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Effortlessly Average

Sort of half-heartedly leading the charge into mediocrity since, oh, let's say around 1987 or so.

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Location: Roaming (additional charges may apply), Argentina

Proof that with internet access and a powerful laxative, even insipid people will blog; the place where your excellence and my mediocrity collide; where my Karma whips ass on your dogma.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Who Is Kelly?

Well, according to this site, there are 140 ways to describe me. A sampling:

Kelly is a Crying Little B*tch. Oh yeah? Well screw you.
Kelly is a weepy. A weepy what? See my last comment.
Kelly is a great performer. According to my mother, this is true when trying to get out of trouble.
Kelly is double Olympic champion. Rhythmic Gymnastics and Curling.
Kelly is the right choice for you. Yeah, I wish she thought the same.
Kelly is the best of what she does. She?
Kelly is considered an expert in digital culture. Yeah right. I can't even figure out how to upload pictures to my blog.
Kelly is a fictional character created by Irish journalist Paul Howard. Sometimes I certainly feel fictional.
Kelly is dead, Mary. Is this a statement? And who is Mary?
Kelly is a member of Opus Dei. Very hush hush.
Kelly is probably an extremely intelligent woman. Probably? Woman?!
Kelly is not satisfied with having merely a desire. True. I want gratification, too.
Kelly is only fifty years old. Fifty? WTF! I'm only 38.
Kelly is Shit. I think this speaks for itself, don't you? Apparently not everyone is a fan.
Kelly is Golfing Again. This would imply that I ever could.
Kelly is arguably Australia's greatest folk hero. Hmph, and I've never even been there.
Kelly is brilliant. First I'm "probably intelligent" and now I'm "brilliant?"
Kelly is captivating on stage. Yeah, like watching a train wreck.
Kelly is finally betrayed to a train-load of police by a crippled schoolteacher who has just recited King Harry's St Crispin exhortation from Henry V. There's no way I could make that up.
Kelly is missing last seen in az reward of no reward. I guess no one really wants me back.
Kelly is an evil genius. Oh so now I'm a genius, but I'm evil? Are you thinking what I'm thinking, brain?
Kelly is on day 11 of the Geneva Fast. And all I've lost is 11 days. Freaking fad diets.
Kelly is the father of three. I wonder where the third one is.
Kelly is getting his stuff from Tim Russert. Shhhh, dammit! The Man may be watching!
Kelly is Still Trapped In The Closet. Uh-uh. There was that one time in college, but...
Kelly is pregnant with music. ?? And I thought I was just retaining water.
Kelly is about to do it again. Oops.
Kelly is Thankful Jun 01 '03. But only on that one. damned. day!
Kelly is surrounded by more question marks than the Riddler. Riddle me this; riddle me that.
Kelly is a fifty two year old nurse and mother from Athlone in Ireland. Now I'm 52?!
Kelly is a rallying cry. The question is: "behind what?"
Kelly is back in South America investigating a lake monster. This isn't Loch Ness? Damn, I just KNEW I should have taken that right turn at Albuquerque.
Kelly is a commando. "is a" or "goes?"
Kelly is rich. roflmfao. Oh, I have a tear...
Kelly is the Man. So when I'm being rebelious, I'm really sticking it to myself?
Kelly is trying to clean up his act. Well now that you've outted my source, I guess I have no choice.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Random Things About Me - Or, TMI

-I put my socks and shoes on in this order: left sock, left shoe, right sock right shoe.

-I love the smell of a wooden pencil and prefer them to the mechanical variety.

-I once shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.

-I tend to fib a lot.

-I absolutely HATE that I can't listen to every new song and read every new book at the same time. I makes me wonder how many truly great songs or stories I'm missing because I don't know they're out there.

-I have little fashion sense, which makes me one of those guys who buys what the mannequin is wearing because at least then I know it goes together. This has its risks because if the mannequin is wearing a jock strap and a sailor's cap I'd buy it in a misguided belief that this look must be "IN."

