then forgot, and told the person that I was sorry I didn't comment, and then they were like, "um...", at which point I went and double checked, only to find out that in fact I DID comment, and so I told said person this via twitter to which they replied, "should I call the ambulance?"

And that's pretty much how my entire day yesterday went.

But one thing that I DO remember is reading a post by Alison @ Mama Wants This, which was interviewing the Babe Ruth of the blogging community Alexandra from Good Day Regular People.  She was giving advice to people who, like me, have no clue what they're doing when it comes to the blogging gig.  And one of her tidbits of advice was, "blog ahead of time, because otherwise your blog is crap, and come on, people - if you have any sense of dedication to your hobby, you can at least get that straight". 

Or something like that.  Probably less abrasive, but I don't remember, cause I was essentially stoned all day yesterday.

And I know I've heard this advice about infinity times, but for some reason, it stuck yesterday. 

So - whereas this was my blogging process before:

oh, wait, what? it's 9am.  I guess I should stop working and figure out what I'm going to blog about.  How about puppies?  No, I don't have a puppy, so it would really be kind of a stretch.  How about my shoes?  they're kind of stinky, maybe that's worth putting in the blog.  No, that's kind of dumb, no one wants to read about my smelly feet (right people?  if you would, let me know, and I'll hook you up).  How about a list of all the things I THOUGHT I was going to blog about, but finally decided against? Brilliant! Entire time from idea formation to hitting the "publish" button: 15 minutes.

This will now be my process:

I have enough posts sitting and waiting to be published that I could die a horrible death likely from falling out of a window from a very tall building and people wouldn't know about it until three years from now.  Well, besides those people who would be walking by that building.  They would know pretty much instantaneously.  Unless they were looking away at that exact moment, but once they turned their heads back, yeah, they would know then.  

So I told my boss that I'm not working on his crap today, I'm spending my entire day today building up my library of posts.  Then I apologized profusely and played it off as a joke.  It'll just be our secret, ok?

Monday, July 11, 2011

10 (or so) Jobs I'd Really Love to Have.

This is what I look like today.

Which has more caffeine?  Coffee, or tea that's steeped for 3 hours?

Mainly because I've been up since 4AM being a good work slave.  By the way, anyone have a really sweet job they're willing to give up?  Preferably one that doesn't involve working crazy hours that go back and forth anywhere from 4 in the morning to 11 at night?

And also pays really effing well?

What follows is my top 10 list of the sweetest jobs i could possibly think of, so if you're working in one of these fields, let me know, and i'll send you my resume (FYI - my resume is just a picture of me flexing)

1.  Carrier of Objects.  You don't need to use your brain at ALL for this, which allows for other, more important utilizations of your brain capacity. Like trying to remember the theme song to Duck Tales.  Also, it's like exercising, so you don't really need to work out.

2.  Planner of things.  This is almost the complete opposite of the previous one.  I imagine planners of things to be sitting around in a room with only clocks and calendars for decorations, with their feet on their desk, leaning back in a giant leather chair.  Also they'll be smoking a cigar, talking out of the side of their mouths.  And they don't move all day, except to get food, which will always be delicious.  And they have the final word on how everything goes.  Come to think about it, this is sort of what my wife does with me every day, only no cigar as far as I know.

3.  Exterior decorator.  Sort of a combination of the carrier of objects and the planner of things.  The exterior decorator gets to plan what the exterior will look like, and then carries all the stuff over to where they will eventually go in order for the outside to be properly decorated.  This job is only sweet in places where the temperature never gets above 70 degrees.  I am definitely against sweat.  I'd sign a pledge never to sweat again, if my sweat glands would be legally bound to that pledge.  Stupid law-breaking pores.

4.  New and Awesome game inventor - how cool would it be to design games all day long?  Get your creativity on, and combine it with your childishness?  I think that'd be super cool.  But without all that learnin' you've gotta do.  Seriously, after my MBA, I'm never learning anything ever again.  Except, maybe, how to properly use Nun-chucks.

5.  Professional Long-winded blabberer.  I have a strange obsession with the idea that people rush to hear and listen to every single word that I say or think.  This is why I love twitter and having a blog.  And why I write posts like this.  To see if you really, and truly will read every insomnia-influenced thing that my brain poops out onto the blog.  Thank you, by the way, for indulging me.

6.  Travel Book writer.  I want to have a job filling in all of those extensive travel books that you get.  You go and travel somewhere and basically exhaust all information about whatever site you're in.  sweet job, if I ever knew of one.

7.  Money collector.  Walkin' around, pickin' up money off the street.  Putting it in your collection.  Drinking an iced tea.  Pretty self explanatory.

8.  I think that's enough.  Because see picture above.  That's how i'm writing this right now.  one handed and exhausted.

9.  I've gotta start writing posts ahead.  I've got the blog's appearance to look the way I want, now i've just gotta work on the content.

