Friday, May 21, 2010

If you know the ACTUAL actor I'm thinking of, for God's sake, help me. It's driving me mad. Mad, I tell you! (Sweetie's Hunk of The Week 63)

I was this close to posting the Friday's Sunday's Poem yesterday, then suddenly realized that instead of sitting at my desk eating lunch, I was supposed to be in Milwaukee giving a seminar.

I bet you didn't miss the poem, though -- since that's just a time-killer that leads into
Sweetie's Hunk of the Week. Number 63 is...

Timothy Olyphant!

You Don't Know Him Without You Have seen The Crazies, or one of those cable-TV shows that critics rave about and which star various past-their-prime stars and which nobody ever watches, or at least nobody that I know. And, admittedly, I don't know all that many people, and I actually talk to even fewer of the people I do know, but I have to say that given his recent career as the star or something of The Crazies and Justified and Damages, Timothy Olyphant represents most of what I find annoying about entertainment today, which I'll set out in handy list form:

(Most Of) The Things I Find Annoying About Entertainment Today:

1. Movies about zombies.
2. Critically-acclaimed but boring-looking TV shows.
3. Remakes of movies.
4. Things that I think Ted Danson has appeared in.
5. Remakes of movies about zombies.
5. Guys I get confused with other guys.

Timothy Olyphant embodies all of those things and does so to an annoying degree. If I had friends or people to talk to other than Sweetie and the Babies!, I'd complain to them about it. But I don't, so you'll have to listen. (I'll tell the Babies! about it during our adventures.)

Timothy Olyphant

Was in The Crazies, which is a remake of a movie that tried to remake zombies, using zombies again as a stand-in for something or other, symbolically speaking -- and using zombies as a symbol is the second-laziest kind of writing you can do. (The first laziest? Having anything involve a 'socialite in Manhattan.')

Timothy Olyphant is also in all those cable shows on TNT or TBS or Spike or something, shows that I don't watch and therefore I assume nobody watches. I actually assume that nobody watches almost any TV shows, because I watch almost no TV shows, so I figure everyone else must be doing what I do, because what I do is cool and trendy. (Don't bother arguing with me. If getting beat up frequently as a kid/never getting invited to parties didn't convince me I'm not cool, nothing will.)

I'm not one of those people who says he doesn't watch TV but secretly does. And I'm not one of those people who doesn't watch TV because I'm a snobbish jerk, like many of the people who claim not to watch TV are. No, I'm one of those people who doesn't watch much TV for a few reasons, which I'll again put in handy list form:

A Few Of The Reasons I Don't Watch TV Much:

1. Sweetie is always watching crime-related shows.
2. I get caught up in games of "Bust It" with Mr Bunches.
3. If Sweetie's s not watching crime shows and has her eyes closed, she still claims to be "listening" to them.
4. I have 13 back issues of The New Yorker to catch up on, plus my Entertainment Weekly subscription.
5. Sweetie sleeps very lightly and can actually hear the sound of the remote control being picked up.
6. Most TV shows suck.

So as a result of that, I watch Modern Family, and some King of the Hill reruns, and the news, and every now and then, I manage to sneak away the remote control and watch a couple episodes of Parks & Recreation. And I watch Lost, but I'm watching it on DVD and am only up to Season 4, Episode 6, so do not spoil it for me, and, honestly, I feel compelled to make this request:

Dear Entertainment Media, Pop Culture, Internet, and Middle and Sweetie:

It's unlikely I'll be able to watch all of Seasons 4 and 5 and most of 6 before the finale, and I really really really don't want it spoiled, so if everyone would just not talk about it at all until I'm caught up, I would really appreciate it.



PS: This means you especially, Sweetie and Middle.

PPS: Sweetie, you can't
really be "listening" to a show if you're sleeping.

Anyway, Timothy Olyphant is on all those shows that critics love and they win Emmys (or so I hear from blogs) and yet... I don't know anyone who watches them.

Let's take a break and look at him again for you people (Sweetie) who are bored with all this reading:

Finally, I'm pretty sure that Ted Danson is in one of those shows, or at least is in a show, and Ted Danson makes me angry.

Thing That Makes You Go Hmmm About Him: This is what bugs me the most about Timothy Olyphant:

When Sweetie first said who the Hunk of the Week was, I immediately thought of another guy, a guy who I am sure was named Timothy Olyphant, but he's an older guy with kind of crazy hair and eyes, and he looks a little like Richard Branson:


(Richard's the one on the left, holding the girl) but he's not Richard Branson. He just looks like Richard Branson. I mean the actor I'm thinking of, not Real Timothy Olyphant. This guy:

Doesn't look like Richard Branson, or the guy I'm thinking of. But there is a guy who I am positive is named Timothy Olyphant, and he's an actor, and he looks like Richard Branson, kind of, but I cant find him.