-I have eclectic taste in music. My 2,000 + CD collection has everything from Mozart to Metallica; Oingo Boingo to Tab Benoit.

-I keep a computer file with thousands of interesting observations, sayings, phrases, and other random notes that I've accumulated over the years.

-I wear boxer briefs.

-When I was in college I very often ditched classes to hang out among the stacks in the library.

-I love old books, especially those previously owned by someone who wrote in the margins. I enjoy reading their comments and making up stories about who they were.

-I am a total wise ass and frequently play jokes on my children. They're either going to grow up with a great sense of humor or I'll someday receive thousands of dollars worth of therapy bills. Some notable jokes I've pulled on them:

  • wrap a rubber band around the hand sprayer on the kitchen sink. Then ask the one of the kids to get me a drink of water.
  • rub a thin layer of vaseline on the inside knob of their door. If it goes as planned they won't be able to turn the knob to get out.
  • Use the mirror in the living room to bounce a signal from the spare remote so you can change the channel they're watching without even being in the room. Each was convinced the other was screwing them somehow.

-I giggle whenever I say the word "pork."

-I don't know why.

-Now I'm giggling.

-I once nearly severed three fingers on my right hand. Fortunately they were repaired. Mostly.

-Now when I touch something fuzzy with the ring finger on that hand, I get the sensation that I've touched something hot.

-I was saying "alrighty then!" waaaay before Jim Carey.

-I think free angency has destroyed the NFL.

The Dirtiest Things Ever Said On Television

#1: “Those aren’t the kind of balls I’m used to handling.” Spoken by a guest judge – who happens to be a Japanese baseball player – on Iron Chef, when the announcer commented on the fish meatballs one of the chefs was deep frying.

#2: “Don’t you think you were kind of hard on the beaver last night?” Spoken by June Cleaver to her husband, Ward, the morning after he grounded their son.


Can someone, for the love of Christ, please tell me how a blogger knows who's been reading their blog?

I ran across a post by someone who was complaining about "lurkers," whom she defines as people who read her blog but don't leave comments. How the hell does she know who's reading the blog if they don't leave comments? She seems to know not only that these lurkers ping the blog, but what they read and whether it includes reading the comments. She even mentioned one by name and listed his IP address. How in the name of God does someone determine this? She knew the guy's sign-on name, his IP address, and what he reads when he goes to her blog.

In the five million comments she receives to every blog she posts, a whole freaking bunch of people confessed to having "lurkers" on their blogs and what they did about it. WTF? Am I the only person out there who doesn't know how to do this? Of course none mentioned HOW, only what they did about it. Is being a "lurker" a bad thing? I read many blogs, but I don't always leave comments. Is that the same as coming to your house to peer into your bedroom window without tapping on the glass to say hello?

Can anyone out there help me?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Quote of the Day

It's nearly Halloween!! This wreckless consumption of anything chocolate marks the beginning of the holiday season for us. Within the next four weeks we'll have all our Christmas decorations up, too.

For Halloween we typically hang a few decorations and cobwebs around the outside or in the windows. One of these decorations is a life-sized nylon skeleton. In the move to our smaller digs, however, we seem to have misplaced Bones. My son, however, found him today.

Me: "You found him?

Son: "Yeah."

Me: "Where is he?"

Son: "He's in your closet, right when you open the door."

Me: "Oh, good. I didn't see him there when I looked before."

Son: "That's because I just moved him there today."

Me: "Good. Thanks."

Son: "After all, we all need a skeleton in our closet."

F-*-*-K Isn't The Only Four-Letter Word In Our House

Like many parents my wife and I fight a regular battle with regard to our kids' education. With subjects like science we find it easy to maintain their attention because, hey, who wouldn't be captivated by making snot out of common household items? Reading, geography, even history are areas in which we can maintain a modicum of interest from our kids given the large number of interesting, hands-on ways to gain their attention.