10.  FYI: PSA:Monday's suck.  especially when they start at 4 in the morning.

Friday, July 8, 2011

GI Joe Friday

Today, I don't feel like blogging.  It's as simple as that.

So instead, I'm gonna give you this.

Somewhere around 30 GI Joes can fit inside this awesome tank

It's a picture of a really sweet GI Joe "Monster Blaster" APC, and it was one of my favorite toys growing up.  I'm still trying to convince my parents to let me take it home (it's in their basement) so that "Sammy" can get to play with it.

Best thing about it - it shoots a missile a good 5 feet because, get this, THE ENTIRE TOP PART IS A GIANT CANNON.

So there.  Happy Friday, everyone.  Never forget that you're still a kid.  I sometimes forget I'm an adult.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Family Member Management

Sammy got sick again yesterday.  He threw up about fifteen hundred times, and covered the floor with vomit.  From a purely scientific perspective, it's actually pretty amazing how much he can hold in that thing.  But thankfully, we think we figured out what was wrong with him.  The last time we rushed him to the emergency room, it was after giving him Rice cereal; we haven't given any cereal to him in the past two weeks, and this time we also gave him rice cereal.  So either this particular box of cereal is bad, or he's got some reaction to the cereal, allergic or otherwise. 

But hey, I tried that crap - I wouldn't eat it either.

The science geek in me wants to wait another two weeks and try it again, just to see if this is what the problem is (and then perhaps switch cereals to see if it's an ingredient in the cereal).  But the father in me, especially after seeing how miserable Sammy looked yesterday, says no. 

Give it a week, and I'll probably start thinking about testing the cereals again.

But besides these vague lessons, one thing we definitely did learn was how to manage family members.  There is such a vast difference between how each of our parents reacted to the last incident:

Me: Ma - we took Sammy to the Emergency Room last night; he was throwing up like a fountain for at least a couple hours.

My mom: Oh yeah?  Well, it's good to hear that he's feeling better.

Me: What?  I didn't say he was better.  He still looks miserable and pale, and has lost a lot of weight.

My mom: Did I tell you about the time that you threw up a couple times?  It was amazing.  Also, have you given any more thought to coming up to see us?  We haven't seen our grandchild in two months! And even though I don't really do anything all day long, it's somehow your fault.  No, seriously - I really am blaming you for my not coming down to see him.  Nevermind the fact that he just threw up a hundred times, and I'm still acting as if nothing really happened.  Did you hear about my trip to the bookstore?  It was amazing.  I didn't know there were so many books published!  Your father and I must have walked out with three armfuls each.  I needed to stock up on books for my bookclub meetings!  Then we came home and had Beef Bourguignon glazed with a pinch of carmelized onions with a side of steamed carrots, and ate it on the patio overlooking our freshly groomed and pruned lawn.  Call your brother!  He misses you, and you haven't spent any time talking to him.  He's got three weeks off before he starts work, and is bored from sitting around all day, and you should really get yourself together and call him.  That reminds me, I just saw a bear on my walk this morning! 

Me: ok, bye.

And this is how the conversation goes with my wife and the in-laws:

Wife: Ma, we took Sammy to the Emergen -

MIL: DON'T say emergency room.
FIL (in background): EMERGENCY ROOM??? What's going on? Who's sick?
MIL: Oh my god, What happened? 

Wife: He thre -

MIL: He threw up everywhere?  Why didn't you called us sooner? It's because you're always drinking coca-cola, and it gets inside your milk, and then it's like he's drinking coke!  You don't feed him enough, he's all skin and bones!  How is he feeling now?  What can we do?  Do you need anything?  I can cook for you! We're on our way!
FIL: First find out where they are!
MIL: Are you at your house?  Ok NOW we're on our way!

Wife: Ok, thanks!

(three minutes pass by and the phone rings again)

MIL: I bet it's because he's not eating regular foods yet.  You should start giving him soups.  He's too skinny!  We're coming as fast as we can!
FIL: (in background) I've done a few dry runs in case this happened, and it takes me an average of 3 minutes at top speed to get to your house!  We'll be there in 49 seconds!!

(After spending some time with us, and making sure everything is ok first hand, they go home.)

(Ten minutes after they've gotten home, the phone rings again)

MIL: Is he still doing ok?  Call me with updates!!!

I actually just received a call from her saying that no one (my wife or the babysitter) is answering their phones and she assumed the worst had happened.

I've definitely decided I like the in-law's approach more, but we've come to the conclusion that we're probably going to wait until after any big events to let them in on the action.  It definitely made yesterday's experience slightly less stressful. 

I still haven't called to tell my parents. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Please bear with me while I go through some Blog restructuring.  I love this format, but my wife thinks the banner sort of looks like the holocaust.  In reality, it's a bunch of drunk Russians ice fishing, which, admittedly, it's kind of hard to see.  In the meantime, though, enjoy this super awesome video!  He gets his sexy on there at the very end. 

video

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How to Make Money, Influence People, and Relieve Yourself in Public

So last week, I mentioned hummus and its detrimental effects on the human digestive system.  What follows is a post which I feel adequately describes the proper way to utilize basic psychology and leverages dominant ideologies to properly relieve the growing strain hummus an other bean related culinary delicacies can put on your lower internal organs.