I've tried everything this morning -- well, everything that can be tried in about 2 minutes. I tried looking through lots of pages of this Timothy Olyphant. I tried searching for actors named Tim and actors named Olyphant and I even, I swear, tried an image search using the phrase "who's that one crazy actor with the eyes named timothy".

I got George Clooney as one of the results for that one. Way to go, Internet. Once again, you've let me down.

But that guy exists -- the Other Timothy Olyphant, I'll call him -- and I'll find him, someday. I have a quest!

Reason I Assumed Sweetie Likes Him:


Earlier this week, I went jogging -- almost 2 miles, which doesn't sound like much, but it was outdoors and at the end of the day and I was pretty tired, plus the second almost-a-mile was uphill the entire way. And I Lostercised on Wednesday, and I biked last night for 30 minutes. That's a lot of working out. And I've been working out more and more and more.

But my abs still look nothing like that. I don't know what it takes to get abs like that. It's most likely a combination of superworking out and never eating Cheetos in bed at 10:30 p.m. while quietly getting the remote control away from Sweetie, and I'm not sure I'm up to that level of effort. So I assumed that Sweetie wanted to see some abs.

Actual Reason Sweetie Likes Him: "I just like the way he looks at things."

Point I'd Like To Make About Sweetie's Actual Reason For Liking Him: I've got two points, actually, which I'll put into... yep!... handy list form:

Two Points I'd Like To Make About Sweetie's Claiming She Likes Timothy Olyphant For "The Way He Looks At Things":

1. Okay, what? I don't even know what that means.
2. I'm pretty sure her real reasons are more like this:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I was on the dance floor, acting strange... (3 Good Things From 5/19/10)

Thursday already? It would seem so. Here's my 3 Good Things from yesterday, plus Mr F's celebration of Thursdays:

1. A cancellation today cleared up time: I work in a weird profession where at times it seems that all the things I am doing are keeping me from all the things I need to be doing, and this is one of those weeks: I've spent a lot of times in meetings and depositions and not a lot of time doing the things that all those meetings and depositions are supposed to be about. Late yesterday, I got a break: a deposition scheduled for today cancelled, so I might have an actual day to do all the actual work that I've actually not been doing much of so far.

2. The Boy's graduation present has completely arrived. I hate ordering presents on the Internet, ever since the time we tried to order Middle a pair of pants for her birthday -- a pretty expensive pair-- and then it didn't look as though they were going to arrive in time, so we got her other presents, and she ended up getting the pants AND other presents, upping the ante for all future birthdays; things were even worse then when we tried to order the Babies! an inflatable "jump castle" and it didn't get here in time for their birthday party.

But for some things, like the laptop The Boy is getting for graduation, we have to order them over the Internet, so I'm at the mercy of the companies that have terrible ordering systems and checkouts, and delivery problems, and the mailman who we secretly suspect steals our magazines over the weekend and delivers them after reading them -- if you're a mailman, why wouldn't you do that? Free magazines, and who could tell? (Except Sweetie and me. We're clever.)

My worries this time were for naught -- the laptop and backpack and printer are all here and all ready to go.

3. Dancing the cha cha to "Disco Duck" with Sweetie for the minute or two that Mr Bunches allowed us to dance. While cleaning up, "Disco Duck" came on, which gave me a chance to dust off the old cha cha skills I still (barely) had from the time that Sweetie and I took dance lessons, and I got her to dance with me for almost a minute before Mr Bunches -- who doesn't like anyone but him getting attention -- split us up. But the dance showed that dancing & romance wise, I still got it.

132 Down, 10,871 to go:
And here it is, Disco Duck by Rick Dees And His Cast Of Idiots:

1001 Ways To Tune Up The World, Number Sixty-Five

Get rid of those mid-forearm buttons on men's shirts.

Men's clothing -- business clothing -- is dumb. Ties. Button-up shirts. Coats that we either wear only into our office and then hang on the doorknob, or which we stupidly wear all day long even though nobody should wear a coat indoors; you wouldn't wear a windbreaker all day, would you?

So we should probably just overhaul men's business clothing altogether -- but that might constitute more than "fine tuning," so I'm starting small. I'm starting with that tiny little button halfway up the forearm, the button that serves no useful purpose on the shirt.