But there is only one subject with which I struggle to get our kids to care about at all. We all know what it is, say it with me now: MATH. Yes, those four foul little letters that kids use any number of other four-letter words to describe: C-R-A-P; D-U-M-B; H-A-T-E; U-S-E-L-E-S-S; or O-H-C-R-A-P-N-O-T-M-A-T-H-A-G-A-I-N. Of course that last one is, like, 10 letters or something, but you get my meaning. To them, math is responsible for all sorts of unpleasant side effects, including, but not limited to, hot sweats, dry heaves, clammy palms, cold sweats, explosive flatulence, projectile vomiting, ulcers, blurred vision, cavities, and hives. This, to them, means math should be avoided at all costs. I guess they've made mathematical ignorance a quality of life issue. From my perspective it merely causes much whining and carrying on, which in turn causes my ears to seal themselves shut and my arm to reach for the nearest sharp object to shove into my temple. Most parents get around this problem by leaving it to the public school system (or private school system if you're of the hoity toity crowd), but as our kids are homeschooled, it falls to us to provide the meat and potatoes of their education; and I'm not just talking school lunches either.

Being the progressive parents we are - by "progressive" I mean somewhat weird, since we've been trying to talk our son into a blue Mohawk for years now - I try to make math a part of their daily lives. And I'm not against a little bribery either. I have a standing offer to them that if we pay cash for something and they can calculate the change before it's handed to me, they get to keep it. The way I see it, their thirst for knowledge won't really kick in until they're around 25, give or take, so until then I'll use whatever means possible to ensure they can perform basic math and don't speak in monosylabic words.

Part of this effort means showing them that real-life education happens all around them every day, including math.

Some time ago our son came into the house.

"Hey Dad, do we have any string and a tape measure?"

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure we do. Why?"

"I was planning to make this rocket" he said as he held out his open science book, "but I can't find the tape measure."

The design is really simple. You use two balloons, a Dixie cup, and a bit of tape. You fill the balloons and build the device such that balloon two expels its air only after Stage I (the first balloon) has deflated, causing the Dixie cup to fall away. The whole thing is taped to a drinking straw through which is a string that has its ends tied several yards apart. He had everything he needed but the string.

As far as the tape measure goes, I used to have two of them, but just like most of my other tools, they seemed to sprout legs and go Walkabout. All I can hope for is that when they are through with their journey of discovery they'll return to their home in my toolbox, likely with many exciting sotries to tell.

"Yeah, I think there's some string in the garage. How much do you need?"

"I don't know, what do you think?"

My Math Radar went off. Yeah, sure, I know I could have just taken the spool of string out to the yard, tied one end off and unwound the spool to the other end, but as I said, I seek opportunities to work math into the situation. "This sounds like a job for quadratic equations, geometric theorems, and spatial calculus! Or at least a tape measure and paper/pencil combination, but that sounds less dramatic, don't you think? I mean, special situations absolutely require dramatic action! Where would Batman be if he applied every day solutions to the problems he faces? It would sound stupid if the Joker was trying to take over city hall and all the Dark Knight could muster is organizing a protest. "Quick Robin, to the Bat Fax!" No, no, no, that just sounds stup-"

"Dad? Hello, Dad! What are you thinking?"

"What? Oh. Nothing, I just rememered I need to send a fax. Anyway, let's go see if we can figure it out."

We went outside and he showed me where he'd planned to string his guidewire, which was basically between two trees that I happen to know are at a right angle to- and nearly equidistant from- the shed in the corner of the yard.

Standing near one tree, he pointed toward the other. "I want to string it between these two trees here."

"Well, son," I said with a knowing down-the-nose- glance, "I have no idea where my tape measures went [I also seek opportunities to editorialize my frustration over my wayward tools], but I'll bet we can think up a really cool way to figure this out. It'll be very Mission Impossible."

