Archive for April, 2009

Attack of the Family – Part II

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Back at Casa del Bro, we discussed the challenges of raising a 2.9 year old. Bro told us that no matter what game, book, video or bribe they used, Phew #1 refused to use the toilet. Bro told him that was fine for now, but when he turned 3 he had to use the toilet because “those are the rules.” My brother stressed that he doesn’t make the rules. “Sorry buddy, it’s not up to me. Rules are rules.” Phew #1 has been 3 for a few days now and I am sure he abiding the rules. What choice does he have really?

My mom took this opportunity to share a not at all embarrassing story about my toilet training. She said it took forever and I fought her tooth and nail. She spent an entire day pleading with me to use the potty. Finally I went and when I finished I exclaimed “That’s incredible!” Mom had no idea where her three year old learned that phrase, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it was from the show That’s Incredible. I spent a great deal of time watching TV while I peed my diapers.

Bro then told us about his latest case of sleep deprivation. A couple nights back Phew #1 woke him up at 2AM crying about a nightmare. It took two hours before he finally went back to sleep. The next night he refused to go to bed because of “the monster”. Bro and my sister-in-law (sister-in-law is way too long so from here on out she will be referred to as “Slaw”) asked him to describe the monster. Phew said the monster crawled on to his bed, eating potatoes, and wanted to eat Phew’s finger.

Bro suspected there had been some kind of misunderstanding. Slaw suggested a phone call to the monster would clear things up. Bro picked up the phone and dialed the monster’s number. “Hi monster, how you doing?…We’re doing good too, thanks. Hey, I need to talk to about something. Did you come over here the other night?” Bro continued to hash things out with the monster and was able to reach an agreement.

When he hung up, Phew looked up with wide eyes and asked “What did he say?” Bro told him that the monster was just playing a practical joke. He was really really sorry and promised never to come over again. Overwhelmed with relief, Phew went to bed and slept peacefully, knowing that his finger was now safe. Bro shook his head, “Can’t believe the bull we have to feed our kids.”

It's tough to get old

Attack of the Family – Part I

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

The Family was in town for Phew #1′s big birthday bash. A few highlights:

Nitro Nooker

(that’s a pacifier if you’re anti-baby)

We did dinner at a restaurant the night before the party.  My brother left to use the bathroom and my sister suggested Dad look after Phew #2 in his absence.  Phew #2 dropped his nooker  on the floor.  Dad picked it up, but being a responsible grandparent, he wasn’t about to give a baby a dirty nooker.  Instead he rinsed the nooker off in my brother’s glass of Mountain Dew.  Phew #2 liked it so much, when he was finished sucking up every drop, he took his nooker out and handed back to Dad for a refill.

When my brother returned he immediately suspected foul play, as we were all on the floor laughing.  He asked Dad “What did you do?”  Dad replied “Nothing!”  Even when we told on him, Dad continued to deny everything.  My brother shook his head and grumbled, forced to finish dinner with a wired baby and a dirty Dew.

Phew #2 hatches evil plot

The Boys in Blue make me blue – Part II

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

I never watched football until the ’85 Bears came along. I owened the 45 single of the Super Bowl Shuffle as well as the extended single “Chillin with the Fridge” starring the Fat Boys and William Refrigerator Perry (get well soon Fridge, we’re all pulling for you!). I danced happily as the Bears stomped all over the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Watching football is fun! I figured I would be a Bears fan for life.

The next year the Bears tanked and I lost interest in football. Until one fateful day when Jeff LaPorte told me about a new guy with the Detroit Lions named Barry Sanders. He was supposed to be pretty good. Intrigued, I started watching and Barry started running. I was dazzled by a highlight reel of runs that will never be seen again in the NFL. Then other Lions began to emerge. Herman Moore made leaping catches at the back of the end zone. Chris Spielman laid the smack down on any running back who dared come up the middle. They were a team to be reckoned with.

The Lions courted greatness for the next few years, stopping just one game shy of the Super Bowl. It never got any better than that though, and they slid into mediocrity. I tried to stop caring and was horrified to find that I couldn’t. I was now a member of the most tortured souls on the planet: Detroit Lions Fans.

We thought we had it bad until Matt Millen showed up and plunged the Lions to the deepest depths of Hell. It finally ended last year with the impossible perfect season, 0-16. It was truly a privilege to watch. Now Millen is gone, and the Lions have been rewarded for ineptitude with the first pick in the NFL draft. Fate has given them a chance to undo the damage. They can make up for all the nightmare picks of Charles Rogers, Mike Williams, and Joey Harrington, a rookie quarterback unfairly asked to fix a broken team with his strong arm.