The button is almost always in a slightly different place on the sleeve, and it apparently is meant to serve to keep that flap of skin from showing out the gap in the sleeve below the wrist cuff, but why is that gap there? It's not necessary to put the shirt on or keep it on; the cuff can button and unbutton just fine without that gap, so far as I can tell...

... and, yeah, I've put a lot of time into thinking about this, because every morning I have to button that tiny button with my big ham-fisted fingers, struggling to get it buttoned, only to go to work and have to unbutton it so that I can roll up my sleeves (which is necessary to show how hard I'm working), only to begin the process the next day.

Imagine how much time and effort I'd save if that button didn't exist.

Okay, it wouldn't be that much time. But I'd save a lot of annoyance and cramped fingers, and even if it's not that much time, why have a button that does nothing?

Prior entries:

13. Ban driving any kind of automobile, motorcycle or other personal vehicle within 1-2 miles of downtown in any city with a population of more than 100,000.

12. Abolish gym class; instead, teach kids to play musical instruments.

11. Change copyright laws to allow anyone to use anyone else's creative work provided that the copier pay 60% of the profit to the originator and that the copier not cast the original work in a negative light.

10. Have more sidewalk cafes and outdoor seating.

9. When you have to give someone a gift, ask them what they want, and then get that thing for them.

8. Never interrupt or finish someone's jokes.

7. Periodically, give up something you like for at least a month.

6. Switch to "E-money."

5. Have each person assigned one phone number, and then add an extension for the various phones and faxes that person might be reached at.

4. Abolish Mondays and Tuesdays.

3. Don't listen to interviews with athletes or comedians.

2. Have "personal cashiers" at the grocery store.

1. Don't earn more than $200,000 per year.

Is this working? You bet --

1001 Ways also helped change the world here!


1001 Ways also helped change the world here!


Claudius wanted to be the first man to reach the stars... but it was murder to get there. Read
Eclipse, the haunting sci-fi book from Briane Pagel. Available at and on your Kindle.


She hasn't divorced me. Yet. (Quote of the Day, 44)

"I'm eating lunch, so you should list all the things I'm supposed to refute and I'll get to them later."

-- Me, Saturday afternoon.

Part of being married is that you are expected to jump in, when your husband or wife says something negative about themselves, and reassure them that whatever negative thing they just said is absolutely not true. I know this, and it's a rule I follow almost unfailingly.

But Sweetie tests the edges of that rule; Sweetie will not always come right out and say "My hair looks terrible today" when I'm sitting and just listening to her; if she did that, Sweetie would immediately get my response: "No, it doesn't. Your hair looks beautiful, like always." (It always does.)

Instead of doing that, just coming out and saying things directly, Sweetie tends to take one of two different tactics. She'll throw it in in the running, apparently to see if I'm listening. Like this:

Sweetie: So then I told him that he absolutely could not stay out until 1 o'clock and he had to clean his room this shirt makes me look terrible plus Mr Bunches wouldn't put on his pants.

Me: Um... No?

Or, if Sweetie doesn't do that, she'll hit me when I'm clearly distracted, as I was on Saturday, when I'd returned home from This Saturday's Adventure, and had just finished getting the Babies! up into their room and ready for their nap, leading me to now start my own lunch at about 1:15 p.m. I was starving and looking in the refrigerator as Sweetie wandered through the room doing something about the cat food and talking to me all at the same time, and then she paused and looked at me expectantly.

I realized that she'd just said something about her appearance, or personality, or something, that required refuting, but I wasn't sure what she'd said or what I was supposed to say.

Rather than going with a generic "That's crazy," I said ""I'm eating lunch, so you should list all the things I'm supposed to refute and I'll get to them later," and then moved on to eating my Ramen noodles.

Life is better with a moat. (3 Good Things From 5/18/10)

For just a moment there, I was confused about whether this was Wednesday or Thursday -- and then decided it was probably Tuesday. I'll go drink some coffee and sort it out while you take in my 3 Good Things, this time all from my walk with the Babies! last night:

1. The OTHER, Other House I want To Live In. We walked by a house in our neighborhood -- shown at right -- that has long been on my list of dream houses -- it usually ranks 2 or 3, behind the house I'm stalking and this one house in a neighborhood nearby that I really really like.

The OTHER Other house I want to live in used to be blue and box-ish, but now has been modernized by the new owners (a/k/a the people who beat me to it) and is all cool and semi-futuristic and has huge windows and a deck...