His interest perked. "Yeah? How's that?" He's a very Mission Impossible kind of kid. Not that he knows the show from Barney, but he really like the theme song, so he equates every exciting situation with it. That or the theme from the Matrix, but that requires wearing my sunglasses too.

I pointed to the shed. "Did you notice that that shed over there is about the same distance from both trees?"


"Well I happen to know that each of these trees is 25 feet from that shed."

"So. I want to string it between the trees, not the trees and the shed."

"Yes, I know. Tell me, ever hear of a guy named Pythagoras of Samos?"

"No, but it sounds like a restaurant of some kind."

"He was a guy who lived a very long time ago. in the Middle East and southeastern Europe. It's believed that he was one of those people who could literally see numbers in everything. He came up with a brilliant theory about the harmonics of strings of proportionate lengths that makes most of our modern stringed instruments possible. He also is credited with inventing a thing called Pythagoras' Theorem."

"So we're going to use my guitar to measure the string? Ha!"

"Very funny. Shut up. Anyway, he figured out that if you have a triangle like we do here" I pointed to the far tree with one hand and the shed with the other "and you know the length of the two short sides, you can figure out the length of the long side."

"How's that?" He had the look of someone who thought they might be the butt of a joke, but hadn't figure it out yet.

Man, this is going perfectly. This education stuff is a breeze! "Well, I know that it's 25 feet, roughly, from each of these trees to the shed. According to the Pythagorean Theorem, if I take 25-squared - that's 25 times itself - plus 25-squared and find the square root - which is sort of like the number divided by itself - of the resulting number, it'll tell me the- hey, where are you going?

My son stopped walking nd turned around. "This is starting to sound like math."

"Yeah, math is everywhere. So?"

"So, suddenly I don't care as much about the rocket."

Maybe I should bribe him next time.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Stranger Under Your Own Roof

Friday was BuddhaWife's birthday; my 16th with her. Generally speaking, however, we don't make a big deal out of our own birthdays, instead reserving elevating the "big deal quotient" for our kids. Those of us who are parents can attest to the fact that once you become a father or mother, depending on your particular needs, your bigger celebrations center around your children. We've found other ways to celebrate our partnership and I'd have to day, aside from being a singularly wonderful partner, she has proven to be an even better mother.

Now I consider myself to be a pretty good dad. I teach all the requisite dad lessons: belching, the universal uses for duct tape and WD-40, remote control ownership, maintaining that "all that cleaning junk" is the wife's job, and how to dodge various blunt objects that seem to take flight whenever I make that last comment.

Still, at the risk of sounding uncuous, I have to admit that I am beholden to BuddhaWife for most of the admirable traits our children display. They are both compassionate, respectful, thoughtful, and kind to others; something I attribute in large part to her tutelage despite my humorous claims at being "the good parent." Throughout our children's lives BuddhaWife has been a constant force of experience and guidance. She's the one who takes them to water parks a hundred times each summer. It's her who suggested they learn to snowboard. She exposed our daughter to animals via countless visits to animal parks, sanctuaries, and zoos, fostering our daughter's passion for zoology. She's been that mother who visits the classroom on a regular basis to help out. Until the last couple of years, she's been active in Mother/Child groups. It is in large part due to BW that our kids have thrived under the home schooling environment and they owe many of their fondest memories to her planning and thirst for adventure. It's because of her that ourt kids crave discovery.

Now that the kids are old enough to participate of their own accord, I thought it would be nice for them to play an active role in celebrating BW's birthday. On my way home from work Friday I called them to remind them to each make a birthday card for her and to let them know I was planning to stop at the local gigantamegamart for cake ingredients. My son answered the phone.

"Hey boy, this is Dad."

"Hey Dad."

"You and your sister doing ok?"

"Yeah." Of course I knew this is the answer I'd receive. The only time it's different is if either a limb is missing from someone's body (which luckily happens rarely) or one of them has taken the "choice" spot on the couch (which happens ALL. THE. FREAKING. TIME).