Last year the Lions ranked last almost every defensive category. At the mini-camp journalists reported “a glaring hole at middle linebacker.” Drafting Aaron Curry will fix that and upgrade the linebacker core to elite status. Yet for some reason the genius analysts at ESPN believe the solution to Detroit’s problems is the strong arm of quarterback Matt Stafford.

Thank god Matt Millen is not here to buy in to such insanity. New GM Martin Mayhew will see through the glamor and recognize that Stafford couldn’t win big games in college. Even if he could, the Lions have no offensive line to protect him. Only Matt Millen would make Stafford the highest paid rookie in history, dooming the franchise for years to come. Right? Right???

Matt Stafford is going to look awesome holding up his Lions jersey today. Too bad it’s going to be covered in grass stains next season.

Tasty Muffin to go

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Tasty Muffin to go

The Boys in Blue make me blue – Part I

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

If you don’t care about sports, move along now, nothing to see here. I just need to vent about the only two teams on the planet I care about, the Detroit Pistons and the Detroit Lions.

The Pistons

I can’t complain about the franchise as a whole.  They’ve delivered three championships and some truly great memories.  Zeke playing heroically on one ankle, Rodman sinking two free throws after Barkley made fun of him, Tayshaun’s  impossible block against Indiana.  Great stuff.

Last year at a game, Mr. Davidson walked right in front of me.  I tried to say thank you, but I froze up.  Sadly now I’ll never get the chance.  I did get to meet George Blaha though, and I thanked him profusely for everything.  The Detroit Pistons were a big part of my childhood and have played some extrordinary ball over the last two decades.

All that said, what a freakin disaster this season has been!  I went to the last game of the regular season which was “fan appreciation night”.  Before tip off, Tayshaun took the microphone, thanked the fans, admitted it had been a rough season, and practically begged everyone in the building for support.  He stopped just short of an apology for the way they had played.  I’ve never seen anything like it.

But then the game started and they did the same thing they’ve done all year long, which is nothing.  Sloppy passes, missed layups, zero interior defense.  Worse was the blank look on their faces.  There was no spark, no bounce in their step, no confidence in their eyes, so sense of identity whatsoever.  They were no longer the Detroit Pistons, just a bunch of guys on the court.

I don’t claim to be a sports expert and I’m sure as hell not more qualified than Joe Dumars.  I understand trading Chauncy Billups was necessary both for now, and with millions free in cap space, for the future.  The team had stagnated and something needed to be done.  It was a gamble that didn’t pan out short term (don’t even get me started on Mr. Punkbitch Allen “I’ll do whatever they ask me to win a championship and by the way I’m lying because I’m a spoiled baby who will never win a championship because I only care about my precious minutes” Iverson), but still may pay off in years to come.

I’ll tell you this though.  When Chauncy went to Denver, the Detroit Pistons lost more than an all star point guard.  They lost the Detroit Pistons.  All the leadership, the swagger, the very core of their identity started with Chauncy Billups.  You can argue it came from Ben Wallace, which it certainly did.  However Chauncy was the general who lead them into battle every night.  He carried himself like a champion and it rubbed off on the rest of the team.  Now he’s gone and the guys left in Detroit look like deer in the headlights.    They aren’t Pistons anymore.  They’re just a group of guys playing on an average basketball team.

Technically they have two more games to play, but let’s face it the season is over.  They must now go through the dreaded process every former championship team does at some point: rebuilding.  I still have faith in Joe Dumars and know he will do his best.  I just pray it doesn’t take as long as did during the dark days of the Teal Era.

Coming Up Next: The Detroit Lions plan to make the biggest mistake in franchise history.  Again.

Biscuit in a Blanket

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Biscuit in a Blanket

Pineapple Upsidedown Carpet

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

Yesterday the house had a serious funk. It smelled like a moose crawled into a corner and died. I searched every room for the cause but came up mooseless. I then engaged in kitchen anti-odor protocol, emptying the trash, running the garbage disposal, and checking the fridge for intelligent life. Still the green cloud of decay hung thickly in the air. I realized there was one place I hadn’t looked.

In the winter the uninsulated sunroom makes for a nice back up fridge. When I placed the partially open can of pinapple juice there, I thought I could count on Michigan weather to keep it cool until July. A seventy degree day in April was unthinkable. But it appears Al Gore was right which proved inconvenient for me.