... and a moat. I took a special picture of that. And before you get all skeptical (Sweetie!), ask yourself this and answer honestly: Wouldn't my life be better if I had a moat?

Of course it would.

2. Mailbox decorations.

Our mailbox is simply that: a black mailbox on a wooden post we bought at Menard's when we had to replace the old mailbox post -- leading to the question "Where do you buy a new mailbox post?"

But some people in our neighborhood jazz up even their mailboxes. There's one behind our house with a little wire sculpture of a bike on it. There's one down the street with a boat. And there's the one shown to the right, with what appears to be a stylized eagle, or a fancy coffepot. Or both. It might be a mystical stylized eagle spiritual coffeepot. Why not put that on your mailbox?

3. The problem of the Cherry Bomb has been solved. At the little park we walked to, there's a sandbox, a slide, some swings, and the new style of Teeter Totter. No longer is that toy just a board-on-a-pole -- a board on a pole that your friend is going to lure you onto and then wait until you're up in the air and leap off, resulting in you crashing to the ground and hurting your butt.

The modern, 21st Century Teeter-Totter comes complete with seats for up to four people, and is spring-balanced so that Mr F and I could sit on one side, and Mr Bunches could sit on the other, and we could still teeter. And totter, for that matter.

131 Down, 10,872 to go: Today's song happens to be the one I listened to this morning while updating Lesbian Zombies Are Taking Over The World! -- so listen to the song, and imagine yourself in my shoes: 6:30 a.m., and before you go wake up Mr F and Mr Bunches to get them dressed, before you eat your waffles and french toast sticks Sweetie made you, before you put on that tie and report to work... you're listening to dance music and writing about aliens bombing Tampa prior to Armageddon...

Plus the video's pretty cool.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Never leave home without your Emergency Cheese Puffs. (Saturday Adventures, 1)

This Saturday's Adventure:

Planning To Go To The Art Museum But Then Having To Change That To
Bumming Around On State Street Just Prior to the UW Graduation (Although We Actually Thought The Graduation Was Over Already, And In A Different Place.)

The adventure actually began at the parking garage where I usually park for work -- I always park there when I go downtown, because free parking, but this time I'd forgotten my passcard (which was in my car, the car without the car seats.)

The original plan was take the Babies! to the art museum, which required that they have the stroller along. While I can walk with them and hold their hands, going to a place where I intend to contemplate/surreptitiously take pictures of art requires that I have the ability to strap them into something or they'll knock over a multimillion dollar piece of art that only looks like a pile of garbage but is actually a commentary on something-or-other.

Unfortunately, Mr Bunches nixed the idea of the stroller by trying to pick it up and put it back in the car, so I conceded the point and he, I, and Mr F proceeded to walk down State Street, me holding their hands on each side and loaded down with a backpack.

We walked the whole five blocks of State Street, past the Art Museum and various stores and shops and people in pre-graduation gear/states of drunkeness, before getting to the UW's Library Mall. We did that because, having lost the Art Museum as a destination -- no stroller, no art, that's my rule -- I had no other real plans beyond "Don't lose the Babies!."

When we got to the Library Mall, we stopped for a picnic lunch:

On the menu: Ramen noodles (that's what Mr F is eating in the foreground), s'more crackers (Mr Bunches' bagged goodies) and a ham-and-swiss cheese sandwich (not pictured) for me. We also had emergency rations of milk, Pop Tarts, and Cheese Puffs -- as any good adventure requires.

While we ate, we were treated to a Very Bad Skateboarding Demonstration. If you look closely in this picture:

You'll see a seated man on the far bench -- almost directly above Mr Bunches' head. That's the skateboarder who periodically would get on his board, come around, and nearly wipe out or fall off. He didn't complete any tricks that I could see -- but Mr Bunches thought he was awesome, and said so.

Mr F didn't care one way or the other -- he was digging in the dirt in a planter behind me at that point.

From the picnic, we went to the Wisconsin Historical Society, which had the benefits of being right there, and free. I wasn't sure what was inside, but that didn't matter so much because our first stop was the bathroom, where washing up occupied us for about 15 minutes:

From there, we proceeded to walk through all four floors of the historical society, seeing murals like this one:

I took that on the 3rd-floor landing, and if you ever doubt that I have superpowers, then you try this: Hold the hands of two superactive 3-year-olds on the landing of a giant stairwell with low walls, and take a picture at the same time. I got the nicely-focused picture and no Babies! went over the ledge.