"Ok. Well you know that today is your mom's birthday right?"

"It is? Cool. Are we going to dinner or something?" he asked.

"No, she's working too late for that, but I thought I'd stop and buy the stuff needed to bake her a cake. While I'm doing that, could you and your sister make cards for her? I know she'd like that."

"Yeah, we could do that." Then he added, "we need to buy her a present, don't we?"

Now this is the only difficult thing about my wife. I admit I really scored in the "maintenance" department when it comes to her. I'm a firm believer that ther are really only three kinds of women:

  1. Type I: those who are high maintenance. These are the women who seem to believe that a good body means being allowed to require bank statements and a financial plan - and most importantly, a spending strategy - before they'll agree to a date. Paris Hilton and most of the girls who date Hugh Heffner fall into this category. You just know that if it weren't for money those guys wouldn't get closer than 50 yards to them. I condiser this group of women to be about a 7.5 on my "go-f*ck-yourself-o-meter" because while they may be disgusting as human beings, at least you know what you're getting when you go in (much like a root canal, Danielle Steel novel, or incumbent politician: they're stomach churning, but at least you know what to expect).
  2. Type II: those who truly don't care about the material things in life. The frequency of this type lies somewhere along the lines of the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, or the Bengals making it to the Super Bowl. These are women who don't care what you look like or how much money you have. What they want is something money or a great profile can't buy.
  3. Type III: those who are high maintenance but think they are low maintenance. Women of this type will insist they only want your love, but you have to realize that expressing that love requires grotesque self-indulgence. I've dated women who fell into this category. With them no offense - or perceived offense - would be dropped (they were never truly forgotten) until the room glittered with the fire of sunlight passing through a large diamond. To them my passion fell in direct proportion to the amount of flesh I was willing to trade for a stone mounted in a platinum setting. Yet the whole time they'd try to tell you they were just a simple girl satisfied in knowing that she had someone who loved her. Here's a sample of a typical conversation we'd have around, say, her birthday:

"What would you like for your birthday this year, hon?"

"Oh, I don't want a gift. Just a quiet dinner at home with you would be great."

So I, like an idiot, would figure that if she said she wanted a quiet dinner at home, that she really wanted a QUIET DINNER AT HOME! So I'd arrange a quiet dinner at home.

"You didn't get me a gift?"

"No. You said you didn't want one. You said you just wanted a quiet dinner at home."

She'd sit there in a huff, obviously pissed, until I broke the next cardinal rule and asked "what's wrong?"

"Nothing." Which is clearly not true, but pushing it would only increase her anger, until she'd reply, "well if you don't know, I'm not going to tell you."

It took me a little while to realize that "I don't want anything" actually means "I want something really big and expensive, but I want you to read my mind and figure it out so I can guage how well you know me and love me because that's what Cosmopolitan Magazine says a good husband and soulmate can do and I'm trying to determine if my mother's right when she says I'm too good for you."

Over the years BuddhaWife has proven, in fact, to be a Type II kind of woman. She doesn't require flowers, jewelry or expensive tokens of any kind. Oh I've tried, but while being gracious she also reminds me that she'd much rather that I skip spending that kind of money on "things." Now if given the option, she would travel for the rest of her life, even if it meant doing so with backpacks and hopping railcars.

To her way of thinking, a trip somewhere, building memories of things we did together, is far superior to receiving material tokens of affection. But she only wants to do so when finances allow; no borrowing money for trips. If finances or schedules don't allow for travel, however, just pay attention to her. Sit with her and watch a chick movie. Have an extended converstation. Go geocaching with her. Maybe try to curl her toes and take her to a place that isn't terrestrial. Or, better yet, do the dishes and clean the bathrooms. THESE are the things she truly desires. She's demonstrated that what she really wants is time with her best friend: you. This has saved me many thousands of dollars over the years, but it does have its own set of complications. What do you buy for a woman who really wants nothing? On this birthday, since we're saving money for the "Hippy Loving Bus Trip," as my brother calls it, we've decided gifts are out.