Every summer a couple birds nest on a ledge by the sunroom window, making for excellent cat TV. The Feline Five begged to go there for front row seats. In their enthusiasm to get to the window, one of them knocked over the can of juice. Then the hot sun went to work. The result was a puddle of putrid pineapple. The pulp was nicely curdled.

We were naturally out of carpet cleaner, so I grabbed what I could find. It took two rags, half a bottle of Windex and a Shamwow to clean up the mess. I opened every window to ventilate the room. It helped a little but even now there is faint trace of zombie pineapple. Next time I hope it’s just a moose.

Peep Torture 101

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Cute little Peeps

Roasted little Peeps

Smored little Peeps

A brief history of alcohol

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

1992: Steve’s classmates talk about how fucked up they got the previous weekend and how fucked up they are going to get the next weekend. He foresees many of them will be lifelong employees of the local bowling alley. Steve avoids alcohol like the plague. While others party he stays home and plays Mega Man 3. His virginity remains intact.

1993: On Steve’s first night at the University of Iowa, he is shocked and dismayed to learn the number one social outlet for students is drinking. On a Big Ten campus, what are the odds??

1995: Steve moves in to an apartment with three guys who love to drink – Justin, whose German grandma served him beer for breakfast, Dave, who drinks Guinness for desert, and Sass, whose OCD compels him to down Rolling Rocks every night. While Steve loves them all, he quickly grows tired of babysitting them.

1996: Steve yells at drunk Sass for breaking the towel rack in the bathroom. Sass cries.

1997: Steve remains sober despite a massive Jerry Springer blowout resulting in the loss of all three of his friends.

1999: Steve’s new girlfriend tempts him with Cherry Pucker. He sips on it but feels nothing. Obviously drinking is overrated.

1999: Steve is dumped and his business fails. He decides to reverse his lifelong ban on alcohol.

2000: Steve’s friend Ryan monitors alcohol intake with carefully measured Rum and Cokes. However, Steve goes to a party without him and discovers Cuervo 151. He quickly learns what it feels like to be a lawn sprinkler.

2001: Steve and Sass meet up in Chicago and have a drink together for the first time ever. The hatchet is buried. I love you man.

2003: Steve gets back together with his girlfriend. They ditch the Pucker for Captain Morgan. Steve feels it this time. Drinking rules!

2004: Steve has ten Jagerbombs on his 30th birthday. Records are incomplete here. Something about stealing a pig shaped lighter, and a failed attempt to visit the casino.

2007: Steve does the equivalent of twenty vodka shots with his musclehead friends. He drops his pants and his friends shoot him in the butt with steroids.

2008: Steve tests low for testosterone. His doctor prescribes and monitors all steroid use. Not only does this add to his bench press record, it allows him to recover from hangovers faster. Steroids rule!

2009: Steve promises his parents he will never drink and drive and blog about it again.

Last night: Steve helps a friend celebrate her 29th birthday at a martini bar. Several dollars and brain cells are lost.

This morning: Steve swears off drinking forever. For at least a week.


Thursday, April 9th, 2009

I’ve grumbled about replacing my cell phone ever since I cracked the outer screen. That was about a week after I bought it, so there has been much grumbling. I dreamed of upgrading to an iPhone after seeing my friends use their fancy pants apps like google maps, facebook and shazam which recognizes songs it hears. I figured that was way out of my price range, until today. At lunch I asked my friend Mark what he pays and it turns out it is only moderately out of my price range. Close enough!

I went to the AT&T store with Mark. I had reservations about this, because when it comes to tech shopping Mark acts as an agent of Satan. He once convinced me to get a bajillion dollar Gateway computer. It’s currently the most expensive paperweight I own (now that my car is fixed). However this time Mark actually acted in my best interest, talking me out of buying a case for the phone. This frustrated the salesman so much he ended up throwing in the case for free. Score.

I was excited by the potential of my new toy. The iPhone is essentially a computer in your pocket. Now instead of wasting countless hours in front of my laptop at home, I will be able to waste countless hours anywhere I go. Portable procrastination rules! Sadly it did not take long for my techno curse to strike.

Mark suggested we go to Crumbs where I could test out the Wi-Fi. We grabbed a table there and pulled out our phones. Mark connected to the server with no issue. I clicked on their server and was greeted with an error. My phone could see the signal, but refused to connect. Mark went through every setting and even rebooted the phone, but nothing worked. In hopes it was just the Crumbs server, we headed over to the Magic Bean Cafe. Again my phone refused to connect.

Tomorrow, I pay another visit to the AT&T store and hope that my friendly salesman is still friendly when I show him my defunct phone. Hopefully he can fix it as I already have several pieces of electronic equipment to hold down all my paperwork.