We couldn't get a picture of the overhang by the library, a spectacular view, because as soon as I paused there to try the hold-on-to-Babies!-and-snap-picture trick again, the Babies! started yelling to make echoes, and we had to move on to a stairwell where we saw the eagle statue that used to be on top of the Capitol or something:

That finished up the Historical Society (with a brief stop at the arrowhead display in the basement) and we moved on to the Terrace patio by the lakefront. I did not get any pictures there, because Mr Bunches wanted more than anything to go swimming, but (a) it was sixty degrees and (b) he didn't have a change of clothes and (c) Madison's lakes are filled with deadly blue green algae and we never swim in them, so I had to retreat from there hastily.

We walked back up Langdon Street for a while, looking at the Frat houses and apartment buildings. I liked the view from below this building:

Mr Bunches and Mr F wanted to go inside, but I adamantly refused, and we moved on.

Outside another apartment building were large round sculptures. After trying in vain to push one of them -- probably in hopes that it would go careening down the busy sidewalk and create mayhem -- creating mayhem is the Babies!' hobby -- Mr Bunches rested:

From there, they caught sight of a construction area, and we looked at that for roughly 20 minutes:

Then I realized that we were only a block away from my first apartment ever in Madison, back in 1995 -- so I took them there to show them the building. They were suitably impressed:

If you look closely, you'll see a smidge of Mr F trying to avoid being pictured as he found the bushes more interesting than the doorway.

After that, they were getting tired, and we walked the three blocks back to the car, where I unpacked the Emergency Cheese Puffs for the ride home.

Adventure completed!

Saturday Adventures Table Of Contents.

Every Saturday, I go on an adventure with the Babies! Some adventures are better than others, but I do the same thing each week: On Friday night, I put the Babies! to bed and tell them that the next day we'll go on our adventure, and the next day, we do just that.

And because I can't do anything without telling you, my loyal reader(s?) about it, I'm going to start posting the pictures from those adventures weekly in a series of posts I've cleverly decided to call "Saturday Adventures."

Doing Some Stuff, Beginning With The Library.

A Day At The Farm.

An inadvertent trip to an art museum.

Walking Around Milwaukee (For A Good Cause.)

Moving Oldest, and The Zoo Playground (A Double Adventure!)

The Arachnobot Playground Of The Future

Independence, comfy chairs, and swamp water.

Apocalyptic Ostriches.

Cheese puffs by the X.

Beef sprouts and bristly cows.

In retrospect, Saturday's activities would have made for a better post.

Never leave home without your emergency cheese puffs.

Don't mess with the Babies!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Icee, youcee, we all cee for Icee? (Nah, doesn't work.) (3 Good Things From The Weekend.)

Monday -- and the Monday back at work after a 4-day weekend to celebrate my 10th Anniversary. Enough said. Here's my 3 Good Things from this past weekend that can't help but improve my day:

1. My blue raspberry Icee: Everything Sweetie and I did on Friday was excellent, from the shopping trip to the movie Iron Man 2 to ordering pizza and fried stuff. Among the highlights, though, the Blue Raspberry Icee needs to be singled out. Every time I go to a movie, I think "I should get a blue raspberry Icee," and then I just... don't. I get popcorn, and a soda, and go on with my boring humdrum life. But this time, I shook things up and got that Icee.

And it was delicious.

And I finished it before the movie started.

2. 68% of "Law Abiding Citizen," the movie: Yesterday afternoon, Sweetie was watching Law Abiding Citizen, and I was kind of watching and kind of reading an article about an economist in The New Yorker. Around about 2/3 of the way through the movie, I got interested enough to put down the article and watch the movie. (Sweetie pulled me into the movie with a comment about how there might be a twist-ending kind of thing going on.)

Almost immediately after deciding to fully commit to the movie, I fell asleep, and I ended up having to ask Sweetie how it ended.

3. The blackout got me out of Family Guy. Last night, The Boy and I and Sweetie were watching Family Guy for what The Boy termed "one last shot." That show has been aggressively unfunny lately and I'd about given up on it.

Last night's episode wasn't any different, really: more tedious and disgusting jokes, more blatant attempts to be outrageous, and a plot that seemed as though it had to be a parody of a movie.

Then we had the blackout -- about 2/3 of the way through the show, the lights went out all around the neighborhood, and stayed out until nearly 11. During that time, Sweetie and I and the Babies! watched 101 Dalmatians on our laptop (which had a full battery) while we got them back to sleep, and then, when the lights came back on, we didn't bother with the rest of Family Guy; we just went back to bed.
130 down, 10,819 to go: This is the absolute newest song on my iPod. I like the whistling; that's what lured me into the song Home, by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.