"No, son, we may go somewhere for your mom's birthday, but we're going to have to wait until after your last football game this weekend. There's a couple places she wants to go, but we can't do it until then. For tonight, a cake and cards will be enough."

"Oh, ok. Yeah, we can make cards while you get the cake stuff."

"Alrighty then. What kind of cake should I bake for her?"

Now keep in mind that this woman has been a major force in our son's life. They both have ADD, and it has been BuddhaWife who's responsible for teaching FlyBoy to use his IQ to overcome his brain's reluctance to remain focussed for long periods of time at a stretch. She's taken him hiking, biking, snowboarding, horseback riding, and geocaching more times than anyone can count. They used to go to gymnastics together. They attended mommy and me classes at the gym. They participated in martial arts together. She took him for rides on her Ninja (that is, my Ninja). She baked all his birthday cakes and threw big parties for him each year. She taught him how to write long-hand. She helped him learn how to play the guitar and proved how cool she is by learning a few bars of Led Zeppelin on her own. She talks to him like a person, making him feel like he's got a voice and opinion. She lets him be a child and tries to inspire him to be heard. And this is all in addition to the usual mommy stuff she's done, from nursing at all hours of the night to watching over him when he's sick. For the entire decade marking their time on this planet, she's been a stalwart becon in the lives of both of our kids, but, I suspect, has a closer connection to him than I do. Yet to my question regarding what kind of cake I should bake for her, he replied:

"I don't know, why don't you pick out the cake stuff. I don't know all that much about her anyway."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Old Enough to Boil 4.5 Ounces of Water

I ran across this site somewhere and I thought it was fun. Who knew there was any such thing as a "birth tree?"

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Quote of the Day

"It's like an amusement park designed by a schizophrenic on drugs. It's AWESOME!"

Spoken by BuddhaWife regarding the City Museum in St. Louis. So I guess this is one example of what it looks like inside the mind of someone with both a mental illness and an addiction. "Here's your brain, Little Johnny; and here's your brain if you're Tim Burton."

Judging by the web page banner, I think I should visit this place.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Quote of the Day

My wife and I are blessed to have two kids close enough in age - and manageable enough - to enjoy each other's company. Well, they enjoy being around each other most of the time anyway. From our positions downstairs we can often hear them rough-housing on the beds above us, or otherwise playing together, if seldom quietly.

Not long ago was just such a day. Our naughty spawn were playing some kind of dog pile game with all the pillows they could find. There's only a small risk of asphyxiation by smothering your sibling in pillows and jumping on the pile, right? Still, it's not like dog-pile was when I was a kid. When my brothers and I played this game it usually resulting in someone being pinned to the ground while another someone tickled his nose with a blade of grass or threatened to spit on his face. Ah, youth.

Anyway, it was our son's turn on the bottom. I heard our daughter yell, "here I come!" and WHUMP!

Then we hear, from our son: "Aaaahhhh, my spleen! I can taste my spleen!"

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Questions I Have

  1. Why is it that when a child forgets to request otherwise and his burger comes with onions, he's not content with simply removing the onions from between the buns? For some reason this is not acceptable and the onions must be removed from the plate entirely, lest their evil nastiness contaminate any other food item on the plate.
  2. How do I tell what performed searches listed my site in the results? I read so many blogs that note theirs was listed in the results when someone typed, oh, I don't know, "dog barking nun muncher" and, being new to blogging, I can't help but wonder how they know this.
  3. Finally, this one was inspired by a conversation I had with my son this afternoon on the way home from dinner and the onion-contamination-banishment incident. If I fly westward fast enough, will the change in time zones cause me to move backwards through time? According to my son this is how Superman pulled it off so he could prevent Lois' death in that earthquake.



- The Number of People Stunned by My Mediocrity