OOo! You Wascaly Wabbit!

Say you're just leaving La Chinchilla. You enjoyed your bean burrito, topped with guac, sour cream, and a healthy portion of beans of the Pinto Persuasion.  You're now in the car, on your way to go see your favorite melodramatic Wagner opera with anti-Semitic overtones and a heavy dependence on leitmotifs. You get out of the car, and you're in your best outfit, walking towards the ticket counter with your wife/husband in tow when you feel like those pintos were really Mexican Jumping Beans, and they're now playing a melodramatic "La Cucaracha" in your belly with anti-intestinal overtones and a heavy dependence on methane.

You stand in line and wonder how close the bathroom is where polite people drop their beats, but you're running late, and need to get tickets, otherwise you'll have to break out your Galilean telescope just to see which overweight viking goddess is singing more atonally than the others.

So what should you do?

Let the cat out of the bag! 

"Oh, why would you suggest something so impolite", you ask? "Did your mother raise you in a barn?" 

This would be a perfect time to "Git r done"

Yes, thank you for asking, but I'm not sure of the connection between a good old fashioned barn-raising and blowing the big brown horn.  I mean, Amish are some of the most honest and hard working people out there, and I'm almost POSITIVE they don't get down with the tootin' tuba.

If you're a dude, the chances of being pinned as the gas-passer in a crowd is almost nil.  What will likely happen is most guys that are standing in line will be more worried about their wives hassling them about being obnoxious wind-bags than using their heightened sense of directional nose-smelling for figuring you as the deliverer of gaseous intestinal by-products.  And your own wife?  If you play it right, you can convince her that it was one of the other pigs that are standing in line (or on your own kid! <--reason # 396 to have a child).

If you're a lady, no one will EVER suspect it's you.  Even your own husband, or children standing right next to you will likely first blame everyone else before first thinking that it could be their sweet, adorable, wife/mother. You could toot your own horn all night if you'd like with no fear of repercussion. 

Unfortunately, this powerful tool of cognitive psychology can only be used sparingly.  I've overused it, and now my wife essentially always knows that it's me when we're in a crowded area, and I choose the nuclear option.  So learn from my mistakes!

Or, alternatively, you could just be a polite person and head for the facilities, but what's the fun in that?  It's like trying out your new sports car - you want to see how much you can get away with before the cops stop you.

Friday, July 1, 2011

4th of July Weekend on the W00t scale!!

Two of you are Superfluous.  Even if you are "little".
Hellz yeah!  Guess what today is!  Yeah, ok - it's Friday, Rebecca Black, we know.  But it's also the day before a long weekend.  4th of July!  Which leads me to reincarnate the w00t scale in order to scientifically denote just how awesome this weekend will be.  Seriously, if I had a ninja for every time I thought about how awesome this weekend is going to be, well, I'd have too many ninjas, because one is all you need.  (if there are any terrorists reading this, forget I said that).

So, tonight, we're doing some sweet Mediterranean food.  This is like, +6 w00ts, because I have a serious addiction to hummus.  Actually, on a related note, did you know that hummus makes you gassy?  I didn't.  That is, until I had a whole plate of it to myself at a restaurant and then we went to the movies.  It was crowded in the movies, which was nice, cause no one could pin it on me.  +1 more w00t just for that. 
Apparently, Godzilla hasn't listened to Towelie's sage advice

Then tomorrow, we're forming a Sahara desert style caravan of around 3560 people and making the long journey down to the Jersey Shore for some fist pumping action.  -3 w00ts because fist pumping for us is a euphemism for changing diapers. But then again, +1 w00t because the Grenade Free Foundation is also a euphemism for no poop blowouts.  Also, this will be Sammy's first time at the ocean, and I'm super excited to make a sweet sand castle and put him in the middle of it and pretend that he's Godzilla while making him destroy said sand castle.  +1 w00t!

Then, we're gonna truck it back on home for a sweet steak grilling extravaganza, because nothing says "Goddamn it, I love freedom" than eating steak off the grill.  Unless we were to eat it without forks and knives.  Or hands.  We just picked up $40 worth of t-bones.  I'm thinking we cook them, but "forget" to invite people over.  +1 w00t for selfishness!  Wait, it's not really selfishness if it comes to food.  It's really more wise survival skills.  -4 w00ts for rationalizing greed.

Ok, so far that's +3 w00ts, which means this weekend will be pretty sweet and rockin'.

So, I'm going over my adolescent boy checklist to make sure I got everything. 

  • Fart joke, check. 
  • Godzilla reference, check. 
  • Ninja picture, check.  
  • Stoner reference, check. 
  • Jersey Shore reference, double check.

Ok, I think I've covered all of my bases. Enjoy the weekend, and be an American! Punch a terrorist!